The 3 Count
Lewbs WWE SummerSlam 2011 Review

After a bit of inactivity here at The 3 Count, we’ve got a good ol’ read for ya! Lewis gives his thoughts, opinions and review of The Biggest Event of the Summer and runs down an event that sees WWE continuing it’s trend of getting good again.

Okay, so I have finally got round to watching Summerslam in it’s entirety and I gotta say it was a really good show, bucking the trend of the big Pay Per Views being disappointing. A lot of points to cover throughout the night so I’ll get right to it!

Match #1: Miz, R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio vs Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, and Kofi Kingston

We open up the show with a match that wasn’t originally on the card. The Miz came out to talk about stealing the PPV until R-Truth interrupts. Truth talks about spiders, Cee Lo Green, and conspiracy. Truth is the only guy I know that can talk about all of those things at the same time and still look crazier than before? The match is underway. I thought this was an ok match. There was nothing about it that was amazing, but I felt it was a good enough match to get you into the PPV. There was a ton of chaos at the end of this match. The finish comes when Rey hits 619 on Truth, but Morrison hits a crossbody on Del Rio. Miz is about to interrupt Mysterio’s finisher, but Kofi takes him out. After all of this, Mysterio hits the Top Rope Splash on Truth and wins the match. It makes sense for Mysterio to win this match since he has a title match tomorrow night on Raw, so I am fine with this. Again, I bet people will complain how there should have been other titles matches like a US Title or an IC title. Well, Night of Champions is the next PPV and they have to save something for that PPV. Gotta keep something in the back pocket for down the road, right? The match was filler, but it was a decent filler at that.

Winner via pinfall: Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, and Kofi Kingston

Lewbs Rating: 6/10

Backstage where CM Punk and John Laurinaitis are talking. Johnny Ace demands an apology for the kick Punk did earlier in the week. Punk is laughing this entire time and actually gives him a pretty sarcastic apology. Johnny Ace leaves, but for the first time in aaaages Stephanie McMahon shows up on WWE TV! She wishes Punk good luck for tonight, but Punk can’t seem to buy this. They banter for a while until she wants a hand shake, but Punk says he knows where that hand has been and leaves. There is more to discuss here, but I will wait until a little later in the review.

Match #2: Sheamus vs Mark Henry

For most of this match, Henry was dominating it. Eventually, the Celtic Warrior would fight back and try to make this a close contest. It wasn’t an amazing match, but what Henry match is? I think considering their sizes, this was an ok match. WWE has to be doing something right if we are paying this close attention to Henry matches. The finish comes when Sheamus Brogue Kicks Henry out of the ring. He tries to get him back in the ring, but Henry grabs him and slams his back against the padding. He finally slams Sheamus through the barricade wall. Henry gets back in the ring and the count is still going. It looks like the audience is really getting behind Sheamus and he is almost there, but just can’t make it back in time and Henry wins via countout. Again, I have a feeling people will complain about this finish, but here is the way I look at it. Up to this point, Henry has looked like a beast. He has faced off against Big Show and Kane and not even them could take him down. Then Sheamus appears and Henry wins via a countout. That basically tells me (at least in terms of storyline) that Sheamus pushed Henry to the limit and Henry barely escaped. This definitely sets up a rematch down the road, and maybe then we will see Sheamus pick up the clean win. And I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing another Sheamus/Henry match because the two work pretty well together. 

Winner via countout: Mark Henry

Lewbs Rating: 6/10

Backstage interview with Christian. He talks about how he has a plan and compares himself to Harry Potter because he can make magic happen. He also refers to Orton as Cowboys and Aliens, meaning he is overrated. Then Cee Lo Green came out to sing a couple of songs. Not a fan of the man tbh, so didn’t pay attention.

Match #3: Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix for the Divas Championship

Eve and Natalya were at ringside for this match. They didn’t add anything to this match, so it was kinda pointless to have them there. This match went about the way I predicted. I said in the SD review for this week that the match would feature Beth dominating the majority of it, but Kelly sneaks out with a rollup to set up a rematch. Well, that’s exactly what happened. Kelly did botch up the head scissors attempt in the early going, but I suppose that is what happens when she spins around Air Man before releasing it. Other than that, I didn’t notice any major botches. The finish comes when Beth is about to hit Glam Slam, but Kelly sneaks a rollup and escapes. This setups a rematch for down the road since a rollup isn’t a convincing victory. My prediction is before or at NoC, Kelly drops the title. I noticed towards the end of the match that the audience was starting to take a liking to Kelly. Did anyone else think the Los Angeles crowd was a bit disappointing tonight? I know its going to be tough to top the Chicago audience, but this audience was very mixed throughout the night and really didn’t have a lot of energy at the end of the show. 

Winner via pinfall and still Divas Champ: Kelly Kelly

Lewbs Rating: 3/10 (If there was a separate way of rating Divas matches I’d probably give it a 7.)

