Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year End Awards, and RIP Steve Williams

Dr. Death Steve Williams - a perennial but very popular midcarder who made appearances in both WWE and WCW over the years but never quite made it to the top in either of the big leagues, passed away today at the age of 49 after a long battle with cancer. Our condolences go out to his family losing a relative at such a young age around the holidays.

On a happier note though, World Wrestling Insanity, hosted by our former guest James Guttman, has begun posting its year-end awards and yours truly has a contribution or two to the comments up in there. So be sure and check them out by clicking here.

Hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Checking In

Just wanted to drop a line - not a whole lot going on in the world of wrestling this week but I haven't forgotten all of you! Can't wait to try to catch the last raw of 2009 tomorrow night, although being at my in-laws for a belated Hannukah it might not happen; I'll try to catch Tuesday's replay if possible. Meanwhile though hope everyone's Christmas was wonderful and 2010 starts off with a bang. We know in the wrestling world it will, as we will have a one-night redux of the Monday Night Wars. I'll do my best to post between now and New Year, but if not you KNOW I'll have plenty to say about that night of action as it comes together.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas Raw

So I've been putting off writing this Raw review due to not quite knowing what to say - it was incredible camp, and some really bad camp - Little People's Court, while entertaining in some minute places, took up way too much time; Johnny Damon, while enthusiastic and putting in a noble effort, was a crappy guest host; Chris Masters' chest jiggling I think has officially crossed the line this week from entertaining to 'OK enough'; and I'm not excited about Timbaland hosting next week. But being the Holidays and all I wanted to find some good things to say about Raw. So I found some. Here we go;

  • While they didn't do much to increase the excitement for Seamus specifically, they did hype his rematch with John Cena, and Cena had an excellent match with Jack Swagger. As pointed out by other pundits, this might have meant even more if Jack Swagger had maintained his 'guaranteed 2009 undefeated streak' and put that up against Cena's promise not to lose before regaining the WWE Title.
  • The DX/Hornswoggle thing has come to its logical conclusion at this point and I'm hoping it becomes a little less consuming and a bit more fun from here.
  • The six-man tag was pretty good.
  • I enjoyed the 'Legend Santas' comprised of Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes and IRS; Chris Jericho being the Santa at the end was kind of funny too though I never believed even an army of little people taking on him and Big Show.
It was the same campy type of program as the Slammys last week, which tells me they anticipated a home from school more family-oriented holiday crowd; I would say hopefully they return more to their meat and potatoes by the January 4 Raw when they go head-to-head with the more 'back to the basics' TNA program, but that would suggest they haven't been running, essentially, a variety show for months now. At least some of the variety acts have become more entertaining but the last few weeks have been admittedly pretty lame. Sad I missed Tribute to the Troops as usually they do a better job of balancing the entertaining and sporting aspects of wrestling. Oh well ...

PROGRAMMING NOTE: We are heading back to Kitchener for the holidays tomorrow, Christmas Eve. I will be doing my best to blog regularly while away but please bear with us; we will also try to do a podcast before the New Year, but again no promises. Please know we will be back up and running by Jan. 1 as per regular. As this is probably my last post before Christmas ... have a very happy one!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Better Late than Never - Click here for ITVR

what the heading says ... and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday and ITVR

Hi guys - sorry the last couple of nights have just been hellaciously busy! But have no fear we have not forgotten our millions (yeah yeah yeah, now you do it!) ... and millions! of fans clamouring for the next edition of In This Very Ring - which could very well be our last of 2009 (maybe not, but we're hedging our bets, since we're leaving town basically until the New Year this week). We will be broadcasting and uploading tomorrow evening, a supersized year-end podcast so be sure and tune in then! :)

In the meantime a few birthday shoutouts to ...

