Friday, April 29, 2011

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2011 Supplemental Draft Results

Yesterday, WWE held its supplemental draft lottery through the afternoon. Here are the results, and my thoughts on each. Thanks muchly to Jason Powell,, which was my source for the draft results, and who sat through the draft yesterday when I didn't have the chance to.

Daniel Bryan to Smackdown:
I think this is probably a good move for Bryan longterm; generally a better crowd against whom to showcase his wrestling ability. Now mind you, some of the guys I'd be most interested in seeing him mix it up with - John Morrison, Dolph Ziggler, Rey Mysterio, etc. - are on Raw. But Smackdown is known for being more wrestling-heavy, for giving matches more time and giving the guys in them more freedom to showcase what they got without the risk of overshadowing the 'Main Event Style'-types like Cena, Triple H etc. As such, I think Bryan can do well on the blue brand.

10. Jack Swagger to Raw:
This makes sense given his involvement with the Michael Cole-Jerry Lawler storyline, although it takes away one of the potential SD dream matches in him vs. Daniel Bryan. Hopefully WWE gives Swagger a good Raw run this time around instead of the lousy one he had last time.

11. The Great Khali and Ranjin Singh to Smackdown:
Not terribly newsworthy, and it will be interesting to just see what kind of role these two play on the blue brand. I own being 'enh' on Khali, so I'm 'enh' on this move.

12. Jimmy Uso to Smackdown.
OK ...

13. Kelly Kelly to Raw:
OK ... I'm guessing, with the high likelihood Kharma's debut is going to be on Raw, that we have just established her first 'Barbie' victim. Not an original though, granted - Jason Powell made the same comment - but honestly, it's true. Raw right now actually has some strong wrestlers - Natalya Neidhart, Gail Kim - and only the heel Bellas as 'plastic' offerings. We needed a gorgeous babyface victim, and Kelly Kelly is it. Not to mention the opportunity to continue her SD feud with Vicki Guerrero if WWE so chooses.

14. JTG to Raw:
JTG is still under contract? Sorry ... I guess it was his partner who was let go ...

15. Alicia Fox to Smackdown:
Hmm ... will she and Michelle McCool form a new Mean Girls type group now that Layla El seems to be on the outs with her former tag team partner? Other than that this is another 'enh' for me. Alicia Fox has developed a vicious style of wrestling and has impressed me on a certain level - but she's hardly one of the standouts of the Divas division.

16. William Regal to Smackdown: I'm agreeing with Jason Powell here too that Regal is more talented than his position on WWE TV would suggest and it would be nice to see him get another Jerry Lawler-esque run in the spotlight, although I'm afraid he's seen more as a great mentor to work with the younger talent. I think his chance to work with Sin Cara, Daniel Bryan, and others will be strong here on Smackdown and I look forward to seeing what role he'll end up playing on the blue brand. With no offense to Booker T, I wouldn't mind seeing him replace T on the commentating team, either ...

17. Yoshi Tatsu to Smackdown:
I think this guy has great potential; I don't think I can really say he's lived up to it. While it would be nice to think on the more wrestling heavy brand he might have more of a chance, I'm afraid he might have been cast too much as a bit of a joke character to be able to completely come back from that. Hope I'm wrong though.

18. Drew McIntyre to Raw:
Interesting pick ... here's a guy who was pushed to the moon, only to have been reined in a bit in recent months. Here's hoping this is a fresh start for someone I think is a pretty damn talented performer.

19. Natalya to Smackdown:
OK. Balancing the wrestling talent a little bit more in terms of the Divas division, I can dig it. While Smackdown really only had LayCool as legitimate wrestling talent up to now, they now have Natalya, and to a lesser extent, Alica Fox. I know they have/had Beth Phoenix as well, however I haven't seen her in ages (have I just been missing her?), so I don't count her as much as I otherwise might.

20. Curt Hawkins to Raw:
Yep - stop the presses on this one.

21. Chris Masters to Raw.
Some more visibility for the Masterpiece, who has actually grown on me and I think has learned a lot in his time in the biz. Let's see where he goes with this one. Or maybe he just remains on Superstars after all.

