Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the closest thing to Batman in the world of wrestling journalism, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as we review WWE TLC 2011, the final WWE show of the calender year that has brought so many crazy changes both large and small. As we investigate this most hardcore of pay per views we’ll crack some jokes along the way, see some old friends and…
Yes, welcome to another heartwarming edition of
Cewsh: Oh god dammit.
MichaelC: If you wanted rambles that go nowhere, history lessons that seem vaguely pointless, Twitter references and the odd mention of wrestling, you are in the right place.
MichaelC: This week saw the latest annual TLC PPV, where people tend to win matches through a variety of tables, ladders and/or chairs, though not unnecessary in that order, or even in that match. All of Michael’s favorites were on the show – except Drew Mac, thank you very much, WWE – so it promised to be a big show. And of course, it’s the last show before the Royal Rumble, which is my favourite PPV of the year. I may have hinted at this once or twice. This means it is the last PPV to see how my three picks – Wade, Ziggler, Sheamus – are doing before we head into the ULTRA ROYAL RUMBLE BET OF DEATH. (Cewsh has to review something I pick when Wade, Dolph or Sheamus win, I have to review something he picks in the utterly unlikely chance I shall lose.)
Cewsh: Think Ian Rotten wrestling a cactus and then just keep right on going.
MichaelC: There’s also CM Punk vs OPPONENTS in a ladder match! Some guy the internet loves vs some other guy the internet loves, in a title match! Beth Phoenix vs a wooden doll!
It’s tables and ladders and chairs and sledgehammers, oh my!
Cewsh: First of all, it must be addressed that WWE’s plan of selling this pay per view involved commercials spots all over television that featured a shirtless and pantless David Otunga molesting a table and telling you that furniture makes him hot.
That was their plan to make people give them money. Theoretically they’ve finally started accepting pay per view payments in one dollar bills.
MichaelC: This video is based around The Night Before Christmas. Technically its the week before Christmas, but then Mick Foley celebrated Christmas on Smackdown on 30/11, which, though technically part of Advent and thus strictly OK, still felt odd. Since when has four weeks before Christmas started in November eh?
Cewsh: This video had cheesy fake snow, atrocious rhyming, a narrator doing his worst possible Freddie Krueger voice and and a general concept that grew dated around the same time as Gerald Ford.
What i’m saying is that it was not good, if i’m being unclear here.
The trouble is that the cheesy holiday thing has been done so perfectly already by TNA that anything else is like a sad shadow by comparison. Seriously! TNA did something better! Watch the glorious cheesiness for yourself.
MichaelC: This has a simple storyline. Once Ryder was a Major brother, then an Edgehead, then on ECW, then jobbing to Sheamus in 6 seconds. Through all of this, he had trouble being taken seriously. He started 2011 a strong contender for this years WWE deadpool. What separated Ryder from most of the people in the same position is that he decided to do something about it. He went…to youtube. His Z! True Long Island Story series made him very popular online, for show casing him as a strange nut who loved random movie references and wrestling history, judging from the only one of them I’ve ever seen. The Ziggler/Ryder feud started when Wolverine interfered to help Ryder beat the Champ. This led to a match at Vengeance where Ryder… lost. Not undone, he created a petition of several hundred thousand fans or so, demanding he got a rematch, at which point the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and interim RAW general manager John Laurinaitis scoffed. Ryder had to beat Cena to get a shot, and lost. Then Cena valiantly gave up his TLC title shot to give Ryder his US title shot, the reason Cena is “allegedly” not on this card.
So yeah, if Ryder loses here, he’s going to make John Cena look very dumb. (And its usually just his selling that does that. Oh yes!) And amongst all of this, Ziggler has strutted around looking like a World title reign waiting to happen.
I stick to my view in the ECW reviews of 2009 – he sucks – but my view became increasingly meaningless in the vast pantheon of loud “WE WANT RYDER” chants that filled arenas, especially once a few well leaked NEWZ stories confirmed fans worst fears: that Ryder was being held back PURELY to spite them! The upshot of this is that Ryder managed to sell out a T-shirt on WWEshop without appearing on RAW for months, became one of the most over stars in the company and has recently become one of their top ten merchandise sellers. Now, Ryder is on TV, and getting some reactions. From the massive reaction he got as MSG last month…to the reaction the TV audiences give, as they turn off. But he’s young, he’s got a fan base, and he’s making money, so the WWE will milk him for as long as he can hold it up.
