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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Raw Thoughts - 26 Jan

· Strong Raw opening with sound reasoning and a new approach to simultaneous apology and defiance.
· The only negative thing to the opening Orton speech was that he could have been cheered for what he did. However, the “you suck” chant seemed to put paid to that.
· Interesting that Orton admitted to being the father of a newborn child. Didn’t he (kayfabe) sleep with Kelly Kelly a month or two ago?
· Pretty basic filler with the Mizorrison v Cryme Tyme match. Very standard stuff – I have little, either positive or negative, to add.
· Why would anyone sanction the HBK v Cena match to let JBL into the Chamber? And why didn’t JBL at least attempt to explain the actions of his employee during the title match last night?
· Do you know what? I nearly wrote down that I thought this would be a perfect sort of match for Kofi to win and get a helping hand to the next level. But I decided it was never going to happen, so left it.
· I’m really pleased that they’ve chosen to put Kofi over Kane there. It gives him a short-term boost and adds his brand of wrestling into the Chamber match. Put Kane in the chamber and he won’t win anyway, so you may as well have Kofi, who also obviously won’t win but will offer some more interesting fare.
· Rourke v Jericho? That’s not the bigger story for me. I’m more interested in the fact that Jericho kept talking about Flair. If Rourke gets in the ring is Flair going to be in his corner? Does that mean Naitch will be at the Hall of Fame for Austin?
· A slightly weak start to a Jericho v Rourke feud. After seeing Mayweather get involved like that last year, it might have been cool to put Rourke in the ring and have Jericho attack him or for Jericho to somehow wangle an appearance on a TV show and attack Rourke there, for extra publicity.
· I think they don’t know what to do with JBL and HBK now. They’ve done the double superkick and don’t know why, and are floundering. That exchange with JBL, HBK and Cena offered nothing.
· Classic stuff from Santino – “JR, have you been working out?”
· Spectacularly idiocy from the commentators, acting like they couldn’t work out who attacked Melina. Well who else would it be? That is a stupid, stupid move to let the announcers do that, because it means the audience won’t trust anything they say, since the audience will have worked out it was Rosa straight away.
· Mysterio in the Chamber makes perfect sense. That makes it Rey, Cena and Kofi.
· I liked the fact that they played up the fact that Jericho and Punk actually had a history rather than ignoring it like they sometimes do, but you just got the feeling the match couldn’t really be any good because it was so rushed.
· I can’t decide if I like that ending to Raw or not. I don’t like the fact that Shane was made to look tougher than all three of Legacy. I assume we are looking at Shane v Orton then at No Way Out. Was that the ‘bigger plan’ or is there more to come from Steph and Shane. What was the purpose of the roster standing on the stage?
· More questions than answers leading to next week, which I suppose is a good thing. Now looking forward to seeing what the Hardys have to say on Smackdown.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Live Royal Rumble Blog

Hi folks, welcome to the live blog for the 2009 Royal Rumble.

I went to a news-site I often frequent earlier tonight and saw headlines of big name spoilers and plot twists. I didn't read on, although I was dying to. Let's hope the promises of big news is true. This could be an awesome show.

The opening video package is finished. I was surprised to hear the voice of Tony Schiovane in there, but not surprised to see an extensive look at what Orton did to Vince on Raw.

Wow, a cold open to a major PPV. Cole and King explain about Vince's condition so you can bet something major is going to go down on that front.

ECW to open the show. Matt Hardy v Jack Swagger. You know, Swagger is a talented guy, but everything else about is average and generic. His music, his entrance, even his name.

This is a huge moment for him, though. Hardy gave Evan Bourne a tremendous match in his first ever PPV - can he do the same for Swagger?

Don't forget that if you want to contribute to the blog tonight you can email me - robthegreen(@) - with your opinions, comments, thoughts, jokes, limericks, haikus, prayers, whatever. Happy to read all submissions and will post a few of the better ones.

Wow, they are going big with this guy. Swagger wins cleanly, and I rather enjoyed that match. As a credible opener this delivered in spades, with Swagger getting a nice introduction to the WWE PPV audience. I enjoyed the hard-hitting looking action and even the post-match sadness of Matt Hardy. A good start.

Nice backstage shot of Randy Orton arriving. I like little touches like that. It makes the situation more than simply the snippets we see in the ring. I like the idea that everyone else would be looking at Randy differently backstage because of what he did to Vince.

