Well, of the WWE shows I watched this week this one was my favorite. Yes, even after a show that had Derrick on it and another that had Scott on it. FCW was my favorite. Here’s a bit of why:
4. Brad Maddox Goes a Little Crazy
Sure, he definitely had a Dean Ambrose thing going while he ranted about Steamboat and went off the deep end, but it shows Maddox is growing. He went from bland, to a little full of himself, to crazy. If he can balance full of himself and crazy he might find a unique character that is his own. That’s what FCW is for, developing your character and your talents. Maddox is finding his groove and he does a good job this week in doing so.
3. Leo Kruger vs. Bo Rotundo
Usually I would have Kruger higher, because, well, he’s Leo Kruger. But Bo… No Bo-Bo. The man has the weakest looking spear ever. I can’t take it as a finisher against a man like Kruger. The match itself was fine, not great, but fine, but that finisher…
2. Rick Victor vs. Richie Steamboat
Now, despite an ending that irritated me because Richie should not have kicked out after Sofia jumped in and took him down while the ref wasn’t looking, this was still a great match. As Chris said, and might be true, “Victor looks like he could be another Kidd, he has the moves he’s just not as polished yet.” Yup, that’s pretty much it. Victor has the moves and every time I see him he’s growing a little in his abilities, and let’s be honest, I haven’t seen that much of him yet. Steamboat is always a pleasure to watch, and I’m not upset he won, per se, I’m upset he won when he clearly should not have.
1. Antonio Cesaro vs. Kassius Ohno
Wow. Just wow. I guess it’s to be expected since these two worked together for so long but this was an amazing match. Cesaro and Ohno proved how well they can work in the ring and while I assumed Cesaro was going to lose because he went to Smackdown, as that seems to usually be FCW’s way, I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time. And Ohno did win, but only because Cesaro pulled a ref in front of Ohno, whom Ohno punched, on accident of course. Then other wrestlers ran out into the ring to break the fight up between the two. This was likely my second favorite match of the week
4. Tyson Kidd
Screw WWE for not only putting Kidd in a sqaush match against Tensai, but for putting a squash match on Superstars. “Superstars is about the wrestling!” Oh wait, squash. Okay, so it was not an out and out squash. Kidd got in some offense. But still, it didn’t last long and you knew Kidd never had a chance. Thank God for Scott, who commentates this like it’s the most exciting match he’s ever seen, as he does every match, or else I would have cried. Kidd gets the #4 spot for two reasons, though. 1) There were only 3 matches and we know who goes at #1. 2) Kidd sells this whole match brilliantly and keeps that determined look on his face, believing he has a chance, when he knows he doesn’t. Kidd’s a wrestling king.
3. Alex Riley vs. Heath Slater
Honestly, if I hadn’t known Ziggler and Swagger made an appearance on Superstars, I would have thought this would have gone at #2. Sure, there are tons of Slater Haters and people who want to say something not-so-nice to Riley’s face, but both have come a long, long, long way. Riley tosses Scott a wristband (and Josh laments that Scott always is getting things from the Superstars) and prepares for this match. The two of them wrestle like their lives depend on it and it makes for a good match. Not great, great was the triple threat on NXT and the Kassius Ohno/Antonio Cesaro match on FCW, but good enough I was entertained and did not recognize a botch. That’s still saying something.
2. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger vs. The Usos
THE USOS WON?!? After all Ziggler and Swagger put into this match the freaking Usos won. They did nothing but showcase the talents of Ziggler and Swagger and that was enough to get them to win. I don’t even hate the Usos, but Ziggler is another one of those wrestling kings and Swagger is so underrated it makes me want to scream. I don’t care why you don’t like Swagger, he can wrestle circles around most of the roster and he’s the one that gets pinned every time. Ziggler and Swagger have fun with it, though, because someone has to. It’s one of those, “Well, if we don’t have fun, we’ll cry,” because this match was awesomely tragic.
1. Scott Stanford
“Well, I’ve got a mind like a rock. … Whatever that means.”
