For Your Considerationâ€¦The RAW Judicial Review 8/16/10
Welcome back to the longest running action-adventure passive-aggressive hyperbole-laced professional wrestling column on the world wide web. I am still Andrew Wheeler and this is still For Your Consideration. This week is going to be a busy one thanks to all of the doings that have transpired over the past seven days. Iâ€™ve got thoughts on last nightâ€™s Summerslam (plus my lost and thought-to-be gone forever Roundtable picks), TNAâ€™s continued bizarro booking, a look back at the AWA, feedback from last weekâ€™s â€œNever been championâ€ article and finally, the RAW Judicial Review for the big post-Summerslam show. For all you content junkies out there, this may be the week for you. And for all of you who donâ€™t know how to readâ€¦how the hell are you reading this anyway? Remember, you can follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/awheeler316, e-mail me at email@example.com, friend me on Facebook, or just post your feedback in the comments section below.
The Ultra Rare and Almost Lost Forever Andrew Wheeler Roundtable Picks
So yesterday here on PulseWrestling (I love saying it like thereâ€™s actually a place called PulseWrestling, like we have couches and desks) the Rasslin Roundtable was posted. You all know and love the Roundtable, as itâ€™s a chance for all of the writers (sans that lazy Glazerâ€¦damn you!) to chime in and flex their creative muscle. I enjoy the Roundtable because I think it exposes readers to a wide variety of authors on the site, not to mention the fact that I have a great record on there and love the ego boost of winning thanks to my competitive nature and current inability to play little league due to my being an adult.
Our Roundtable is usually moderated by the always skilled Raffi, but sadly his computer keeled over on Friday and was unable to compile our collective pearls of wisdom. Matthew Michaels, one of the esteemed heads of our little band of plucky underdogs, decided to take over and put the column together. We work on deadlines here, and the deadline for the Roundtable is usually Saturday by midnight. However, due to Mr. Michaelsâ€™ schedule, the deadline was moved to Friday at midnight. Seeing as how being home on a Friday Night would not be a normal occurrence for me (because Iâ€™m out partaking in all of the culture in my area; museums, art galleries, dive bars), I didnâ€™t know about the change. So when I finally woke up Saturday morning, I pounded out my Roundtable picks, went on the Super Secret Writerâ€™s Forum and attempted to add my two cents. It was then that I realized I was too late, and much like the guy in the 1-800-contacts commercial who yells out â€œMy brand!â€, I shouted that I was too late. After hours of sobbing, I realized that I actually have my own column, and that rather than just sit around and sulk, I could just add my picks before watching the show, thus preserving my integrity.
So, after all of that unnecessary and very dull exposition, here are my Roundtable picks:
Elimination Tag Team Match:
Team WWE (John Cena, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, Edge, R-Truth, John Morrison and ????) vs. The Nexus (Wade Barrett, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Darren Young, Michael Tarver and Skip Sheffield)
Andrew Wheeler: Nothing like a PPV being main evented by a multi-person elimination tag match. Itâ€™s amazing how time flies. I canâ€™t believe itâ€™s already November. Survivor Series is one of my favorite events andâ€¦wait, what? Itâ€™s Summerslam? What the hell? Well, regardless of the fact that the WWE is using a gimmick that already has its own PPV on this show, the match itself is a pretty straightforward conclusion. There is no way Nexus loses this match, folks. The WWE might not always make the best decisions, but there is absolutely no chance they spend months building an army only for them to get beaten on the first outing. The buildup for Team WWE has been incredibly odd. What was the point of adding guys and having them quit and then having them join and having them quit? Weâ€™re not all headcases, most of us could have figured it out based on the first round of quitters that the team was in â€œtroubleâ€. Regardless, the conclusion is still inevitable, with Nexus Squad winning. There are a few options on the table, with varying degrees of interest. First, thereâ€™s The Miz, who comes out and joins the team, only to bail and sell out John Cena. This gives Miz even more heat, as heâ€™s not only the cocky jerk who says that heâ€™s better than everyone, but heâ€™s also the cocky jerk who worked against his own brand. Then, when he tries to cash in MITB, thereâ€™s plenty of motivation for anyone to cost him his shot. Option two is Miz to bail on the team and be replaced by Daniel Bryan, but thatâ€™s one of those markish fantasy booking moments that I doubt would actually occur. The third option is this long-rumored John Cena heel turn. It isnâ€™t out of the realm of possibility, but I donâ€™t think itâ€™ll be what everyone thinks itâ€™s going to be. My guess is that Cena â€œturnsâ€ on his team and joins Nexus, only to take them down from the inside like Punk did with New Breed. John Cena as a heel has always seemed like a compelling idea, but now is not the time to do that. Having him lead Nexus feels a little forced, and when you combine that with the fact that he has a film coming out, the WWE doesnâ€™t want to do anything to seriously jeopardize the Nexus angle, Cenaâ€™s merchandise sales or the promotion of a movie starring that black guy who is too old for this shit.
WWE Championship match:
Sheamus (c) vs. Randy Orton
Andrew Wheeler: This seemed like it could go any wayâ€¦until you realize that they tacked on the whole â€œthis is your last shotâ€ stipulation. Next month is Night of Champions, and with Cena still wrapped up in Nexus world, thereâ€™s no one for Sheamus to face. Randy, on the other hand, has a few options. He could either face Sheamus in a rematch, face The Miz or even face Wade Barrett. Then again, thereâ€™s always the possibility that Orton wins the belt and Miz cashes in the MITB for the victory. Regardless, thereâ€™s no viable option for Sheamus to retain, so he probably wonâ€™t. Itâ€™s a shame that he wonâ€™t get more time with the belt, because heâ€™s actually been able to do wonders during this current run, but thanks to all of this moment, Randy Ortwitter might be the kind of breakout star to get some momentum going on RAW.
