Another monster of a column for you, with a slightly new name. Apparently some ESPN dude uses Quarterback, so we’re off to the more wrestling themed Backlash. Again, reading of this in one sitting may cause blindness due to sheer length or insanity due to sheer content… so be sure to bookmark and read in multiple sittings. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s suffering, even wrestling fans. When you comment, and I’m sure you’ll find something in here you feel strongly about, try and identify what you’re talking about. As always, welcome to the best wrestling analysis on the ‘net.
1) WWE Raw Thoughts â€“ The Smark Raw Ranty Short Forum Thing
2) WWE Smackdown Thoughts â€“ Can Kofi Rise?
3) TNA Impact Thoughts â€“ Samoa Joe is Wasted
4) WWE NXT/Superstars/Misc â€“ 5 Ways WWE Can Use Bryan Danielson After NXT
5) ROH Thoughts â€“ Chris Hero: Best on the Indies
6) Guest Spot â€“ Kyle K. Sparks on Jack Swagger: Top Heel
7) A Modest Response â€“ Raffi Shamir on To be Determined: Is John Morrison No Longer the Next Shawn Michaels?
8) History Time â€“ Jerry Lawler is One of the Best
9) Match Review â€“ AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Chris Daniels from Turning Point
10) Personal Life/Blog/whatever â€“ Too Old for this Shit
1) WWE Raw Thoughts – The Smark Raw Ranty Short Forum Thing
This is very likely the smartest, best put together Raw in ages. To honor that, the one week only return of the The Smark Raw Ranty Short Forum Thing.
Weâ€™re live (well we were live) in Toronto and that means WWE will play a bit with the Smarks in the audience, always a good time, unless Vince is feeling spiteful. Nope, heâ€™s in a good mood. Bret Hart opens Raw to bow out of his US Title shot tonight. Chris Jericho is having none of that phony and demands that he take the shot and make it No Disqualification. Bret agrees to this and we have Bret Hart vs. The Miz. If you said that 10 years ago, what are the odds youâ€™d be considered utterly insane? Great stuff with Bret and Jericho, at any rate.
The Great Khali gets a rental car commercial since this is a commercial free Raw and that was cute. A friend of mine thinks WWE really wants to target the SNL demographic as a secondary to their kids. This is a hell of a good way to go about that.
Edge is out and apparently he and Randy Orton will pick each otherâ€™s opponents tonight! This brings out Christian.
Match 1: Edge vs. Christian
Okay, this was great. Edge and Christian do the â€œknow eachotherâ€ spots early, with neither man able to gain an advantage until Edge decides to do a bunch of arm work. This works especially well since the Killswitch, Christianâ€™s finisher, requires him to use his arms a lot. Of course, Christian eventually gets the comeback and he plays up the angle of having now figured out Edgeâ€™s offense to counter everything. Edge is just a step slow and canâ€™t out Christian away, as Christian kicks out of the spear, then uses the second spear to counter Edge into a Killswitch set up. His arm is, however, too hurt and Edge tosses his hurt shoulder into the ringpost, then nails the spear for the win.
Edge defeats Christian (Pin, Spear, *** Â½)
Pay Per View quality and length.
But waitâ€¦ Randy Orton doesnâ€™t know what Christian was doing, but he isnâ€™t Edgeâ€™s opponent, The Undertaker is. Why the Undertaker? Well, as Kyle Sparks put it â€œTaker and Edge arenâ€™t exactly on one anotherâ€™s Christmas card list.â€
Match 2: Edge vs. Undertaker
Edge refuses to even get in the ring, taking a countout.
Undertaker defeats Edge (Countout)
Christian tosses Edge in the ring, where he eats a chokeslam. Taker being on Raw is still rare enough that this felt cool, and this is the kind of swerve Russo dreams he was capable of pulling off.
Backstage Maryse talks trash about Trish, then Eve Torres, who shows up to absolutely slap the shit out of her. The slap looked like hitting a Street Fighter IV Super Move to counter a taunt, which is, of course, badass.