Beth and Melina up now. Loving Santino's new Ferrari-inspired shirt.

Goodness me, did Melina ever fall badly on her arm. She looks as though she is ok though. Beth has just hit Melina on the back of her head with her own (Melina's) foot. These two always pull something different out of the bag.

Reader Steve Pritchard writes: "The All American American is a talented guy, needs a personality but he'll have a real belt by the next rumble."

Difficult to disagree with most of that. The question arising is whether the US or Intercontinental titles are bigger than the ECW strap. I'd say they probably are.

Oh my - an upset from where I sit. I didn't see Beth dropping the belt, but I can't deny Melina deserves it. Another fun match. They kept it short enough that it stayed snappy and entertaining, and dropped in plenty of unique moves. One or two dodgy spots, but mainly good.

Two very satisfactory matches so far - now for the storyline-heavy title bouts. Interesting that Cena/JBL is before Edge/Hardy.

Very, very cool backstage segment. HBK IS in the Rumble, it seems. JBL basically says help me and we can face each other at Wrestlemania. Then Undertaker (!) appears and tells Shawn "Sometimes it's hell getting to heaven". What the hell does that mean?

A continuation, then, of the Undertaker/Shawn dynamic at the Rumble. They wrestled in 1999, when Michaels damaged his back big time, and the last two years have seen them linked in the Rumble match itself. Two years ago with them being the last two, and last year they were the first two.

Is this a tease of a possible Shawn/Taker programme down the line?

Cena and JBL in the ring for their match.

By the way, Michaels being in the Rumble means my prediction could still come true. Who do you think will win the Rumble? Give me a name and one line stating why - robthegreen(@)

Reasonably start to this one. That's not a criticism, just an observation. Probably means a longish match will take shape. Good use of HBK early on.

Meanwhile, Connor from Belfast says "Orton for the Rumble. He's the only one they've built up. No-one else has the profile."

Interesting point, Connor, but perhaps thats a) a ruse and b) plans for Orton to go on to theoretically bigger things.

Steve Pritchard (Any relation to Bruce or Dr Tom?) is back in touch with a Rumble thought. "I reckon Shawn Michaels will come second, do a kamikaze for the money"

Interesting, but wouldn't that only work if JBL ends up in Rumble too? Can't see that happening.

I really enjoyed that. The wrestling was very average, but that was never the story. Michaels is a genius at stuff like this.

Some nice little points in this match. Good positioning for the STF so that Michaels was in shot. Great facials from Shawn, and even great stuff from the referee. They normally act like morons and turn blind eyes to things. Chioda actually kept an eye on Shawn.

Loved the double kick. I saw it coming as soon as Cena started smirking. It makes little sense, especially with HBK leaving, but it was fun.

By the way, in the interests of fairness, Cole called this brilliantly. I am usually a critic of Cole's, but his "Oh no" after HBK pulled JBL onto Cena was perfectly inflected.

The end of the match may have been a little anti-climactic, but I fail to see how else it could have been done.

HBK v JBL v Cena in the pipeline?

Hey, I've just had a thought. The person attacking Jeff has to have access to the building where he stayed, access to the pyro etc. What if it wasn't Edge, wasn't Christian, wasn't Matt? What if it was a man who has access to these things and has previous in the this field? What if it is a jealous man - jealous of Jeff Hardy and desperate to get back at him for overshadowing him?

What if it was Triple H?

No DQ huh? So someone could interfere and help Edge legitimately? Now who could there be that would do that...........?

And that sounds to me like Detroit is chanting "we want Christian". They just had Shawn, isn't he Christian enough for you??

I think the Matt heel turn is even more likely to happen now, rather than Christian's appearance.

I mean, Chavo never accompanies Edge. I can see Chavo increasingly getting involved, prompting Matt to emerge. JR and Tazz will speculate that he is evening the odds, then he turns on Jeff, giving Edge the win.

Colin in Fife, Scotland, writes: "Don't you think the no DQ stip might just be a bit too obvious for it to work for Edge? There's definitely gonna be interference but I think it's going to go in Hardy's favour. Maybe it's just me hoping they'll keep the title on Hardy for a bit longer though!"

You might well be right. It isn't beyond WWE to do the extra swerve. Vince won't be happy that the fans were chanting for Christian. If they think the fans have guessed the storyline, they may alter it. Jeff winning would be quite a surprise.


