Thursday, July 31, 2008

The week in wrestling

As promised earlier, some random thoughts on things I haven't covered so far this week.

  • SD & Raw & ECW: I touched on these shows to the extend I'd seen them this week, I believe; which means I covered part of SD and Raw in fair detail. I didn't see ECW as it's hard to find in Canada (I know it's on Global at midnight, but I'm not sure which night of the week, and I'm usually either out or asleep at that hour anyway). But what I've heard from ECW is that Matt Hardy did an awesome promo this week on Mark Henry, which is great. He's right - a frying pan or a steel rod won't fight back against the World's Strongest Man; Matt will. I'm actually looking forward to this match. My main question is will Matt win his inevitable ECW championship here, or will they prolong it a bit as they did with his US title win? Hopefully his ECW title run lasts longer, also, might I add.
  • One more ECW thought, going back a ways; been meaning to comment on this but kept forgetting. Colin Delaney; you make this kid interesting by giving him a heel turn, and then you have him lose his first match after that push? I get not wanting to damage Tommy Dreamer even further, and getting his heat back, but surely you could have had Delaney win in a dastardly manner which wouldn't have hurt dreamer - Tony Atlas or Mark Henry could have interfered or something. Or don't have them wrestle, have them interfere in each other's matches building to a low-card PPV match, giving ECW an actual second match on a show instead of their token world title match. If it's to be a valid third brand, surely on a 7- or 8-match card they can have two matches; split the other six up among the other two.
  • Freddie Prinze Jr. as a WWE creative team member: sure this isn't just a fast track to getting his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, as WWE's newest Diva? Just kidding ... seriously, I'm actually going to withhold judgement on this one. On the one hand, I grant it kind of bears the odour of 'stunt hire', for some mainstream publicity. But on the other, it HAS garnered some mainsteam publicity which is positive, or at least neutral (ie, not about drugs, deaths, arrests, etc.) regarding wrestling, and Freddie Prinze Jr. is an accomplished enough writer and entertainer, knows enough about how to produce good TV and give audiences what they want, that if he has at least some wrestling knowledge he could actually be a decent fit. So consider this a dubious, cautious endorsement, but some optimism nonetheless ... for now.
And that's it for now! Upcoming tomorrow and this weekend: a DVD review of "Nature Boy Ric Flair: the Definitive Collection", Smackdown reactions tomorrow night, and some thoughts on Saturday Night's Main Event ... which I won't spoil for anyone but from the spoilers *I've* read sounds desperately yawny. Thoughts on why that might be once the event has actually occurred in WWE reality. Enjoy your day, and Happy Friday tomorrow everyone! :D

ITVR Broadcast this week cancelled

Hi guys - no no no nothing to panic about we should be back next week and all systems go. Just yesterday was an incredibly busy day for me and I didn't have time to prep for the show, and by the time we'd have recorded and uploaded our podcast, a storm had knocked out our internet and Ari wasn't feeling well. From lack of preparation and illness, we wouldn't have put out our best for you, the listeners, and I think we'd all rather miss a show here or there than force a show that just isn't happening for whatever reason.

Perhaps we'll have a shorter broadcast up later tonight or tomorrow, but if not at least look for my thoughts on the week in wrestling later today, and my reactions to Smackdown tomorrow night/Saturday morning. Thanks for bearing with us, and we'll see you again here next week ... In This Very Ring.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Raw Thoughts

So I intended to do this last night but decided to take some time and get these thoughts together. Fairly detailed rundown of Raw ahead, and if you want even more, be sure and tune in to "In This Very Ring", which will be uploaded for podcast around 10pm EDT tomorrow night. But my basic reaction without my wingman giving longwinded little me even MORE food for thought to play off of - in no particular order:

  1. I liked that they had Shane McMahon out right in the first segment - it gave the show an exciting start instead of a slow build, gave us a taste, as well as something to look forward to. It created intrigue not just about the GM but about the "hottest free agent in wrestling". Way to hook the viewers into the rest of the show
  2. They also didn't just drop the GM mystery until the closing segment, as they often do with the Raw opening promo subject matter. From teasing the gender, to the reveal that whoever the GM was either greatly supported Ted Dibiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes (am I the only one who was thinking 'Million Dollar Man' here?), or had it in for Michael Cole, to JR's sudden appearance on Raw ... the list of suspects kept revolving just as you thought you had all the answers.
  3. The Adamle experiment finally reaps some success: I'm reading a lot of mixed predictions as to how universally-panned play-by-play bloke Mike Adamle will do in this new position; I think great. It will give him the opportunity to be onscreen in short, scripted and controlled segments instead of on-your-toes live play-by-play with the big McBoss screaming at you through your headset. If it flounders, he can remain a character while his edicts are passed along by others. But I think if they play him as the cocky, Colgate-smilin', 'good face for TV' guy who knows nothing about wrestling GM - think everyone's worst assumptions about Eric Bischoff, think what we say about WWE's current creative/booking team - it could be interesting, while giving fans an outlet to hate on the product when it doesn't go the way we'd all like.
  4. Jericho was tremendous in finally delivering the culmination of his promos thus far. The insinuations that he was a mature, grownup who resented all the degenerate teenyboppers for following Shawn Michaels and shitting all over his own legacy were all building up to this tremendous moment, and he is doing (far more successfully) what Bret Hart (God love him) tried and failed to do ten years ago - pointing out the hypocrisy of liking Shawn Michaels, and the degenerate past and nature of HBK, while still coming across as current, interesting and fresh (instead of a bitter old-timer who wrestling was passing by, as I sadly feel Bret came across while delivering a similar message during the heyday of his feud with Michaels). I look forward to this feud continuing, and perhaps being for a title down the line.
  5. Loving the Santino-Beth story so far; plenty of opportunities here for it to be fucked up, no doubt, but definitely fun and entertaining. Also enjoyed the return of William Regal, and the picking up where they left off of having him re-focus on wrestling, which he is great at (although, man, please, ditch the shirt). Even though he lost cleanly, his first match back from a suspension was with CM Punk. I think this was good for both of them - it was an indication Regal won't be totally depushed if he tows the line, while giving CM Punk, finally, a clean win over a quasi-credible opponent.
  6. Actually, the whole show was entertaining. My main weak point - Batista vs. John Cena. This is being pushed too quickly, just as Triple H-Edge was on Smackdown. Batista was given too much opportunity to talk given it was his hometown, and he was not strong enough to carry it, stumbling over his words. These two should at most be two participants in a three- or four-way match to begin their (hopefully slow) build to what should be a WM main event. Two PPVs straight, two legit WM main event possibilities hotshotted. I hope WWE knows where they're going with XXV, because I think they just kinda wrecked their best options.
  7. Especially since, by distracting Cena and Batista with each other - and not even for a world title, on an undercard match - they're leaving us nothing but weak offerings for the Summerslam PPV main event. The only things which have received even remotely good enough build are some combination of CM Punk, Kane and JBL. Unless some matches are going to be rejiggered (a more distinct possibility on Raw, with Adamle being new into a chaotic situation), you're dealing, on both the SD brand and Raw brand, with their second-tier offerings (Cena-Batista, Edge-Undertaker, possibly Michaels-Jericho) being more interesting than their prospective main events (Punk-JBL-Kane, Triple H-Khali).
Nonetheless, that's not a reflection on this show itself, just the long- and short-term booking currently being done by the WWE. And I'm hesitant to jump all over that as yet, given that they're trying to go in a new, unpredictable direction and things could change quickly. Even then, granted, similarly to how Edge-Triple H played out as a backdrop to a love triangle, I'm concerned that Summerslam is looking like a quasi-weak card, or else will be made stronger at the expense of build time and opportunities. But they're trying new things, which is exactly what we've wanted them to do. And as for Raw itself this week, it WAS great - the GM mystery provided continuity, amidst excellent action, and this episode brought a lot of the strands of the last 4-6 weeks of Raw together. 4 1/2 stars out of 5, Raw, for taking a page out of Smackdown's much more excellent book. Cheers!

