This Week in ‘E – A Tale of Two Dragons

The Dragon goes down for real, The other Dragon breaks his silence and Michelle McCool officially becomes Michelle Undertaker.

Opening Witty Banter
All I can say is that Saturday night’s UFC 116 pay per view was insane from top to bottom. It was easily the best MMA pay per view I have ever had the privilege of watching and one of the top PPVs overall that I have ever seen. All five main card fights delivered with the undercard just leading up to the insane main Lesnar-Carwin main event. Full disclosure, I am, and always have been, a huge Brock Lesnar mark so I literally couldn’t sit down during the fight. That show was the definition of big fight atmosphere. It’s telling that it has become the talk of the wrestling world and that some of pro wrestling’s most favored figures, including Goldberg, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Paul Heyman and Jim Ross were all on hand to support their former co-worker. Remember when pro wrestling was that hot? Anyways, I believe that Lesnar may be not all human and we should really be cloning him to create an army to send into battles for us.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat was hospitalized this past Wednesday night in Tampa, Florida, after experiencing neck and shoulder pain.

According to an early report at wwe.com, his “prognosis is good to excellent.” Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer has reported that his condition has been upgraded to stable but should be in the hospital for the time being. According to Mike Johnson of Pro Wrestling Insider, Steamboat underwent to a surgical procedure to determine the severity of his injuries. There was thought that Steamboat suffered an aneurysm but World Wrestling Entertainment or anyone officially affiliated with Steamboat has not publicly confirmed that.

Steamboat was on this past week’s edition of Monday Night RAW promoting his new DVD Ricky Steamboat: The Life Story of the Dragon, which was released this past week. As part of the promotion he was joined in the ring by fellow WWE legends Arn Anderson, Michael Hayes, Michael Rotunda, Dean Malenko and Jerry “The King” Lawler, only to be attacked The Nexus, the official name of the group comprised of NXT’s season one Rookies. WWE is claiming that Steamboat’s injury is completely unrelated to his “performance” on Monday night, but naturally there is some concern within the company that the angle and the medical problems might be related and unhappiness on how things have played out.

Steamboat, who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, was in Tampa working with the WWE developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. Richie Steamboat, Ricky’s son, wrote on his Twitter, “Keep my dad in your thoughts & prayers. The issues are worse than expected but he could be worse. God will help him through it!!!”

Word came out later in the week that doctors determined that Steamboat’s health issues actually came from a capillary burst that caused bleeding on the brain. This is different than the original diagnosis of brain aneurysm. Steamboat remains hospitalized and is in stable condition. He is responsive and will probably be hospitalized for at least another five days. Apparently capillary bursts such as this usually heal themselves but not surprisingly the bleeding on the brain is considered serious. Capillary bursts usually come from blunt force. The doctors, WWE and everyone associated with it continue to say that the RAW angle did not cause the injury.

Get well Ricky!

This past week on NXT, Titus O’Neil was the first Rookie eliminated from the second season of the show.

At the beginning of the episode, fourth of twelve, it was announced that not only would the first Pros poll be announced but the man who ranked eighth in the poll would be eliminated. Throughout the hour-long live show, the Pros evaluated the Rookies while fan voting was open on wwe.com. At the end of the episode the Poll was released, with 50% of the criteria coming from the Pros tabulation and 50% coming from the fans’ voting.

During the show all eight of the Rookies participated in a keg carry competition and the man with the fastest time would be granted immunity from elimination. Lucky Cannon was the winner of the competition and was thus immune from elimination. In other action on the show, Montel Vontavious Porter (accompanied by his Rookie “Showtime” Percy Watson) beat Husky Harris (accompanied by his pro “Dashing” Cody Rhodes. In all-Rookie six man tag main event, the team of Kaval, Lucky Cannon and Michael McGillicutty beat the team of “The Varsity Villain” Alex Riley, Eli Cottonwood & Titus O’Neil. Kaval pinned Riley after the Warrior’s Way.

The final results of the first poll were as follows:
#1 – Kaval
#2 – Percy Watson
#3 – Michael McGillicutty
#4 – Alex Riley
#5 – Lucky Cannon
#6 – Eli Cottonwood
#7 – Husky Harris
#8 – Titus O’Neil

I must say I was surprised by the rankings virtually all the way down. I anticipated Riley to be number one but apparently the fan voting was legitimate as Kaval is a long-standing fan of the hardcore Internet-savvy wrestling fans, which NXT play-by-play man Michael Cole accurately pointed out. Watson’s placement also surprised me but he has an instant charisma that draws people in. I anticipated Cannon to be the first person eliminated and was incredibly surprised by his fifth place ranking, notwithstanding his keg carry victory. The rankings definitely seem to be a mix of legitimate fan rankings and company booked storyline placement, but the show continues to be one of the highlights of WWE programming each week.

Bryan Danielson, the man known as Daniel Bryan in WWE, finally broke his silence after being released from World Wrestling Entertainment three weeks ago.

Other than a few cryptic and vague tweets, Danielson has remained silent on the issue. Now on his official blog, Danielson confirmed that his release was real and not a storyline as originally thought. He explained that his actions during the initial attack on John Cena and WWE RAW led to his release as the choking of ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie and directly spitting in Cena’s face were over the line for WWE’s current TV-PG standards.

Danielson doesn’t come off as bitter towards WWE but very angry over the whole situation, which is understood. He also put over independent wrestling and the love he has for wrestling on the independent scene. He closes by thanking his fans worldwide for the support he has received over these past few weeks as well.

