Inside Pulse » Jerry Lawler A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:40:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Jerry Lawler Spain’s WWE SmackDown Report and Results for February 12th 2015: SmackDown – The Comic! Sat, 14 Feb 2015 00:16:00 +0000 Hey guys. Hope you’re all doing well; I am doing great.

So, you may have noticed that this is a lot shorter than my regular articles. And that is because this week, I have decided to work with a more visual theme. Please click the link below to see what I mean.

As y’all can see, this week the Spain SmackDown Report will be told in a thrilling comic style, so you may all get a point-of-view example of exactly what I’m thinking when I watch SmackDown (because even I can’t write down everything I think).

I hope you enjoy reading the Report in this fashion. Rest assured that we shall be returning to the regular review format next week; I just wanted to have a bit of fun with this. Thanks to ChrysWatchesGOT for this idea, and have a great week everyone!

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Spain’s WWE SmackDown Report and Results for January 29th 2015: WWE, You Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do Sun, 01 Feb 2015 13:00:55 +0000 Well well well…looks like SmackDown’s the big show this week. And I’d laugh, but I have to review this instead of reading The World of Ice and Fire so, literally, fuck you, WWE. Well, I guess we get to watch Big Show vs. Roman Reigns come to an end. Unfortunately, we also have to watch a Casket Match. Which is just…


Oh, speaking of ‘meh’, it’s Triple H. Also, the version of this show that I am watching has some kind of awful interference, so it looks like Hunter is walking out of hell, which makes his entrance slightly more epic. Trips says ‘welcome to Monday Night Raw!’, which still makes him more aware and up-to-date than everyone who had a hand in last week’s Rumble. He crows about still broadcasting on Monday, even though that was just interviews and re-runs. Triple H then brags that the WWE Network reached one million subscribers this week, and is he doing that thing where the week starts on Sunday morning? Because I heard about that whole #Cancel thing.

Oh, looks like we’re addressing ‘the controversy’ now. Only Hunter then makes a load of ball jokes about the Superbowl, and I’m lost. But he hints that he will be taking action at Fast Lane on his problem, and that apparently means he’s going to confront Sting. Oh yay, more old guys doing stuff; it’ll be just like being at the coffee shop where I work (our clientele is old and wrinkly and we like it like that). I thought for a second there that Trips was actually defending the Royal Rumble match, which would be, like, Cannibal Holocaust levels of evil. But he says that there was controversy in that match, and I thought controversy created cash? Well, fair play to the WWE for pretending that they didn’t absolutely fuck the fuck up; did someone sedate Mr McMahon in order for this to happen?

We see an actual video recap of the Rumble, and the fact that they’re not using still photos with the sound effects shows how worthless that match was. It’s basically RAW. Hunter then says that, this Monday, he’s going to put an end to the controversy with…an announcement. Oh yay, more Triple H promos; it’ll be just like being at the coffee shop where I work (he shows up about thrice a week and shoots on our pastry chef). This announcement-related threat brings out Roman Reigns, and who knows: maybe they can actually save his character. Roman gets on the microphone and defends himself through the thunderous boos of the crowd. Man, he is so close to saying the words ‘deal with it’ right now. Triple H basically bails out of the ring and lets the Big Show make his entrance, so I guess we’re having ourselves a match.

Can Big Show Even Be Regarded As A Threat Now?

Damn it; I reloaded the video and now it no longer looks like SmackDown is being broadcast out of Tartarus; I was enjoying that. Reigns ducks a punch and evades for a moment, but then gets backed into a corner and punched. He avoids a charge from Show, and then hits some strikes of his own. Roman then tries to suplex the Giant, which seems like a really dumb thing to try; Big Show agrees, hitting a suplex of his own and hitting a bodyslam. Meanwhile, the commentators are not backing away from the fact that we all hated the end of the Rumble. Seriously, is WWE no longer doing revisionist history? Because I feel like they sneaked that policy by.

Reigns is down on the floor as Show stalks him, but when Roman regains his feet he hits a couple of punches before running into a straight shoulder block. Headbutt puts Roman down again, and the correct way to get us to support Reigns would be for him to have just decimated the Big Show in minutes. You know, so it looked like he had a chance in hell against Lesnar. As I type that, Roman is hurled across the ring: on to WrestleMania. And as I type that, Roman gets in some shots, and actually clotheslines Big Show out of the ring as we go to the break.

When we come back from the commercial, however, Reigns is getting worked over by the Big Show something fierce, after eating a spear off-screen. Show is targeting Roman’s leg for some reason, and then does that weird thing where he lifts the guy up his thigh, which he must have used for sex at least once. Also, someone’s apparently written to Twitter: ‘So excited for this casket match!!! #SmackDown’. @Cgbeachgirl14, are you a real person? And, if you are, is the WWE currently holding a gun to your head whilst you sit in front of a laptop? Because I can’t imagine any other possibilities, honestly. Reigns reaches the ropes and manages to headscissor Big Show out onto the outside. You’re really rubbing the Rumble in, aren’t you, WWE? Reigns hits his apron dropkick; the Big Show throws him back into the ring. Roman’s on one leg, but hits one, two, and three clotheslines, finally getting Big Show down on his third attempt. Samoan Drop takes Big Show off his feet the hard way, and when the giant ducks the outside, Reigns hurls himself off the apron at him in a flying clothesline. Byron says that this is what Reigns is going to have to do to beat Brock Lesnar: wrestle a boring match?

Both men scramble back into the ring, and Reigns tries the Superman Punch, only to get chokeslammed for a two-count. Big Show climbs up to the top rope, and when has that ever worked for him? Reigns manages to Superman Punch him, and then does so again before throwing Show down to the floor. Spear ends things, and Reigns is the winner.

We seem to be continuing in the ‘meh’ line of things for a while. Big Show probably wasn’t the guy to look to for an enjoyable match, and it would have worked better between these two if Reigns had just ripped Show apart. This was honestly just okay. 2 Stars.

Vince McMahon is here to bribe you into un-cancelling your Network subscription by not charging you for it. They interrupted Reigns’ victory celebration to do that, which is the kind of symbolism I could write an academic essay about.

Took a break there because my girlfriend told me that the trailer for Game of Thrones season five is out. As a book-reader, I don’t recognise half of the stuff that was in there, and I am so incredibly hype.

Oh, and Arnie’s going into the Hall of Fame. Why not.

Here comes Seth Rollins, who basically gets a pass to do whatever the hell he wants after that Triple Threat match. He seems high on himself, saying that he almost got the job done on Cena, and broke Lesnar’s ribs. Hell, Rollins is a fucking badass, going on the evidence. He then raises the briefcase, and the clock is ticking on that thing: I don’t know if I’m more hype for GoT or a Rollins cash-in. He challenges someone to come out and try to kick his ass, and Ryback immediately takes him up on the invitation.

The Big Guy gets into the ring, only to get mobbed by Cruiserweight Security so Rollins can slam a dropkick into his face. Rowan runs out for the save, and takes down J and J. Seth kicks him off the apron and goes back to Ryback, and here comes Ziggler; Rollins cuts him off and hurls him into the announce table; Ryback nearly catches Rollins for Shell-Shocked, but Cruiserweight Security manages to strike again, bailing Seth out. Rowan catches the two of them, only for Rollins to try and save them. The three heels bail, after a seriously energetic segment.

Kane is backstage, rubbing a casket like it’s his willy. He’s also talking about hurting Bryan and putting him in the casket, furthering the willy metaphor.

John Cena will later address (read: make slightly racist and poop-related jokes about) Rusev. Kiss that undefeated streak goodbye, you big Bulgarian bitch.

Wow, They Are Trying To Apologise For The Rumble, Aren’t They?

Usos in the house, along with Naomi, and…Jey Uso is facing Tyson Kidd. Sweet mother of potential feuds: this I can get behind. Kidd backs Jey into a corner, but runs into an uppercut. Jey gets his legs kicked right out from under him, and then Tyson pins one leg down under the ring apron and stomps it. He locks the leg until Jey smacks him away, but goes right back to stomping on it. Okay, so is Byron a heel, like JBL? Who, by the way, I never regarded as a heel so much as someone with a lot of optimism and faith in other heels. Kidd gets thrown out of the ring, but dashes back up onto the apron…and gets smacked right back down. Jey goes to throw himself out at Kidd, who manages to make the Samoan run right into a kick.

Kidd comes back into the ring, only to eat a big-time Samoan drop. Jey calls for the Samoan Wrecking Ball, only for Cesaro to get up on the apron and Jey takes a swing at him before Jimmy takes him out. Kidd hits a dropkick to the knee, hits what’s probably his finisher and gets the ring.

