Friday, 30 December 2011

Week In Review For Women's Wrestling #27

And it's the final week of 2011 to review. The year has been eventful and given us plenty to be happy about as well as more than enough reasons to throw things at our TVs and scream with rage. But since I've become a regular watcher of it, I've decided to add an entry for FCW into things as well. Let's see how the year ended for the ladies in each company.

Raw - Eve & Zack Ryder vs Tyson Kidd & Natalya:
Holy hell, Tyson has hair now? For a moment I thought The Miz had robbed his trunks. Anyway a mixed tag is fresh enough and Eve's theme song is actually growing on me. Funnily enough I made a joke months ago about Eve getting with Zack Ryder so really you can give me the credit for this awesome pairing. The Divas didn't do much in this match but the offence from Eve was solid. Natalya didn't really do much which is annoying. If you're only going to be in the ring for two minutes then you should give yourself a big move to do that will make the match memorable. The double Broski Boot was a nice touch. I'm presuming Beth isn't on TV because the swelling on her face hasn't gone down yet. It's annoying but WWE does do short build ups better than long ones so I'm sure if she was on TV we wouldn't have gotten much. The segment with Kelly Kelly was funny and I'm surprised the Bellas got to cut an actual promo. At least all the girls got on the show. 5/10

NXT Watch:
Aksana on NXT now? I hope she gets to have a match soon enough. Maxine must be loving all of this as she's managed to snag more screentime and attention in one episode than most Divas get in a month. I prefer her with Johnny Curtis since he's a lot more entertaining than Derrick Bateman. Once again annoyed there wasn't a match this week but hopefully we can see some more in the new year.

Impact - Knockouts Segment:
I'd love to see a talk show hosted by Madison Rayne and Vickie Guerrero because that would be pure gold in terms of entertainment. It was awesome to see Sting step in and overrule her like that because her reaction was priceless. However I'm annoyed that TNA have boxed themselves into a corner with their booking since they're having Tara and Brooke feuding with her but Gail is currently in a feud with Mickie for the singles belt meaning they can't have a proper match for the titles without Gail doing double duty. Just another reason why giving Gail both titles was a bad idea. Segment rating: 7/10

Eric Young & ODB vs Magnus & Samoa Joe:
I knew they would get too far in the tournament though I really hope they keep the two of them together because they do make an entertaining pair. ODB didn't do much in the match but it was a bit more entertaining than what she did last week. 6/10

Mickie James vs Gail Kim* (Knockouts Championship):
While I am happy the Knockouts got to the main event of Impact, I do wish they could have given this a bit more hype. With Trish/Lita and even Mickie/Tara there was a long running feud and the girls were on TV every week to hype it up. Here however they just used a main event match as a building block to another one at the next PPV when it really should be the other way around. That being said, the match was a bit better than the PPV one. Mickie has slowly upped her game in recent months and become a bit more exciting in the ring. Gail also seems to have properly adjusted to working as a heel because this is the best match she's had since she returned. However we all know that the two of them are capable of much better. I guess that's good if they're getting a third match at Genesis. I'm not ready for another Mickie title reign so give Gail a clean win over her and move on to someone about Velvet? She's someone who deserves a proper push way more than Mickie. 7/10

FCW - Raquel Diaz Promo:
She's certainly much better on the mic than she is the ring right now but that will change with more training. Obviously now she's Queen she should be featured in more matches and that will help her to improve in the ring. She showed promise in the match where she won the crown so I'm looking forward to the eventual match with Audrey Marie. She's certainly got as much charisma as her mother anyway.

Caylee Turner & Ivelisse Velez vs Cameron Lynn & Kaitlyn:
The FCW Face/Heel Revolving Door continues though I think I prefer Cameron as a heel and Caylee as a face. As an aside note the new ring announcer they have is pretty good - his voice doesn't irritate me like Justin Roberts. We didn't see that much of Ivelisse in the match as all she really did was sell for the faces but she did a good job. In fact she and Kaitlyn seemed to work pretty well together and I'm excited to eventually see the two of them in a possible singles match. Caylee was solid enough with her offence, if a little shaky. Things did fall apart a little towards the end with Cameron flailing about and not really selling the Code Breaker but I know how hard it is to sell a move like that so with more training she'll be fine. I liked the X-Factor to Cameron as the two got a great height on it. My eyes actually followed their journey as they went up and down. Though I wish the trainers would stop getting all the Divas to use an X-Factor as a finisher. 6/10

Smackdown - Alicia Fox & Kaitlyn vs Tamina & Natalya:
When I read the spoilers they said it was a bad 30-second match. I was expecting something awful but it was better than what I was expecting anyway. So Kaitlyn is still a face and she's just not teaming with AJ anymore. Not sure how I feel about it though I'm sure we'll eventually get more clarification in the next few weeks if they plan to follow up on Kaitlyn walking out on her. It was still a short match but fairly entertaining nonetheless. Both Tamina and Kaitlyn looked comfortable out there, like they knew what they were doing and Natalya of course was pulling double duty this week. The end was a bit confusing but watching it back it looks like Nattie collided with the turnbuckle so that's why she was crouching down. I have actually missed Alicia's scissors kick. The segment afterwards in the spoilers made it sound like Tamina turned face but watching it actually happen, it doesn't look like a face turn. Natalya didn't provoke her at all and she came off looking somewhat sympathetic. Perhaps this losing streak is meant to be leading towards a potential face turn for her? It's really too early to split DoD up just yet so let's hope both Natalya and Tamina remain heels for now and they sort out Alicia's push before they get wrapped up in other storylines. 6/10

Friday, 23 December 2011

Week In Review For Women's Wrestling #26

So we're winding down the days until the new year with the second-last Raw, NXT, Smackdown and Impact of 2011. Also we have the final WWE PPV of the year, not to mention the fallout from Karen Jarrett being fired over in TNA. Shall we begin?

