Tag Archives: Curtis Axel

Watch, Skip or Skim: Spoiler Alert with “Angry” Andy (12/11-12/13)

Over the course of seven days, there’s a lot of wrestling on TV. But only some of it is actually worth watching. That’s where Spoiler Alert comes in: we break down the spoilers of all of WWE’s pre-taped shows to let you know what you should watch, and which segments and full shows you should skim or skip. This week, Andy sits back and enjoys the build to Tables, Ladders & Chairs.

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(spoilers via Wrestlezone.com)

Curtis Axel d Dolph Ziggler in what is probably a pretty good match.  As long as they keep Curtis away from the mic, this should be really excellent.  Axel is solid in the ring, but needs someone to make him look like he’s the second generation stud he’s supposed to be.  Dolph Ziggler is definitely the guy for the job.

Natalya d Alicia Fox.  They’ve been building Nattie up for a credible run with the Divas title, so this is probably little more than a quick squash.  It doesn’t hurt that Alicia has improved over the years.

Xavier Woods & R-Truth d Tons of Funk when Brodus Clay starts arguing with Tensai.  Woods continues to get face time with the fans, Brodus continues his heel turn, and the match ends in a logical, inoffensive way.

WATCH this show. Everything is story-and-character based.  All of it matters.  And it looks like the action should be pretty good, too.

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(spoilers via ProWrestling.com)

Kaitlyn d Aksana.  Man, they sure made a point to kill Kaitlyn, didn’t they?  If you find either of these women attractive, then enjoy the show.  The wrestling itself won’t be so pretty.

Los Matadores d 3MB. Yes, again.  This time, 3MB was represented by Jinder and Drew.  We’re sure El Torito did something the kids will enjoy.  That’s the last of the nice things I have to say for this show.

SKIP THIS SHOW. Just do it.  You’ll thank me.

WWE-Smackdown

(spoilers via Wrestlezone.com)

Daniel Bryan d Luke Harper & Erick Rowan by disqualification, in a 2-on-1 handicapped match. Bray attacks, but Bryan fights him off with a running knee.  Bryan stands tall… which means he doesn’t have a chance at TLC.

The Real Americans d Goldust & Cody Rhodes in a non-title match.  I’d be totally ok with Cesaro and Swagger playing the role of the Quebecers in 2K14 version of the Bret/Own split.  They’re two very talented, very HUGE men, who are both fantastically underrated in the ring.  They’re also joined by one of the best managers in wrestling today… so why not strike while the iron’s hot?

Bad News Barrett talks about the Slammy Awards.  I’m ok with this.  People are complaining, but they’re establishing a new character.  Let them establish him before you demand he wrestle the same match, against the same midcarders, that made you sick of him the first time around.

Mark Henry d Damien Sandow by countout, with Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston on commentary.  I’d guess he didn’t get to see too much in this scouting mission.

John Cena makes an appearance, to talk about his TLC match with Randy Orton.

Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins d The Usos. Punk appears on the titantron after the match, guaranteeing victory at TLC.  Maybe he hired a sniper.

Big Show d Ryback again.  This time, they continued brawling, along with Curtis Axel and Rey Mysterio.  I smell a filler tag match for TLC…  oh, and a tag team nobody asked for: Mysterio and Big Show.

Kofi Kingston v Alberto Del Rio never happened, because Del Rio has a concussion.  That, and Miz came out to give Kofi the Skull Crushing Finale.  I guess that’s better than watching Del Rio beat Kofi for the hundredth time.

Randy Orton and Triple H  kiss and make up after what happened in Raw’s awesome closing segment.

WATCH THIS SHOW.  WWE is clicking on all cylinders heading into TLC.  They’re putting on quality matches, and booking to logical storylines.  Watch and enjoy it while it lasts.

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Odds and Ends, Fits and Starts: Raw Regurgitated, 12/2

It’s hard to say if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that CM Punk was the person I least enjoyed listening to in a three-way conversation between himself, Kane and Stephanie. At the very least, Corporate Kane has very quickly become my new favorite gimmick remix, replacing long standing champion of my heart, Matt V1. That’s right, I’m a proud MFer.

Stephanie’s a pretty awful actress — which is more than okay considering that she still manages to be better than Dixie Carter and understands how to serve as corporate executive for a business that isn’t the professional wrestling equivalent of a sinking ship on fire — but she plays “awful/detached insanely rich person” like Meryl Streep.

The real problem with the WWE: They won’t let people get over by giving them nearly insurmountable odds against new stars so that they could get over with the crowd by doing the seemingly impossible. If they did that , they could use that narrative dynamic to sell one of the 6-8 PPVs — depending on how one feels about buying the Survivor Series and/or Extreme Rules every year– that don’t sell themselves, while making stars out of everyone involved. If only they did that, things would be so much better.

***

Odds that Dolph Ziggler would face Big E. this early in his IC championship reign for the belt at a PPV: 1,000 to 1. Odds that Damien Sandow beats Langston for the title at TLC: 1,000 to 1. Odds E. loses that belt to Dolph Ziggler at the end of his run: Pick ‘Em. Odds Ziggler faces E. for the Unified Undisputed World War Wrestling Championship Belt Title after Langston wins it: 1,000,000 to 1.

