Thursday, September 29, 2011

WWE Hell in a Cell Preview

Sorry, but I am not using the John Cena poster for the main graphic. Too corny.
Hello everyone. After a couple of days off, it's time to jump back into everything with my Hell in a Cell Preview. It's the WWE's second PPV in the span of two weeks, which I still maintain is a dumb idea. You can't continue to charge $50 a PPV, have 3 in the span of 5 weeks, and think people will continue to buy them, especially with some of the stuff WWE has done in the last few weeks. I think the product has gone downhill a bit since before Night of Champions. Then, John Cena won and C.M. Punk lost. Back to status quo in the WWE.

Hell In A Cell doesn't have quite the buzz to it. Again, the Cell is being used just as a gimmick and not as a blow off to a hot feud like it should be. Sure the Cell might pop a few more buyrates, but it should be used as the final match to a long feud. Plus, just like SummerSlam, there are only 5 matches currently announced for the card. But unlike SummerSlam, there is no big time match that makes you want to buy this PPV. SummerSlam had Cena/Punk and Orton/Christian No Holds Barred. Those matches had some intrigue and were guaranteed to be good. Hell in a Cell doesn't have that added on to it. Plus, the WWE's top angle, their big Conspiracy Angle, is pretty much a non factor in this match. Although I guess it could play into the WWE Championship match.

But, with all of that being said, lets dive into the Preview for the show.

Divas Championship: Kelly Kelly (c) vs Beth Phoenix

So, is the third time the charm for Beth Phoenix? Beth failed to win the Title at SummerSlam, then failed again to win it in her hometown of Buffalo at Night of Champions. Now the WWE just seems to be spinning circles with Kelly/Eve and the Divas of Doom, or Destruction, or whatever they are being called now. The WWE apparently feels that Kelly is getting over as Champion, but that doesn't mean the WWE can't change things up every now and then. I really think Beth should have won the Title at NOC, but Kelly won the exact same way she did at SummerSlam, with a roll up during a GlamSlam attempt by  Beth. Kelly tries to do the same thing here, but Beth kicks out of it. Kelly goes for her finisher, but Beth counters into a GlamSlam and FINALLY wins the Divas Championship. If for some reason she doesn't, expect Natalya to get the next shot. But I think Beth finally wins here.

WINNER: Beth Phoenix

*Smackdown Spoiler ALERT!!!*

EVILLLLL Sin Cara vs GOOD Sin Cara

This is a battle over? Yeah your guess is as good as mine. There have been two Sin Caras for the last couple of weeks on WWE TV. The original Sin Cara was suspended, so the WWE got developmental talent Hunico to portray Sin Cara until the original Sin Cara came back. Now they are both around and like pointing at each other and try to get the crowd on their side. The good Sin Cara has a bleach blond mohawk sticking out of his mask. But now, as evident on Smackdown, EVILLLLL Sin Cara is now wearing all black, just to show that he is EVILLLLL. This feud can't go on much longer with the two men just pointing at each other and interrupting each other on a constant basis. Neither man can really speak English, especially GOOD Sin Cara. Everyone keeps talking about a potential Mask vs Mask match when the WWE hits up Mexico in October. I could see that happening. And if that is the case, i think EVILLLLL Sin Cara wins here. There'd be no reason for GOOD Sin Cara to win then decide to put his mask on the line.


Sheamus vs Christian

There has been something brewing between these two for weeks now. Sheamus called out Christian a while ago for being a whiner and complainer. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm also starting to get bored with Christian as well. They need to move Christian away from the World Title picture for a bit. I think Christian getting involved with this potential new Lawsuit Angle is a good thing, especially if it A) Gets him away from the World Title picture and B) Exposes him more to the audience on RAW. Christian, just like EVERY wrestler (I'm looking at you John Cena), needs time away from the Title scene so when they get back into it they are fresh and not old and stale.

Who would have ever thought Sheamus would be this good as a face? I think this is some of his best work so far in his career. I liked his first WWE Title run, but this is probably right behind it. Sheamus seems to be enjoying himself more as a face as well. The crowd buys into him too, which is the most important thing. I think if the WWE wanted too, they could transition from Randy Orton to Sheamus in a  World Title program. There's still some unfinished business between the two. They put on two quality big man matches at SummerSlam and on Smackdown, and I think they could do the same on PPV. If they want to put Randy Orton on Rock/Cena's team at Survivor Series, they could do Sheamus/Mark Henry for the World Title. I'm giving Sheamus the win here because of that.

WINNER: Sheamus  

World Heavyweight Championship: Mark Henry (c) vs Randy Orton 

I was quite surprised the WWE decided to pull the trigger on Mark Henry's World Title win at Night of Champions. With so many PPVs in the coming weeks, I thought for sure they would hold off until here at Hell in A Cell to give Henry the win. I was expecting a DQ finish at NOC. But I was quite pleasantly surprised to see Henry win. The WWE had to pull the trigger on the Henry Title win otherwise it would have been a complete waste of the whole summer for Henry, who is easily doing the best work of his 15 year career right now. Now it is up to the WWE to show continued faith in Mark Henry and allow him to continue to do what he is doing as World Champion. If the WWE gives Henry a monster run with the World Title, then whoever takes it off of him will become an instant star in the eyes of the fans. Smackdown also had one of its highest ratings this past week in quite sometime, which can easily be attributed to the run Mark Henry has had.

Now I have to admit, Randy Orton has been no slouch these last couple of months either. He had a great series of matches with Christian, and his match with Mark Henry at Night of Champions, while not a technical master piece, was good and told a great story. I've always maintained that Orton is at his best as a face when he is chasing the Title. He was very good in the month after Money in the Bank when he lost the World Title to Christian, and he was good again last week on Smackdown during his attack on Cody Rhodes. Orton finally got the better of Mark Henry on Smackdown this week, connecting with an RKO. It gives Orton fans a glimmer of hope heading into Sunday. 

So who wins here? Mark Henry for multiple reasons. One: There is no reason for another quick Title change again. Two: A title loss here, even inside the Cell, would damage Mark Henry's push. Three: Just like Christian, Randy Orton could use some time away from the Title scene as well. I expect Orton to be involved with the Title match at Vengeance, but after that I would slowly transition Orton away from the Title scene, and put him in a program with Cody Rhodes, leading to their involvement with the  Rock/Cena Elimination Match at Survivor Series. So Henry wins here again, after a World's Strongest Slam onto the steel steps.

WINNER: Mark Henry

WWE Championship: C.M. Punk vs John Cena (c) vs Alberto del Rio
A triple threat match? Inside a hell in a cell? Oh my! Again, this match doesn't need the cell. I can't begin to explain how much the WWE has ruined gimmick matches over the last few years. But alas, these three men do battle inside the Cell this Sunday for the WWE Championship. The main issue here is really between John Cena and Alberto del Rio. C.M. Punk is pretty much the third wheel in this match. They tried to make him fit in this week on RAW, but I don't think they did a good job. The whole "Conspiracy Angle" still needs to be fully played out, and C.M. Punk will be a key part of that when it does. For this PPV, however, Punk needed a spot on the card and this seemed like the only logical place for him.
The WWE has really been all over the place the last couple of months. C.M. Punk was the guy in July and August. Alberto del Rio was the guy in late August to Night of Champions, and now the focus is back on John Cena. Vince just can't make up his mind about who to keep on top. The ratings weren't great with Del Rio on top, but that can't all be put on Del Rio's shoulders. The WWE has done a poor job of booking him as Champion. And Del Rio couldn't get over because of that. Del Rio seemed to be a product of the "anti-Cena crowd." People didn't like Del Rio, they hated Cena. So they cheered against Cena, not for Del Rio. The opposite would be said about C.M. Punk. People cheered him AND booed Cena.
So who walks out with the WWE Championship? I would take C.M. Punk out almost immediately. When he wins the WWE Title back, in needs to be a major happening. It shouldn't happen in a Triple Threat Match and on a secondary PPV. Alberto del Rio deserves another run with the WWE Title, but I don't think the Title changes hands here. Cena just won the Championship two weeks ago, he probably isn't losing it again this quickly. But I wouldn't put it out of the question to see Del Rio win the Title in Mexico in a few weeks. Something major needs to happen with Del Rio there. If you are not going to have him walk in with the Title, you should probably have him walk out with it. Plus Del Rio ended RAW on top, which more than likely means he isn't winning. The WWE needed to build him up as a credible threat for the match, and they did a good job of it. John Cena walks out with the WWE Title here. There's no reason for Cena to lose it quickly, and quick Title changes make the Title seem worthless.
WINNER: John Cena
Well there you have it. There's a rumor that another match may be added, possibly Air Boom vs Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. I think Air Boom wins either way, causing more friction between Dolph & Swagger.
I won't be watching the PPV live. Blame work. I will try to watch it either late Sunday night or early Monday, then have a review up Monday afternoon.
NFL Picks Saturday morning.
Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

RAW Thoughts for 9/27/2011

$250,000 Fine? That's A Lot of Kool Aid
Triple H came out to start the show. HHH said Miz & Truth were fired because of the video they made after Night of Champions that showed them attacking officials and then their weak apology last week on RAW. HHH said Mark Henry is also fined $250,000 for putting his hands on Jim Ross and attacking Jerry Lawler. HHH said he would always do what is right for the WWE, but then Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler interrupted. Dolph complained about Hugh Jackman fracturing his jaw (which he really didn't). HHH said that maybe he will get some security for Dolph when the Muppets are here next month. Cody Rhodes came out and complained about Randy Orton's attack on him from Smackdown. HHH told Cody to man up.

