This Week in ‘E – A New York State of Mind

It’s a New York state of mind for WWE this week as the Brooklyn born Kaval gets his walking papers and Sunday night’s MSG house show caused some controversy.

Opening Witty Banter
Wow I cannot believe Christmas is already over. The past two and a half weeks have been insanely busy for me but pretty fantastic all the way around. And now is time for New Years, one of my favorite holidays every year. It sends out another, welcomes a new one and is totally okay to get blind drunk while celebrating it. It’s pretty fantastic. Plus that means The Royal Rumble is right around the corner, my absolute favorite time of the wrestling year. I must say 2010 hasn’t been my best year ever so I anxiously await 2011 and the awesomeness it will bring.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
World Wrestling released Kaval from his contract on December 23.

The company confirmed the release on their official website with their standard release note:

“World Wrestling Entertainment has come to terms on the release of WWE SmackDown Superstar Kaval (Brandon Silvestry) as of today, December 23, 2010. We wish Kaval the best in all future endeavors.”

According to PWInsider, the release was considered quite amicable. WWE Creative did not have any immediate plans for Silvestry and the two sides agreed to part ways as opposed to just outright releasing him. WWE is now more or less giving releases to whoever asks for them and not attempting to keep people as much as they did last year, the reason being that last year they didn’t want people to jump to TNA, while now they don’t view TNA as serious competition.

He also confirmed the release via his Twitter account and has already changed his name back to “The World Warrior” Low Ki.

He signed with WWE in early 2008 and spent considerable time the Florida Championship Wrestling developmental territory. He was eventually brought onto television this past summer as one of The Rookies on NXT, season 2. He would go on to win that competition and become a full-time member of the SmackDown brand. His final match was on Tuesday night’s live edition of SmackDown where he lost to Drew McIntyre in just seconds.

I said this last week regarding Jillian Hall as well, but it’s staggering the amount of wrestlers actively wanting out of their contracts (I’m thinking Carlito, Matt Hardy, Jillian, MVP and now Kaval). Although I do feel much better knowing he wanted out than just being kicked to the curb like many feared. The World Warrior will have no trouble finding as much or as little work as he wants, regardless of whether he ends up in either of the big two of TNA or ROH. Remember he has been in and out of ROH a lot, isn’t a real big pal of Gabe Sapolsky (and thus his EVOLVE and DG:USA) and has already walked out of TNA on his accord in the past as well.

Several WWE employees have tweeted about Kaval’s release this past week. Check out their reactions below:

John Cena: CeNation. Behind as always. I guess wwe has released kaval. I have no clue why but this close to holiday would probally mean That it is pretty serious business.

Jim Ross: Kaval’s release from WWE surprised me. Don’t know the circumstances. Kaval won’t have any issues finding work. I wish him my best.

Joey Styles: If TNA doesn’t immediately sign Kaval (who won NXT based on wwe.com fans and wrestlers votes), I’ve no idea what they look for in wrestlers.

Seth Rollins: Jaw is on the floor… @oneworldwarrior gone from WWE?! I can’t believe it.

I can’t believe how much “news” I now pull from Twitter. What did I do before it?

This past Sunday night was the big Madison Square Garden house show return for WWE. Unfortunately a crazy blizzard put New York City under wraps and put the show in jeopardy of being cancelled. However in WWE the show goes on, no matter what and here’s what happened.

Zack Ryder won a 12 Man Battle Royal to challenge Daniel Bryan for the US Title later in the evening. He eliminated Mark Henry to win. Others in the battle royal included Darren Young, Primo, Vladimir Kozlov, Yoshi Tatsu, Alex Riley, DH Smith, William Regal, Santino Marella, Michael McGillicuty and David Otunga.

Tyson Kidd pinned DH Smith after a roll up and a handful of tights.

Divas Tag Team Santa’s Little Helper Match.
The Bellas defeated Maryse & Melina after hitting a facebuster on Melina.

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (c) defeated Nexus (Justin Gabriel & Husky Harris), after Santino hit the Cobra on Gabriel and got the pin.

Piper’s Pit w/ Tito Santana
It was said to fairly boring and dull as Santana was a replacement for the stranded Sgt. Slaughter. The RAW GM interrupted and brought The Usos out to chase them off, but naturally the Hall of Famers stood tall.

WWE Championship Match
The Miz (c) defeated Randy Orton after Alex Riley interfered, allowing Miz to hit the SCF.
Randy Orton defeated Alex Riley after hitting the RKO for the pin. The match was made after Riley interfered in the title match, the Miz was banned from ringside.

US Title Match
Daniel Bryan (c) defeated Zack Ryder via submission with the LeBelle Lock.

Street Fight
John Morrison defeated King Sheamus after hitting Sheamus with a running knee while sitting on a chair.

MAINT EVENT Steel Cage Match
John Cena defeated Wade Barrett after hitting an AA off the second rope.

WWE issued the following statement after Newsday’s Alfonso Castillo called them out on their decision to go forward with their Madison Square Garden house show last night during the blizzard:

“WWE tries its best not to let down our fans due to the weather. After weighing several factors and consulting with Madison Square Garden management, The Garden was in favor of us running the event as they have a good track record of doing so during inclement weather, rarely postponing them. Public transportation was running, and this is a show in which a significant amount of ticket holders live in the city. All top WWE Talent had made it in to New York for the event.”