Winner: Randy Orton
World Heavyweight Championship match:
Kane (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
Andrew Wheeler: The clear B-Show main event, Rey versus Kane is the same big v. little match weâ€™ve seen from Rey in the WWE for over 8 years. The problem with this match is that next month is Night of Champions. We all know that The Undertaker is going to have some sort of impact on the match, but the question is when. If Taker comes out during the match and costs Kane the title, then weâ€™re going to want to see Taker/Kane, but we canâ€™t until Survivor Series. If Kane retains and then Undertaker shows up to reveal that it was Kane all along, then weâ€™re going to want to see Kane/Taker, but we canâ€™t until Survivor Series. And who the hell else is there to challenge for the title? Swangleâ€™s the #3 guy on the brand, but he just got jobbed out to MVP of all people. Next month could be a triple threat main event, which makes me think that maybe, just maybe, Kane will retain (and rhyme). Oh, and for the record, when I said â€œweâ€™re going to want to seeâ€ him and Taker wrestle, I meant based on storyline logic, not actual desire.
3-on-1 Handicap Match:
The Straight Edge Society vs. Big Show
Andrew Wheeler: So the idea here is that Punk canâ€™t actually wrestle due to his broken arm, but the handicap stipulation will allow him to hide behind the gimmick. While having the SES lose here would be a nearly fatal blow to the faction, having Show actually overcome the odds makes this a hell of a lot more compelling. Chances are Big Show is going to demolish Luke Gallows and Joey Mercury, and then Punk is going to bail on them and let them take the loss. This way, Show gets a hollow victory but we are still denied seeing him get his hands on CM Punk. Either that or they just go with a DQ finish and have everyone use chairs. Or cattle prods. Or tranquilizer darts. Who the hell knows anymore?
Winner: Big Show
Divas Championship match:
Alicia Fox (c) vs. Melina
Andrew Wheeler: Well, this match depends on how much faith the WWE has in Alicia Fox. If theyâ€™re cool with her botchfests, then theyâ€™ll have her win here using shady means and set up a rematch at Summerslam. If, on the other hand, theyâ€™re sick of her almost injuring everyone, theyâ€™ll give it to Melina. The money feud (pun intended) is Melina v. Maryse, because then we can get Melina and Morrison v. Maryse and DiBiase, which I believe makes Melina a slightly more attractive Sapphire. Since this is a big PPV and sometimes good things happen on big PPVs, Iâ€™ll go with Melina, which is like picking a punch to the groin instead of a kick to the groin.
Intercontinental Championship Match:
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs Kofi Kingston
Andrew Wheeler: Dolph has waited five years to win a title (think back to 2005 when he was Kerwin Whiteâ€™s caddy), so to have him hold it for two weeks seems a little silly. On the other hand, who the hell else is there for him to face? Christian just got beat by Cody Rhodes and Matt Hardly got beat by Drew McIntyre (who subsequently got beat by Tiffany, but thatâ€™s another story). Regardless of what happens here, weâ€™re going to see them wrestle each other at least one more time, so why not have Dolph build a little momentum. Besides, this is Summerslam, where the IC Title match usually overshadows the other matches anyway (Hart/Perfect and Hart/Bulldog), so maybe these two will pull a hat out of a rabbit.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
There you have it. Since chances are youâ€™ve either seen the show or read the results, you already know how correct or off base I was with the entire assessment (heh, that word has ass in it). I on the other hand, have not seen the show. In fact, Iâ€™m going to watch it right now, complete withâ€¦
An Indiscriminate Number of Thoughts on WWE Summerfest 2010
1. Glad to see the WWE is making the most of that Staples Center stock footage.
2. Tonightâ€™s theme is Change. Is the mood about to change? Is it change we can believe in? Or is this talking about the change that members of Nexus will be begging for if they botch their one shot tonight and get future endeavored? Itâ€™s not like if (when) Darren Young gets fired that he can fall back on his job as a nuclear physicist (though that was a red herring)?
3. Summerslam is brought to you by 7-11 and Slim Jim, because rednecks gotta eat.
4. So Cole is hyping up the fact that there are high stakes tonight in the main event, yet there are no stipulations attached to this match at all.
5. Lawler accidentally calls it Superslam, which is this generationâ€™s Summerfest.
6. Opening with the Intercontinental Title match makes sense since this entire card is very thin and there was no chance of starting the show with the Divas match (though I for one would love to see Tiffany v. Drew).
7. If Kofi wants to keep up this whole intensity gimmick, heâ€™s ghanna have to stop jumping around during his entrance. When John Cena is in â€œintenseâ€ mode, he doesnâ€™t play to the crowd as much. Maybe Kofi should steal a page from his book.
8. This is the first PPV to air in Malta. Thereâ€™s no joke here, thatâ€™s just kinda crazy.
9. It sounds like Kofiâ€™s pretty over with the fans, which is nice to hear. Since Smackdown is taped, the audio authenticity is questionable at best. This is a Big Four show and the fans are starting â€œKofiâ€ chants organically. Thatâ€™s gotta be a good sign for Kingston.
10. Dolph seems to have stepped up his game in the match, though his frantic movements might be due in part to nerves. These guys both have legitimate shots at becoming the faces of Smackdown.
11. Cole, Lawler and Stryker have been relying heavily on shtick during this opening match, which is taking away from the product. Stryker seems to keep trying to direct things back to whatâ€™s going on in the ring, but Lawler and Cole are so far in the weeds that they clearly forgot how to even fake enthusiasm for a match.
12. Sign in crowd: Iâ€™m a Dolph-In Lover. Just stay away from the blowhole (but enough about Vickie).
13. I love how the Fame-ASSer became a transition move and how Stryker managed to slip in a sly reference to it. Maybe heâ€™s back on his game.
