March 5th – 11th: This Week in Wrestling History (2)

“If You Smell…”

Rocks Road to Wrestlemania in Years Gone By (Part Two)

by Neil

Follow me on Twitter: @shootwrestling

That’s right folks. I promised a double header this week and thats exactly what we have. I decided that for this particular “Week in Wrestling History” it may be a good idea to take a look at The Rock and the build-up surrounding some of his previous Wrestlemania matches. In my first installment this week I took a look at the build-up for his match with Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania XIX as well as his match at Wrestlemania XX teaming with Mick Foley to face Evolution. I couldn’t, however, finish without focusing on one Rock feud that carries with it probably the most significance going into this years Wrestlemania.

This year on April 1st The Rock takes on Cena in what is being called one of the very biggest matches of all time. It’s easy to see why the WWE would bill it as such considering the huge draw this creates, having two of the biggest names in wrestling collide. The Rock is arguably the biggest name ever in wrestling. His roots as a third generation star, following in the footsteps of his grandfather ‘High Chief’ Peter Maivia and his father Rocky Johnson were then eclipsed by success in Hollywood and on the big screen. The Rock has achieved a greater level of success in Hollywood than probably any other wrestler. However if The Great One is the biggest name in wrestling then who, you may ask, could have laid claim to that title before him?

Wrestlemania X8

The Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan

In 2002 the WWE saw one of its most anticipated returns in history. The legendary Hulk Hogan returned to the ring after WCW, the company Hogan originally left the old WWF for in 1993, was dissolved following a buy-out by chairman Vince McMahon. In February’s No Way Out pay-per-view fans were treated to a sight they perhaps thought they would never see again as Hogan made his grand re-appearance – and he didn’t come alone.

Once the biggest babyfaces in professional wrestling history, the Hulkster ran wild, urging children to take their vitamins and drink their milk and dominating the WWF throughout the late eighties and early nineties. Hulk Hogan would become a rare household name, something not usually associated with wrestling. After originally retaining the same character in WCW, there came a time for a change. There came a time for a Hogan heel turn. Joining forces with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, forming the New World Order, Hogan enjoyed more success in WCW as that company began to beat WWF in the Monday Night War of ratings in the late 1990’s until it was bought and consequently closed by Vince McMahon. The No Way Out event in 2002 was Hogans first appearance on WWF TV in nine years as Vince McMahon officially unveiled the individuals he said were hired to “inject a poison” into the WWF and fianlly kill the empire that he created.

Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hollywood Hulk Hogan would run riot through the WWF over the next few weeks, attacking, amongst others, its two biggest babyfaces in Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. After The Texas Rattlesnake had fallen prey to the nWo, The Rock appeared on the March 7th 2002 edition of Smackdown seeking revenge of his own. By this time the match had already been made – The Rock and Hollywood Hulk Hogan would square off at Wrestlemania X8, and three weeks before this edition of Smackdown The Rock was attacked by the nWo. Following an assault on The Peoples Champ, Hogan, Hall and Nash would take control of The Rocks ambulance, locking him inside before running it down with a truck. The WWF really seemed to be trying to make Hogans heel turn as visual and as emphatic as possible. Coming out to the ring The Rock called out the group and challenged Hogan to a match there and thern, before Wrestlemania. Claiming to want nothing to do with an injured Rocky, Hogan backed down claiming to want to save the match until Wrestlemania where he would have no excuses. Accepting on his behalf, a match was made for Smackdown later that night between Scott Hall and The Rock.

A star in his own right in the WWF in the early to mid nineties under his ring name Razor Ramon, Scott Hall came to the ring backed up by Hogan and Nash to take on The Rock in the main event. The match would quickly break down into a brawl and get out of hand as the “pack of dogs” would play the numbers game and team up on an injured Rock. However the odds would be evened up as The Rock had some back-up of his own, leading to a blockbuster announcement from Vince McMahon.

A few nights later, on the March 11th 2002 edition of Monday Night Raw, fans tuned in to witness a huge main event. In just six days Hollywood Hulk Hogan and The Rock, two of the biggest names ever in professional wrestling, would meet in what was being billed as the biggest match of all time – wrestlings past meeting wrestlings future, Icon vs Icon at Wrestlemania X8. In this handicap tag team match The Rock teamed with Stone Cold Steve Austin as they both were out for revenge against Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Who would get the upper hand before the big show down? Could Hogan, at his age, still hang with the likes of The Great One? Watch the build up to the Wrestlemania encounter from this week in wrestling history right here.

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Friday Night Smackdown 09/03/2012 – The Review

With Wrestlemania getting closer and closer, tensions mounted, scores were left unsettled and anticipation built on this week’s Smackdown.

The Friday night show, now in its 13th year, kicked off with John Laurinaitis reaffirming his stance on how he wants to become General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown. In a bid to convince the WWE board he started proceedings with a cage match between the new United States Champion Santino Marella and Jack Swagger with the former’s United States Championship on the line. Laurinaitis felt that he would have the edge over Long by opening Smackdown with such an illustrious match.

Santino Marella Vs Jack Swagger

Jack Swagger, who was clearly still smarting from his defeat to Santino on Raw, began with some early blows. The self-proclaimed Milan Miracle looked as though he had managed to sway the advantage back in his favour but Swagger was able to thwart any of those attempts, the odds then looked stacked against Santino. Particularly when Santino was thrown into the steel cage headfirst after Swagger blocked Santino’s attempt of a splash off the ropes. A dazed Santino was then mocked by the “All American, American” only for the former to dig deep and get a rhythm going culminating with a diving head butt. Having only won the United States Championship a few days ago there was a sense of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ Santino was going to seal the victory. With that in mind, it looked as though the Cobra was going to strike but at the vital moment Dolph Ziggler appeared on the apron to distract Santino through the cage mesh. The Cobra’s attention then turned to Ziggler and struck twice, once on each hand leaving Ziggler to fall to the ground. With Santino facing the wrong way Swagger went for a back suplex but Santino managed to let the Cobra strike, although perhaps not as emphatically as he would have liked. After Ziggler’s attempt at interference he was sent back to the locker room leaving the shrill Vickie Guerrero at ringside in Swagger’s corner. However, it was Vickie Guerrero that attributed to the downfall of Swagger, rather than helping. The match concluded after Santino kicked out from a ‘Swaggerbomb’ so instead Swagger attempted to climb out, Santino used his experience to knock the former World Heavyweight Champion off the ropes before hitting him with a tornado DDT. Santino eventually won by leaving via the cage door. The banshee-like Guerrero tried to slam the door in Santino’s face has he attempted to leave but the crafty Italian was able to position Swagger in the door frame instead. Guerrero dealt a devastating blow to Swagger only to see Santino crawl out and seal the win instead

Winner: Santino Marella by escaping the cage via the door

As Santino was celebrating in his usual eccentric way we heard from John Laurinaitis and David Otunga, both of whom seemed restless with the General Manager of Raw noticeably seething. Teddy Long entered the room and was informed that Laurinaitis promised to deliver the Kane Vs Aksana match he mentioned on Raw. Teddy pleaded with Laurinaitis before they came to an agreement and a match between the pair that night would settle the issue. However, the odd stipulation being that if Long won then the match between Kane and Aksana would go ahead. Long was then caught in a moral dilemma, does he go for the win so not to let Laurinaitis get on over on him or does he protect his woman? This was to be continued…

The Smackdown audience and indeed the viewers at home saw someone enter the arena that they thought they had seen the last of, Drew McIntyre. The Ayrshire native revealed how although he had been sacked by Teddy Long, John Laurinaitis had given him a lifeline. All he had to do was beat a mystery opponent and he was back in the WWE. The Great Khali’s music then hit, much to the delight of the crowd, with McIntyre now seemingly becoming a heel. However, David Otunga told Khali to sit down as McIntyre’s real opponent was Hornswoggle. It must be said that this next match was really poor taste and not very easy to watch. McIntyre publically humiliated Hornswoggle, taunting and mocking him whilst throwing him around like a rag doll. Surely Hornswoggle has more integrity than to be a jobber for Vince McMahon and deserves more respect rather than becoming a figure of ridicule. Unsurprisingly, McIntyre picked up the win and was subsequently rehired but not before taking a strong right hand from the on-watching Great Khali who took exception to the degrading of Hornswoggle.

Winner: Drew McIntyre by knockout

It was nearing time for Teddy Long’s match with John Laurinaitis and despite Aksana’s pleas for Long to reconsider, Long seemed determined by saying: “That man needs to be taught a lesson” after he believed he had his “manhood insulted” before adding that he wanted to “make an impression to the board”.

However, it was another match that took place next ahead of the General Managers’ bout. Two man mountains in the form of Mark Henry and Ezekiel Jackson went toe-to-toe. If you read The Real Wrestle’s Smackdown review from last week then you’ll have seen the disdain towards Mark Henry and his place in the WWE, this week is no different.