What a difference a year makes.
This either shows how dedication, courage, commitment and creativity will overcome any hurdle in life… or that the WWE’s creative are a lot more creative than some of us would like to get them the credit for.
I’ll leave that decision to the reader.
Ziggler remains one of my least favorites in the WWE. Not because he’s bad, or because of the endless “Curt Henning” jokes that get thrown in my direction when he shows up. The guy just never appeals to me. It’s not quite going to be Billy Gunn v Marc Mero though, as I can admit both are working hard to improve. And Ziggler had a match with CM Punk on RAW recently in which he “did ok”.
Ryder goes mental in this match, and manages to get the crowd onside quite quickly. Michael Cole is quick to turn on Ryder, which means he must be going far based on the Daniel Bryan precedent. Ziggler is the young technician, who knows he can do anything. If he had the Money in the Bank case, he’d cash in right before the Elimination Chamber, then enter anyway, on his complete belief he’d win both. Twitter is also mentioned lots. Zack Ryder is a favorite on Twitter apparently.
TLC is trending worldwide. Amazing.
It’s all about the Twitter.
I mean, I just looked on Twitter there. And do you know what I found?
m_s_collins @CewshReviews Hey, Cewsh, look! I’m sending you a tweet purely to mention Twitter later in a Cewsh Reviews! Meta-tweet!
That’s right! Cewsh Reviews was being talked about on Twitter, just as I wrote this bit.
CewshReviews @m_s_collins This just in – Twitter personality and freelance Scotsman @m_s_collins has tweeted Cewsh Reviews about tweeting Cewsh Reviews.
m_s_collins @CewshReviews I am hearing that Cewsh Reviews is being mentioned on Twitter at this very second, its practically trending.
This was very exciting. Cewsh Reviews was trending worldwide on my @mentions page.
What else does Twitter say?
CewshReviews @m_s_collins Shut up and get on with the review. It’s 5am FFS!
In the midst of all these Twitter references, Ziggler and Ryder have a good match. Ziggler grounds Ryder with his impression knowledge of chinholds and wristlocks, but Ryder fights back with a never say die attitude and some unorthodox offense. After a Broski boot (Never feel guilty, never give in, tell me WHY? Oh no, sorry, that’s Bronski Beat) Vickie Guerrero saves the 3 count and is ejected from ringside. Then we get false finish after false finish, each roll up and reversed maneuver convincing the fans its the finish. And at this point it becomes clear to Mr Thick McThickity the Thick Guy from Thickslvania, Thicktucky, that the crowd really care about both men. They are reacting to everything, exactly in the way they didn’t for the Majors or Kerwin White’s caddy. The transformation in both is amazing, I can see it and I’m not a fan. If I was a fan of either, I’d be very excited. Ziggler is swiftly becoming someone who knows how to pace a match too, which can only be for his benefit long term.
First attempt for the Rough Ryder is scouted, and Ziggler nearly gets a three from it. But Ziggler is too sure of himself. He dives into the corner, is caught with a knee, and a swift Rough Ryder connects to give Zack Ryder his first actual singles title. The fans go nuts, including Zacks dad as Zack Ryder has gone from joke to Champion, by defeating a man who went the exact same route.
I do like it when title victories actually seem to mean something to the wrestler.
For Ziggler, only being a stupid John Morrison will prevent main events. For Ryder, well, he now needs to show he can progress to upper mid card threat, having shedded the joke image. If he can is anyones guess. But he’s done more than most in getting this far, so well done to him. I’d like to think such comments coming from notorious non-fan me mean as much, if not more, as from fanboys like Mr Cewsh. Ahem.
Cewsh: I’m a fanboy for Zack Ryder in much the same way that i’m a fanboy for bee stings in my urethra. Which is to say not particularly.
MichaelC: Don’t worry, the hagiography will be out in full force later.