If they are doing “Summer Rae is a female version of Fandango in the ring” with this “dancing while wrestling” thing, it might be the best news in the history of wrestling, because Here Comes the Emmalution. But if they are just having her do this because that’s what they think ladywrestling should be, they might as well just keep the women of NXT down in Florida until they all retire.

Things that are beautiful, but not long for this world: sunsets, a refreshing breeze, #BadNewsBarrett

***

*** WARNING: YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE! *** PLEASE KEEP EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES *** Man, they should just give Daniel Bryan a shovel, so he can dig his own grave, amirite? Anyone who thinks this Wyatt storyline isn’t fantastic — even with the fits and starts with Daniel Bryan’s whereabouts that 8% of the crowd actually worries about — is a bummer on the level of people who that John Cena has been the most popular performer in the company for the last ten years because of politics. And those people are as depressing as Hulk Hogan being the most popular performer in the world for 20 years because of politics.

And in all this Bray Wyatt “join me” business, while it’s hard to say what’s going to happen, the real interesting dynamic is whether Wyatt is trying to con Bryan, or whether he just wants him to turn heel. The former screams “Hero’s Journey,” while the other leads to a feud with CM Punk — after he nobly dispatches the Shield by himself in a parallel storyline.

This is pretty much the perfect “midcard” feud: it has tons of intrigue and even more stakes, but doesn’t involve a major title, won’t be featured at the end of any show and never be truly resolved, and still serves major purposes in terms of narrative momentum for both characters, marks a fundamental shift in the direction of their careers and, most importantly, will lead to much better things in the future for everyone involved.

Like Andy said last week, this is all highly interesting stuff with huge stakes, and it should be clear that this would be bogged down if the WWE or WHC was involved, especially in the ramp up to the most important “WrestleMania season” ever. They’ve figured out a way, in a manner not unlike Community or Arrested Development, to not just mix meta-commentaries into the product as a nod to those “in on the joke”, but to debate the very notions that the commentaries are pointing at.

Wyatt talking about “taking down the system because they don’t know what they have in you” is the exact same idea as the Bluths complaining about cuts to housing orders that sounded suspiciously similar to the ones made by FOX regarding the number of episodes they wanted to produce.  By making this about existential ideas involved in the modern interpretation of wrestling by its most vocal fanbase — “us vs. them” and shadow politickings — it’s allowed the Reality Era-storytelling to be folded back into the standard tropes of the industry, something that the Attitude Era, like grunge, just never had in it.

What “happens” backstage become, more or less, a new wall of kayfabe, a new layer of storytelling, a new tool to be used to leverage butts into seats. And they are doing so by pushing the fourth wall against every screen they can get their hands on.

That this — the incorporation of formerly radical ideas by the “establishment” — is more often than not what happens after revolutions should not be missed. They — meaning the WWE — are finally calibrating the effect of the internet to a time before Cyber Sunday or even Taboo Tuesday, and that’s a good thing. It coming with more complaining than you can shake a stick at? Something we should be used to by now. *** WARNING: YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE! *** PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC MILKSHAKE ON YOUR WAY OUT***

WOAH. You can bury Edge and Chris Jericho, hotshot story lines to the top of the card before quickly discarding them in favor of much shinier new toys, and compare yourself to Harley Race and Hulk Hogan, but having Kane be a dick to Daniel Bryan is a bridge too far, Hunter.

***

As someone who has spent an entire life neck deep in white privilege — ICYMI: it’s great, for me anyways, thanks cultural hegemony! — it feels weird to get mildly indignant that a young man working toward his Ph. D is being put into a storyline with two of the most racial caricature-y characters in recent memory in which he’s been accused of stealing the others’ dance routine and companions, seemingly simply because they all happen to share a preponderance of melanin in their skin. But, yeah, this just feels kind of gross, even if it is just entertainment, and the all seem to A) not care about whatever weird racism pangs happen in my head and B) be genuinely enjoying themselves. The only saving grace is the the other guy in the feud (Tensai) was treated just as one-dimensional in Japan, so at least the U.S. isn’t the only one in the “depressing racial stereotypes” game, just the leader in the clubhouse.

Speaking of depressing racial stereotypes, if the WWE believes we are going to be fooled by this Sin Cara/Hunico switch just because it assumes we think all masked wrestler look alike, well … they are probably right.

***

And, finally, we’ve reached an impasse with the Shield six-man tags, as this was one of the first that felt “stale”. While it was a very good match with one or two spectacular moments, watching three guys work over one in the corner makes a lot more sense when it feels like they almost need to do it, not when it’s clear that one of them has beaten entire teams of other people by himself. Roman Reigns’ ascension seems like it will pretty much force the Shield to change how their matches are structured in order to keep the heat as the crowd builds anticipation for Reigns to go into full-blown destroyer mode after well-timed hot tags. Or, they could just keep running train.

