Saturday 28 April 2012

Week In Review For Women's Wrestling #44

This was a week full of surprises for me. First of all, I had no idea there would be a three hour Raw which is always a good thing because it means the Divas get more time than normal. Second of all, I had no idea Extreme Rules would be this Sunday and I only know three of the matches that are actually happening - make of that what you will. Third of all, TNA's Open Fight Night was upon us which was sure to offer some big surprises. And fourth of all, there was a certain unexpected development in terms of championship gold.

Raw - Beth Phoenix* vs Nikki Bella (Lumberjill Match; Divas Championship):
An 8-minute segment was a nice surprise especially since there was plenty of time for a match, both entrances and a small promo. Speaking of promos, Eve's are getting much better. This week was a step in the right direction and hopefully being in this new administration role will help her improve in that department. It's also a good idea that they've created a new role for her outside the division since we've got two Diva returns to accommodate and Eve herself is a heat magnet so this will help her be featured without stepping on anyone's toes. As a heel vs heel match it didn't offer much excitement, especially since most of the Jills didn't have anyone to cheer for. The match didn't seem that consistent either, simply transitioning from one move to the next which is likely the girls being so used to wrestling matches that go less than minutes that they're stumped when given more time than that. Of course the IWC is buzzing about the ankle injury - is it real or is it a work? Personally when I first saw the match, I thought it was a legit injury. It seemed like Beth and Nikki were calling the finish while the other Divas were fighting on top of them and Beth seemed like she had problems walking, especially with how Brie tried to get her back in the ring. If it isn't real then good job to Beth because she showed off some primo acting skills. Since a rematch has been booked for Extreme Rules, I guess it could be a work to take Beth off TV for a few weeks and recharge. I suspect she might be a little bit injured but not seriously so she just needs a bit of time off. I would have preferred a better way for her to drop the title but I guess it was a good direction they went in, her being injured and Nikki taking advantage of a distraction. In the interviews after this match, it seemed like Beth was very faceish with what she was saying so perhaps the plan is to return her in a face role to feud with you-know-who. As much as I think Beth is a better face than heel I still want to see that match with Natalya. 5/10

Ring Ka King - Angelina Love's Wedding:
And that's the season of Ring Ka King wrapped now and like any good season finale we have to have a wedding in there. It was cool to see them do a nice Bollywood style wedding and Angelina looked very nice in her sari though the traditionalist in me thinks she should have been wearing a veil. I just knew she'd end up going with the midget though I felt some shocking swerve coming on and thought she'd dump both of them on the spot. The wedding was a nice little segment though didn't offer much if you were looking for proper laugh out loud comedy or juicy drama. Fun little moment.

NXT - Maxine & Natalya vs Tamina & Kaitlyn:
Natalya's face-heel revolving door continues. While I know NXT isn't exactly mainstream programming, it seems like they might want to keep Natalya heel for when Beth comes back. Or else they just want to continue with her in a definite tweener role. I will say that I like that Natalya has kept her character fairly consistent with whichever role she's playing week by week so it's not a drastic change to see her heel this week. I mean Tyson's still a face so it's likely she'll be one again next week. The match was a nice length and I especially liked that Natalya and Tamina got to lead the teams to the ring. A little annoying that Kaitlyn was in the ring for 90% and Tamina only came in briefly at the end. The "heels" did a good job isolating Kaitlyn and I was happy to see Maxine using chops because you don't see Divas doing them that often. Natalya did a variation of the abdominal stretch which made it look a bit more effective. I also loved Maxine's top rope guillotine which looked very effective also and would make a nice addition to her moveset. I wonder if it was Nattie's intention to make Kaitlyn's body scissors especially suggestive because her...sounds (for lack of a better word) were quite close to Kelly's orgasm screams whenever she's in a hold. First Layla, now Kaitlyn, Natalya might be able to open a hall of fame for all the girls who have dry humped her on TV. I liked the first thing Tamina did when she got the hot tag but that was about it. I applaud her for trying to think outside the box when it comes to the traditional shine sequence but really the clothesline-dropkick formula works much better than whatever the hell she was doing. The Superfly Splash looked good as always and the crowd seemed really into it too. Relieved that it was Maxine who took the pin here. 6.5/10

Impact - Gail Kim vs Brooke Tessmacher:
First of all, someone explain the rules of the Open Fight Night to me again. I thought the point was that anyone could challenge the champion to a match. So why does Brooke need to fight in a non-title match? Or why does she pick a non-title match if she also has the option to challenge for the title? And what an awful promo from her at the start. Her delivery was weird and the lines could have worked but they just didn't. And why have we suddenly switched from Gail vs Velvet to Gail vs Brooke? Don't get me wrong, I like Brooke and all but Velvet's push should not be over so soon. I really hope this is just an interim or mini feud and they go back to Gail vs Velvet once this is done with. The match wasn't much either. I get that it was one-sided to sell the fact that Gail is a veteran and Brooke is a rookie but I could have seen some more offence from Brooke. Gail was very good with her posing and how vocal she was in the match. She's slowly becoming one of those wrestlers who is equally versatile as a heel and face. Didn't like the ending too much either. While that move was impactful, I don't buy it as a finish and a creative roll-up would have done the job much better. Hopefully the title match is better than this. 4/10

Superstars - Kelly Kelly vs Maxine:
Max is pulling double duty this week and getting a fresh opponent as well. It was interesting (not to mention downright shocking) to see Kelly actually wrestling at the start. True the moves didn't look as good as they could have but I appreciate the effort. What I also appreciate is how although Maxine uses a lot of rest holds, she switches them up so they actually look effective. For example, the first chinlock had Kelly bent across her knee and the second had her driving her knees into Kelly's back. If you're going to use the same rest hold twice in one match then that's what you should do to make it a bit more effective looking. Eve, take not of that. It was good to see her guillotine hold again as well, again switching it up so that she jumped into it instead of coming off the top rope. However in other places she seemed a little lost which I chalk up to her not having sold Kelly's moves before. She didn't feed into the corner after the clotheslines so Kelly had to drag her in there, as well as not feeding out when she got the handspring elbow into the K2. I had to lol at Kelly turning her stink face into a "stink chest". Solid 75% of the match though things got a little iffy towards the end. 6/10

Smackdown - Nikki Bella vs Alicia Fox:
I really wish Alicia wouldn't be jobbing so much. She's too young and too talented to be used as a jobber. I wish they'd given this spot to Kaitlyn or Aksana instead. Oh well, at least she's back on TV. The segment got a bit longer than the ones lately though of course more time is always welcome. Nice to see Nikki doing completely new moves - the chemistry wasn't there at the start but it showed as they went along. I especially liked the way Alicia sold the snapmare. The latter part of the match was much better as well with some crisp and solid fast paced action. Alicia looked so solid and I loved that spot with the Matrix into the mat slam. I'll assume the Bellas switching is to preserve Alicia's credibility. Anyway if the rumours of Nikki dropping the title before she leaves are true, I'm not sure how it'll happen. They might announce that Beth is unable to compete in the title match and have either Layla or Kharma return in her place. If someone has to get the title in their first match it should be Kharma since you'll have something to work with there. Or the Bellas might just be sticking around after all in which case their feud with Kharma will be a bit longer, which could be good as well. I suppose the Bellas could simply be paid per appearance when their contracts run out if they intend to keep them around longer. Either way there should be some thrills at Extreme Rules since it's a very significant PPV for both Layla and Kharma who have been gone far too long. 5/10

