For Your Consideration…The RAW Judicial Review for 9/6/10 (Plus Thoughts on No Surrender, Unified WWE Title and Kaval)

For Your Consideration…The RAW Judicial Review for 9/6/10 (Plus Thoughts on No Surrender, Unified WWE Title and Kaval)

Welcome back to the longest running action-adventure passive-aggressive sarcasm-drenched professional wrestling and sports entertainment column on the World Wide Web, For Your Consideration. I am your well-rested guide through all of the ins and outs of the wrasslin’ world, Andrew Wheeler, and I hope everyone enjoyed their long (and long overdue) Labor Day weekend.

I spent the better part of this weekend lounging around the house, thanks in large part to Spike’s “Star Wars” marathon. My fiancé is a big fan of the series, so the always treacherous questions of “What to watch” was pretty easy. In watching the series for the umpteenth time, I was struck by something that always seems to get to me, “What’s so bad about the Dark Side?”

If you’ll indulge me for a moment:

On the Darkside…and Other Eddie and the Cruisers songs about Star Wars

In the prequels (which have the kind of well-planned writing and streamlined continuity of TNA at its worst), the pre-Empire world seems kind of disorganized. The Senate isn’t all that effective, gang warlords like Jabba are still in power and there are hoards of shady businessmen trying to use the government for their personal gain. Flash forward to the original trilogy and we see a world that doesn’t seem to have all of those bureaucratic hang-ups. No one’s lives seem terribly inconvenienced by the Empire. Uncle Owen still has that little stone igloo, and it seems that the number of people being dragged from their huts and raped by Sandpeople has gone down significantly since Anakin’s mom got abducted and ravaged.

On top of that, there’s the whole human Stormtrooper thing. Under the Old Republic, the soldiers were all either droids or clones, not humans. Now, under the Empire (which is controlled by the Dark Side), there are literally thousands of jobs as Stormtroopers for the average citizen. Hell, Luke laments the fact that he couldn’t join the movement and be a pilot, which shows that the men and women of the past (despite looking like the future if it were designed in the 70’s) wanted to serve their Empire and see the galaxy.

According to the Jedi, the Dark Side makes people corrupt and evil because they only think about themselves. The Jedi, on the other hand, only think about everyone as a whole. Communists believed that Capitalists were greedy and only cared about themselves, while they cared about the collective wellbeing of society. I’m not saying that George Lucas was a Commie (and based on his marketing strategies I’d say for certain that he’s a capitalist of the highest order), but to say that the Dark Side is evil because people care about self-preservation is a little flimsy. Even worse, the Jedi are hypocrites. When Mace L. Windu is talking to Yoda, he asks if they should tell the Senate that their powers aren’t working. Yoda says no because basically he’s worried about losing his control…the exact same thing they accuse the Dark Side of doing. I mean really? Really?

Finally, there’s the Death Star. Now I admit that the name Death Star doesn’t exactly evoke images of a peaceful ship, but it’s only a name. Sure, they blew up a planet, but that planet was working against their entire existence. Luke, Leia and Han amount to nothing more than terrorists with fair skin, and the Empire (who has the sort of unmatched power and might of a certain Superpower country that houses both Purple Mountains Majesty and oceans white with foam) has a responsibility to defend its way of life when its very existence is being challenged.

In the end, I just don’t think that Mr. Lucas makes a compelling case for supporting the Jedi and rooting against the Dark Side. The Dark Side’s galaxy and the Old Republic’s galaxy looks nearly identical. The Dark Side gave jobs to thousands of men as Stormtroopers, while the Old Republic would have forced them all to be farmers living on dead-end planets with two suns. And worst of all, if you were a Jedi, the best you had to hang out with was Jar-Jar Binks. As for the Dark Side? Fucking Boba Fett. Case closed.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…

This past Thursday Night, after watching the most recent eviction on “Big Brother” (I know that I have been woefully quiet about this season, so maybe I’ll touch on it next week), I wound up watching Impact for the first time in quite a while. I found the show to be the standard chaotic mess of a program that it always is, and it didn’t even dawn on me until about halfway through that this was their go-home show for their PPV. And what a PPV it was shaping up to be.

For the second month in a row, TNA is holding a Pay-Per-View event without having a World Title match. Last month for their ECW show, they had RVD (in his final act as this generation’s Bobby Lashley) compete against Sabu in a match with no real consequences. This month, after realizing that Rob Van Dam was wrestling without a solidified contract past the show and not understanding that Van Dam is one of the biggest flakes in wrestling, TNA has decided to run the semi-finals for their tournament to crown a new placeholder champion.

TNA’s decision to not just put the belt on Abyss was pretty telling when it came to what they think about him. Nothing sends a better message to your fans than the image of your #1 Contender not being given the belt after the champion gets taken out. TNA showed its hand and let us know that they had no intentions of having Abyss become World Champion, so we all hope you enjoyed watching him be the centerpiece of the broadcast for the past several months. But don’t worry, I’m sure when he reveals who “They” are that they payoff will be so totally worth it. For reals.

So the show was hyping the fact that the four men who were left in the tournament were going to compete in a tag match. That’s fine. In fact, that’s the kind of straight-forward booking that, quite frankly, has to be applauded. It wasn’t revolutionary, but it was logical. Unfortunately, when Hogan and Bischoff (or was that Bob Segar?) announced the tag match, Eric called it the biggest challenge of their careers. Really? Really? The biggest challenge of their careers was teaming with someone in a tag match where the outcome means absolutely nothing? See, it’s stupid shit like that that makes my ears bleed.

