Jesse Ventura brings the revolution on Raw


I used that headline not only because we saw a change in direction in the booking of Raw but because Jesse Ventura, the special guest host, said “revolution” more times than Michael Cole usually says “vintage.”

*Ventura won me over when at the beginning of the show he said he was sick of seeing the same people in the title scene all the time and things were about to change. That’s exactly what I, and many others, have been dying to hear for months.

*I liked the concept of qualifying matches for the Breakthrough Battle Royal, but the winners were so predictable. Either way, it was the right move putting the guys in that they did. I thought for sure Ted DiBiase would win the battle royal, setting up not only a title match for him but an eventual program with Randy Orton since DiBiase would have received the shot Orton has been desperate for.

Instead it was Sheamus who won and will face John Cena at the new TLC pay-per-view. I was okay with this, as Sheamus has been booked very strongly since coming to Raw. It also adds fuel to the popular rumor that Triple H’s cronies get top spots since it’s been reported that Sheamus is H’s workout buddy.

Oh well, any new face is a good one, even if they politicked to get it.

*I thought, for once, the backstage segment with Santino wasn’t lame. The ending with Vickie Guerrero getting an accidental pie in the face had me cracking up.

*The 8-year-old in me was hoping Bret Hart would make a run-in during the Hart Dynasty v. DX tag match. I would have marked out hard for that. Unfortunately we got a paint-by-numbers tag match with Triple H cleaning house after the hot tag and winning it. It was still decent enough.

*The John Cena v. CM Punk match was very good. I’ve always thought that even though Cena only has about eight moves in his repertoire, he can be very good with the right opponent. I’d like to see Cena and Punk get a program somewhere down the line. Punk, as I’ve said before, is a really good heel. He morphed his “I’m better than you” promo from drug abuse to turkey abuse for the Thanksgiving theme. Great stuff.

*The way Maryse came back was lame and predictable, but I was happy to see it. She may not be any good in the ring (really, which of the divas is?) but Maryse is ridiculously gorgeous.

I laughed a little at the Gobbledy Gooker return, but Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were so over-the-top with their giggling that it got annoying.

*I really liked having Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura do commentary together. It showed just how bad the team of Cole-Lawler really is when Ventura and McMahon can get on the mic after almost 20 years and be better. They were a little quiet but McMahon brought back his patented, “Over the top, that’ll do it… NO!”

One thing you can say for McMahon is he is very willing to mock himself. If it’s entertaining he’ll do it.

*Overall I thought this was a very good show. We got an extension of the Orton-Kofi feud, Cena has a new challenger who was put over strong, JeriShow and DX should have a great TLC match at the PPV, and Maryse was on my TV again.

Quick thoughts on Survivor Series

While many probably considered Survivor Series to be boring and to lack punch, I think it was a card filled with smart booking. After the rapid pace of title changes, it was actually nice to see both of the top belts defended successfully.

*Clearly WWE is trying to push Sheamus to the moon and they showed that again when he pinned John Morrison during the Team Miz v. Team Morrison elimination match. I expected Morrison to pin The Miz to avenge his loss at Bragging Rights but the shining stars of that match were Miz, Sheamus and Drew McIntyre. It seems WWE is actually ready to pull the trigger on their youth movement.

*The triple threat match for the WWE Title was very good, even though many were disappointed that John Cena was victorious. My money says Cena holds the title until WrestleMania.

*Kofi Kingston got elevated to star status last night when he pinned CM Punk and Randy Orton in the span of less than a minute to win the Team Kingston v. Team Orton match. Kofi has all the tools to be a top star, especially since WWE has let him drop his fake Jamaican accent.

*I think it was the right move for The Undertaker to hold onto the strap. It’s likely that he’ll match up with Batista in his next program. It makes sense since it’s been a few years since the two have squared off and Batista is a heel now, which should make it seem even more fresh.

*Speaking of Batista, the crowd was solidly behind him during his match with Rey Mysterio. The announcers tried to play it off that it was Batista’s home town of DC but it’s also a great gimmick for him. It reminded me a little of the “Attitude Era” when heels were cheered.

