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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Transaction Reaction

Professional wrestling is in such a strange place right now. WWE spent the first half of the year convincing Raw fans that John Cena and Bobby Lashley are where it's at. Now, neither are on television.

It's interesting to me that in the aftermath of the WWE banning certain piledrivers, powerbombs, and other high-risk maneuvers that we have seen more injuries to main event caliber wrestlers at one time than I can ever remember before. Add The Undertaker, Edge, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Ken Kennedy, King Booker, and Rey Mysterio to the list of top-level guys who have spent time on the shelf this year. Can we begin to assume that those moves weren't the problem?

With rumors of Chris Jericho's return whirling around the internet, some fans may have missed some noteworthy transactions that happened this week.

Fans eager to see the new Hart Foundation debut on Smackdown were certainly disappointed to find that Teddy Hart had been released. I am surprised that the group made it that far. It is well known that Hart has an attitude problem. Now many fans are wondering where this leaves Harry Smith, Nattie Neidhardt, TJ Wilson and Ted Dibiase Jr. Smith has a tremendous upside, and it's almost unbelievable that WWE couldn't find something for him in the aftermath of Hart's release.

In what I would consider lesser developmental news, Robert Gibson was released from his position as a trainer in OVW. Gibson is best remembered as the ugly member of the Rock N' Roll Express. I personally have always found this team to be incredibly overrated. Don't get me wrong, it's a decent enough gimmick and both guys can work. There is just something that never clicked with me when watching Morton and Gibson. With TNA using teams like the Steiner Brothers, there may be a new way to fly for this duo. It's highly doubtful, however.

While Hart and Gibson were being fired, Ryan O'Reilly and Krissy Vaine decided to quit. Many are scrutinizing the decision of these two young lovers to forgo their WWE contracts. Deny thy McMahon and refuse thy brand, they will no longer be WWE superstars. Does true love trump the greatest opportunity of their professional careers? Sure. If it really were true love, would they have made it through? Undoubtedly. WWE love and WWE contracts seem to be lasting about the same length of time these days. If I were these two, I would have sucked it up. Oh well…

Then at the eleventh hour, WWE announces the releases of Daivari, King Booker, and Queen Sharmell. Now it is no secret that Booker T has long been one of my favorite wrestlers. It's hard to mourn for him however, because there was simply no place for him on the Raw brand. I'd rather see him leave on his terms than be misused for another number of years. The biggest shame is that Booker has been teasing retirement for years now, and he will never get his proper sendoff. Well, I guess that in wrestling I should never say never.

Somewhere in the midst of all these releases, TNA put on their biggest show of the year. Former WWE tag team champion Joey Matthews debuted before the show, and I can only hope that King Booker will follow in his footsteps.

I haven't seen the show, but I've heard nothing but good things. TNA's webpage was down for days in the show's aftermath.

I haven't talked much on TNA lately other than to say that I thought their 2 hour debut was miserable. I stand by that. However, I will say Total Nonstop Action has a lot to be excited about.

First off, LAX is one of the most badass tag teams I have seen in a long time. I loved their run as heels with Konnan as their mouthpiece, and I think they can be just as exciting as faces as long as they aren't tampered with too much. When the tag belts are back on the waists of these guys, a lot will be right in the world of TNA.

For those who are familiar with me, it is no secret that my favorite wrestler of all time is Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Those who would expect me to dislike Jay Lethal's Black Machismo character are dead wrong. It's amazing. The thing that makes Jay so likable is his attention to detail and commitment to the character. TNA made the right decision keeping him the X division champion. He adds a great deal of flare.

Sting winning the TNA World Heavyweight title was certainly the right decision. It set this show apart from your regular monthly TNA PPV and refreshed the whole product. I can only hope that his long awaited feud with Christopher Daniels can come to fruition and be done correctly, but I know better than to hold my breath and wait for that.

TNA has so much talent that I genuinely care about doing things I couldn't care less about. I would love to see the TNA creative team figure out what to do with AJ Styles, Ron Killings, Robert Roode, and Christopher Daniels to really make some money. Hell, I am really digging the whole Steiner's reunion. Is it being done to the fullest? I guess that is arguable.

One thing TNA seems to be doing better than anyone right now is promoting Women's wrestling. That's saying something considering that they have been doing it for only about a week. I watched that Women's gauntlet on Youtube, and I really appreciated the character development and most of the booking decisions. My only real gripe is with the treatment of Traci Brooks. She should be TNA's bread and butter. Maybe I only say that because I am in love with her.

One of the biggest news pieces out of Bound for Glory was that Kurt Angle tried a 450 splash. If at first you don't succeed, do yourself a favor and don't try again Kurt. It was a step above Brock Lesnar's shooting star press, but if I were Kurt I'd stick with the moonsault. Can't fault a guy for trying though.

