Thursday, April 28, 2011

JC's Take: Extreme Rules Preview & WWE Draft Review

Hey everyone. First let me apologize for not having an NFL Draft Preview like I said. Some things came up and I wanted to put more time into this piece than the NFL Draft one.

This Sunday the WWE presents us with Extreme Rules, or as some people call it, "Wrestlemania Part 2: WITH STIPULATIONS!" Some people don't like this PPV, but I can tolerate it. With Wrestlemania just a month in the past, they don't have time to build up proper new programs. So the WWE needs to continue their existing Mania programs, but change them up a little bit. So they need to add some stipulations to make people not say, "I just paid $55 bucks to see these matches, why should I pay another $45 to see them again?"

Now the problem with this PPV is that the build to some of these matches have been poor, especially when it comes to the WWE Title match. There is also a big UFC PPV the night before. I don't follow UFC, but apparently it is in Toronto in the Rogers Centre, and the card is stacked. That will probably mean very low PPV buyrates for Extreme Rules.

With this being said, lets get right into the Extreme Rules Preview. After the preview, I will look back at the WWE Draft and give my take on who were the winners, losers, and where each brand stands post Draft.

Country Whipping Match: Michael Cole & Jack Swagger vs Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross

The feud that will never end. Why? Because Vince McMahon is probably loving every second of this backstage. He might be the only person that is, but it is his company, so he can do what he wants. This was arguably the hottest program going into Wrestlemania. Michael Cole was one of the most hated men, if not THE most hated man in the company. People couldn't wait to see Jerry Lawler get his hands on Cole at Wrestlemania. Finally, Michael Cole was going to be shut up once and for all.

Instead, the match was boring. Nobody took Cole's offense seriously. The match dragged on and on, before Lawler finally made Cole tap out, only to have the RAW GM reverse the decision. Now Jim Ross is fully involved in this feud. When Lawler won the right to a re-match, instead of going for Cole one-on-one, he chose this tag match. That's smart reasoning Lawler. Choose an out of shape announcer as your partner against an in-shape younger wrestler.

This program has been pretty much the same thing over and over since Wrestlemania. Michael Cole runs his mouth, Jim Ross gets humiliated, Jerry Lawler either makes the save or attempts to make the save, move on to the next show. I doubt this program ends at Extreme Rules unfortunately. Everyone would love to have Jim Ross back as a full time announcer, but Vince McMahon doesn't. He sees Michael Cole as the future voice of the WWE. If he wants to be that, he needs to stick to being a straight play-by-play man. Unfortunately, his character is so hated now that it's very unlikely that can ever happen.

I'm not sure what exactly a "Country Whipping Match" is. My guess is that it will be similar to a strap match. Possibly Cole/Ross and Lawler/Swagger will be bound together by ropes at the wrist. It could also mean that the loser of the match gets whipped at the end. One thing that will affect this match is Jim Ross health. He apparently has a broken hand after his "vicious" attack on Michael Cole last week, which only came a month too late. I think this match could set the stage for a Jack Swagger face turn. Cole takes the loss and blames Swager for it. Cole pushes Swagger too far, Swagger puts Cole in the ankle lock, and Ross and Lawler take turns whipping Cole with a belt.

WINNERS: Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross

***The Following Is A Spoiler for this Friday's Smackdown***

No DQ, No Countout, Loser Leaves Smackdown: Michelle McCool vs Layla

I'm really surprised that the WWE has decided to break-up Laycool, assuming they go through with it. I've actually enjoyed their "Couple's Therapy" sessions the last couple weeks, especially the acting of Layla. Layla has done a good job of selling shock and sadness with the actions of her former BFF Michelle McCool. McCool will be the heel in this situation. She's the bully picking on her friend for her losses, even though McCool was pinned by SNOOKI at Wrestlemania.

McCool is the better wrestler of the two, but Layla is no slouch either. She's improved greatly in the ring over the last few months. I think she could be an ok babyface diva. But the question is who moves to RAW and would be a better fit over there. I think the answer to that would be Layla. McCool would be the #1 heel on Smackdown in the Divas division. Layla could go over to RAW and team with Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix. She could also do a squash job for Kharma. Plus McCool is married to the Undertaker, and she probably won't move as long as he is still around.

WINNER: Michelle McCool

Falls Count Anywhere: Rey Mysterio vs Cody Rhodes

With Rey moving to Smackdown, this feud ends on Sunday. That's a good thing. While this program has been a star making one for Cody Rhodes, he needs to move on to a new opponent here. Cody's new darker side to his gimmick has been great. His promos have been outstanding in the last two months. I loved the paper bag promo on Smackdown last week. Normally something like that would be corny, but Cody pulled it off just right.

I'm sure Rey will attempt to go after Cody's face here. Of course no chair shots to the head. This match is a question of who needs the win more. The two are even as far as wins go. Cody won at Wrestlemania, Rey won a couple weeks ago on Smackdown. So this is the rubber match. Rey really doesn't need a win here. He's over with the crowd as a face. The fans, especially the kids, will love him no matter what. Cody is in line to become a future main eventer on Smackdown now, so he could really use the win in the rubber match here. It will elevate him in the eyes of the fans, and people will probably really begin to take him as a serious threat with a win here. I would love it if Cody won, then after the match beat down Rey to the point where he was off of TV for a couple of weeks. That would put Cody over as a real threat, and garner him more heat from the fans. I'm going with Cody here.

WINNER: Cody Rhodes

Last Man Standing Match: Randy Orton vs C.M. Punk

In case you haven't been paying attention the last few months, this is how this feud has played out: Punk costs Orton the WWE Title, Randy Orton destroys every member of Nexus, Randy Orton beats C.M. Punk at Wrestlemania, Randy Orton beats C.M. Punk one-on-one at RAW. So to make the obvious point: Randy Orton has looked strong here. He's now considered the #2 babyface in the WWE. The problem to me, and to some others, is that Orton's character has become stagnant and boring in recent months. In 2010, Orton was arguably the hottest wrestler in the company. He was a heel for the first half of 2010, but you wouldn't know that by just listening to fan reactions. But after Orton won the WWE Title, his character lost some steam. The reason for that was because he was playing second fiddle to the John Cena/Wade Barrett storyline, even though he was the WWE Champion.

Another interesting subplot to this match is the recent news that has comeout regarding C.M. Punk and his WWE contract. Punk is apparently burnt out from being on the road without a break for the last 5 years. Punk also doesn't like his current standing in the WWE. And it is even worse now with Miz and Alberto del Rio being on RAW. Punk feels he deserves just as big a push as Miz and Del Rio have been getting. He has a point, he's been with the company longer and is a better wrestler than the two. I would have loved to see Punk go to Smackdown instead of Orton, and then let Punk be the #1 man on Smackdown. Even though Punk eats, breathes, and sleeps wrestling, I think he may take a few months off once his contract expires. He could take the summer off, or even the rest of 2011 and return at the Royal Rumble.

With all of that being said, I see Randy Orton winning here. He's the new #1 guy on Smackdown, and he will need to be established as that. Orton has looked strong throughout this feud, no reason to think he won't here. I don't see Orton staying down for a ten count in this match. Orton wins with an RKO through the announce table. Punk continues to be put down until he signs a new contract, or his contract expires and he takes an indefinite hiatus.

WINNER: Randy Orton

Steel Cage Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship: John Morrison vs John Cena vs The Miz (c)

I have a few problems with this match, and I will get those out of the way before getting into the preview. The first is that it is a Triple Threat Cage Match. That could be the dumbest idea ever. Having three people fight inside a cage just seems idiotic, which the Miz pointed out a few weeks ago. Cage matches were designed to keep two men inside and not let anyone interfere. Of course, the WWE doesn't care about the history of cage matches, they just care about making money, and they think this concept does. If they are going to have a triple threat cage match, I'd much rather them take off the door and make the match only winnable by pinfall or submission. That's my biggest problem with the match.

Now on to the actual build of the match, which I also think has been bad. First of all, John Morrison has had ZERO interaction with Miz or John Cena. He's been more involved with R-Truth than Cena or Miz. They should have just let Miz and Cena go at it in a Cage, then have Morrison and R-Truth go one-on-one in a "Loser Gets Burned by Cigarettes" Match. Ok, not really that type of match, but some kind of EXTREME match to fit in on this PPV. All of this means that there is probably less than a zero percent chance of John Morrison walking out with the WWE Championship on Sunday.

So this brings us down to John Cena and The Miz. The question that has to be asked is this: When does the WWE want to put the title on John Cena? He's going to win the title back at some point in 2011. The hot rumor making the rounds is that the WWE wants to build towards John Cena vs Alberto del Rio at SummerSlam. I'd love to see that as a Wrestlemania match, but there is no way they can hold that off until Wrestlemania 29, so having that at SummerSlam is acceptable. If the WWE were to build that properly, however, Del Rio would be going into that match with the title. Plus, Cena has to be holding the title, or at least be involved in the title picture, come Royal Rumble time, because there is no point of having him in the Royal Rumble match since he is already facing Rock at Wrestlemania.

This is why I think the Miz is retaining the WWE Title here. Vince still loves Miz as WWE Champion. He likes all of his PR appearences he makes. I think Miz may be turning face sooner rather than later. He's been getting more positive reactions from the crowd, and I could easily see him turning face once he loses the WWE Title. I think Miz loses the Title at the June PPV, but he retains it here. Morrison goes to crawl out the cage door, only to have R-Truth come out and slam the door on his head. This also distracts John Cena, allowing Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Cena, and Miz walks out the cage door for the win. Cena doesn't get pinned so he saves face, Morrison seeks revenge on R-Truth. And on a side note, I loved R-Truth's promo on RAW Monday. Great job from him, I didn't think he had that type of promo in him.


 Ladder Match for the Vacant World Heavyweight Championship: Christian vs Alberto del Rio

There's lots of intrigue surrounding this match. Before the Draft, this match was pretty much considered a toss-up. Now, it seems like Christian would be the obvious winner, especially with Del Rio going to RAW. The logical explanation is that there is no way the WWE would put both the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship on RAW. However, the WWE has done crazier, and stupider, things in the past. With another PPV in less than a month, they could always have both titles on RAW for a couple weeks, then put one title back on Smackdown at Over the Limit. RAW is the A Show after all. I think the SyFy network would have a big problem with that, however. Plus it would look bad in the eyes of the WWE fans, having the tow major titles on RAW, and the two secondary titles on Smackdown. That just wouldn't work.

