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Archive for March, 2010

RassleMania Challenge: Beat Scott Bowden, win Shawn Michaels 3-disc DVD set

March 26th, 2010 No comments

A special contest for my loyal KFR subscribers only: Outpick me in my RassleMania Challenge, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for the three-disc DVD set Shawn Michaels: My Journey, which features 25 HBK matches from the past, many of them classics. You must be a KFR subscriber to enter. Not a subscriber? Sign up today, you stinkin’ redneck. (Complete online form below to subscribe; it’s ABSOLUTELY FREE.) If no one outpicks me (highly unlikely, given my track record)…I win! Bring it!

Send your picks to bowden@kentuckyfriedwrestling.com (Entries must be received by Sunday, March 28, by 3 p.m. Pacific.)

Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk: WWE wisely canceled the hair vs. mask stipulation as this show is loaded, so the emphasis and effectiveness of the stip would be lost. Besides, unlike TNA, which gives you the blowoff to a feud at the beginning of a program, WWE has a better grasp of storytelling. These two are in the early stages in their feud, so best to build the animosity over the next few months, perhaps culminating with the stip at SummerSlam. I think Punk needs to win here, perhaps with the storyline that Rey was consumed with vengeance for his familia, blinded his rage, enabling Punk to steal this one . Wouldn’t it be cool if the talented young actress playing Rey’s daughter turned heel? Too bad Paul Heyman isn’t booking. Punk takes a beating in the bout, but emerges victorious in the end. Winner: Punk

Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes: WWE TV has been clicking lately; for the most part, the buildup for WrestleMania is the best I’ve seen in years and the best overall lineup since the Attitude era….with the exception of this match. Inexplicably, Creative switched gears on DiBiase’s planned babyface turn and instead made Orton the reluctant babyface in this feud. For more than a year, fans have been dying for a reason to cheer Orton, but the execution of the split with his protégés has been so lackluster that the response has been lukewarm. In my opinion, Orton is such a wonderfully slimy heel that the issue has got be stronger than this for fans to rally around him. I’m thinking maybe, just maybe, this is a swerve, where Rhodes at some point will side with Orton, who ravages the young DiBiase, which brings his legendary father to ringside…for a punt to the head. Though with Trips supposedly going heel soon, it would make sense to keep these two on opposite sides of the fence. Orton wins here either way. Winner: Orton

Triple H vs. Sheamus: The only way this match will be memorable is if Triple H puts over his handpicked superstar, elevating him to the next level. For all his critics, Triple H is smart and calculated; he’s willing to command the spotlight all year long while “doing the right thing for business” by putting someone else over at WrestleMania. With talk of him going heel (and perhaps screwing HBK in the main event), I say he loses here and snaps, reverting back to the evil Triple H we love (well, like maybe) to hate. Winner: Sheamus.

ShowMiz vs. Morrison, Truth: Like Jericho, Miz is ideal for the tag-champ spot, as he can appear on both RAW and SMACKDOWN, and he’s really hitting his stride as top-notch personality. (The comedy dynamic between Show and Miz works for me as well.) I can’t say the same for Morrison and Truth. (I’d rather endure a root canal–by Dr. Issac Yankem no less–than have to endure Truth’s live entrance song more than once a week.) Winners: ShowMiz

Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon: I was surprised that McMahon didn’t do more to get his heat back on Monday after Hart clocked him at the contract signing. He simply promised “a surprise.” Hmmm..if this were TNA, I’d swear an Earl Hebner appearance was in the works. Clearly, they’re teasing McMahon finding a way to screw Hart once again, but I ain’t buying it. For Bret’s sake, I so want this to be good. Winner: Bret Hart

Batista vs. John Cena: I’ll know if I’m wrong here if this bout goes on last. Batista is getting over huge as a heel personality, so I’m hoping WWE resists the desire to have another Cena title win close the show (which we’ve seen way too many times) and books the champion to retain. Cena is much better chasing the belt, and a loss would continue the storyline of his inability to beat the Animal. If they handle it correctly, Cena would benefit more by losing, building up a “final” PPV rematch between the two. Winner: Batista.

Animal instincts: Batista is coming into his own as the heel champ.