I love being right. More in a sec.

Firstly, I'd just like to say that my phone is goign crazy. I've been telling anyone who'll listen about my theory around this storyline. I just need Christian to side with Jeff on his return and I'm set.

That was a great match. Normally I wouldn't like two title matches to end with loads of interference, but the angles in each case justified the activity.

That was beautifully booked. The big spot with the table that (just) hit gave the fans a great spot, but also nullified Chavo in the match. Good false finishes, perfect pacing for the storytelling. Great stuff.

Or I may just be happy to be right :-)

Rumble upcoming, but I just want to state that I may well update a little less during the Rumble since there'll be plenty to watch. Keep sending your emails though - robthegreen(@) - and I'll try to keep up!

Nice stuff there from Jericho and Orton there. I love how Jericho is using loads of long words (a plethora of lexicographical exuberance, you might say) to be a heel. Taking notes from Mr Backlund, Chris?

Morrison as number two is a great call. I hope he lasts a long time. This could be a huge match for him.

Bit disappointed JR and King are calling. Don't get me wrong, that's the best combo to have, but I like it when all the guys commentate at the same time.

Good start to the Rumble. Some great spots from the athletic guys, glad that Khali didn't rid the ring of everybody, and makes sense to make Koslov look good by getting rid of Khali.

And here comes The Game. Early one for him.

And now Orton! And what a terrific camera shot of Orton's face on the tron turning to look at Triple H. Photographic gold, right there.

A few too many spots for me, though, so far. We need a bit more realism of people trying to get people over the top, not just diving about and hitting signature moves.

Since my last comment they've heeded my words a little. I like it when the ring starts to fill up. Plenty of possible winners (Trips, Jericho, Orton) already out here with Shawn, Taker and others to come.

Bit of a waste of Morrison, mind you, with Trips getting rid of both he and Miz. To be fair, Triple hasn't buried a tag team in days. He was due one.

Taker marks the start of the second half of the draw. This is a very stacked rumble draw so far.

Seven left to go. Show, Shawn, Chavo, R-Truth, Primo, Helms and the other Cryme Tyme would round that off. No surprises this year? I thought we might see Umaga.

Who said there were no surprises? RV freakin' D! Is he back, or is this a one-off? I assume this is one of the spoilers I avoided.

I forgot about Kendrick. I guess Cryme Tyme had just one entry, hence the coin flip.

Oh, there goes Kendrick. I wrote twelve words during his stint. Who did he piss off? Helms probably not in this I'm guessing.

Now Dolph Ziggler. My workings out were terrible. And now he's gone. He got five words.

Aw, that was bogus. I know Santino isn't great in the ring, but he could have at least taken about ten finishers from all the guys rather than exiting in two seconds. Oh, and that's another I forgot to note. I'm having a nightmare with that, aren't I?

And now Duggan - so no Michaels? I'm assuming Show is 30.

OK, Michaels isn't in it, so my prediction is void. It reverts to Orton.

Punk is out, but just before he did there were nine former World champions in the ring. Hell of a stat.

Nearly done, and Colin says "Easy for me to say this now I suppose but I'm with you on the Orton prediction! I was going for him or Jericho on the basis that Smackdown are sorted for World Title storylines for a while to come but Cena needs an opponent on Raw."

Good point, although that's assuming Cena wins his chamber match. I want Orton to win, but I hope it doesn't get cheaply stripped of him straight away because of his other storyline.

"How the hell did the Big Show manage to keep his big ass in just then??!!"

No idea. I'm more impressed the ropes stayed in tact.

It had to happen. I would quite liked to have seen Legacy get rid of Triple H and then step aside for Orton. That hasn't happened before and would have been quite cool really.

So does this mean Cena v Orton? It may well do. Think about it, the Rumble winner needs something to do at No Way Out, so his Vince storyline may lead to a match which takes that strand in, while the rest of them fight it out in the chamber.

Fun Rumble. Not the best ever, but there have been plenty worse. There were a few people I thought were mistreated, but you can't please everybody. Great to see RVD back - I wonder if that's a permanent thing. He sure got a massive reception.

Chambers, thinking quickly.

