Tuesday Morning Backlash: NXT Nexus Saved Thanks to Vince McMahon, John Cena, Rey Mysterio Champion

While Frank Sinatra sings stormy weather, the flies and spiders get along together, and WWE saves the NXT angle form last week’s nonsense. Who knew? Welcome to the best wrestling coverage on the net. Let’s look at how the WWE saved this angle and a whole lot more. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and bookmark this so you can read at your own leisure.

1) WWE Raw Thoughts – NXT Nexus Angle Saved because of John Cena, Vince McMahon
2) WWE Smackdown Thoughts – Rey Mysterio as Champion
3) TNA Impact Thoughts – Lethal vs. Flair Excitement
4) WWE NXT/Superstars/Misc – NXT Season 2 Pros Fail
5) ROH Thoughts – What’s Next Atop the Card
6) Guest Spot – More from Fake Vince
7) A Modest Response – To Andy Wheeler on Evan Bourne and Chris Jericho
8) History Time – 5 Wrestlers You Should See More Of
9) Match Review – Kota Ibushi and KENTA vs. Marufuji and Nakajima
10) Personal Life/Blog/whatever – About Us – Chapter 1

1) WWE Raw Thoughts – NXT Nexus Angle Saved because of John Cena, Vince McMahon

The NXT Stable, apparently now called “Nexus” had a rocky week last week, but one week later, the stable is back on track. Last week on WWE Raw, not only was Daniel Bryan fired with nary a mention, nor any reaction, but the NXT Rookies lost a brawl with the Raw roster and had a cartoon-like segment of kidnapping Bret Hart. All of this combined to take some luster off the hottest angle in years, but between the Fatal Four-Way PPV and last night’s Raw, the stable is back.

On the PPV, the Nexus attacked several mid-card faces. This shows that they are hypocrites, making them bigger heels, as they said their issue was only with former NXT Pros and they only wanted a job. The rookies then proceeded to cost John Cena the title and destroy the former champion yet again. Better yet, the crowd responded with Daniel Bryan chants, showing how over the angle is getting and putting Bryan in the Matt Hardy-role when he was let go when Edge was with Lita.

On Raw then, the Rookies apologized for their attack, but only after again beating on the Hart Dynasty and having cost Bret Hart his job as GM of Raw. To end the show, they not only laid out Cena again, but then they really turned, destroying Vince McMahon. This is especially impressive as it gets rid of the higher power angle.

In the late 90s Vince was the heel behind everything, most notably being the higher power of Undertaker’s Corporate Ministry. Newer fans have been treated to little besides mcMahon’s villainy. There was a sinking moment of history repeating itself when Vince claimed credit for the Nexus’ actions, which could have killed the angle… but the Nexus came through, established themselves as threats all their own… and, thanks to the new mystery GM, fulltime members of the roster.

Ultimately, this angle is being saved by the willingness of the top of the roster to give. The Nexus Rookies have come out a head at every turn. John Cena has been laid out multiple times and the one time he was ready, they took out the General Manager that was protecting him. NXT also look like total bad asses for taking out Vince McMahon. You don’t get any bigger than Vince McMahon, John Cena, and Bret Hart. Everyone has been willing to look bad for these rookies, for this angle to get over, and because they’re willing to push the envelope with the heroes and villains vulnerabilities, the angle is succeeding.

2) WWE Smackdown Thoughts – Rey Mysterio as Champion

Rey Mysterio got his second WWE Title win at the Fatal Four Way PPV and while this is a surprise, it’s easy to see why the title was given to him. Rey has often lately complained of his push and pay, but has been said to be a far better corporate soldier of late. Further, he was promised time off to heal after his CM Punk feud, but with the injuries to the Undertaker, he was immediately called back to action. Since he came back from promised time off and his attitude improved, Rey was due to be rewarded. The World Title was his reward.

Even though the title reign was purely political, it’s still not a bad idea. Mysterio has been a top guy in the WWE for years and had only one title reign prior, the Eddie Guerrero’s death tribute reign. Rey was booked as a weak champion, winning on flukes, but now, with him more established, and no ready made monster heel to crush him, Mysterio should get a proper reign, only right for an athlete of his caliber.