And remember to tune in tomorrow right here, for our 3rd "ITVR" broadcast!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tomorrow & Raw

Just a note to apologize for not being around this weekend with SD thoughts as I'd hoped to provide - I was out living life and it kinda got away from me! But tomorrow I will be back as usual with my thoughts on Raw post-game. As *for* SD - I didn't get to catch all or even most of it on Friday as we were out, but I get the sense it was very good; I'm glad they didn't end Edge and Vicki on the cheap & easy "he's a mac-daddy" copout, and it looks like some tumultous times ahead for wrestling's first couple. Also ... man, what? They gave SHELTON BENJAMIN a MICROPHONE? Wows ... times they ARE a changin'!

Anyway as I said, eventful weekend and I'm not improving today - I'm bushed. But hopefully tomorrow's Raw lives up to how interesting it's been in recent weeks, and perhaps even moves forward a bit - Shane McMahon is supposed to be on Raw live so that should be interesting to see. Hope everyone had as great a weekend as I and will see you on the flipside. Cheers!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

ITVR Episode 2 - click here!

As promised - click the title to hear the broadcast. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In This Very Ring - Podcst #2

Hi guys - just so you know I'll post the podcast 1st thing in the morning. Was busy later than I thought and am going to bed - too tired to upload and post it now. Promise this won't become a habit and I hope you enjoy the show in the AM. Tune in then, walk that aisle and join us right here ... In This Very Ring.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I want answers ... you want answers ... I want the truth ... In unison now, everyone ...


OK. I suppose the first three words - 'I want answers' - are really what the point of this entry is. As much as I've said I don't want to make this blog a 'wait for ITVR Wednesday' thing, and want to offer my thoughts on Raw, there are too many, in too many pieces, to piece that together with the GAB and all that, to get into here and leave much to discuss on the show tomorrow. So I figured I'd summarize my feelings on Raw, while waiting to elaborate until tomorrow. And my feelings basically are : "I want answers".

We've been running the rudderless Raw angle for about a month now. We've had 4 weeks with CM Punk as champion, Kane wandering around aimlessly looking for (possibly un-)dead people, the junior McMahon's cryptically demanding peace on a show which, according to my cable provider, is "aggressive" in nature ... lots of irons in the fire. Will Punk finally become a credible champion instead of champ due to all kinds of non-finishes? Who is Kane inquiring about? What are the McMahon kids going to do about the unprofessional atmosphere of Raw? What is the state of Vince McMahon's health? I'm all for not hotshotting matches and angles, giving things time to simmer and brew; but the way to do that is to toss a bone or two each week; give some indication that while all is not clear right now, it WILL be.

Some ideas, for example: Punk doesn't need to have gotten his first clean win by now; but to be a credible champion he should at least be getting closer, or getting frustrated to the point of near-heelishness, or SOMETHING; maybe we don't need to know exactly what Kane is talking about just yet but maybe a peek into the bag? We don't need to know exactly what the status of Vince is, and why the McKids are so concerned about peace, order, and good government on Raw; but perhaps a live appearance by them one of these weeks? There's a fine line between having a good, enticing angle which is not hot-shotted, lasts awhile, entices you and draws you in, and watching the same recapping, expository interactions every week on Raw.

Bottom line: we don't need to move forward to conclusions, but we SHOULD be moving forward. And as much as I'm diggin' WWE's change of direction - new faces on new shows, interacting with different people, sticking with storylines until their logical conclusion instead of hotshotting them or - worse - dropping them - it too risks a precipitous fall into a rut if it doesn't progress as well. Direction implies movement - let's see it. :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Some additional thinking ...

Most of the reading I've done re. the GAB is pretty tough on it - and while I acknowledged it was a good show, I didn't exactly give it a free ride in my review either. But a fan giving a "Fan Reax" over at the Pro Wrestling Torch made a very good point about the Bash having promise and not living up to it. Ever notice the shows that get the best reviews are the ones which have like, ZERO expectations, but then end up being decent? This show was expected to be great, ended up being very good, and has gotten shat upon, even though it was more entertaining and stronger than a LOT of PPVs that have gotten good reviews.

Here's my thinking going forward - I stand by my criticisms of the Bash. A match not carried out before the live crowd, a heavy reliance on non-finishes, and not the greatest build for the two world title matches all contributed to this not being a 5-star program. But I think I might lean to it more being 4 stars than 3 1/2, because bottom line question - get all those technical quibbles aside, the question is: were you entertained by it? If your answer is no, fair enough. Mine happens to be yes. And at the end of the day, isn't that what we're paying for?

GAB Review

So the Great American Bash was last night. *I* would first like to offer a scathing review ... not to the Bash but to my cable company for making it so very hard to watch! There was a glitch in the ordering, which led to two hours on the phone on hold with our provider, which led to having to watch the show, half-asleep, on the 11:30pm rerun. Nonetheless, to me it was a good solid PPV, even though it seems to have disappointed some others. Here are my thoughts, match by match and promo by promo.

