This Week in ‘E – Summer of Punk ’09

Kane gets some time off, some developmentals get their pink slips, Chris Masters returns to make more Masterpieces and plenty of Extreme fall out.

Opening Witty Banter
The thought process of deciding to do a Monday morning wrestling column was that I could immediately post thoughts on a Sunday night pay per view; a show that may ultimately trump or throw out all of the week’s previous news. This is one of those weeks. Last night’s Extreme Rules changed up things quite heavily in WWE and looks to set up things for the summer. At the eleventh hour I thought about ordering this pay per view and in hindsight I probably should have.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
Last night’s Extreme Rules pay per view definitely showed that the company’s pay per view schedule is extremely bloated, even after cutting down from sixteen that they had back in 2006. Back in the day there was almost six months in between WrestleMania and SummerSlam to set up long-term rivalries and now there are five pay per views cluttered in between the two flagship shows. And Judgment Day from three weeks ago showed how worthless a pay per view it was by having of its matches rematched at Extreme Rules, most of which provided very different results. Seriously, Judgment Day could have just as well been a special three-hour RAW or a Saturday Night’s Main Event for what it actually accomplished. I can remember every WWF pay per view card from the ‘80s (not a cool thing to admit) but can barely remember what happened a month and a half ago at Backlash.

Extreme Rules actually looked to lay some groundwork for the company’s summer plans through the very crowded June and July leading up to SummerSlam. Here is a match-by-match fall out and what it leads heading into the Summer of Punk.

In the opening match, Kofi Kingston successfully defended his United States Championship in a fatal four way against Montel Vontavious Porter, William Regal and Matt Hardy when Kingston pinned Regal.

Expect Kingston to continue his feud with Regal and Hardy while Porter moves on to bigger things. Kofi has an infectious personality and undeniable charisma that makes it easy for the fans to get behind. He’s young, well built, incredibly in shape and one of the most agile athletes in WWE today. Barring any unforeseen circumstances expect the Kingston to have a long and prosperous career in the ranks of World Wrestling Entertainment. As for Porter I would say this is chance to move up the card but with Cena, Show, Orton, Batista and HHH all crowding the top card it kind of leaves Porter in limbo.

In a No Holds Barred mach for the Intercontinental Championship, Chris Jericho beat Rey Mysterio by ripping his mask off and rolling him up. With this victory Jericho now becomes a nine time Intercontinental Champion, breaking his own previous record of eight reigns.

I love that Jericho is continually making the Intercontinental Title his bitch. Jericho is a guy I always associate the I-C belt with, the best actual wrestler in the company at the time that isn’t in the main event with the oversized lugs. (See Hart, Michaels, Hennig, Steamboat, Santana and others.) People are already be-moaning the fact Jericho is back in the mid-card and not in the main event, but he proved he is a main event talent and couple jump back in to the win the World Title at a moment’s notice. This evolving feud with Mysterio isn’t over and I expect to build up to a mask for title match at SummerSlam (if not sooner.)

CM Punk beat Umaga in a Samoan Strap match.

With Punk winning later in the night it would seem that Umaga would have won this match to automatically set himself up as the first contender, but then again Punk may be turning heel and Umaga wouldn’t fit in that spot anyways. Thanks to Umaga learning to speak he now opens himself up to even more storylines and will find himself in a good place on the card. As for Punk, things got a whole lot more interesting later on in the night.

In a triple threat match for the ECW Championship, Tommy Dreamer pinned Jack Swagger go win the match and the Title. Current ECW Champion Christian was not included in the final decision. If Tommy had not won the match and the Championship he would have left World Wrestling Entertainment.

I had all but written down that Tommy took the fall in this match so I’m quite surprised (yet perfectly okay with) the result of Dreamer winning his ECW Title once again. I figured Tommy would take the fall and get a couple minutes on “his pay per view” to cry and say goodbye. I’m intrigued to see where this leads on ECW as Tommy now leads a tight little roster of Evan Bourne, Christian and Finlay on his side of the locker room against Swagger, Mark Henry, Vladimir Kozlov and those pesky Hart kids on the bad guys’ side of things. That being said, I still don’t expect Dreamer to have a long reign as the heel side is just too strong for Dreamer not to put one of the young kids over in the very near future. Where that will lead Tommy? I have no idea at that point.

Santina Marella beat Chavo Guerrero and Vickie Guerrero in a handicap Hog Pen match for the Miss WrestleMania crown.

Worthless “comedy” crap and I don’t care. At least Chavo Guerrero got a pay per view pay day I guess.

Batista pinned Randy Orton clean in the middle of the ring in a cage match to win the WWE Championship.

This seems like such a left field decision as Batista has really become known as the always being the number contender but never the champion. I felt that Orton and Legacy were building a hot streak and this Title reign was criminally short. With Batista, Orton, Cena, Big Show and Triple H on top of RAW it is Jim Ross’ wet dream and “hoss” central. At least SmackDown will be able to carry the wrestling end of things. Expect Batista to spend the summer tangling with Orton, Cena and Triple H especially as he has built in history with all three that can at least be tangled into decent stories if creative is willing.

John Cena made The Big Show tap out in a submission match.