Cewsh: Let’s be clear here for a minute. Zack Ryder, about whom I have expressed doubts about the possible longevity of his success here, is so over in this match that it borders on being ridiculous. The fans don’t just chant when he comes out or when he fist pumps with them (though they certainly do that) but for solid chunks of this match, they just persistently chant “Let’s go, Ryder! WOO WOO WOO!” at him, as Ziggler beats on him indiscriminately. And for his part, Dolph Ziggler stands amidst this controlling the crowd in the palm of his hand like some majestic heel god from through the midst of time back to when people knew how to be heels. Moreso than anyone on the roster does Ziggler have the ability to make the fans respect his ability enough to chant his name one minute and then force them to boo him like he just slapped their mothers the next. The combination of these two incredibly exciting forces results in an opening match here that just explodes off the screen. The crowd gets caught up in every nearfall, every counter and every finisher attempt, and while Ryder still is a bit stiff in the ring and is coming along as a performer, Ziggler covers for him so smoothly that you’d never notice anything off at all unless you were trying to see it.
By the end of this match when Zack Ryder finally defeats Ziggler to earn his first singles gold, he gets an actual OVATION from the crowd, who are genuinely happy to see someone they like with no strings attached win a title he worked hard for. That that could happen now in 2011, and due entirely to Ryder’s own hard work and the fan’s honest reaction to him (helped along by good booking) is amazing, if not flat out unbelievable.
Can you tell i’m excited? People, hear me when I tell you this. The future’s so bright, i’ve gotta wear my sunglasses at night.
Cewsh: Booker T and Alicia Fox are backstage with Alicia seemingly attempting to coerce Booker into a very particular kind of warm up, when all of a sudden Cody Rhodes comes out of nowhere and beats the shit out of the Booker man from behind, leaving him dazed and incredulous as the trainers separate them. Which means not only is Cody Rhodes an Intercontinental Champion, a G.I. Joe enthusiast, a men’s style expert, a twisted psychopath and a second generation wrestler, but he’s also now a huge cock block. Which is the most dastardly heel of all.
MichaelC: Our friend OMG is furious as this certainly means Rhodes is losing the IC title later tonight.
Cewsh: Ah, nasty meat on a stick.
Still a step up from when he molested all of those kids with laser guns.
MichaelC: Hey, look! Primo is back on PPV! More tag teams, the merrier. The fans haven’t a clue who they are though. This “tag team revival” needs more work, really.
The two teams have a perfectly acceptable title match. If they have more of them, the fans might start reacting more. I mean, it was silent, but it was fluent, all four work hard, and its better than Otunga and McGillicutty eh? Kofi and Bourne are well suited to tag ranks. Primo and Epico have makings of a good side. The Usos exist. That’s 3 teams. There must be some Bobby Eatons waiting to be given a shot on the roster.
There is a place for tag wrestling in pro-wrestling. In both utilizing your roster, and the 3 ring circus rule – if everything is the same, folks will get bored. Hence singles, tag, gimmicks, spaced out amongst a card. Simple.
Air Boom are trending. I wonder what it says on Twi…
(Cewsh Note: Our lawyers have redacted all further references to Twitter.)
MichaelC: The problem with . It does make sense, but overkill? It reminds me of . I’m sure you’ll agree.
Cewsh: Expletive deleted.
Alright now, here we have Kofi Kingston, who has not merited significant discussion in many a moon, Evan Bourne, who is back from a month long vacation, Epico, who has a name too great to live up to, and Primo, who is clinging to this storyline as a way to get back on tv with all his might. None of these people or things is inherently impossible to enjoy, but i’d suggest that you not try to tell this crowd that, as they took this opportunity to take a huge unified nap.
Here’s the thing about special divisions in wrestling. We all know that WWE COULD have a great tag or Diva or Crusierweight or Hardcore division, or whatever else they wanted. They’ve done it before. But it takes an incredible amount of time, effort and work in order to resuccitate a division as down as this tag division is. Since nobody cares about any of the teams, they have to put on matches that people will just simply not give a flaming fuck about for months on end. And if, at the end of those months despite all your hard work, those teams fail to get over to any significant level (Hart Foundation, Uso Brothers) you are set back exactly where you started. And Jerishow showed us that you can’t just lay the burden on one great team, because the second they’re gone it’ll disappear again. You just have to throw caution to the wind and dedicate time and resources to a concept that may never succeed enough to repay you for the effort.
Is it any wonder then, that WWE has trouble with this concept?
Anyway, as these things tend to go, this match was quite competent and pretty enjoyable, but there wasn’t anything here to remember or take home with you.
Everyone did their job, and now they’ll go home and wonder what the future holds for them. That’s life, kids.
74 out of 100.