14. Sure Kofi and Randy might not be besties, but they both need to sit down and talk about the sheer stupidity of telegraphing their finishing moves.
15. The nice thing about Summerslam is that it allows the Nexus to realize that Smackdown actually exists.
16. Coleâ€™s annoying metaphor for the Nexus tonight: Feral Dogs. What kind of twisted animal thesaurus does he have at the announce position?
17. Jesus, the heat for Nexus is impressive as hell. If you would have told me that Michael Tarver would be in the ring and people would care, I would have probably punched you. Yeah, I have anger issues, wanna fight about it?
18. The Nexus is the most destructive force in the WWE, if you ignore steroids, union discussions and the InVasion angle.
19. So Jericho went to Miz to give him the hard sell and he couldnâ€™t have the decency to put on a shirt?
20. Glad to see that Edge is still a corporate shill as he wolfs down on that Slim Jim. Guess this makes him one step closer to our generationâ€™s Randy Savage.
21. Why in the blue hell is Melina dressed like the Landâ€™Oâ€™Lakes lady?
22. Melina still has some innovative moves, but there was a real clunkiness in her movements that might either be due to ring rust or just a continuation of the problems she was having before her injury. Regardless, it was almost as if every move was on a 7-second delay.
23. So Melina wins the Tramp Stamp title with what looked like just another move.
24. LayCool are entertaining as hell because they are the epitome of a successful formula; taking your actual personality and amplifying it. Melina, on the other hand, kinda seemed to go all coocoobananas. Well this sets up champion v. champion at Night of Champions. Not going to lie, there was a part of me that was hoping Nexus was going to come out and clean house. But then I remembered that this is the WWE, and male/female violence only happens in the hotel room.
25. Celebrities in the crowd: Trace Adkins, Marlon Wayans and Michael Clarke Dunken. Wow, theyâ€™re stretching that word a little, arenâ€™t they?
26. CM Punkâ€™s â€œI Broke Big Showâ€™s Handâ€ is awesome. Somewhere Greg Valentine would be smiling if he could afford the show.
27. Big Showâ€™s broken hand healed in two weeks? I smell malpractice.
28. SES v. Big Show has been what you kinda expected it to be. The Society bounces off of Big Show while Punk takes minimal offense. The thing that really upset me was the loud â€œCM Punkâ€ chant, because heâ€™s supposed to be the heel. And not the â€œcoolâ€ heel.
29. What a surprising and unique finish; Punk begging off while Show destroys the other two. I didnâ€™t predict that at all or anything.
30. Kaneâ€™s in the back cutting a promo over an empty coffin. Do you think he brings that thing himself or do the production guys bring it for him? Because if theyâ€™re doing that, then theyâ€™re enablers.
31. Sheamus asks to borrow the coffin for Randy Orton, so maybe it is a WWE coffin and they have to share. See, this is why communism failed. Speaking of communism, are they really bickering over who gets to be called Big Red Monster?
32. Miz called himself the missing link, but a distinct lack of green facepaint makes me think otherwise.
33. â€œJohn Cena said that I am the only WWE Superstar that can see him.â€ Give that man the title now.
34. When Miz announced that he was going to join Team WWE, the camera guy cut to a moron in the crowd going so apeshit that I will bet money it will wind up as someoneâ€™s avatar.
35. That was a star-making promo by The Miz, even if he did liberally curb from The Rock. If youâ€™re gonna steal, might as well steal from one of the best.
36. Having the WWE Title Match so early in the night has me worried about my prediction. I doubt that Randy is going to win the title during the first third of the show.
37. See Randy, I told you that telegraphing your RKO was stupid. How else would you explain how Sheamus was able to almost kinda counter it?
38. â€œNobody survives the Irish Curse.â€ If someone comes up with a counter, it has to be called the A.A.
39. Sheamus sold Randyâ€™s kickout from his bicycle kick with such over-the-top shock that he was clearly built to be Hulk Hoganâ€™s opponent.
40. A disqualification finish? Who is he, JBL?
41. Iâ€™m not a scientist, but getting RKOd onto a table and the table NOT breaking probably has to hurt a lot more than if it broke.
42. Rey in all orange makes him look like a parking cone.
43. Hey, a red coffin. I wonder if Undertakerâ€™s going to pop out of it at some point. That would be completely surprisingâ€¦right? Right?
44. So this is the standard Rey v. (Insert Big Guy) match. Kane wails on him for a while, Rey comes back with some token offense and Kane takes over.
45. Kudos to Jerry Lawler for trying to say that the dead silent crowd was due to their shock at Mysterio getting decimated and not because theyâ€™re pretty bored.
46. 619 reversal into a coffin is better than a 619 reversal into a Chokeslam.
47. With Kane retaining, I have a perfect score going into the main event. The match itself was pretty dull with the same old song, though it was kinda fun to see Mysterio squashed like a bug with that Chokeslam.
48. Rey, youâ€™re going to pay, you just may, Iâ€™m going to eat some hay.
49. That red casket looks less like a menacing tool of death and more like something from the terrible mid-90â€™s show â€œHome Improvementâ€.
50. I take back what I said before, Rey looks like a Mexican candycorn.
51. Mah gawd! Mah gawd! The Undertakerâ€™s in the casket! Neither I nor the thousands of fans who saw this coming saw this coming!
52. Wow, for the living dead, Undertaker looks terrible. How did he age that much in such a short amount of time? He looks less like the most dominant star of the past twenty years and more like George Carlin.
53. I canâ€™t fault the WWE for doing one more Taker/Kane feud since thereâ€™s nothing better for them to do on Smackdown, but you gotta believe somewhere Swangle is watching this realizing that this was his spotlight thatâ€™s now been turned red. Itâ€™s accurate, itâ€™s damn accurate.
54. Did Matt Hardy seriously just say lie-berry? Iâ€™m going to pray that this was a Simpsons reference on his part and not further proof that heâ€™s completely retarded.
