Kamikaze Pro: Bank On It 2

Kamikaze Pro
Bank On It 2
Meadway Sports & Social, Birmingham
26/10/14

kami2I’m dusting off my fingertips to unleash hell on WordPress again, at least on a one-off basis. The latest instalment from the wonderful Kamikaze Pro promotion from Birmingham was just too good to simply watch – I had to have my say. Just looking at the card going in I knew this wasn’t going to leave me short for words and I wasn’t one bit disappointed. I came for the legendary Hardcore Holly but came away with that and so much more. I don’t like to overegg the pudding and so will try to keep it short and swift, as all good blogging should be. That being said, the sheer carnage of this event would be difficult for anyone to sum up in few words.

T-Bone v Eddie Dennis

The opening contest saw two of the country’s top heels going face-to-face. Something had to give. I’m a huge mark for “The Pride of Wales” and so knew that I would be rooting for the latter. As it turned out, the majority of the crowd felt the same way. Maybe it was out of respect for his work, or perhaps those people just hated the Welshman a bit less than they did T-Bone. Nonetheless, they were firmly behind Dennis. We were all left happy and content when Eddie got the win after a predictably physical and intense contest. These two never pull any punches and this encounter was no different. This was a great way to kick off the show. As Eddie Dennis stood tall and received a very generous applause from the crowd, I had a feeling this would be a strong show.

The Hunter Brothers v Miracle Violence Connection(c)
for the Kamikaze Pro Tag Team Championships

The stalwarts versus the up-and-comers. What a contest this was set to be! The crowd were heavily into this, throwing out the usual “Tipton!” and “Tash!” chants at their respective heroes. The in-ring work itself certainly didn’t disappoint. The opening stages consisted of a lot of great chain work. Tyler Bate has to be the best prospect in the region. For me, he barely has an equal. Great look, excellent work, top kami1guy. He showed off all of those qualities but was eventually cut short by some well executed logical tag team work from The Hunters.

As things looked to be going against his team, Dan Moloney encouraged Tyler to use the title belt to get a cheap win. The man with the moustache was having none of it and so Dan took matters into his own hands. Behind the referees back, he used the belt to knock down his opponent and pick up the pinfall victory. The discension between MVC continued after the bell. Moloney looked very pleased with himself as he held both the titles up in the air as his own. As excited as I am by them as a tag team, I’m looking forward to seeing how this rift develops.

Leah Von Dutch v Nixon Newell

Crowd favourite Nixon Newell put up a great fight against her international counterpart LVD, who was trained by WWE Hall of Famer “Edge”. She was on top for most of the match, but in the end she fell victim to a devastating spear – just one of the tricks the Canadian picked up from her legendary trainer. The two shared a classy embrace after the bell and should be proud of putting on a great match and continuing to both further legitimise womens wrestling.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match
“Dynamite” Pete Dunne v “Number One” Damien Dunne v Chris Brookes v Robbie X v “Flash” Morgan Webster v Ethan Silver

This match was just ridiculous… ridiculously good. You just have to see it (search Kamikaze Pro online and get the DVD) If you haven’t seen the match, there is nothing I can really say to efficiently describe it to you, but I will do my best. There were so many epic dives, the best of which was probably when Nixon Newell returned to the ring to dive off a ladder to the outside on to all six men. That was just one of many highlights. The strikes were brutal, the use of the ladder was both innovative and shocking. Rarely have I seen a match which was more deserving of the “Holy shit” chant.

After an unbelievable performance from everyone in the match, and even those who weren’t in the match, it ended rather controversially. After a herculean effort, my trainer and personal favourite Pete Dunne looked set to capture the briefcase, only to be low blowed kami3and screwed by Robbie X. The latest member of the Church of Ryan Smile (that’s not a real faction name, but maybe it should be) grabbed the case from the top of the ladder and was declared the winner.

The blow was softened somewhat when the suit came to the ring and informed us that Pete Dunne will get a one-on-one match with Robbie at the next show, with the briefcase on the line. The whole crowd knew that Pete deserved the win and were very happy to receive such good news.