TLC - Beth Phoenix* vs Kelly Kelly (Divas' Championship):
I was expecting a last-minute Divas' title match to be added but like everyone else I thought it would be Alicia challenging Beth instead. However I'm happy it was Kelly because that means we can get a bit more build up for Beth and Alicia's title match. Kelly also never got her proper rematch and it didn't come out of nowhere since she did get a pinfall win over Beth two weeks ago. It's officially 4-0 for the two of them as they have appeared on PPV four times this year and put on solid and entertaining matches at each outing. And what's more is that each time they've delivered new and entertaining spots in each match. Kelly's facecrusher off the apron was a good start to the match and all her offence was solid. Beth dominated well enough though you could blatantly hear her calling spots for about 50 seconds. Maybe they found out they still had some time to fill so they added that in on the fly? Oh well the rest of the match made up for that, though Kelly's screaming was a little too intense. Though she has worked on sounding like she's actually in pain as opposed to having an orgasm. The closing moments of the match were heart-stopping but I loved that finish. It showed that Kelly has used that to beat Beth before but she's ready for it this time. Using the Alley-Oop to finish it was a nice touch and it's always good to see a match that doesn't end with the Glam Slam. Beth gets another clean title win and she's now got three title defences, all on PPV. Her reign has been good on paper even if the TV segments aren't exactly utilising her full potential. 7/10

Raw - Beth Phoenix vs Alicia Fox:
Finally the Fox's hunt begins. Didn't you just know straight away when you saw Alicia on the screen that it was going to be a non-title match and that she was going to win? I guess this is the one time I won't complain about having a super-short match on Raw so as not to give anything away for their eventual title match. That being said the lack of time clearly affected them here. They went for a good spot with Alicia reversing the slingshot suplex into the inverted DDT but it didn't work quite the way it was supposed to. If the Divas are only going to be allotted this amount of time each week then it is probably wiser to put them in segments or promos instead of matches. Hopefully Beth can put on as good a match with Alicia as she was able to do with Eve and Kelly. 2/10

NXT - Kaitlyn vs Maxine:
Thank the wrestling Gods Kaitlyn is still a face. I know she's been advertised as a heel at future house shows but that means nothing right now. Although I would like to see the Chick Busters officially work out their differences on screen to fix the little hole we have. I'm a little annoyed with the time the matches on NXT have been getting lately, I mean this is almost like Raw time. The match was still fine at the length it was at and Kaitlyn and Maxine once again showed how far they've come from the trainwreck of a match last year. Maxine has been on a bit of a losing streak but with Derrick Bateman distracting her then it's not too bad. Please Kaitlyn stay on the side of good. 6/10

Impact - Tara vs Miss Tessmacher:
Madison Rayne is officially God. At least she knows she can fall back on something if she decides to retire from wrestling because she rocked the mic in the ring. She was hilarious during the whole match and I couldn't get enough of her antics. I wouldn't mind seeing a proper Tara/Brooke match in the future though I'm happy they didn't split up as they should stay together for a long time. I'd like them to develop this further and feud properly with Madison and Gail to win back their belts, hopefully downgrading Gail's recent God Mode Sue role. This was really entertaining and we did see some good wrestling from the girls as well. Segment rating: 7.5/10

ODB & Eric Young vs Shannon Moore & Anarchia:
I officially love this pairing. The "business meeting" segment was pure gold and they don't even need to have these two wrestle at every week if they just put them in more segments. The match didn't have a lot of ODB action but still pretty funny with Eric Young's theatrics. ODB's scoop slam didn't look too good but everything else was fun to watch. Not much else to say except gimme more! 5/10

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

TLC 2011 In Review

Well it's the third annual edition of the Tables, Ladders and Chairs PPV and also the final PPV of the year. WWE normally like to end things with a bang as over the years we've seen DX finally winning Tag Team gold, Sheamus getting the upset and winning his first title, the rise of John Morrison, Divas getting physical and high spots galore. With the dust now settled, I can safely say WWE did go out on a high note this year with one of their best PPV offerings of 2011.

1) Dolph Ziggler* vs Zack Ryder (United States Championship):
They couldn't have picked a better match to open the show. It was almost insane how hot the crowd were for Ryder and how over he is now. This past year has really been something for him as he has become a true star in front of our eyes, going from the Youtube site to the actual TV screens. The match was miles better than the one at Vengeance mostly because it was longer but there was a certain proper hype to it. At Vengeance you knew Ryder wasn't going to get the win but here there was that unpredictability. Dolph continues to show how good he is at what he does as he demonstrated amazing charisma in this match not to mention five star athleticism. I actually loved that spot with all the elbow drops. It's the new Three Amigos anyway. Ryder is not the best worker but has a strong character and brought his A-game. That Frankensteiner was probably my favourite move because I never expected him to pull out something like it. I honestly thought it was over a bit too soon but on the second watch it felt more fleshed out. 7.5/10

I liked the angle they had Booker T and Cody Rhodes in that night. It gives Rhodes more notoriety and screen time. I think Alicia Fox's hair is getting brighter.

2) Air Boom* vs Epico & Primo (WWE Tag Team Championships):
I was surprised neither of the Tag champs were put in some kind of ladder match given the theme of this PPV but what we got was more than fine. Evan Bourne has truly been missed on PPV and showed he hasn't been sitting on the couch doing nothing during his absence. This was a surprisingly good tag team match if a little rushed into execution. I mean it wasn't even announced properly before the show. In that case it is good the champs retained and judging from Raw it looks like they're going to feud a bit longer. It was surprising to see the faces controlling so much of the match and I felt they were getting a bit too much offence in early on but eventually the heels got to do their thing isolating Evan and getting plenty of offence of their own in. The spot throwing Evan out of the ring was really cool though it was a bit weird to see just him getting worked on in the match. In the last few title matches between them they've both taken turns getting worked on but here Evan was the definite Ricky Morton partner. Kofi's hot tag was energetic as always and the closing moments were exciting enough. Another good title match and the titles defended successfully again which builds them up. I'm excited to see the rematch. As an aside, thank the lord someone finally made Rosa Mendes a valet. She's doing pretty well and anything that prevents her wrestling is fine with me. 8/10

The Hornswoggle segments get kind of pointless now that he can talk. Funnily enough he was more entertaining as a mute. Who knew we'd get double sided race humour on a PG show?