Ezekiel Jackson Vs Mark Henry

Jackson was not fazed at all by Henry, not surprisingly really as with someone as slow and cumbersome as Henry in the ring, you’ve always got a chance. Or that would be the case if the board weren’t so hell-bent on making Henry out to be this unstoppable force, an unstoppable farce more like. He may be able to lift things but he just isn’t a good wrestler. In fact, I’ve seen more agility in a sloth. The match didn’t last very long in truth and despite Jackson’s best efforts to inject some momentum it was a damp squib. Henry sealed the win with the “World’s Strongest Slam”, a move that is neither strong nor impressive.  With seemingly pointless and directionless matched, maybe Henry’s days at the top are coming to an end. One can only hope.

Winner: Mark Henry by pinfall

John Laurinaitis Vs Teddy Long

It was then time for the two General Manger’s of their respective brands to go one-on-one which  began with a stare-off initially. Laurinaitis in one corner, dressed in spandex and sporting the thinnest ankles known to man, whilst Long dressed in a no-nonsense Wrestlemania t-shirt. Before anything could happen Kane’s music hit and the Big Red Machine entered proceedings. Just as Kane was about to enter the ring, Randy Orton snuck up behind and dealt a venomous RKO. Kane was then left dazed and confused on the ground outside the ring. With a bemused Laurinaitis taken in by such distractions occurring outside the ring, Teddy Long used this to his advantage to hit Laurinitis with a roll up and score a three-count.

Winner: Teddy Long by pinfall

The Tag Team Championships seem to be the forgotten division in the WWE at present, a shame really as the company once had such a thriving tag division. Long gone are the days of Edge & Christian, the Hardy Boyz, Dudley Boyz et al all competing in thrilling ladder matches. Now we have two indescript Latino gentleman going by the names Primo and Epico donning the once-prestigious mantel of being Tag Team Champions. I’d tell you which one was which if I knew. However, all is not lost as there appears to be a budding tag team ready to take the WWE by storm. Kofi Kingston with R-Truth (and Little Jimmy of course) have managed to develop and understanding and certain flair when in the ring together. The pair went up against Primo and Epico with the stipulation of a victory ensuring them of a shot at the Tag Team Titles. One would have thought that they would have gone up against another Tag Team in a number one contenders match but it appears there are no other notable tag teams to speak of.

The pendulum swung back and forth before Epico was vaulted outside the ring by Kofi. Rosa Mendes tried to intervene by getting up onto the apron. With the referee distracted, Primo goes for Kofi but the Ghana native showed great agility and ingenuity to use the ropes and propel a powerful kick to the head of Primo. R-Truth was then on hand to land a devastating Flatliner and covered for the three-count. The result now means that Kingston and R-Truth have a shot at the Tag Team Titles.

Winners: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth by pinfall

Ahead of their World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan were interviewed in the middle of the ring by Michael Cole. With not as much momentum or heat between the two leading into Wrestlemania as perhaps would be expected, the plan it seems was to create some tension between the pair and build the anticipation heading into Wrestlemania 28.

Michael Cole: “Let’s start with you, champ.”

Daniel Bryan: “Champ? It’s champ now is it?”

Michael Cole: “How much can you attribute luck to your success so far in the WWE?”

Daniel Bryan: “I haven’t been lucky at all because when you’re good you don’t need luck. It’s knowledge and application of scientific wrestling.” He then paid tribute to his way of life as a vegan before declaring himself ‘charismatic with undeniable sex appeal’.

Michael Cole: “You had a certain amount of luck, Sheamus with your win at this year’s Royal Rumble. You could say it’s the ‘luck of the Irish?’”

Sheamus (clearly annoyed with the Irish stereotype): “Everybody needs a bit of luck. I’ve been lucky all my life but I am a firm believer that you make your own luck. I fought my way to the top, not hiding behind a 99-pound little girl (referring to AJ who was stood next to Daniel Bryan) who looks like she should be wearing a Catholic schoolgirl’s uniform”.

Daniel Bryan: “AJ has nothing to do with my success, if anything she has got in the way”.

Sheamus: “It’s not AJ who should be wearing the skirt, it’s you! You strike me as being someone who is arrogant, annoying, self-delusional and a whiney little wimp. At Wrestlemania your luck is going to run out.”

Strong intentions from Sheamus and with Daniel Bryan dismissing AJ, his World Heavyweight Title might not be the only thing he is going to lose.

Main Event: 6-man tag team match

Randy Orton, Big Show and Sheamus Vs Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan and The Miz

With all six men having vested interests in each other in some form heading into Wrestlemania it was only fair to expect personal battles to cloud the greater picture. That was said for the team of Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan and The Miz. All three were scared of the Big Show, including Cody Rhodes who in the end high-tailed out of the arena once the Big Show was in pursuit. With a man down, The Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale on Orton but the Apex Predator countered and instead dealt The Miz with the RKO and followed up with a three-count.

Winners: Randy Orton, Big Show and Sheamus

Much like the debate which took place between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus, there was further evidence of some blatant tension stoking when Kane decided to return the favour to Orton. As Orton had intervened and attacked Kane earlier on, Kane evened things up before a brawl ensued into the crowd. More is to come from these two that’s for certain.

It was another solid effort from those booking Smackdown currently. We are starting to see a good deal of momentum heading into Wrestlemania and there’s a healthy amount of unpredictability. The most captivating match was the Santino/Swagger match and the most intriguing event was the brawl between Kane and Orton. The only negatives were the repetitiveness of promo footage from Raw not to mention Mark Henry being involved in another drab encounter.


Follow me on Twitter: NeatPaul

TNA Impact Wrestling 03/08/2012

  Cameras roll on Eric Bischoff in the back talking to his pals Gunner & Rick Flair about the tag team match Gunner has later this night against Eric’s son, Garrett Bischoff. The three men all have a good laugh & say that they aren’t worried about it because “Who could Garrett get to team with him?” Then Gunner is introduced to his tag partner Kurt Angle. Kurt proceeds to say why he’s teaming with Gunner & why he knows they will win. Kurt says Garrett disrespects his father & that is why he will lose. 

  The TNA cameras soon find Sting in his locker room, monologuing to his own reflection in the mirror while he was putting on his makeup a la The Joker. Sting mentions Bobby Roode saying he has “snapped” & to his reflection he says maybe I have but all the fans know that Sting is “crazy like a fox”. In walks Eric Young to talk to Sting about him wanting to give ODB something that she’s always wanted & he hints at jewelry. Sting says diamonds.. gold & leads into mentioning the Knockout Tag Titles. Eric nods wanting to give ODB whatever she may desire & he names off a couple of names to team with ODB for the titles including Mickie James. Sting nixes all the names & says ODB’s perfect partner is Eric Young himself. Eric happily & eagerly agrees to teaming with his woman for the tag titles then exits the room after Sting tells him to remember that he is a warrior.

  After the break we come up on the match for the Knockout Tag Titles.. Eric Young & ODB vs the champions, Madison Rayne & Gayle Kim.  The match opened with ODB tagging herself in since Eric wouldn’t hit Madison & he was getting shoved around. ODB quickly took control but due to some dirty dealings & some teaming up by the champions they got ODB stuck on their side of the ring & in a lot of trouble. It appeared that ODB & Eric would lose and there were some near falls but ODB always was able to kick out at the last moment. ODB was finally able to get Eric tagged in & he got both of the tag champions on his shoulders.. taking them for an airplane spin then dropped them on the mat. Madison was able to save her partner Gayle from a pinfall but ODB took Madison out of the ring. Then Madison grabbed one of the title belts after sending ODB into the steel steps & climbed in the ring. Madison hit Eric in the back with the belt but sent him falling into Gayle who fell to the mat underneath Eric’s weight. The referee counted 1..2..3 then announced the new Knockout Tag Champions as ODB & Eric Young. But the fun wasn’t over there as Eric got down onto one knee & proposed to ODB who looked shocked by it all. ODB turned to walk out of the ring with her diamond in her hand but she suddenly turned & dropped to one knee in front of Eric. In total ODB fashion she proposed to Eric who VERY happily said “YES!”

  The X Division ChampionAustin Aries, showed up at the Impact zone after getting an email from Sting that he’d be in a title match against the #1 contender, Zema Ion, that very night. Austin was in no way happy with the news but came out to the ring pumped & ready for the match as was Zema. The match was intense & went back and forth repeatedly with neither gaining the upper hand for long. Zema who is one known as willing to do or try anything to win brought out his  can of hairspray but missed spraying Austin Aries in the eyes. Austin got the can & sprayed Zema in the eyes but the referee saw Austin using the hairspray where as he didn’t see Zema. So Austin Aries was disqualified & Zema Ion was named the winner. 