Backstage where Stephanie is seen coming out of John Cena’s locker room. Where is Truth when you need him…

Speaking of Truth, he’s in the next backstage scene. Truth is talking to Jimmy Hart about the conspiracy while Jimmy is saying he understands what he’s saying and thinks he needs a manager to guide him to the top. He wants to help Truth and it they are both on the same page. Truth then realizes his name is Jimmy and now thinks he’s Little Jimmy. He instantly chases Hart away and then he leaves. He actually passed by Ron Artest and his daughter wondering what was that all about. Just a throw away comedy scene. I thought it was pretty funny. 

Match #4: Daniel Bryan vs Wade Barrett

I was worried about this matchup. The reason being that Bryan and Wade have different in ring styles and not sure the chemistry would be there. Then again, I am also aware that Bryan is a great in-ring performer and can make a good match happen. This was a pretty damn good match that was given a decent amount of time. I think they got a chance to show off what both guys are capable of doing. I love the Side Slam Wade pulls off since there was a lot of action to build it up and it look devastating. Bryan does his best Captain Falcon impression by doing a charging knee attack. Bryan almost had the match when he locked in the Le Bell Lock, but Wade gets to the ropes. The finish comes when Wade pushes Bryan off the top rope and his cash and prizes are hanging on the ropes. Wade follows up with a top rope clotheslines, hits Waste Land, and wins the match cleanly. The way this match was going, it could have gone either way. I thought it was pretty interesting to have Wade win, but I actually agree with it. I have said since the beginning of the year that Barrett has lost a lot of momentum and he needs to get back on track. A victory tonight against a determined Bryan will hopefully get him back on the right track. As far as Bryan goes, the lose does hurt his stock a bit. However, it will be a while until Bryan is going to cash in MITB and they can still build him up properly to lead up towards the title. A small bump on the road for Bryan while we could be seeing Wade back on the rise. This also leads to the question if Bryan will lose his MITB briefcase to Wade, but I guess we will have to wait and see. 

Winner via pinfall: Wade Barrett

Lewbs Rating: 8/10

Match #5: Christian vs Randy Orton; No Holds Barred Match for the WHC

Before the match started, Christian is on the mic. He says his best friend Edge is going to be in his corner. Edge arrives and says while he agrees that Christian got a raw deal for defending the title in a few days after winning, he has done nothing but bitch and moan about losing. He says Christian is way better than this and he is disappointed in him. He says he will always be his best friend, but he is a whining bitch and leaves. Was nice for a lil appearance from Edge, but I thought Christian was going to have another trick up his sleeve. We finally get to the match and…..holy crap. This match was unbelievable. Randy and Christian always put up a good showing, and this might have been the best match in the rivalry. This was hands down the Match of the Night in my book. Lots of good stuff to see in this match. Christian choked out Orton with a kendo stick. Orton also did a devastating Irish Whip onto the steel steps. This one looked really brutal. Of course, it isn’t a WWE PPV without the Spanish Announce table being destroyed. Orton RKOs Christian through the table. They are back in the ring and Christian finally hits the Killswitch, but only a two count. Christian goes for a con-chair-to attack, but misses and Orton sends Christian over the top rope and through a table. He eventually gets him back in the ring and slams him through another table. Orton also hit a DDT off a trash can and he finally ends the match by hitting an RKO off the steel steps. Damn, do you think that was enough Orton? I am surprised Christian is still able to walk after all of those attacks. How is Orton not arrested for manslaughter after tonight? Oh well, just another example of wrestling logic. Both guys really left it all in the ring and it was a fantastic match. I have said in the past I am not a fan of hardcore matches since they go overboard with weapons and the blood spots, but this one was different. This match had the right balance of weapon use and there was even a little blood on Orton’s hand and mouth to add something to it. There was a moment during the match where Christian was starting to get some love from the audience. I thought that was pretty interesting. Overall, a great match that most likely ends the rivalry between the two. Based on Barrett’s performance, he might be the next guy to challenge Orton. I admit I am not the biggest Orton fan, but I thought this was a great match and I actually don’t have too much of a problem with him winning the title. How about that?

