Sunday, 15 September 2013

WWE Night of Champions 2013 Preview

WWE Night of Champions takes place this evening at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. I would say that this is the one night where all the Championships are defended but that's not really true. Anyway, let's look at the card. 

The Kick Off Show match is a tag team turmoil match to determine who will face Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose for the Tag Team Championships later on that night.  The teams taking part are The Prime Time Players (#millions of dollars), the Real Americans, the Usos, Tons of Funk, and 3MB. This is an interesting one to call as I can see either the Usos or the Prime Time Players. I'm going for the WWE taking advantage of their recent push and giving the Prime Time Players the win here. 
Prediction: Prime Time Players

As for the Tag Team Championships, in which Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns take on the winners of the Tag Team Turmoil match; I can't see them losing the belts considering they look stronger than ever now they're part of Triple H's stable. 
Prediction: Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns

The United States Championships will be defended as Dolph Ziggler challenges Dean Ambrose. Whilst I can see this being a good match, like Rollins and Reigns, I can't see Ambrose losing the belt here. 
Prediction: Dean Ambrose

The Divas Championship will be defended in a fatal 4 way match with AJ Lee defending her title against Natalya, Brie Bella and Naomi. A large part of me thinks that AJ will get through this by the skin of her teeth. However, as part of the Total Divas storyline, I can see Natalya or Brie winning it. I'm going to take a punt and say that Natalya will be victorious here. 
Prediction: Natalya

Now for the only non-title match as CM Punk takes on Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman in an elimination handicap match. We all know that Axel will get pinned by Punk. The question is, what happens after that. I can see Heyman surprisingly winning with a little help with either Brock Lesnar or a new Heyman guy. 
Prediction: Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman

The World Heavyweight Championship will be defended as Rob Van Dam challenges Alberto Del Rio. I'm torn on this one as I can see both guys winning. There is also the Ricardo Rodriguez factor as I do wonder if he will help Del Rio to beat RVD. Despite that, I think that RVD will win; although don't be surprised if you hear Damien Sandow's music hit in the near future. 
Prediction: Rob Van Dam

The main event will be for the WWE Championship as Daniel Bryan aims to get revenge against Randy Orton. I quite enjoyed this feud so far, especially with Triple H being the evil boss. I would be very surprised if Bryan does a Cena and overcome the odds at the first fucking attempt. Therefore, I expect Randy Orton, with some help from Triple H and maybe The Shield, to be victorious; albeit probably by it turning into a clusterfuck. 
Prediction: Randy Orton

I'll probably get to see the Kick Off Show live then watch the event during the week. I hope you enjoy the show and I'll attempt to post my review by next weekend. 

WWE Summerslam 2013 Review

The twenty-sixth Summersam took place on Sunday 18th August at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The last two Summerslams have been pretty good, as have the last two PPVs. Hopefully, this one will be in the area.

The Pre-Show was for the United States Championship as Rob Van Dam challenges Dean Ambrose. The match starts with some chain wrestling and Ambrose getting the early advantage. RVD gets back into it but that doesn't last long as Ambrose continues his advantage. Ambrose hits a neck tie neckbreaker for 2 and later on, RVD tries to monkey flip him. Ambrose moves out of the way but RVD responds by splashing him. RVD is about to do the 5-star frog splash but Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins come out to "support" Ambrose. Mark Henry and the Big Show then come out to even the odds. At this point, I expected Teddy Long to come out and make it a tag team match (playa). However, due to the fact that he is not currently ina position of power, the match continues. Ambrose sends RVD to the outside and tries to suplex him but it's reversed. The action goes back inside and RVD continues his advantage before Ambrose hits a spine buster for 2. Ambrose tries an elbow from the top rope but misses. RVD once again goes for the 5-star but Rollins goes on the apron to distract him. This gives Ambrose the opportunity for a roll up for 2. RVD gets to hit the rolling thunder then the 5-star. However, when he goes to cover Ambrose, he is speared by Reigns, getting Amrbose disqualified. The Shield then flee while gloating. I thought this was a good match and it did seem to set up a feud between the Shield and Show and Henry. However, Henry's injury has ended that before it could start, which is a shame as I thought it could be intersesting to see.
Winner: Rob Van Dam
Predictions: 0 for 1