Anyway, I’m going to cover the PPV the way I’ve done the past few, with…

An Indiscriminate Number of Thoughts on TNA’s No Surrender

1) Opening with shots of guys arriving at the arena was meant to give things a little big of realism, so I can’t really bury it. I like the attempt at authenticity.

2) Love the time-stamps that they threw on there. Thanks for letting us know that Hardy and Angle were late.

3) Kurt’s Top 10 quest to kill suspense for the tournament just seems illogical.

4) The shot of RVD all bloodied kinda looks like the “Death of Superman” cover.

5) “I can always pull one out of my butt, if you know what I mean.” No Kurt, I have no idea what you mean.

6) So during the video package, there was a shot of Kennedy and Burke and they showed one of the fakest punches in wrestling history that they could have easily edited around. That’s beyond sloppy.

7) Dear TNA, invest in a concussion machine so that your fireworks don’t sound like sprinklers smacking against a window.

8) “The TNA World Title Tournament rolls on at No Surrender.” When your opening line makes it sound like the entire PPV is filler, you’re off to a good start.

9) So for some reason London Brawling isn’t there. I haven’t checked the web yet, so I’m sure there’s a reason why. The decision to go with MCMG v. Generation Me isn’t a bad substitute. Too bad they decided to make these guys the curtain jerkers, especially after Paul Heyman was kind enough to point out that these guys should have been main eventing Impact. This is a match that is actually for a title, as opposed to glorified #1 contender matches.

10) Love that Tazz took a shot at Vince by commenting on how beautiful the tag title belts looked like. Guess we weren’t the only ones to notice that the WWE Tag Titles looked like giant pennies glued onto a belt.

11) Generation Me’s Hardy Boys look is astounding. Combine that with the MNM meets Rockers costumes and you pretty much realize that any attempt at subtlety has gone out the window.

12) These guys are so insanely quick that I feel like I’m watching the match on fast forward.

13) Tenay comments that they are Christian athletes who are proud of their upbringing. There is so much wrong with that that I just can’t even pontificate on it without getting fired up.

14) Watching all of these athletic moves and innovative offense just makes me realize that the opening match is probably going to be the high point of the entire show.

15) Max Buck and Chris Sabin were veering a little too much into gymnastics routines while they were in there, which actually took me out of the match. Then again, I’ll take that over the slow and plodding messes that might be waiting for me in the later matches (coughRhinoAbysscough).

16) According to Tazz, the teams ooze energy. I think I speak for everyone when I say, “Ew.”

17) Alright, I know I wasn’t going to say anything, but if TNA is seriously going to push Generation Me as Christian athletes, then they better plan on turning them heel and having them go over-the-top righteous, because when the fans turn on them (and they will) for being religious, you better have it be because they’re being comically lame as opposed to earnest or you’re going to piss off a whole bunch of people and probably scar the team for life. I don’t care about pissing off Christian conservatives or whatever, but when you’re risking ruining an actually talented team with something this stupid, you have to wonder who the fuck is booking this (oh yeah, crazy reborn Vince Russo…the guy who put Judy Bagwell on a pole).

18) I don’t know what I liked better, the crazy double-team move The Bucks hit on Sabin or the fact that Shelley was being held back from breaking up the pin but still managed to break it up.

19) You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Alex Shelley and Evan Bourne in the same place at the same time. Hmm…

20) Nice opening match as filler, though it really was an Impact match on a PPV that’s already an Impact PPV.

21) The post-match beatdown by the Bucks pretty much signaled that their whole Christian athlete idea will be played for laughs. That’s fine by me. Hypocrites make great heels.

22) The problem here is that this was a replacement match that wound up having storyline implications. TNA didn’t have long to book this match in the first place, so it wasn’t like this heel turn was well planned. Hopefully they know where they’re going with this, but I doubt it.

23) The fans love them some Sabu.

24) Going from the main event to an X-Division challenger? Fuck, Sabu stole Samoa Joe’s gimmick.

25) Sabu and Williams was watchable until Sabu botched the moonsault and we remembered who Sabu was.

26) So Sabu’s been a wrestler for about twenty years and for some reason he was still confused about why he couldn’t use a chair as a weapon.

27) Sabu’s springboard moonsault looked like it was in slow motion. That’s impressive and unimpressive all at once.

28) Sabu winds up driving himself through a table. Brilliant.

29) Doug Williams delivered quite possibly the worst belt shot in the history of wrestling, and I’m including Diva matches.

30) The Pope doesn’t like Mr. Kennedy. Apparently he’s Pro-Choice.

31) Oh good, the Beautiful People are back together again. So they created this whole ridiculous gimmick, the WWE makes it better, TNA reunites them and makes them…faces?

32) The fans chanting masturbation clearly shows that TNA’s Knockout Division is well respected by the audience.

33) Jeff Hardy’s facepaint kinda looks like milk after you’ve dunked Oreos in it.

34) That’s right Jeff, RVD never lost the title…he forfeited it so that he could hang out at home and get high. I’m pretty antidrug, but even I can’t question that decision.

35) I guess when WWE went TV-PG that it released the trashcan full of weapons, which TNA probably signed at a higher contract rate but will underutilize for a while before it ultimately quits. Look for trash can full of crap to be wrestling for ROH in a few months.

36) On principle, matches that brawl around the arena screws the fans in the building out of the match. Had they actually paid for their tickets, they’d feel ripped off that they’re just sitting there watching monitors.

37) Fighting under the ramp? Innovative? Yes. Entertaining? Not really.

38) How is it possible that Rhino is more gassed than Abyss? I guess carrying around those tiny arms is more work than it looks.