Winner via pinfall and NEW WHC: Randy Orton

Lewbs Rating: 9.5/10

Match #6: CM Punk vs John Cena for the WWE Undisputed Championship

There was a mixed reaction for both guys. This was a very technical match in the beginning, but that would eventually change. This was a good match, but not as good as the one in MITB. I always say its difficult to top the original. I think what didn’t help was the audience. I don’t know about you, but I felt the audience was dead at times and almost didn’t know how to react to a spot. I always say what makes a match a classic is the audience participation. I knew it would be a challenge to top the Chicago audience, but LA wasn’t into this match as I would have hoped. Maybe they were all tired out from the Christian/Orton match because they were really invested in that match, but not as much as this one. Still, this was a great match and if it weren’t for the well done Christian/Orton match, this would be the match of the night. There was a moment where both guys locked in their submission finishers, but nothing. Both guys hit their finishers, but still nothing. Punk even paid homage to the late Macho Man Randy Savage with a Flying Elbow drop, but still a two count. The finish comes when Punk hits the GTS for the second time and pins Cena. Trips makes the count, but Cena’s foot was on the rope. He doesn’t see it and Punk has won the Undisputed Championship. When I first saw Cena’s foot on the rope, I figured there had to be more to all of this. Well, it isn’t over yet…

Winner via pinfall and NEW WWE Undisputed Champion: CM Punk

Lewbs Rating: 8/10 (I didn’t like the foot on the rope finish as it was only a ploy to keep Cena in the main event picture AS ALWAYYYYS)

Punk is celebrating in the ring. Cena discusses things with Trips, but he eventually leaves. Trips wants to raise Punk’s hand in victory, but Punk still can’t trust him. Trips grabs his arm and raises it in the air and leaves. Yeah, I was surprised he didn’t attack him…..BUT WAIT!!! As Punk is celebrating in the ring, the last person I ever thought I would see, Kevin Nash shows up out of the audience and attacks Punk. He hits the Jack Knife Powerbomb and leaves. Hunter sees all of this and runs towards the stands to find out what is going on. As he is doing this, Del Rio arrives and cashes in the MITB. The bell rings and Punk is still down. Del Rio hits an Enziguri and we have a new Undisputed Champ…..again. As Del Rio is walking away without much of a crowd response (not a good sign), Trips looks around and he is puzzled by all of this. The show ends with Del Rio celebrating his title victory while Punk is grabbing his face. Back in a second…

Winner via pinfall and NEW WWE Undisputed Champion: Alberto Del Rio

Well, a lot of activity to end the show, right? I am not really surprised Del Rio cashed in MITB. It made sense for Del Rio to cash it in, but I am a little shocked LA didn’t give him much love. LA is a heavy Latino based community and I thought they would have been proud about Del Rio winning. I am a fan of Del Rio, but he really needs to do something to really show he is worthy of all the attention. You think cashing in MITB against Punk would have helped, but he still didn’t get much of a reaction. I really hope Del Rio can figure out something to get himself a bigger reaction or else he can see his push fade. I have to admit Nash showing up was a hell of a surprise. I think there is a lot more questions out of tonight than answers. Why would Nash attack Punk? My guess is he’s either working with Del Rio because he likes money (funny since Nash’s gimmick has always been about money. The real life Wario in wrestling) or he’s working with Triple H. Another thing I was thinking is maybe he is working with Stephanie? It’s always possible Trips and Steph are working together on all of this. Wouldn’t surprise me since they are husband and wife. What was interesting is Trips not calling the fact Cena’s leg was on the rope. When I first saw this, I thought this was another move of the WWE overprotecting Cena because he is the face of the company and they don’t want him to lose cleanly. That all changed when I saw Nash attack Punk. It actually makes sense for Trips to maybe see Cena’s foot but not call it. To be fair, Trips was in a good position to not see the foot on the rope, but you never know within a wrestling storyline. Anyway, he does this so he can try to get Punk to maybe trust him or drop his guard against the Game and instead focus on Nash. In reality, Hunter is really just setting up Punk by using Nash as a decoy so HE can plot his downfall. I think its smart since we can see some buildup for a Trips/Punk match down the road. After tonight, we have to look at Punk as a face since he basically got screwed over like a good guy would. There is just a lot of questions after tonight. Punk and Cena both have rematch clauses and we might see them get their shot at NoC. I find this to be good television because its unpredictable and I don’t find it that challenging to follow….at least not yet. I just hope WWE doesn’t make this storyline too complicated or else we could have a TNA-type problem on our hands. Not really sure how I would feel if Nash actually suits up for a match. I am a pretty big Nash fan, but not sure if he should be going at this stage of his career. Then again, he gets a lot more rest these days and because of that, he might have a few more matches left in him. Not sure where Cena falls in all of this? I don’t think he would be apart of this….conspiracy (again, where’s Truth when you need him?), or maybe he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Then again, there was a scene in which Steph just came out of Cena’s locker room, so you have to take that into consideration. This makes me want to watch the next episode of Raw because this is still very interesting. I know a lot of people are very unhappy since Del Rio walked out as champion.I would have loved to see Punk roll with being champion for a while, but I understand what they are going for here and it makes sense. Maybe we will find out on Raw why Nash did the attack and maybe we see Trips continuing to set up Punk for an attack. I have a feeling there is going to be a point where Trips just snaps and destroys Punk in the middle of that ring. Overall, I am really enjoying this storyline and I always say just because things have taken an ugly turn doesn’t mean it will end badly. Again, why do wrestling fans throw all of this hate after one event as opposed to just waiting until the next episode to find out what happens next? Wrestling has always been about telling stories and some stories take their time in getting to the interesting parts…or the not-so interesting parts. I bet after tonight people will think X-Pac and HBK will be coming back as well to bring back an old stable. Will it happen? Well, gotta tune in to find out…

