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Monday, 21 May 2007

WWE Judgment Day - thoughts and reaction


I read Wrestlecrap earlier this weekend. RD says to watch because might be historic Wrestlecrap. I truly fear for this PPV. And for me having to justify to myself that I spent 15 quid on it. But you never know. Carlito v Flair may be passable. If they give Punk and Burke enough time it might be worth it. Hopeuflly Edge/Batista will tell a good story, and Benoit/MVP I am happy to see again.

But Cena versus an immobile non-anglophone? An injured HBK? And a roster devoid of Triple H, The Undertaker, Ken Kennedy, Booker T, Rey Mysterio and maybe HBK? This is a genuine crisis. Y2J could make a fortune, you know.


Preliminaries done, and it looks like we are opening the show with Carlos Jr and Naitch. A bit insta-feud, but its brought Carlito on a little bit.

JR keeps putting over St Louis. Perhaps to suggest Flair and Carlito are ARCH enemies.

I loved the old school heel tactic for Carlito to work on his foe’s arm. I loved the feel of this whole opener. Carlito proved he doesn’t have to rely on the rather contrived stringboard moves. It felt very much like a real scrap between two folks who particularly care for one another. I particularly like it when faces kick out at one all the time. Gives matches a more authentic feel, I think.

I’m a little disappointed Carlito didn’t win. I’ll be pacified if the feud ends with a Carlito win, but surely the point of putting a young buck like The Young Mr. Colon with a legend like Flair is to further the younger guy’s career. Not to have him dominate a body part for 10 minutes then lose to move we all knew was coming.

HBK: “He’s Bald, King”. Interview with Todd Grisham. No wait, HBK: He’s Been Knocked-out. Orton attacks him from behind. The reason? HBK: His Bad Knee.

After a lengthy video package, here comes……….the money. ECW title match and our first repeat of a Backlash match. I fully expected Lashley to win until I read about Lashley v McMahon at One Night Stand. Surely Lashley wins the blow off match, and if he wins against 3 guys, then why wouldn’t he beat one of them?

I make it 7 minutes since I started my last entry, and most of that was taken up by entrances. That wasn’t what I expected, Lashley to win it that quickly, but it sort of backs up my previous statement, as D-D-D-Dusty Finish baby. Lashley needs to beat Vince to take the belt? I expect Bobby v Vince at ONS, extreme rules.

My faith is beginning to be restored. They gave Punk and Burke nearly 20 minutes, and that might just be the best match the ‘new’ ECW has seen. It depressed me to hear CM Punk get nowhere near the reception that Lashley or Flair got, and then a scattering of “boring chants”. However, I sincerely hope that this was the Pay Per View single match that starts the CM Punk bandwagon rolling towards stardom.

And while I feel the former Chick Magnet is the one en route to superstardom, we shouldn’t discount the contribution of Elijah Burke either. I thought the match, though far from perfect, was a solid 4-star encounter, and if this is the new product direction, I;m all for it.

Either Orton cracked HBK hard in the head or the former Kliq member has been drinking from his buddy Scott Hall’s pitcher. It’s a shot in the head concussion angle, and lets face it, it won’t be long until Shawn’s hair resembles Perry Saturn. Mind you, if he faced Randy Orton with Moppy, Orton would still put a chinlock on the mop. Then use the mop to tidy the mess in his hotel room. Allegedly.

Although I appreciate they had to book around it, I thought there could surely have been a better way of sorting the Orton/HBK match out. Firstly, that could only hurt Orton was made to look stupid when floored for over minute when Michaels hit exactly one move. I don’t mind the after match RKO, but the wife’s overreaction was a bit much, and the logic of the match was flawed. If the doctors don’t allow the match to take place, then it doesn’t take place. And if the ref starts it, why finish it.

However, I’ll shut up now because the situation was damned difficult for them to sort out. With them trying to keep HBK strong, despite being crippled, and having Orton as the dominant one, but him being in the doghouse supposedly. To be fair, I cant really think of a better alternative.

Err, Edge says he has had the best two weeks ever? Didn’t he lose on Monday night?

It’s the Hardys v Cade and Murdoch, being called by Cole and JBL for some reason? With three official Raw superstars, one Smackdown guy who has frequently appeared on Raw, a Raw referee and an angle which we have only seen on Raw, we have the Smackdown commentators.

Maybe its like Brian Christopher and Jerry Lawler. What with JBL being Cade’s father and all.

So The Hardys do it. Fairly standard tag match. Neither spectacular nor sub-par, what annoyed me was that there were no real false finishes. I might have let Cade and Murdoch hit their finisher and have a couple of other spots to make me think that the title might change hands.

Murdoch and Cade did, however, shake hands. Which makes you wonder where they are going with that. But not too much.

Its time for the hastily, but understandably, booked Edge v Batista match. Edge is, in my opinion, the strongest hand the WWE have right now, and placing him in a programme with someone we haven’t really seen him feud with, like Batista, is exciting. I’m just trying to work out what they will do with Batista when Kennedy comes back, because a hot face Kennedy v hated heel Edge should be a money match……….money in the bank, if you will.

AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!! Sorry for the mid-match note, but Cole says that Edge “Literally picked the bones like a vulture.” No he didn’t, you ill-educated fool, he didn’t literally do it, he figuratively did it.

JBL just dropped a Carl Jung reference. Cole probably thinks he was one of the Dragons in WCW.

Actually JBL was full of gems in this one. Capriciousness? Sycophancy? Damn, they have Word of the Day toilet paper in Wall Street? Or maybe Matt Striker is finally getting through to someone.

Christ, what with these two, Lashley, there are more spears than Zulu in this company now.

A relatively sharp victory for Edge, and nice for him to win clean, via the (kayfabe) leg injury of Big Dave, rather than a rope hold or a ref bump.

A seriously pointless Diva segment where they all discuss who will win the WWE title match. Krystal ends by saying that she predicts pain. That was certainly painful, so she probably knows what she is talking about. She is an extremely odd shape, Krystal. What with her stick thin build but surgically enhanced chest, and her man Teddy Long’s little head, they look like a couple of mannequin rejects. I’d be worried if I were them – they may fall asleep and Al Snow will try rip them apart for gimmick purposes.

Still, the segment featured ‘all’ the WWE divas. I think I counted eleven, with Torrie and Cherry conspicuous by their absence. With a dozen or more sources of talent like that, how easy do you think Rob the likes of Rob Conway and Nick Mitchell will sleep tonight?

Benoit and MVP go at it again. This would have made more sense if MVP had taken one of the previous encounters, making the two out of three fall stipulation more appropriate, but I have enjoyed their matches thus far, so I’ll just try to enjoy.

Another cracking little display from these two. Ironic that they have been given the slot normally reserved for the women’s match comedy spot. Well these two men were deadly serious, and didn’t let us down. And things have been finished in the appropriate manner, advancing the character of MVP, and I would say placing him in far higher regard than anyone could possibly have thought three months ago. Although, I have to say, my Sun colleague Simon insisted to me, Pre-Wrestlemania, that this guy could be big. I now believe him.

And here we go. Gotch and Hackenschmidt. Funk and Lawler. Flair and Steamboat. Hart and Austin. Michaels and Angle. And now Cena and Khali.

Mercifully it was fairly short. As will be my comments about it. Logic suggests Cena v Orton has to be imminent. However, my common sense tells me logic rarely has anything to do with booking. One Night Stand is two weeks away. Tomorrow’s Raw could have some very interesting signposts to how the summer may pan out.

Overall a pretty impressive show considering my expectations and the limitations imposed on the WWE by mother Nature and the fickle finger of Fate. A superb Burke/Punk match. Another great installment of Benoit/MVP. A quality opener with Carlito and Flair. A solid enough tag title match. Orton/HBK we’ll let pass. Ironic, really, that the three major title matches were the least impressive matches. Edge and Batista will need some fast build up and some sort of gimmick match ramp-up, Lashley v McMahon seems nailed on, and the ECW title match tonight was largely geared for that. To be fair, another 3 on 1 would have only really have been the same as their Backlash match.