Christian came out to complain about Sheamus costing him the World Title. HHH told him it was a Lumberjack match, that's what the lumberjacks do. Christian asked for one more match. HHH said that Christian will get one more match: against Sheamus at Hell in a Cell, Randy Orton on Smackdown, and John Cena tonight. HHH said Dolph Ziggler would face Zack Ryder for the U.S. Title. As Cody continued to run his mouth, HHH said Cody has to defend the Intercontinental Title in a 10 man over the top rope battle royal. I liked that opening. It gave a couple mid-card guys a chance to get themselves over with the help of HHH. I especially liked Dolph Ziggler there. Survey Says: 4/5

So Two Guys Dressed As Sin Cara Walk into the Room..
Drew McIntyre was eliminated quickly. EVIL Sin Cara came out and took out good Sin Cara, but EVIL Sin Cara was then eliminated by Daniel Bryan. Sheamus took out Alex Riley and Justin Gabriel. Ezekiel Jackson took out John Morrison and Daniel Bryan. Cody pushed Ted DiBiase over. Cody then pulled the top rope down on Big Zeke. Christian distracted Sheamus. He went for the Brogue Kick but missed. It looked like that should have been the end, but Sheamus got caught. Cody eliminated Sheamus by hitting him with his masks. Christian attacked Sheamus after. Good win for Cody on RAW. Battle royal was ok. Survey Says: 3/5

The announcers updated Jerry Lawler's injury. Michael Cole said he has bruised ribs, and anal bleeding. WTF? David Otunga was complaining to John Laurinaitis backstage. Afterwards Ace texted someone.

Divas on Repeat
A Divas Tag Rematch from last week after a Kelly Kelly video package and commercial break. Beth & Natalya finally picked up the win after a Glam Slam to Kelly. Survey Says: 1.5/5

Mark Henry came out before the break to take on The Great Khali. Before the match even started, Henry hit Khali with the World Title, then delivered a World's Strongest Slam.

C.M. Punk: Suit Up!
John Cena came out. He talked about how the WWE Title is surrounded with controversy ever since C.M. Punk walked out with the Title at Money in the Bank. Cena said he's been through hell before, and he's not afraid of Hell in A Cell. Alberto del Rio and C.M. Punk came out for commentary. Punk came out in a suitcoat he said he got off a bum earlier today. Christian and John Cena went for a couple of minutes. Cena threw Christian onto the announce table. Del Rio attacked Punk, then kicked Cena causing the DQ. Del Rio said that Sunday, they're all going to hell. But only he is coming back. Not much of a match. Just a way to get the three players involved in the WWE Title match to interact. OK. Survey Says: 2.5/5

Batista TWO Is Back!
U.S. Title match next. They recapped the Hugh Jackman stuff from last week. After Ryder gained the advantage, Vickie jumped on the top rope to distract the referee. Jack Swagger dropped Ryder on the rope, allowing Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag for the win. Ziggler and Swagger attacked Ryder after until Air Boom made the save. Teddy Long said that Vickie had 3 minutes to find a 3rd man for the 6 man tag that would be next. Back from break, Vickie hadn't found a partner so it was a handicap match. Swagger and Ziggler worked over Bourne. Bourne finally made the hot tag to Kofi. Vickie suddenly appeared with Mason Ryan. Swagger tagged in Ryan, who suddenly attacked Swagger and Ziggler. Ryder picked up the win. Good match. Don't get the Mason Ryan face turn. Weird. Survey Says: 3/5

They showed a video package of Hell in a Cell, then went over the card. Backstage, David Otunga along with Christian, Cody Rhodes, and Dolph Ziggler and Vickie apparently agreed to file a lawsuit against HHH for unsafe working conditions.

Main event time next: Punk vs Del Rio. They went to the outside quickly. Punk threw Del Rio to the barricade near where Cena was for commentary. Both men exchanged advantages in the ring until Del Rio hit Punk with a head kick, sending him to the outside and into a commercial break. Del Rio countered a GTS attempt into a DDT for 2. Punk went for a spear into the corner but Del Rio moved and Punk at the ring post. Del Rio continued to work over Punk's left arm. Punk fought back with a couple of kicks and a high knee lift. Del Rio was about to apply the cross armbreaker but Punk knocked out ADR with a kick to the head for the win. Good match.

Suddenly the Cell began to lower. Cena trapped Ricardo inside. Punk hit the GTS on Ricardo then Cena hit the AA. Punk went for the GTS on Cena but Del Rio attacked both men with a steel chair. The show closed with Del Rio standing tall while Punk and Cena laid on the ground. Del Rio looks strong as the show closes, which is good. The average viewer probably thought he had no chance whatsoever, but now they do. Survey Says: 4/5

I thought the positives outweighed the negatives on this show. There was a heavy focus on Hell in A Cell, which they need to do since this PPV is sandwiched between two others. Del Rio looked strong to close the show, which was good. The mid-card got some exposure early on the show with HHH. That was a plus. Not having Miz & R-Truth on was also a good way to sell the fact that they were fired, rather than having them on right away. I don't get the Mason Ryan turn at all. Plus, Ryder/Ziggler should have been saved for the PPV, instead of a 3 minute match on RAW. Plus there are only 4 matches announced for the PPV. I'm giving the show a 6.

That's all from me today. Hell in A Cell Preview Thursday or Friday.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka

NFL Week 3 Review

It was quite the fun weekend in the NFL. Teams that were out to prove themselves did just that, while some teams are left with more questions than answers.

Team of the Week: Buffalo Bills
-It might finally be time to say that my Bills are for real. Down 21-0 to the Patriots early in the 2nd quarter, the Bills could have easily folded and received another beatdown at the hands of Tom Brady & Bill Belicheck. But instead of folding, they rallied to score 10 points in the final 2 minutes of the first half. Then the defense picked off Tom Brady three times in the 2nd half, including returning one for a touchdown. Rian Lindell's field goal gave the Bills their first win over the Patriots in 15 games, and the Bills are now the only 3-0 team in the AFC. Their offense is clicking on all cylinders, and the defense stepped up big to hold off Tom Brady in the end. This Bills team has a different attitude and swagger then they did in year's past. Now it is up to them to hold onto that swagger. And if they do, the playoffs could be that light at the end of the tunnel.

Game of the Week: New Orleans 40  Houston 33
-Who doesn't love a high scoring affair? These two teams put points on the board in bunches. The Texans could have easily won this game, and they should have. But the offense that is praised by everyone couldn't convert their red zone opportunities. The Texans had the chance to go on the road and beat one of the better teams in the league. But they couldn't convert and the defense was torn apart by a high powered offense, which has to be somewhat of a concern. The Texans are still the class of the AFC South, but the division won't be handed to them. The Saints, meanwhile, asserted that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the NFC. Drew Brees has as many weapons as he has ever had and there's no reason to think they won't be right their in the end.

Goat of the Week: Mike Vick
-Listen Michael, I understand that you are upset about the loss. And yes, you may be getting hit a bit late on a play or two. But you do not go out and complain about it in front of the media during your post game press conference. Vick said he wasn't complaining, but it sure sounded like it. Lots of the reasons Vick gets hit is because of his style of play. His running often times hurts him rather than helps him. It leaves him open to big hits. Vick's hand injury, or concussion, were not the result of late or dirty hits. Vick should have talked to the referees on the field during the game, not address the situation in the post game. Vick needs to concentrate on next week's game, and not let this frustration build or sit with him the whole week.

Other NFL News & Notes
-How much more can I continue to praise the Detroit Lions? Just like the Bills, the Lions could have folded and let the Vikings walk all over them. But the Lions fought back in the 2nd half. And in overtime, the Lions completed their comeback against the Vikings and moved their record to 3-0. There's no reason to think the Lions wouldn't be able to hang with the Packers when the time comes. The Lions are a young team coming into their own at the right time. Calvin Johnson is staking his claim as the best WR in the league, and Matthew Stafford is showing that he is every bit worthy of his #1 overall pick status.

-The Raiders finally won a game outside of the AFC West, and they looked good doing it to. They hung with then finally delivered the knockout blow to the Jets late. Darren McFadden, just like Matthew Stafford in Detroit, is showing how good of a player he can be if he is fully healthy. The best part is that they are doing it with a bunch of no-names on offense. And with the Chargers struggling to beat even the lowly Chiefs, the Raiders may be the best team in that division. They have a chance next week to make even a bigger claim to that when the Patriots come to town.

-Tennessee will tell you they have just as much of a chance to win the AFC South as the Texans do, but they suffered a major blow to their chances with WR Kenny Britt likely going down for the rest of the year. That's Matt Hasselebeck's favorite weapon as evident in the first two games. Chris Johnson's holdout is effecting his game early on. Once Johnson gets going, that should help the Titans. But with Kenny Britt gone, you would have to think defenses will focus more on stopping Johnson then ever before. Can Matt Hasselbeck win this division for them? Maybe. But I would feel a lot more confident with Kenny Britt still around and Chris Johnson playing like the Chris Johnson of 2010.