The World’s First Ever “Scat Monkey on a Pole Match”
Marshall X v Sebastian Radclaw

This match lived up to it’s title. It was unique, insane and quite unlike anything I’ve seen before. Whenever Radclaw is involved you know you’re going kami4to be entertained and Marshall X is one of the best talkers on the independent scene without a doubt. The two of them made us all laugh in the early going but that quickly transcended into brutal chaos. As they brawled around the venue, a precarious tension filled the air. Marshall threw his opponent into a wall, and almost straight through it, leaving a visible dent. He then tried to perform a vertical suplex on the whimsical Radclaw on the floor next to the bar, but unfortunately suffered that fate himself.

A battle which involved both a ladder and a pole (both of which looked unstable) was topped off when Chris Brookes ran in to cost the “Black Messiah” the match. His interruption allowed Radclaw to climb up and retrieve his beloved monkey from the top of the pole and any fear that one of these guys may end up getting seriously hurt in a bid to entertain us thankfully evaporated. A celebratory gremlin dance in the ring from Radclaw, Scat Monkey and a horde of delighted little ones followed.kami5

I was both surprised and impressed with the level of quality in this match. I expected it to be funny, but I didn’t expect it to be as athletic, brutal and downright scary at times. This was just another example of this show outdoing its own billing.

Hardcore Holly v Ryan Smile(c)
For the Kamikaze Pro Championship

The main event was as solid and stiff as I expected. Everybody in wrestling knows that Bob Holly doesn’t pull any punches and he doesn’t hold back. The man who won several Championships in WWE is now in his 50s but that didn’t show. He looked the part and he produced the goods. The All Day Star more than held his own though. By all accounts, he completely endeared himself to the legend with his effort and I’m not surprised.

These two went back-and-forth for some time and produced a main event worthy of such kami6an entertaining and chaotic show. To my absolute shock, Holly caught Smile in a spinning Alabama Slam and captured the Kamikaze Pro title, ending the now epic reign of everybody’s favourite bad guy. The drama didn’t stop there. Robbie X – famous for stealing Money in the Bank from Birmingham hero Pete Dunne earlier in the night – surged to the ring and demanded they cash in his opportunity. He was quick to take advantage of an exhausted and beleaguered Hardcore Holly and become Kamikaze Pro Champion himself for the first time.kami7

This was a show you really shouldn’t have missed. Pretty much everything important that could have happened did. All the guys and gals had top matches. The big title changed hands twice. It was just immense! Hardcore Holly topped off the show by giving an emotional speech to a sold out crowd who were clearly in love with the man.

To take things to a new echelon of greatness, I even got to meet the man himself and express my love for his book (previously kami8reviewed on this site). He was a top performer and a top pro but by no means the only shining light from this show – one of the best independent wrestling shows I’ve ever had the joy to watch.

Onwards and upwards for Kamikaze Pro!

Craig [Editor]

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RAW: Could Damien Sandow successfully cash in on John Cena?

sandowizedThe uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

After a dramatic and turbulent Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, all eyes were on WWE last night to see how the company would start it’s build toward Survivor Series. Let’s take a look at what went down hour-by-hour on last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw.

Hour One: Damien Sandow made a statement with a vicious and brutal attack on the new World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, after his triumphant promo had opened the show. He decided to cash in his briefcase for a title match, but after a long and well fought contest, he came up short and ended up jobbing out to the Attitude Adjustment. John Cena was visibly hurt, but where does this leave internet darling Damien Sandow? I knew the IWC were not going to be happy with this move. I don’t quite know what to make of it myself.

Dissension began to become visible in the ranks of The Shield, as I had already predicted, with Dean Ambrose pointing out in their promo that he was the only one that still had gold. His match with Big E Langston was called off early when the others got involved. The Usos came down to save the big man, and Brad Maddox shocked the world by booking a six man tag match. The crowd were absolutely dead for this, but I’m not sure why. It was (as always with The Shield) a good match, which Reigns won with an emphatic spear. He then used his facials to perfection to imply the deep resentment that is brewing. This breakup is imminent, trust me.

bryanshawnShawn Michaels offers his hand – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Hour Two: Shawn Michaels’ in-ring apology to Daniel Bryan turned sour when the latter refused to shake his hand. HBK was not in jovial mood last night, and gnarled “I’m Shawn Michaels! Now shake it!” He did a really fantastic job here. Bryan didn’t respond well and stuck the LeBell lock on him, much to JBL’s fury at ringside. He was then randomly ambushed backstage moments later by The Wyatt Family. As the night went on, it started to look more and more like these guys are Triple H’s new Corporate Ministry.

