The View From Down Here – Half Year Review 2011

 All right… something a little different.


I sat down and watched the Pay-Per-Views from the first half of 2011 (January to June inclusive). All of them. Every single one. TNA and WWE. More than 30 hours of grown men (and women) beating one another up. Now, why would I put myself through the hell that is any match involving Michael Cole again? Please, don’t ask questions like that… okay?


Right, where was I?


Now, I decided to try and work out which PPVs were any good, which were better than others, all that sort of thing. And I decided to look at it from the point of view of the wrestling we saw, because even though that’s pretty subjective in itself, trying to judge the merits of backstage skits, mini-concerts, angle advancement dialogues and interviews would just do me ‘ead in.


Match quality is pretty subjective as well, of course. Where some people give a match ****, others may only see it as **. So this is my subjectivity. Here’s how I worked it out: Each match starts at 70%, which is what I think each and every PPV match should be at least (TV matches should be a 50%) because PPVs should be the best and TV should be angle advancement. I add marks for cool spots, good endings, good flow and generally positive things. However, I take marks off for botches, short running time, boredom, poorly executed moves, poor selling, poor flow, the wrong person (in my opinion, and it has to be really the wrong person) going over and generally negative things. Because I am looking back, there is also the ability for a match to be watched again away from the back story. (Example: Sgt Slaughter v Hulk Hogan from Wrestlemania 7 is actually better without the War back-story. In my opinion.) Oh, I also add on if *I* was entertained by what I saw (including post-match) or take if *I* thought it was not entertaining. I rate the women on the same scale as the men. And finally, for some I took off a heap of marks because it was short and its position said it should not be that short… or it was too long.


Now, I’m not going to give my exact scores because that would be opening a HUGE can of worms I’m just not prepared to deal with.


Matches in the very top, simply a great match! Potential classic to be lauded in years to come purely for what we see in the ring. You would expect no more than three of these in a year, seriously.

            None. Mind you, one or two did crack this in July…


Next level: a really good match, well worth watching again. And there are a few here.

1. CM Punk def Rey Mysterio (WWE Capitol Punishment, Jun 19)

            This was my Match of the First Half of the Year on PPV.

2. Christian def Alberto Del Rio (WWE Extreme Rules, May 1)

3. Randy Orton def Christian (WWE Over The Limit, May 22)

=4. John Cena won Raw Elimination Chamber (WWE Elimination Chamber, Feb 20)

=4. Edge won Smackdown Elimination Chamber (WWE Elimination Chamber, Feb 20)


This next level indicates a very good match, above average, easily rewatchable.

6. Fourtune won Lethal Lockdown (TNA Lockdown, Apr 17)

7. Alberto Del Rio won the Royal Rumble (WWE Royal Rumble, Jan 30)

8. Beer Money Inc def Motor City Machine Guns (TNA Genesis, Jan 9)

9. AJ Styles def Matt Hardy (TNA Victory Road, Mar 13)

            Yes, a Matt Hardy match. Deal with it!

10. Alex Shelley & James Storm def The British Invasion (TNA Slammiversary, Jun 12)

11. Cody Rhodes def Rey Mysterio (WWE, Wrestlemania, Apr 3)

12. Kazarian def Max Buck (TNA Sacrifice, May 15)

13. Edge def Dolph Ziggler (WWE Royal Rumble, Jan 30)

14. Beer Money Inc. def Ink Inc (TNA Victory Road, Mar 13)

15. Sin Cara def Chavo Guerrero Jr (WWE Over The Limit, May 22)

16. Kazarian def Robbie E, Max Buck, Jeremy Buck (TNA Victory Road, Mar 13)

17. Rey Mysterio def Cody Rhodes (WWE Extreme Rules, May 1)

=18. Randy Orton def CM Punk (WWE Wrestlemania, Apr 3)

=18. R-Truth def Rey Mysterio Jr (WWE Over The Limit, May 22)

19. Randy Orton def Christian (WWE Capitol Punishment, Jun 19)

20. Jeff Jarrett def Kurt Angle (TNA Against All Odds, Feb 13)

21. Beer Money Inc def Matt Hardy & Chris Harris (TNA Sacrifice, May 15)

=22. Alberto Del Rio def Kofi Kingston (WWE Elimination Chamber, Feb 20)

=22. Kurt Angle def Jeff Jarrett (TNA Slammiversary, Jun 12)


This next level is exactly what I’d expect from a decent PPV match.