MATCH #1: Miz & John Morrison vs. Hornswoggle & Finlay vs. Jesse & Festus vs. Hawkins & Ryder (WWE Tag Team Title Match)
This was actually pretty good as these matches go. I'm not usually a fan of the three- or four-way matches, but these guys pulled it off. My prediction of Miz and Morrison retaining their titles didn't go off here, but my dark horse call of Ryder and Hawkins winning them did. It gets the titles back on Smackdown, on a legitimate team that can be taken seriously, and it protected the new M&M because they weren't involved in the finish (my peeve about these 4-ways; you don't need to defeat the champion to win the belts; it's first fall, whoever you pin/get to submit - in this case, Miz and Morrison were outside the ring at the time of the fall). I see this being a legitimate and somewhat compelling tag team feud, where it's unpredictable right down to whether either team will turn face for the sake of the feud, and if so, which one? Ryder and Hawkins have some decisions to make regarding Edge and Vicki Guerrero coming up, which could turn them, and Miz and Morrison have a legit claim to having never lost the belts, thus looking strong due to being outside of the ring. It should be interesting going forward.

MATCH #2: Matt Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin (U.S. Title Match)
Well WWE didn't adequately update their online match listings to include this match, but I'm glad I went and made a prediction on it anyway yesterday, as it probably surprised many but had the outcome I expected. I'm disappointed that means Matt's most important singles title run to date was so short, and not particularly auspicious (I don't recall him really defending it against too many people ... although mind you he's only held it through one or two PPVs). But this does mean they're probably priming him for a run against Mark Henry's ECW title, which I anticipate him ultimately winning - not even as big a prize in itself as the US Title, but traditionally a decent launch pad to some bigger things. Plus, as underappreciated as Matt Hardy has traditionally been around the WWE, Shelton Benjamin has had it worse. He's had a lot of shit dealt to him in terms of non-character, non-plot, and basically non-matches in the last two years, to the point his unbelieavable talent as an athlete has been all but overshadowed. It's good to see him getting his due, and I look forward to feuds between him and Mr. Kennedy, him and MVP, him and Jeff Hardy, even him and Umaga. Oh - and did I mention this was a tremendous match? Well, it was. Not that that should be terribly surprising to those who know these two men and their abilities. The only disappointing thing about this match and its outcome is just how predictable it renders the remainder of the title matches on the card; when the first two matches on a PPV feature title changes, it's highly unlikely that trend is going to continue, especially at such a breakneck pace. Still, two decent matches featuring a changing of the guard gets a PPV off to a brisk and interesting start. Good show.

CM Punk Promo recap from WWE Mobile:
I liked this promo - particularly the ending, where he says that he isn't HBK, or Hulk Hogan, or Bret Hart. I've been as guilty as anyone for comparing him to wrestlers past, particularly the last name on that list. And while I still stand by those comparisons to the situations in which the first Hart title reign began and this one, Punk is also absolutely right to want to be seen as his own man. "The Next Hulk Hogan" or the "Next Ric Flair" or the "Next ... Anyone" is always a dangerous label to ascribe to a young up and comer who then feels tremendous pressure to live up to a name which they will never completely match - although left to their own personality and character development, they could surpass by being themself. Punk's reminder that he's proven people wrong before is an important one, and while he came off in this promo as a bit cocky, SOMEONE needs to believe in this kid and put him over, so it might as well be himself. Besides ... if the glimmer of what I saw later is to be believed, that might not be as out of place as it might seem on this humble, polite, straight-edged performer.

MATCH #3: Mark Henry (w/Tony Atlas) vs. Tommy Dreamer (w/Colin Delaney) (ECW Title Match)
Well I have to say I was pleasantly surprised here in terms of plot development, if not in terms of this ending up being a great match. But I didn't expect it to be - really, neither of these guys are a catch-as-catch-can type, nor do I consider them particularly adept brawlers overall like John Cena or JBL or Finlay either. So I didn't expect a wrestling or brawling clinic of any sort. While I know Mark Henry has stepped up his game since his arrival in ECW, I still can't get past the fact he doesn't really deserve to be there; if he's earning his spot now, then great. It's still not a spot he should be in. And while I am on the Tommy Dreamer bandwagon in terms of sentimentality for the one remaining active ECW original on the WWE roster, I've never thought him the Great White Hope true ECW fanatics think he is. He's a middling wrestler who succeeded strongly with Paul Heyman covering his deficiencies - and if saying so means I've drunk the WWE Koolaid, well, I do apologize for that. Having said that, the match was passable - perhaps because it was short - and they actually came up with an interesting plot development (Delaney's turn on his mentor Dreamer) which can keep some interest on two guys who seem to flounder under WWECW's auspices. They can focus on each other, while Henry can focus on his REAL threat (since WWE won't let Dreamer really be one) - Matt Hardy. Excellent imbuing of importance into a match that otherwise had none - despite being for a title. And for that, I commend the WWE.

MATCH 4: Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
I'm not going to dwell on this one too much except to say it was almost great because it wasn't the match I expected. When I saw these two listed on the card, especially with another sure bloodbath in Cena-JBL listed a bit further down, the last thing I expected was a technically unsound, unscientific bloodbath of a brawl - although I suppose it shouldn't have surprised me given the emotional buildup between these two men. But with their track record, one cannot be blamed for expecting a match is going to be more high-flying, or at least amateur-like and holds based, with few real mudhole-stompin' kicks and punches and blows thrown around. Michaels' eye getting so badly busted up made for some dramatic imagery, and even though this wasn't their typical match, they still told a compelling story through the violence. I was able to adjust my expectations and enjoy this match for what it is, though I think WWE risked alienating their audience who tuned in to see a wrestling classic. I know the fans in the arena weren't as into this as they could have been, and if that's any indication, unmet expectations I think are going to lead some to judge this match unfairly. For an emotional brawl between two men who hate each other, this was a tremendously good match. I even liked the ref ending the match, making Jericho look strong and sinister as a heel, Michaels look courageous in defeat as a face, and letting them both live to fight another day. My only problem with that is, as the card proceeded from here to fill up with similar finishes, the dramatic power of this one got lost in the shuffle.