Overall Impression:

I knew this PPV was going to have a tough time topping MITB. Still, WWE went out there and still put together a great show. In my opinion, this was probably the second best PPV I have seen all year. This PPV had a lot of stuff to watch. There was a pretty good opener, a funny segment, a passable divas match, an ok Sheamus/Henry match. Not to mention the Bryan/Barrett and the Punk/Cena matches were really well done and who can forget the awesome Christian/Orton match? We do have a lot more questions at the end of the day. Why did Nash did what he did? What is Steph’s role in all of this? Was Cena aware of what was going on or was he the odd man out? Is Hunter setting up Punk and plans to destroy him because of what he has said towards his family? Yeah, a lot of questions, but I am heavily invested in what will happen and cannot wait to see Raw tomorrow night. We also have a Del Rio has the new WWE Champion, so it will be interesting to see what he can do with the title. Time to see if Del Rio is ready to hold the big one. This might be a make or break moment for Del Rio’s career since WWE has invested a lot of time and money on him. I just hope Del Rio still has a trick or two in the bag to make himself be hated or else we could be seeing another Jack Swagger. I would definitely recommend ordering this PPV because I thought it was pretty fun to watch. Heck, none of the matches were bad and we had some classic matches, what more can you ask for? 

Lewbs Official WWE Summerslam score: 9 out of 10

Lewbs Favorite Match of the Night: Christian vs Randy Orton; No Holds Barred Match for the WHC

Southern Charisma DLC Wraps It Up For WWE All Stars

Mark sends a little reminder for all you gamers out there that the last planned DLC is now available online for WWE All Stars



Just a quick reminder that the latest DLC pack for WWE All Stars is now available on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. You can now add Big Boss Man, Mark Henry and Michael P.S. Hayes (with THE perm of the century might I add) to the plethora of legends and superstars already on the game. Shame that there’s no current plans to add anymore downloadable content to All Stars. I can still think of a fair few legends and superstars I wouldn’t mind added, as well as some extra arenas. There’s always next year…

Here’s some shots of them in action:

Raw…Up. Smack…Down?!?

Lewis takes a look at the divide between Raw and SmackDown, asks why Raw is getting all the glory and if the draft has done more harm than good

Okay. I’ve felt that there has been a slight gulf in quality between Raw and Smackdown for a good couple of years now. Branding Raw as “The Flagship Show of World Wrestling Entertainment” is a tagline that tells me that they aren’t afraid to admit that fact either. But… since the draft… is it me or have they become a totally different class to each other? I have drafted together a list of points to back up my feelings.

 

1. Your Main Event Scene.

Okay, a lot of people may disagree with me on this one (obviously it’s just my opinion) but….Christian does not belong as the sole carrier of Smackdown! Edge’s career-wrecking injury was more than unfortunate just after the draft, and yeah, the storyline was fitting that Christian took his place. I can take that. But ever since Edge has gone, there has only been two headliners: Randy Orton and Christian. And I’ll be honest, Christian is very bland in my eyes. He can only do one character well, and we’ve all seen it for far too long as a mid-carder. Bringing him up to the title hunt? It hasn’t worked for me. As a Randy Orton fan, not to care about his PPV matches (this is more talking about at the later stage of the feud when Christian had turned heel, because right at the start, the first three title matches they had were fantastic!) is an indication that something isn’t right. Sheamus needs to be brought in this mix soon because Orton and Christian has been going on for just too long. The only thing that can save this match at SummerSlam for me, in realistic terms, is if Jericho makes his return, and screws Orton.

Now, you compare this to the main event status on Raw following Wrestlemania. Since The Rock cost John Cena the title at ‘Mania, The Miz kept it until Extreme Rules, where you had John Morrison in the mix. But he (JoMo) was screwed over by R-Truth (I hope your keeping count here) and the cage, resulting in Cena eventually getting the belt, then, after The Miz lost his rematch at Over the Limit under an I Quit stipulation, R-Truth had a chance to win the gold (at Capitol Punishment) but Cena was too strong for him. Then this brings the arrival into the main event picture of CM Punk, and the well-documented storyline of him leaving the WWE with the championship, which in spectacular fashion he did so in his home town of Chicago at Money In The Bank, and then he proceeded to leave. Which then brought us to the WWE Title Tournament which gave us a brand new champion in Rey Mysterio, albeit a reign that only lasted an hour and a half because John Cena had his rightful rematch and won to claim the title back…. only for the infamous riff of ‘Cult of Personality’ to blare through the arena, and out comes CM Punk, the ‘real’ WWE Champion, to leave Raw looking at two champions. Phew!


