Monday, May 30, 2011

JC's Take: Quick Thoughts on Recent WWE News

Hey everyone. Sorry I haven't written anything since last Friday. I couldn't look into Blogger from Tuesday-Friday because the site was having problems. But I'm back now, with a quick look back at recent WWE developments in the past week or so.

-Over the Limit was a below average PPV. If it wasn't for Randy Orton vs Christian, that PPV would have been terrible. It's probably the second best match of the year in WWE so far, right behind Taker/HHH from Wrestlemania. It was one hell of a match. The counters were great. I loved the teased RKO spot from Christian, playing off of the finish from their match on Smackdown. These two have some good chemistry in the ring. My hope is that the feud extends all the way to SummerSlam, with Christian winning the belt back before hand at Money in the Bank, then losing it back to Orton at SummerSlam in a TLC Match. I would expect Christian to turn heel sometime between Capitol Punishment and Money in the Bank.

Cena/Miz was a stupid over-booked mess. Two guys beat down Cena the whole match, but in the end, Miz is in the STF for 5 seconds and quits right away? After a 15 minute beat down Cena just can regain all of his strength that quickly? And WWE wonders why people hate him.

As far as everything else, it was nice to see Cole finally get his. That moment was a month or so overdue. R-Truth getting a relatively clean win was nice. Sin Cara still looks sloppy in the ring. Nobody cars about the Divas besides Kharma. Can they please think of something new for the Corre? And C.M. Punk continues to look like he is on his way out of the WWE.

-So Kharma is apparently out of action for 9 months. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but we all know what women go through that takes 9 months. I can't criticize Kharma for it. Sure the timing is bad, but if someone wants to have a child nobody can stop them. She's going to address her "breakdown" on RAW last week. Kharma can cut a relatively decent promo, so it will be interesting to hear what she says tonight. I fear the WWE may do something stupid with this, but I'm willing to give it a chance. My fear is that they will turn it into a "Who's the Father?" storyline if she really is pregnant. All I know is that what once looked like a promising spark for the Divas Division has taken a turn downward.

-WWE may have gotten rid of the Fatal 4 Way PPV concept, but if I had to guess, the WWE Title Match at Capitol Punishment will be a Fatal 4 Way Match. I think they will go with John Cena defending the WWE Championship against C.M. Punk, R-Truth, and Rey Mysterio. The other option I see is the RAW GM saying this week that C.M. Punk was screwed last week in their tag match by Bret Hart, and he awards C.M. Punk the opportunity to fight for the WWE Championship. It's a possibility. If Punk is indeed on his way out of the company, they might want to send him out swinging.

I wouldn't want the WWE to rush an R-Truth/Cena program yet. R-Truth's heel character has been the best thing in the WWE in the last few months. I know the WWE is going for Cena/Alberto del Rio at SummerSlam, but there could be a lot of money in a John Cena/R-Truth match at SummerSlam, especially if they continue to handle R-Truth properly. Lets say that they end up going with R-Truth/Rey Mysterio again at Capitol Punishment, with another win for Truth. Then at the MITB PPV, Truth participates in the RAW MITB match only to fall short. Then the RAW GM says Truth has proven himself enough to earn a #1 Contender's Match against someone, which Truth wins. Then the build to Truth/Cena begins. They could always have Alberto del Rio win the RAW MITB Ladder Match, and have him carry around the briefcase for a bit.

To me at least, R-Truth has been the most entertaining thing on RAW in months, and he's the best he's been his entire career. His promos have been great. He plays the psychotic heel who's been screwed one too many times well. As long as he ups his in-ring work to match his promo work, I could easily see the WWE doing Cena/Truth at SummerSlam. They could always have John Morrison return and cost Truth the match, leading to a Morrison/Truth match that should have a ton of heat added to it now that Truth "storyline' wise put Morrison out of action.

There's a lot of interesting ways RAW could break right now. I hope the WWE doesn't rush to things to quickly and gives us some proper builds to certain programs. This summer could be a lot of fun for the WWE if done right. There are a lot of fresh programs out there.

-I thought the Rapture was actually coming last week after there was a "RILEY" chant on RAW. That was a very strong segment on RAW this past Monday. I don't think the WWE was expecting such a strong reaction to that segment. I also don't know if they were expecting Riley to get the face heat from the beatdown. They may have been attempting to start a Miz face turn there, but Miz is so good on the mic as a heel that he actually gained sympathy heat for Riley.

Follow-up will be key here. WWE can't drop the ball on this one if they want to get something out of this. Yes, Riley is technically a Smackdown wrestler. But they could easily have a one-off match between Miz and Riley at Capitol Punishment. If Riley puts on a strong performance, he could move over to Smackdown as a solid mid-card babyface, or heel if they decided to turn him back. It's in the WWE's hands now.

I know people will think this is a step-down for the Miz, but it is all a part of Miz gaining some heat back, and helping to build somebody else up in the process. Miz will be back in the main event scene down the line, but I for one was getting tired of seeing him go back and forth with John Cena every week. After Riley, how about an extended program with Rey Mysterio? There's nothing else for Mysterio on RAW right now. Miz will be just fine. The WWE loves him as a PR guy. He keeps his head on straight and doesn't do anything stupid. He will be on top for a long time.

-While there's a chance they could do a Fatal 4 Way on the RAW side, I would bet on them doing one on the Smackdown side. While the Randy Orton/Christian matches have been fun, they need to take a break at some point. I would expect Randy Orton vs Sheamus vs Christian vs Mark Henry at Captiol Punishment. All four have been around the Smackdown main event scene for the last month. It's also a way for Christian to win the World Heavyweight Title without having to pin Randy Orton. It preserves Orton, which I'm sure the WWE feels like they have to do, and gets the Title back on Christian to make his fans happy again. It also puts Sheamus and Mark Henry back in the main event scene and makes them look like threats to win the World Title.

-Can the WWE please find something meaningful for Cody Rhodes. His character has just seemed to be in "PARK" ever since the Draft. He's had no one to feud with. Hopefully, the WWE lets Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan have a program and a match at Capitol Punishment. I would love to see these two get 15 minutes on a PPV. That'd be great. Cody is still my odds-on-favorite to win the Smackdown MITB Ladder Match. There's really no one else on Smackdown worthy of winning it. Wade Barrett could, but the WWE hasn't done anything meaningful with him in months. I'd love to see Cody be World Champion sometime this fall.

-Paging WWE. Please help resurrect Sin Cara. And fast. I don't know why, but his matches have been really sloppy since coming over to the WWE. I would give him the nerves factor in the first few weeks, but there shouldn't be any excuses for him now. I don't know what they can do with him to help save him. He can't cut a promo. He can't show facial expressions because of his mask. There's some work to do. Apparently, the WWE has signed another wrestler from Mexico, Averno, to come in and feud with Sin Cara. From what I've heard, the two had a successful program in Mexico and the WWE hopes they can do the same here. The WWE is gaining a lot of traction in Mexico, so they are looking to sign some talent from there to help them out as they continue to grow in Mexico. Smart move on their part.

-Tough Enough is down to the Final 3: Luke, Jeremiah, Andy. If I had to guess, I would think Jeremiah goes home tonight. He's still too green in the ring, while Andy and Luke at least can handle themselves well. I'm sure Jeremiah will get a developmental deal down the line, if he hasn't already. My guess is that Luke wins the competition. He just has the all-around look, and act, of a cocky douche bag heel. I think Andy will stick around too. If Martin had not gotten injured, I think the final two would have been Martin and Luke, and Martin could have had a real good shot at winning. But this first season of Tough Enough has been really well done. Steve Austin makes a great host. I hope he returns for a second season.

Quick Thoughts
-I really don't think the WWE has Cena hold the WWE Title heading into Wrestlemania. They could put somebody else over big if they make a separate WWE Championship Match. My guess is Cena loses it at the Rumble or Elimination Chamber. He may lose it at some point in 2011, but I think he will get back a month or two later.