39) So you’ve got Sting and Nash trying to take down TNA, you’ve got Fortune trying to take over TNA, you’ve got EV2.0 trying to revolutionize TNA and you’ve got Rob Van Dam trying to bail on TNA. You know, all of these challenges to the organization only work if you care about the organization to begin with. At this point, I’ll root for anyone who wants to fix this company.

40) So Hogan’s not there again because of “back issues”. Is this like his new code word? Because it isn’t all that subtle. And when you can accuse Hulk Hogan of not being subtle, you know it’s bad.

41) I see Nash, I see Jarrett and I see Sting. Holy shit, its 1999! Someone call my broker, because I can finally go invest in Google.

42) So Sting’s now rocking a t-shirt while he wrestles. Has he gotten so out of shape that his ridiculous costume can’t cover up his gut?

43) Samoa Joe is too good to be bogged down in this crap. If TNA really wanted to make him a player, this tournament would have been his opportunity.

44) Wait, there’s no Impact on this Thursday? Are they serious? Vince sacrificed a lot when he was getting handled by the dog show, but he would never have given up the RAW after a PPV. You know, I was joking before that this entire PPV was just an over-long Impact, but now it’s officially true.

45) If Joe is showing the same aggression here that he showed to the production truck, he should have been arrested for assault.

46) Jarrett used Sting’s ridiculous black bat. I guess next month Sting is going to use Jeff’s equally ridiculous guitar.

47) “That whole thing was kinda weird, huh?” Couldn’t have said it better myself, Tazz.

48) The Styles/Dreamer package was actually too good for a match like this.

49) Glad to see that based on AJ Styles’ costume that he’s a fan of “It’s Always Sunny”.

50) TNA’s rip-off of “Man in the Box” isn’t as good as WWE’s rip-off of “Man in the Box”.

51) Did Mike Tenay really just put over Tommy Dreamer’s peripheral vision? And is it wrong that I immediately thought of “Studio 60”?

52) Is the TV Title even on the line here or is this yet another match where we won’t see a belt on the line?

53) It’s tough taking Dreamer seriously as a threat when I’ve watched him for years job to pretty much everyone in the WWE.

54) What the fork?

55) There’s a guy in the crowd wearing a Gator hat with jean shorts. He should be taken out back and shot for disrespecting the Gators.

56) This is the second match of the night featuring a guard rail as a weapon. After years of service, it’s nice to see it finally getting a push.

57) Apparently under Ric Flair’s contract, it’s stipulated that every time Styles is mentioned, they need to say Ric’s name right after it.

58) No one does bugged-out determination like Tommy Dreamer.

59) Tommy has the fork now. Glad to see everyone’s been reading “The Art of War” by Moe Syzlak. “The ole fork in the eye.”

60) There is nothing more ridiculous than a referee holding a microphone.

61) I stand corrected. There is nothing more ridiculous than Tommy Dreamer’s new ring gear. Does Beth Phoenix know that he stole her wardrobe?

62) Guess they decided to use the old Lawler/Funk empty arena finish. Well, if you’re going to steal, might as well steal from one of the best.

63) How high was Kurt during that promo?

64) Hardy and Angle isn’t the main event? Seriously?

65) I must have misheard, because there is no way that Dixie Carter’s husband is named after a failed Coca-Cola energy drink.

66) Would it kill Kurt to learn how to do a frog splash that doesn’t look like a middle-aged man being sucked down by gravity?

67) Kurt’s ankle-lock on Hardy lasted longer than most Impact matches.

68) Time-limit draw? What is this, Championship Wrestling from Georgia?

69) Here comes Bischoff to the rescue…in a purple v-neck. No idea why those gay rumors about him ever got started.

70) “Given the critical importance of this match, we have to add another five minutes.” If this was such a critically important match, why the fuck would you put a time limit on it in the first place?! Only TNA could fuck up pretty much every aspect of this tournament.

71) Kurt’s murdering of Jeff’s ankle actually looked vicious.

72) Wow, they went the full five extra minutes. Who would have thought THAT would have been a bad idea?

73) So between Dixie Carter and Eric Bischoff, they couldn’t have made the decision the first time or the second time to just remove the time limit? What a braintrust.

74) Kurt bled enough during that match to satisfy any WWE fan’s bloodlust.

75) Who in the truck decided that the noise to signal the end of the time limit should be the X noise from “Family Feud”?

76) “This match is a no contest.” Why not just declare that this PPV isn’t really a PPV while you’re at it?

77) So since the last match was no contest, shouldn’t by default Kennedy/Pope be automatically for the title?

78) CM Punk should sue Pope for chest-hair gimmick infringement.

79) So TNA’s main event is between two guys who probably would have been potential WWE main eventers but just never got a fair shot. In fairness, this is why a company like TNA should exist in the first place, to give pushes to guys who didn’t make it in the WWE. If the WWE didn’t do that with WCW wrestlers, Steve Austin and Chris Jericho would never have been what they became.

80) So Kennedy wins, which I think everyone predicted.

81) “You have a good time here tonight?” Eh, not really.

82) How the hell do you end your show with intrigue that would drive people to your Thursday broadcast and then not run a Thursday broadcast? Fucking clown shoes.

So there you have it, 82 electrifying thoughts on such a lackluster PPV that had it not been for the fact that it was Labor Day and I had a free afternoon I probably would have just ignored entirely.

One of the things that sucks about being the Monday Night guy now as opposed to the Thursday Night guy is that by the time I get around to talking about something that happened in the past week, there are already about 100 columnists that have said pretty much everything that has been said. With that said, when it comes to the potential unification of the WWE Title, there is no way I can just let that pass by without comment, so…

One Title, Under Vince, With Triple H and John Cena for All

So the plan right now according to the completely reputable anonymous backstage source is that Vince is planning on unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight straps at Wrestlemania. Several months ago I said that the only “dream match” left for the WWE at this point was Undertaker/Cena at Wrestlemania, so it’s almost a 100% lock that those two will be going at it for the title.