The belt being on Rey leads into a ready-made feud with Jack Swagger. Swagger did well as champion, but didn’t set the world on fire. Now, like CM Punk and Sheamus before him, we get to find out if he can hold on to a top spot without the belt. This is especially beneficial to Swagger since he’ll be facing someone who’s perfectly capable of making him look like a monster- not something Punk got from Taker or Sheamus got from Triple H.

Finally, a top of the Smackdown card with Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger, Kane vs. CM Punk and Big Show involved in one or the other works well. Sure, it could be better with Big Show having his own feud, and maybe they’ll elevate Drew McIntyre that way, but short of that, we’re left with two reasonably good feuds. We have Swagger, a champion who didn’t earn it getting heat by complaining about Rey stealing his title, and we have Kane trying to get revenge for Undertaker on CM Punk. Both feuds have the potential for great heat and star power, and both have more heat because Rey is the champion.

3) TNA Impact Thoughts – Excitement for Ric Flair vs. Jay Lethal

This isn’t going to be a complicated section- the title actually says the whole point. I’m actively excited for Ric Flair vs. Jay Lethal and am considering checking out the July PPV for their match.

Jay Lethal is making himself a star and inspiring Ric Flair. Since Flair joined TNA, it’s felt as is he lost it and/or was just going through the motions. Going to work with Jay Lethal has changed that. Right now Flair looks his best since the build to his farewell match with Shawn Michaels, which was, in turn, the best he looked since his last farewell with Triple H. Without needing to invoke retirement, be an all time great, or a close personal friend of Flair, Jay Lethal, through sheer charisma and ability has inspired Flair back to these heights.

So, can the match be great? Certainly! Ric Flair can have a great match; if not physically capable, he’s still smart enough to put together a miniature classic. Jay Lethal, meanwhile, is about as good a wrestler as is around, with great skill at selling to cover up for Flair’s liabilities and enough athleticism to make the rest of the match feel faster paced than Flair is capable of. It’s amazing that this is the same company that just turned Abyss heel for the eight millionth time. As silly as that is, this angle has been great.

4) WWE NXT Thoughts – WWE NXT Season 2 is Failing

WWE NXT season 2 isn’t working for me at all. Sure, the rookies are a bit less talented overall (the drop from Danielson to Low Ki, from Barrett to Hennig or Riley is significant), but that isn’t the problem with the show. The problem with the show is the Pros.

The pros of season 1 were experienced veterans and even the worst on the mic, Fat Hardy excluded, was pretty good. This season has several Pros who just sound lost. LayCool have been great, while The Miz is awesome on the mic, and Kofi, with his mic skills should be in the main event. Cody Rhodes, as well, has been a revelation.

The rest, most notably John Morrison, just sound lost. Ryder isn’t bad on the mic, but is surely not developed or rounded enough to not seem entirely absurd, and we know how long comedy gimmicks last. MVP has mic ability, but that ability rarely translates into promos unless he’s very focused. And Mark Henry… well, he’s Mark Henry. This show is going to need a lot more scripting that Season 1 if this is going to be all the pros can muster. The show will simply be unwatchable if they give John Morrison a live mic and this is what comes out:

So much for “the next Shawn Michaels.”

5) ROH Thoughts – iPPV Succeeds, but what’s next?

Ring of Honor went out and, arguably using ex-booker Gabe Sapolsky’s ideas, tossed out an excellent internet PPV for their fans. They blew off several big angles, including Kevin Steen vs. El Generico, The Kings of Wrestling vs. the Briscoes, and Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards. The problem is, with these feuds done, where does ROH go from here?

Tyler Black currently has only one challenger lined up: Roderick Strong. Strong’s recent heel turn gives him a reason to face Black. The problem is, Strong was used to face Black during the Austin Aries feud and it’s hardly a fresh match. Since the Aries feud is so recent, Black shouldn’t face him again. The next two heels in line are seemingly Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli, but each is busy with the Tag Titles.