I personally believe Danielson will be back in World Wrestling Entertainment sooner than later. He got the short end of the stick when the backlash came out during that attack four weeks ago. Right now he is serving the penance WWE felt was necessary to prove a point to their sponsors and partners. When Danielson returns he will be back as a bigger star than he ever was before.

Click here to read the entire blog entry.

According to PWInsider both Drew McIntyre and Wade Barrett have been removed from WWE television and house shows because their current work visas have expired.

Without the proper visas the two European born wrestlers are no longer allowed to work in the United States. Barrett has gone back to his native Great Britain to await his new permit while McIntyre has returned to Scotland. There is no word on how long it will take to get the visas and at this point it is just a waiting game.

McIntyre’s departure was actually written into the storylines. After he lost a match to his long-time rival Matt Hardy on last week’s SmackDown, SD General Manager Theodore Long informed McIntyre that his visa had expired, and he was being sent back to his native Scotland. It played right into the already existing rivalry that had developed between Long and McIntyre over the past few months as it looked as if Long “got one over” on his rival.

As for Barrett, he has building the past few weeks as the leader and mouthpiece of the new Nexus faction comprised of the NXT Season 1 Rookies that has been terrorizing Monday Night RAW throughout the month of June. Barrett was not this past week’s RAW as it was explained that he was meeting with WWE officials at company headquarters in Connecticut. No further storyline reason has been given for his absence yet, but it is expected he may be “suspended” for his actions in all of the Nexus’ recent attacks on WWE talent. With Barrett’s sudden disappearance and the unexpected and untimely release of Daniel Bryan the incredibly hot Nexus invasion storyline RAW has already cooled considerably.

After all of that was originally reported things became moot as both men’s visa issues have already been cleared up. Barrett should be back on RAW tonight while McIntyre will still be off TV for the time being to sell the deportation angle started by SmackDown GM Teddy Long two weeks ago. Thank God Barrett can be back immediately as the wheels just seem to keep coming off the Nexus angle.

Apparently CM Punk had surgery on his arm last week by the esteemed Dr. James Andrews, who has performed on at least half of WWE’s roster. He should be out anywhere from 4 – 8 weeks wrestling wise, but judging by this past week’s SmackDown he should still be on TV each week. The surgery was a planned and scheduled thing as he has been working hurt for weeks now.

Hey as long as he is still on TV each week preaching the good word, it’s all good in my book. But how long is the masked stranger thing going to go on before it’s revealed as Joey Mercury?

The Undertaker and Michelle McCool got married last weekend in Houston in a small, private ceremony.

Congrats to those two crazy kids. Here’s hoping they make it in this crazy world of pro wrestling.

The Road to…Money in the Bank
Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
John Cena v. Sheamus (c)

World Heavyweight Championship
Rey Mysterio (c) v. Jack Swagger

Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship match
Kofi Kingston v. Kane v. The Big Show v. Matt Hardy v. Cody Rhodes v. Christian v. TBA

Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship match
Randy Orton v. Chris Jericho v. Edge v. R-Truth v. John Morrison v. Evan Bourne v. Ted DiBiase v. The Miz

expected matches:
The Hart Dynasty v. The Usos for the Undisputed Tag Titles

Wrestler of the Week
Week of June 28 – July 4: Kaval
Often times NXT ends up being my favorite wrestling show of the week and this past week was no different. The former Low Ki emerged as a big time player this past week when he got the pinfall victory in the six-man tag main event and then was ranked number one in the first Pros Poll, with much help from his Internet fanbase no doubt. In addition he is growing into his team with LayCool and would fit well as their “personal ninja.” Here’s hoping The World Warrior can continue his momentum and become WWE superstar he should have been ten years ago.

RAW’s On Tonight!
For the second time in the past week there will be no guest host for tonight’s RAW, coming from Nashville, Tennessee. I can’t say I am complaining even one bit. Tonight’s show should be full of build for Money in the Bank, which is only two weeks away. With most of the viable mid-card and half the main event scene tied up in the WWE Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match there should be plenty of fodder to fill up the wrestling portion of the show. Plus John Cena will surely give another serious/goofy promo in build-up to his cage match with Sheamus. Plus the build for The Harts and The Usos should continue, more goofy shenanigans involving Santino Marella, Vladimir Kozlov and William Regal and some filler ladies action. Plus what will those no good kids in The Nexus be up to this week? And will Michael Cole look even more like a tool this week by reading the mysterious GM’s e-mails? I’m waiting for the GM to get even lazier and just sending tweets from now on.

On Last Week’s Episode…
Chantel brings her own unique thoughts on SmackDown.

Evans and Kelly bring the mixed tag action for Superstars.

Logan watches NXT so you don’t have to.

Marshall,
Will and Wheeler bring a triple threat of RAW coverage.

How They Rated
SmackDown! (6.18.10) – 1.8

Superstars (6.24.10) – .56

A.M. RAW (6.27.10) – .57

RAW (6.28.10) – 3.3

NXT (6.29.10) – .93

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Logan covers a RAW I remember quite well, featuring a 20 man battle royal and the debut of AVATAR~!

David B. continues to cover Smokey Mountain Wrestling. It’s so southern it should come with some fried chicken and a sweet tea.

Ditch is just awesome with his puro coverage.

Glazer continues to bring the awesomeness with his Tuesday morning juggernaut. Check out this week’s with a great “state of the rosters” talent report for RAW, SD, NXT, ROH and TNA.

Mark has been a columnist for Pulse Wrestling for over three years now, evolving from his original “Historically Speaking” commentary-style column into his current Monday morning powerhouse known as “This Week in ‘E.” He also contributes to other ventures, outside of IP, most notably as the National Pro Wrestling Examiner for Examiner.com and a contributor for The Wrestling Press. Follow me on Twitter here.

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