Buzz Aldrin and his wife are backstage when Vickie Guerrero comes in to flex her GM muscle. Buzz informs her that she quit last week and the new GM will be showing up this week. Vickie is escorted away by the Bella Twins. Good use of continuity and another smart misdirection based on Vickie still thinking she was GM on Smackdown. Who will the new GM be? Bret Hart makes sense, as does HBK or Austin, but of all the guys currently around, Iâ€™m really hoping for Steve Regal.
Match 3: Batista vs. Mark Henry
As Henry comes out, Batista smacks him with a 2×4 (Hoooooooooooo!) then beats him down and uses the Rings of Saturn, his new submission. At first I was mad Batista was wrecking people on his way out of the company, but then I remembered it was Mark Henry and remembered to just be happy I got random references to two of my favorite companies ever 80s Mid-South and 90s ECW.
They do a Ted Dibiase video where he can buy anythingâ€¦ except whatâ€™s pricelessâ€¦ the Truth, R-Truth. If they arenâ€™t careful these funny little vignettes will get everyone over.
Ted Dibiase comes out and introduces a man who doesnâ€™t mind being his Virgilâ€¦ the real Virgil (mark out moment). I guess weâ€™re ditching the Legacy part 2 idea (since it sucked the first time, I can live with that) and going with the Million Dollar Man part 2 (which I am overjoyed for as Ted is probably my favorite wrestler of the 80s).
Match 3: Ted Dibiase w/ Virgil vs. Yoshi Tatsu
Ted and Tatsu have a decent back and forth match, with a lot of offense for Tatsu before Dibiase hits Dreamstreet to put him away.
Ted Dibiase defeats Yoshi Tatsu (Pin, Dreamstreet, *)
Sure the match wasnâ€™t much, but Tatsu got to look decent and we got a great new direction for Tedâ€¦ and VIRGIL!
Miz cuts a promo about destroying Bret Hartâ€™s legacy on his way to the ring and itâ€™s pretty great.
Match 4: Miz vs. Bret Hart
Miz brings out Kozlov and Regal to fight off the Hart Dynasty in a rare clever move, since Iâ€™m sure he noticed the Dynastyâ€™s involvement in Wrestlemania. Miz then proceeds to beat on Bret with the help of Chris Jericho. The Hart Dynasty finally look badass, taking out Kozlov and Regal, then hitting the ring to take out Jericho and Miz. Bret locks in the Sharpshooter and Miz taps. We have a new US Champion.
Bret Hart defeats the Miz (Sharpshooter)
This was an emotion match and a hugely memorable moment. The quality between the ropes couldnâ€™t mean less. If this is Bretâ€™s send off, he gets to leave with a belt, unlike Montreal. Sure, it isnâ€™t the same thing, but itâ€™s certainly a great, karmic moment and a lot of what wrestling is really about is making us care about moments like this.
So, where do we go from here? Bret basically has to give the title up, which means a tournament. The best choice for this is, of course, to give Danielson the belt over the Miz in the finals, but Miz, Morrison, Dibiase and even (gulp) Truth are all solid choices.
Strangely, Michael Cole is upset about Bret having the US Title, while Jerry Lawler, Bretâ€™s longtime enemy, defends â€œthe Hitman.â€ Is Coleâ€™s NXT character bleeding over to Raw finally?
Santino gets a â€œWorldâ€™s Most Irritating Manâ€ commercial and his is the highlight of these for the night.
Match 5: Michelle McCool, Layla El and Maryse vs. The Bella Twins and Eve Torres
Since Layla and Michelle were both in the match that Beth Phoenix lost the Womenâ€™s Title in on Smackdown, they have matching Womenâ€™s Championship belts. What an interesting twist on the Freebird rule. Iâ€™d tell TNA to take not, but theyâ€™d just botch the damn angle anyway.
Layla is really improving quickly and is now my favorite diva. The ladies here all worked quite hard, exchanging relatively crisp spots until Maryse nailed the French Kiss DDT (great name, who fed it to Cole?) on a Bella for the win.
Michelle, Layla and Maryse defeat the Bella Twins and Eve (Pin, French Kiss, ***) This was really surprisingly good. Iâ€™m probably over-rating it based on that, but Maryse and Eve got over their feud, while Layla and Michelle showed off their new gimmick.
Eve and Maryse brawl some more after the match. I canâ€™t believe how hot this feud feels.