55. The Nexus comes out as one unit, partly to show that theyâ€™re unified and partly because Justin Roberts doesnâ€™t know all of their names.
56. John Cena in Laker colors? Thereâ€™s cheat heat and then thereâ€™s this. I hope Miz is right and the Lakers go down to the Heat in the NBA Finals.
57. Daniel Bryan?! The long national nightmare is over!
58. Bryan Danielson is main eventing Summerslam. Just wanted to point that out. Also, he pulled out a Crossface. Letâ€™s hope that doesnâ€™t get him fired.
59. R-Truthâ€™s suplex-stunner move is the exact kind of innovative offense that Iâ€™ve always said he needs to keep doing. Well, that and not botching simple transition moves.
60. Tarverâ€™s fake punches are a little on the ridiculous side.
61. So Young and Tarver are the first two eliminated? Makes sense to get rid of two of the bigger liabilities in the ring. That only leaves Otunga and four capable wrestlers.
62. And John Morrison is the first WWE Superstar to be pinned. You know, just in case you forgot that Slo-Morrisonâ€™s career is in freefall.
63. Truth goes next in true Survivor Series fashion.
64. Bret Hart v. Heath Slater. Random.
65. Good to see that Bret can still throw the punches and drop the elbow. No oneâ€™s expecting him to be The Hitman, but the fact that he isnâ€™t embarrassing himself like he almost did at Mania is enough for me to be happy. Also, having him get disqualified instead of getting pinned is a great idea. He came, he fought, he didnâ€™t have to take a bump and he leaves.
66. â€œWe are all even, fourâ€¦four.â€ Yeah, I donâ€™t know about that, since the WWEâ€™s fourth man is John Cena and Nexusâ€™s fourth man is David Otunga.
67. The complete lack of John Cena in this match means theyâ€™re either telegraphing his turn or theyâ€™re saving him for the final pop. Whatever it is, itâ€™s pretty noticeable.
68. If Jericho can make Otunga look decent then the WWE needs to sign him to a major contract. Sure, David botched the Walls, but you can only do so much with so little.
69. The Ayatollah of Rock-and-Rolla v. One-Man Rockband: Battle of ridiculous nicknames.
70. Cena/Jericho miscommunication and Slater pins Chris.
71. Slater then pins Edgeâ€¦because of Cena. Alright, they really seem to be setting up something here.
72. Edge and Jericho taking out Cena only worked for me because Chris kept calling him a stupid man.
73. Alright, based on the fact that Cenaâ€™s getting his ass kicked, maybe theyâ€™re setting up a Daniel Bryan heel turn. Though why go through all that trouble just to have him turn?
74. Did Stryker just call for Cattle Mutilation? Nice.
75. The Crossface again? Iâ€™m all for it but the guy already has his own awesome submission hold.
76. So like I kinda predicted in the Roundtable, Miz would cost Team WWE somehow. Hey, if it means Miz/Bryan at the next PPV, Iâ€™m all for it.
77. When your heels are getting heat just by making frequent tags, youâ€™ve got to feel good about your product.
78. The DDT Wade delivered onto Cena on the concrete seemed to hurt him a lot more than it did John.
79. Barrett tapped to the STFU and Team WWE won. Really? There were so many outs for the company here to have Nexus win but still have the WWE save face, but instead they went the clichÃ©d â€œCena overcomes allâ€ ending. I thought this show was about change. Iâ€™m all for the happy ending, but this was a chance that might wind up being a blown opportunity.
TNA Booking: The Newest Anomaly
How can a company that exists as a major player in the wrestling world be both the best and worst thing on television on Thursday Nights? TNA is right now taking one step forward and about ten steps backward, and even though I should know better, itâ€™s still giving me a headache.
First and foremost, thereâ€™s the whole RVD situation regarding his TNA Title. From most reports, Rob wanted time offâ€¦despite holding the biggest belt in their company. That would be like if Undertaker decided to take one of his extended vacations while currently the World Champion, and no one taking him to task for it. So TNA writes Rob out of the company by saying that due to Abyss turning him into a human pincushion, he has to surrender his belt (despite the fact that the company has a PPV called No Surrender).
Here, kids, is one of them wrasslin pop quizzes: You have a champion that wants time off, you have him booked to main event a free show thatâ€™s being treated as a PPV and you have a challenger who is the top heel in the company. What, pray tell, do you do?
Well, if youâ€™re functioning at a fairly competent level and your champion isnâ€™t mid-90s Shawn Michaels, youâ€™re going to go with having the challenger defeat the champion. Instead, TNA decides to have Rob surrender his belt and set up a tournament. Riiight. Oh, and the tournament wonâ€™t culminate until two PPVs from now. Brilliant.
My biggest gripe with this is that you are sending a crystal clear message to the audience that the writers (and I use that term very loosely) have no faith in Abyss as champion. If that is the case (and based on the fact that they didnâ€™t just hand him the title, it is the case), then why the fuck did the company spend all of these months building the guy up?! I mean, come on! I havenâ€™t seen a company get booked into a corner this bad and have to show their hand since the time Batista was injured and was booked to face Mark Henry and the company realized that the big gold belt was going to go around his plump waist so they opted to put it on Angle instead.
A tournament isnâ€™t the worst way to goâ€¦if Rob was legitimately injured and they were blindsided. They must have known that he was going to fly the coop for a little while, and even if they didnâ€™t, they have a blockbuster PPV-esque show with which to anoint a new champion.
On the other hand, TNA has figured out what the WWE realized years ago: when in doubt, just keep doing what works. Beer Money and MCMG have been putting on solid match after solid match, so the company just kept letting them do that voodoo that they do so well. Think back to 99-00 when the WWE realized that the Hardys and Edge & Christian could go full speed every night. What did they do? Created the Terri Invitational Tournament, a ridiculous gimmick that wound up revolutionizing tag team wrestling. TNA is now essentially cribbing that idea, and itâ€™s brought them lots of success. Unfortunately, there arenâ€™t a whole lot of other tag teams out there at the moment, but at least for a moment it appeared that the company figured out what to do.
