TNA IMPACT Wrestling – 28th June 2012 – From an affair to drug addiction to pregnancy for AJ Styles

TNA IMPACT Wrestling

Date: 28th June 2012

Venue: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida

Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tazz

Another week of the Bound for Glory series and hopefully some more build for Destination X PPV, especially with Bobby Roode v Austin Aries for the TNA World title. Oh yes, we still have that awkward AJ/Dixie storyline as well, after that cringing promo at the end of last week’s show. It’s going to play into tonight’s tag title match isn’t it? Let’s get to this episode.

A few posts ago, I did a shorter review summary of the episodes I am currently working on. I will be going back to this style from now on, as it allows me to pay better attention to what’s going on rather than typing all the time.

Recap of last week’s events: Austin Aries acceptance of the world title and the whole AJ/Dixie crap. Speaking of which, we start with AJ/Dixie, with AJ fired up for tonight’s match.

Tag title match is a rematch from Slammiversary X. There were BFGS matches in house shows at the weekend. Updated table after this episode.

Segment 1: BFGS match: Mr Kennedy v Rob Van Dam

Kennedy asks for any assholes in the building tonight. Brains are not his department are they? RVD seemed more impressive here, as Kennedy was more basic than anything in this match. Submission moves, high flying and moving around that ring gained Van Dam the deserved victory. That’s RVD’s first points of the tournament, while Anderson stays on 9 points. Decent match to start IMPACT. Rating: C

Segment 2: Austin Aries Promo

Damn how good is AA on the mic? He puts over himself and the X Division title, which is the right idea, and he is over with the fans so much. He announces a tournament for the X Division title at Destination X, which he gave up for a shot at the world title. Roode came out and bragged about how he made the world title relevant the best in the world, which is his usual shtick. Just to piss us all over off, Roode walks out ala Triple H against Steiner in 2003. VERY confident promo between these two and a solid build to Destination X. Winner: RVD; Rating: B

Review of AJ/Dixie from last week and interview with Dixie/Clare. Next.

Kazarian was pissed with Daniels.

Segment 3: Destination X Qualifying match: Sonjay Butt v Rubix

How can a match be this fast paced? They bounced all over the ring all match, including suicide dives and high dropkicks. This was merely to get the crowd pumped and it worked a treat. OH CRAP Sonjay did a double foot moonsault to end this thing. I did not expect that. A short match but DAMN was it fun to watch. Credit to both guys out there. Winner: Sonjay Dutt; Rating: B+.

THAT showed us a taste of what the X Division is all about. Sonjay wants the X Division title.

Gut Check recap of Taylor Hendrix last week. Her future is decided tonight.

Segment 4: BFGS match: Bully Ray v Samoa Joe

Hard hitting match here, although you had Bully Ray channelling his inner Memphis and stalling a fair bit at the beginning. The match picked up toward the end though with Bubba taking some nice bumps for our entertainment. Until Joseph Parks interfered and Samoa got the submission for a needed 10 points for his momentum. Bully has yet to get ANY points in this series but more advancement in his storyline with Parks/Abyss is begging for another match. Winner: Samoa Joe; Rating: C.

Parks talks about how he is sick of Bully Ray. He (not Abyss) challenges Bully to a match/fight on IMPACT in two weeks. Wow indeed.

More on the Clare/Dixie/AJ/Daniels mindfuck. Please end this.

Kazarian talks to Hogan about Daniels and how he cannot tag with him. Hogan says to man up essentially.

Brooke Tessmacher gets a present from Brooke Hogan until Gail Kim wants a rematch for the Knockouts title. Rematch next week on IMPACT. Gail was a bitch here.

Segment 5: Destination X Qualifying match: Rashad Cameron v Mason Andrews

Not as fast as the previous X Division match but still pretty fast paced. The crowd was certainly into this match, as they chanted this was awesome. Don’t know if I agree with this, but it was certainly good enough. A normal style of X Division matches. Winner: Rashad Cameron; Rating: C+.

Rashad says he is the next X Division champion, from Philly 215.

Hogan wants to know who would attack Sting. Storm v Hardy face off next week on IMPACT. Should be good I have to admit.

Gut Check time for Taylor Hendrix. Judges are Tazz; Al Snow and Bruce Pritchard. The decision is… hang on Joey Ryan (who lost Gut Check last month) is messing things up here in the crowd and Tazz is on the verge of losing it. Security gets him out and we’re back to the decisions. Final decision: YES! Hendrix is stunned and is now part of the IMPACT roster.

AJ and Angle talk and AJ now has Daniels in a Last Man standing match at Destination X apparently. Clare and Dixie are in the crowd for this match.

Segment 7: TNA Tag Team Titles: Angle/Styles (c) v Kazarian/Daniels

Kazarian does not want to be in Daniels corner remember, so we know how this is ending. This was essentially three men against one with Daniels getting his comeuppance for his fraud on AJ/Dixie. I enjoyed watching these four in this match (well Kazarian did hardly anything as per the storyline). This match picked up the pace towards the end with the champions looking VERY impressive the whole time. And then the swerve and stupidity come at the end. Kazarian smashes AJ in the back with a chair to allow Daniels to pick up the victory. Who did not see this coming? Winners: Kazarian/Daniels; Rating: B.

Oh wait, there’s more to this whole mess. Kaz and Daniels then hug with the belts in hand. That I can take. What I find stupid is Daniels then claiming Clare is pregnant…. with AJ Style’s child! Why oh why would we want the storyline to continue like this? Is this the Jeremy Kyle Show or something? My God whose idea was this?

Overall: B- Tonight’s show was pretty damn entertaining for me. BFGS was not at an overload like week and there was some more build to the world title match at Destination X, as well as the X Division tournament for the PPV. As for the ending of the episode? It hurts my head to think about it. Please let this whole affair/drug addiction/illegitimate child storyline end at Destination X…. please I am begging you!

Here’s the updated Bound for Glory Series table:

  1. James Storm                                      36 points
  2. Samoa Joe                                         27
  3. Kurt Angle                                          10
  4. Mr Anderson                                       9
  5. RVD/The Pope/Magnus/Hardy          7
  1. Christopher Daniels                            5
  2. Bully Ray/Robbie E/AJ Styles            0

Happy 10th Anniversary John Cena!

While I may not be the biggest John Cena fan going, I have to admit its been one hell of a journey for him over the last 10 years since his debut in WWE. I still remember his first match against Kurt Angle on SmackDown, where he impressed everyone by hanging with the Olympic Gold Medalist. And then beating Chris Jericho in his first Pay Per View match. All within one month of debuting!

He then fell into obscurity for a while, where he developed his rapper gimmick after turning heel, before reemerging as the No 1 contender to Brock Lesnar’s WWE Championship in 2003. Seems surreal they fought 9 years ago before they became household names but there you go. Anything can happen in wrestling!

From there, he became popular with the fans, culminating in his first WWE Championship victory at WrestleMania 21. Despite this success, many fans began turning on the Chain Gang leader over the rest of 2005 into 2006. Gone was the rapper gimmick and hello to the “Hustle, Loyalty and Respect” side of Cena. The fans hated this gimmick more, especially after Cena dominated with a year long WWE title reign on RAW from 2006-2007.

Despite this, Cena remains popular with the kids and parents, whilst the hardcore fans mostly despise him and all that he stands for. As much as I can’t stand Cena at times, he is the face of the WWE. He is their moneymaking machine and the man has mainstream success in films and charities. If anything, that is what characterises Cena more than anything.