AJ slaps Kaitlyn:
A 30-second backstage segment warrants a separate entry here because I really love the direction they're going with AJ in this storyline. After last week there were a lot of questions and this week we got some continuation but still with more questions. She's very unpredictable right now. The question keeps being will she turn heel or not? She's slapping her best friend yet she looks like she regrets it. Is she turning heel or is she just going mad from Daniel Bryan's treatment of her? There's two possibilities I see coming out of this - Daniel Bryan gets impressed with her new attitude and they reform as a heel couple or else she properly turns on him this Sunday. I'm actually inclined to keep her out of the match on Sunday because they were robbed out of a WrestleMania match so I think this could be saved for a backstage segment or else wait until the next Smackdown. Oh and this is the first time AJ and Kaitlyn have actually interacted since Kaitlyn walked out on her back in November.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Week In Review For Women's Wrestling #43

Ello ello ello old chaps and welcome to a special edition of the wrestling week, the majority of which took place in merry old England. I may not live there anymore but it's still very close to my heart so you can imagine how excited I get whenever WWE tours Europe. Chances are if I still lived there, I'd be seen at a lot more tapings. Now then the UK episodes of plenty of goodness in some areas and a bit of disappointment in others. Thankfully the wrestling that took place outside of England picked up the slack and delivered where most of the stuff was lacking. Oh and there was a PPV as well.

Lockdown - Gail Kim* vs Velvet Sky (Steel Cage; Knockouts Championship):
Very disappointing match. Honestly, I much preferred their last PPV match to this one and even that wasn't a terribly good one. This felt more like a special title match you'd get on Impact and less like something people would be willing to shell out their money for. I watched the match several times and the cage was not used once. Judging from how Impact went this week, their feud *is* continuing and of course everyone's question was "how do you move on from a cage match". Obviously TNA's answer was "make the cage match completely boring and forgettable". If the Divas had gotten a cage match (we should be so lucky) you can bet they'd have big move after big move and all manner of impressive spots. The only actual contact made with the cage was when Gail missed her crossbody through the ropes. Excitement, girls! Also, the actual wrestling had its problems as well. Gail took control far too soon and just dominated about 75% of the match. Velvet opens with roll ups and all of a sudden Gail's got the power over her? The hope spots were uninspiring and the comeback nearly saved it from being a complete flop. I'll say the actual moves were done well and I did like Velvet's powerbomb off the top rope so the match wasn't a complete failure. Absolutely awful crowd though, they couldn't care less and that just hurt the match even more. Not necessarily a bad match, just very disappointing and not very memorable. 6/10

ODB & Eric Young* vs Sarita & Rosita (Knockouts Tag Team Championships):
Forget striking twice, lightning didn't even strike once for the girls tonight. Are TNA so dead set against having Eric not wrestle the women? If so why put the belts on him and ODB? I get that it's normally men as the heels in intergender situations due to size difference and what not but I've seen women be the heels in intergender matches before and it worked. Sarita and Rosita can both use their lucha moves to counteract Eric's size but then tweak them so they aren't too faceish. That being said, the interactions between them and ODB were incredibly sloppy. This might be the worst match Sarita has ever had. It looked like they just went out there and freestyled everything, which they probably did since it was added on the fly. But that's no excuse really. Beth and Kelly delivered a solid match at TLC on the fly and Sarita and ODB are two of the top workers so there should have been some excitement. There were about five moves I actually liked the look of and the rest of the time I was disliking everything else and wondering when the match was going to take form. I'd like to see this team given another shot with more time to work, hopefully more notice and Eric actually getting in the ring and wrestling. 3/10

Ring Ka King - Angelina Love vs Raisha Saeed vs Alyssa Flash:
Yes you did indeed read that right. It's the "return" of Miss Raisha and by that I mean it's clearly a man underneath the burqua since Melissa is wearing her Future Legend boots tonight. The opening parts were really fun to watch, especially all the creative ways they got into pins. For example Raisha did a sunset flip on Alyssa while she was school girling Angelina who in turn then did a crucifix on Raisha to break that pin. And I never thought I'd see Angelina do a headscissors. It's almost as though this time in Ring Ka King has breathed new life into her as she was so stagnant on Impact after the Winter/Velvet storyline was abruptly dropped. However this match had its downfalls as many triple threats do when it's 2 heels/1 face. The parts where Alyssa and Raisha kept double teaming Angelina just dragged on and on. As always with this problem, a bit more story between the heels would have given some excitement to that part of the match. They eventually did go that route and the innovative DDT spot was a brilliant idea. The final exchanges of this match picked it up and were very nice to see, if a little abruptly cut off. There was more love triangle hilarity at the end with Romeo giving Angelina a dazzling diamond necklace and Indian Hornswoggle giving her the keys to a shiny new pickup truck. The plot thickens and we're still left wondering which of her suitors she'll accept the proposal to. Perhaps she'll take a third option and wed Raisha Saeed instead. You do have to love all this mad soap opera stuff when it's doled out in moderation. 6/10

NXT - Maxine vs Kaitlyn:
These two are really churning out the matches aren't they? I was hoping for something more special for the UK episode, Natalya vs Maxine perhaps? Nonetheless I really enjoyed this match. They've had good ones and they've had bad ones but this thankfully was the former and almost as enjoyable as their great bout back in October. Kaitlyn looked much more solid with her moves than she did in the main event match and Maxine was her usual self, looking competent in the ring and oozing character. It's almost uncanny how far she has improved in the ring from her time as an NXT contestant. The commentary for this match was hilarious, especially Regal's non PG "more ups and downs than a bride's nightie". Maxine gets a win which is always good to see and her standing dragon sleeper looked much more effective than it has done in the past. I could have seen it continue for more time but as always what we saw was good enough. As for the aftermatch segment, who else wants to see Maxine and Johnny try to wrestle while handcuffed? 7/10

Superstars - Kelly Kelly vs Eve Torres:
And it's the match we were supposed to get at WrestleMania. First of all, a very vocal crowd. The UK crowds are always more enthusiastic than the US ones but having two women the fans normally would care about helped quite well. As always Kelly was very good at getting them involved and working them throughout the whole match. Eve however really should work on playing off the crowd a bit more. Since she is so hated by the fans she's guaranteed to get heat in her matches and the "Hoeski" chants. She should yell at the fans to stop and sell her frustration at the chants. Another thing I noticed is that Kelly hit the ropes a bit better than she normally does. Not excellently but an improvement otherwise. This did feel like a PPV calibre match and not like two women going through the motions on the show nobody watches. Eve is slowly improving her heel wrestling - she did resort to rest holds a little too much for my liking but she's headed in the right direction. It's good that she did have hard-hitting non flashy moves in her arsenal that could be used as a heel, and she can get away with the senton and the moonsault because they are so associated with her. She in turn sold Kelly's offence very well, particularly the hurricanrana. Kelly doesn't always seem to hit them well but the ones I've seen Eve sell have looked very clean. Kelly's clotheslines also looked very effective too. The end was iffy to me though. First of all, it looked like Eve countered the handspring elbow since she moved her own elbow up as if to block it but then she sold it anyway, and the pin on the ropes looked very sloppy. Still I enjoyed the match as both women were very over and delivered an entertaining show. 6.5/10