  Abyss’s brother, Joseph Parks, was shown a few times throughout the night talking to various Impact Zone stars to see if any of them had heard or knew of anything about his brother’s mysterious disappearance which had happened months ago. This is an ongoing storyline that has everyone watching intrigued & yes wondering when will Abyss return. 

  Bully Ray comes out to the ring to give his speech about how awesome his calves are & how he “scrambled” James Storm‘s brains the week before. Then Bully wanted Sting to come down to the ring & name Bully as the #1 contender for the Heavyweight Championship held by Bobby Roode. Sting came out & in classic form told Bully that yeah Bully’s calves were cool but that in no way could he name him the #1 contender for the belt unless he showed he deserved it. Sting even gave Bully a match with Bobby Roode the same night for Bully to prove his mettle. Bobby even met Sting in the back to try & complain about the match with Bully but Sting told him it was a non title match. So Bobby reluctantly came out to the ring & Bully had to demand he get into the ring. After some false starts the match between Bully Ray and Bobby Roode was underway. James Storm came out & in an act of revenge put the belt to both & walked out to high fan approval. 

  Garrett Bischoff was shown talking to the camera crew about his partner for his tag team match but he never said who it would be & evaded any attempt at the viewers knowing until the actual match happened. All Garrett said was that people including Eric, Rick, Gunner & Kurt would be surprised.

  Next we have the match to name the #1 contenders for the Men’s Tag Team Titles.. Robbie E & Robbie T vs Matt Morgan & Crimson. The Robbie’s had Crimson is several pinfall situations & had him totally fighting to hang on until he was able to tag in the powerhouse Matt Morgan. Matt totally took control & had the Robbie’s reeling from his brutal power & control of the ring. But in a move that got boos & an incredulous look from Matt.. Crimson blind tagged himself in the match & covered for the win. Needless to say Matt was asking Crimson why he did that as they left the ringside area but all believe this is the beginning of the end for this tag team. Unless they can get on the same page & work together to achieve their goals. Though with actions like Crimson’s the tag team won’t last long & Matt is the type to not just sit back & be used by anyone.

  A.J. Styles came out to the ring to discuss his thoughts & feelings about Christopher Daniels & Kazarian. A.J. said he had reached an end with the two of them for their actions & felt that he had been back stabbed by not just them but by some others as well. Daniels & Kazarian came out to the ring.. called A.J. transparent & TOO trusting. Kazarian even went as far as saying that A.J. thinks that he does no wrong & should think about how he treats people to get why he & Daniels are the way they are with him. A.J. said maybe he was too trusting with people but he won’t change who he is no matter what & that he had found someone he could call an ally. Then everyone was surprised by the return of Mr. Anderson! Anderson along with A.J. beat up on Kazarian & Daniels leaving them no option but to leave the ringside area to lick their wounds along with their pride. After a commercial break it was announced that next week Mr. Anderson would be in a match against Christopher Daniels. This is a match to not miss!

  Then it was time for the main event… Gunner & Kurt Angle vs Garrett Bischoff & Jeff Hardy!!! This was an awesome match that had Gunner & Kurt keeping Jeff busy in the ring not letting him tag in Garrett. Garrett was fired up & ready to get in the match. He wanted to get his hands on Kurt &/or Gunner. While Gunner had Jeff in the ring Kurt taunted Garrett away from his corner just as Jeff freed himself from Gunner’s onslaught to only get snared again. But eventually Jeff was able to get Garrett tagged in & he went to work on both Kurt Angle & Gunner. Jeff was tagged back into the match & after Garrett clotheslined both their opponents Jeff delivered his patented swan-ton bomb to Kurt Angle gaining them the victory.

  STAY TUNED FOR MORE AFTER NEXT WEEK’S ACTION!   

   

 

March 5th – March 11th: This Week in Wrestling History

“If You Smell…”

Rocks Road to Wrestlemania in Years Gone By (Part One)

by Neil

Follow me on Twitter: @shootwrestling

Almost an entire calendar year to the day the match was made. At last years Wrestlemania it was announced that in his home town of Miami, Florida The Rock would clash with John Cena in what is being billed as one of the biggest, most high-profile matches in WWE history. Over the course of 12 months the hype has been building and in just three and half weeks the wait is finally over. You would think that this makes me excited, right? The live crowds and large sections of the WWE Universe seem to be excited. I, however, am not and this is why.

Making a match a year in advance is a massive call. Thats twelve months of work, twelve months of hype, twelve months in which to keep peoples attention and hold peoples interest. That is a huge ask of any two people on the roster. So then, when you consider that one of those men has been absent and only at a handful of live events during that time, having only one match at a WWE pay-per-view in that time and shouldering his share of the responsibility via satellite, pre-recorded comments and Twitter you may just begin to realise where my patience has worn thin.

I am no Cena mark. I never have been. I actually used to rather dislike him. Having Cena forced upon me every time I want to watch WWE over the last few years has not always been enjoyable. Cena has been in the main event, usually with a championship around his waist, for several years now. Cena has been the WWEs top dog and where thats all well and good the lack of change to the scenery has been somewhat tiring. With that said I have been very surprised to say that in recent times I, who once owned a Rock t-shirt and consider myself a fan, I have been all about John Cena as far as this “war” goes. Cena has worked remarkably well in a very tight spot, trying to keep air in the lungs of a feud with a man making rare appearances, armed with little more than a mic and a titantron or live satellite feed. What makes this situation even more disappointing is that when The Rock has been live on Monday Night Raw he has done, in my opinion, very little to further enhance the angle and quite frankly has been easily trumped and brushed aside by an impressive John Cena.

The Rock has been at two consecutive live Monday Night Raw events as of late and hopefully should be scheduled to appear at more between now and Wrestlemania and as much as I have been bored and frustrated with this current angle I hope to see it offer up some entertainment in the weeks to come. After all if this match is going to keep the current champions on the under-card then you would hope that it at least delivers! I felt it would be appropriate, as The Rock gears up for a return to in-ring action on the grandest stage of them all, that we take the opportunity to look back at the events of this week in wrestling history and highlight exactly what The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment has been offering the WWE universe at this exciting time of year in years gone by.

Wrestlemania XIX

The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

At Wrestlemania XIX The Rock challenged his arch-rival Stone Cold Steve Austin to one more match on the grandest stage of them all. Arguably the two biggest, most impactful and most popular susperstars in WWE history had previously headlined Wrestlemania together on two seperate occasions. Austin prevailed on both occasions. On March 30th 2003 there were no championships on the line, only pride, as The Rock set out to do what he had previously failed to do and that is beat Stone Cold at Wrestlemania – in “Act III”. This battle would prove to be The Texas Rattlesnakes last, as he retired following it.

Three weeks before the showdown The Rock arrived on the March 10th 2003 edition of Monday Night Raw to be greeted by General Manager Eric Bischoff who informed The Great One that he would be wrestling Booker T that night. The Rock declined, claiming that match was not going to happen but that he would find his own opponent to face in the main event. In this hilarious backstage promo segment his hand-picked opponent would be revealed…but not before The Rock had taken an opportunity to share a song with the Cleveland audience.

Later in the show Eric Bischoff walked to the ring, mic in hand, to address his situation with The Texas Rattlesnake and made reference to his legitimate firing of Austin from WCW. Bischoff claimed that he deserved credit and that without him Austin would never made it to the WWE. Naturally Stone Cold would respond and as the two butted heads in the ring, The Rock couldn’t help but get involved.

With The Rock biding his time in his feud with Steve Austin, as he waited until Wrestlemania, it was time for the main event. The Rock and his hand selected opponent The Hurricane put on a decent match. After weasling out of his original, scheduled match with Booker T and backing down from a potential confrontation with his Wrestlemania opponent, Stone Cold Steve Austin would ensure that as Raw went off air that night he made his mark to further bait The Peoples Champion.

Wrestlemania XX

The Rock & Mankind vs. Batista, Randy Orton & Ric Flair

On March 14th 2004 at Wrestlemania XX “The Rock ‘n Sock Connection” took on “Evolution” in a three-on-two handicap match. The newly reformed former Tag Team Champions faced the “past, present and future” of professional wrestling, Dave Batista, the Intercontental Champion Randy Orton and the sixteen-time world champion Ric Flair.

The team of The Rock and Mick Foley were originally an unlikely combination. Mankind, desperate for The Rocks approval and respect would go out of his way in his attempts to impress ‘The Great One’ and usually his efforts would be met with little reaction. The comedic value of the team was never in doubt and this strange dynamic would lead to an unforgettable moment in the Attitude era and the history of Monday Night Raw when, in 1998, Mankind presenting The Rock with his “This is Your Life” would mark the highest rated segment in the history of the WWEs flagship programme.