Finally, thereâ€™s the Fortune stable. As of now, itâ€™s Beer Money, AJ Styles, Kaz and Matt Morgan, with the possibility of Desmond Wolfe. That is a pretty strong line-up of top heel talent, especially when you consider that they have Flair as a mouthpiece. Even better, theyâ€™re using the old ECW guys as punching bags, which honestly is the smartest way to use them. TNA is basically doing Originals v. New Breed, only instead of pussyfooting around, TNA might actually go balls to the wall and let Fortune kill these guys off for good. No offense to Dreamer and Richards and Rhino, but their best value right now is to build the potential future of TNA. If this works, itâ€™s genius. If (well, this is TNA, so itâ€™s pretty much when) this doesnâ€™t work, at least the ECW guys got a nice payday.
AWAâ€™s Darkest Legacy
So the AWA turned 50 today, which is quite a milestone. The American Wrestling Alliance produced a ton of top talent, and had the pendulum of fate swung in the other direction (what a pretentious statement), they might still be the top wrestling outfit in the country.
Unfortunately, a lot of fans donâ€™t know a ton about the AWA, due in large part to the fact that they died out in the late 80â€™s, well before the Monday Night Wars. The AWAâ€™s legacy today is one that Iâ€™m sure theyâ€™d love to erase, that of stupidity.
The AWA had, and lost, Hulk Hogan. Think about that for a minute. Youâ€™re a promotion in the early 80s and you have the man who is going to revolutionize the industry and is already your most popular attraction, and you blow it. To put this in perspective, this would be as if WCW had Stone Cold Steve Austin in the mid-90s and fired him via FedEx. Oh waitâ€¦
Verne Gagne was a great hand and had a solid mind for the business, but much like the Von Erich family in Texas, he had a blindspot for his family. To paraphrase Raven (of all people), when the booker is the top star, thereâ€™s always going to be a problem. Verne was the top babyface draw in the AWA for years, well past his prime. To see this bald man with age spots still working as the youthful champion or challenger was something that would make WCW blush. Verne also kept trying to push his Greg Brady-esque son Greg, who was not so much with the good. If Greg Gagne, Dustin Rhodes and Erick Watts are not evidence that pushing your kid is a bad idea, I donâ€™t know what is (and yes, I know Dustin worked out in the end, but it was touch-and-go for a while).
Verne was also beholden to Nick Bockwinkel, who held down so many wrestlers that youâ€™d swear that he was Triple Hâ€™s idol instead of Ric Flair. Had Verne decided to take a risk and put Hogan over Bockwinkel and made him the true champion, the history of the AWA would be something special. Instead, itâ€™s looked at as one of the biggest blunders in the history of the business, and something that Verne has openly admitted years later was a colossal screw-up.
A Supplemental List of Guys Who Should Have Been WWE Champion
Finally, before I get to the show, I wanted to touch on some feedback I got from last weekâ€™s column about men who never got a run with the WWE Title. Some folks asked through e-mail, the comments and Twitter for my thoughts on a few other men who didnâ€™t make the cut, so I will touch on them briefly:
1) Greg Valentine: Greg was a talented guy, but just never got a fair shake at the main event. His wars with Piper were legendary, his angle with Wahoo was white hot, and even his feud with Tito Santana was exciting. Greg just didnâ€™t seem to have â€œthe lookâ€ that the WWE wanted from a champion. He was great in the tag ranks, and as far as Vince was concerned, that was good enough.
2) Paul Orndorff: Mr. Wonderful was a great heel and a decent babyface, but he was always under more talented guys. When he was a top heel, he was running buddies with Roddy Piper, who deserved the belt over Paul. When Orndorff turned face, he could have drawn a lot of money feuding with Roddy over the gold, but again he would have been a poor manâ€™s Hogan.
3) Rick Rude: I always loved the work that Rude did, but he was a TV-14 character in a TV-PG era. Rudeâ€™s feud with Jake Roberts could have included the WWE Title and it would have topped the card in any arena in the country. Had Rude unseated Warrior for the belt instead of Slaughter, he would have put himself in a position to be the biggest heel of the decade. Instead, he wound up working in WCW (where they were ready to make him world champ) but suffering injuries that pretty much ended his career.
4) Jerry Lawler: Now donâ€™t laugh at this one, because the guy on television calling himself The King isnâ€™t the Lawler that is on this list. No, the guy Iâ€™m talking about is the guy who was the King of Memphis and the first wrestler to really grasp the idea of exploiting mainstream media. Lawlerâ€™s feud with Andy Kaufman was one of the most brilliant executions of an angle ever. It was the kind of stuff that Vince would have killed to be able to do. When Jerry came to the WWE, he participated in a violent but ultimately comedic feud with Bret Hart. Had the WWE not begged off on Lawlerâ€™s assault on the Hart parents and instead gone the route of a warring dentist, Jerry versus Bret would have been one hell of a WWE Title feud.
5) Tito Santana: Someone suggested Santana, and while I would initially scoff at such an idea, it isnâ€™t out of the realm of possibility. Tito was always someone that Vince could count on, and much like Pedro Morales, Tito would have been champion to gobble up the Hispanic marketplace. Unfortunately for Santana, with the WWE going national, Vince didnâ€™t need to worry about courting the New York Latino market when he was already trying to get the entire national market with that orange fellah in the crazy yellow t-shirts.
6) Bad News Brown: A decade later and heâ€™s Steve Austin. Unfortunately, at the time, Brownâ€™s gimmick was too bad-ass for the era. He would have been a killer champion, but sadly heâ€™s just a footnote in wrestling history.