Impact - Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Sarita & Rosita vs Velvet Sky, Mickie James, Tara & Brooke Tessmacher:
Quite a lot to talk about on this week's Impact as the Knockouts managed to come off the heels of a dreadful Lockdown and produce a highly entertaining and entertaining match that utilised all eight participants in a nice way. I really like that they gave TNT a proper acknowledgement that they were returning to TV after such a long absence. I had to lol at Mike Tenay saying "Vel Vel" with a straight face. I mentioned before in another match with Velvet and Sarita that their timing together in previous matches was extremely patchy and slow but now Velvet has grown so much as a worker that she is able to match Sarita's style and keep up with her. Speaking of improvements, Rosita was looking especially polished here. She took a great bump at the start of the match and delivered an impressive spike hurricanrana. And that's saying something considering Mickie isn't exactly a five class worker. I was happy to see Tara and Sarita go at it because I can't recall if they've ever faced off properly aside from their tag feud last year. Though I refuse to believe Sarita would stay on the canvas for *that* long after a body slam. The absolute best part of the match was Brooke vs Sarita for two reasons - first of all it had three of the girls demonstrating a style of dance I have appropriately titled "Spastic Robot Salsa" and second of all the amazing chemistry. The counter of the tilt-a-whirl into the arm drag was so crisply done and Brooke followed it up with an equally crisp Mug Shot in the corner. Brooke and Gail seemed to work together really well also and it's certainly a fresh match-up amongst the Knockouts. I was honestly surprised when I went online after seeing the match and hearing people talk about a Brooke push. I don't see her getting one coming off this win. First of all, Velvet helped her get the win over Gail and secondly the entire focus was on Velvet when the match was over. While I expect Brooke might challenge Gail for the title at the Open Fight Night I think it'll just give Gail another strong title defence. As much as I love Brooke, it should be Velvet continuing to be pushed because this has potential to be feud of the year if TNA can keep it going and give them a better chance on PPV. Besides why push a girl who is active in the tag division? I know TNT are faces and therefore ill-equipped to feud with the current champs but really, killing the tag division for the sake of a singles push that won't go anywhere? Exciting night for the women anyway. 8/10

Smackdown - AJ vs Natalya:
What's this now? Do I smell an AJ heel turn coming on? It's doubtful but it could happen. Perhaps WWE intended for AJ to turn on Daniel Bryan and become massively over from it but annoyingly enough the fans are solidly behind Bryan despite WWE's best efforts to make him into a despicable heel and AJ isn't over enough to eclipse him in popularity. Perhaps they're rethinking their plans and turning her heel so they can become a proper power couple. That being said, everything is up in the air because Eve's storyline on Raw took a sharp U-turn from where it was supposed to be heading and she randomly became a heel and I honestly can't see where WWE would likely go in this direction. Though Natalya is clearly a face again. She showed genuine concern for AJ's mental state before the match started and didn't fight back like a heel would. It's almost funny that last year it was Nattie who did it to AJ so there's a nice little continuity nod there. The video showed AJ looking remorseful for what she did but then again Eve looked remorseful for kissing John Cena and the writers swerved us the very next week. And Natalya tweeted photos of a nasty lump on her forehead from AJ's attack. Knowing WWE's "Beauty Is Never Tarnished" policy she'll likely be off TV until it's recovered.

And the other big development this week that took place entirely off TV is that Nikki Bella may be getting a title shot at Extreme Rules. Her and Brie's contracts expire the very next night so perhaps this is WWE's way of nodding them out the door. I'd like to see Nikki and Beth give it a go on PPV because Nikki is the more skilled wrestler of the twins and the two personalities of her and Beth could mesh well together also. Just wondering if Beth is turning face again as well? While I enjoy her as a face I still want that darned Beth/Natalya match which won't happen if they're both faces yet again. Perhaps Kharma will return the night after Extreme Rules and demolish both the twins, setting up a feud with Beth. Then maybe Kharma will feud with Natalya? Also WWE is due to return from the overseas tour and Layla is expected to return to TV when they are back in the States. Hopefully the last Raw before a PPV will give some excitement Diva-wise.

WWE's Aksana - Wasted Talent

I know at this point it's impossible to even mention WWE's women without going into long drawn out discussions about who's being misused, who's underrated, who deserves much better than what they're getting from the big E. There are an incredibly large number of wrestlers that are being misused now and there always has been in the past. After all, not everyone can be used properly. When it comes to WWE's women the obvious names for misuse would be Natalya who suffered a massive losing streak and juvenile farting gimmick until her recent face turn where she now looks to salvage her career. Others would include the Divas' Champion Beth Phoenix who can't seem to find her way to TV tapings despite being the longest reigning champion in WWE right now. Also there's Naomi, who wrestled circles around her fellow NXT rookies and yet was the last of them to be called up to the main roster and has been demoted to dancing for Brodus Clay. And of course Divas like Alicia Fox and Tamina who had their title pushes dropped before they even had time to take form. But there's one woman in WWE now that the majority of people don't realise is being misused. With the above girls, it's a different story because most people see them in the ring and have had chances to see what they can do. Natalya and Beth are recognised for their wrestling so in a sense they know they've "won" with the fans. But with a certain former fitness model from Lithuania, nobody is even aware of the talent that is going to waste.

Aksana is something quite unique amongst the current crop of girls. True she is one of many former models signed by WWE but she comes from a fitness model background, a familiar area for success amongst many female wrestlers such as Trish Stratus, Victoria/Tara, Torrie Wilson and the ever improving Kaitlyn. As such she has a much more muscular frame than a few of the statuesque stunners fans are always complaining about. Haven't you noticed those bulging biceps under all those tight catsuits and flowing dresses? In terms of body size she's actually quite close to Natalya and Tamina's build. She's also the first Caucasian brunette WWE have had since Brooke Adams got released I might add. And of course she's quite fair skinned in comparison to her tanned and tinted co-workers. And that's not forgetting her being the first Eastern European Diva WWE have had in ages (have they ever?). To me, Aksana stands out, and in wrestling that is a major deal. But I'm not here to highlight Aksana's beauty or her natural comedic timing which is fairly obvious to anyone who watches her backstage skits which is pretty much all she has done in front of the mainstream audience, aside from awesome catfights with Vickie Guerrero and Maryse. I'm here to give Aksana the credit for something no one else has yet - her wrestling.

The mainstream audience will naturally disagree and with good reason because of all the matches Aksana has had since getting called up back in August, only one has lasted longer than two minutes and the only one that did took place on the internet and featured her sticking to what she knew from her FCW days and coming off very heelish rather than the beloved babyface she's supposed to be. For those who don't know, when Aksana was in FCW she was a rather badass serious heel that was more aggressive than the cutesy comedic girl we're more used to seeing. Naturally an incredibly idiotic move on WWE's part to have her play a role in developmental that they didn't intend for her to play on TV. Personally I've seen her shine in the face role from her older FCW days before she was turned so I know that flair is in there somewhere and if she ever gets allowed to wrestle a long match again, she'll get to show off her skills. But so far she hasn't got a chance to show off her skills and already people are lumping her among the worst workers on the roster. The reason? One bad elbow drop in a one minute match that also happened to be her first on a live show. I'll admit it was an awful elbow drop but why write her off on one bad match. Here's a list of absolutely amazing wrestlers doing absolutely appalling moves:

Is anyone about to question the wrestling ability of those above? Of course not. Botches happen to everyone. Yet there is a massive double standard at play here. When any of the above workers botch or someone else on their level, the attitude is "oh they just had an off day". But when someone like Aksana botches, she's apparently killing women's wrestling and "this is what happens when you put models in a wrestling ring". But unfortunately, all those people listed above have had the opportunity to put on show stopping matches ten times over. But poor Aksana has had five matches on TV and, as stated above, only one actually showcased her talents. Below is a Superstars match against Maxine where she shows she's gotten the moves down and it's the character she just needs to work on:

You may be wondering how exactly I know Aksana is a talented worker when these are the only matches she's had on TV. For those who don't actually know, FCW has its own TV show and the developmental talent have matches and storylines featured weekly in order to prepare them for the big leagues. Aksana was featured heavily over the past year and showed remarkable improvement from her time on NXT. She was promoted to owning both the FCW Divas' Championship and the crown of Queen of FCW. Below are some matches where she does get to showcase what she's learned.