Its been one hell of a 10 year journey for Cena so far. I say congratulations on his journey so far.

WWE RAW – 25th June 2012 – AJ is more mental than Kane! Impossible!

WWE RAW

Date:                25th June 2012

Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

The build to WWE Money in the Bank will hopefully pick up tonight, as this weeks GM has been announced as… Vickie Guerrero! My ears are gonna bleed after this is all said and done. Anyway, apart from this we have the return of Jericho tonight! Wonder if it will be better than his return at the start of 2012? Let’s crack on.

We recap the Punk/Kane/Bryan story. With AJ involved, this is a confusing yet compelling story. A pretty awesome video too.

AJ is talking to Daniel, Kane and CM Punk by the looks of things and tells them what she thinks if them. Bryan, she wants to drift apart from. Kane, she calls a monster. Punk, she considers a soul mate but she wants to go their separate ways. Oh she’s talking to a mirror. She is past the point of meltdown now.

Opening titles and pyrotechnics.

Big show v Brodus Clay tonight! Plus, an announcement from Cena.

Oh here is the heat machine that is Vickie Guerrero, as she is the GM for the whole week. Apparently, there may be a permanent GM from the 1000th episode onwards. Sounds good.

Daniel Bryan v Kane v CM Punk

Non-title match under elimination rules. Kane dominates both men to start before a series of kicks by both guys puts Kane down. One on one now as the fans are behind CM Punk here. AJ watching on in the back as expected as Kane is kept outside, until he right hands Punk.

Back from the break, with Kane up top until Bryan meets him halfway and Punk hammers on both men. Kane goes for the clothesline but misses and Bryan rolls Punk up for two. Nice sequence! Double chokeslam fails and Bryan is screaming YES all over the place here. Comeback by Punk and Kane is taken out again here and has Bryan dumped on him on the outside. Suicide dive outside by Punk, and we’re told Punk has reigned for 215 days so far including tonight. Impressive by Punk.

YES Lock is not connected and Kane is taken out AGAIN. Cover on Bryan but he gets his leg on the bottom rope. GTS attempt fails but Kane breaks it up. Why if it’s elimination rules? Pin on Punk but it gets two. Kane goes up and flying clothesline connects…. oh boy here’s AJ who dance’s around the ring for no reason whatsoever. Chokeslam countered and a GTS pins Kane for the three count. Kick to the head by Bryan pins Punk at 7:04 shown.

Rating: B Awesome way to start RAW and we get a great match and the advancement of a storyline. AJ’s purpose is still unknown but Bryan getting the win is a great way to set up his title match I assume.

Del Rio see’s Vickie in her office and tries to weasel a title shot, until Ziggler wants the title shot against Sheamus. Vickie makes a contract on a pole match for the world title, with the winner facing Sheamus for the world title on SmackDown this Friday. Ziggler’s response? Smash the flowers vase Del Rio got for Vickie.

Recap of Big Show destroying Brodus Clay weeks ago on RAW.

Brodus Clay v Big Show

Clay’s first appearance on RAW in weeks. Big Show looks pissed as usual. This is your usual brawl of the big men. Clay is taken down in the knee by Show and he goes to work on the knee. Show wraps the knee round the post and we are only less than two minutes into this. Big Show splashes Clay from the second rope and nearly gets splashed himself but falls on Clay for the pin at 2:33. Short match but a squash essentially by Show.

Clay sells that injury, which I reckon keeps him off TV for a while. SummerSlam rematch anyone?

Video on Cena’s 300th wish granted. Whatever you say about the man, he has a HUGE heart.

Bob Barker is a memorable moment of RAW from 2009. Really?

During the break, Clay was being helped out and Show came back to give him the WMD punch. Nice.

Recap of No Way Out when Triple H challenged Brock Lesnar to a match at SummerSlam. Last week Heyman said no. Simple as. Lesnar answers the challenge next week on RAW.

AJ is talking to Kane, who says he’s not boyfriend material. He says a monster who wears a mask. Ok didn’t know that did we? Even he finds AJ unstable so they should stay away from each other. AJ doesn’t know whether to cry or laugh. Yeah she’s laughing. Mental.

US title: Jack Swagger v (c) Santino Marella.

This is for the first time in how long we have the US title on the line on TV? Swagger has no entrance here so what does that tell you also? Oh yeah Swagger is no longer a client of Vickie Guerrero after losing to Ziggler last week. All Swagger here, until Santino makes a comeback with a backdrop, punches, arm takedown, headbutt and the Cobra… nope not yet as Santino hits a DDT. Cobra gets the pin at 2:40. Short match and I couldn’t care less about the US title anymore. Santino needs to lose it soon to regain some prestige in the future.

Cena finds a Laurinaitis t shirt in the back but Ryder throws it in the bin. Good.

Here’s Cena to a HUGE pop from the crowd. His announcement…. oh wait he must somehow compare the unrest in WWE with Star Wars. Uh what? Yeah you heard me, Star Wars. Despite this he has the crowd eating out of his hands. Moving on… oh YES finally! The return of Jericho! Looks like he’s got rid of that stupid glowing jacket at least.

DAMMIT he was at the Download festival??? I hate missing it now. Jericho tells Cena to get out of his ring. Cena says he will enter the Money in the Bank ladder match in order to stop Big Show from winning. That is an announcement and a half. He wants to win the whole fudging thing, which draws a PG debate which is amusing. Jericho talks about the experience of the Money in the Bank and how he created it. He puts it over cleverly, which is the right idea for building a pay per view based around it. He calls it a serious match, which is the opposite of Cena, which is why Jericho enters himself into the match.

Cue Guererro, who insists no one just enters themselves into the match. Instead, the WWE title ladder match will be only former-WWE Champions, with Kane; Big Show; Jericho and Cena. As a main event, she makes it Jericho v Cena. Pretty nice idea for the ladder match.

Vader back two weeks ago. Who’s next this week?

Heath Slater v ???

And its… Psycho Sid? Wow he looks old and out of shape. Fair enough he broke his leg 11 years ago, so that has a lot to do with it. Slater calls himself a top superstar on RAW. That makes me laugh. Sid slaps Slater down and manhandles him. Sloppy spinebuster by Sid and then the powerbomb gets the pin on Slater at 1:31. Good memory Sid back on RAW at least but the match was nothing.

Contract on a pole match: Dolph Ziggler v Alberto Del Rio

Winner get’s Sheamus for the World title on SmackDown. Ziggler heads straight for the contract but gets stopped by Del Rio. Dolph flipped over the top but lands on the turnbuckle and goes for the contract again. He’s smart at least. He’s now on the top of Del Rio’s shoulder but is samoan dropped back into the ring. Ziggler gets the contract but it falls to the mat and they scramble for it. Apparently the winner has to control the contract to win. Rodriguez fails so the contract is now outside. Madness here, as Sheamus comes out and announces a triple threat match with them two and Sheamus for the world title on SmackDown. Match is thrown out I think around 4:30.

Punk v Bryan Part II at Money in the Bank for the WWE title is announced. YES!

Punk and AJ are in the back, where AJ dedicates her match to Punk. Punk then wants a serious conversation with her, but she misunderstands what he is trying to say.

RAW Memorable moment: This is your life: The Rock! That was an AWESOME segment!

