Well here we are again. It seems like a while since I’ve done a ramble, but that’s because it has been. Unfortunately, I’ve been busy with prior obligations and there has been a lot of website maintenance lately that has prevented me from writing blogs. But I’m back and ready to go. So if you’re ready…
Let’s get ready to ramble!
The biggest problem I have with this show is that their episodes are never up-to-date. The matches on this show took place over a month ago, which doesn’t really do a lot to sell their iPPV. But having said that, I was very surprised that they ended up showing the BJ Whitmer and Michael Bennett match on this show, as this was the match where Whitmer was almost paralyzed after that piledriver spot, which I think makes the average fan understand why piledrivers are rarely used. And to do one on the apron of the ring is especially dangerous, as we all found out. I’m not very high on Tommaso Ciampa. I just don’t see him as a big star, but I guess ROH feels differently about that, as they are pushing him into the final four of their World Title tournament. The match he had this week with Silas Young was okay. The main event between Paul London and Michael Elgin was solid. It wasn’t the best match either of them have had this year, but it was a good match nonetheless.
I thought the Cutting Edge segment was very entertaining and it was great to see Edge back, as he looked in fine form, and it doesn’t seem like he’s missed a beat at all. My only criticism of this segment is that they completely took the focus away from Orton and Bryan and put it on Triple H and Edge. The end of the segment with The Shield dragging out a limp Christian was a nice touch, as it made a lot of sense, since they can’t touch Edge, and it looked like something out of a mafia movie, where they go after the loved ones instead. Plus it sets up a feud for down the road and keeps Christian in the main event picture. I guess doing a fake injury angle with Paul Heyman was about all they could have done, since they’ve done basically everything else that they could do with this feud, heading into the pay per view on Sunday. It was great to Asylum used as the phony doctor in that segment. I have to wonder if he could possibly be the new Heyman guy. I doubt it, since he was pretty much used to take the bumps for Punk, so I think he was only there because he was a local talent. But I thought he did a decent job. I can’t believe that I’m saying this in 2013, but I thought the star of this show was Goldust. He had an awesome match with Randy Orton and I loved that there were a lot of near falls and hope spots. I dare say that this was the best match of Goldust’s career, as he hasn’t had a lot of standout matches. And the segment with him and Stephanie where he was crying was just another great performance and just the icing on the cake, as it was very believable and you felt sympathy for this guy, who just felt terrible that he let his family down. It was good to see Santino back in action, and he looks like he’s getting a big push, as he went over on both Raw and Smackdown. Every time it looks like Cesaro’s career is taking a turn for the worse, he always manages to pull a rabbit out of the hat and do something extra special, like the extended giant swing spot that would have probably even made Don Leo Jonathan dizzy. I could not for the life of me figure out why they put Bray Wyatt over Dolph Ziggler. I mean I know why, but I just can’t accept that reason. Bray is a great talent and somebody that they should be pushing, but Ziggler is wrestling on the pay per view and Bray isn’t. I would think that the main focus should be pushing their pay per view. The main event between Dean Ambrose and Daniel Bryan was very good. It wasn’t as good as the recent matches between Bryan and Rollins, but I liked it. And it was also good to see Bryan finally get a measure of revenge against Orton, but I would have liked to see Triple H or Stephanie somehow involved in that embarrassment as well.
The Ultimate Fighter
Okay so I missed last week’s recap, so I saved some of the comments for this week. Week one was a great example of why this show is such a better reality show than Fight Master. Fight Master was a good MMA show, but not a great reality show, as they didn’t do much to create any stars. But after week one of TUF, there are already some early favourites. Roxanne Modafferi for instance has a very different look than any of the other girls and doesn’t really look like a typical fighter, but I was impressed with the way she put away her opponent in the opening round of the tournament. Everyone likes the root for the underdog, so I think she can be a real dark horse in the competition. Cody Bollinger had an early fight of the season candidate and I can’t really blame Miesha for picking him first. I thought Tim Gorman could have been a great character on the show, if not for that unfortunate injury that forced him out. He was such an unlikable character from the moment he was selected on Tate’s team and then pretended like he didn’t even know who she was. Maybe he really doesn’t; who knows? Sara Moras really impressed me when she put away a seasoned veteran like Tara LaRosa. Having seen LaRosa fight before, I really thought she was going to walk right through this competition and pick up that contract, but she ended up being put away in the preliminary round. Just like I made the case with Joe Riggs on Fight Master, I didn’t think it was fair at first to have top names in women’s MMA like LaRosa and Shayna Baszler competing on this show. First of all, they should already have contracts. But after LaRosa was put away in the preliminary round and Baszler was submitted this week, maybe I’ll have to rethink that. Baszler really dominated the first round, but I was impressed with the resilience of Juliana Pena, who just kept coming at her and eventually got the submission win. So I think Pena is going to be another big star coming out of this. As far as the coaches go, they obviously have very different personalities. Tate seems a lot more laid back and easy going, while Ronda just comes off as this spoiled, whiny brat. It’ll be interesting to see how this feud heats up in the coming weeks, although the focus should really be on the fighters.