Of course, the tag titles present their own problems. The only ones to really challenge as faces currently are El Generico and Colt Cabana. While this seems like a good one off match, Generico and Colt hardly have the feel of a regular team and thus it’s hard to imagine this going long. Still, with such limited options, it’s seemingly the way to go.

This leaves Kevin Steen looking strong and without an opponent. Since he’s a heel, he should likely slot into a feud with Tyler Black. While it’s hard to see their styles meshing particularly well, Steen’s persona should at least get this match some heat. Of course, Pulse Wrestling regular readers should know that though their styles don’t seem to match, Steen one of his best matches ever was against Tyler Black. If they re-capture that magic, then the pressure is off the rest of the top of the card, and ROH might just get away with having created so few stars.

6) Guest Spot: More from Fake Vince McMahon

1. Why would you release Danielson? I thought you cared about your fans!

“See this blog post: http://fakevince.tumblr.com/post/695539364/so-daniel-bryan-is-gone-is-the-nxt-faction-done. That explains it pretty handily. My hands were tied. Bischoff explained this sort of frustration really well in his book.”

2. How about TNA’s recent “changing forever?”

“Yeah. I think they hired Heyman as a booking consultant, and moved Russo to production. Outside of that, no idea. Maybe they’ll make Jay Lethal do a Chief Jay Strongbow impersonation for a year after it stops being funny.”

3. Why was Mr. McMahon back on television so soon?

“Why was I back on TV? Because I felt like being on TV. I own the company. Kind of get to make calls like that.

See you next week!”

Hit the link in the title and read the “Least Favorite Male Wrestler” post. It’s classic.

7) A Modest Response to Andy Wheeler on Evan Bourne and Chris Jericho

“So Jericho is on a losing streak, Evan Bourne needs credibility for his push, and someone in Creative figured out how to solve a simple word problem equation: one veteran who keeps losing plus one rising star in need of a win equals an opportunity to not fuck things up. Since I and about half of the Net predicted that Chris Jericho was going to be the leader or advisor for the NXT pack, the fear that he is going to be buried too badly by this gimmick just isn’t there. He’ll be fine. It’s like I’ve always said; marks have kneejerk reactions while smart fans think big picture.
Chris Jericho is one of those stars that has officially obtained the title of perpetually over despite stupid booking. He can lose to pretty much anyone and still get his heat back. Hell, he got knocked out by an actor and turned it into a run that garnered him another world title. Folks, having a spirited match with a talented opponent is never going to hurt anyone, and that’s what happened here. The Long Island crowd was hot for this match, and while they started off cheering for Jericho, they wound up being won over by Evan Bourne. Sure, there were still Y2J chants, but if even one third of that audience now believes that Bourne is a credible threat, then the match was a success. The only thing I would have liked more was for this to happen on RAW so that a bigger audience could have witnessed a potential star moment (though I think Bourne will be in the MITB match at the PPV so he should be fine).”
Of late, these two have been tearing the house down in their matches. This is extraordinarily good news for the wrestling fan for two major reasons, only one of which people are actually paying attention to.

The best part is the most obvious- it’s entertaining as all get out and is making Evan Bourne a star. Evan is putting on exciting matches with the biggest heat magnet in the company. This will get people to care in and of itself. Even better, he’s winning pretty regularly and, as it’s so rare for any new guy to get wins regularly over a former multi-time champion, Bourne comes off a star.

It is also good that Bourne is winning regularly but not every match. This is one of the few cases where even booking actually works and helps. If Bourne were just dominant he’d be being shoved down fans throats and they’d know the outcome whenever Bourne faced Jericho. The matches going both ways means you never know who will come out on top and that adds excitement to the feud. This being Jericho, he will naturally get frustrated by this, and that’s when we get the heat on top of the excitement.

The hidden benefit to this feud is that Bourne gets to work with Chris freakin’ Jericho a lot. As good as Bourne is, he isn’t in Jericho’s class and has neither worked the same class of wrestler as Jericho does nor gone on a long feud with anyone as good as Jericho. On the indies he was mostly used as a crowd popper, and his pushes in WWE have been so inconsistent that he’s not really getting top notch in ring training in general. With Jericho that changes. He can lead and teach Bourne in the ring, helping him reach his destiny as the hybrid of Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman.