Raw: Cena, Jericho, JBL, Michaels, Rey, Kane. (Maybe remove Rey if he wrestles Knox, and replace with Punk)

Smackdown: Edge, Triple H, Taker, Koslov, Big Show, Umaga (If not Umaga, maybe R-Truth or Shelton. Hopefully not Khali - Khali, Show and Koslov in the same match is not desirable)

Add to those Matt v Jeff in some form, work Orton in with maybe Shane, possibly Rey v Knox and a girls match (Maria v Michelle v Maryse?) and the PPV is taking shape.

Extra Rumble notes. No Snuka or Manu - I think they'll be history now. Also no Jesse and Festus. Thought Festus may have added to the Rumble more than Ziggler or Duggan.

I forgot about the location of the Rumble - it was Michigan. That suggests one night only for RVD.

Raw will definitely be newsworthy. HBK and JBL's fall out plus what happens to Orton. Should be good, don't miss it.

Thanks for following the Rumble with me. Good night.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Royal Rumble Preview

I’d said it before and I’ll say it again – in fact I’ll say it every year – I love the Royal Rumble.

It’s my favourite Pay Per View bar none, and I know that is the case for many of you reading this. I can tell by the amount of mail I’ve received of late – thank you to all for corresponding, and don’t forget you can do this during a live blog during the Rumble.

This is going to be a major event, because as they typically say, it is the start of the road to Wrestlemania. And at the moment, Wrestlemania matches are very tough to predict. It may be that WWE have no idea, or it may be that they are just waiting to start the build. I suspect that tonight will start some wheels turning to lead to feuds which will ultimately lead to matches at the big one.

We’ve got four scheduled matches apart from the Rumble match itself, which in itself is interesting because they have said that the Royal Rumble will feature competitors entering every ninety seconds, and not the usual two minutes.

Crude maths suggests approximately 45 minutes for everyone to get in the ring, and with some ring entrances and time at the finish you are looking at about an hour for the Rumble match. If you take the other four matches to be 15 minutes each that would be a second hour. Plenty of time to fill, then.

Jack Swagger v Matt Hardy – ECW Title match
Bit of a strange one this. Not quite sure why they didn’t go with Swagger winning a non-title match to set up a title match after getting a victory, but there you go.

Matt seems to be entangled in the storyline with his brother and Edge, so I’d think that keeping the ECW title off him seems logical. However, this is very early in Swagger’s progression for him to have a “world” title. This is his first ever PPV match, and due to the consistently low ECW rating I’d suggest that there will be plenty of viewers who haven’t seen him before.

I don’t see why Matt would be booked so strongly against Edge on Smackdown only to lose cleanly to Swagger. However, I also don’t see why you have him drop the belt only to get it back shortly afterwards.

I’m taking Swagger retain the belt here, but I can see this being a bit of a get-out finish. I’d predict either Swagger getting counted out or DQ-ed to give Matt a win but not the title, or perhaps Matt getting distracted to be counted out or DQ-ed due to over-jealousness.

Beth Phoenix v Melina – Women’s Title
The booking of this makes sense, I guess. I would have liked to have seen Melina get a little more time to put her character across vocally because since she has come back all she has really done is look and angry and attack occasionally. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you need to be allowed to do a little more to get the crowd on your side.

Fortunately for Melina, she can actually work, and Beth is a good heel, so I wouldn’t fear for this match too much. I envision these two having a decent outing. They are both quite creative, and I recall them being involved in PPV matches last year, in one-on-one and triple threats, and having some very creative exchanges. I look forward to more of the same.

I was very close to predicting a Melina win here. I think she has earned another title run, and would do the belt justice, but the major problem is a lack of contenders. Jillian is the only other heel female wrestler on Raw, I believe, and although I love her character I don’t think she is a credible title contender to Melina as champ. After all Melina beat her easily on Raw.

Kelly got squashed by Beth last week so she may not be featuring, and you get the feeling Mickie needs freshening up a bit.

Apart from Layla, who doesn’t really wrestle, that only leaves Candice, who has been left to one side really. So unless it’s a heel turn for Candice and a push for her to face Melina with the title on the line, I can only Beth winning and going through the usual cycle.

I suppose the wild card could be Gail Kim. Either a cynical return attack on new champ Melina or a babyface challenge to Beth could be fun. However, she is allegedly returning on Smackdown, so rule this one out.

And then there’s Rosa. Perhaps she’ll turn early on Beth? Personally I see this as an extra reason for the belt to stay on Beth, since Rosa as an intern works much better if she is helping the champ. Why have an entourage if you are not champion?