MichaelC: Teddy Long is backstage dressed as Santa. He does some stuff with Hornswoggle, who is now a teenager and thus hilarious I’m sure. They swap stereotype jokes.
Cewsh: I like to think that when Vince McMahon watches segments like this, he laughs himself hoarse and gives everyone involved a raise. It would make the world make so much more sense if that were the case, and not that they thought a dwarf and an old black guy telling racial jokes about each other was the best possible filler segment at their disposal.
MichaelC: Tables Matches are stupid without Dudley Boys selling them.
This is another example of “People I like Job Out to Randy Orton in stupid ways”, the long running soap opera of this year. Remember, Wade, don’t jump off the top rope for no reason. Remember what happened to Carlito, Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, Christian before you. Wade is getting over after the Nexus debacle, his in-ring work which was already impressive has improved, and he continues to work on his mannerisms and fine tuning everything.
Orton is Orton.
The Cewshes 2 are sighing lustfully at the screen right about now as he pounds into Wade.
Cewsh: You just said “lust” and mentioned Randy Orton pounding into Wade in the same sentence. Thank you for gaining us new readers among the fan fiction community.
MichaelC: Wade continues to look impressive, and possibly has decent chemistry with Orton, but the stupid stipulation gets in the way of the flow of the match.
Orton wins. By reversing a top rope move into an RKO.
Wade however does get retribution on RAW so this is far from over. Wouldn’t surprise me to see them meet up in the Rumble AND the Chamber.
Bad Wade, what did MichaelC JUST tell you?
But yes, Michael said it all here. This was a match between two very good performers that was completely hamstrung by them having to work the entire match around the table stipulation, which may be the single most played out trope in professional wrestling at this point. The fans don’t pop for the table, and the clearly set up spots just cause whatever momentum they gain in the match to screech to a halt.
Its a shame, because i’d love to see what these two can really do in a real match together. With any luck, I still will.
70 out of 100.
Cewsh: Backstage, the Bella twins are sitting of Santa Teddy’s lap arguing over which one of them was good and deserves presents this year. Teddy says they’ve both been bad but that he’ll give them a present anyway. Specifically the gift of his phone number and off putting pick up lines. After they slap him and storm off, Jack Swagger comes in and Teddy tries to talk the youngster into sitting on his lap. This isn’t going great, until Sheamus shows up for some reason and Teddy books the two in a match.
Possibly a molestation on a pole match. I’m not sure what that entails.
MichaelC: Kelly nearly kills Beth, Beth tries to drag her to something decent.
Can we sack Kelly/Eve/the Bellas from the wrestling portion of their contracts at least, please? Bring in someone like… well Melissa and Portia’d be nice, but anyone who can wrestle. Brittany Knight was a nice step in that direction, if she ever shows up. AJ Lee can go (just ask Jay Lethal, OOER!) Kharma will show up again eventually.
Beth deserves some competition she can work with, because shes the best diva they have by miles, and having to drag the unworkable models to decent matches makes her look less than she is, and worse, could wind up seriously injuring herself. In this match, Kelly proved all references to Trish Stratus were off. I mean, Trish was no Lita (not an arguable point, he grumbles to the IWC) but she’d improved by this point. Kelly is Kelly.
Like tag wrestling, WWE womens wrestling annoys me. Because it could be so much more if they wanted it to be. Which would be the “grumbles at WWE for their flaws” section of the Review.
The “Where the sod is Drew you sodding sods” is the “They don’t cater to me” section.
Cewsh: There was a time this year where I genuinely thought that Kelly Kelly was going to lead to way to a revived Divas division. She was maturing as a performer in front of our eyes, and WWE was solidly behind pushing her to the top against the very capable duo of Beth Phoenix and Natalya. Things were good.
This is not that time.
At this point Beth Phoenix sits atop a Divas division that has had all of the air let out of it. Somewhere in trying to push both Kelly and Eve, things just began to unravel, and Beth beating Kelly for the title with no real build not only spoiled all the hard work they had put into Kelly, but also seemed to kill Beth’s growing heat. The clearest indicator of this is to look at the match these two had at Money in the Bank and look at this one, and to realize that the matches aren’t all that different. In fact this match even references that one in clever ways like playing on the victory roll reversal that won Kelly the title in that match. But the difference in how the crowd responds and how interesting it seems is like night and day.