-Alberto del Rio feuding with Big Show and Kane? Eh, I guess it's ok. As long as ADR goes over Kane and Big Show in the end. If the WWE decides to go with Cena/Del Rio, he needs to be built up strong going in. Losses to Kane and Big Show will hurt him.

-I thought the WWE did a good job with the Randy Savage tribute on RAW. Very classy. I can't wait to see Vince McMahon's piece on him in TIME. The first two paragraphs make it seems very good. It sounds like he will be headed into the Hall of Fame next year. It's just a shame they didn't do it while he was alive. If next year's Hall of Fame was just The Rock, Randy Savage, and Elizabeth, I'd be all for it.

-I think Cole/Lawler is done for now, but you just have to have that feeling that it will be revisited sooner rather than later.

-The RAW Mid-card is stacked with way too many young guys. Guys like Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston could be doing way more on Smackdown then they are currently doing on RAW.

-It's terrible to hear the bad shape that Scott Hall is apparently in. I wish nothing but the best for him, but the guy has demons that no one can help him with but himself. On Memorial Day in 1996, he started one of the biggest angles in wrestling history by showing up on Nitro. Hall was a good performer when he was on.

-What do I think Capitol Punishment is going to look like? How about this:
WWE Championship: John Cena vs C.M. Punk
World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton vs Christian vs Sheamus vs Mark Henry
Rey Mysterio vs R-Truth
Miz vs Alex Riley
Alberto del Rio vs Kane
Cody Rhodes vs Daniel Bryan

Thrown in a couple more mid-card matches, and it could be a good wrestling show.

That's all I have for today. I'm probably going to start working on a career piece soon. Thinking of doing one on Chris Jericho. The man deserves it.

Until next time,
Justin C

Saturday, May 21, 2011

JC's Take: The Cream of the Crop: R.I.P. Randy Savage

I had every intention of finishing my review of the WWE's 2011 this weekend, and still might, but this takes precedent.

I, just like everyone else, was shocked and saddened by the unfortunate news of Randy Savage's death Friday. It stunned me. I was at work when I found out, and still had another 6 hours to go. I didn't want to be there. I just wanted to come home and watch some Macho Man matches. I wanted to come home and read other's thoughts on the Macho Man.

Macho Man Randy Savage is one of the few wrestlers that everyone recognizes. Even if you didn't follow wrestling, you knew him from the Slim Jim commercials. Savage's death is one that just rips the heart out of everyone who has ever been a fan of wrestling. Whether you were a fan during Randy Savage's era or after, it hit you. Randy Savage is one of the wrestlers that new fans would go out of the way to find old clips of. He is a very unique character. His flamboyant outfits, awesome shades, and unique voice made him stand out from the crowd. You need qualities like that to stand out in the wrestling business, and Savage used them to perfection.

Randy Savage's career started well before I was born. He was a standout in Memphis before he made his way to the WWE. Savage became an instant hit with the wrestling audience. Savage excelled in the ring. He always gave his best every night. Randy Savage was known as a perfectionist. Savage wanted his match to go off flawlessly in the ring, and it did all the time. Savage was able to get great matches out of anybody. He was that skilled in the ring.

Randy Savage continued to climb the ranks of the WWE. In February of 1986, Savage won the Intercontinental Championship. During the 1980s, many people considered the wrestler who held the IC Title to be the best in ring worker in the WWE. He may not have drawn the same amount of money or had the same amount of star power as the WWE Champion, but he was definitely one of the best if not THE best in ring worker in the company. Savage held the IC Title for over a year.

At Wrestlemania 3, one of the best wrestling matches of all time took place. Sure, Andre the Giant vs Hulk Hogan is what drew people to the Silverdome in Detroit, but Randy Savage vs Ricky Steamboat was easily the best match on the show. It was the culmination of a heated feud between Savage and Steamboat. Savage put Steamboat out of action after storyline crushing his larynx on the guardrail with the ring bell. It all lead up to Wrestlemania 3. I've watched this match at least a dozen times. I just watched it before I started writing this. It still stands up as a classic. The near falls, the fast-paced action. For a match from that era, it was definitely unique and stood out. I would recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it to go find it and watch it. It truly stands the test of time.

After Wrestlemania 3, more and more fans started to root for Savage. He started to become a fan favorite. In late 1987, Savage formed an alliance with ultimate good guy Hulk Hogan, and the two became known as the Mega Powers.

The Mega Powers took on everyone in their path. After the WWE Championship was vacated in 1988, a tournament was held at Wrestlemania 4 to crown a new Champion. Most people thought that Hulk Hogan would walk out WWE Champion. But to the surprise of many, the Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant rematch ended in a Double Disqualification. Savage wrestled four times that night, defeating the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase in the Finals to win the WWE Championship. Savage was embraced as Champion, as fans were finally happy to see a fresh face at the top.

Savage held the Title for a year, before tensions reached a boiling point with himself and fellow Mega Power partner Hulk Hogan. Hogan defeated Macho Man for the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania 5. By this time Savage had reverted back to his heel ways, but what still a great worker in the ring.

After feuds with Dusty Rhodes and Jim Duggan, Savage began a feud with the Ultimate Warrior in late 1990. After Ultimate Warrior refused to promise Savage a Title shot, Savage cost Warrior the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble. The feud culminated in a Career Ending Match at Wrestlemania 7. Again, this is another match that is considered a classic. Most people consider it to be the Ultimate Warrior's best in ring performance of his career. It was a great match. Just watched it recently. The crowd was into it. It really felt like both men were wrestling for their careers. Savage lost the match, but won the crowd back at the end of it. In one of the most emotional moments in WWE history, Savage reunited with long time manager Elizabeth after the match, and married her at SummerSlam that summer.

Savage became an announcer after losing to Warrior. At the wedding reception after SummerSlam, Elizabeth was surprised by one of Jake Roberts snakes in a gift box. On an episode of Superstars, Savage confronted Roberts. However, it lead to one of the most shocking moments in WWE history. After tangling Savage in the ropes, Roberts allowed his snake to bite the arm of Randy Savage.

As a wrestling fan and a young child, this was my first vivid memory of Savage. I was scared. This is what lead me to my fear of snakes. As a child, I thought; How could this happen to such a nice guy? It was definitely out of the norm for the WWE to do at the time. It lead to the return of Savage to in ring action. He wrestled two matches with Jake Roberts, both with great intensity and crowd heat. After wrapping up his feud with Jake Roberts, Savage took on Ric Flair at Wrestlemania 8, and won his second WWE Championship. Savage returned to the announce position in 1993, but returned to action to take on Crush at Wrestlemania 10, where he won. Savage left the WWE in 1994 and went to rival WCW.

Savage proved that in WCW he could still go full time. He won the WCW Championship 4 times. He had one of the best pro-longed feuds in WCW with Diamond Dallas Page. I didn't follow a lot of WCW. I know most of its history, but only the basic stuff. But Savage showed that he could still go during his time with WCW. He cemented his spot as one of the greatest in ring performers ever, reached the top of the mountain in 2 different companies.

So what exactly is Randy Savage's place in wrestling history? There is no denying that he is one of the best in ring performers ever. The guy knew how to put on an entertaining match. It didn't matter who he worked with, whether it was another veteran like Ricky Steamboat or a larger than life Ultimate Warrior, Savage always got the best out of them. Savage's in ring work, to hardcore wrestling fans, is what made him a star. That is what he is remembered for by wrestling fans. His ability to go out and steal the show night in and night out.

Randy Savage had a great passion for wrestling. He was one of the most charismatic individuals in wrestling history. While some of his promos may have seem a bit weird and out there, they were always entertaining and made their point. Whether he was making his case as being the best in the business, or was letting his opponent know what he had coming to him, Savage got his point across, and he always made sure of it. His raspy voice made his promos something fans would always remember. Randy Savage was the one of the wrestlers fans loved to imitate, not to make fun of him, but as a sign of respect. Everyone loved his unique persona and they wanted to be just like him.