3MB and Los Matadores had a match again. This is getting beyond a joke! I’m starting to feel like I’m on the road with these guys watching them have house shows every single night. AJ Lee and Tamina beat The Bella Twins. The Miz jobbed to Kane real quick. Then things took another strange turn. Kane called out Stephanie McMahon, only to bizarrely offer her his services, give her his mask on the stage and head to the back. The authority is growing! This has late 90s written all over it, and I like that! As the hour drew to a close, Prime Time Players did a hilarious merch drive and David Otunga gave his opinion on the legitimacy of Big Show’s lawsuit against the WWE.

Hour Three: Punk tried his best with a promo to make another match with Ryback seem important. The fans on the app chose a street fight for these to. The cell match last night clearly wasn’t enough. The only good thing about this was the ending: another elbow drop through a table, straight into the Anaconda Vice. After Ryback had tapped, The Wyatt’s came down and beat up Punk. He tried to battle back after being (accidentally I assume) busted open, but ended up being another victim for Sister Abigail. It seems that the weird trio have taken The Shield’s place as the enforcers for Triple H and Stephanie.

The Real Americans got a big win over The Rhodes Brothers. The match was good, and Goldust was so over with the crowd again. Jack Swagger got the job done with the Ankle Lock and I see these guys having a good feud for the title. Alberto Del Rio waved his Mexican flag again and cut a short promo threatening to hurt Cena more and get his title back in their rematch. I hope that takes place at the UK taping a week on Monday, because I’ll be there.

Natalya and Summer Rae had a pretty decent submission match, and that turned out to be the main event. Of course, the real ending to the show was much more significant: The Randy Orton coronation. The Shield were present in the ring with the authority, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing that for too much longer. Triple H cut a promo about the journey of Randy Orton, before welcoming him to the ring for a group hug. Stephanie called on the other superstars, ordered to stand on the stage, to show the new Champion the respect that he deserves.

authorityThe Authority gather for a joyous coronation – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Big Show came out and was attacked by The Shield. The Usos and Rhodes Brothers thwarted that though and took them out of the equation. When confronted, Show knocked Randy Orton out and goaded the COO to get back in the ring. Triple H was too scared, and the show went off the air.

9/10

I will explain my rating. You should know by now that I am an optimist when it comes to pro wrestling. I’m easily pleased. This may mean my rating is significantly higher than what you may think is right. Leave a comment and let me know what you would give it out of ten. I thought that there was big drama, especially at the beginning and the end, the most important and most memorable segments of the show. There was a lot of huge development in terms of character and direction, involving The Wyatts, The Shield, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, etc. The wrestling product itself was solid as always.

There is a lot to look forward to as we head towards Survivor Series, and I felt this show had all the intrigue to propel us there.

Thanks for reading. I’m sorry about Damien Sandow. He is a good talent.

Craig [Editor]

WWE Pay-Per-View: Rankings

Today I’m going to take a short at each pay-per-view in the WWE calendar for this year. I’ll then rate them all in terms of how much I anticipate them, taking into account things like stipulation matches, nostalgia and recent performances. I’ll add my ranking after each show, 1-12. Leave a comment and let me know what your rankings would be. Thanks for reading.

royalrumbleThe Royal Rumble match – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Royal Rumble This show follows closely behind Wrestlemania as one of the highlights of my year. Mainly because of the rumble match itself, it always puts a glint in my eye. Some of the timeless moments it has thrown up, and some of the incredible undercard matches have made it an ever exciting attraction. The battle royal never lets you down, and the surprise entrants never fail to make you mark out like a mofo. Go rumble! Ranking: 2

Elimination Chamber Another pay-per-view that’s main selling point is its stipulation match. I wasn’t a big fan of taking all of these matches and giving them their own shows but I think this is probably the most appealing one. The stipulation is still young having only turned ten last year, so it’s not too rinsed yet. The chamber matches are almost always exciting and they offer the chance to put six top guys in there at once. Ranking: 5