Ah, so on board for this programme. Although it’ll be weird, loving both teams, but feeling sorry for Natalya. Wish this one had been longer. 2.5 Stars.

Kane’s still staring at his willy casket.

Rusev’s in the ring, striding around and muttering like a really bad actor. He manages to garble that he should have won the Royal Rumble because…he lost? Lana babbles in Russian, and Rusev says he should be facing Lesnar at WrestleMania. Oh my God, can we book that? I’d watch that ironically. Rusev bitches about his inevitable and approaching Cena-ing, and says that John Cena is a loser. Them’s fightin’ words, motherfucker, and here comes Cena with some fightin’ jokes.

Cena gets into the ring, and says that Rusev better shut his mouth, and needs a lesson in respect. He gets all defensive about being called a loser, and says that he’s the Face that Runs the Place, then comments on Rusev’s bush and Lana’s breasts. He also drops a Tinder reference, which makes this an oddly adult promo, and then challenges Rusev to throw down. Lana’s all like, ‘leave him, Rusev; he’s not worth it!’ and for a moment it looks like Rusev’s about to lose his weekly blowjob in order to fight Cena. Rusev finally does retreat, and Cena then makes a whole load of ‘ho’ jokes about Lana. Fucking classy, by the way, WWE. Just…just fucking classy.

Looks like Paige will be facing Nikki Bella after the former’s entirely stationary performance at the PPV. Paige is backstage with Renee, and calls her ‘Renay-nay’, which has me laughing a little. Then the Bellas show up to Bella up the segment. They make a bunch of bitchy comments about Paige’s skin, because the WWE knows how women talk and think, right? Paige throws a suckerpunch, and I do love it when faces do that, but the Bellas manage to beat her up in short order, leaving her laying.

Brother vs. Brother?

Goldust and Stardust are here, doing their best to restrain themselves from hurling themselves into the audience and running amok in murderous, crack-addict fashion. And…they’re facing the Ascension? Oh, holy shit, I was preparing myself for the New Day: thank you, Wrestling Gods.

Stardust and Goldust argue about who gets to start, and it’s Stardust up against Viktor. Stardust tries a roll-up, then reverses a hip toss to toss Viktor instead. Waistlock by Viktor; Stardust elbows his way out of it, and then gets put in a full nelson. Dust does break out and smacks Konnor, but Viktor blindsides him and tags Konnor in. Konnor stomps Stardust, then hits a European uppercut before choking him on the ropes. Tag back to Viktor, who hits a bodyslam. Fist drop gets two, then it’s a chinlock. Allow me to say again how glad I am that this match did not feature the New Day. Tag to Konnor, and Goldust is yet to get into this contest. Konnor tries a back suplex, but Stardust rolls out of it, hits the Rhodes Uppercut and tags in the Bizarre One.

Goldust comes in hard and fast, taking down the now-legal Viktor. Rhodes Uppercut from Goldust, then an inverted atomic drop and a boot. Powerslam levels Viktor, then Goldust hits another Rhodes Uppercut to Viktor. Stardust then hits a blind tag and tries to go for the Disaster Kick, but Konnor shoves him down. Konnor is tagged in, takes out Goldust, and they hit the Fall of Man.

Looks like Stardust vs. Goldust could be a WrestleMania match. Remember when we were talking about that match six years ago? And, you know, I’ll still take it. Nice dominance from the Ascension here: glad they’re up with the bigger teams. 2.5 Stars.

Some magician is backstage, amazing the people in catering, and then Miz2 shows up. The magician is apparently a fan of Sandow, which pisses off the Miz. See, I’m not happy with this match at WrestleMania. Also, Sandow’s free will seems to be overridden by his need to imitate the Miz. Perhaps that’s a statement about our own helplessness. Maybe I should stop doing academic research before writing this review. Wait…wait, is the magician breaking the rules of the Magic Circle and revealing his tricks? Doesn’t that get him shanked by the Magician Mafia (the Magifia?). He then pranks the Miz and hits him with an egg. Wow, that guy actually was pretty badass.

Bray Wyatt is in some steamy, cloudy location: possibly a steam room. Man, I really hope they’re filming all his promos in a steam room. An occupied steam room, for added awkwardness. Basically he does that same one promo that is the poetry that emo kid in your class wrote in their journal which made everyone think that they were going to be the next school shooter. If he ever comes out of the closet, he has to do it in this exact same way. Hell, this is how he should announce his engagement.

Yay, A Casket Match. This Is So Awesome, You Guys…

Kane makes his way to the bring, and did they make him bring the casket to the ring? The fuck, ring crew? Daniel Bryan shows up, and I’m surprised they didn’t make him bring out a change of turnbuckle pads.

The crowd is firmly in Bryan’s corner as the competitors feel each other out. Bryan kicks Kane several times in the corner, but the Big Red Machine powers out, bodyslamming Bryan and hitting a dropkick to the face. Bryan fights off an attempt to put him in the casket, then rolls out of a back suplex and hits a lot of kicks to the back of Kane’s thigh; he tries to roll Kane into the casket, but Kane fights back, only to take a drop-toehold into the corner. He goes up to hit punches, but Kane keeps shoving him away. Bryan reverse a chokeslam, ducks a clothesline and then gets pressed; he rolls out and is nearly able to charge Kane into the casket, but the Director of Operations dodges to the side, stayin’ alive as we head to a commercial.

When we come back, Kane has Bryan’s head pinned under the apron, raining blows down on him. He tries to suplex Bryan into the casket, landing him on the apron and trying to kick him, in. Bryan is almost inside, but kicks Kane away, running right into a big boot as he re-enters the ring. King gives his opinion that Kane is so big that he might not fit into the casket: well, thank you very much, Lawler; I’m sure that nobody considered that until you just said it. Daniel eats a clothesline in the corner, then takes a sidewalk slam before fighting off another casket attempt, actually skinning the cat to almost headscissor Kane into it. Okay, seriously, guys on commentary: can we stop acting like a casket is an inherently scary object? It’s not like Bryan or Kane is claustrophobic; it’s not like they’ve hidden a rapist clown inside it. Man up. Bryan flies from the top rope, taking Kane out on the outside and slamming fists into Kane’s face. He tries again from the apron, but the Big Red Machine catches him, slamming his spine into the steel post and booting Bryan into the casket. Kane tries to close the lid, but Byran is fighting back, using his legs to leverage the casket open. He finally creates separation, flying at Kane, but takes an uppercut to lay him out as we go to another break.

We come back as Bryan takes a big DDT, and it’s really nice of him to act like Kane is in any way relevant right now. What a great guy. Kane tries to push Bryan into the coffin again, choking him with his foot. Bryan gets away, but just takes more punishment from Kane. A clothesline levels him, but he manages to backflip out of the corner and hit a clothesline of his own. Bryan’s starting his comeback, hulking up and kicking Kane. He winds up for the kick to the head; Kane shoves him away, but gets low-bridged and Bryan flies out onto him. Strikes to Kane’s legs again, and Bryan hits a big running dropkick. He then grabs his neck, just to make us feel bad about enjoying his wrestling style, and then punches Kane up some more. He tries the running dropkick again, but Kane elevates him over to the timekeeper’s area, and then hurls him over the announce table. Lawler loses his headset, and that’s some straight-up face tactics, Kane. He smashes Bryan with a chair and then pulls him over to the casket, slamming Bryan’s head into the open lid.

They get on the apron, and Kane wants a tombstone, but Bryan slides out, hanging him up on the top rope. Bryan hits two dropkicks, but on the third attempt Kane hits a chokeslam! Bryan gets rolled into the casket, but then kicks Kane in the head and locks the Yes-Lock into Kane in the casket. Kane blocks the lid shutting, and Bryan immediately laces him with kicks until Kane smacks him in the face and clotheslines him in the ring. Tombstone is reversed, as is the Yes-Lock, as is a chokeslam; Kane is thrown out onto the apron, gets kicked in the head and takes a CenaSlayer to get knocked into the casket and the lid shuts!

Okay, that was pretty good. They focused the match tightly around the casket, which they needed to do, and it worked well. Far better than I thought that would be. 3 Stars.

We then get a repeat of the Triple H announcement, and are we seriously interrupting post-match celebrations in this fashion?

Fair show, but no real stand-out matches. The casket match was the best by default rather than anything else. Still, some good feuds are being set up, and that’s what I care about more. This week gets a six.