“I had an airbrush tattoo of a butterfly on my ankle once at a state fair. Closest I ever came to a tattoo.”
You don’t know who is going to win just by listening to Scott’s commentary (doesn’t mean you don’t any, but it won’t be given away by Scott). He loves everyone in the ring and let’s you know why you should as well. Sure, he has bias towards certain guys, like Riley or Ziggler and of course Ryder, but he still makes you feel like Tensai is worthy of being a star and The Usos are the most explosive duo to face-off as a tag team. Whether it’s true or not, there’s no bias here, and he makes matches we groan at sound like they are the best thing you’ll ever watch, and at a time like this, well, we need a man like Scott.
For no reason at all, my favorite shots of Ziggler this episode:
There is a rant at the end of this blog, but first for the positivity! Sort of.
4. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins
Tonight, for seemingly no reason at ALL, Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins were scheduled to fight… The Great Khali and Ezekiel Jackson. Look, I try not to hate on someone too much, but Khali and Jackson don’t have it in the ring. They don’t have it on the mic. They. Don’t. Have it! Doesn’t mean they aren’t nice guys, but that doesn’t matter to me when I have to watch a match. So they put these two against Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins, who can wrestle circles around most people in the company and instead have to be champs and sell being beaten by Khali and Jackson. I guess I get to forgo any plot (that seems to be forgotten because our security staff is suddenly back in the ring and Regal has nothing to say about it) for this. Yay…?
3. Johnny Curtis vs. Percy Watson
I almost put this at number four, just for the fact that neither man seemed to want to be there. They did a good job, they wrestled a good match, but Reks and Hawkins put on more of a show while Curtis and Watson seemed to go through the motions. However, this was still a solid match between two talented men that flowed well and lasted about the amount of time it should have.
2. Kaitlyn vs. Maxine
We’ve seen it before. We’ll see it again. However, Maxine and Kaitlyn keep improving in the ring. Maxine comes out in a new outfit, which received mixed reviews. She’s hot, and bronzed, and just beautiful, but it’s not that sultry Maxine we’ve all come to love. I am wondering if this is her new gear for when she becomes a diva on Raw and Smackdown, which sadly would be a step down. Though after this episode…
1. DERRICK BATEMAN vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Michael McGillicutty
This match was incredible. I’m not just saying that because Bateman was in it, though watching him wrestle always helps my mood. Kidd, Bateman, and McGillicutty put on a spectacle that is again worthy of a pay-per-view match and instead is the match no one will see. Granted, Kidd’s matches are usually the best ones on NXT anyway, but Bateman and McGillicutty had a big reason for it this time. Kidd and Bateman team up, then turn against each other, and once Bateman is out of the ring he just can’t catch a break and get back into the ring for a good while. McGillicutty, Kidd, and Bateman tell a story in the ring, and someone needed to as it definitely was not the WWE this week. If you watch anything from NXT this week, let it be this show.
Now, for the ranting portion of Solace’s blog. Where the Hell was the plot? I keep getting told on twitter and face book and anywhere else I have complained that, “They’ll just pick it back up when they move. I heard it from such-and-such source.” Yeah, and those sites are always reliable, aren’t they? No, this is a big slap in the face from WWE. There are a few tapings left and we don’t get any form of plot. Reks and Hawkins’ storyline is forgotten. Bateman’s knee injury, forgotten. Everything is just a matter of good matches on this show. People do not watch NXT for just the wrestling. The reason NXT gained an audience again when all was lost for awhile was because there was suddenly a plot. Sure, it’s a soap opera-esque plot and has crazy storylines, but guess what, Raw does the same thing, or did once, and it’s what everyone kept claiming they once loved.
But I’m not the only one who complained. Here are some quotes from forums:
“What the fuck happend to NXT?”
“The person booking this week ought to be shot. Fuck this shit.”
“Seriously though, watching NXT yesterday made me a sad panda. All the wonderful storylines and character development, flushed down the drain for something likely to be less. It’s an upgrade for FCW, but a huge loss for current WWE low-card talent and NXT fans.”