-Sure the Steelers won against Indianapolis Sunday night, but a better team would have eaten them alive. Ben Roethlisberger fumbled twice and threw a terrible interception in the second half, but the Colts couldn't take advantage of the turnovers. The Steelers need to address their offensive line concerns immediately. Big Ben won't stay upright for too much longer if they don't. They ended last night's game with only 5 healthy offensive linemen. That's never a good thing. The Steelers also couldn't get their run game going against a poor Colts run defense. Even with the win last night, the Steelers still have a lot of questions remaining on the offensive side of the ball.

Hey I'm Just Sayin...
-How long until the Bill Cowher to Miami rumors start?

-Will Todd Haley still be around to work with Andrew Luck next year?

-Where was that holding call on the Bears punt return?

-Does the NFL hate the Rams with this brutal early schedule?

-Matty Ice needs to get inside the hot tub quickly.

-Who doesn't love a good monsoon game? Oh yeah probably Jacksonville.

My Top 5
1. Green Bay Packers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. Buffalo Bills
4. Detroit Lions
5. New England Patriots

My Bottom 5
28. St. Louis Rams
29. Minnesota Vikings
30. Indianapolis Colts
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Kansas City Chiefs

Three Games I Would Like to See Next Week
Pittsburgh vs Houston: Big time test #2 for the Houston Texans. Can they pass this time?
New England vs Oakland: I'd be worried if I were a Pats fan? Can they stop anyone?
NY Jets vs Baltimore: Game could have huge implications come late December's playoff race.

That's all from me for now. RAW Review up shortly.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka

Saturday, September 24, 2011

NFL Week 3 Picks

Its Saturday. That means NFL Picks! Lets get to it!

Last Week's Record: 12-4
Year to Date Record: 23-9

Houston Texans vs New Orleans Saints
If the Texans win this game, there is no doubt that they are for real. The Texans have looked good during this 2-0 start. The offense is clicking without star RB Arian Foster. They've avoided major injuries other than the Foster one. The defense is much improved under Wade Phillips. The Saints rebounded from their loss at Green Bay by destroying the Bears. Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams cranked up the pressure and took advantage of the Bears poor offensive line. Williams will have to do the same thing this week if he plans on stopping Matt Schaub. This game will be a chess match. It's going to come down to who makes the right move to stop the other. I'll take the Saints and Sean Payton here. Payton isn't afraid to go for the big play, and I expect him to take some calculated risks in this one.

New Orleans 27  Houston 23

New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles
The last time these two teams played it was the "Miracle at the Meadowlands Part 2." The Eagles were down 24-3 late in the game before they went on a monstrous rally, capped off by DeSean Jackson's punt return for a touchdown with under 10 seconds left to give the Eagles the victory. The big question in this one is whether or not Mike Vick will play this week. He suffered a concussion last week against the Falcons and needs to past some test in order to play this week. He practiced Thursday and Friday, so I don't see why Vick doesn't play. The Giants took care of the Rams Monday night, but not without facing some questions. Rams players were questioning some of the Giants injuries, claiming they were faking them to slow down the Rams No-Huddle offense. If the Giants couldn't hang with the Rams No Huddle, what makes me think they could hang with Mike Vick, even at less than 100%. I think even if Vick doesn't play that the Eagles still win here. Mike Kafka played well in relief last week, he will be better if given a full week to prepare.

Philadelphia 24  NY Giants 16

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Carolina Panthers
It's the Battle of Rookie QBs. Cam Newton is just lighting it up in his first two starts as a NFL starter. Newton threw for over 400 yards last week against a very good Packers defense. He plays a Jaguars defense this week that isn't really the greatest. I expect Newton to put up very good numbers again. The Jags roll out rookie QB Blaine Gabbert for the first time after Luke McCown's abominable performance against the Jets. I thought Gabbert should have started the whole year after David Garrard's release, but coach Jack Del Rio didn't think so. Now Gabbert has the reigns for the rest of the year, and there could be some growing pains. The Panthers are going to be fun to watch the rest of the year, and I think they win their first game of the year in a shootout.

Carolina 35  Jacksonville 27

New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills
Well, it's gut check time for the Bills. They've lost 15 straight against the Patriots, and this may be the best opportunity the Bills have had to finally win one. Both of these teams offenses have been very effective in the first two games. Tom Brady is on pace to shatter the NFL's passing yards in a season record. The Bills are lighting up the scoreboard with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. Both team's defenses have played well at times, but also have been torched for big plays. The Bills secondary had a rough go of it last week, and they will have to play much better in order to get the Patriots off the field. The Pats are also banged up in the secondary, with safety Patrick Chung reportedly out and both starting corners game time decisions. This has shootout written all over it, but in the end, the Patriots squeak one out in a close one in Buffalo.

New England 42  Buffalo 38

Miami Dolphins vs Cleveland Browns
The Dolphins must be ecstatic. They are finally going out on the road to play a football game. Given their recent struggles and poor attendance at home, going on the road might be what the Dolphins need. The offense struggled last week against Houston. The Browns won on the road against Indy after pounding it out on the ground with Peyton Hillis. The Browns are a better team and should use Peyton Hillis to run all over the Dolphins defense.

Cleveland 20  Miami 17

San Francisco 49ers vs Cincinnati Bengals
Despite the 1-1 record, the Bengals have been playing some surprisingly good football the first two weeks of the season. Rookie WR A.J. Green looks right at home on the NFL turf, scoring a TD in each of his first two games. The Bengals offense has been good, but they may be without WR Jerome Simpson, who is the subject of a drug investigation. The 49ers almost beat the Cowboys last week but fell short in overtime. The offense didn't look to good again, and you have to wonder how much longer Alex Smith has left as the team's starting QB. I expect another high scoring game here, with the Bengals pulling it out in front of whatever kind of crowd they have at Paul Brown Stadium.

Cincinnati 31  San Francisco 21

Denver Broncos vs Tennessee Titans
The Titans are coming off a very surprising upset of the Baltimore Ravens last week. The Titans shut down the Ravens offense, and the offense found holes in the Ravens secondary. Kenny Britt has had an outstanding first two games. The Broncos struggled again last week before finally putting away the Bengals. If the Broncos were looking for a week to finally get the run game going, this could be it. Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno should be able to find some holes in the Titans run defense, but Chris Johnson should be able to find just as many in the Broncos defense. Johnson finally has a breakout game and the Titans move to 2-1 and remain competitive in the AFC South.

Tennessee 26  Denver 21

Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings
Everybody seems to he hopping on the Lions bandwagon. I was on it before the season started, so I'm sitting near the front while watching everyone else jump on in the back. The offense is scary good. There's nothing else I can say about it. They wiped the floor with the Chiefs last week. The Vikings blew a 17-0 halftime lead last week against Tampa. Donovan McNabb has looked old and sluggish in his first two starts. The Vikes need to rely on Adrian Peterson in this game, and for the rest of the season. But Matthew Stafford should find some holes in the Vikings secondary, which is performed poorly this year. I expect a close game here, but the Lions move to 3-0 in the end while Vikings fans begin to call for rookie QB Christian Ponder.

Detroit 24  Minnesota 19

Baltimore Ravens vs St. Louis Rams
You have to wonder if the NFL had it out for the Rams or something. Starting with the Eagles, then at the Giants on Monday night, and now they get a pissed off Ravens team. The Rams are still banged up, with Steven Jackson a game time decision. If Sam Bradford watches the tape from last week's Ravens game, he should find the same holes Matt Hasselbeck found last week. Expect a heavy dose of Ray Rice from the Ravens. Lee Evans is out for Baltimore, which means Anquan Boldin will likely face some double coverage from the Rams secondary. The Rams will be playing with a sense of desperation in this game. Even in the NFC West, starting at 0-3 is never a good thing. I think the Rams pull of a surprising upset here.

St. Louis 20  Baltimore 17

New York Jets vs Oakland Raiders
The Raiders offense didn't cost them the game last week against Buffalo. Jason Campbell tore apart the Bills secondary and Darren McFadden found holes in the Bills front 7. The Raiders are no slouches this year. The offense is holding up its end, now the defense has to do its part. If the Raiders front 7 can put pressure on Mark Sanchez, that should help out the secondary. The Jets dismantled a terrible Jaguars team last week and now finally go on the road to face a challenge. The Raiders won't be afraid to take chances against the Jets defense. The home crowd should help the Raiders out here, and I expect them to play just as well as they did last week. The Raiders win by a field goal.

Oakland 24  NY Jets 21

Kansas City Chiefs vs San Diego Chargers
The Chiefs have lost Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry. The offense has scored 10 points in two games. The Chargers have looked good on offense despite some struggles last week against the Patriots. The defense should pressure Matt Cassel into some mistakes and Philip Rivers should be able to pick apart the Chiefs secondary for an easy win.