7) Jeff Jarrett: In a Clique-free world, I donâ€™t see why Jeff wouldnâ€™t have gotten a chance with the title. He was never considered the best, but he was competent. Jarrettâ€™s WCW Title runs werenâ€™t that great, and his TNA stuff has made people invoke all of the negatives about Triple H, but perhaps in the mid-90s Jeff could have had a quiet run at the top.
8) Raven: The Raven character screamed WWE Attitude, but he wound up in WCW instead. Raven had so many guys to play off of in the WWE at the time, from Foley and Taker to Austin and Hart, but his desire to go where the big boys play was his undoing. By the time he went up north, he was viewed more as a lower midcard guy than as a legitimate champion, which is a shame.
9) Faarooq: Ron Simmons was the first African American WCW Champion. Hell, he was the first black heavyweight champion anywhere. When Faarooq was created, he was being set up as a foil to Ahmed Johnson. Due to Ahmedâ€™s injuries, Faarooq never got to take off like he could have. Once he started the Nation and was feuding with The Undertaker, he could have very easily transitioned that into a title run. Unfortunately for him, the overly racist undertones of the gang warfare led Vince to ultimately cut the angle short, and probably with it a run for Simmons.
10) Bam Bam Bigelow: Bigelow was the big man who could work like a cruiserweight, and he had the kind of unique look that could inspire nightmares in kids. Bigelow had some matches with Hogan earlier in his career, and then later became one of the jewels in the Million Dollar Corporation. Bigelow would have been fine as a monster champion, but he never got his shot.
Alright, on with the show.
The Judicial Review: Monday Night RAW 8/16/10 â€œItâ€™s Always Sunny on RAWâ€
â€œThe maker of champions.â€
We open with the Nickelback theme and some pyro and ballyhoo. Had Nexus won, this would have opened with footage of monkeys being raped. Letâ€™s be thankful that Team WWE won, because I donâ€™t wanna see that.
RAW is still in the Staples Center and we are opening with Nexus. Shouldnâ€™t we be opening with winners? Wade opens by saying that that which doesnâ€™t kill them will only make them stronger. Steroids?
Barrett says that they defeated six of the best that RAW had to offer, and rumors of their demise had been greatly exaggerated. Hey, a literary reference. Impressive. Oh those Brits and their books. Wade says that no one was concerned with Nexus losing, so now there will be consequences for the roster of RAW. There will be more suffering, more destruction and more pain for anyone. So basically theyâ€™re going to all wrestle matches against Primo Colon.
Wadeâ€™s pearls of wisdom get interrupted by John Cena, who has abandoned the Orange and Blue of UF for the loser yellow and purple of LSU. Cena says that Barrett talks a big game and then makes a Jersey Shore reference. You know, for the kids. John then points out that he tapped out and then calls them the Expendables. Like that Eric Roberts movie. Cena says that they should never have gotten rid of Daniel Bryan, who eliminated half of Nexus by himself. After Summerslam, we now know that Nexus is human. Wait, that was debatable? Seriously, were we unaware of this?
Cena rips into David Otunga for being a male escort. He calls Tarver an MMA bank robber before mocking his tiny trunks. Heath Slater is the chick from Wendysâ€¦complete with a graphic. Wendys then gets a chant. Darren Young is proof that Cenaâ€™s mom fucked Buckwheat. Justin Gabriel has an alternative way of thinking. See, he fucks men. In the ass. Skip Sheffieldâ€™s thoughts are apparently the Meow Mix theme song. Nexusâ€™s intimidation factor is now officially gone, thus sayith John Cena. John then rebrands Darren Young the Weakest Link.
The GMail goes off and the dude sitting behind Cole is the werewolf from â€œTrue Bloodâ€. Cole says that Summerslam will continue tonight, so everyone better send in a check for $50. Tonight, all members of the Nexus will face Team WWE stars one-on-one. Wade says that this is an opportunity at redemption, which is a nice SAT word. Barrett says that he will look for the weak link and weed it out. Iâ€™ll save him the trouble, look to the affirmative action members.
The GMail goes off again and it says that Wade must face Chris Jerichoâ€¦next.
Wade Barrett v. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is out sporting a taped up elbow, which must have come from him busting out his â€œCome on, babyâ€ elbow pump during a moment of excitement in the Summerslam match. See, being a heel is better for his health.
Jericho punks out Barrett right off the bat as we cut to the back and see the rest of Nexus Squad watching on the television. Chris connects with a dropkick before connecting with a springing dropkick and he is in full face mode. Jericho follows Barrett to the outside but Wade ultimately gains the upper hand. Wade rams Chrisâ€™s back into the ring apron and then administers some stomps before tossing him back into the ring.
Once inside, Wade whips Jericho into the corner. Chris battles out of the corner but gets beaten down again before being choked on the ropes. My guess here is that they booked this first to have Barrett win first and then put the pressure on the rest of the guys who have shirts with â€œNâ€ on it.
Jericho comes off the second rope with a dropkick for two. Chris follows up with shoulderblocks and a bulldog, which means heâ€™s doing the Five Moves of Mediocrity. Chris goes for the Walls but Wade counters the same way that everyone does. Wade goes for that slam thing but Chris turns it into the Walls of Jericho. Barrett grabs the ropes due to his, and I quote from Cole, â€œlong, lanky body.â€ Creepy.
Barrett comes back with a boot but Chris fires back with a kick to the head. Jericho goes for the Code Breaker but winds up getting caught in that unnamed slam gimmick andâ€¦pins Jericho. Jesus, is Chris really jobbing cleanly to this guy?