8) History Time: 5 Greats You Should See More of

1. Wahoo McDaniel – Wahoo was a tough man and excellent wrestler. Working as a face, his chop based offense looked real and deadly, as he was a top wrestler in the AWA, Mid-Atlantic and anywhere else he worked. He was so smart and over, with such good timing, he was able to wrestle late into his life and still have great matches.

2. Barry Windham – Most people remember heel Barry as a member of the Horsemen and that’s a damn shame. Windham was, for a time, the perfect babyface. He was young, energetic, could keep up an amazing pace, work multiple styles, sell, had a ton of athleticism and even a great look and size. His matches with Ric Flair are right up there with the far more popular Steamboat series from 1989.

3. Kevin Von Erich – Kerry is most remembered because he got the big matches and NWA World Title win, as well as the national exposure from the WWE. David was often considered the best because he was the biggest and had the best presence. But people rarely mention Kevin except as the surviving Von Erich. Kevin is far more than that. Wildly charismatic, he had a great look and was, in essence the foundation for the Warrior gimmick that Vince McMahon ended up giving Jim Hellwig- AKA the Ultimate Warrior. Better though, Kevin was the most consistent in the ring, if a step behind Kerry in a big match, was far better with a lesser opponent and deserves more historical acclaim than he gets.

4. The Killer Bees – Lost in the greatness of the Hart Foundation, the British Bulldogs and The Fabulous Rougeus is the quality team of Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair. Brunzell was the workhorse of the team, just as he was with Greg Gagne as “the High Fliers” in the AWA, but he never gets the credit for being the star he was. Blair wasn’t at all bad, and was always at least athletic enough to keep up. Remembered mostly for their fun masked confusion gimmick where they’d don identical masks, these two are a forgotten great tag team.

5. Dick Murdoch – Murdoch is the most talented wrestler I’ve ever seen. Although often inconsistent, he was widely considered to be the perfect mix between Dory and Terry Funk, one of the very best workers and talkers in the world who could work face or heel. He was reportedly long groomed for the NWA title, but only personal demons got in his way. Nothing got in the way of his incredible matches though, as Murdoch had amazing matches with everyone from the Funks to Dusty Rhodes to Ted Dibiase to Ric Flair to Antonio Inoki and more. There are several matches of his that are amazing right here. Here’s a quick sampler:

9) Match Review: KENTA and Kota Ibushi vs. Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima

ROH: The Tokyo Summit
KENTA and Kota Ibushi vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima and Naomichi Marufuji
Tokyo, Japan 9/14/08

Naomichi Marufuji, tonight a partner to Katsuhiko Nakajima, is the most successful junior in NOAH history. He formed a hugely successful junior tag team with KENTA, who then went on to become his main rival as he moved to heavyweight, winning the GHC World and Tag Titles. Recently he’s moved back down to junior and even traveled to All Japan to win their junior title. His rivalry with KENTA extends to KENTA’s first pro-match.

Katsuhiko Nakajima has been wrestling the best wrestlers in the world, like Riki Choshu, Genchiro Tenryu and
Kenta Kobashi, since he was a teenager. Now twenty, he, as NOAH Champion Kensuke Sasaki’s second in Kensuke Office, has taken a war to NOAH wrestlers and the Burning Stable in particular. He’s known for his stiff kicks and awesome potential.

KENTA, here teaming with Kota Ibushi, is the most protected junior around. He rarely jobs, even in tags, delivering crushing kicks as a member of Kenta Kobashi’s reformed Burning to take on Kensuke Office. KENTA, as the number two man, has taken to heated contests and exchanges with Katsuhiko Nakajima.

Kota Ibushi is among the more prolific young high fliers in Japan. In fact, there is great debate about who the best rising junior is, the quick Kota or the hard striking Nakajima. Kota was brought into NOAH by Marufuji to be his partner for a Junior Tag Tournament. With that exposure Kota broke out in NOAH and was even brought into ROH. Here, he battles both his rival for the title “fastest rising junior” and the man who gave him the exposure to gain that title.