The Macho Man also stood out for being a small guy in a big man's world. While the muscular guys like Hulk Hogan and the giants like Andre the Giant always stood out, Savage was able to make his way to the top and win the WWF Championship. Just like I said about Edge during my write up on him, Savage was a guy that a wrestling fan could identify with. He was an average size guy who busted his butt every night, giving 100% every time. Hulk Hogan was considered a larger than life performer, but Randy Savage was considered a normal, hard-working performer.

Also, how could you not live his entrance music? Pomp and Circumstance is the best entrance theme ever. When I came out to it for my 8th grade and high school graduation, I just had this incredible urge to throw my arm in the air and do the famous finger twirl.

Randy Savage was one of my favorites as a child. One of the first things that drew me to him was hist top rope elbow drop. Savage made that move famous. It's one of the moves that always made me want to pretend to be Randy Savage whenever I fake wrestled. As a child, I was amazed to see someone take such a huge risk like that. It's one of the same things that drew me to the Rockers. Seeing Randy Savage work his magic in the ring was truly a great thing. Like Shawn Michaels, I couldn't help but cheer for him whether he was a good guy or bad guy. His in ring work was just so good that you couldn't root against him. On my all time favorite list, I'd probably put him at 5, behind Michaels, Sting, Rock, and Steve Austin. As an in ring performer, he'd probably be 2nd behind Michaels.

Today is a sad day in the world of professional wrestling. We've lost one of the true greats. A man who had a natural gift of being a wrestler. A man who loved the wrestling business. A man who gave his all every single night. A man respected by everyone who has watched even a single minute of pro wrestling. Thank You Randy Savage, you were a true great and a man whose work will be remembered by everyone, now and for eternity.

At least now we know when it thunders in the sky, it's just Randy Savage dropping an elbow from the top rope.

Rest in Peace Randy.

Until next time,
Justin C

Thursday, May 19, 2011

JC's Take: Over the Limit Preview

JC's Take: Over the Limit Preview

Guess who's back, back again!

Hello everyone. I'm back after an extended lay off with my Over the Limit Preview. A PPV three weeks after another PPV. Yep, only in the world of the WWE. I don't like it, it causes terrible buyrates for the already over-priced PPVs. I feel that more people would have been inclined to buy Extreme Rules than Over the Limit. At least with Extreme Rules you are guaranteed some gimmick matches. Over the Limit doesn't provide that, although it does look like it will be the place for a traditional John Cena I Quit Match.

I'm not a fan of this PPV card. I don't think I'm going to order it. I might find a way to watch it online, but O won't be paying for it. I'm interested to see what happens in the 2 Title matches, but that is. Of course, the WWE gave away one of them (Orton/Christian) for free on TV a couple of weeks ago. And this is the 4th time we will see Cena/Miz, and they also had a match on TV a couple of weeks ago. So why would anyone pay to see these matches again? Also, two of my favorite performers, Cody Rhodes and Alberto del Rio, are nowhere to be found on the card. They are two of the best things the WWE has going today. It's a shame that they aren't officially on the PPV. I think the WWE was just trying to get to this PPV, and will reset everything after Over te Limit to kick off their summer programs.

Anyways, onto the preview:

Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett (c) vs Ezekiel Jackson

When was the last time the Intercontinental Championship last defended on PPV? TLC at the end of 2010. I'm surprised there is even a match on this PPV. To me, this just shows how rushed for time the WWE is between PPVs. But it is nice to see Wade Barrett get a match on PPV, even if it is against a less than average worker in Ezekiel Jackson.

There has been dissension brewing in the Corre for weeks, and it finally reached a boiling point when Jackson was beatdown by the other three members of Corre. Zeke tried to retaliate the next week, but was again out numbered. Barrett then challenged Jackson to a match, which he accepted. Now the two are fighting at Over the Limit.

I don't know who to pick here. I could see Jackson taking the title as a way to put him over as a threat. Vince likes his big guys and he might want to start pushing Jackson more on Smackdown. I could also see Barrett retaining the title and work his way up the card to once again challenge for the World Heavyweight Title. This is a toss up. I think I'm leaning towards Barrett retaining. Jackson isn't a good enough worker in the ring, or over enough with the crowd to hold a singles title. But then again, neither was the Great Khali. Still going Barrett though.

WINNER: Wade Barrett

World Tag Team Championship: Kane & Big Show (c) vs C.M. Punk & Mason Ryan

This match was announced on RAW this past Monday. Four days later, they still don't have a graphic or match preview up on Shows how much the WWE cares about the Tag Titles: even less than the IC and US Titles.

I guess this would be considered the rebound program for Punk. He was dominated in his feud with Randy Orton. If there is anyone who could make the Tag Titles relevant again, it may very well be C.M. Punk. The only problem is that he doesn't have the best wrestlers to work with in this match. Kane & Big Show are nothing special, and Mason Ryan is still greener than fresh grass.

It appears as though the WWE may want to make Nexus seem like more of a threat than they have been. I don't know if they will actually go through with that. What I think the WWE is trying to do here is recreate the same magic they had with Batista with Mason Ryan. In Evolution, Batista was Tag Champion with Ric Flair. Later on, Batista went to turn on Evolution and go on to become World Champion. I don't know if Vince and Company can do the same thing again, but I'm sure they are going to try. Ryan & Punk win here, and the slow turn of Mason Ryan begins soon after. As for Show & Kane, they are on separate brands. They'll get their rematch, but I see them going their separate ways soon. By the way Kane, Happy May 19th!

WINNERS: C.M. Punk & Mason Ryan

R-Truth vs Rey Mysterio

Has there been a more enjoyable character in the entire WWE than R-Truth over the last month? Not to me. I love R-Truth's new found heel persona. It's different and it's great. No entrance music, great promos, vicious attacks. Him taking out John Morrison and "storyline wise" putting him in the hospital only puts more heat on Truth and will garner Morrison more support when he comes back. It also makes what would normally be considered a mid-card match more of a big deal.

But with Morrison's injury, the WWE needed to find somebody to replace him at the PPV. Enter Rey Mysterio, one of the top faces in the WWE. There's no way Rey could be left off a PPV card, so he seemed like too logical of a choice to fill in. It all started when Rey took Truth's spot in the #1 Contender's Match on RAW. Truth attacked Rey after the match, then again after his match with Alberto Del Rio this past Monday on RAW. Truth accepted Rey's challenge after the match and said that at Over the Limit, Rey is "Gonna Get Got."

I really hope R-Truth gets the win here. Rey's at a point in his career where wins and losses don't hurt him too much. Rey doesn't need the win, but R-Truth does. I think Truth could be build up as a challenger to John Cena down the line, whether he has the WWE Championship or not. There's also no better way to get Truth over as a heel than by having him take out one of the most beloved wrestlers by kids there is. I hope R-Truth doesn't disappoint in the ring. He's been an ok worker is whole career, but he needs to step his game up a notch to fully get over as a heel. He can't slack one bit. I'm going with my gut here and saying that R-Truth picks up the win with the Lie Detector.


Kiss My Foot Match: Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole

Could it be? Could this feud finally be coming to an end? It appeared that may be the case on RAW. Also, when it comes to these two, there is nothing more humiliating than having to kiss the other's feet. Cole and Lawler don't like each other, not one bit. The way the contract signing played out on RAW, it seems like everything is starting to catch up to Cole. He lost his trainer Jack Swagger after saying that nobody remembers him being a World Champion. Jerry Lawler has also continued to get the best of him in the last couple of weeks.

This program really jumped ship at Wrestlemania. The match was being built up so well, then it was a complete DUD. Not even Stone Cold could save it. I touched on this a bit more in my upcoming review of the WWE so far in 2011, which I hope to have finished by Friday night, Saturday at the latest. In short, this feud needs to end. No one wants to see Michael Cole in another match. Get him away from the announce table too.