“Khali and Zeke beat Hawkins and Reks? Is like Vince is saying Fuck You to the tag team division.”
“No backstage segments, Khali being horrible all over Hawkins and Reks… Let’s hope tommorow’s tapings for the new show are promising.”
“ Latest show was a huge disappointment. I know it was the ‘last NXT’ but wrapping up storylines? Nah. We’ll just have Hawkins and Reks job to Zeke and Khali, two people who are never on the show and we won’t have any angles, any segments, any mic time, any Striker.”
And a few more. And by a few I mean a lot. So what are your thoughts on this latest (and possibly last?) NXT?
When I go to watch Superstars I usually think, “Well, I already know how the top 4 is going to go,” and I don’t stress, though there are weeks I have refrained from writing one for a lack of being able to come up with 4 things. I try not to be a Negative Nelly when it comes to blogging, it won’t really help you want to watch the show! Which is what I want you to do! This week I wondered how I was going to be able to stick all of the things into a top 4 since there were actually four matches… and Scott Stanford! We can not forget Scott Stanford.
First, let’s talk about match length. Lately I have taken to timing matches, the parts that are actually seen. So from bell to bell, not counting commercial breaks. This particular 50+ minute episode of show had 25 minutes and 54 seconds of wrestling. What the Hell? What happened to the other 25 minutes? Oh right, Raw recaps and commercials that are embedded into the file. Next week I might start timing how long the Raw recaps take. Four matches in 26 minutes? Of course this was better than the last 3 hour Raw, which had 31 minutes of wrestling, and definitely more than four matches.
Okay, now to shake off my negativity and get to the top 4!
4. Alicia Fox vs. Natalya
Alicia Fox isn’t always the best in-skill worker, but Natalya, like her boyfriend, tends to be the controlling interest in a match. Natalya also shines in her new outfit with the cape that never received as much love as it deserved! The women put on an entertaining match and Natalya gets better at the Sharpshooter every time I see her do it. These two also always seem to have fun when they are facing one another, even if they are supposed to hate each other.
3. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Drew McIntyre
I grew bored with Jackson awhile ago, like, shortly after he came back from his injury, so why does this match gets a higher spot? Well, Drew, of course. Drew’s new hairstyle probably helps this a bit, because without it being completely pulled back, and having the braids, he’s even yummier. I don’t know what they are doing with Drew, but he can still Future Shock a wrestler and make me cringe. Yeah, this match made it to three based on McIntyre. I admit it.
2. Santino Marella and Zack Ryder vs. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins w/ Scott Stanford
Oh yeah, I’m completely cheating. Scott commentated my two favorite matches of this show and I will completely claim that it was because of him that these were my two favorite matches. Sure, Reks and Hawkins are great wrestlers that can take on any tag team, even if they are constantly losing, but Scott helps! Who else has that enthusiasm in the matches, besides possibly Regal? Ryder and Santino were destined to win this match, though, and if you have already seen Smackdown you understand why, but it’s fun in the meantime. Reks also sells taking the Cobra like no one else.
1. Hunico vs. Tyson Kidd w/ Scott Stanford
Kidd is likely the best wrestler in the WWE right now, which is why he gets showcased on shows like Superstars and NXT. He has the skill and it’s better to get the chance to watch him wrestle than to throw him on some show that will have him getting squashed all of the time. Hunico proved a long time ago as the second Sin Cara that he has the skill to match Kidd, though at a slower pace. The two of them take this match to levels that the other shows should be showcasing as main events, and thanks to Scott Stanford (who explains to us the cost of the bike that Camacho and Hunico take out to the ring) it’s commentated like a main event.
See, I managed to get Scott into one and two, and slip in all four of the matches that in some way were worthy of the show that bases itself on the wrestling of the talent.
Another week of weird tastes and the few things I found either discounted, or just could not resist!
I actually thought I already owned this! I went to move it up on my list and realized… I didn’t! For only 2.99, and being the sequel to Bill the Vampire, which I loved, I had to have this one.
This was part of the free giveaways this week. It is still free for Amazon Prime members, but otherwise is 2.99. Interesting to find a book that isn’t just a technical recount that is written by a doctor.
Almost done with the series! I’m hoping I can get 19 next week, as that is the magic number. These books are harder to find now, but worth it.
Another free one that is no longer free, unless you are an Amazon Prime member. 4.99 now for the kindle. I mostly took the free offer on this one because of the title. I could not help being curious about a book with a similar title to another certain popular trilogy.
That’s it this week! Did you find anything interesting?
To point out, when you actually take out commercials from this show it runs about 32 minutes long. In that amount of time there was 14 minutes and 42 seconds worth of wrestling. Sure, shorter matches, but a wider cover of matches to show ratio than a typical show. So, why didn’t the matches make the list? Well, plot kind of won out this time!
4. JTG’s New Look
Alicia Fox said that she could change JTG’s look, all she needed was a week. That was last week. This week were introduced to an updated Brooklyn JTG. While many people were torn, I think a lot of it was the fact that this was not the JTG that they have grown used to for the last… how many years? The look works, and JTG works it, without completely changing who he is. What do you think of the new look?
Maxine was told her attitude had to change, so the new Maxine also makes an appearance this show and freaks everyone out. She was weird enough that Curtis comments, “She’s a little too weird for me, and I like weird.” Maxine smiles so much through this show that even as Tamina goes to do the Superfly Splash on her, Maxine smiles right through it (though she does manage to roll out of the way, making her look less crazy, but still crazy). Maxine’s work on NXT is brilliant and this is just another plus for her.
2. Who is the Mystery Attacker?
I love seeing all of the ideas of who is attacking the men on NXT. At first it appeared it might be Kidd’s Curse, and they were going after his opponents, but this week it was poor Derrick, who was already in a bad place this week! Poor Derrick! My guess: Trent Barreta. I think he’s out to make sure Kidd doesn’t replace him as tag partner before he makes his triumphant return, which he will. What about you guys? Any guesses? I’d love to hear more theories.
1. Reks and Hawkins are the New Security Team
Oh, poor William Regal’s face when the eloquently spoken duo come out to announce they are the new security duo for NXT. Striker is none too happy either considering they were his secondary kidnappers! (Hard to forget the, “Why do you have chloroform” exchange with Johnny and Maxine!) Reks, as always, looks stylish and as if he belongs in a GQ magazine while Hawkins looks smart, but a little more laid back in his choice of suit. Later, Reks and Hawkins give Maxine and Johnny the key to allow them out of the handcuffs. Beautifully written, and these are the reasons I love NXT. This is the show with a storyline from beginning, middle, to end.
I look forward to next week!
Every Wednesday my book club gets together and discusses what books we are currently reading. It’s an off day, where we could have had time over the weekend to finish that reading, or really get into a new book. It’s also a usual day where nothing too big is going on. I’d like to extend this so that I can discuss novels with anyone, everyone. Best way to find new novels are to discuss them!
I am about halfway through this book. My goal is to finish it by the weekend so that I can go and see the movie. I’m semi-obsessive that way. Excellent novel, but the problem with Nicholas Sparks is if you have read more than one, you probably get the formula and can predict what is going to happen. (The Last Song was so horribly predictable for me) It doesn’t make it any less amazing, and at halfway through I still can not be positive I am right about what I think is going to happen.
Again, about halfway through this novel, but it’s one of those I read to relax, so it’s going to go slower. End of the night I try to get 10-20 pages in of it. Intriguing and probably the first Grisham novel I’ve read since Runaway Jury, and I’m sure that was at least five years ago? With an average of 3 star rating on Amazon I’m wondering if something blows up in the story, because as of right now I would give it at least 4 stars.
This might be considered cheating slightly, since I have not technically started it, but I will have this finished by the end of today. Manga novels are easy to race through, even when absorbing every little detail, and boy to these have details. Okay, technically this isn’t manga, it’s manwha since it comes from Korea. Sorry for lying to you!
So tell me, what are you reading this Wednesday?
FCW proves it is consistently one of the better stories told from the WWE (with perhaps the exception of NXT) and this week was no exception. Summer Rae, official general manager of FCW, has a photo op with Antonio Cesaro and Richie Steamboat in anticipation of their match next week while Adam Mercer continues to be Randy Orton Light – which I’m not exactly complaining about, just pointing it out.
4. Benicio Salazar vs. Rick Victor
Okay, I knew going in Victor was going to win for two reasons. First, this is only the second match I’ve seen Salazar in and FCW does not tend to have their wrestlers win their first few matches against already established guys. Second, Victor was escorted out by the beautiful, and talented, Sofia Cortez and Paige. Already great points to him. However, as usual, Victor puts on an entertaining match against their newest luchador and I look forward to seeing more!
3. Bo Rotundo vs. Big E Langston
I love Big E Langston. After Mark Henry is probably my favorite man with a physique of those proportions (you know, huge!) with the WWE. Ever. Because Langston is big he already has haters, and because Rotundo is pretty he already has lovers. Rotundo has a spear that is weak and while he has presence, he still needs that in-ring time to polish himself up. It took Husky (Wyatt) a bit of time, don’t push Rotundo before he’s ready, which is what they are doing. He won this match.
2. Nick Rogers vs. James Bronson
First, an earlier segment in the show involved the commentators letting us know there was something going on in the back. Bronson had Ambrose locked into a sleep while CJ Parker, Mike Dalton, and I think Jason Jordan (I didn’t get a good look at him) tried to pull Bronson off. Later comes the match for Bronson against Rogers. Rogers dropped the Mr. Jacked and instantly went up in my books, but now he has a beard! I’m not sure about the beard, but hey, that’s me. Bronson wins this match with a submission, then immediately puts Rogers in a second submission! Regal rushes out to save Rogers and twists Bronson into the Regal Stretch. Garrett Dylan (another FCW up and comer that I have not seen that much) comes out and tries to pull Regal off of Bronson, but Ambrose is right behind him. Ambrose pulls Dylan and puts him in the Regal Stretch and for one moment of complete serendipity we have Regal and Ambrose doing the Regal Stretch almost perfectly lined up side by side. Afterwards they both stand and Ambrose stares Regal down in a way that only Ambrose can, with an almost sad look while being completely furious. When Ambrose moves forward, Regal slides out of the ring. All together an awesome segment.
1. Kassius Ohno vs. Seth Rollins
Despite the excellent segments from earlier, and Regal’s dig at other commentators in the WWE (not all, I’m pretty sure Scott is safe) this match just had what I came to see: excellent wrestling. It started off slow but quickly began building up into a crescendo of moves that were perfectly executed in elegance. Ohno and Rollins show off their balance and agility and whatever bit of rust Ohno might have felt at the beginning chipped off and towards the end these man made you forget anything else but the beauty of this match.
As usual, going to Raw is always a close call for us, so when we made it to Dayton to go see the live show I could not have been more excited. But, as usual, we had to wait for our tickets. Unlike other time we actually had them about an hour before show time (give or take a few minutes) and were able to join everyone in line.
This was a poor setup. Someone was directing traffic every 6 feet in those parking lots, but when it came to trying to enter the arena there was one person at each of the six gates letting people through the doors. If this was not bad enough, they did not let us in until a half an hour before the show. It had already been raining on us for ten minutes before that. A half an hour before show does not give you a lot of time to go buy things, run to the bathroom, or even really find your seats. We missed out on buying a Ziggler shirt for this reason. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it)
The opening dark match of the night was Alex Riley against Dean Ambrose. Um, yes, more please! Oh, really, no? Damn. Great match that had Ambrose win and then giving a promo. Riley looked good in the match, which had all of the little kids happy (did I mention this crowd was FULL of little kids??)
