Ringside Reads: Memorial Day 2010

– On this Memorial Day, Wrestlespective takes a look back at all the military men in wrestling history.

– Kevin Eck of the Baltimore Sun wrestling blog Ring Posts shares his thoughts on Mickie James’ new CD, “Strangers and Angels.”

Kick-Out!! Wrestling gives us five wrestlers who are currently in the danger zone in this week’s Five Count.

– Ric Flair recently sat down with the guys from the UK’s WrestleCast for what was a newsworthy interview.

Pro Wrestling Torch has news on The Undertaker suffering an injury during Smackdown that could impact the upcoming Fatal 4 Way pay-per-view.

5.25.10 WWE NXT thoughts

The clear highlight of NXT, as with last week’s episode, was the interaction between Michael Cole and Daniel Bryan. The whole segment was well done and came across as being very real, which is something we don’t get very often in wrestling these days. The show also saw the elimination of Heath Slater and a few short but solid matches.

The mic work by both Bryan and Cole was top-notch. The emotion wasn’t overdone and each man stepping on the other’s words made it all believable. You knew when Bryan said he would apologize that something more was going to happen and it worked well. Something a lot of people seemed to miss was that Cole slapped Bryan before escaping the ring. A melee then ensued as Bryan broke away from security and got to Cole on the outside. It looked like Cole took a pretty hard bump to the head from the barricade but he kept going.

Daniel Bryan finally attacked The Miz, who was yelling at Bryan as he was walking to the back. The look on the face of William Regal, who was on the stage with the other pros and trained Bryan for a period of time, was great as he stood back with a wry smile.

You have to give credit to Cole, Bryan and The Miz for making this whole thing come off believable and realistic. I don’t know where this goes from here but I’m just hoping it doesn’t lead to a Cole v. Bryan singles match. Hopefully it will be The Miz who fights on behalf of Cole.

Other thoughts on last night’s NXT after the jump:

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5.24.10 WWE Raw review

Not including the absolutely horrible in-ring segment with Jon Lovitz, last night’s episode of Raw was the best in a quite a while. Bret Hart was introduced as the new general manager, R-Truth became the new United States Champion, Batista quit, and the four competitors in the Fatal 4 Way WWE Title match were announced.

The opening segment was well done, with Batista again coming off great in his promo while in a wheelchair. The introduction of Bret Hart fit in well here also, and he told Batista he could have another shot at John Cena if he beat Randy Orton to qualify for the Fatal 4 Way main event. The Animal shouted that he was in no shape to wrestle, with Hart replying that Orton wasn’t either. This set off Batista, who forfeited the match because he couldn’t compete, and then went into a crazed rant where he eventually quit the WWE.

I thought we had seen the last of Batista after his fall through the stage at Over The Limit but his sendoff on television fit in with the story.

More thoughts on the rest of the show after the jump:

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WWE Over The Limit review

WWE tried to go Over The Limit with Sunday’s pay-per-view but came up short. On paper the card looked like it had great potential but instead we got a flat effort from WWE. One title changed hands, as Kofi Kingston dominated Drew McIntyre to win the Intercontinental Championship, and Randy Orton suffered a separated shoulder while pounding the mat in preparation for an RKO.

John Cena defeated Batista to retain the WWE Championship
We pretty much knew coming in that Cena was going to retain but the match was better than expected. I’ve never been a fan of I Quit matches because having to ask the wrestler if he wants to give up takes some of the drama out of the bout. This was more of a brawl than a wrestling contest, which is fine, but it dragged at points.

I liked how Batista grabbed the mic before the match began and told Cena this was his chance to quit. I didn’t like Cena acting like he was thinking about it and then hitting Batista with the microphone. It was more cheesy, “Nickelodeon” comedy from Cena and was pretty lame.

The spot where Batista powerslammed John Cena through the Spanish announce table was nice. After that both men fought through the crowd and Cena knocking Batista off the railing was well done. The security guys who caught Batista got the worst of that one, though.

Batista getting in the car and trying to run over Cena was just plain silly. For one, why would the keys be in the car on the ramp? Secondly, the bit dragged and the announcers tried to play it up like Cena was dead, when you could clearly see referee Mike Chioda to the left of the car talking to Cena. Another problem I have with this is that it sort of breaks the characterization of what wrestling is. Why not just bring out a knife and stab Cena at the start of the match if you’re okay with running him over? Drew McIntyre got “fired” for beating up Matt Hardy but there was nothing wrong with attempted vehicular manslaughter?

The ending, with Cena tossing Batista through the ramp, gives us a reason why Batista won’t be on television for a while, as many internet sources have reported. Sheamus came out at the end and delivered a nice kick to Cena’s melon, so that will be the next program.

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Ringside Reads: 5.23.10

Your Sunday linkage while you get prepared for tonight’s WWE Over The Limit pay-per-view:

– First, be sure to check out my preview and predictions for tonight’s card. John Cena defends the WWE Title against Batista in an I Quit Match, Edge and Randy Orton square off, CM Punk takes on Rey Mysterio once again, and The Miz and Chris Jericho challenge The Hart Dynasty for the Unified Tag Team Titles.

– Ted DiBiase, Sr. responded to The Ultimate Warrior’s recent disparaging comments about him and The UK Sun has the story.