=24. Kazarian def Jay Lethal (TNA Genesis, Jan 9)

=24. Samoa Joe def Pope (TNA Lockdown, Apr 17)

=26. Edge def Alberto Del Rio (WWE Wrestlemania, Apr 3)

=26. Randy Orton def CM Punk (WWE Extreme Rules, May 1)

28. Sting def Rob Van Dam (TNA Sacrifice, May 15)


These next few were still good, but just lacked a certain ‘something’.

29. Ezekiel Jackson def Wade Barrett (WWE Over The Limit, May 22)

30. Rob Van Dam def Matt Hardy (TNA Against All Odds, Feb 13)

31. Kazarian def Robbie E (TNA Against All Odds, Feb 13)

32. Mac Buck def Robbie E, Brian Kendrick, Chris Sabin, Amazing Red, Jay Lethal, Jeremy Buck, Suicide (TNA Lockdown, Apr 17)

33. Tommy Dreamer def AJ Styles (TNA Sacrifice, May 15)

34. John Cena def John Morrison, The Miz (WWE Extreme Rules, May 1)

35. Tommy Dreamer def Bully Ray (TNA Victory Road, Mar 13)

=36. Scott Steiner & Beer Money Inc def Rob Terry, Gunner & Murphy (TNA Against All Odds, Feb 13)

=36. Dolph Ziggler def Kofi Kingston (WWE Capitol Punishment, Jun 19)

37. Undertaker def HHH (WWE Wrestlemania, Apr 3)


This next lot are also good matches as far as these things go, but…

38. Jeff Jarrett def Kurt Angle (TNA Lockdown, Apr 17)

=39. Kofi Kingston def Sheamus (WWE Extreme Rules, May 1)

=39. Bully Ray def AJ Styles (TNA Slammiversary, Jun 12)

41. Samoa Joe def Crimson (TNA Slammiversary, Jun 12)

42. Kane & Big Show def CM Punk & Mason Ryan (WWE Over The Limit, May 22)

=43. Evan Bourne def Jack Swagger (WWE Capitol Punishment, Jun 19)

=43. Alex Riley def The Miz (WWE Capitol Punishment, Jun 19)

45. Ink Inc def Scott Steiner & Crimson, The British Invasion, Orlando Jordan & Eric Young (TNA Lockdown, Apr 17)

46. Abyss def Brian Kendrick, Kazarian (TNA Slammiversary, Jun 12)

47. Mexican America def Ink Inc (TNA Sacrifice, May 15)

48. The Miz def Jerry Lawler (WWE Elimination Chamber, Feb 20)


This next group were all certainly watchable, but really they felt like glorified TV matches.

49. Layla def Michelle McCool (WWE Extreme Rules, May 1)

            This is the highest ranked women’s match.

50. Samoa Joe def The Pope (TNA Against All Odds, Feb 13)

51. Matt Morgan def Scott Steiner (TNA Slammiversary, Jun 12)

52. Sting def Mr Anderson, Rob Van Dam (TNA Lockdown, Apr 17)

53. Matt Hardy def Rob Van Dam (TNA Genesis, Jan 9)

54. John Cena def The Miz (WWE Over The Limit, May 22)

55. Madison Rayne def Mickie James (TNA Against All Odds, Feb 13)

            And this is the second highest ranked women’s match…

56. Brian Kendrick def Robbie E (TNA Sacrifice, May 15)

57. Matt Morgan def Hernandez (TNA Lockdown, Apr 17)

58. John Cena def R-Truth (WWE Capitol Punishment, Jun 19)

59. John Morrison, Trish Stratus & Snooki def Dolph Ziggler & LayCool (WWE Wrestlemania, Apr 3)

            Yes, Snooki’s in a match I ranked higher than any Angelina Love match.

60. Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater def Santino Marella & Vladimir Koslov (WWE Elimination Chamber, Feb 20)

61. Alberto Del Rio def The Big Show (WWE Capitol Punishment, Jun 19)

=62. The Miz def Randy Orton (WWE Royal Rumble, Jan 30)

=62. The Miz def John Cena (WWE Wrestlemania, Apr 3)


This next lot were – how can I put this? – hmmm… all right, they weren’t even “okay”.  These would have been barely acceptable on TV, so they all had me asking why they were even on a PPV…

64. Bully Ray def Devon (TNA Against All Odds, Feb 13)

65. Mickie James def Angelina Love (TNA Slammiversary, Jun 12)

66. Ezekiel Jackson def Wade Barrett (WWE Capitol Punishment, Jun 19)

67. Jeff Hardy def Mr Anderson (TNA Against All Odds, Feb 13)

68. Mr Anderson v Rob Van Dam – no result (double count out) (TNA Victory Road, Mar 13)

69. Jerry Lawler def Michael Cole (WWE Over The Limit, May 22)

70. Mickie James def Madison Rayne (TNA Sacrifice, May 15)

71. Brie Bella def Kelly Kelly (WWE Over The Limit, May 22)

72. Crimson def Abyss (TNA Sacrifice, May 15)

73. Hernandez def Matt Morgan (TNA Victory Road, Mar 13)

74. Kurt Angle & Chyna def Jeff & Karen Jarrett (TNA Sacrifice, May 15)

75. Abyss def Douglas Williams (TNA Genesis, Jan 9)


Now we reach the matches that simply were not good, no matter how you look at them.

