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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Raw Thoughts - 24th November

· Really liked the opening to Raw, with Shane arriving in a Porsche (or maybe a Ferrari, I’m not good with cars) then running to the entrance.
· The Shane and Steph ever-so-slightly arguing is getting old already. I don’t mind the concept, it’s just that you know that this is going to be all McMahon for several weeks.
· Shane is a natural babyface, but Steph is just no convincing in that role. Or in any role.
· Cole says that Rey was “One of the sole survivors” – they aren’t going to do this are they? Not another phrase (Like ‘Unforgiven’ or ‘25th anniversary’) they can’t get right.
· What do you know, Rey took a move from Sonjay Dutt!
· I loved HBK’s crawl along the ropes to make a tag.
· JBL kicking Morrison to save HBK? I have no idea why, but I love it when stuff like that happens. Gives you something to think about.
· Did Kennedy say he was going to Cross the Line?? Can’t think where he got that phrase from.
· When Lillian was introducing the IC title scenario, and mentioned Regal, I’m sure she said ‘lime’ instead of ‘time’. I know Americans called us Brits ‘Limeys’ but come on......
· Excited by the triple threat, but seems a strange place on the show to put it.
· The advantageous Chris Jericho? No, Michael, one who takes advantage is not known as advantageous. Problems with your tenses again.
· Now I love William Regal, but his commentary was a little muddled. He talked at times about how great CM Punk was, and they would have a ‘feud for the ages’ but then said he’d destroy him.
· Err..............divas match – Candice’s music, and Melina’s video? Oops. Jerry Lawler covers, but Cole makes an even bigger ass of himself by pretending not to have seen the Melina graphic on the huge Titantron.
· Not sure what destroying Jericho like that achieved really. I’ll reserve judgement in case somewhere down the line it is explained, but Cena beating the hell out of Jericho hardly builds a title match fans would want to buy. That’s essentially two nights running that Cena has got the upper hand.
· We end with Kane looking on. Cena v Kane? Is that really going to assist a higher rating?
· Odd Raw. We tease McMahon sibling rivalry (again) and Cena dominance (again) deliver a lacklustre start to an IC title tourney which Punk is likely going to win anyway and see little of the stuff that has made interesting viewing. For example, short stuff from Marella and just one shot of Orton with Manu and Cody.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Survivor Series: Live notes

Welcome to Cena Series. That’s what it seems like anyway. I can’t help but feel that the endless vignettes of Cena holding his paper title belt when he was 12 and the portrayal of him as the golden boy are serving to inflame the people that detest him so.

I have no problem with Cena. I think he is a charismatic son of a gun who has learned to work effectively. I didn’t say he’s a good wrestler. But I respect him greatly.

JR opens the show and gets straight into the Jeff Hardy story. Seriously, if this is a work, it is pretty despicable. Don’t forget they once found Brian Pillman dead in his hotel room the day before a PPV. Surely if it was a situation serious enough to hospitalise a guy they wouldn’t let him compete, big spot or no big spot.

They appear to be doing the thing where they let all the commentators join in. I quite like that.

Nearly all the competitors for this opener are out in the ring. Decent pop for Mizorrison. Is that a surprise or not?

Oh, and by the way, if you are reading this while watching the show then "Hi" and welcome to the first completely live PPV blog. I'm going to be using this format on PPV nights from now on, with the exception of Wrestlemania - because hopefully I'll be there!

If you want to contribute, then please email me at and NOT the email address advertised on the right of this page. That email address will soon be changed, too.

I don't anticipate a high level of correspondance tonight because I have barely publicised this live blog. But if you have anything to say at anytime, feel free to chime in.

Did you expect any different for MVP? He got rid of one, but soon gets ejected by Khali. "Have you ever seen Kane sent to the mat with such ease?" says Matt Striker. Yes Matt, when Khali faced Kane earlier in the year. Man, a 'Khali' chant starts up. Who'da thunk it?