Six years later and the pair were best of friends and on March 8th 2004, just six days days before Wrestlemania and after weeks of Foley falling prey to the assaults of the powerful trio of Evolution, The Rock would return to Raw with only one thing on his mind – cheering up his friend and tag team partner. On this night The Rock would present “Mick Foley – This is Your Life!” However before The Brahma Bull could get to the ring we were treated to a very funny encounter with one of his “fiercest rivals”!

Later in the evening the time had come for The Rock to “finally…” come back to Bridgeport, Conneticut and return the favour of his former Tag Team Championship partner. Would it live up to one of the most watched segments in Raws history? Would Evolution plan to ruin The Connections party less than a week before their match at Wrestlemania? Well, in my opinion, it certainly didn’t disappoint!

(skip to 5:45)

Thats all for today folks. However trust me – this does not quite cover all the exciting moments from The Rock in this particular week in wrestling history. Check back over the next day or two where I aim to cover what is arguably the most relevant road to Wrestlemania the Great One has ever had with Cena just around the corner on April 1st!

Making the News Today in WWE

The Rock & John Cena’s Backstage Relationship and Notes on DDPs Yoga, Lillian Garcia , Steve Austin, MGK talks Wrestlemania and Ted DiBiase suffers another injury

Regarding the relationship between Dwayne Johnson and John Cena behind the scenes, while the two are cordial with each another, they are not the best of friends. There is genuine tension between both stars, which was said to have intensified in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series.

One former WWE insider who has worked with both Johnson and Cena said of their relationship: “They aren’t buddy-buddy, that’s for sure. I’ve heard they’ve disagreed about a lot of things. They aren’t big fans of one another personally, but they are willing to carry on with business.”

SmackDown ring announcer Lilian Garcia announced on Twitter that she will be appearing at Planet Hollywood Times Square (1540 Broadway — 45th Street) on Wednesday at noon for a Q&A session with fans.

You can also add new WWE United States Champion Santino Marella to the growing list of wrestlers who are using Diamond Dallas Page’s DDP Yoga. Others who have been using it include Kane, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and others.

Rapper Machine Gun Kelly, who’s song Invincible is being used for WrestleMania 28, has an interview in the new issue of WWE Magazine. Here’s what he had to say about Cena being a perfect representative for the song:

“Like me, I consider John Cena to be an underdog; The Rock is like this flashy Hollywood guy. You can’t give him a song like “Invincible” because no one would believe it. John Cena is all about being loyal to the fans, and so am I. I just dig him as a person. I saw the video they made, and the whole thing was intense. I loved all of it.”

WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin has wrapped filming on his new movie The Package and will begin the promotional tour for the movie Recoil today.

Hornswoggle, who was featured in an angle at last night’s WWE SmackDown tapings, wrote the following on Twitter, indicating that he had to make a trip to the hospital:

“Hospital…ER…’nuff said”

WWE Superstar Ted DiBiase, who has been dealing with a wrist injury, says he broke his ankle at last night’s WWE tapings in Uncasville, CT. DiBiase wrestled a Superstars match against Jinder Mahal. He wrote on Twitter:

“DiBiase Posse last night I unfortunately broke my ankle. Can’t catch a break lately. Ha, Well I guess I did n a way! Its ok tho, James 1:2-3”

Monday Night Raw – 05/03/2012 – The Review

Well folks it’s that time of the week for another Monday Night raw review so lets jump straight in.  The show kicks off this week with the Heartbreak Kid Himself Shawn Micheals to a huge pop always glad to see the showstopper back. Shawn says he is there because  like everyone else wants to know why the Game Triple H accepted the Undertakers challenge last week after even Shawn Micheals failed to get him to accept the dead mans challenge previously.  Enter now The Game Himself Triple H to another big pop. Shawn talks up HHH saying how strong he is because he managed to turn away from Shawn when he was trying to push his buttons and goad him.  Shawn also said that he wanted to see what the world wanted to see and that’s the footage from last week which made Triple H change his mind they then aired footage from when Undertaker said that Shawn was better than HHH. Hunter tells Shawn that he didn’t accept the match because he wanted to prove he was better than but it stuck in the game’s gut that people talked of how Shawn couldn’t get the job done because according to Shawn he was the greatest performer in the ring ever.  HHH said the reason why he took up the undertakers challenge because he wanted to finish it , to end the streak and to end an era and for Shawn too. Shawn as you would expect offers him a rather sarcastic thanks in return.  Shawn said what hurt him was what he told HHH last year that he just couldn’t get the job done he couldn’t end the streak Shawn knew that he couldn’t get the job done.  Shawn says that he knows who will win again this year as he will be in the cage himself as special guest referee he then leaves.

As per the case of the last few weeks of Raw we start with a promo but once again like last week it was another awesome one. Two of the legends of the business in the ring together  you can really tell that these 2 guys have great chemistry together they spark off each other . For me there is an extra excitement to the match now that Shawn is guest referee some people have been telling me that they think it will take away a bit of spectacle from triple h and Undertaker I disagree with that.  For me it adds to it having Shawn involved these 3 have such a huge history it can only add to the intrigue of the match. If they build it right which I am sure that they will do over the coming weeks it will add more intrigue to the match too . Think about it HHH could start to say he could get the job done that even Shawn couldnt and beat the streak. This could lead to Shawn resenting that thought and get in peoples minds would Shawn screw hunter? would Shawn screw taker? I’m not saying this is the way it could go but it would be an interesting path. Either way their match at Mania is building well and the story is being told at the right pace can’t wait for the next part.

Match 1: Jack Swagger Vs Santino

Oh dear did we see Jack Swaggers new hair cut not a good look in my book. He is facing Santino here because the story here is Teddy Long is Raw GM for the night and booking the matches and he gets Santino a title shot because he is with Teddy and is his assistant on Smackdown.  Santino has been a real good worker since he started in the WWE from what I see they are starting to move him away from the comedy gimmick a bit now and move him more to be known for his wrestling. After his grand showing in the chamber you could also argue that he is just about deserving of his title shot now. Jack Swagger was joined at ringside by David Otunga , John Laurinaitis, Vickie Guerreo and Dolph Ziggler.  They are soon joined by supporters of Santino in Kofi Kingston, Teddy Long and Aksana.  We have an advert break and come back from it and Santino has the upper hand Laurinaitis tires to break it up but Teddy Long gets in the way . With all this distraction going on the outside  sneaks in a shot on Santino but Santino managed to strike back with the Cobra. Swagger then went and put the ankle lock on Santino which he countered with a roll up to get the win.

Winner: Santino (New US Champion)

It’s hard to comment on this match as they didn’t get long I think it was about 5-6 minutes and that’s including the adverts. I think it shows a lack of thought or push for the US Title as it seems from this match that it’s more of an afterthought to essentially put over an angle between the 2  general managers. Post Match Laurinaitis and Otunga were ejected from the arena there was big pops for that. I’m actually quite pleased for Santino my only hope now is that they keep the belt on him for a bit and build on it.

Rock History Lesson: Class One

next up is the first of The Rocks 3 promos of the evening we get him by the Boston harbour standing by a table full of various John Cena merchandise . They had it all there T-Shirts, Wrist Bands etc. The Rock cuts a promo basically trashing all these items throwing them into the river . I laughed at the wonder woman wrist bands.They really do sell some crazy shit if  all of what was sold on that table is true . I mean the John Cena Garden Gnomes? Rock talked about how it was probably owned somewhere by some 40-year-old virgin good line that. The best line was when Rock talked about the Cena cologne saying it smelled of Fear , Possum Piss and Fruity Pebbles. I can’t say I’ve ever smelt Possum Piss before but I can’t imagine it smells great.  A typical promo from the Rock trashy but fun . It’s the Rock doing what he does really well the guy is great on the mic and a great talker no doubt about that.

Match 2: Eve Vs Alicia Fox

Kelly Kelly was at ringside for this one . It was a very short match with Eve winning with a roll up in under a minute. I do like Eve’s heel turn and she is coming along as performer in the ring. I know people will say and quite rightly that Natalya and Beth are better performers but that’s missing the point All these divas deserve their shot as much as anyone and given the right amount of time they can improve their work so they can be even better performers.

Winner: Eve

After the match Zack Ryder comes out walking with the assistance of a cane she says he is glad that he never hooked up with Eve because it was all about the broeskis before the hoeskis.

We then get another advert break and when we come back from that we get a backstage segment with Eve and Zack Ryder. Zack says that he does not want to talk to Eve . Eve then kisses him and Zack Kisses her back . Eve leaves smiling and Zack is left with a rather goofy expression on his face.