Edge's unexpected retirement has finally put Christian in a main event position. I'm sure Christian feels a bit guilty about that, but you have to step up and seize opportunity when it comes to you. Chrisitan has had many fans that feel like he deserves a run at the top, me being one of them. I for one think it is now or never for Christian. If he doesn't win the World Title here, I don't think he ever wins it. Everything is set up perfectly for it to happen, it is just a matter of Vince finally giving him the opportunity.

As far as Alberto del Rio is concerned, it seems like his destiny just keeps getting delayed. There was talk of him winning the World Title as early as the Royal Rumble. Everyone thought he would win at Wrestlemania, and most thought he would win here at Extreme Rules. Now with Del Rio being drafted to RAW, it looks like his destiny is being delayed even more. Del Rio's time will come, but it may still be on hold for a couple of months. I'd be shocked if Del Rio isn't WWE Champion by June.

I think it is finally Christian's time, and he comes through here. Ricardo attempts to interfere on behalf of Del Rio. He grabs Christian's leg, but Christian fends him away. Both men exchange punches on top of the ladder. Del Rio grabs the World Title and attempts to hit Christian with it, but he misses, and Christian takes Del Rio's head and smahses it against the ladder. Del Rio falls off, and Christian unhooks the title and becomes the new World Heavyweight Champion.

WINNER: Christian

Where We Go From Here
Over the Limit is 3 weeks from Extreme Rules. Again, no time for new programs. Lets say we get:
WWE Championship: Miz (c) vs John Cena vs Alberto del Rio
World Heavyweight Championship: Christian (c) vs Mark Henry
John Morrison vs R-Truth
Rey Mysterio vs Dolph Ziggler
Kofi Kingston vs C.M. Punk
Randy Orton vs Cody Rhodes
Daniel Bryan vs Wade Barrett

It's really tough to pick a card when you don't know who will be feuding with who once the Draft results kick in. Lots of questions out there. The only match I'd consider a "lock" would be John Morrison vs R-Truth.

WWE Draft Review

Overall, I was disappointed with the entire Draft episode of RAW. The John Cena move was a shocker at the beginning, but having him move back to RAW at the end of the show was disappointing. It will hurt future drafts, because people will be hesitant to buy into the big picks early on.

I also didn't like forcing the Draft into a 2 hour show. We already know why it happened so early. Uncle Vince was scared of the falling ratings, and he felt like moves needed to be made immediately. Of course, the ratings only improved by .3 ratings points, and it hurt the build to their PPV Sunday. They weren't even able to put all the picks on the show, they did some during commercials! Also, the one thing that bothered me the most was the matches that were for 2 picks. Those matches should be competitive 10-15 minute matches, it would make the picks seem more important. Instead, both matches barely went 3 minutes, and the Randy Orton/Dolph Ziggler match didn't even get entrances! If this took place on a 3 hour show, none of these issues would have happened, we would have gotten better wrestling, and the picks could have been made to mean something more.

But either way, the WWE Draft has come and gone. So lets look at my Top 3 Winners and Losers of the 2011 WWE Draft:

3 Winners

1. Cody Rhodes: To me, there is no doubt that Cody Rhodes is the big winner of the Draft. With Alberto del Rio moving to RAW, and The Miz and C.M. Punk not moving to Smackdown, Cody becomes the top guy on the blue show. There's no doubt that he deserves it. As I said in his match preview, Cody has grown leaps and bounds as a character. I don't think he will immediately be put in the World Title scene, but he would be my early favorite to win the Smackdown Money in the Bank match at the July PPV. I thought Cody's main event push wouldn't come until next year, but it looks like it will be coming earlier than expected. No complaints here. I think Cody will be World Heavyweight Champion by this fall.

2. Sheamus: Everyone knows Sheamus has the potential to be a top level main eventer. He's held the position before. On RAW, he was reduced to nothing more than a jobber. Yeah he has the United States Championship, but he was way too lost in the shuffle. Hell, he just lost to Kofi Kingston in 3 minutes on RAW. Sheamus can get a fresh start on RAW. He can be built back up on the show, and can slide into a main event spot if needed. Sheamus is a good in ring worker for his size, and can handle himself in a main event spot. While I think Cody benefits the most on Smackdown, Sheamus won't get lost on the RAW heel side of things on Smackdown, and he will be asked to do more on the show, which he is more than capable of doing.

3. Alberto del Rio: There's a reason Vince put him on RAW so much leading up to Wrestlemania: He loves the guy. Vince sees him as the top heel in the Company down the line. Now, he has the chance to constantly show off his talents on the A show. With talk of Miz turning face down the line, and C.M. Punk leaving, Del Rio has the opportunity to become the lead heel on RAW. There's no doubt that he can do it, and a summer program with John Cena should be a hell of a lot of fun. I'd even like to see him work a program with Miz once he turns. Del Rio has been one of the best characters in the WWE since his debut, and there's no reason he won't continue to entertain down the line.

3 Losers

1. C.M. Punk: Punk was upset about his position before in the WWE, and I'm sure he is more upset now. With Miz and Del Rio currently on RAW, Punk is no higher than the #3 heel on RAW. You could also make an argument that he will soon slip behind R-Truth on the pecking order. Punk deserves a lot better than he is currently getting. There really is no program for him once he finishes up with Randy Orton at Extreme Rules. Cena is with Miz, Morrison with R-Truth. He could go back to Rey, but they had a long program last summer. He could be used to elevate Kofi Kingston, which wouln't be a bad idea. Long story short, Punk is a man who looks to be lost in the shuffle, with no clear path for him moving forward.

2. Sin Cara: I need to preface this by saying the following: I'm looking forward to watching Sin Cara wrestle on Smackdown. He should be given a lot more time on their to showcase his skills. The reason I consider Cara a loser is because it is obvious that the WWE has lost some faith in him. They put him on RAW because they thought he could be a top attraction. Instead, people are talking more about his botches than his moves and look. On Smackdown, at least they can edit it out some of his screw-ups. Either way, it will be tough on Cara knowing that they couldn't trust him on a live show, so they had to move him over on Smackdown just to fix up his mistakes.

3. Dolph Ziggler: I thought Ziggler's move to RAW earlier in the year would be a good one for him. He had the ability to showcase his wrestling ability. He had a good look with the slick-backed blonde hair. But he's gotten rid of the hair, and has been lost on RAW ever since Wrestlemania. That seems to be the theme of mid-card heels on RAW. No direction for them whatsoever. He didn't even get an entrance this week on RAW, and then lost cleanly in 3 minutes to Randy Orton. Ziggler is behind Miz, Del Rio, Punk, and R-Truth on RAW, and now he may even fall behind Jack Swagger and Drew McIntyre.

Where Does this Leave Each Brand?
RAW: The RAW side of things is very heel heavy. There has to be a face turn coming soon. Right now the Top 3 faces would be Cena, Mysterio, and John Morrison. I would guess Jack Swagger will be the first person to turn. I believe he will turn on Cole at Extreme Rules, and Cole will find someone new, possibly Dolph Ziggler or Drew McIntyre, to help him out. Kofi Kingston could always be elevated as well, but some people believe his time has come and gone.

SMACKDOWN: On Smackdown, there is opportunity for multiple people to step up. Randy Orton will be the top dog, but there will be plenty of room for younger guys to step up. That list includes Cody Rhodes, Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, and even Ted DiBiase Jr. Smackdown should be a lot more entertaining now, especially as a wrestling show. With all of these young guys on the show, it will be fun to see which one grabs the opportunity to become the new top dog in the company.

That's all I have for today. I should have an Extreme Rules Review either early or late Monday.

Until next time,
Justin C

Monday, April 25, 2011

JC's Take: WWE News & My WWE Draft Re-Do

Hey everyone. Welcome back. Lets look back to, at least in my opinion, a bad week of WWE TV.

-I'll start with R-Truth's heel turn. First I'll say that I think it is the right move for him. He's been lost in the mid-card as a face ever since he came back to the WWE. Truth needed to do something to separate him from the pack, and turning heel was it. I also thought the whole smoking thing was a nice touch as well. I don't support smoking, I hate it, but it is again a unique touch to his character. My favorite thing about wrestlers is when they develop a trait that makes their character unique. Now Truth just has to use it effectively to get him over.

Even though I liked Truth turning heel, I also had some problems with it. I thought it dragged on too long. The promo exchange that lead to the match between Truth and Morrison was abysmal. Neither man is strong on the mic, and it showed in that segment. The match the two had was ok for an 8 minute TV match. But again, the post match beat down just went on too long. Truth's attack just seemed all over the place. There was no flow to it. He's going to need to work on that to become an effective heel.

My other problem was with the man Truth beatdown in order to turn heel: John Morrison. This isn't a knock against Morrison. He's a good wrestler who is a solid upper-midcarder. The problem is, Morrison isn't as over as John Cena. That post-match beatdown and heel turn would have been much more effective had it been done on John Cena. Sure Cena isn't the most over guy with the older fans, but could you imagine the shock and disappointment on kid's faces seeing their hero beatdown, then getting cigarette smoke blown in his face? I know the WWE doesn't likw to make Cena look weak at all, but Truth would have gotten more heat had the beatdown been done on Cena instead of Morrison.

I don't know what they'll do with Truth. I'd guess he will find a way to get back in the WWE Title match on RAW. But the idea of having a Fatal Four Way Steel Cage Match just sounds dumb. Either that, or Truth will be involved in the finish of the match at the PPV. I'd like to see Truth in a short program with Cena, if anything just to get Cena away from the title picture for a month or two.

-Whether it's nerves or not, something is up with Sin Cara. I'm still a fan of the guy, but his debut with the WWE has been anything but special. From his botched entrances, to his struggles in a match with Primo, to his botched finisher last week, he has to calm down when he is out there.

The Primo match is on the WWE. It's their fault for not making Primo look like a threat, which in turn made Sin Cara look weak not being able to handle lowly Primo. The entrances I really don't know who to blame. It could be about the set-up of the trampoline, it could be about the way Cara is running. I don't know. The botched moves I believe are a combination of two things. One, Cara being nervous. There's said to be a lot of pressure on him, and he's probably feeling it. The guy has a reputation to live up to, and I'm sure it can be tough.