I think the match ends with Jack Swagger coming out. It appears that he is going to help Cole, but instead pushes Cole into Lawler allowing Lawler to knock him out, then hitting the top rope punch for the win. After the match, Cole gets in Swagger's face. Swagger snaps and puts him in the ankle lock, forcing him to kiss Lawler's feet. Jim Ross comes out as well and Cole kisses his feet too. Cole disappears for few weeks do to the humiliation, but returns and tries to recruit someone to help him take out Jack Swagger.

WINNER: Jerry Lawler

World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (c) vs Christian

Christian was living his dream after Extreme Rules. After such a long journey, Christian finally climbed the mountain and won the World Heavyweight Title. His dream, however, only lasted 5 days. Randy Orton won a fan vote and beat Christian for the World Title. Christian's dream world was shattered. There was a huge uproar over Christian's quick loss. Mostly from the IWC, the Internet Wrestling Community. I even over-reacted a bit. Without seeing the match, everyone was pissed at Vince McMahon for taking the title off of Christian, someone who busted his butt for years to get to the top.

Most people, even the most die-hard Christian fans like myself, saw him as a transitional Champion. I thought he would lose the title here at Over the Limit. But Vince wanted it off of him ASAP, and wanted it on his second biggest face in the WWE, Randy Orton. After all, Orton was moved to Smackdown so he could have his own brand built around him, and not be in the shadow of John Cena on RAW. At least to me, however, Orton has become really boring as a character recently. His wrestling has been ok at best. His best match, coincidentally, was his match against Christian on Smackdown a few weeks ago. It was a great TV match, possibly the best TV match of the whole year.

If the match on Smackdown is any indication, these two have great chemistry in the ring. I hope they have an extended program on Smackdown. From the video packages they've shown on Smackdown, it seems like they are trying to build up Christian as a guy that had everything and lost it so quickly, possibly causing him to snap and turn heel. The problem with that, however, is that they may have more people sympathize with Christian rather than Orton. That can of course be edited out on Smackdown. If this is going to be a long program, I think Orton retains here. Christian wins at the next PPV, and it all culminates in a TLC match at SummerSlam.

WINNER: Randy Orton

I Quit Match for the WWE Championship: John Cena (c) vs The Miz

It's an I Quit Match. In case you didn't know, the only way to win this match is to make your opponent say I Quit. John Cena and The Miz have been feuding with each other since around the Royal Rumble, where Miz eliminated Cena in the Rumble match. They had a decent build heading into their Wrestlemania match, although Miz always seemed to be playing second fiddle to the conflict between The Rock and John Cena. Miz won at Wrestlemania. He lost his WWE Title, however, at Extreme Rules to Cena.

I think Cena is going to be WWE Champion for a few months. It's all building to a Cena/Del Rio WWE Title Match at SummerSlam, so Cena is holding on to the Title til at least then. If Cena is facing The Rock at Wrestlemania, they need to make him as strong a threat as possible. That probably means Cena is going to be on top for the better part of 2011.

The WWE actually did a good job of building this match up on RAW this past Monday. Miz and Cena had a good opening promo, and the show ended strong with Miz saying he's found a way to beat Cena, and Cena saying that he may have think he found a way to win, but Cena will never say I Quit. Cena's right. There is no way that John Cena, the top dog in the WWE, is saying I Quit. He's Superman, there's no way he can look weak. Now, I'm not saying that there isn't a chance Miz wins. If you look back at the Rock/Mankind I Quit Match from the 99 Royal Rumble, Rock won by playing an audio recording of Mankind saying I Quit over and over on an episode of RAW. That could happen here, although I doubt it does. I think it ends with Cena locking Miz in a modified STF by using some sort of cable or chain, and Miz holding on as long as possible until he is forced to utter the words I Quit. Cena wins. After the match, I could see Cena extending a handshake to Miz as a show of respect. Miz considers it but walks away, leading to a slow face turn for Miz. I've been begging for it now for some time. If Miz is going to be the new face of the WWE as reported, he has to be a face to do it.

WINNER: John Cena

That's all I have for today. As I said, My "Analyzing the WWE's 2011 So Far" will be up in the next couple of days.

Until then,
Justin C

Thursday, May 5, 2011

JC's Take: An Open Plea to Vince McMahon

This past Sunday at WWE Extreme Rules, Christian won the World Heavyweight Championship. It might have been the best feel good wrestling moment of 2011 so far. Seeing Christian, a guy who busted his ass in this industry finally make it to the top was refreshing. In a John Cena dominated era, it was nice to finally see Captain Charisma at the top. It inspired me to write a blog about it on Monday.

I described Christian as the blue collar type of worker. He's not the hot shot salesman, he's not the fancy boss. He's the guy who shows up, does his job, and doesn't brag about it. The top people may not see it, but everybody else in the company does. Now in the wrestling business that may not be a good thing, but this is why fans grew to love Christian. Christian just seemed like the average guy. A guy the fans could identify with. But in the eyes of Vince McMahon, that is not a good thing.

And to quote the legendary Gorilla Monsoon, at this Tuesday's Smackdown Taping, there was a  "miscarriage of justice!"

If you haven't heard by now, Randy Orton defeated Christian to win the World Heavyweight Championship. That's all Christian got, a 48 hour reign. Sure in WWE time it is a 5 day reign, but give me a break. Vince couldn't even keep the World Title on Christian until the next PPV, which is in 3 weeks by the way. Orton won the "fan vote" to face Christian later in the night. From the fan reports, the match was very good. And we all know Randy Orton isn't responsible for that.

The booking blunders are just astonishing. Why should Christian, a man who just fought a ladder match five days ago, be forced to defend his Title immediately after the PPV? At least with Cena, Miz was using his re-match clause. Why give away a match with no build on free TV not even ONE WEEK after a PPV? Randy Orton vs Christian is one of the few matches that the WWE has yet to do, and a proper build up to the match could have made it a decent main event. It could have been built up to a Christian heel turn, or hell even an Orton one. There's a PPV in three weeks. How about you have a #1 Contender's Match, then have Orton vs Christian at the PPV? No, Vince couldn't stomach having Christian as World Champ for three weeks. Vince might have died seeing that. At this point, Vince McMahon not running the WWE may be the best thing possible.

The WWE's business is struggling. It's been status quo for about 5 years now. No big growth in the audience, but no great decline either. There are a lot of factors that add up to all of this. It doesn't help that there are so many PPVs. Extreme Rules and Over the Limit are 3 weeks apart. At least Extreme Rules has gimmick matches. Over the Limit has nothing to its name. It may be one of the lowest PPVs in terms of buys ever. People say the PG rating is killing the product. I wouldn't necessarily agree with that, but some people use that argument. Other people dislike the lack of wrestling taking place on TV.

The WWE's biggest problem, and it has been for the last handful of years, is their inability to make new stars in today's era. Notice I said today's era. This doesn't just revolve around Christian. There are so many other wasted talents currently on the roster that Vince McMahon and WWE Creative fail to utilize properly.

Over the 1990s and early 2000s, the WWE had absolutely no problem building up new stars. In 1990, the Ultimate Warrior rose the ranks in the WWE and at Wrestlemania 6, defeated the biggest star in this company's history, Hulk Hogan, to win the WWE Championship. The Ultimate Warrior was a terrible wrestler, but Vince built everything all around his character and promoted the hell out of it. And it worked. Vince found a way to make a terrible wrestler a money maker. He had a lot of balls to trust Warrior in that role, but he made it work. Warrior didn't make as much money as Hogan, but he kept control of the ship very well.