We then get a shot of earlier on in the day with John Cena sitting in the empty arena. Cena started to talk about how the New England Patriots led the 2007  super bowl by a big lead  then lost. He saying that nobody remembers who finishes second place. It was an effective segment to get across the point of how much winning at Wrestlemania wins to John Cena. Cena was saying he needs to win he needs that moment. I don’t think Cena does really as he still be over no matter what but I get the point that Cena is trying to make the importance of it all. As I have said I really enjoyed this bit with Cena it was great way of pitting the match over and the importance of it all a great way of building another wrestlemania moment.

Match 3:  Sheamus & CM Punk Vs Daniel Bryan & Chris Jericho

we got an advert very early on in the match and when we get back to the match it was rather a strange one with all these 4 guys in the ring I was expecting something great but in the end it was just good it just didn’t seem to hit the mark no particular reason but it looked as though the timing was off in some places. Check when Sheamus shoves Jericho off when he goe’s for a bulldog Jericho goe’s feet first into the turnbuckle winced at that it looked painful to me. The team of Jericho and Bryan got the win when Jericho had Punk in the Walls of Jericho and Punk countered with a cradle which Jericho then revered to pick up the pin and win for his team.

Winners:  Chirs Jericho & Daniel Bryan

As I said it wasn’t a bad match but with all these 4 guys in the ring I had high expectations. It was still a fairly good match though . Punk was great again as ever and what I really like is that he sold his injury from his attack last week . Thats what they should do more often it helps get fans behind the babyfaces more if they sell the attack more than the inevitable comeback looks and works better.

Rock History Lesson: Class Two

The Rock this time is by the statue of Paul Revere . He posed a question what of John Cena led the american revolution? Rock says he would have got shot on sight just for what he is wearing.  He said if the Rock was there the woman would have been lining the streets waiting to give him some of their Boston Cream Pie. The Rock then treated us to a little song which ended with the line “rock stuck a feather up his ass and call him a Jabroni”. That was real funny the crowd in the arena loved it too.  The Rock again promised Cena he would be at the Arena again later.

Match 4: The Miz vs The Big Show

before the match even started we were treated to Cody Rhodes showing us another clip of another big show wrestlemania moment.  This one was from wrestlemania 18 where big show as at a wwe restaurant. Anyways back to the match if you can call that very short . The Miz was allowed to get a brief bit of offence in before Big SHow hit Miz with a spear then with the knockout punch.

Winner: The Big Show

The match was far too short to say anything about it really. I am looking forward to Rhodes vs Show at Wrestlemania though.

Rock History Lesson: The Final Class

The final Rock history lesson took place outside the statehouse in Massachusetts , The rock was saying that he’s entertained people all over the world but there is only  1 place in the world that he fights and thats inside a wwe ring.  This promo from the rock was a bit more serious and less jokey than his 2 earlier promos in the evening he stated that you can take it to the bank The Rock WILL beat John Cena at wrestlemania.

Match 5: Kane Vs R-Truth

Short match was more interesting at the start with a crazy act from R-Truth whilst talking into the camera. Kane won this very short match clean with a Chokeslam.

Winner: Kane

like a lot of the matches tonight apart from the tag it’s hard to comment on because it’s so short. Post Match Randy Orton comes out to deliver an RKO to Kane looks like we got another Wrestlemina match there folks.

And now we are at the top of the show and out comes John Cena to a being honest a fairly decent pop. He said the arena was packed it was electrified because the Rock is back.  He questioned why the Rock is always making fun of his look or talking about his well whatever he calls his penis nowadays. cena said we saw something unusual last week we saw the Rock shook up not in control.  He poked fun at himself by saying that unreal as it may seem the rock got shook up by a wonder woman transvestite. He was mocking himself quite a bit here even said that he looks ridiculous in the fact that he comes out to talk to the fans in his knee pads. Another god promo from Cena he talked and wondered which Rock would show up at Wrestlemania would it be the Rock of the 20 minute rambling promos or would it be the greatest superstar in WWE history?  He needed to beat the very best which is the Rock the Rock then gets called out. The rock storms straight out no posing this time he’s a man with a purpose . He told the crowd and the world what he saw in Cena and that was fear because he is taking everything away from Cena. He addressed Cena by saying he’s living in fear because when the Rock beats him at wrestlemania he will take away everything that John Cena has built up over the last 10 years.  The Rock was on a roll here he spoke of how Cena saying the rock was shaken by last week “you think you shook my confidence” the Rock said “look at me”.  The Rock wasn’t being the funny man and said to Cena when you strip everything away I’m the guy who will rip your throat out. and  Cena will go down in History as the Rocks Bitch then The Rock Left.

Cena was smiling during the rocks words and certainly wasn’t showing any fear. He mocked the Rock again for the words on his arm from last week by writing down the rocks height and weight. The Rock said e would lose everything if he lost to the Rock but he sure as hell wasn’t scared of him. And at Wrestlemania he would whip the Rocks ass.

The argument I have seen all over Twitter again is that Cena owned the Rock like last week . Although I agree John Cena slightly got the better of it I don’t think he “owned” him. The Rock was better than last week it seemed less formulaic and he was much more intense.  The key to it all for me is the build for Cena they are trying to book him or make him look like he can hang with the Rock and are booking him strong. They are doing a great Job Cena has impressed a lot of his doubters the hope for wwe is that Cena takes this momentum from this match into wrestlemania and beyond. The Rock is doing a great job of building this feud too and making Cena look strong before mania.

Final Thoguhts

I liked a lot of the show it was very promo heavy but when you get guys like HHH, Shawn, Cena and Rock that’s fine by me. The Build up to the Undertaker/HHH and Rock/Cena was done well and again has helped to build for Mania. The matches bar the tag match were a touch short for me with guys like R-Truth and The Miz basically jobbing.

 I wish they would do something more with the Divas and give the a bigger part of the show or a longer match to show of their talents more I mean there was no Divas champion on tv this week but we got a lot of face time for Eve who is doing well in the heel role.

Next week I would like more build up of the Punk/Jericho match as that kinda got sidelined this week.

anyway folks thanks for reading leave your thoughts and comments as always

Follow me on Twitter at @therealwrestle

FCW TV Report 04 March 2012

Florida Championship Wrestling

4 March 2012

by Neil

Follow me on Twitter: @shootwrestling

Recap: Leo Kruger vs. Mike Dalton from a recent edition of FCW TV. Leo Kruger stated he was so dominant a champion that he was issuing a challenge to the locker room, for anyone to fight him. He stated that should they beat him they would earn an opportunity to wrestle him for the FCW Heavyweight Championship. Mike Dalton, a young challenger from Lance Storms wrestling academy, accepted the challenge and we were shown highlights from their encounter. As the champion left the ring, seemingly to bail on the contest, former WWE star Road Dogg would leave his place on the commentary desk and throw Kruger back into the ring, leading to Dalton getting a shock victory and an opportunity to wrestle him once more and this time with the title on the line.

The commentary team of Chris Russo, Byron Saxton and William Regal stand ringside at the very top of the show and tell us that tonight is a night of championships. We are reminded of two title matches on the show as the Queen of FCW puts her FCW Divas Championship on the line against two Divas in a triple threat match and FCW Heavyweight Champion Leo Kruger defends against Mike Dalton. The very first match of the night will also be for a championship.

FCW Tag Team Championships

Antonio Cesaro & Alexander Rusev vs. Husky Harris & Bo Rotundo (c)

Antonio Cesaro, known to many wrestling fans as Claudio Castagnoli, teamed with Alexander Rusev for the very first time and took on the brothers Huskly Harris (real name Windham Rotunda) and Bo Rotundo (real name Taylor Rotunda), the reigning FCW Tag Team Champions. Rusev & Harris would start the match in a display of power as they fought for position, attempting to push or knock one another down unsuccessfully. Their partners would both be tagged in and Bo would get the better of the Swiss-born Antonio Cesaro and get a one count off a series of clothlines. Hanging on as he was then thrown into the ropes, Rotundo landed a back elbow to an advancing Cesaro but would fall victim to a cheap shot from Rusev as the referees back was turned. The distraction would allow Cesaro to gain the upper hand off a big dropkick and tag in the powerhouse.

Weaking Rotundo further with elbows in the corner and a nasty headbutt the challengers would take firm control of the contest. Keeping Bo grounded, the inexperienced team would make frequent tags and keep Bo from his corner, not allowing him to tag his brother into the match. His opportunity finally came as Cesaro missed an elbow drop and Rotundo scrambled to his corner. Initially thwarted by the Swiss challenger, as he took a handful of hair and desperately tried to stop him, he was able to fight the bigger man off and both men tagged in their partners.

The pace of the match quickened as Husky Harris hit a succession of knock-downs to his opponent followed by a senton splash. Cesaro entered the ring and broke up the count. With the referree distracted in his attempt to remove Cesaro from the ring, Husky Harris pushed Alexander Rusev towards Bo Rotundo, lying in wait to hit a big spear. Harris, the legal man, picked up the win by pinfall and the brothers, sons of former WWF/E star “I.R.S” Mike Rotunda retained the titles.