The second reason I think Sin Cara is botching so many moves is because people in the WWE aren't used to his style. There aren't many, if any, people in the WWE who can do what Cara can do. They'll have to get used to Sin Cara's offense before they can put on a good match. That's why Primo wrestled his first match with him. The two wrestled a few house show matches to get used to each other in the ring. It might be more difficult for Sin Cara once he has to work with a bigger guy like Sheamus or Jack Swagger. I think once Sin Cara gets into an actual program with somebody, it will be easier for him to get over and work an effective match. So the ball is in your court, WWE Creative.

-Is there a more enjoyable character in the WWE now than Cody Rhodes? I find it hard to think so. He's just been money in this feud with Rey Mysterio. Cody ahs taken a charcter that at first seemed dumb and more appropriate for the early 90s WWF, and turned it into the 2nd heel spot on Smackdown, a huge shot up the card, and a man in line for a WWE main event push sooner rather than later. Cody's work on Smackdown this week is what is partially leading me to changing my original projections about the WWE Draft. I really hope he goes over Rey in their rubber match at Extreme Rules. A win over Rey there before a move over to RAW would do wonders for his character.

-I thought the WWE could have done a much better job with Alberto Del Rio's "Retirement Party" for Edge. It just seemed so thrown together and out of place. I didn't really laugh at anything other than Ricardo riding on a scooter. What do I think the biggest thing was coming out of that segment? Christian climbing the ladder and grabbing the World Title. In the WWE world, 99% of the time that means the guy who does something like that isn't winning the title at the PPV. Now of course, Alberto del Rio could do the exact same thing on this week's Smackdown, and then we'd have a conundrum on our hands.

-I may not agree with the idea of breaking up the Corre, but at least it is giving the them something to do on TV. It's also allowing Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater to get some mic time in their attempt to get over. While I don't know how much it will help Heath Slater, it should help Gabriel. I don't think Slater can get any higher than mid-card status on his own, and probably no higher than the low mid-card at that. I think Gabriel if booked properly, and of course that is a big IF, could be an upper mid-carder. Do I think he can get to the point of winning the WWE or World Title? Probably not. But in a couple years he could be one of those guys you could throw into a fatal four way or six pack challenge and look good in the match. I think the Corre is getting broken up at the Draft tonight. I already technically had the Corre breaking up in my origianl Draft, but I'm switching it just a tad bit in my re-do.

-Sting came out in an interview this week and said he was "very close" to signing with the WWE earlier this year, the closest he's ever been in his career. But he went to TNA because he had something to prove, and he didn't trust how the WWE would handle his character. What was there to prove in TNA? He's looked awful since he came back. Now it's not entirely his fault. His main event match with Jeff Hardy was terrible because of Hardy. And his triple threat at Lockdown was bad because of his opponents. Sure Sting has lost a step or two in the ring, but the man can still go. It looks like TNA is building towards Sting vs Hogan, which is really dumb. Hogan can hardly walk, the two had a terrible match in their primes, and you know that TNA will find a way to screw it up.

In my own opinion, I think Sting may now never appear in the WWE. He seems to be digging himself a hole with these interviews. He basically said Triple H was the second option to face Undertaker when he said that HHH's spot, along with a Hall of Fame induction, were his if he decided to go to WWE. That right there seems a little illogical to me. Why would Sting worry about his character being ruined if the WWE planned on inducting him into the Hall of Fame. Sting is one of those guys that no matter how he is booked, people will respect him and always think highly of him. I mean come on, how much worse could Sting's character be ruined in the WWE. His run in TNA so far has been awful, and I thought the booking of Sting in WCW post-Starrcade 97 was awful. Sting is one of my favorites of all time, and now I'm of the firm belief that he will never wrestle in the WWE. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame someday, but never wrestle in the ring.

-I was glad to see Mickael get the axe on Tough Enough. As much as I still don't like Ryan, he OWNED Mickael on that promo battle. And just like Steve Austin, I applaud Michelle for having the courage to not continue because of her family. It takes a lot to give up your dream, and I respect Michelle's decision. Right now my top 3 would be Luke, Martin, and Ivalesse. Without knowing anything about what happens this week, I would say Ryan would be my likely candidate for being cut this week, followed by Eric.

My WWE Draft: The Re-Take

Ok, so I took a second look at my WWE Draft after I wrote it and thought: Why the hell did I write this? The draft I had would probably be looked at as a huge bust if it happened. Apparently, Vince really wants to shake things up this time. The original plan for the draft in June, according to reports, was to have Alberto del Rio and Miz switch brands as champions. In my opinion, that would have been really good. And I think there is a good chance of that still happening. There would be new, fresh match-ups for both of them. I don't like Uncle Vince's decision to move the Draft up to a week before a PPV, which is dumb for the reasons I stated in my last posting. But here would be my new Draft plan. A couple picks stay the same, a few change.


1. The Miz: If the long-term plan really is to turn Miz face, he has to do it on Smackdown. If he's stuck on RAW with Randy Orton and John Cena, it won't get over effectively. Miz could slowly turn on Smackdown. Like I said, the most effective way would be for him to just turn on Michael Cole. If he became the leader of a group with himself, Jack Swagger, and say Ezekiel Jackson, then turned on Cole and the group, it'd be the best way for him to get over.

2. Daniel Bryan: No change here. Bryan is in desperate need for a change of scenery. Moving to Smackdown accomplishes that.

3. Ted DiBiase Jr.: Again, no change. He's doing nothing on RAW, he can develop a bit of a character on Smackdown.

4. C.M. Punk: Either Randy Orton or C.M. Punk need to change brands. They can't stay on the same show forever. I think Vince would rather move Punk. He likes having his two top faces on RAW, so I don't think Cena or Orton are going anywhere. If they are breaking up the Corre, I could see Punk feuding with Wade Barrett. This also still leaves the option of going with a C.M. Punk/Daniel Bryan feud. Punk is a great worker who, once Miz turns face, could easily slide into the #1 heel role on the show.

5. John Morrison: This does two things: 1. Gets Morrison away from Melina. I think she is getting future endeavored anyway, but this separates them for the time being. I also think this gives Morrison more of a chance to get over as a top face. There is no denying Morrison has what it takes in ring, now he would just need to show he can handle himself on the mic.


1. Alberto del Rio: If Miz is switching brands as WWE Champ, del Rio has to as World Champ. Now of course, the WWE could swerve us all, and have Cena win the WWE Title and Christian the World Title at Extreme Rules. But I doubt that happens. Sooner or later, del Rio has to win the title. If he doesn't soon, then people will start to lose interest in him. I think his first feud should be with Randy Orton. I would hold off on Cena/Del Rio until SummerSlam. But by evidence with this Draft, Vince has little patience.

2. Cody Rhodes. Just like C.M. Punk and Randy Orton need to be separated, so do Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes. If Cody wants to continue his going after masked people gimmick, he could do it with Sin Cara. I think Rhodes would be the perfect opponent for Sin Cara to have his first full-time program with.

3. Kofi Kingston: No change. Kingston has wrestled just about everyone on Smackdown. Needs a change of scenery.

4. Ezekiel Jackson: No change again. If they are going to break-up the Corre, I would like to see a proper match between Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel. They've had some good matches in FCW, no reason they couldn't do it in the WWE. Jackson could come over to RAW as a bodyguard/henchmen type for R-Truth.

5. Hornswoggle: Again, no change. People probably look at this pick as a joke, but the WWE wouldn't. Im sure in their eyes, Hornswoggle is higher on the card than Ted DiBiase Jr.

After the Draft Roster Look

RAW Top Faces: John Cena, Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, Sin Cara, Mark Henry?

RAW Top Heels: Alberto del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth

Smackdown Top Faces: Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, Christian, Daniel Bryan, Big Show

Smackdown Top Heels: Miz, C.M. Punk, Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre

*I think Miz will be face by the end of the summer.

That's all I have for today. NFL Mock Draft tomorrow, Extreme Rules Preview Thursday.

Until next time,
Justin C.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

JC's Take: A Look Ahead to the WWE Draft

Hello everyone! Welcome back.

As announced on RAW this past Monday, the WWE will hold their annual draft on next week’s RAW. If you believe everything you read, this draft was not supposed to happen for another couple of months. There are two back-to-back 3 hour RAWs in June, and one of them was supposed to be for the draft. But Vince and Company are in a panic with Edge retiring, and ratings in a slow decline after Wrestlemania. So the Draft was pushed up to next Monday.

I don’t really like the timing of the move. First of all, it’s on a RAW right before a PPV. So instead of having a strong final sell for the PPV, creative will be putting all of their effort into the Draft. WWE TV has been one big giant mess since Wrestlemania. They seem to be in auto pilot, just coasting on the programs that were in place before Wrestlemania. So while the WWE does need a shake-up, it’s bad placement to have it on a RAW before a PPV.

Another reason I’m not the biggest fan of the Draft is because of past results. RAW usually gets the better of the Draft. In the past, and present day, RAW is always looked upon as the A show, while Smackdown is the B show. You could argue that looking back on pasts drafts, only in 2009 did Smackdown get the better of RAW, when they received Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, and C.M. Punk. And even with those results, RAW still got the top grab in Triple H. Smackdown is in worse shape now then RAW. With Edge gone, they are lacking a top rating drawing babyface. Christian is decent filler, but he’s never been looked upon by Vince as a top star. Rey Mysterio is not the draw he once was, and is very injury prone. And of course, The Undertaker is not a full timer anymore.

With all of this being said, let’s get into the draft itself!



I think this is the most sure-fire pick of the draft. Smackdown is in desperate need of a top-drawing face. John Cena is the top dog in the company, but he is not going anywhere. Vince McMahon wouldn’t want Cena off of his top show, and even if he decided to move Cena, I’m sure USA Network would throw their two cents in. With RAW ratings already declining, taking your top star off of your top show will just hurt the ratings even more.

Randy Orton could use a change of scenery. From the looks of it on this past week’s RAW his program with C.M. Punk is coming to an end. They will have a Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules, which will be their third match in a month. The two have been feuding since late January, so it should come to an end at Extreme Rules. Randy Orton has looked strong throughout the whole feud, so he’s gotten back some of the momentum he lost in late 2010.