There goes Kane, by the way. And hopefully that's it for Kane/Rey.

Three against three right now, and no surprise that Cryme Tyme, MVP and Kane are the men who are out of it. The six men left are the most pushed in this contest. remains to be seem how they'll get rid of Khali (if at all) but you'd think that the faces will lose a man next.

Wrong again for me. Rey is a house of fire to rid the match of Miz. JBL comes in to stop him doing the same to Morrison. But why not so that last time?

It's all over, and a surprising result, I guess. HBK, along with Rey and Khali, are the survivors, with JBL tricked into a count out then Morrison Superkicked out for the count. Nice bit of comedy with Michaels and Mysterio climbing on the ropes so they can be as tall as Khali, and we have a crowd-pleasing opening.

There was an interesting point raised, inadvertantly, by the commentary team. Morrison, they say, has a World champion on his side, and three world champions outside the ring. Makes me think about how many world or ex-world champions there are in the company now. That's if you take out the ECW title.

Four in the match right now. Plus the current incumbants, Triple H and Jericho. Thats six. Punk, Edge, Batista, Orton, Cena is eleven. Kane, Taker, Big Show. We're up to fourteen. Have I missed any?

Diva time, now, it seems. This is going to be interesting. Cross brand matches have one major problem. They have a mix of babyface and heel competitors, so difficult for the crowd to get behind anyone.

At least Santino is here. I'll root for Raw because of him.

Two nice things to note early. A nice reference by Michael Cole about a 14 (I think) year-old Survivor Series match involving Lawler and a load of midgets, then a really nice-looking headscissors by Michelle McCool.

Now you will not here me praise either of those individuals very often, so savour it. Only fair to give them credit where it's due - God knows they have a bunch of things in their debit column as far as I am concerned.

Lets be fair. A really nice exchange by Michelle and Mickie, now. Ms McCool slowly redeeming herself.

She's gone though. Basically distracted by Maria, so that might be them going back at it soon on Smackdown. Maryse eliminates Mickie, incredibly sloppily. It is 3v3, with some horrible looking pins. And it is noticible that they are protecting certain individuals. Candice pinning Natalya? After a spear? C'mon!

Well, that was awful, frankly. Several falls that looked barely credible, and a pretty dead crowd. At least Beth was the sole survivor and we got a few seconds of Santino's awesomeness.

Oh, and maybe Candice got injured, too. She looked like she pulled a hamstring at the very least, because she did it at a time which didn't seem appropriate to sell. If she is hurt, I wish her a speedy recovery, in all seriousness. But I think we can cope without her.

Right, where to start here. In short, Matt Hardy just did an interview with Todd Grisham about Jeff Hardy's injury.

The story is that Jeff got hit in the back of the head with a blunt instrument. This was in a hotel, so outside of WWE jurisdiction. This pretty much confirms the fakeness of the story, so taking it as work, it means we have an attempted murder storyline. That's what that is.

Matt said 'he feared the worst' leaving a horrible silence as you interpret what he meant by that. This seems a good time to tell you that he was wearing a skull and crossbones t-shirt. Hmm, not very appropriate. Speaking of not appropriate, the next match is.........a Casket Match. Dear lord. This is from a company, though, that put a woman in a Casket on Smackdown. Not just any woman, but EDDIE GUERRERO'S WIDOW. I despair sometimes, I really do.

Taker is on his way, so I have five minutes before he reaches the ring.

I just remembered something. Matt Hardy said that he hardly got any sleep last night, but didn't they 'find' Jeff in the morning. Which would surely mean Matt found out after he woke up from his night's sleep.

This is quite likely an oversight, as continuity isn't WWE's strongpoint. However, do you suppose that, somewhere down the line, they could reveal Matt to be the assailant? The 'I didn't sleep' could be shown as an error which implicates him.