22. Jey Uso to Smackdown:
OK - makes sense with his tag team partner having moved over.

23. Kofi Kingston to Raw:
Another big name move - no wonder that, while I'm still using the term 'supplemental draft', WWE didn't. It usually implies switches from midcard or lower, and really they've had a few big-ish names switch over here. Kofi on Raw will have a chance to either excel under a brighter spotlight ... or languish as a small fish in a big pond. We'll have to see whether I like this one or not.

24. Ted DiBiase to Smackdown:
This can only be good, a fresh start for Ted, who's another would-be main eventer who's been languishing way more than he deserves of late. Who on earth would have predicted that of the former Legacy team, Cody Rhodes would have been the one with the intriguing character and storyline, while Ted Dibiase would be the midcarder with no storyline short of a semi-hot girlfriend?

25. Tyson Kidd to Smackdown:
I repeat, he's still under contract? I'm guessing someone might be hearing best wishes for his future endeavours in time ... and where's Harry Smith? Or sorry - David Hart Smith?

26. Tamina to Smackdown:
The Uso reunion is complete. Yay.

27. Tyler Reks to Raw:
Another one who started out with much promise - even made the Smackdown Bragging Rights team - to have disappeared into the Superstars ether. Wonder what this move will do for his career longterm.

28. Alex Riley to Smackdown:
A sudden bustup of Team Miz, which on the one hand disappoints me as I enjoy him as Miz's apprentice and mini-me, but on the other hand, I'm impressed they're giving him a chance to shine on his own. Let's see if he runs with the ball they just threw him. Aaah, who am I kidding, he'll run with it if they let him, he won't if they don't.

29. Beth Phoenix to Raw:
Or is this the feud they're setting up for Kharma? Kharma destroys Kelly Kelly and Phoenix makes the save as the 'real' competition? Interesting. I do have to echo Jason Powell's question though ... with Tamina jumping brands meaning Santino Marella has lost yet another girlfriend ... a Glamarella reunion anyone?

30. Sheamus to Smackdown:
He could dominate the brand, and that's the truth. it will be interesting to see who they put him with and how. If Undertaker comes back in any kind of OK shape, these two could have an intriguing and heavy-hitting, high-impact program. It would be brutal. If they weren't obviously building toward a HHH-Taker rematch at Wrestlemania, and if we weren't so clearly getting to the end of the line on Taker's streak and career, I'd suggest Sheamus, if built right, could be an intriguing 'challenger'/'victim' at the next Mania ... except for the likelihood at this point that it will be Taker's last. Either way ... there's room for a good feud there if possible - and other feuds if not. An interesting choice with which to end the 2011 WWE Draft.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bloggin' the Draft

So it's been awhile and I did explain we had both Passover and Easter plans over the last week ... and lost in the shuffle was me mentioning tonight is the brand extension draft, where WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown exchange performers based on the winners of matches throughout the show. So while we'll do an ITVR podcast Friday to talk about the draft and look ahead to Extreme Rules PPV, I'm going to sort of live blog the draft edition of Raw as we go.

BTW - those who expected the draft would occur in June - that was the plan. However, with Edge's sudden retirement, there is a dirth of main event 'good guy' talent on Smackdown, so the draft was moved up to address that disparity. While I'm a bit dubious of the draft being held so close to a PPV, making some of the matches on the card less relevant, it's still always an interesting show so let's get to it.

Raw opened with a battle Royal between the two brands, with the winner's brand getting a Draft pick. At the end of the day, Smackdown luminaries Big Show and Kofi Kingston were the last men standing, and won the first draft pick of the night for their brand. BOTTOM LINE: John Cena to Smackdown! As the locker room goes crazy. John Cena cuts an enthusiastic promo, and already the face of the WWE has shifted a bit. SD needed a main event 'babyface', and they got THE babyface. Not a bad move, if you want my opinion.