A much better showing than her matches on the WWE roster no? And also bear in mind that in the latter two matches she is able to lead the match and carry the lesser experienced Audrey Marie and Cameron Lynn through the whole thing. You see in the first match she demonstrates a good showing in the face role so all she needs is to get a chance to show it off. She hasn't wrestled since February which is a real shame because she could have a lot to offer the women's division. She's an absolute powerhouse and could have great matches with the likes of Beth, Natalya and the recently heeled Eve. With the Bellas seemingly on their way out perhaps Aksana can finally get a spot wrestling regularly on TV every week. It's doubtful she will get to show off much of her skills if she's stuck in 2 minute matches on Raw so NXT and Superstars is the place she wants to end up. I enjoyed her part in the Teddy Long angle going into WrestleMania but I think it's time for her to become a proper part of the women's division. To those who would call her the worst wrestler ever based on that one awful elbow drop watch all the above matches which took place BEFORE that incident. She ain't Manami Toyota but she ain't Rosa Mendes neither.

Big thanks to for all the images.

Friday 13 April 2012

Week In Review For Women's Wrestling #42

And it's that week when WrestleMania is over and done with and normally for the girls in WWE actual storylines can begin to develop. We were offered a special live Smackdown where we were guaranteed to see some follow up to Daniel Bryan dumping AJ as well as a match on the show where the girls actually get time. In other news, it's time once again for TNA to deliver the go-home segments for their upcoming PPV, not to mention a certain set of champions tying the knot on TV this week. Also, there's romantic drama over in Bollywood and down in FCW tapings have begun once again.

Raw Watch:
Well there's almost no point in recapping this since it was one lousy backstage segment and it didn't develop into anything on Smackdown. I guess the only place for Eve to go now is to get a shot at the Divas' title. I'm not wild about that and personally I was hoping for some actual follow up on the Zack Ryder storyline. She's one-upped him twice and made a fool out of him. Where's his revenge? Shouldn't he give Eve some kind of comeuppance? WWE does like to stop and start storylines so with Layla being rumoured to return once WWE finishes its European tour it's likely they'll pick it back up if that's the direction they're going in. I guess all they need to do is find Eve a partner to feud with Zack. In other news Vickie Guerrero looked smoking hot and Cameron and Naomi danced as they always did.

Smackdown - The Bella Twins & Drew McIntyre vs The Great Khali, Natalya & Alicia Fox:
Well Natalya is officially a babyface again as everyone knows only the good girls dance around with the Great Khali. Honestly as soon as I heard this was going to be a "Legends" special of Smackdown I knew it was going to be a dud. And of course it was - I mean I think Khali got more ring time than the girls. I'm just surprised that they chose to put these four girls on TV when none of them have been involved in any storylines recently. I might be reaching but it looks like I saw some tension between the Bellas after the match. I have a feeling since their contracts are expiring they'll split them and give them a grudge match at Extreme Rules, then have Kharma return to destroy them both. That'd be a fitting departure for them. Though I'd honestly much rather see Eve/Kelly or Beth/Natalya on PPV since the twins had a singles match before and it wasn't very good. 1/10

AJ on Piper's Pit:
Now this was one of the three segments that saved the night from being a complete bomb. Last week I thought WWE had Daniel Bryan dump AJ a bit too soon considering they were in a very smarky pro-Bryan area and all their momentum was ruined. However this week I think they counteracted that by having AJ continue to go back to him. It's like Trish going back to Vince after he turned on her. This way it builds more sympathy for AJ as Daniel Bryan continues to degrade her and abuse her. Obviously it's PG television so he can't do that much to her but hopefully they'll continue to develop this storyline well. Judging by the crowd reactions (on a live show I might add) the fans seem to be swinging in her favour so this is a step in the right direction on WWE's part. AJ spoke very well and her acting is pretty consistent as well - she didn't ham it up or underdo it so this is something I'm looking forward to in the next few weeks. Segment rating: 7/10

NXT Watch:
No matches this week but some great story developments. Maxine came down to ringside during Johnny Curtis's match and ended up leaving with William Regal. Then she pulled the crocodile tears trick on Kaitlyn and Derrick Bateman to get them to help her find Matt Stryker who was found tied up in the janitor's closet. This show is one of the most hilarious things WWE are putting out there and it's just great. It's the perfect place to look if you feel most of your favourites aren't getting used right on Raw and Smackdown. The segments they're doing are complete nonsense of course but that's why we all love them. In other news Titus O'Neil attempted to woo Tamina (who was looking pretty fine) by giving her the gift of a coconut tree. Tamina's character and speaking skills are really improving and I actually think she fits this face role just fine which is surprising to me since she's such a natural heel. Now since Aksana's storyline with Teddy Long has apparently been dropped move her onto the show and get her involved too.

Ring Ka King - Angelina Love vs Raisha Saeed:
Surprised to be getting the second singles match so soon and if I'm being honest, I much preferred the one against Alyssa Flash. It had more time and the interactions were much more fun. This one was good as well of course but it lacked that fire and spark that the previous match had. Raisha didn't really get much offence in apart from the basic heel tactics and then suddenly Angelina got her comeback. It almost felt too much like a jobbing affair instead of the back and forth type of action it was supposed to be. Again, it wasn't a bad match but just not a very memorable one either. The good stuff came when the match was over as Angelina got not one but two marriage proposals. And in an interview after the match she revealed she doesn't know which to accept to but that she will be getting married in a Ring Ka King ring. I get the feeling she's going to go for the Indian version of Hornswoggle because that has so much more comedy potential. 6/10

Superstars - Kelly Kelly vs Brie Bella:
Yet another match between these two and yet a match that wasn't too bad. Obviously neither of these two are in-ring technicians but they produced a good enough match that pleased me. Kelly's character continues to baffle me with how heel like she can be - stomping Brie aggressively, using an illegal submission hold, attacking her at ringside. You know what, I like it. Kelly often gets lumped with the generic girls and called bland but to me she's anything but. She has a character in the ring and it's one I enjoy seeing. The exchanges here were switched up from what we normally see. Brie, *shock horror*, actually did new moves. It was a nice sidewalk slam and she too shined with her character. I get the feeling they're throwing the Bellas on TV every week to make the most of them while they've still got them but I stand by my theory of an Extreme Rules grudge match. The ending was refreshing - it's a little different from a typical roll up ending though I was surprising that actually got the win. On commentary Scott Stanford also put over a possible Divas' Championship match between Beth and Kelly. Oh what fun. 6/10

