It appears that all the best shows are taped weeks in advance these days as NXT and Impact seem to have better and more coherent story progression in the last couple of weeks, especially concerning their tag team divisions. I’m still not a fan of how the WWE is handling Brock Lesnar, what should have been a presence that elevated the product for the year is still floundering as we approach Wrestlemania, reduced to taking down the Miz on MizTV. Why didn’t they just book him for the four big PPVs? Or have him on all the lesser PPVs to offset the Rock and then have both for Mania, I don’t know, the whole thing just seems like a bit of a waste for all the money that was thrown at the guy. Anyway at least people are talking about the guy, for now let’s just get on with the report…
Weekly Top Ten:
1st Place: Mark Henry (10/10)
Talk about a dominant return! The World’s Strongest Man missed nine months of action and came back straight into the main event picture, at least on Smackdown. He destroyed Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara (who are running out of time to set up their supposed one-on-one match at Wrestlemania, especially with both of them being taken out seemingly every week) on Raw, then on Smackdown he took out The Great Khali, which still visually looks impressive even if he isn’t exactly seen as the biggest threat to anyone above jobber status at this point. Then to top it all off he then beat the Viper in the main event of Smackdown to qualify for the Elimination Chamber, clean. Yes that’s right, clean. That is something that doesn’t happen very often and shows just how much the WWE are behind Henry in his return, so much so that if we saw Del Rio vs. Henry at Mania I wouldn’t be too surprised, it wouldn’t exactly be the most thrilling match up I could think of but it would certainly be better than Sheamus vs. Orton for the title and could easily lead to a Henry beat down and a Ziggler cash-in, making the Zig Zag man the first guy to win the title with the MitB briefcase at Wrestlemania, speaking of which where was Ziggler this week?
2nd Place: Aries & Roode (9/10)
Ladies and gentlemen your new TNA tag team champions of the world! Thank god it finally happened and what better place for it to occur than in merry old England, where the fans actually give a shit about what happens in the ring. This title change was a long time coming and unlike the WWE with the Rhodes Scholars, TNA weren’t afraid to pull the trigger. Now the new team of Roode and Aries are free to reign over the tag team division as heel champions, cheating and taunting their way to victory, hopefully for the foreseeable future. You had to love the way they pulled off the victory as well, by pretending that they were too dysfunctional to function and it all just being a feint so Roode could take Chavo by surprise and set in motion the events that won them the belts. This was a great way to turn the Team Hell No dysfunction on its head, instead of winning despite their differences, they used their differences to purposefully sucker their opponents in and gain the victory through deceit.
3rd Place: C.M. Punk (8/10)
Ah, Chris Jericho is back to what he does best; losing to C.M. Punk. You have to love Punk’s insistence on being called the new ‘People’s Champion’ based off of the whole liquor store clerk thing, especially when he twins that with running the people into the ground with offensive generalisations. Punk is still hopping mad over his title loss and once again it serves to give the title a greater meaning, of course this is all a labour in vain as the title will just be going back into the hands of Cena after Wrestlemania, who is dangerously close to passing HHH and even the Nature Boy’s number of world title reigns, think about that!
4th Place: Cody Rhodes (7/10)
The newly single Cody Rhodes is back with a vengeance, and could possibly get himself a spot in the Elimination Chamber, he certainly made a fuss about it this week on Main Event. While the booking for the match has been a bit of a mess it has also made the match seem more important as all the top guys who have been left out of the match seem mighty pissed off about it and that speaks to the value that being in the chamber has, as well as Ziggler’s reservations to enter the match itself, showing that while the shot you earn is important, what you have to go through to get it isn’t something worth doing if you already have that opportunity, the risks are too great.
5th Place: Big Show (6/10)
The former world champion had a pretty crappy week, getting attacked by Del Rio in his hotel suite, once again having a fire extinguisher discharged in his face, and even being painted orange for whatever reason. However in terms of being a heel and delivering some solid ‘true but inconvenient’ promo action on Smackdown, he has done pretty well for himself.
6th Place: Jack Swagger (5/10)
If Cody Rhodes should take one of the two remaining spots in the Chamber then it is only fitting that the Real American should take the last one. Sure all he has done so far is be a little more brutal and take out Santino and Justin Gabriel, but what I see in Swagger is the potential for greatness, and being in the chamber with his new brutality could really sell him in his return. Swagger has the size and ability to become an Angle-Lesnar hybrid and now he might finally realise that, he just needs to be booked strong and put over for his size and ability and then actually back it up when the time comes.
7th Place: Antonio Cesaro (4/10)
The Swiss Sensation has hit a brick wall with Ryback and no doubt soon his title will be on the line against Big Hungry, most likely at Wrestlemania now what with Ryback’s impending match with the Shield. Cesaro is still looking pretty strong though and will most likely face off against the Miz once again at the Elimination Chamber, I for one don’t think the Miz will be successful.