3) Wade Barrett vs Randy Orton (Tables Match):
I wasn't sure if I wanted to see this one considering how hit and miss Tables matches normally are but thankfully WWE kept the ball rolling and gave us a third solid match in a row. Not as fun as the first two but still pretty entertaining. They brawled for a good bit and they did that well. Some of the spots were very creative and this was much more inventive than some of the more recent singles Tables matches we've seen like Orton/Miz and Kofi/Sheamus. I was kept entertained anyway. What was best about it was that you never got the feeling they were just padding things out to fill their time (like happened with a certain ladder match later on). I nearly marked out when I saw Barrett going for Wasteland into the table but thankfully we got that on Raw last night. I was expecting Orton to win and I'm not that bothered about it. Winning a tables match doesn't necessarily equal a burial and Barrett is still getting some kind of big heel push. He's actually one of my picks to win the Royal Rumble. 7/10

Brie does actually have a point since whenever they play different roles she's always the face and Nikki the heel. These two are much more entertaining in these segments as bitchy heels. Jack Swagger seems to have taken speaking classes because his lines didn't sound so bored this time. Or maybe Sheamus just toned down his charisma to make him look better.

4) Beth Phoenix* vs Kelly Kelly (Divas' Championship):
I was expecting a Divas' title match to be added last minute but I thought it would be Alicia getting the shot. However this works fine as well since Kelly never got her rematch and it looks like they'll make an effort to build Alicia an actual feud for the title. This was on par with their other 3 PPV matches and was quite impressive for a last minute addition and one that wasn't as long as the previous 3. True Beth calling the spots in the middle was just bad but they're only human I guess. Kelly's spots looked really good like that facecrusher off the apron and it is good that with four PPV matches they can still deliver some new stuff. The closing moments were nearly heart stopping making everyone think Kelly was going to win the title back. But I like that it didn't end with the Glam Slam and Beth's Alley Oop gave her a bit of variety. And that's now three clean title defences for her without help from Natalya or dirty tactics. She and Kelly have both gotten respectable title reigns thus far. 7/10

The amount of gay subtext between The Miz and Alberto Del Rio is a little unnerving.

I repeat what I said about the Booker T/Cody Rhodes angle.

5) Triple H vs Kevin Nash (Sledgehammer/Ladder Match):
I was genuinely shocked that this wasn't the last match on the card but relieved all the same. I was preparing myself for a massive trainwreck a la Judgement Day 2003 but thankfully it didn't quite get to that. In fact I was really enjoying the opening brawl and I was impressed with how these two older guys could really go. There's life in these old(er) dogs yet. The ladder submission holds were excellent to watch and there were a good few other hard-hitting spots there as well. However like many of Triple H's matches these days, it ran for too long. It could have had a good five minutes shaved off it at least because towards the second half of the match, they slowed down and it was obvious they were padding things out to fill their time. I was really confused with the ending and the rules seemed almost TNA-esque - win by pinning your opponent after hitting him with a sledgehammer retrieved above the ring? Doesn't the pin make the whole point of the ladder match unnecessary? Just getting the sledgehammer should have been enough to end the match and that botched Pedigree was another nail in the coffin. And Nash is injured again. Let this be his retirement match as it's a fine enough note to go out on. 6/10

Johnny's voice is almost unnatural. Can anyone really listen to themselves talk like that?

6) Jack Swagger vs Sheamus:
Exactly how many PPVs has it been this year that Sheamus has been randomly added to the card at the last minute? True this time it was officially announced and booked on the show itself but still give the guy something to work with. However this was still a really great match and these two really brought out the best in each other. I compare Sheamus's work now to his runs as the top heel champion and it's almost like a different person out there. I thought he was fine as a heel, not great but could get the job done and never in a million years thought he'd be able to play a face. And who would have thought he'd be such a natural at it. I was never a Sheamus fan before but he has now shown off so much charisma and athleticism in the ring that I'm starting to get behind him. Swagger of course got to show off as well, though he didn't go to the heights we've seen him at before. The chemistry was definitely there and I was entertained. As much as I'm enjoying the rise of Sheamus I'd like to see Swagger get a PPV win just once. 7/10

7) Mark Henry* vs Big Show (Chairs Match; World Heavyweight Championship):
I was of course not excited for this match at all despite liking both of these guys. Giving them steel chairs to use was a pretty good idea since they made this a bit more exciting than their match at Survivor Series. I was surprised at how short it was but since Mark Henry is injured then it's a valid enough reason. His title reign was relatively interesting but I was honestly ready for a new champion. Big Show got the win and I was happy for him. But of course it doesn't end there...5.5/10

I wasn't expecting this but the crowd were on their feet and it was a great feel-good moment. Seeing Daniel Bryan waving the belt in Michael Cole's face was pure gold. I get the feeling they'll turn Big Show heel and have him carry on with whatever plans they had for Mark Henry. Can't say I'm too thrilled about this as I don't think anyone would care if Big Show turned heel *again*.

8) Cody Rhodes* vs Booker T (Intercontinental Championship):
I loved the sneaky way WWE got to make this an upper card match. It was a gutsy move because this spot normally does have a piss-break match or segment in between main events but with the WHC match being so short then it's a different story. While not as exciting as the US title match or Sheamus/Swagger this one was still pretty solid. I wasn't expecting that much but I enjoyed what I saw and I'm thoroughly enjoying Cody Rhodes's push right now. He's another of the guys who became a star in front of our eyes and I'm enjoying his run as IC Champ. It's funny how people never thought he'd make it but yet here he is one of the best heels in the company. I hope Booker T doesn't properly get back into the ring now because I actually like his commentary and think that's a better niche for him right now. The end sequence was a bit slow and it was a little strange to see the kick end it. I was expecting Cross Rhodes or something like that. Almost a little anti-climactic. 6.5/10

9) CM Punk* vs The Miz vs Alberto Del Rio (TLC Match; WWE Championship):
I'm truly amazed. This must be the first time in I don't know how many years that the main event of a PPV has not involved John Cena, Triple H or Randy Orton. In fact, I'm shocked Cena wasn't on the card at all. I think this was a test on WWE's part to see if a PPV could work without those guys in the main event and, in my opinion, it worked just fine and it was a good move. True we have seen more variety in the title picture with newer faces feuding for the belt but it's still been those guys in non-title related storylines as the main event, taking more importance than the actual title. But here the title was the most important thing on the card and got the final match. These three delivered an entertaining TLC match that was a lot better than the one we saw at the show last year. The alliance between Miz and Del Rio was expected but them turning on each other was fun to watch as well. The spots with the handcuffs were a little unorthodox but I'll take them with a grain of salt. I give massive props to Ricardo Rodriguez for taking that massive bump as it was a great moment. I also loved Del Rio's weapon-assisted submission holds. Not much else to say about the match except it was hugely entertaining and it was awesome to see Punk come out on top again. 8/10

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Tough Enough 14 - Where Are They Now?