Edge Promo
Not much to say on this one - a typical "Unhappy, desperate and deranged" Edge promo. In terms of kayfabe, he did an excellent job of making us as fans question Triple H's decision to wound this particular tiger; with his personal life in a shambles, he has nothing to focus on BUT his professional success. Beating the man who ruined his marriage AND has the belt he's so hungry for is just a bonus. Thanks to the announcers for emphasizing this, questioning whether this heated Edge up or whether he'd be distracted by personal issues. Relevant point and well considered without bashing us over the head with it.

MATCH #5: Natalya Neidhart vs. Michelle McCool (Diva's Championship)
Not much to comment on the match itself here - it was short, sweet and passable in terms of action. The two main things to discuss coming out of it are (1) Michelle's win! while I expected - as did most people - Natalya to get the duke, this makes more sense in terms of long-term planning. Michelle is the only viable women's wrestler who is a face on Smackdown. On the heel side, there's Natalya and Victoria. This builds in two potential feuds for the champ, and assuming one of Nattie or Vicky turns face along the way, leads to the next feud once one of them gets the duke on Michelle. The (2) thing to talk about was Jericho's promo interrupting Michelle's victory celebration. While this probably should have a headline of its own, it flowed so smoothly from the match that I want to say it was a good, intense promo instead of Jericho's mouthy, witty banter; a good change he pulled off well, showing you don't need to have the size of a Batista, or the backstage clout of a Triple H, to be an intense, scary, depraved monster heel. And Jericho might be the scariest thing of all - said depraved monster heel, who also has a highly, highly impressive technical wrestling move set!

MATCH #6: CM Punk vs. Batista (World Heavyweight Title Match)
This match between the two was decent, and I didn't even entirely mind Kane getting involved - especially since he smacked around both guys, so if Punk had come out of that and won it could have still not looked flukey, which was the main thing I was looking for here - let's give Punk a strong win to silence those critics who say the Punk experiment is over practically before it's started. No such luck though - the overzealous referee (perhaps the same one who, after years of this being let slide, decided to DQ John Bradshaw Layfield for kicking the man pinning his tag team partner at the two-count) declared it a double DQ, leaving Punk a man still lucky to have retained his belt. WWE needs to take smaller bites and digest their food here - building Kane, and building Punk, at the same time is fine; but you can't build them 'together'. Someone ultimately is going to come off looking week if and when they fight, and then the build is for naught. Punk getting a decisive victory over Batista, by contrast, will not hurt the established main eventer, while making Punk look good. Kane should be terrorizing the IC division until Punk is more established; then go after the title. One last thing to comment on, and not sure if it's good or not: was it just me who found Punk kind of cocky and ... well ... Punky at the end? For someone who doesn't want to accept fluke wins, he sure took this one and stuck his (unearned - tonight anyway) title in Batista's face. Was I the only one thinking he was asking for the Batista Bomb? I'm not sure if that's the way they MEANT us to feel about it - or if Batista was supposed to be more heelish. But that's the way it played out to me ... which is not necessarily a bad thing, if they capitalize and give Punk the strength as a heel that they don't quite seem to be willing to as a face. If he stays a face, though, WWE needs to realize: look at Rey Mysterio, look at John Cena. Being a face champion is a HARD position to be in because there's no more incentive to root for you - you have it all. Building them around being a flukey underdog champion is NOT the way to build sympathy; all it does is lead fans to question why they're champ in the first place. Especially when they lose non-title squash matches, non-televised or not. YOUR WORLD CHAMPION SHOULD NEVER BE SQUASHED. We get that Punk has his detractors; let's get to proving them wrong, or let's turn him heel and go with that, but it's time to do something. That chapter of the story is established.

MATCH #7: JBL vs. John Cena (Parking Lot Brawl)
This was NOT bad. Even the stuff others called cheesy - the jumper cables on JBL's ... well ... you figure it out ... the setting the car on fire, the forklift; it worked somehow. Most of the match, as expected, was taped Saturday, but WWE did apparently hear the complaints about the backstage match not being before the live crowd, as they did have the match ultimately end up in the arena in front of their fans. Here there was no cheese, and it was just brutal - a wicked windshield bump led to the surprise JBL victory, and my first 'didn't even cover my bases by pretending to predict this one' wrong prediction of the night (I think ... I can't remember what I predicted for Michaels-Jericho right now). Surprising, and not necessarily pleasantly so, although I guess JBL is the most pressing heel challenger for CM Punk's title right now, assuming they keep Punk face and that Kane's not going out and out heel. A good match, and surprisingly credible given the cheesy buildup and some of the nonsense which did pop up in the match itself too.

MATCH #8 - Triple H vs. Edge (WWE Title Match)
This feud has always been a sideshow to the Edge and Vicki saga, which is truly unfortunate given as I said in the predictions, these are WWE's two biggest stars, a Wrestlemania-worthy main event, and their first one-on-one match with each other since ... well, ever, as far as I can tell ... has been overshadowed by the 'entertainment' side of sports-entertainment - granted one of the better angles to come out of WWE in a very long time, and an entertaining one, but weird that this is all WWE thinks of its biggest offering right now - the main event of a basically minor PPV, overshadowed by Edge's wife and mistress catfighting, Edge ambiguously going to spear either the mistress or the ref separating them, and ending up spearing his wife, and looking distraught in the aftermath. I mean, it's great in that they're obviously going to revisit this, be it a month or a year from now - there was no clear winner (although between the Jericho match, the Punk-Batista no contest, and this, it was a somewhat unsatisfying PPV for non-finishes ... although each on their own had a good reason, they were just overloaded); I just think this should have been front and centre, not a throwaway match to forward an angle.

Let's look at that angle though, as IT was the main event of the show, and highly entertaining when looked at on its own: a love triangle with lots of unanswered questions and lots of places to go here. We get that Alicia loves Edge and Edge loves Vicki - does Vicki want Edge back? What would she have done with the belt if Alicia hadn't interfered? Is Edge going to be turned face by the vengeful and hateful things Vicki's about to do to him? Or does she want him back too and it's going to be a fight between herself and Alicia over Edge? Personally I'm not sure WWE knows where to go with this, and I think that's what their PPV poll through last night was - who do you sympathize more with, Vicki or Edge? I think the question more honestly phrased would have been "We realize we have to turn ONE of these characters face now - which one do you guys like more?". Surprising support for the adulterer Edge here who brought it on himself - most of the respondents MUST be guys, lol. Anyway bottom line: a compelling match and a compelling storyline; I'm not just sure the one should have interfered so very much with the other.