With Orton moving to Smackdown, he could almost immediately be put into a program with Alberto del Rio, depending on how long a Del Rio/Christian program would last. And unfortunately, I don’t see Christian in an extended program with Alberto. People in the WWE don’t see him as a top draw. One could argue that Orton is more of a draw ratings wise and popularity wise compared to Edge, so it should draw more people over to watch Smackdown. If Orton doesn’t go right into a World Title program, he could start off against former Legacy member Cody Rhodes. Rhodes has been on fire in 2001 and is the #2 heel on Smackdown. It’s a fresh program that makes sense because of the two’s history.

If Vegas was taking bets on the Draft, I would run and put money on this one. If it doesn’t happen, Smackdown will probably get the worse end of the draft again.


Another pick I can see definitely happening. Bryan has become lost in the shuffle on RAW ever since his program with The Miz ended. He never had a proper feud with anybody after it. It looked like he was in line to have one with Sheamus, but the WWE pretty much bailed on it. They took their match off of Wrestlemania, and moved it to RAW the night after. Of course, the match only went about 5 minutes. Then, Bryan was part of that ridiculous “APPLE” group on RAW a few weeks ago, and he wasn’t even on this past week’s RAW.

Bryan deserves much better than that. He’s a gifted wrestler inside the ring, and he should be able to get the chance to do that on Smackdown. Smackdown is more of a “wrestling” show compared to RAW. He could be plugged in immediately to a feud with Wade Barrett and The Corre if they decide to not break them up, as there is past history between them. Bryan could also get into a feud with either Drew McIntyre or Cody Rhodes. Those matches would be very entertaining to watch. Hell, I’d love to see a Bryan/Mysterio match as well. Give them 20 minutes on Smackdown and let them go all out. Bryan is in desperate need of a change of scenery, and this move should help him out.

Ted DiBiase Jr.

Yeah, Daniel Bryan is in need of a change of scenery, but Ted DiBiase is in a DESPERATE need of a change of scenery. When Legacy was on the verge of a break-up, I thought DiBiase would become a bigger star than Cody Rhodes. DiBiase just had the better look, and seemed to be more polished in the ring than Cody. But this has not been the case. Ted is now essentially a jobber with a high profile name. I almost belive that if it wasn’t for his last name, DiBiase would be gone from the company.

Now that he is free from Maryse, I could see Ted going over to Smackdown and trying to redefine his character. It took a few months, but it worked for Cody Rhodes. Why can’t it work for Ted? I actually would like to see Ted join up with the Corre. It would put him around another group of young guys looking to make a name for themselves. He’s become non-existent on RAW, give him a chance on Smackdown.

Zack Ryder

It’s the Internet’s new favorite. Ryder has become a hit with Internet fans thanks to his YouTube videos, the Z! True Long Island Story. Ryder signs were being confiscated from RAW this past week, which I don’t get. Why take away signs about a guy not even on the show? It’s evident Ryder could get over with the crowd if given the opportunity. I think he could be a good mid-card babyface or heel on either brand, but a change over to Smackdown could help him even more.

Mason Ryan

This is one of those “picks of the future” for Smackdown. You always see those trades in sports when a top veteran is traded for a young prospect. Ryan is looked at by WWE management as a potential top star down the line. He looks very much like Batista. He has the same build physically and the same look as well. Ryan could be a monster heel down the line. I’m sure it will get to the point where the fans will want to get behind him, and he will turn face just like Batista did. Ryan could get over with some squash matches on Smackdown before going into a full program with someone. There is no doubt that there is star potential in Ryan, he just needs some time to find his true character and work on his skills in the ring before he becomes a huge star.


Jack Swagger

Another move that just seems to obvious. Swagger has appeared more on RAW than Smackdown recently. He’s involved in a program with two guys on RAW, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross. Swagger really didn’t have too much going for him on Smackdown before he teamed up with Michael Cole. Swagger went from being World Champion to mid-carder in the span of a few months on Smackdown. The WWE obviously saw something in him to make him the World Champion. I still see something in him as well.

Swagger has the look the WWE likes, just like Mason Ryan. He is skilled in the ring, and he can cut a good promo if given the opportunity. I loved his trophy segment on Smackdown when he was the World Champ. I think similarly to Kurt Angle, he could get over as a face as well. He can work in the ring, and his character isn’t so over as a heel that people couldn’t cheer for him. The best way to get him over as a face would be to turn on Michael Cole. Cole snaps at Extreme Rules, blames Swagger for the loss again, then pushes Cole down and puts him in the ankle lock. After the match, Swagger shakes Lawler and Ross’s hand as a show of respect. It would especially work if he shook hands with Jim Ross, who recruited him to the WWE.

Kofi Kingston

Kingston is about as played out as one could be on Smackdown. He lost the Intercontinental Title to Wade Barrett, which seems to be a good thing for him right now. A shift over to RAW could put him in a fresh feud with Sheamus for the United States Championship. He could also enter into a feud with R-Truth who now appears to be a full-fledged heel. It appeared at one point that Kofi was in line to be the next breakout star in the WWE when he started a program with Randy Orton in late 2009, but that was quickly put to rest, and now he’s back in mid-card purgatory.

Kingston is someone over with the fans. He has a natural likeability as a character and can handle himself in the ring, similarly to John Morrison. If Kingston could work on his promo work, he could be an upper mid-carder, and someone who could be used in a main event match where there are multiple participants.

Brodus Clay

There is one reason I would make this move: He just doesn’t look like he belongs with Alberto del Rio. Personally, I think Mason Ryan would be a better fit as Alberto del Rio’s personal bodyguard, and Brodus Clay would be a better fit in the New Nexus. Clay doesn’t even come out with Del Rio half the time. Clay could go over to RAW and either join the New Nexus, or get over himself in a series of squash matches.


Why the hell not? He’s not on Smackdown too often, plus I’m sure Vince would just love the idea of teaming up Hornswoggle with Santino and Kozlov. He might die laughing.

Ezekiel Jackson

Big Zeke looks like exactly that, a big dude. Vince loves that. They appear to be on the verge of breaking up the Corre, so someone needs to move over to RAW. It could be Wade Barrett, but he could be a valuable asset to Smackdown. Jackson has the ability to grow in the ring. The WWE could put him in a program with a top star who could carry and work a decent match with him. Again, is it someone who could work a one-on-one singles matches on a PPV? No. But then again the Great Khali did. But he’s someone who could be put in a multi-man match and be looked at as a threat.

This Would Leave the Shows Like This:

RAW Faces: John Cena, John Morrison, Kofi Kingston, Sin Cara, Jack Swagger

RAW Heels: Miz, C.M. Punk, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Sheamus

Smackdown Faces: Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Christian, Daniel Bryan, Big Show

Smackdown Heels: Alberto del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre, Ted DiBiase Jr.

That’s all I have today.

Until next time,

Justin C

Monday, April 18, 2011

JC's Take: The WWE News of the Week: 4/11-4/17

JC's Take: The WWE News of the Week: 4/11-4/17

Hello everyone. Welcome back for a new week of news from the WWE.

-I’ve already shared my thoughts on Edge. I can’t really say too much more without getting repetitive. He has just been a class act all week. He didn’t look like someone who was not ready to give this up. He seemed very accepting of his fate, and not afraid of what his life will be like in the future. Edge is someone who has been ready for retirement for a while now. He is not like some of these older wrestlers (*cough*Ric Flair & Hulk Hogan*cough*) who need to keep wrestling just to stay in the spotlight, or because they need to pay money to their ex-wives. Edge is prepared for life after WWE, and that is a good thing.

-Much to my surprise, it will not be John Cena vs Miz at Extreme Rules for the WWE Championship. Those two are still wrestling in the title match, but there is a third person involved, making it a triple threat match. And yes, it is a new face in the WWE Title picture. Finally, someone new! And it’s….


That came out of nowhere. The guy wasn’t on Wrestlemania. Hadn’t been on RAW in two weeks, but then says he deserves a WWE Title shot because he has never had one before? At least Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison had decent arguments, but R-Truth had absolutely zero argument. I will give the WWE credit, at least they are taking the risk of putting someone new in the main event. I really believe this spot would have been John Morrison’s if not for the whole debacle with Trish Stratus. Morrison is a better worker than R-Truth, and I would say he is more over with the crowd as well. But that’s what Morrison gets for being whipped by his girlfriend, if you believe everything you read.

Obviously, I think the WWE will build up the tension between John Cena and R-Truth leading up to Extreme Rules. They need to make it seem like Miz is likely to walk out of the PPV with the WWE Title. I’m in the camp that believes this is all leading to an R-Truth heel turn, setting up a brief R-Truth/John Cena feud. I think the WWE will do fine with Cena out of the title picture for a bit. They could elevate John Morrison into the title picture, but they may want to punish him more for this Wrestlemania crap. There is always the possibility that Triple H will return and feud with Miz while Undertaker is still away. I think the two could have a good feud. HHH seems more willing than ever to put over younger talent, and a win for the Miz over HHH could do Miz wonders. Of course Miz’s new opponent could come as a result of the Draft.

-By the way, the WWE just released a statement saying that the Draft will take place next week. I’ll have a piece up on Thursday previewing who I think will end up where. I think the obvious no-brainer will be Randy Orton to Smackdown. Smackdown needs a new #1 babyface. Christian is good, but you know Vince has no faith in him. Rey Mysterio can’t stay healthy for an extended period of time. Orton seems like the logical choice.

Of course, since it makes so much sense, it probably won’t happen. Alberto del Rio, Rey Mysterio, and Undertaker will all be drafted to RAW while Smackdown gets Santino, the Usos, and Ted DiBiase Jr.

-I would probably give Sin Cara’s first match on RAW a thumbs in the middle, slightly pointing upwards. He had a decent match with Primo. He was able to show off his unique move set, but it just didn’t seem like the crowd was into it. Some people probably thought: If this guy is so good, why is he struggling with Primo? The answer? Because no matter how talented Sin Cara is, Vince McMahon still doesn’t completely trust smaller wrestlers, I mean entertainers. Other people saying that having Sin Cara’s mask cover his entire face hurts him because he people can’t see his facial expressions, like Rey Mysterio. I don’t think that is the case at all.

I do, however, think Sin Cara needs a mouth piece to talk for him. He could use a manager to help get him over. Then later in time, you can have the manager betray Sin Cara and then you have a ready made feud. But don’t expect to see Sin Cara’s entrance too much anymore. Vince was apparently furious that it was botched again this past week, as well as during his debut. Either way, I expect Sin Cara to get more over with the crowd in the coming weeks, especially in a feud with Sheamus.