It's been nearly six months since Tough Enough wrapped up and Andy Leavine was crowned the winner. I think it's time to take a look at the 14 contestants who were on the show and see who's doing what, who got to WWE, who's still wrestling and if there was any major drama along the way. The results may surprise you.

Andy Leavine:
Of course the big news broke back in August that Big Andy had been suspended for violating WWE's wellness program, a big shock especially considering on the show Andy promoted himself as being straight edge and wanting to do right by his family. Well his suspension is over as he has been reportedly training in FCW and was added to their roster under the name "Kevin Hackman" in October. Jim Ross actually recently answered questions about whether or not Andy would be getting called up soon. He said it was doubtful and that Big Andy  had a lot of work to do. Personally I think that if he ever does debut properly on WWE TV he'll likely get repackaged and his history on Tough Enough will be ignored since any momentum he would have had since winning the show is long gone by now. Personally I also don't see him as a valuable asset to the company and I get the feeling he'll be added to the future endeavours list before the next season premieres.

Luke Robinson:
The runner up was one of the favourites to win the show from the start though many doubted WWE would sign him due to his overly large ego. It seems the many had it right as Luke has yet to be signed by WWE and dropped off the radar since the show wrapped. He finally resurfaced in September where he returned to action at IHW Wrestling and has supposedly been wrestling regularly for the last couple of months. There is still no talk of signing him. From what I've seen he is very gifted in the ring, is in good shape and has a ton of charisma so it's actually surprising he hasn't at least gotten a try-out. I'm guessing his ego and his history of wrestling for that gay porn league is likely what's keeping them from signing him. Guess we won't be seeing the much anticipated staredown with Randy Orton any time soon.

Jeremiah Riggs:
Jeremiah was another of the contestants thought to be looked on keenly by WWE management after his strong performance on the show. Personally he was in great shape but his main problem was just being too reckless in the ring but something that could easily be fixed with the proper training. He indeed got a tryout at FCW back in August and the officials supposedly loved his personality but thought he was average in the ring and had a bad attitude and was eventually told he would not be offered a developmental contract. In an interview a few weeks after this he verbally buried WWE and said all their developmental guys were all the same, boring and bland not to mention scared of failure. He praised Bill DeMott for his training on Tough Enough and was happy for him to get a job as a WWE scout but revealed that the job has supposedly gone to his head. That I can easily believe as from what I saw on the show, Bill DeMott was a good wrestler but an awful teacher. I guess we definitely won't be seeing Jeremiah in WWE after that interview but I suppose anything can happen. He's actually still getting offers to wrestle and do MMA so we'll see if he keeps at it.

Christina Crawford:
The final female on the show had originally spent 8 months in FCW and had to be released from her contract to take part. Well after the show wrapped she was re-signed with WWE and popped back up in FCW. Her wrestling name is Caylee Turner and she seems to zig zag between working face and heel at different shows but on TV they seem to be settling on her working face. I definitely saw something in Christina when she was on the show and from watching her matches in FCW, she's definitely a girl who gets it. She is improving nicely down there and I feel confident that she will eventually get called up to the main roster. Who knows, maybe she and her sister will become a tag team?

AJ Kirsch:
This guy was my second pick to win the show after Matt got eliminated but I'll be the first to admit he fell short in a lot of the contests. I finally saw a glimmer of hope with his final promo but it looks like WWE hasn't taken much notice of him. He actually did work a match for WWE Superstars a few months back under the name "Aaron James" (which according to him is not what AJ stands for) where he got squashed by Brodus Clay. Besides that he has returned to his roots at APW and you should definitely take note of his matches. It is surprising considering he made hardly any impact on the show but he has a load of charisma and he is a great heel. Here's one of the contestants I want to get signed by WWE because he does have a lot to offer. Here's his Youtube channel:

Martin Casaus:
Here is another big favourite who almost definitely would have won the show had he not fractured his ankle towards the end, no offence to Andy but he was definitely in a right place right time scenario. Apparently Martin co-owns a wrestling promotion UCW-Zero in his hometown of Salt Lake City. His ankle has now healed fully and from his return match in August he had no ring rust whatsoever. He hasn't yet been contacted by WWE which is very surprising to me considering how much he impressed when he was on the show. But I would think that they might eventually offer him a tryout at least some time in the new year. Oh and a side note, the third skill challenge he won on the show was actually on his 26th birthday.

Ivelisse Velez:
Here's another contestant who was forced to leave the show due to injury. When being eliminated Ivelisse had some harsh words for Christina and gave a pretty bitchy departure interview. However in an interview a few months later Evey admitted she was upset and wished she had been a bit more professional at the time. She's said that she and Christina are on fine terms now. As the most experienced woman on the show (six years on the indies) it was thought that she would eventually get looked at by the company when her injury healed. Indeed she was given a tryout with them along with her boyfriend and was actually caught on camera backstage at Raw. A few weeks ago the news broke out that she has indeed been signed by WWE and has already begun competing at FCW shows. Her first match on TV will air on December 18th and will also feature two other fellow contestants.

Eric Watts:
Personally I found Eric to be one of the biggest letdowns on the show and I'm amazed he made it as far as he did, which is a shame considering he has the handicapped brother at home and could have made for a nice heartwarming ending to the show. He has since spoke up that he has improved his conditioning and physique since leaving and he returned to the indies in September. According to him, he's still in contact with Bill DeMott and Stone Cold and goes to them whenever he has questions about training. He aims to go and wrestle in Japan someday. I was critical of Eric on the show but if he's working hard to improve then good for him because he could have potential. From interviews he seems very respectful and professional, and an attitude like that will help him out in the long run as opposed to someone like Luke who just walks around with his nose in the air. In a little bit of useless trivia, he and AJ have remained good friends since the show ended.