We were then taken ringside where Dean Ambrose, mic in hand, explained that he didn’t feel like talking but “they” wanted him to come out and say something. The confident Ambrose said that in wrestling, to say you’re the best in the world is a gimmick but he is no gimmick. Ambrose explained that he believes himself to be improving every day and that he is as good as everyone else pretends to be. He goes on to say that despite this he hates being ignored, especially when he screams and begs for a match that will never happen. Never naming his desired opponent, he does however look to the commentary desk and state that a certain “someone” can “just sit there every week” while knowing that he could not beat him again.Obviously referring to William Regal, the Englishman stares back at Ambrose silently as he says he continues to get better every week and that he continues to get better than Regal ever was. When asked for comment by play-by-play commentator Chris Russo, Regal remained silent.

Seth Rollins vs. Brad Maddox (w/ Summer Rae)

In recent weeks we have seen the glamorous blond scout FCW for talent and this week we finally learned the identity of the woman leading Brad Maddox to the ring. Named as Summer Rae, she took her place at ringside as Maddox took on one of the most popular wrestlers in the company in arguably the match of the night. Seth Rollins cut a brief promo before the match began stating that he never wished to be anyone else, be pigeon holed or fit any mould and thanked the fans for their support as he carves his own path in FCW. Rollins stated that whatever he does and wherver he goes, the FCW fans would always have a place in his heart.

As the bell rang Maddox made an offensive start and beat down his opponent in the corner before snapping him over and applying a stranglehold. Rollins was able to fight out with a back suplex but Maddox avoided a dropkick and briefly turned his attention to the crowd. As he showboated, Rollins hit a beautiful dropkick at the second attempt out of a forward roll to his feet before missing a splash to the corner and was thrown out of the ring to the floor. Regrouping, Brad Maddox rolled him back into the ring and scored a two count before again applying a stranglehold, switching to a front facelock and then an armbar. Maddox hit a russian leg sweep and floated over beautifully into a cover for a two count before going back to the stranglehold a third time. Rollins, spurred on by the crowd, fought to his feet and the two men exhanged punches.

Attempting yet again to build momentum, Rollins whipped Maddox to the ropes but his opponent caught him with a kick. Straight back on the offensive however, Rollins hit a right hand before going to the ropes. Maybe for looking for the facestomp, Maddox again asserted his dominance as he lunged toward the advancing Rollins, tripping him and lay in wait, hitting a running jawbreaker. Rollins was able to again kick out at two. Frustrated, Maddox threw Rollins to the floor and as he pulled himself back up onto the apron advanced. Rollins however was waiting with a big kick before climbing the turnbuckle and landing a cross-body off the top. As Summer Rae shouted encouragement to her new client, Rollins clothleslined him out over the top and connected with a suicide dive to the outside.

Back in the ring Rollins went for another splash in the corner and this time connected with it. Hitting a back-kick to the gut to Maddox he again looked for the facestomp as he went to the ropes – only for Summer Rae to grab the heel of Rollins. The match would take a surprise turn as a mystery woman we have seen in recent weeks taking an interest in Seth Rollins and observing his matches, appeared at ringside and shoved Summer to the floor. Turning his attention back to Maddox, Rollins hit the facestomp and picked up the three count in a well worked, well paced encounter.

Kenneth Cameron v Jiro

The English Kenneth Cameron, a part of the FCWs ‘Ascension’ stable who debuted on FCW TV recently took on the Japanese Jiro in a short match-up. Cameron landed a few punches, knees and kicks in an aggressive start before whipping his man to the turnbuckle. Reversing out, Jiro chopped Cameron in the corner and landed a big kick to the face. Jiros attempted to whip Cameron to the ropes, was reversed, but then was able to reverse again and connect with an enzuigiri.

In what proved to be a game-changer, Cameron again reversed Jiro and whipped him hard to the turnuckle. The impact of which put Jiro to the mat. Cameron aggressively ground his forearm into the face of his grounded opponent. Hitting an elbow off the ropes, Cameron then hooked Jiro into a fisherman suplex position and dumped him on his head, picking up a three count.

As the lights in the arena went down and the strobe lighting came up, as is usually the case with the Ascensions entrances and exits in FCW, Russo alerted viewers to the fact that Byron Saxton had left the commentary position. Now in the ring, the celebration was cut short as Saxton knocked him out with the roll of quarters before taking his place back at the commentary desk. William Regal would later mock Saxtons use of the roll of quarters, stating that when he did it he used good quality brass knuckles.

Triple Threat Match for the FCW Divas Championship

Sofia Cortez vs. Audrey Marie vs. Raquel Diaz (c)

Audrey Marie took an early advantage in this Divas contest with a series of dropkicks and a a cover. The champion kicked out. Cortez then whipped Marrie towards Diaz, who took her down. The rookie, contestant on the last season of WWEs Tough Enough, and the daughter of Eddie and Vicky Guerrero then began to team up and as one held Marie, the other hit the former champion with chops. The solid looking team were able to fend off any potential comeback at this stage and beat down Marie as she attempted to fight out of the predicament with slaps to both Divas. It wasn’t until Marie fought out with a series of elbows and hit a double dropkick, just to be grounded once more that cracks in the alliance began to appear. Taking the former champion down with a double drop toe hold that sent their opponent head and neck first into the ropes, Cortex and Diaz began to start fighting over who would claim the pinfall. As the two women argued, the beaten down Marie was nearly able to sneak a victory off a roll-up before banging the heads of the aggressors together. As Diaz was thrown out onto the apron, Cortex attempted a dropkick on Marie just to miss and inadvertedly knock the champion off the apron to the floor.

Cortez, known by her real name Ivelisse Vélez in the WWE reality show Tough Enough, ascended the turnbuckle and hit a cross body to Marie off the top rope and scored a near fall of her own. Battling back to her feet however, Marie hit a devestating sidewalk slam on the rookie but the champion, rolling back into the ring, was able to break up the cover in time. Taking back control of the contest, Diaz rolled up Marie off a waistlock and, using her leg strength, Marie was able to push Diaz off at two. However the former Divas Champion was only able to look on as she pushed the current champion straight into a cover on the fallen Cortez and the champion retained after an eventful, solid Divas match up. Something certainly missing from both Raw and Smackdown shows that aired this week, I might add.

We were then taken backstage into FCW general manager Maxines office where she is explaining to her newly appointed assistant Abraham Washington that the ratings have been skyrocketing recently. At this moment the former WCW Tag Team Champion Norman Smiley, now an on-screen figure of authority in FCW, informed Maxine that the President of FCW Steve Keirn had requested to speak to her immediately. After first explaining to Norman that she was busy Maxine obliged and left with Norman. Now with the office to himself Abraham Washington looked around for a moment before settling himself into the General managers chair.

Main Event for the FCW Heavyweight Championship

Mike Dalton vs. Leo Kruger (c)

Trained by fomer WWE, WCW and ECW star Lance Storm, Mike Dalton had earned his opportunity to face Kruger for the champion a few weeks previously by defeating the champion in a non-title match, albeit with an assist from The Road Dogg. The rookie locked up with the larger champion in the early goings as the two fought for position, the challenger being forced back into the corner as Kruger then refused the clean break and raked the eyes. Dalton reponded with a double leg take down and the two continued to roll through and reverse one another as the match went to an aggressive ground and pound.As Kruger rolled out of the ring to break, Dalton hit him with a baseball slide before Kruger turned the tables and connected with an emphatic clothesline on the outside and threw his challenger to the steel ring steps as the show went to its final commercial break.

As the show continued Kruger suplexed Dalton back into the ring from the apron and, as he fought back to his feet, removed the padding from the turnbuckle. Both men then unsuccessfully attempted to use the exposed steel before Kruger, hooking the arm, rested his boot up underneath the chin of the underdog and fell backwards, dragging Dalton with him by the arm and driving the boot into the jaw. Only earning a two count, Kruger then applied a full nelson to a seated Dalton and grounded him with a front facelock. Battling to his feet Dalton pushed the champion back to the corner, driving his elbow to the midsection. Kruger reversed a whip to the opposite corner but as he advanced Dalton was able to get his boots up and attempt to take control. However, as Dalton ran toward the champion he was grounded again. This time with a huge spinebuster. The champion clearly frustrated by his resilient challenger as he only picked up a count of two. Refusing to stay down Dalton hit a dropkick and both men took a referees count to return to their feet.

Picking uop the pace Dalton hit a series of running clothlines before missing a spinning heel kick. The champion attempted again to slow the match down with a sleeper hold. The challenger initially snapped Kruger over to break but after a brutal fishermans suplex and a two count, Kruger went back to the hold again. The resourceful Dalton lunged towards the turnbuckle, Krugers throat colliding with the steel he had exposed earlier in the match and was able to kick out at two. Fearing the match may be slipping from him, kruger rolled from the ring and, grabbing his title, again appeared to be looking to get out of a dodge, Just like the last time these two met, he was then surprised by an interfering Road Dogg who threw the champion back into the ring where Dalton was able to capatilise. With Kruger clutching the championship to his chest, Dalton him up and pinned his shoulders for three.