Even if that isn't picked up, it could still be Matt who did it. The brothers have never really got into it properly, and it might be a fun programme for a bit. Perhaps Matt could be jealous about his bro's popularity, despite the fact that Matt has a World title and Jeff hasn't.

And if we are taking the fantasy booking further, what if Matt did it in conjunction with Edge. Turns out that a couple of Lita's former conquests hit it off in the storyline, and try to take out Jeff. Then Jeff finds an ally.

And it's Christian.

Something to think about.

Taker and Show are well underway. Slow and methodical so far, but then it was last time and turned out pretty good.

By the way, Marky619 has offered Vince McMahon as another World Champion. Do I allow that or not?

Match has perked up. Taker with a legdrop on Show through the table.

Seriously, what the hell? Fire to stop Show escaping? More druids? Another Casket? This is ridiculous.

And what the hell was that as a finish? A Casket match won with a fluke? Oh my goodness. I'm all for doing matches differently and trying to show something different, but after a terrific match with these two men last time this was a huge step down.

We have the babyfaces in the ring for the next Survivor Series match. I would like it noted, though, that the arrival of Randy Orton in the arena elicits just as big a pop as any of Punk, Truth, Batista, Kofi or Matt. Seriously.

I know I talked about being scpetical of them putting the belt straight onto Cena, but I'd really love to see Orton v Cena and watch the split crowd. That'd be great fun.

On commentary, Striker says that Truth makes "a real killing" with his lyrics. Nice one, Matt.

Meanwhile, one elimination so far, and that's Regal, who Punk got rid of straightaway. Way to promote the IC title, huh?

I think we may see a little Punk v Regal Intercontinental feud imminent.

I'm doing quite well here, I said Batista would be against the odds, Henry would beat Hardy and then Batista would overpower Henry. All correct so far. He's just powerbombing Shelton as I speak. This is a better match, by the way.

And a nice finish too. Orton uses the powerbombing of Cody to tag in and land the matchwinning RKO. Formulaeic match, but a better quality of wrestling. Pretty hypocritical of me to slag off the formula involved then praise it, but there you are.

By the way, did I really hear Lillian say "The sole survivors are Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton"? That makes them survivors, not 'sole' survivors. I'd suggest 'sole' comes from the latin word 'solo' meaning one. Cody and Randy would be 'dual' survivors if you want to get into that.

The build-up package for the Smackdown title match features Hardy very prominently. That suggests that his omission may have been a late call.

I am absolutely not sturring the pot here, and perhaps I am jumping to a premature conclusion, but do you suppose Jeff failed a third test? And, rather than reporting a straight up "We fired him" on the day of a PPV which might affect the late buyrate and draw negative press on the PPV day, they run a story which they think will build intrigue in the last few hours.

I hope it's not true. I really do. Sometimes I am happy to be wrong.

So far, it's not worth updating you on the moves in this match. So I'll give you the chants.

"We want Hardy"

"Boring, boring"

and even.......


You can guess the movesets. I don't need to say much more.

Well, that wasn't boring, I'll give you that.

It's a bit nonsensical, and I can't forgive the treatment of the Jeff Hardy thing, but to wind the match up with the announcement of it being a Triple Threat - "He's here" - and it being Edge, followed by a Jeff Hardy run in, swinging of chairs and a spear.

When Vickie appeared it wasn't in doubt that Edge would be next, but the manner in which he then claimed a title was........different.

I can't work out whether I approve or not. But it was a shocking ending, and I would simply say that if that happened at more PPVs then more people would purchase them. In my opinion.

Steady title match so far - crowd seem to be very Pro-Cena, probably because of him being in, or near, his home town.

Incidentally, some correspondance from Imran, who says that Taker and Show was "underwhelming" which is an understatement, and adds. "Gotta love Takers ability to work Pyro's... its like he's a character from Mortal Kombat"

Well, WCW made Glacier look like Sub Zero, didn't they? And to be fair, Kitana stole Alundra Blayze's German Suplex.