San Diego 35  Kansas City 13

Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have to be happy to be heading home. After going scoreless against Pittsburgh and losing in San Francisco, the home crowd in Seattle should give the Seahawks a boost. The Seahawks will also have WR Sidney Rice back, which is bad news for an already weak Cardinals secondary. The Cardinals almost pulled out a win in Washington last week. Larry Fitzgerald has a terrific track record against the Seahawks, and there's no reason to not see him do the same thing here. I expect the Cardinals to put up points, but I think Seattle does the same in their first home game of the year. Seattle knows they can't start 0-3 either, and play with desperation to pull out a win here.

Seattle 30  Arizona 28

Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
These two teams played a pretty good game in Tampa last year that saw the Falcons come back late and pull out a win. I expect another close game here. The Falcons defense shut down Mike Vick for the most part last week. A heavy dose of Michael Turner should be expected in this one. Adrian Peterson ran all over the Bucs defense last week, no reason to expect Michael Turner can't do the same. The Bucs showed a lot of poise in their comeback over the Vikes last week. Even with the Vikings shutting down Mike Williams, the Bucs found a way to win. But Tampa needs to rely more on LaGarrette Blount to take some pressure off of Josh Freeman. I like the Falcons here with Michael Turner shouldering the load.

Atlanta 27  Tampa Bay 23

Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears
A rematch of last year's NFC Championship game. I expect Jay Cutler to have a chip on his shoulder heading into this game. After leaving last year's game early, he will want to go out and prove something. The Packers defense, while good, has been torched in the secondary the first two games of the year. Jay Cutler needs to take advantage of that. But the Packers will also put pressure on Cutler because of a weak Bears offensive line. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense will probably not be as smooth as they have been in the first couple weeks. The Bears defense will get in Rodgers face more than the Panthers and Saints did. But in the end, Aaron Rodgers finds a way to put a few more points on the board for the Pack.

Green Bay 21  Chicago 20

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Indianapolis Colts
This game has lost a whole lot of intrigue without Peyton Manning huh? The Colts have looked lost without their star QB this year. The offense just can't get anything going. The run game has been stopped, and Kerry Collins looks like he should have stayed retired. The Steelers dominated a much weaker Seahawks team last week, but Big Ben didn't look like the normal Ben. The Steelers heavily relied on Rashard Mendenhall, and they should do the same thing again this week. Expect a heavy pass rush from the Steelers front seven as well. With the game being in prime time, I think the Colts will keep it close early before the Steelers find a way to pull away in the end.

Pittsburgh 27  Indianapolis 17

Washington Redskins vs Dallas Cowboys
The Redskins are a surprise at 2-0 this year. Mike Shanahan has Rex Grossman looking like a relevant NFL QB again, and Tim Hightower is the next running back to benefit from being in Shanahan's offense. The Cowboys are banged up on offense. Miles Austin is out, and Felix Jones, Dez Bryant, and Tony Romo are all listed as questionable. The Cowboys secondary is still struggling, and Rex Grossman should expose that in this match-up. You have to wonder if injuries will haunt the Cowboys here, especially Tony Romo's. Playing with a punctured lung is not an easy thing. I think the Redskins surprise people here and upset the Cowboys in Jerry Jones palace.

Washington 24  Dallas 23

My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week: 1-2-1
Year to Date: 3-4-1

Kids, I don't endorse gambling. But if you feel the need to bet on some games this week, here are my picks:

Buffalo +9.5 vs New England: This one will be a shootout, but a close shootout.

San Francisco vs Cincinnati OVER 40.5: Both offenses should be able to put up points

Washington +6 vs Dallas: Redskins should hang with an injured Cowboys team

San Diego -13 vs Kansas City: Chiefs offense is almost non-existent

That's all from me this week.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Monster Mark Henry: What Took So Long?

They say good things come to those who wait. Sometimes you have to wait a bit longer to get what you want. It takes a lot of patience, but in the end, if you work hard, you will ultimately get what you desire. Sometimes it takes months, or a few years. But for Mark Henry, it took 15 years for the WWE to finally realize how to properly use him. But for Henry now, that 15 year wait was worth it, as he is now the World Heavyweight Champion for the first time in his professional career.

Henry debuted in the WWE in 1996 after competing in the 96 Summer Olympics. His first match was against Jerry Lawler. Upon his debut, Henry was billed as "The World's Strongest Man." In his first two years in the WWE, Henry was basically squashing opponents because he wasn't ready to work regular matches in the ring. In 98, Henry turned heel and joined the Nation of Domination. After spending the early part of 1998 in the group, Henry eventually broke away. He was awarded the European Title by Jeff Jarrett after Henry helped him win that Title as well as the Intercontinental Title.

After his heel turn, Henry turned face and was given the infamous "Sexual Chocolate" gimmick. Looking back on it, it was one of the more embarrassing gimmicks the WWE ever did. Henry engaged in on air relationships with Chyna and Mae Young. He also was seduced by a transvestite. During his relationship with Young, the couple announced that Young was pregnant and expecting a child. In one of the most memorable moments in WWE history, Young gave birth to a full grown hand on TV. Sure, this gimmick fit the Attitude Era booking, but it was a demeaning gimmick that made Henry look like a fool. He left wrestling briefly after this to get more training and focus on his weight lifting.

Despite the smile, I'm sure Mark Henry didn't think this was one of his best moments

Henry returned in 2002 but was rarely used. In 2003, he had a short program with Goldberg as well as Shawn Michaels and Booker T. He tore his quadriceps in early 2004 and did not return to WWE TV until late 2005. Henry looked to finally be receiving a main event push in early 2006, as a program with World Champion Batista seemed on the horizon. Batista, however, was injured during a match with Henry. Henry fought Kurt Angle for the World Title at the Royal Rumble, losing. Henry went on to feud with The Undertaker leading to a casket match at Wrestlemania, which Henry also lost. Henry then went on his "Path of Destruction," which was very similar to what he is doing today. Henry caused injuries to the likes of Chris Benoit and Rey Mysterio. During this time, Batista returned and a big match between the two was imminent, but Henry suffered tore his patella tendon completely off the bone, putting him out of action for almost a year.

Henry returned in 2008 and eventually started his feud back up with The Undertaker. He then moved over to the ECW brand, where he won the ECW Title, his first Title win since being awarded the European Title in 1999. After losing the Title, Henry moved over to the RAW brand and turned face, forming tag teams with various partners for almost a whole year and a half. In my opinion, Henry never worked well as a face. sure, everyone loves a big lovable monster. But there's no money in that. Nobody wants to see the big giant good guy win the World Title. There's always more money in big men being pushed as monster heels. Henry as a face could have worked in only two scenarios. The first being if Henry was actually a very good wrestler for his size, which he wasn't. The second would have been if the WWE had taken Henry's story of being in the company for 10+ years and never winning the World Title and used it as a face. Crowds can get behind stories like that. The reason it didn't work for Rey Mysterio was because they were exploiting Eddie Guerrero's death with it as well. But while doing that as a face might have worked, what was in store for Henry in 2011 was much better.

In April 2011 Henry was drafted to the Smackdown brand. On his last night on RAW, Henry turned heel on his partners John Cena and Christian in a 6 man tag match. His first program at Smackdown was with the Big Show. Henry constantly attacked Show before and after matches. He performed the World's Strongest Slam on Show, putting him through a table. He also put Show through the side of a steel cage, knocking the cage side off completely. Henry beat Big Show at Money in the Bank, then storyline "snapped" his ankle after Henry jumped on a chair over Show's ankle. Henry also put Kane out of action. At SummerSlam, Henry beat Sheamus via countout after putting Sheamus through the ringside barrier. Henry then won a Battle Royal to become #1 Contender for the World Title.

Once Henry won the Battle Royal, it was make or break time for him. It was time to see just how serious the WWE was about this push. If it wasn't for the C.M. Punk, the story of Henry being pushed like he was would have been the talk of the WWE this past summer for many reasons. The first reason is because Henry had been around for 15 years, and the WWE had never gotten this serious about a Mark Henry push. They might have in 2006, but injuries derailed that opportunity. It was also a nice surprise to not see Henry get injured. Henry has had a string of bad luck with injuries throughout his career so to see him stay healthy for this extended period of time was great.

But perhaps the best thing about seeing Henry get the push that he is getting is the simple fact that the WWE rarely gets behind pushing a heel as a true monster anymore. When was the last time a heel has looked as dominant as Henry has? Henry seems to be right out of the late 80s/early 90s brand of heel. A monster who the faces know is a serious threat to them. There has not been one time in the last 6 months when Henry has looked weak. Even when Henry has lost or not gotten the best of his opponent, there was a good reason for it. I also love the fact that the announcers hype up Henry every time he is out there. They don't say he is lucky or make excuses for his opponents. They hype Henry up as a true monster and a serious threat to anyone he steps in the ring with.

So when Night of Champions came around, it was the first test to see how serious the WWE was about Mark Henry's push. With 3 PPVs in just over a month's time, even I thought having Henry win the World Title this early may have been a bit premature. I thought some kind of DQ or countout was coming. While I advocated for a long Mark Henry title reign, even I thought the WWE should wait to pull the trigger. But to my pleasant surprise, Henry continued his dominant push and won the World Heavyweight Title. The reason it was so surprising is because Henry beat Randy Orton clean. Orton rarely if ever loses cleanly. But that right there showed just how serious the WWE is about Mark Henry's push. The WWE didn't feel the need to protect Orton. They wanted to push Henry as such a serious threat that the WWE wasn't concerned about protecting Orton. The crowd, surprisingly, was also very receptive to Henry's win. Maybe they were happy to see Henry finally win the World Title? Maybe they were all just fans of Henry's push. But the WWE did the smart thing about having him attack Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler Monday. He has to stay a heel, that is what Henry is best at.