David’s Movie Recommendation: I’ve been on a real horror movie kick as of late, mainly because I found out I had not, in fact, ‘seen the only good ones already’. And in this vein, I have to recommend Eden Lake. It might not translate wonderfully to an American audience, but if you’re a middle-class Brit like me, that shit is just terrifying. Plus, Michael Fassbender and that drunken asshole Cookie from Skins is in it. One of the more bleak horror films I’ve ever seen.

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Douces Wild: The WWE Announcing Team: The Whores of Vince McMahon Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:54:57 +0000 douces1600

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: the WWE announcing team SUCKS!!! I know, I know, old news right, but allow me to lend my unique voice to this growing situation of how much these guys continuously fail every week and why the WWE fans would rather suffer through electric shock therapy than listen to Michael Cole’s whiny voice, JBL’s ass kissing or Booker T’s “jive” talk. This has been a consistent problem for years but this is not something the WWE really cares about. They have had a strict code for all of their announcers to follow over the last few years…..none of which have anything to do with actual wrestling. No, because in recent years, it has been about whoring out to advertisers, shilling the WWE Network (which I do have), taking selfies, using catchphrases and trying their hardest to steal the show away from the ACTUAL wrestlers in the ring. This whole thing revolves around one man: Vince McMahon. Vince has never tried to find the next Jim Ross…….he wanted to find the next Vince McMahon on commentary. Vince had his strengths on commentary: that booming voice of his was perfect for commentary, he could sell his bullshit strongly and he came up with some very good calls in his career. He also had his faults: he didn’t know jack shit about actual wrestling, he didn’t know about the wrestlers’ past or how they got to the WWE, he tried WAY too hard to put his stupid gimmicks instead of giving respect to the wrestlers and he sounded like that annoying family member that you try to avoid at the family reunion.

So, over the past few years, Vince McMahon has been looking for the person to follow in HIS footsteps, not JR’s. Vince never liked JR, he always wanted to replace him with someone who was younger, hipper, wasn’t a Southerner and had a fully functional face. This leads us to Michael Cole: the top whore himself. I can’t sit here and tell you that Cole actually sucks at his job. His job, according to the WWE, is to shill merchandise, talk about social media, the WWE network, talk about the top stars and that’s about it. So from that perspective, Cole does his job quite well. It’s just that, you know, WRESTLING STUFF that he has a hard time in calling. On commentary, I hate Michael Cole, always have. I could never stand his whiny voice, he was constantly a condescending little asshole and all he does is say exactly what Vince McMahon says through his earpiece (not everything but a good portion of it).

Plus, there have been huge and unforgivable blunders that Cole has committed that other people would be fired for already! Remember Mike Adamle and his “Jeff Harvey” screw up? Yea, Cole has about 20 of those a night! Here are some examples: remember the time when he said the Hell in a Cell was so dangerous that you could “get your finger caught in the Cell?” How about when he said that the steel flooring of the Elimination Chamber felt like “concrete?” How about how he and Coach damn near ruined the main event of Wrestlemania 24 by throwing out catchphrases instead of calling the match? These are just a few of the examples that has plagued Michael Cole but not all of it is his fault though. From 2002-2004 with Tazz, Cole was actually good…..not great but good. He and Tazz had a great rapport between the two of them and they were getting better with every broadcast. However, once they started lining Cole up as the next #1 announcer, he basically stopped trying to call wrestling and just focused on throwing out his catchphrases, making up new ones and losing a general interest in the wrestling stuff just to do what Vince McMahon wanted him to do…..without any arguments whatsoever.

Cole wasn’t the only one either. Jonathan Coachman was blandness personified as a babyface announcer and over the top “everybody needs to listen to me” as a heel announcer. Todd Grisham constantly had this “deer in the headlights” look on his face and wasn’t emotional enough on commentary to sell the product to me……when a person is trying their hardest to fake emotions instead of letting them naturally happen, you’re doing a horrible job. At the very least, Vince was emotional and you could hear it. Booker T…..what more can I say about Booker T? He’s not an announcer, he’s a fucking character playing an announcer, that’s it! JBL was awesome back in 2006-2007 but he’s pretty much fallen into a line of repetitiveness that he refuses to escape from; unlike Mick Foley and Tazz, JBL can deal with Vince in his ear to do his job. Josh Matthews never captured my interest as an announcer and Matt Striker had a good mind for wrestling but I couldn’t take him splooging himself every night about all of the wonderful details and facts he picked up about Wrestler A.

And then there’s Jerry Lawler……my how the mighty have fallen. King used to be funny, King used to rile up his co-announcers, King used to have energy and life to him…… he’s just a guy working a 9 to 5 job and it’s because repetitive to him. He does the job because it’s second nature by now. All he has to do is sit there, give his insight every now and then and eat junk food that the WWE wants him to eat to please the advertisers (no wonder he had a heart attack). King hasn’t been himself since he returned in 2001……the time he spent away from JR and allowing Paul Heyman to take his spot (and outshine him) was something King could never combat. He was a relic of the past but yet he constantly stayed in his spot. JR often came and went….King always stayed. Remember the good ol’ days when King would threaten to punch Michael Cole for saying something stupid? Those days are long gone……now King agrees with everything Michael says, not just out of professionalism but because people in his ear are telling him to do it.

Vince’s perfect example of an announcer are the ones we see on RAW and Smackdown. The less they know about wrestling, the better. The more they can advertise the WWE’s bullshit, the better. The more they can listen and do what Vince says, the better. It’s not hard to do the job the way the company wants them to do it, it’s hard to do the job right, as in what it actually is supposed. These announcers have no authority over me because when they talk, I don’t listen……but if I do listen, I don’t listen for the right reasons. If Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are disgusted with the actions of a wrestler, I don’t listen. If Jerry Lawler is eating a Subway sandwich with Michael Cole shilling it, I might listen and go get me a Subway sandwich…….but I won’t be watching RAW when I come back. None of them have that voice of authority, none of them make me want to listen (they make me want to blow my brains out sometimes) and all of them are doing this because Vince McMahon is telling them to be like that. They are his whores, he is their pimp, they do what he tells them to do and they don’t argue (if they do, they get smacked). They definitely aren’t quality whores but they are cheap and affordable and most people would be willing to listen.

To end this, I believe real wrestling commentary is a dying art. I can’t think of any promotion that is actually trying to do it the right way (sure, some promotions have good commentators but they aren’t treating it like it was treated back in the day). Call me an old soul who longs for the good ol’ days but I prefer listening to Gorilla and Brain bickering, Gorilla and Jesse bickering, JR and King bickering and Gordon Solie taking things seriously over “$9.99!!!!!” any day.

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Spain’s WWE SmackDown Report and Results for January 15th 2015: Oh, Yeah, It’s Thursdays Now… Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:59:06 +0000 Well, hello there. It’s the day they moved SmackDown to Thursday and, reliably enough, your humble scribe is reviewing it on Friday. Change is bad, mkay? Actually, this change is good, because I always have Fridays off work, so the reviewing process is now going to be far more relaxed and I can use my Friday nights for mainlining heroin. I actually just found out the correct definition of the word ‘mainlining’ yesterday, due to a Stephen King novel I’m engrossed in. He also taught me the word ‘whoremaster’, which I swear to God I am going to use in this article at least one time.

Anyway, let’s get to smacking stuff down.

First thoughts: I like the new theme music for the show. I’ll probably hate it in a month or two, but it does sound more epic and grandiose than the previous one (no, I don’t know the fucking name of the song). Not-Renee is in the ring and, honestly, if he’s going to be a part of the commentary team, let’s just call him what he is: Byron Saxton. He introduces Daniel Bryan, who makes his way down to the ring. Byron notes that Bryan’s in a good mood, and Bryan says it’s because he’s here to fight. Saxton replays the injuring of Daniel Bryan, and I still can’t believe that we were supposed to accept that Kane was capable of putting anyone on the shelf. If Lesnar had come out and destroyed Bryan, this corner of the internet would have fucking exploded.

Bryan says that nobody knows how dangerous Kane is but him, and I think we all know that he’s a massive pussy, Daniel. Kane apparently traded his mask for a suit, which honestly sounds like some savvy bargaining. No matter what the doctors said, Bryan is here to compete, even if he is nervous, and he’s going to fight Kane and win. He’s winning the Rumble and is going on to WrestleMania. Big ‘Yes’ chant for that, even without anyone prompting it, and then the Authority show up. Oh, so now it’s the first show on Thursday night, I guess we’re worthy of some main characters showing up. And even then, Steph couldn’t be bothered to make it. Kane makes his way down to the ring, accompanied by the Authority, and the Nasally Announcer gets in a bit of snark by referring to each Authority member separately, and then gets in a massive burn by not naming Joey and Jamie. Intentional or not, that was just magnificent.