Anyway, I’m taking Beth to win, but certainly would not be surprised to be wrong.

Edge v Jeff Hardy – WWE Championship
This is storyline which can twist so many ways. I won’t go into all of it now because I’ll be here forever. I still like my idea of Matt being aligned with Edge against Jeff, and then Christian could return to assist the younger Hardy, but I don’t see it happening, frankly.

I’m guessing that all these attacks will be the build for Hardy to drop the title. To get the belt off him by losing straight off would make him look weak, so they injure him, have him valiantly try to hold up, and then fall short. That seems logical to me.

I hope they don’t have Jeff sell the injuries ridiculously and serve to hurt the match. Allowed to just let go and run free these two should have a phenomenal contest, but Jeff would need to be at his high-flying best, not limping around the place.

We could see the twist in the tale being that Edge wins this match, comes onto Smackdown with Vickie and says that he’ll never face Jeff again, and that Jeff is now no threat. If Jeff then still gets attacked then they can speculate that Edge isn’t the culprit behind the hit-and-run and pyro and stuff, because why would he keep attacking after getting his belt back.

If the attacker is to be Christian, then he needs an accomplice, because how else does pyro get tampered with if the alleged offender does not work for the company?

Anyway, I think Edge is going to win here.

John Cena v JBL – World Championship
Hmmm. Tricky one this. All week I’ve been thinking JBL will win with HBK’s help, and eventually Shawn will reveal that he helped JBL to win the belt because he wanted a shot at it. The payoff being Mr Wrestlemania to turn on then beat his hated boss, winning the title at the year’s big show. It gives Michaels another awesome Mania moment and caps this feud off.

However, I’m looking at the other matches and my predictions and am now worrying that I’m picking all heels to go over. Would they book an entire show of heel wins? Not likely. You’ll see in a moment that I have a fancy for a heel to win the Rumble.

If that is the case it points to Cena retaining until Wrestlemania. I also don’t have a potential opponent for Cena outside of a title match at Mania.

You see this is why I’m looking forward to this PPV so much. I have no idea who will go over in nearly every match. I’m starting to enjoy the JBL/HBK thing so part of me wants Bradshaw to win.

I’m mainly going to sit back, watch and hope that Michaels’ magic in situations like this makes this a compelling match. Not expecting a mat classic, but I think there’ s a fair chance that this will be heavy on the storyline aspect of the late 90s WWE with plenty of intrigue about whether HBK has an effect. I expect false finishes galore and a ref bump into the bargain.

I’m going for Cena. Definitely. Certainly. 100%.


The Royal Rumble match
I did a long commentary about who I thought would win a couple of weeks back, so I won’t go too in depth with this.

I will, though, break out the patented McNichol Eliminator, as seen on TV (It’s on top of mine, like an ornament) to have a quick look at the main contenders. I’ve narrowed it down to ten.

Vladimir Koslov

Surely not. I can see him getting the old Kane push of coming in to a ring with about five people in and cleaning house, then surviving for a while before getting removed by Taker or Hunter.

Big Show
A talented big man and a useful hand to have when you need a big intimidating presence. Also helpful if you need to toss Floyd Mayweather about. Not, though the man to headline Mania in a title match. He won’t win here.

Mark Henry
If he wins, I quit.

Rey Mysterio
His star has faded considerably. His big moment in this will likely be eliminating Mike Knox. Not a candidate to win.

CM Punk
The IC title is his level right now. As much I like Punk, he won the Money in the Bank because Jeff was suspended, and then won the belt because they wanted a big moment, not a strong champion. He isn’t going to be back in the title picture soon, and definitely won’t be winning above some of the names I’m about to type.......

Chris Jericho
Now we’re getting serious. I’m assuming that he is back in the Rumble after getting reinstated, and Jericho has to be a candidate.

I’m eliminating him here though, mainly because I think that Jericho can be placed in a feud with someone and make it great without being anywhere near the title. Just look at his programme with Michaels. Sure the title came into it at the end, but I still think that only happened so they could have a ladder match.

I can see Jericho having an issue with someone during this match and it developing further down the line. But not winning the match. We’re down to four.

Still probably the top guy in the company in terms of being cheered and revered, so has to have a chance in the Rumble. However, he only won it two years ago, and has won the title at the last two Wrestlemanias. Surely they can find a credible opponent for the Deadman to defend his streak against, and leave him out of the title scene.

