– So it only got 2 weeks of TV hype, meaning the buyrate will probably suck, but I’ll give it a chance tonight because I only got 12 whiny emails asking me to do the show instead of the usual 20 at askmikeanything(at)hotmail.com.
– LIVE! From Dallas, Texas
US Title Submissions Count Anywhere
John Morrison vs. Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz
I’m not a fan of them shoehorning Morrison in there at the last second and I hope that’s not a sign that they don’t have faith in Bryan-Miz to put on a PPV quality match. The Miz takes time to let both Morrison and Bryan know that neither of them would be anything without his guidance. Miz decides to run away to start and gets his ass kicked as a result, leaving Bryan to work a leg grapevine that takes them to ringside. Miz returns and gets rid of Bryan in order to challenge his partner inside the ring but gets caught in the Tarantula so Byran throws a dropkick and locks on CATTLE MUTILATION!
It’s not over in the least and the WWE crowd doesn’t know it so Bryan breaks and goes back to the leg grapevine. Miz and Byran have a nice little battle while in the submission hold until Morrison comes back in with Starship Pain and locks on a variation of the single leg crab…very cool. He takes out Miz with a plancha to the outside but makes the mistake of charging and ends up in the first row.
They brawl in the crowd to let everyone see Miz get his ass kicked but he recovers and locks on a Dragon Sleeper using a railing in the crowd. Bryan saves but makes the mistake of calling a spot on camera and kissing a hockey board. Bryan goes for a Fujiwara armbar and Morrison breaks as they brawl towards the entrance stage. Flash kick hits off the boards but Miz uses an equipment box to floor Morrison and punish Bryan. After getting rid of Bryan, Morrison uses the POWER OF PARKOUR to get a triangle choke before Bryan breaks. Daniel quickly gets taken out again so Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale on Morrison to the arena floor…doesn’t really help in a submission match. Bryan and Miz brawl to the Gorilla position they exchange counters before a double clothesline KO spot.
Morrison sees both guys out so he climbs a lighting grid and goes to the top of the Hell in A Cell set above the stage…this can’t end well. High cross body takes out all three (5.5 out of 10 because he basically fell with style) and the announcers sell a Bryan shoulder injury. Morrison looks to finish with the Texas Cloverleaf but Alex Riley saves his boss with a slam on the entrance ramp. Bryan gets rid of Riley and gets the LaBelle Lock…….and Miz has no choice but to tap out.
Winner and STILL Champion: Daniel Bryan
– No one can say that Miz didn’t put Bryan over as clean as possible and it was a nicely laid out match. It did, however, feel more like a PG hardcore match than a submission match but that’s kind of nitpicking. So Bryan’s got a legit finish hold and two victories over a future main event star…I’m ok with that…good opener ***1/4. Cole puts over Bryan but still thinks he’s a nerd.
– How does Randy Orton manage to be boring even in recap videos?
Hell in a Cell for the WWE Title
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
So they’ve also redone the Hell in a Cell by making it MUCH higher to “prevent escape”….ok then. The positioning of this match is not good for Orton’s title reign, that’s for sure. Slugfest brawl to start and Orton gets a clothesline while the announcers name drop HHH. Randy gets another clothesline and sends Sheamus to the floor but nothing comes of it so I run upstairs to get tasty beer. When I return, Orton avoids thrown ring steps and Sheamus is the first to taste the cold, unforgiving steel cage. Orton adds a shot with the ring steps for two but Sheamus comes back in the ring and sends Randy flying into the cell. Sheamus stomps a mudhole (do they have mudholes that need stomping in Ireland?) but neglects to walk it dry, meaning he’ll never be a big time superstar.
Sheamus exposes the turnbuckle bolt and Orton avoids it but still gets hit the Irish Hammer, causing Orton to take a powder. We get the standard, Ric Flair-trademarked cheese grater cage stop (no blood of course) and Sheamus drops Orton stomach-first on the ring steps…ouch. Sheamus gets two back inside and goes to a resthold for the crowd to get back behind Orton. Sheamus switches to a bearhug, at least sticking with the established psychology, until Orton gets a back suplex to trigger the comeback. Blind charge and Sheamus hits the exposed turnbuckle (IRONY!!) with his shoulder and Orton hits his powerslam and a belly-to-belly for two. Striker earns some points with me for pointing out that Orton needs to hook a leg…Monsoon would be proud. Sheamus tries a comeback but gets hit with the backbreaker and Randy looks to finish but Sheamus stops him with a knee lift.
