There was a good chance that everyone on my list showed up twice. I nearly had at #4 Alberto Del Rio & Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton & Sheamus from Smackdown. So it does get an honorable mention. But to be honest there was nothing we hadn’t seen earlier in the week in the match and therefore it fell off. Orton, however, gets a lot of the spotlight this week.
4. Randy Orton vs. Tensai – RAW
What is it about Tensai’s brutal matches I enjoy? When Tensai is up against someone like, say, Gabriel, I tend to not take much interest. Not because Gabriel or Tensai are bad, but because they are bad together. Too different of styles, and that is okay. But when Tensai gets in the ring with someone who is willing to take a bit of damage he does well. He moves better than he gets credit for and Orton allows his butt to get kicked. When given a little more freedom Tensai’s great, and it’s not really a secret I’m a fan of Orton’s wrestling, even if he’s less inclined to always give it his all of late.
3. Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio – Night of Champions
The first thing everyone does is groan that they’ve seen this match 55 times already. This month. On Raw. Okay, slight exaggeration. But despite the complaining that it needs to be over (and yes, it really does, I’m not defending that) their matches have been excellent. Both men put their all in there and put on a display while in the ring. It’s helped by Otunga and it’s great you can almost blame Booker for the loss, but they told their story. Now to just end the story.
2. Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler – Night of Champions
Hi Orton. Again. Well Ziggler can be put into about any match and have a good showing. Luckily for this match Orton brought his A game and decided to show that this match meant something to him. The ending was a bit… samey, which saddens me. First, I honestly thought it would be Ziggler, that’s the way I went on my predictions! Orton has no problem putting guys over, but WWE just doesn’t seem ready for Ziggler (though the crowds are, let’s actually push him before they lose interest and can’t take him seriously, huh?). Still, great match and would have been #1 if not for…
1. Trent Barreta vs. Johnny Curtis
Welcome back, Trent! “He has been found.” And he didn’t miss a step. Curtis also gets a chance to show off his skills as more than a ground and pound guy, which he was written into when he was paired with McGillicutty. Curtis is not bad at that style, but given Barreta’s style he kept up wonderfully and it made for a quick paced five minutes. I prefer five minutes of beating one another up to anything involving a rest hold. Glad to have Barreta back and glad to see Curtis given a match where he can show off his cart wheeling skills!
This was honestly an incredible episode of NXT and I can’t say there was much downside to it. There was downside to it, but the downside didn’t get to speak during his interview part and that made me happy. The other part that sort of doesn’t get any love, deservingly, is the Kassius Ohno sparring session. There wasn’t really any sparring it was Kassius Ohno beating up Oliver Grey (who wasn’t introduced, if you didn’t know who he was you have to listen closely to Regal to hear him mention the name at all).
1 and 2 this week were easy, 3 and 4 were hard because there were three options. The part I left off was only left off because I typically will give the nod to the wrestling over a promo because this is a wrestling show. The Leo Kruger promo video, though, was reminiscent of a Disney bad guy… but scarier. His voice, the way he delivered, reminded me of a cartoon, but picturing the man, in the dark, anywhere, coming for you… chills. So he may not have made the Top 4 this week, but Leo Kruger gets a big, huge, honorable mention.
4. Paige vs. Alicia Fox
Paige can work well with anyone. Fox of late seems to have found her stride and is doing moves better suited for her abilities. There was roughly 22 minutes of wrestling this week (which is about the length of a typical Smackdown, put that into perspective) which meant everyone but the sparring match had enough time to actually shine. Paige is beautiful and talented and Alicia Fox looks as if she enjoys every moment of being in the ring. Fun to watch and listening to Saxton and Regal go back and forth on commentary for this one added to the momentum.
3. Rick Victor vs. Seth Rollins
This match started off a little slow in the in-ring area. Victor was more about developing the bonds of his character, which was fine with me, but once he had Rollins never seemed to gain momentum. Victor perfected his character in the first minute or so and was ready to go, Rollins spent that time sort of ho-humming and waiting. It was still a good match, but it almost felt like Rollins hadn’t put his heart in it. It’s a shame, because this probably could have been better.
2. Conor O’Brian vs. Jimmy Uso
Yay! No contrived ending this time. O’Brian won and it didn’t seem forced. Saxton’s commentary was entertaining as he sounded as if he was standing, yelling at Jimmy Uso to look out. Unfortunately Jimmy Uso did not look out and O’Brian caught him just right and ended the match. This match was the shortest actual match of the evening, but at just under four minutes it gave the men the time they needed to establish a good match, good character, and great story-telling.