The most important part of this match was not the re-dissolution of Kofi and Miz’s team or the solidification Ryback-Axel tag team, but the moment of self-actualization the two man achieved after they, as Jerry Lawler put it, “realized that maybe they weren’t Paul Heyman guys, but Ryback and Curtis Angl-Axel guys”. Namaste, Big Guys.

Ole!

***

Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate.

It’s so much fun to watch Antonio Cesaro to get moments of awesomeness like ending a “house of fire” hot tag with the sweet smell of Swiss Death.

***

I’m one of “those” people. I enjoy silly promos from Randy Orton about being people’s nightmares, I like when John Cena says “yadda yadda yadda, jack”, I even enjoy when he uses that silly finisher of his to put people through the table. And I’ve realized why: I like when the crowd reacts to things. And, when they are on, and put together in the right storyline, there is nothing on earth that the crowd reacts more to than Randy Orton and John Cena.

HAVING SAID THAT, if they do not end this thing with an undisputed champion, or at least one title — and it does not matter how they get there, even if it involves the return of the Yeti — they will have lost sight of what they are, and become what they hate. They’ll be WCW.

Watch, Skip or Skim: Spoiler Alert with “Angry” Andy (11/27-11/29)

spoiler_t

Over the course of seven days, there’s a lot of wrestling on TV. But only some of it is actually worth watching. That’s where Spoiler Alert comes in: we break down the spoilers of all of WWE’s pre-taped shows to let you know what you should watch, and which segments and full shows you should skim or skip. This week, WWE lays the groundwork for some questionable storylines, and hopes you can stomach a holiday-themed Smackdown!

Main Event

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 (spoilers via Wrestlezone.com)

Alberto Del Rio d Dolph Ziggler

I’d be willing to bet this is a pay-per-view quality match.  These are two of the most talented guys on the roster, even if they’re not in the roles they should be.  Del Rio needs someone who can make him look like a vicious killer, and Ziggler sells like a madman… this is good booking.

Damien Sandow d Santino

Reports say this one is a simple squash, which is unfortunate for Santino.  That said, Sandow really needs some wins, and a loss will never hurt Santino.  That said, I’d rather see this match get 10 minutes on Raw, with the same outcome.

TRIPLE FREAKING H makes a rare Main Event appearance.  The King of Kings cuts a promo backstage, saying he wants one WWE Champion, and to unify the belts.  I like this, because it’s something important happening on an “unimportant” show, completely separate from the immediate legitimacy Triple H’s presence already adds to the show.

Kofi Kingston d Fandango

This match can only serve one purpose- to further the feud between Kofi and The Miz.  Hopefully The Miz is on commentary (said no one, ever) so he can help push the feud on the mic.

SKIM this show.  Del Rio-Ziggler should be great.  The Sandow match is totally inconsequential.  Triple H will be a special “A-Show” treat on the C-program, and Kingston-Miz is a solid mid-card feud in the making,

SUPERSTARS

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(spoilers via Wrestlezone.com)

Hey, remember Superstars?  Apparently, it airs Fridays on Hulu Plus.  This week’s show  was taped before Raw on Long Island, which means the crowd had to be REALLY hot for…

Zack Ryder d Fandango

Long Island loves Zack Ryder.  If he’s not on the show, the crowd chants “We Want Ryder!” all friggin’ night – so WWE got his appearance out of the way early.  If these guys are smart, they went Memphis for this bad boy.  The crowd is going to be hot either way, and it’s early in the show – take it easy and use the crowd to tell your story.

The Usos d The Real Americans

A friend at the show said this match was really good.  Considering who’s involved, I have no problem believing it.  Hopefully the crowd is just as good.

SKIM this show.  Watch or skip the opener, depending on your feelings on the guys involved.  But there’s no excuse to miss The Usos vs Cesaro & Swagger, on a show where they probably spent 15 minutes having an awesome match.

SMACKDOWN

WWE-Smackdown

(Spoilers via LordsofPain.net)

Randy Orton & Renee Young are in the ring, forcing Nick to watch the opening segment. (Editor’s Note: He’s right.) Orton brags about Survivor Series but walks out when asked about TLC.  Apparently, we won’t be talking about that OTHER World Champion.

Vickie Guerrero is hosting a Thanksgiving-themed eating competition backstage.  If this doesn’t end with her wearing a face-full of mashed potatoes, then I just don’t know wrestling anymore.

Mark Henry d Curtis Axel.  Quick match, with Big E Langston and Ryback ringside.  I hope this is leading somewhere.  4-way for the title at TLC?

Titus O’Neil wins the eating competition.  Millions of drumsticks, millions of drumsticks.  For some reason, victory here earns him a match against Antonio Cesaro, later in the broadcast.

Los Matadores & El Torito d The Plymouth Rockers

Get it?  Because it’s Thanksgiving.  Prepare to watch a midget bull take out three dudes dressed as pilgrims.

Tons of Funk d R-Truth & Xavier Woods

Apparently, Brodus Clay was upset that Woods stole his theme song, back-up dancers, and spot on TV.  The only way I’m ok with putting the floundering joke of a babyface tag team over the fresh talent from NXT will be if Clay and Sweet-T are turning heel.  But even then, there’s nowhere for them to go.  They’re not surpassing The Shield, The Wyatt Family, or The Real Americans.  They need to legitimize Woods – not have him squashed by the fat jobber tag team.