A Rumble win does just that, so I’m counting him out.

Triple H
I don’t rule this man out completely, because we all know how often Trips has a big moment. However, I fail to see what this really does for The Game.

I know it could well be used as a tool for him getting a title shot legitimately because Vickie won’t let him get one otherwise. However, surely Triple H can be worked into the title picture somehow without having to go over 29 other folks in order to do so.

As I type I realise that this is very possible, but I think in this case they’ll avoid it. I think.

Randy Orton
I’ve thought that Orton would win the Rumble since Batista got injured. I’ve only just changed my mind. And of course Raw did a lot for this.

Orton kicking Vince in the head came out of nowhere, and surely must signal a storyline with plenty more twists and turns, and not a title programme.

Orton is the standout man in the match – and the federation – who has not won the Rumble match and would be likely to be pushed heavily. However, he won a title match at last year’s event, so this may count against him.

Another possible factor is Steve Austin. I’m not saying you’ll see him tonight, but if he really is going to wrestle at Mania, then Orton is a very real candidate. Winning the Rumble is not an option if he is scheduled to meet the Rattlesnake.

Don’t rule him out by any means, but I have a better option.........

Shawn Michaels
The caveat is that he’ll be in the match, of course. Here’s what I picture. Michaels interjects in the JBL/Cena match. When the ref is down, Michaels looks like he will nail JBL and make the turn, but instead levels Cena.

We then get the commentators saying that although HBK is being forced to do this he is still wrong, out of order, etc.

Michaels could heel it up a bit, and then a backstage thing with JBL saying to Shawn about watching to Rumble to see who they may face. Shawn escapes JBL’s side and shows up in the match and wins.

Cue a promo (either closing the PPV or on Raw) with Michaels saying that he quits from JBL’s employ, since he is now guaranteed a big payday at Mania – “I don’t need your money, JBL” he say.

The problem with this is that you’d have to spin the feud out another nine weeks or so until Mania. But this is achievable.

Michaels, in my opinion, is the best in world at what he does. In terms of acting, wrestling, a strong character, everything. He may not be around for too much longer, so I’d love to see HBK win a rumble then a title at Mania again.

The McNichol Eliminator says – Shawn Michaels

The machine doesn’t lie. Enjoy the show.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Maybe I was a little harsh.....

Some things to clear up, I think.

Firstly I was a bit grouchy in my Raw review yesterday. I’d just got home after a four-and-a-half drive from Manchester and wasn’t in the best frame of mind for watching and appraising a show.

I think that I should give a bit more praise to Punk and Regal. I think my comments suggested that I didn’t enjoy the match. I did, but felt that it could have been even better. I thought the advertisement break and the commentary team vastly detracted from the match. Overall, though, this was a good effort and I’m pleased for Punk getting a moment in front of his home fans.

I’d love to see Regal get the chance to work with other younger or up-and-coming talent. I get the feeling he could get a lot of out of MVP, Ken Kennedy, Carlito and so forth.

As much as I like Punk, if he is not going to get back into the main-event picture (and I don’t see it, to be fair) I think he’s due a heel turn. He is a terrific heel, and I’d really like to see him get a chance to shine in a different light.

Next I’d like to say that the ending was probably a lot better than I first indicated. The more I think about it, the more shocking it was, and there are plenty of possibilities for development. Will Orton and Priceless be fired? If Steph and Vince supposed to be babyfaces they weren’t very sympathetic characters, and this may help Randy get over more.

I still like my idea of Shane McMahon being the brains behind the Legacy group. There are a few holes in the theory, such as why Shane would have waited for so long, what influence he has on the company and on Orton.

Another possibility with Orton is that he could win the Royal Rumble and jump to Smackdown. This would get him out of Steph’s hair and would logical in that manner, but then what happens to Rhodes and DiBiase?

My biggest problem from Raw really was that ending wasn’t a pre-PPV ending. It was a good one for making sure you tune in to next week’s show. Is Jericho still in trouble? Is Jericho working with Orton? Is Orton going to be fired? Will Vince be back? And so on and so forth. However, we should have been focussed on Cena, JBL and Shawn and the Rumble competitors, in my mind.