Unifying the titles right now absolutely makes sense in some ways and absolutely makes zero sense in some ways. When Brock Lesnar decided to make Smackdown his permanent home, the Undisputed Championship split like LayCool’s Women’s Title. Why did this happen? Well, like most things in wrestling, it’s equally complicated and simple.

On the one hand, when you have one champion going brand to brand, the brand that doesn’t have a contender for the belt is bound to look like the inferior show. If Brock is feuding with Guy X on Smackdown, Top Guy Y on RAW has nothing to do. Since Top Guy Y was actually Triple H, this meant that he needed a title to defend. It made sense and it gave RAW and Smackdown some semblance of balance.

The actual reason that there were two titles created was because of the mounting pressure on Vince to actually produce two completely separate wrestling entities. Spike TV and UPN didn’t quite have the same synergy that Spike and MTV had, so there was pressure from both a network and Viacom as a whole to give the audience two varied programs. When you have two shows on two channels that feature one champion, the fans are going to be a little flummoxed…or at least that’s what their research showed. Apparently if wrestling fans saw the same guy on two channels on two different nights, they might think that they were seeing a doppelganger and their poor heads would cave in from confusion. Thankfully, the split titles (and a healthy dose of Stacker 2, Slim Jims and Castrol GTX) cleared up the wounded minds of the audience.

There is incredible value in having two champions. The idea when the brands were split initially that RAW would be Steve Austin’s Ass Kicking Variety Hour and Smackdown would be The Rock’s Spectacular Slammin’ Variety Hour. Well, when Steve split and Rocky bolted for Hollywood, Vince was left with two shows that needed balanced talent. Unfortunately, just like with his children, Vince can’t help but show favoritism towards one television program.

RAW was Vince’s baby from the beginning, so Smackdown was always the red-headed stepchild. Smackdown was only kept around because it was on network television, and Vince got a proverbial hard-on at the thought of being the first guy since the Dumont Network era to have wrestling on regular Prime Time television on a weekly basis. Now, with Smackdown moving to SyFi, all of the WWE’s programming falls under the NBC Universal banner. This means that the guise of having two different programs isn’t really necessary anymore.

The bigger issue here is whether or not the brand splits worked. Since the company divided in two, there have been pretty much three big stars that have come out of the division and are still relevant; Randy Orton, John Cena and Batista. With Dave heading the way of VHS a few months ago, that leaves Orton and Cena (who, let’s face it, would have gotten over anyway). Sheamus is now finally catching on has a top heel, so I guess we can add him to the list.

The major problem with the division has been that after all of these years, the top guys are still pretty much the top guys. Smackdown still revolves around The Undertaker and Rey Mysterio, while RAW is almost everyone else who was over before the split with Edge, Jericho, Triple H, Randy Orton and John Cena. Most of the stars marked as the next “big thing” haven’t exactly panned out: John Morrison, MVP, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Mister Kennedy, The Great Khali, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Masters, Carlito, Kenny Dykstra, Lance Cade, Umaga and Bobby Lashley. It doesn’t seem fair to blame the brand split alone for these woes, but it doesn’t help matters either.

Fans are conditioned to care about one champion, and whether you want to admit it or not, that one champion is the guy holding the belt on RAW. Smackdown’s recent past is littered with guys that couldn’t sustain their runs at the top. Even when you ignore the interminable JBL runs, you look back and see a whole lot of messes at the top of the card. The loss of Eddie Guerrero was devastating to their long-term booking, but there weren’t a whole lot of guys that stepped up and took his place. Khali? Mark Henry? Boogeyman?

Smackdown did a decent job of getting Swangle over these past few months, but just when he seemed to be a legitimate main event threat, he got shuttled into a lower midcard feud with MVP. Now I understand the point of this is to set up another submission-based match for Breaking Point, but wow did Swangle plummet. He isn’t CM Punk, who was able to transition from losing his title into becoming a captivating heel with a microphone and an electric razor.

With one champion, the fans will once again be conditioned to care about the guy at the top of the card. A combined roster would actually hide a lot of the messes in the company right now and recreate a strong midcard. During the Attitude Era, there weren’t a whole bunch of main event stars: Steve Austin, The Rock, Mankind, Triple H and Undertaker. When a guy like Kurt Angle or Chris Jericho rose to the top, it felt like it was earned. They had to go through an incredibly tough midcard and their assent felt legitimate.

If the WWE does in fact create one unified title belt, whoever holds that title is the biggest star in wrestling. Kane doesn’t feel like a world champion right now, but that’s because he’s on Smackdown and became the man of last resort for a brand that has been decimated by injuries, the Draft and just poor performances (I’m looking at you, wacky babyface Big Show).

If they do create a single title belt for everyone to rally around, it would force Creative to come up with other things for the rest of the main event guys to do. You can’t just run 6-pack challenges every month. The problem is that RAW has enough talent to do RAW-only PPVs, while Smackdown barely has enough guys to fill ten segments a week (plus the inevitable Chavo match on Superstars). Maybe once the next round of NXT guys get dumped on Friday Night that show will look a little more fleshed out, but right now their roster is hovering somewhere around ECW’s final roster.

What’s my final verdict? By now you know my feeling, marks make knee-jerk reactions while smart fans think longterm. A unified title would certainly be exciting for the short-term, but the WWE can’t have that many main event guys wandering around with nothing to do before they start getting antsy. This might just be a rumor floated to get buzz, or it could be a complete fabrication. But hey, rumors are fun to talk about, right?