Bray Wyatt says Daniel Bryan is safe with him.  He says Bryan entered a man, but will leave a monster.  I’m ok with this.

CM Punk and Renee Young are in the ring.  Nick turns up his TV.  The Punker says he hasn’t heard from Daniel Bryan since he was kidnapped by the Wyatts.  He says he doesn’t know why The Shield attacked him on Raw… but thinks maybe they’re following orders from The Authority.

Antonio Cesaro d Titus O’Neil by DQ, when Darren Young interferes.  Yes, the heel won by DQ when the face tag partner interfered.  After the match, Titus pukes in JBL’s cowboy hat (HE ATE TOO MUCH.  GET IT?), and puts the hat on Michael Cole’s head.  Then he pukes on Zeb.  Little kids go nuts.  Everyone else reaches for the remote.

Goldust & Cody Rhodes d Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns in a tag title match.  The Rhodes boys win by DQ when Dean Ambrose interferes.  Punk comes out to clear house with a chair.  Then Vickie Guerrero comes out, and channels the spirit of Teddy Long.

Goldust, Cody Rhodes & CM Punk vs The Shield ends in a no contest when the lights go out.  The Wyatts are in the ring when they come back on.  The Usos and Rey Mysterio come out to even the odds.  Vickie comes back out once again, Playa, leading to….

Goldust, Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio & The Usos d The Shield & The Wyatt Family.

This cluster-f ends when Mysterio hits the 619 on Erick Rowan, who then eats a GTS from CM Punk.  Crowd goes home happy.

SKIM this show.  The tag team gauntlet of exponential growth sounds fun.  The Tons of Funk-Truth/Woods angle could turn into something.  Same with the IC title picture.  Everything else sounds like painful holiday show filler.  DVR is your friend.

@AndyMillerJMS

Bang for Your Buck PPV Review: Survivor Series 2013

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The WWE celebrated the 27th edition of the Survivor Series  in Boston last night, and well, at least nobody got screwed?

For those who missed the Hell in a Cell review, the criteria for these reviews is simple: “Did I get my money’s worth?” in terms of the individual matches and the PPV as a whole, using the tried and true “what was this trying to do, and how well did it succeed” test of “quality”.

Each match is rated plus or minus on a sliding scale between 1 and -1, with matches worth multiple rewatches being +1, a just-quite-PPV quality match +/- 0,  and things that make me reevaluate being a fan earning up to a -1 score. The higher the number, the better Bang For Your Buck on the PPV. We’ll (eventually) keep a running tally for each PPV, and a handy list of PPVs we review to give you (and us) a better idea of what we thought was worth the time to check out in terms of matches and PPVs. As for the scale, it’s not particularly complicated but here are the basic levels (on a per-match basis):

Review Guide

As always, we’re going to be using what I said during the What’s the Worst That Could Happen preview to see how close I was to “predicting” what unfolded, and how it stacked up to my beliefs of what they were “trying” to do. Enjoy!

The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston (Kickoff Match)

Best Case Scenario: The inevitable “You Wanna Know Why?” promo is short, the match is long enough to make both guys not look like, well, themselves. Miz  fakes an injury, then leaves  for six months to go shoot the direct-to-video sequel to the ABC Family Original movie The Christmas Bounty.

Although this doesn’t count for the PPV’s overall Buck Bang (I guess?), I’d be remiss to not mention how very solid this match was. Both competitors looked, especially before the commercial break  — yes, I know, but at least it was doing the free part — like the best possible version of himself. That they teased a Kofi heel turn was actually exciting, even if it didn’t make a ton of sense.

Rhodes Brothers, Usos and Rey vs. The Real Shield Americans in a Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Match

What Nick Wants to Happen: A match half as good as the main event from this week’s Raw.

What Will Happen: The heels win, because of dissension from the face team. Rey Mysterio gets speared in half.

While dissension from the face team is always fun, I should have predicted “The heels win, because Roman Reigns” because “future megastar destroys entire group of people” is definitely better than the already super great “The Usos are feuding with the Rhodes boys”. This entire thing was beautiful, and while “the story” itself for the match wasn’t quite to the level of the main event from this week’s Raw, the execution of last night’s story — Roman Reigns is a grown ass man —  was as close to perfect as possible. Everyone got a proper spotlight, and while Reigns finished the match (and maybe the night) looking like the best man, everyone looked good to great, and that’s all you can ask for from anything, and especially a match like this. That it was in-and-of-itself an insanely enjoyable a-move-a-minute-without-being-a-spot fest  for a full 20 minutes before that almost seems unfair.

These are things that only the traditional Survivor Series matches can do, and why, for all the wandering away from the original conceit, they try to come back to it at least once every year and treat it like it’s one their most important shows.

Match +1.0

Big E. Langston (C) vs. Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship

Best Case Scenario: Curtis Axel actually looks like he deserved to be Intercontinental Champion for the past few months, but the rising star of Big  E. burns just a little too brightly for Curtis to overcome. Also, Big E. makes the ref count to five. That would be awesome.