In the mid-1990s, the WWE lost Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Ultimate Warrior, there rocks from the early 90s. Vince had to find a way to build new stars. So what did he do? He took Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, two smaller wrestlers who busted their asses in the ring, and made them main eventers. It was a downtime for the WWE, but Vince STOOD BEHIND these guys. He didn't give up and move on to someone else, he stood behind them. Sure enough, Shawn Michaels went on to become one of the best in ring workers of all time. Bret Hart is known as one of the best in ring technicians ever. They didn't have over the top characters or a muscle bound physique, but they got the job done. From an appearence perspective, they were guys fans could identify with.

Then came the Attitude Era. Many people consider this the best Era in pro wrestling. Some of the biggest starts in the wrestling industry were made during this time. When given the opportunity, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Triple H all made names for themselves. As Vince said on RAW this past Monday, he thanked The Rock for coming up to him and asking Vince to have the opportunity to let him be himself. Vince gave Steve Austin the chance to express himself, and he became a legendary character. Sure, Triple H married Stephanie McMahon, but he would have gotten over regardless. He had the charisma to make it in this business. He had the passion some lack. Vince again was able to take low-card stars and build them into main eventers.

Even in the mid-2000s, Vince again made new stars. Wrestlemania 21 saw Batista and John Cena defeat veterans Triple H and JBL to win their first World Titles. The build to each man's win was great. You could even argue in 2004 that Vince made stars out of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. Sure they were already established veterans, but they reached their peaks in terms of stardom in the WWE. Again, they were veterans who busted their butts for years to get to the top, just like Christian. Randy Orton also became a top star during this era, winning the World Heavyweight Championship in the summer of 2004.

So what does this brief history lesson tell us? That no matter what the time period in the WWE, Vince always found a way to build a new star or two, and make long term main eventers out of them. Fifteen years of the WWE, multiple new stars formed. Vince took the risk with every single one of these guys, gave them the opportunity, and they succeeded. Now sure there are some failures along the way, but those failures were still given the opportunity to try. Nowadays, Vince doesn't even seem to care, and it's been killing the product for the last few years.

There have been numerous young stars who have risen the ranks the last few years that fans have been dying to get behind. Lets go back to late 2009. Kofi Kingston seemed to be the next young star in line for a main event push. He began an angle with Randy Orton, who had just lost the WWE Championship. On RAW, he destroyed Randy Orton's custom made race car. OK, he didn't destroy it, just scratched it up and dumped some paint on it. Then at Madison Square Garden in New York City, he brawled with Randy Orton. The brawl ended with Kingston delivering the Boom Drop through a table. The crowd popped huge for it. Many people considered it a star making moment for Kingston. He was made in front of a MSG crowd. The crowd was behind him. Fast forward a couple months later, and Kingston was back in the mid-card. He apparently screwed up in a match with Orton, which caused Orton to burst out into an immature rant and yell "STUPID" multiple times at him. Kofi was over with the crowd, and a good worker in the ring. But the rug was pulled out from underneath him. He still remains in the mid-card as of this day.

Kofi Kingston went from future star to just another mid-carder in a matter of months

How about Jack Swagger? At Wrestlemania 26, he surprised everyone and won the Money in the Bank ladder match. Five days later on Smackdown, he cashed in MITB and won the World Heavyweight Championship. Fresh blood was finally at the top. The problem? Swagger was booked horribly as Champ. His reign lasted all of two months. He never looked strong during it. He was constantly dominated by the Big Show. He lost the title in a Fatal Four Way to Rey Mysterio. The WWE failed to capitalize on Swagger's momentum. I was there when Swagger gave that "Jack Swaggeer Appreciation" promo with all the trophies and awards, and it was great. The crowd ate it up. It looked like Swagger could handle himself at the top.

Then there's Sheamus. Sheamus made an immediate impact on his first month of RAW. He earned a WWE Title shot against John Cena, and won the title in a Tables match. He only held it for a couple of months, but he looked strong throughout the reign. He then put HHH out of action for almost a year. Sheamus won the WWE Title again during the summer of 2010 before losing it to Randy Orton. But what is Sheamus doing now? After winning the King of the Ring Tournament, he was jobbed out constantly. The guy he put out of action for almost a year, HHH, came back and destroyed him in about 5 minues. Not even in an official match, just a good ole fashion beatdown. There's a running joke over at the Oratory that he is "King of the Jobbers," with his jobber look and jobber hair. I like to joke around about it, but I think there is still potential in Sheamus. He's a guy who could be a dominant heel main eventer, but the WWE has ruined that. Sheamus is a good worker for his size, and can put on entertaining matches. Can the WWE build him back up? Only time will tell.

As upset as we are about Christian, I think the biggest example of dropping the ball in the last few years within the WWE has been Wade Barrett. Barrett won NXT, and it earned him a WWE or World Championship match. Barrett debuted on RAW with the rest of the NXT cast, and they took out John Cena and destroyed the WWE set, very nWo style. Everybody loved it. It was one of the best things the WWE did in years. Finally, they were about to change things up. Barrett looked great as the leader of the group. He was great on the mic. His in ring work was still average at best, but with the right person he could put on a good match in the ring. Many people thought he would be WWE Champion by the end of 2010. The WWE, however, completely ruined the Nexus angle. They jobbed Nexus out to John Cena at SummerSlam. Then when they finally took out Cena and made him leave the WWE, Cena still found ways to torture them. Cena beat Barrett at the TLC PPV, then Barrett was forced to move to Smackdown. He became the leader of Corre, who are now essentially jobbers with a T-shirt. Barrett's momentum has been pretty much non-existent the last few months. What once looked like the next main event push has turned into another wasted opportunity by the WWE. Barrett is in need of a serious overhaul if the WWE want people to think of him as a main eventer again.

The burying of Wade Barrett, and the entire Nexus, was perhaps the most disappointing event in the WWE in 2010

Again, another trip down memory lane. But what does it all show? The poor booking in the WWE over the last couple of years. I like to call it the WWE's "hot and cold" approach. They find a guy they feel like they have to get behind for a few months. They make him look like a star, put him in big angles, win a few matches. Then all of a sudden, they cut the legs out from underneath them. It's obvious that the WWE is willing to give younger talent the opportunity to shine, but the problem is that the talent isn't allowed to do it on a constant basis. When given the opportunity this summer, Wade Barrett looked like a future main eventer. He still can be one down the line, but it all comes back to when Vince McMahon is "hot" on him again. Right now, it's obvious that the WWE, or at least Vince, is "cold" on him.

The lack of consistent new stars in the WWE is alarming. As obvious by my brief history over-run, some of the best times in the wrestling business are when young talents are developed into new stars right in front of our eyes. Often times, when a mid-carder is developed into a top guy, fans get attached to him and are along for every second of the ride. Fans became attached to John Cena and Batista on their rise to the top. The same can be said for Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Steve Austin. Some of the best moments in wrestling history are seeing the guys I just mentioned finally reach the pinnacle of success, winning the WWE or World Title.

That is what is missing in today's WWE. Fans are afraid to get attached to a young up-and-comer because their push is more than likely going to get squashed just as quickly as it was started. Kofi Kingston doesn't get as big of pops as he used to in 2009. Fans can't get attached to him. The same could be said for John Morrison. Morrison looked like a star on the rise in 2010. He became the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship. Many thought he would face Miz at the Royal Rumble, but instead he fought Miz on RAW, and Orton fought Miz at the Royal Rumble. That pretty much killed any momentum Morrison had going. He could do all the parkour moves he wants, the fans will be afraid to get attached to him again. It's important in the wrestling business to have mid-card guys that the fans can believe will become future main eventers. These are the guys fans can attach to, and stick by on their rise to the top. That's lacking in today's WWE. They did it with Christian, but again, the rug was pulled out from underneath him. Do you think the fans will be as behind Christian now as they were before Extreme Rules? I don't think so. The WWE had something special with Christian this time around, and they completely ruined one of the best wrestling moments in a very long time.