Now of course, everything I just said could mean nothing in a week's time. Henry could lose the World Title to Orton at Hell in A Cell and the push could be over. That would be stupid on multiple levels. First, it would kill Henry's momentum. Second it would be ANOTHER World Title change, which is just another one too many. But I honestly don't think that is happening any time soon. I really think this Henry push is for real. And it is well deserved. Sure, Henry hasn't put on 5 star wrestling classics, but all of his matches in the last few months have been watchable. They've been on the shorter side, and have shown off Henry's brute force type of offense that he is good at.

Mark Henry's impact moves are what he is best at, as evident at this past year's SummerSlam

So how do I want to end this piece? I guess by saying thanks. Thank you to the WWE for finally getting serious about pushing Mark Henry and doing it the right way. Thank You Vince McMahon for not changing your mind half way through this push. And thank you to Mark Henry. You've had some crap thrown at you throughout your career, but you surprisingly stuck with it and didn't quit. You waited your turn to get to the top and now you are there. You've been a refreshing change of pace in the WWE and I hope your monster push continues. From everything I've heard your a great guy backstage and one of the nicest people around. But your bad ass monster heel push has been great. Keep up the awesome work.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow me on Twitter @JCWonka

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NFL Week 2 Review

Hello everyone. Wrestling done for the day. Time to review Week 2's NFL action.

Team of the Week: Detroit Lions
That wasn't a beat down the Lions gave the Chiefs, it was a crucifixion. The Lions just steam rolled the Chiefs in every aspect of the game this past week. The Lions look for real. Sure the Chiefs may not be the team they were last year, but they are certainly better than they showed this past week. Everyone in the NFC needs to be weary of the Lions this year. Right now, there's no reason to think they won't be a playoff team this year. They have two big road games coming up, at Minnesota and Dallas, before returning home for a Monday night game against Chicago. There's really no reason to think the Lions couldn't be 4-0 heading into their showdown against Chicago.

Game of the Week: Buffalo Bills 38  Oakland Raiders 35
It was really only a game in the second half, but it was one hell of a half of football. Down 21-3 going into the half, nothing appeared to be going right for my Bills. But suddenly, the offense showed up in the second half and just torched the Raiders defense. Ryan Fitzpatrick tore apart the Raiders secondary, and Fred Jackson showed why he deserves to be the feature back of the team. The Raiders played one hell of a game as well. They have just as bright a future as the Bills do. The Bills real litmus test will be a home game against the Patriots this Sunday. The defense will need to step up its game if they want to hang with Tom Brady & Co.

Goat of the Week: Minnesota Vikings
Nothing appears to be going right for the Vikings this year. Up 17-0 at the half, the Vikings allowed Tampa to work their way back in the game, and win 24-20. Donovan McNabb has looked awful in his first two games. If it wasn't for Adrian Peterson, the offense would be non-existent. The defense has played well for the most part, but they shouldn't have let the Bucs drive down the field like they did to take the lead. With the Packers & Lions looking strong, and the Bears no slocuhes either, it could be a long season for Vikings fans.

Other Week 2 Thoughts:
-The current leaders in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes? It has to be the Kansas City Chiefs. They've looked awful in their first two games, scoring a combined 10 points. They've lost their best player on offense (Jamaal Charles) and one of their best playmakers on defense (Eric Berry). Todd Haley was already on the hot seat at the beginning of the year and you better believe someone has a torch under it now. Even with the Colts having a down year, they still will probably win more games than the Chiefs at this point. The two team play each other in Week 5, the loser takes the lead in the Luck Lottery.

-What the hell happened to the Ravens this week? While expected the Titans to keep the game close, I didn't expect a double digit win by the Titans. I thought for sure the Ravens would just constantly pressure flat-footed Matt Hasselbeck all day, but they didn't. This is a pretty sizeable step back  for the Ravens. After curb-stomping the Steelers in Week 1, everyone expected them to run by the Titans in Week 2. While the Steelers were busy showing they still are a force to be reckoned with, the Ravens showed they still have some kinks to work out, and that the AFC North is still a dog fight between the two.

-Another surprising team? The Washington Redskins. The Skins are 2-0 and look like a different team this year. Rex Grossman has been adequate on offense and hasn't shown the "Bad Rex" side of him that he is known for. If Mike Shanahan can continue to keep Rex under control and find a way to keep his team in games, the Redskins may be a playoff contender come the end of the year.

-Despite the Packers 2-0 start, it may be time to worry about their secondary. Getting torched by Drew Brees is one thing, but being torched by Cam Newton is another. Sure Newton threw for over 400 yards against Arizona, but the Cardinals secondary is bad. The Packers have one of the best defenses in the league, they shouldn't be giving up 400 yards to Newton.

Hey I'm Just Sayin...
-Maybe the Dolphins should petition to play all 16 games on the road.

-Tim Tebow at WR. There. Happy Broncos fans?

-Can the Pats put Vince Wilfork at full back?

-Punting down 12 half way through the 4th? Does Steve Spagnulo want to win?

-How about you wait til the end of the game to point at the score board Mike Vick.

-I guess Al Davis didn't allow Hue Jackson to read the new NFL Rule Book.

My Top 5
1. New England Patriots
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Houston Texans
4. New York Jets
5. New Orleans Saints

My Bottom 5
28. Minnesota Vikings
29. Miami Dolphins
30. Indianapolis Colts
31. Seattle Seahawks
32. Kansas City Chiefs

Three Games I'd Like to See Next Week
New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills: Time to see just how for real the Bills are.
Houston Texans vs New Orleans Saints: The first true test for the new and improved Texans.
Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears: Bears can't fall two games back in NFC North, even this early.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Night of Champions & RAW Thoughts for 9/19/2011

It's A Conspiracy Inside A Conspiracy Made by A Conspiracy
C.M. Punk talked about how the Cleveland building has never been the kindest to him. He agreed with R-Truth and Miz and said there was a conspiracy. He was to go on before HHH interrupted. HHH said they went through a war last night, but he's still COO of the WWE. HHH booked a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship at Hell in A Cell: Cena vs ADR vs Punk. HHH said that if Punk doesn't want to believe that he's had nothing to do with Punk getting screwed, then he had no problem going to war with him again. Punk said that he doesn't want to. Punk said there was a conspiracy, but it involved someone besides HHH. Someone higher up the ladder.

John Laurinaitis interrupted. Punk said he thought Ace thinks he should be COO. Johnny Ace said he agrees that HHH has lost control of the show, but it's because of Punk. Ace tried to fire Punk, but HHH said no. HHH said that he doesn't know what is going on, but he's going to figure it out, and by the end of the night, someone is going to get fired. An alright opening segment. It seems like they may be getting to the end of the conspiracy story here. An ok opener that left intrigue for the rest of the night. Survey Says: 3/5

Seven Decent Wrestlers and David Otunga
Eight man tag up next Air Boom/Sheamus/Justin Gabriel vs Otunga/McGillicutty/Christian/Wade Barrett. The heels worked over Bourne early before Bourne made the hot tag to Sheamus. All hell broke loose. Kofi hit his flying crossbody on Wade Barrett. Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick on Otunga, then the Celtic Cross for the win, all while looking at Christian. Too short to amount to anything, but ok for what it was. Survey Says: 2.5/5

John Morrison: A Once Promising Young Star Turned Jobber
Backstage, Alberto del Rio complained about his rematch being a Triple Threat and Hell in A Cell. HHH said he couyld make the rematch tonight if he wants, but ADR says he needs to rest. ADR said he prays Vince McMahon comes back. Then back from break, Alberto del Rio made quick work of John Morrison with the cross armbreaker. Del Rio looked intense and pissed, but it still doesn't hide the fact his WWE Title reign was too short and he did nothing of note during it. Survey Says: 2/5

Hugh Jackman came out and said some stuff. Vickie came out and hit on him. Dolph Ziggler said he doesn't want Hugh interrupting his time. Dolph made fun of the city of Cleveland. Hugh said he was going to go in the back and find the biggest underdog in the back to take on Dolph. A huge Ryder chant broke out, and Hugh grabbed a Ryder>Wolverine sign. Not going to rate this segment, but Hugh was pretty good out there.

Sin Cara came out to fight Cody Rhodes, but Sin Cara interrupted. The Sin Cara's fought a bit in the ring before one Sin Cara left. Eh. Crowd didn't even seem to care.

Backstage, R-Truth & Miz apologized to HHH. He accepted their apology, but fined them $250,000 and put them in a match against C.M. Punk & John Cena tonight.