Dalton celebrated in the ring with the cheering FCW Universe and had his hand raised by the Road Dogg. The five month reign of Leo Kruger as FCW Champion has come to end, pinned by the ultimate underdog for the second time. Leo Kruger fell to the floor at the entrance way, head in hands as the title was prised from the grasp of the dejected former champion and handed to the victor and the show came to an end.

A relatively short main event and I know I would have loved to have seen Dalton go over cleanly but this had a real sense of David vs. Goliath and the assist from the Road Dogg, I feel, was justified. Mike Dalton, it seems, could have a very bright future ahead of himself in the WWE.

Thanks to @thefcwuniverse for the wonderful photos from the show!

End of Days – Injury gives the Barrett Barrage Wrestlemania dream the elbow

A dislocated elbow threatens to keep this year’s Wrestlemania a Barrett Barrage-free zone but what do we know about the former Intercontinental Champion?

Well, despite being billed from Manchester, Barrett hails from Penwortham, a suburb of Preston, Lancashire. Born, Stuart Bennett on 10th May 1980, the English Superstar moved away from his home town at an early age but never forgot his roots or indeed his local football team. Preston North End has a special place reserved in Barrett’s heart just as much as the WWE. This was displayed when Barrett visited his favourite team’s headquarters early last year. At the time Preston were going through a difficult period and were staring down the barrel of relegation to the league below. Barrett was asked what he would like more, Preston to keep their heads above water or for a Heavyweight Championship win. Barrett, surprisingly, said he’d rather see his team triumphant over his own success.

Something else that might not be well-known about Barrett is his degree from the University of Liverpool, the Beatles’ hometown, where he graduated with a BSc in Marine Biology, a far cry from his bare-knuckle fighting pedigree. Working in a laboratory and in the sales-driven world of recruitment, Barrett began training to become a professional wrestler. His skills and talent was honed by WWE legend Al Snow and was signed to the Sports Entertainment giant’s development company Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) as Stu Sanders. Whilst with OVW, Barrett, or Sanders as he was known, won the Southern Tag Team Championships with Paul Burchill, and subsequently held onto the belts for two months. Barrett was then ushered into Florida Championship Wrestling after the WWE ended its association with OVW in early 2008. After another Tag Team title reign, this time with fellow Brit Drew McIntyre in Florida Championship Wrestling, Barrett made his WWE debut.

With Y2J Chris Jericho as his kayfabe mentor, Barrett’s WWE bow came on NXT where he faced and defeated the current Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan. Since then the Bare-knuckle brawler has seen a meteoric rise to prominence sparking feuds with the elite of the locker room not to mention his Intercontinental Title win. On 22nd March 2011, Barrett successfully displaced Kofi Kingston to become Intercontinental Champion. His title reign lasted three months until the Jackal was defeated by Ezekiel Jackson at Capitol Punishment. Since then Barrett has set his sights higher on the World Heavyweight Championship as well as the WWE Championship which has also coincided with his current on-screen feud with The Viper Randy Orton. It was in his pursuit of the WWE title where Barrett suffered his dislocated elbow. The night after Elimination Chamber, where Barrett was part of the Elimination Chamber match but was eliminated by Santino Marella, the Pinnacle took part in 10-man battle royal to determine who would go to Wrestlemania to face CM Punk at Wrestlemania for the WWE Championship. As he was eliminated with R-Truth, the Big Show tossed Dolph Ziggler on top of them whilst they were stood outside the ring. As the three men collided, Barrett landed awkwardly and subsequently dislocated his elbow, this putting his participation at Wrestlemania in serious jeopardy.

Speaking via his Twitter account after the incident, Barrett revealed how he was scheduled to have a showdown with WWE legend Papa Shango. He said: “The biggest downer is that I was scheduled to face Papa Shango this year at ‘Mania. That’s up in the air now.” His Tweet was then followed up with a hashtag of the word ‘hexed’. True to his heel persona, Barrett put to bed any want for sympathy by insisting he would still be man enough to fight even with just one arm: “Don’t shed any crocodile tears for me… I could still give every single one of you a good slapping even with only one arm.” Barrett’s recovery time is said to be around 6-8 weeks.

Follow me on Twitter: NeatPaul

 

Friday night Smackdown 02/03/2012 – The Review

After last week’s live Smackdown, normal service resumed with a Friday edition of the Teddy Long-run show. The night began with the Great White, Sheamus entering the ring to address his opponent at Wrestlemania, Daniel Bryan. Sheamus delivered a message to his ‘Mania opponent by informing the WWE Universe that he is going to knock Sports Entertainment’s only vegan down a peg or two by teaching him some humility. The address was short-lived, however, as Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler interrupted who decided to show their support to John Laurinaitis in the battle to become General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown.

Dolph Ziggler Vs Sheamus

Dismayed by their support for his rival, Teddy Long set up a match for Ziggler to take on Sheamus. Ziggler was close to scoring a victory but the man who hopes to bring Daniel Bryan’s title run to an abrupt end sealed the fall with his trademarked White Noise.

Winner: Sheamus by pinfall

With both General Managers switching their respective roles next week, the ‘playa’ Teddy Long announced that his first act as Smackdown General Manager would be to set up a match between David Otunga, Laurinaitis’ right hand man, and The Great Khali. Otunga has been on a winning streak of late but he is going to be alert if he is to overcome Khali. It’ll take more than a few trips to his beloved Starbucks that’s for certain!

Santino Marella Vs Heath Slater

The next match saw the Milan Miracle Santino Marella take on Heath Slater. The one-man rock band had the early advantage by putting the boot to Santino in an aggressive start. Slater looked like he was going to capitalise on his favourable position by going to the top rope. However, the crafty Italian was quick to his feat and knocked Slater off by throwing himself into the ropes. Santino then reached into his ring attire (reminiscent of Mankind with Mr. Socko) and pulled out another Cobra puppet, (he had thrown the one he wore down to the ring into the crowd) and delivered a devastating Cobra. Slater dropped to the floor before Santino covered him for the three count, much to the delight of the Seattle crowd. At the end of the match Michael Cole referred the Cobra as another “Spinarooni”, poking fun at his co-commentator Booker T’s signature move. The likeness was greeted with a “watch yourself, Cole!”

Winner: Santino Marella by pinfall

Up next was a Divas match between Eva Torres and Natalya, the latter appears to be having some issues with her bowels of late. Before the match, backstage, Natalya thought she’d give Torres the what for regarding the Zack Ryder situation. She said: “What you’re doing to Zack is inexcusable; Zack is a really good person, a genuine person.” Torres, without any remorse or compassion responded coldly by saying: “At least I’m honest enough to admit I used Zack.” Natalya then left Torres with a parting gift, an air biscuit! According to Booker T it’s because of all the whey protein Natalya takes.

Eva Torres Vs Natalya

Their match followed immediately with Natalya showing her Hart pedigree with some textbook grappling. Natalya offered out a handshake to Torres, only for the “Hoeski” to reject emphatically with a slap to the face. The match then moved up a gear with Natalya displaying her take on the Lou Thesz press, a cat fight then ensued. However, Eva Torres defeated Natalya after reversing a roll-up to score an unlikely victory.

Winner: Eva Torres by pinfall

From one third generation superstar in Natalya to another, Cody Rhodes, addressed the audience with more jibes towards the Big Show’s someone unflattering record at Wrestlemania. The Big Show then interrupted but he claimed it was only so that they could watch the next video segment of Big Show’s failings together. However, Rhodes fled like a scaled dog into the crowd. The Big Show made suggestions that if Rhodes wasn’t going to come back he was going to go after him. Teddy Long entered stopping Show in his tracks but gave him some good news. Long confirmed what we suspected; a match between the Big Show and Cody Rhodes that will take place at Wrestlemania with Rhodes’ Intercontinental Title on the line.

Big Show Vs Mark Henry

Having two titans like Big Show and Mark Henry go toe-to-toe is a brave decision by those in charge as the dynamics between to heavyweights can sometimes be lacking. Do we all need reminding of Mark Henry’s match against Viscera at Now Way Out 2000? For those that can’t remember then it’s probably for the best. Henry dominated Big Show, taking the fight outside the ring. It has to be said that whatever it is that McMahon sees in Mark Henry I simply cannot. The man, in my opinion, is a spent force. What more, his apparent dominance over a man like the Big Show is a little farfetched. Although Big Show isn’t the lightest on his feet, he does have more agility than Henry. I have seen ocean liners turn quicker than the supposedly world’s strongest man. When was that then? 1991? Really the Big Show should be the world strongest man because he was carrying Henry all through the match. Big Show defeated Mark Henry with a powerful right hand, despite taking a World’s Strongest Slam. Big Shows right hook proved to be enough as Henry was out for the count, literally, as Big Show got the win giving him so momentum heading into Wrestlemania.