Now… did you keep up with that? No?

I’ll recap. Smackdown has had 3 men in the main event picture since WrestleMania XXVII. Raw has had seven. Plus one of Smackdown’s was only there for a week. Their only big moment…. Randy Orton cutting Christians reign short at five days as World Heavyweight Champion. Raw…. has had possibly the best 4 months it has had in years. Now, I don’t know if they split the writers up, but some people in the blue corner must have some writers block, or the red team are really exceeding because the ideas are literally running out, and dont forget, Orton and Christian is scheduled to go AGAIN at Summerslam (under No Disqualification rules).

 

2. Annoying Smackdown Booking

 

This is something that I really feel needs to be sorted out. For someone like me who looks for previews of the shows and finds matches that are booked, when it looks like they have good matches coming up the for the Tuesday taping, more often than not do I find myself peeved or pissed off at the fact the match that probably would have made the show for me have been changed. This was very much the case two Smackdown’s ago, after the Money In The Bank pay-per-view. The match was set…. Cody Rhodes vs Ezekiel Jackson for the Intercontinental Championship. Big, big match. Cody Rhodes time for a push….. when I tuned in to Smackdown…. what do I find? The World Heavyweight Champion… opening the show…. squashing the Intercontinental Champion. Instead of this blatant filler match, WWE should have given the push of Cody Rhodes or a further build of Big Zeke as a credible champion would have been much much better here. While I admit the United States Championship has pretty much been buried over on Monday Night Raw, it’s more the broken promises that have been made by Smackdown writers that do really bug me.

 

Those are my main points, but a few minor things that I really want to bring up. The Divas title, is it exclusive to Raw now? Is Smackdown the female’s NXT equivalent? All I ever see worth seeing to do with Divas is on Raw. Plus the last two weeks, including this Friday’s broadcast, is very Raw Superstar heavy, which makes the whole draft a bit of a joke. When you add to that the fact that they have a character, the GM of Smackdown that should have gone in 2009, and theme music that really never should have been there in the first place, at the moment, to me, Smackdown is a one-trick pony that has lost its kick.

 

It’s not as bad as IMPACT WRESTLING though. Yet.

WrestleMania XXVIII: Showcase of the Immortals? : CM Punk vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

Ross returns with the second part of his WrestleMania XXVIII-themed blog posts, this time looking at a potential slobberknocker between the ‘Straight-Edge Superstar’ and ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’

This is the first of my entries based on pure speculation, but I’m sure from reading the title you’ve agreed it’s a match that needs to happen. Punk wants it to happen. Austin wants it to happen. We want it to happen. And the only stage fitting for such a match would be Wrestlemania. Will it happen? Who knows. Should it happen? Definitely.

In an interview with GQ magazine recently, CM Punk spoke of how the match is the ‘biggest match that any promotion could have at the moment’. In light of his recent actions, I think he’s probably right. It took me a while to be convinced by Punk as a heel main eventer. But all along, he was looking at a bigger picture. In wrestling terms, the man is a visionary. Those strange promos on stages in the middle of the crowd goading Jeff Hardy about his lifestyle choices, seemed to drag on and on and felt out of place to me. But I now think that I was only unsettled because I was so used to the standard presentation of WWE programming. All along the ‘Straight Edge Superstar’ was looking at the bigger picture. With Punk, you really believe his ‘gimmick’ is something he’s forced down the throats of WWE management and finally, it’s paying off. In hindsight, intentionally or not, Punk has created the perfect nemesis for Steve Austin, the beer swilling, SOB from Texas.

This match has show-stealer written all over it. Not only would the in-ring and storytelling abilities of both performers shine through, but the television leading up to Wrestlemania would be nothing short of brilliant. I’d put money on it. But what are the chances of us seeing it?

It’s certainly a match that’s on WWE’s radar. As I mentioned, Punk and Austin have both stated their desire for it to happen. Austin is a fan of Punk’s work and rightfully so. There have been comparisons aplenty in recent weeks. A couple of years ago, the idea wouldn’t have even registered with me. As far as I knew, Austin would never wrestle again. However, during his recent run with Tough Enough, he appeared more open to the idea of wrestling again than ever before. Adding all these factors up has led me to believe this COULD happen.

If it did, both men would be insistent on it being done well. My guess would be that both superstars would have creative freedom over the rivalry, a luxury allowed to Triple H and The Undertaker at this year’s event. In my opinion, in superstars like Punk and Stone Cold, the WWE can trust. As I said, the television potential of a war between these two, would be electric.