Ryan Howe:
Old Skidmarks is just full of surprises as fans of the show might be shocked to find out that he's actually a bouncer and spent time in Ohio Valley Wrestling before he was on TV. He returned to the ring pretty soon after he got eliminated from the show and has even wrestled Cowboy Bob Orton. I doubt anyone is surprised that he hasn't been contacted by WWE thus far though in interviews he has said he felt that the type of over the top character he was playing in the ring was strong enough though WWE was shying away from it at the time and that's why he was cut. According to him, being on the show has increased the amount of bookings he's been getting on the indie circuit and the prices have gone up. Despite being treated like a dog on the show he's been very respectful when talking about the trainers, even Bill DeMott and his blatant favouritism. So while he's not getting to WWE, he's certainly flourishing on the indies.

Rimah Fakih:
Well of course she is no longer Miss USA as the tiara was handed over a few months ago to the next one. The trainers all agreed that while she couldn't have lasted on the show, she had the passion and the drive to become a professional wrestler. She actually revealed in an interview that she fractured one of her ribs while training with Bill but kept it quiet for the show. Back in September a fan asked her about her future with WWE and she replied that they didn't seem interested in her but in an interview a couple of weeks ago she revealed she'd been in talks with Triple H though we haven't heard anything yet. In other news she got a DUI at the start of the month and, though she tried to deny it on Twitter, it's since been confirmed that it was definitely her. I wonder if she would get signed eventually because I do think she could bring a lot to the table but I guess the New Year will give us more info.

Mickael Zaki:
Another contestant who didn't really wow anyone much on the show despite having a unique enough look and being in good shape. He hasn't really seemed to have done much of anything since getting eliminated from the show and I guess it's safe to say WWE aren't that interested in him. He's actually a pretty entertaining person to follow on Twitter and people will be interested to know that, after his rather demeaning comments in the first episode, he was seen praising Ariane and congratulating her on her progress which will make more sense when you read about her below. No news on whether or not he plans to join the cast of Jersey Shore.

Michelle Deighton:
Miss 11 Years who was the only contestant to voluntarily leave the show. Just to give you some clarification, she started wrestling 11 years before she was on the show but gave it up after five years to do modelling for another six. So anyone who's been out of the game for six years is bound to be a little rusty trying to start back up again. Though people will wonder why she didn't at least brush up on her basics before coming on the show. It seems she and her husband Johnny Fairplay have separated and she has retained custody of their young daughter Piper, who Michelle quit the show to spend more time with. She hasn't seemed to have stuck with wrestling and indeed the other contestants have spoken up about her negative attitude on the show, her supposedly applying for other reality shows at the time as well. I guess she decided wrestling wasn't for her and went back to being a model/mother. It's not like she'll be missed from the wrestling world in any case.

Matt Cross:
The contestant with arguably the most potential and experience, who was my pick to win the show and got the short end of the stick and got eliminated second. His fans will be happy to know he wrestled a tryout match for WWE in September and since he was on the show, he's been getting a lot more bookings and requests. He's kept in contact with all the trainers and they've been really helpful, not to mention he's good friends with CM Punk. I'd personally love to see him in WWE because he has a lot of talent and he could bring a lot to the table. He isn't exactly a big guy but he can certainly make up for it with his quickness. Well anyway if he doesn't get there he's certainly doing well for himself anyway, wrestling all over the world. His goal is apparently to wrestle in 20 different countries.

Ariane Andrew:
People were probably chuckling that when she first appeared on Raw she announced herself as "the next WWE Diva" when she would be eliminated on the first episode. However she would get the last laugh as after the first episode aired, she revealed she'd been signed anyway. Rima certainly wasn't happy with this, bashing her on Twitter and claiming she had no respect for wrestling. Mickael on the other hand praised her, saying "you are a bumping machine". Ariane has since debuted in FCW under the name Cameron Lynn and like Christina, seems to zig zag through what role she's playing. She certainly brings a lot of personality to the table with her heel character and has a gift for comedy. What a shock that the first one out seems to have flourished the most since the show ended. No news on whether Melina vs Alicia Fox is still her favourite match.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Week In Review For Women's Wrestling #25

Raw - Eve & Kelly Kelly vs Divas of Doom:
Why is Eve in the match when Alicia is the one getting the build up? It didn't even really need to be a tag match if Eve wasn't even going to get tagged in or even do anything. I repeat my usual pet peeve with entrances. When you have little time for a segment, scratch one of the entrances and the match will get a bit of extra time. The video package for the DoD was pretty good, or what we saw of it anyway, we'll probably see the full thing eventually. The action we saw was okay but no actual offence from Kelly which was a bit annoying. The ending I saw coming a mile away but wondering why Kelly is getting a win over Beth when Alicia is being prepped to get the next title shot? I'm guessing TLC will give us a tag team match of some sort, fingers crossed it's a tables match again and this is signalling Kelly will be Alicia's partner. This week will give us more answers. 3/10

NXT Watch:
No offence to Derrick Bateman but Maxine and Johnny Curtis make a much better couple. I would still like them to follow on my idea of pairing Johnny and Bateman as a tag team as they would add some colour to that division. Maxine looked great and as always she exudes charisma like it's vapour. Get more Divas on the show please.

Impact - Mickie James vs Madison Rayne:
This one was alright and on par with the last couple of matches these two have had on Impact, which have all been better than their previous PPV matches. I felt it was maybe a bit overlong as the final bit with Madison getting in control again wasn't really needed. I'll give Mickie her credit as she has been looking a bit better in the ring lately though she still seems a bit slow with her moves. Madison is brilliant as always and she just has a way of commanding the attention to herself whenever she's on screen, even when she's not in the spotlight. Standard booking giving Mickie momentum heading into the PPV. I have yet to see the match but I'm sure it'll be somewhat passable. 6/10

Gail Kim vs Traci Brooks:
I really don't like Traci's hair. The Bob is the most unflattering hairstyle known to womankind and I have yet to see a woman who looks good with one. The match was a different flavour than the Mickie/Madison one in that it was more about storytelling, Traci taking out her frustrations on Gail and going to town. The brawl was fun though the whole segment was a little too short. I would actually love for them to build off this after Gail is done with Mickie and give Traci a push against her. She has never been Knockouts Champion and I think it could be a very interesting feud if done correctly. They could be heading in this direction since they gave Gail a dirty win, Madison hitting Traci with the belt and all. 4/10