1. Trent Barreta vs. Johnny Curtis
This just might end up being match of the week for me. Trent Barreta makes his triumphant return and never seemed to miss a step. I was afraid of what this match would actually entail just because I’m used to Curtis wrestling more like McGillicutty than I am his wrestling in a swift pace. I worried for nothing. Curtis kept up and dominated in portions while Barreta just kept moving. Curtis does a cartwheel over Barreta at one point that if the quality of the video I watched wasn’t so bad I would plaster that cartwheel over everything. Best match this week, best match in awhile. It’d be hard to top.
Thanks as always to @lindseyhxx who generously allows me to use her photos for the NXT blogs. Follow her on twitter and check out her Sunset Flip Photography and the incredible photos she takes, and not just of NXT.
This week is trying to kill me. There were some damn good matches this week, and many which deserve recognition. I only have 4 spots though, and the list itself is going to kill me. Honorable mention, though, to The Usos vs. Ascension from NXT this week. Incredible match, great main event, and all four men have shown they have what it takes. However…
4. Layla vs. Natalya – Superstars
The only thing that would have made this match better is if Scott Stanford had been commentating it. Layla and Natalya are great athletes and better technical wrestlers than they are given credit for but they also show off their ability to just have fun. Layla dances and smacks her ass while Natalya throws tantrums and yells at the commentating team. The four women never stop during this match and deserve the recognition, even if it’s only from me and the Top 4 blog! Great job, ladies.
3. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Epico & Primo – Superstars
This was one of the better matches, as a tag team, that Kingston and Truth have had, which isn’t hard to believe. Epico and Primo are incredible in the ring and have an immense amount of talent that is usually looked over. Primo kicks around Little Jimmy and gets payback for his mistreatment of the character while they play a good back and forth between all four men.
2. Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler – RAW
It’s entertaining to see two men like Orton and Ziggler in the ring. Orton is slightly stiffer while still moving in a nearly fluid motion and Ziggler is the champion of selling a hit. Neither did anything they’ve never done before, but they did it together in a shining display of talent.
1. John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio – RAW
WHY CAN’T CENA TRY THIS HARD EVERY WEEK!?!? Instead of Cena starting the match like he’s already been going for fifteen minutes he was fresh and ready to go. He actually tried his hardest against Del Rio and gave the fans a good show. This might be the third time I remember him trying this hard in at least the last two years. This is the Cena we should see and it aggravates me that we do not. This was not a stale match, this was two men going at it like they cared what happened to them in the end. Does Cena have to know he’s going to lose to give a crap about the match itself? No, the match was not good because Punk interfered, it was good because both men put their all into it. Punk’s interference, though, was highly entertaining and the reveal of Heyman in the end added a bit of mystery. But, I expect to see typical Cena again next week.
As is typical with Raw and Smackdown, Raw was fun and entertaining, but Smackdown had a lot of “meh” moments. There was 25:41 in match time, which isn’t bad for Smackdown, but the matches themselves were not the most entertaining, for the most part. There were 6:58 in recaps on the episode, though, which is plenty of time to have added something else, including a diva segment preferably. The divas have been getting a storyline, but when Smackdown has another agenda the divas get scrapped, then they wonder why no one cares. The divas are treated more poorly than the tag teams, and we know how the tag teams are treated!
4. Wade’s Return
The match itself wasn’t highly entertaining in the fact that I don’t typically prefer glorified squash matches. I said during the match that Wade should have been coming out for a feud, not to prove he’s still got it after being out for however long. Luckily he saved it all by saying he pretty much needed to do just that himself and he was now “open for business.” While women everywhere fanned themselves off people took attention again. I hope next week is a better display of actual “Barrett”. Read the rest of this entry
Finally, Brandon Traven was able to show up on my television, and it was against Brodus Clay. Evil.
4. Kassius Ohno
I don’t say the match because, one, I’m not a huge Steamboat fan and the match wasn’t bad, but not entirely the most impressive thing. Ohno, however, was pure brilliance. From the match, to the after match, to his moment with Ricky Steamboat, the man knew how to play the character. “The Dragon’s Mad! The Dragon’s Mad! What are you going to do? Armdrag me?”
3. Audrey Marie vs. Paige
Maybe Audrey Marie is growing on me? Or maybe Paige is just that good. Either way I enjoyed watching the two of them together, but Paige is the more brilliant athlete, and character, and deserved to win this match up.