The main thing standing in its way for Wrestlemania 28 is the already booked Rock/Cena bout. Would having this match on the undercard take away from its significance? Would it end up being the Stone Cold vs Scott Hall of ten years earlier? Would WWE be brave enough to put on a genuine supercard or is this better kept for a rainy day? Say WM29? I’d love to think they could keep these dream matches and have one each year, but unfortunately, sometimes you have to go with momentum and at the moment, as Punk claimed, it certainly has the potential to be the biggest match in the wrestling world…well, tied with Cena vs Rock surely?

- Good Ol’ JRB

WrestleMania XXVIII: Showcase of the Immortals? : The Rock vs John Cena

Ross zeros in on what is regarded as one of the most talked-about matches period, The Rock vs John Cena, ahead of their clash at next year’s WrestleMania XXVIII in Miami, Florida

This is THE match of this generation. It’s the match that was booked a year in advance. The match that has probably led to Wrestlemania travel packages already selling out. Most importantly, the match that will see the Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment return to in-ring action. It’s the one match I can write about in these entries that has actually been booked and, fate permitting, it will happen and when it does, it’s going to be huge!

Love or hate John Cena, he is the main man in the WWE and has been for years. In the ‘age of the smark’ (a phrase I will be using repeatedly) John Cena has found it hard to garner the love that previous main eventers have. I myself didn’t like him, for years. But then at Wrestlemania 26, when I was sat watching his match with Batista, I saw what he meant, not to the overgrown ‘smarks’ in the audience, but to the kids. He was their Hulk Hogan. From that point on I always used the argument, that, if when I was 5 years old, someone had told me Hulk Hogan ‘sucked’ because he didn’t bump enough, I’d be confused, but I’d also be heartbroken. I believe the reports that he is the hardest working member of the roster and I firmly believe that he has done the best he can in a PG era, a difficult era for anyone to ‘carry the company’. At Money in the Bank, John Cena showed that he could have a 5* match and showed his willingness to put someone over for the good of the company. Arse-kisser, politician, company man…call him what you will, he is the biggest star in WWE.

The case for Cena’s defence over, let’s move onto the match. It is, on paper, a match that would irk wrestling purists as both men are recognised more for their microphone skills than their mat skills. But in wrestling, for me, and particularly at Wrestlemania, atmosphere and the sense of occasion is nine tenths of the law and when it comes to it, these two will have the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands.

It’s appropriate that the match will come ten years after the ‘Icon vs Icon’ match, which remains my favourite Wrestlemania match of all time. Hogan and Rock were faced with an incredible reaction from a split crowd that night and as the true professionals they are, they lapped it up and put on an incredible show. The psychology was fantastic. Never has a dream match been executed with such conviction, and an aging Hogan brought his A-game to put Rocky over. There’s a reason their names are etched in history. It’s also appropriate that’s it’s in Miami, The Rock’s backyard, with The Great One possibly being inducted into the Hall of Fame (it would make sense).

So will The Rock put Cena over, like Hogan did for him 10 years earlier? In truth, it is the match that should have headlined this year’s Wrestlemania. The only explanation I can think of as to why it didn’t is that by the time Dwayne Johnson had decided he was going to put the trunks on again, too much had been put into the Miz/Cena storyline. The promos between both men made for some brilliant television, promos that seem to be quickly forgotten recently what with CM Punk and THAT promo.  Punk’s promo was praised for being a shoot, for Punk speaking his mind and yet Cena’s taunting of Johnson mere months earlier was in my opinion unfairly overlooked. The ‘I Bring It! Via Satellite’ promos were real and delivered well. It takes a great performer to go blow for blow on the mic with the Great One and Cena did just that.

And great as Cena’s promos were, I have to acknowledge that The Rock’s return promo showed the WWE Universe what they’d been missing. Talk about electrifying, you could feel the atmosphere in that arena through the screen. I just wish it could have led to a match at ‘Mania, instead of the shambolic event we were left with. But let’s not dwell on how anti-climactic 27 was, let’s look to next year, where this match is going to happen. The Rock is back at Survivor Series supposedly, so that leaves potential for many more months of great television before the match happens.

As I said, this isn’t a match that will please everyone in this ‘age of the smark’, but for me, it will be the biggest match in a generation. The one concern I have is that if the card looks anything like I am predicting, the crowd in the Sun Life Stadium may be exhausted. That said, I’m sure these are the men to headline the event. As the saying goes, ‘worth the entrance fee alone’.  

-Good Ol’ JRB

Brawl For All

Mark lifts the lid on the forthcoming ‘Saturday morning cartoon’-style WWE game out in 2012…

Following in the footsteps of WWE All Stars, THQ is set to release WWE Brawl in 2012, apparently to coincide with the launch of a new toy line and animated series.

The launch trailer is available on YouTube, showing over-the-top action that makes WWE All Stars look tame in comparison. It depicts WWE Superstars more in the vein of cartoonish superheroes who take their in-ring battles beyond the arena with superpowers galore.