A Low Key NXT Finale

So Kaval is the NXT Champion, and I completely…disagree. Calm down, calm down. I’m not burying Kaval, who was clearly the best guy in the competition by a country mile. I do think, however, that the WWE missed a golden opportunity here.

The final three wasn’t all that surprising, as we all knew it was going to come down to Perfect Jr., Alex Riley and Kaval. The problem is that, out of those three, Kaval needed it the least. He’s over with the fans, he’s great in the ring and he’s versatile in any position on the roster, so there was no way he was going to be cut. Perfect Jr. seemed like he was a heel from day one, so his whole “I love the fans” shtick just didn’t feel genuine. A win by him here would have solidified him as an actual player, something that his abysmal post-loss promo clearly couldn’t do. My pick was actually Alex Riley, because it would have been another boon for The Miz. Riley isn’t bad on the stick, he isn’t terrible in the ring, and as basically a poor-man’s Miz, he doesn’t completely suck. If Alex Riley got a title shot and used it to soften up a guy for The Miz, his role as Miz’s lackey would have serious legs. Now, he’ll be that guy that follows around The Miz despite being a “loser”.

Kaval’s future title match should be interesting. I think everyone hopes that he’ll wait until Punk is champion again and then challenge for it, because the thought of that match on PPV is enough to pry open my welded-shut wallet. Sadly, I think his window closed when he lost his slot as the guy to take out Rey Mysterio. Even sadder is that they gave it to Alberto Del Rio (who, before Christian stole my line, I was going to brand the Spanish JBL). I just don’t buy Del Rio, and I think he’ll wind up like Drew McIntyre before him as someone overpushed and then dropped.

Anyway, the WWE decided to go with Kaval (because, come on, this thing is scripted) to make him the Internet’s choice and to make up for the whole “Well, Daniel Bryan said he should be eliminated so I guess we’ll eliminate him” debacle. But onto next season and…

What’s NXT for the Divas

Well, next season of NXT starts tomorrow night and it’s…no…that can’t be right…an all-Diva season? An all-Diva season? I feel like Apu when he goes on that ten minute rant about “Jurassic Park”. A whole Diva season? Eight competitors, all Divas. All-Diva season (and yes, I am ripping off the obscure “Clerks: The Animated Series”).

This can go one of two ways: bad or worse.

The WWE Universe doesn’t care about Diva wrestling the way it cares about anything else on television. Diva matches have, for the better part of this decade, been the bathroom break. Women like Trish Stratus, Lita, Victoria and even Mickie James fought hard to get us to care about their division, but the lopsided and repetitive matches that we’ve been subjected to these past few years have worn down even the biggest pro-Diva fan.

WWE isn’t Japan. Hell, it isn’t even Shimmer. To make matters worse, the WWE lost both Beth Phoenix and Serena (one to injury and one to hypocrisy) on Smackdown and Katie Lea and Mickie James on RAW, so the entire women’s wrestling world has been pretty much sucked dry. Don’t believe me? Why else would the company be combining the two belts that exist? LayCool has Kelly Kelly and…uh…Rosa?

So now they expect us to watch Diva matches every week on a show that, if it weren’t for my DVR, I’d probably forget was on. And to make matters worse, they cast Primo as one of the mentors. Primo?! Are they trying to bait me (and for those of you who keep asking why I don’t like Primo, I must respond by asking you if you’ve actually watched him work)?

No one knows the future of NXT beyond this season, since neither SyFi nor the WWE is really talking. If this is in fact the final season, then maybe an all-Diva edition isn’t the worst idea in the world. It’s not like the ratings are going to tank well below whatever awful mutant lizard movie with Dean Cain was going to be aired in that spot anyways. Besides, look at the success that the WWE had with the Diva Searches. Those seemed to uncover some real hidden gems, including LayCool and my dearly missed Maria. If this gives the company a fresh Diva or two and doesn’t have the added pressure of performing well to get a new season, maybe it won’t be awful.

Sadly, this season will be TV-PG, while the Diva Searches were decidedly not.

The last positive to this is that it stops the WWE from bringing up eight more rookies from FCW. The company now has a glut of 16 relatively green guys (well, 14 plus Bryan and Kaval) who are going to find homes on the roster, so the thought of making room for eight more wrestlers is downright terrifying. Hopefully the Diva edition is watchable enough for SyFi to give us one more NXT season, just so more people can get on television and make bigger impacts than Tyler Rex.

Now, before we get to tonight’s show, let me get my little bit of shameless self-promotion in. You can follow me on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/awheeler316), friend me on Facebook, e-mail me at awheeler316@yahoo.com or just post in the overly-convoluted comment section down below. Lastly, to my fellow Tribesmen, a Happy and Healthy New Year.

With all of that said, on with the show.

For Your Consideration…The RAW Judicial Review 9/6/10

“If ya smell….”

We open with Nexus standing in the center of the ring in their standard boy band position, live from Washington D.C. No pyro or ballyhoo because those guys must have Labor Day off to spend time with their families, eat BBQ and give money to Jerry Lewis and those poor sick children. Remember folks, you’ll never walk alone…unless you’re Batista (that, folks, was the first ever WWE and Jerry Lewis joke. A truly historic RAW.)

Wade Barrett says that it’s fitting to be in Washington D.C. Actually, he uses the word emanates, since he’s British and thus sounds smarter. He says that last week the Nexus did something that we would all do forever, and somehow I already forgot what he did. Wade reminds us that they took out The Undertaker. Not for a nice seafood dinner, mind you. They took him out to beat the crap out of him. So basically your standard evening with Ike Turner. Or Rhino. Or Steve Austin.