Wrestlemania The showcase of the immortals. Need I say more? Sometimes it can be disappointing, when things don’t pan out the way you hoped. Nonetheless, the big stars, the lights, the fireworks, the action. It’s the blockbuster! The biggest matches of the year. Everybody on the card, from the top to the bottom, gives it 100% to try and steal the show, and leave a lasting impression, when everyone is watching. Ranking: 1

Extreme Rules Overall I’d say this isn’t one of the top shows because it doesn’t have much history and stuff, but it has been quite a consistent performer over recent years. It’s served up some great matches, offered some memorable moments and has done a good job of following Wrestlemania. It’s always going to be tough to follow, but I think Extreme Rules has done well for itself, in some cases very well. Ranking: 7

paybackCM Punk suicide dive on Y2J at Payback 2013 – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Payback If my memory serves me correctly, this year was the first ever edition of Payback. I can’t really go on the past then. Payback was absolutely great I thought. There were the downs, but I remember several really solid matches. It wasn’t a bad showing at all and I thoroughly expect it to return next year. For one of those B pay-per-views, it was a bit of an eye-opener. Lets see how it does next year. Ranking: 10

Money in the Bank This year was yet another example of how consistently great Money in the Bank has become. I was as angry as anyone when they took the match off the Wrestlemania card, because I thought it was the highlight. But the shows have been phenomenal, with the stipulation matches being the obvious highlight. I actually think it’s leapfrogged Summerslam and Survivor Series into the big four. Ranking: 3

Summerslam Speaking of the biggest show of the summer, the Slam has been a consistent favourite over the years. I don’t think it’s place in the big four is under too much threat, but it has been slightly disappointing in recent memory. It looks as if this year’s show is set to put it back on a pedestal again. I just hope it lives up to expectations because that’s always what handicaps the biggest shows: all the hype. Ranking: 4

Night of Champions This show is not one of my favourites at all. I’m of the old school logic that every championship should be defending on most pay-per-views. To have a show that’s dedicated to doing that just seems like a waste of time. This should be happening all the time! I can’t remember a single moment that stunned me from any of these. It’s clearly one of the lower tier shows. Ranking: 11

Over The Limit I seem to remember CM Punk being involved in last year’s edition of this. I could be wrong. That’s about all I can conjure up. I have so little interest. Its clearly one of the least important shows of the year, and doesn’t really do much for me in any way. A good match can happen on any show, that’s been proven true tonnes of times. I just haven’t see any that I remember on Over The Limit. Ranking: 12

cell

Hell in a Cell structure – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Hell in a Cell It’s another case of a match stipulation that I would like to spread out across the year, rather than consolidate on one show. Nonetheless, this has been one of more exciting theme pay-per-views, mainly because the cell has an enduring charm. When you think back to some of the incredible matches and moments from over the years, you can’t help but dream. These days, those dreams never come true, but still. Ranking: 8

Survivor Series One of the most historic shows on the calendar, Survivor Series always brings with it a lot of hype. Sadly I don’t think it’s lived up to its potential in recent years. The lack of an elimination chamber match often lets it down, compared to shows of the past. Besides that, it doesn’t seem to be pushed and booked appropriately, as the big time event that it should be. But again, it has a lot of history. Ranking: 6

TLC Another theme pay-per-view. Another show that often disappoints. Any show that decides to make a match called a Chair Match can’t be too exciting. Nonetheless, if you put all three of the weapons in there, and put a bunch of talented guys in there, you can hit gold. This just doesn’t seem to happen anywhere near often enough these days, to my dismay. Ranking: 9

Thanks for checking out my rankings. Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what you think. Like, comment and follow. We appreciate all of your support!

Craig

Money in the Bank 2013

rvdbryanRVD with a trademark kick to Daniel Bryan – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Welcome to the review of Money in the Bank here on The Real Mid Card. I hope you saw last night’s show. If not, tune out before you get spoiled. It was a fantastic show in my opinion, from top to bottom. I know WWE content always polarizes opinion, especially among fans of my generation. These are just my opinions, and you are welcome to completely disagree with all of them. Lets take a look at these matches.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match (for the World Heavyweight Championship briefcase): Wade Barrett v Dean Ambrose v Antonio Cesaro v Fandango v Cody Rhodes v Damien Sandow v Jack Swagger

The show started quite strangely with Dean Ambrose and Fandango already in the ring. They didn’t get televised entrances, which isn’t cool, especially at a pay-per-view. Zeb Colter delivered one of his trademark promos on the way to the ring accompanying “The Real Americans” – Antonio Cesaro is a real American, which is hilarious. When the match actually started, it was full of cool spots and lots of innovation. It was a really amazing opening match. Dean Ambrose in particular was insane. He did the awesome Terry Funk swinging ladder thing, and at one point pulled himself up and onto the ladder being held by his opponents. If you don’t get what I mean, think Shawn Michaels and Royal Rumble. Crazy cool.

ambroseladderIncredible feat of strength and agility – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

The Shield came down and tried to interfere, The Usos came down to attack them. Ambrose was on the ladder when he was pushed off taking out all of the other competitors. Cody Rhodes (bleeding face and all) came so close to grabbing the briefcase and making his and my own dreams come true. His best friend Sandow pushed him off at the last minute and won the match. This was a very disappointing end to an excellent match. I don’t think Sandow is anywhere near over enough as a heel to have a run with this. Cody on the other hand has been having excellent matches for years, had paid his dues and is much more capable of getting main event heat in the long run. The crowd were beyond hot when he was at the top of the ladder. He basically turned face during this match. I’m intrigued to see how things shape up with this on Raw tonight, and at least it wasn’t predictable. But yeah, I’d have gone with Cody or Ambrose.

Curtis Axel(c) v The Miz (for the Intercontinental Championship) Good to see the IC title on the PPV again, thanks to the influence of Heyman and Axel. Paul was expelled from ringside after The Miz tricked the referee and pretended that he had slapped him behind his back. It was interesting to see the face doing that. I really liked it. The partisan Philly crowd weren’t happy and were chanting like crazy for Heyman. The match itself was very decent. The two of them locked up in a figure four, which The Miz is slowly getting better at. They both reversed the move several times, turning each other over. After catching a rope break, Axel got the win with his awesome neckbreaker thing. It was good to see the guy win when he was out there alone.

AJ Lee(c) v Kaitlyn (for the Divas Championship) Another great technical match from these ladies. The spear couldn’t keep AJ down, and she got the win with the incredible black widow submission. Man that’s a cool move to watch! This was a very entertaining match. Good stuff!

Ryback v Chris Jericho The smart Philly crowd chanted “Y2J” and “Goldberg” This was a very good match in terms of interesting manoeuvres that we rarely see from both of these guys. Ryback pulled a second rope splash out of his arsenal. Jericho executed an impressive northern lights suplex on the big man. Ryback hit a great belly to belly. There were some great reversals towards the end too. Jericho managed to turn being shellshocked into a fantastic DDT. Then Ryback got the win by ducking away from the lionsault and rolling Jericho up for the pin. This was a really cool way to end a really good match, and a good way to add depth and realism to Ryback’s new character.

Alberto Del Rio(c) v Dolph Ziggler (for the World Heavyweight Championship) The crowd were so, so hot for Ziggler. He looked in the mood for a classic match. It wasn’t that, but it was very athletic and entertaining. One highlight was a top rope X Factor by Dolph. It was multiple near falls and DDTs galore. AJ came out skipping, much to the anger of Ziggler. He kept telling her to go away, but she just acted as a distraction. I was waiting for him to get accidentally distracted and get caught out by Del Rio, but that moment never came. This was another unpredictable ending. The “Lets go Ziggler” chants were at their apex as the match came towards it’s end. Del Rio hit a vicious kick and got a long two. The stage was set for a finishing move. AJ Lee climbed into the ring and hit Del Rio with her title belt, costing Ziggler the match and probably his chances at the title for a while. This should be the final nail in the coffin of their relationship, which will only help Ziggler. He doesn’t need a manager at this point. More unpredictable events!