Although the crowd was the dribbling shits for this match, the performances were every bit as good as I had hoped. Big E. is a super duper star in the making, even if his post-match “I’m pandering to you” pander promo fell a little flat. Curtis Axel never really looked like he had a chance in this match, but he looked as good — if not better — than he looked the entire time he held the belt. Just being able to stay in the ring with someone like Big E. and not look like a scared little boy as 290 pounds flies all around the ring at you is an underrated skill, one that Curtis Axel did a yeoman’s job of projecting. That he got in most of his offense, and even a Perfectplex, means while they may not think he’s Intercontinental Title material, they definitely think he has a future. Not a masterpiece, but everything it needed to be and a little more.

Match +.4 | PPV 1.4

Total Divas vs. The Non-Total Divas in a “Traditional” 7-on-7 Survivor Series Match

What Nick Wants to Happen: Anything interesting at all the entire match.

This was not a “good” match, but it definitely wasn’t bad, and the “story” of the match was well told/mildly interesting. Which is nice. That they are turning Summer Rae into “girl who just dances”? Not so much. But pick your battles, and all that.

Match +/-0 | PPV 1.4

Ryback v. Mark Henry

My love for both of these performers is well-documented and knows no bounds. As Andy, who I watched the show with, put it: this works way better with Henry as the face. Now, Mark Henry could wrestle Khali and I think I would find it enjoyable, but him getting a solid 10-minute match with a guy that can do things like actually suplex him is pretty much what you want from a return match with him. This isn’t the type of match you show people who don’t like wrestling why it’s so awesome (see: the first match on the card), but as someone who paid for the PPV, it’s still nice to watch two guys Hoss it Out.

Match +.4 | PPV 1.8

 John Cena (C) vs. Alberto del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship

What Will Happen: Cena will overcome impossible odds and beat Alberto del Rio with one arm. The injured one.

There’s a difference between being “predictable” and “easy to predict”. The result of John Cena matches are “predictable”, in the sense that it’s almost always clear when he goes to lose a match, which is almost never. Given the binary option of “win” or “lose”, “predicting” what’s going to happen in a John Cena match is simple. Being “predictable” is fine: Batman and Superman are predictable. But, being “easy to predict” means “I know what’s going to happen in the match, and more importantly, at the end” and that’s where the problems happen. John Cena is a superhero and we should not expect him to shockingly lose, pretty much ever. Him winning the match after power bombing Albert del Rio with his bad arm is not something we should expect to see. When it happens, it should be magical and inspiring, not “oh, of course.” “Oh, of course” is kryptonite for performers on Cena’s level, and it’s something he’s done a very good job of staying away from since he feuded with Punk two years ago. And while this match was totally enjoyable, it had potential to be really great, and more importantly, much less easy to predict.

Match +.4 | PPV 2.2

CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan

What Nick Wants to Happen: The Beard and the Best to take an epic shitkicking, but like Bret Hart and Timex before them, manage to take a licking and keep on ticking.

What Will Happen: Probably something close to what I want to happen. I’m special and Vince McMahon loves me.

Like the 5-on-5 match, this was exactly what it needed to be, and maybe a little more. Erick Rowan, and especially Luke Harper, are special talents and this match was a showcase for that. All four men looked as good as was humanly possible and even the pre-match vignette/Bray Wyatt promo was the type of stuff that makes him one of the most talked about superstars in years despite wrestling only sporadically since his debut/injury. There are teams that can stay together  forever, and while I would love to see Luke or Erick make it to the next level as a singles competitor, the Wyatt boys are definitely a pairing that I would not mind working together for a long long time. And while I’d prefer both of them to get back to singles  competition as soon as possible, this detour through the swamp is exactly what they needed in order to refresh themselves for the ramp up to WrestleMania season.

Match +.7 | PPV 2.9

Randy Orton (C) vs. Big Show for the WWE Title

Best Case Scenario: Randy Orton pulls out all the sto(m)ps as he reverts completely back into his serial killer/Legacy period. Triple H doesn’t come down to ringside, and nobody cheats.

There’s definitely something to be said for what they are doing with Randy Orton right now that I actually like more than almost anything on the show right now: they are making him crazy. Some of it is subtle, like the incompetence of Brad Maddox, Vickie Guerrero and Kane getting Randy Orton into all different types of fights, and some of it is glaringly overt, like the constant challenges from H and Stephanie for Randy to pick his game up.

With the way this match was booked, and the way that Orton played it, they are really building up the “heavy is the head that wears the crown” aspect of his title reign, which is wonderful, at least in the sense that it gives him a purpose beyond “thing the Authority uses to shank you in the prison cafeteria”. It also creates tension between Triple H, Stephanie and all of the members of the administration, including the Shield. But it begs a serious question: Why?

Why aren’t they just having Randy Orton be Murder Death Killer? This isn’t a rhetorical question, either. If the goal of this match/end of PPV angle with Cena was to get us to ask confused questions AND make sure we tune into Raw tonight, they did a GREAT job. But, if the goal was to create excitement beyond confused curiosity? Not so much.