The first match is a ring of fire match between Kane and Bray Wyatt. Kane starts unloading on Bray to begin with and he's generally dominant in the early going. Bray tries a suplex but it#s reversed. Bray does get in some offence but Kane manages to hit a sidewalk slam and later on, a chokeslam. At this point, Harper and Rowan attack one of the firemen surrounding and try to get into the ring using a fire extinguisher. Kane hits another 2 chokeslams it looks like he is going to win. However, Harper and Rowan eventually get into the ring using a fire-retardant blanket to cover part of the ring of fire. They start to beat up Kane and Bray hits the Sister Abigail to get the win. Afterwards, the Wyatt family drag Kane out of the ring and hit him with the steel steps. They then drag Kane to the back with them. I'm torn about this match. They seemed to have portrayed Bray Wyatt in this match as someone who's weak without his followers and I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing to do with him. Despite that, I thought the match was pretty decent and told an interesting story.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Predictions: 1 for 2

Next is the match between Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes. Highlights of the match include: Sandow focusing his attack on Cody's back; Sandow applying a version of a cloverleaf; Cody hitting a springboard missile dropkick; and Cody reversing a sunset flip before hitting a disaster kick for 2. The end comes when Cody hits the cross Rhodes to get the pinfall. I enjoyed the match, although I thought the ending did come a little bit out of nowhere.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Predictions: 1 for 3

The World Heavyweight Championship is on the line as Christian challenges Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio acts like a dick at the beginning when he insists that Lillian Garcia announces him in Spanish. Good job she was born in Madrid. Anyway, Del Rio beats down Christian and wears him down with a headlock. Later on, he does a enziguri to the back of the head and starts to focus on Christian's right shoulder. Christian gets the chance to make a comeback when Del Rio misses a flying kick and goes flying out of the ring. Christian hits a missile dropkick, 10 punches in the corner, and a crossbody for 2. Christian tries for the killswitch but, due to the fact that it takes half an hour to set it up, Del Rio gets out of it and hits a backstabber for 2. Del Rio misses a senton and Christian tries a sunset flip powerbomb but Del Rio gets out it. Christian does eventually hit the spear but he's in agony because he uses his injured shoulder to do the move. This gives Del Rio the chance to apply the cross armbreaker to get the win. I actually enjoyed this match more than I thought I would and it was a great effort by both guys.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Predictions: 2 for 4

Next is a Divas match between Natalya and Brie Bella. The match quickly becomes a slapping contest and the action goes briefly to the outside. When Natalya tries to go back in, Eva Marie and Nikki Bella pull the apron from under her, giving Brie the chance to go for the offensive. Brie hits a couple of legdrops and a hairpull. Natalya hits a modified stunner then the sharpshooter, which Brie powers out of it. Brie does a running knee and tries a sunset flip. However, Natalya reverses into an Alabama slam then the sharpshooter to get the win. The match was pretty decent and it looks like the Divas are doing more wrestling than what they were usually doing.
Winner: Natalya
Predictions: 2 for 5