Perhaps the theory is that people love the Rumble so much that they’ll buy it come what may. Therefore after a good contract signing segment and the natural attraction of the Rumble match itself it may be assumed that people will be on board and need a little added incentive for Raw next week.

By the way, if the Rumble is amazing – brilliant rumble match, Christian return etc –then adding this to the exciting finish of last week may mean a monster Raw rating. They got a 3.9 apparently this week, so anything above 4 next week would be a great sign for WWE.

I’ll try to get a Rumble preview up tomorrow. It’ll come before I’ve had a chance to see Smackdown, but I’m off to London on Saturday for TNA and don’t know when I’ll be back on Sunday.

I will, of course, have the live blog going during the Rumble itself. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Raw Thoughts - Jan 19

Sorry for the delay this week - I've been in Manchester with TNA for a couple of days. A great show in the MEN Arena, and looking forward to Wembley on Saturday. Will update you all of my trip in due course.

On with the Raw notes.....

· Ridiculous opening contest. Eliminating that many guys in no time whatsoever completely devalues the nature of trying to stay in the match on Sunday.
· The idea of it, I suppose, was to get over the idea that The Legacy will be working together to benefit Orton. I’ll give them that.
· While I’m moaning about short matches, Beth just squashed Kelly Kelly. It took about two minutes and was one-sided and decisive. The trouble is that a few weeks back Kelly Kelly was giving Beth a run for her money, and soon, when they decide KK will be number one contender, she’ll be able to compete again. Then they’ll wonder why no-one buys her chances.
· I like the irony of Orton verbally attacking Steph for getting the job because of her Dad, being General Manager because of her last name. Wouldn’t she be third generation, just like Randy?
· Michael Cole and King offer nothing in the way of insight or add to big match feels. Ad breaks don’t help, of course, but there was no flow as a viewer to that match because they kept waffling on about Layla looking pretty or listing a bunch of people who have won the IC title. If they’d just shut up about that and call the match, occasionally stopping to discuss strategy and so forth. Instead it’s just mindless prattle for much of the time. To be fair to both men, it is likely not their fault, as they will be simply calling in the style they are advised to do so.
· Decent match with Regal and Punk, but it’s frustrating because I know they could do better.
· That was a terrific Cena promo. When he is doing 80s jokes and making fun of Todd Grisham he comes across as an idiot, but when he speak passionately and with feeling he is phenomenal.
· JBL, in equal measures, lives up to his end of the bargain. As does HBK. This has actually turned into a very fine angle, and I suspect that it may spike the odd buy or two for Sunday. I like the fact that JBL didn’t put Michaels down, he talked him up and said that’s why he employs him.
· The one negative with this is that Michaels looks in it for the long haul. Normally I’d like that and encourage the long story arc, but I don’t want to see HBK v JBL at Wrestlemania. Think of who Michaels could face – Austin, Triple H, Taker, Mysterio would all be valid opponents and would contribute to awesome contests. I can’t see JBL/Michaels living up.
· I LOVED the Mike Knox reasoning for attacking Rey “I really don’t know.” That’s brilliant. The guy who is so crazy that he attacks for no reason is far scarier than the man who attacks because he doesn’t like little guys or thought Kelly Kelly loved him, for example. I’d have had Knox win though. Mysterio is over with the people with whom he needs to be over, so a loss to Knox doesn’t hurt him. The beating he got makes him look weak anyway, but think about what a big win would do for Knox, who actually seems to be a big guy with a bit of fascination behind his character, as opposed to Snitsky, who we were supposed to boo because he had bad teeth.
· More utter stupidity, having Cryme Tyme beat Mizorrison in short order. I am aware that CT were supposed to have stolen the victory.
· And how many people actually regularly visit Is it really “Well documented” that there is an online feud between the two teams? I’d suggest that “well documented” in this case simply means that Cole talks about it sometimes. Is Duggan supposed to be working for Cryme Tyme? Why did Shad say Hacksaw was on a ‘special assignment’? I have no idea, because I never follow And I can’t believe that a huge percentage of the viewing audience do either.
· Notice how they are advertising a Rumble win as a chance for a title shot at Mania, and not a main event opportunity.
· Sorry, but that was a terrible closing segment. You are supposed to be promoted the Royal Rumble, yet you end with a dull 20 minutes or so of Steph and Vince trying to humiliate Randy Orton and Chris Jericho, with Vince getting kicked in the head by Randy at the end.
· How many times will Vince Die?
· I have one idea – I mentioned in jest about Steph being third generation – but so is Shane. What if Shane was the one pulling the strings of The Legacy? What if the legacy they are talking about is him inheriting the company? What if he is getting back at his father – and soon his sister – so as to take over the company again?

