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.
Superstars did… something different! For that it was already a better show this week than it usually is. There was no Jinder winning with the camel clutch and no needless squash matches considering Superstars is all about the wrestling (though they should take out some of the recaps and put in a fourth match again, really). But, despite doing something different there was still something a little… off with the matches.
4. The Usos vs. Hunico and Camacho
Hunico is the best in-ring guy of the four. I like the Usos, I like their entrance, but they just don’t have it yet for wrestling. Camacho was slopping as Marlow in FCW and though he was part of this “tag team” he didn’t do much of anything and when he did it still seemed like he was back in FCW. The only reason this match made it on the list is 1) I like Hunico and was looking forward to seeing Camacho wrestle and 2) there are only 3 matches.
3. Kelly Kelly vs. Maxine
YAY! Maxine! Against Kelly Kelly, but yay Maxine! Maxine makes Kelly Kelly look good, until she gets that Booty Call in the face. Sigh. But still, did I mention, Maxine? Maxine! Maxine!!!!
2. The Miz vs. Alex Riley
I was going to be down on this match from the start. We’ve seen The Miz vs. Alex Riley. So many times. I was going to rant and whine and… well, then I watched it. Alex Riley shows how far he’s come as Miz and Riley put on a match that was well put together and had no botches. This was actually a great match. Let’s watch it again! “Who’s the Superstar?”
1. Scott Stanford
This is a man who sounds happy to be there and excited to see every match. It’s a shame he only does the Raw portion of the matches. This man is music on the microphone and knows how to call a match. There is no bias, even as Striker tells him he sounds like he really likes the Miz and Scott in turn says, “I don’t really like him, but I like anyone on the show that can help with the ratings and Miz can make that happen.” Scott looks at the full picture every time he’s on Superstars with the matches in front of him.
Matt turns to Scott at one point and says, “I don’t think anyone tunes in to hear you or I…” Sorry, Striker, but you could not be more wrong in that. I tune in every week for that voice of Stanford’s, the matches are my bonus.
Scott’s best lines of Superstars:
“If you look up sexy in the dictionary you’ll see a picture of Blake Lively holding a picture of Maxine.”
“She’s making that call! It’s the booty call!”
“Kelly Kelly coming from behind.”
“When I said coming from behind I didn’t mean literally with that booty call.”
“WWE Superstars is about to become must see.”
“You’ll be able to cut the hatred, my friends, with a Ginsu knife.”
“When it comes to Miz and A-Ry, these guys would rather get a root canal with no Novocaine than lose to the other.”
Scott: “Did you say it’s all Mizness?” Striker: “I did!” Scott: “I gotta write that down.”
As I sat down to write this blog, Chris started chanting, “NXT! NXT!” in a hushed sort of whisper. Why? Because it is his favorite show ever week. This combines the wrestling that should be found on Superstars with storylines that usually have me jumping up and down a bit. This week in storylines we get the explanation of why Maxine and Curtis get to switch sides their handcuffs are on, we get to see Natalya accuse Kaitlyn of being a bit of a flirt, and JTG makes his triumphant return. (Screw you guys, I love JTG)
There was so much good in the plot I assumed this time it did not need a place on the Top 4. This time, it’s all about the wrestlers, and commentary?
4. Michael McGillicutty on Commentary
William Regal was out this week, as was Josh Mathews, and instead of going with my preferred team here (which would be anything that involved Scott Stanford) NXT went with something a little clever. Matt Striker paired up during each match with someone different. The very last match of the night Striker had Michael McGillicutty and about halfway through I forgot I was listening to a wrestler on commentary. Out of all of the guests (others were Hornswoggle, Maxine, and Johnny Curtis) McGillicutty had the smoothest ability and proved he knew what he was talking about. Well, I’ll be.
3. Tamina and Kaitlyn vs. Maxine and Natalya
Are they going to make Natalya a heel again? Earlier in the show Natalya and Kaitlyn had a bit of a tiff, with Natalya accusing Kaitlyn about her “just friends” antics with the men of NXT, this time one of those men being Tyson Kidd. Cute segment, and again lovely to see Natalya doing something. NXT proves it’s love of tag matches and divas and throws these four women in the ring. Natalya and Maxine clearly don’t like one another, and even argue during the match, which leads to Tamina winning it for her team. The downside to this match is when Striker says Tamina is trying to get out of the shadow of Jimmy Snuka, and then they show clips of how much she’s like Jimmy and her moves emulate his. Um, that’s embracing it, not trying to step out of the shadow. If you want to step out of the shadow you do something a little different or you are, basically, a shadow.
2. Derrick Bateman vs. JTG
Right off the bat, Bateman starts with a dropkick. Solace rejoices! And he’s up against JTG, who says the show was falling apart without him. While that might not be true, I did miss seeing JTG. He has fun with his stereo-typing character and has great selling skills. When Bateman wins this match JTG moves in a way that almost seems impossible, and we had to rewind five or six (or ten) times. This was the first match of the night, and I was easily convinced this had to be number one. I mean, Bateman! JTG! Excellent match to open with and it was given a proper amount of time. So how did it not make number one?
1. Tyson Kidd vs. Johnny Curtis
When does Kidd not have the number one match of NXT? He’s amazing, and this week he’s against Johnny Curtis. Kidd brings out the best in anyone he’s wrestling, and Curtis was already almost there. Curtis keeps that “weird” persona while in the ring, sort of licking Kidd’s hand at one point, but it does not undermine his ability. Kidd wins it though, with the new submission that he wants twitter to name for him.
On a side note, it is worth watching to find out why it was Tyson Kidd against Johnny Curtis for this show.