After we see Ryback act like a dick to one of the catering staff (seriously, what the fuck is up with that?); we get "The Best vs The Beast" as CM Punk faces Brock Lesnar in a no-disqualification match. Lesnar starts using his power to dominate Punk, crashing him into turnbuckles and throwing him like a rag doll. Punk hits a couple of running knees to send Lesnar out of the ring and he follows that with a suicide dive. The action continues on the outside as Punk hits a clothesline from the announce table. He then goes after Paul Heyman but Brock stops that and sends Punk flying over both announce tables. Lesnar hits an overhead suplex then sends Punk into the ring. Punk tries to slow down Lesnar with kicks to the leg but it's stopped by a clothesline. Lesnar applies a bearhug and Punk gets out of it but Lesnar continues his dominance. Punk tries an ax-handle from the top rope but Lesnar grabs him and hits a fallaway slam. Punk eventually does make a comeback and hits a top rope knee followed by 2 running knees. Punk hits a roundhouse kick then a Macho Man elbow drop for 2. Punk tries the GTS but Lesnar gets Punk into a kimura. Punk reverses it into a triangle choke hold. Lesnar tries to get out of it by picking Punk up and powerbombing him; however, Punk keeps hold and reapplies the choke hold and Lesnar gets Punk off him with a running powerbomb. Lesnar hits 3 consecutive suplexes for a 2 count. Lesnar goes to the outside and grab a steel chair but Punk does a crossbody, sandwiching the chair between him and Lesnar. Lesnar tries to use the chair when the action goes back inside the ring but Punk hits a low blow then starts hitting Lesnar with the chair before Heyman grabs it. Punk hits the GTS but Heyman breaks up the pin. Lesnar then goes for the F-5 but it's reversed into a DDT. Punk then applies the anaconda vice and Heyman tries to stop it with a chair. However, Punk lets go of Lesnar, grabs Heyman and punches him, then applies the anaconda vice for him. Lesnar stops that with continuous chair shots followed by a F-5 onto the chair to get the win. I thought this match was really good and a lot of fun to watch.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Predictions: 3 for 6

The penultimate match is a mixed tag team contest with Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn taking on AJ Lee and Big E Langston (worst bodyguard ever) Ziggler and Big E and Big E hits a belly to belly suplex and a splash to get the advantage. After a while, AJ tags herself in so Ziggler has to tag in Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn starts to physically dominate AJ before she gets hit with a spinning heel kick. AJ seizes this chance with 2 swinging neckbreakers and a sleeper hold. Kaitlyn hits AJ with a shoulder charge and gets the hot tag to Ziggler. He hits 10 consecutive elbows on Big E and a couple of minutes later, his offense is slowed down by AJ grabbing his foot. Katilyn stops that by spearing AJ into oblivion and Big E hits a brutal clothesline for 2. Big E goes for the big ending but Ziggler gets out of it and hits the zigzag to get the win. I quite enjoyed the match, although I thought it was little bit short.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn
Predictions: 4 for 7

The main event is Daniel Bryan challenging John Cena for the WWE Championship with Triple H  as the special guest referee. The match starts with some chain wrestling between the two. Bryan monkey flips Cena and goes for the LeBell Yes No Lock but Cena rolls out of the ring. Bryan hits Cena with a dragon screw and Cena, a few moments later, sends Bryan into the announce table. The action  stays on the outside as Cena suplexes Bryan from the steel steps and sends him back into the ring. Cena continues his advantage with moves such as a sit down powerbomb. Bryan makes a comeback with kick in the corner followed by kick to the chest. Cena dodges the last kick and does the 5-knuckle shuffle. Cena goes for the AA but Bryan lands on his feet and hits a flying kick from the top rope for 2. Bryan keeps Cena down by targeting the injured elbow. Cena goes for the STF but Bryan gets out of it and applies the STF himself. When Cena looks like he is about to reach the ropes, Bryan lets go of the hold and hits 2 German suplex pins, both for a 2 count. When he tries for a 3rd, Cena powers out of it and goes for the AA. However, Bryan gets ut of it and applies the LeBell Yes No lock. Cena manages to get out of it but Bryan continues the pressure with a sleeper hold; and Cena gets out of it by flipping Bryan into the turnbuckle. Cena eventually hits the AA but Bryan kicks out at 2. Bryan hits a superplex then a flying headbutt for 2. Cena then gets a 2 count after a top rope legdrop to the back of Bryan's head. A few minutes later, Cena applies the STF and when Bryan rolls out of it, Cena applies a sleeper hold. Bryan reverses it into the LeBell Yes No lock and Cena grabs the rope. Bryan does 2 flying 2-footed kicks to Cena in the corner but when he attempts a third, he is almost killed by a brutal clothesline. They alternate kicks then they collide to leave both men down. They both get up and start slapping each other. Cena tries another AA but it's reversed into a DDT. Bryan goes for a crossbody but Cena grabs him and tries for the AA. Bryan counters it into a pin attempt for 2. Bryan kicks Cena in the back of the head then does a flying knee to the face to get the win and become the new WWE Champion. Afterwards, Cena congratulates Bryan.