For some reason, the WWE continues to go back to their core guys, John Cena and Randy Orton. Now this article is not meant to bash these two individuals. While I don't like John Cena's character, and I think Randy Orton has become boring as a character, I still respect what they do. Cena and Orton aren't the people hindering the young talent, it is Vince McMahon and WWE Creative. People who were bashing Orton on Twitter Tuesday night need to realize he didn't go to Vince and say, "Hey, I should be World Champion. Make it happen." John Cena recognizes new stars need to be made. He's set it himself in numerous interviews. But for some reason, the WWE decides to go back to the same stuff we've seen over and over. Now we have to worry about John Cena holding the WWE Championship til Wrestlemania 28 against the Rock. A match that DOESN'T NEED the WWE Championship. Let the title be on the line against two young stars hungry to make a name for themselves.

This is not what fans wanted to see end Extreme Rules

I knew Christian's title reign wasn't going to last long, and I expected him to lose the title sooner rather than later. My main problem is that it was to a guy that has been at the top before. If the WWE wanted to make a new star out of it, they could have at least had Mark Henry win. The heel heat on him would have been tremendous. That dastardly heel Mark Henry ruined Christian's moment at the top! Then when Christian won the belt back, or cost Henry the title, it creates or continues a good feud. But that wasn't Vince's thinking. He couldn't stomach anybody but Orton as the Face of Smackdown, so he felt the need to act as soon as possible.

There will be some that will argue that whoever takes the Titles off of Cena and Orton will become bigger stars because of it. But the question I pose is this: Who are we suppose to believe can do that? C.M. Punk, one of the top heels in the WWE, was just thoroughly buried by Orton in a four month feud. John Cena just beat the Miz twice in two nights. Alberto del Rio has tried twice to win the World Title but ultimately failed. There are no other heels on the WWE roster right now that you could even consider having a chance. On Smackdown, Cody Rhodes just lost his feud with Rey Mysterio. Again, instead of having a young guy go over, the top veteran looks strong in the end. This all points to another problem in the WWE, the lack of a strong dominant heel, but that's another blog post all together.

The WWE needs to do something to keep their long-time fans who yearn for a change. They're talking about re-branding themselves to market to a new audience. Well guess what, long term, I only see that hurting the product more than helping it. The WWE should be concerned about keeping their fans who buy their PPVs and merchandise year after year. These are the true wrestling fans, the people the WWE should care about. Instead, Vince McMahon is essentially ashamed of being a "wrestling" company. He doesn't want that term used. It's sports entertainment. If you're ashamed of being called what you are, then you shouldn't be in the wrestling business.

Awhile ago I wrote a blog looking at the WWE's Youth Movement. Ultimately, that has been a big let down. I thought for sure a guy like John Morrison or Dolph Ziggler would be permanent main eventers right now. Instead, they're floundering in the mid-card. I looked at SummerSlam as an opportunity to do somewhat of a youth movement. I booked that card as if it were a young talent vs established talent event. I still think it would work. The card would need to be tweaked around a bit now, but there's no reason it still couldn't happen. Unfortunately, Vince McMahon probably doesn't think it would draw money.

So what does all my ramblings and history lessons mean? It means that the WWE has shown in the past that when they put their full support behind a young talent, they can get over. Don't take a "hot and cold" approach with them. Go up to a Wade Barrett or John Morrison and say, "You're going to be our next big time main eventer. It's time to up your game and show you belong." That alone would motivate a talent to step up their game. Instead, the WWE has failed to get behind one talent for a long time, and it is ruining their ability to make new stars in the eyes of their fans. It's causing fans to turn away from the product. The backlash the WWE received Tuesday night was justified. The fans FINALLY got behind a new talent at the top, and Vince McMahon pulled the rug out from underneath us. He probably got a good laugh out of it too. If you honestly think Vince McMahon gives a damn what the fans think, you're delusional.

This was probably Vince McMahon's reaction to the backlash on Twitter and Facebook Tuesday night

The problem is, Vince McMahon will continue to do this until fans really start to walk away. We all keep coming back. Even then, he will do something to get the fans back. He did it for Wrestlemania with The Rock. But that is only a temporary band-aid. When Rock is finally gone for good after next year's Wrestlemania, he better have some new blood lined up at the top, or fans will turn away again. Hell, he better have some new blood lined up for the summer when Rock won't be around, or fans might not come back for Wrestlemania 28. The Rock got Wrestlemania 1 million buys. While that is nice, it would have been better if the WWE's actual talent got them the 1 million buys.

I'm 23 years old, and have been a wrestling fan since I was 3. I might not have known all of the backstage workings of the WWE when I was younger, but I could tell when a new star was being made. Now that I know the workings of the WWE and read the rumor sites, it's more upsetting than ever to see no change at the top. It's really hard to say you can just turn away from something that's been a part of your life for 20 years, but this fan is getting dangerously close to doing so.

So to end this long blog/rant, I want to make a plea to Vince McMahon. Yes, I know he won't read it, but I just have to say it.


I've followed your product for 20 years. I was a WWE guy during the Monday Night War Era. I've bought your DVDs and T-shirts. I've gone to every live event in Buffalo since I was 12. I've seen you turn nobodies into main event Hall of Famers. I've seen you at your very best, but I now I feel like I've seen you at your very worst.

I know you're a publicly traded company, and your investors want a profit. But constantly having the same guys at the top will do nothing for you. You've done some of your best business when new stars are made. There's no denying it.

As a man who respects what you've done, I'm asking you to show that you've still got balls the size of grapefruits. If you do just one more thing before you step down as head of the WWE, show that you still have the ability to make great stars before our eyes. Give your very talented young stars the chance to become main eventers. I know they're willing to take the leap of faith, now you have to show you're willing to as well.

Until next time,
Justin C

Monday, May 2, 2011

JC's Take: A Win for the Peeps! Christian's Journey to the World Heavyweight Title!

Wrestling fans take a lot of flack from the non-viewing audience. Why do you guys like this stuff? You know it's fake right? You like watching guys fake fight?

We hear that from people all the time. Most of my friends have come to respect that I like wrestling, and that there is nothing that will change it. They don't like it, but they understand that I do and it has become a staple of my daily routine.

One of the main reasons we stay wrestling fans is because of moments like last night at Extreme Rules. Last night Christian, a guy who has busted his butt in the wrestling business for over 10 years, finally achieved what every wrestler in this business would like to achieve. Christian won his first ever major singles championship, winning the vacant World Heavyweight Title in a Ladder Match. It was an emotional moment knowing how hard Christian has worked in his career. There were times in his first WWE run where it looked like he was a future main eventer, but the WWE never capitalized on it.

Christian made his debut in the WWE in 1998, distracting Edge during a match at an In Your House PPV. He joined with Gangrel, and the two were eventually joined by Edge to form the Brood.

After the Brood broke up, Christian & Edge went on to form a tag team by themselves. While they started off as serious threats, they eventually turned their personas into a goofy comedic team. Edge & Christian entertained fans night in and night out. Sure they were technically the heels, but they were so entertaining that you couldn't help but laugh. I loved every single "5 second pose." How could you not? During this time, Edge & Christian also made themselves the masters of the TLC Match. The two won a Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 16, then won two Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches at SummerSlam 2000 and Wrestlemania 17.

The team broke up after Edge won the 2001 King of the Ring. It seemed like the WWE had faith in Edge as a future singles competitor, but Christian was soon to be lost in the shuffle. The WWE pegged Edge as the guy to push out of the two. Christian formed the Un-Americans with Lance Storm and Test in 2002. The group didn't amount to much, and it still seemed like Christian was going nowhere.

In 2003, however, it seemed like Christian was in line for a push. Christian had a segment with the Rock where Rock told Christian that he has some potential. Christian called himself the "New People's Champion" and started calling his fans "Peeps."

He started hanging around with Chris Jericho, and the two started teaming together. They eventually broke up, leading to a good singles match at Wrestlemania XX, where Christian won and formed an alliance with Trish Stratus. After returning from a back injury in 2004, Christian began calling himself "Captain Charisma" and introduced his problem solver, Tyson Tomko.

