|Best WWE match all year so far? A strong contender|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
I watched what I couldn't watch live on my DVR and on the Internet. Here's what stood out:
Jacob Novak vs. Byron Saxton on WWE NXT - This was a very "wrestling school" match, but each guy went through their spots well. I liked the bump Saxton took into the finish of the match, going off the ropes with gusto and really selling the injured ribs. Novak could have finished the kicks with a bit more stiffness, but I'll take what I can get.
Yoshi Tatsu vs. Lucky Cannon on WWE NXT - Shortish match, and you knew Tatsu was going to be pretty good as he always is, but Cannon held up his end of the bargain, at least on offense he did. He showed great fire working over Yoshi, in and out of the ring. I'd like to see what he can do in an extended match. He's the FCW Champion, so he's getting some seasoning.
Chris Masters vs. Curt Hawkins on Superstars - These two have great chemistry and have had really nice matches with each other on Superstars, and this one may have been their best. I liked how they built from prior matches and added in the counter factor. Hawkins countering the second rope shoulderblock with a palm thrust was brilliant. Masters playing to the crowd is the best. I liked this week's Master Lock variant, with Masters pulling Hawkins in the ring. Great match.
Kazarian vs. Matt Hardy on Impact - Well-booked, well-paced and very surprising given the fact that it's a match in the Fortune/Immortal feud and it had a semi-clean finish. I thought this was the best Hardy looked since before leaving WWE. I liked the neck work, although I would have liked for Kazarian just to sell it a little more. The finish was very creative, although given TNA, I'm surprised it wasn't called a DQ. Hardy's new finisher is pretty solid. Gotta love submissions.
Drew McIntyre vs. Rey Mysterio on Smackdown - In bizarro world, where guys get pushed based on in-ring ability, this match wouldn't have been a midcard Smackdown affair. It would have been a PPV main event. Wow, just an amazing display by two consummate pro wrestlers (FUCK YO TERMINOLOGY, WWE). It's a great template; McIntyre bruises and Mysterio bumps. I think a lot of what added to it was Booker and Mathews calling the action on Drew's nearfall attempts and calling him out on lackadaisical covers and the like. It really hammered home that Drew is in the position he's in for a reason in terms of kayfabe and allowed the comeback for Mysterio possible. It's that kind of subtle nuance that can make a good match great and a great match EPIC. I think this match was bordering on EPIC for me. Outstanding, outstanding match.
20 Man Battle Royale on Smackdown - Battle royales are so fun. I'm glad they went this route instead of the tournament. It really sewed up the match for Extreme Rules while leaving enough time to build to the match. Four of the things I really loved about it were these - 1. Mysterio's elimination of Curt Hawkins, 2. Booker T harping on Chris Masters to throw someone over the top rather than go for the Master Lock, 3. Gabriel eliminating Barrett to help further that chaotic storyline (Even if I don't agree with them teasing dissention for the Corre) and 4. Cole taking the 619 for Jack Swagger. Christian winning was definitely a feelgood moment, and a fitting cap to the show.
The Cutler Bros. (Dustin and Brandon) vs. The RockNES Monsters (Johnny Goodtime and Johnny Yuma) on NWA Hollywood - Really fun tag team main event. I thought that the action dragged a bit when Yuma was in on offense, as he still seems really green, but Goodtime more than made up for it with his innovative offense and great face-in-peril work. The Cutlers are a great heel act too. There were some really, really awesome spots in this match. I liked the Cutlers opening up the ropes while Goodtime was running them, causing him to spill to the outside. Simple spot that was really effective at getting their devious ways over. I also loved the one Cutler doing the armband exercise while choking Goodtime in the corner. Some of Goodtime's spots to both Cutlers were really well-done too. I liked him kicking the one Cutler's leg, making him kick the other one in the balls. Really fun match with a nice, devious heel finish to get the Cutlers over and advance the feud.
WWE NXT - Giving the show another chance on the web in the middle of a season could have been dicey, but hey, they had a nice prolonged recap at the beginning of the show, which was nice. Hey, I finally had use for a recap! The love quadrangle among Lucky Cannon, Yoshi Tatsu, Ted DiBiase and Maryse seemed pretty soap opera at first, but hey, if it ends up with a Tatsu/DiBiase match, then it'll work. Cannon's heel work is good as I had expected. Plus, Yoshi's face to end the show after Maryse kissed him was PRICELESS. William Regal on commentary was everything I thought it would be and more. I loved his banter with Maryse. He's such a funny guy playing up the "dirty old man" persona. As it was in the past, the stupid challenge at the beginning was stupid. I also like that they're giving angles to the rookies, something that was missing in prior seasons.
Superstars - Same story as always just a different venue. Three matches, some of them good, some not, recaps galore, although the commercial breaks with no commercial between them. Weird. Anyway, the Divas match wasn't terrible, but wasn't worthy of the honor roll this week. I have to give a shout out to Zack Ryder as well, who did his best to make Khali look like more than just a borderline cripple who could barely move. That guy deserves a bigger spotlight, a way bigger one. Hell, even if he's just to the faces what Evan Bourne is to the heels, I'd be happy for the time being.
Impact - It wasn't terrible this week. All the wrestling was good for what it was. I'll tell you, James Storm deserves a gold star for the way he carried Abyss to something more than a void of suck. I think if they just had wrestling, it would have been an alright show. Hell, the second Bischoff/Hogan segment wasn't bad if only because Hogan's promo was actually pretty good. I guess I'm just burnt out by them ALWAYS coming to the ring and ALWAYS making it about them instead of about simple stuff, like titles or feuds between wrestlers. I mean, a three-way among Sting, Anderson and RVD should be enough to sell the title match. Do we really need to have Hogan and Immortal planting seeds? But yeah, I wasn't much of a fan of anything else, although I will say it was less infuriating this week than it's been in the last few.
Smackdown - Solid show this week, although I didn't love all of it. The couples therapy stuff and the subsequent pseudo-breakup of LayCool didn't do it for me. I also didn't like Teddy Long's interaction with Alberto del Rio, but I just don't like Teddy Long. However, the wrestling was good, ESPECIALLY Mysterio/McIntyre. The end with Christian winning the battle royale and Edge celebrating with him was such a great moment. Edge's speech this show was even better than the RAW one.
NWA Hollywood - I have to say, my first viewing and I liked what I saw. It's not a perfect show by any means; some of the undercard stuff was a bit on the sloppy side, and they have some lighting issues. Plus they ran a segment showing one tag team jumping another one with no commentary or description. It was a bit confusing. However, they put an emphasis on wrestling, and there's such an old school feeling to it. There were no "backstage incognito" segments, just promos and matches. It's how I prefer wrestling. I also have to give it up for Allison Danger, who stole the show in her segment with Candace LaRae. Plus, Percy Pringle III (Paul Bearer!) is managing the Tag Champs. If you can get past the production gaffes/shortcomings, you'll really enjoy this, I think.
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