- Trish Stratus
- Rob Van Dam
- Stone Cold Steve Austin

Former World Champions all, hope they have an awesome day. And you too! :) Check back tomorrow evening, and until then, to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


A three hour Raw complete with Slammy winners etc. is hard to quantify in a blog entry; I will say it was the best of times in some ways, but it was also definitely the worst of times on Raw last night. If you want a summary of my viewpoint on Raw, check out Jason Powell's response to Raw, as well as reader feedback at (there you can also find the Slammy results by the way, as I'm too lazy to post them all lol, and have a job interview I should be preparing for instead of doing this anyway), and then this email which I sent him in response to his viewpoint:

Hey Jason,

Since you mentioned in your feedback entry you liked positive and negative feedback I'll try to put on my best devil's advocate hat here and say that yes; what was weak on yesterday's Raw was incredibly weak. I wasn't familiar with Dennis Miller's work but I was tired of him within two minutes of on-screen time; I think already DX's 'antics' are taking away from the Tag Belts (I'm one of the few 'core' wrestling fans who finds them entertaining and I would have been amused by their hijinx with the referee if it weren't their first night with belts we're all afraid they won't respect), etc.

HOWEVER ... I felt the stuff that *was* strong on this show, was very strong. While I didn't appreciate the DX in-ring shenanigans, their Christmas shill piece had me laughing to tears; I understand the humble-but-unbowed-serious John Cena promos are an overused tool but I thought he did well with this one and am actually intrigued to see if he can and will keep his promise to go undefeated until reclaiming the title belt, or if this might be another opportunity to put younger talent over. I'm looking at the DX tag title reign the same way, that at LEAST whoever beats them for the belts eventually, which will happen, will be put over in a major way. Back from my digression though I also found Shawn Michaels' challenge of the Undertaker Batista's Kanye impersonation, and the Bret Hart tease intriguing as well. What they didn't do was a whole lot of mediocre stuff; it was crap, or it was gold.

The Slammies unfortunately aren't terribly conducive to wrestling-oriented programming and that's why I wish they used a Saturday Night's Main Event slot for them as opposed to a full on Monday Night Raw. So I don't disagree with you. But I don't want to lose in all the BS that some interesting seeds were sown for a few weeks, and as we always complain that WWE doesn't plan ahead or build to where they want to go, I think they got *that* right this week, barring baiting and switching along the way.

Sarah D.

However, by far the best thing on Raw last night?

Monday, December 14, 2009


So I say I won't go on too long about last night's TLC match as Ari and I will talk about it on Thurs. night but you know me ... no apologies if I *do* lol.

It was a good PPV in many ways and surprising in others, and a lot depends on how things play out from here. This most of all applies to the WWE Title match between John Cena and Seamus. The common wisdom going into this match was, it's good WWE's pushing a young new prospect but he's pretty brand-new yet. Future superstar with a lot of promise, no insult to Seamus' ability, just ... new. And yet as we all looked on at John Cena's broken body laying prone on an even more broken table, I think a shock and silence came over the audience both in the arena and at home. Seamus admittedly came more out of nowhere than a Ted Dibiase Jr. win would have, or Kofi Kingston, but I'm not dubious yet ... we'll see where he and his title reign go from here. This causes me less consternation than the Great Khali's world title reign a couple years back as he was just a rookie, anyway.

Going back to the opening match, however, I had also expected Shelton Benjamin to defeat Christian in their match - they put on an excellent show, with the ECW title remaining firmly in the Peeps' hands. Drew Macintyre, however, unseated John Morrison as IC titlist, which I HAD predicted. I expected this to mean the Undertaker would lose his World Heavyweight Title to Batista, allowing Morrison to make his move onto the main event stage against the heel Batista, and indeed, Batista, courtesy of a low blow in his bout with Taker, was declared the winner until Teddy Long ordered the match continued. Taker quickly reestablished himself and won.

Randy Orton defeated Kofi Kingston, which wasn't entirely shocking (though a bit surprising per my predictions - this was one of those where I was 60-70% sure, as opposed to the Cena-Seamus match where I was sitting at 99%+ sure). What did surprise me was how cleanly he did so. How Kofi Kingston recovers - or not - from this loss, is key from here out. He's a future superstar in the making, and has made some great strides in his work with Randy Orton; I hope they don't undo that push now.