And overall ... a solid PPV which I enjoyed. A clear enough direction that I could foresee some angles and have my expectations met as a fan, with enough surprises thrown in I didn't feel it was OVER-predictable and therefore not even worth watching. Wasn't terribly impressed with the number of non-finishes on the card, but not in and of themselves - each served a purpose. There was just a glut of them on a show fans paid $40 to see, and on which there should have been some issues resolved then. 3 1/2 stars out of 5 for me on this show - would have been 4 if it hadn't been quite so sloppy.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Great American Bash Predix

So I did make GAB predictions on the IN THIS VERY RING podcast earlier this week, but I figured I'd put them in writing. Just a couple quick notes before beginning though. One: I'm too lazy to go back and listen to what my predictions were Wednesday, so my predictions here might not be consistent. If so, and if you're keeping score as I do, go with these ones, as they reflect how I feel two hours out from bell-time. And 2: while many insider sites have stated this week that Matt Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin for the US Title has been placed on the card as a last minute addition. I'm going by the official match list provided on, which as of 6pm the day of did not include this match. If it was an omission on the official site however, and this match happens, I'm actually predicting a Shelton Benjamin surprise win, freeing up Matt to pursue the ECW title. Now on to the rest of the card.

WWE Championship Match: Triple H (c) vs. Edge: This is probably 'match of the night' from the perspective of most star power in one match. In terms of having the company's top face vs. the company's top heel, this should be the final match of the night - if it should be airing tonight at all. I stand by what I said on ITVR Wednesday - this feud has been hotshotted, while it should have at least been held for Summerslam (one of the WWE's original 'Big Four' quarterly PPVs - including Wrestlemania, Survivor Series, and Royal Rumble - which are traditionally bigger than the other monthly offerings), if not Wrestlemania. Adding to my dismay at that, the build has been awful; I think Triple H's interruption of Edge's wedding this week was the first time I've seen them interact since this match was announced. I guess I can understand them going with this one fairly quickly - there aren't really any other legit challengers to Trips' title on SD unless they put him in a mini-program with Umaga - but at least give it the build a potential (and probably future) Wrestlemania main event deserves. These are the two biggest names in your company right now, period - treat them as such. End of rant.

Prediction: Oh right ... going with "H" for the win here, because title changes usually essentially=blowoffs, unless the prerequisite rematch is really compelling, and I think this feud is just beginning. That's my one consolation as to the lousy build with this match - perhaps this match itself is the build to a larger feud, culminating at Summerslam. As such, if this match goes on last (ie, as THE main draw of the night), and builds to a continued feud, perhaps it can salvage itself, which I think it will. Edge has won too many titles in the last couple of years for too short lengths of time, and H hasn't been champ that long. My bet is H wins, leading to at least two rematches, one featuring TLC (Edge's specialty) and one featuring Hell in a Cell (Trips'). In that case, the last few weeks and the speed of this feud can be forgiven. And I DO want to make clear, for all my anger at how this feud is being treated, it's BECAUSE I anticipate it being great. As such, this is one of the matches I'm looking most forward to tonight: these are two of my favourite performers, and regardless of the lousy build and hotshotted feud, it should be a great match between two of the biggest stars in the sport today. Let's get it on.

World Heavyweight Title Match: CM Punk (c) vs. Batista: This should be an interesting match, as they've been playing CM Punk as the flukey champion looking to establish his legitimacy, and that he should be taken seriously. What I'm looking to see here, is whether this is a continuation of the flukey-ness, or whether this is the start of his build as a serious champ. Perhaps not as compelling a match between such big names as the Smackdown offering (and when was the last time that could be said for the Raw main event, which usually closes out every show?), but interesting nonetheless to see where they go with it.

Prediction: Punk will retain the belt. What is harder to predict is what I said before - whether it will be in a strong manner, such as a pinfall or submission situation over Batista, or whether it will continue his 'lucky' streak, by being a countout/disqualification situation (which either of them could win, leaving Punk as champ), or involving outside interference of some kind (perhaps from Randy Orton?). Three weeks as a flukey-seeming champ, however, I think is enough, and going much further will put Punk into Rey Mysterio territory of looking like a weak champ. A solid win here could put him more on the track of the man I like to compare him to - Bret Hart, the small, unexpected, but surprisingly talented and tenacious champ who creates a pleasantly surprising legacy out of a very dark and confusing time in WWE's history. It's all about how behind the "Punk Experiment" WWE is. And that remains to be seen.

ECW Championship Match: Mark Henry vs. Tommy Dreamer: One that is easy to predict, yet shouldn't be at the same time. Mark Henry should not be a longterm champion by any stretch - he's not that talented, and he was given the title as a consolation prize due to racial slurs thrown at him by a WWE official. Tommy Dreamer is an ECW original who the fans love and who represents what ECW is supposed to be - respect for the business, which WWE has been showing more of lately, by and large. However ...

Prediction: WWE has never gotten behind Dreamer, and Henry has stepped up his game bigtime since winning the title and heading over to ECW. He's one of, if not the, best talker there, has wrestling legend Tony Atlas in his corner, and WWE has never EVER gotten behind Tommy Dreamer as a wrestler - albeit he is a strong road agent and office representative on the road. Henry retains, and it's on to Matt Hardy.

WWE Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way: John Morrison and the Miz (c) vs. Finlay and Hornswoggle vs. Ryder and Hawkins vs. Jesse and Festus: Glad to see the tag titles defended on pay-per-view. Smackdown actually has a respectable tag division right now, and I wish the same could be seen over on Raw, where the tag champs - who as two young, hot, bright young guys should be out there front and centre every show - are sadly underexposed. I hate the 4-way stip, especially when the tag champs have beaten every one of their challengers in recent weeks. Their only loss has been to the reunited Hardy brothers - why not defend against them?

Prediction: This is actually a tough one, since each of these teams with the possible exception of Finlay and Hornswoggle has gotten a push of late. My first instinct is to say the champs remain the champs as they're pretty strong, but the other two teams are as well, and they're on SD while Miz and Morrison are on ECW. So I'll say the champs retain, but this is probably my least confident prediction - as a second choice, I'm going with Ryder and Hawkins.