Drink Every Time You Think Bryan Just Got Paralysed

We come back from the break right into the match as Kane eats a dropkick. Furious strikes to the Big Red Machine, before Kane manages to shut Bryan down for a bit of breathing room, but then Bryan drop-toeholds him into the turnbuckle. Big kick to the face of Kane, and then the former World Champion zeroes in on the leg, hitting it with a running dropkick. The ref gets Bryan to back off, in case Kane starts crying, but that leaves Bryan open to a big uppercut, leaving him laying. He gets thrown into the corner and stomped down. Neckbreaker, which seems like a dick move, Kane, and then a second one. Man, imagine if Bryan got badly injured again? Like, in this match? Also, stop showing Rollins ringside at a Bryan match: don’t tease me like that.

Bryan tries to rally, but runs right into a big boot. Reminder: this guy beat Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista in a single night, and is now having trouble against the guy who’s just above Mercury and Noble level in the Authority. Bryan works his way out of a hold that looks like Kane is slowly trying to snap his neck, and then low-bridges Kane. Dropkick through the ropes to Kane, and Bryan launches himself off the apron, only to get struck in the throat with a big right hand from Kane.

Kane has Bryan in a sleeper when we come back, and then hits his running DDT which, swear to God, is the spazziest-looking thing I’ve ever seen. Big clothesline in the corner, then a side slam and Kane sets up for a superplex. Bryan blocks this, which I assume he’ll do with all moves which might snap his neck, sends Kane to the floor and hits a crossbody. He backflips over Kane from the corner and hits a clothesline. Yes-Kicks to the chest, finishing Kane off with a running kick. He charges at Kane in the corner, gets caught by Kane for a chokeslam, manages to counter it and tries to lock in the Yes-Lock! He manages to get it locked in, and the Mercury and Noble break it up. Are you fucking serious?

Not what I was hoping for, although the blame is on the structure of the match rather than the wrestlers. Way too much Kane offence, considering we were so excited to see Bryan back, and a DQ ending? After nine months of no Bryan matches? The Authority’s like the heel version of Cena: it’s rubbing itself over everything that’s relevant. 2 Stars.

Bryan dropkicks both Mercury and Noble, then knocks Big Show off the apron, then ducks a briefcase shot from Rollins and skedaddles. No! You get back in there and you start an angle with Rollins immediately! The Authority pursue, but slowly in case Bryan kicks one of their fucking faces off, and then Ambrose and Reigns show up beside him, and that was actually pretty badass.

Triple H gets on the microphone, because it’s not an opening segment if that guy doesn’t get to talk for twenty minutes. He makes a six-man tag match, which means Rollins and Bryan will fight each other. Is Triple H a face now, daddy?

Also, I’ve just realised that Jerry Lawler’s commentary hasn’t made me start cutting myself yet. Unexpected. And Randy Savage is going into the Hall of Fame, with Michael even using the word ‘finally’. I still don’t think that the Hall of Fame is going to beat the honour of that Skyrim mod which turns all of the dragons into Randy Savage. I’m not even kidding.

Wow, Savage really does not look in the slightest way sane. Seriously, guys, what were you all doing in the eighties?

Bray Wyatt pops up onscreen and…does he have smoke actually coming off him? Holy shit, is he channelling Blackbeard? Didn’t even hear the words: staring at the smoke. Upon rewatch, it’s him talking about how he’s going to win the Rumble. Ah, this PPV is going to kick so much ass.

Jerry Lawler Cuts Loose

The Usos are here, along with Naomi, for a mixed tag match. You know, I have a problem with this match: the girl can have her opposite number beat down, but doesn’t dare make a tag for any form of actual tag team wrestling because then her opponent gets an automatic out. Plus, if the guys are tag team specialists, like the Usos are, it actually makes sense for them not to tag in the Diva, because goodbye double-team moves.

Michael Cole claims that Byron is a Miz fanboy, which is the kind of shit-slinging we don’t look for in professional wrestling, Michael. Miz gets shot off the ropes, and it’s JERRY LAWLER’S FIRST SHITTY JOKE OF THE EVENING!! FETCH THE RAZOR BLADES AND VODKA!! Yeah, sorry, had to get that off my chest. Chops to Miz in the corner, then Jey comes in off the tag. They’re about to drop a double elbow on Miz, when Mizdow runs in to provide stunt double action. I love how the Usos sort of regard Mizdow as this alright, if slightly odd, guy who just happens to hang around with Miz. Miz gets clotheslined out of the ring, and Jey dives through the ropes onto him. Second shitty Lawler joke, followed by a third: fucking shoot me.

Miz tags in Mizdow, but then Alicia Fox tags herself in, and gets the shit kicked out of her by Naomi. Hurricanrana to Fox; she sends Naomi out onto the apron, but Naomi kicks her in the head and hits a crossbody for a two-count. Naomi tags out, meaning that Miz and Jey come in; Miz takes the Uso down with a big boot. Miz stomps Jey down in the corner, and then fakes tagging in Mizdow before both Jey and Miz knock each other down with clotheslines. Jimmy comes in off the tag, hitting Miz all over the place. Samoan Drop, then a corkscrew moonsault to the Miz. Alicia manages to break up the pin, so Jimmy Uso throws his girlfriend at her. That is literally what he did.

Miz and Jimmy exchange roll-ups, and Miz’s kick-out sends Jimmy into a clothesline from Sandow, which he ducks. Miz throws Sandow into Jimmy’s superkick and hits the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win!

Was that actually correct use of a stunt-double? They’re putting way too much thought into the existence of Sandow and, at the same time, nowhere near enough. Apparently Miz2 is getting a title match at the Rumble; I’ll enjoy it for Mizdow, but I’m looking forward to getting to some other teams now. 2.5 Stars.

Okay, Renee’s new haircut is going to take some getting used to. Because her old hair was perfect and beautiful and why did she do this?! Anyway, she introduces Roman Reigns, and those two still have their sexual tension/loving relationship going on. Oh, and it’s that time of year when every interviewer asks the question ‘you’re in the Royal Rumble, and so’s this guy, so tonight what’s stopping you from ripping off his face and wearing it as a mask AS YOU BURN THE REST OF HIM ON A FIRE MADE OUT OF HIS CHILDHOOD HOME?!’ Reigns makes the traditional response that the Royal Rumble is not tonight, and so he’s going to contain his deepest, darkest, innermost designs like he’s a rational human being. He also states that his motivation is ‘screw over the Authority’, and I love the fact that, compared to everyone else, he’s doing this without much provocation. He winks at Renee before he leaves, so I guess she can make that hairstyle work. Oh, and Vince? That’s what a normal person talking sounds like. Maybe you should stay the fuck away from dialogue.

Paul Heyman shows up, doing an ANGRY STRIDE as we replay Seth Rollins standing tall over both Cena and Lesnar, which was just kind of awesome and glorious. I wish they’d been able to make more of the three factions going on: it’s nice to get two heels with genuinely different motivations in this sort of match.

Paul Heyman does his Game of Thrones-esque list of titles, and admits to being a little afraid. Lesnar is a beast, and does what he does purely for giggles. Literally: Brock Lesnar’s motivation is apparently ‘I had nothing else planned’. I am weirdly okay with that. But now, Lesnar is goddamn furious, and he’s going to destroy Rollins, who then shows up. Seriously: I wish they could stop making this guy run away from stuff, because he does ‘badass’ better than any other heel working right now. Seth is pissed off as well, and he’s tired of everyone feeling like they should be afraid of Lesnar. He’s not afraid of Lesnar, and Paul’s staring at him like Rollins might actually be insane after that statement. Rollins says that he’s cashing in tonight: he wants Lesnar for the title tonight. didyoujust.jpg. Genuine pop for Rollins, but Paul pisses all over what could have been the greatest SmackDown evah, because Lesnar isn’t here. Rollins decides that, in the absence of the Next Big Thing, Heyman is the Next Best Thing, so he’s going to kick his ass instead.