WWE Survivor Series preview and predictions

Survivor Series is one of WWE’s “original four” pay-per-views, if you will. Over the years it has changed but the 2009 version still features three traditional Survivor Series elimination matchups, as well as two world title contests.

WWE Title Triple Threat Match: Shawn Michaels v. Triple H v. John Cena [C]
The build for this contest has revolved entirely around the lame comedy of John Cena, DX and Hornswoggle. Part of me thinks that will lead to a big swerve, leading to a HBK-HHH match at WrestleMania XXVI. On paper, though, this match has the makings of a classic.

It’s too early to have Cena drop the belt but WWE’s creative team seems to care little about devaluing the championship. A triple threat match is a great way to have the champ lose the belt while not getting pinned clean. Could we see some sort of setup where either Triple H or Michaels lays down for the other, enraging Cena?

I think Cena loses the belt to Trips, with Michaels getting jealous and leading to a matchup between the two down the road. Even if they played it as face v. face, it’s been long enough since HHH and HBK went at it where it would be fresh at WrestleMania.
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Triple H

World Heavyweight Title Triple Threat Match: Chris Jericho v. Big Show v. The Undertaker [C]
While I’d love to see Chris Jericho walk out as the new champion, I just don’t think it will happen. It would be nice to have a heel champ so John Morrison could slide into the world title picture and have a natural opponent. Jericho would be a good fit and having him hold the World Heavyweight Title would be a good way to allow that belt to be defended on both Raw and Smackdown.

Jericho has been booked to look so week for the last few months, which sometimes means the guy will come out as the champ, but I don’t see it here. I think ‘Taker wins the match, but we get the inevitable Jericho-Show breakup. Perhaps Edge does a run-in?
Winner and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker

Rey Mysterio v. Batista
Batista has to win this match. I could see it playing out the other way but if the creative team wants to further Batista’s new character as that of a dominating bully, he needs to beat the smallest man in the WWE. It won’t be a squash match but I think Batista wins after Rey mounts some nice offense.
Winner: Batista

Tradition Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Kofi (Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, MVP, R-Truth, Christian) v. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, William Regal)
The winners and losers aren’t as important in these matches as enhancing feuds. That will be the goal with Kofi-Orton and Truth-Punk, especially.

This has the chance to be really, really good. The match is full of good workers (aside from Mark Henry, who can look good with the right opponent, though) and is stuffed with rising stars. It will be a treat to see Christian square off with CM Punk or Randy Orton one-on-one.

I think Team Orton wins simply because Kofi has gotten the best of Orton several times on TV and the focal point of this match will be further developing that feud.
Winners: Team Orton

Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Miz (The Miz, Jack Swagger, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler) v. Team Morrison (John Morrison, Evan Bourne, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Finley)
As with the Team Orton v. Team Kofi match, the point here will be to enhance feuds. While Miz v. Morrison will be a main point, the Miz and Jack Swagger feud should also be further developed. That will also be true of Drew McIntyre and Finley’s budding rivalry, and Morrison against Dolph Ziggler.

I’ll take Morrison’s team to win it since Miz got the pinfall victory over his former partner at Bragging Rights.
Winners: Team Morrison

Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Mickie (Mickie James, Eve, Kelly Kelly, Melina, Gail Kim) v. Team Michelle (Michelle McCool, Layla, Beth Phoenix, Jillian Hall, Alicia Fox)
WWE doesn’t seem to care about developing feuds in the women’s division. They given it a little effort with the Mickie v. Michelle angle, and Melina v. Alicia has some potential. But really we’re just in it for the eye candy in this one.
Winners: All of us for getting to watch it (but I’ll say Team Mickie, leading to a Mickie title challenge)

(All images courtesy of WWE.com)

Thoughts on WWE Smackdown [11.20.09]

R-Truth and CM Punk exchange words on Friday's WWE Smackdown

Smackdown continues to be the wrestling show between it and Raw, providing great in-ring action with the traditional promos to put on the far superior product. Raw, on the other hand, is the “variety show” of the two. Although I can’t think of a variety show as poorly written as some of the more recent episodes of Raw.