OOO! AAHH! Mark Henry On the War Path!
Mark Henry was in the ring for his interview. J.R. asked Henry what he had to say to his detractors. Henry said while he's never been inside Hell in A Cell, he's going to do the same thing he did to Orton last night inside the Cell. Henry said he's never forgiving any of the fans. Henry told J.R. he will apologize for all the fans, then apologize himself. Henry said J.R. was never high on him. J.R. apologized, but Henry started choking him with his tie. Jerry Lawler stopped him, but ate a World's Strongest Slam in the ring than through the announce table. It wasn't necessary but it continued to put Henry over as a monster force. Survey Says: 3/5

Divas of Doom? At This Point They're More Like The Fabulous Diva Sisters
Divas of Doom vs Kelly Kelly and Eve next. Eve won with a roll up on Natalya. Why can't the Divas of Doom just win the Divas Title already? Geesh. Survey Says: 1/5

Wolverines Don't Normally Spike Their Hair
The crowd was really behind Ryder here. Back and forth action before a double clothesline. Vickie slapped Ryder, which got her thrown out. With the ref not looking, Hugh punched Dolph, which allowed Zack to hit the Rough Ryder for the win. OK use of Jackman. Maybe this leads to a push of Ryder? Doubt it. Survey Says: 2.5/5

A Jack Swagger video package was shown. Vickie watched it. Swagger came in asking about the managerial contract. Vickie said she couldn't think of anyone better to join Dolph in her stable.

Backstage John Cena and C.M. Punk talked about their match later tonight, and then Hell in A Cell.

Hey Hunter, You Need to Work on your "YOR FIIRRREEDD!"
Main event tag match next. Miz & Truth were in control leading into commercial and back from break. Cena tried fighting back but Miz hit his backbreaker/neckbreaker combo for a 2. Truth tagged in and put Cena in a sleeper hold. Miz tagged back in and continued to work over Cena. Cena was able to hit a pump handle slam but Miz tagged Truth in before Cena could get to Punk. Miz tagged back in. Punk distracted Miz, allowing Cena to hit an inverted atomic drop. Miz countered with a clothesline. Miz went for his clothesline in the corner and missed, allowing Cena to make the hot tag to Punk. Punk hit some running knees and kicks, then his flying clothesline. Punk went for the GTS but Miz countered. Punk shoved Miz into Truth, then hit the GTS on Miz for the win.

HHH came out afterwards. He told Punk nice match, and Miz & Truth, your fired. Scott Stanford attempted to get a word with HHH, but Miz & Truth jumped him from behind. The superstars watching backstage broke it up, and threw Truth & Miz out of the building. Strange developments to end the show. Expect HHH to explain his actions next week I guess. Tag match was decent. Survey Says: 3/5

I wasn't a big fan of this week's RAW. After NOC, I was afraid they would go to Punk/HHH possibly being allies. They showed signs of that here, but nothing was set in stone. With a PPV in 2 weeks and no other opponent for Punk, they had to throw him in the Hell in A Cell match for the WWE Title. With no HHH/Punk 2 on the horizon it is the only place to put him. Del Rio and Punk didn't gain too much steam back from their losses last night on PPV. The mid-card is still the blah mid-card it was before. Nothing is changing there. Hugh Jackman was actually decent in his role. The firing of Miz & Truth was interesting. Maybe HHH is scared they were close to discovering the truth? Who knows. That's why you tune in next week! I'm giving the show a 4.

My Night of Champions Thoughts
I was barely by a computer all day yesterday, so I really didn't have any time to write a full review for the PPV. But as probably all of you know by now, I was there in the arena so I will give you some of my thoughts on the show.

-The tag opener was fun. Definitely the right match to pick for the start of the show. The DQ ending fit the Miz/Truth storyline at the time of them getting frustrated with the authority figures in the WWE. **1/4

-Cody and Ted DiBiase Jr. was ok, but the crowd just wasn't buying it. They have no reason to cheer for DiBiase as a face yet. There were a couple "Boring" chants, as well as a "We Want Ryder" one. *1/2

-The Christian/Sheamus interaction was a nice filler and a decent way to expose both guys to the PPV crowd. Crowd was surprisingly behind Christian until Sheamus came out.

-I went to the bathroom during the beginning of the Fatal 4 Way. Caught the last couple minutes of it. Decent finishing sequence. Crowd was behind the potential Alex Riley win, but it was a good way to finish the match still creating tension between Dolph & Swagger. **

-The Mark Henry/Randy Orton match was exactly what it should have been. It was a decent match and didn't fell out of place being for the World Title. Henry continued his dominating performance and I really hope the WWE goes through with an extended Title reign for Henry. The man is doing the best work of his entire 15 year career. The crowd was surprisingly behind Henry after the win. **1/4

-Beth not winning the Divas Title in her hometown was very disappointing. I don't know what they are doing with the Divas of Doom at this point. Beth did hit a nice superplex though. *3/4

-I don't understand the logic of John Cena winning at all. Sure ratings haven't picked up, but that is not ADR's fault. Del Rio pretty much looked like a phony Champion now. What a worthless reign. And just when I thought things were looking up for him too. I don't think it is smart going into the WWE's first ever Mexico tour not having him WWE Champ. Plus the constant Title changes is just a dumb thing. The match itself was decent, they really picked up the pace in the last few minutes. Crowd was about 65/35 in favor of Cena. Not surprised, there were a lot of Cena shirts in the crowd. ***

-Punk/HHH was more of a brawl than an actual match, which is what it was suppose to be. Sure there were a lot of people involved; Miz, R-Truth, Johnny Ace and Nash, but the WWE can get away with it. Unlike TNA, they don't do this stuff every month so it's tolerable. But even with that being said, I still don't like how the match ended. Sure, it took 3 pedigrees and a powerbomb to beat Punk. But the average fan won't remember that. They will just remember Punk getting pinned. The brawl was fun though. Nice elbow drop by Punk through the announce table. ***1/2

My ratings of the PPV might be a bit skewed since I was there live, but I thought it was a middle of the road PPV. Nothing overly terrible, but nothing great either. I would give it a 6.

1. Money in the Bank

2. SummerSlam
3. Elimination Chamber
4. Extreme Rules
5. Wrestlemania 27
6. Night of Champions
7. Royal Rumble
8. Capitol Punishment
9. Over the Limit

That's all from me wrestling wise today. NFL Week 2 Review up later.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka

Saturday, September 17, 2011

NFL Week 2 Picks

Hey everyone. Welcome back for my Week 2 NFL Picks. Hope you enjoyed my Night of Champions Preview. If you didn't read it yet, check it out after reading this. Anyways, on to this week's picks!

Last Week & Year to Date Record: 11-5

Kansas City Chiefs vs Detroit Lions
These two teams appear to be headed in opposite directions. The Chiefs were man-handled in every aspect of the game last week against the Bills. Matt Cassel was off, they couldn't get Jamaal Charles going, and the defense couldn't put any pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now the Chiefs go on the road to face a Lions team coming off a strong showing against a 10 win Tampa team. The Lions offense showed what it could do if they stay healthy the whole year. Matt Stafford gave the Lions a few injury scares, but he looked effective. I don't like the Chiefs chances to rebound here. The Detroit crowd should be pumped for this one.

Detroit 27  Kansas City 19

Oakland Raiders vs Buffalo Bills
The Bills surprised the entire sports world with their dominating performance last week against Kansas City. Now they return home to what should be a rabid crowd. The defense will have the task once again of stopping one of the league's best runners in Oakland's Darren McFadden. McFadden ran for 150 yards last Monday night against Denver. The Raiders defensive line is tough and physical, and it will be interesting to see if the Bills O-Line can match their intensity. But if the Bills stop McFadden, the Raiders could be in trouble. They're already down WRs Jacoby Ford and Lois Murphy are out, and WR Darius Hayward-Bey and TE Kevin Boss are questionable. With injuries mounting, and the Raiders traveling across the country on a short week, I'll take the Bills here.

Buffalo 28  Oakland 23

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Minnesota Vikings
That was an ugly game for Donovan McNabb last week. 38 passing yards? Ugh. He better not play that bad this week or the home crowd will already be clamoring for Christian Ponder. The Bucs are coming off a tough home loss to the Lions that saw them fall behind early, which forced them to play catch-up all game. That took the focus away from RB LaGarette Blount. Expect Blount to get more touches this week. I still like the youth on the Buccaneers, and think the QB/WR combo of Josh Freeman and Mike Williams will be enough to overcome a Vikings team that didn't show much last week.

Tampa Bay 21  Minnesota 20

Chicago Bears vs New Orleans Saints
I was quite surprised with the Bears performance last week. I did not expect them to dominate the Falcons like they did. The defense forced Matt Ryan into mistakes, and the offense was built around Matt Forte, which was smart. It will be interesting to see if Bears LB Brian Urlacher plays this week after the death of his mother. The Saints have had ten days to get re-focused after their opening night loss to Green Bay. The defense can't give up early points like they did. If the Saints put pressure on Jay Cutler he's bound to make a few mistakes. I like the Saints here in a tight one, simply because Drew Brees is that good at home.

New Orleans 31  Chicago 28

Baltimore Ravens vs Tennessee Titans
The Ravens curb-stomped their arch-nemesis Pittsburgh Steelers last week. They staked their claim to the AFC North and to possibly being one of the best teams in the NFL. Joe Flacco found his open receivers and Ray Rice found holes against a stout Steelers defense. The Ravens defense forced a very good Steelers offense into 7 turnovers, so Ravens fans should have fun watching the team dominate Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck. Chris Johnson did not get going at all last week, and it will be even tougher for him to get going this week against the Ravens D. The Titans crowd will keep them in it very early, but the game ends being a Ravens blowout.