Smackdown - Aksana Watch:
I love that they find ways to get Aksana on Smackdown though I am looking forward to her eventually joining the women's division. I was expecting her to be the new member of the Divas of Doom when they paired her with Alicia. I'd like to see them take that back up and have Aksana unhappy to be accompanying Alicia for whatever reason and eventually side with the DoD. We know from FCW that she can play a heel whereas Kaitlyn turning isn't needed. I'm actually relieved the Chick Busters split was seemingly postponed because if it has to happen it should be done properly. WWE doesn't seem to be good at soft turns for the Divas and I wouldn't want a Kaitlyn heel turn to be like Melina's or Alicia's face turn. The swerve happens and the next time we see her she's a heel.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Week In Review For Women's Wrestling #24

Raw - Alicia Fox & Kelly Kelly vs Bella Twins:
And we're back to the usual pointless 2-minute tag matches. This match served one purpose - put Alicia forward as the next possible title contender. Getting that across could have been done with a promo or some form of segment but hopefully they can kick things into gear eventually. The match was pretty forgettable and Alicia didn't even get tagged in at the end. However the one bit with the DoD interfering was pretty funny - I mean who ever heard of distracting someone by pretending to jog around the ring? They do seem to be giving the DoD a bit of comedy and I'm not sure if I like it as it might take away from their big time heel personas. With LayCool it worked but it doesn't seem natural with Beth and Natalya. 2/10

Smackdown - Mistletoe On A Pole Match:
I do applaud creative team for giving them something new to do but this was short and uninspired, mostly just the divas throwing each other around rather lamely. But really the entire show was full of this silliness and hopefully now that they've gotten the "Divas in Xmas outfits" show off the schedule we can get some new direction. The backstage segments were pretty fun on the other hand and I enjoyed Aksana eating the mistletoe. It was an off night for ring action but successful for some backstage interactions. 1/10

NXT - Maxine vs Alicia Fox:
I'm a little annoyed with the time given to this considering it's NXT and they should be getting Superstars lengths for matches. However Alicia shows her savvy at working short matches but injecting life into them and making them entertaining. She and Maxine worked well enough together though I wish we could have had a segment or something playing up their history. Derrick Bateman's mother was funny and hopefully she'll come back for more segments...hopefully bringing Momma Benjamin with her. I'm enjoying the way this angle is going and I expect some kind of mixed tag match soon with Johnny Curtis and Kaitlyn vs Derrick Bateman & Maxine with Max making her decision. Oh and Tamina sounded pretty good on the mic. 6/10

Impact - Knockouts Get Wet And Wild:
Ah we long for the days when this was commonplace in WWE. Well not really considering there this would be instead of a proper match as opposed to in addition to it. This was much more entertaining than last week's trainwreck of a match since it took place backstage and watching girls have a waterfight in bikinis is always better than watching them try to wrestle in lingerie. I get the feeling we'll end up with a segment where Karen has to strip down to a bikini and scrub everyone's cars. That would be pure comedy gold - imagine Velvet spraying her with the hose. Combined rating: 7/10

Mickie James vs ODB (Street Fight):
I loved this match. These two had a good enough match a few months ago but this was brilliant. I was pulling for ODB to win it the whole time because I don't want to see another Mickie run with the title and adding ODB into the feud to make it a triple threat could give it some extra spice. Hopefully if Gail retains then they can make it a triple threat. As for the match, I critiqued Mickie for how bland her matches with Tara were, but here saw her put on one of her better showings in TNA so far. ODB took her to her limit and gave us a possible MOTY candidate. It's certainly miles better than the series of PPV matches we've been getting from the Knockouts. I loved all the spots with the weapons and they were so intense. Uniquely for a Knockouts match, I feel they choreographed it so that the timing felt consistent and the ending satisfied me. They used the time given and made the most out of it. 8.5/10

Friday, 2 December 2011

WWE Archive: Survivor Series 2000

Survivor Series 2000

Now I've decided simply waiting around for the monthly WWE PPVs to come along isn't enough for me. So I am going to dip down into my archive of old WWF/E DVDs and review the PPVs of days gone by. Can the matches of today compare to them? Well, only one way to find out.

This little show comes to us from the Ice Palace in Tampa, FL. This is during the height of the Stone Cold/Triple H feud where Trips was revealed to be the man who ran Austin down at last year's No Mercy. There was also something quite heated going on between The Rock and Rikishi who had recently turned heel and was revealed to be in cahoots with Triple H the whole time. We also had Kurt Angle in his first WWF title reign and his challenger this time around was the Undertaker. Should be a good one.

6-Person Intergender Tag Match – T&A & Trish Stratus vs Steve Blackman, Crash & Molly Holly:
Holy hell I’m getting nostalgic already. It’s the diva of the decade herself back in her rookie days. And for those who remember Molly as “pure and wholesome” right here she’s looking fine as a sweet country bumpkin. Anyway the first big spot of the match comes when Crash goes for a crossbody on Albert who catches him in mid air and then Blackman hits a missile dropkick on them. Throughout the match Crash was isolated as the weak link with Test and Albert making quick tags. Crash got in some nice offence with a beautiful hurricanrana over the top rope but walked into a brutal looking big boot from Test. He and Albert raised Crash up into a double flapjack. Eventually both the women tagged in and Molly Holly showed us why we miss her in WWE (this was her first match as Molly by the way). She made a tag to Blackman but the ref (Teddy Long actually) didn’t see it so while he’s reprimanding Blackman, Test and Albert restrained Molly so Trish could get a few kicks in. Crash and Blackman cleaned house however to send the thugs to the outside. Trish landed a bulldog off the top rope but Molly eventually scored the win with a diving sunset flip.
I really miss these 6-person tag matches; we used to see so many of them and now that the tag division is dead we barely get any these days. This was very fast paced and got the crowd going and acted as a nice showcase for Molly in her debut. 7/10

Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match – Road Dogg, K-Kwik, Chyna & “The One” Billy Gunn vs The Radicalz:
Another holy hell, that’s R-Truth rapping with Road Dogg (this song is much better than the current theme he has). I miss Chyna and her bazooka – I always remembered her looking very mannish and scary but here she has muscles but looks pretty hot, this must have been around the time of her Playboy shoot. And it’s the man of the hour – Bad Ass Billy G himself. I loved this gimmick for him and that entrance music kicks ass. It’s also great to see the once-almighty Radicalz together but it’s also a little sad knowing that two people in this match are now dead (same case for the first match as well). Billy and Perry Saturn started off but Chyna was quickly tagged in, getting some power moves as well as her trademark handspring elbow. She DDT’d Saturn but a brawl broke out in the heels’ corner and Eddie Guerrero snuck in and clocked Chyna with the IC belt to allow Saturn to eliminate her. Road Dogg was then isolated by the heels who worked on his right knee. He finally made the hot tag to Billy Gunn who cleaned house with a military press on Guerrero, finally eliminating Latino Heat with a sleeper slam. K-Kwik jumped into the mix and got some high flying offence against Chris Benoit but was quickly dispatched with a belly to back suplex. The former New Age Outlaws were left alone as the Radicalz isolated the Dogg once again. He tried to fight back but Saturn eliminated him with a northern lights suplex. A 3-on-1 melee ensued and Billy ended up on the outside. He ducked a superkick from Saturn who got Benoit instead and was able to hit the Fame Asser on Dean Malenko to eliminate the Light Heavyweight Champion (that’s the one title belt that doesn’t get you laid). Back and forth action followed between the remaining competitors and Benoit landed his diving head butt but Billy G kicked out. He went for a suplex but Benoit turned it into a pin and Saturn held Billy’s feet down to help get the win for his team.
Another great match and one of my all time favourite Survivor Series matches. Billy Gunn was really shaping up to be a great singles star with this new gimmick and I recall him winning the IC belt not long after this. My only gripe was that Chyna got eliminated too soon – we all wanted to see her vs Eddie. 8/10

Chris Jericho vs Kane:
Whoa, we’ve actually got a match with two guys who are still in the company and both have come a long way since then. Both were World Champion this year in fact. Of course I do miss masked Kane and Y2J but this feud was all started over something about spilt coffee. Anyway Jericho immediately went on the offence, trying to catch the Big Red Machine off guard with various dropkicks to give some nice spots on the outside. Kane dragged Y2J around by the hair and repeatedly threw him into the security wall. Jericho responded by dropkicking the ring steps into him. The match finally moved back into the ring and once again, Jericho was favouring various dropkicks. He tried for the Walls of Jericho but that couldn’t hold the Masked Monster. Kane even went to the top rope and landed a double axe handle but Jericho dropkicked him in mid air. Kane uncovered the turnbuckle pad and attempted to throw Jericho on it but Y2J countered and gave Kane a taste of his own medicine. He hit a bulldog to leave Kane lying on the canvas, went for a Lionsault and Kane very conspicuously shifted himself over to move into position. He caught Jericho with his hand and dropped him with a chokeslam to end the match.
I enjoyed it anyway although the foundations for the feud were pretty lame just to add some filler onto the card. I’ve noticed that Jericho has remained a very consistent worker over the years, probably because he’s never been seriously injured unlike say Triple H, Edge or John Cena. 7/10

European Championship – William Regal (champion) vs Hardcore Holly:
Ah well it’s the lowest ranking mid card title on the line here and this match was apparently added on Sunday Night HEAT as Holly returned recently from injury. Before the match started Regal got some cheap heat on the Tampa crowd but his mic work was still pretty good. Bob “I let Brock Lesnar break my neck to teach him a lesson” Holly sauntered down to interrupt him and the match got underway. We saw a few nice arm drags from the champion and some other good exchanges. Holly got sent shoulder first into the ring post (the announcers inform us that it was recently surgically repaired) and Regal seized on the opportunity. He started working on the injured arm by whacking it off the ring post and using submissions such as arm bars and arm locks, even taking time to salute the crowd. They spilled to the outside and Holly was having trouble using his arm. Holly smashed Regal’s head off the ring steps but then grabbed the European title belt and whacked the champion with it in full view of the referee, earning himself a disqualification.
It was decent for what it was and we saw a couple of nice moves as well as some story being told. But overall it was just filler and the time could have been added onto other matches. 3/10

The Rock vs Rikishi:
In the category of heel turns that should never have happened…yep the dancing Samoan teddy bear is definitely a candidate. It seemed WWE likes to turn gold into crap, hoping it’ll turn back into gold. Rikishi was over as part of Too Cool and the heel turn did nothing for him. Aside from the Hell in a Cell at Armageddon this was probably the biggest match of his career and yet it was one of the worst matches of the night. I do miss The Rock but even he and his showmanship can’t make a match good unless there’s that talented wrestler in there to help him work through it. Rikishi did try though; he even took a leaf out of Triple H’s book and brought in the sledgehammer to help himself out. He even kicked out of a Rock Bottom. The eye sore of the night came when Rock took the Stink Face – like the bronco buster, that move should only be used by a face as comedy against a heel; it’d be like Jillian’s boob rub being taken as a serious finisher. Rikishi also got in a nice Samoan drop and Rock gained momentum with a spinebuster. He then delivered a People’s Elbow that apparently tasered Rikishi because he started vibrating on the canvas like a dehydrated flounder. This was enough to keep Rikishi down for the 1-2-3 but while Rock was celebrating, Rikishi superkicked him and landed four Banzai drops off the top rope to him. Paramedics were carrying Rock out on a stretcher as Rikishi looked on sadistically. 
To be honest, this angle was like Santino going full on monster heel and feuding with Randy Orton – i.e. it didn’t work. The Rock was able to insert some form of energy into the match but it really just flopped. 4/10

Women’s Championship – Ivory* vs Lita:
I’m not gonna quote the typical diva fan and cheer “yeah, when divas could actually wrestle” followed by a football chant that goes “there’s only one <insert name here>” because back then they were pretty much in the same state they are right now – hit and miss. The fans were just starting to take the divas seriously as wrestlers but it wasn’t until 2002 that it actually happened. Early on in the match Lita got cut open above her eye; the announcers sold it as Ivory cutting her with a right hand but it was actually caused by an enziguri (Ivory’s boot caught Lita above the eye as they both came down). It soon turns into a full on bleed out but the women soldier on anyway. Ivory worked on the challenger with a leg drop, elbow drop and northern lights suplex (she was wrestling in a long skirt so she was pretty restricted). Her fellow Right to Censor team mate Steven Richards ran down to help her but Lita went to the top rope and body blocked both of them. Back in the ring she landed a crossbody but missed her moonsault when Richards pulled Ivory out of the ring. Ivory grabbed her belt and went to use it but Lita suplexed her (the sound Ivory made when this happened was hilarious) and removed her top before going to the top again. Here she landed the moonsault but Ivory put the belt on her knees to counter the move. She covered Lita and retained her title. After she left, the crowd applauded Lita for her effort. 
To be honest, I saw nothing different from this diva match than you would see in one today apart from the blood. The match got about four minutes in total and yet was still fleshed out and told a great story. To those who complain that the divas suck now and can’t wrestle, look closely at Lita. In this stage in her career, the moonsault and her hurricanranas were all she had as she was pretty sloppy at everything else and Ivory was carrying her through this match. However she was a trooper and really got the fans behind her in this match. 6/10