John Cena cuts a promo to the CeNation (I like it, itâ€™s better than most fan names besides Hulkamaniacs). Heâ€™ll face Batista at the PPV for the last time, waiving his rematch clause if he quits and repeating his â€œI will not quitâ€ stuff from the Randy Orton â€œI Quitâ€ match last year. More good continuity- Iâ€™m so exited, Iâ€™m so exited, Iâ€™m soâ€¦ scared.
Match 6: Randy Orton vs. Jack Swagger
Swagger comes out and looks great. This is better than their PPV match as Swagger mixes in his rest holds with tossing Orton around to great effect. The Viper persona really helps this, as Ortonâ€™s mannerisms make it clear heâ€™s constantly one move away from striking and turning things around, which he, of course, eventually does.
As Orton is making his comeback, out comes Edge to attack Randy. Orton goes for the RKO, but Edge pushes him off and Swagger eats RKO instead. As Orton turns, Edge returns to his â€œUltimate Opportunistâ€ roots and nails a spear. This feud is so amazing.
Randy Orton defeats Jack Swagger (Disqualification, Edge Interference, ***)
Ortonâ€™s mannerisms are what really get him over here, as he seems legitimately dangerous and imitable, while Swagger was the guy Edge chose, seeming like a top guy for that (I mean Orton chose the freaking Undertaker). Edge got to be an opportunist, as well. Everyone came out of this looking great.
Buzz Aldrin comes out to talk about improving the space program. In the only bad moment of the evening, the crowd chants what at him. Zack Ryder comes out with girlfriend Alicia Fox to call the moon landing fake. We get video of Buzz punching someone out who suggested the moon landing was fake and it more than redeems this segment. Aldrin makes a match:
Match 7: Zach Ryder and Alicia Fox vs. Evan Bourne and Gail Kim
This is kept fast paced, with Ryder and Fox as mostly generic heels for the faces to bounce off of. Bourne hits Air Borne, but when Alicia saves, sheâ€™s nailed with Sole Food by Gail Kim for the win.
Bourne and Kim defeat Ryder and Fox (Pin, Sole Food, **)
Evan Bourne just got the guest host rub for a national hero. Thatâ€™s pretty damn cool. Buzz does the moonwalk, taking this from cool to epic.
We get a Goldust blind date commercialâ€¦ he breathes on his date. Itâ€™s pretty damn good.
Match 8: John Cena vs. Sheamus
These two go long again, with Cena selling like mad for Sheamus. This being Raw though, despite the good stuff earlier, Cenaâ€™s comeback is straight five moves of doom (which is I guess appropriate given that this might be Bretâ€™s last show). Cena gets dumped as he goes for the Attitude Adjustment and Batista is waiting with two spinebusters. He locks in the Rings of Saturn and Cena just wonâ€™t quit.
John Cena defeats Sheamus (Disqualification, Batista Interference, ** Â½)
This Raw was incredible. Every single segment served a purpose and was entertaining. There were several outright memorable moments, new stars getting the rub, and feuds really heating up. This is why I write columns like this.
2) WWE Smackdown Thoughts â€“ Can Kofi Rise?
Kofi Kingston has been drafted to Smackdown, the home of the new stars that the WWE is pushing. CM Punk has, over the last year, become a shining light in the company who draws consistently amazing heat. Jack Swagger, immediately before the draft, won Money in the Bank and became the heel champion on Smackdown, getting impressive heat and big wins over guys like Randy Orton. Drew McIntyre is suddenly in one of the hottest angles in the company. Even Big Show is getting his first shot in recent memory at being the top face. With all of these pushes, though, what of Kingston?
Currently, Kofi is being used to help get McIntyre over. Heâ€™s the wronged party in the McIntyre firing/re-hiring as heâ€™s the one who won a tournament for the IC title. This would be a great spot, except that the firing was due to injury, so Drew has to win and the real feud is between McIntyre and the man he injured, Matt Hardy. Kofiâ€™s role here is to help keep McIntyre over and make him a killer.
Obviously, this is a roll Kofi is more than capable of fulfilling. Great on the mic and exciting in the ring, everyone comes out looking better against Kingston. But where does that leave Kofi?