Confirmed in the trailer are the likes of John Cena, Triple H, Undertaker, Big Show and Sheamus. This is no doubt going to be another WWE game that divides the fans and is the most ambitious cartoon-style, out-of-the-ring gaming experience since WWE Crush Hour. Time will tell as to whether it’ll be a hit or not.

WrestleMania XXVIII: Showcase of the Immortals? : Introduction

There’s some new blood in the ranks as Ross joins The 3 Count with a corker of a topic…check it out

With WWE seemingly getting their act together over the past month, fans the world over are ecstatic that finally we could be heading into a new, fresh era in pro-wrestling. With the talent available in WWE and it’s complete stranglehold over the wrestling world, could we be heading into WrestleMania 28 in the knowledge that it could, quite easily, be the first true ‘Supercard’ in years?

The entries I will be making over the next week will discuss just that. As well as speculating about some of the matches we may see, I will also be analysing how realistic each possibility is and trying to predict if they would work and why. Admittedly, the entries are born out of my own secret craving to ‘have the book’ in WWE but I have been more inclined to write it down now that, on the surface at least, WWE is ushering in a new regime.

Do I believe that Triple H has really taken over from Vince? No. Do I believe Vince doesn’t still have the final say over EVERY little detail? No. That’s not how he built his empire. But what I do believe is that the on screen storyline is symbolic of the fact that the creative force behind WWE is starting to think outside the box again. And boy was it needed. Whether it’s being driven by the tremendous talent currently on hand demanding it (as the Punk angle would imply) or it’s down to H’s and Stephanie’s fruition as full blown creative forces (and Vince’s apparent acceptance of that), we the fans are the ones who should reap the benefits of what SHOULD be a hell of a year for the WWE.

- Good Ol’ JRB

The Game Has Changed…

The return of CM Punk, two apparent WWE Champions, JR back at the announce desk…Mark looks at some of the highlights from Raw last night

They say that a picture says a thousand words. The only two words that rung loud and clear at the conclusion of Raw last night though were very simple: HE’S BACK!

It appears as though Punk has reached some sort of deal with WWE and that there could soon be a war being waged between him and Cena over the holder of the true, undisputed WWE Championship (which I likely bet will culminate at SummerSlam). The last time that two champions who held the same belt clashed for the right to be called the sole holder of a title at a SummerSlam was way-back-when in 1995 when Razor Ramon faced Shawn Michaels in a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship, in a match that is often forgotten or overlooked when compared to the original WrestleMania X ladder match but that in my opinion, may actually be the better of the two encounters.

Still without a new championship belt (face it, the current WWE Championship or the Spinner Belt as it is otherwise known, isn’t the most pretty belt in professional wrestling), the storyline between these two continues to pique my interest. Punk has become a real anti-hero since his initial tirade a few weeks ago and judging by the crowd reaction at the end of Raw, he’s the fan’s choice over the leader of Cenation. I just hope that all the hard work that’s been done before, during and shortly after Money in the Bank pays off and we are truly treated to a ‘new era’ in WWE.

Other places on Raw, Triple H’s new on-screen role as the Chief Operating Officer of WWE is sure to shake things up and he fits the role brilliantly. The Game was able to get the balance right between the suave, ‘know-what-needs-to-be-done’ businessman and the cocky, smart-mouthed rule-bender. I’m happy to have someone with Triple H’s appeal and name-value back on Monday Nights, hoping that it will be a regular appointment for the Cerebral Assassin. I’m more than confident that he will slot into the role and make an easy transition from former in-ring great to an on-screen character with some clout. His in-ring segment was pretty cool and allowed for the segway to the two other memorable moments of the night: Jim Ross’ return to commentary on WWE’s flagship broadcast and John Morrison’s return from injury.

Let me deal with JR’s return first.

IT’S ABOUT TIME! Anybody who knows me will readily tell you that I’m a huge fan of JR, he’s given the wrestling world endless soundbites and his provided the soundtrack to some of the biggest matches and memories in WWE history. For the reason of simply being a fan of WWE and JR, I’m over the moon that he has been brought back to resume work behind the announce table with longtime friend and broadcast partner, the one and only, Jerry ‘the King’ Lawler. Hopefully, Michael Cole will go away (in a real big hurry) and resume his role of play-by-play announcer for SmackDown.

Secondly, the return of one John Morrison.

Yes, JoMo has returned to Raw. After some time off to heal up following injury, it was good to see the Shaman of Sexy, Guru of Cool (or whatever the other nicknames are) back on television. He will no doubt pick up from where it makes sense to: facing off against, and subsequently beating R-Truth for the attack that ‘put him on the shelf’. It will be an interesting few weeks and months watching Morrison gun for that top spot that he almost had a few months ago before injury forced him off the grid.

