WWE Night of Champions 2014

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In a pretty definite contrast to last NOCmonth’s Summer Slam event, I am pretty damn underwhelmed. The built up to Night of Champions was filled with really bad and boring television. I haven’t ordered a PPV in years due to my commitment/deal with Cinplex here in Montreal. Main Event Radio hosts what have been known as “PPV Bashes” at the cinema where people pay a pretty penny to watch the shows on the big screen. If anyone wanted to fork over 25$ a ticket to see this PPV they were sadomasochists, kool-aid drinkers or just creatures of crazy habit. Now due to the deal between WWE and Rogers in Canada those bashes are a thing of the past. We decided to make a last moment gathering with some fans at a local establishment. Once again, I didn’t directly pay to watch this craptacular PPV; just for drinks and scrumptious food.
That is enough with my bitching about the situation. Lets get onto the event itself. Just because the weeks leading up to the show were bad doesn’t mean Night of Champions had to suck. I mean with matches like Roman Reigns VS Seth Rollins and Cesaro VS Shaemus for the US Title on the card, it couldn’t be bad… Right? Wrong.

Gold and Stardust defeated The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championship in 13 minutes. This was exactly how you imagined it: superkicks, dives and Stardust being awesome. This match started the show off on the right foot. A lot of back and forth action in this match with a fantastic flipping dive from the apron to an Uso on the floor by Goldust. The end came when Thing 2, I mean one of The Usos attempted a splash from the top rope onto Stardust; but ol’ Stardust got his knees up and pinned said Uso with an inside cradle. The main highlight of this match was the celebration by the Dusts. These guys just looked giggly and proud. No booing for the heels here.

Sheamus beat Cesaro to retain the WWE United States Championship after a Brogue Kick out of the corner. I handily declared this bout MATCH OF THE NIGHT. This isn’t because I’m a Cesaro fan at all. This was pro-wrestling. This was two huge men going out in the ring and beating the Holy-Hell out of each other. There was a spot where I swear Cesaro slapped Shaemus at least 15 times in the face at full force. Many great false finishes towards the end, but it was a surprise Brogue Kick out of the lower TV corner that put Cesaro down for the count. This was another great 13 minute match. At this point I was sure the rest of the show was going to stand up to and possibly be better than Summer Slam. I was wrong; horribly wrong.

The Miz with Damien Mizdow recaptured the WWE Intercontinental Championship from Dolph Ziggler with R-Ziggler in 9 minutes. Besides Damien Mizdown being a highlight, this match sucked. As much as Miz and Ziggler have wrestled each other, they aren’t consistant in their performances. This match had nothing good going for it, especially when two guys from some band I don’t know were at commentary and got involved. Miz picked up the W with a roll-up and more than a handful of Ziggler’s trunks. The man has a pretty defined tan line. This sucked.

Seth Rollins VS Roman Reigns was scheduled next. However before the PPV, it was announced that Reigns had to have emergency surgery on an incarcerated hernia. Therefore he could not even be at the arena tonight. Seth cut a basic heel promo in the ring having the ref count out Roman and declare Seth winner by forfeit. Seth then called anyone out for a match. Any monkey with three broken paws and a blindfold could have correctly predicted the return of Dean Ambrose. Arriving by taxi, yes taxi, Ambrose proceeded to brawl with Rollins until it was finally broken up by agents and security. This could have been skipped honestly.

Because we mentioned on Main Event Radio that Roman would be unable to compete no predictions were made.

Rusev with the ravishing Russian Lana defeated Mark Henry via submission to the Accolade in 9 minutes. This match was built up with patriotic pride. Henry was fighting for America. Henry was defending his country against a Bulgarian “now residing” in Russia. I like Mark Henry. He’s a nice dude. But the crying while Lilian Garcia sung the national anthem was a bit much. This match was as you expected it to be: slow for most of it. The finish came after Rusev’s second attempt to lock in his version of the camel clutch. Cue the Russia flag and Lana’s legs. This match was boring. I hate saying that because I do like Henry and I think Rusev is a beast and will be a big thing. But it is the wrong combination for a PPV match.