John Cena(c) v Mark Henry (for the WWE Championship) The vignette before the match was amazing. I was marking out so much for this match, which is insane given the two competitors involved. Come on Henry! Justin did the infamous boxing style in-ring announcements, just to make sure we knew this was a big deal. Henry got lots of love, and Cena was booed. No surprise there. Mark Henry dominated in the early going, with a particular highlight being the gutbuster he delivered to Cena onto the steel steps. Cena tried to lift the big man several times, but fell under the weight every time. Until he finally achieved the AA, which Henry kicked out of. Now that was a surprise! Then he attempted a top rope crossbody, only to be caught in mid-air by the puppet master and hit with a devastating Worlds Strongest Slam. Cena kicked out. Not as surprising, but I actually believed he was gonna stay down for the three.

cenahenryJohn Cena struggling to lift the huge Mark Henry – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Henry tried numerous tricks to get the win. He exposed the turnbuckle behind the referees back, but it backfired on him when Cena pushed him into it. The big Texan also hit him with a vicious low blow, after the ref had been knocked down. That still couldn’t get the win. Then he went for another Worlds Strongest Slam, only to have it reversed into an STF and as you probably expected, the rest is history. Cena retained the title. It was a really good match for these two, but a disappointing ending. Another Money in the Bank PPV with zero titles changes. The match (like all the others) was entertaining, unpredictable and technically sound in my opinion. It’s just a shame a few things couldn’t have gone differently, but that’s just the Mark Henry/Cody Rhodes loving mark in me talking.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match (for the WWE Championship briefcase): CM Punk v Daniel Bryan v Sheamus v Randy Orton v Christian v Rob Van Dam

As the men made their entrances, the reactions were exactly as expected. Punk, Bryan and of course RVD were adored by the smart Philly Crowd. They fell silent for Sheamus and Orton. Christian, in between. I was disappointed that they didn’t bring in someone to replace Kane, namely Bray Wyatt. They even showed the whole debut vignette of the family taking out the big red monster on Raw, which kind of hinted that he may be in it, but no such luck.

All five men targeted Rob at the start of the match, when the crowd were chanting his name so loudly. He put up the thumbs and said “Rob…” but was beaten down before he could get to “Dam” – That was pretty funny. 100% of the audience were chanting yes for Bryan, and that is no bit exaggeration. Punk and D-Bry faced off in the early going, with the ring cleared of men. Then RVD began to dominate proceedings, with flurries of his classic offence, and even an impressive Military Press to Christian on the ladder. For a man in his forties, he looked in great shape and put on a hell of a show. Some were questioning his performance beforehand, but I have to say I was very pleased with it myself. I felt like I was thirteen again watching him taking everyone out with high kicks, spins and frantic strikes.

Sheamus took a painful fall off of the ladder straight down onto its legs. Shortly after, all six men scaled two ladders like spiders and all fell down simultaneously. Sheamus hit his “vintage” chest strikes on Bryan at the top of the ladder, which the crowd met with loud, emphatic “No!” chants. Orton delivered a fisherman (almost tazplex) onto Punk through a ladder propped up in the corner. That was awesome. Christian then speared Orton, who was bleeding at this point. Christian and Van Dam then climbed the ladder together. Rob tilted the ladder over, causing Christian to fall to the mat, and himself to land onto the other ladder next to it. That was extremely cool. He climbed to the top and hit an insane Five Star Frog Splash. I was in dreamland!

Daniel Bryan came in started hitting his chest kicks on Sheamus and RVD, who was also bleeding. Then D-Bry took his insane flurries into overdrive, showing Van Dam how it’s done in the modern era. If you’re going to give away that incredibly entertaining, accelerated style for free on TV every week, it takes a lot to one-up yourself at the PPV. This guy had no problem doing just that. However, he was cut down early by Curtis Axel, who came down to the ring and attacked him with a steel chair. CM Punk caught him in the act and hit the GTS on him. Then Heyman came out and gave his unconscious client a good dressing down for interfering in his best friends match. He cheered Punk on from the outside as he scaled the ladder.

Then he did the unthinkable. He climbed into the ring and screwed CM Punk. He smashed him in the back with another ladder. As Punk held on and turned around with a timeless look of confusion and sheer betrayal on his face, Heyman smashed him straight in the kisser with the ladder, accidentally busting him wide open. RVD looked like he was going to capitalise as he climbed to the top, much to the delight of the raucous crowd in the former home of ECW. Punk was literally pissing blood out of his face, as he rolled to the outside. Randy Orton stopped the fan favourite Van Dam in his tracks with a great RKO from the top of the ladder. For the second time in the night, the company swerved us. The Viper grabbed the briefcase and became Mr. Money in the Bank, to my total shock. This was a very surprising, but not necessarily satisfying end for me. The match itself was beyond thrilling. I’d actually say Sheamus and Rob Van Dam were the stand out performers.

heymanpunkPaul Heyman’s shocking betrayal of CM Punk – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Overall I’d have to give this show a thumbs up. Do I wish there were some different outcomes? Yes. Am I gutted that Mark Henry isn’t champion and Cody Rhodes doesn’t have the briefcase? Yes. But I have to say, this PPV had it all. Great matches, excellent wrestling, exciting spots, unpredictability, surprises, unexpected winners and lots of unintentional but awesome blood. Many storylines will come out of these events. Lots of characters have been and will continue to be developed out of all of this. I’m sure lots of people will disagree with me, but in my opinion, Money in the Bank was yet again one of the shows of the year. I hope you enjoyed it too.

8/10

Thanks for reading. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my review of tonight’s Monday Night Raw. If you liked what you’re read, give us a Like. If you want daily wrestling content to satisfy your eyeballs, Hit Follow. If you want to tell me I’m wrong, and that the Attitude Era will never be matched, give us a Comment. Thank you for your support!

Craig

A belated look at Friday Night Smackdown

So, I wrote this entire review with the help of my trusty notepad. It totalled over a thousand words. Then my laptop broke and displayed a hard drive error. I now have to write the entire thing again. A similar thing happened to me with a politics essay at university, and lets just say things aren’t always better the second time around. I’ll do my very best with the limited enthusiasm I have for re-writing six pages of notes. Thanks for reading, and follow the site for plenty more from the world of professional wrestling. Things should now be more stable on the technological front, so thanks for sticking with The Real Mid Card.

SD_723_Photo_185The Dolph Ziggler Serenade – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment.

The show opened with a new up-to-date opening vignette.

Sheamus v Damien Sandow (Dublin Street Fight) The opening match of the show was the mother of all gimmick matches. Beer barrels, sacks of spuds and even a green kendo stick! It’s funny when WWE try to make an age old stipulation seem like something new and innovative. It was a pretty entertaining match. Stereotypes galore and some really cool spots. Sheamus won with the brogue kick.

Kane and Daniel Bryan cut another backstage promo together. They still make these? Bryan told Kane that he will be at commentary for his match against Randy Orton later that night, just in case he needs him. Kane was very wound up by the little condescending vegan.

A smooth looking Miz met Paul Heyman in the ring for Miz TV, to call him out for “bullying” Rene the other night. The walrus invited out Curtis Axel to join the discussion. Miz made some painfully unfunny Star Wars jokes about the Intercontinental Champion. The crowd grew even more silent. He then tried to challenge him to a match like the good face. Heyman reminded him that his clients “don’t fight for free” – The Miz did get a cheap shot and a neckbreaker for his trouble though.

AJ came out to the ring for the second match of the night. Before the bell was rung, Kaitlyn came out dressed as AJ. She started talking about how she has been with the whole roster, and accused her of sleeping with half of the crew. At one point, she even brought the beloved Lillian Garcia into it. This was pretty hilarious to be fair, and Kaitlyn actually looked better dressed as AJ.

AJ v Natalya Kaitlyn skipped around the ring distracting AJ. This allowed Natalya to get her with the roll-up while she was distracted. Kaitlyn then climbed in the ring and speared her, leaving Langston to drag the carcass out of the ring and carry it to the back.

SD_723_Photo_066Kaitlyn rocking the AJ Lee look – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

The Vault featured a match between Bret Hart and The Berzerker this week. I skipped this because it didn’t interest me. Oh well. You can’t win them all.

Teddy Long was joined in the backstage office by Vince McMahon. It seems that my favourite tag team booker is back running things full time. He said he isn’t going to try and replicate Vickie Guerrero and go for what people are now calling an All Star match for Money in the Bank. He announced the seven up and coming superstars he has chosen to compete for the World Heavyweight Championship briefcase. It’s another very impressive, very pleasing line-up. That’s my thoughts anyway.

Money in the Bank: Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Dean Ambrose, Fandango, Antonio Cesaro

I for one am really pleased with that line-up. There are so many cool dynamics in the match. Who will Colter side with most? How will Swagger and Cesaro interact with each other? Will Cody and Sandow stick together? The respective returns of Fandango and Jack Swagger. There is also the interesting fact that the WWE Championship match is made up entirely of established faces, and the World Heavyweight Championship match is going to be all up and coming heels.