Dammit, Imran, you see what you've done? I'm thinking about Acclaim (Bloody Acclaim!!) video games rather than the match now. Thanks very much.

Slow stuff so far. The logic behind Jericho trying to use power moves to grind Cena down isn't solid, since Cena is alwasy built as a powerhouse. I wouldn't mind so much if Jericho was working the leg.

Cena doesn't look like he has his normal zest. To be fair, I don't blame him, but this is why you don't put guys just returning straight into a title match.

I guess we knew it would happen, really.

John Cena is the World Champion once again, which is an understandble, though slightly disappointing step. I would have liked to have seen Jericho go over in a tough battle, which wouldn't have made Cena look bad because of the fact that you could sell the injury. It would, however, have boosted Jericho.

You could find a way of making Cena number one contender again and letting him battle Jericho one more time, and winning the belt that way.

However, it was not to be, and to be fair I can't begrudge Cena his win. It just gets a bit tiresome knowing he's going to win matches like this.

The match itself was somewhat lacklustre. The ending was more than passable, if you are happy with the outcome, so we'll credit them for that.

Overall, I'd rate Survivor Series as a letdown. Certainly holding it up to comparison with most other PPVs this year, it did not live up. Only one of the Survivor Series traditional bouts really had any excitement. Taker/Big Show was extremely poor compared to their last match. Triple H v Koslov was terrible until Edge and Hardy showed up.

No standout matches and two very disappointing ones has to rate this PPV a dud. Give me surprises like Edge alongside great wrestling contests and I'll be a happy man. But the grappling quality was simply non-existant tonight.

Hope you enjoyed the new live blog, for those that joined me throughout the show.

Feel free to continue to contribute with emails to and I will most definitely bring back the live blog for Armageddon in four weeks time.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Survivor Series Preview

So, he’s back then.

Do they give him it or not?

They might, mightn’t they? But then again, they might go for the swerve. Or is that what everyone is expecting?

Who knows? But we’ll talk about it later.

Survivor Series tonight, and am I the only person in the world who doesn’t care for the return of the Survivor Series matches? Every year people talk about the fact that we’d like to see the old-school elimination matches more often, and every year I wince because I always remember them being formulaic and rubbish.

Mind you, I don’t like tag wrestling that much, either, so I guess I’m in the minority.

Anyway, the thing that gets me with the Survivor Series matches is that I can sit here now and offer you the basic blueprint of the matches now.

Right, we start 5 on 5. The babyface team get and early upper hand and several of them get to hit a big move or two. One of the heel team kicks the babyface best at taking a beating........who then takes a beating.

The heels gradually whittle down the faces, with the occasional babyface getting to eliminate a heel. This will be, at some point, countered by a heel getting a quick pin on a face that is caught unawares.

The heel team will get ahead by a ratio of about 4:2, with the two remaining good guys being the most popular on their side. They will whittle the odds down, with the result either being a sneaky win for one heel or the babyfaces somehow getting the upper hand.

During the match, I should point out, a series of moves which never win a match are now good enough to pin an individual who has only wrestled for six minutes.

Oh, and in one of the matches, two wrestlers who have yet to settle their score on TV, and who are due to fight at the next PPV, will get into it and either get disqualified or counted out.

So then, let’s take a look at each match.

Raw v Smackdown Divas match: Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Candice Michelle, Jillian Hall and Kelly Kelly v Michelle McCool, Natalya, Victoria, Maryse and Maria

Not worth doing major breakdowns or even winning predictions for these encounters, but we’ll have a look at a few plot points.

· Look for the new number one contenders to the belts to make themselves known. I’d suggest a heel walking out on a babyface (so either Beth walking out on someone, or someone walking out on Michelle) to set up a battle in the future.
· I’d take Festus to distract Maria and get her counted out.
· The Bella Twins and Katie Lea are the notable absentees in the match. I can’t see them interfering, but worth remembering that the whole roster isn’t out there.
· Speaking of which, what if Beth were to be the sole survivor, with the premise being that no-one can hang with her. And we then see Gail Kim on Raw.