Divas Summertime Beach Battle Royal

Even Vickie is taking part here! Oh God why? All the girls go after Vickie, as two girls are eliminated already. Too many eliminations here, as we are down to five already. There goes Natalya and Beth Phoenix, with AJ, Layla and Vickie left. Layla is out and so is Vickie, meaning the mental AJ wins. Her emotions were psycho here, but the match was Pointless! With a capital P.

World title triple threat match on SmackDown this week. Should be good!

John Cena v Chris Jericho

Dammit that glowing jacket is back! They lock up to start, but are equal to each other for once. Note that Jericho has not beaten Cena in ten years up to this point. Back from the break and Cena comes back briefly before Jericho takes over again. Suplex counter by Cena but Cena ends up in a submission position… scrap that as it turns into a headlock. Here we go, the Five Moves of Doom take Jericho out. Oh wait Jericho counters but Cena goes for the AA. That fails and the five knuckle shuffle is completed. Here’s Big Show to interfere as Jericho has Cena in the Walls of Jericho. But a Show leg drop on Cena causes the DQ. What a surprise! Basic matchup overall which is standard for Cena matches anyway.

Chokeslam and camel clutch by Show ends the show. Pun intended.

Overall: C+ Weird episode tonight but ultimately, I enjoyed large parts of it. The opening triple  threat match was a great match to start with and the advancement of the AJ story is intriguing me. I hope the payoff is soon though but it looks like Kane may be out of the picture now at least. Sid being back for a night was a memorable moment but damn he has aged! With the Money in the Bank PPV now being built, lets hope WWE builds this up strongly.

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TNA IMPACT Wrestling – 21st June 2012 – Bound for Glory Overload

TNA IMPACT Wrestling

Date:    21st June 2012

Venue: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida

Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tazz

The Bound for Glory Series is up and running and tonight is also Open Fight Night. This is my first OFN so I want to see how this works for TNA. I know the Knockouts championship is defended tonight and also Austin Aries decides between the title shot and the X Division title. Hmm a mystery as to what he is going to pick? Let’s do this.

Video on James Storm returning last night. He is my pick for the BFGS. And on AA’s choice this week.

Oh damn it, AJ and Dixie Carter reveal their secret tonight. Oh great!

We kick off with Hogan, who addresses the Sting attack from last week and says no publicity for those guys anymore. He then calls out AA for his decision, who wants to get straight down to business. He knows his decision seems like a no brainer, but he states the company was built on the X Division and it would mean nothing if he just hands the title over. Can’t argue with that much. So he came up with a Plan C: Give up the belt for a shot at Bobby Roode’s world title, as long as the X Division champion each year gets a world title shot at Destination X every year. Hogan agrees to this, before Roode comes out whining again.

Roode goes off on one and puts down the X Division belt and the division itself, as he warns AA he will beat and humiliate him. AA then challenges Roode right now and they go at it before security breaks them up. Now we have Mr Anderson who doesn’t care which one of them is champion, because he will win the BFGS and take the world title.

BFGS match: Mr Anderson v Christopher Daniels

They give us the points system for this series, which is helpful. Anderson challenges Daniels, who comes out STILL drinking his martini, for trying to intentionally destroy a family. His words. Parks is in the crowd, as Anderson dominates early on before being knocked off the turnbuckle by Daniels. Modified sit down powerbomb gets two then Anderson rolls up for two. Neckbreaker and Mic Check by Anderson gets the pin at 3:06. Too short to rate but it sure makes Daniels look weak considering his storyline. 7 points to Anderson, which puts him 2nd in the BFGS.

Carter and AJ debate about whether to tell the world. Get it done already.

Knockouts set to challenge Tessmacher on the title. Challenger: decided later. Won’t be Madison Rayne as she is eliminated by Brooke Hogan.

BFGS match: Robbie E v Kurt Angle

He sends an open challenge, who is Kurt Angle! Yeah your screwed Robbie! German suplexes; Angle Slam; Ankle Lock, submission at 34 seconds. Total squash.

Video on the return of TNA Gut Check.

BFGS match: Magnus v ???

Magnus uses the London tube map as part of his titantron. That’s quite cool actually. Magnus says it’s important he wins the BFGS. He sends out a challenge after the break and chooses… AJ Styles, because his head is not in the game. Smart move by that reasoning. Did Tenay just call Magnus an arrogant prick?

AJ dominates early and messes up the positioning of Magnus for the top rope splash. Magnus takes over as a result until a dropkick takes him down. AJ goes for his finisher after the splash in the corner but is countered by Magnus who is countered by Styles. Nicely done. Oh boy here’s Daniels who distracts AJ enough for Magnus to hit his finisher for the pin at 2:29. Too short to rate but it furthers the AJ/ Daniels storyline further. Wonder when it will end?

TNA Gut check time: tonight’s contestant is Taylor Hendrix.

Taylor Hendrix v Tara

Takedown by Tara to start but a rollup by Hendrix gets two. Tazz claims he looks for energy and toughness in Hendrix which is a nice thing to tell the audience. It’s true though it’s not all about wins/losses in wrestling. Tara taken down off the top rope and a clothesline takes her down. Boot to the gut and Widows Peak to Hendrix gets the three at 2:34. Hendrix first TV match is obviously tough but she hit hard on Tara.

Joseph Parks is backstage but Bully Ray tells him to get lost.

Recap of AA’s decision earlier. I like his decision of X Division champions getting a title shot every year at Destination X.

BFGS match: Samoa Joe v ???

He issues another challenge…. James Storm! Oh YES! They trade punches to start before Joe takes over. SWEET kick to the head by Joe as the Impact Zone echoes with the sound of it. Key Lock submission to Storm but he makes the ropes. I think Storm has only got punches in so far. And now clotheslines.

Storm placed on the top rope and another SWEET kick renders Storm limp. Sleeper by Joe but Storm fights out and hits the Last Call out of nowhere at 2:57. I like how the Last Call is built to seem like it will end any match. 7 points to Storm as Joe has a beer bottle in hand…. but gives it to Storm. Good respect there.

Recap of AJ/Daniels/Carter story. Long recap this. AJ agrees to tell all tonight.

Brooke Hogan eliminates ODB from the Knockouts match.

BFGS match: Bully Ray v ???

Bully looks for Joseph Parks but he’s not there. He calls out an “easy” Pope Dinero. That’s confidence personified. Pope returned last week in the battle royal after being in Hollywood. Bully jumps Pope from behind with punches and clothesline. Hard Irish whip into the turnbuckle before Pope avoids a splash by Bully. They trade punches as Pope goes up top but gets taken down again by Bully. Abyss comes through the crowd and distracts Bully long enough to get taken out of the ring by Pope. Abyss stalks Bully but Pope nails him for the pin at 3:44. Another storyline furthered here, which is fine.

Bully escapes with Abyss stalking him.

Hogan makes RVD v Hardy for tonight.

Music video plugging time by Montgomery Gentry. Have to say I enjoyed it.

TNA Knockouts Championship: Miss Tessmacher (c) v ???

Brooke chooses….. Mickie James! Good choice here. Armbar by Tessmacher which is very early in this match. Reversed by James and she does an armbar. We’re less than a minute into this match and two armbars have been done already. Basic match here but a dropkick to the face of the champion gets a two. ANOTHER armbar by James and this is ridiculous now. James misses off the top and a series of clotheslines takes James down to boos. Even the crowd prefer James to Tessmacher. Faceplant off the top gets two before James gets a backick to the face gets two. Rollup by Tessmacher gets the pin at 5:17.

Rating: D Longest match of the night so far and it gets a rollup win for Tessmacher AGAIN. I’m sorry but she looks like a fluke champion with these types of victories.