Paul, to his credit, calls Rollins out on being stereotypical, which is both smart and ballsy of the guy. And then laughs at Rollins for thinking that beating up Heyman makes him a tough guy. Rollins corrects him: not ‘tough’, but ‘smart’. Because if he feels like doing something, he’s going to do it. He also calls Heyman Lesnar’s greatest asset, and I feel like Lesnar’s greatest asset is his freakish strength, followed by his unbelievable speed, followed by the fact he can shrug off an Attitude Adjustment like it was nothing, then Paul Heyman. And then Sable, because when has she ever been in his corner for a match? Rollins says that, without Heyman, Brock is all brawn and no brains. Yeah, because Heyman communicates with Lesnar via psychic link during those matches: ‘Hey Brock?’ ‘What’s up, Paul?’ ‘Terrific job so far, truly, and I think it might be an idea to go for another German suplex.’ ‘Really, Paul? I mean…we’ve done fifteen of them so far. I feel like you’re confusing me with Taz again. I wanna do an F-5.’

Okay, I just finished laughing at that image, and Rollins is climbing Paul. Are we giving Rollins a ‘no sense of personal space’ gimmick, because he could definitely make that work. Also, he is genuinely threatening, asking Paul why he shouldn’t Curbstomp him. Heyman points out that the Authority probably won’t be around for very long, whereas Heyman has been getting more and more powerful: this isn’t even his final form! With Lesnar holding the championship, Paul has the greatest bargaining chip ever. Seth looks a little stunned, and Paul just walks the fuck out of there. And I never thought I’d say this about Heyman but, honestly? Like a boss. That whole segment was fan-frigging-tastic.

Paige Is A Better Husband Than Tyson Kidd

Wow, I’d really been prepared for some suck as I heard the Bellas’ music, but Nikki’s facing Natalya with Paige in her corner, who are like the Cesaro and Kidd of the Divas division. Can Paige start dating Cesaro? Can we please have them doing wrestling double dates? Eight-man mixed tag matches, which actually make way more sense than the other variants? I missed part of RAW, but Tyson Kidd cost Paige a victory due to the fact he’s in love with Cena’s girlfriend, which I really hope they make an angle of someday. Paige also slaps Tyson Kidd, which I like to think was less about the match and more about what a terrible, awful, godawful husband he is. The fact that Tyson no-sold the shit out of that slap means that he’s been slapped a lot, and I am happy about that. Byron Saxton tries to defend Tyson Kidd, and no, Byron. No.

They lock up, with Natalya wrenching the arm before Nikki throws her off. Roll-up into a leg-hold by Natalya, but Nikki kicks her off, and hits a tornado armbar from the second rope. Nikki wrenches the arm behind Natalya’s back, and then takes her over with it. She grapevine’s Neidhart’s arm, but Natalya lifts Nikki right the hell off the ground with her arm, and slams her back down.

Natalya’s arm seems to be hurting her pretty badly, but she dodges a charge by Nikki and snapmares her over, running over her back and hitting a running dropkick to the face. She follows that up with a big clothesline, and then goes about setting up the Sharpshooter! Brie gets on the apron, trying to distract Natalya by just holding the belt and screaming: that worked a lot better when AJ and Paige both thought that they were in a relationship with it. The ref and Natalya are distracted, and Paige takes advantage to actually slap Nikki across the chops, and then the Sharpshooter finishes her! Why didn’t Brie try to distract her again?

Well, an interesting storyline for the Divas. And, so far, none of the participants appear to be insane. Apart from Natalya, who’s married to Tyson Kidd. Seems like Paige is going to be like the WWE’s version of Jordan from Scrubs: mean and petty, but entertaining. 2.5 Stars.

Backstage, Renee introduces Big Show, who immediately interrupts her, calls her ‘young lady’ and tells her that she’s not going to ‘take control of this interview’. Misogynist shitlord. Big Show says he knocked out Reigns and Cena on RAW; he’ll knock out everyone tonight and then he’s going to win the Rumble. He asks who can throw him over the top rope, and does he even remember any of the Rumbles he’s been in? Kane shows up and says that he’s in the Rumble as well; Big Show really should have just asked how that changes anything.

Bad News Barrett Was The Intercontinental Title The Whole Time

We come back from commercials at the same moment that Sin Cara throws himself into the ring, which is a great visual. And yep, Firre Workcz let me know that I missed the Barrett/Cara match from last week: I don’t know why, but it wasn’t on the recording that I saw. Still, I apologise for that slipping through the cracks: I’m sure that there were a couple of jokes in that match, other than the two guys competing.

Actually, I like Barrett. Or do I? God, I can’t even remember.

And it was actually a clean win, without even a near-kick-out. Wow. And it seems like they’ve missed off the minor key rendition of ‘God Save Our Queen’ from Barrett’s entrance music in favour of some ominous bass guitar: a good call, now I hear it. Plus, Wade doesn’t make all that much of his nationality, so it’s not like it’s a big loss.

BIG MATCH FEEL announcements, and we’re encouraged to hashtag-tweet ‘IC Title’, which makes it sound like the WWE is remaking The Sixth Sense. Holy shit, I would watch that: Brock Lesnar as Haley Joel Osment, Adam Rose as Bruce Willis, Big Show as that crying naked dude in the bathroom. That would be the greatest movie ever.

Sin Cara immediately busts out some pinning combinations, which is a smart opening. Barrett tries to take control with a punch to the midsection, but Cara kicks him in the head and ascends the top rope, only for Barrett to boot him right in the head. Beatdown begins now, with Barrett then locking in a sleeper. Sin Cara punches his way out, then rolls out of a back suplex and hits a springboard headbutt. Another springboard crossbody for a near-fall, then Wade hits some punches, and manages to send Sin Cara out onto the apron.

Sin Cara tries to go high again, and this time hops over Barrett’s attempted assault, but gets caught with the Winds of Change to get planted hard. Barrett winds up the Bull Hammer, but Sin Cara turns it into a roll-up, and then…a powerbomb?! (Michael Cole’s Remark for Smarks: ‘That’s power you wouldn’t expect out of Sin Cara!’) He plants Wade Barrett in front of the turnbuckle, and then climbs up, but the Senton misses, and so does Barrett’s planned Bull Hammer! Sin Cara springboards off the ropes again…right into a Bull Hammer! Count to a hundred, and that’s the match.

Great match, out of two guys I wasn’t expecting one from. Hell, I’d be happy to see more of Sin Cara against opponents like Kidd, Cesaro, even Rollins. Barrett wasn’t dominant the whole way through, but still looked good. 3 Stars.

WWE announces the WWE Network, and acts like we should be grateful after the months and months of stalling. No dice, you tardy motherfuckers.

Hey, Dean Ambrose is the Shield’s/the Wyatts’/CM Punk’s/Daniel Bryan’s ‘unknown location’ hangout. Man, that place must be lonely now. He says that he was basically an awful child to try and raise, and that apparently translates into being a good wrestler. Man, explains why wrestling training and I didn’t go all that well. That and the fact that ‘come in the ring the hard way, reverse the Irish whip and hit a hip toss’ doesn’t sound very clear in the Geordie dialect. Basically, Ambrose is going to win the Royal Rumble: I’d say ‘spoiler alert’, but…it’s probably not.

And Nobody Got Thrown Over The Top Rope Forebodingly

Main event time, and the heels come out first. Michael calls them a ‘pretty formidable team’, despite the fact that the team includes Big Show and Kane. Man, Rollins’, Ambrose’s and Reigns’ theme musics sound so similar. It’s like Les Miserables, which is like the same four tunes over and over, making it the John Cena of musicals.

It’s go time, and Rollins starts things off by pounding Ambrose in the corner, but Ambrose turns things around, returning the favour and slamming his head off the turnbuckle before hitting a chop. Snapmare and an elbow drop to Rollins, then a neckbreaker. Ambrose hits a big kick to the stomach, and then tags in Reigns as they wrench Seth’s legs apart. Big clothesline to Rollins in the corner, then another snapmare. Roman stares down the Big Show before hitting a delayed vertical suplex, and then starts working over Seth’s arm. He locks Rollins in a facelock, then sends him off the ropes, only for Rollins to hit a kick to the face in desperation, tagging in Kane.

Kane puts a headlock on Roman, then is shot off the ropes and hits a big shoulder block to knock Reigns down. Another headlock applied to Reigns, and he back-suplexes Kane. Kane is still going strong, but a leaping clothesline from Reigns and an uppercut takes the wind out of the Big Red Machine’s sails. Bryan gets the tag, and kicks Kane for ages in the corner, and then hits European uppercuts in another, but Kane takes him down with a huge uppercut and sends him through the ropes. Cruiserweight Security hovers, but Ambrose and Reigns rock up to back them off. Rollins and Big Show join them, and we’ve got a brawl! Reigns, Bryan and Ambrose end up in the ring as we go to break.