Impact - ODB & Eric Young's Wedding:
This was single handedly one of the best segments of the year. It was hilarious, it moved a storyline along, got a couple of heels over and even moved me a little. And it was done all without a stupid shocking swerve. I know Russo is gone from TNA but I still had a feeling they'd swerve us and ruin the whole thing. But this segment was just brilliant in every way. I know I'm missing the point but ODB looks damn fine when she cleans herself up and she's got plenty going on in other departments. I was surprised to see Sarita & Rosita brought in because I thought their match was just a one-off. Are they properly feuding now? I can see TNA adding a last minute Tag Team Championship match at the PPV though I'd prefer for them to take things slow with this feud. A normal progression would be Rosita beating ODB in a singles match, then Sarita the next week and then maybe both of them beating Eric in a handicap match. Obviously I won't get too hung up on details because I love this duo and I loved this segment #MuiCaliente. Segment rating: 10/10

Gail Kim & Madison Rayne vs Velvet Sky & Mickie James:
And we got a final go-home segment for Gail and Velvet's title match. While TNA haven't exactly upped the ante for this match I'm still looking forward to seeing it because of the proven formula of Gail Kim+steel cage = happy Knockouts fans. As for the tag match, this is a rematch that we saw back in November which I touted as one of the best Knockouts tag matches I'd ever seen. This one wasn't as hot as that but still pretty damn good. As always I love seeing Mickie and Velvet wrestle as a team because they have such great chemistry with each other. The heels didn't really control as much as I expected them to but I guess this match was all about putting Velvet forward as a strong contender. I was expecting Gail to pick up the win and use the classic momentum shift that wrestling fans all know and love but who could win this match is up in the air right now. If Gail wins then good because we can continue the feud. If Velvet wins that's fine as well. It should be a very entertaining and exciting match. 7.5/10

FCW - Rick Victor & Paige vs Aiden English & Audrey Marie:
Is this the first mixed tag match in FCW history? I'm surprised it took so long for me to finally see one on the show. Anyway I like Paige's new gear and I also love how she's given herself a unique look that makes her stand out by keeping her skin pale. It really does make sense for her Anti-Diva Army tandem. I enjoyed the interactions between Paige and Audrey a lot more in this match than I did in their last match together. They flowed well together and Paige sold very well for her. It was also really cool to see Paige properly get involved and have interactions with the men. You don't really get to see heel Divas get physical with the guys that much. Also interesting that when the women were tagged back in, Paige was in control right away instead of the typical face hot tag sequence. I think that works because Paige is a newcomer to FCW and it's important to show her controlling her matches to put her over as a strong competitor. The run in during the match was a bit all over the place as the cameras were too focused on that when there was still a match going on. Maybe saving it for after the match was over would have been better. Sofia Cortez was used well in her role, not taking too much away from the match. Well, at least until the run in. Now this is a storyline I can really get into since it involves so many girls. I want to see Paige and Sofia in more singles matches and I'd like to see Caylee Turner return to the ring as well. 6/10

Pretty eventful week on every show that wasn't Raw. But what else is new right? Two weeks until Extreme Rules and we have a certain set of twins' contracts expiring the night after the PPV while Lockdown is this Sunday and I'm sure Gail and Velvet will deliver a great contest. Who knows, we might get a second match added on at the last minute. Elsewhere wedding bells are ringing for another Knockout and the FCW Divas are getting in on the Anti-Barbie mentality that was so hot last Summer. Quite an eventful week I must say.

Saturday 7 April 2012

Week In Review For Women's Wrestling #41

Phew, what a week. We passed the point of the 28th edition of WWE's biggest PPV of the year (though for the girls these days it's more of a roadblock) and we had to deal with all the fallout. Surprisingly for the biggest show of the year, Divas were packed to the rafters and, even more surprisingly, not all together. If I may say so, it's been one of the most successful WrestleManias in recent years in terms of the Divas. And over in TNA's neck of the woods, we've got a new #1 contender for a certain all cage PPV in a few weeks, not to mention some juicy action going on over in Bollywood too.

WrestleMania 28 - Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres vs Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos:
Well well, WWE allowed an injured celebrity to compete in the ring. A non-wrestler at that. And they actually had her work a good chunk of the match. Personally I thought that was incredibly reckless and really stupid on their part. They could have Maria simply manage the team and announce someone like Alicia Fox or Natalya as her replacement and then have one spot with Beth. But nope, that's the direction they went with instead. I'm gonna get all the negativity out of the way early on and say that Maria looked exactly as you'd expect a non wrestler with broken ribs to look in the ring. She couldn't bump at all and there wasn't much else she could do either. Adding Natalya or Alicia could have made it a bit more impressive of a match. But that aside, the match wasn't completely bad. I've heard people calling it the worst Diva match of all-time. Really? Really? So were those people not watching WrestleManias 25 & 26? Maxine vs Kaitlyn? Tori vs Sable? Rosa vs...well anyone? Kelly Kelly's part of the match was good for me. She hit all her spots well and that's actually the best hurricanrana I've ever seen her do. She obviously trained hard for this match and delivered a picture perfect Molly-Go-Round to give herself a WrestleMania moment to erase her taking Vickie's "Cougar Splash" from memory. And yet I see people complaining that she didn't land properly or that it got botched. Seriously, the world will not implode if you admit Kelly did something right. Eve and Beth sold the offence well but of course couldn't do as much as they could if they'd had another wrestler in there but Eve gave us a nice WrestleMania-sized booty pop and Beth was clearly looking to Hawk Girl for her inspired headdress. The ending is what it is. I'm not happy about it but Maria didn't exactly pin Beth clean, what with it being a double team effort. And hey they got a video package as well, and their match time wasn't cut for it. I actually hear people complaining that this match should have taken a time cut to accommodate the WHC match. And yet they find no fault with Rock and Cena's entrances taking up 22 minutes or the HIAC going on for five minutes longer than it needed to. 6/10

Other Divas:
WrestleMania 28 was a really good night for the girls as we saw nearly all of them on the show without being thrown together as Lumberjills or multi-tag partners. First of all, Rosa Mendes lead her team of Primo and Epico to victory in the Tag Team Championships match. I have yet to see it but I'm sure it was awesome. Secondly AJ played a vital role in the "match" for the WHC if you can call it that. It's funny, the title match was used as a prop to further this Daniel Bryan/AJ storyline and while it's disrespectful to the title, it still has a Diva in a prominent storyline. And then we have Team Teddy vs Team Johnny - the Bellas may have found their calling and I prefer their voices to Justin Roberts's any day. And Aksana and Vickie Guerrero gave us a nice WrestleMania-sized catfight. And finally Eve stole the show, and the spotlight as another Diva commanded all the attention for herself. It's really cool that her and Zack Ryder completely overshadowed the big hated heel finally getting in power. All the fans cared about was that she one-upped the big fan favourite. It's great to finally have a female heel in WWE who is actually despicable. While I'm not ready for another Eve Divas' title reign, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing where this storyline is going. And Lilian Garcia's rendition of America The Beautiful was fantastic.