I thought this match was absolutely amazing and possibly the best technical wrestling match I have seen in years. I may not be a fan of Cena's character but he is a very good wrestler when the need arises, such as this match. Plus, this may be the first time in years that Cena has lost clean, without any distractions or shit like that. As for Triple H, like the Summerslam 2011 main event, I almost forgot that he was referring the match so well done to him.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Predictions: 5 for 8

After Bryan celebrates with confetti raining down and fireworks, Randy Orton's music hits and it looks like he was teasing a cash-in. Orton goes a little back up the aisle when suddenly, Triple H pedigrees Bryan. Orton comes in, cashes in his MITB briefcase, and pins Bryan to become the new WWE Champion. I thought this was brilliantly done by the WWE. They gave us two false endings with Bryan's celebration then Orton coming out. That would be a normal ending but they surprised us all by the double heel turn of Triple H and Orton. I think that this is exactly what Orton needs as his run as a face was becoming stale and he is the perfect foil to Bryan. As for Triple H, he may be my favourite wrestler but I loved him a lot more as a heel than a face. With the addition of the Shield to Triple H's stable, this could go in many different directions. Triple H is still an active wrestler (albeit part time) so he could face Bryan so he could constantly put up barriers, such as the Shield and other heels, to Bryan's path to becoming WWE Champion.
Winner: Randy Orton
Predictions: N/A

I thoroughly enjoyed Summerslam. Although I had minor grievances with a couple of matches, I thought they were all fun to watch. We now have a very interesting feud with Bryan taking on Triple H, Orton and his cronies and I'm really looking forward to seeing where they go from here.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The End of an Era. Thank You JR.

I found out this evening that Jim Ross is retiring from the WWE after an incredible 39 years in professional wrestling. The reason being to spend more time perusing his personal business endeavours.

Jim William Ross made his wrestling debut in 1974 with NWA Mid-South when an announcer was unable to show up one night. He also was a referee there until 1977 and returned when Bill Watts bought out the territory, becoming their lead announcer and vice president of marketing. He worked with Jim Crockett Promotions, which eventually became World Championship Wrestling. Ross was the lead announcer there until he left in 1993 when Eric Bischoff, who he had a contentious relationship with, was promoted to executive producer.

Jim went to the WWF and made his debut commentating on Wrestlemania IX along with Bobby Heenan and Randy Savage. He was in and out of the company until he became part of the lead announce team in 1996, eventually becoming the lead commentator of RAW is War during the Monday Night Wars along with Jerry Lawler.

To me, Jim Ross (or JR as everyone came to know him) was the voice of the Attitude Era. He called so many memorable matches, such as the Hell in a Cell match in 1998, the Austin-Rock matches at 3 Wrestlemanias, and the final WWE match of Ric Flair at Wrestlemania XXIV.

A lot of the adults who watch the WWE or go to the live events will have grown up listening to Jim Ross. The first WWE event that I watched was Wrestlemania VIII, which had Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan commentating. The job of the commentators is to help tell the story of the match and they generally did it through comedy, with Monsoon being the straight man. JR told the story of the match through emotion. When he got animated saying "My God! My God!" or something similar, he really got you invested in the match and the story being told. JR's final PPV match that he called was the End of an Era match between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XXVIII and the story of the match was made so much more emotive with his voice telling you the story.

It seems like I'm writing an obituary of a man who was passed away. I'm not, but in a way it is. This is a brief obituary of a career that has touched the hearts so many fans of the WWE.  Even as I write this, I'm wiping away a tear knowing that I may never hear his voice on a WWE event ever again.

Thank you so much for the memories JR and I, along with many others, will hope you come back one day and call one more match.