BFGS match: RVD v Jeff Hardy

The final match of the BFGS tonight as RVD goes for the quick pin and gets two. RVD taken outside before he counters and pounds away on Hardy. The fans are split 50/50 it seems as a Hardy-RVD chant goes back and forth. Split leg moonsault connects for a two count. Front suplex and a… missed swanton bomb by Hardy before Van Dam goes for a frog splash. Oh no he went for a 450 splash but it misses. Hardy spike piledrive Van Dam on his head for a close two. Another piledriver gets the three on Van Dam. That ended quickly at 3:48.

Rating: C+ Short match but damn it was quick paced and was quite an enjoyable main event. Good win for Hardy, but RVD? Ws he injured there? I’m not sure.

James Storm has a huge lead over Angle in the BFGS series, with 27 points.

Daniels/Kazarian v AJ/Kurt Angle for the tag titles next week on IMPACT.

AJ and Carter come out to a huge TNA chant from the crowd. No music here which is a nice touch. Carter starts to speak but breaks up, so AJ says let’s leave, to huge booing. Then a woman comes down the aisle and she’s upset. She takes the mic and her name is Clare Lynch, who seems to be close to both AJ and Dixie. No offence but she isn’t even pretend crying. She says AJ/Dixie are not having an affair, but Clare is an addict. She went to both of  them for help, until Daniels/Kazarian got involved. Daniels is freaking out backstage at this point. He comes out but AJ takes Daniels out and powerbombs Kazarian into the mat. AJ pounds Daniels to close out the show.

Overall rating: C+ I thought this was an ok episode. If anything the Open Fight Night and BFGS meshed well together and gave us some good matchups, albeit short ones, which is annoying at times. The end segment furthered the story of AJ/Daniels but damn that acting looked awkward, especially by Clare. With the world title match being set for Destination X (AA v Bobby Roode) and a huge focus on BFGS as expected, I would say this episode is somewhere in the middle. I wouldn’t watch it again though.

WWE No Way Out 2012 – Worth the money?

So after a few days to think about the WWE No Way Out PPV from last Sunday, many analysts and wrestling fans have tried to analyse the performance of the wrestlers; the matches and whether the whole thing was worth the money for us fans. For those paying around $50 in America probably not!

Instead of reviewing the entire PPV (at the moment anyway), I thought I would just give my thoughts each of the matches and see how they compared against expectations and if they were worth the money:

Pre-show match: Brodus Clay defeats David Otunga

Considering this match was purely just to get the crowd going, this achieved that no problem. Not exactly a technical classic, but the fact Otunga got himself counted out suggests they may continue this feud for a few weeks more. Rating: C

World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus (c) defeats Dolph Ziggler

Considering Ziggler was only a last minute replacement for Alberto Del Rio, who suffered a concussion about a week earlier, this was a pretty good match. Yes there was a lack of a story and their usual chemistry together seemed a bit off, but it was a decent match match with back and forth action. Ziggler gave a good account of himself here and showed us why he should be in the main-event, but I don’t understand why the World title match is on the PPV first! Is the belt just a pure joke now? Rating: C+

Tuxedo match: Santino Marella defeats Ricardo Rodriguez

A pure comedy match here, as Rodriguez is stripped of his tuxedo and personal dignity. Should have been on RAW or SmackDown but whatever. Also, why was the US Title not on the line here? That title is beyond a joke now…. Rating: D

WWE Intercontinental title: Christian (c) defeats Cody Rhodes

Speaking of titles, at least the IC title has some dignity to it, as shown here by Christian and Cody Rhodes. Great back and forth action here, with a great finishing sequence with so many counters. Rhodes kicking out of the Killswitch was a shock but it shows him to be a threat to the fans, which is important. Cody should move up to the main event after this but great defence by Christian. Rating: B

No 1 contenders match for the tag team titles: Prime Time Playas defeats the Usos, Epico/Primo and Justin Gabriel/Tyson Kidd

Surprise tag match here as this was announced on the pre-show. PTP is Titus O’Neil and Darren Young, who are the new No 1 contenders to the tag titles after this victory. A decent tag match for a bonus match, and with AW joining PTP after Primo/Epico lost, there is something of a story in the tag division at last. Rating: C+

Triple H challenges Lesnar to a match at SummerSlam. Worst kept secret in wrestling.

Divas title match: Layla (c) defeats Beth Pheonix

Sloppy match here with Layla still looking rusty after her one year lay off with injury. The divas division is not even close to interesting at the moment, and we all hope Karma comes back soon to challenge Beth Pheonix. Rating: D-

Sin Cara defeats Hunico

Considering these two fought late last year, you would have thought this story would have been built upon more, but nope this is the WWE after all! High flying action here with Sin Cara ending Hunico with the spinning takedown. Now let’s actually give these two a story for once! Rating: D

WWE world title: CM Punk (c) defeats Kane and Daniel Bryan

I was looking forward to this match, particularly since AJ has gone psycho and has flirted with all three men essentially over the last few weeks. Either way, Punk retains the title in a very good match up, although Bryan was out of it for the last five minutes. I hope its Punk v Bryan II at MITB next month, as it should be awesome. The AJ mystery will most likely continue and to be fair it adds to the story. Rating: B+

Ryback defeats local jobbers

Attempted murder  more or less by Ryback. Musclebuster ends this. How about some proper competition for Ryback for a change? Rating: D-

Steel Cage match: John Cena defeats Big Show

Oh boy this main event! This one is so stupid as in if Cena wins John Laurinaitis is fired and if Show wins Cena is fired. Another firing scenario? Give me a break! Anyway, a boring match with Cena winning and Johnny Ace is fired… after being put through a table of course. I know it seems like I am hating on this Cena match but to be fair, this rivalry has done NOTHING to make me excited! Its a bore and the firing stipulation means jack these days! Rating: E

Overall: C- This is a weird event for the company, with some good to great matches and some poor matches as well. But at the end, I reckon a lot of fans were happy the event was over. A poor main event but two great IC and WWE title matches save this event a little bit. Apart from that and a match that helps out the tag team division, this PPV was not worth the money in my eyes.

WCW Monday Nitro – 25th September 1995 – The Giant Dominates!

WCW Monday Nitro

Date:                   25th September 1995

Commentators:   Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

The build to Halloween Havoc continues tonight with hopefully more build in the world title match between Hogan and The Giant. Other than that I have no idea what is going on in this period of Nitro. Oh Flair wants Anderson here tonight so let’s see if that happens.

On a side note, I will be changing my review style and will now only review the segments after each one has happened instead of going in depth into what is happening. So no more long boring paragraphs for all of you! You’re welcome.

That dog, Pepe, is still there with the announcers for some reason. How long did he last?

Alex Wright v Disco Inferno

Oh joy this is the debut of Disco Inferno, who is annoying but somewhat popular with the fans over time. How? This match was decent but why oh why have the Inferno lose here?? To Alex freaking Wright? Fair enough he has talent himself but Inferno controlled most of that matchup. Ah WCW booking hurts my head at times! Decent match with nothing spectacular but stupid booking, because Inferno now comes off as a loser to the fans. Rating: D-

Winner: Alex Wright (4:03)

Hogan has a neck brace on after the Giant attacked him at Fall Brawl. He offers to put the WCW title on the line against the Giant. And there’s is your Halloween Havoc main event.