With a new bodyguard and what seemed to be a new found attitude, it seemed like Christian was on his way to the main event level. Even though he was a heel, people started to get behind Christian. He was getting cheered every night by the die hard fans, the same people who cheer him today. People saw Christian as a guy who grew up right in front of their eyes. Christian cut a money promo in Canada that even furthered people's liking of him. Everyone thought this was the promo that made Christian a star.

After the WWE Draft of 2005 where John Cena was drafted to RAW, a feud with Christian seemed imminent. The WWE booked him in a match against Cena at the Vengeance PPV but instead added Chris Jericho to the mix, making it a Triple Threat match. John Cena retained the WWE Title in the bout.

In November 2005, Christian quit the WWE. His contract was expiring, and he decided not to re-sign. Most people believe that Christian quit because he was unhappy with his push. It was obvious to everyone watching that the fans were behind him. He was a solid worker in the ring, and he was one of the better promo guys the WWE had. But Vince McMahon didn't see Christian as a top guy, so he never pulled the trigger on him.

Christian went on to wrestle for TNA. I won't go in depth into his run there. I've never paid full attention to TNA, but it was obvious that he was out to prove he could be a top dog in the wrestling business. Christian held the NWA World Heavyweight Title there, and he showed he could be a main eventer in the WWE down the line. His in ring work never suffered, and he still continued to be one of the best promos around.

Christian returned to the WWE in 2009. At the time, it was rumored that he was the person who attacked Jeff Hardy in late 2008, and he would be returning by costing Hardy the WWE Championship. That never happened. Again, it had to do with Vince not thinking Christian could handle the top stage. The fans wanted it, they were begging for it. There were constant "WE WANT CHRISTIAN" chants on TV and PPV. But nothing. Instead of hyping up Christian's debut, they just had him re-appear on a random episode of ECW. Christian remained on ECW until its demise. He was on RAW for a few months, then was drafted to Smackdown. He seemed to be stuck in mid-card purgatory again. In late 2010, Christian suffered a torn pectoral muscle. Storyline wise, he was put out by Alberto del Rio. Little did Christian know this injury would become an important part of his rise to the top.

Christian returned from injury at Elimination Chamber, rescuing Edge from an attack from Alberto del Rio. In the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania, Christian teamed with Edge against Del Rio and Brodus Clay. Christian also fought Del Rio on TV. Christian was in Edge's corner when Edge defeated Del Rio at Wrestlemania to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. At the time, there was talk about what would happen with Christian down the line. Some people saw him turning on Edge, then engaging in a main event program with him. Some saw him slowly working his way into a match against Edge & Del Rio for the Title. The possibilities were endless for Christian. Somehow, it seemed like he was finally on his way to a real main event program.

Then Edge's retirement happened. It was a shock to everyone. People were in disbelief. After the dust settled, I thought that it was finally Christian's time. Sure enough, he won a battle royal on Smackdown to win the right to fight Alberto del Rio at Extreme Rules for the World Title. I wrote in my Extreme Rules preview that if Christian was ever going to win a World Title, it was now or never. Sure enough, his time was now. (I hate when I quote John Cena) Christian climbed the ladder and grabbed the World Title. It was a very good match. Sure Edge helped Christian, but it doesn't take away from the moment. All Edge did was honk a car horn. When Eddie Guerrero won his first WWE Title, Goldberg interfered in the match. Edge's "interference" doesn't take away from Christian's win.

Christian's win was a great moment in wrestling history. Here was a guy who was the ultimate underdog in the wrestling business. I've always been a fan of Christian. He's one of those guys that you would watch every show and know that he was giving it his all. Whether it was in his Brood days, or teaming with Edge & Christian, in TNA, or one of his many mid-card matches, Christian gave it his all every night. That is part of the reason so many people started to get behind him. Christian is one of the hardest workers in the business who knew how to put on a show every night.

Many people consider Christian an "internet darling." The Internet wrestling community likes to get behind people who they think are solid workers inside the ring, and put on an entertaining show for the fans every night. Christian easily fell into that company. As much as Internet fans get a bad rap, they know talent when they see it. Christian is a talented worker who deserves the praise he gets.

The talk about Christian was always that he didn't have the look of a top company guy, that's why Vince McMahon never put the WWE or World Title on him. Christian looked too much like an average guy. Well, that's another thing that made people attracted to him. Not every top star needs to look muscular like John Cena, or be a former reality TV star like Miz, or have a unique look and gimmick like C.M. Punk. Some guys just need to be the typical, hard-working guy who goes in and busts his butt. Christian could be compared to the typical 9-5 weekday worker at a typical job. He may not be the boss or the hot shot salesman, but he does his job efficiently and effectively and when the right people notice, he will be given his due. That's Christian.

Now there are people who will say Christian is only here because of Edge's sudden retirement. Now that is partially true. He was in this match because of Edge's retirement, but I think sooner rather than later he was going to be World Champ this year. Everything was setting up for some kind of match down the line. Christian's buddy Edge had been trying to get him there for years. Little did Edge know that his sudden retirement would be the thing that put Christian to the top. Sometimes, you have to take advantage of the opportunity given to you. That's what Christian did. If people didn't take advantage of opportunities, there wouldn't be as many stars as there are today. Where would Tom Brady be if he didn't step in for an injured Drew Bledsoe for the Patriots? You have to seize the bull by the horns when given the chance, otherwise you will never get the opportunity to be the top guy.

There are very few things that get me teary eyed nowadays. Seeing Christian win the World Title Sunday at Extreme Rules did that. Being a fan of someone your whole life, it is always nice to finally that person make their way to the top. Christian is one of the most entertaining wrestlers in the business. As I said, he busts his butt every night no matter the match, the crowd, or the show. He's a very nice and out going guy. I met him at Wrestlemania Fan Axxess. Being a Sabres fan, I made a joke about the Toronto Maple Leafs not making the NHL Playoffs again. He got a laugh out of it. He seemed to want to talk to everyone in line and take pictures with everybody. His line got so backed up that they had to cut off pictures. Christian loved inter-acting with the fans and unlike some other wrestlers that were there, he seemed genuinely happy to be there.

Christian deserves all of the accolades he will receive in the coming weeks. Now it is all up to the WWE to decide how to handle his reign. Hopefully it is not a short reign, and just a victory for the sake of a victory. Christian deserves a few months as World Champ to show he can handle his time at the top. Hopefully Vince gives him the chance to run with the ball before he decides to take it away.

Congratulations Christian. You deserve your spot at the top. I've watched you work your ass off for over ten years to get where you are today. Enjoy your time at the top. Cherish it, soak up every minute of it. Your win was one of the best things to happen in wrestling in a long time. I've always been a member of the Peep Nation. I consider myself "Buffalo's #1 Peep!" I'll make sure I see every minute of your title reign. You always took the time to entertain the Peeps, so I'll make sure I take the time to watch ever minute you are on top.

But just remember, no matter if you are World Champ or Lightheavyweight Champ, the Leafs will always still suck!

Until next time,
Justin C

JC's Take: Extreme Rules Review

Tonight the WWE brought us Extreme Rules. The match card looked solid on paper, so lets see what we get. I'm watching this on DVR and doing a write up as I watch it. Hopefully this is worth me getting up at 9 a.m. to watch it.

Randy Orton defeated C.M. Punk in a Last Man Standing Match: **3/4
OK opener, ok last man standing match. Didn't really get too into it. Punk brought the Nexus out to start, but the RAW GM banned them from ringside. The main weapon of choice in this match was the kendo stick. A chair was also used. Punk took a nice bump off of it. Orton threw him into the chair which was positioned in the corner, and Punk fell out of the ring. Punk put the chair around Orton's neck and put him into the ring post. The match ended with Orton delivering an RKO off of the top rope into the ring.