David Otunga says that their beatdown of Taker should put to rest any concerns about Nexus. Yeah, watching the one guy who can work do his one move to Undertaker removes my concerns that Otunga and Tarver can’t work at all.

Michael Tarver says that if anyone could do anything as unprecedented as this, they would savor that moment forever. Sadly, Yokozuna couldn’t be reached for comment.

Tarver says that later in the night, he took out five of the top Superstars in the company. Again, “take out” means beat up.

Heath Slater says that he pinned WWE Champion Sheamus. I hate Ginger-on-Ginger violence. He then repeats this a few more times.

Justin Gabriel says he did something more impressive by delivering his finishing move to Cena and Undertaker in the same night. That’s just one of the many things Justin Gabriel’s done with two men that none of us will ever do. By the way, Gabriel’s eyes are all red, which makes me think someone farted on his pillow. Apparently Cena can see him. I wonder if he means socially.

Barrett says that he de-venomized the Viper. I’m pretty sure that laying on a viper won’t de-venomize it, but if you have a poisonous snake at home and feel like trying that, go ahead. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

Wade’s rambling gets interrupted by voices, and sure enough here comes Randy Orton in his t-shirt and no pants. That look doesn’t make him seem intimidating, it makes it look like that moment when your girlfriend puts on your shirt after rolling out of bed. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever been with a girl that orange. Maybe he’s auditioning for the remake of “Fantastic Four”.

Randy says that he will make it his business to hit Wade Barrett with an RKO in the PPV title match. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

Wade invites Orton to the ring, but the GMail goes off. Justin Gabriel tonight will face John Cena. Randy Orton will wrestle Wade Barrett. Randy smiles, which makes him look like a Jack-O-Lantern. Oh, and the lesser members of Nexus will be banned from ringside. Way to earn that paycheck on Labor Day.

Commercial.

We’re back with the WWE Rewind in which Edge shoved down that uppity Charles Robinson to get himself disqualified last week. This is why you can’t trust a Canadian.

Speaking of Edge, here comes Chris Jericho. Well that replay sure as hell made sense. The GMail goes off yet again (hope he has unlimited Internet) and tonight, if Edge and Jericho don’t win their respective matches, they will be taken out of the 6-Pack challenge at Night of Champions. Chris’s opponent is “This Man.” Apparently, by this man, he meant

John Slo-Mo-Rrison w/ Beard v. Chris Jericho

The cameras cut to a creepy dude wearing a John Morrison shirt holding a John Morrison sign. I’m pretty sure that’s grounds for a temporary restraining order. Jericho starts off by jumping Morrison as I go online to bet my life savings on the fact that Edge will probably be facing the other half of Wacky Buddy Cop Movie, Resurrection-Truth.

Jericho goes for a few quick near falls before launching Morrison over the top rope. Chris asks Cole who the anonymous GM is, but Cole says he doesn’t know. Liar liar, cheap suit pants on fire.

Commercial.

The sandwich lady in the Taco Bell commercial is oddly violent and racist all at the same time. I’m glad the cheap chicken taco thing is taking her down a peg or two.

We’re back with a hell of a resthold as Jericho tries to choke the life out of Morrison the way Creative has choked the life out of his career. Jericho breaks the hold in time to yell at Cole again, which is something I can get behind. Morrison comes back with some kicks and some more kicks before hitting a fairly impressive backbreaker for two.

This rally ends quickly as Jericho goes for the Walls but it gets countered. Chris responds by kicking him and going for the Lionsault but Morrison moves and hits the Flashkick for two. That was a spirited little exchange. Chris then drops Morrison before telegraphing his Codebreaker. John blocks it and goes for a kick but gets rolled up for two. Jericho then hits the Enzuigiri for two. Lawler asks what could beat Morrison. I’m going to go with Codebreaker, Walls of Jericho or Melina.

Morrison goes for Starship pain but misses and tweaks his knee. Chris locks in Walls of Jericho but John crawls towards the ropes. See TNA, that doesn’t require a 9 minute hold to get the point across that it hurts. Morrison rolls to the outside and as he tries to climb in he winds up perched on the top rope. John and Chris fight on the top rope and Morrison knocks him off. Morrison goes for and hits Starship Pain for the pin. Well, thank goodness. Yes, I was rooting for John Morrison, mainly because Jericho said if he lost at the PPV that he would retire and now he doesn’t have to retire. Once again TNA, this is how you weasel out of your stipulations.

After the match, Jericho looks all dejected, but that might be because he realized what’s coming next, a…

Commercial.

We’re back and here comes…sigh…Melina. I don’t know why, but face Melina is like bamboo shoots under my fingernails. Out next is Alicia Fox, who has a microphone. Wait, is she the one who sings?

Fox tells Melina that she won’t be competing at Night At Champions for the Undefined Diva’s Title. That was magical.

Undefined Tramp Stamp Title Match: Melina v. Alicia Fox

Melina starts out hammering away on Fox and culminates by doing a split. Let’s just hope she doesn’t injure herself again. Melina kicks her down again before going to the top rope with a crossbody for two. Alicia drapes Melina’s throat across the top rope and then slams her face into the mat. That, kids, is how you make paste. Melina pulls out the Matrix move before hitting the “A River Runs Through It” Dropkick.

Alicia takes over from there but gets kicked in the head and gets caught with what’s being called the Sunset Split, mainly because the screeching from Melina will split your eardrums.

In the back, The Miz and his tiny tie is basking at something behind a black curtain. He tells Mini-Orton that tonight we will learn about the Journey to Awesome. Matthews tries to see what’s under the curtain and he gets banished to a…

Commercial.

Apparently WWE.com has a Poker game. Super.