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Raw Thoughts - January 12

· Jericho is one of the best antagonists I have ever seen. The brilliant thing is that pretty much everything he says makes sense. There is no excessive noise-making that a heel often provides. No more “dirty, filthy, disgusting, brutal, bottom-feeding, trashbag hoes” anymore.
· The “You’re fired” thing was ridiculous, though. She just named the guy Superstar of the Year. Some businesswoman she is, then, firing the guy about a month later.
· I like Mizorrison, and I think they are potential stars of the future, especially Morrison. However, there is a danger of over-saturation. They are on every show at the moment.
· That second DQ finish will rile many, but I actually quite like that twist. I wasn’t expecting it. I was anticipating a Regal victory with some brass knuckles behind the ref’s back or something. Will they squeeze this into the Rumble card?
· OK, maybe not. Sorry Steph.
· Wow, they’ve gone early on the Hall of Fame announcement for Austin. Is this paving the way to bring him back and sort a match out??
· Interesting plot twist to and story development with the whole Orton + Legacy thing, but the problem is with having DiBiase join back with Orton and Rhodes is that no-one cares about Manu and Snuka. The audience reaction was nil.
· Nice little twist to the Rosa Mendez storyline. I’m not crazy about fan interaction angles, but sometimes they work out for the best – see Santino.
· Terrific main event. Certain combinations just seem to click in the ring, and Shawn Michaels always brings the best out of John Cena. Really, really good match which had you guessing about the winner, wondering if JBL would get involved, whether Michaels would do something dastardly or maybe turn on his ‘boss’. Great stuff.
· Really looking forward to next week. Vince’s return should be explosive, we need to have some development on Chris Jericho, Regal v Punk will hopefully get a chance to have the match they want to have. Should be good.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Raw Thoughts January 6th

· I liked the cold open to Raw with Jericho and Orton in the ring. It had a lot of intrigue to it because you were unsure why these two were together in the ring, and they followed it up with a strongly delivered argument for why they were briefly aligned and why they were unhappy.
· Really strong opening. Sensible, well-pitched promos from each of the four men involved, and then a match created as a main event which I want to see. I want to see what happens, whether Michaels turns on Cena or not. Should keep people watching.
· Having Santino in a wrestling match only seems like such a waste. The point of the match was for Melina and Goldust to build interest in their match at The Rumble, I understand, but Santino could be given a couple of minutes pre-match to run down Melina, Goldust, Rosa Mendez or whomever.
· Terrific little promo from CM Punk. I liked the way promos are being pitched so far tonight. This one was very humble and actually spoken like a real person. I liked the back reference to King of the Ring, and to me this built to the match nicely.
· Disappointing IC title match, but I suppose they are just trying to build the intrigue up a bit. Perhaps a match where Regal can’t get DQ-ed unless he wants to relinquish the title might be fun. I assume it will be next week.
· I have a worry, which I hadn’t thought about until now. Do you think Shawn Michaels is going to face JBL at Wrestlemania? I sense the slow burn with HBK eventually getting fed up and Superkicking Layfield’s head off sparking a match between the two. Likely it would be billed as Texas’ own HBK v New York’s JBL, a former Texas resident who disappeared.
· As Mr Wrestlemania I had in mind HBK v Rey Mysterio or HBK v Undertaker. HBK v JBL doesn’t quite measure up.
· Interesting that Rey Mysterio pinning Mike Knox in a ten-man tag match constitutes Knox getting beaten on Raw, but Koslov losing triple threats or the like on Smackdown means nothing to his unbeaten record.
· I think the story of Orton and his Legacy stable is just too flimsy. They don’t pay it enough attention, and if we are supposed to be following who is in and out and so forth then it’s hard. And where is DiBiase?
· PANIC! Vince is back in two weeks. Should we expect a study into the ‘accident’?
· Really, really strong main event, but I thought marred slightly by the aftermath backstage with JBL. I would have liked it to have been focussed on the reactions of Cena and Shawn post match rather than watching Todd Grisham do an interview. Still, the tag match was great. A strong Raw overall.