Randy Orton beat Chris Jericho with a surprise RKO in the longest match of the night, going 16 minutes. What can I say about a match between The Viper and Y2J? This was your typical Randy Orton match. Slow to build a fancy finish. A match we have seen him do with countless other opponents. A few little spots that both Jericho and Orton can do with their eyes closed. Those spots can be called by all fans with their eyes closed too. What saddens me is this is likely the exodus for Jericho as his current contractual commitments to WWE are up! See you in a few months Chris.

AJ Lee regained the WWE Divas Championship in a triple treat match versus Paige and Nikki Bella. This match was good. (Author’s note: Damn it felt weird to type that) Not much too this good little match. Nikki can take a sick bump. The girls brought back 2003 with a powerbomb-superplex combo that oddly left all three ladies on the mat. The finish saw AJ Lee winning via submission with the Black Widow. We are all winners with that match.

My biggest problem with WWE Night of Champions stemmed from the main event and build to it. After the complete destruction of Super Cena at the hands of Brock Lesnar, the proper course of action should have been to keep Cena away for at least a month. But oh no, WWE can’t have time away from Cena unless he’s at death’s door. They immediately have the guy come back the next week and kill all the heat Bray Wyatt had and establish him as the legitimate challenger for Lesnar’s title. To make things worse, Cena at one point threatened HHH with a lawsuit if he didn’t have his rematch with Lesnar at Night of Champions. Yes, a babyface using a lawsuit as leverage against the heel boss. WWE has clearly been reading Vince Russo’s “Pro-Rasslin’ Booking for Dummies.”

John Cena defeated Brock Lesnar, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion via disqualification. I won’t go into much detail of the bout itself. The match included a couple suplexes and the dudes looking like animals. The finish came when Cena had the upper hand and Seth Rollins ran out, clocked him with his Money in the Bank briefcase in front of the referee. Naturally this gave the win to Cena, but not the title. I imagine this will set up a match in the cage at Hell in a Cell, October 26 on the WWE Network for only 9.99 American.

Seth, much to the surprise of the crowd curb-stomped Lesnar and proclaimed he was cashing in his title shot now. Predictably Cena recovered and attacked Rollins. Lesnar then thanked Cena with an F5 to end the broadcast.

This PPV was not worth the 9.99$ it is advertised for with the WWE Network and really not worth it if you buy it through conventional PPV. A bad execution to a poorly built PPV. Match of the night goes to Cesaro versus Shaemus for the US title. Unless forced to, I don’t recommend going out of your way to see WWE Night of Champions. Surprisingly I’d recommend last week’s IMPACT Wrestling for a good watch or NXT Takeover 2: Fatal4Way.

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Retro Review – TNA Bound for Glory Lowdown 2014

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I was desperately hoping TNA Bound For Glory 2014 would be a fantastic show. This is a company that many are saying is on life support. They currently do not have a TV deal set up for 2015, and are only on Spike TV at the moment out of the kindness of VIACOM. Bound For Glory is TNA’s biggest show of the year. This is the event that should wow people. This event should be giving us that huge pay off on our emotional investments of their wrestling stars. I keep writing should because we all know TNA likes to “swerve” people or just use poor logic. This year seemed like a big one back in July when Dixie Carter announced BFG would be heading to the lad of the rising sun! That’s right, their big one would be held in Japan, with The Great Muta’s Wrestle-1 as co-promoters.

Things began to take a turn for the worse when in the weeks leading up to BFG, no “Bound For Glory Series” tournament was held. This tournament designed to build a number-one contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship had become a BFG tradition. Then with less than a mere one month from the event, the fans were given a card that didn’t quite feel “grand.” This was because the lack of a TV deal, meant TNA couldn’t resign big names that had contracts expiring. To make matters worse they were bulk taping their TV weeks and months in advance to save what little money that had and included title changes. This meant matches, for championships at the PPV would be spoiled and essentially useless; something the Japanese wrestling fans and wrestlers don’t stand for. This in turn lead us to a Bound For Glory with no TNA World Heavyweight Championship match or surprise.