KENTA fails to follow the Code of Honor and shake Nakajima’s hand, which draws big “oos” from the crowd.
Marufuji and Kota start off and work a purely athletic mat based style right off the bat, trading a beautiful speed-based sequence and stalemating off.

KENTA and Nakajima are in next and both begin tentatively. That lasts… not long at all, and they decide to kick each other in the face. Sweet. Nakajima actually essentially wins the first exchange, thus pissing KENTA off and, a mat sequence later, and KENTA slaps the shit out of Nakajima before kicking him into a puddle and tagging in Kota.

Kota immediately begins striking Nakajima and surprisingly manages to stand up to the fierce Nakajima before falling to a sweep. Marufuji gets in to work over Kota. Kota uses his speed to evade and strikes down the former GHC Champion. KENTA joins in the work over as they ground Marufuji effectively.

Kota gets back in and decides to kick Marufuji. That pisses him off and he delivers some vicious chops and refuses to back down, even as the kicks knock him over. Kota goes back to wearing Marufuji down. During this, Nakajima decides to kick Kota to make him tag, so when he does, KENTA decides to kick Nakajima in the face. This gives Marufuji a moment and he sets KENTA on the apron, where Nakajima returns the kick to the face. The hate between these two is just awesome.

Nakajima decides that now it’s time to take it to KENTa, but KENTA won’t stay down without firing stiff strikes back, even though they’re to no avail. Kota makes a save, but Marufuji and Nakajima put the boots to KENTA.

KENTA tries to make a comeback and all four men end up in the ring in a four way suplex spot. KENTA and Kota win that and hit dual flying knees to their opponents. KENTA has Nakajima right where he wants him. KENTA tags in Kota and again Kota’ strikes piss of Nakajima and they exchange. This time, Kota wins and keeps the advantage before gong to a camel clutch. This leaves him open to KENTA kicks and Nakajima is in the worst trouble of anyone in the match. Luckily, Kota runs into a big kick, but Nakajima fails to tag and takes a hurricanrana and falls to the floor. Kota tries a dive, but eats a kick and Marufuji is finally in.

Marufuji knocks KENTA over and he works over Kota on the floor with Nakajima, using the ring frame and guard rail. Nakajima works on Kota and keeps kicking KENTA. Marfuji works Kota over, as well. Marufuji throws Kota to the ropes and he kips up to avoid a lariat and hits a Pele kick in a sick spot.

KENTA tags in and immediately strikes the crap out of Marufuji. He takes his shot at Nakajima while staying right on Marufuji with his usual spots…. into an STF!? KENTA has an answer to everything Marufuji does, but Marufuji shows how well he knows KENTA and manages a superkick before tagging Nakajima.

Nakajima is all “kicked in yo face.” Marufuji comes in with a quick dragon screw and Nakajima immediately hits the ankle lock with heel hook. Ibushi runs in to be disposed of and Nakajima tries to run up the corner, but is caught with a dropkick. Kota gets in and goes to hyperspeed to control, but can’t keep Nakajima down.

Kota goes for a moonsault, but Nakajima avoids it and the standing moonsault after. A few kicks later and we have a double team. Ibushi makes them hit each other and Kota hits a German Suplex on Nakajima as KENTA kicks him in the face. Insult to injury as a German is Nakajima’s finish.

Kota goes up again, but a spinning heel kick knocks him off. A belly-to-back suplex takes Kota out, but KENTA is in. Marufuji saves Nakajima by pulling him out of the way as Maru and KENTA collide.
Nakajima and Kota trade head drops into a 10 count on the mat. They strike each other as they get up and Nakajima’s kicks again control. Kota again surprisingly comes back with kicks, rising to the occasion. They go to war with kicks. They desparately go for covers as there is a minute left under the time limit. Kota goes for the cross-armbreaker, but Nakajima makes the ropes. A dragon screw from Nakajima and he grabs the ankle lock until time expires.