We go on to some promotion on Michael Cole's part for his match later this evening with Jim Ross, and R Truth cutting a not-atypical heel promo saying that doing things for the fans had gotten him nowhere, and he was now determined to look out for himself. Not a bad heel promo as far as that goes - it will be interesting to see if R Truth DOES indeed go further as a heel.

We then enjoy another vignette for Awesome Kong, who will now be known as Kharma going forward, beheading another Barbie Doll, before Eve Torres came out to fight Layla El. Cue the usual Michael Cole insulting the Divas interruption, before Eve's hand was raised in victory. After a fight was broken up between Layla and her tag team partner Michelle McCool, Rey Mysterio was announced as the latest draft pick over to Raw ... cut to Jim Ross warming up for his match, up next, with Cole ... cut to commercial.

Cut to a decent Cody Rhodes promo on the newly-drafted Rey Mysterio, before Sheamus (Raw) and Kofi Kingston (SD) fight for another draft pick. In perhaps a bit of an upset, Kofi Kingston wins, resulting in another big draft trade as Randy Orton is heading over to Smackdown.

Which brings us to the Michael Cole-Jim Ross match, which resulted in a decimated cowboy hat (also a recap of the disgusting Raw moment from last week where JR had to kiss Cole's athlete's foot-infested foot). Nonetheless, this was exactly what one would expect, a joke match, about which my only complaint, in that context, was much like Cole's match at Wrestlemania, went on a bit long. I had patience for him longer than some, but I think the Michael Cole character has jumped the shark for me the last week or two also. DQ finish with a win for Jim Ross ensues after Jack Swagger interferes and attacks JR. A post-match beatdown ensues, due to JR having bloodied Michael Cole's lip, where Swagger has JR in the ankle lock while Michael Cole whips him with a belt, until Jerry Lawler makes the save and delivers a few lashes of his own with said belt. Cue the Anonymous Raw GM beep ...

"This Sunday at Extreme Rules - Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole and Jack Swagger will now be a Country Whipping Match." Oh how fun ... lol.

We now have Randy Orton (Smackdown) vs. Dolph Ziggler - amazing how they were able to make a match ahead of time for two draft pics, projecting that Randy Orton would have been drafted beforehand ... lol. Jokes; but this was actually a pretty solid match with an Orton win on Smackdown's behalf. The draft pick in this match was interrupted by a CM Punk promo promising to, of course, cause mucho bodily harm to Randall Kenneth Orton at Extreme Rules in their Last Man Standing match. Randy threatened much the same in reverse before the draft continued ... after a commercial break, of course. This match enhanced the Smackdown roster by Mark Henry, and Sin Cara. For those keeping score, that has Raw at having gained one wrestler (Mysterio) and Smackdown having gained four (Orton and Cena, as well as Henry and Cara).

This disparity was evened out a bit however in the next match as Rey Mysterio defeated Wade Barrett (in Smackdown Blue, just as the Nexus was in Raw Red earlier - as Jason Powell pointed out over at, how far we've come - or perhaps receded? - in a year. This also won Raw two draft picks; welcome Big Show and Alberto del Rio, who didn't seem happy about his trade.

The show wound down with an ad for the Rock's birthday party next week, as well as Michael Cole coming back out to join Booker T, Josh Matthews and Jerry Lawler (four announcers?! and these four?! really?!) to run down the Extreme Rules lineup before Teddy Long entered to announce the last match of the evening; The Miz, Alberto del Rio and CM Punk representing Raw, vs. John Cena, Christian and Mark Henry for the last draft pick of the night. This resulted in Raw winning, and welcoming back John Cena as their final draft pick. Not sure if I'm a fan of exactly how that played out - I was kind of surprised at TWO big drafts in Cena and Orton, and expected one of them would be undone in relatively short order - if pressed, I probably could have even predicted it being Cena - but maybe that could have been handled tomorrow (today now - 12pm as the 'supplemental' draft continues on, or at/after the PPV, or even in conjunction with the Rock's birthday party next week.