Back from the commercials, and Bryan and Rollins are going at it…and then Ambrose immediately tags in: goddamn it. Dean locks Seth up in the ropes and hits a running dropkick before beating him down in the corner. Rollins reverses an Irish whip, only to run right into a boot. Ambrose looks like he’s going for a moonsault, but Rollins interrupts him, and Dean ends up in the Tree of Woe. Seth hits a stomp, and then tags in Big Show. Big punch to Ambrose, and then Show picks Dean up by the leg, hanging him up, before tagging Rollins in. As Seth has the ref distracted, Big Show hits some chops. Rollins applies a chinlock, keeping Dean Ambrose grounded, but Dean struggles up to his feet. Seth cuts him off, putting him back in the Authority corner, tagging in the Big Show to crush Ambrose in the corner.

Bodyslam and a big elbow to Ambrose from the Big Show. Ambrose ducks a chop, hitting strikes to Big Show in the corner, but Show slams a headbutt into Dean’s face, and then goes right back after the knee. He’s literally bearhugging the guy’s knee; I have never seen anyone do that before. Kane comes in from the tag, also taking it to the knee. Man, everyone’s so focused tonight. Suplex by Kane, and he drags Ambrose back to the corner, tagging in Rollins. Seth talks some trash, gets slapped, and then superkicks Ambrose. Kane back in; he takes a kick to the face, uppercuts Ambrose and Dean rebounds to clothesline him! Hope spot, but Rollins shuts Ambrose down, only for Dean to throw him right over the top rope! Cruiserweight Security distracts the referee, allowing Big Show to take Ambrose down at the knee, but Reigns hits a Superman Punch to Big Show on the outside! Rollins hits a dropkick to Reigns, catches up with Ambrose, but Dean makes the tag to Bryan!

Bryan immediately takes Kane off the apron with a dropkick, backflips over Rollins and flies out of the ring at Kane again! He hangs Rollins up on the ropes, then hits a missile dropkick to him, and then a hurricanrana! Rollins manages to hit kick to the head, and Kane comes in for the chokeslam! Reigns basically flies from one side of the ring to the other, interrupting the pin halfway along, and then leaps through the ropes to the outside, getting superkicked by the Big Show when he lands: watch the match for that moment only; that was freaking awesome. Big Show tries to undress the announce table (we should all start using that expression from now on), but Reigns spears him over it!

In the ring, Bryan tries to lock the Yes Lock onto Kane, and does so! Rollins breaks it up, and gets dropkicked by Ambrose, who takes out Cruiserweight Security, and Rollins, and dives out onto all of them! Kane wants a tombstone, but Bryan slips out, hits the CenaSlayer and gets the pin!

Okay, the first match makes sense if they were saving Bryan’s best stuff for this one. Everything about this ruled, with even Big Show bringing out offence I’ve never seen before. Consider me well and truly psyched for the Rumble. 4 Stars.

As Bryan celebrates, Triple H’s music hits. Well, we’ve got about one minute left, so he’d better make this snappy. Hunter says he got lucky tonight, but his luck’s going to run out. Next week, Kane has a match with Bryan, with Bryan’s spot in the Rumble on the line. Hah, yeah, because they want a repeat of last year’s Royal Rumble. Who would they even put in as the number 30 entrant?

This show was really well done. The first match had a great excuse, and everything else just worked well for me. I like how, even though Rollins and Cena are titling at this time, there are a bunch of guys who could potentially beat them who aren’t in a position to, like Ambrose, Reigns, Bryan, etc. There’s actually a good roster right now, and this show reflected that. Nine.

David’s Movie Recommendation: I finally ended up watching Saving Mr Banks a couple of nights ago. Now, I love Mary Poppins like nothing else, and I really didn’t want to see a movie which brought up a load of bad stuff about it, because that film is my childhood. But even with the background of it, and the fact that you have to wonder whether Disney was going out of their way to settle a score with the deceased Travers, it was a great movie. Colin Farrell plays an alcoholic in it, which is meant to be sad, but is sort of weirdly excellent.

Oh, and a final note, if you’re still with me. I am going to be away on a personal errand over a lot of next week, and would be really grateful if someone would be able to cover next week’s show; I’ve also put a note on the Facebook page. If you agree, I will be in your debt until I hurriedly pay it off (because I’m always afraid people are going to ask for a kidney if I leave it outstanding), and would be able to send you an email with all of the links and information I use. This would really be helping me out, and would be tres appreciated.

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WWE Shakes Up Announce Teams For Monday Night Raw, Thursday Night Smackdown Thu, 08 Jan 2015 23:19:54 +0000 What are the new broadcast lineups?

WWE announced that there are changes being made to the announcing lineups for the flagship shows.

Following the change from this past Monday’s Raw, Booker T joins the announce team on a permanent basis, replacing Jerry Lawler.

Thursday Night Smackdown will feature Michael Cole, but now with Jerry “The King” Lawler and Byron Saxton. JBL, who had been announcing Smackdown as well, will still on Raw. Tom Phillips is apparently being dropped from Smackdown as well.

The PPV announce team will continue to be Cole with JBL and Lawler on color commentary for the time being.×120.jpg

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Harrak’s Thoughts: WWE RAW 11.10.14 (John Cena, Ryback, Seth Rollins, Luke Harper) Tue, 11 Nov 2014 15:17:24 +0000 WWE Raw Header - 2014

#1~ I never thought I would put Ryback in the headline of a RAW report again. It’s amazing what removing a beanie that makes you look like a steroid-pump condom can do for a guy.

#1 ~ Ryback, Mark Henry, Triple H, Kane and John Cena opened RAW. Yea that really makes me want to stay awake for the rest of this show. Not to mention that suddenly Jack Swagger is relevant again.

#2~ Ah it seems that Stephanie McMahon heard the online criticism of last week’s “Vladimir Putin” line from Lana. At least this interaction felt more like how things would happen backstage (even the tongue-in-cheek comment about politics in the WWE).

#3~ Did Jerry Lawler “sincerely apologize” to anyone who was offended by Sheamus interrupting the Russian national anthem? This is becoming ridiculous. When did Russia become so sensitive when it came to PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING?!

#4~ Alright, alright if this “New Day” group DOES consist of Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Big E then it might work. I still don’t like Woods trying to pull off Ernest Miller’s gimmick but I get it considering the theme of the whole group.

#5~ “You’re still good-looking. That counts for something, right?” – Awesome line from the Big Show & I’m really surprised it didn’t break Dolph’s character. Well maybe it did and they did a reshoot. Who knows…

#6~ That “pep-talk” from Stephanie sounded EXACTLY like one she gave during the Invasion angle. Just a little less screechy and more mom-like.

#7~ Thank you, Bray Wyatt for finally finding your way back. This angle with Dean Ambrose seems to have reinvigorated Wyatt. That promo was a throwback to his debut and not typical swill that we’ve been hearing lately. Now for them to deliver at Survivor Series in what will be the first of a few matches.

#8~ The addition of Luke Harper would be fantastic. Harper will surprise the majority of people with how his singles’ run plays out. Sure he might not be off to the greatest start if WWE focuses in on a “crazy eyes” gimmick. But the former Brodie Lee was one of the first guys the WWE signed after CM Punk & Daniel Bryan that really had an underground following. Wrestling everywhere from CHIKARA to Ring Of Honor, Harper’s ability and move set are far wider than what we’ve seen so far on WWE TV. His first singles’ push on the main roster should showcase a lot of what Luke Harper has to offer and Survivor Series should be a great start.×120-2013.jpg

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Forever Heel Lists Undertaker’s Top Allies. Halloween Heel Month! Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:57:44 +0000 Okay before we begin I’ve read how much people hated the Kathy Lee and Hoda segment. Therefore Forever Heel would like send a big thank you to both women. XOXO, ladies.

I don’t watch NXT much because when I go to the WWE Network I automatically get enthralled with old WCW PPV’s, and survivor Series 1996, but whats with Tyson Kidd? He is finally awesome. I love how he wants to listen to his headphones and is all mad at Natty. He reminds me of another heel I used to love, Marvelous Marc Mero. Marc Mero was the husband of Sable and as Sable become more popular, Mero became more of a jerk. The guy was gold. The problem with Tyson and Natalia is that Natalia isn’t Sable, and he barely see Kidd on Raw. Oh well guys, look up Marvelous Marc Mero for husband and wife hijinks done right.

Okay I’m Counting down a list of the Undertaker’s top allies. I only have a list of nine people because I couldn’t think of a tenth. I would make Rock or Big Show the tenth guy, but they never really cared about allying with Taker. They don’t have much story with them.