Raw - Eve's promo:
It really was silly of us to expect any sort of proper Diva action the night after WrestleMania. Really since when has the Raw the night after ever given us something actually worth seeing? Eve got to cut a good enough promo and I'll say her delivery is getting better and of course voicing her support for Johnny Ace will only make the fans hate her even more. Incredibly annoying that the Divas' Champion wasn't on the show as well but I'll accept the fact that WrestleMania is always a hindrance for the women's division and hopefully they'll give her some direction next week.

NXT - Natalya vs Kaitlyn:
Wrestling fans rejoice everywhere. Natalya finally won a match. It's the first singles win she's gotten since she first turned heel after beating AJ and the first win she's gotten for herself since the Smackdown after Survivor Series. The direction they're taking her character in is a bit interesting to me since she is turning face but she played the heel in the match. It's almost like she hasn't completely turned face yet. Or they want her to be a wild card in the division. And thank the Wrestling Gods (JBL & Athena) that they've apparently dropped the farting gimmick. Also thank them that NXT finally gives the girls time to wrestle again. The match was very good and easily Kaitlyn's best match to date. I can see why Natalya was relegated to enhancement talent for quite a while as she does indeed seem to turn whoever she's working with into gold for the next few minutes. The vibe I got from Natalya's character in this match was that she was daring Kaitlyn to impress her, that she wanted to see what she's got. I would like to say that Natalya finally getting a win for herself means she's in line for a push against Beth but it really is all up in the air right now. Next week should give us a couple more answers. In the meantime, Kaitlyn is improving every time she steps into the ring and seeing her work with Natalya was a real treat honestly. And I'm glad they cut the part where Michael McGillicutty sniffed her underwear. Also, Alicia, Tamina and Maxine were on the show in entertaining backstage segments as well. 7/10

Ring Ka King - Sheik Mustafa Bashir & Raisha Saeed vs Romeo Rapta & Angelina Love:
All you need to know is that Raisha is teaming with none other than Davari. Nonetheless a fairly good mixed tag match and a bit of a variation in the feud than it was with Mickie involved where they had a six-person straight away. It leaves them with a lot more to go on and if they do have a six-person then the story element of Zarovar (the Indian Hornswoggle) could likely come into play. We didn't see much interaction between Angelina and Raisha and the stuff we did see we had already seen in the singles match with Angelina vs Alyssa Flash, though the moves themselves looked nice. This time Raisha hits her finisher on Angelina to get the win for her duo. I believe Melissa has now racked up more wins in Ring Ka King than she ever did while she was on the TNA roster. A funny development in the storyline with the two men arguing over whose fault it was while Angelina is unconscious on the mat. Melissa must feel very flattered that they're selling the effects of her moves so hardly. 7/10

Impact - Mickie James vs Tara vs Velvet Sky vs Madison Rayne vs Winter vs Angelina Love (Six Pack Challenge To Crown A #1 Contender):
I really loved this match. And I also love that TNA keeps getting creative when it comes to crowning a new #1 contender. While the gauntlet match was a bit of a mess and the battle royal went on too long this one was a thing of beauty. First of all, the women got plenty of time to work and tell a story as well as nobody being lost in the shuffle. Second of all, I liked the little interaction between Angelina Love and Winter. I was a little worried when they came out separately but never fear. Is it me or did Winter come across as the face in that? She was the one who didn't want to fight Angelina and ended up tagging out. That could be a different direction to go in should they eventually split the two of them up. The mini-match between Mickie and Angelina was passable but I really liked the blind tag spot with Velvet. The match breakdown was probably my favourite part and I honestly had no idea what move Winter would use, though that backbreaker was sick. I noticed pointedly that Velvet pinned Mickie to win the match and there was also a small bit of tension between them earlier in the match. Does this mean they'll continue with the Mickie heel turn? Personally I'm leaning towards bad idea right now. If Velvet ends up as champion I do not want to see Mickie pushed yet again even if is as a heel. True they are running low on competition right now since Winter, Angelina, Madison and Tara have all had recent pushes and I think the only non champions on the roster are Sarita and Rosita and we have seen Sarita/Velvet before. Watching this match made me realise there's very few fresh matches in the division right now and it could probably use some new blood. Anyway onto Velvet officially becoming #1 contender. I'm ecstatic about it and while I'll be happy if she wins at Lockdown, I also wouldn't mind them continuing this feud for a bit longer. Anyway TNA has delivered the goods recently and I look forward to seeing this feud unfold. 8/10

Smackdown - Beth Phoenix vs Nikki Bella:
Well the champ got back on TV for this week afterall. I can't say I'm happy about what she was doing since she wrestled a one minute match and lost when she's supposed to be the dominant Glamazon. I can satisfy myself that it was a distraction finish and also that it wasn't a roll-up. Really an X-Factor is an effective move that could believably knock a big girl out for a few seconds and I'm happy that Nikki seems to be remaining heel. Chances are next time we see her she and Brie will be all chummy chummy like nothing ever happened. Are Kelly and Beth feuding again? I don't really think this is a long term thing. I think it's just to carry on from WrestleMania and it'll most likely be Kelly getting a title shot on Raw and losing to put Beth over once again as a big champion. At least I hope that's what'll happen. And even more of what I hope will happen involves Natalya getting a shot at Beth. Is anyone else just itching for Layla to finally return? 2/10

AJ Dumped:
It happened a little sooner than expected and I think it would have been wiser for WWE to wait until they were out of Florida because the crowd really was behind Daniel Bryan. AJ isn't over enough to counteract that judging by the response she got so hopefully there will be more to follow in weeks to come. I want to say that the acting in this segment was great and AJ's knocked Eve's out of the water from a couple of months ago. She just has this amazing cutesy girl next door look to her that makes you want to rush out there and give her a hug. She spoke really well and that look on her face was perfect. She has that same quality that Kelly Kelly had that made you want to root for her and Torrie Wilson before them. Of course I'd really like to see big things happen for AJ since they could give her a Divas' Championship shot or else slowly build her back up and eventually have her be the one to challenge Kharma. I know I'm getting ahead of myself here but the possibilities are endless. Segment rating: 7/10

Monday 2 April 2012

WrestleMania 28 In Review

And there we have it. That's another WrestleMania in the history books. A whole other year before we get to New York City for number 29. I gotta say this was a Mania I was really pumped for and I honestly haven't been this excited for a WrestleMania since it was time for 19 back in 2003 (which also happened to be my first one). Anyway there was certainly a lot of hype surrounding the main events, with the headliner receiving an entire year of build up to it not to mention two promising world title matches. But did the event live up to the hype? Well, we'll take a look.

1) Daniel Bryan* vs Sheamus (World Heavyweight Championship):
Yet another WrestleMania opening with a World Heavyweight Championship match. Only this turned out to be a complete insult to the crowd. Sheamus and Daniel Bryan had all the potential in the world to put on an entertaining match that would have gotten the crowd riled up. But WWE threw us a curveball and gave us a huge cop-out. Was timing the issue? Coz twenty one minutes went by from that Brodus Clay segment to Rock and Cena actually getting in the ring and the HIAC could have had a good five minutes knocked off it. Oh well, since I don't want to be overly negative, I will say I'm happy for Sheamus to be champion again and hopefully the rematch on Smackdown/Extreme Rules will hopefully be much better. And it certainly looks like AJ and Daniel Bryan are headed to Splitsville which is one small plus anyway. Funnily enough the third wheel of this match ended up taking all the attention for herself. N/A

If you ask me, Johnny's mic skills are getting better. He certainly added some more personality this time and came across as a proper unlikeable douche. David Otunga's t-shirt reminds me of the old WCW action figures that came with a removable rubber shirt for various wrestlers. Too bad Team Teddy couldn't get a backstage segment as well.