-On the Smackdown side, Christian is taking Edge’s spot in the Ladder Match against Alberto del Rio for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship. First off, it is finally nice to see Christian in a singles match for a World Title on PPV. I’m sure it is not the circumstances he would have liked it under, but he’s there. He was originally suppose to fight John Cena for the WWE Championship in 2005 in a one-on-one match, but Chris Jericho was added to the mix in the end.

Christian is the guy the “internet marks” have been clamoring for years to get a title reign. If there was ever a time Christian was going to win the World Title, it’d be now. It’s now or never for him. Even if he does win the World Title at Extreme Rules, I doubt it would last past the next PPV. Vince just doesn’t see Christian as a guy that can be the face of the company for the long term. Plus, the WWE has big plans for Alberto del Rio. There were plans for him to win the Title as early as the Royal Rumble, but they kept getting delayed. As much as I’d love to see Christian win the Title, I think del Rio is taking it here. Although I also think the Miz is winning, and the WWE rarely has two heels winning their respective WWE and World Title matches on the same PPV.

-So is the Corre coming to an end? Last week I wondered who they pissed off to get jobbed out like they did. But it appears they could be building towards a dissention angle with the Corre. I’d be ok with that. Wade Barrett needs to establish himself as someone who can get over by himself, and not without the help of others to be a true main eventer. The guy can be a big $$$ draw down the line, so he needs to show he can do stuff on his own. I think Justin Gabriel could be a decent mid-card face. People would pop big for his 450 splash if he was a face now. I think the Corre will get broken up in the Draft, with maybe Barrett moving back over to RAW and enter a feud with C.M. Punk, turning him face in the process.

-A list leaked this week showing terms that are banned for use by people in the WWE. All of this is part of a rebranding effort by them. The list says:

Wrestling, sport, and catch are banned. Catch is used internationally. Must be used: entertainment or action soap opera.

Athlete and sportsman are banned, superstars must be used.

Fight or Fighting is banned. Match, bout, or clash must be used.

OK, I get where they are coming from with this as far as “rebranding’ goes. But part of me also thinks: Why be ashamed to admit what you are. Sure, there are a lot of people who look down on pro wrestling. But you know what, who cares? Changing the wording of what you say won’t change what you are. No matter how you try to spin it, people will always look at the WWE as a WRESTLING company. Hell, you could change the name to WE, World Entertainment, and people will still just call you the WWE and say you’re a wrestling company. Changing the wording won’t change who you are.

Random Thoughts

-Brie Bella won the Divas Title. Big whoop. The bigger story is the vignette that aired for Awesome Kong before the match. It showed her flicking the head off a barbie doll. Basically, Kong is coming to fuck some bitches up. Hopefully she gets to actually wrestle good matches too with the likes of Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, and Natalya. Apparently that vignette is all part of Triple H’s idea, as head of talent development, to build up the debut of talent rather than just putting them on TV with no build. If that is true, I can’t wait for HHH to take over the company.

-On the Tough Enough front, I was very surprised to see Matt go. I thought for sure “Skidmarks” Ryan was gone after his horrible show. But Matt was given an opportunity by Trish Stratus to prove himself in the ring, and he showed nothing. He showed no charisma in the ring. He’s been on the Indy scene for years. He’s a high-flyer, and from what I’ve read, he lets that do his talking. But he had an opportunity and blew it. I think it will be tough to beat Luke. I see it coming down to Luke, Andy, and Ivelisse. She’s really shown me something for being a small girl. And no, I don’t think the show is fixed and Miss USA will win.

-So we’re getting Jack Swagger/Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler/Jim Ross at Extreme Rules. This program has gone downhill quickly. Hopefully it comes to an end at the PPV, with Ross/Lawler winning and Cole becoming a manager. I think it would be good for him if he had his own little “Cole Family,” similar to the Heenan family. Have it include Miz, Jack Swagger, Alex Riley, and Michelle McCool. Then, if the rumors of turning Miz face are true, you can easily do it by turning Miz on Cole. Instant face right there.

That’s all I have for this week. I have Game 3 of the Flyers/Sabres series to get ready for. I’ll have a post for the WWE Draft on Thursday.

Until next time,
Justin C

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

JC's Take: Edge's Retirement: Thank You Edge

JC’s Take: Edge’s Retirement, Thank You Edge

Hey everyone. Well, I didn’t plan on writing today. I just assumed Monday would have been another typical episode of RAW. Nothing too newsworthy. I knew Rock wasn’t going to be on. I thought they’d name the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship. That basic kind of stuff. Then when I was watching Tough Enough, they aired a commercial for RAW and it read this:

“Rated R Announcement”

Jim Ross said rumors had been floating around all day about the possibility of Edge retiring. I didn’t put much stock into it. I assumed it was going to be a part of some angle. Why would Edge retire now? He’s the World Heavyweight Champion. He talked about retiring in a year or so, but not now. I, probably just like the rest of the viewing audience, assumed it was just part of a big tease by Edge. He wasn’t going anywhere.

Then Edge came out, he walked to the ring like normal. Started talking just like a regular promo. But once he really got into it, you knew something was up. It wasn’t your typical crazy-eye, intense, laugh a minute Edge. He was serious about something. I felt like this was real when he started talking about his neck surgery. He rarely, if ever, brought that up on TV. And then he said this,

“Thankfully I went for some more tests, because the MRI showed that I have to retire.”

What? I was in shock, I still couldn’t believe it. But when he said, “Thankfully I found out, cause I’m not going to end up in a wheelchair now,” I knew it was for real. And the crowd did too by their reaction. It was an absolute shock. It came out of nowhere. With rumors and news leaks happening constantly in the pro wrestling business, you figured something like this would have gotten out by now. But it didn’t. Looking back at Wrestlemania, the decision to have Edge win makes sense now. Edge never won a title match at Wrestlemania, so having him win one before he had to retire was the right thing to do.

Edge said last night that his speech was kind of not going to make sense, and at times seem like he’s just rambling on, and that is what this post is kind of going to sound like. I’ve never really wrote a long career retrospect before. This really isn’t going to be one either. I really just want to touch on Edge’s career, his rise to the top, his career defining moment, and all of his top moments.

In a way Edge is similar to me. He grew up watching wrestling. He used to go to all of the shows in his hometown, just like I still do. Then Edge saw Wrestlemania 6, he saw Hulk Hogan vs Ultimate Warrior, and from that point on he knew he wanted to be a wrestler. Lots of kids probably had that same feeling when they grow up, but Edge followed through with it. He was determined to be a pro wrestler. He wrote an essay to a gym as part of a contest, won, and received free training. That’s determination. Kids hate writing essays enough in school, so to take time out of your free time and write to a gym to try and get free training shows determination.

After years on the independent circuit, he finally made it to the WWE. Upon his debut, he already stood out as somebody different. He made his way to the ring through the crowd. He was a very ominous character, not really talking or doing much. But it’s always important as a debuting wrestler to have something that makes you different from the pack, and Edge had that. Edge’s first feud was against Gangrel. Gangrel introduced Christian, Edge’s storyline brother, as his allie. Eventually Edge joined up with Gangrel and Christian to form the Brood, a vampire like cult. Again, Edge was part of something that stood out from the pack. When was there ever a vampire cult in the WWE? There entrance was unique, coming up through a circle of fire. Eventually the Brood joined up with the Ministry of Darkness, lead by the Undertaker. Edge won his first singles title in 1999, defeating Jeff Jarrett in Toronto to win the Intercontinental Championship. He lost it back to Jarrett the next night in Buffalo at a PPV. I was there for that event, and was disappointed to see him lose the title so quickly. Even at this point in his career, you knew the WWE saw something in Edge. He wasn’t the leader of the Brood, but he was the only one of the group to win a title.

In late 1999 and early 2000, Edge started competing in a match that would define his career: the Ladder Match. At this point Edge was teaming with Christian, and they began feuding with the Hardy Boyz, Matt and Jeff. Their first ladder match was at No Mercy 1999. At Wrestlemania 2000, the Dudley Boyz were added to the mix, and the three team competed in a Ladder Match for the Tag Team Championship. This match was one of those standout matches in the history of the WWE. There had been ladder matches before, but none like this. All six men used ladders as weapons like had never been seen before. The “ooohs” and “aaahs” from the crowd proved it. The ladder match lead to two more series of matches between the two teams, at SummerSlam 2000 and Wrestlemania 17. They evolved into TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches. One of Edge’s standout moments in his career was when he speared Jeff Hardy off of the hook holding the Tag belts by jumping off a ladder. That moment, along with Edge & Christian winning these two matches, gave Edge the title of “Master of the TLC Match.”

During this time period, Edge & Christian both transformed as characters. They went from being quiet, silent types to more of a comedic duo. This was when I really started to take notice of Edge. Even though they were suppose to be the “bad guys”, you couldn’t help but laugh and like them. Some of the comedic bits they did were gold. Anybody who has not seen these just needs to go on YouTube and search them out. If you don’t get a good laugh out of them, then you need to check your sense of humor. Edge & Christian also began to do their “5 second poses” at this point of their career. Again, comedy gold. I remember them doing one in Buffalo, re-enacting the infamous “Wide Right” from the Bills/Giants Super Bowl. I even laughed at that one. Edge’s transformation here again showed his willingness to evolve in the ever changing business that is pro wrestling.

At this point, fans started taking a liking to the duo. In 2001, Edge won the King of the Ring Tournament, another high point of his career. Christian became jealous of Edge’s win, and turned on his partner, breaking up one of the best tag teams ever. The two feuded all summer, with Edge getting the best of Christian in the end. He continued to hold the IC Title on and off in 2001. He wrestled Booker T at Wrestlemania 18. Storyline wise, it was over a shampoo commercial. Yes, even Edge made that work. In late 2002, Edge formed a tag team with Rey Mysterio, and feuded over the Tag Titles with Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit and Los Guerreros. The “Smackdown Six”, as they were called, put on some great matches. Again, they are must see for any wrestling fan. You don’t see matches like these six had on TV that much anymore.