Which leaves us with DX winning their first-ever Tag Team titles in this configuration as Triple H and Shawn Michaels defeated Jeri-Show in the closing match of the night. We'll see if this is helpful to the tag belt situation as Jeri-Show was; as one observer pointed out in their reviews today, at least this means someone will go over bigtime when DX finally loses the tag titles, which inevitably they will. I'm a DX fan - I just see them as more single-wrestling-inclined, and they share Vince McMahon's shoddy view of tag team wrestling; here's hoping this is a sign to the contrary and they seek to elevate the tag division, not bury it.

Currently watching the 3-hour Slammy edition of Raw hosted by Dennis Miller so I'm going to get back to that - be sure and check in tomorrow for my thoughts on the show.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just a reminder ...

TLC is tomorrow night. We will be tuning in and I will be posting my thoughts either late tomorrow evening or sometime Monday. :) Be sure and check back for those, and again feel free to share thoughts on the year behind us and the year ahead so we can share them before ringing in 2010. Peace.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


No cancellations, no excuses, not even up super-late tonight. :) Up, on time, ready to go, as we try to deliver. :) Click the entry heading to check out the latest edition and have a great night all.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

RAW Last Night

Not a bad show in many ways. I couldn't care less about Mark Cuban, honestly, in terms of who he is (not an NBA fan), but he's an entertaining character. I still stand by however that it was a waste and a loss to not have him interact with Vince McMahon on some level. But I suppose with Vince having been out two week ago with Jesse Ventura, and I assume he'll show up on next week's three-hour Raw for the Slammies, that might be a bit of McOverkill ...

What WASN'T overkilled, however, was the tribute to Eddie "Umaga" Fatu, who died on Friday. What tribute was that, you ask? You didn't see one? That's my point. I understand in light of the Benoit tragedy, in which Chris Benoit killed his wife and 7-year-old son before turning his violence towards himself, that the WWE doesn't especially want to be in the business of publicizing or hyping the deaths of too-young-to-go wrestlers and former wrestlers; but given how recently Fatu was under contract, and how recent and sudden his death, surely some kind of video package, or at least a photo 'In Memory Of' at the top of the show would have been appropriate.

Otherwise though this hit some decent notes for me; the entertainment aspect was great, with Hornswoggle and DX (although I have to go with Jason Powell on this one that any parent who buys their child (as they come in child sizes) Hornswoggle's "Littlest Member" DX t-shirt has issues. I also love that Chris Masters' rhythmic chest alone has actually put him over in a highly strange but real way. I'm not a fan that they bring Carlito back into the fold strongly last week, only to feed him to John Cena this week, and I don't entirely like the predicted even-steven booking on Orton-Kofi Kingston this week; I still feel the match this war of words and run-ins should have led to should have happened on PPV and not free Raw; however, they've done enough to let us feel we've gotten something for free, entertain us and whet our appetites, while making sure it's obvious the Main Course is going to be offered to us for $40 on Sunday at TLC.

Which they did a better-than-usual job of building up to this week. Almost all interactions with Mark Cuban centred on the road to TLC, and even the final shot, where Cuban got in Seamus' face and got driven through a table for his efforts, were a central final push to a heretofore uninspired (although not for lack of push and hype) feud between the Irishman and John Cena. Add that to some strong wrestling action (as strong as possible in <5 minute matches), and it was a decent Raw leading into what should hopefully be a great PPV ... it looks good on paper, let's hope it actually delivers.