Sheamus brings the ring steps into the ring and tries whatever on them but Orton counters and hits a powerslam onto the steps…dang fellah, that must have hurt. It only gets two as the crowd chants for a movie studio that went out of business a long time ago…wonder what that means? Orton gets serious and hits the hangman’s DDT ON THE FLOOR in a spot that should have killed Sheamus but it’s only a double KO spot…that’s total shit. Some guy gets SPIKED on his head from the ring apron and he BEATS Orton to his feet? Get the fuck out of here. Ricky Steamboat would have been carted out of that arena on a stretcher and been cutting promos from the hospital promising revenge in like 3 months. I know we’re supposed to suspend belief and all that crap but COME ON, that’s a killer move that they just treated like an atomic drop or something.
Anyway, Sheamus brings Orton back in and hits a backbreaker on the ring steps…ummm, that doesn’t involve the steps at all. I don’t care how much Striker tries to put over that there’s a “hard surface” under his boot…forget that. Pump kick hits and it looks like the end but Orton kicks out at two. Sheamus gets pissed and goes all WrestleMania 17 Steve Austin on Orton, using a chair and just beating the hell out of Randy with it…but it only gets two. Orton avoids another chair shot and hits the RKO but Sheamus smartly rolls out of the ring and Orton can’t get the cover. Randy says “enough of this shit” and goes for the PUNT OF CERTAIN DEATH on the floor but Sheamus scurries out of the way and hits another pump kick to stop Orton but, by the time he gets Orton in the ring, it only gets two. Sheamus preps for a Razor’s Edge from the ring steps but Orton counters and hits an RKO on the ring steps to escape with the title.
Winner and STILL Champion: Randy Orton
– I liked the way they booked Sheamus in this match, treating him as a legit badass that could have won the match on a few different occasions. The DDT spot really bugged me for obvious reasons but the rest of it was technically good, just dragged a bit ***1/2. After this, I hope they move both guys onto new feuds because I’m pretty much done with this one. Oh, and can we PLEASE get a new title belt? Thank you.
– As a cool off, we get interviews with the NXT Season 3 fitness models who are pretending to be wrestlers. Thankfully, Nexus interrupts and Wade Barrett promises victory.
– JBL…I mean, Alberto Del Rio joins us as Cole’s heel character gets weirder and weirder by the day…do they have ANY idea how uneven it sounds when he acts like a face until the Harts, Daniel Bryan, or Del Rio appear? Anyways, Alberto channels Ted DiBiase and talks about his millions while mocking Dallas sports teams. Some more heel talk is finally interrupted by Edge (seemingly prepped for a face turn for some reason) and he announces a war on stupidity…does that mean he’s going to beat up the entire creative team? Edge and Del Rio prep for a brawl but Jack Swagger appears as well to protest not wrestling tonight and these guys being in the ring. The heels attack Edge but we get a special guest email from the Mystery Raw GM (on a brand new computer of course) who books Edge against Swagger in an ECW-type impromptu match…
Edge vs. Jack Swagger
So there would be no reason to advertise this match? I know Swagger has like 12 fans but maybe just one of them would buy the PPV to see this. Anyways, Swagger immediately attacks and sends Edge to the corner to get in control and use his rather boring moveset. Swagger works the body scissors until Edge fights out but he misses a charge against the ropes and Swagger gets two. Jack uses the Kurt Angle “I’m trying to German suplex the guy from the apron but it comes off looking like I’m banging him in the ass” spot but Edge hits a big boot, triggering his comeback. Swagger recovers and tries for the ankle lock but gets hit with the Edge-O-Match and Edge gets two. In a cute spot, Swagger kicks out and immediately rolls to the ankle, getting the ankle lock and forcing Edge to fight to the ropes.
Swagger hits the floor and he drags Edge to the outside for another ankle lock but Edge uses momentum to send Swagger into the ring steps…they are a popular weapon tonight. Striker explains to us what a count out is just in case no one who ordered this PPV has ever watched wrestling in their entire lives. Edge hits a missile dropkick from the top for two and slams Swagger’s arm against the ring post. He takes a little too long heading up top though and Swagger gets the Pop Up Suplex for a near fall….why not just name him Kirk Angel or something at this point? Vader Bomb is countered with a kick to the gut and the Implant DDT allows for Edge to prep a spear but he runs right into the gutwrench powerbomb for two. Edge recovers and tries an enzuirgi but injures his knee in the process and Swagger immediately grabs the ankle lock but Edge rolls though and hits a spear for the win.
– Whenever Swagger was in control, I thought the match was boring as hell because I simply don’t like Swagger’s work. I mean, it’s technically fine and he moves well in the ring but there’s no substance to it, it feels very robotic but not in a good Shamrock/Angle “machine” way…if that makes any sense. However, it was pretty good when Edge was countering Swagger’s stuff and making his comebacks so it gets **1/2 and likes it.
– Backstage, Nexus (minus Wade Barrett) goes over a David Otunga plan that he “promises” will work.
John Cena vs. Wade Barrett
Nexus disbands if Cena wins, John joins Nexus if Barrett is victorious, and Cena automatically wins in Nexus interferes…I’m hoping something interesting happens here because of the placement of the match so we’ll see. To say this is a mismatch on paper would be a huge understatement considering Barrett’s big win is over Mark F’n Henry. Feeling out process allows the crowd to start dueling chants and Cena hits a dropkick for two. Barrett gets some offense with punches but Cena comes back with what Cole calls “pound and ground” offense…he sucks. Cena tries for the Attitude Adjustment early but Nexus runs down to distract Cena and allow Barrett to attack from behind. Wade is LESS than pleased to see Nexus here because of the stipulation and orders them not to move. Barrett uses the power of the punch to get two and a backbreaker gets another near fall. Second rope flying elbow gets two again as Cole tries his best to put Nexus over as the 1997 New World Order after weeks of treating them as an afterthought. Chants from the great unwashed trigger Cena’s comeback but he misses a blind charge and a neckbreaker gets two.
Barrett goes to work on the back and slingshots Cena against the ropes and he hits knees on his way back down in a move I haven’t seen in awhile. However, now it’s time for the SOS Comeback and Nexus surrounds the ring for some intimidating glares in Cena’s general direction. WWE’s locker room has finally seen enough and the entire locker room empties to clean house on Nexus and toss them from ringside. Wade might want to start packing for Florida right about now. Cena looks for an STF but Barrett fights out and gets a mule kick for two. Wasteland attempt is countered with a slam for two but Barrett counters the AA with a butterfly suplex for his own near fall. Barrett catches Cena with a swinging slam for two while Striker FINALLY acknowledges that the older fans seem not to like Cena very much.
Barrett goes back to the flying elbow but this time only hits canvas and we have a double KO spot. Cena goes up top but gets caught and Barrett tries for a superplex but John powers out and hits his legdrop from the top for two. Another AA attempt is countered and this time Wasteland hits but, of course, it only gets two because finishing moves don’t work the first time you hit them on John Cena. As Wade decides what to do next, Cena pops up and hits the Attitude Adjustment but Wade actually gets to kick out at two in an unexpected booking move. Both guys recover and Wade charges but gets caught in the STF and a fan (100% plant) runs in to distract the referee and Husky Harris nails Cena with a 2×4 to give Barrett the win.
Winner: Wade Barrett
– This was TOTALLY the correct booking for the angle because it doesn’t turn Cena but it gives him a completely different situation for his character. Plus, you get the intrigue of new members of Nexus and now the fans get to cheer for Cena to break free from his captors. The match really picked up towards the end (as Cena matches usually do) and made it good enough for *** and the most heated match of the night. I’m actually excited to watch Raw tomorrow…when’s the last time I said that?
The crowd pretty much all looked like this
Michelle McCool vs. Natalya
I have a new game I play that makes watching these matches a little more bearable. Everytime one of these “wrestlers” fucks up a spot or blows a move, you do a shot. I prefer Irish whiskey because, hey, why not? McCool runs away and baits Nattie into chasing her which, of course, results in a cheapshot and the heel being in control. McCool works body scissors and the announces try to entertain themselves with bad jokes. Natalya makes the comeback with a discus clothesline but Layla distracts Nattie enough to allow McCool to recover with a suplex for two. This…crowd…is…dead. Nattie wakes them up a bit with the Sharpshooter but McCool turns it into a heel hook. Natalya reverses again back to the Sharpshooter so Layla…throws her shoe at Natalya? THAT earns a DQ? Are you kidding me?
Winner by DQ: Natalya
– Short and a sh*tty ending…goodbye DUD.
– Recap of the whole Taker-Kane feud…I think that’s the 399th time I’ve typed that phrase in my wrestling column-writing life. We’re approaching a milestone!
Hell in a Cell for the World Title
Kane vs. Undertaker
I think I could go the rest of my life without seeing this match again. Kane attacks as Taker is entering the cell but gets a chair kicked back in his face and tastes the cage. Taker unloads on Kane to show off his “resurgence” thanks to Paul Bearer and drops a leg for two. Striker threatens to go into the VERY confusing history of Kane-Taker but thankfully stops before getting to the 32 heel/face turns and who REALLY burned down their parents house…trust me, don’t look it up. It will give you a MASSIVE headache. Oh yeah, the match…Kane uses a steel chair to gain the advantage and stomps away but gets caught outside on the floor and hits the ring steps. After some mindless jobbing around, Kane reverses an irish whip and Taker hits the steps while Cole/King show open disdain for Striker. Kane uses the chair to go to work on Taker’s leg and then wraps it around the ring post.
Back inside, Kane dishes out the stomps and we head outside again for Kane to miss a charge into the cell. Do you like punching? Then this match is for you. Taker has an injured leg so what does he do? Why, a legdrop on the apron of course….no one ever accused UT of being a Rhodes Scholar. Back inside, Kane dropkicks the injured knee and works a submission to allow Taker to fight out and have a boo-yay slugfest which leads to a flying clothesline. UT tries for Old School but gets crotched and Kane brings him down with a superplex which, surprisingly, doesn’t draw a big pop. Kane gets his top rope clothesline but, when he goes for the cover, Taker surprises him with Hell’s Gate and causes Kane to roll to the outside to escape.
Double KO spot gives us a double sit-up spot and yet another yay-boo slugfest which leads to a running DDT from Taker for two. UT gets a chokeslam for another near fall and tries for the Last Ride but Kane goes to the injured leg and gets his own chokeslam for two. Kane pounds away in the corner but makes the same mistake HHH made at WM 17 and climbs for a ten-punch only to get hit with the Last Ride for two. Taker looks to finish with the Tombstone but Kane rolls through and hits his own…for two. Kane is, how to put it….less than pleased with the referees counting and decides to express his anger by punching the guy in the face. The usual gang of idiots run down to clear out the knocked out referee and that allows Paul Bearer to enter the cell and get verbally abused by Kane. The Zombie situp and a chokeslam saves Bearer from any harm and a Tombstone looks to finsh but Paul Bearer’s urn has a FLASHLIGHT in it and he uses it to blind Taker. What the hell was that? Bearer gives the urn to Kane and he knocks Taker silly with it and hits a chokeslam to keep the title.
Winner and STILL Champion: Kane
– OK, are they just TRYING to reference ridiculous things from the 90s now? So the urn also doubles as a flashlight…does that mean Taker’s power is derived from D batteries? Match was the usual punchy-kicky stuff that dominates their matches and the ending just sucked the life out of the crowd and made zero sense in the scheme of things **1/2.
None of the matches were terrible (minus the diva crap) and I really liked the Nexus booking so I would say the show was worth the viewing. The Kane-Taker stuff does absolutely nothing for me but I know lots of people love Taker and love his storylines so huzzah for you but I’ll take a pass. In any case, I’m actually excited for Raw for once just to see where Daniel Bryan and Nexus go next, so that’s at least something.