76. Mr Anderson def Jeff Hardy (TNA Genesis, Jan 9)

77. Madison Rayne def Mickie James (TNA Genesis, Jan 9)

78. Eve def Michelle McCool, Layla, Natalya (WWE Royal Rumble, Jan 30)

79. Bully Ray def Devon (TNA Genesis, Jan 9)

80. Kurt Angle def Jeff Jarrett (TNA Genesis, Jan 9)

81. Kane & Big Show def Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson (WWE Extreme Rules. May 1)

82. Michael Cole def Jerry Lawler (WWE Wrestlemania, Apr 3)

83. Mr Anderson def Matt Morgan (TNA Genesis, Jan 9)


And this last group were, unfortunately, total crap.

84. Mr Anderson def Sting (TNA Slammiversary, Jun 12)

85. Big Show, Kane, Santino & Kofi Kingston def Corre (WWE Wrestlemania, Apr 3)

=86. Sarita & Rosita def Angelina Love & Winter (TNA Victory Road, Mar 13)

=86 Mickie James def Madison Rayne (TNA Lockdown, Apr 17)

87. Sting def Jeff Hardy (TNA Victory Road, Mar 13)

88. Michael Cole & Jack Swagger def Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler (WWE Extreme Rules, May 1)


88 matches. The bottom 10 were pretty evenly split between TNA and WWE (6-4), while the top 10 was split the other way (TNA 4, WWE 6). So what about the PPVs themselves?


Well, the worst show was clearly TNA Genesis (Jan 9) which averaged less than 50% for match quality. And considering one of the Genesis matches featured in my top 10, that should tell you how bad the rest of the card was. Then, averaging above 50% we had (in order, bottom up): TNA Victory Road (Mar 13), WWE Wrestlemania (Apr 3), WWE Extreme Rules (May 1), TNA Slammiversary (Jun 12), TNA Sacrifice (May 15), TNA Lockdown (Apr 17), and WWE Royal Rumble (Jan 30). Now, that’s a little unfair, I have to say, because while the Rumble match itself took up almost half the show and was quite good; the show really only had 4 actual matches, and one of those was a women’s match that was no great shakes.


Then, at the next tier we had TNA Against All Odd (Feb 13), WWE Capitol Punishment (Jun 19) and WWE Over The Limit (May 22). And so that leaves as the best PPV from the first half of 2011 WWE Elimination Chamber (Feb 20).


So the worst 2 PPVs came from TNA while the best 3 came from WWE. Just saying.


Some other interesting stats out of my personal opinion here:


Ignoring matches that involved eight or more people, and only considering those wrestlers who wrestled in at least 3 PPV matches, when looking at various individuals, some interesting points come up:

            The person with the worst PPV match quality was Michael Cole. By a long way. His average match rating was less than 30%. Second worst was Jeff Hardy. Now, Michael Cole you can understand, but Jeff Hardy was a world champion at the start of the year! Going down the line we have Jerry Lawler, then Madison Rayne and then a tie between Sting and Mr Anderson, followed by Mickie James, Matt Morgan, and a tie between Abyss and Big Show rounding out the bottom ten.

            At the other end, in tenth spot we have Matt Hardy. Yes, that Matt Hardy. He’s followed by Alberto Del Rio, AJ Styles, Kazarian, Robert Roode, Randy Orton, James Storm, CM Punk and Rey Mysterio. And the most consistent person in PPV match quality from January to June, 2011, has been Christian.


A lot of this will change come year’s end. But at the moment, looking at the first half of the year, it has been rather interesting. While some of the story-lines at the time were lacklustre and often confusing, the actual match quality at the start of the year was surprisingly good. The group matches, especially (Elimination Chambers, Royal Rumble, Lethal Lockdown, Ultimate X) were really well done this year.


Agree? Disagree? Feel free to leave a comment. This is, as I’ve said, subjective. And the person who looks over my work already tells me I’ve over-rated the Rumble match and underrated another match he loves, both by a long way.


And that’s this view!


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