2) Randy Orton vs Kane:
They bump the world title's time but they give THIS all the time it needs? Sorry but Kane seriously can't go like he used to, which is strange considering I felt he held his own against Cena at Elimination Chamber fairly well. Sitting through about two minutes of weak forearms and slow exchanges bored the crowd and got them chanting "Daniel Bryan!" who again could have delivered a much better match with Sheamus than either of these two. I noticed a weird moment when Orton was in a chinlock and he appeared to be unscrewing something on his mouth. I thought he might have been blading or maybe he was taking a piercing out but it just looked odd. Anyway the match did pick up a bit as it got moving along, Orton surprising me always with his athleticism. If it wasn't for the WHC being cut I'd consider this the weakest match of the night. The ending made up for it though. I thought Orton might be trying a lucha-inspired top rope arm drag but that obviously isn't his style. The chokeslam from the top looked perfect, as did a few of Kane's other moves. It was just his brawling that was off. Decent match but would have been more at home on Raw. Still pissed that I didn't get Zack Ryder vs Kane. 5/10

Gotta love it whenever Mick Foley makes an appearance though I'm wondering where Hornswoggle, Bob Barker and Peewee Herman were when this segment was being filmed. Would that be a Hall Of Fame sized "Damn" from Ron Simmons?

3) Cody Rhodes* vs Big Show (Intercontinental Championship):
It was here that I noticed the theme of having the video package for the matches play after the first guy has gotten into the ring and it's a touch I liked. Though probably a bit boring for the guy already in the ring waiting for his match to start. I was wondering how these two would do and I'll say it was really strange to see the big guy as the face and the little guy as the heel. I spent much of the first half wondering if Cody would ever get some offence in but this was a fine match overall. Big Show may be a lumbering giant but when he wants to he can move pretty well for someone his size. I did have to lol at King mentioning his weight could shift from 15 pounds depending on what he has for breakfast. King I think you should take a trip to Weight Watchers yourself before you can throw all these fat jokes at other people. Funny how Big Show gave him the Stink Face when they had him and Kelly Kelly as BFFs for a while. Great display of psychology by the champ and I see those Yoga classes are really helping Big Show out. The mid-air spear was a thing of beauty though I'm sure Cody's boys are in ICU right now. Not sure how I feel about Big Show winning the IC title but it's nice that the belt got defended and properly showcased at WrestleMania and this match did help it feel a lot more important. 6.5/10

The Divas on this early? Getting a *video package* as well? What is this? TNA?

4) Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres vs Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos:
I'm sure coming out to Eve's music makes Beth cheery though obviously they went for the song that would get the bigger reaction. I love how WWE allows Maria to work a match with broken ribs simply because she's a celebrity. I'll get to her in a moment. Kelly's entire part of the match was very good - all her moves looked well and crisp (sans that pitiful attempt at hitting the ropes) and Eve in turn sold them well. Maria did look as awkward as you'd expect a non wrestler with broken ribs to look in a match like this. Nonetheless there was no botching and nothing on a level as bad as Jenna Morasca/Sharmell or Tori/Sable. I'll almost say that Kelly's entire part of the match made up for Maria's awkward part. She was channelling Molly Holly a bit with a nice Molly-Go-Round that looked perfect, as did the wheelbarrow bulldog to counter the Glam Slam. Sigh, Maria pins Beth, though Beth's been through this kinda stuff before with "Santina" and her career still recovered. Surprisingly decent amount of time given and not as bad as it could have been. 6/10

5) Triple H vs Undertaker (Hell In A Cell):
I was excited to see Undertaker's hair and I have to say it suits him. It makes him look a bit more menacing. I was half hoping he'd knock Triple H out, take out the scissors and give him a much needed grooming as well. The early part of the match had me a little worried, mostly because Undertaker was in control almost completely and I was afraid he wouldn't be able to bump for Triple H too much. Obviously that idea went out the window with that spinebuster on the ring steps. That was probably my favourite spot of the match, as well as the Hell's Gate counter. It's funny to me that Undertaker is nearly always the heel in his matches yet Triple H was playing that role here. For a moment I thought we were seeing the old Triple H from the Attitude Era. I was very happy with Shawn Michaels's role in the match. When he was first announced as the referee I felt it was maybe overbooking it a bit but they told a very good story out there with him not getting involved for most of the early part, and therefore not detracting from the wrestling going on (take note, TNA). Once he did get involved he made the match that more interesting. It's almost like injecting glucose into a coma patient. As is to now be expected whenever I review a Triple H match, here's my stock line - way too long. I said earlier it could have had five minutes shaved off it and added onto the World title match. I'll give Triple H credit, there was no padding like his ladder match with Kevin Nash but it still just dragged on and on. For me it stopped being exciting and I just wanted it to end already. Thankfully it did end eventually and it still managed to be a successful match, even if it did drag on for too long. And the Undertaker is now 20-0. Perhaps it is time for him to retire? Oh and why was it a Hell In A Cell match when the cell was barely even used? Should have been Last Man Standing instead. 7/10

Good to see the Hall of Fame inductees though this year's list felt a bit short. Gotta say Edge's hair will take some getting used to.
Why the hell is Heath Slater on the WrestleMania card? No, why the hell is he even still employed? Again, WHC match time WWE.

6) Team Johnny (David Otunga, Mark Henry, The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger) vs Team Teddy (Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Santino Marella, Great Khali, Zack Ryder & Booker T):
Can you say clusterfuck? Seriously you could have dropped about four of the guys from this match to make it a lot less cluttered. Axe Booker T, Great Khali, Drew McIntyre and Mark Henry and maybe the match wouldn't have felt like such a crowded affair. The Bellas are moving up in the world, going from guest host escorts to guest ring announcers. Happy to see Vickie Guerrero and Aksana at ringside too though Hornswoggle could have been demoted to one backstage segment. Naturally this match didn't get much of a chance to take any form and it was a lot of one guy in to do a spot then the other one and so forth. If there had only been four on each team then it could have worked. The first 75% of the match just didn't take form and couldn't even hold together, despite getting plenty of time. The breakdown at the end was much more promising what with Vickie and Aksana having another awesome catfight and the big rush with everyone hitting their signature spots. Ryder's last bit in the ring against The Miz was great and hey that's another Diva who's taken all the attention for herself tonight. They're really putting effort into Eve, having her outright nail Zack in the balls and be the one responsible for putting Johnny in charge. While this was a huge clusterfuck, it does set up plenty of story continuation for the following weeks - Eve and Zack, Johnny now in charge, what will become of Teddy etc. Will he go back to being a manager? Or will he just retire? Oh well, decent showing towards the end and some good window dressing at the very least. 5/10