Weâ€™re back and Justin Roberts brings out Justin Long, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day. Sudekis is one of my favorites on SNL, Day is brilliant on â€œItâ€™s Always Sunnyâ€ and Justin Long was awesome in â€œEdâ€. All three of them grab the microphones and start talking at once. They then just start babbling, which is odd since they are all pretty decent improve actors. Sudekis then talks about how the Heat are going to win the NBA Title before ripping off the Booo-urns joke. Justin Long then brings out the Hart Dynasty. Really? Well, this is better than Santino.
The Hart Dynasty come out and shake hands with the actors, who turn around and leave. Well that was an easy night. The GMail goes off, which is impressive because I didnâ€™t know most arenas had WiFi. Tonight, the Unified Tag Titles will now be called the WWE Tag Team Championships. They will be presented by Bret Hart.
Bret comes out with two pretty ugly looking tag belts. They look like the old old school WWE Title with the circular face. It also looks like someone glued a giant penny on the front of the belt.
Wade Barrett pops up on the screen to announce that Bret Hart will be facing Justin Gabriel, who promises to give Bret the 450 Splash. Yeah, because he can take that. Thatâ€™s what she said.
Weâ€™re back and thereâ€™s Vinceâ€™s Star on the Walk of Fame.
Michael Tarver v. Daniel Bryan
The American Dragon is back on RAW. Thankfully, Tarver took off his bandana before he got choked out with it. Bryan and Tarver lock up and thereâ€™s a â€œLetâ€™s Go Bryanâ€ chant. Tarver fires off with those punches before eating a boot to the face. Bryan connects with a spinning heel kick for two before trying to break Tarverâ€™s arm. Cole continues to mock Bryan, which I just donâ€™t get anymore. It was cute when it was going somewhere, but the company needs to focus on getting him over.
Bryan fires off some more kicks before hitting a dropkick. Bryan comes off the top rope with a missile dropkick and does a knip up. Miz and Alex Riley run down the ramp and distract Bryan, who gets rolled up by Tarver. Bryan then hits a suicide dive through the ropes to take out Miz. Tarver and Riley hold him back and Miz rams him into the barricade. Miz then puts the briefcase on the floor and hits the SCF.
Miz and Riley are in the back with Mini-Orton. Miz says that from the moment Bryan arrived in NXT, the WWE Universe heckled Miz by saying that Bryan should have been Mizâ€™s pro. Miz then says that Alex Riley is the next breakout star. Riley calls Bryan boring and says that he should be lucky to have a job. Pot, kettle, African American.
Nexus is in the back and Darren Young says that he wants John Cena. Young promises to take him out. Otunga says that he respects him, which is like Michael Cole saying that youâ€™re a good announcer.
Justin Gabriel v. Bret Hart
Gabriel is walking to the ring but runs into aâ€¦
Weâ€™re back with the GMail who says that he never liked Bret Hart and the new opponent will beâ€¦
Justin Gabriel v. Randy Orton
Well, thatâ€™s one way to get Randy on television this week. I doubt that Gabriel is going to be kicked out of Nexus, so letâ€™s get ready for a Sheamus run-in. the fans all chant for Randy, but they could all just be hoping to see Randy Newman. After all, he does love L.A. I, like most, love NY.
Randy has a smile on his face thatâ€™s just unnerving. Gabriel fires off some kicks and itâ€™s a battle of the bad spray tans. Orton goes for a clothesline but Justin slides between his legs (which thanks to the gay joke from Cena takes on a whole new level) but Randy hits some clotheslines before connecting with the same scoopslam that William Sherman hit on various Confederates on his March to the Sea (because the move is vintage). Randy then hits the second-rope DDT and begins humping the mat, but sure enough, here comes Sheamus.
Orton clotheslines Sheamus into the crowd and they brawl throughout the arena, which means heâ€™s being counted out. Technically, this is a disqualification since Sheamus hit him first, but details be details.
Randy grabs a chair and wails away on Sheamus. Jesus dude, did you not get the memo about no clean headshots? Based on the pale nature of Sheamusâ€™s skin, those welts are going to look ridiculous.
Weâ€™re back with a replay of Randy beating the Irish outta Sheamus. Now heâ€™s just a pale guy with a goofy haircut. David Otunga and Skip Sheffield are already in the ring as we hear the Nexus theme song for the billionth time tonight.
David Otunga and Skip Sheffield v. Resurrection-Truth and John Slo-Morrison
Morrison and Otunga start it out and Otunga botches taking a Russian Legsweep. He botched a move where all he has to do is fall backward. Speaking of botches, itâ€™s amazing that R-Truth continues to bitch his rapping. Itâ€™s the same song every night.
Sheffield and R-Truth are in the ring now and Skip hit an impressive slam. Cole says that Skip is sniffing all the time, which means that if heâ€™s your accountant, sell your stocks (now thereâ€™s an obscure â€œSeinfeldâ€ reference for ya). Sheffield tags in Otunga and David and R-Truth collide in the center of the ring. Truth makes the lukewarm tag to Morrison, who continues to hope that David doesnâ€™t break his neck. Skip makes a blind (well, crosseyed) tag to Sheffield who hits the lariat clothesline for the pin.
So yay, Skip is safe. Sadly, so is Otunga. I guess you take the good with the bad.
Melina, Eve Torres and Gail Kim are in the back, so if you like minority women in latex, the next segment is for you. If not, thenâ€¦uhâ€¦Iâ€™ll still try to make it entertaining.
Melina, Eve Torres and Gail Kim v. Alicia Fox, Maryse and Jillian Hall
Melina is your new Tramp Stamp Champion, though I think the title belt sheâ€™s holding is for being the least attractive member of her team. The heels come out next and we cut to Jon Lovitz.
Gail Kim and Maryse start it off and Kim smashes Maryseâ€™s face into the mat. Well I guess if that works and sheâ€™s a gal with an ugly face and wrestles they could come up with a new gimmick for herâ€¦Jillian Hall. Kim ties up Maryse in the corner (not like that, pervert) and Melina charges and slams into her. Melina then brings back her irritating screech as Maryse tags in Alicia Fox who bridges Melina for two. Fox goes for a resthold, which allows Melina to screech a little more. Oh good, my ears are bleeding.