Match +.6

Your Mileage May Vary on the Divas match, but for the most part, this was a very good card that did a lot to move a number of story lines/characters forward, helped establish a few performers — — Big E. and the Wyatts — as formidable competitors, while planting the seeds for Roman Reigns to be made king of the world. If the main event finish didn’t feel so wonky, this could have been the best PPV we reviewed, but because of what could most generously described as an “meh” finish, it’s toward the back of the middle of the pack for  the full card, even if it finds itself much closer to the top of what we’ve reviewed when it comes to a per match basis. While the matches on an individual level were  all PPV-quality, considering the PPV ended essentially 20  minutes short makes me feel like — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — having the Miz vs. Kofi on the actual card would have made me feel like I’d paid for a steal of a card, as opposed to one I just simply wasn’t disappointed in.

PPV 3.5 | Match Avg. .5

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?: Survivor Series 2013

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It’s Survivor Series Sunday, which means it’s time for us to ask: “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”.  And, because we love you, you’ll also be getting a PPV Predictions episode of Headlock’d fresh from the oven this afternoon. All of this (for free!) before we drop our world famous Bang for Your Buck PPV review in your lap on Monday morning.

To make sure you don’t miss anything, follow us (or me) on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Now that we’ve gotten the shameless plugs out of the way, let’s figure out What’s the Worst That Could Happen tonight in Boston:

The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston (Kickoff Match)

Best Case Scenario: The inevitable “You Wanna Know Why?” promo is short, the match is long enough to make both guys not look like, well, themselves. Miz  fakes an injury, then leaves  for six months to go shoot the direct-to-video sequel to the ABC Family Original movie The Christmas Bounty.

Worst Case Scenario: The E uses the Miz’s heel turn as an excuse to show literally dozens of clips from the ABC Family Original movie The Christmas Bounty during Miz TV, with a victory in this match as the starting off point of the “push”.

What Nick Wants to Happen: Not to be impossibly bored/angry I spent time watching something I didn’t pay  for that’s supposed  to be an advertisement for the something I did pay  for.

What Will Happen: Impossible boredom and anger.

Big E. Langston (C) vs. Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship

Best Case Scenario: Curtis Axel actually looks like he deserved to be Intercontinental Champion for the past few months, but the rising star of Big  E. burns just a little too brightly for Curtis to overcome. Also, Big E. makes the ref count to five. That would be awesome.

Worst Case Scenario: Big E. or Curtis Axel get hurt. Any other scenario is fundamentally okay. Even Curtis getting the belt back.

What Nick Wants to Happen: Less Ultimate Warrior vs. Honky Tonk Man, more Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage.

What Will Happen: Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude

Total Divas vs. The Non-Total Divas in a “Traditional” 7-on-7 Survivor Series Match

Best Case Scenario: The heels sweep, Kaitlyn stabs AJ. All of this happens in under five minutes. 

Worst Case Scenario: The faces win decisively in a half-hour match consisting entirely of butts-to-the-face and poorly executed snapmares.

What Nick Wants to Happen: Anything interesting at all the entire match.

What Will Happen: Nothing interesting. At all. The entire match.

Rhodes Brothers, Usos and Rey vs. The Real Shield Americans in a Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Match

Best Case Scenario: All the members of both teams each get a spotlight in the match, which eats up the middle hour of the show, Usos turn heel on Rhodes Brothers, starting the second best feud ever. The Real Americans  turn on the Shield, starting the best feud ever.

Worst Case Scenario: Rey Mysterio wrestles the entire match, not tagging anyone in the entire time, 619’s the entire heel team at once before pinning them all simultaneously.

What Nick Wants to Happen: A match half as good as the main event from this week’s Raw.

What Will Happen: The heels win, because of dissension from the face team. Rey Mysterio gets speared in half.

 John Cena (C) vs. Alberto del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship

Best Case Scenario: The crowd  in Boston actually gets into a match with their “hometown” hero, John Cena. Alberto del Rio cleanly beats Cena, but after knocking out the referee as part of getting Cena in the position to lose, is then given an AA so powerful it A) looks like it might actually hurt instead of feeling like your being thrown around in a pool and B) allows Ricardo to come out and “take advantage” of del Rio, setting up an AWESOME match next month at TLC.

Worst Case Scenario: Del Rio is given an AA so powerful it A) looks like it might actually hurt and B) finishes the match in five minutes, followed by John Cena giving a 20-minute speech to the crowd where he changes his voice to sound like he’s from Southie.

What Nick Wants to Happen: A main event quality match, even if it’s going to be a Raw-quality finish.

What Will Happen: Cena will overcome impossible odds and beat Alberto del Rio with one arm. The injured one.

CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan

Best Case Scenario: Mega Power seeds are planted between Bryan and Punk, who narrowly defeat the Dueling Banjos Band after a miscommunication nearly costs them the match.

Worst Case Scenario: This match gets shortened because the Diva’s Match ran long.

What Nick Wants to Happen: The Beard and the Best to take an epic shitkicking, but like Bret Hart and Timex before them, manage to take a licking and keep on ticking.