Smackdown has very few faces with any sort of mobility. Christian and Matt Hardy have been around and are over, but the WWE clearly doesnâ€™t see either as a real guy capable of headlining a PPV in a title match. Big Show has been in many title matches, but no longer gets real runs as champion. Undertaker is part time, at best. Rey Mysterio is top notch, but heâ€™s one face, Swagger, Punk and McIntyre all as heels. That leaves Kingston. Everyone has been saying how moving John Morrison and R-Truth to Raw was a show of a lack of confidence in them, but in another light, itâ€™s the ultimate show of confidence in Kingston.
Kingston now replaces two upper-midcarders on Smackdown and is clearly the only face on the show in line for a real push. With Big Show filling time atop the card, Swagger will (likely) soon need someone new to face. Kingston, coming off a losing feud, likely wonâ€™t get that spot immediately, but heâ€™s in the clear #2 face spot, where he gets to lose to guys on their way to the top. With enough good performances and great promos from that spot, both of which heâ€™s capable of, the crowd can easily get behind him and make him more. The match and promo skill makes him the perfect combination of Morrison (matches) and Truth (promos), a jack of all trades the fans can easily adopt and push to the next level. He has all the tools and due to his spot on the card, although it will take time, Kofi Kingston can clearly become a fan made superstar on Smackdown.
3) TNA Impact Thoughts â€“ Samoa Joe is Wasted
Itâ€™s not a big surprise or secret that TNA has badly mangled the Samoa Joe push, though few seem to realize just how badly TNA really messed up with their refusal to use Joe as the top guy. Few people seem to grasp just how big a star Joe is and how important he should be to TNA as a company.
Samoa Joe can do it all. Heâ€™s excellent in ring against both bigger and smaller opponents, he has a great aura, is over as a face or a heel, and can cut a great promo. With this full package comes an unmatched charisma. Eric S years ago commented on Joeâ€™s connection with ROH fans, where mere gestures would have extra meaning and see special. Joe has over time established that connection with TNA fans. They genuinely care about and react to him. Heâ€™s not the only TNA guy that was pushed huge then forgotten, but heâ€™s the one thatâ€™s still asked about, and thereâ€™s a reason for that.
Samoa Joe is the most genuinely over person in TNA. This can be seen by the fact that Joe Angle 1 and the Lockdown match where he put his career on the line are the two highest grossing TNA PPVs ever. Add in the fact that his main events with Christian Cage did his best business and his other top matches are all above the usual for TNA, and you have a guy fans will clearly pay to see. Sure, these are matches against former WWE guys, but none of them did nearly as well against any other opponent.
Joe also, merely by being pushed, brings the critical acclaim that TNA seems so desperate for. The marks love him sure, but heâ€™s also an internet darling. As a bastion of good sense amidst the TNA mire, simply giving him the belt and letting people try and take it from him would turn around many fans opinions on the company. All of the goofy stuff TNA does besides could remain, but this is a one step fix.
Of course, TNA seemingly has no interest in putting Joe anywhere near that top spot. Joe disappeared for months on a dropped angle and has returned to face Matt Morgan. Thatâ€™d be great, except that even with this match, itâ€™s clear Morgan is the one intended to get ahead. How can we tell? Morgan is the one who gets to be in TNAâ€™s Title Voting System. Morgan gets to be another former WWE guy that Joe helps draw attention in TNA, getting him over, while the true face of the company, the best wrestler all around, the man who can help TNA draw money on PPV, remains forgotten
4) WWE NXT/Superstars/Misc â€“ 5 Ways WWE Can Use Bryan Danielson after NXT
1. Bryan Danielson can be Bret Hartâ€™s choice in the new US Title Tournament and win, becoming the new â€œExcellence of Execution.â€
2. Danielson and John Morrison could team, setting up a three-way feud with Miz and Jericho and The Hart Dynasty, attempting to recreate memories of the Smackdown Six.
3. Danielson can decide he hates the way McIntyre has kept the IC title and go after him on Smackdown.
4. After Swagger defeats the Big Show, he can lay out an open challenge for Danielson to come out and take him to the limit in a mat wrestling masterpiece. He can become a regular Smackdown roster member thereafter in the upper mid-card.