WWF Championship – Kurt Angle* vs The Undertaker:
Two holy hells in less than three minutes – Kurt Angle with hair! And the American badass! I have to say, I enjoy the Undertaker’s matches a lot more when he doesn’t take so long to walk to the ring. Of course that gives me no time for my bathroom break though. Now this one was just a pure classic in the making – none of Kurt Angle’s later reigns could top this one. It’s just a shame he couldn’t make it to WrestleMania and they fed him to The Rock just so they could set up Stone Cold’s heel turn. This match was extremely back and forth and had absolutely no padding – take note main eventers of today (you too Taker). I’m having a hard trouble remembering everything about it. Nobody sold Taker’s moves better than Kurt Angle did, especially that guillotine leg drop – Kurt looked like he’d nearly been decapitated. Taker took the champion to the outside and went nasty, driving his back into the ring post a few times. None other than Edge and Christian ran down to the ring to interfere but the referee was having none of it and so he sent them packing. In the ring Undertaker chokeslammed Kurt but the ref took too long to get back in the ring and the champion survived. The spot of the match came when Kurt locked in a Figure 4 Leg Lock around the ring post. He fought dirty as well with the usual low blow that heels normally do. He ran outside and hid under the ring but Taker pulled him out. Back in the ring he delivered the Last Ride and covered him for 1-2…the ref stopped counting. The man on the canvas wasn’t Kurt Angle but a lookalike (Kurt’s brother actually; he used that trick again in a match against Brock Lesnar in 2003). The real Kurt snuck in and rolled the Undertaker up, grabbing the tights for leverage to retain his title. 
Match of the night by far and definitely up there with the Survivor Series classics. I wish WWE hadn’t let Kurt Angle get away. 9/10

Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match – Edge & Christian, Bull Buchanan & the Goodfather vs Hardy Boyz & Dudley Boyz:
Ah, the peak of the tag team division – three great teams in the ring as well as a stable that were a heat machine. This got more time than the first Survivor Series match but, maybe it’s the DX nostalgic in me, I preferred the first one. Val Venis came down with Buchanan and the Goodfather for “moral support”. First great spot of the match came when it broke down early on and all four of the faces hit a quadruple DDT on the heels. The Hardys stripped to reveal camouflage t-shirts in honour of their partners and hit the typical Poetry in Motion before stripping again to appease their female fans. Sadly for the fan girls Matt Hardy was the first eliminated with Edge’s new move – Edge-o-matic (it’s not new now but it’s still a cool move). Christian also took D-Von Dudley out of the mix with an Unprettier (it’s called the Killswitch now) but things went south for the heels when Edge speared Bull Buchanan by mistake which allowed Bubba to eliminated him. Edge was next to go after a Bubba Bomb (King wailed “no more Edge-o-matic!?” when this happened). The Goodfather used a Samoan driver to send Bubba to the showers, leaving Jeff Hardy alone in a 3-on-1 deal. He was able to overcome the odds and sent Goodfather to the outside before hitting the Twist of Fate on Christian and landing the Swanton Bomb to eliminate him. Val Venis attempted to interfere by getting up on the apron but Jeff ducked the assault and Venis clotheslined the Goodfather by accident. Jeff was able to pin him to get the win for his team but the RTC stormed the ring to gang up on Jeff. Venis landed the Money Shot on him but help arrived in the form of the Dudleys and Matt Hardy. They tabled their enemies and celebrated. 
I really do love these SS matches and it was just epic to see all those teams standing side by side as partners. It was a bit more chaotic than the first one so some parts of it were a bit sloppy but the crowd was hot for it and it was worth watching. 7/10

No Disqualification Match – “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs Triple H:
People love to whine and moan about how many PPVs John Cena has main evented for WWE yet never complain about Stone Cold in the main event considering that he hogged the spotlight as well as being an average wrestler. This was the result of an ongoing storyline that was Triple H running down Austin a year ago and Mick Foley officially made the match No DQ earlier in the night. This was of course a brawl at best and that is of course what everyone did best in the Attitude Era. You have to hand it to Triple H and Austin and the amount of effort they put into this feud; you really feel like they hated each other and wanted to see what they would do to each other (there’s a joke that could be made about that last statement but please be classy and ignore it). This was even more hectic than Kane/Jericho and Angle/Undertaker so a lot of it is a blur. There was a LOT of ringside fighting as well as the typical brawl at the announce table. Austin even chugged a beer after hitting Trips with a monitor. The match eventually spilled to the backstage area twice where on the second time, Austin was ambushed by the Radicalz. Triple H ran off and we found him waiting inside a car in the hopes of running Austin over. Benoit appeared and they had no idea where he’d gone. Austin turned the tables however and he drives a forklift into the screen and hoists Triple H’s car up high in the air before dropping it down. I guess this is a no contest then. 
You can look at that ending in two ways; first of all you could complain about how unrealistic it is to do that just for a storyline. Austin got run over the year before and was out for 8 months yet Triple H returned to ring action only a few weeks later when he should have been killed. Or you can appreciate that the aim was to shock the audience which it did and really emphasized what the Attitude Era was all about. So, chalk it all up to Rule of Cool. 6/10

Ranking of the matches:
1)    WWF Championship (9/10)
2)    Radicalz vs Chyna, Gunn, Road Dogg, K-Kwik (8/10)
3)    Hardys & Dudleys vs E&C & RTC (7/10)
4)    6-person tag (7/10)
5)    Kane vs Chris Jericho (7/10)
6)    Women's Championship (6/10)
7)    No DQ brawl (6/10)
8)    The Rock vs Rikishi (4/10)
9)    European Championship (3/10)