Recap of the Savage and Luger confrontation last week on Nitro. Apparently they clashed during the break but we didn’t see it. This week, they clash again and set up their match next week on Nitro. Jeeez they couldn’t save this match for the PPV could they? And Luger says he will leave WCW if he loses against Savage. That’s a bit strong and predictable surely?

Hogan v Giant for the WCW World title at Halloween Havoc. That review will be coming soon.

Kuwasawa (w/ Colonel Parker) v Sgt. Craig Pittman

Kuwasawa has some intensity on him alright. The man who broke the arm of Road Warrior Hawk tried the same thing again on Pittman as well but it was a hard hitting match. He gets the deserved victory and looks like a beast in that ring. Both gave a good fight and surprised me to be fair but the right man won here at least. Rating: C

Winner: Kuwasawa (4:25)

Anderson and Pillman mock Flair about finding a tag partner, with Anderson stating Flair has too many enemies to find a partner in WCW. I assume this is for Halloween Havoc but I have no idea at the moment. Damn Anderson and Pillman were so good on the mic but I am disappointed there was no Flair here tonight.

Recap of Taskmaster attacking Savage on the beach. Ok then.

Taskmaster v Randy Savage

Taskmaster is Kevin Sullivan. I’ll say this, the Taskmaster is basic in his moves but damn he seems hard hitting. It’s just a huge brawl and even the referee is slammed down by Savage. The match gets thrown out, which is fine as the whole thing is to further the angle that the Macho Man has snapped. Also, the Giant comes down and takes out Savage to further make himself a legit threat to Hogan. Jeeez he cleaned out the entire lockeroom, including Luger when he comes out. No rating and no winner I think. (3:00)

Meng v Lex Luger

Luger was already in the ring after the chokeslam by the Giant. Another basic match with Meng dominating the majority of the match. Luger comesback but brass knuckles sees Luger go down for the pin. Surprising really considering I thought they would build Luger for next week against Savage. But this is WCW, so logic is out of the window most of the time. Rating: D

Winner: Meng (6:48)

Overall: C- A weird episode here, as we saw more wrestling and in-ring promos which can be seen as a good thing. The Giant was built up well here, dismantling half the lockeroom and Savage/Luger, which is the right thing to do in my eyes to make him a legit threat to Hogan’s world title. Decent episode tonight but it felt like something was missing which I cannot place my finger on.

TNA IMPACT Wrestling – 14th June 2012 – Ultimate X is back!

TNA IMPACT Wrestling

Date: 14th June 2012

Venue: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida

Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tazz

Been a while since I have done one of these for TNA so lets kick it off again. We’re just past Slammiversary X on Sunday, with a new Hall of Fame being created for the company. As for the world title…. it’s still on Bobby Roode, after he defeated Hall of Fame bound Sting by smashing another beer bottle over his head. We do have new tag team champions though in AJ Styles and Kurt Angle. Let’s see how long that lasts for them. Other than that I have no idea what’s happening tonight so let’s do this!

Video package on James Storm returning at Slammiversary X. Oh and he ended Crimson’s 16 month unbeaten streak.

We open with pyrotechnics and already you can see the Ultimate X match is coming up tonight. Bound for Glory series returns in a gauntlet match and Mr Anderson v Bobby Roode for the TNA World title tonight. Seems pretty stacked tonight.

Ultimate X match for the X Division Title: Austin Aries (c) v Zema Ion v Chris Sabin

Ion and Sabin were already in the ring so how do you reckon is gonna win? Ion immediately heads for the cables but gets yanked down and taken out to the outside. Sabin and Aries go for counters galore before AA takes control. Can any wrestling company not plug Facebook and Twitter these days? Huge TNA chant breaks out, as we hear this is Sabin’s 15th Ultimate X match having won 6 of them. Wow indeed! Sabin gets close to the belt but gets yanked down and smashed into the turnbuckles by Aries.

Zema kicked outside and Sabin launched out then Aries launches himself into a suicide dive outside. I think Sabin may have done his knee in there. Zema and Aries go at it, before Zema goes up and is clearly stalling here. May have something to do with Sabin being injured there. Yeah he is stalling badly now. Aries gets him and drops him between the turnbuckle and the steel frame! Looked unintentional but there you go. Ion won’t quit but gets taken out with a hurricarana; dropkick and the Brainbuster. Goodnight Ion and Aries goes to get his belt back at 7:21.

Rating: B A good way to kick off IMPACT here as it’s been a while since they had an Ultimate X match so it was a good treat for me and the fans. Sabin may have been legit injured here, which may account for Ion stalling a bit near the end. Aries looked VERY impressive tonight. He just needs to lose the X Division belt now as he does nothing for the belt anymore.

AA has the mic and says he backs up his tag of The Greatest Man That Ever Lived and he now wants the World title, so he can become The Man. Cue Hogan, who says he is impressed with Aries to a good pop. Aries wants the title shot, well he has one for Destination X next month…. on one condition. He must drop the X Division title, which he has one week to decide on. Good short promo that sets up Aries for a title shot and judging by the crowd reactions, not before time.

First of some highlight clips from Slammiversary X.

Bully Ray threatens Joseph Park and demands to know where Abyss is.

TV Title: Devon (c) v Hernandez

Hernandez only returned at Slammiversary and he already has a title shot. Before the bell Hernandez launches himself outside onto Devon and goes straight for the pin back in. Doesn’t work so basic offense ensues for Hernandez. Fans are into this fairly well. Bear hug early on here to Devon but a spear puts Hernandez down. I think that’s his first bit of offense in this match. Nothing much of note here as Tenay plugs MMA for some reason. Oh yeah they have a deal with them I forgot. Spinebuster by Devon for the pin at 3:37.

Rating: D+ Nothing much of note here but Hernandez was on offense most of the time. Devon hits about 3 or 4 moves and he gets the win. I’m still a little surprised Devon holds the TV title in 2012 but then again the title mean’s very little anyway.

We get clips of the Daniels/ Carter/ AJ issue from last week. AJ saves Carter, Carter’s husband comes down and punches AJ and walks out. AJ and Carter are seen talking earlier about revealing something to everyone. This is making my head hurt.

Bound for Glory Series Gauntlet Match

All participants in the series are revealed in this match. First up is AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy and a new competitor is out here every 90 seconds. Elimination occurs by throwing others over the top rope, so it’s a battle royal essentially. 20 points for the winner here which is quite big actually. Beautiful dropkick by Styles to take Hardy down but it does not last. RVD is out next as that seems shorter than 90 seconds. He takes everyone down, with Styles taking a massive monkey flip.

Back from break, and Magnus and Bully Ray have entered the fray. 5 guys in the ring now, with I think 12 people involved overall in this series. Kurt Angle, tag partner of Styles remember, is 6th and does damage to half the others in the ring.7th is… Pope D’Angelo Dinero!! Oh wow where has he been for months? Oh right in movies fair enough. Well, he’s back and eventually gets nailed by Bully Ray. There goes Hardy courtesy of Ray’s big boot. Abyss comes out from under the ring and takes out Ray over the top rope.

Back from another break and Robbie E is in now. Seriously, why include him in the series. RVD gets eliminated as 9th is Christopher Daniels who gets taken out by Styles quickly. Angle holds Daniels but gets hit by Styles accidentally. Here we go as that didn’t last long. Styles and Angle are thrown out by Daniels one after the other. 10th is Samoa Joe who goes after everyone, eliminating Robbie E thank goodness. He’s taken out but Magnus protects him. The former partners then go at it before a massive boot puts Joe down. Forget that as Magnus is now out. 11th is James Storm, his first time on IMPACT in around two months. He immediately eliminates Pope Dinero and Daniels to bring us down to two men: Storm and Joe. They trade blows, as we find out the 12th man is the loser of Anderson v Roode tonight. Joe thinks he threw Storm out but he skins the cat and the Last Call superkick puts Joe out at 13:12 shown.