5. Danielson can decide to hunt the NXT Veterans for slighting him, working his way up to a match with his own Pro, the Miz.
And hereâ€™s his awesome NXT promo again, incase you missed it:
5) ROH Thoughts â€“ Chris Hero: Best on the Indies
When Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness (Desmond Wolfe) left the indies, the title of best wrestler not in a major company was up for grabs. Danielson put forth that it was Davey Richards that is now the best. Davey, a great, fast paced wrestler, is excellent in one type of match, but inconsistent in others and not a great promo. Tyler Black, the current ROH champion, is another guy whoâ€™s easily among the top left on the indies, but inconsistency in big matches and a lack of ability to connect with the crowd hurt him. Roderick Strong is an incredible worker, but canâ€™t be a heel or talk. Claudio Castagnoliâ€™s peak is probably the best of everyone, but itâ€™s rarely seen. Only one man on the indies can do it all, without any of the weaknesses: Chris Hero.
Chris Hero is among the best promos on the indies. Heâ€™s so good that ROH actually has him doing color commentary on their DVDs now. The only other wrestler to regularly do that in ROH is CM Punk. In the ring, he is as good as anyone, capable of technical classics with Mike Quackenbush, brawls with Eddie Kingston and everything in between. Heâ€™s just as effective in a team, notably the Kings of Wrestling, as a singles wrestler. He can work face in PWG and in Europe, while being a top heel in ROH, able to work anything from openers to main events. He can be a funny heel, from the â€œChris is Awesomeâ€ era, or tough as â€œThe Young Knockout Kid.â€
Chris does, however, have one flaw. While heâ€™s extremely good at each role, he doesnâ€™t combine them particularly well. His flamboyance as a heel never makes its way into his character as a face. He either has great brawls or technical matches, rarely changing gears. Still, that prevents him from being among the best in the world, not the best on the indies, a title that now belongs to Hero.
Hereâ€™s Hero vs. KENTA:
6) Guest Spot â€“ Kyle K Sparks on The Rise of Jack Swagger: Top Heel
When Edge and Jericho were both drafted away to Monday Night Raw, everyone assumed (and some would say justifiably so) that CM Punk was the de facto top heel on SmackDown! even though the show housed World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger. However, Swagger’s feud with the Big Show has really shown that he is ready to take the next step up into being the Kurt Angle/Brock Lesnar type of contributor that many people hoped he could be.
Despite the fact that CM Punk’s heel work in his feud with Rey Mysterio has been second to none–and the conclusion to this week’s SmackDown! proved that as Punk mockingly had an unconscious Rey Mysterio taking the Pledge of Straight Edge–Swagger’s work with a man who the people have generally proven to be lukewarm on as a babyface in Big Show has shown him to be a capable heel and a solid talker, speech impediment or not.
There has been some level of conflict amongst the net in the last few weeks regarding whether or not Swagger’s heat is the so-called “X-Pac Heat,” a concept whose existence is nebulous at best. However, Swagger’s “better than you” patter came off much better than your typical cocky heel by going the extra mile of bringing out the trophies (and WWE certainly followed Trophy Rule #1: If you bring out a trophy, it will get smashed.) and uniforms. Swagger’s reactions on the floor (“No! Not Bob! He’s a great guy!” as Show smashed the photo of Swagger with Oklahoma football head coach Bob Stoops) were priceless and his expressions of looking near tears as Show destroyed his entire life’s work were tremendous and had me interested in how Swagger would get back at the Big Show. As a result, I find it hard to believe that it was anything resembling “X-Pac Heat” and legitimate booing of Swagger. This could be the amateur wrestling mark in me showing up in support of the former Jake Hager, but I’ve been impressed with his heel work in the last few weeks. Generally, Show has been used as JTTS talent to main eventers to generate credibility for a title reign, which has to be considered as a good sign for Swagger, who is coming close to eclipsing Punk’s run as the longest reigning first time World Champion following a cash-in.
He’s worked a damn fine set of matches with John Morrison, and while I’m not convinced that his match with Show will eclipse two stars, one hopes that Christian, Kofi or MVP can finally step up to be a legit main eventer and challenge him. Given the lack of a strong main event scene on SmackDown outside of Punk and the budding Swagger, it will be interesting to see what develops after he (hopefully) defeats Show.