This all unraveled on them quickly and its back to the dreariness for the Divas now. Which is a shame, because this match showed yet again that Beth and Kelly have perhaps the best chemistry of any two women in the company right now.
71 out of 100.
MichaelC: Del Rio argues with Ricardo, has a showdown with Miz. And Ricardo then gets the worst of it.
Cewsh: Poor guy. Being a butler to a wrestler seems like the world’s most unfulfilling job.
MichaelC: Booker T comes out for his match but Cody Rhodes takes him from behind and gives him whats what.
Cewsh: Really Michael, are you trying to turn Cewsh Reviews into a gay fan fiction blog? Because i’ve considered it a time or two myself.
For the second time tonight, Cody Rhodes pushes back his title defense against Booker T with a dastardly assault. Why, its almost like he doesn’t think he can win…
Cewsh: The backstory behind this match encompasses the last few months of WWE tv, but it also goes all the way back to the mid 90s, when a wet behind the ears young kid who lucked his way into a job with WCW, found himself in the WWE and made friends with Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels and Sean Waltman. We all know the Kliq story from there, but what was formed was a friendship that has spanned nearly two decades between men who have stood by each other’s sides through thick and thin. Through company changes and drug problems, and through the ebb and flow of their lives as businessmen and family men. That backstory is so important to the meaning behind this feud, because it explains so much about who these men are, and how we’re meant to think they regard one another.
When Kevin Nash came back at this past year’s Royal Rumble to an enormous ovation, he expected to be brought into the company right away and be put on television. After all, there was clearly an audience out there for him, right? But Triple H had his hands full and never got around to making that call. So Kevin sat there and stewed, and was watching when Triple H took over the company from Vince McMahon. Seizing the opportunity to be relevant again, Nash attacked CM Punk, the thorn in Triple H’s side, and cost him the title at Summerslam. What followed was an ever deepening rabbit hole of conspiracies and disasters that robbed Triple H of his position and pissed him right the fuck off. When Nash realized that the game was up, he took it upon himself to fuck Triple H up to teach him a lesson in what it means to be betrayed by a friend. Which leads us here.
Now, if I had to guess the number one first complaint to come out of the mouth of someone who watched this match, I would expect it to be “boring”. And I would see where that was coming from, as this match is not wrestled like your older brother’s ladder matches from the days of yore. These two try to tell a story, involving Triple H’s desire to hurt Kevin Nash, and Nash’s desire for that not to happen so much. They work in some great spots (ladder figure four was especially excellent) but they never lose sight of what it is that they were trying to accomplish.
Finally Triple H dumps Nash off of the ladder through a table and gets his hand on Sledgy. This goes poorly for Mr. Nash. 5 strikes and a Pedigree later and Nash is just a pathetic thing kneeling in the middle of the ring begging for mercy. With Triple H standing over him as the executioner, Nash throws up the Kliq sign, in a last chance to reconcile with his old friend.
Apology vehemently not accepted. One sledgehammer to the jaw and that’s all she wrote.
Sometimes I wonder if Triple H over thinks the room too much. Matches like this one, the Hell in a Cell with Shawn Michaels, his recent Wrestlemania match with the Undertaker and the Wrestlemania match with Randy Orton have an almost exquisite complexity to them, and seem intent on defying the conventions of whatever kind of match they’re having. Sometimes (Taker) this is something the crowd can lose themselves in, because the performances are just good enough to get across what needs to be conveyed. Other times though (Orton) the match falls apart because the fans don’t know what to react to, and the wrestlers seem to get lost on what they’re supposed to be doing. Here they get across the story very well, and the ending had a moment of poignancy rare in wrestling, but they never quite got the crowd. Whether that’s because of the match itself or because the feud really wasn’t super hot coming in, i’ll never known. But I appreciate Triple H stretching the boundaries a bit. I mean really, who has more freedom to try than him?
So what does all of this mean? It was good and I enjoyed it. That’s really all you need to know.
MichaelC: I like both, but this isn’t very pretty.
Nash’s days of great matches (yes, he did have them) is beyond him. Triple H’s days of good matches…might not be, but he’s certainly starting to wind down. Kevin Nash gets stretchered out, probably out of the Rumble too.