The company told Castillo they would work with ticket holders who weren’t able to attend the show on an “individual basis.” You can check out the article here.

When has WWE ever cancelled a show, especially in their home base? This shouldn’t have been a surprise to many people.

Nunzio/Little Guido was backstage visiting that night at MSG and got put to work. Nunzio, who lives in the NYC area, was backstage visiting and was reportedly asked to referee, as the only referee able to make the show was Charles Robinson. He reportedly did a good job in the position.

That’s the type of shit you only see on a house show. Props to Nunzio as it put him back on the company’s radar once again. He’d make a pretty solid trainer down in FCW at this point in his career.

In more New York City news, on March 19th will be a big day in the New York/New Jersey area. WWE will return to MSG for a RAW house show. ROH also runs that night at the Manhattan center, which is basically right around the corner. Also, 20-minutes away, Ultimate Fighting Championship is scheduled to host UFC 128 at the Prudential Center.

I’d guess Dana and his boys of the UFC will win that little battle.

The preliminary buyrate number for the WWE Survivor Series is in the 240,000-250,000 range, which is slightly above last year’s numbers.

You have the original and premier gimmick pay per view and then you don’t use the pay per view’s gimmick to its fullest. (facepalm)

Triple H will have an increased role at TV tapings in the coming weeks, similar to what he did during the overseas tour. It was said to be a less stressful environment with him running the show than with Vince McMahon.

With absolutely no snark, I cannot wait for the day for Triple H to completely be off TV and just take over. A true student of the game like him can only bring good things to the product behind the scenes.

Casting for Tough Enough will begin right after the New Year begins.

So does this mean NXT is finally done after this season?

The current plan is to ease off of the brand extension through WrestleMania. SmackDown talent will be on RAW and vice versa for tomorrow, and it is expected to be that way more often than in past months until April.

This isn’t really big news as it happens every year building up the big show. It will all get reset again right after WrestleMania with the season ending Draft.

In the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter, the David Letterman segment featuring Jerry Lawler slapping Andy Kaufman was named the 30th Greatest Moment in Television history. The list features the 80 Greatest Moments was compiled as part of the publication’s 80th Anniversary. The Lawler-Kaufman segment placed higher than Elvis’ debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, the debut of the first music video, The OJ Simpson chase and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

That dude has gotten more mileage out of that rivalry than anyone could’ve imagined.

The Road to…The Royal Rumble
Royal Rumble Match

Wrestler of the Week
Week of December 20 – 26: John Cena
It was hard to miss Cena when he never left but in his first full week back on the job after his brief termination was a big one. He went toe-to-toe with heat magnet Vickie Guerrero on RAW that was far better than it should’ve been thanks to an insane crowd. That led to a fantastic match with Vickie’s boy Dolph Ziggler immediately thereafter that made Ziggler look great even in a loss. Then the next night Cena invaded the live SmackDown and beat Vickie and Ziggler in another solid match, this time handicap-style, to once remind everyone he is the company’s golden boy.

Wrestler of the Year
Year of 2010: Daniel Bryan
Almost improbably the independent wunderkind Daniel Bryan is This Week in ‘E’s Wrestler of Year. Six out of the 52 weeks, Bryan was picked to be Wrestler of the Week, not bad for someone who didn’t debut on television until late February and then spent the entire summer in exile. He scored a victory in February after his NXT debut against Chris Jericho and again in May during the highlight of his run against Michael Cole. I again gave him the nod in June the week of his unexpected firing as without a doubt he was the most talked about wrestler of that week. Then he won again after his triumphant return at SummerSlam, in September after winning the United States Championship and then once again the last week in October after his bad ass run of matches against Dolph Ziggler.

His closest competitor was Edge, who was WOTW five and a half times. Incidentally Edge was Wrestler of the Year for 2009 and if he wasn’t lost in the shuffle on RAW this past summer and mired in such an awful feud with Kane this past fall there is no doubt he could have easily repeated. Honorable mention also have to go Randy Orton, The Miz, Jack Swagger (who had an awesome spring) and Wade Barrett, who were all definite players throughout the year as well.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Once again the column is coming in on a Tuesday and so RAW is in the books. It was a fun show but the booking seemed all over the place. I was incredibly surprised that Tyson Kidd and Jackson Andrews got jobbed so hard to Mark Henry when they had been built up so well in the previous weeks. There’s no way a bodyguard should go off his feet like that this early into his run. But I’m still anxious for that teased Bryan-Kidd match. The Punk thing at the end was fun too and a way to keep Nexus relevant. Oh and what a fantastic main event between Sheamus and Randy Orton. WWE always likes to pull out one last good free TV match on the last RAW of the year and once again they didn’t disappoint. Maybe because I came into the match with no expectations made it more enjoyable for me.

On Last Week’s Episode…
Superstars report and thoughts

NXT report and breaking holds

SmackDown

RAW results, thoughts and judicial review

How They Rated
Superstars (12.16.10) – .6

SmackDown! (12.17.10) – 1.76

A.M. RAW (12.19.10) – .23

RAW (12.20.10) – 3.3

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Logan is back with more old school goodness. Check out the infamous Nitro where Medusa dropped the WWF Women’s Championship in the trash can and Superstars featuring a stellar…uh…Adam Bomb-Bret Hart match.

The Riren is back!

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

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