7) A Modest Response â€“ To Raffi Shamir on To be Determined: Is John Morrison No Longer the Next Shawn Michaels?
Hereâ€™s what Raffi had to say:
â€œSadly, I have no explanation for the way that WWE has treated Morrison, and now it seems like heâ€™s headed for another tag team, this time with Bryan Danielson. Itâ€™s obvious that he has everything needed to carry a major title. Yes, Iâ€™m a John Morrison mark so I truly believed it when Jim Ross referred to him as the next Shawn Michaels and I still know that he has it in him. I want to see John Morrison make it to the next level and have a meaningful title reign, not like the one that Sheamus had or Jack Swaggerâ€™s started. I want John Morrison to be the next top WWE star. John Morrison deserves to be the next Shawn Michaels, not the next Shelton Benjamin. Make it so WWE, make it so.â€
Morrison doesnâ€™t deserve to be the next Shawn Michaels. Flat out, from the time Michaels was coming up in Texas, then in Watts Mid-South he was seen as a prodigy in the ring. He was always respected as a guy who was going to be a star sooner or later. Morrison is great, an athletic freak, but he has never had that kind of pedigree to start with as far as knowing what to do in the ring.
Michaels has always been flashy and athletic, but in the majority of his matches, much of his athleticism was displayed through his selling and timing. He was amazing at making others look great, then, when he beat them, heâ€™d look even better. Morrison is only an average seller, if that. His athleticism, like Shelton Benjaminâ€™s, is used in his own flashy spots. Thatâ€™s good for him, but doesnâ€™t help his opponents.
Moreover, the edge to his character has fallen apart with him as a face. A lot of that is surely writing, but bad writing plagues many wrestlers- those that rise to the top overcome it. With that lack in character and lack of selling, fans have less reason to care about him. With that, he is less over, less worthy of the mantle of next Shawn Michaelsâ€¦ more worthy of being the next Shelton Benjamin.
8) History Time â€“ Jerry Lawler was Awesome
History seems to have forgotten just how good Jerry â€œthe Kingâ€ Lawler was in Memphis, labeling him just a regional star of a small territory. He has also been claimed to have a small moveset and to have gotten by on no-selling and a lack of realism. This assessment is, very simply, ignores the true contributions one of the best and smartest workers of the 80s, perhaps ever.
The Andy Kaufman feud seems to have lead to the myth that Lawler was merely a great promo who could carry an angle, like Dusty Rhodes, but make no mistake Jerry Lawler was a master of ring psychology. Sure, he didnâ€™t flip or fly around the ring, but with a single punch he could garner a response that top guys in many other territories would need a months long angle to achieve. He sold out a small area for a long time, facing many of the same opponents, but changing the storyline in the ring and how he used his psychology to keep it fresh in front of the same fans, giving them something different each time. This feat is only matched by Bruno Sammartino in wrestling history.
Moreover, the matches he was in are among some of the best in wrestling history. Although not released on WWE Home Video, itâ€™s easy to find some absolute classic Jerry Lawler performances. Hereâ€™s a quick list of a few you can find pretty easily (or e-mail me to help find for you): Jerry Lawler vs. Bill Dundee (6/6/84, 12/30/85), Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk (3/23/81, 4/6/81), Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell (3/22/82, 3/29/82), Jerry Lawler vs. Austin Idol (4/27/87), Lawler vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (9/7/86), Lawler vs. Randy Savage (6/3/85). Note that besides the Funk match, none are against really huge names and all are incredible (Savage is, at the point of their matches, relatively green), although Bill Dundee is absolutely a forgotten great. He was so great against all of these different wrestlers at different times in his career, in fact, that Memphis became the last remaining surviving territory, the one area Vince McMahonâ€™s WWF couldnâ€™t take over and didnâ€™t have to try and go national to compete.