Baltimore 34  Tennessee 13

Cleveland Browns vs Indianapolis Colts
The Colts can't be that bad right? They looked lost against the Texans. Kerry Collins looked like a rookie QB playing his first game, and the offense could never get going because of it. The Colts defense was put in a bad situation almost every time they were on the field, and that didn't help matters for them. The Browns lost a close game to their Ohio rivals Cincinnati last week. It was a game they were suppose to win considering how young the Bengals are. So who rebounds here? I still think the Colts are a .500 team. So are the Browns, but expect the Colts fans to be supportive of their team this week despite a weak performance last week. Colts win a close one.

Indianapolis 21  Cleveland 19

Jacksonville Jaguars vs New York Jets
The Jags squeaked out a win at home last week in their first game after cutting David Garrard. They almost gave up the lead late but the defense came up with a late interception to seal the victory. The Jets should have lost last week, but they were gift wrapped the game last week by Tony Romo, who fumbled at the goal line and threw a terrible INT late in the 4th quarter. The Jets offense still looked only adequate, and Mark Sanchez couldn't keep a rhythm going. I don't like the Jags chances here with Luke McCown at QB. Maurice Jones-Drew may be able to make some plays, but the Jets overall defensive unit will shut down the Jaguars here.

NY Jets 24  Jacksonville 14

Seattle Seahawks vs Pittsburgh Steelers
This might be the "Lock of the Century." The Steelers are angry after last week's ugly loss at Baltimore and will take out on poor Seattle here. The Seahawks just don't have the offensive fire power necessary to beat the Steelers on the road. Big Ben lights up a week Seattle secondary here, and Pittsburgh makes it known that they are still a force in the AFC.

Pittsburgh 41  Seattle 16

Arizona Cardinals vs Washington Redskins
The Cardinals were lucky to squeak out a win last week against Carolina. The Cardinals defense looked atrocious, especially in the secondary where the loss of CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie showed. Cam Newton threw all over them. Can Rex Grossman do the same? Why not. Grossman looked effective last week against a banged up Giants defense. I think these two teams are pretty evenly matched, but I like the Cardinals playmakers more than the Redskins. The Cardinals offense shows up and surprises the Redskins at home in this one. I like Larry Fitzgerald to have a big day here.

Arizona 30  Washington 27

Green Bay Packers vs Carolina Panthers
The Packers showed why they have a good chance of repeating as Super Bowl Champs in their opener as the offense looked amazing against the Saints. Aaron Rodgers hasn't missed a beat this off-season and looks great. The defense gave up some late scores that kept the Saints in it, but they also caused some key turnovers and stopped the Saints at the goal line to seal the win. The Panthers showed signs of being an exciting team this season. Cam Newton lived up to the hype in his first NFL game, but can he carry it over to the next game and beyond? One thing is for sure: Don't expect 400+ passing yards from Newton here. I think the Panthers keep it close early, but the Packers show why they're the Champs and pull away late.

Green Bay 35  Carolina 23

Dallas Cowboys vs San Francisco 49ers
Dallas should have won last week. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. They were ahead before Tony Romo blew the game. Now they may be without WR Dez Bryant this week. The Cowboys still have an array of offensive weapons, so that should be a concern for them. Their defensive secondary looked weak again, but don't expect 49ers QB Alex Smith to be able to take advantage of that. The 49ers owe Ted Ginn thanks for winning them the game last week. I expect the Cowboys to rebound here and win one on the road.

Dallas 28  San Francisco 17

San Diego Chargers vs New England Patriots
The Patriots looked like the same old Pats Monday night. Tom Brady absolutely dismantled the Dolphins defense in route to victory. Brady had all day to find open WRs. I don't expect the Chargers to give Brady as much time. But Philip Rivers and company need to have a better start in order for them to hang with the Pats. The Patriots defense showed last week that they can be vulnerable at times, as the Dolphins drove down the field a couple times for scores. They made it look easy on the opening drive before the Pats D tightened up. These two teams always play it close, but I like the Pats here on a last second field goal.

New England 27  San Diego 24

Houston Texans vs Miami Dolphins
The Texans looked great last week against Indy. The offense showed how good they can be, and the defense forced turnovers and didn't look like a joke like last year. Having Wade Phillips in the fold really helps them. The Dolphins hung with the Patriots early before faltering late in the game. The secondary was torched by Brady, and I expect Matt Schaub to do the same here. The Dolphins have lost 10 out of their last 11 at home, might as well make it 11 of their last 12. I expect big things from Andre Johnson this week.

Houston 33  Miami 21

Cincinnati Bengals vs Denver Broncos
The Bengals surprised the Browns last week behind rookie QB Andy Dalton, even though Bruce Gradkowski was the QB when the game ended. Dalton is expected to play this week after suffering a wrist injury. But expect the Bengals to give the Broncos a heavy dose of Cedric Benson. Darren McFadden ran for 150 yards against the Broncos last week. There's no reason Benson shouldn't be able to pound the ball down the Broncos throats. In Denver, Broncos fans are already clamoring for Tim Tebow after one game. It's ridiculous. I'm still not a believer that Tim Tebow can play QB in the NFL. Kyle Orton had one bad opening game. If he keeps it up, then increase the cheers. And unfortunately for Orton and coach John Fox, they hear the Tebow chants again this week as the Broncos are distracted by all of this and get upset by the young Bengals.

Cincinnati 19  Denver 14

Philadelphia Eagles vs Atlanta Falcons
It's the Michael Vick Bowl. The Current Team vs The Former Team. The Eagles got off to a slow start last week but were able to put away the Rams. The Eagles run defense looked bad early before Steven Jackson went out for the Rams. Michael Turner could be a big cause for concern. Matt Ryan's job doesn't get any easier this week. After getting pressured constantly by the Bears, Ryan goes up against one of the best secondaries in the league. Expect a heavy dose of Tony Gonzalez in the passing game. Mike Vick will be out to shut the Falcons fans up. I wouldn't expect a warm reception for him. The Falcons are a better team then they showed last week, and they will be desperate to not start 0-2. They win a close one here.

Atlanta 26  Philadelphia 24

St. Louis Rams vs New York Giants
These are two beat up teams. The Rams are without WR Danny Amendola and probably RB Steven Jackson. Sam Bradford is expected to play after suffering a bruised finger, but his receiving options are limited. The Giants are banged up on defense and it showed last week against Washington. Both of these teams can't afford an 0-2 start, especially the Giants in the NFC East. I like the Rams as a young and up-and-coming team, but the injuries effect them here more than they do the Giants.

NY Giants 23  St. Louis 16

My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week: 2-2

Kids I don't encourage gambling, but if you feel the need to put some money down on some NFL games this week, here are my suggestions:

Arizona vs Washington OVER 44: Both teams defenses are just ok, and I think the game is high scoring.

Baltimore -6 at Tennessee: Ravens are a force the Titans can't stop.

Baltimore vs Tennessee OVER 38: Ravens may score over 38 by themselves

Buffalo -3 vs Oakland: Oakland is banged up on offense.

That's all from me this week.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me on Twitter @JCWonka

Friday, September 16, 2011

WWE Night of Champions Preview; Rock & Cena Teaming at Survivor Series

Hello everyone. Time for another WWE PPV Preview. This Sunday is Night of Champions here in Buffalo. First off, let me remind you that I will be there live in the First Niagara Center with live updates on my Twitter, but MORE updates will be sent to I also enjoy going to WWE Live Events even if they are not the best (like the last RAW I went to in February). I'll be sure to share my insight into the crowd reactions and little things you'll probably miss on TV.

This PPV has had a pretty underwhelming build. The secondary title matches, the United States and Intercontinental, weren't even announced until the week of the PPV on their respective shows. No one really cares about the Divas Title Match, although the crowd should be into it more than normal. Beth Phoenix grew up about 45 minutes outside of Buffalo. So even though it isn't technically Buffalo, she's still considered the "hometown girl." The WWE Title Match doesn't have too much interest attached to it. It seems like just another John Cena WWE Title feud. And C.M. Punk/HHH has gone off the golden path it was one on. I think the WWE is making it a tad too complicated for the non-Internet fans. Hell, even an Internet fan like me is having some trouble following it. The best build in my opinion has been for the World Title Match. Mark Henry continues to look like an animal, and it gives Randy Orton fans serious doubt heading into their match this Sunday.

With that being said, lets jump into the Preview.

United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs Alex Riley vs John Morrison vs Jack Swagger

This match is more about the story between Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. Both men are fighting over the attention of Vickie Guerrero. Dolph already has Vickie as his manager, while Swagger is looking to acquire her services. Problem is, no one would care about a match between two heels fighting over the managerial services of perhaps the WWE's biggest heel heat getter. So what did the WWE do? Added two random faces to the match to get more people on the card. John Morrison has pretty much zero history with anyone involved in this match in the last few months, until he tagged with Alex Riley against Ziggler and Swagger last week. Alex Riley seemed to have a program going with Dolph Ziggler over the United States Title, but they ended abruptly and now the focus is on the two heels.