Nonetheless though, a fun Raw overall to watch and enjoy - the Draft is usually at least somewhat newsworthy and this was no exception. It also ensures more wrestling action than usual given drafts occur by the winning and losing of matches ... albeit that means somewhat short matches to maximize the number of draftees. Even with the John Cena switcheroo, there were definitely some shakeups to the roster, and as I said, it will be interesting to see how they play out going forward.

Be sure and continue to join me as I blog through the week, and definitely tune in Friday night to catch up on your ITVR listening (as we catch up on our ITVR podcasting lol). Can't wait to see you then ... in this very ring.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wrestlers Behaving Badly

We'll be talking tomorrow or Friday at some point in regard to the happenings of (a fairly uneventful) Raw from the UK ... but I did want to quickly address what has quickly become one of the more controversial happenings on WWE TV in a little bit.

R Truth, Ron Killings, turned heel on John Morrison in Raw's opening segment - which was a bit strange but OK, and at least somewhat expected. However, one of the things he did in order to get some heat was admit to being a smoker, and lighting up in the midst of his beatdown on Morrison. Anti-smoking advocates have ... um ... lit into R Truth and the WWE since, demanding a public apology, not only for the poor example R Truth sets for WWE's PG audience, but for breaking smoking bylaws in London, UK where Raw was being recorded. It will be interesting to see how this controversy plays out, and we will certainly discuss this further on ITVR in the next day or two.

Perhaps in even bigger news, Jeff Hardy had a new court date today - and while another continuance was issued, at least some more detail was revealed in this situation; the continuance is allowing the court time to consider a 28-day inpatient rehab program, which Jeff has agreed to attend instead of jail time. If both sides can agree to this condition, it will be the first time that Hardy has even tacitly admitted having a drug problem, and might be best for all concerned. Court will reconvene in June, and we will see then what the result of this deal has turned out to be. I wish Jeff the best in dealing with his very obvious (to everyone but him) demons.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Farewell Edge

Hi guys - we will try to get an ITVR up either later tonight, or more likely over the weekend - but we have in-laws visiting this weekend so we'll see what we can mustard. ;) In the meanwhile though something important I wanted to share.

I'd shut my computer down for the night when perhaps the biggest news on Raw Monday occurred - Adam "Edge" Copeland announcing his retirement. I've been actually fairly emotional about this most of the week - not in the bursting out in tears like when I was a little girl mark, or even in the 'all bad emotions' sense. But Edge has been a favourite for a long time - a very 'game' workhorse who was good at what he did, and who I never quite felt got his due from management. Ultimately, years of abuse to his body trying to one-up himself has resulted in his unexpected, and without much pomp, retirement at the age of 37, only days after announcing his title defense against Alberto Del Rio. As we speak (or really, 5 days ago, but I'm not checking spoilers), he has vacated the title and there will now be a Battle Royal tonight on Smackdown for the opportunity to face Del Rio for the vacant title.

He came in on the midcard and retired as champ, one who has held the belt 9 times, albeit often in an abbreviated transitional capacity. He has participated in several show-stealing matches, and it's unfortunate they couldn't properly handle a retirement match/tour and sendoff, due to the severity of the nerve damage an MRI resulted in him being diagnosed with last week. I am disappointed that it's unlikely we'll ever see him wrestle again, and certainly not on a regular basis. On the other hand, after so many stories of people who stayed in too long, who ignored their pain and numbed themselves by popping even more chemicals into their bodies ... here's someone with his priorities in order. Realizing 37 is too young to risk permanent disability and/or death ... that perhaps his new home and girlfriend are worth more than a career he's already accomplished so much in ... I always say the boys (and girls) should know when to get out ... and here's someone who does. As disappointing as it is, I also applaud him.

Mick Foley today wrote a tremendous blog about Edge's career you can find HERE. Luminaries from Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Christian to Matt Hardy and the Fink have all had kind words to say looking back on this prematurely-ended career. Edge - hope you can stay involved in some safe, healthy capacity on some basis - I'd love to hear you on commentary. Meanwhile though, congratulations on making the smart decision, on having your priorities straight, and realizing you've already sacrificed too much of your health to this business. Thank you for the incredible memories and please rest comfortably knowing you already have had a hall of fame career. Looking forward to the induction. Now ... go enjoy that ice cream, can't wait to see you actually filling out that 'Fat Elvis' suit. :) Much love, and muchas gracias.