MichaelC: CM Punk is backstage, with Matt Striker, who is thankful he still has a job. Miz and Del Rio beat him up on RAW, and Punk isn’t too happy about that, basically. What the fuck is a pipebomb in this context? That is such an American expression. You know, CM Punk’s promo style is very reminiscent of The Rocks, just quieter, faster and with less crowd interaction.
Johnny Ace shows up to give him a smile and good luck. I wish Johnny Ace would stop being an interesting on screen character so I can properly get on with disliking the sod.
Cewsh: I still have no trouble in that area.
MichaelC: Poor Jack Swagger got a bit lost in the shuffle since ECW ended. Sure, he got a world title reign at one point, but I’m pretty sure that was through the time tested “eenie meanie minny mo” method and not an attempt at serious booking. Its a shame, as he’s not terrible, though people tend to forget that, but he is still very green, and his career has been badly hurt by a mix of overkill and underkill at the wrong moments.
Sheamus is on his way to a title reign. He hasn’t lost since Summerslam (and that was by count out), he’s a ball of momentum, the fans are getting solidly on his side. He’s a rough and tough face who will kick anyone’s head off, and that kind of push is practically bombproof. So massively pushed Irishman on the way to the big time vs Dolph Ziggler’s job buddy. I’ll let you guess how this one goes.
Sheamus gets in some audience participation beatings on Swagger to Vickie Guerrero’s distaste, Swagger reverses some of it into technical holds. Swagger gets to ram Sheamus into the ring post, just so we can show off how good Sheamus’s selling has become. It did just seem like killing time for a few minutes till Sheamus gets to kill Swagger. Swagger tries to do some things, but he’s just here for the killing. He even manages to get the Ankle Lock on, but Sheamus reverses it easily. Then Swagger’s head gets kicked off.
A match of opposite momentums, really.
Cewsh: I fell asleep 3 times during Jack Swagger’s entrance alone. That’s usually a bad sign.
68 out of 100.
MichaelC: The Big Show is smiling again, to remind us he is a face. See, when Show is a heel, he frowns. When he is a face, he smiles.
Dichotomy of wrestling, there.
Cewsh: Its the match that was so nice they tried it three times.
MichaelC: If you told me at any point prior to September 2011 that Mark Henry was going to be World Champion, I’d have laughed in your face. From transvestites and hands, to World Champ, in a mere fifteen years of very bad booking complimented by the odd spark of genius. Henry has been milking this spark of genius for all its worth, and 2011 has been one of his better years in the company. And he might be one of the few people who have 2 clean victories over Randy Orton in years.
I guess the moral is, if at first you don’t succeed, try try try try try try try try try try try try try try again.
The Big Show is what he always is. A big man who can be motivated to have great matches in the right mood. A very popular big man, it has to be said. Very few big men wrestlers manage to have lengthy careers, and Show is one of the few who’ve adapted to circumstances to survive. In fact, both of them were around in 1996 in wrestling, which makes them both survivors.
The first noticeable thing is Henry is walking very slowly. And apparently got injured on the RAW before. Oh dear. Big Show looks really motivated though, which body language experts would probably tell you means shits about to go down. Big Show throws lots of chairs into the ring while Henry just stands in the middle of it all not reacting. Finally one goes near his face and Henry just swats it to the mat. That was a pretty cool spot. Mark Henry then tries for a count out, in a chair match, and the fans are not happy. It was a sucker move to get Show in though, but Show ducks the belt shot and smashes Henry with a chair.
Henry is injured and Show can take him apart, but even then Henry is like a terminator and wont give up. Even injured and weakened he still dishes out chairs and all kind of steelageddon pain. The match only goes about 5 minutes because of Henrys injury, but a match where you whack each other with chairs shouldn’t go as long as a normal match really, should it? Think of both having Attitude meters, you whack someone with a chair, they wind up in the red a lot quicker than from a handlock. Finally, the reign of pain finishes, as Henry goes for one more chair shot, but Show instinctively hits his One Punch KO through the chair out of nowhere. It takes Show ages to pull Henry over for a pin, but its academic, Henry is done.