8th Place: Damien Sandow (3/10)
The other half of the now defunct Rhodes Scholars actually managed to do what he couldn’t while in that team, which is beat Daniel Bryan. I like how Sandow hasn’t asked to be in the chamber match, probably deciding that discretion is the better part of valour, but you have to ask what is next for the intellectual saviour of the masses, having still not had a substantial singles feud to date despite his continued presence in the company.
9th Place: The Wyatt Family (2/10)
This might be coming a bit out of left field but as a collective unit they certainly were dominant on NXT, mostly thanks to their leader Bray Wyatt, who is now fully healed and will hopefully be heading up to the main roster soon, perhaps with his brother Bo Dallas, although most likely not together wholly. The guy has a decent shot at making a name for himself in the post-Wrestlemania season, just so long as he can remain healthy after his last ill-timed injury cut the momentum right out from under him.
10th Place: Brock Lesnar (1/10)
Brock Lesnar really should be higher up the chart, simply in terms of how little he appears and how much he is being paid, but he really didn’t do anything to warrant it this week. He attacked the Miz, big deal, Antonio Cesaro did that and he isn’t being paid five million dollars to do so.
2012-2013 Season Top Ten:
1st Place: The Big Show (224)
2nd Place: CM Punk (197)
3rd Place: Dolph Ziggler (182)
4th Place: Alberto Del Rio (179)
5th Place: Daniel Bryan (174)
6th Place: Robert Roode (144)
7th Place: Damien Sandow (141)
8th Place: Antonio Cesaro (110)
9th Place: Cody Rhodes (110)
10th Place: Bully Ray (103)
(Heel Hall of Fame)
**Heel Report 2010-2011 Winner: The Miz**
**Heel Report 2011-2012 Winner: Cody Rhodes**
The Face-Off: Racism Comes to Main Event
Now the WWE has occasionally strayed into some pretty shady territory when it comes to race, who can forget HHH’s infamous feud with Booker T leading up to Wrestlemania 19, but what Aksana said to Naomi, when she called her ‘Kofi’ was just plain unprovoked. I don’t know if she did it by accident or if they thought that would be a great way to set up a random divas match at the end of the show but it just seems crazy to me. Then you have Cole acknowledge it on air after Brodus sat next to him and he was jiving and talking all ‘street’ to him, Jesus what decade are we in? The whole thing was just weird and backwards, and even if it was planned and everyone involved thought it was fine it is just strange that it was done so casually like Aksana being blatantly racist is just par for the course.
Face the Facts: Pushing PAC
Sure they gave him a terrible name in the form of Adrian Neville, but aside from that they have been doing a pretty damn good job of pushing the English-born star. Every week on NXT they praise his ability in the ring and his popularity, gone are the days of the WWE making fun of indie wrestlers instead of helping them get over, the success of Daniel Bryan and C.M. Punk have done away with that. Hopefully when they call the guy up to the main roster they will give him a better name but for now we should all just be content in the fact that the company is actually promoting their talent rather than mocking them at the moment.
On the Rise: Aces & 8s
All scepticism aside it was great to see the group come out, almost all with their faces revealed, they actually looked like a faction for once. Sure it is a faction without any real stars, but they serve a purpose, they are a gang of thugs and having one or more guys stand out would detract from that. Also they still have room for the group to be used as a vehicle to get over Anderson and potentially Bully Ray if he indeed is the leader of the group, which can still be justified if his actions lead him to the world title. If he turns on Hogan, with or without Brooke, and holds the TNA title then that will draw everything together and make Bully Ray a massive heel star and potentially the biggest star in the company. This is all just potential at this stage but it is enough, and kudos to TNA for doing this in England, where the fans have much more of a reaction to everything so the group got some real heat and chants, even if some of those chants were ‘Who are Ya?’
Flat-Footed: Summer Rae
Who gave the porno actress the job eh? I’m sorry but if there was one bad thing about NXT this week it was the terrible promo done by the bleached-blonde Barbie doll; Summer Rae. Now I know that is just a character she plays but the promo itself was just so terribly delivered, the lines were repeated over and over again with very little point, everything was over-acted and she constantly did that porn (or simply bad if you like) actress thing of emphasising the wrong words in a sentence so that everything she said made no real sense. Stick to ring announcing love.
That’s all for this week, Elimination Chamber will be an interesting one as there are two singles world title matches and only one chamber, so a lot of guys are seemingly being left out in the cold. Also there is the Shield match to consider, where this time the stakes are much higher as they are facing off against arguably the WWE’s top three baby faces. If the group win then they will be virtually unstoppable heading into Wrestlemania, whereas if they lose it could undo everything that the WWE has built with them, so there is a lot riding on that match, we’ll just have to wait and see how it all goes down. For now though this is James Wright signing off.
Category: Columns and Editorials, Wrestling News |