Team HBK v Team JBL: Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, Great Khali and Cryme Tyme v JBL, Kane, John Morrison, The Miz and MVP

· Look for MVP to be the first to be eliminated, possibly being humiliated on the way.
· I would think that in the spirit of the Royal Rumble, Khali will only be eliminated by heels ganging up on him, or by distraction.
· HBK and JBL getting a double count-out is possible. If they are out of the way, don’t be surprised by a result seeing Miz and Morrison surviving.
· More likely, though, this could open the show and would see a babyface victory.

Team Orton v Team Batista: Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Shelton Benjamin, William Regal and Mark Henry v Dave Batista, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy and KR-TruthKwik

· Orton has been a sole survivor on at least two occasions. I’d suggest they could play this up and if not have him make it three, then at least tease it.
· This is very much a hodgepodge match. Not many of the people involved have really important programmes going on elsewhere. The office seem big Hardy right now, so he may well survive for a time. I’d think Kofi, Punk and RKKwick-Truth may soon depart.
· Batista, after losing his title, is due to be made to look a killer once more. I can see it being 5-2 or 4-1 or something, with Batista dispatching heel after heel.
· In particular, look for Hardy to be downed by Henry, and then Batista to eliminate Mizark.
· I am going to be keeping an eye on Cody, in conjunction with his recent interaction with Randy Orton. Maybe Cody will abandon Randy or cost him something?

One other note, you may find that more time is devoted to the Survivor Series matches, since there are only six matches on the card.

Undertaker v Big Show – Casket Match
· This can only really go one of two ways.
· Either Undertaker slays the Big Show, and after a bruising battle manages to do what the Undertaker always does and overcome the odds. OR..........
· Big Show follows Yokozuna’s lead and, with Vickie’s assistance, enlists a bunch of athletes who systematically destroy Taker.
· The latter is possible, because as I mentioned in a piece I wrote for the Sun last week, Undertaker is broken up. Watching him live in Manchester for Smackdown was interesting, because he is moving about very gingerly. The simplest movement seems laboured. I’m not having a go at the guy. I’ll admit to not being the biggest Undertaker fan, but I respect and admire the match greatly. He has a huge burden upon his shoulders and, well into his forties and carrying a big frame around, will understandably slow down. It may be the time to give him an excuse to sit out the schedule for a few weeks, perhaps returning for Royal Rumble, starting a programme with someone to lead him into Mania.

Triple H v Vladimir Koslov v Jeff Hardy (WWE Championship)
· I am a big Jeff Hardy fan, but this is not the time to put the title on him. He, as a rising, massively popular star deserves to win it from a heel on a grand scale, not from the much-loved Triple H in a triple threat match.
· I also don’t see Koslov taking the title. I’ll give Smackdown a great deal of credit for producing a whole bunch of entertaining main events of late. Some points are taken off for schmozz finishes nearly all the time, but still, it’s been an improvement. Koslov on top does not help.
· I can’t see any other result than a Triple H win.
· By the way, on the Jeff Hardy being found unconscious story – I really don’t whether it is work or not. I would figure it would be work because I’m sure it wouldn’t be publicised so big on were it genuine. It is likely an excuse for why Hardy loses tonight. Perhaps the perpetrator will reveal himself down the line.

John Cena v Chris Jericho (World Title)
· This is what I was talking about at the start. Will they give to him? Or is it a double swerve?
· I seriously can’t see anything but a Cena win. The thought process in the back, I’m sure, will be that Raw’s ratings are not great (They dipped below 3.0 again this week) so the reason may well be that the Champ is weak. Cena is their boy and is a man they’ll feel they can trust. The reaction to Batista has been lukewarm, really, and Jericho always has his detractors backstage. Cena will be safe pair of hands as far as they are concerned.
· By the way, keep an eye on the lifters on Jericho’s boots. They have him in heels to make him look a couple of inches taller.
· Jericho will not win this clean. If he is given the nod to go over, it will only be by foul means.