What Will Happen: Probably something close to what I want to happen. I’m special and Vince McMahon loves me.

Randy Orton (C) vs. Big Show for the WWE Title

Best Case Scenario: Randy Orton pulls out all the sto(m)ps as he reverts completely back into his serial killer/Legacy period. Triple H doesn’t come down to ringside, and nobody cheats.

Worst Case Scenario: Everyone cheats.

What Nick Wants to Happen: A match with a clean finish where Randy Orton wins, since the storyline implications in this match otherwise are either silly or super depressing, depending on how you look at it.

What Will Happen: Orton retains. Probably with help from Kane and Brad Maddox.

12 Monkey Tag Match in a Barrel: Raw Regurgitated, 11/18

12Monkeys

MR. Brandon Stroud has been on this much longer, but they’ve clearly started to lay the major groundwork for “Randy Orton is not putting up with shit from ‘The Authority’ anymore” storyline. If they can manage to do that and still allow Orton to be a crazy person, I’ll enjoy it. If this means a reversion to “What’s my line, Sheamus?”, I’m going to be PISSED.

Vickie Guerrero’s crowning achievement in her career is either “WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU, VICKIE?!” or her sheepish “excuse me” from the opening segment of Raw. It’s six of one, half-a-dozen of another.

Brad Maddox can’t do much in the ring, but he sells like the World Champion of getting his ass kicked. It’s different that Dolph Ziggler’s “Rubberman” selling or Seth Rollins’ stuntman bumps, but it’s just as valid and wonderful. Remember, nobody took a shit kicking like Bret Hart. And nobody takes getting thrown over the top rope to the outside like Brad Maddox.

***

Either everyone who didn’t see Big E. Langston winning the IC Title after immediately after they realized the E had remixed his entrance music is a dirty mark; or, I watch way too much professional wrestling. I don’t want to think about the latter, so I’ll just assume it’s the former.

And, seriously, if he’s not the next John Cena, I’ll eat whatever stupid trucker hat they make for him.

If this were Spoiler Alert, that music chairs segment would read:

SKIP this segment because … listen, abortion jokes are never funny, so I’m not going to make one here. But, man, was that an abortion.

***

Big Show isn’t the presence that Andre was, but he’s still on the Great side of the ledger as a “wrestler you pay to see”. That’s not to say he’s a great technician, but that there is more to being worthy of paying to see for a sizable portion of the audience than that. Those people are kind of silly for the most part, but, in matches like this, where he gets himself and Ryback over as serious contenders not to be trifled with — a week after The Ryback lost to The R. Truth via rollup — is something that not many people can do, and almost no one has ever been as good at while also being that size.

This felt oddly predictable, not just because whatever the heck it was they were alluding to during commentary, but because this seemed like the worst possible scenario for both Kofi Kingston and The Miz. As a heel, The Miz is a non-Cena WHC-contender (emphasis on the contender part). As a face, he is Kofi Kingston.

This AJ Lee – Vickie “match” just seemed weird, and oddly reminiscent of the type of inside stuff that doesn’t play with the live crowd, especially when that can’t bump like Bobby Heenan. This may have been her worst showing ever in a ring, but at least she took the Black Widow like a champ. Also, Tamina is all of the bad parts of Diesel and like one of the good parts: she has interesting hair.

***

If they make Dolph Ziggler start acting like Jeff Jarrett, we’re going to re-run #JeffJarrettWeek, but add early-to-mid 90’s catchphrases to the article and make the pictures look they were postcards sent from Bayside High so our beloved readers better understand what they have in front of them.

Everyone understands that John Cena didn’t actually need his arm in a sling, right? Is his arm “hurt”? Sure. But it more than seems like the whole point was that the sling was a ruse. One can argue that’s not a particularly good thing for a face to do, but to say that he beat Alberto del Rio “with one arm” means you should pay more attention to the story. This is Inception, folks: they are literally explaining every single part as they go along so no one gets lost.

Serious Question: Will @XavierWoodsPHD cause the E to downplay Damien Sandow’s intelligence or will they just start a feud with the two immediately about “Who’s the smartest man in the WWE?”. Gross either way.

I didn’t mind the Florida Georgia Line performance. I’ve heard the song a bunch of times before, and I don’t mind giving the WWE an occasional variety show vibe every couple of months. Especially for the go-home show before a “Big Four” PPV. Just don’t make a habit of … really? Michael Strahan? Goddamnit.