It was pretty much what everyone expected as it was apparently slow and plodding. And to no one’s surprise Cena came out winning clean as a whistle, continuing to look like Superman in the process. It’s safe to say that this feud is over and done with. Now expect Cena to get back into the WWE Title scene. Batista does owe him a job you know.

In the main event ladder match for the World Heavyweight Championship, Jeff Hardy beat Edge to win the World Title. Immediately after the match CM Punk came out to cash in his Money in the Bank title shot and beat Hardy to win his second World Championship. Both of his reigns have come from cashing in Money in the Bank briefcases.

Pretty much everyone pegged Punk to cash in Money in the Bank last month in his hometown of Chicago, so having him do it tonight was a big surprise. Jeff Hardy won the match to win his first World Heavyweight Championship and looked to be a feel good moment to end the show only for Punk to arrive and cash in Money in the Bank to pick up his second World Championship. As I expected SmackDown’s World Title scene is wide open thanks to these three, Jericho, Mysterio, Umaga and others like Kane, Morrison and Benjamin, and it couldn’t be a better thing. If Punk turns heel it could be the rocket to his superstardom, but either way there are enough guys on either side of the picket fence that will provide interesting SmackDown main event for weeks and months to come. I’m getting ahead of myself but Paul Heyman’s SmackDown Six from 2002 may get some competition from this group of SmackDown all-stars.

Over the course of the week four developmental talents were released from their contracts. They include Lupe Santiago, Dakota “Maverick” Darsow, “Prime Time” Jon Cutler and Kafu (Victor Ceron).

I have literally nothing to say about anything of these men as I’ve never seen any of them in action and there was never any big noise coming out about any of them, but my extreme markdom for Demolition makes me bemoan the release of Maverick Darsow and hope that he gets another chance down the road, if only to hear that ridiculously awesome Rick Derringer theme just one more time.

The reason Kane hasn’t been seen on WWE TV since the week after Backlash is that creative has nothing for him.

Okay I actually don’t mind giving Kane a little time off. The character of Kane has been going non-stop since the fall of ‘97 and has undergone an incredible series of heel and face turns and terrible storylines. A few months off won’t hurt his overness in the slightest and right now his monster enforcer role is occupied by Umaga. He’ll be back soon enough to fill in whatever role (heel or face) the company needs of him.

Chris Masters has re-signed with World Wrestling Entertainment. He met with Vince McMahon when they were in LA a couple weeks ago and was offered a contract.

The Internet flamed Masters alive when this broke, especially in the wake of releases of men like Elijah Burke and Mr. Kennedy. Me? I’m going to hold judgment until he returns to TV as I can’t imagine he will be back with the wooden Masterpiece gimmick and terrible Masterlock Challenge. The company seems way more serious of Wellness at this point and I don’t expect Masters to be the roided up monkey he was back in 2005. Some time away and some seasoning could have seriously helped the very young Masters. (Man do I sound like JR with this company line stuff or what?)

Wrestler of the Week
Week of June 1 – 7: CM Punk
This was a big week for a lot of people in the WWE Universe as on Monday Kofi Kingston won the United States Championship and as Extreme Rules went on it looked as if Tommy Dreamer or Batista could make a case for the WOTW, but by the night’s end and after the smoke had cleared CM Punk stood tall after defeating Umaga early in the night in a strap match and then cashing in his second Money in the Bank briefcase. He defeated new World Champion Jeff Hardy for his second World Title reign. When Punk won his second Money in the Bank people were confused and many (including yours truly) assumed this would be the first year that Money wouldn’t be cashed in for a Title victory. It looks as if every once in a while WWE can still surprise us.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Tonight on RAW starts another new era in WWE as the increasingly stale Batista beat red-hot Randy Orton for his first WWE Championship. Expect tonight’s RAW to start of a summer of power wrestling for the flagship brand as with Batista leading the way and John Cena, Randy Orton, Big Show and possibly returning Triple H lining up as challengers it looks to be some plodding Monday night main events. Also last night Santina Marella won back “her” Miss WrestleMania crown, Kofi Kingston retained the US Championship and John Cena continued to be Superman. All of this and more I’m sure will be addressed tonight on RAW.

On Last Week’s Episode…
SmackDown

Superstars

ECW

RAW

How They Rated
Superstars (5.28.09) – .8

SmackDown! (5.30.09) – 1.7

A.M. RAW (5.31.09) – .7

RAW (6.1.09) – 3.4

ECW (6.2.09) – 1.05

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Wheeler’s unbridled thoughts on last week’s RAW.

Wiswell looks at Ring of Honor has been doing well or improving on since the Pearce era began.

In Case You Didn’t Spend the $40
PK brought the live coverage for last night’s Extreme Rules pay per view.

IP Staff Roundtable Results for WWE Extreme Rules pay per view
Here’s the Extreme Rules roundtable featuring Pulse’s best and brightest. No one predicted the Punk cash-in (like we thought last month) and our results were fairly middling.

Roundtable co-Champions: Raffi Shamir: 5-3 (84-65) and Andrew Wheeler: 5-3 (139-78)

The rest:
Mark Allen: 4-4 (142-72)
Matthew Michaels: 4-4 (153-133)
Brad Curran: 4-4 (69-45)

For more relevant, interesting and exciting wrestling information from your truly, check out my gig as the Pro Wrestling Examiner over at Examiner.com.

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