On to the event itself!

(Author’s note: I am aware the PPV was recorded a few hours before it aired, and managed to avoid match spoilers.)

The PPV went on air and right away you knew this event wasn’t going to be historical. The production values of the recording equipment and the live stage were well below the standards of TNA. Hell, this felt like a second rate Ring of Honour event.. you know the non televised events. I know Korakuen Hall is legendary for Japanese pro-wrestling, but the venue is lacklustre to international fans and felt at times like y high school gymnasium.

Minoru Tanaka defeated Manik by submission with the Minoru Special (rolling armbar) in 9:53. I enjoyed the in-ring action of the bout. These guys did a bunch of high spots, but slowed the pace down to sell the moves they had done. A very welcomed change from Manik’s usual work. What ruined this match for me was Mike Tenay commentating from Nashville calling Tanaka a “former shoot-boxer.” To people who don’t know the lingo of “shoot” it means “real,” which is pretty much calling wrestling fake in the first four minutes of your version of the Superbowl. Taz attempted to save Tenay by saying shoot-boxing was an early for of MMA, which is still stupid.

After the match we were treated with some Team 3D career highlights as the night before they were inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame. What I gathered from this is Bully Ray got really fat in 2006. Thank goodness he’s in much better shape today.

Ethan Carter III defeated Ryota Hama in 5:50 with his frontward DDT. Hama is a huge mofo with a look very reminiscent of our ol’Sumo friend Rikishi. However Hama is much much bigger. The announcers kept saying he was “almost 500 pounds!” This was a bad little match that thankfully didn’t last long. The highlight came when EC3 was sitting dazed in a corner and Hama hit a running butt smash. EC3’s face and selling was simply priceless and amazing.

MVP defeated Kazma Sakamoto in 8:07 with the Drive-By Boot. For those who don’t know Sakamoto played Lord Tensai’s lackey in WWE when the character first debuted. A fact Tenay quickly brought up, making this guy look very second rate, because it made me think of a better promotion. Sakamoto did do a nice job of playing a cowardly heel, to MVP, who was booked as a face on this show. Once again for those not actively watching TNA, MVP is the leader of a heel stable. What got me mad about this was Tenay couldn’t remember the name of MVP’s finishing move and had to call it a variant of the Shinning-Wizard, while Taz explained the difference.

Samoa Joe then cut a promo from the back talking about being X-Division Champion. SPOILER: he vacated the championship at the last tapings “due to injury,” so to anyone following TNA in a linear fashion, this makes little to no sense.

Samoa Joe (c) defeated Low Ki and Kaz Hayashi by submission in 10:32 with the Coquina Clutch out of nowhere. Nothing to this match. It was good for what it was. They all hit each other really hard. To be totally honest I turned down the sound for a little while because the commentary was so bad at this point, I almost stopped watching.

Novus (Jiro Kuroshio and Yusuke Kodama) defeated Andy Wu and El Hijo del Pantera in 9:15. This was a  match with only Wrestle-1 performers. Nothing of note other than Jiro Kuroshio wrestled with a suit jacket on and Kodama hit a nice twisting moonsault for the finish. My exact notes: Stupid. But different. Not my style. High paced but no time to feel real. Taz was clueless, said a guy named Andy woo should work in a laundry mat… Wtf Taz?

Team 3D (Bully Ray and Devon) defeated Abyss and Tommy Dreamer in 12:53. They stopped wrestling after about 3 minutes to all just go out and throw crap into the ring. However the crowd went crazy for them just chucking weapons into the ring. The wrestling itself was very slow. Taz mentioned wrestling gipsy joe in that arena.. Wtf Taz.

The finish saw abyss bring out the thumbtacks Team 3D gave Dreamer a 3D into the tacks.