A note on two other intangibles in the proceedings.

· Edge. Are they holding out to see if Christian comes back to WWE before deciding Edge’s direction? Or will Edge be back as soon as tonight? Maybe he attacked Hardy.
· There is room for a talk segment on the show. Just a reminder, then, that Santino Marella is not on the card. Obviously he could be involved with Beth and the divas match (he could be a reason for Beth getting eliminated) but there is potential for an impromptu Santino interview somewhere.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Raw Thoughts - November 3rd

Raw Thoughts

· I love how the 800th episode was several weeks ago and WWE have just pretended that it didn’t happen and called this special the 800th one.
· How come Orton gets the Kane mood lighting for his promo?
· Yeah, the Hardys! Because the 800th episode of this show is so huge we can’t rely on the people who are actually ON the RAW roster, can we?
· Anyone tuning in and not knowing Jeff Hardy is going to wonder what the hell happened to Alice Cooper. Nice eyeliner, Jeffrey!
· I quite like that – the heel team were the ones who lost via the ref not seeing a legal tag. Nice bit of variety. Well, for WWE at present it’s like a change.
· Ah, episode one of Raw, showing the best and worst of things. Bobby Heenan and Sean Mooney. In that order. Wow, and Max Moon was on that show. Part of me misses those days............but most of me doesn’t.
· Cool, the Razor v 123 kid match. If this is going to continue I’m going to enjoy it.
· Regal wins a neat little Battle Royal. Some interesting things to take from it, mainly the pointer to DiBiase looking very strong in the match and eliminating both Cody and Manu in the same spot.
· Oh, and Santino can do commentary every week, as far as I am concerned.
· Damn – I was hoping we’d have a sort of linear background of Raw, but we have to jump to McMahons, don’t we, since Shane has now arrived.
· Right, so Adamle has gone has he? So that’s interviewer, commentator, GM Manager? Could happen!
· Ok – a nice twist with Orton. I liked Shane’s thoughts, the angle of Orton hiding his injury. But Orton v Punk is a nice grudge match that could have been saved for a PPV, or a ratings pop on next week’s Raw at the very least.
· Always it’s a bit self-indulgent by Michaels and Hunter, but it was pretty funny stuff. Even if they did steal a joke from Friends. That’s how you run for 800 episodes. Steal jokes off of the other long running shows.
· Good effort from Miz and Morrison. Obviously DX were going to win, but nice rub for the cocky young heels.
· They tease that briefly with JBL about him being GM, but that wouldn’t be such a bad idea. JBL’s strongest suit is his work while on the mic, and I firmly believe that he’d pull it off well.
· Terrific storytelling with Orton and Team Priceless tonight. Absolutely terrific. I’d have preferred the commentators to refer to DiBiase costing Manu and Cody their place in the Battle Royal previously, but you can’t have everything.
· Ok – maybe a bit of McMahon dissention, which may well lead to Shane and Steph at odds, which will then likely lead to the return of the only man who can mediate between them. (Clue: his surname is the same)
· A clip of Undertaker’s entrance on the first ever Raw. Hmm, they didn’t mention his opponent. Funny that. Anyone remember who it was? Answers to the usual address.
· Khali as a babyface. We could see it coming, of course, but dear God we don’t want Mark Henry v Great Khali matches. That could set a new record for atrocious wrestling.
· Batista falls crotch first on the top rope – Michael Cole says “This could be the opening....” He’s right, it could be now!
· Decent cage match. In fact, better than decent. Good stuff. Some nice spots, and in a match which has been done umpteen times it’s difficult to be innovative, but they were. Well done guys. · Nice to see Jericho win the belt cleanly too. Shame it’ll likely be a stop gap before Cena regains at Survivor Series.