– Kevin Eck of The Baltimore Sun blog Ring Posts has his own preview and predictions for Over The Limit.

Wrestle Soup has an interview with former WWE and TNA performer Shelly Martinez, who has made it no secret she’d love to get back into the business.

411 Mania has some information on who will appear at the WWC Aniversario 2010 show. Carlito, recently released from WWE, is among the performers. Primo Colon, Scott Steiner, Shelton Benjamin and Tommy Dreamer are among others the company has announced.

Carlito released by WWE

World Wrestling Entertainment has announced the release of Carlito after he failed a drug test and refused to enter rehab at the request of the company. Unlike most of the company’s releases which are buried in the “News” section of WWE’s website, Carlito’s release is a feature story, albeit a two sentence paragraph.

Carlito and Primo had recently reformed their tag team and an alliance with Ted DiBiase was hinted at. Now Primo will be on his own and likely shoved back down the card. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a tag team with Evan Bourne, though.

Carlito has long had a reputation for being a great talent but someone who lacked motivation and desire. TNA will likely be very interested but who knows if they’ll chase him since the rumor is Dixie Carter and Co. will be cutting talent.

WWE Over The Limit preview and predictions

WWE presents Over The Limit live on pay-per-view this Sunday. The card features a few rematches in Batista/Cena and Punk/Mysterio but also gives us some fresh matchups with Big Show challenging Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship and Edge facing Randy Orton.

Below are my match-by-match predictions and previews:

WWE Championship I Quit Match
Batista v. John Cena [C]

With all the rumors swirling about Batista taking some time off, the outcome of this match seems obvious. Add with that the way Batista has dominated Cena in the buildup to this match and it’s a foregone conclusion that Cena retains the title. It’s a shame if it’s true that The Animal is taking time off because he is truly at the top of his game right now as a heel. I think Sheamus will get involved in this match somehow.

Predicted winner: John Cena
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5.20.10 TNA Impact review

Thursday’s episode of TNA Impact had so many awful parts that I don’t even know where to begin. The show had a few bright spots, but they were overshadowed by more of what we’ve come to expect from TNA: Illogical booking, inconsistent storylines and wasted matches.

I liked the idea of the opening segment in which Eric Bischoff came out to run down the Top 10 rankings and introduce the number one contender. It dragged on way too long, but it made the whole thing feel important. I didn’t like how we really were never told what the importance of being anything other than number one is. Also, the fan voting was totally disregarded.

Sting being the number one contender made no sense at all. If Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and Dixie Carter are the ones will the final say on the “Championship Committee,” wouldn’t they not vote for Sting since they are the three people he’s most strongly targeted since turning heel? The whole thing makes no sense. To further the silliness, having Hogan and Carter watching the monitor in excitement to see who was announced was ridiculous, since they were the people that created the list.

Truly mind-boggling. More thoughts after the jump:
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5.18.10 WWE NXT thoughts

Tuesday’s episode of NXT was by far the best of the season. WWE is finally bringing an element of excitement to the show and I really liked that they brought back the rookies who were eliminated to let them speak their minds. The highlight of the show, of course, was Bryan Danielson (although they were still referring to him as Daniel Bryan) cutting a great promo and confronting Michael Cole.

Danielson, like Michael Tarver, said he was eliminated by WWE management and that all the pros know he deserves to still be in the competition. That got Miz going, who yelled that Danielson has done nothing in WWE. Danielson challenged The Miz to come down to the ring but was interrupted by Matt Striker.

Danielson continued his rant, saying he won’t miss being constantly interrupted by Striker. He went on to say that he never had a chance because he wasn’t built by the WWE machine. He had heard about the rumors of WWE’s backstage politics and that Vince McMahon only likes big men, and they were all true. Danielson said everyone knows he can wrestle, and then he targeted Michael Cole.

The American Dragon said Cole was a parrot just repeating what Vince McMahon was saying in his ear. He finally attacked Cole, yelling that he was a “poor man’s JR.” The segment was really well done. Cole sold the whole thing perfectly and Danielson was very intense.

Other thoughts on the show after the jump:
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5.17.10 WWE Raw review

The commercial-free (except in Canada) Raw was one of the better episodes of late but was still dragged down by a few things. The most notable of those was Bret Hart winning the United States Title.

I’m not going to complain about how it happened because the no-disqualification stipulation allowed for Hart to do no wrestling at all. The Hart Dynasty did the dirty work and The Miz tapped out to the Sharpshooter, dropping the belt to The Hitman. We pretty much knew Hart would win the title with the show taking place in Toronto but I still don’t like it and it definitely cheapens the belt. Granted, Scott Hall has a title in TNA but compared to Bret Hart, Hall looks like Rey Mysterio in the ring.

I’ve seen and heard a number of theories as to what happens next with the United States Title. My first thought was that Hart will drop the belt next week and a tournament will determine the new champion, possibly culminating at the June pay-per-view. That would help in bringing some prestige back to the title. Jason Powell of ProWrestling.net speculated that Hart may drop the belt next week in exchange for becoming the new GM of Raw.

Other people are guessing that the belt will be retired. If that is the case, it makes Hart winning it not so bad. I don’t know if that’s the route WWE will go, though, because it will leave Raw with no midcard title. We’ll see what happens next but either way you look at it, Bret Hart should not be holding a title in 2010.

More thoughts on last night’s Raw after the jump:
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