We will talk about this and much more on Thursday night, all; in the meantime be sure and get me those predictions, thoughts on the year in review etc. :) It's all about sharin' the love at the Holidays. Hope everyone has a good and cozy night tonight and if you live in Southern Ontario, don't get stuck in the snow tomorrow! :) Enjoy some eggnog for me and we'll see you at the matches. ;)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

TNA to go head to head w/WWE in the New Year

Hulk Hogan made an appearance tonight on the season finale of The Ultimate Fighter, to announce TNA's Monday, January 4 special, airing from 9-10pm which for those in the know realize is head-to-head with the WWE's flagship Monday Night Raw program. He also announced he would be making his live Impact debut that night, although he was non-committal in regards to whether or not he would wrestle on the show. Also not mentioned, was whether this indicated a long-term 'all-in' full court press for TNA moving to Monday nights going forward.

Either way though, I'm excited by this. TNA has been getting some ducks in a row for awhile now, and is easily far-and-away the #2 company in the US right now. With the name value associated with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, it's time to test, for both sides of the equation, how TNA can stand up to the WWE product. If it fails, it will establish once and for all just where TNA's place in the current pecking order is, which isn't a bad thing, as I feel TNA's biggest failing at this point is over-reach; it can do quite well for itself as a profitable company should it ackowledge and remain on a smaller scale.. On the other hand, however, should they succeed, or even come close, it will truly be a shot across the bow launching MNW II, which can only mean good things for wrestling fans.

Friday, December 4, 2009

At long last the return of ITVR ... (click here for podcast) ...

But know that in my own opinion, admittedly, our return is not a particularly triumphant one. I address all this on the air too so don't want to overkill it, but it's at the end of the show when we may have lost you anyway so it bears mentioning here too:

Amidst a week with a terrible Raw, and very sad news in regards to Eddie 'Umaga' Fatu passing today, it was not going to be the happy-go-luckiest show in the first place, and after a few stressful weeks on the busy-ness and exhaustion front (Ari falls asleep on air! lol), I do want to warn right now that our discussion of the latter topic in particular sort of edges into a bit of dark humour, and some criticism of Fatu's choices in the months and years leading up to his death, which we realize tonight on the very day of his loss to family, friends and colleagues might not have been the time or place. For that we hope to not cause too much offense, and to own that we have admittedly over time come to a place of lacking much-needed patience with those making choices we see as sad, and hurtful to those making them, and their loved ones. That doesn't, however, diminish our sorrow at the outcomes, and the loss involved here tonight; we all of us love imperfect people, and perhaps the avoidability of situations like this one make them all the more tragic.

To that end, though, we don't want to redo the show at this point, nor do we want to leave it off the air for another week - especially as there's some fun stuff towards the end per reader participation going forward. So please, listen in, enjoy the parts of the show you find entertaining, FF the parts you don't, give us feedback on both, and have a great weekend. :D

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Hi all - ITVR will be making its return from a two-week hiatus tomorrow night after Smackdown - we began to record tonight but realized we could either rehash the stuff from the last 2 weeks we've missed and make the show border on 1.5-2 hours, or just talk about this week, which would last about 15 minutes, as it's effectively been a quiet week (a trash Raw, with WWE superstars now overseas in Iraq filming their Tribute to the Troops show, and Hulk Hogan teasing an engagement the biggest wrestling news stories). I think adding SD analysis will flesh things out to just the right length of show.

In the meantime though I'd like to ask you guys all a favour. As we're heading into the end of the year, I'd like my readers and listeners to please submit their votes for the best and worst of 2009, the year in wrestling. I'm not going to give guidelines here, to categories or format. Send me lists, send me a few paragraphs ... anything that for you sums up the year in wrestling. I will share what's sent our way, and we will be doing our year-end podcast with our own thoughts on the Year that Was the last Thursday of 2009. But I'd love to hear from other wrestling fans. And no ... 'Best use of a foreign object' cannot be awarded to Elin Nordregen Woods and her nine-iron, I'm sorry. ;)

Hope to see you tomorrow, right here, In This Very Ring.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


So Raw last night was kind of a mess as I thought. Particularly it was a whole bunch of false advertising. Particularly, as much as I had been dreading "Little People's Court" this week, with DX facing off 'in court' against Hornswoggle before guest host Verne Troyer (aka Mini-Me), to advertise it and then decide not to go ahead with it, passing it off as a DX 'dream', is still wrong. Especially since I suppose on some level it could have been done well as Verne Troyer was a pleasant surprise, seeming to know more about wrestling than many guest hosts did and seemingly more natural and comfortable in the position.