Rating: B I enjoyed this match a lot as the BFG series is looking good with top competitors involved. Storm winning was fine considering his return and he is my pick for this series. Also, stories were advanced (Daniels/ AJ/ Angle) here which is all you could ask from a match.

Storm talks about essentially what the video package to open the show talked about. He talks about his passion for wrestling and the effect on his family. He thanks the fans for their support and the crowd LOVE Storm. “Welcome Back” chants echo through the studio as Storm warns Roode he is coming for his title. Solid promo that got the crowd in Storm’s hands. Lets hope TNA pull the trigger on his title reign.

Roode derides Storm and says tonight, he deals with an asshole! Nice.

Angle tries to motivate AJ after his mistakes the last few weeks.

Madison Rayne v Brooke Tessmacher

Non-title match here. Madison still has that stupid crown on her head. Why is Brooke dressed as a female version of Captain America almost? The new Knockouts Champion, who beat Gail Kim at Slammiversary X goes after Brooke but it does not last. Takedown by Brooke as this match is very basic right now. Faceplant gets two but a modified clothesline takedown gets the pin at 2:53. Too short to rate but it was a basic match which was not that impressive by Brooke.

Brooke Hogan talks about possible four way title match but Gail states she has a rematch. She is told to take a vacation as Brooke gets to decide when the rematch is. Meh.

Mr Anderson warns Roode he will kick his ass.

TNA World Title: Bobby Roode (c) v Mr Ken Anderson.

I love Roode’s music. It really suits him and his heel antics. Anderson won this opportunity after beating Hardy and RVD at Slammiversary. Big match introductions and Anderson takes over early on but Roode misses a suicide dive outside as we go to a break.

Back from break and Roode has Anderson in a headlock before Ken fights out and gets a two off a backslide. Roode takes over again but another comeback by Anderson and a kick to the head takes Roode out. Counter and a crippler crossface to Anderson feels weird to see these days. It’s locked on a second time and he taps at 7:24 shown! That’s impressive and puzzling at the same time considering the match at Slammiversary but whatever.

Rating: C This did not feel like a big match but I don’t think it was meant to be really. It just felt like a token title defence for Roode that thankfully was on TV and not the PPV. Ok match in the end but where does Anderson go from here?

Carter wants to come clean with AJ next week. Why not tonight if you want something out in the open.

Open Fight night next week. Joy.

Video package of Sting’s TNA career. He comes out and puts over Slammiversary as the greatest night in his career. He thanks the Jarrett’s and Carter…. what the hell??? Sting is attacked from behind by who?? There’s three of them!! Fans chant for Hogan as we close out the show to the beatdown.

Rating: B I really enjoyed this show tonight but that ending came out of nowhere. Intriguing end to the show that makes me wonder who those guys were and that’s all you can ask for as fans. Ultimate X and a gauntlet battle royal to start off the BFG series, plus the fans were into Austin Aries big time and it was a great show. The world title match was lacklustre but it’s a free TV title match so you can’t really complain about that too much. Great effort here by TNA and I’m looking forward to next week’s show.

FINALLY! New name and new motivation!

Hey everyone and apologies again for no new posts for the last week. It’s been a hectic time but I felt it was time for a few updates.

Firstly the title of this blog has changed as shown above. “The Wrestling Ministry” is the name that now matches my Facebook group. I encourage you to join this group if you love talking about wrestling! Meet like-minded fans there who love nothing more than to share opinions and banter about the sport we love.

Secondly, I will be changing up my blogs a little bit now, as I have pretty much only done reviews up to this point. The reviews will still be there, but otherwise I will look to focus on current news; superstars and even include videos of previous classic matches hopefully.

Finally, I hope to actually make some physical changes to the blog itself. To be fair, it looks a bit grim now so I will see what I can add to it. May take some time so we’ll see.

A massive thank you to everyone who has read my blog so far and please keep checking back and encouraging friends/family to read my blog as well.

Until next time guys :D.

WCW Monday Nitro – 18th September 1995 – A title change on Nitro?

WCW Monday Nitro

Date:                   18th September 1995

Venue:                Jacksonville, Tennessee

Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan, Steve McMichael

We are just past the Fall Brawl PPV and, surprise surprise, Hogan’s team beat the Dungeon of Doom in War Games. Oh and The Giant attacked Hogan after the match, setting up the eventual main event between those two at Halloween Havoc the next month. I hope to review the Fall Brawl PPV eventually but, yeah, apart from that I don’t know that much about WCW in this period of Nitro. Let’s do this.

They apparently brought back the dog, Pepe, by popular demand. Ok then.

Emergency in the back, as we see an ambulance…. oh it’s only the Giant, who wants Hogan in an ambulance again. He calls himself the one true Immortal. Sure.

American Males v The Bluebloods

American Males is Scotty Rigs and Marcus Bagwell and the Bluebloods are Steven Regal…. ignore that as Harlem Heat attack them. Looks like they want the American Males instead. For the Tag Team Titles! Hell yeah!

WCW Tag Team Titles: Harlem Heat (c) v American Males

Harlem Heat is Stevie Ray and Booker T. They start brawling before the bell and they manage to keep themselves under control eventually. Double dropkick takes down Booker and the Males take control. It doesn’t last as Booker power slams Bagwell and Riggs takes a scissors kick. Pretty basic stuff here with the commentators overreacting half the time. They’re basic moves guys don’t annoy me with crap announcing!

Hot tag to Bagwell, to a minimal pop, as he cleans house. The Colonel is out here now for Sherri… who gets carried away by him! Riggs counters and rolls up Booker for the three at 4:45. New Champions 24 hours after Heat won the titles.

Rating: D Boring and short match but an unexpected title defence is always welcome. I remember now this is the time that Sherri had banged her head and fell in love with Colonel Parker and married him. Yeah it’s as dumb as it sounds.

Ric Flair makes his presence felt, who talks about Anderson breaking the Horseman code by bringing in Pillman to help him at Fall Brawl. Pillman v Flair later tonight. He promises to kick Pillman’s ass. Standard Flair, crazy as ever.

Sting v Steven Regal on WCW Saturday Night, plus update on Hogan!

“Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff v Johnny B  Badd

New music for Orndorff apparently and Oh Dear God it’s awful! It screams vanity so much it makes me vomit! Anyway, we have a match here… oh come I now know the lyrics! Why? Anyway, on with the match, as Orndorff kicks Badd around the ring to start. He beats him in the corner and the referee has to drag him off. Oh just DQ him already!

Back from break and a knee to the guts gives Orndorff the advantage. Badd comesback but Orndorff ends up outside and gets taken out when looking in the mirror. Idiot! Back in and a piledriver attempt by Orndorff is countered into a backdrop and vice versa for Badd. Orndorff rolls up Badd as a result for the pin at 3:44. Oh joy we have to hear that music again! Too short too rate but it was another basic match. I don’t understand the booking of putting Orndorff over Badd, as Orndorff would retire in a few months anyway.

Footage of Randy Savage benchpressing on a beach before Taskmaster takes him out… with sand! Are you kidding me??

