Caught in the Ropes- Wrestling Soup (WWE, TNA)

Welcome back to Caught in the Ropes! I’ll be honest: it’s been a hell of a week. Having your house fumigated for termites is a royal pain in the ass. Therefore, I’m taking the lazy man’s way out this week and I’ll comment on a few topics around the wrestling world since I didn’t have the time to think out and write up a full-fledged column. Hopefully things will calm down a little, so I can give you something more substantial next week.

Rise of the Divas

Beth Phoenix made her heel turn this week after she became the number-one contender for the Diva’s Championship. Natalya promptly made her turn on the blue brand as well, name-dropping Beth while doing so. We’ll see how things play out over the next week, but it looks like the WWE is moving to form one dominant Divas faction populated by a few particular women. You know, the talented ones. This angle, which is still in its gestation period so I won’t get too far ahead of myself, has the potential to be the best Diva’s storyline in a long, long time.

Unfortunately, Gail Kim quit the company this week as well. I could definitely see her being worked into this burgeoning stable if she stuck around, but I understand why she decided to split. She was relegated to the background in the WWE. Actually, that doesn’t do it justice; Gail Kim wasn’t even in the background, she was off-frame outside the set twiddling her fingers at the craft services table, waiting in vain to be called in. I don’t blame Gail for leaving, and I don’t blame her for exiting the Battle Royal the way she did. Just a few years ago, she was the one of the top female wrestlers in TNA and worked a series with Awesome Kong that riled up the Impact Zone in a way that would embarrass guys like Crimson and Mr. Anderson. She was big, and I think she truly believed that after proving herself in TNA, she would get the same push in the WWE. It never happened.

So, where do they go from here? Beth should crush Kelly Kelly at Summerslam and have a long run with the title. The WWE also needs to avoid lumping less qualified Divas into this stable. If they involve Alicia Fox or the Bella Twins in this storyline, the will officially kill it. It should be the best female wrestlers they have (and they can go out and pick up a few others as well) running roughshod over the rest of the division.

Hardcore Justice

I don’t get it TNA. So, Kurt Angle won the Heavyweight belt last night and became that belt’s third unique title-holder within the last two months. Kurt is a better choice than Sting, mind you, since he still has more left in the tank than Sting does, but Kurt also needs to start training for the 2012 Olympic Games. I can only assume, then, that Kurt is going to lose the belt again within the next few months, probably at Bound for Glory, or possibly No Surrender. That is if they don’t have him drop the strap on an episode of Impact like they did with Mr. Anderson. I honestly don’t know how Kurt is planning on qualifying for the Olympics while also working in TNA.

By all accounts, though, Hardcore Justice was not very good. The X-Division guys stole the show, like that’s a surprise to anyone, and it appears that this Aries/Kendrick/Shelley feud will continue for a little while longer. Crimson’s winning streak continues for some inexplicable reason. Does anyone care about this streak at all? I know they were trying to replicate the run Samoa Joe had early on in his TNA career, but it has generated zero interest and at this point they need to change directions with him. Or they could be TNA and have him win the whole Bound for Glory series and come away with the belt.

Other than that, there isn’t much to be said. Beer Money still have the tag belts, even though TNA seems to want to push Roode as a singles performer, and the duo have held the belts since January. It seems TNA doesn’t have any faith in Mexican America, and honestly, why should they? Moreover, TNA just doesn’t care about the tag teams anymore, which is just another former point of differentiation for TNA against the WWE that has fallen by the wayside. Winter won the Knockouts championship, which is…well, it’s not good, but it is something.

Ryder Revolution Begins With a Whimper

Having Zack on both Smackdown and Raw this last week was a positive step for the WWE. They need guys who can talk, and Ryder can do just that. However, he’s lost to Ezekiel Jackson and the team of Otunga and McGillicutty in the same week as well. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We’ll see how long it takes the WWE to stop portraying the guy as inept in the ring, but Ryder fans will have to take what they can get for now.

WWE Cleaning House

Aside from the aforementioned Gail Kim, Melina was let go by the company this week, along with Chris Masters, DH Smith, and Kozlov. The only real surprise here, aside from Gail quitting, was the release of Kozlov. He and Santino were over, really over, though I was beyond tired of the joke. I guess the WWE is serious about teaming Zack up with Santino and felt they didn’t need the guy. DH Smith is disappointing but inevitable; the writing was on the wall for him after the Hart Foundation imploded. Masters is another, “Well, duh,” release. After the Masterlock gimmick failed, Creative just had nothing in the bag for him.

Melina, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, is no great surprise. She was mediocre in the ring, had an awful finishing move, and was by all accounts a total drama queen backstage. WWE is okay with the mediocre, but I think the fact that she was disliked by a lot of people in the locker-room is the real reason she was let go. The rest of her game wasn’t good enough to overshadow all her other problems within the company.

Thanks for reading, check out all the other articles here on Pulse Wrestling, and have a good week!

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