Finally, the myth that Lawler couldnâ€™t draw at a national level is ridiculous. He was at least believed to be able to by pretty much everyone. When the AWA needed a new face, he defeated Curt Hennig for their World Title, then in an alliance that attempted to go national and was reasonably successful before political infighting killed them, feuded with Kerry Von Erich to Unify that belt with the hot World Class Championship Wrestling Title. Even though these didnâ€™t succeed, it was in no part Lawlerâ€™s fault, and when he finally did get to WWF, even though his skills had eroded, he was still highly thought of enough to immediately go into a feud with top star, Bret Hart.
Lawlerâ€™s influence is still being felt nationally to this day, in fact. Besides the groundbreaking Andy Kaufman feud, Memphis is the model for early TNA, much of which was booked by Jerry Jarrett and Dutch Mantell. Jim Cornette, who got his start in Memphis, was involved due to respect for these legends, as well. Jeff Jarrettâ€™s heel run was strongly reminiscent of a poor manâ€™s Lawler act.
So, great in ring, a highly regarded draw, could carry an opponent, top notch psychology and matches, long lasting national influenceâ€¦ Lawler is one of the best wrestlers ever, without a true weakness or anything missing from his resume. He should absolutely be treated as one of the best ever.
9) Match Review – Three Way Match â€“ AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Daniels, Turning Point, 11.15.09
So, I just reviewed a full Raw. Thatâ€™s all the match review you greedy bastards get from me. Itâ€™s okay, though. I have something better for you. This is Jake Zieglerâ€™s review of one of the very best matches of 2009. Ziegler, for those who donâ€™t know, is a referee and has been roommates with several wrestlers. The guy, quite simply, knows his shit, and you should be reading his awesome A2Z Analysis. Itâ€™s right there on the sidebar for you. Hereâ€™s a link to the DVD that has the following match, TNAâ€™s Best of 2009. Enjoy Jakeâ€™s review of AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Daniels found right after the jump.
Styles has been the champion since 9.20.09, and this is his second defense. I appreciate the fact that TNA tried hard to build this feud up, but the exchanges between Styles and Daniels reeked of afternoon soap opera drama. Daniels takes the first shot when he punches Styles, and then he punches Joe. Styles quickly gets back to his feet and everyone is going after everyone; no alliances here. The action is quite fast and hard to follow in the early going here. Styles gets a quick Oâ€™Connor Roll on Daniels for a two-count. Joe regroups on the floor while Styles and Daniels battle it out. Styles hits a dropkick, and has one for Joe as well. Joe once again takes a breather and Styles grabs Daniels in a side headlock. Styles kicks Joe down to the floor and keeps the headlock on. Joe trips Styles from the floor and then Daniels hits him with an STO. Back in the ring now Joe works Daniels over in the corner. Daniels goes to the floor, leaving Joe and Styles to fight. Styles hits a vertical suplex. They go back and forth, and then Daniels gets back in the ring and locks Styles in a Boston Crab and Joe in a Camel Clutch at the same time. Joe breaks that by biting Daniels, and then hits the STJoe. He face washes everyone and looks to be firmly in control. Styles is able to send Joe to the floor, and he hits Daniels with a vertical suplex. He tries a springboard on Joe, but Joe kicks his leg out. Daniels wipes Joe out with a suicide dive. He goes for the Arabian Press but Styles catches him. Joe locks Daniels in the Choke on the floor, and Styles breaks that hold with the Fozzberry Flop. Back in the ring Styles hits Joe with a headscissors. The champion is flying all over the place, hitting Daniels with a springboard hurricanrana for a two-count. Joe comes back and powerbombs Styles for two, and then locks on the Samoan Crab. He turns that into the STF and then a Crossface. Styles reaches the ropes. Joe hits Styles with the snap powerslam for two. Daniels comes back with some more simultaneous offense. This match is cool. Taz calling the almost 40-years-old Daniels â€œkidâ€ is funny. Styles hits Daniels with the suplex/neckbreaker hybrid. Joe recovers and unleashes strikes on both men, and Daniels responds in kind. Styles hits Daniels with the Pele. He backdrops Daniels to the floor and then hits Joe with the springboard forearm for two. He gets Joe with a rana for two. He this the back flip into a reverse DDT for another two. He tries the same move on Daniels, but Daniels counters with the Last Rites. Daniels hits Joe with a release German Suplex. Joe comes back and crotches Daniels on the top rope and hits him with the Muscle Buster for two. He traps Styles in the rolling sunset flip for two. Styles comes back with a spin kick to the face. Daniels breaks up the Styles Clash with an enziguiri and then goes for another Last Rites. That doesnâ€™t work either and a series of reversals ends with Joe breaking it up and hitting both men with a clothesline. Styles and Daniels team up to take out Joe, harkening back to their days as TNA World Tag Team Champions. They take the match to the apron and then up to the ropes. Joe knocks Styles to the floor and then goes for a Muscle Buster on Daniels. That gets countered with an STO, and then Daniels hits the Best Moonsault Ever. Styles gets back up and on the top rope and hits Daniels with a 450 Splash (his knees landed right in Danielsâ€™s back, ouch), and then pins Joe to retain the title at 21:49. I havenâ€™t seen every match from TNA in 2009, but Iâ€™m pretty sure this is a good choice for number one. The action was pretty much non-stop from the opening bell and they came up with some pretty creative spots. It makes me want to go back and watch the original Unbreakable match to see how it compares.