Monday, April 11, 2011

WWE Rebranding

It's been a busy week but I wanted to comment, before Raw comes on, on the biggest news coming out of WWE last week - perhaps, going forward, superceding even Wrestlemania itself. World Wrestilng Entertainment announced last week that, in a KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) type move, it will be rebranding itself as strictly WWE, and an edict has been issued that no one affiliated with the company, from the mailroom to the boardroom, talent, etc. is to refer to 'wrestling' in association with the WWE.

The company's statement laying out this shift in direction states that

Two key components to WWE’s brand expansion will be the active pursuit to acquire entertainment content companies and the outsourcing of WWE’s core competencies – television and film production, live event production and licensing. As part of the new business model, the company will also focus on the development of new television products including scripted, non-scripted and animated programs, as well as the launch of a new WWE network in the next 12-18 months. The first new program of the brand expansion is Tough Enough®, WWE’s non-scripted program that debuted on the USA Network on Monday.

Vince McMahon went on to add:

“The new business model of the company better reflects what WWE is all about, being a global entertainment company,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and CEO, WWE. “We will always be loyal to our core business that made WWE a globally known entity, however, the future of WWE will be the addition of new entertainment content opportunities beyond the ring.”
Colour me dubious - it's no secret that Vince McMahon has wanted a level of legitimacy, for a long time, beyond 'pro rasslin'. And there's no question that WWE TV production, and the potential to employ their characters and other resources to other forms of media - cartoons, reality TV etc. - is strong. However, at the end of the day, their bread is buttered in the ring, and to ignore that reality - to take a 'no, but ...' instead of a 'yes, and ...' approach here, is foolhardy, and an insult, at the end of the day, to the folks who keep their company solvent. While WWE Films, for example, has been more successful than I anticipated, let's call a spade a spade here; that is NOT what made Vince a billionaire, nor is it what will keep him there.

Having said that - other than the entrenching and further obstinacy in denying WWE's wrestling core, I don't think this is a bad idea in terms of expanding Vince's purvue as a promoter extraordinaire, with an unbelievable production facility at his fingertips, etc. I also want to give kudos to their new 'Talent Development' department, headed by Paul Levesque (Triple H), who intends to expand the global scope of recruitment and liaise with organizations like Florida Championship Wrestling more effectively. Sin Cara, formerly Mistico, is the first new recruit under this department.

Definitely a time of development and change for the 'Bigger, Badder, Better' WWE. I guess my only question remains, if we are to no longer refer to 'Wrestling', what do we call the WWE's biggest show of the year going forward? ;)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Monday, April 4, 2011

Official Programming Note

In This Very Ring will do a very special podcast tomorrow evening, after the Hall of Fame has aired here in Canada, to discuss all of Wrestlemania weekend events, as well as last night's Raw. Be sure and join us then, with thanks for the understanding of delays etc. XO and be well until then.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wrestlemania Time! :)

First - an apology for not having posted or done the podcast this week of all weeks - of course work picks up the week leading into Wrestlemania! :) Which means I also didn't have enough time on my hands to send the DVD out to last week's contest winner Shane - it will be in the mail tomorrow/Tues. at the latest.

However, you can still hear our predictions by checking out and going to their radio section in this week's archive - an interview with Sid Vicious will be up there too, which is pretty good.

And I promised viewing information for last night's Hall of Fame, which apparently didn't air live either here in Canada OR in the US. you can watch it around 7pm Eastern before Raw on the USA network tomorrow night in the US, or on Tuesday at I beleive 5 or 6 pm (double check) on the Score here in Canada. :) Dontcha dare miss it, they will be featuring Shawn Michaels', Sunny's and the Road Warriors' inductions.

And be sure and remember the special start time of Wrestlemania tonight - 7pm! We will either podcast or blogpost tonight after the event with our feedback on the show, and on this week's buildup. Boys and girls ... it's time. Enjoy! :)

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