Savage in the ring for an interview and denounces Flair helping him against the Taskmaster. Charming! He calls Hogan a poor judge of character after Luger had his own agenda. This draws out Luger who confronts Savage about being WCW World Champion. Savage is still pissed about Luger low blowing him at Fall Brawl. He wants to fight now but it’s not happening here.

We’re back from break and we see footage from Fall Brawl. Hogan arrives but a monster truck arrives… and destroys Hogan’s bole! Holy crap that was cool! The Giant is driving the truck and is laughing manically! After the main event, Giant comes down and destroys Hogan. Scary agility by the way by Giant.

Ric Flair v Brian Pillman

Back from break and Flair looks pissed. Hard hitting to start and Flair is so funny when he styles and profiles. Flair goes up and chops Pillman down on the outside. Pillman takes over before Flair clothesline’s him down. Flair goes up again but a dropkick by Pillman gets a two count. Commentator’s talk about how Pillman has more of an edge in recent weeks. See how easy it is to build a wrestler’s character so simply.

Pillman’s selling is a mirror image of Flair’s. Sunset flip by Pillman fails and Flair beats down on Pillman again. Flair goes up for a THIRD time but gets thrown off by Pillman, who then fails with his own high flying move. Figure four by Flair…. roll up by Pillman, but only gets two! Hard chops by both men but Flair gets the figure four on Pillman and that’s all she wrote at 5:25.

Rating: C Certainly watchable between these two but not the greatest match. It was weird seeing Pillman use the same moves and selling as Flair throughout the match but it was entertaining to see. It shows how good Pillman is but ultimately, he would never get very far in WCW.

Flair wants Anderson right now. He want’s Anderson next week on Nitro.

Bischoff recaps Nitro and plugs WCW Saturday Night to close the show. Disco Inferno to debut next week on Nitro, oh joy!

Overall: D+ The reason? Nothing of note happened, except new tag team champions unexpectedly but that’s something that would be normal in WCW, especially over the next few years. No Hogan and no Sting hurt this show in a way, but that’s mainly because you can barely fit anything on a one hour show. That would change eventually to two hours but as for tonight, it was a throwaway episode in the end.

WWE RAW – 23rd October 2003 – A sane looking Heidenreich

WWE RAW

Date: 21st October 2003

Venue: Fayettesville, North Carolina

Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This period was weird for RAW in terms of they had decent storylines and potential, but they just couldn’t match the hype or expectations in their matches, save for a few wrestlers. Either way, Goldberg is the World Champion here with Triple H demanding a title shot. I think we are building to Survivor Series at this point, so lets see how this show stacks up. Oh and Eric Bischoff and Stone Cold are co-General Managers at this point as well.

We start with… ah yeah the $100,000 bounty on Goldberg, set by Triple H to anyone who takes out the world champ,which saw Henry beat down the champ before his match with HBK. The match goes on and Batista returned to take out Goldberg with a chair to the ankle. Awesome way to return.

The theme music by Union Underground was just bad ass!

A shot of the steel cage is shown, for the… ah ok we don’t know why it is there apparently.

We open with Evolution, minus Triple H. Damn Batista looked menacing at this point especially when he had hair! Batista is put over by Flair as the fans chant for Goldberg. Batista claims Goldberg should take the beating as an honour by Triple H as he turns up the intensity on the mic. Randy then brings our attention to the World Title and who should be the rightful owner of the belt now Goldberg has been taken out.

Before we go any further, Bischoff comes to the ring (with a bag) and is PISSED at Goldberg being taken out… before declaring himself happy about this whole situation! Ah right he got speared that’s why he’s happy, so screw Goldberg and the fans. The 30 day rule is mentioned (a rarity) and Eric unveils the world title belt from the bag he is carrying. He is about to declare HHH the new champion before Austin makes his grand entrance, to a massive pop.

The Team Bischoff v Team Austin for Survivor Series was announced last week on Raw, with Austin leaving the WWE if his team loses. Austin says Goldberg is returning at Survivor Series against HHH for the world title. Flair loses it and lets rip at Austin with those psycho eyes that are Flair’s trademark over the years. Austin remains calm (?) and that is the Bottom Line. Decent promo that did its job.

Batista speaks back up and tries to provoke and intimidate Austin. An exchange of words before Jindrak and Cade assault Evolution in the ring before fleeing through the crowd. Random attack but whatever.

Shane has a mystery opponent tonight.

Trish and Lita are in the locker room. Apparently Jericho left a message for good luck to Trish tonight. Lita reckons him and Christian are up to something so she’s gonna try and find out. Trish is stunning as usual!

Booker T v Rico w/ Jackie Gayda

Booker is the first man on Austin’s team at Survivor Series. No entrance for Rico, as he jumps Booker T to start. Near fall and a headlock slows the match down a lot. The crowd are hot tonight before Booker takes over with clotheslines and punches. Attempted Ax kick failed but works a second time for the pinfall. Too short to rate but Booker T looked good heading for the PPV.

Jericho interrupts before the spin-a-rooni, saying the crowd came to see Jericho and an impromptu Highlight Reel. He asks Booker how he is so stupid to side with Austin, before Jericho introduces two more members of team Bischoff: Scott Steiner (already knew he was on the team) and Christian (new addition). The cage is then ordered to be lowered by Jericho before Booker T strikes. The 3 on 1 is too much for Booker, before RVD takes out Team Bischoff with chair shots. The cage is down now and RVD makes the unsurprising announcement he is now on Team Austin.

Back from break, Jericho is complaining to Bischoff. Jericho calms down and asks for an IC title match against RVD to send a message to Austin’s team.

Mark Henry v Lance Storm

Long complains he and Henry were screwed out of $100,000 for attacking Goldberg last week. Henry is pissed apparently (when did he ever look happy??) so he has to take out his anger on someone in an open challenge. Enter Lance Storm, who was looking to show more charisma recently (yeah looks as stupid as it sounds). He is beaten down upon entering the ring. Irish whip fails and Storm briefly takes over. Dropkick misses and Henry tosses him over the top rope. Straight away, HBK is here to sweet chin music Henry for the DQ win at 0:48. Too short to rate its Henry v effectively a jobber on TV. Nothing special.

A fatal fourway no 1 contenders match for the Women’s title is announced for tonight.

Heidenrieich on Raw in 2003? Ok then, never knew that. Hurricane shows up to be Heidenreich’s partner for his trial match tonight. They have a picture taken by some journalist as Hurricane pulls a funny face over something about a Little Johnny. Pointless.

Lita finds Christian about the whole Christian-Jericho trying to impress Lita and Stratus scenario (Lita gets dropped out of it for some reason) but the talk goes nowhere as Lita goes to prepare for her match. Two pointless segments in a row? Third time lucky?

Segment #3 is Shane O’Mac warming up when the Coach who implies Kane may be Shanes opponent. Shane says to bring it! Much better.

John Heidenreich and Hurricane v La Resistance

Heidenreich’s tryout match here tonight. Hurricane jumped by Conway to start but the advantage doesn’t last long. Cannonball to the outside onto Dupree before a swinging neckbreaker brings the advantage back to Resistance. I’ll give this to La Resistance they were a decent team despite the fans getting on their backs. Heidenreich hasn’t been in this match yet and we are 3 minutes in so far. USA chants are on here led by the US armed forces at ringside, so no complaints there.