I thought No Surrender was a good show. It was certainly a lot better than the last two themed shows that they’ve done. Both semi-final matches were really good and I loved the backwards Styles clash off the middle rope, which really could have ended in disaster if done with the wrong two guys. I actually thought Roode and Magnus was the better match, but probably just because I had higher hopes for AJ versus Aries, which I didn’t think was as good as it could have been, but it was still pretty good. I was originally thinking that a Roode/Styles final would have made more since, considering Roode’s new alliance with Daniels and Kazarian, and also because it would have been heel against face. But after listening to Magnus’ backstage promo, I changed my mind, as he’s just so good on the mic. I almost expected the Mafia to turn on Magnus and cost him the title shot, just because Sting’s pep talk sounded so insincere and almost forced. This is the wrong time to tease a break-up of Aces and 8s. While I agree that the group should break up, because I do think that Bully Ray is better off on his own, they really should have done it after Bound for Glory, so it would have looked like AJ would be at a disadvantage. I also can’t figure out why they did the injury angle with Anderson, nor can I understand the need for AJ’s shoot promo on Dixie next week, as we’re already two weeks in to the build for the Bound for Glory match, and the champion and challenger haven’t had any interaction with each other. And after reading the spoilers for next week, I don’t even know who’s supposed to be face and who’s supposed to be heel with AJ and Dixie. It’s like they’re trying to make AJ into CM Punk, but they already have a CM Punk in the business. Besides, AJ has never had strong mic work; he got over on his athleticism and passion, so I don’t know why they’re trying to change him, or actually why they have changed him. Even though I have no interest in a Tag Title match between Tex Mex and Storm/Gunner, I really liked Chavo’s promo this week; I thought it was his best one in years. Chavo is clearly much better as a heel, but I just have no interest in either team and I think that may be the bathroom break at Bound for Glory, if it even gets to that point. The match between AJ and Magnus was good, but I was confused by the interference of EGO, as it really had no effect on the outcome, and they didn’t really accomplish what they said they were going to accomplish. And again, after reading the spoilers for next week, it makes no sense why Magnus would be mad at EGO for supposedly costing him the match, since they beat down AJ as well, so nobody was really at a disadvantage.
This wasn’t a very exciting show in my opinion, as they did very little to build towards the pay per view. What really surprised me is that there wasn’t a lot of wrestling on this show. I like that The Shield continue to be booked well and their beat-down of The Big Show was a great example of that. Van Dam and Ricardo is still an odd pairing and I think we’re getting a break-up in some form or fashion on Sunday, where either Ricardo turns heel and rejoins Del Rio, or Van Dam turns heel and goes with Heyman. The dancing segment was hideous and a gigantic waste of time, as I expected it would be. Also, Miz’s outfit was pretty racist. I thought JBL’s jokes about Jerry Lawler’s heart attack last year were a bit much on both Raw and Smackdown this week. I know that King is probably a great sport and is all for the jokes, but these were pretty tasteless and very insensitive. The Cutting Edge segment to close the show wasn’t as good as the one on Raw, but at least they put the focus back on Bryan and Orton and it was good to see Bryan make Orton tap this time, as it at least gives him a little momentum heading into Night of Champions.
So there you have it.
Here’s what’s coming up…
Tomorrow (Sunday): WWE Night of Champions in Detroit (Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship; Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman vs. CM Punk in a handicap elimination match)
September 20: Bellator 100 in Phoenix (Ben Saunders vs. Douglas Lima)
September 20: ROH Death Before Dishonor XI in Philadelphia (Adam Cole vs. Tommaso Ciampa in a semi-final match in the ROH Title tournament; Michael Elgin vs. Kevin Steen in a semi-final match in the ROH Title tournament; The finals of the ROH Title tournament)
September 21: UFC 165 in Toronto (Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship; Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland for the Interim UFC Bantamweight Championship)
September 27: Bellator 101 in Portland (Brent Alvarez vs. Austin Springer)
October 9: UFC Fight Night 29 in Brazil (Demian Maia vs. Jake Shields)
October 19: UFC 166 in Houston (Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos for the UFC Heavyweight Championship; Daniel Cormier vs. Roy Nelson; Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez)
October 20: TNA Bound for Glory in San Diego (Bully Ray vs. AJ Styles for the TNA Heavyweight Championship)
October 26: UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England (Michael Bisping vs. Mark Munoz)
November 2: Bellator in Long Beach, California (Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton Jackson; Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez; Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal vs. Emanuel Newton)
November 6: UFC Fight Night 31 – Fight for the Troops 3 in Kentucky (Lyoto Machida vs. Tim Kennedy)
November 9: UFC Fight Night 32 in Brazil (Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson)
November 15: Bellator 107 in Atlantic City, New Jersey (Kurt Pellegrino vs. Saul Almeida)
November 16: UFC 167 in Las Vegas (Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks for the UFC Welterweight Championship; Rashad Evans vs. Chael Sonnen; Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler; Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem)
November 30: UFC Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale in Las Vegas (Gray Maynard vs. Nate Diaz)
December 7: UFC Fight Night 33 in Australia (Antonio Silva vs. Mark Hunt; Mauricio Rua vs. James Te Huna)
December 14: UFC on Fox 9 in Sacramento, California (Anthony Pettis vs. T.J. Grant for the UFC Lightweight Championship; Urijah Faber vs. Michael McDonald)
December 28: UFC 168 in Las Vegas (Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Championship; Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship)