Monthly Archives: August 2012

The 2012 CRL 100

Tonight I am proud to unveil the debut CRL 100. What is this mysterious conglomeration of numbers and letters, you ask? Well that’s very simple. It stands for Cewsh Reviews List 100, and it is the first in a yearly reckoning of the best wrestlers of the past year as determined by, naturally, Cewsh. Wait! I can see you closing this tab and moving on to another one featuring the kind of porn that it would be weird to even talk about. And that’s understandable, because when it comes to wrestling related lists, let’s be honest. They suck. If they aren’t comprised entirely of WWE guys with a token indy guy thrown in, then they’re based on criteria so bafflingly vague that it’s impossible to figure out why in the hell they ever bothered in the first place. I know, believe me. I’ve suffered right along with you through lists that keep men and women segregated, and lists that actually have the balls to declare the Miz the best wrestler on Earth in a given year.

But that all ends today.

You see, with my CRL 100, I have painstakingly whittled down every single active wrestler in this industry until I got the 100 most ass kicking, body rocking, shit talking, walk walking sons (and daughters) of bitches walking the Earth today. Some will come from WWE, but others will proudly represent New Japan, All Japan, DDT, Pro Wrestling NOAH, CMLL, AAA, Shimmer, Ring of Honor, CHIKARA, WSU, Anarchy, Dragon Gate and even more than that. Every effort has been made to remove personal bias and nonsensical notions from the making here, and with any luck what I have crafted here is a list you can look to and be proud of, born of research, hard decisions and experience.

And hey, if that fails, lists are great for killing time, right?

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WWE Monday Night Raw #1,000

World Wrestling Entertainment Proudly Presents…

WWE Monday Night Raw

1,000th Episode

Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the blog that is always incisive and ever divisive, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as we have gathered today to review an episode of Monday Night Raw for only the third time in Cewsh Reviews history. But why tonight, you ask? Because it’s the 1,000th time the show has come on, and 1,000 is, like, a really big number and stuff. But tonight isn’t just about reaching a symmetrical number in the history of WWE programming. It’s also being branded as a new beginning for WWE and a night to enjoy the twin spectacles of nostalgia and whatever you would call nostalgia for things that will happen in the future. Possibly Futalgia, though that sounds like a kind of Athlete’s Foot.  Joining me on this journey through time, is our very own Professor of Wrestling History and full time Doctor Who enthusiast MichaelC, and our special guest making his return to Cewsh Reviews, Psycho! So you can tell for tonight’s special review, we’ll be doing it up proper, and although you can’t tell, we’re all wearing tuxedos and pretty dresses and are gesturing wildly with out top hats and monocles for the show to get on with it already.

So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!

So, fellas. Anything to say before we begin?

Psycho: It feels nice to be back in my special chair reserved for me at Cewsh Reviews. It’s been getting a tad dusty, anyway. Why have I returned this time, though? To recount my epic experience at the 1000th episode of Monday Night RAW. No big deal or anything.

MichaelC: I started watching RAW when I was 12. I just turned 26. This means I have seen WWF/E programming for over half my life. Will this show ever let us go?

Cewsh: No.

Mrs. C: No.

Psycho: No

I Don’t Know What This Has To Do With AJ’s Breasts But He Certainly Is Emphatic.

MichaelC: Thought as much. My first RAW match ever was D’lo Brown v Owen Hart in a Steel City Street Fight. Jeff Jarrett interfered and, only knowing wrestling from the Warzone game, I assumed it was Bret Hart. If anything, my wrestling knowledge has probably regressed since then.

I should probably put a disclaimer at this point and mention I love anniversary shows. A RAW reunion is just like a Doctor Who multi-Doctor story. You get to see all the old Doctors and companions (or champions), and some fans moan there isn’t much plot (or wrestling) on that episode, but you love the nostalgia (nostalgia) instead. Hey, that analogy worked far better than I thought it would!

Anyone could show up. Do you think Bradshaw will?

Cewsh: No.

MichaelC: But…

Cewsh: No.

Segment 1 – OPENING VIDEO FEVER!

MichaelC: We start with a montage of great moments over the years, and so many of them bring back memories. Many daft moments too, some of them remembered more fondly than others. They underplay some of it, but it gets across RAW as being the moment where big things happened, big moments. And Muppets. Scarily I remember almost all of them.

Segment 2 – A Segment Featuring Damien Sandow.

Cewsh: Oh, some other guys are here too, but you’ve probably never heard of them.

Scrubs.

D-Generation X open our little shindig here, with Shawn Michaels and Triple H coming out and doing their DX thing on full blast. It’s really a great thing to see them together having fun and it’s the perfect way to kick off this show, since it combines nostalgia, fun, and something people might text their friends and tell them to turn on and watch. But Shawn Michaels and Triple H aren’t enough for this party, oh no. To the delight of the audience, Triple H calls for the rest of DX to make their presence known, and out come Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac to a huge ovation from the crowd. They make their way into the ring and lots of hugs are had and jokes are told. Billy Gunn and Shawn Michaels do a delightful bit about which one of them get’s to say “We’ve got two words for ya” since they both have before, and overall its just a fun time with two generations of DX melding well and Shawn Michaels not looking out of place, despite the fact that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him in the ring with any of these other guys ever before.

But while this whole dealy is enjoyable, CLEARLY some star power is needed, so out from the back comes Damien Sandow. He tells everyone that they are intellectually superior, and that they are wrong to enjoy DX, and then tells DX that while he knows they can murderize him, that it would just make him a martyr and more powerful in the end. This is a complex situation, one that DX takes very seriously, so they huddle up to develop a plan.

“Do Any Of Us Know Who This Guy Is?”

Their planning apparently went something like this:

HHH: So we’re beating him up right?
HBK: I don’t know, he said we’d make him a martyr.
X-Pac: That’s dumb, we don’t even have any vodka.
Dogg: No not…nevermind.Let’s just have Hunter distract him and then kick his ass.
HHH: Why do we need a distraction if there are five of us already?
All: ……
Gunn: Can I hit my crotch now?
HHH: Oh for fuck’s sake, fine.

One distraction, one Sweet Chin Music, one Pedigree and one awesome off the cuff joke by Triple H about being the only one with hair left later, and we’re done here. Many crotches were chopped, many nostalgias were nostalgiaed, and everybody had a good time. It wouldn’t be going too far to say that this was one of the more heart warming segments in wrestling in recent memory, as a lot of history and nastiness were put aside to make this possible, and everyone there seemed genuinely happy to be having fun with the others. And there’s really nothing better than to see a bunch of wrestlers genuinely happy in the ring.

MichaelC: DX seem to split folk. They split our household. I think they’re reasonably amusing, and Mrs. C thinks they are hilarious. Certainly, I’ll forgive any rubbishness in 2006 for the episode of RAW when Shawn and Trips took over the airplane, and Vince went into complete Doctor Draco school of comic villainy. Your readers will get Kim Possible injokes, right, Cewsh?

Cewsh: I think our readers can handle it. I referenced the goalie from Mighty Ducks 4 on here once and somebody not only got it, but corrected my spelling of their name. 

MichaelC: Shawn immediately refers to the group having once had more people, and out come the New Age Outlaws and X-Pac! Now, Billy Gunn might be on record as being my 2nd least favorite wrestler of all time (he got over taken recently by Alberto Del Rio), but I was a complete mark for Road Dogg and X-Pac as a kid, and its so lovely to see them back. They all look good too. Pac looks the worst for wear, but given some of the demons he’s fought over the last decade, he looks better than most for it, if a little medicated.

Then Damien Sandow shows up. Now I know this man best off the Five Minute Smackdowns on youtube, and the last PPV. Apart from channelling a Poffo remarkably well, he also has a good sense of comic timing. His attempt to enter the DX huddle amused me, and his sell of the Sweet Chin Music was on its way to being a thing of beauty before he stopped to take a Pedigree. Colour me impressed, he might last longer than Dean Douglas.

Psycho: The Degeneration X Reunion was better than I had hoped, seeing that every original member(exluding the dead and female ones) were present. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn hadn’t surprised me, but X-Pac caught me off-guard, and you better believe I screamed my lungs out harder here than anywhere else on the show excluding Ziggler’s appearance (X-Pac and Ziggler mark, right here, if you didn’t already know). It was nostalgic, heart-warming, and it got Sandow involved with a legend of a faction, even if he was only crushed afterward. This is probably the ONLY segment of the show that gave me what I had hoped and expected.

Segment 3 – Sheamus, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara vs. Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio

Cewsh: Here we have one of those matches featuring a bunch of people that have no real reason to be teaming up. Usually this involves 3 different feuds intersecting, but this one is odd because all three of the babyfaces are actively feuding with Alberto Del Rio and Jericho and Ziggler are feuding with each other. Also, this match features the commentary stylings of one Mr. Jim Ross, who wanders in off the street and is so much better than everyone else in his limited time speaking that it’s goddamned embarrassing.

There really isn’t any great story to tell you about this match. It’s your classic 8 minute television speed match, where everybody gets in their spots and the top babyface wins out in the end. The only spice to it was the fact that a) Ziggler attacks Jericho out of nowhere for no good reason and b) Sheamus is really great at hurting people. Oh, and Sin Cara actually got on a major show, after months of getting less screen time than Pauly Shore does these days.

Psycho: The 6-man tag was very…typical. I knew this was coming once I realized every one was coming out for what I call a “Big Fuck-Off Tag Match.” These matches serve their purpose, I suppose, but what really ticks me off is when these are put on shows to make time for novelty segments. I know there was little time and they wanted to get everyone on at once, but it’s hard to get into these matches some times because it’s focused on giving everyone a chance to do some of their regular moves and very softly push feuds. Perhaps a standard 2-on-2 would have been a better choice?

I did freak out for Ziggler, prompted the first “Let’s Go Ziggler chant,” and got him to stare in our direction as a response, whether he acknowledged us specifically or not.

MichaelC: We have a six man tag. It was fun. Jericho appears to be a face again, and will presumably be putting over Dolph at a Summery show in the near future. Before Jericho says night night to wrestling, can we get a Sheamus/Jericho singles match, please? Those two have met 3 times briefly, and just mesh so well together.

Can I also say, for the record, that Rey v Sin Cara needs to be held back to WrestleMania. As the only company ever able to hold that dream match now, they’d be fools not to do it at the big show.

Sheamus, Mysterio and Cara Over The Bad Guys Following A Brogue Kick From Sheamus To Jericho.

Segment 4 – Oh Shit The Bad Boy Hearthrob From Ferris Bueller Is Here!

Cewsh: Man, he has not aged well at all from then.

Why Are They Interviewing Mickey Rourke’s Dad?

MichaelC: Charlie Sheen does a valiant job preventing his crib notes showing up on screen. He comes across as someone who hadn’t a clue what was going on, but improving to try and prevent it showing. Ah well, still better than Jeremy Piven.

Segment 5 – Let Me Give You A Hand.

MichaelC: AJ gets ready for her wedding, boring the womens champion, Layla, who is just happy to get a spot on the show. I’m sure Cody Rhodes is jealous. Hacksaw randomly walks past her locker room, then Roddy Piper. WWE locker room areas come across as dens of insanity based on backstage skits. Then a talking hand appears, introducing itself as Mae Young’s son. And I lost half the gulp of Irn Bru I was having at that moment. Continuity, what a strange bedfellow you are.

Psycho: The backstage segments were humorous, and to be honest I was not asking for anything other than comical nods to the past with the backstage segments. That is something to be expected from these shows, and I can appreciate their worth, even if they are over-used for the less-important specials they increasingly run. Besides…how do you not at least let a snicker escape when they actually brought “The Hand” back. You know what Hand I’m talking about.

Cewsh: If you have not seen this show already, I want to make sure you have a clear idea of the insanity that occurs when AJ and Layla look outside of the locker room they’re in. The very first thing they see is Hacksaw Jim Duggan wandering by by some reason. Then they look to the left to find this:

That would be R-Truth and Roddy Piper playing jump rope with R-Truth’s imaginary friend Little Jimmy. Let’s ignore for a second the premise that this is something that people would do. Instead, let’s all collectively take a second to imagine the conversation that had to have taken place between these two that led to Piper agreeing that playing jump rope in the middle of the hallway with an imaginary little boy sounded like fun. The real crime here, is that we were robbed of THAT. And then after a second, Truth gets visibly irritated with Piper’s failure to provide an adequate jump rope experience to an imaginary child and wanders off. As you do.

“Man, I Thought You Said You Were A Professional Jump Ropist.”

Then, we pan back to the right and see Mae Young, who is a natural fixture on shows like this. And with her is THE HAND THAT SHE GAVE BIRTH TO BACK IN 2000! DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW BATSHIT INSANE AND COMPLETELY WONDERFUL THAT IS AT THE SAME TIME?!

You Wanted Continuity? Here You Go.

The only way this segment could have been any better is if they had bumped into Mark Henry and made things totally awkward. But beyond that, this is unchecked joy. I would commit several felonies to get the job as the guy who gets to write things for legends to be doing in the backstage area for no reason, because nothing tickles me more than seeing Hall of Famers who have no actual reason to be at the show at all, whiling the time away playing beach volleyball in the parking lot with a leprechaun and the Gobbeldy Gooker. Sign me up for that job immediately. I’m begging you.

Segment 6 – Brodus Clay vs. Jack Swagger

MichaelC: Jack Swagger lost to Brodus Clay in 3 seconds. Never mind getting in the next Rumble, will Jack even be there at this rate?

Dude Love shows up. That was nice, he’s the least used of the Faces of Foley. It is sad to see Mick Foley’s knees in such bad shape though. Incidentally, Mick Foley with no knees and no style, still dances better than me and Brodus Clay. True story.

Psycho: While I find it lovely for any opportunity to see Mick Foley especially his near-abandoned Dude Love persona, this was hardly even an opportunity. Why even bring out Jack Swagger if the only reason this occurred was to have Brodus and Dude Love dance together? Oh, right, we had to see a Socko…hey, idea….why didn’t Dude Love snap into a different personality and do that to Brodus? Wouldn’t that be more entertaining? I also believe most people would still cheer his actions, especially if he ended it with one of his classic quips(most likely, “Have a Nice Day!”). It felt mo

Sure, This Seems Like A Good Use Of Everyone’s Time.

Cewsh: I eagerly await the day when Clay himself is getting squashed quickly by newcomers. The sooner the better.

Brodus Clay Over Jack Swagger Following A Splash Or Something, I Don’t Care.

Segment 7 – Yoga Class With Trish Stratus.

MichaelC: Trish Stratus is backstage with Triple H. No one recognizes her. They riff off a RAW segment from eleven years ago no one but Mrs. C remembers, (Cewsh Note: The one where Stephanie catches Triple H bending Trish over). X-Pac then tries to chat her up, seemingly.

Cewsh: Hey, X-Pac has been with Chyna, Tori and Ryan Shamrock. He’s just trying to collect all of the Attitude Era valets.

Segment 8 – The Marital Joining of the Esteemed Daniel Bryan Esq. and Alimony Jackson Lee. 

MichaelC: Ah, a wrestling wedding. They never go badly. Our special guest reverend is Slick, who the crowd don’t remember, but I was cheering loudly enough to make up for them. He seems delighted to be here though. I was expecting Kane to show up. Instead Vince does, that’s almost as good. Not quite as good as Bradshaw, mind you.

Cewsh: I get the impression that you like Bradshaw.

Now if you haven’t been following WWE recently and are wondering why these two people are getting married, the simple answer is that Daniel Bryan broke up with AJ 3 months ago and caused a psychotic break in AJ. Then a now totally erractic and unpredictable AJ brought total chaos to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, and in the midst of all of it, proposed to Punk. When she got turned down, Bryan proposed to her, and she eventually accepted. So there you go ladies, if you want him to put a ring on it, just ruin his work life for a few months.

The truth behind it all is that, naturally, Bryan only wants to marry her so he can have her institutionalized and taken out of his life altogether. Fortunately, the OTHER truth behind it all is that AJ isn’t even remotely as crazy as she seems and already knows everything. So you can sort of guess that it doesn’t take long for these nuptials to go astray. Our minister Slick asks them each if they’ll marry each other and they both say yes. But AJ jumps in and says that she didn’t mean yes to marrying Daniel. She was saying yes to someone else. At which point Vince McMahon comes walking out to a completely baffled ovation.

MichaelC: The moment where everyone in that audience thinks AJ is marrying Vince McMahon is priceless. Of course, she’s become the RAW GM instead. Mrs. C was absolutely delighted by this result.

And hey, a woman gets one over on a guy on RAW by out smarting him and getting comeuppance for mistreatment. That doesn’t happen very often.

But When It Does, It Is Truly Delightful.

Psycho: I never expected Bryan and AJ would succeed in getting married, but I had hoped something more interesting would have come out of it. As ridiculous and silly as it would play out, Vince coming out to ACTUALLY propose to AJ would be monumental and would have held more impact than, “Oh, AJ’s GM and she’s not marrying you. Deuces.” AJ as GM seems like a random, odd, and unpredictable decision. I won’t judge it because there is potential for it to be compelling, but it’s a temporary decision that won’t last longer than 6 months, if even 3. All this drama and build to this episode of RAW which would reveal the new GM…ends with a temporary option?

The marriage which could have been a part of one of WWE’s greatest storylines ever was nothing more than a launching pad for a temporary resolution to a somewhat big angle deciding the new SUPREME GM OF WWE?!? This just screams “Lack of Focus,” and hinders the option of AJ getting back into wrestling anytime soon (which is more of a personal complaint).

Segment 9 – Daniel Bryan Has Bad Pattern Recognition Skills.

Cewsh: So Daniel Bryan refuses to leave the ring after his failed attempt to become a married man, and CM Punk comes out to console him. Unfortunately CM Punk is CM Punk, so his consolation sounds a lot more like open mockery, and somehow this doesn’t seem to make Daniel Bryan feel better. Finally bryan blows his stack and starts screaming about how he’s the greatest superstar in Raw history. Which, for those of you new to the literary world, is what we call foreshadowing.

Out comes the Rock and the vicious dressing down of Daniel Bryan begins in earnest, as Punk kind of stands off to the side and watches.

Notice The Champion Being So Ignored That He’s Barely In The Frame. This…This May Come Up Later On.

The Rock demolishes Bryan, much to the bearded man’s dismay, and then tells CM Punk that at the Royal Rumble, the Rock will have a championship match against whoever happens to be champion at the time. Punk isn’t overly impressed by this, and they have a staredown that makes the crowd audibly start buzzing. Of course Daniel Bryan isn’t happy about being the one who is ignored now, and he gets up in the Rock’s face. And as you well know, if you get up in the Rock’s face while he’s cutting a promo, it can really only have one outcome.

You Can’t Even Deliver A Pizza To The Rock Without This Happening.

This was a terrific segment, that really made it look like Rock and Punk were even more on the same level than Cena and Rock were, and made Bryan look like someone important as well in a few short minutes. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be clearing my calender for every Sunday in January, just in case.

MichaelC: Bryan is still in the ring snapping when CM Punk comes out. They chat for a bit, then The Rock comes out too! Gosh, he’s actually going to interact with folk! The Rock seemed like a man who didn’t have half an hour to kill for once, and so ran through his promo. Exchanged a bit with Bryan and Punk. Both men’s profiles raise as a result of interaction with a “bigger name”. And now, we’re only going to get Cena v Rock, or Punk v Rock or Daniel bloody Bryan vs The Rock at the Royal Rumble. The last two, which have seeds – one more than the other, but this is an economical show, and Rock is an economical asset just now, they only use him when they want him – and bloody hell, I’d love to see them.

Incidentally, including ads, Daniel Bryan got over 40 minutes of RAW time. I bet there’s at least one hundred people online claiming this buries him.

Also, someone voted for Rock vs. Show at the Rumble, you know. Sad person.

Psycho: Bryan’s overreaction (the best parts not even getting on TV) to the rejection were priceless, and the whole segment with Punk and The Rock was gold. This was the only other part of the show I could fully put myself behind, even if it was preceded by the confusion that was the wedding.

Segment 10 – WWE Intercontinental Championship – Christian (c) vs. The Miz

MichaelC: Bret Hart gets to play at being Howard Finkel, and mentions Mr Perfect. What a great chap.

Cewsh: Bret Hart comes out and introduces our next match, featuring CAPTAIN CHARISMA CHRISTIAN and….theMiz. The fans seem surprised and very pleased to see Miz here, and he and Christian proceed to have a very nice television title match, with Miz working on Christian’s leg and both men putting in numerous counters of just about everything. Finally, Miz catches a break and Christian falls right into the Skull Crushing Finale, netting Miz the win and his first championship in almost a year.

Even Miz Seems Surprised To See That Graphic On The Screen.

If you look at this show as being the kick off to a new era in WWE, and the company clearly wants us to, some clear statements have been made on this show. They see a future in AJ as a personality, they’re putting heavy emphasis on Punk and Bryan, and they’re ready to give the Miz another shot at making it to the top. To say that I am pleased with all of those developments doesn’t begin to cover it. They’re off to a damn good start to this new era thingy.

Psycho: Seeing Miz get the shot at the Intercontinental Title was exciting. It’s a belt that has slowly been getting back more prestige, yet is in need of someone important to hold it. Miz is someone who made a big splash in the WWE after becoming WWE Champion, but fell off when he had no more room in the main event(mostly thanks to CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Big Show, and Mark Henry). Fresh off a brief hiatus, Miz is back looking reinvigorated, and WWE has gone through with the notion of putting him in the midcard division. It’s not a demotion: it’s giving him more space to shine while simultaneously adding some value to the strap, as well as making a perfect heel to make crowd-favorite faces out of anyone. Look at Daniel Bryan and Alex Riley, though they didn’t follow up well with Riley…The match itself felt just above average, but the finish was spectacular, and made Miz look great.

MichaelC: It was nice to see Bret still had disdain for The Miz though. I mean, Bret’s even forgiven Shawn Michaels AND Bruce Hart. The Miz must have really irked him on RAW.

I was hoping we’d Bradshaw show up here. That’d have been good.

Cewsh: Goddamn it Michael, Bradshaw isn’t coming. He’s NEVER coming. He has gobs of money and other things to do and there’s no way he’s going to come back to do some random thing on an anniversary show for no reason. IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

The Miz Over Christian Following The Skull Crushing Finale.

Segment 11 – In Which Triple H Remembers He Had Something Important To Do On This Show.

MichaelC: Triple H argues with Paul Heyman. Stephanie comes out and looks generally awesome, then beats up Heyman. Can’t complain with any of this so far. Then Brock comes out, but Triple H gets the last laugh on this night. Just as well, given Brock, you know, broke his arm and all. And is likely going to kill him at Summerslam.

Psycho: This segment garners conflicting reactions from me. On one hand, it was amazing to see Stephanie and Paul Heyman in front of my eyes again after so many years, but the whole thing felt rushed….really, until Steph came out, everything was going pretty good…and how Stephanie attacking Paul all of a sudden coaxes him into making the match seems silly, especially when he realized what she did afterward(wouldn’t he just say, “Never mind, I was angry, we never signed a contract,” or something to that effect?). We got the expected answer, and now we have what is hopefully an enthralling SummerSlam match…but the segment was exactly what was expected, which in retrospect, wasn’t very much to start with. If they had not promoted “Brock’s Decision” and made it an on the spur segment, maybe it would have been more electric.

Cewsh: I want to take a minute to refer to something about this segment that really made it come off as special to me. It’s sort of a small detail, so it may have easily been missed, but for me it makes the difference between a thrown together angle that doesn’t mean much, and a dramatic feud that has a lot of meat on it. That difference can be summed up in this picture:

That picture is from the very moment that Brock Lesnar’s music hit and he walked onto the stage, ready to kill. And what makes this segment different from your run of the mill thing, is the fear on the faces of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Perhaps the single most important thing that you can do to get a guy over is to express genuine fear when they walk out and are coming for you. Its such a simple step that often seems to be completely ignored, but it marks the difference between Heath Slater coming out to face you, and your worst nightmare on his way to greet you. Here, Triple H, who has been established for a decade now as one of the toughest and most fearless men in wrestling, IMMEDIATELY looks afraid for his wife’s safety in light of what is coming. Stephanie, for her part, just got done verbally eviscerating and physically exacerbating a guy not 5 seconds before, but she looks like she has seen her life pass in front of her eyes and hurries out of the ring as fast as she can. Because Brock Lesnar is DANGEROUS, and everyone here knows he is.

Selling it in this way isn’t just great booking, it’s great performing. And its little things like this that construct an atmosphere of danger and legitamcy around a guy like Brock Lesnar in addition to what was there already. It’s the right way to get this done, and it sold me more on this feud than a dozen promo videos and a contract signing ever could.

Segment 12 – No Disqualification Match – Heath Slater vs. ?????

MichaelC: And in the ring, now playing the role of Howard Finkel: Howard Finkel! He announces Heath Slater, who challenges any legend to a No DQ match.

Cewsh: What the shit? LITA?! And holy fuck, she actually looks even better than she did before she left.

She Looks YOUNGER. What The Hell?

MichaelC: Now given Lita once went toe to toe with Terry Funk in a Hardcore match, Slater might be a bit overmatched here. But Lita brought protection….

Hang on, I know that music.

Cewsh: Oh no.

Son Of A Bitch.

MichaelC: CEWSH!

Cewsh: You have got to be shitting me.

MichaelC: Yes! Yes! Yes! It’s Bradshaw! Oh and Faarooq too. It’s good to see the Acolytes back.

Slater decides to run away from the best Attitude era tag team (slight bias) and greatest womens wrestler of this millennium in WWE, but then runs into a brick wall.

A brick wall called: HOLY SHIT! VADER! SID! BACKLUND! ANIMAL! DDP! RIKISHI! RODDY PIPER!

They’re Working On The Name.

Slater gets the Twist of Fate, and then has his head torn off by the best clothesline this side of Stan Hansen.

KERSMASH.

One moonsault later, and Lita wins.

I think this might count as the greatest RAW segment of all time. It’d be hard to beat that condensed amount of awesomeness in one place.

Cewsh: Well as much as I hate being proved wrong, I can’t find anything that isn’t thoroughly lovable about this. It didn’t last long enough for any of the legends to really do anything, (barring a Clothesline From Hell that made Heath Slater stand up on his neck for solid 5 seconds,) but Lita was the clear feature, everybody had a good time, and Heath Slater got his head kicked in by all my favorite old codgers. It might be possibly to make a more fan servicey segment of television, but you’d be hard pressed to accomplish it.

Psycho: Seeing the APA was heart-stopping, really. Felt very unexpected, and while it was all part of a segment to crush my man Slater, he still has received more exposure over the last two months than some of the internet darlings. Lita’s return was highly welcome, but I was a little upset that Slater’s epic loss had to come to a female over any other choice. Not that there’s a problem with a man losing to a woman, I had just hoped Slater could get something that would be a little less “publicly humiliating” as his blow-off. It’s a harmless action, really, so it’s no big deal, just something that I had noticed. Also, I came to this RAW hoping for a Vader match, or at least a more prominent Vader appearance…I did not get this, so I was a rather sour mark at this point.

MichaelC: Lita is great. When she debuted, the womens championship was fought in matches between The Kat and Harvey Whippleman. Through a non stop agenda of fighting the men, taking bumps guys wouldn’t (powerbombs on the bloody floor, that made an entire arena gasp, for example), being possibly the only woman in WWE history to blade, and generally working her ass off kept women relevant in the WWF when they had all but given up on them. Without her, there’d be no Trish, no Beth, no AJ Lee. In a world where Koko B Ware is a Hall of Famer, she’s a cert.

Lita Over Heath Slater Following A Moonsault.

Segment 13 – The Most Half Assed Invasion Of All Time.

Cewsh: So alright, here’s how this went down. Kane came down to the ring for a match, conceivably against Jinder Mahal. However Hunico, Camacho, Tyler Rekks, Curt Hawkins, and Drew McIntyre also come down with him, and Mahal says that for 999 episodes they’ve been overlooked and that tonight they’ll get their revenge. Now, either he means that jobbers IN GENERAL have been overlooked all that time, (in which case, how awesome would it have been for his posse to be Funaki, Barry Horowitz, and the Brooklyn Brawler?) or that he personally has been overlooked throughout the entire history of Raw, which would be a stretch since he was 7 when it debuted.

Let’s Have A Warm Welcome For The Washington Generals.

Regardless, they surround they ring in a very Nexus like way, and just when I think they’ve going to pay homage to Nexus, they decide to pay homage to something a taaaaaaaad bit more fondly remembered by fans.

GONG.

MichaelC: At this point, we see one of the best things in the history of dumb heels, as the six jobbers audibly go “There’s only 2 of them!”

This might come as a shock, but the Undertaker and Kane swiftly kill the jobbers. Then celebrate.

Jobbers, Man. We Keep Getting Older, They Stay The Same Age.

Psycho: Undertaker’s Return and the Reunion of the Brothers of Destruction. Something one might see as a more momentous event, but….it was just a cheap way of giving the fans what they wanted: a Taker return. This was cool to see, and I cheered it as a long-time fan of both of these men, but it was all just a pointless squash…that maybe could have been condensed with the Slater match? Why not have Taker be the one to put down Slater? THAT would have felt huge. Lita could have been involved in some awesome segment with Trish(even if just backstage), or even could have had Taker as part of the “protection.”

I guess they wanted Taker’s bit separate from the reunion of all those legends, but I don’t think it would have felt much different.

Segment 14 – WWE Heavyweight Championship – CM Punk (c) vs. John Cena

Cewsh:Let’s ignore the match here, because despite sky high expectations on my part, it turned out to be 10 minutes of doing nothing very much and waiting around for the finish to come. So let’s fast forward to that. John Cena is dominating CM Punk, and looks to be heavily in control of the match when suddenly the Big Show appears doing his ninja giant thing, and knocks Cena the fuck out. Punk tries to take advantage, but Cena won’t stay down, and somehow manages to lock Punk back in the STF. Show then comes back AGAIN and this time just flat out makes this a disqualification finish by beating the tar out of John Cena while CM Punk sits back and watches. Punk seems conflicted about whether or not to help Cena, but clearly hasn’t made a decision when the Rock’s music hits and he comes sprinting down to the ring. Rock batters Show and scoops him with a Spinebuster. He goes for the People’s Elbow for emphasis, but a funny thing happens on the way to the people…

!!!

Punk comes springing out of nowhere and blasts Rock with a clothesline before promptly picking him up and putting him to sleep before standing over his motionless body with a grim expression on his face.

Welp, There Goes $60 Out Of My Pocket Come January.

So is CM Punk a heel? Will it definitely be him and Rock at the Rumble? If so, what the hell do they do from here until January? All good questions, and none of them really have answers even 2 weeks later. But while I don’t know that, I do know this. I AM BUYING THE FUCK OUT OF THAT PAY PER VIEW YES.

Psycho: Finally, the main event…this was the one moment that my joy hinged upon. I desperately wanted Punk to win, win clean, or in the least have Cena turn dirty if he wins. Despite my fears, I expected a really good match no matter the outcome…what happened was the unthinkable. I was ultimately given the result I(and almost all of the IWC) wanted, but was short-changed of what I had felt was set in stone. The wave of what I felt were pointless segments in between the best parts of RAW 1000 took up so much time that Punk/Cena was reduced to nothing more than a less-than-typical RAW main event, buffered with nothing but a rushed hustle to get out all of each other’s signature moves.

When the bell had rung on a non-clean ending(which, by the way, Punk technically did not even win) that was the cause of Big Show(not anyone else more interesting at the time), this was my decision to walk out. I did not care anymore. The last thing that I had hoped could go right, or at least EXPECTED did not. The match was wasteful, and was used as a launching pad for what looks to be a Punk/Rock feud. This is where I confused myself even more, because I had been hoping for a feud between Punk and Rock before a potential Punk and Austin feud. The reason why was because The Rock felt like the perfect opponent for Punk to be a face AND be his usual, entertaining, occasionally pipe-bombing self. That is what Punk needed to hold onto his current place without backlash from certain fans. If there’s any truth to the rumors of Punk and Austin, then Punk should continue an exciting face routine until his “shocking” turn to start up his program with Stone Cold.

Instead, they went with the shortcut of possibly turning Punk heel. Punk’s best work is as a heel, and almost any wrestling fan knows this. However, they went with this option of boasting Punk as an anti-hero, and while sticking with it, they seemed to somehow neuter him a bit. While still a funny guy, Punk had not done anything momentous outside of having really good matches. He was not doing anything “Austin-like.” Now, if he’s not turning full heel, and this is just their way of giving him his attitude back…then this was a perfect finish to an otherwise OK RAW. If he’s going heel…it’s still a good ending, but feels like another example of WWE rushing what could be better tasted as a drawn-out process. Give Punk his balls back, then turn him heel months later, a bit after he’s conquered Rocky.

MichaelC: Punk v Cena?

Good News – Cena lost.
Bad News – Big Show is still in the main event.
Good News – Money in the Bank is not a 100% thing any more.

The big talking point is the finish, when Punk took out Rock and sent him to sleep. (Heh, Ziggler takes selling out of The Rock’s playbook.) Now, people are immediately going “HEEL TURN!” But before conclusions are jumped to, I’d like to remind you of Shawn turning on Cena in 2007 and Batista turning on Undertaker, neither of which became heel turns. Main eventers like to do this to each other, to create tension. Punk even got cheers for taking out Rock, a move not seen since the days of Steve Austin. Wait and see how Punk addresses it in weeks to come.

John Cena Over CM Punk Following A Disqualification.
——————————————
Cewsh’s Conclusion:

Cewsh: I had fun watching this show. There were some segments that missed, but for the most part it was a fun nostalgia ride, and pretty much just a 3 hour scoop of fan service with a sense of lightheartedness to most of it, and a compelling conclusion. I’ll never ask much more than that from a television show, (I hold paid events to a much higher standard as you well know,) and as far as I’m concerned, this new era launch was a complete success. Aside from, you know, leaving women’s wrestling off entirely and making it clear that that has no significance to their relaunch. You know, that whole fucking thing.

Psycho’s Diagnosis:

Psycho: For the most part, RAW 1000 was a case of most of the segments being good or entertaining on their own. As a full package, however, everything felt rather lacking. Perhaps I am being too harsh. Maybe I hyped myself for more than was promised. Maybe I expected that for one time WWE could give us even a glimmer of a perfect show. There’s a strong chance that I really was hoping for something more special since I was going to be there live. I say that because I almost feel like if I had watched the episode on TV without spending any money, I would not be viewing it so harshly.

The kicker is that I actually left this RAW feeling more upset and disappointed than I have ever felt after leaving the arena. I was at the time so frustrated that I left my seat and waited in the lobby for my companions while I fumed over the events. Was RAW on a whole that bad? I would say no, but the potential they had to make something special beyond nostalgia and one main event moment was not quite fulfilled.

As the week passed, my judgments have softened, especially from my initial reaction, but I still stand by the idea that as a live show that I paid $143 dollars for(about $100-120 value tickets), it was utterly disappointing. It’s a strange feeling, as I am usually very positive about WWE’s “less-than-stellar” shows, but this episode for some reason struck me a blow of disappointment. Of course, we can not know how much it was all worth until next week.

—————————————

Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed a look back at the 1,000 episode of a show your parents told you was too childish to watch damn near 20 years ago. Next week we have…wait…do you hear a rumbling sound? It sounds like something enormous is rushing this way! Is it a buffalo stampede? A Decepticon attack? Did Rhino hear there was a sale on donuts? Oh dear god, no. It’s…it’s…

OPTIMASH PRIME. The official herald of the Cewsh Reviews Super Mega Ultra Technicolor Dream Card has come. And that can only mean one thing. The third installment of the card that rules the yard, the show that makes Keanu say “Whoa”, the event that needs no introduction and yet gets three anyway, CRSMUTDC3. Dig it.

So gather yourselves for the biggest review night of the year and we’ll see about renting tuxes for the evening. In the meantime, be sure to keep right on reading, and always be good to one another.

TNA Destination X 2012

Total Nonstop Action Proudly Presents…

TNA Destination X 2012

Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the blog that is responsible for everything having an X in it in the 90s, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as we take a fancy little ride down the East Coast to Orlando and once again enter a world full of color, wonder and ire.

And Of Course I Mean The New Sitcom Announcin’ Buddies, Starring Jeremy Borash And Mike Tenay.

Of course we could only be talking about Total Nonstop Action, and tonight we review what many are beginning to regard as the centerpiece of their wrestling year, Destination X. Tonight the entire show, (or most of it anyway,) is based entirely around the fabled X-Division, and at the top of the card, arguably the greatest X-Division champion of all time, Austin Aries, will do battle with Bobby Roode to not only become the World Heavyweight Champion, but also to bring the X-Division into manhood at last. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We’ve got bitter feuds, a whole host of newbies and a beloved feud from the past to see on our way to the end. So kick your feat up, and start feeling EXTREME, and let’s get this show on the road.

So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!

Segment 1 – OPENING VIDEO FEVER!

Cewsh: So this is where I usually tell you about the opening video of the show and how it was, what it meant, etc, etc. It’s a good way to start of the reviews by giving me a chance to elaborate on the overall theme of the show before we dig into it, and it works well for us. But in this review we’re not doing any of that shit, because instead we’re going to focus on how FUCKING AWESOME THIS IS.

That’s right. If you watched TNA Destination X for yourself, you may have noticed that dead center there in the middle of your screen is a giant “Cewsh Approves” sign. Now dedicated readers might remember that a Cewsh Reviews facepalm sign snuck its way onto a PPV last year as well, but this is truly next level stuff here and is without a doubt the coolest thing that has ever happened in the history of ever. We’ll be checking in with this sign wielding virtuoso throughout the show, (for the record, his Twitter handle is @rdmb1 and ladies, he has more abs than I have analogies.) But for now, let’s just all bask in how ridiculous it is that our inside jokes have been captured on something that people paid money to see. SUCKERS.

Segment 2 – TNA X Division Title Tournament Qualifying Match – Mason Andrews vs. Rubix vs. Lars Only vs. Dakota Darsow

Cewsh: Okay, so here’s the deal here. With Austin Aries vacating the X-Division championship, (I’ll get into that more later on,) TNA has elected to have an 8 man tournament to determine the new champion, with the final four participants competing in an Ultimate X match here later tonight. Along the way, they’ve been giving guys from all over the indies a chance to win their way into the tournament, which Rashad Cameron and Flip Cassanova have already done. Now the other four try outs will have a match for the last spot in the tournament. If you’re wondering, they’re better known as PWG’s Scorpio Sky (Andrews), Chikara’s Jigsaw (Rubix), NWA: Hollywood’s Johnny Yuma (Lars Only), and Repo Man’s kid (the other one).

Now, I’m not going to split any hairs here. Dakota Darsow is really, really, really not good. I don’t want to go so far as to suggest that he sucks more balls than a vacuum at a ping pong factory, but he’s not far off. He doesn’t wrestle anything resembling an X-Division style, and isn’t good enough at any other style to compensate. He’s basically what you’d get if you shrunk Michael McGuillicutty down to 5’7, and took away more talent. Between Darsow and Lars Only seemingly forgetting that he knows how to have fun matches, exactly half of this match pretty much embarrasses itself. Luckily the other half of the match is comprised of the very solid Andrews and Rubix, who already made such a strong impression in his debut tryout match that the crowd explodes for him when he makes his entrance here. Now, I’ve been critical of Rubix in the past, but all of that went out the window here, as the man absolutely clutched it and was clearly, CLEARLY, the best performer in the ring, as he flew all over the place to genuinely wild cheers from the crowd.

Of course, this story can’t have an entirely happy ending, as despite overwhelming audience support and skills that would make him a valuable asset to the X-Division for years to come, Rubix does not win this match. Luckily, Andrews does instead, which is a pretty good deal if you consider the other two options. But this is pretty clear disappointment, and the crowd is visibly deflated by it. It’s wasted opportunity to use a guy with some genuine momentum that he built all by himself. And that’s putting it nicely.

Vice Assures Me That This Sign is Accurate.

65 out of 100

Mason Andrews Over Everyone Else Following A TKO To Lars Only.
Segment 3 – TNA X-Division Title Tournament Match – Kid Kash vs. Mason Andrews

Cewsh: Immediately on the heels of Mason’s triumphant victory over the hopes of everyone watching, he is viciously assaulted by Kid Kash. This might have turned a lesser wrestler face immediately, but Kid Kash thinks likability is something to do with computers, and so he gets about the business of being a total dickhead. Kash chops Andrews so hard and so often over the next 5 minutes that if Kenta Kobashi were likely to watch TNA PPVs, even he would be wincing in sympathy. But somehow Andrews manages to stay in the match like the plucky young man he is, and after Kash takes a nasty top rope plunge directly onto Andrews’ knees, it appears for a moment like Mason may actually manage to get some decent offense in. That doesn’t last long, of course, but much to the wide eyed surprise of Kash, Andrews manages topull out a shock victory.

Well this match WAS better than the first one, if only because watching Kid Kash do harm to rookies is always a recipe for a fun time, (when did he become cruiserweight Bradshaw anyway?) And it certainly must be said that they’ve decided to give quite the one night push to Andrews, who has earned himself a spot in the Ultimate X match later on in the show. I’m not sure about the wisdom of taking some guy who is completely untested on this level and putting him over your established talent and in big time title matches, especially since we already have like 5 ways for new talent to get signed in this company and this circumnavigated all of them for no reason, but I have to at least give them credit for keeping things fresh. None of that really made this match stand out as anything you’d remember 30 seconds after if was over, but the word “inoffensive” certainly applies here.

67 out of 100

Mason Andrews Over Kid Kash Following A Roll Up.
Segment 4 – TNA X-Division Title Tournament – Doug Williams vs. Kenny King

Cewsh: HOLY SHIT ITS KENNY KING WHAT?!

Oh, Hey There.

To elaborate on that awesome mark out moment, Kenny King is a former Tough Enough contestant and, up until pretty much the exact second before he stepped out of the curtain on the Impact before this show, Ring of Honor talent. He had been part of Ring of Honor’s big youth movement, and his team with Rhett Titus, the All Nite Express, had quickly become perhaps the most promising young tag team in all of professional wrestling. Knowing a good thing when they say it, ROH signed him to a written contract awhile ago, and that contract just recently came up. Now, for awhile now, King has been expressing discontent with how the new owners, Sinclair Broadcasting, had been doing their jobs, but all signs pointed to him resigning with ROH. But so much for that bullshit, because to the complete shock of the entire wrestling industry, here he is in TNA, which very clearly violates about everything it is possible to violate with his ROH negotiations. So the man will never work in Ring of Honor again, but it’s hard to really feel bad for him as he’s now finally arrived at the big time, (well, the bigger time.)

He and Williams proceed to have a great technical, mat based match which plays right to Williams’ strengths and really shows King’s versatility as a performer. They go hold for hold with one another, and Williams does a really tremendous job of making King look like a burgeoning superstar capable of beating him at his own game all the way through. Finally, after a counter fest that may have to be upgraded to a counterparty, King stuns Williams and hits him with a beautiful Rock Bottom variation that I will be more than happy to see every week on TNA television for years to come, (HINT FUCKING HINT TNA), and moves on to his rightful place in the main event.

The match here will inevitably be forgotten in the wake of the controversy surrounding it and King himself, but I really want to praise it quite a bit. It didn’t blow my doors off or anything, but to have King’s match be such a solid mat wrestling showpiece, really gives him some credibility to draw on when he moves on to whatever he does next. It was a great choice to take advantage of the fact that he was one of the most versatile and adaptable performers on the independent scene, and it opens the door to all sorts of wacky shit down the line. So full credit to TNA, full credit to Doug Williams, (who did a fine job, despite basically getting on a show for the first time in months just to job to a rookie,) and full credit to Mr. Kenny King for grabbing that brass ring. We will be watching his career with interest.

70 out of 100

Kenny King Over Doug Williams Following A Swing Rock Bottom.
Segment 5 – TNA X-Division Title Tournament Match – Rashad Cameron vs. Sonjay Dutt

Cewsh: For those of you out there reading this who are Combat Zone Wrestling fans, (I’m told those do, in fact, exist,) Rashad Cameron is Sabian from the weed and botch loving tag team BLK OUT. I’m not sure when TNA took the WWE approach to naming indy wrestlers, which is to saddle them with the most randomly bland name possible, but there you go. His opponent here is Sonjay Dutt, who is having his first match back in TNA in years after being released, and who now sports a shaved head that isn’t a much better look for him.

Oh Come On, You’re Making The Jokes Too Easy.

Annnnnnd that’s about it. There’s really nothing to tell you about this match. These two had 8 of the least memorable minutes of wrestling that I have ever borne witness to, culminating in a totally awesome finisher from Sonjay which is at least 98% of the entire reason to watch this at all. I could dedicate more words to talking about how forgettable the rest was, but the more I try to think about it the less I remember about everything else too, as it may be some kind of memory sucking black hole. So since we’re about two sentences from erasing Battletoads and the full run of Quantum Leap, I’ll just show you the finisher and keep moving right along.

I Have Been Watching This Gif Over And Over For An Hour Now.

60 out of 100

Sonjay Dutt Over Rashad Cameron Following A Super Flip Stomp.
Segment 6 – Okay Guys, Let’s Be Cool For A Minute.

Cewsh: Here, we get a video about Jesse Sorenson’s horrific neck injury from last year and his struggles to rehabilitate. Then Sorenson himself comes down to the ring to thank the TNA fanbase for being so kind to him and supportive all through his injury, and to say that he plans on coming back better than ever very soon. Now, we’re currently on the internet right now, and we’re all smarky smarks here, so obviously the very first impulse to find something here to mock and make a joke out of, but I’m really not going to. Sorenson seems like a really great guy and I don’t have a single bad word to say about him. He caught a tough break at an early point in his career, but some good may come out of it, because if anything it’s raised his profile in the company significantly. I wish him the best of luck coming back, and the crowd certainly seems to agree, and everyone present show him a ton of love…

…except of course, for the man who injured him in the first place, Zema Ion. See, Ion injured him by accident when a moonsault caused Ion’s knee to hit Sorenson’s neck and mess it all up. But as the storyline goes, Ion never apologized for it, and has even gleefully taken credit for it, leveraging it into a reputation as a dangerous man. So if this isn’t screaming “Sorenson’s comeback feud” to you enough right there, Ion comes out for his match just as Sorenson is leaving and gestures to his neck like “something wrong with your neck, champ?”

And With That, Zema Ion Announced His Candidacy For The Position Of President Cockwaffle.

This is a move so next level heelish that it’s insane, and the stare down between he and Sorenson is one of those situations where the eyes of any wrestling promoter in attendance turns into dollar signs like a cartoon. This one is going to good, boys and girls. Stay tuned.

Segment 7 – TNA X-Division Title Tournament – Zema Ion vs. Flip Cassanova

Cewsh: To get it out of the way, Flip Cassanova is the creatively renamed Flip Kendrick from all over the indy scene, and Zema Ion actually works here.

Now, if you’ve ever read the name Zema Ion, (or Shiima Xion, for that matter,) on this blog, you’ve certainly also read huge praise right alongside of it. Way back through the mists of time in the long ago days of 2009, I saw Ion on an IWA:EC show that we were watching because we hate ourselves and both Vice and I openly proclaimed him to be a future star. At the time he was virtually unknown, and ever since he has blossomed into an absolute burgeoning star in TNA, much to our satisfaction. I say all of this, not to once again reference the Cewsh Push, (Ion, the Young Bucks, Brittany Knight, Orlando Jordan and Tenielle all signed within weeks of our endorsement,) but to really show how much charisma the man has. He had charisma on an awful show in a gym in West Virginia where they forgot to even play his music, so you know he has the goods.

After the intensely charged stare down with Jesse Sorenson, these two get started, and it’s basically the “Zema Ion Is A Huge Dickhead Show with Special Guest Flip Cassanova.” After every move, Ion infuriates the crowd further by preening himself, and every time Cassanova tries to get something going, Ion foils him in the most annoying way possible.

Douchebag Powers Activate!

Between this and the 8 gallons, (gallons? Pounds? How do you measure a spray?) of hair spray he uses during the match, it takes no time at all for this crowd to fucking hate him. And considering that this is a TNA crowd, that is a truly marvelous achievement indeed, since you can name real heels TNA has had on two hands with some left over. Cassanova tries valiantly against the Crown Prince of Douchery though, and he very nearly steals this one with his wacky, flippy offense. But Ion isn’t having any of that nonsense, because dammit hairspray isn’t cheap and he needs that winner’s purse. Before long, that’s exactly what he gets, as he puts Cassanova way and struts his way to the back with the kind of expression of his face more commonly associated with sociopaths and dogs eating peanut butter.

Awesome.

You’re Goddamned Right, Cewsh Approves.

70 out of 100

Zema Ion Over Flip Cassanova Following The Gory Special.
Segment 8 – Bobby Roode Is Rude. Possibly Also A Bobby.

Cewsh:Backstage, Kenny King, Sonjay Dutt and Mason Andrews are all given about 0.6 seconds to explain why they’re going to win the X Division title tonight. Of the three, only King regards the situation as if he has ever previously seen a microphone in front of him, but it’s all kind of rendered null and void and Bobby Roode barges onto the set and mocks all three of them mercilessly for only being X-Division guys. Roode goes on to say that he’ll destroy the figurehead of their precious division tonight and then gives them all mean looks. Now this is already mean enough behavior as it is, but serious, look at Andrews’ chest after what Kid Kash did to him.

CHRIST OW

If anyone has ever been deserving of some sympathy and respect, its a guy who had to wrestle Kid Kash. And I mean that in pretty much any way you could possibly take it.

Segment 9 – Bound For Glory Series Match – Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle

Cewsh: Okay, now this is the only match on the show that doesn’t have some kind of X-Division bend to it. This is an official Bound For Glory series match, and if you have no idea what in the shit that is, I’ll summarize. Basically, TNA takes 12 guys and puts them in a competition where points can be won by wrestling and beating someone else in the series by pinfall (7 points) or submission (10 points). Then come September the guys with the top four point totals will meet in a four way to determine who will face the champion at Bound For Glory. It’s like the Royal Rumble, except there are only 12 guys, and it lasts for half the year instead of just feeling that way. Got all that? Okay. So with that in mind, let’s check out the standings.

So this is definitely a significant match in the series. But I can hardly be bothered right now, because we’re getting to see Samoa Joe wrestle Kurt Angle god dammit. This is the feud that I named the greatest in TNA history, and for good fucking reason. These two colliding created the true golden age of TNA, and provided its highest crescendo. There will never, ever, be a time where I will not be excited to see their names next to each other.

Unfortunately, it isn’t 2007 anymore. Joe and Angle have a really good back and forth match here, that references their old matches in some ways and centers around Samoa Joe’s desire to get submission victories at all costs. He’s all over Angle all through the match, and looks more dominant and unstoppable here than he has in years and years. Angle takes a hell of a beating from Joe, even turning beat red from submissions more than once, and comes back with his own wrestling mastery. They create something good here, but I would be remiss if I didn’t make it clear to you that they seem to be holding something back. Maybe it’s just that they’re getting older and don’t have the abilities they once did, (though I don’t believe that for a second,) or maybe it’s because they’re not trying to tear the roof off of the place as this is really just another match in a long, long series, but if this match would have to be said to be lacking something, it’s urgency. Despite the good premise and good work, the match just kind of meanders along to its conclusion. It doesn’t SPOIL the match, as such, but it is a bit of a letdown, since it’s been years since we got this match up in earnest.

I’ve always wondered what TNA’s idea was with these two. Ever since their gigantic feud in 2007 that put TNA definitively on the map, TNA has flirted here and there with giving us the matchup again, most notably during the Main Event Mafia/Frontline feud that wound up having Joe join forces with Kurt’s team. But they’re almost sporadically seemed to remember that there was something here that people wanted to see. Imagine if The Rock and Stone Cold had had one feud and then interacted about twice for the rest of their careers. It would be bizarre, just as this is. But regardless, here they gave us some fun nostalgia and good ride, without really producing anything special. It’s a disappointment, but it’s better than no Joe/Angle at all.

77 out of 100

Samoa Joe Over Kurt Angle Following The Koquina Clutch.


Segment 10 – Last Man Standing Match – AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels

Cewsh: This match was very good.

What’s that? Elaboration? My friend, if you haven’t seen at least 47 AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels matches already, it can only be because you were either born earlier this afternoon, (in which case, congratulations on being the smartest baby in human history,) or because you have never seen a TNA show before, and came here thinking we were going to be reviewing some porn with really tremendous productions values and a serious lack of women. As such, you know exactly what this match was. They had great chemistry, they did some neat spots with chairs and on the stage, and the match ended by AJ Styles doing something batshit crazy. Namely, giving Christopher Daniels the Styles Clash off of the stage through a table.

The Most Devastating Bunny Hop In Wrestling History.

The whole thing was like mashed potatoes. You’ve had them a billion times, they always taste the same, and they’re still you favorite part of the meal. Even if, on this occasion, they got served next to the brussel sprouts of Frankie Kazarian.


83 out of 100

Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval

AJ Styles Over Christopher Daniels Following A Styles Clash Through A Table.

Segment 11 – TNA X-Division Championship – Ultimate X Match – Sonjay Dutt vs. Kenny King vs. Mason Andrews vs. Zema Ion

Cewsh: If you’re keeping track, only one of these people actually work for this company officially. I apologize if that serves as a spoiler for you. To try to keep track of things, let’s go to the Cewsh Notes:

– Kenny King is like a foot taller than everyone here.
– Zema Ion, though I love him, may be the most conspicuous guy at setting up spots that I have ever seen. He’ll be all sneering and hanging in the tree of woe one minute, and earnestly making sure his feet are in the right place the next, all in the same camera shot.
– Sonjay Dutt, not content to only fight humans, attempts to elbow drop the ring itself in the middle of a running Shooting Star Press.

Watch His Right Elbow.

– Sonjay is led away to the back, but returns like 30 seconds later and immediately uses his bad arm to climb the scaffolding. The man is a trooper.
– Ion quickly follows him up the scaffold, and when they get to the top, they are absurdly high off the ground. Like, the-camera-has-trouble-getting-them-and-the-ring-into-the-same-wide-shot kind of high.

Mason Andrews: “Uh, Where Did Everybody Go?”

– From some mysterious place, Ion pulls out a can of hairspray and sprays it right in Dutt’s eyes, which seems like a bad idea when you’re 20 feet off the ground and actively holding onto each other.

In Zema’s Defense, He May Have Thought Sonjay Was A Bald Eagle.

– Dutt falls down, and takes about 5 minutes to finally hit the ground.
– Wait. Wait, do you know what that means?! No, it can’t be. No way…
– YEAH FUCKERS ITS ZEMA FUCKING ION AND HE WON THE FUCKING TITLE HOLY SHIT THIS IS AMAZING I NEED TO LIE DOWN GETTING LIGHTHEADED BUT STILL SO HAPPY AND AHHHHHKJQELKJ:WKJT:

You probably guessed before this even got started that it wasn’t going to be some kind of slice of greatness or anything. Of these guys, only Sonjay is really suited for matches like this, and when he hurt himself, things kind of ground to a halt until he came back. But as always, this is just a fun concept that produces fun matches, and this was no exception. AND ZEMA ION YESYEYEYSYEEYSYESYSES…ahem. Yes.

76 out of 100

Zema Ion Over Everyone Else Following Awesomeness.
Segment 12 – In Which The Impact Zone Dickbags Crown Their King.

Cewsh: It’s this guy.

The One Who Looks Like He Sells Weed Outside Of Dunkin Donuts.

If you are that guy, and you decided to heckle Zema Ion throughout his entire victory speech by chanting “Fruity Pebbles” loudly while a big goofy fucking grin was plastered all over your face, then allow me to speak on behalf of everyone everywhere who was not the dipshit behind you who was cheering you on: please dangle your testicles over a tank of sharks with jetpacks and broken glass for teeth.

Thank you.

Segment 13 – TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Bobby Roode © vs. Austin Aries

Cewsh: Before we get started, it’s important that you understand that there are two backstories to this match. In the first, Austin Aries has been dominant in the X Division, and Hulk Hogan has given him the opportunity to compete for the World title. The caveat was that he had to give up his X Division title and officially become a heavyweight, so if he loses this match he winds up with nothing. He accepted the offer and ever since he and Roode have been engaged in a rivalry that has quickly grown bitter, with Roode being completely dismissive of X Division wrestlers in general and claiming that he will easily beat their best guy in Aries. That’s the first backstory, and it’s been a nice, interesting feud like many others before it. But the much bigger and more significant backstory here is really the feud that has been building since the very first day TNA was in business. The X Division vs. the Heavyweight division.

See, right from the beginning in TNA, the X Division was the thing that won over new fans and brought wondering eyes to the fledgling promotion. The exciting styles of Chris Sabin, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and others really helped to revolutionize the way wrestling would be shaped in the new century, and for the vast majority of fans, it was the crown jewel of TNA, and the thing that set them apart. Despite this, though, the division always struggled to escape the stigma of just being another cruiserweight division. The heavyweights always got top billing over the X Division guys except for a bare few exceptions, and X Division guys who went after the World title left the division firmly in their dust before getting there. It was treated as a nice diversion, but not the REAL thing by the company, and the X Division guys were largely treated as expendable. So fast forward to 2012, and now the X Division at last has a champion that is both proud to be X Division champion AND a threat to any heavyweight he comes across. As such, Austin Aries has taken the entire X Division concept on his shoulders into his fight against Bobby Roode, and while their fight will be a personal one, in a very real way it represents so much more. This is the X Division’s one shining chance to see one of their own truly stand up and show what they can do, and it’s the Heavyweight division’s chance to finally silence the critics who say they can’t keep up. It’s a match 10 years in the making, and it….is…ON.

The atmosphere is tense and buzzing in a way rarely seen in TNA as Roode and Aries enter and when they get started it becomes very clear that the fans are heavily invested in this match. They are rabidly behind Aries to win, and if that comes as some sort of surprise to you, then your name is probably Bobby Roode.The fans never stop making noise all through the match as Aries uses his speed and toughness to frustrate Roode time and time again, as the bigger man tries to end things as quickly as possible to prove his dominance. The go back and forth and back and forth, with Aries refusing to give up, and Roode seemingly becoming more concerned by the minute that he may have underestimated the X-Division’s warrior. Finally, Roode pretty much says, “balls to this” and immediately starts trying to find every possible way to get out of this match with his title intact. He tries to cheat every way he knows how, but Aries keeps foiling him, until finally a ref bump gives him a chance to land a devastating nutsack uppercut. Roode just keeps delivering the hurt to Ariestown, and while Roode is obviously winning at this point, he seems to be at a loss about what to do next. The referee revives as Roode decides to try to make an end for it once and for all. He rushes Aries like a freight train, with the intent of ending this X-Division threat and the dreams of Austin Aries once and for all.

Big mistake.

A dodge, a move, a kick and a brainbuster later and we not only have our winner, but we have crowned a brand new World Heavyweight Champion. A man who was told he was too small. A man who was never given a chance. A man who was the beating heart of a division robbed of its credibility. A man who is now king. Let’s see how the fans feel about that.

They Seem Somewhat Pleased.

Yes, Austin Aries is the new champion, and it provided the first moment in a very long time where the fans both at the arena and at home got something they really, truly wanted from TNA in dramatic and satisfying fashion. And to add on to that, it was a great match, and so much credit needs to go to Bobby Roode for being just unbelievable at his job as the smarmy, bully champion who loses his nerve and, ultimately, his title. It’s just one of those perfect feel good moments in wrestling. All the stars turned, all the planets lined up, and TNA made it’s fans happy. And boy did they ever.


85 out of 100

Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval

Austin Aries Over Bobby Roode Following The Brainbuster.
Welcome To The New Age.
—————————————————–
Cewsh’s Conclusion:

Cewsh: While it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as last year’s incredible Destination X, this was still a very fun show it a lot of ways. Seeing so many fresh faces to start the show was exciting, the main event delivered hugely, (which wasn’t true last year,) and TNA showed remarkable restraint by really letting this be a showcase for a certain kind of fan rather than just making it another PPV on their calendar. For the second year in a row, Destination X felt like a truly special and unique experience and I can’t say enough about how far TNA has come in the past year to make that be the case. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should be handing out money to TNA left and right expecting things to always be great now, because that would plainly be insane. But the veil of fail is lifting little by little and letting the fun and interesting promotion underneath is finally coming back to life after all these years. So to any jaded former TNA fans out there who are still on the fence about giving the promotion another chance after being burned in the past, I’ll tell you this. Have hope. Things are looking goddamned bright ahead.

Cewsh’s Final Score: 72.55 out of 100

Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed our review of TNA Destination X, and hope you didn’t think it was too eXcessive or lacked in eXcitement. NeXt up on the review slate is our special coverage of WWE’s 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw. Did it live up to our lofty eXpectations? Did LeX Luger show up? What about X-Factor? There’s only one way to find out. So tune in neXt time, and until then, remember to keep ready and be eXcellent to one another.

*Gifs courtesy of Wrestling With Text.