Edge vs. Chris Jericho: One major title has to change hands, and Edge winning the title would cap the story of his comeback perfectly. Imagine the huge pop (“SPEAR!”) when Jericho is speared for the three count. Winner: Edge

Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels: A brilliant job by everyone involved in the pre-match buildup. This has that classic WrestleMania main event feel from my teenage years. I think this has to go last, given how exhausted the crowd was after their last meeting; nothing could have followed it that night…especially the lackluster Trips vs. Orton match. I think Taker will lose on the grand stage before he heads back to Death Valley for the final time, but wisdom would dictate that a younger star on his way up would get the nod.  With both men taking time off after the show, there’s been speculation of an hour-long Broadway, with both men pushed to the brink and mentally and physically exhausted to explain their absence. That would be among the worst cop-out finishes in history. Taker snatches victory from the jaws of hell once more, perhaps thanks to a Triple H sledgehammer, setting up a heel HHH vs. returning HBK (“retirement” is kayfabe for four months off) at SummerSlam and the Game vs. the Deadman at next year’s Mania. Winner: Undertaker

Ladder of success: Who is the heir apparent to the championship?

TIE-BREAKER: Ladder Match: Drew McIntyre’s entry into the fray has been promoted more so than the others, but I can’t see them putting him in the money spot as the winner just yet…at least not until the guy develops a personality. Christian looks to be getting a little airtime on RAW, despite the fact that McMahon has never seen him as a main eventer. Christian winning could open a much-needed heel turn in the months ahead, perhaps ambushing his friend Edge for the World title. Personally, I would love to see Shelton Benjamin catch a break; seems like the guy shines annually in this match but never wins. Dirk Ziggler is another darkhorse after the company scaled back his push months ago. MVP was pretty hot a couple of years ago as U.S. champ, when I picked him to win…but Matt Hardy screwed him out of the briefcase near the end. MVP is another guy who could use the rub right now as Mr. Money in the Bank, a moniker that would complement his cocky athlete persona. Swagger’s got loads of potential but desperately needs an old-school manager to serve as his mouthpiece. Meanwhile, Hardy has most likely has talked his way out of a push anytime soon. Kingston is another whose push was over before it again, so this would give him a boost. Evan Bourne has been DOA, despite his amazing athleticism…he’s more likely to steal the match than snag the briefcase. Swagger fits the mold as the young cocky star on the rise, much like Kennedy and Edge in years past. I think they go with Swagger. Winner: Jack Swagger

Send your picks to bowden@kentuckyfriedwrestling.com Entries must be received by Sunday, March 28, by 3 p.m. Pacific.

Contest open to subscribers only. Join the most elite group since the Four Horsemen (the Windham version): become a KFR subscriber today. (It’s absolutely free.)

The King…comes alive!

March 25th, 2010 No comments
Neal Snow of All-Star Championship Belts departs from his usual Apter-mag mockup greatness to capture recording superstar Jerry Lawler in all his glory.

I'm not going to touch the irony of the title of his new hit single.

The King sings “Wrestling With Girls” on this episode of “The Jerry Lawler Show.” (As Jimmy Hart might say, this Lawler song wasn’t released; it escaped.)

 

Of course, this song doesn’t hold a candle to the King’s groundbreaking collaboration with Ray Parker Jr, which inspired the movie “Ghostbusters.”

 

The lyrical brilliance and raw emotion of Lawler’s musical stylings with the Nunnery Bros. Band is often compared to Springsteen’s “Nebraska” album. OK, OK, so it sounds a lot like Handsome Jimmy’s “Son of a Gypsy,” but it’s not every day you hear the names “Joe LeDuc” and “Karl Krupp” rhyming in song.

And for all you rednecks out there who question Lawler’s ability to compete at a World championship level while writing the songs that make the young girls cry, don’t you realize he can do everything?!

 

Monday Night Musings: Eric Bischoff’s vanity project

March 23rd, 2010 4 comments

Plane as day: TNA's ratings are sure to nosedive at this rate.