In 2003, Edge suffered a neck injury that lead to his retirement yesterday. He was out for over a year. He returned to the RAW brand in 2004. He won the IC Title in the summer of that year from Randy Orton, but suffered a groin injury that caused him to be stripped of the title.

When Edge returned from his groin injury, he became a different person. He seemed more focus as a wrestler, with an eye on the main event scene. It was finally time for Edge to step up to the big leagues. After not receiving the fan vote to face HHH in a World Title Match at Taboo Tuesday, he cost HBK the title, turning heel. Edge was outstanding here, shouting “IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!” after doing it. The two fought at the Royal Rumble, with Edge winning, which catapulted a strong 2005 for Edge. At Wrestlemania 21, he won the first ever Money in the Bank Ladder Match, giving him a guaranteed WWE or World Title Match at anytime. That briefcase was essentially a “ticket to the next level” for Edge. It opened the door to the next level, the main event.

Before Edge could cash that in, however, he faced some real life turmoil. Edge had an affair with Amy Dumas, better known as Lita. Edge was married at the time, and Lita was dating fellow wrestler and friend Matt Hardy. Edge was already a villain, but he was hated even more now. When Matt Hardy returned, it was suppose to be a star making feud for Hardy. But instead, it became a star making feud for Edge. Edge played his part perfectly in this program. He knew how to antagonize the crowd with his antics involving Lita. This program defined Edge as a main event level heel, and it paid off for him in early 2006.

At New Year’s Revolution, Edge cashed in his MITB contract on a vulnerable John Cena, winning his first ever WWE Title. Because of my hatred for Cena, I officially became an “Edge-head” after this moment. Another standout moment in Edge’s career. A unique moment in wrestling history. Edge was given the ball and he took off with it. He was here to stay as a main event player in the WWE. His in ring work was at it’s best. It’s a shame he wasn’t given an extended run his first time. Edge had an outstanding Hardcore Match at Wrestlemania 22 with Mick Foley, which ended with Edge spearing Foley through a flaming table. Another defining moment. Edge regained the title in the summer before losing it to Cena in a TLC Match in September.

Again, I feel like I’m rambling on, so I’ll try to keep the rest of Edge’s career retrospect short. He formed a team with Randy Orton, calling themselves Rated RKO. He won the World Heavyweight Title from Undertaker on an episdoe of Smackdown. Edge relinquished the title due to injury. Upon his return, he won the title back in a Triple Threat match against Undertaker and Batista. He engaged in a feud with Undertaker throughout 2008. They main evented Wrestlemania. After he lost the title to C.M. Punk when Punk cashed in MITB, he lost to Taker in a Hell in a Cell match at SummerSlam. Edge returned at Survivor Series and won the WWE Title, saving what was a horrible match between HHH and Vladimir Kozlov. He would go on to hold the WWE and World Title in 2009, before suffering a torn Achilles which kept him out of action months. He made his return at the 2010 Royal Rumble, winning it and facing Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania, a match he ended up losing. Edge won the World Heavyweight Title back from Kane in late 2010, and held it until his retirement. Early this year, he started teaming with his former partner Christian as well.

Wow, almost 2000 words just on Edge’s career alone. I haven’t even talked about my thoughts on him yet. I’m not too good at this stuff, so I’ll try my best.

I’ve always liked Edge. Over his career, he slowly became a favorite of mine. I really started to take notice as a kid when he was teaming with Christian. There goofy stuff they did together was comedy gold. You couldn’t help but laugh at it. Edge, even at that young point in his career, knew how to entertain an audience. He slowly developed his character throughout his WWE career, evolving it with the ever changing pro wrestling business.

Edge also stood out to me because he wasn’t one of the overly muscular guys. As someone who is also a skinny guy, I could identify with him. He was a small guy looking to make it in a big man’s world. Edge didn’t have that standout physique, so he had to impress the audience with his work inside the ring. Again, it’s something he worked on and improved year in and year out throughout his WWE career. He evolved from working as a tag team wrestler, to a singles mid-carder, all the way up to competing at a main event level. You have to be able to go through transitions like that to make it in this business. While it may not seem difficult, it can be a tough transition going from a tag team wrestler to a singles wrestler. Instead of being able to rely on your partner to help make a match or get you over, you have to start doing it by yourself. Edge was able to do that, and it helped him in the long run.

Edge really broke out after his return in 2005. He was put into the main event scene and didn’t disappoint. I’m sure he was thrilled to be put into a program with Shawn Michaels. HBK was one of those wrestlers he idolized when he was getting into the business. Edge brought his A game into that feud, and it showed he belonged at the top. You could see the emotion in his face after he won the WWE Title after cashing in his MITB contract. The way he looked at the title after winning it showed how the passion he has. It was a look of, “I can’t believe I finally made it.” He never disappointed during his time at the top. He was always an entertaining character. He put on constantly good matches no matter who he worked with.

One of the strengths of Edge was that no matter who he was paired with, whether as a tag team partner or opponent, he always found a way to make it work. His chemistry with Christian was outstanding. I was really looking forward to a program between the two this year. I thought there was no way he could make his team with Randy Orton work, but he did. Other than that crappy mash-up entrance them, they were great together. His team with Chris Jericho before his Achilles injury was good. Jericho was the straight forward, serious type, Edge was the more quirky one. His best work may have been with Lita. I’m sure it was awkward for the two to work together after everything that happened, but Edge was gold throughout all of it. Their pairing worked on TV. It may be one of the best male/female combos of all time. I liked it that much. While Lita got more of the heat, Edge played all of it off very well. Lita made Edge hated in the eyes of the fans, and he capitalized on it.

Of course, the thing people will remember Edge the most for in his career is the ladder match. Edge will always be known as the “Master of the TLC.” Sure he was part of a group of 6 men who took part in the matches, but he was the one who took the ball and revolutionized it. Out of the 3 encounters between Edge & Chrisitan, the Dudleyz, and the Hardyz, then moment people remember the most is Edge spearing Jeff Hardy in mid-air at Wrestlemania 17. Oh yeah, and the fact that Edge & Christian won all three matches is a point to make too. The reason Edge is known as the ladder match king is because he always knew how to put on a good one. Every ladder match he took part in was different and unique. There’s not a single dull Edge ladder match out there. You know a wrestler is a good one when they have one specific type of match that can be associated with his career.

People might look at Edge’s 11 reigns as WWE Champion and World Champion and think, “Man, those titles don’t mean anything nowadays. Those reigns are bogus.” I would completely disagree. I look at those reigns and think it shows how much the WWE trusted Edge at the top. To hold the title that many times shows that Vince McMahon believed in Edge as a champion, representing his company. Wrestlers don’t hold titles that many times if you aren’t capable of staying at the top and drawing ratings and money. Edge has been at the top for five years now, always in a top level program. He pretty much is identified as the face of the Smackdown brand, more than the Undertaker and even Rey Mysterio. While Edge doesn’t make the PR appearances like Miz and John Cena, he was always a great man to put at the top of the company. He had a great passion for the business and is one of those guys who accomplished his life long dream of getting to the top.

I’m sure there are varying opinions of Edge’s place in wrestling history. He probably doesn’t crack anybody’s Top 10, but he has an argument to be on a Top 25 list. He’s an accomplished Tag Team and Single’s wrestler. He worked his way up from the bottom to make a name for himself at the top. He was one of my favorite current wrestlers in the WWE. He was one of those guys that even as a heel, you couldn’t help but cheer for him. He was so funny and witty with the mic that you couldn’t help but laugh. His matches in the ring were entertaining. He took a weird program with Kane, and the two made it work.

Edge took pride in everything he did, no matter how bad the story. He had a passion for the business that can’t be described. He’s one of those guys that is just thankful for being where he is. Edge went out there every single night doing something he wanted to do forever. He was living his dream. He wanted to entertain every single fan in the building, and watching at home on TV. Edge had a long ans successful career, and I for one am happy to see him get out before he was in it for too long. He’s leaving on his terms, and that’s always a positive in the pro wrestling business.

I’ll admit that I’m sad to see Edge go. His career was one I took for granted. He was one of those guys that you just expected to be around forever. Even after he talked about retiring earlier this year, I still didn’t believe it. I just expected him to be on my TV screen forever. But that’s not the case right now.

I will end this long piece by saying THANK YOU EDGE. Thank You for going out there every night and putting on an entertaining show for us all. Thank You for risking your body in countless ladder matches just to say that you stole the show that night. Thank You for giving us that crazy face that we all love. Thank You for everything you did throughout your wrestling career. Thank You for living your lifelong dream in front of us, and putting on a show that entertained us all.

Thank You Edge.

Until next time,
Justin C

Monday, April 11, 2011

JC's Take: A Look at the WWE News of the Week

JC’s Take: My Take on the WWE News of the Week

Hey everyone, welcome back. I finally have my weekly schedule back on track, so I’m back covering all of the newsworthy topics from this past week in the WWE.

-I already touched on this in my last posting, but I guess I should touch on it again. In case you’ve been living under a rock (no pun intended) in the last week, The Rock and John Cena have agreed to fight each other at next year’s Wrestlemania 28. Yep, only 355 more days to go. I like the WWE for taking a chance on booking a main event so far in advance. We always beg the WWE to try something different, and they finally did. Now their main focus will be how to make sure people still care about this match in a year.

For now, I think the WWE needs to completely take The Rock out of the equation. He’s not going to be around the whole time. Heck, I wouldn’t even mention his name on WWE TV for the next few months. I know that’s not going to happen, but that’s what I would do if I was in charge. Have John Cena re-focus on the WWE Title, even thought he didn’t seem too upset about losing his chance at it on RAW this past Monday. Cena is going to win the WWE Title sooner rather than later, so it’s best to put it on him quickly and get it over with. I think there’s a good chance Cena wins it at Extreme Rules. Surprisingly, I think the WWE needs to put the WWE Title on Cena soon or risk losing his kid fan base. Just a hunch I have. I saw a lot of disappointed kids at Wrestlemania. You can’t have them feeling down forever.

I’m guessing Rock doesn’t make another appearence on WWE TV until sometime this summer. He needs to stay somewhat fresh and on the minds of WWE fans. There’s always the possibility he could wrestle before Wrestlemania. I could easily see a match with Miz at SummerSlam, or maybe Cena and Rock teaming up to take on Miz & a partner, or the Corre. Or Rock could just comeback and cost Cena the WWE Title at some point. The Rock/Cena match at Wrestlemania doesn’t need, and shouldn’t have the WWE Title involved. The WWE has kind of booked themselves into a corner. Cena can’t win the Rumble. So I guess he will probably be holding the Title come January/February, and either lose it at the Rumble or Elimination Chamber PPV. No matter how it turns out, we have an interesting year of WWE TV ahead.