Domination here by Resistance as the fans urge Hurricane on. I find it funny Hurricance goes for the chokeslam every time regardless of opponent’s size. Finally, Heidenreich is in after 6 minutes and beats down the French-Canadians. Bicycle kick for two before Conway makes a trip over the top. Modified Chokeslam to Dupree gets the win at 6:55.

Rating: C- Standard tag match which is fine in this case. The win makes Heidenreich look good as he took down two men. I don’t how long he lasted on RAW for (probably only this week) before heading to SmackDown next year but La Resistance, the former tag team champions, were done no favours here.

Another chokeslam for Conway after the match.

No Disqualification match: Shane McMahon v ???

The mystery opponent is Test. Wait Test is on crutches, who apparently got injured by Shane at a house show. He introduces the mystery opponent: Him!

Straight to the injured foot and Test bails before putting Stacy Keibler in harms way. Stacy repays him by slapping him before Shane beats on him. Any reinforcements (Kane) are not coming out as Shane gets beaten around ringside. Dude, get the message he ain’t coming! Weapons time as the crutch is saved from use by Stacy as Shane recovers. Trashcan lid to the head heard across the city as the Coast-to-Coast is set up.

The pyro of Kane goes off but no Kane as Test hits Shane with the crutch for a two count. Reverse DDT on Test which looked crunching-ly nasty. Only a two! Credit to Test for that kick out. Coast to Coast by Shane connects for the win at 6:25.

Rating: C – Whatever deal Kane and Test had backfired horribly (Kane’s intentions – come on people!) but Shane dished out some hard hitting moves here. These are the sort of matches Shane excels at so credit to the booking on this one and judging by the commentators here, Shane is on a death wish with the freak that is Kane at Survivor Series.

Shane on the same crazy levels as Kane?? Some truth to that, as he calls Kane out. A little demonstration on Test appears on the cards as Test’s foot is crushed on the steps. His foot is already injured Shane, a little compassion here! Kane appears on the ramp but he’s having none of it, because he looks “really scared”. The match is changed to an Ambulance match, with Kane’s pyro accepting the challenge.

IC title match: RVD v Jericho tonight!

Fatal Fourway #1 contenders match: Trish Stratus v Victoria v Lita v Gail Kim

Winner gets the champion, Molly Holly, at Survivor Series. Kim was the Women’s champion after her first match on RAW a few months back. All four in at the same time so a manic beginning ensues. Molly Holly watches on from the ramp. Leg drop from Kim to Lita that looked good as Trish takes a trip outside. Widows Peak before a wild kick by Kim keeps this match going. Richards interference fails before a DDT by Lita gets the pin at 2:53. Molly looks unimpressed by that match.

Rating: C- Too short and too busy to get everything in but the ladies all looked good tonight. Yeah apart from that I got nothing. At least this offered up the best of the Diva’s division at the time.

Tribute to Michael “Hawk” Hegstrand from the Road Warriors. A true legend who went downhill in a horrible way.

The Coach’s Book Review?? Oh God I need a drink! The “Stone Cold Truth” conatains lies… how ironic! Apparantly Bischoff tried to meet Austin face to face to FIRE HIM from WCW! The stupidity of that company overall makes me laugh at times! Austin arrives and Coach blames him for losing his announcer job! Thats a blessing if anything. Coach begs Austin to hit him which Austin is banned from. So Austin decides to make Coach his post match interview to stomp a mud hole in his face.

Cade and Jindrak argue about winning against Evolution tonight as HBK pops up for a little motivating. They head off before Teddy Long calls out the “white boy” (his words) to suggest Henry v HBK next week on RAW. Bischoff then has HBK escorted off the premises for whatever reason. Oh getting back at Austin, right! *sighs*

Mark Jindrak and Garrison Cade v Randy Orton and Ric Flair (w/ Batista

This is over Cade and Jindrak stealing the $100,000 last week and then attacking Evolution earlier. A simple yet effective story. Maven?! Ok he decides to back up Jindrak-Cade. Hard clothesline by Jindrak to Orton before Cade comes in as the Flair chops fly in Flair county. Jindrak back in to clean house before an Orton cheap shot gets a rollup. Maven hits Flair backwards so Jindrak gets the rollup pin at 3:16.

Too short to rate but it sets up the after match beat down by Evolution. Its telling the pop for the win was minimal, as if no one could give a damn about Cade-Jindrak. Batista Bombs all around to end this post-match squash. JR: “We could be looking at the future of RAW right there”. Freakish prediction, but give it another 18 months and that’s the case.

Recap on Jericho stealing a tag team win over RVD last week on RAW. Why can’t they do that more today?

WWE Intercontinental Championship: RVD (c) v Chris Jericho

Our main event and it looks good on paper. Jerry admits this more about the Survivor Series elimination match than the IC title which is about right at least. High flying and technical start for this match, with neither man gaining the advantage fully. A dropkick headscissors from Jericho for two looked awesome particularly. Jericho then mocks RVD’s taunt in a funny moment. Belly to belly by Van Dam gets two before a missed Lionsault by Jericho.

Five Star by RVD but it misses and a roll up by Jericho gets two. Low blow to RVD as this match is so fast paced… a Walls of Jericho now as I can barely type fast enough. RVD fights it…. wait here’s Bischoff to distract the referee who doesn’t see RVD on the ropes!  RVD then taps and the referee sees that at 4:26! Oh wow that was quick but a fun match to watch!

Your new IC champion is…. oh no forget that as Austin is here to announce RVD’s rematch right now for the IC title… in the steel cage! Oh YES!

WWE Intercontinental Championship: RVD v Chris Jericho (c) – Steel Cage

Bischoff and all parties are banned from ringside. Oh boy Bischoff tripped into Austin and he’s now provoked, chasing Eric out back! Back from break and the match has begun with Jericho in control. He targets RVD’s back after the Walls of Jericho earlier which is sound strategy.

RVD counters as Jericho eats steel before punches ensue by both men. Jericho gets thrown repeatedly into the cage before RVD heads up to escape but his leg is grabbed back in. Facedrop and Lionsault fail ultimately after Van Dam is dragged back in again. Sunset flip to Jericho, who lands on the turnbuckle and heads for the top of the cage! Van Dam grabs him at the last second and drags him back in… another facedrop to RVD off the turnbuckle! Damn these two are going for each other!

Jericho escapes again but is dragged back in and kicked off the ropes. Van Dam heads for the exit and Jericho heads for the door. RVD kicks the door in Jericho’s face and drops to the floor at 6:07 shown to regain his IC title. These two should have had multiple PPV showings, seriously!

Rating: B Hugely enjoyable matches despite them being short ones. Considering it was to further an angle rather than about the match itself that’s fine for me. Fast paced and a twist in the steel cage match included, the ending was creative enough too, which is all you can ask for in a TV main event.

Christian and Steiner are out here to beat down RVD and throw him back into the cage. Three on one assault before the Dudley Boys come to make the save. Oh boy here’s Mark Henry as Teddy Long locks the cage door. Booker T now climbs in and jumps off the top to Team Bischoff below to a huge ovation! It doesn’t last as the World’s Strongest Slam ends him. Jericho was busted open somewhere as he sits atop the cage to observe the carnage below as the show ends.

Overall rating: C+ Good episode tonight, with much of the build on the Team Bischoff/Austin match at Survivor Series, which is fine but more build to the World Title match will be needed as well. It feels weird with barely any Triple H on RAW tonight considering he dominated this era of RAW but it felt fresh. Good main event, solid build to Survivor Series and solid promos (bar a couple) and this episode was watchable but nothing totally special.