Havok (c) defeated Velvet Sky by submission in 6 minutes to retain her TNA Knockouts Championship. (Spoiler: she wasn’t the linear champion at the time) What happened in this match is Sky had the upper hand and his double axe handles from all four corners of the Wrestle-1 ring. Eventually Havok mustarded getting the heat on Sky again, but Sky cut her of and attempted another axe handle. This failed as Havok just caught her in a bearhug and won via submission. This sucked.

The Great Muta and Tajiri defeated James Storm and The Great Sanada in 10:56. The Great Muta is moving very slowly in his age. I almost felt bad for the guy. This was your standard tag match with faces that are far too old. I still cannot get over how fat Tajiri is looking nowadays. The finish saw Sanata and Tajiri attempting to spit mist into each other’s eyes but missing. Then Sanata tried a top top move but got caught in a double mist from The Great Muta and Tajiri. What killed the heat of the match was the fact James Storm was incredibly over with the Japanese fans as a face, while he’s a heel in storyline.

Once again I have come out on top in my PPV predictions.

I have to mention I don’t want to hate TNA shows. I really don’t I am a firm believer in the world needing at least two top promotions to offer an alternative to WWE. I just can’t bring myself to support a company that at every turn does something stupid and doesn’t learn from the mistakes of a company that died before it. I am referencing WCW. The in-ring action of this PPV could have been forgiven if it weren’t for the completely horrible production values that surrounded it. TNA Bound for Glory is supposed to be the biggest event of the year, yet it felt like a crappy event you’d go to on a Friday night that’s held in the basement of a church. The most questionable of details was the commentating. I don’t know of Mike Tenay and Taz are owed money, but these two really phoned it in. That’s an intended pun because they kept referencing that the PPV was pre taped, but their commentating was live, from Nashville. Admitting to this is a problem on multiple levels! First off, it send the message that your company is too cheap to fly you to Japan. Secondly, it makes the product feel even more detached. Third, when little mistakes like no knowing the name of a move aren’t edited out, you just look sloppy.

In the end, this was a sup par PPV when they really needed a homerun. Not only did they under deliver, but their actions prior to the actual event lead to handicaps left and right. Some of your biggest names were absent. Where was your Champion Bobby Lashley? Where was Bobby Roode, Eric Young, or The Wolves? They were blocked from being on the show because of past/future storylines. This was a bad PPV plain and simple and it is very very sad for TNA and their actual fans.

Retro Review – Survivor Series 2014

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Survivor Series 2014 Survivor_Series_2014_Poster

Going into Survivor Series this year, I made my peace with WWE’s simply abhorrent build to their PPV’s/Special Events in this, the WWE Network era. Bland builds and subpar emotional investment were becoming all too easy for WWE. I really didn’t care for the stipulation between Team Cena and Team Authority. That being said how many times have we seen people have their jobs on the line for a match?

It wasn’t all bad as the build to the Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose match was stellar. So we had that going for us; which was nice.

 

The Miz and Damien Mizdow defeated Gold and Stardust for the WWE Tag Team Championship in 15:25. Also in the match were The Usos and Los Matadores. This was the usual crazy, fast paced match that you get when The Dust Bros and The Usos are involved. The crowd was unbelievably into Damien Mizdow and the other wrestlers knew it. Special note to Stardust rocking new gear and playing up Mizdow’s “overness” with the crowd. The finish came with Mizdow blind tagging himself in on The Mizz and pinning Stardust. Their celebration afterwards was almost as entertaining as the match itself.

Mizdow

Team Fox (Alicia Fox, Emma, Naomi and Natalya defeated Team Page (Paige, Cameron, Layla and Summer Rae in a whopping 14:35! For those keeping track, Alicia Fox is a face again. This was a wild match that screams Fit Finlay and Sara Del Ray. If they weren’t agents on this match, I don’t know who else could have planned this out. These girls went balls (metaphorical ones) to the wall. Very few quiet moments in this match that saw a proper pin attempt by Cameron! I know I shouldn’t be highlighting this sort of thing at the WWE level of pro-wrestling, but when dealing with Cameron we have to grade on a curve. However, they rest of the match was still fantastic.