-Another big news item this week involves John Morrison, Melina, and Trish Stratus. According to reports, Morrison was apparently giving Trish the “cold shoulder” before, during, and after their match at Wrestlemania. Morrison was supposedly sticking up for his off-screen girlfriend Melina, who believes Trish “stole” her Wrestlemania spot. Stratus confirmed the reports in a radio interview. She said it as politely as possible, saying Morrison wasn’t very receptive to her ideas for the match, and when she went to hug him after the match, he turned away from her. Some reports also say other WWE Divas in the locker room were upset with Trish and Snooki for being on the Mania card while they weren’t.

Where exactly do you start? First of all, Trish has done more for the WWE than every active Diva on the roster combined. So they have absolutely nothing to complain about. I’m sure every Diva on the roster gives it their all every time they perform, but they’ll never compare to what Trish did. So until a current WWE Diva steps up and makes a name for herself, they’re just another dime-a-dozen diva.

And as for Morrison, he is just an idiot. I’m sure he wants to keep his girlfriend, but there comes a time where you have to put business before certain things, and this was one of them. Melina is not exactly the greatest girlfriend. If you recall, she has openly admitted to having a sexual relationship with Batista while Morrison and her were dating. Morrison never did anything about it, which caused him to lose some of Vince McMahon’s respect for him. I don’t get that, but then again I don’t get a lot of things Vince McMahon does.

Morrison is in no position to be pulling a powerplay like this. He’s on the cusp of a main event push, and I honestly thought he was going to be the next “1st time” WWE or World Champion on the active roster. He’s not the strongest promo guy in the world, but his in ring work makes up for some of that. At this point in his career, he doesn’t want to be rubbing people the wrong way politically. Especially someone with the stature of Trish Stratus, who has done so much for the WWE. I’m sure we will see how this affects Morrison starting with tonight’s RAW. But I really think he may have put himself in a hole here. As far as Melina goes, I think we will soon be wishing her the best in her future endeavors.

-Steve Austin said in an interview this week that if he wanted to, he probably could wrestle another full time schedule for about 2 years. Of course, the second that news came out, it cued up the return rumors. Austin got more involved than normal on RAW this past Monday, hitting all of his signature moves on Alex Riley instead of just delivering the typical Stunner. This was before the interview came out, but now people are looking back at it as a possible test to see if Austin could still go in the ring.

I think the Rock coming back to wrestle again might have made Austin think, “Hell, if he can do it, I can do it too.” Of course both men left for different reasons. Rock left for Hollywood, Austin left because his body was beginning to wear down, specifically his neck. But Austin is a smart guy, and he wouldn’t say he could wrestle again for 2 years if he didn’t think he could do it. Do I think he will be around for a full 2 years? Probably not. Is it possible he could wrestle another match or two? Absolutely.

Of course with talk of a comeback, the questions start of possible opponents. Miz is a possibility after this past week’s RAW. But I think that was a one time thing. Cena had to focus on Rock, so they needed to have Miz do something on RAW. I think the best, and most likely, option would be C.M. Punk. First off, Punk and Austin exchange verbal blows on Twitter almost weekly. Second, Punk is the kind of wrestler that could get a good match out of Austin while still working to protect Austin’s neck and mask his limitations that he would have. Third, and perhaps the best reason, is that they are two contrasting characters that almost seem like ready made rivals. Austin is a beer drinking, loud talking, raise hell rule breaker. Punk is the straight edge, calm talking, cult leader who is not afradi to preach his beliefs. If this match does take place, I think it would have to happen at Wrestlemania, maybe SummerSlam. Again, just like with The Rock, the WWE would work around whatever schedule Austin has to make this match happen.

If this does happen, who would have thought that ten years after the Attitude Era, we’d see Rock, Austin, Undertaker, and Triple H ALL wrestling at Wrestlemania.

-I just kind of skimmed through Tough Enough this week. I plan on watching the whole episode this week. But thank god they eliminated that Ariane girl this past week. If you haven’t seen the clip of her elimination, I’d go out of my way to find it. When Stone Cold asks her what her favorite match of all time was, she answered with “Melina vs Alicia Fox.” Austin’s reaction was priceless. If you believe her Twitter, she signed a developmental deal with WWE. I really hope that’s not true, because it’s clear she doesn’t have the long-term passion for the business like some of the others. She’d also be just like the current crop of Divas: all look and no experience. My early $$$ is on either Martin or Luke.

-There was a small news item this week saying that the long-term plan for Miz is to turn him face. I can see that happening. Miz is a great PR guy for the WWE. Vince loves all the work he does and all the TV and other media appearances he makes. He also received a very strong “Miz is Awesome” chant on RAW this past Monday. Now I don’t think this change is happening anytime soon, especially with the Miz feuding with John Cena. But maybe sometime this summer, especially if Miz changes brands, I could see it happening.

For people who have been clamoring for a Cena heel turn, Miz may be just the guy who could make that happen. Vince loves Miz’s media appearances. He’s a great representative for the WWE. If the Miz can affectively get over as a face, it may change Vince’s mind about not turning Cena. No matter how much the WWE tries, he’s going to get more boos than The Rock come Wrestlemania time. So if Miz can get over as a face by then, they may pull the trigger on Cena and just let him go all-out heel heading into Mania.

I think Miz can get over as a face if booked properly. You can’t book him as the always over coming the odds, superhero type like John Cena is. I actually think you have to book him like he is now, except give him more credibility. Give him more clean wins and that will garner him more respect in the eyes of WWE fans. How do you turn him? Easy: Have him beat up Michael Cole, his biggest fan. Cole is not getting cheered in that situation, or almost any situation for that matter. That would be the easiest way to get Miz over as a face.

-I liked both of Sin Cara’s spots on WWE TV this week. Of course he almost killed himself on RAW trying to make his entrance. But that wasn’t his fault, he didn’t put the trampoline so close to the ring. He’s only showing a small sample of his awesome move set. I didn’t fully follow his Mexican wrestling career, but I’ve been looking up and have watched enough clips to make me a believer in the guy. Of course, he might have something against America. First attacking the United States Champion Sheamus, then the All American American Jack Swagger. He’s not going to be catapulted into the main event right away, so starting in the upper mid card will be a good place to. I could see him winning the United States Championship in the near future. Oh and if that does happen, can we please get a Daniel Bryan/Sin Cara PPV match?

Random Thoughts

-Who did the Corre piss off? Losing in 2 minutes at Mania, getting out-smarted by Rock and Cena, then losing again on Smackdown. These guys have the Intercontinental and Tag Team Titles, but absolutely zero heat. The WWE better do something fast to save them, especially Wade Barrett. The guy was arguably the best worker in the company late last year, and now he’s just another mid-carder.

-There’s expected to be another round of talent cuts after the upcoming European tour. With no more Superstars, and the WWE having young guys they’d like to bring up, it’s expected. Basically, anybody on the list below is vulnerable.

-David Hart Smith, The Usos (Jimmy & Jay), Melina, Alicia Fox, Primo, Yoshi Tatsu, Chris Masters, Curt Hawkins, JTG, Trent Barreta, Tyler Reks

-Superstar Billy Graham ripped into Vince McMahon and apparently wants out of the WWE Hall of Fame. He has a problem with Abdullah the Butcher getting in. So wait, he doesn’t like Abdullah getting, but is cool with Drew Carey? Sure thing Superstar. When Uncle Vince starts paying you again, I’m sure you will change your tone.

-Anyone who watched the Hall of Fame ceremony can’t see that it was way edited. As a Media Production graduate, I would even say it was poorly edited. While Shawn’s TV speech was still good, you need to get the Wrestlemania DVD to get the full effect.

-Alberto del Rio is fighting Edge in a Ladder Match at Extreme Rules for the World Heavyweight Championship. This could be where Christian turns on Edge, but I think it still might be stretched out a bit longer. I think maybe a Triple Threat at the next PPV, Over the Limit, then do the turn.

That’s all I have for today. I’ll have an NFL Mock Draft up in a week or so, as well as an early look ahead to a predicted Wrestlemania 28 match card.

Until next time,
Justin C

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

JC's Take: Wrestlemania 27 Review, Plus a Look Ahead to Rock/Cena

JC's Take: Wrestlemania 27 Review, Plus a Look Ahead to Rock vs Cena at Wrestlemania 28

Hey everyone. Sorry I didn't finish my Wrestlemania preview or ranking of the Mania's past, but I was just so busy getting ready for my trip to Mania I couldn't find the time.

Before I get to the actual review of the card, I guess I can talk about my weekend. Axxess is fun to go to and meet the WWE stars. The lines for a lot of them were long, but every wrestler I met was very nice. Surprisingly, the nicest people were Laycool. Vickie Guerrero was very nice and seemed happy to be there. Layla ended up giving me her coffee after I made a joke about not being able to get one in the morning. I joked around with Christian about the Leafs missing the playoffs again this year. Everyone was very nice and outgoing.

Everything else at Axxess was kind of geared towards kids. Superstar entrances, Hornswoggle's house, WWE tattoos. But it's a fun experience. My only 2 small gripes were that they didn't know who would be at what station beforehand. I guess I can understand if you have someone like Christian at one stand, and the Usos at the other. But people would still go meet whoever no matter what. Also for some people, like Christian and Wade Barrett/Justin Gabriel, they would stop pictures about half way through. I really don't think that is fair for the people at the back of the line.

The Hall of Fame was nice. Eveyone had good speeches. Drew Carey was booed heavily, but he came back with "I'm skinny, rich, and famous, so boo all you want!' which was funny. The Road Warriors and HBK's speeches were great. Since stuff was edited down for TV, I would recommend watching the full version on the Wrestlemania DVD. I will say people doing the stupid cat calls during HBK's speech were just stupid. Let the man talk. But it was a fun night, especially with the Kliq reunion.

Now for Wrestlemania. It's a whole different experience being there. I know some people hated it, but I liked it being there live. Anyone who bashes wrestling needs to ask themselves one thing: Can any other TV show or form of entertainment, not counting sports, but that many people in one place to watch the show? No I don't think so.