9) Steve Austin

In 1998 Steve Austin won his first WWE Title, and immediately became a thorn in Vince McMahon’s side. McMahon’s master plan to get the belt off Austin was at Over the Edge 1998. Austin would Face Dude Love for the WWE Belt, with Vince as special guest referee and McMahon’s top underlings, Pat Patterson and Gerry Briscoe, as guest announcer and guest time-keeper. Austin had the decked stacked against him at Over the Edge until he was able to force Vince to allow Austin to choose a special enforcer. Austin chose the Undertaker. Since that time The Undertaker and Austin have been rivals that had a begrudging respect. Both men are as willing to back each other up as they were willing to kick the crap out of each other.

8)Carlos Ray Norris

Okay this guy is a bit of a stretch. Undertaker was beaten harshly by Yokozuna at the 1994 Royal Rumble, in a casket match. Basically Yokozuna had every heel in the back locker room help him lock Undertaker in the casket. If you may have noticed Undertaker used to and come back even stronger when he returns from the dead. Undertaker would finally get his hands on Yokozuna at Survivor Series 1994, in another casket match. This time Chuck Norris was brought in as the special enforcer, and was pretty much able to keep the heels away from the match (IRS made it, but didn’t succeed in costing Taker the match). Yoko was put in the casket, and Chuck was about as happy as he can get with his mountains of charisma,

7) The Acolytes

In 1998 The Undertaker began his Ministry of Darkness. Other than Paul Bearer, the Acolytes were the fist to join the Ministry. They would go on to win the tag belts, and join forces with Mideon to take on Undertaker’s various dissenters. Farooque and Bradshaw were also the few members of the Ministry that joined willingly.

6) Million Dollar Man and Brother Love

Well it was (kayfabe) Ted DiBiase that brought in the Undertaker at Survivor Series 1990. DiBiase offered Undertaker the services of Brother Love, and they were off. True, Paul Bearer would takeover as Undertaker’s manager, but it was Ted DiBiase, and Brother Love that got the ball rolling for The Deadman.


5) Vince McMahon

In the Spring of 1999, both The Ministry of Darkness and Vince McMahon’s “Corporation” were falling apart, the two teams would merge and become “The Corporate Ministry”. We didn’t know it at the time, but the merger was the secret plan put together by both Vince McMahon and The Undertaker. With the Corporation and Ministry merging, Undertaker would take the Rock’s place as Vince’s new Corporate Champion. Taker would later ally with McMahon after the 2001 Survivor Series when he attacked JR, and force Ross to physically kiss Vince McMahon’s ass. By Spring of 2002, Undertaker was champion after he beat Hulk Hogan for the WWE Undisputed Title. All of this was done with Vince’s blessing.

4) The Taker Buddies

Okay at Survivor Series ’95, these guys were called “The Darksiders”, or something. The team was made up of Savio Vega, Fatu, Henry  O Godwinn, and ofcourse The Undertaker. The point about this team is that each of these guys were The Undertaker’s friends in real life. These guys made up the Undertaker version of the Clique. They also all survived that night, and Undertaker was able to get his revenge on King Mable for crushing Taker’s face earlier that year.

3) Jake “The Snake” Roberts

This was Undertaker’s first wrestling mentor, and taught the Undertaker the meaning of evil as they took down the likes of the Ultimate Warrior, and attacked Randy Savage at Savage’s own wedding. The final lesson Jake taught to Undertaker was not to trust your allies, when Roberts would turn on Undertaker and Paul Bearer.

2) Kane

Undertaker’s greatest enemy is also his greatest ally. Kane and Taker are called the Brother’s of Destruction for a reason. The only reason these two never dominated the WWE was because they could sustain seeing eye to eye for longer than a few months. They began their alliance in the Summer of 1998, and it was obvious that they were heading for total domination of the WWE. The only reason they failed was because their obsession for the WWE championship was stronger than their blood ties.  Both men have taken on the likes of Triple H and Steve Austin, and Edge and Christian. They also faced WCW heavyweights, DDP and Kanyon, and Kronik.

1)Paul Bearer

The man who understood the Undertaker, and could utilize him. Paul Bearer and the Undertaker were close friends from 1991 to 1996, when Bearer turned on Taker in favor of Mankind. Bearer and Undertaker would unite again in 1998 when Taker created his Ministry of Darkness. Bearer would take Undertaker to the WWE Championship again, and the tag titles with the Big Show. After several years Paul would reunite with Undertaker in his feud with the Dudley Boys only for Undertaker to leave Bearer helpless in a vat of cement. The two would reunite once more, but this time it was Bearer that would turn on the Undertaker in favor of Kane. Weeks before WrestleMania 29 Bearer had died. Undertaker would face CM Punk and defeat him, in honor of Paul Bearer. All in all Bearer took the Undertaker to 2 WWE Title Victories, 1 tag reign, and 1 World Title reign.

Your Heel of the Week is Bo Dallas for pissing off Mark Henry, and winning.

Top 5 Constipated Wrestlers

5) Loki

4) Taz

3) Steve Blackman

1) A tie between Ken Shamrock, and The Ultimate Warrior


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WWE Announcer Tom Phillips Added to Friday Night SmackDown Broadcast Team Sat, 23 Aug 2014 15:04:50 +0000 WWE announcer Tom Phillips has been added to the Friday Night SmackDown broadcast team. Phillips debuted last night and did the play-by-play alongside Michael Cole and JBL. Phillips and Renee Young also work the WWE Superstars broadcasts together, as well as NXT. He also does backstage interviews on Raw as well.

CB’s Slant: Tom Phillips was a welcome addition to the SmackDown broadcast and I thought he did a good job fitting in with JBL and Cole while contributing positively to the matches he called.

I can see he and Renee Young working SmackDown together one day, or having Renee added to the Raw broadcast team if a spot ever opens up.×120.jpg

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DVD Review: “Ladies & Gentlemen, My Name Is Paul Heyman” Thu, 07 Aug 2014 04:03:27 +0000  

Ladies & Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman Header Image

The first thing you need to know about Paul Heyman is that he had more ambition and drive at 14 years old than the majority of adults have. He didn’t apply for a job, he created one. He didn’t ask for a press pass at Madison Square Garden, he said he was already promised one & they handed one over. He didn’t concede the floor to the more veteran & respected journalists, he slid right in front of them to get the best picture for his magazine. Yes, Paul Heyman, at 14, had created his own “dirt sheet”. Just at the beginning of puberty, he was going toe-to-toe with newsletters like the PWTorch and the Wrestling Observer. Heyman described his passion for wrestling & his ambition for the business when he said he didn’t only want to be a part of the business but he wanted to be a part of the magic that made pro-wrestling what it is.

Before moving to a larger, more prominent on-screen role, Heyman flew his way down to a Jim Crockett Promotions TV taping where Dusty Rhodes was the current booker. Heyman, true to his brazen nature, walked into the pre-production room with all of the other backstage personnel and sat in the farthest corner from where Dusty would be sitting. Upon his arrival, Rhodes immediately noticed the new kid sitting in the back corner of the room but instead of calling Heyman out in front of everyone, Dusty calmly walked over to where Heyman sat and asked to speak with him outside of the office. When Rhodes asked Paul who he was and why he was sitting in on “his” meeting, Heyman smoothly explained that he was there to take photos but was interested in learning more about the business & thought Dusty Rhodes would be a great teacher. After a LONG pause, Dusty responded that if Paul wanted to learn from anyone that he chose the best in the “great Dusty Rhodes” and to get back in the meeting. After that first encounter, Heyman would attend every meeting thereafter moving closer to Dusty’s inner circle every time.

Heyman would soon return back to New York City & once again talked his way into another job, the official photographer for Studio 54 at only 20 years old. When Studio 54’s head of promotion left for a rival club, Heyman convinced the manager that HE could promote for the club. And promote he did. The first event? A wrestling event where he attracted numerous celebrities and members of the NWA because he created a Wrestler of the Year award to present to the current NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Ric Flair.