Like I said, ok match. Orton wins the feud with Punk in commanding fashion. He goes over to Smackdown as the top dog, and has the best argument to be the #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. As for Punk, who knows. If the rumors of him wanting time off are true, then the loss makes sense. But if Punk is sticking around, even if only for a couple of months, there's no really telling where he goes. While still one of the best in the WWE, Punk has absolutely no direction and zero momentum right now. It'll be interesting to see what happens with him next.

Backstage, Sheamus talked with Teddy Long. He said he was upset that he had to face Kofi Kingston tonight, because he is the United States Champion, and he's facing a non-U.S. citizen. He demanded to see his birth certificate. Long said he should be more worried about his upcoming Tables match.

Kofi Kingston defeated Sheamus to win the United States Championship: **
Again, just an ok match. The match was bumped up a half a star just because of the finish. Awesome Boom Drop from the top rope to the table on the floor. But half of the match just seemed like the two of them setting up a table, then doing a couple of moves, then setting up another table. The US Title moves to RAW, which makes sense. Can't have both the U.S. and Intercontinental titles on the same show. Sheamus takes a loss and now needs to get some momentum back if he wants to be a top player on Smackdown.

R-Truth was interviewed next. He was upset at not being on the show. He said it was a conspiracy, but couldn't spell it. He said Cena and Miz didn't want him in the match, and the thief, John Morrison, didn't want him in it either. Truth said if there is one thing he hates, it is a thief. Truth had a nice angry look on his face as the promo ended. Is it possible to have a nice angry look?

I'd like to point out, at least at this point, how dead the crowd seems. They were hot in the beginning of the opener, but cooled down half way through the match, and were barely into Kofi/Sheamus.

Michael Cole & Jack Swagger defeated Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler in a CountryWhipping Match: *
Well, I'll give them this much. It was better than their Wrestlemania match. J.R. seemed believable as a man full of frustration and ready to take it out on Michael Cole. I still love Cole's facial expressions even though I'm starting to get tired of this angle. I thought this would end tonight, but it appears it won't. Ross was whippin Cole with the strap. Swagger tried to stop him, but he received a low blow. Cole rolled up Ross for the win. Not a spectacular match, but ok filler. It didn't drag in spots or go as long as the Mania match. It was what it was suppose to be.

Rey Mysterio defeated Cody Rhodes in a Falls Count Anywhere Match: ***
Ok, first the positives. This was a good match. Best of the night so far (I'm watching this on DVR Monday morning). I liked the brawling through the crowd. Cody hit a nice flying knee off of a concession stand. The action was back and forth, and non-stop. Unlike the Last Man Standing Match where the 10 counts break up the action, this one kept going throughout. Not a whole lot of weapons used, but non-stop brawling and action.

Now the negative. Why on Earth did Rey Mysterio win here? What was the point of it? Cody needed the win much more than Rey. Cody is pretty much the top heel on Smackdown right now. A win for Cody here would have made him a top star over there, a BELIEVABLE threat as a heel. Now, Cody has nothing to brag about on Smackdown. He goes back to the same old schtick he's been doing for ever now. If he would have beaten Rey, he could brag how he one-uped Rey Mysterio and is now a bigger star than Rey ever will be. Just a mind-boggling booking decision, especially now that Smackdown's top 3 heels all have looked weak recently: Cody & Sheamus lost tonight, and Wade Barrett hasn't looked strong in months. Oh boy, can't wait for the Mark Henry World Title push.

Backstage, Layla apologized to the Divas. Kelly Kelly said that while they didn't like her, they hated Michelle McCcool more, so she wished her luck.

Layla defeated Michelle McCool in a Loser Leaves WWE Match: *1/2
Can someone explain to me how this match got the most crowd reaction the whole night. A good Women' match. Anytime a women's match can get the crowd semi into it, it is a good match. Layla reversed a McCool pin attempt into a 3 count for the win. Both sold their emotions well. Layla was upset that it came to this, McCool was upset that she lost. I'm still impressed with Layla's growth as a performer.

As McCool sold shock in the ring, Kharma's music hit and she slowly walked to the ring. She hit a powerbomb face plant on McCool as the rest of the Divas locker room watched on. So Kharma attacked a heel, but is suppose to be one herself? Confusing.

Christian defeated Alberto del Rio in a Ladder Match to win the Vacant World Heavyweight Championship: ***3/4
Very good ladder match. The key to ladder match's is to make sure that you do enough unique spots in it to make it not seem like a run of the mill ladder match. The use of the mini ladder was great. It played into everything that happened in the match. They didn't go overboard with big spots. That's ok. Every ladder match can't have high spot after high spot. I'm sure the WWE wanted to tone those spots down after everything that happened with Edge. Del Rio performed surprisingly well in his first singles ladder match. He took a pretty good bump on the ladder when he jumped off the turnbuckle onto it. It looked like he landed awkwardly and I thought he was hurt.

With Del Rio lying on the ground, Christian climbed the ladder. Brodus Clay pulled the ladder out from underneath him, causing Christian to hang from the rope holding the title. Christian fell down, but then pushed Brodus into the ladder before he fell out of the ring. Del Rio snuck back in, and applied the cross armbar using the mini ladder. With Christian out, Del Rio climbed the ladder. Somebody started honking a car horn, and they showed Edge in a jeep by the ramp. With Del Rio distracted, Christian pushed the ladder down, causing Del Rio to fall to the outside on Brodus and Ricardo Rodriguez. Brodus somehow got busted open pretty badly. Christian climbed the ladder to grab the World Heavyweight Title as he celebrated with Edge.

Like I said, very good ladder match. Being a Christian fan, it is very awesome to finally see him reach the top. Even if it is only for a month, just to be able to say you were World Champion means something. Some people will say he is only champ because of Edge's injury, and you know what, I don't care. Christian has busted his butt in this business for years, and he deserves to finally be on top. It would have been nice to see this main event, but that will depend on who wins the WWE Title match. Congratulations to Christian, you deserve it.

Big Show & Kane defeated Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson to retain the World Tag Team Championships in a Lumberjack Match: *
Nothing more than filler and a way to advance the Corre break-up. Barrett tagged himself in and went for Wasteland on Big Show, but Show countered into a chokeslam for the win. Big Zeke was pissed. The lumberjacks brawled afterwards, and Gabriel and Slater at chokeslams from Big Show and Kane.

John Cena pinned The Miz in a Steel Cage Match which included John Morrison to win the WWE Championship: ****1/4
Very good Cage match. Not a match of the year candidate by any means, but a very good main event for a non-big 4 PPV. I had problems with the build to the match and the match format, but all three men pulled this match off very well. Morrison got his high spots in with the Starship Pain from the top of the cage, as well as using some of his parkour moves. Cena actually sold during the match for extended periods of time, which is a treat for people who hate seeing "Super Cena." Miz looked good as well. Even though he took the pin, there was no point in the match where he looked terrible.

While I usually have a problem with interference, I didn't mind R-Truth's here. Truth is gaining strong momentum as a heel. Morrison would have won in the eyes of fans had Truth not interfered in the match. Truth's symbolic climbing over the Cage as if he was suppose to be the winner was great. The match ended with Cena giving Miz the Attitude Adjustment from the top rope. Again, Miz can't look bad taking a pin with a move like that.

I'm surprsied Cena won here. If they were building to Cena/Del Rio, I thought Miz would retain here and Del Rio would win the title sometime between now and SummerSlam. Then the build to Cena beating Del Rio at SummerSlam for the WWE Title would have been in full swing. But Cena is the Champ, and now he gets to walk into the Rock's birthday celebration tomorrow on RAW to show off the title in Rock's face.

I thought this was a very good PPV. The main event matches were strong. I didn't agree with some of the booking decisions, mostly Cody losing, but the matches were all solid. It was satisfying seeing Christian finally win the big one. He deserves it. A solid PPV that I am giving a 7.

That's all I have for today.

Until next time,
Justin C