Next began the taping of Superstars and my favorite man at Raw tapings came out: Scott Stanford. I was pretty convinced he wouldn’t see us… again. They filmed the first match, which was Dolph Ziggler against Mason Ryan. Not a bad match, though Mason Ryan doesn’t even look real. Ziggler gave Scott his coat, I love those little tidbits, and I find it funnier that it’s always heels that are doing nice things for Scott, especially since Scott would likely be referred to as a “face” announcer.
After the match Scott looked up… and found us! He even waved to us! I would have done a happy dance, but this was when they announced that it was time for the signs to go up because they were going to do a cut in live on the USA network. Okay, as usual, we were not on the camera side but it was the perfect opportunity to hold up our Push Scott Stanford sign. Striker was the one who saw it, laughed at it (us) then pointed it out to Scott, who chuckled.
Next was Zack Ryder against Michael McGillicutty. I’ve loved Mcgillicutty as late, but this was Zack Ryder with Scott Stanford commentating it. Yeah, I had to be a Ryder mark. Boy was the crowd into these two matches. This crowd was very trained to yell for the faces, though. The only real controversy in the crowd was with Daniel Bryan later on (and whenever we were screaming, but let’s face it, we were drowned out a lot).
Superstars ended and my favorite man of the night walked away. Sad me!
Most of you have seen Raw so I’m not going to recap what went on with the show so much as tell you things we saw you might not have.
First, an actual sign confiscation. Never seen one, only heard of them. The sign read, “UFC Beats WWE”.
Also during the show, during Bryan’s match, two men came down the stairs on camera side and were holding “YES” signs in the aisles. The two of them were escorted out of the arena and never did come back.
When Cena’s arm was being destroyed little kids were crying everywhere. They were standing up and yelling at Tensai, Sakamoto, and Laurinaitis that they “sucked” (I heard this word more last night than I have the rest of the year) while tears streamed down their faces. Awww, so precious.
After the show went off the air John Cena stood, showed those little kids he was okay, and then walked out. Chris Jericho stepped out and mentioned Cena was unfit to wrestle so instead he was getting his rematch against CM Punk, which of course he lost. Good match, though.
FCW is always full of great matches, so it’s always disappointing to see a squash match. But sometimes it’s the story, the visuals, that work for it.
4. Conor O’Brian and Kenneth Cameron
Squash match against Jiro. (Poor guy). Conor O’Brian is the star focus. I hate squash matches. Hate them! But I love the electricity and flow when Ascension steps out. Cameron and O’Brian pretty much personify the dark vampire-like feel in their movements, actions, and very presence. I get chills watching them, and for that they go on the list because I want to rewind the entrance over and over. I like Jiro, hate squash matches, but love this feeling.
3. Bray Wyatt
Pretty much another squash match between Bray Wyatt and Aiden English. However, Bray Wyatt, formerly Husky Harris, might have fallen into a character that I like for him. This whole southern boy with a crazy streak, burning up his daddy and looking like he’s from the swampy areas of Florida, oh yes, this is the character he was born to play.
2. Jason Jordan vs. Damien Sandow
This is Sandow’s “so long from FCW match” and in the fashion that FCW does, and not the other shows, Sandow loses to Jason Jordan. This is the best I’ve seen Jordan look in a match, to be honest, and this made me look forward to seeing more from him. It also shows off Sandow’s wrestling skills which still are to be seen on Smackdown, even though he’s already being called a Smackdown superstar. I’d be fine with that if he even lost a wrestling match. You aren’t officially on Smackdown or Raw or any other show to me until you wrestle.
1. Mike Dalton and CJ Parker vs. Jake Carter and Corey Graves
When Mike Dalton is the lesser in the match you know you have a good match, especially when I am a fan of Dalton. We also find out during this tag match that Carter is the son of Vader. Really? It doesn’t even look close, but there you go! Either way, the four of them put on a highly entertaining match and AW (Abraham Washington) does a great job of setting up the characters for Carter and Graves, which is apparently ladies-men. Bad boy ladies-men. Nice.