Raw, as far as matches and segments (progressive storytelling being key at this point in the ‘new regime’ in my opinion), didn’t disappoint me last night, as it had for the months and months before CM Punk’s ‘shoot’ on Vince McMahon and co. before Money in the Bank. I just hope and pray that WWE doesn’t drop the ball with the potential that they’re currently holding in their once-iron grip.

"Do I Have Everybody’s Attention Now?"

Lewis looks at CM Punk, the current state of affairs in WWE as a result of his actions lately and just what may be around the corner for wrestling fans.

If he doesn’t now… then NOTHING will.

This I have decided to choose as my first major piece as this is the one storyline that has shaken up the whole of the wrestling industry with a man that has indeed been a sleeping giant.

From World Champion, the man that killed the WWE Status of Jeff Hardy, CM Punk was always a more controversial superstar. I myself, will never forget the night he sung happy birthday to Rey Mysterio’s daughter before Wrestlemania 26. Even though Punk lost that match, he won the PPV after in a return contest….. This was his only win in eighteen consecutive PPV matches, spanning from Hell in a Cell 2009. Now, for most superstars, a 17-1 burial of results would surely kill someone off into obscurity… but not Mr. Diversity.

Whether he’s the leader of the Straight Edge Society, a color-commentator on Raw, or the leader of the New Nexus, CM Punk has been a constant talking point throughout all of these PPV defeats. And how does he survive. With a microphone.

There is only one superstar I can remember being as good a heel on the mic as Punk and that’s Chris Jericho. They both know exactly how to rub the crowd up the wrong way and came across worse than anything imaginable. Punk proved this with his shoot the week after he became Number one contender to the WWE Championship.

Now… WWE have had a bit of a habit of having shoots every five years… in 2006 it was Joey Styles, but it was a bit of a flop. 2001… Paul Heyman… epic shoot, but Tazz choking him out at the end told me that WWF were always going to win that elimination match from there. Now, with CM Punk, I believe that they have made their smartest shoot yet… because it hasn’t ended there. The other two weren’t seen or heard of in a WWE aspect, bar Paul heyman at Survivor Series 2001. CM Punk is still the big talking point of the WWE. When Punk talked about how the industry may be a better place when Vince McMahon is dead, and he brought up he’s a Paul Heyman guy, it’s apparent WWE are trying new ways to keep the audience enthralled…. and it’s working.

I’ll move onto the match. Oh… the match. More hostile I would say than ECW’s One Night Stand, and Cena was on the back of it again, and I feel in these situations he performs at his best. Punk just lapped up every second of it and give a career defining performance. The acclaimed wrestling website “The Wrestling Observer” and their main writer Dave Meltzer, gave this match a five star rating…. The first five star rated match since Bad Blood 1997, when Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker faced in a Hell in a Cell. An accolade only a handful of wrestlers can say they have achieved…. and all that in a PG Era….. Attitude? What Attitude.

So Punk has the title, he’s unemployed. Is he finished? Is he hell. If I can bring forward Exhibit A.

The Title in the fridge from the tweet “Wheres your WWE Champion?” Is there a hidden meaning? Nothing was really explained. I only have a basic theory of Punk trying to display the message “This is what happens, when you leave your best asset in the cold”. As I said only my theory, we would love to hear what any of you think, pop it in an ask, and we’ll publish it for all to see.

Exhibit B: The pictures partying in Chicago.

http://www.tmz.com/2011/07/18/wwe-champ-celebrates-on-the-chicago-streets-cm-punk-colt-cabana-ace-steel-john-cena-mike-ditka-money-in-the-bank-title-pepsi/

This was right after Money in the Bank. Now, for this to be covered on TMZ, I’m guessing they had a tip off or were sent these intentionally to cause a stir. But again, Punk making a lot of fun with, showing that he doesn’t care about the WWE not having the title, messing around with it passing it to friends. Note: He has had the John Cena name plate taken off it now.

Exhibit C: The Comic Con Crash!

http://youtu.be/2NAvDqglbAE

The video is an epic, must see two minutes of one-upmanship between HHH and Punk. But this also tells me that things aren’t over by a long shot. Expect this to be spoken about by HHH on Raw Monday Night, issuing Punk a challenge maybe, something like that to come back to the WWE.

Have we seen the last of CM Punk? Is he the reason of Vince McMahon’s maybe departure? Will the WWE Championship ever come back to the WWE? These are all questions that will be answered in time… but for now…..

The Biggest Event of the Summer returns to Los Angeles

The Biggest Event of the Summer returns to the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, August 14th. One can only wonder what will go down when the annual summer spectacular returns to the City of Angels for the third consecutive year.

This year, Cee Lo Green’s “Bright Lights Bigger City” and Theory of a Deadman’s “Villain” provide the theme songs for the 24th installment of WWE’s hot summer ticket.