***

***WARNING YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE***PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES*** If you are trying to construct a go-home show, this is a pretty perfect way to do it, especially for Survivor Series. Most of the questions coming into the show — like who was going to be the mystery partner in the “Traditional Survivor Series” match — were answered by the end of this match. And more importantly, they finished it in the hottest way possible, with one of the new rising stars of the company having a extremely hot crowd chanting along with him and seven of his friends. A lot of the things that happened on this show seemed important, and nothing felt more important than the main event. That match, a 12-man tag affair, was something that would have felt impossible a year ago. But in the last year, we’ve seen a revitalized tag team division, the re-introduction of stables of factions, the Wyatt Family, the Authority, two (very short) Daniel Bryan WWE title reigns (and more importantly WWE title match victories), the rise of the Rhodes family & the Usos,  and most importantly, the Shield. There are definitely going to be people out there who didn’t enjoy this show, and I understand why, but I found myself cheering and clapping at all of the odds and ends that helped create the whirlwind ended that you bet sent the crowd home happy, both in the arena and on television. Which is the whole point. ***WARNING YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE***PLEASE ENJOY YOUR SONIC MILKSHAKE ON YOUR WAY OUT***

Watch, Skim or Skip: Spoiler Alert w/ “Angry” Andy (11/13-11/15)

spoiler_t

Over the course of seven days, there’s a lot of wrestling on TV. But only some of it is actually worth watching. That’s where Spoiler Alert comes in: we break down the spoilers of all of WWE’s pre-taped shows to let you know what you should watch, and which segments and full shows you should skim or skip. This week, Bray Wyatt and his Dueling Banjoes Band wreak havoc on  SmackDown, and Main Event manages to make less sense than NXT only being available on Hulu.   

Main Event

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(spoilers via LordsOfPain.net)

This is usually a pretty good, logical show.  This week?  I’m not so sure.

Natalya d AJ Lee via DQ (DIVAS TITLE MATCH)

That’s right; we’re starting this bad boy with an poorly advertised Divas title match — there was a convoluted callback on Raw where they briefly showed AJ getting Sharpshootered by Natalya two weeks ago on SmackDown —  featuring the most popular diva since Trish Stratus.

Anyway, Nattie takes the win when Tamina interferes, and AJ runs away through the crowd with the title. Hopefully this angle is acknowledged on a future show, Nattie gets a little revenge on Tamina, and an honest title shot against AJ Lee. I won’t hold my breath.

Justin Gabriel d Tyson Kidd

Everything about this match is wrong. EVERYTHING. For starters, Kidd JUST CAME BACK from injury, and has been kinda-pushed on Raw for the last two weeks. Having him job out on the show nobody watches is mind-boggling.

Secondly, before Kidd got hurt, these guys were teaming regularly. Why are they wrestling each other? Why aren’t they taking on The Real Americans? The Shield? The Wyatts? The Ascension? Why are they fighting EACHOTHER, WITH NO BUILDUP?

Third, both of these guys, last I checked, were faces. Their styles pretty much demand it. Either of these guys playing the heel….sucks. It just sucks.

3MB d R-Truth & The Prime Time Players

You read that correctly. The guys who job twice a week to a team with a tiny bull mascot just pulled off a win. Who’d they beat? The guy who JUST BEAT RYBACK CLEAN. Who else? The team that, just a few short months ago, seemed destined for the tag titles. So much for THAT face turn.

SKIP this show… the booking is illogical and the results are inconsequential. Watching this show would be a mentally-exhausting waste of time.

SmackDown

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 (spoilers via WrestleZone.com)

Main event is announced as CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs Ryback and Curtis Axel. Considering what Heyman had to say about Ryback on Raw, I see this show ending very badly for Mr. Joe Hennig.

Luke Harper & Erick Rowan d The Usos

Bray cuts a promo after the match, and is attacked by an Uso. Wyatt has him visit Sister Abigail, then finishes his promo – promising victory against Punk and D-Bry at Survivor Series.

Ryback is backstage. The former Paul Heyman guy doesn’t want to team with the least-successful Paul Heyman guy ever.  Who would?

Natalya d Tamina

Oh look, follow-up to that disaster on Main Event. AJ Lee gets knocked off the apron. Hopefully this is going somewhere, considering all three of these women can actually, you know, wrestle. The only way Nattie will ever get the title, though, is if she turns around and hands it to Summer Rae. The clueless announcers call her Mrs. Fandango. I call her the future Mrs. Angry Andy—and the future Divas Champion.

R-Truth & The Prime Time Players d 3MB

This does NOT excuse what you did on Main Event. Period.

John Cena d Alberto Del Rio in an ARM WRESTLING MATCH

This one was 2 out of 3 falls, so Cena won 2-0. Naturally. Del Rio says “oh yeah?” and puts him through a table.  Nothing builds the reputation of a damaged title while simultaneously selling a pay-per-view like an arm wrestling match (WITH WEP-UNS.)

Cameron & Naomi d The Bella Twins

Were Asksana and Alicia Fox busy? At least the babyfaces won, I guess. Oh, wait. They are all faces, but less over than HBAJ and Sheisel.

The Great Khali d Hunico & Camacho

Welcome back, Hunico!  Maybe you’d be better off taking some piggy-back bookings from Chris Hero.

CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs Ryback & Curtis Axel

This one ends in a no contest, when the Wyatt Family attacks.  The lights go out, and when they come on, all former WWE Champions have disappeared.  The Wyatts still need to complete their Deliverance roleplay, so make Ryback and Axel squeal like piggies instead.  Punk and Bryan come out from under the ring and attack Rowan and Harper.  Bray Wyatt escapes up the ramp.

SKIM this show.  DVR is your friend.  This one starts and ends strong with a LOT of filler sandwiched in between.

@AndyMillerJMS