Edge is in the back with Zach Ryder. What are the odds that they mention that Ryder was his lackey? Edge says that he took out Charles Robinson because Robinson talked shit about his mother. Ryder offers to be Edge’s partner so Edge accepts Zach Ryder’s challenge for a match tonight. Edge then promises that if Zach’s music doesn’t play tonight, Edge will smash the GMail computer. Ryder says that being called a tool hurt his feelings.

Ted DiBiase is on the phone in the back and I actually forgot that he was on the roster. Teddy says that he loves someone on the phone, which brings out Maryse. Oh, it was his mother on the phone. Wacky. Maryse says “Me too” based on some note on her purse. The note says “I want you so bad”. Teddy says he didn’t write it and that maybe the note was written for him. Maryse babbles in French to the floating Undertaker head on the poster behind her.

John Cena v. Justin Gabriel

We get another clip of Justin Gabriel hitting the 450 Splash onto Cena last week. Over/under on Cena squashing Gabriel in about 30 seconds? “Can Gabriel pin Cena next?” That’s what dreams are made of…

Commercial.

Next week’s Season Premiere of RAW will feature RAW Roulette. I am a sucker for the giant wheel. Sue me.

I love that Night of Champions logo. It looks like a TIE Fighter.

Here comes John Cena, complete with his LSU colors. Traitor. I miss the Orange and Blue. Then again, after this Saturday’s Gator game, I think it’s going to be a long season. But I won’t give up hope because the University of Florida still has our lord and savior Tim Tebow praying for us.

Gabriel starts off with a headlock but Cena shrugs him off. Gabriel grabs an armbar but John reverses it into a headscissor. Justin doesn’t seem to be putting up much of a struggle with his head between Cena’s legs. Finally, John breaks the hold.

Justin fires off some kicks and punches, knocking Cena into the corner. It looks like Jerry Lewis wasn’t the only charitable man this weekend, as Cena has decided to give Justin Gabriel some offense. Gabriel dumps Cena on the floor, and as he’s laying on the outside in pain we get a graphic hyping his movie trailer up next.

Gabriel whips him into the ring and connects with a great flipping legdrop for two. Cole reminds us that we’re watching RAW, in case you thought this was NCIS. Gabriel comes off the top rope with a crossbody for two. He then hits a Russian legsweep and turns it into a submission hold. The drama in the move is completely lost because Cole’s voice goes up about twelve octaves when he says “In the center of the ring.” Gabriel almost gets countered but he hits a gutwrench for two. Lawler says that Justin Cena’s counter should have impressed Gabriel. Guess the Wellness Policy doesn’t extend to announcers.

Justin tries for a modified Lionsault but misses and unlocks the Five Moves of Mediocrity. Cena goes for the FU but Gabriel counters and takes him down with a legsweep. He follows it up with a kick to the head. Justin goes up for the 450 but Cena crotches him and hits the Second Rope FU that was normally reserved for Bobby Lashley. That gets the job done, as Justin Gabriel now kinda looks like a bigger deal than he is.

I can’t wait for Cena’s next feud with Sheamus so that it’ll be between the Irish Curse and A.A. Thank you, don’t forget to tip your waitress.

Jerry “Ed Hardy” Lawler and Michael “Casual Male” Cole hype “Legendary” as Lawler says that there are only a limited number of lucky theaters that will be screening that movie. By my count, that makes a lot of lucky theaters and some unlucky theaters saddled with this movie. I kid, I kid. “Legendary” looks like the heartwarming story of a plucky underdog who trains to be a wrestler, shows some talent, gets a shot at glory and then jobs to Triple H.

Commercial.

We’re back with an NXT promo that doesn’t feature the giant freak lady.

In the ring. The Miz has a dapper suit and a giant picture draped in cloth. The Miz says that his name is Mike Mizanin and he has no right to be there. He was the lowest lifeform in the universe, a reality television star. He started in a competition on Tough Enough. He said that he started hearing voices, and I bet Randy Orton is itching to sue him for gimmick infringement.

Miz says that he refused to leave so he moved on. He did whatever he had to do to get a job. Cut to an image of him and Pat Patterson. Oh wait, it’s him as host of Smackdown. We now move on to Miz and Morrison as tag champions, where everyone said Morrison was the star and The Miz was riding coattails. He then won the US Title, but we said it was a fluke. Miz then pulls out the suitcase to remind us that he won Money in the Bank. Five bucks says that the thing under the blanket is his picture on the next PPV poster.

We get a drum-roll, and it’s The Miz on the cover of WWE Magazine. Really? That was the big reveal? Why does it look like he’s leaping out of Iron Man’s chest? Miz demands that everyone admit that they’re wrong. We can’t deny it, we can’t hide from it and we can’t do anything but admit that he’s The Miz and he has earned the right to say that he’s awesome.

That was a killer promo.

Daniel Bryan comes out now and my biggest fear is that The Miz is going to get so over with the smarky fans that they’re going to turn on Daniel Bryan.

Bryan introduces himself and congratulates Miz. He says that they have a lot in common. Bryan says that people didn’t think he’d make it, and Miz interrupts him and says that he didn’t make it. Bryan says that he came out to generic rock music and has a haircut that he paid ten bucks for. He has to wear his ring gear to not get thrown out in the back. He’s the anti-Superstar. One thing he does know is that if he does face The Miz for the US Title, he can beat The Miz. Miz asks what makes Bryan worthy to face him for the title. Bryan says that Miz is right and that if it did happen, the next month’s cover would be Miz Taps. Bryan says that he isn’t coming out there to say that he’s going to tear Miz apart, but he can beat him and can make him tap out and can become the next United States Champion. Miz says that he doesn’t like Daniel. Miz promises to annihilate him and send him back to the minor leagues. Bryan challenges him for the US Title and Miz accepts.