If forced to put a rating on Judgment Day lets go 7.5 out of ten. I think that’s fair for an eight match card which had three great matches, but none of them major title encounters.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

The End of Term report – League Two (Old Money – Division 4)

I have to start with a local side of mine, a team who many friends of mine support, and one for whom my Dad played for three years – that’s Torquay United.

Plenty of even the most hardcore Gulls fans will tell you that Torquay have been like a cat with the proverbial nine lives over the last two decades. Richard Coyle, who plays Jeff in Coupling, would undoubtedly describe them as “unflushables” up until now. You, those irritating little, er, jobs that you just can’t get rid of, but keep popping up.

Despite being a Plymouth Argyle fan, I’m deeply saddened to see Torquay slip out of the league. It’s good for Devon football to have as many teams as possible, and with Exeter already having slipped out of the league three years ago, things don’t look too rosy down this way, apart from Argyle of course.

My worry for Torquay is that unlike Exeter, who have reached the play-offs and could still go back up this year, although they have to turn around a 0-1 deficit to Oxford, they do not have a reserve team, no youth academy, and a small, rather dilapidated ground. They also have far fewer supporters to call on than Exeter, who attracted 8,659 fans to St James Park for their first leg play off game last week.

If you are a Gulls fan, or sympathizer, I’m begging you to get down to Plainmoor next season, because Torquay United are in massive trouble, and without the support of fans and local communities, they may very well be doomed, and even as a Green, that would be a footballing tragedy.


Staying with links I have, I’m really pleased to see Swindon claim the third automatic promotion spot in League Two, for the man who turned around Plymouth Argyle’s fortunes, Sir Paul Sturrock. ‘Luggy’, as he is affectionately known, wasn’t the same kind of bubbly character that our current gaffer, Ian Holloway, is, but Paul Sturrock didn’t need catchy sound bites or anything like that – he had sheer class running through his veins.

If what I understand is true, James Beattie and various other fancy dans who forced him out of Southampton should be ashamed of themselves. Paul took us to two promotions, indeed two divisional championships, took over a struggling Sheffield Wednesday side and got them up through the play offs in first season, and then kept them safe, with plenty to spare, in their first season back in Championship.

To get a fourth promotion in six years is a fantastic achievement. Congratulation, Luggy. I’m sure Swindon fans will be more than looking forward to facing a Leeds side managed by a certain D. Wise next season.

I read an article a few days ago about what a cracking season it has been for the West Midlands clubs. A forgettable one for Villa, but this article talked up the success of Birmingham, Wolves and West Brom, but shamefully neglected to mention the outstanding year that Walsall have had.

They won the league ahead of Hartlepool on the last day of the season, having been relegated from League One the previous season – as indeed, were Hartlepool and Swindon, more on that in a minute – and proved you do need Money to go up. In their case, Richard Money. Rumoured to be a friend of Petr Cech, Craig Cash and the little known Scottish player, Angus McBankersdraft, Money hadn’t managed in the football league for 12 years before taking over at Walsall just over 12 months ago. Not a bad response.

Walsall have recently changed their kit, their sponsor and even their club badge. More importantly, they will be changing division next year as well.

The top four in the league are all clubs that were relegated lasted season. Walsall, Hartlepool, Swindon and MK Dons were the quartet who dropped to the basement division last year. Talk about bouncing back.

It remains to be seen whether Milton Keynes can join their comrades in 2005-6 relegation in returning to the third tier, but seeing as they finished ten points clear of any other ten in the play-offs, they must surely be favourites. But we all know the play-offs don’t always work that way. They play Shrewsbury, while Lincoln take on Bristol Rovers.

We’ll return to Bristol, looking at City’s season, as well as glancing towards Rotherham, Brentford, Bradford, Chesterfield, and……*gasp*…..Scunthorpe. Yes Scunthorpe!