Parking Lot Brawl: John Cena vs John B. Layfield: I WAS looking forward to this match between two of the best brawlers in the business - it plays to both their strengths, and can make these two guys who have been treading water of late come out looking stronger and more like the legitimate contenders they are again. But then the nonsense of the 'attempted vehicular homicide' perpetrated by JBL on Cena Monday night went down, and turned this into an action movie special effects show, and not wrestling. WWE is supposed to exist in its own world with its own rules; but when they cross into our world by toying with those rules - Brian Pillman's attempting to shoot Steve Austin; Vince McMahon's 'death' - WWE makes it very difficult to indulge in the required suspension of disbelief to make their one-ring circus act viable. Not to mention it throws so much cold water on the works, it's no longer the 'escape' it should be, fulfilling Vince McMahon's self-professed mandate to 'entertain and put smiles on people's faces'.

Prediction: I still expect this to be a decent match, as both of these guys are brawlers. As long as they don't try to get too fancy or 'Hollywood'-like with the SFX, let it be meat and potatoes smashing each other, it should still be a great match which Cena will come out of on top: JBL is an older wrestler whose best days are behind him, and is more bound for managing and commentating sooner than later; Cena is still WWE's franchise player, the heir apparent to Triple H's crown, with at least 5-10 years left in his prime. He's the bigger investment, he will be protected here in the blowoff match of their three-month-long feud.

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho: If Triple H vs. Edge is overall 'match of the night', this will be the match of the night from the pure wrestling standpoint. These men have told a tremendous story over the past few months; they've shown us what they can do on the mic and it's now time to show us what they can do in the ring. We've been here before, and know they can do tremendous things. This is a battle for 'king of the upper-midcard' - who will be in Intercontintental Title contention, and who will end up spending more time elevating younger talent - but these two men have made it so much more, and have made it SEEM so much more important than it actually is. This has been the #1 angle on Raw for months, and perhaps in the WWE period, and a definite early candidate for feud of the year. I don't see it getting topped, and I anticipate a match of the year candidate to accompany the leadup.

Prediction: If this is the blowoff - which I don't entirely expect it to be - Shawn will get his vindication and win. More likely, Jericho will win in a heelish manner, with Lance Cade finally getting involved as more than Jericho's cornerman. Anticipate Kofi Kingston being thrown under the bus in coming weeks, as these two end up fighting for higher stakes - the IC belt - at Summerslam. And as Kofi has years ahead of him to get back on his horse, while these are two of my favourites who I think deserve more than they've gotten in recent years (even though they've both 'been there, done that' in the past), I don't even have the problem with that I otherwise might have!

WWE Divas Championship Match: Natalya Neidhart vs. Michelle McCool: Smackdown's answer to the Women's title - personally I think there should just be one, and all the girls should fight for it, as there is actually a fair bit of legitimate wrestling talent in the women's division at this point, it's just divided two thinly over the two brands. There's no champion yet as they're crowning the inaugural champ tonight.

Prediction: I anticipate this match being better than it looks on paper, as Michelle has busted her butt to become a passable wrestler in the ring, and Natalya is probably the most talented women's wrestler to come along in years. I'm figuring Natalya will win, but that this is not over. Look for Michelle to end up with the title so she can also feud with Victoria over it; and look for a Natalya or Victoria face turn as well, seeing as they're the two Smackdown ladies who can REALLY wrestle, and both are heels. I hope, despite the brand split between the two, that Natalya's winning tonight, and Beth Phoenix's quasi-face turn this week against Santino Marella on Raw, is perhaps the early seeds being sown for what I hope will be WM 25's women's offering. Even if not though, Nattie wins. You go girl!

*So that's it!* Tomorrow I will post my thoughts on the PPV, and Tuesday will see my Raw review as usual. Obviously Ari and I will be discussing both shows and a host of other things in depth on Wednesday on our podcast, but I nonetheless want to put some thoughts down in writing before then so this blog doesn't just become a 'Check out ITVR' shill. Either way, stay tuned as it should be a busy week, as all PPV weeks are - there should be PLENTY to talk about on Wednesday, and all week long ... In This Very Ring.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Congratulations to the Ortons

I would like to congratulate Randy and Samantha Orton - the former WWE Champion and his wife - on the birth of their baby girl Alanna Marie on Saturday July 12. I have seen firsthand what a good and calming influence love and children can bring, even to the most restless souls, of which Randy has definitely been one from time to time; I have been so impressed with Randy's growth and maturity since getting married and since his wife became pregnant, and he certainly deserves this great karma for all his hard work in becoming the man he should be (more or less). Best wishes to the happy new family for a long, healthy, enjoyable life full of love for one another.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

ITVR Relaunch Broadcast

It is upon us! Click this entry's title to launch the inaugural broadcast of In This Very Ring 2.0 - enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just a reminder ...

This is usually where I give my thoughts on Raw and such, but ... for this week only ... here's the annoying 'tune into our inaugural "ITVR" podcast' announcement. That's right - if you missed my audio post on Sunday, I announced the return of my radio show, cohosted by my husband Ari, "In This Very Ring", as of tomorrow night at 10pm, our old airtime.

We used to air on the former radio network, Fantalklive. We're looking around for another permanent home but meanwhile we will be airing in Podcast form every Wed. night - not live, and no interviews to start as we just get our feet wet again, but heading in that direction.

So please tune in tomorrow to hear our thoughts on Raw, our predictions for the Great American Bash, and a whole bunch of fun rambling in between. And don't worry - I will be posting as usual from here on, I won't use ITVR to replace my usual posts ... just consider this the drumroll for our big rollout tomorrow night. And hope to see you here then ... IN THIS VERY RING! :D

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The return of "In This Very Ring"

Click the post title for some very important information. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I caught Smackdown last night for the first time in a long time - WHAT an entertaining show! Ari (the hubby) and I had like an hour-long discussion after it about character development and I think between SD and myself I managed to convince him no, wrestling isn't, nor does it have to be, nor should it simply be, comic book character superheroes. Realistic, real-world, interesting adult characters with grownup issues can be developed given good and proper use of in-ring and mic time.

To-wit: Edge. The whole story arc with Vicki Guerrero this week was amazingly real; two people who care about each other (as sick as it might be), got mad at each other, were both wrong and didn't quite know how to back down ... situation escalates until one is about to get seriously hurt (in this case literally); the other calls off the beatdown, apologizes, and we have one big happy all over again. Anyone who has been in a more volatile time in a relationship knows how that can go, and while we don't like these two characters, we can relate to them - which is important, and which is something an Umaga or a Khali will never have, however hard they might work on their skill sets.