Flair and Heyman

Paul Heyman’s stint at Studio 54 didn’t last very long as relatively soon after his successful NWA/Studio 54 event, he began managing in the Northeast before getting a call to join Kevin Sullivan and Oliver Humperdink as a manager in Championship Wrestling from Florida. This where he was first dubbed “Paul E. Dangerously” and moved quickly to Memphis and the Continental Wrestling Association where he joined Tommy Rich and Austin Idol in a heated feud with Jerry Lawler. Largely based on the success of this feud & others, Heyman made the jump to Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW. The new Paul E. Dangerously continued his managerial success by linking up with the Original Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose) in a feud with the new Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane) and their manager, Jim Cornette. Despite the success of this feud and the Paul E. Dangerously character in general, Heyman was fired as a manager by the head of WCW’s creative team at the time, Ric Flair but was quickly rehired as a color commentator when WCW’s main play-by-play man Jim Ross expressed his desire to work with Heyman on commentary. In 1991, WCW’s lack of top name heels & its desire to “re-structure” their heels led them to the conclusion that a new “Horsemen”-type stable should be formed with Paul Heyman as their mouthpiece. Heyman was immediately paired up with veterans such as Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko and a returning Rick Rude. The one wrestler Heyman lobbied to be in this new stable was the current WCW TV Champion, “Stunning” Steve Austin and thus the Dangerous Alliance was born. He had been watching Austin’s talent and knew Austin could learn how to be a main eventer from riding with Rick Rude (and I believe that worked out quite well). The Dangerous Alliance rode high through 1992 with Bobby Eaton & Arn Anderson winning the tag team championships and Rick Rude capturing the United States Championship while feuding with WCW’s top babyface Sting. But the Alliance’s time was cut too short as WCW hired Bill Watts who promptly fired Paul Heyman. Heyman admits that he sued the company & won a substantial settlement but can’t disclose anymore details. Now out of a job and looking for the next opportunity, Heyman headed back to the Northeast & Eastern Championship Wrestling. He was 28 years old.

The stories from the ECW-era where more of the same that have been explored in the past. There were a few moments where the truth finally came out & definitely some surprises. Heyman openly acknowledges that Vince McMahon contacted him about using ECW as a private developmental territory and offered to pay Heyman handsomely. Paul accepted the talent exchange agreement but refused to be put on the WWF payroll. Instead, Heyman insisted that McMahon make any payments to ECW’s parent company, HHG Corp. Therefore Paul Heyman never received a paycheck from the World Wrestling Federation or the McMahon Family until he became an on-air personality. One of the most surprising stories revealed in this documentary was that Shane McMahon almost bought ECW in 2000 when it was about to file for bankruptcy. He wanted to purchase the company in order to prepare for eventually taking over the WWE from his father Vince. That deal obviously fell through and ECW filed for bankruptcy. The controversy around Heyman appearing on WWF TV before ECW was officially bankrupt was purely a legal ploy. He couldn’t tell any of the ECW wrestlers but he knew that if he could keep the company open during the bankruptcy process then when the paperwork was finally approved, all of the payroll checks for the talent would be covered under bankruptcy and would be paid in full.

Once the Alliance/Invasion angle had run its course and Paul Heyman’s brief return to color commentary was over, Heyman was lost in a company that already had an overabundance of talent with the acquisition of the ECW & WCW rosters. Looking for his next big challenge, it was former ECW champion & current color commentator Tazz who convinced Heyman to look at what would be the “Next Big Thing”, Brock Lesnar. Heyman was immediately impressed by Brock Lesnar’s athleticism, his wrestling background, his youth and willingness to learn. After studying Lesnar, it was Heyman who pitched bringing Brock Lesnar up to the main roster to Vince McMahon but it was Vince who put them together on-screen after hearing Paul’s passion for Lesnar’s potential.

When time ran its course with the Heyman/Lesnar partnership, Heyman was placed as the General Manager of SmackDown with a good amount of creative input although Stephanie McMahon was still the head of the creative team. Only months into his run as the GM, he and Stephanie McMahon essentially switched roles as she became the new General Manager of SmackDown and Heyman took over as SmackDown’s head of creative. It was during this time that we saw a huge youth and tag team movement. Adam “Edge” Copeland fully credits Heyman as being the guy to give him a shot on his own & really break him out as a single’s star on SmackDown. In fact, during this time in WWE history, SmackDown/Paul Heyman skyrocketed Edge, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Booker T, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Hass, JBL, Matt Hardy and John Cena. That list contains Hall Of Famers Eddie Guerrero, Booker T & Edge with sure-fire future Hall Of Famers Kurt Angle, John Cena and Rey Mysterio. Yet despite some of the best SmackDown episodes in years, the WWE felt Heyman wasn’t really following their model and doing his own thing regardless of the input he would received and transferred him down to OVW to work with the younger talent.

CM Punk & Beth Phoenix where the two big names that were in OVW at the time Heyman took over. Punk was immediately thrilled to get to learn the business from one of his inspirations as a teenager who grew up with ECW. Paul Heyman admits that he didn’t know what he was getting into with OVW but was thrilled to be working with developing talent again & instantly clicked with Punk. CM Punk’s passion for all aspects of pro-wrestling made for a perfect student/teacher relationship even leading to Heyman asking Punk to help write some of the shows. Paul said about Punk, “I’ve never seen someone grasp how to put together a show as quickly as Punk. I was learning from Punk before I was done teaching him.”

Today’s Paul Heyman in the WWE is about having fun-loving being in the wrestling business purely as on-screen talent. Plus he still gets to work some of the younger talent, specifically Renee Young who he has taken under his wing. She proudly admits that she’s a “Paul Heyman Girl” and is learning more than she ever thought possible from Heyman. Many of today’s wrestlers see a total change in the Paul Heyman that walks around television now compared to many of his previous stints with the WWE. He’s much more relaxed and having fun compared to politicking & fighting over the simplest of matters.

“Ladies & Gentlemen, My Name Is Paul Heyman” is BY FAR one of the best documentaries WWE has ever released. Paul Heyman is brutally honest about his success and failures, his achievements and mistakes. No one interviewed pulled any punches and the list of talent interviewed is impressive in itself. Names such as Larry Zbyszko, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Ross, Joey Styles, Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Gabe Sapolsky, Tod Gordon, Stephanie McMahon, Edge, Brock Lesnar, Renee Young, CM Punk and Bray Wyatt are just a few on the impressive list of talent featured. You not only get a fantastic look back at a great talent’s career but you also get to truly now the man Paul Heyman. He’s open about everything in his lifetime and the man who shines through your TV screen is truly a man you will have the up most respect for.


Click below to listen to the exclusive interview I conducted with Paul Heyman:


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CB’s Slant: Why WWE Should Cut John Cena and Other Controversial Roster Trimming Ideas Fri, 01 Aug 2014 09:34:15 +0000 WWE has indicated that they are in cost-cutting mode and that they were going to make some tough decisions to save money and seemingly placate investors.

There are now rumors that more roster cuts will be made on the talent side, and so I thought now would be a good time to offer up my own audacious (and admittedly unrealistic) wish list for WWE roster cuts.

1. Cut John Cena: Like him or hate him, John Cena is always there. I mean always, as in he never backs down, he is always at the top of the card, and he never gives up … his spot.

While WWE looks at Cena as their biggest moneymaker and their top draw, I look at him as their biggest moneymaker and top draw … by default.

Think about how many times Cena at the top of the card has hindered other potential big draws from fully realizing that potential, and you’ll see a pattern that indicates (at least to me) a huge loss in revenue over the past few years.

The reason I say this is that more big stars means more big money, and because Cena has been so consistently used as their safest choice of a cash cow, there haven’t been as many breakthroughs at the top as there could have been.

Cutting Cena is obviously not going to happen, but my point is that WWE has created a situation where Cena’s presence causes a real logjam that prevents the WWE machine from really moving forward.

I bet you can list at least 5 wrestlers whose growth has been stunted over the years by Vince and the writers always sticking with Cena, and just think how much more money could have been made if that wasn’t the case.

2. Cut Randy Orton: Just like Cena, Randy Orton is (mostly) always there, and he’s another character that is more stale than most. Unlike Cena, I don’t think Orton really draws any money or interest anymore, and so it’s time to cut costs and say goodbye or at least shuffle him down the card to the point where he isn’t blocking someone else from emerging as a fresh new moneymaking draw.

3. Cut the Writing Staff: Overpaid, underwhelming, and ultimately vetoed by Vince anyway.

4. Cut Michael Cole and Have Jerry Lawler Retire from Announcing: Cole probably makes a ton of money for what he does and he and Lawler lose money for the company on a weekly basis (along with Vince being in their headsets) by failing to promote the wrestlers in the ring and the tasks at hand. Keep JBL and put him with Renee Young and call it a day.

These are just some ideas for potential bold roster cuts. Sound off with your own thoughts on my picks as well as your own ideas in the comments section below!

That’s all from me — CB.×120.jpg

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