Winner: Big Show by pinfall

Up next was Drew McIntyre’s visit to last chance saloon. The Scot was told by Teddy Long that if he lost his next match he would be out on his ear.

We then heard from Randy Orton who was back after a concussion caused by the current Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan. The Viper revealed how he was “back to normal” by which he meant he was “angry and cold-blooded” and declared his revenge on Bryan. The two were due to go one-on-one in the night’s main event.

Drew McIntyre Vs Justin Gabriel

The Drew McIntyre vs Justin Gabriel match followed with McIntyre showing good aggression and early domination. The Ayrshire-native went for the cover twice only to get a two count on both occasions. Justin Gabriel then hit McIntyre with a hurricane DDT before doing what he does best and showing his aerial prowess. An emphatic 450 splash followed and so did the three count for Justin Gabriel to defeat Drew McIntyre. With no real fanfare or drama heading into this apparent career ending match, it makes one wonder what is in store for the 26-year-old Scot.

Winner: Justin Gabriel by pinfall

Daniel Bryan’s bearded face appeared on the titantron in response to Randy Orton’s return. The current Heavyweight Champion revealed how he didn’t have butterflies heading into his match with the Viper and began patronising those that would listen how he is better off being a vegan and that he is still a role model. He also said that he is going to defy expectations and walk out of Wrestlemania the Heavyweight Champion. Let’s hope not.

Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan

The match kicked off with chants of Daniel Bryan sucks from the watching fans in Seattle before Orton launched a full scale attack on Bryan. The matched spilled to outside the ring with Orton using the ring steps to his advantage but the match re-found its way back into the squared-circle soon after. Bryan showed some resistance by reversing Orton’s attempts in superplexing him off the top rope before hitting the Viper with a powerful dropkick to the head. Then it was Orton’s turn for a reverse with a dropkick of his own hitting Bryan as he came off the top rope. Orton then gathered some momentum before attempting to hit the Vegan with two RKOs. Bryan then fled the ring, seemingly having enough but Orton followed.  Instead of using the ropes to elevate his DDT, Orton used the ring itself with Bryan’s head destined to bounce off the hard floor. That would have been the case if the Big Red Machine Kane hadn’t have interrupted. Bryan ran back into the ring to avoid being counted out whilst Orton set his sights on Kane. The referee gestured for the time keeper to ring the bell, Orton had been counted out but was focusing his attention on Kane’s intrusion. A chokeslame to Orton was followed by a “Welcome back, Randy. Welcome Back”.

Winner: Daniel Bryan by countout

With Barrett sidelined it seems that a new feud has been cooked up heading into Wrestlemania to keep both Kane and Orton relevant. There surely can’t be much room left on the bill for any more matches and if they are going to shoe-horn any more matches in then one would like to think they should build momentum up a lot sooner than 4 weeks away from ‘Mania.

Just before the curtain dropped on this week’s Smackdown we saw Otunga and Laurinaitis watching Kane’s exit from the safety of his office. Laurinaitis made suggestions about a match between Kane and Aksana next week on Smackdown. Clearly the feud between Laurinaitis and Long isn’t even reaching a simmer let alone boiling point.

All things considered it was a solid and well-thought out Smackdown with fans favourite Santino getting more in-ring time not to mention Big Show’s Intercontinental Title shot.

 

TNA Impact Wrestling 3/01/2012

The show opened with Kurt Angle… the former Olympic Gold Medalist… coming out to the Impact Zone ring to state his reasons for attacking Jeff Hardy & costing him a title shot. He even came out with cue cards. Kurt went as far as dissing Jeff Hardy’s hair & style of dress as some of his reasons for “hating” Jeff but none compared to his #1 reason which was the fact that Kurt’s son was a fan of the “Charismatic Enigma” JEFF HARDY. After all of Kurt’s reasons he called for Jeff Hardy to get down to the ring & as we all know Jeff comes down to the ring. Kurt told Jeff there would be only one way to end this and that would be Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy at Lockdown one on one. Jeff gave his reply with his fists, taking Kurt down to the mat & we all saw Kurt slide out of the ring to lick his wounds. While Kurt was backing up the entrance ramp Jeff took a microphone & told the fans that Kurt was ON! 

The first official match of the night was Kazarian & Christopher Daniels vs. AJ Styles in a Gauntlet Match! To say the least it was interesting from the start. With all the guessing & questioning of if Kazarian is under Daniels thumb or if it is in fact vice versa. It was a back & forth match.. AJ getting the upper hand momentarily then Kazarian getting Daniels disqualified. Needless to say Kazarian got the win but him & Daniels were left arguing as the both walked up the entrance ramp to the back. What is going on between Kazarian & Daniels?!? No one knows but the two of them & we are left to watch it play out before our eyes. 

The cameras flash to the back & Madison Rayne apologizing to Gail Kim for her being “over the top” the week before. Gail Kim was all buddy buddy with her so called best friend & even promised a girl’s spa day for the next day but that she had gotten Madison Rayne a match for the night against ODB! Madison pleaded for the match not to happen but Gail Kim blew kisses & walked out to leave Madison in the room to her own let down. 

Gail Kim escorted her “bestie” Madison out to the ring then out walks ODB with Eric Young. This match went back & forth with each lady getting the upper hand but ODB by far ruled the ring in this Diva’s match. Gail tried to help Madison in the match but had trouble climbing up onto the ring apron so that was not even a factor. ODB delivers the final move that allowed her to pin Madison Rayne… 1..2..3. ODB celebrated in the ring with a bear hug & kiss to Eric Young! 

Velvet Sky was in the back area complaining about how she has paid her dues & that Madison Rayne screwed her over for her chance at being #1 contender in the big Knockout’s Battle Royal. Angelina Love & Sarina walked out, calling out Velvet for her whining then they proceeded to attack her. Mickie James came running up to help Velvet out & this lead to a Knockout’s tag team match for later in the show. 

World Champion Bobby Roode, X Division Champion Austin Aries & Bully Ray walked out to the ring to call Sting (who had the week before said the words “I’m Done” to state he was done playing it nice) nothing but a figurehead & Aries said Sting was jealous of his talent. Then the three all said “I AM DONE!” before they all sat down in the ring in a defiant move. The lights went off then when they came back up Aries, Roode & Bully Ray jumped in surprise when Sting appeared suddenly in the ring behind them. Sting clarified what they were all meaning by them saying those words. The three superstars all said they were DONE! Sting laughed before telling them each in turn starting with Roode that if they were done that their titles would be stripped & no paychecks for any of them. They all looked back & forth between each other then said they didn’t mean it. Sting then named the main event for the night would be Bobby Roode, Austin Aries & Bully Ray vs. The Tag Team Champions Magnus and Samoa Joe with James Storm in their corner. 

We got to see a spot for Jesse Sorensen who was injured in a match with Zema Ion. Lets just say it was emotional & all prayers go to him and his family for him to heal quickly.

Zema Ion showed his unfeeling ways by slamming the spot for Jesse & that he’d do it again if given the chance because he is now the #1 contender for the X Division Championship. Zema came out for a match vs. Shannon Moore. Shannon got in a few good licks but the #1 contender Zema came out with the victory. 

Time for the Diva’s tag team match.. Angelina Love & Sarina vs. Velvet Sky & Mickie James. This match was filled with the wild & reckless action that has made the Knockout’s Division so hot of late. These ladies are full of fire & guts. These four went at it with wild abandon.. taking risks & wild moves that made it wonderful to watch. Mickie rolled out of the ring with Sarita as they traded punches & hair pulls to leave Velvet Sky alone in the ring with Angelina Love. Then Velvet Sky face planted Angelina into the mat & got the 1.. 2.. 3! 

Main Event of the night.. Booby Roode, Austin Aries & Bully Ray vs. James Storm, Magnus & Samoa Joe. This match was dominated by Storm, Magnus & Samoa Joe early on then Roode, Aries & Bully got Samoa Joe trapped in their corner & it appeared that the tide of the match was turned their way. But Storm, Samoa Joe & Magnus finally got the match rolling their way again & Storm was able to get the match winning pin fall. Before the cameras stopped rolling an angry Bully Ray dropped Magnus with a steel chair shot to the back while he was checking on his tag team partner Samoa Joe then Bully turned the chair onto James Storm. Storm was left knocked out on the mat with Bully Ray ranting over him that he would be taking the World Title from his so called friend Bobby Roode not James Storm.

What will happen next week?!?! We will all have to wait & see.