There wasn't a whole lot of other storyline developed this week; angle-wise it was about the bustup of La Familia, and the playing both sides of Chavo Guerrero, the loyalty of Ryder and Hawkins to Vicki, etc. etc. etc. But the wrestling was very good; Matt Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin stole the show; Edge vs. Big Show was definitely watchable; while Triple H vs. Chavo was a glorified squash, Chavo did get some offense in and it was hardly a failure as a match. Basically a strong show with an important and entertaining storyline woven through some excellent in-ring action. Raw: take notes. Smackdown is coming for your "A-show" crown.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ashley Massaro

I just want to give a shout-out to Ashley Massaro today. I am NOT the woman's biggest fan by any means - very, very few of the Diva Search whor - I mean, girls - have really grown on me in any definitive way. Christy Hemme and MAYBE Maria Kanellis (from a comic genius standpoint) stand out to me as passable female wrestling characters with something to offer the industry. But Ashley asked for, and was granted, her WWE release this week due to the severe illness of her 7 year old child.

While some are skeptical that this is the only reason behind Ashley's desire to walk away - she was embroiled in an escort service scandal earlier in the year, and if it's to do with illness, why not just ask for a leave of absence as opposed to an all-out release? - and these factors probably do contribute to her lack of passion for working, at the same time I trust there is at least a grain of truth in the health issues of her child. As a prospective parent, I don't think any decent mum would lie about that. And as such - even if there is a whole list of supporting reasons for her decision to leave the WWE - I still would like to wish her and her daughter well during what is sure to be a difficult time for them as a family. My best wishes to both ladies Massaro.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day of Blogs

Hey guys - just to let you know - last year on my then-mainstream blog ( I participated in an event called Blogathon. That event officially this year is taking a year off due to real-life occupying the attention of the organizers (go figure - never a problem for ME lol).

But Blogathon-er Jen is running a mini-event on July 26, the day the Blogathon would have been, called Day of Blogs. You can find its website at I will be participating here at In This Very Ring, and I will be raising money for The Nancy and Daniel Benoit Foundation, a foundation for the study and education about the effects of steroids on the brain and nervous system.

I know it might seem a bit hypocritical to be devoting a wrestling blog to a cause which would on its surface be very anti-wrestling. But that's just the thing, and just the problem: I am so PRO-WRESTLING, and so PRO-WRESTLER, I want to see these men and women be able to do what they do without the pressure of having to be larger than life. So many people look to these athletes as role models, and this is probably the single most destructive aspect of the sport is the rampant drug abuse. Steroids are only one part of it - there are pain killers, recreational drugs, and a whole culture to the sport which is rotten.

However, if we can change this one aspect, remove the pressure to compete from the perspective of physical size with one's peers, perhaps then the pressure to perform while injured, thus leading to painkiller abuse, and then needing uppers because the painkillers keep you drugged all day, and so on and so on, can follow. And maybe with a healthier lifestyle adopted overall, the recreational drugs, the drinking, etc., can then be put in perspective. And perhaps, then, if wrestlers are physically healthy, and dealing with the less-healthy aspects of the business (the injuries, etc.) in a more mainstream manner, it will force promoters to recognize the need to insure their performers, give them time off to heal injuries and deal with health issues both physical and mental.

OK OK, all this is a pipe dream, and solving the steroid problem is not going to fix all the ills in professional wrestling - especially the reliance on pain pills, which might even become worse, as wrestlers will then turn more to spectacular stuntwork in light of their diminished size to wow the crowds. But this is still a terrible ill in wrestling, and in all of sports to an extent, and it's a small part I can play to make the sport I love healthier. The reality is, pro wrestling has a higher under-50 mortality rate than any other sports or entertainment industry per capita. We are literally killing the business by letting this go unaddressed, and I would like to devote my love of the sport - my perspectives on the sport - to making it healthier.

Please join me when the time comes, by donating to my blog for this worthwhile cause. I will let you know when, and any support and help would be appreciated. Peace to all of you.

RAW Thoughts

So ... I thoroughly enjoyed Raw this week. It admittedly was low on wrestling, but what it DID do was highly entertaining. Above all, it definitely indicated that the change in direction we have been clamouring for for months is actually happening as a long-term plan, not just a one-week flash in the pan to keep us hooked before going back to business as usual. WWE is definitely taking some fresh new risks, and I'm excited about that - it's still an open question at this point whether this month-old experiment will succeed or fail, but it's at least continued beyond the one-week mark now, and it's been good so far. Granted, that doesn't preclude a breakdown along the way, especially since they haven't gotten it 100% right (now let's tell more stories through matches, instead of exposition-laden promos), but they at least have regained some respect from me for trying, and for thinking outside the 'Everything revolves around H, Cena, and the McMahons' box.

The opening segment was strong. I don't particularly feel the heat Vicki Guerrero gets is 'good' heat - she genuinely annoys me because she is not a strong performer, and that's not the kind of dislike heels should be looking for - but she at least has developed a somewhat defined character, and this provided a good explanation for Punk's actions from last week, taking advantage of a weakened Edge, which could otherwise make him look cowardly heelish, and his world title win flukey. The Fatal Four Way idea to determine Punk's #1 contender was strong, although given he already looked kind of weak in taking advantage of Edge and vanquising JBL with outside help, I wish he hadn't blown off JBL's rematch demand so easily.

But still - Punk is already an awesome wrestler and decent on the mic for a guy relatively new to the spotlight, and I see a lot of Bret Hart circa 15-16 or so years ago in him: a relative midcarder who management hadn't gotten behind, but with a strong crowd following, winning the title unexpectedly in a time the business has been struggling and management is desperate to try new things. And with that kind of precedent, big things can be expected from Punk's future (although a similar thing was done with Kevin Nash a few years later, and while still a respected individual in the industry, will he ever be mentioned in the same breath as your era-defining champs like Hart, or Hulk Hogan before him, or Austin/Rock after?).

Either way, no one can take the fact that Punk will forever have the 'World Champ' or 'Former World Champ' moniker behind him now - something many in the biz can only dream of. And all I've got to say about that is ... Jeff Hardy, it could have been you.

Anyway, back to Raw. As I touched on earlier, my only complaints about the new direction WWE is taking involve the limited amount of wrestling, and the quality of it. I'm sorry - CM Punk is not experienced enough yet to be able to carry Gene frickin' Snitsky to a decent match. Nor is Charlie Haas a real threat to Kofi Kingston's Intercontinental Title ... although that set up a nice little program for the talented Paul Burchill (again - direction change, new guys getting some spotlight - I like it). The women's match was crapitudinous, and what a throwaway for Rey Mysterio's return match (not to mention his first match as a Raw Superstar), as an unadvertised opening match offering on free television. I agree with Jason Powell to a degree - perhaps WWE's nervous about Mysterio's growing reputation for being injury-prone, and wants to keep his comings and goings a bit more quiet in future; but still, more could have been made of this.

Having said that though, and having mentioned the limited wrestling and low quality thereof a few times this post, I have decided ultimately to forgive it for the time being - I understand that WWE has started a rapid and sudden directional change, which can and will require some groundwork being laid which perhaps needs some verbiage, not just the silent but deadly stories told in the course of matches. I bring it up as something I hope changes as we become accustomed to the new reality, but for now the rest of the show is entertaining enough I can overlook the low in-ring action for now - especially since it's not like it's been strong on Raw the last few years or more anyway, so it isn't like it's something we're *missing*.

And speaking of entertaining, I did enjoy most of the 'skits' and 'angles' this week - Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho are always strong, and by far one of the best, if not THE best, things going on on Raw these days. Two performers who've been around long enough to be strong veterans, but still young enough to be able to 'GO!', are doing what they do best ... jawing, in preparation for what should be a stellar match. Beyond that though, John Cena and Cryme Tyme did an awesome number on JBL's limo; I really enjoyed this sketch, although agreeing again with Powell that I think Cena put a LOT of the street cred he might have built up in recent months on the line by spray-painting "JBL is poopy" on the car. I also enjoyed the technical and security issues over the show (the lamp falling during Punk's backstage promo, the fan running in front of Batista while he was prepping for his match on camera), especially since I know these are building up what could be a great angle - who's messing with Raw?

I also enjoyed Kane's breakdown in the ring, and look forward to finding out whose life or death he was questioning in the coming weeks. My assumption is he's referring to Vince McMahon, but could he perhaps mean his 'brother' the Undertaker? Could this signal the return of the 'murdered' Paul Bearer? It could mean any number of things, and was a great way of re-establishing Kane as a main event player, instead of the big fish/small pond player he was on ECW. He felt out of place on Raw, especially being inserted into last night's main event, but he definitely played his part and made me interested in what's coming up. Am I entirely sure Kane's been rebuilt enough to be worthy of being the last thing we see as Raw closes out? Not sure. Am I particularly excited about Kane-Jerry Lawler matches? Definitely not. Do I think longterm this could do the Kane character some good? Yes.

So overall, 4 stars out of 5 - good work, good job. Just a word of advice to Jerry Lawler though: stop defending your broadcast colleagues, hmm? I understood you looking after JR, as he was a longtime partner and friend, even though you consistently got your ass kicked. Michael Cole though? Hmmm ... :P. Nonetheless, as I said, overall an intriguing show that is hopefully followed by another one to make it a solid 4 in a row. Good job WWE!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A (planned) Quick One ... but these CAN get long.

So I've been w/o internet for a week now, and a lot of interesting things have happened in the WWE universe, which tempts me to write a long piece catching everyone up. But it's late, I need to look for work and answer about a week's worth of email, and I now have WWE 24/7 to spend some time with (an AWESOME investment, btw, with lots of opportunity to watch some great classic wrestling - check out their current offering of King of the Ring 1994, if you have it, to see TRULY shitty commentary that makes Mike Adamle look good - but some of the best wrestling of the early-to-mid 1990s era). So as of right now, my intent now is just to hit the big points of wrestling the last couple weeks and go more in-depth as of Raw tomorrow night ... as my lack of telecommunications equipment at home precluded me seeing Raw last week and I have just now caught up on reading it. I will start, as I believe I promised last post, with ...

The Supplementary Draft
This was OK - they've done a decent job of balancing out the brands and shaking things up. I'm a little annoyed they didn't re-unite the pre-draft announce teams here, as I've become quite attached at least to the King/JR pairing and Cole/Foley was doing a great job too, but meh, I'll withhold judgement as always until seeing more of the new Raw and SD announce teams and how they work together.

Night of Champions PPV
I did get to check this out, and thank Christ it was good, as it was an adventure to find a movie theatre in town that showed it let me tell you - it wasn't playing at our typical venue so we had to go across town and missed the first 15 mins. of it. But a good show overall, my main concern being that they didn't correct the major title imbalance - but they did the next night as we will discuss. Some great wrestling, good work, I enjoyed the evening. Pleased to see Kofi Kingston get the IC belt too, knowing it won't hurt Jericho and will give him a real good start to his run on Raw. Especially since that frees up Jericho for what I suspect will be coming next ... a run at ...

CM Punk, New World Heavyweight Champion
On Raw the night after NOC, Punk challenged Edge for his title, and Mr. Money in the Bank upset the former 2-time Mr. MITB for the belt, bringing some World Championship gold back to Raw. On the one hand, I like that they've corrected the belt problem. On the other, with Kofi Kingston as IC champ and CM Punk now as world champ on Raw, you have a very young, very talented but still somewhat green crew heading up WWE's flagship program. While we have been rallying for some glass ceiling breakage and up-shakeage for awhile, I'm wondering if this might be a bit too much too soon. We'll need to see how vets in or near the title pictures - Chris Jericho, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton upon his return - work with the youngsters to make Raw the hipper, edgier brand it should be.

Edge-Vicki Guerrero Wedding OFF!
Stop the kayfabe presses! I never figured these two would get 'married' - WWE has only once gone through with an actual fake marriage onscreen which they pursued past the wedding day, and THAT resulted in a new McSon-In-Law and two McGrandchildren in real life, so I knew they'd break up the lovey-dovey Smackdown twosome in some manner. So in that sense this is 'not news'. However, I expected them to try something interesting by way of having Vicki turn on Edge - who has the rep of being a player but thus far had been completely kindhearted and doting to Vicki. So this was good and makes sense, but I can't help but feel like it is something of a lost opportunity for down the road, having him dump her so quickly, and in a heelish way. Just my thoughts though.

Anyways - thanks for bearing with my absence. I will be back folks, tomorrow night (or Tuesday a.m.) with my Raw thoughts. :) Glad to be back, and better than ever. Take care and hope everyone had great Canada Day and July 4th long weekends in my absence. Cheers all!

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