*CM Punk is perhaps one of the best heels in the business today. His in-ring work has always been great but turning him heel was the best thing that could have ever happened to the straight-edge superstar. I could see where some would think his “holier than thou” promos are getting old, but he keeps finding new ways to make them interesting. Pouring the bottle of liquor into the garbage can was a nice touch on Smackdown and led to the inevitable when R-Truth cut the promo short and then dumped out the garbage can on Punk.

*While many think that CM Punk has taken a step back since dropping out of the World Championship scene, I think it may be a case of using him to elevate R-Truth. I think Truth’s gimmick could get old, but so far he’s won over the crowd and certainly has the ring style to become a big star.

*On that same track, Finley is one of the best there is a putting guys over, which makes him a great worker. He’s doing that right now with Drew McIntyre.

*It’s been said a thousand times but Batista is much, much better as a heel. His boring ring style fits perfectly with his heel, bully persona. As a face, he was just a boring big guy.

*I thought we’d finally see Dolph Ziggler capture the Intercontinental Title in the 2-out-of-3 falls match against John Morrison, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. That leaves me wondering where this angle is going or if it’s over all together.

Stacy Keibler will guest star on 100th episode of “How I Met Your Mother”

Neil Patrick Harris and Stacy Keibler on the set of "How I Met Your Mother"

CBS has confirmed that Stacy Keibler will be among the guests on the 100th episode of the network’s comedy, “How I Met Your Mother.” According to Neil Patrick Harris, Keibler will play a bartender that his character, Barney, is after.

“Barney needs to nail the hot bartender that works at MacLaren’s,” Harris told the site. “Oddly, he’s never banged a hot bartender before. He has a lot of conquests, but never a hot bartender.”

Things get complicated when Barney learns that Keibler’s character is not a fan of guys in suits, leading to a big musical number. Barney “has to choose between giving up suits to bang her or leaving her and keeping his suits – and he sings about it!” Harris said.

The episode will air January 11.

(Quote via the Los Angeles Times. Image via Neil Patrick Harris’ Twitter page.)

Quick thoughts on the November 19 TNA Impact!

TNA Impact! continued to tease the imminent arrival of Hulk Hogan, who agreed to join TNA over three weeks ago. I can’t argue with the creative team slowly building the drama but Hogan has to show up sooner or later. If not, some fans may get sick of the tease.

*Speaking of which, Kevin Nash told Mick Foley that Hogan “won’t be coming alone.” That makes me wonder if Eric Bischoff, who also agreed to a deal with TNA, will be returning as an on-air character. The rumor has been that Bischoff would be returning in a behind-the-scenes capacity but was a very good on-screen act as well.

The pessimist in me interprets Nash’s words to mean that many of the old guard could be coming back with Hogan. If that’s true, get ready for a whole lot of Nasty Boys, Brutus Beefcake, and other washed-up has-beens.

*Mick Foley did a good job switching between being serious and being funny. Raven, although not in the same physical shape he was in his ECW years, has provided a nice boost to TNA since his return. I like the team of he and Stevie Richards and pitting them against Foley and his protege, Abyss, is a smart move.

*While Kurt Angle and AJ Styles are two of the best in-ring workers in the business, their promo was awful.

*One thing I give TNA credit for, where they totally dominate the WWE, is in the tag team division. WWE cares little about tag teams and tried to salvage the division by teaming Edge with Chris Jericho and having them win the unified straps. They split up Primo and Carlito for seemingly no reason and while the Miz and John Morrison split has worked out for both men, it was another team broken up too early.

TNA, on the other hand, does what a smart wrestling promotion does in regards to teams. When you don’t know what to do with a bunch of mid-card talent, put them in tag teams.

*Desmond Wolfe is already an impact player in TNA and will only go up from here. Where TNA usually drops the ball, they have taken it all the way to the house with the former ROH legend. Wolfe’s promos and gimmick are great.

*You can catch the full episode of TNA Impact! on TNA’s official site at this link.

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