Divas

Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose via disqualification in 14:00. This match saw these two guys bring it. They already had done a stellar job building this match with their promos on RAW. Wyatt had constantly tried to get Ambrose to join him or destroy him mentally with shots at his absent father. This match was just like their promos, rough and tough. The end came when Wyatt introduced a steel chair to Ambrose and demanded he strike him down, Vader style. The crowd demanded he too it as well. Ambrose being crazy and a crowd pleaser, obliged. The proceeded to destroy him with more chairs; put him through a table with a top-rope elbow and buried him some more with foreign objects. I just want to remind everyone I called this non-finish on the show.

Ambrose elbow

Adam Rose and The Bunny beat Slater Gator (Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil in 2:36. This was the most lackluster match of the night. The build came from a backstage promo where Rose was acting more heelish towards everyone’s favourite Bunny. Nothing of note in the match other than The Bunny has some nice dropkicks and picked up the win much to Adam Rose’s dismay.

Nikki Bella with Brie Bella defeated AJ Lee in 33 seconds to win the WWE Divas Championship. This match was short and very, very sweet. They essentially had Brie turn heel and kiss AJ Lee right after the bell rang, much like when Shaemus beat Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 28. I’m a red blooded heterosexual male. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing that kiss between Brie and AJ. Everyone wins.

Bella Wins

Team Cena (John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan and Ryback) defeated Team Authority (Seth Rollins, Kane, Mark Henry, Rusev and Luke Harper) in 43:05. The stipulation behind this match was if Team Cena loses everyone except John Cena will be fired the next night on RAW and if Team Authority loses; Stephanie McMahon and Triple H will lose their power in booking/managing the shows. The lead up to the match was very much a disappointment. We had seen this sort of stipulation in the past and saw it never stick or just fall flat. However, Ol’Vinnie Mac was back and earlier in the show added that if Team Authority lost they would lose their power, and the only man who could ever make the decision to let them back would be John Cena himself.

The match itself was pretty good. There was a lot of playing to the crowd and having both Stephanie and Lana at ringside was awesome for the fact they both have great reactions to action in the ring. Somewhere in the match, it came down to Big Show, Cena and Ziggler vs. Rollins, Kane and Harper. Then Big Show turned heel again for the million and second time, by knocking John Cena out and letting him get pinned. Show then shook the hand of Triple H; a man who was a thrown in his side for nearly a year. For those keeping track that left poor Dolph Ziggler as the final member of Team Cena versus three members of Team Authority. Ziggler made surprisingly quick work of Kane and Luke Harper, while bumping like Stretch Armstrong at a daycare. Finally Triple couldn’t take it anymore and removed the refs from action and proceeded to lay his own authority on Ziggler and laid a KO’d Rollins on the prone Show Off. Just as we though all hope was lost THE ICON STING appeared at the top of the entrance! He and Triple H had a stare down and The Stinger laid Hunter out and put Ziggler back on top; giving the win to Team Cena.

Sting assist

The insane reaction from the crowd when Sting’s music hit was beyond imaginable. I sadly wish this would have happened 10 years ago.

In the end, this was a phenomenal PPV/Special Event that was well worth the amount you may have paid for it. The road to Wrestlemania has begun; and it looks like it will be a sweet ride.

 *All images copyright WWE.com

Steve Yu Interview


STEVEYUU***This is just my interview with Steve Yu from the January 26th edition of Rowdy Wrestling

The director of The Resurrection of Jake the Snake, Steve Yu joins Tony to talk about the process of recording life for Jake, DDP and Scott Hall in ‘The Accountability Crib.’ They talk his connection to wrestling and DDP and what his plans are in the future for INSPIRED: The Movie!

The Resurrection of Jake the Snake is already out on digital download! Go ahead and buy it now on iTunes!

Twitters: @DocuSteve, @JakeSnakeMovie & JakeTheSnakeMovie.com

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