So who's winning here? There's pretty much zero reason for either Riley or Morrison to win. Morrison is stuck with nothing, and giving him the United States Title wouldn't do much. Alex Riley's heat is completely gone after his feud with the Miz. The story here is with Dolph and Jack. Ziggler has been the United States Champion since June, so why not change things up. A miscue between Vickie and Dolph allows Swagger to pick up the win and become the new United States Champion.

WINNER: Jack Swagger

Divas Championship: Kelly Kelly (c) vs Beth Phoenix

We all know the story here, as it has been the same for the last month. Beth Phoenix and Natalya have been frustrated watching the "Barbie-Doll Divas" like Kelly Kelly and Eve getting all the face time on WWE TV, while they are stuck in the back with nothing. Beth and Natalya are clearly the best wrestlers in the Divas Division, and they deserve a spot at the top. Sooner or late Beth deserves a chance with the Divas Title. The PPV is in Beth's hometown of Buffalo as I stated above. Usually the hometown wrestler always loves in their match, but I think things might be different this time. There's only so much more they can do with Beth and Natalya. Natalya could always step up and challenge Kelly next. Then, either Natalya or Beth could turn and start a feud there. But I don't think that happens. Beth wins here in front of the hometown crowd with the GlamSlam.

WINNER: Beth Phoenix

World Tag Team Championship: Air Boom (Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne) vs Miz & R-Truth

Another match pretty much thrown together just to get guys on the card. The WWE couldn't leave Miz & R-Truth off the card, so they put them in a tag match instead. Kofi & Evan seem to be enjoying their time together as a tag team and have brought some new life to the tag division, which is never a bad thing. Miz & R-Truth have joined together to bring down the conspiracy that is supposedly out there in the WWE. They're really not on anyone's side, as they dislike HHH and C.M. Punk. But since they can't get to those guys right now, they are just going to randomly challenge the Tag Champs here. They've apparently been having some good matches on the house show circuit, so it'll be interesting to see how this translates to PPV. While Miz & R-Truth are hot, I can't see heels winning everywhere on the undercard like I do now. Plus, Miz & Truth can lose in some weird fashion and it can add to their conspiracy theory gimmick.


Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes (c) vs Ted DiBiase Jr.

Cody turned on Ted a few weeks ago, and now the WWE expects people to actually care about this match. They've done nothing with DiBiase over the last few months, so why should fans care about him now? It's not like anything has changed drastically. I would have much rather seen Daniel Bryan, Justin Gabriel, or hell even Sin Cara against Cody. There's no reason for Ted to win here, as Cody is the one with the brighter future. 

WINNER: Cody Rhodes

  World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (c) vs Mark Henry

Well, the time is finally here. How serious is the WWE with their push of Mark Henry? Henry has been the most dominant force in the WWE over the summer, and now it is up to the WWE if they want to continue the push into the fall. I'll repeat it over and over: Outside of C.M. Punk, the Mark Henry push is the best thing going on WWE TV right now. Henry has looked like an absolute beast on TV, putting Kane and Big Show out of action and putting Sheamus through a barricade at SummerSlam. Henry's problem has always been that he can't work a full, watchable match in his career. The thing that he has going for him right now is that his matches are short and have an impact. But Henry needs to be able to wrestle a watchable WRESTLING match, where he doesn't have to put people through tables or barricades to keep people interested, and that could be a problem.

Randy Orton just won the World Title back at SummerSlam. He's the top face on Smackdown and is the man on that show. He had a great set of matches with Christian over the summer and now it's time to see if he can take the momentum from those matches and carry them into a feud with Henry. Orton is much more interesting now than he has been when he was on RAW. Orton with the right opponent can work a good match, as evident with Christian. Can he have the same chemistry with Henry? Doubtful. But it doesn't hurt to give it a shot.

Sooner rather than later, Mark Henry will be the World Champion. If he's not, it would be one of the biggest wasted pushes in WWE history. I advocated for an extended Mark Henry World Title reign in my piece over the weekend, and I still stand by it. But the WWE has 3 PPVs over the next month in a half, so it would be pointless to rush the change or put either one in another feud. Expect some kind of screwy finish here. Henry does something to get himself DQ'd, then puts Orton through a table afterward. Henry wins the Title at Hell in a Cell.

WINNER: Randy Orton Via Disqualification

WWE Championship: Alberto del Rio (c) vs John Cena

Destint finally arrived for Alberto del Rio at SummerSlam. He took advantage of his Money in the Bank contract, cashed in on C.M. Punk, and won the WWE Title. So what does somebody do when they win the WWE Title? Defend it right away against John Cena of course! I wonder if that stipulation is in John Cena's contract?

But nevertheless, another John Cena WWE Title feud. This seems just like any other John Cena WWE Title program. Heel Champion is afraid to face Cena. Cena calls out said Champion and calls him a coward, as well as uses a bunch of lame and corny jokes, Heel Champ and Cena fight at PPV. But there are 3 PPVs coming up in the next month and a half, so hot shotting the WWE Title to John Cena right away just doesn't seem like a good idea. Plus, the WWE has a tour of Mexico coming up in October, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Alberto del Rio is walking into that tour with the WWE Title. Sure he could lose and win it back there, but having too many title changes with all these PPVs coming up would be a bad idea. Especially if the title change happens on TV and not at one of the PPVs.

But as we all know, John Cena isn't losing clean here. He never does. So how does this match end? There's a ref bump. Cena puts Del Rio in the STF and has Del Rio tapping out but the referee is still down. Ricardo jumps on the ropes to distract Cena. Cena hits Ricardo with an Attitude Adjustment. But during this time, Del Rio comes to and clocks Cena with the WWE Title Belt, allowing him to pick up the win. The rematch happens at Hell in A Cell.

WINNER: Alberto del Rio

No Disqualification: C.M. Punk vs Triple H

As we all know by now, this was suppose to be C.M. Punk vs Kevin Nash. While Nash probably could have gotten a respectable match out of Nash, it will not be nearly as good as Punk/HHH will be, especially with the No DQ stipulation. Punk is the best in the business right now, and HHH showed at Wrestlemania that he can have a great match even with an extended period of time off. This match is also probably going on last, even if it's not for a Championship. There's just too much on the line in this match for it not to close the show, plus any match that follows it won't match the heat this one will garner. Even John Cena's match.

As I've said before, I still think this feud is happening a month too fast. Punk should have come back at or right after SummerSlam. Night of Champons should have been Cena/Punk 2, with the Nash interference and Del Rio cash in happening here. You have Punk/Nash at Hell in A Cell, maybe a rematch at Vengeance. Then at Survivor Series, you do Punk/HHH with a hot New York City crowd. You can do that even with Rock and Cena now teaming. I will do my best to make sure the Buffalo crowd will be hot for this one, but even at its best it won't match a great New York City crowd.

But of course, the WWE rushed this match after Nash failed his physical. It still seemed good on paper when the match was announced, but now the match just seems all jumbled, and they are probably losing some people with all of the inside lingo HHH and Punk are using. Talking about getting over and backstage politics might lose your non-Internet fan. I've even had some trouble just keeping up with everything. If Triple H loses he is out as COO, but what does Punk's character really gain in that? For all he knows, John Laurinaitis or Stephanie McMahon would be put in charge, and Punk would be dealing with the same problems he's dealing with now.

So who's winning? I really can't see Triple H getting off TV so quickly. The only scenario I could see playing out would be Punk winning, then having it be revealed that Triple H was the RAW Anonymous GM all along. That's why the e-mails stopped when HHH became COO, he didn't need to send them anymore. But I don't think that happens. I hate when the WWE does the obvious, but I see it happening here. Punk hits the GTS on HHH and goes for the pin when Kevin Nash comes through the crowd, hits the Jackknife Powerbomb on Punk, and puts HHH on top of Punk for the cover win. HHH looks at Nash in disbelief questioning why he did what he did, still playing up the fact that the two aren't in cahoots. Punk loses some heat with this, but I just can't see Punk winning here. I'd like it to happen but I don't see it happening. Punk gets Nash at Hell in A Cell.

WINNER: Triple H

Thoughts on Rock & Cena Teaming At Survivor Series
The Rock posted a promotional poster on his Facebook page today for Survivor Series, hyping the fact that him and Cena will be teaming together at Survivor Series. WWE confirmed this, saying it will be a traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series match.

First let me say that I love traditional Survivor Series matches, so this is a plus. On to the actual Rock/Cena team, I don't really have a problem with it. As I said in my "If I Booked the WWE This Fall" article, I would start the build between Rock/Cena this fall. And this would do that. Rock should be on a couple RAWs before Survivor Series, so the build starts in early November. Another positive is that in a 5-on-5 match, more guys will interact with Rock and get the rub of working with him. I would go with Punk/HHH 2 at Survivor Series, have the World Title be defended, then put the WWE Champion in this match, whether it'd be Cena or Del Rio. Here's my 5-on-5 match:

The Rock, John Cena, John Morrison, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan vs Alberto del Rio, Miz, R-Truth, Christian, Wade Barrett

That's a good mix of young guys, keeps C.M. Punk and HHH in their own program, and allows Randy Orton to defend the World Title against Mark Henry, if the feud goes that long.

That's all from me in this preview. Don't forger, I'll be doing live updates on Night of Champions on as well as on my Twitter.

Until next time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka