Lockdown approaches and TNA seem to be doing an alright job promoting the PPV, although they are giving far too much time to this whole Garrett thing and the fans are starting to get agitated, even in the Impact Zone. I find it strange that Hogan and Bischoff can’t turn a mirror on themselves, especially when Steiner is spelling it out for them on Twitter, even if he is doing it in an almost undecipherable manner. The WWE is still pretty interesting in its post-Wrestlemania developments, but the Blast From the Past Smackdown was almost completely pointless, but that aside we have many things to cover, so let’s get on with the report…
Weekly Top Ten:
1st Place: Chris Jericho (10/10)
Second week on the chart and Jericho is already back on top. The beer bath that he gave Punk was even more of a statement than last week as this time Jericho not only delivered a Code Breaker to start the attack, but also when Punk fought back. This denial of Punk’s heroic rise served two purposes; one it made Punk look weak and pitiable, which is good and bad, and two it made Jericho look like a complete boss. Things have gotten so personal with Punk and Jericho that we have to be looking at a grudge match style stipulation at Extreme Rules, probably Last Man Standing or I Quit match, I’m going to go with I Quit considering the whole tap-out thing that happened at Wrestlemania, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jericho somehow won, the one problem with C.M. Punk not being the same as super-Cena is that he can actually lose a match like that.
2nd Place: Brock Lesnar (9/10)
Bad-ass Brock Lesnar comes in at a close second, first of all bloodying Cena’s lip in the brawl that kicked off Raw, and then ending things for the second week in a row with an F-5 to the chump, not before a low blow of course. While things last week were left kind of unclear I cannot believe there are still people questioning whether Lesnar is a heel or not, I don’t care about crowd reaction, and clearly neither do the WWE, Lesnar’s actions mark him out as a clear heel. Siding with Big Johnny as his enforcer is a great angle for Lesnar and while it does kind of spit in the face of everything that has been done in the last few years it is true that the WWE has lacked legitimacy in its main event at least and the man to blame for that is John Cena, from a storyline point of view, so why shouldn’t Lesnar target him? It all makes perfect sense to me so far and hopefully this will put Cena ove like his 18 second loss did for Daniel Bryan.
3rd Place: Kane (8/10)
The Big Red Machine got just a little bit bigger this week after slamming a stooge and then dropping a Cowboy and a Viper. Clearly his no DQ match with Orton wasn’t a blow off match since the feud looks to continue into Extreme Rules, for this one it should probably be an Inferno match as that is pretty extreme and suits Kane down to the ground, making Orton’s inevitable victory all the more meaningful. I know Orton doesn’t really need a push, but then again neither does Kane, and at least Orton still has a long career ahead of him. There is little else for Kane to do now that he has been re-masked, and had his moment in the sun with his title reign last year. Orton however could reach a whole other level with another well timed heel turn I think, it’s just what to do with him until then to keep him fresh and stop him from going completely stale.
4th Place: Mark Henry (7/10)
Another title shot for the World’s Strongest Man and this time he wins via DQ to set up for this third match between the two on this upcoming Raw in a no DQ or Count-out match for the WWE title. I quite like this angle of having Punk have to face one guy while technically feuding with another as it keeps the incensed Punk away from Jericho but still in action. It also gives Henry something to do for now before the WWE can work him into a new feud. Apart from anything else it has made Henry look dominant again and is helping to drive Punk to his lowest so that the female and child fans support him when he eventually triumphs, either that or the WWE are attempting to bury him like they are with Daniel Bryan, they are pretty strange people those WWE lot; make a star so that we can bury him, wait why do we have no new stars! Mind-boggling.
5th Place: Alberto Del Rio (6/10)
Two matches this week for the returning Del Rio and a win and a loss to show for it, but apparently now that he has lost the title, Bryan is the one protecting Del Rio from the pinfall, as if his whole reign and rise meant next to nothing at all. I’m not sure why the WWE are still attached to Del Rio when Bryan clearly resonated with the fans more as a heel champion. Still Del Rio is a great in-ring talent and I’m sure he will do better the next time he gets a shot, especially since he won’t be sandwiched in right in the middle of the supposedly hottest feud in recent years. Of course it was Del Rio, along with Nash and Triple H that spoilt everything between Punk and Cena, but never mind.
6th Place: Daniel Bryan (5/10)
Finally Bryan lands all the way down here after being absent from Raw and having an interview segment on Smackdown on Piper’s Pit before getting booted and pinned in the main event. While it’s good that Bryan is facing off against Sheamus in a 2 out of 3 falls match I still think that the WWE were out of order for pulling the whole 18 seconds thing. After all those of us who paid for the event, while coming to terms with the match being first on the card, were looking forward to actually watching a match, not a spot. Any other time you could perhaps justify it, Wrestlemania though makes this whole thing unforgivable, a longer match now does nothing to make up for the disappointment that nearly tainted Wrestlemania 28 completely, certainly that first hour suffered a huge amount. All I will say is I hope the ‘Yes!’ chant forces the WWE to keep Bryan in the main event scene for the foreseeable future.
7th Place: Bully Ray (4/10)
Making an impact on the chart this week is Bully Ray after managing to Beat AJ Styles in an underhanded fashion to give Team Eric the man advantage at Lockdown. Bully really is one of the best solid heels going right now. He isn’t flashy and he doesn’t have the best matches but he fills a gap of being a big sack of crap who just tries to make everyone around him feel bad. I’m still not sold on Ray as being a true title contender, at least not while Roode is around, but I suppose if Roode got a face turn or was taken out for some reason I don’t see anyone else who could pull a heel run with the title right now. I just hope TNA don’t rush things and ruin the title picture on a whim.
8th Place: Robert Roode (3/10)
The current TNA champion and the man who is 99% going to lose at Lockdown didn’t see action in the Impact before the event. Instead he had a main event face off with his opponent James Storm. While this was enough to get him some points you can’t expect him to be too far up the chart since he didn’t really look dominant, more competent. Roode has been a good heel champion and I’m really hoping that he stays in the title picture for at least a couple of months.
9th Place: Lord Tensi (2/10)
Whatever you want to call him this man spells dominance. This week Tensi destroys Tatsu and gets a match stoppage with another Baldo Bomb, which isn’t the most extreme move to appear to destroy an opponent but at least the WWE are trying to build him up as a monster. Of course I’m not sure exactly why they don’t just have him use the claw to get a stoppage since I’ve seen it be used in that way before and it would make more sense as a submission move, but whatever. I just feel bad for the guy that he was bumped by Lesnar’s arrival from a feud with Cena to squashing jobbers.
10th Place: Johnny Curtis (1/10)
Last place goes to the man who calls NXT home but will hopefully be coming up to Smackdown soon enough; Johnny Curtis. Curtis took out Percy Watson this week with the help of Maxine and then gave Hawkins and Rex a creepy rendition of Alanis Morrissette’s ‘Ironic’ backstage. I’d love to see a tag team between Curtis and Dean Ambrose when he comes up since those two could really work together well as an off the wall duo, although from the looks of it Ambrose doesn’t need anyone else to work with. Of course we could go back to my suggestion of Truth and Curtis working together like they have been promised, getting their tag title shot after all this time and validating the last series of NXT, but that almost certainly won’t happen, I just hope Curtis doesn’t get cut when this year’s cull comes.