Jillian and Eve are in now, and Torres hits her with her slow motion dropkick. Eve hits a flipping splash for two but it gets broken up. We now have all kinds of nonsense as everyone battles everywhere, leaving Jillian and Eve alone. Torres kicks Hall in the head before climbing to the second rope but Hall slams her off the second rope andâ€¦pins her? Jillian Hall won a match? Seriously? She does more jobs than hookers. Because hookers have sex for money.
Mini-Orton is in the back with Edge who says that it was huge to be part of the team to beat Nexus. Edge gets interrupted by Heath Slater. Heath says that maybe he and Edge can work something out. Slater says that heâ€™s like a mini-Edge, and maybe if Edge takes the night off itâ€™ll work out for everyone. Edge says he wonâ€™t forfeit a match to a ginger-haired Edge wannabe. Slater then jumps Edge and everything fades to black. Oh wait, itâ€™s just aâ€¦
The Last Exorcism stars Professor Lasky. Man, I know when he broke up Zach and Kelly that I wished for something bad to happen to him, but I never thought he would end up doing crap like this. Sorry Professor.
Did You Know: more men watched RAW than a fuckton of other stuff?
Edge v. Heath Slater
Heath Slater is in the ring and I am officially sick and tired of the Nexus theme song. Edge finally got his pyro back, so good for him. Edge jumps Slater to start and stomps away in the corner. Edge goes to the top rope but Heath knocks him off and kicks him to the outside. Slater rams him into the same corner that Bryan hit as the fans chant â€œWendys Sucksâ€. Iâ€™m sure theyâ€™re thrilled with that.
Heath now kicks away on Edge before connecting with the most comically over-the-top punch in wrestling history. Edge fires back with some punches and connects with the backdrop for two.
Edge and Slater wind up outside and Edge hits the boot. Edge measures for a Spear but Slater slides in the ring and wins by countout. So thatâ€™s the second countout of the night. Slater celebrates in the ring and then eats a crazy looking Spear. Edge then busts out a crazy looking sneer that makes me think heâ€™s got a lady tied up on the railroad tracks somewhere.
In the back, Justin Long and The Great Khali are being all wacky. Khali has a girlfriend but itâ€™s long distanceâ€¦which is the plot of Justin Longâ€™s movie. What a coincidence. Good thing his girlfriend doesnâ€™t have seven evil exes or itâ€™ll be like Piranha 3D. Day and Sudekis mock how ugly Khaliâ€™s girlfriend is and they run away. Khali then says that she is butt ugly, so he leaves with the Bella Twins. Sure.
Jerry â€œMystic Tanâ€ Lawler and Michael â€œHypnotic Tieâ€ Cole are on camera talking about how amazing Summerslam weekend was, assuming youâ€™re not in jail for assaulting your boyfriend. And yes, I know that the situation isnâ€™t funny.
John Cena is in the back and heâ€™s heading towards aâ€¦
John Cena v. Darren Youngâ€¦yes, seriously
Darren Young is in the ring waiting for John Cenaâ€™s entrance. Cena gets another monster pop, so I guess Los Angeles isnâ€™t sick of him yet. Either that or the bar is still open and some of the drunken fans think that theyâ€™re watching a Lakers game.
Nexus shows up on the ramp but they canâ€™t interfere. Cena and Young lock up and Young goes for a quick roll-up. John gets caught in a backslide for two. Watching this is like watching your friend play â€œSmackdown v. RAWâ€ on expert level when your friend sucks.
Cena grabs a headlock and Young rolls him up for a third time. Darren gets a headlock and they run the ropes until Cena gets a headlock of his own. Darren hits a belly-to-back suplex and then drops a leg for two. Well he hasnâ€™t looked completely lost, so thatâ€™s a plus. Darren suplexes Cena for two. Young connects with a swinging neckbreaker for two before locking in a resthold. Darren then hits some more moves that donâ€™t do a lot. Darren hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Young seems way too into acting here, and itâ€™s distracting. Darren throws Cena out of the ring, but as he slides out, his leg gets caught on the curtain. Classic.
Darren rams Cenaâ€™s head into the steel steps, and itâ€™s almost as if Cenaâ€™s been tranquilized. Young dropkicks the steel steps into Cena as the ref starts to count John out. Cena comes in at 9 and Young throws a tantrum. Darren goes for a Hogan Legdrop but misses. Cena fires back with punches before unleashing the Five Moves of Mediocrity. Cena goes for the FU but Young of all people counters it. John locks in the STFU and Young taps. How the fuck did it take that long?
Nexus charge down to the ring and surround Cena. John bails and Nexus run in and beat down Darren Young. Well, for a two hour show that was on auto-pilot, it was nice to see a moment of actual character development. Despite losing at Summerslam, Nexus now looks like a dangerous group again. This would have been a really good moment if it werenâ€™t for Lawler calling him Daniel Bryan. Thanks a lot, Jerry.
Nexus all hit their collective finishers, culminating in Gabrielâ€™s 450 Splash. All I can say is that I would like to wish Darren Young best of luck in his future endeavors.
This has been for your consideration.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alex Riley, alicia fox, awa, big show, Bret Hart, Bryan Danielson, chris jericho, cm punk, Daniel Bryan, Darren Young, David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, edge, For Your Consideration, hart dynasty, Hulk Hogan, john cena, John Morrison, Justin Gabriel, kane, Kofi Kingston, Laycool, Layla, Melina, nexus, NXT, randy orton, rey mysterio, Ric Flair, SES, sheamus, Straight Edge Society, The Miz, the undertaker, triple h, Wade Barrett, WWE