Last week, I suggested that WWE fans push for Mr. Kennedy for Cyber Sunday. In reality, I was asking for anyone other than HBK. Do I have something against Shawn? Not really. I just want to see some other guys get a chance to shine. It's like knowing Chris Daughtry is going to get a record deal and voting for Taylor Hicks instead. Well, needless to say, I got some feedback.

David Missio decided that he would love to tear me a whole new one…

First of all, I agree with your point on the big gold belt. The bling belt makes no sense around Orton's (or HHH 's or Michaels' or Jericho's) waist and it would be nice to see a reversion to the more
standard, "classic" belt of the past.

In regards to your stance on the Cyber Sunday vote (Kennedy vs Michaels), I have to say that you're completely off base and quite foolish at that. Quite simply, Michaels versus Orton is the better match, and fans should be voting for the match they want to see, not some "send a message" bullshit that you seem to think would have an effect on long term booking. This is akin to all of those morons who claim that they'll never watch wrestling again each time WWE does something they disagree with to "send a message" to Vince and Co. Stop worrying about any semblance of active involvement you have, stop
worrying about sending a message to top brass, and stop worrying about trying to force a minority opinion. The bottom line is that Randy v Shawn makes sense, will be good and deserves to be voted for... besides which, from a storyline perspective, Kennedy and Orton might put on a good to very good match but there would be very little heat to it, unlike the Michaels/Orton bout. Have some perspective and take off your IWC blinders now and then.

Travis Bucklaschuk sent the following perspective:

After reading your column I have to disagree with voting for Kennedy. I really feel he has no right to be in the title picture due to just being back from suspension. Why should we vote for a guy who has damaged the credibility (what it had left) of the company he worked for? I don't particularly care about his wellness violation, but to go on air and run your mouth about how you don't touch any illegal substances, and then to get caught. I feel be needs to stay away from the Main-Event scene really.

Now as for voting in someone younger, I'm all for voting in Jeff Hardy. Sure he has violated the wellness policy, but the guy has never made the WWE look bad like Kennedy did, and it would be quite the throwback to old when the Intercontinental Title meant you had the right for a World Title shot. So really, I'd vote for him over Kennedy and Michaels. After all from the reaction of the crowd, this guy is almost as over as Michaels and Hunter, if not just as over. Wouldn't that be something worth cashing in on?

On a bit of a humorous note, Randy Orton had quite the first WWE title reign didn't he? What was it, five-to-ten minutes long? Well at least he can claim himself as a 3-Time World Champion.

One of my favorite personalities "The Wolf" gave me some more feedback as well

I totally agree with you that a belt change is in order. Vince says that he doesn't want to go the personalization route again even threatening or actually (It's Khali vs Batista forgive me for not paying too much attention to the SD title!) taking away the name plate from the old WCW title was a genus move (has anyone ever thought about that? Maybe Vince is ashamed of Khali even holding the belt. (But then again, Vince has no issue showing off his 60 year old ass on the highest rated basic cable show in the land, so why would he be ashamed of his World Champ? Oh yeah Khali!) Like Vince can't afford to change the title a little bit to match the character? He gave one to Edge (for a couple of days before he jobbed to Cena AGAIN!)

And how about the choices for the WWE Championship match? we've got the choice of a Jesus Freak near retirement (nothing wrong with that, but I don't think that the key demographic of teenage boys really wants to be preached at) and two druggies to choose from. I think it's telling of exactly how tough the 'E is going to be on the abusers when they give a guy whose (ALEGEDLY!!!) already been fired for a Wellness related issue TWICE (well, the first time was before the plan existed, but he was still fired for being a DRUG FUELED FREAK!). Also, the man whose either really got bad luck or is the dumbest man on the planet gets to see if he can take a run for the gold. This gets my brain working. Vince has been trying to push Echo man, since he first dropped his mic (hey now this is a family show!!) and now he's got the chance to prove that he's over by setting up what looks to be an obviously rigged "cyber poll" (god I just felt dirty typing the term "Cyber Poll" i think i need to shower! Wait, I thought Fienstien ran ROH?) So I see things this way: VINCE WANTS YOU TO VOTE KENNEDY.....Kennedy. Does anyone really think that Jeff's really going to get many votes going up against the Born Again former champion and the Golden McMahon (Uh, I mean the one who was supposed to before he opened up a box full of sterriods!) who Vince has a hard on for? (Wait, are you sure that Kennedy's NOT Vince's son? He did want to run an angle saying his granddaughter was his daughter!)

But all (or most) sarcasm aside, I'm actually a fan of Mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.... Kennedy...............................Kennedy (Even if i can prove that the whole gimmick was STOLEN from me when I was in an E-Fed!!) and I'd love to see him get a title shot. I'm actually thinking that out of the three choices he's the most likely to walk out of Cyber Sunday as the champ. But then again, I want to run a fed where one of my big storylines revolves around Zach Gowin being able to beat The Big Show, so who knows if I'm right about ANYTHING! Keep up the good work and I'll bombard you with sarcasm again!

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