This was actually a great week for wrestling in the WWE. Which I can’t say very often. It was hard to narrow it down to a Top 4. It was stranger than I threw Jack Swagger on so many of them…
4. Jack Swagger vs. Daniel Bryan – Raw
When this match was first introduced I rolled my eyes and thought, “Great. Bryan loses and this will be short and to the point.” At around 8 minutes it definitely wasn’t short, even if it was to the point. Sure, Bryan lost, because he’s becoming the jobber to the stars lately, but Bryan puts on a great match, and as I’ve mentioned in other blogs, Swagger’s new speed and almost grace in the ring lends to an even stronger presence.
3. Randy Orton vs. Jack Swagger – Smackdown
Well hi again Swagger. This match was even more impressive than the one with Bryan, and maybe it was because I think Orton suits Swagger’s abilities better. Orton and Swagger seem to have something in common in style at the moment, though it likely won’t last. It made this match exactly what it should be and gave Swagger a win over an opponent that was a bigger risk of who would win and who would lose.
2. Elimination Chamber Match – EC
In case you somehow missed it, this match consisted of Jack Swagger, Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, Randy Orton, Kane, and Daniel Bryan. This match was less about technique and more about the story. In the predictions I took for this match only 20 people out of 139 had Jack Swagger to win this. And 4 of those people predicted Jack Swagger in hopes of getting the Jabroni Jobber prize. 16 people had faith in Swagger. That was a pretty low number. However not one person didn’t put on a great show or tell a great story, including Mark Henry’s rage when he was eliminated by Orton at the halfway point in eliminations. This left Swagger, Orton, and Jericho and everyone was on the edge of their seats.
1. Chris Jericho, Sheamus, Ryback vs. The Shield – Raw
The only reason I left The Shielf vs. John Cena, Sheamus, & Ryback off of the list is because of this match. I want to make the point that this match was far superior to the one at Elimination Chamber, while the one at Elimination Chamber was still an excellent match. Yes, I do believe it was absolutely because they cut Cena out of this one and replaced him with Chris Jericho, who is a superior wrestler. And they let Shield win, again, which is needed for their continued momentum. Not one man in this match looked bad, not even Jericho when he ate the pin. Ambrose also proves he’s the superior bumper in the company, and while his facial expressions might be a tad over the top, he makes them work.
Yeah, I know, everyone wants me to put Ziggler vs. Cena on here. Again. But no. Special shoutout to Kaitlyn and Eve for making Eve’s last match with the WWE a spectacular showing. But no matter how much I adore these women, I couldn’t put it on the top 4 this week.
4. Dolph Ziggler & Big Show vs. Sheamus & Alberto Del Rio – Smackdown
Well Big Show didn’t contribute much, but everyone else made this an entertaining match. Del Rio’s face turn has been wonderful and his moveset seems to have clicked because of it. Plus, though I made fun of it at the time, I had a good laugh at the ref rolling his arms like he was a baseball umpire and throwing AJ and Big E Langston out arena. There wasn’t a dull moment to this match, even if it wasn’t all wrestling related, but we are here to be entertained.
3. Rhodes Scholars & Wade Barrett vs. HellNo & Randy Orton – Smackdown
Smackdown had better matches this week, granted that was likely because Raw’s 20th anniversary show was lackluster for most of them and, you know, the rest of the shows this week struggled with matches. Still, this match did everything it needed to, which was showcase serious star power and talent. Four minutes was enough time to give everyone a chance to be noticed, and there was that epic group hug at the end.
2. Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro – Main Event
Oh hi again, Orton. Fancy meeting you here. Cesaro and Orton put on a match that ends the only way it can, with Shield interrupting. Why? Because Orton’s willing to lose clean and already did that on Raw, and Cesaro needs to look dominant, and does manage to. Great match with great build from start to finish.
1. Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton – Raw
Oh, Orton again. “Orton sucks.” Well clearly, that’s why in 3 of the 4 matches I chose this week he made it for wrestling ability. Orton’s a little more careful of his shoulders of late, which is probably smart, but he’s still got it when it comes to ring presence. And while we’ve seen Barrett versus Orton before, many times, they don’t fail to produce and excellent 7 minutes of entertainment while in the ring. This also did more to cement Barrett’s abilities since he’d been a little lackluster of late, and since he won cleanly over Orton (stop being so damned shock, Orton loses clean often enough you shouldn’t drop your jaws every time) it made him look even better. Barrett needs it, Orton needs the great matches, win-win for me.
Wasn’t one of the greatest week for consistent matches, but the matches that shone out were great. And for once Raw had two of them.
4. Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena – Raw
The ending was a bit lackluster because it’s exactly what you expect from a Cena match. You’ve seen it before, you’ll see it again. Yawn. However, Cena can prove in matches like this that he does know how to work a good match, as he’s actually proven more consistently over the last year and a half. Dolph Ziggler is always in a good match, it seems, whether it’s 2 minutes or the 13 minute match this one is. And hey, for some of you, there was no commentary through the first half of the match. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing either. Read the rest of this entry
This wasn’t the week for NXT, Superstars, Smackdown, or matches, but “bah gawd” I was going to get the Top 4 matches in.
4. Zack Ryder vs. Tensai – Superstars
This was a surprisingly good match. I honestly sat down to watch this one expecting a two minute squash and instead it turned into a 6:24 match that had decent action. Tensai and Ryder may work different styles but they can work them well together. If you watch Superstars for anything this week it is this match (and Scott Stanford commentary).
3. Michael McGillicutty vs. Antonio Cesaro – NXT
NXT was hard to get a good match out of. Even Leo Kruger and Tyson Kidd didn’t do much for me and I love those guys. But instead I get McGillicutty, whom I adore, and Cesaro, whom I do not, that put on a match in less than 6 minutes that had the storytelling and moves it needed. And avoided rest holds. There was only one that was significant within the match and it didn’t take away from the action.
2. Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton – Smackdown
We’ve seen it before. Quite a few times. Which gave me trepidations about having to watch it. Again. But still, even if this was a rerun, the two men know how to work with one another. The two know how to fill 7:17 of match time with constant movement. There’s nothing new here, but everything they do is done well.
1. Kofi Kingston vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. Wade Barrett vs. R-Truth – RAW
The first time I saw this I didn’t pay much attention, to be honest. I was kind of caught up on something else. So I had to watch it again, especially since everyone was saying how great the match was. And, to be honest, it was. I’m not a Kingston fan, but the match did more for him than other matches I’ve seen by him. Ever. The only one that could have rivaled this was the one on Main Event two days later. Still, entertaining match up that showcased all four men to the best of their abilities.
Going into this week I thought, “Sheamus is going to have 3 out of 4 of these matches this week.” Then I watched CM Punk vs. Doph Ziggler and thought, “Okay, maybe instead it will be CM Punk having two of the matches this week and Sheamus with two,” and then I watched Superstars and went, “And Kidd steals the show.” I left off Sheamus vs. CM Punk and Sheamus vs. Miz, two matches I thought were incredible, but had endings that were too jarring almost, for me. Still, they get an honorable mention. This was a great week in wrestling.
4. Ascension vs. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel – NXT
There isn’t much I can say about any of these matches this week to do them any justice, and my complaints about any of them are minimal. This match had good build up and a quick feel to it, which is one of my favorite types of wrestling matches. Kidd and Gabriel are so incredible at their jobs… they are used as enhancement talent. I honestly could complain more, but in the meantime I get to see these guys in amazing matches, and that makes it worth it.
3. CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler – Smackdown
We knew Punk was going to win, even if you didn’t read spoilers. I mean, it’s Ziggler, he doesn’t get to win, even if he’s an amazing wrestler! But fine, that still did not take away from the fact that this match held my attention through all 7:03 of it. It’s rare that a main event holds my attention through a whole match, mostly because they are long and feature men, typically, who go into rest holds. You can count on Ziggler and Punk to keep it interesting.
2. Wade Barrett vs. Tyson Kidd – Superstars
I love Kidd. I love Barrett. I did not think this was going to be good. Barrett and Kidd have come into contradicting styles, more-so since Barrett’s return. It doesn’t make it bad, but I thought it would make a bad matchup. I was wrong! Barrett and Kidd keep going and somehow manage to come together in styles without having it look awkward. Moves don’t look forced and it flows. It was probably bumped a spot just from my being surprised.
1. Damien Sandow vs. Sheamus – Raw
It’s matches like this that reassert why I still believe in Sandow, and Sheamus I never lost faith in. Sandow and Sheamus put on a match that like the others this weeks, insists on never taking a breather. 12:00 and it didn’t really feel like it.
A bonus to all four matches this week is that the shortest one was Barrett vs. Kidd at 5:58. That’s match quality.
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 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.
This was a good week for matches, just oddly none of them were on Smackdown. We also had the pay-per-view which changes the contention a bit. If it wasn’t for Summer Slam Gabriel would have been making two appearances and a Del Rio submission might have fallen onto the list, but I can’t leave out those wonderful PPV matches.
4. Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd vs. Michael McGillicutty & Johnny Curtis – NXT
Sure, we’ve seen it before, but the four of them tend to strive to change-up their matches. It doesn’t feel like the same match from the time before and that’s part of what saves it. Plus, I’m still damn impressed with Curtis jumping off the turnbuckle.
3. Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho – RAW
Well if any match this year had a more obvious ending I can’t think of it at the moment. It didn’t detract from the fact that it was an excellent display, albeit short, of their abilities and was not a carbon copy of the match they had just had the night before. It’s sad to see Jericho go, but it’s great to see him give Ziggler the rub before he does. Now hopefully they continue to boost Ziggler up instead of letting him fall.
2. Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio – Summer Slam
Despite the hate for these two men fighting in the ring “again” I highly enjoyed the match. The two men know how to work off of one another, even though they have different styles. It comes together nicely in the ring and made for the second most entertaining match of the night, and second most entertaining match of the week. Sorry to the lovers of a lot of other wrestlers on Summer Slam, but a lot of them weren’t overwhelmingly great pay-per-view matches despite the talent in the ring. However…
1. Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho – Summer Slam
And they make the list again, this time in a match that was given the proper length of time. It wasn’t a perfect match, but it was perfect for what it needed to be, which was excellent. Jericho’s not as springy as he once was, but he still handles himself with care in the ring and in this match seemed to have found the rhythm he might have missed in other matches throughout his return. It was great to see him get a win and it was great to see Ziggler grapple with the Ayatollah of Rock’N’Rolla.
The top three for this week were really easy for me. I knew them right away and never had to debate it. Number 4 was between three matches and I finally gave it to this one because it just felt right.
4. Alex Riley vs. Dolph Ziggler – RAW
This wasn’t really the week for excellent matches, but this match did a bit to tease at possible plots. One, holy crap Alex Riley got a win on Raw. Two, Ziggler and Jericho continue… epically, which is the only way these two can continue. The match was given about 4 minutes, which was a typical match length on Raw and Smackdown this week. It was fun and left a lot of people complaining yet, not as unhappy as they could have been.
3. Antonio Cesaro vs. Christian – Smackdown
Christian’s always been a great wrestler, and while it’s sad to see that he isn’t being used in a more spectacular angle or given that run again at being close to a main event, he still manages to turn any match he’s in into magic. Cesaro found a flow now that he’s learned more about what it is WWE wants from a wrestler. This isn’t taking away from what he could do, but WWE has a different style than other companies and there is a learning curve. He’s picked it up and given a chance to fight the best match of the night. I would have loved to have seen this one given more time, but you take what you can get and enjoy the story.
2. Michael McGillicutty vs. Justin Gabriel – NXT
The match opened up NXT and honestly should have been the main event. While it started off slowly, and that slow cost is what cost this match of the week, when it really picked up the tempo it kept at that tempo until the end. I would love to see this become a feud if just to see these two keep fighting, but then if that happened I might lose out on…
1. Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd vs. Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins – Superstars
I love it any time I can put Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins on the list. They are awesome. Did I mention I also adore Gabriel and Kidd? Heck, I like Gabriel so much lately he made 2 of the matches of the week. But, seriously, there are not two tag teams right now who work better together. There are other good tag teams, but somehow these two groups have it, and they make it work in any match. Thank you guys for being some of my favorites and entertaining me every time!
4. Zack Ryder vs. Tensai
I kept flip flopping on making this 3 or 4. Both matches were good but left me going, “Huh…” At least with McGillicutty and Santino they seem to have a rivalry going… on Santino’s Foreign Exchange, which Scott does a great job of mentioning during the bout. However, Ryder vs. Tensai? I don’t get it. Good match for what it was. Tensai is good, Ryder is good, but together it’s an awkward combination that they manage to pull off in an entertaining way.
3. Michael McGillicutty vs. Santino
If anything, I have to concede that McGillicutty had fun in this match. He ran from that Cobra and made it look like it was particularly terrifying while not quite making it look serious at all. It was fun to watch the running in circles and the match wasn’t half bad.
2. Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd vs. Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins
Well Gabriel is doing his best to have two matches on my Top 4 Matches for this week, and this one is even better than his one on NXT. Granted, he has Kidd, Reks, and Hawkins to help that along. Reks and Hawkins, as always, communicate better than tag teams typically do. They seem to be in one another’s heads and are always there to save one another. So why do they always lose?? Then you have Gabriel and Kidd, who are almost as well suited together. Two excellent tag teams that put on an excellent match worth watching. My one complaint: why was I listening to the commentators talk about AW and the Prime Time Players? I get it, these are two tag teams, those guys are tag teams, but call the match!
1. Scott Stanford
“The Czechoslovakians would give Santino a 9.9 there.”
Forgive me if my praise of Scott Stanford turns into a rant on Josh Mathews. For the Zack Ryder vs. Tensai match there was a lot that went wrong that Mathews seemed to just figure he would sit and stare at the screen for. First, Tensai spilled Josh’s water on him when he was pushed over by Ryder.
Mathews shouted to watch out, stood, and moved out of the way. Then dropped it when he sat back down. Great time to have either mentioned Ryder was clumsy with his aim, or he thought Tensai did it on purpose, or… come on, just sell the fact that you just had it spilled on you! Nope! Second, where the Hell was his commentary during the second half of this match? Scott talked. Paused. Talked. Paused. TALKED. PAUSED. Holy Hell, Mathews, do you need more cues to understand to pick up the conversation. And yes, Scott honestly paused, waiting for reactions or for Mathews to jump in. This happened in the Santino match as well, but not as badly as during the main event. Yet Mathews is somehow the one working everything while Scott gets 20 minutes on Superstars. Great job, WWE, on showing it really is all about seniority.
By the way, Scott Stanford is awesome.