10) Personal Life/Blog/Whatever
I know a lot of people. Iâ€™m not sure how that happened, but Iâ€™ve got quite the colorful menagerie of friends. Sadly, most of them donâ€™t care for pseudo-sports that I probably should have outgrown long ago. If youâ€™ve noticed anything though, it might be that I have something of an ego. I still want these people to read me, click my shit, give me some damn tender love and attention. So, thatâ€™s kinda what this section is. Itâ€™s basically going to be a blog where I talk about whatever. Iâ€™m going to rant about some personal observations about shit that isnâ€™t half-naked men pretending to hurt one another for largely unspecified reasons.
So, a lot has changed in my life since I came back to Pulse. Honestly, it feels like everything has changed (a clichÃ© in line two? Better pick up the pace!). Life as a twenty-something was largelyâ€¦ well, marvelously easy. Now Iâ€™m in my late twenties, actually pushing 30 (1 more year), and pretty much everything I knew about the world has gone and decided it doesnâ€™t want to work like it used to.
I guess the biggest change is that Iâ€™m single for the first time in, oh, about 8-years. I was engaged twice and the latter one ended recently. No point in getting into it- she did something absolutely horrible which can be equated as the straw that broke the camelâ€™s back, if only that straw were a semi-truck. Seriously, you know youâ€™re in a bad relationship when youâ€™re friendâ€™s nicknames for a girl go from simple and teasing to creatively hostile, to bluntly disparaging. Itâ€™s time to go. So, Iâ€™m dating again, and, oh yeah, most people suck. Hopefully, this doesnâ€™t get me into trouble, but Mark Allen (a great guy you should read) told me (and Iâ€™m paraphrasing) â€œAt this point, I just expect girls to be stupid. Iâ€™m never disappointed.â€ Well, stupid and play games. Girls in their early 20s are, largely, uniformly psychotic, which honestly isnâ€™t so bad always, but psychotic with daddy issues and, just save yourself the time, either take up cutting yourself now to save time or run the fuck away. So, yeah, I donâ€™t do psychotic anymore. Late 20s seem, again, uniformly damaged by all the crazy shit random assholes have put them through. At least getting laid is still easyâ€¦ but Iâ€™m getting too old for this shit.
Also, after the engagement bullshit, I ended up having to move home. Hey, who thought that would work? I, and I knew this going in, literally had no chance of successfully living with my father at my age. Now, this would be fineâ€¦ last yearâ€¦ when I was a full time teacher. But lovely politics that had nothing to do with me yet still inevitably altered my life managed to cost me that job. Living at home would have allowed me to recoup, even with only tutoring, a lot of the cash that I wasted on two weddings that never happened. I just couldnâ€™t do it. I now live with a bunch of friends in what increasingly seems to be all of Seinfeldâ€™s cast in once houseâ€¦ and Iâ€™m starting to get the sneaking suspicion Iâ€™m cast as George. Iâ€™m really, seriously getting too old for this shit.
But, at least I still love booze. Itâ€™s one thing that hasnâ€™t changed and, with the way things are going, thank god Iâ€™m not too old for that shit.