Big Show is finally World Champion again. Good for him, it’s taken him a while. And he’s so happy for it, tears coming down his face. But then Mark Henry attacks Show with chairs, and DDTS him onto a bunch of chairs. The fans as usual start chanting for Daniel Bryan, our reigning holder of the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Cewsh: Look, I understand why this needed to go down like this. Mark Henry got injured, and they obviously needed to get the title off of him. As far as that goes, having the Big Show win the title here in the feud blowoff is smart. But I want to take a second to give a small eulogy for the first title run of Mr. Mark Henry. Truly it was one of the most unexpected things to happen in modern wrestling history, this known jobber somehow finding himself World Champion, but it was such an amazing run. From the brawls with Sheamus, to the wrecking ball attacks on Kane and the Big Show. From the career defining performance by Randy Orton to make him a credible main eventer, to a comparable performance from Henry himself to get over Daniel Bryan. It was a magical summer for the World’s Strongest Man, and he should be damn proud of it. And he’ll have to be, because now its over.
The match itself here was similar to their other matches, with the small caveat that having all the chairs involved actually helped this match (unlike the tables in Orton/Barrett). Chairshots are unusual enough these days to merit an “OOH!” every time you see one, and these guys went hog wild with the chairs, stockpiling them in the ring like they were getting ready for the Olympic Trials of Musical Chairs. In the end, though, Big Show pulls it out by giving Mark Henry a brand new metal face, courtesy of Show’s fist and he tearfully collects his title.
I’m happy for the man, but oh what might have been.
76 out of 100.
Cewsh: Well, that’s about it th…
MichaelC: Hang on? Ride of the Valkyries?
Cewsh: Wait a minute. WAIT JUST A GODDAMN MINUTE HERE.
MichaelC: He’s actually coming out with a referee and cashes in MITB.
Cewsh: WHAT THE FUCK THERE’S NO WAY THIS IS HAPPENING SOMEONE GET ME A BAG TO BREATHE INTO
MichaelC: Bryan dives onto the cover and gets the three count.
Big Show just comes to as the count is happening but cant kick out in time. Show looks gutted, furious, resigned.
MichaelC: Bryan goes nuts. Cole looks like he wants to die. Bryan tells the TV audience this is dedicated to everyone who followed him the last 12 years, and then he dives into celebrate with sections of the crowd.
Daniel Bryan is World Champion!
I’ll be honest, I figured it was coming. Just at WrestleMania!
Show really has him himself to blame though. He’s the one who kept encouraging Bryan to cash in early. So Bryan did…on Show. I’ll leave the mark out section to Cewsh, who has been a fan of the man much longer. Here it’s a “Wow, Cool” moment. There, its probably something like:hshshfhghdifhghghghgfh!!!!!!!!!!hfgifhhgfghh!!! Or words to that effort.
What an amazing moment. To steal the rug right out from Show like that to set up a slow simmer feud between Show and Bryan over the title they both desperately wanted is some inspired booking, and to take the attention off of the somewhat anticlimactic end to Henry’s reign is even better, because forgetting the loss will help his credibility down the road. And all of that is great and all, but primarily DANIEL BRYAN IS THE CHAMPION FUCKERS. Rejoice and sounds the celebratory bugles of hope, because this is a Christmas present I never expected in a million years.
MichaelC: Cody has defended his title 12 times since he won it in August, which is probably the same number of times you see the US title defended in a year. He is on his way to bigger things, despite the pessimism of his fans.
Booker T comes out as the grizzled veteran, coming out of retirement to defend his honor. Can he win the IC title for the second time? (My wife) Mandy just said I am from the JR school of reviewing incidentally. I have no idea what she is trying to get at. Now where did I put my BBQ sauce? (He jokes).
Booker starts like a ball of fire someone put water over twice earlier that night. Busting out all the old scoop slams. He hits all his old moves, and Cody hangs on for dear life, then manages to win. Every time Booker makes a big comeback, Rhodes produces the needed move or reversal just to avoid defeat and get some momentum swing.
A decent match, but Booker is getting on a bit. Rhodes just gets better year by year though.
A competitive IC title reign. That brings me back. I wonder if Booker will bring in his old pal Goldust, and this will start the Cody/Goldust rumours for Mania again. I’ll believe it when I see it, mind. The commentary was mostly concerned about that old chestnut: what is better, winning matches or trying to be nice? Hmm. Answers on a postcard, please.
I suspect Cody will do well in the Rumble, though I can’t see him winning it. Maybe Cewsh thinks he will, he’s not mentioned his thoughts other than my suspicion he has all his eggs in an Orton Rumble Victory basket.