2012-2013 Season Top Ten:
1st Place: Mark Henry (16/20)
2nd Place: Daniel Bryan (15/20)
3rd Place: Chris Jericho (15/20)
4th Place: Alberto Del Rio (12/20)
5th Place: Robert Roode (10/20)
6th Place: Brock Lesnar (9/20)
7th Place: Kane (8/20)
8th Place: John Laurinaitis(8/20)
9th Place: Lord Tensi (4/20)
10th Place: Bully Ray (4/20)
The Face-Off: Sheamus Apologizes
While I get what they were doing by making Ace look like a dick it kind of made Sheamus lose a bunch of his edge. Sheamus has gone from a Brogue Kicking Bad-Ass to a smiling whipping boy, just like when Cena was made champion. Why do the WWE do this? They have an interesting character and then they take that character, push them to the moon and then take away everything that made them stand out in the first place. Just because a guy is a face doesn’t mean they have to be the blandest of the bland. Apart from anything else Sheamus is also being haunted by his Wrestlemania win since two weeks later there are still Daniel Bryan chants while he is talking. This fluke win is almost worse than his first fluke win against Cena because at least that was fresh and he was a heel so fluke wins can be excused. It’s almost like the WWE saw what TNA did with Roode at Bound For Glory and then thought they could one-up them with how they ruined a classic face build. Ah well.
Face the Facts: Squash Match Acknowledged
While the Blast From the Past Smackdown was mostly pointless, filled with squashes and pointless segments, one thing that I did like is that while Tony Atlas and Ted DiBiase Sr. were watching Ryback come out they acknowledged that it was going to be “a good old-fashioned squash match”, which it was. I just appreciate that the fact that it was a squash segment named as such because that never really happens in the kayfabe world. Sometimes we read so much on these websites that we take for granted that the average fan who doesn’t do anything but watch the product doesn’t know things like that. I remember how ignorant I was before I started doing more than just watching the program, of course they say that ignorance is bliss and I honestly couldn’t tell you if I enjoy wrestling more now or before when I didn’t really know what was going on besides what was presented to me by the WWE themselves, maybe that’s more a reflection on the current product though.
On the Rise: John Laurinaitis
This one is pretty obvious but I think it’s good to show the other side of the Sheamus promo on Smackdown, which is that Johnny Ace excels at being a dick, pretending like he hadn’t seen Sheamus apologise and getting him to do it all again. It actually worked and got across the point that Ace is power mad and that he will be rubbing a lot of faces the wrong way for some time to come. I’ve heard people complain about having two shows with a heel GM but I’ve personally never been a fan of the face GM as they rarely ever do anything constructive. We want to see our heels get their comeuppance in the ring by the face hero, not backstage by the guy in the suit, sure sometimes they help facilitate this comeuppance match but there are so many other ways to do this, and often they are done while the person is in power, that the face GM is basically redundant even when used right,
Flat-Footed: ‘We Don’t Care’
For those of you who watched Impact and missed it, while Eric Bischoff was bragging about his Lethal Lockdown team and going on about his issues with Garrett, the Impact Zone were pretty much all chanting ‘We Don’t Care’. Whether this was a response to Bischoff as a heel or not it is nice to see that the TNA audience are actually letting their voices be heard. Time after time we ridicule TNA for spending too much time on their passé figures and not enough time promoting their new and home-grown talent. And yet still Eric Bischoff and Hogan keep on with their pointless angles that try to recreate WCW for the new millennia, newsflash: No one wants it! Hopefully at some point these guys will realise that while having Bischoff’s son on the roster isn’t really a problem, he should be at the level of Robbie E at best, not the focus of a major angle in the company. Even if Eric has to retire we will still have to deal with his below-par offspring. The shame of it is that if they had been more subtle about it perhaps Garrett could have actually gotten over, now he just looks like an arrogant punk and no amount of testimonies from Hogan will convince me otherwise.
That’s all for this week, I’m looking forward to Extreme Rules more than Lockdown I have to say and barely any matches are confirmed yet. Lockdown only has one match that seems to have been built right and I am still sceptical as to whether they will actually be able to resist throwing in a swerve before things are all said and done. I’m sure it will be a fine PPV, but little could top the main events that are already booked for Extreme Rules, if I could only afford to buy one PPV this month I know which one I would choose. Of course I don’t because I usually get my wrestling fix through nefarious means, but what do you expect from someone who spends all his time writing about heels and underhanded tactics? This is James Wright signing off.