They both agree to five more minutes! It’s back on!

Marufuji and KENTA now go to a sprint war until both end up down. They both rise, KENTA up first and he kills Marufuji with a powerbomb. He even sat out for that extra oomph. KENTA combination, but Marufuji is ready and hits a filthy lariat. Marufuji gets a step up lariat and a Shiranui, but Kota breaks it up. Nakajima knocks Kota to the floor.

Marufuji goes up, but is caught. KENTA goes for the top rope falcon arrow, but is dumped. Ibushi hits the handspring flip kick and KENTA gets that top rope falcon arrow for a near fall! Kota hits a Phoenix Splash, but he isn’t legal and KENTA’s pin is broken up.

Marfuji is in trouble. KENTA goes for the baisuke knee, but is kicked as he hits it and both men are down. KENTA goes for the pin as time expires, but Marufuji kicks out.

Ibushi and KENTA draw Nakajima and Marufuji (Time Limit, ****)
This was a lot slower than expected, but as hard hitting as nearly anything you’ll ever see. There was great progression in each heat segment leaving the man suffering slightly worse off into a progression where the two who got the worst of it, the young guns Nakajima and Ibushi ended up in a war of attrition. The additional five minutes was straight balls to the wall fun as KENTA and Marufuji took it into their own hands for the win.

10) Blog/Personal Life/Whatever – About Us: Chapter 1

For the next four weeks, this section will run a short story by me. Here’s the first section.

Well, here she comes, wish me luck. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve seen her. More than a year since the fight. Time to make this work. Today, it’s either finally over, or it’s a new beginning. It’s about closure, but if I’m lucky all that’s closed is the last part, the painful part. Either way, today, we have an end.

Shit, I don’t even remember what the fight was about. I just know it was bad. They were all bad.
I need a drink. No, no damn it! That’s how we got into trouble last time! But how could she have been going out on our anniversary. I know it was over a month later and we hadn’t talked, but shit, it was our anniversary.

We would have made two years that day. Two years may not seem like that long, but for a guy like me its long enough, more than long enough. I wasn’t anything special, never thought I could be, but she changed that. How can I go back to life without that?

It’s hard in this life without someone watching your back, ya know? What was that? No, I know you’ve always been there. That’s not how I mean it. Someone to come home to, ya know? Someone who when the day has beat the shit out of you, you go back to and, well, it just feels right.
I loved her, man, I still do. Can’t help but hope she feels the same. Doubt it though, doubt it. Sometimes it really is hard to look back past all the fights, the pain.

Yeah, I hear ya, if I didn’t have hope I wouldn’t be here right now, doing this, this whatever it is, to myself. Hell, this is the easy part, the waiting was the hard part.
You know I’m ready for this, I’m going to look right at her and- yeah, so I know what I’m going to say, so what- got to have a game plan, this is too important not to. Aright so, I’m going to say “I’ve been thinking about you, about me, about us. I’ve been thinking about us together and us apart, and if we were really meant to be with each other. And I think we should be. I want you to be my wife. I still love you and I want to marry you. Now, there’s no rush, so take your time, it’s a big decision, and, well, we wouldn’t have to get married right away, you could take some time to see, to see how much I’ve changed and how much this means to me… So, will you marry me?”

Then I’m going to show her this ring. Yeah, nice isn’t it? Yeah, it’s real, the diamond, I mean, and everything. So, yup, I got it all planned. I hope to God it works.

I’m still nervous though, nervous as all hell. You would be too; don’t shake your head at me, you know you would. I’m risking all I got left. Thought I had nothing left for so long; was wrong. Still had my pride, my honor, all that shit that makes me be me. Yeah I’m nervous, I’m putting me on the line and I got to be the luckiest son of a bitch in the whole world if she takes it after all this time. After all this time.
Shit, know what I just thought of? She might be with someone else. No, no, it’s a possibility; I got to consider it. That’d be something, wouldn’t it? Yeah, I know, I know. Hope. That’s what this whole thing is about. Give some meaning to this whole goddamn thing. Shit, well, here she comes. Wish me luck!

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