Coming into this match I really had no expectations at all. Cody Rhodes has proven himself capable of very good things in the ring, but he’s not quite to the point where Dolph Ziggler is where he can make any match good and any babyface look good. Booker T, for his part, was totally and spectacularly underwhelming during his TNA run, and has been at the commentary booth for quite awhile now. So to say that I was expecting a drab experience is an understatement, but that isn’t what we got at all. Instead what we got was Booker T coming down on Rhodes like a sack of bricks and keeping up a super high energy level all throughout this sprint of a match. Booker beats the holy HELL out of Rhodes and even gets chants of “You’ve Still Got It” in the process. Rhodes struggles back and always manages to turn things slightly to his favor just as Mikey said up there, like a good heel should.
Ultimately, Booker let this burst of youthfulness get the best of him as he does a spinarooni and then stops, looking dazed for a moment, and then they exchange rapid fire counters, ending with a Beautiful Disaster all over Booker’s face as Booker seems to have had a concussion or something of the kind (kayfabe, I mean) very clearly leading to him being unable to defend himself. Seconds later things were over and done with and evil had prevailed once again. But this was a great example of a veteran coming in and giving a burst of life in one match to put over a young guy big time, and that’s exactly what happened here. Cody Rhodes is better off for what happened here and Booker T certainly isn’t tarnished by it. Doesn’t get much better than that.
77 out of 100.
Segment 19 – WWE Heavyweight Championship – Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match – CM Punk © vs. The Miz vs. Alberto Del Rio.
MichaelC: Ricardo is out to introduce the least drawing former World Champion of all time. I mean, Ronnie Garvin is laughing at his draw abilities. Del Rio will never see another title reign. We are reminded the Rumble is coming. I know, I’m excited! Sweep couldn’t get more excited! (Americans get Sooty references, right?)
The Miz comes out, and he does feel a bit like Batista in 2008. Former Champ a bit lost in the shuffle, but gets some random main events to look relevant. He needs a coming out feud for Mania if he is ever to become what he once looked like becoming.
The crowd are going nuts for Punk before he even shows up.
The idea is Del Rio and Miz will act together to end Punks reign, but both men want the title themselves. Will they be able to work together?
Punk acts like a man possessed, kicking both men who try to take him out. Then he gets his ass kicked for several minutes. Dissension kicks in though, and both heels start beating the hell out of each other. The various tools are brought into play. Miz even brings out his handcuffs and cuffs Punk to the turnbuckle, at which he manages to fight his way loose without any help. This is the story of a WWE Champion who refuses to give up and manages to hold onto his title by hook or by crook.
They are onto a good thing with this youth movement. Punk, Bryan, Ziggler, Sheamus, Wade, even that Ryder lad. You can’t run a company on John Cena’s shoulders forever, its vital that the next generation are coming through. So far the signs look positive.
Cewsh: Oh sure, I COULD sit here and explain to you in words why this match was gobs of fun. OR I could tell you about my favorite part of this vastly entertaining match through the power of gif. Yeah, let’s do that one.
Cewsh: I liked this show. I seem to be saying that quite a bit these days about WWE, and in case it didn’t come through in the review itself, I also enjoy just about every single person who walks out of the curtain every week on WWE shows now. They have such a robust crew of talented young people, and have people at the top who can not only wrestle compelling main event matches, but who are incorporating emotion and storytelling into the feuds and matches in exciting new ways.
Its a wonderful time to be a wrestling fan when you can watch a full show and never be afraid that something is going to depress you. I suggest we grab ahold of the opportunity and hold for dear life until May swings around and we’re hit right in the dick by reality like every year.
Ah, to be a wrestling fan in the winter. Tis by far the sweetest.
MichaelC: So TLC? Well, it was OK. The opening matches were good, then there was a lull, which broke up with Sheamus. The main event was pretty good. It was more a hint of things to come than a show in its own right. I like the hints of things to come, though.
Next up is the Rumble. Is everyone as excited as me? YUS!
Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed ringing in the holidays with us with title changes, dreams fulfilled and shirtless David Otunga. Next week we’ll be back with our review of Chikara’s first PPV Chikara High Noon 2011 and keep an eye out for Supplements whenever they pop up like a herpes outbreak. In the meantime, have a happy Christmas weekend (if that applies to you, if not have a Happy Chinese Food weekend), and always remember to keep reading and be good to one another.