On to the show:
-The Rock opened in typical Rock fashion. The crowd was into him the whole time. He's the one man in wrestling history that can have the crowd in the palm of his hands all night. He got the crowd involved with some chants, then went into a great rhyming promo to end it. Typical Rock, nothing really new, but a fun way to start the show.

Edge defeated Alberto del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship: ***
After the Mania intro, I wondered what would open the show. Since I knew Bryan/Sheamus was on the pre-show, I had no idea. Then I saw Ricardo Rodriguez in the ring and thought, 'They're really opening with the Smackdown World Title match?" Turns out, it was a good choice to open. In my opinion, the crowd was more into this match then Cena/Miz. I was surprised how many cheers there were for Edge. I met a lot of people at Axxess that liked Del Rio. But I would say the crowd was about 80/20 for Edge. It was a fun match. Nice in-ring psychology by Del Rio, continually working on Edge's injured arm. Christian and Brodus Clay's interference outside was fine. In the end, Edge speared Del Rio for the win. As Edge & Chrisitan were leaving, they destroyed Del Rio's car. By the end of the night this turned out to be the right choice for the opener. I'm really surprised Del Rio did not win. I thought the WWE was high on him, but there must be something that made them not want to pull the trigger here. It would have been nice to give them 5 more minutes, but it was a fine opener.

Cody Rhodes defeated Rey Mysterio: **1/4
Another surprising win. I didn't think Cody was winning here. Cody has been playing up his gimmick perfectly. I thought it would be at least another year before he had a shot at the World Title, but now I could see him having a program with Edge once he's done with Rey Mysterio. Cody was impressive here. He had a nice spot where he held Rey Mysterio on the second rope over his head for a superplex for a good 20-30 seconds. In the end, Cody hit Rey with his knee brace, then Crossroads to pick up the win. I'm glad Cody used his finisher too after using the knee brace. I expect this one, like pretty much everything else at Mania, to continue to Extreme Rules. I think Cody needs to come out on top in this feud, especially if Rey is taking some time off for knee surgery.

-Next was a comedy segment with Snoop Dog and Teddy Long. They held auditions with various superstars, which ended with Hornswoggle showing he could talk and rapping. Nothing too funny or memorable here.

Big Show, Kane, Santino, & Kofi Kingston defeated The Corre: *
Nothing special here. The faces won after a Cobra and Knockout punch on Heath Slater. WWE need to do something quickly to get heat back on The Corre.

-They cut backstage to Rock talking with Eve. He said he could make magic with anyone, and he would with the next person who walked around the corner. Of course it turned out to be Mae Young. It was tough to hear in the arena. Mae ended up spanking Rock before she left. Rock was complaining then turned around to see Stone Cold. They stared at each other before they both said they were ready to kick ass. Fun nostaglia moment seeing Rock & Austin on the same screen.

Randy Orton defeated C.M. Punk: ***1/4
An obvious outcome here, but it was a good match. Punk's facial expressions were great during the match, constantly mocking Orton. Lots of Punk working over Orton's injured leg here. Orton went for a punt kick to Punk, but his leg gave out. Punk laughed to himself, then moved to Orton. Orton surprised Punk with an RKO attempt, but pushed him away. Punk then went to the top rope, but Orton countered his jump into an RKO for the win. It was a good match. You knew Orton was coming away with the win, because Orton apparently needs to look super strong in their eyes. Punk continues to be the best character/worker in the company. Again, this continues to Extreme Rules.

-Rock chatted with Mean Gene Okerlund backstage. He said Cena's biggest fan was here, and he turned to see Pee Wee Herman. Rock said Pee Wee had potential, and said he should join Team Bring It instead of being the leader of the Fruit Loop Troop. Pee Wee said he was coming over to Team Bring It, then finished with "If You Smell What the Pee is cookin!' Funnier than the Mae Young segment, but still nothing too entertaining.

Michael Cole defeated Jerry Lawler via RAW GM reversal w/Steve Austin as Special Referee: *
Everyone was ready to see Michael Cole get his. But that didn't happen here. I like Cole, but even I wasn't too entertained here. Nobody was buying into Cole's offense. Cole was good on the mic walking to the ring. Austin was funny too, driving his ATV to the ring and almost running over Jack Swagger, then chasing Cole around the ring. Cole was also funny doing warm-ups in the Cole Mine before the match. But Cole was not good during the match. Once Lawler regained control, he put Cole in the Ankle Lock. Austin asked Cole four times if he gave up, even though Cole was tapping immediately. That was funny. Afterwards, Booker T came into celebrate. He ate a Stunner after doing a Spinarooni. Then the RAW GM chimed in saying that Austin over-stepped his bounds and he was reversing his decision. Austin then stunned Josh Matthews for announcing the decision. Lawler returned to the announce booth to call the rest of the show with Jim Ross.

Undertaker defeated Triple H in a No Holds Barred Match: ****3/4
This match was epic. It's tough to do it justice by writing about it here. HHH's entrance was awesome. He came out to "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica before transitoning into his normal entrance. Undertaker came out to his "Ain't No Grave" song by Johnny Cash. The entire arena was quiet during Taker's entrance. Not because they weren't cheering for him, but because it is just so awe-inspiring. I would say the crowd was about 50/50, honestly. Maybe a slight tilt to HHH, but not by much. This match was just one big spot after another. They would do the spot, then rest for a couple of minutes. Both these men haven't wrestlied in a while, Taker because of injury and HHH because of time off, so they needed that. The crowd bought into every move. They did just enough near falls after them to not go over the top. I for one don't think the Streak should be broken, but I'll admit there was a tiny sliver of doubt in my mind after HHH hit that Tombstone.

This match told a great story. HHH did EVERYTHING he could to try and end the streak. Multiple pedigrees, chair shots, and even a Tombstone couldn't do it. It showed that Undertaker is damn near unbeatable at Wrestlemania. HHH threw everything at him, and he withstood all the pain. After Taker kicked out of the Tombstone, HHH backed off with a stunned look on his face. He went to go get the Sledgehammer. Before HHH could use it, Taker put him in the Hells Gate Submission. HHH went to go grab the Sledgehammer, but couldn't muster the strength to use it and tapped out. After both men laid in the ring for minutes, HHH got up. Taker tried to get up, but couldn't. He was carted to the back.

This was a great classic. It's not comparable to HBK/Taker of the two Mania's past. Those were two great in-ring matches. This was an all-out brawl. Both men did everything possible to gain victory. It would definitely make a top 10 Mania match list if I re-did it next year. Just two ring veterans going out and giving it their all.

John Morrison, Trish Stratus, & Snooki defeated Dolph Ziggler & Laycool: *1/4
This was the short buffer match in-between main events. Snooki was heavily booed before the match, but the crowd completely changed its tone when Snooki did the double back flip. They were all stunned by it. Snooki pinned Michelle for the win. Fine buffer match here. Nothing to write extensively about.

The Miz defeated John Cena to retain the WWE Championship: **
Miz came out first to a great entrance. They showed a video of WWE Champion's past. The song "Hate Me Now" played. I'd go out of my way to find it. Then there were inflatable letters that spelled 'AWESOME" with Miz and Alex Riley coming out. Miz looked a bit choked up. Understandable. The guy is living his dream of main eventing Wrestlemania as WWE Champion. Cena came out with a Gospe choir and a decent video package as well.

Now, the match. The crowd was dead silent for the first half of the match. I think it was the fact that EVERYONE knew The Rock was going to do something at some point. But it was your typical Cena match. It was nice to see The Miz kick out of the Attitude Adjustment. The two fought to the outside. Cena clotheslined Miz over the barricade. Miz took a nasty bump. His head smashed pretty hard against the floor. Probably got a concussion. The match ended in a double countout.

Rock came out and said Mania wasn't ending that way. The RAW GM sent an e-mail. Rock went to read it but threw the computer to the ground. He restared the match as a NoDQ/Countout match. Cena went for the AA but Miz got out of it. Rock then came in and gave Cena the Rock Bottom, allowing Miz to pick up the victory. Afterwards the Miz celebrated before being attacked by Rock as well, then taking a People's Elbow. The show ended with Rock standing tall.

OK, I get that people were expecting Rock. Which is why the WWE should have had him out there the whole match. There's also a strong possibility that people were expecting The Rock to do more than he did as host. I also don't like the fact that Rock attacked Miz afterwards. It would have been nice to just see him eye Miz down and do nothing before leaving. But I understand that the WWE likes to send the fans home happy.

Overall, I would give the show a 7 out of 10. Being there live might have changed my opinion, but going to Wrestlemania is just a once in a lifetime experience. I want to go next year again, provided I get the proper $$$ funds. And the main reasdon I want to go next year is because....

The Rock and John Cena have already agreed to fight one another at Wrestlemania 28. First off, props to the WWE. They have a good amount of guts to go out and book this match a year down the road. A lot can happen in the span of a year, so they are taking a big risk. It will be interesing to see what they do in between now and the Mania 28. The Rock obviously wont be on all the time, but I'm sure he will make appearences here and there. What does Cena do? I'm sure he will go back to fighting the Miz. I'm guessing he will win the title at least once in between now and Mania. With it being in Miami, you can bet Rock will be heavily cheered. Do they turn Cena full-fledged heel? I doubt it. Although I'm of the belief that the WWE was testing the waters of a Miz face turn yesterday. He got a good pop when he came out, and Cena came out and said he respected the Miz, which is something that faces don't normally say about heels. Either way, the WWE has some interesting ways to keep the Rock fresh in the minds of fans for a year. It's something unique and different that the WWE has never done before, so that's always fun. I just hope the awe and allure of The Rock doesn't die down by the time Wrestlemania 28 come along.

Where We Go From Here?
Extreme Rules is the next PPV. Lets say we get:
John Cena vs The Miz: Steel Cage Match
Edge vs Alberto del Rio: Ladder Match
Sin Cara vs Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan: Falls Count Anywhere
John Morrison vs Dolph Ziggler: No DQ #1 Contender's Match
Randy Orton vs C.M. Punk: Last Man Standing
Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio: I Quit
Kofi Kingston vs Wade Barrett: Tables Match

That's all I have for today. I'll leave you with some pictures from my Wrestlemania Weekend.

Until next time,
Justin C