2. Percy Watson vs. Leo Kruger
Leo Kruger is the reason I started watching FCW in the first place. We saw him as a dark match at a Smackdown show and I went, “Okay, he’s incredible,” and tuned into FCW the very next episode. I’ve watched him evolve and this new character he’s fit into works with him, for him, as him. Percy Watson still is fun to watch in the ring, but he’s more graceful than he looks like he’s hurting anyone, and seems to have no direction for his character. Still, the three minutes of this match were a step above the other three minute matches (or less) of the episode.
1. The Usos vs. Ascension
8:23 of pure fun and with the right ending. I’ve never seen the Usos work so well off of a team before, which is odd to me, but they are fabulous against Ascension. Ascension, meanwhile, get to put on a show after their “awe-inspiring” entrance. Better to let men wrestle and establish they are a force to be reckoned with than what WWE did before, and does with other talents, which is establish them by having them flat out destroy someone. That does not show me their skills. Ascension and Usos have a few great spots and manage to tell a story of absolute loathing of one another. The fight begins as the bell is ringing, they can hardly contain the need to destroy, and it doesn’t slow down until Kenneth wins it.
This is the third book in Sparks’ series. The first one was a solid read, though not great, the second one was better, though I hated the contrived ending, and this one just fell apart. You have to read the other two to understand the secondary storyline in this novel. Shanna and Roman are a large part of this book and the continued efforts again Shanna’s father and the upcoming baby. Angus and Emma, however, are the main characters of this story, and it’s boring. The underlying storyline is better, but Sparks, like most women in the genre, decides it is more important to make this an erotic romance than just make a continuing series based on what she’s really aiming for.
Major issues I had with the novel itself were things like Angus calling Emma “virtuous”. The woman was killing vampires out of a need for revenge for what happened to her parents. It so happened that the vampires she had killed so far were doing something wrong, but she nearly killed Angus, who hadn’t done anything wrong.
Angus mentions how long he’s been alive and it’s why he’s chivalrous and needs to stand when she stands and why he’s so worried about a woman’s pleasure. Considering his background this makes no sense. Chivalry was not entirely a popular thing amongst his people at the time of his vampirism. He would have been more worried about the children they would bear. It does not mean he could not have been a gentleman, but he only inherited a castle, he was not raised in one. Angus contradicts himself much throughout the novel, and his final actions in the end of the book annoy me to the point where I just stop liking him. I’m tired of emo men in my romance novels. Women do not want a guy who is so easily torn up, at least not in romance.
Reasons to Read:
- It continues the series, and if you enjoyed the first two, keep going
- The secondary plot is interesting
Reasons not to Read:
- Lines like this, “Ye’re as wet and fresh as the morning dew.”
- Disjointed feeling
- Cookie cutter main characters
For the record, this review is wrought with spoilers.
I sincerely debated giving this novel one star on the principle that I was forcing my way through to the end, but Paul knows how to write a sentence, he just didn’t catch the flow on how to tell a story. All of the reviews tell me this novel is written for young boys, but honestly, what age group? This novel is a mish-mash of wanting to be more adult and acting entirely too childish. “No, this character can’t die like this,” “No, let’s wait for the contrived story-telling,” and then in the same breath quite brutally kills off another character. The worst part about this novel is that when it is interesting the title character is nowhere to be found. Gladius is bland to the point of he could have been anyone else and been more interesting. Gladius also has this way of tripping over someone who can help, just in the nick of time.
The Bartlett Trial itself is barely explained, even though for the first 30% of the novel Paul was spoon-feeding us plot instead of letting it develop naturally. When it did develop naturally it was by the coincidence that, hey, there’s someone to help. We get a damsel who needs rescuing who should be dirtier and has absolutely not discernible reason ever given throughout the novel as to how she would be “helpful” later locked away from someone to just happen to trip over. Birds and bats can talk but the giant cat that attacked Gladius in the first scene can’t, why is that? We hear a very long story about a dragon that has nothing to do with anything other than the person works with dragons.
Oh, my favorite, “Gladius’ weight sent him falling past Elle and landing hard against the cliff fifteen feet below.” Someone ignores physics. If she is lower than him there is no way by simply falling he ends up under her “because of his weight”. No. Way. Speaking of no way moments, Albino bats? Kind of cool. Except they only come out in the day. You do know there are other problems with albino than that they are white, correct? The other being the sensitivity to light. So the author wanted day bats and for them to be white, that would have worked, but to call them Albino is just again going for the cool word rather than the logistics of the creature.
All of this honestly just makes me angrier because I can tell Paul can write, but to be honest it just was hardly worth the effort here. Does it mean I would never read anything by him again? No. I’d like to see him write something and just go for what it is he wants and not for what he thinks will sell.
Reasons to Read:
- Doc and the storyline between the two brothers are interesting
Reasons Not to Read:
- All of that stuff up there
Was not a bad night for wrestling and unfortunately I could not put every match on the list, nor could I put every segment (kudos to Vickie Guerrero though). I left off Sheamus and Sandow, Rhodes and Mysterio, and way too much time in recaps. However, on the bright side, there were long matches on this episode of Smackdown than there was last week. We tipped it at 28:07, which is about 8 minutes longer than last week. If the 14:55 of recaps had been cut down a bit more (yes, the Anger Management segments were hilarious, but were they necessary in full again?) we could have used it for segment time, or matches. Yes, I’m still hoping those recaps can get cut down more.
4. Prime Time Players vs. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel
Any time Tyson Kidd gets on television is a good time, even if it’s against Titus O’Neil and Darren Young. Kidd and Gabriel are going to be the underdogs in the tag team division, and underdog in the literal sense of the word. They will be used, because they are a tag team, but you know they aren’t getting a title shot. What proved it further is that DURING THE MATCH they showed a Tout from the Usos. Seriously? There is wrestling going on, there is an 88 minute show airing, and you couldn’t find any other time but during the action to show this Tout? For shame, WWE, for not recognizing the talent of Kidd and Gabriel, or recognizing it to put over someone else. Still a decent match for the 3 minutes it was allotted. Read the rest of this entry
I really, really, REALLY want Superstars to go back to being 4 matches instead of 15+ minutes of advertisements and recaps and less than 20 minutes of wrestling. The show was only 38 minutes long! About 18 minutes of that should not be recaps. There is plenty of time to have put another 5 minute match in there. Also, if there was another match, perhaps I wouldn’t have the same Top 4 every week. Sure, Scott would continue to be at #1, but I could give a better nod to the three matches on top and throw one to the wolves. It would mean more. As it is I’m throwing three matches on here and thinking in the future I might stop making it matches and start making it individuals again. That’s for another week, though, because I actually did enjoy all of the matches this week.
4. Alex Riley vs. Jinder Mahal
Riley and Mahal are the stars of Superstars of late. If you don’t get one, you get the other. So I’m sort of “meh” watching them fight each other. I’ll be the first to admit the two have come a long way from their early days, but I keep seeing the same thing in the ring. It’s starting to turn into a Cena or Orton or any top face match where you see the same move set over and over and over and… Is it bad? No, they have a good grip on what they are doing. Is it good? No, we’ve seen it before and all sort of want to see something different. They need different opponents. And Riley, honestly, needs to keep that explosive attitude he comes out to the ring with when he’s in the ring. I know he slowed down so he would not have the mistakes he once did, but now he just seems methodical when wrestling. There needs to be a mix of charisma and power, not just one or the other.
3. Ryback vs. Johnny Curtis
Okay, sure, we knew Ryback was going to win, but since I’ve started recording Ryback matches this has been his longest to date. And against Curtis. Who looked incredible in the ring against the big guy. Curtis knew how to play it off while staying in character and made for a highly entertaining 3:33. See, Ryback can win AND still put on a wrestling match. Hint, hint.
2. Epico & Primo vs. The Usos
How could this match not be the best match of the show? Not much I can say about the Usos I haven’t said already, this week, but it’s good to see Rosa back to dancing and Epico & Primo back in action. It will be interesting if Vince doesn’t forget there is a tag team division for awhile and these two teams, along with the others, get a chance to shine for at least a few months.
1. Scott Stanford
Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Okay, that was yesterday, but happy birthday to you! What, do you need more of a reason than the day Superstars aired was Scott Stanford’s birthday to have him as #1? Maybe some of his best lines from the week will help convince you.
“This tag team division is absolutely flammable right now.”
“We are livin’ la vida Rosa.”
“And if you’re scoring at home right now that is Jimmy Uso in the ring with that fairly new Samoan Tribal arm sleeve tattoo.”
“Usos asked me if I had any tribal tattoos of my own earlier today.” “And?” “I showed them an airbrushed unicorn on my ankle from a county fair earlier this week. Nothing special.”
“Tribal, no. Temporary, maybe.”
“Always having a terrific time with social media. We’ll see if he has a … terrific time here against Jinder Mahal.”
“I’ve never seen a man get more marriage proposals than Alex Riley.”
“That’s gonna do it… No!”