I was floored that last night’s live iMPACT began with an Eric Bischoff “guitar solo” as part of the continuation of his midcard-at-best program with Jeff Jarrett as WWE kicked off its go-home show for what looks to be the biggest WrestleMania card in years. As matter of fact, with Eric “playing” in the darkened arena, at first, I didn’t even know this was iMPACT; I thought the previous program was running long. WWE has its faults, no question, but, overall, they know whom to spotlight–and when. While Shawn Michaels was in the ring on RAW delivering a promo about the most anticipated match of the year with the Undertaker, Bischoff was using TNA as his own personal highlight reel instead of spotlighting say, Jeff Hardy and RVD, two guys who if used correctly, can not only make a difference in ratings but also sell PPVs.

Fact is, while it makes sense for Jarrett to be involved in an angle with the company’s new management, it won’t sell one PPV. Not one. There’s a place for this angle, but not at the show’s opening going head to head with RAW, especially coming off the heels of a PPV. Speaking of which, if you tuned in at the beginning, you wouldn’t know the company even had a PPV the night before, with a controversial (and that’s being kind) finish to the World title match between A.J. Sytles and Abyss. Yes, the crowd at the iMPACT Zone popped when Jarrett smashed the guitar over Eric’s head, but the timing of the segment couldn’t have been any worse from a logical business standpoint.

Again, this isn’t bad booking–this is anti-booking. This is a classic example of the booker involving himself in all the key angles and programs and commanding the spotlight when it goes against good business sense. RVD and Jeff Hardy vs. Beer Money won’t mean anything if the thousands of fans who flip over to RAW during a Bischoff-heavy opening segment like this never come back to learn that about what had the potential to be a hell of a main event…which, in typical WCW fashion, was booked after the midway point of the show. TNA has some players, but they’ve got to them involved and positioned correctly if they are to compete. And their strongest asset–a quality in-ring wrestling product–was again pushed to the background in the show’s first hour with only the Knockouts tag bout (5 minutes) and the Rob Terry squash of Tomko (1 minute) featured before Mick Foley and Jarrett were “forced” to wrestle (about 15 minutes) in the second hour in one of those worthless stipulation matches where the loser is fired…which means Foley will be off TV two, maybe three weeks, tops. I hate to say it, because I still enjoy his matches, but Jarrett’s backstage segments always die…to the point that even Foley can’t save them.

We also got another bloated angle where Hogan cuts a promo saying “it’s no longer personal–just business” with Styles and Ric Flair…and then proceeds to book a steel-cage match with Team Hogan vs. Team Flair. Huh? Then Sting magically appears to handcuff Hogan to the corner. But instead of Styles and Flair getting their heat back on Abyss and the Hulkster, the Pope makes the save, and the World champion (who has been pinned clean in the middle of the ring three times on iMPACT since Jan. 4) was left laying once again. And, of course, Abyss then clotheslines the legendary Nature Boy out of his wheelchair and Dinero shoves a dollar bill down his throat. Oh, I can’t wait for Abyss and Hogan to finally get their revenge within the confines of an impersonal cage match at Lockdown. Oh, wait.

Dinero has the title shot at Lockdown, so his involvement makes sense, but his non-title win is looking a lot less impressive after Abyss and Hardy pinned the champion on consecutive weeks.

And what’s the storyline connection with Hogan and Bischoff? One’s a heel (well, most of the time) and the other is the top babyface. It’s not compelling–only confusing.

Again, it’s simply mind-boggling that RVD and Hardy weren’t involved in the opening segment to promote an intriguing main event matchup featuring two former WWE champions against TNA’s most dominant tag team in recent memory. If you’re not going to build up that matchup for a PPV, then at least give the announcers the entire show to plug it. Even worse: the main event they plugged for next week’s taped show is far less compelling, with Hardy, RVD and Eric Young vs. the Band (Nash, Hall, Waltman), who reunited at the PPV (in a finish more predictable than perhaps any swerve in TNA’s and WCW’s histories combined) and “saved” their jobs. (Yeah, like that’ll put asses in the seats.). Plus, I may have missed it, but have Hardy and RVD cut promos stating the purpose behind their TNA signings–other than wanting “to have fun” and a lighter schedule than WWE’s? Maybe it was no coincidence that Hardy had this deer-in-the-headlights look on his face as the show closed.