7) CM Punk* vs Chris Jericho (WWE Championship):
The added stipulation of Punk losing the title via DQ lets us all know we're in for a pleasant few weeks/months/years with Johnny running the show. Anyway there's something that really stuck out to me in the early moments of the match - even though the feud was very personal Punk didn't go for a brawl but rather tried to wrestle. But still he told a story with that. Even though he was just wrestling, he still showed that he was out for Jericho's blood and that is something very few people can accomplish. I had a feeling this would be match of the night and boy was I right. I loved everything about this match. It was back and forth with some excellent exchanges, as though the two of them were just giving middle fingers to Kane/Orton and Triple H/Undertaker showing them how it should be done. I know Jericho hasn't been wrestling for as long as Triple H, Kane and Undertaker but he's not far off and the difference is astonishing. He can still go like he used to and he produced a five star match while those three were all struggling to keep up. Even though I knew there was no way in hell Jericho would be walking out of WrestleMania with the title there were still plenty of moments where I thought he'd actually do it. As much as I loved Punk's matches with Cena and Del Rio, this match surpassed either of those and will go down as probably the best match of his career. That spot with the Frankensteiner into the Walls of Jericho made me mark out hugely (I even thought we'd see a Styles Clash/Faith Breaker for a moment) as did the suicide dive, apron superplex and springboard Code Breaker. Call this a MOTY candidate because I don't think we can find something to top it. 10/10

Last year Brodus was Del Rio's manager and this year he gets a segment to himself that the crowd are actually into. Doubly hilarious that the first Tough Enough contestant to be eliminated was the first one to make it to WrestleMania. WrestleMania always gives us something fun and bizarre and the grannies in fat suits knocked Snoop Dogg's talent search from last year right out of the water. There's a sentence I never thought I'd type.

8) The Rock vs John Cena:
I said at the start the entrances and introductions for this match took 21 minutes in total, do with that what you will but I will insert my rant about the World title match once again and also mention that I went to the toilet, made myself a snack and had a browse through Twitter and Cena wasn't even in the ring yet when I came back. Anyway, once they actually got into the ring we got another MOTY candidate, though admittedly it paled in comparison to Punk/Jericho. I was really surprised to see such a technical opening since both of these guys are known for having their five moves of doom and not much else. It just goes to show that these guys can deliver the goods when they want to. Did anyone else catch Cena blatantly calling a spot when he had The Rock in a headlock. His mouth opening clear as day and not even bothering to whisper. You're in HD, remember? I have to say The Rock did look a bit lost in a couple of places and it seemed like Cena had to guide him through a lot of the early part which is understandable for someone who hasn't competed at WrestleMania in over 9 years. What was cool about this match to me is that Cena played the heel and Rock was the face. The Rock spent a lot of time in peril and there wasn't a lot of his trademark cockiness which is a touch I really liked. The best matches Cena's had recently have had him playing the heel (vs Punk and Rey) and this was a similar format. You had to love the crowd chanting "fruity pebbles" and "tooth fairy" and I was holding out for a "Kung Pao bitch" chant as well. I could have done without that little brawl on the outside but the rest of the match was solid enough and the end does raise a lot of questions - is Cena turning heel? I always assumed they'd have him as the face figure in this match but they went the other way and it could show signs of a possible turn. I wouldn't get my hopes up but Raw will give us some answers anyway. A match worthy of WrestleMania and miles better than last year's main event. 8/10

So many were hyping this up to be the best Mania ever and to me it didn't fulfil that prediction. The entire first half was composed of filler matches that had no meaning and didn't really deserve to be on the card. The main event matches made up for them but this show really did feel like a big letdown. Nonetheless it's always fun to experience WrestleMania live which I couldn't do last year and I had fun watching it this year. Perhaps next year they'll get it right by NOT cutting the World title match.

Sunday 1 April 2012

Week In Review For Women's Wrestling #40

How fitting that the 40th entry here just happens to be the final one going into WrestleMania. I gotta say it's definitely a bit of a buzz to hear about Maria's injury. That goes to show why you shouldn't dance and wrestle at the same time. Anyway it does possibly open up a slot for another Diva to replace her - who could it be? Or perhaps Maria will simply have restricted ring time. Let's have a look at how the week built this up.

Raw - Eve Torres vs Kelly Kelly:
Hmm, the match that was supposedly going to be on the WrestleMania card before they swerved us by adding in Beth and Maria. It is weird to see Beth and Eve teaming together but I'm sure they'll go back to being frenemies once WrestleMania is over. I'll say it now that I'm not that impressed with Eve's wrestling. I'm sure she is still working on adjusting to wrestling as a heel especially when 80% of her moveset was suited to a face but that submission is the right way to go. Now she should just develop some proper hard-hitting moves that are unique for her, not going the way of the Bellas who just resort to rest holds and call it a day. Anyway the match was fine and Kelly worked well enough with Eve, also they got a respectable amount of time to work. It's a strange thing to have Kelly win, does this mean the odds are stacked in the heels' favour? I hope the heels do win because ultimately at WrestleMania the division shouldn't be overlooked. Just like at WrestleMania 24 when Beth and Melina went over Maria and Ashley. That being said the match should be good provided it has enough time and Eve and Maria polish themselves up a bit. 5/10

Ring Ka King - Angelina Love & Raisha Saeed Catfight:
As I expected, Angelina has now moved onto Raisha, after having her singles match with Alyssa Flash (which I'm still reeling from). Raisha was looking a bit like a hippie this week which is a Halloween costume I'd love to see someone attempt. There's something funny about seeing two trained and accomplished female wrestlers have a good old fashioned catfight but what better way to build to a match between them? Enjoyable segment anyway, if a little short.

Impact - Madison Rayne vs Velvet Sky:
Well it's about time. Not for another Madison/Velvet match since that was only two weeks ago but I seriously am psyched for this Gail/Velvet feud. I've been very critical of TNA over the past...well forever for their stupid hot potato with the title and their stop-start epilepsy with feuds and storylines but they've finally gotten their act together it seems. If they can up the ante for this feud then Velvet could really get the push she needs to finally become a star in TNA. She is very popular and they really dropped the ball with her by not giving her a proper singles push for the title or a long title reign like WWE did for Kelly. However now that can be fixed by making this a long running feud. True the next PPV is Lockdown and the sake of having a cage match as the first stop in the feud is a bit of an awkward situation as if Velvet loses, what do you build to from there? And if she wins, have they pulled the trigger on her too soon? Although Gail has had a long run as champion and gotten some clean wins under her belt against Madison and Tara, I feel there could be more done with her so I'd like to see Velvet feud with her some more. As for the match, better than the one two weeks ago. It was a bit shorter but it was to the point and it got the job done. All the exchanges looked so solid and really got me excited for this feud. Velvet's promo was fine as well, though we know she's capable of better. 7/10

A fairly uneventful week as NXT, Smackdown, Superstars, Xplosion and FCW were all devoid of Diva action. I've got big hopes for WrestleMania as, in addition to the tag team match, we're also guaranteed to see AJ on the show as part of the World Championship match. I don't know why but I really feel a heel turn coming along. I mean, Nattie's turned face now and they do need to even it up a bit. It seems a little too easy that AJ will turn on Daniel Bryan that I feel a swerve coming on. Either way it should be a good Mania moment. I also expect to see Vickie Guerrero managing Team Johnny and possibly Aksana on Team Teddy. I'm doubtful since she was strangely left off Raw this week. Perhaps she could turn on Teddy as well? As for the Bellas, I'm expecting a backstage segment to give them their payday or maybe they'll even find themselves at ringside for Team Teddy vs Team Johnny. I'm also expecting Maria to announce a last minute replacement for herself and just be the team's manager - introduce Alicia Fox, Natalya or a returning Layla. Whatever happens, it's sure to be an enjoyable WrestleMania.