I was also not pleased with the 'let's give Mark Henry a gimmick' thing; first, it's insulting to him who I feel does better (damning with faint praise) when he just goes out and lets his fists and feet do the talking; and then to choose rap was not a stretch considering he's, let's say it, black, and that's what WWE sees their black performers as, ballers or rappers. But then he goes out and he's not even that good at it. I suppose seeing Jillian Hall get accidentally crushed in all the goings-on was kind of funny, but ... enh? Really?

And, since this has already just turned into a rant with no particular order, let's go back to the top of the show; DX and Jeri-Show have very little chemistry, which is surprising as they are all veterans who can be entertaining if given the chance; and my concerns that DX winning the tag belts would only put them on a team who doesn't need them, and knows they don't need them, were confirmed as they essentially said 'You may have those stupid little belts but we don't need the belts to be important'. Any work that Show and Jericho have done to try to elevate tag team competition in the WWE is about to be undone. And as there's no mystery over who is going to win this match - a Jericho-Undertaker feud is being built up on Smackdown, which is the only bright side to all this, and DX's lack of tag title glory in the last ten years of their existence is being talked up - it's just not intriguing at all.

John Cena as 'Angry John' was entertaining, as he always breaks into this mode at some point in his more serious feuds, and Carlito showing up was nice too. A bit silly at parts (was he REALLY expecting Cena to just stand there and wait for him to spit in his face?), but it worked; I just wish it weren't so predictable. Cena funs around, gets beaten up badly, and comes back furious. I suppose it gives some credibility to Seamus that he got under the champ's skin so, but still ... and just for the record? Beating up Santino Marella doesn't add to anyone's credibility either. Anyone can do it. I half expected after all that cockiness for Santino to bust out and win, but not at this point in Seamus's build. I think here someone a bit more important should have been sacrificed - not necessarily a Kofi Kingston or whatnot, but maybe an MVP?

Speaking of Kofi Kingston that was my other gripe; they announce him vs. Randy Orton, which really should occur on a PPV, or at LEAST have gotten more hype than to be announced at the top of the show (should have had at least a week's worth of prep). I 'got it' when the Legacy came out before Orton and beat up Kingston, leaving him as easy pickings for the Legend Killer, but two wrongs don't make a right here; a not-hyped-enough potential match turned into a bait-and-switch. Still, Kofi Kingston has been too much in the ascendant in this feud for Orton not to get a leg or two up on him along the way and this was a good time for that; the booking was just poor. And when this contributed along with maybe two other matches to there being a grand total of about 8 minutes of action prior to the main event over the course of a two hour show ... sad. The main event of Triple H vs. Chris Jericho was a good one, fresh, with Show and Shawn Michaels on commentary, and took up 10 minutes - more wrestling than the whole rest of the night combined.

All in all, as much as that was picking Raw apart, where I DID enjoy some minutes (again, Verne Troyer was a pleasant surprise, the main event was good, John Cena's promo was entertaining if predictable), really it was trash this week, true trash with a few little gold nuggets thrown in. If WWE is going head to head with a major football game, while expecting PPV money in two weeks, and raising the price of monthly pay events in the new year (and this is the last PPV in this price point), they need to convince fans it's worthwhile to tune in and STAY tuned in. They did not at all get that job done. Here's hoping the creative/booking team just had some cramps getting back into form after the holidays, and will be back to at least 'competent' by next week, the go home show for TLC. I know *I* have had enough of my own distractions and busy-ness these last few weeks. I'm ready to snap out of it and get back on the ball; WWE, won't you join me?

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