If you are here you are obviously following @BarrettBookClub on twitter. If not, you should be! In this space I am going to make sure we know what book we are reading and when they go up, we’ll post the discussion questions. We do not have to discuss those questions particularly, but perhaps they will help you come up with some questions of your own! If you have a discussion question this is also a great place to leave one in the comments!
So for this round, the books is:
Walking a Golden Mile by William Regal with Neil Chandler.
It’s hard to find a copy of this novel, but it’s not hard to find a Kindle edition. Amazon and Barnes and Noble both have one for about $12.99. If you can not buy one in time @WWECapshuns and myself ( @SolaceWinter ) might have a copy we can loan you, just get a hold of us!
The discussion for twitter is set for April 28th.
Questions are ready!
1) What do you think about superstars who speak out about their past drug problems?
2) What is your favorite Regal gimmick and why?
3) What aspect of the book did you like the most/least and why?
4) Do you want to see another book from Regal? If so, should that book be about him or should he try his hand at fiction like Mick Foley?
5) Is there a question you wish Regal had answered in his book that he did not? If so, tell us about it!
This week’s FCW was all about the matches. There were three promos, but they were relatively short, and one of them (Husky’s) was a re-run of last week’s. Mercer’s was interesting, and the way he had him made-up and with the gray-scale he appeared like a less tattooed Orton, though in pictures I’ve never been able to make the comparison. The third promo slides in because it was the after effect of a match.
4. 6 Man Tag Match
Now that Xavier Woods has gained control of his hair, he seems to have gained control of his talent as well. Or maybe he just decided to stop giving those, “Good job, good job,” promos. I don’t know. He didn’t annoy me this week. He teamed up with Jason Jordan and CJ Parker, all guys whom I like. But, and it’s a big one, they went up against “Beefy” Brad Maddox, Jake Carter, and Corey Graves. Oooh, this is the team I am rooting for, even if they appear to be managed by Abraham Washington, who only seems to be good at being loud.
3. Jiro vs. Big E Langston
In this match, Regal notes that he would like to see Mark Henry take Lagston under his wing and be his mentor. I would love to see this. As I have never heard Langston speak, only seen him in the ring, it would be nice to see what else Henry could teach him. And really, once Henry was finally given the opportunity that he was meant for, he was incredible. It would be nice to see him pass that one to Langston. Jiro was destined to lose this match from the onset, but Jiro does a great showing against the big man that holds up. Another great thing about Langston as the big man is that because he moves well it’s almost believable when someone takes him down, unlike say Big Show or Mark Henry. These men stand in place and do not need to or try to move much, making it hard to take them down. Langston in motion would be easier to take down for that reason.
2. Benicio Salazar vs. Kassius Ohno
My comparison of Ohno is not to other men in the WWE, but to Cesaro alone. Ohno and Cesaro, in case you live under a rock, used to be tag partners under other names under another company. Cesaro has now been passed through and is on Smackdown. I was never a big fan of Cesaro. When Ohno finally debuted my thought was, “Okay, is he like Cesaro?” and no, he’s not. He’s better, in every way. This match was also the tv debut of Benicio Salazar, a masked luchador. He was fascinating. Together they put on quite a great match, but no one really compares to…
1. Dean Ambrose vs. James Bronson
Bronson is great in the ring. Though I may have had no clue what they were actually doing with the whole psychiatry thing, in the ring he’s stellar. Then they put him against Ambrose and Ambrose still managed to steal the show. This match, while excellently conducted, is about the ending. Ambrose gets Bronson in a Regal Stretch and William Regal gets up and walks about as Ambrose is applying the finisher. The look on Ambrose’s face is enough reason to watch as you see some of the best acting in sports entertainment. After he wins he goes backstage and flips out on the camera, mentioning that Regal has broken his heart and is just like everybody else. Epic.
Derrick Bateman. Unless you have been living under a rock, or do not follow me on twitter or read my blogs, you will know that he’s currently my favorite wrestler. Is he perfect at the craft yet? No. But can he be the guy one day? Of course. He has the potential, and here is where that potential lies.
4. Overall Personality
Well, considering I’m in Ohio now, watching the man support the teams that, for the most part, don’t have a prayer, is entirely entertaining to me. Watching him respond to fans, no matter how short, shows he knows how to connect. He wears funny tees and is not against wearing the ones fans give him. His charisma floods over through twitter and in every smile, smirk, and squint of his eyes. He’s one of those men you think you would want a drink with, even if you don’t drink.
3. Mantastic Hair
I seem to have an obsession with hair. Scott’s gray hair, Kidd saying goodbye to the flip, Reks and his dreads, and now making it on a Top 4 list once again is a man’s hair. But look at his hair! Who else can pull off wild curls the way Bateman does? Kudos to the coiffed style.
2. Comedic Timing
Bateman shone as someone who knew about comedy the first moment I saw him. Now, with more to work with, he kind of runs away with NXT every week. Whether he’s saying, “Roll it Jumbotron,” or arguing with Curtis about things are getting weird and lost fiancées, the man always seems to know when and how to deliver a good line.
1. War Cries and Dropkicks
The man can wrestle, but I must admit my favorite part of his wrestling is the dropkicks and the war cries. When he’s doing certain moves he screams out, almost overcome by the excitement of winning against his opponent. The war cry often is a sign he’s going to do a dropkick. It’s become a game of counting how many dropkicks he does while in the ring, and not in a bad way. The man does not simply do one variation so it is always entertaining to see how he’s going to do his at least two of a match.
It all makes a great mix and is four of the elements that make up my love for Derrick Bateman. Have any other thoughts? Don’t like my list? Think I missed something big? Let me know!