Miz tries to jump Bryan so Bryan locks in the Crossface. Alex Riley runs out of the crowd but Bryan makes him out. He dumps Miz over the top rope and locks in the Crossface on Riley, who taps. Miz fakes a save but decides to wander back up the ramp to go hit up craft services. I hear they have the bomb brownies. Miz starts to walk towards the ring so Bryan kicks Miz’s poster.

This week in WWE History: WCW wrestled in a mall. Jesus, fifteen years ago. I wonder if Luger had realized that his debut on Nitro would have been so revolutionary that he would have worn a better shirt.

Edge is in the back, and he’s wandering towards a…

Commercial.

We’re back and I can see clearly that it’s Edge. That’s thanks in large part to the fresh contact lenses in my eyes. Ask Glazer how important having clean lenses are.

Cole just got a Blackberry message from the GM that Cena will face the winner of Barrett/Orton next week on RAW.

Edge v. The Great Khali

What the hell? Where’s R-Truth? Why do we have to watch Khali? Edge rolls out of the ring and goes for the GMail computer. He threatens it with a fist, to which I think we need to explain to him the logic of intimidating an inanimate object.

Edge leaves the computer alone and rolls into the ring. He then slides right out of the ring and mocks Khali by doing a Frankenstein dance. He then rolls into the ring to break the count before resuming his zombie dance. Edge then grabs Runjin Singh so Khali grabs his hair. Edge breaks free and climbs up the ramp, with Khali following. Edge kicks out Khali’s knee and sprints into the ring to beat the count. Best Khali match ever.

The GMail goes off yet again and Edge’s cheap victory won’t be acknowledged. Therefore, the match is restarted and it is a no disqualification, over-the-top-rope challenge. I quit.

Commercial.

You know who the National Urban League’s favorite faction of all time was? No, not The Nation. Surprisingly, it was the York Foundation. Black people love a pre-WWE Marlena.

We’re back and Khali has connected with two clotheslines and a chop in the corner. That just about exhausts his entire repertoire. Edge slides out under the bottom rope but Khali follows by stepping over the top rope. How the hell doesn’t that signify the end of the match? Edge sets up for the Spear but Khali grabs him with a goozle and tosses him through the second rope. Khali steps over to follow him but Edge grabs him by the ankle and pulls him out of the ring for the win.

Still tonight, Randy Orton will face Wade Barrett for the right to face John Cena next week.

Commercial.

We’re back with Night of Champions hype.

Chris Jericho is in the back with Josh Matthews. Matthews reminds Jericho that he would leave if he didn’t win the title at the PPV. Chris sits silently because he either wants to build drama or Creative forgot to script his promo. John Morrison then appears next to Jericho and asks if Chris had a bad day. He asks if Chris still thinks that he’s the best in the world at what he does. Morrison says that things will get better. Jesus, when John Morrison is taking pity on you, it is time to quit.

Hey, here comes Sheamus for some reason. Heze doin’ communtury, rite aftah a…

Commershul.

“A bird in the hand’s worth two in the bush.” That’s what she said.

If the Raw Roulette Wheel has a Coal Miner’s Glove on a Pole match, I will lose my shit. Well, probably not, but I’ll still be pretty excited.

John Cena, Sheamus and Edge are all on commentary.

Wade Barrett is out first in his Noid t-shirt. Edge says that he’s won the most championships ever, but Sheamus points out that it only mattahs whose da chumpiun naw.

The fans start a fairly weak RKO chant, mainly due to the fact that most of the audience knows that Orson Welles is dead. Randy Orton is alive, well and full of country goodness and green peaness.

Orton jumps Barrett as everyone keeps saying the word “Fellah”. Randy whips Wade into the corner and explodes with a clothesline. They then brawl to the outside near all of the commentators. Orton rams Barrett into the announce position before hitting some stiff-sounding shots. He throws Wade back into the ring to administer the Garvin Stomp, which Cole calls Vintage Orton despite the fact that it’s a stolen move. I guess it would be vintage if Garvin was a Native American and Orton was an English settler.

Wade Barrett comes back with a shoulderblock as Sheamus debates the fairness of the PPV match. Wade connects with a neckbreaker for two. Sheamus says that his grandmother is home in Ireland saying Hail Mary’s. I didn’t know she was a football coach.

Barrett connects with a sidewalk slam for two. Barrett connects with some lefts and rights, because he was a bare-knuckle brawler in case ya didn’t know. Wade sets up Orton for his finishing move that’s apparently called Wasteland. I guess they decided to name it after a failed ABC television show and “Cupid” just didn’t sound threatening enough.

Orton counters Wasteland and goes for the Second-Rope DDT but Wade tosses him out of the ring. Music starts blaring and Black Cena shows up. He asks if Nexus thought that they could attack him and get away with it. He calls himself the missing link, but yet again failed to put on the green face paint. Wade turns around and eats an RKO for the pin.

I’m sorry, but did the main event of RAW just end with Darren Young running in?

Thankfully, Orton RKO’s Young. He then RKOs Edge and Sheamus. Randy is so excited, he’s so excited, he’s so…scared.

We now re-live the thrilling Darren Young run-in, followed by about 200 RKOs. Well, get ready for a fresh match next week as Randy Orton will face John Cena.

In the ring, Randy and John are face-to-face, and we know shit’s about to go down because Cena just took off his hat and t-shirt. Cena and Orton face off in a staring contest that I’m sure has championship implications. Sadly, we go off the air before we find out who blinked first.

This has been for your consideration.

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