Randy Orton v Kane Bryan joined the boys on commentary and Cole didn’t call him a nerd. That’s how face he has become! This match was decent but nothing we haven’t seen before, a lot. The highlight was Bryan standing on the announce table chanting Yes and No depending on Kane’s success in the match. This was pretty funny. When Kane was knocked to the outside, D-Bry rushed to his rescue and rolled him back into the ring shouting “Come on Kane! You can do it!” – He rolled him directly into an RKO and a defeat. Bryan appeared to be smiling as he made his way up the ramp, while Kane looked livid in the ring. Fairly intriguing, but what a slow build for these two to break up!

Ryback v Justin Gabriel This was not quite the squashfest I expected, but it wasn’t far off. Gabriel got a little bit of offence off but quickly succumbed to Shellshocked. Jericho came out to poke fun at Ryback for his limp and continue to hype their strange encounter at Money in the Bank. He then got in the ring and tried to attack Ryback who escaped up the ramp. Now I’m no Kevin Nash, but this against Booking #101 – Why have a huge monster literally run, or at least hobble, away from a middle aged cruiserweight?

The Shield v The Usos & Christian I love The Usos’ entrance! That is all. Only kidding. This was a pretty decent match which concluded with a great spot. Seth Rollins ran the ropes and did a senton bomb straight over the top rope onto The Usos. I thought that would allow Ambrose to get the win, but instead he got speared and pinned by Christian. If these guys hadn’t been built up so well for months, I’d have been furious at them jobbing as a trio for the second time. They will stay strong, and it’s a good win for Christian.

SD_723_Photo_146Christian spears Dean Ambrose – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Then they brought out the racial stereotypes and shameless gimmicks again for Fiesta Del Rio. Mariachi’s, piñatas and even tacos! How funny. Del Rio came out for his celebration in a grey suit and black scarf, classic heel colours. He spoke Spanish throughout the promo and mocked the native Carolinians in the audience. This was hilariously different to the usual actions of the other champion Nice Guy Cena. The ignorant crowd chanted “USA” – Borderline racism. He concluded the segment by hitting the piñata with Ziggler’s face on it, before Dolph came out and laid a beat down on him. The show went off the air with Dolph playing the guitar like a true legend.

Overall, I’d say it was a decent and solid episode of Smackdown, in keeping with the recent trend of good quality shows on a Friday. They are heading in the right direction at least. Nothing too spectacular, but generally well done.

I hope you enjoyed reading my second attempt at this review. This time I wrote it directly on to the WordPress site so it can’t be lost or deleted. Everything has settled down now, so hit ‘Follow’ and prepare yourself for an article every single day for the rest of the year. Regular scheduling can now return. That’s the plan anyway. If you like wrestling, stay tuned.

Craig

What will WWE do with Rob Van Dam?

rvdreturns

Rob Van Dam returns to WWE television – Source: YouTube                    

So everyone I talk to is stoked to hear the news that Rob Van Dam will be returning to WWE at Money in the Bank! I am extremely excited myself. The guy was my favourite wrestler throughout my teenage years. I love what he does in the ring. I completely dig his real life values. He is a guy I’m always happy to see. But what will they do with him? Any return can turn into a total flop if not booked correctly. I can think of a whole host of cool things they could do. I just hope they don’t botch this one. Here are some of the thoughts I’ve been brainstorming:

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: With him returning at the MITB pay-per-view, it only makes sense to book RVD in the ladder match itself. He was a winner of the match himself in his day. He is an excellent high flyer. It would be silly to ignore what he could bring to the match. He could win the match and go on to feud with John Cena for the WWE Championship or perhaps Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship (provided they are both booked to retain/win their successive titles at the PPV) He could have excellent matches with both of those guys. You could also put him into the match, let him do a lot of crazy awesome spots, and have someone else take the glory. Either way, I would love to see RVD: 420 in the ladder match.

John Cena: They could do a lot worse than revisit the feud with John Cena. These two had some great matches and told some captivating stories in the mid 2000s. What they did with the ECW One Night Stand event in particular was magical. RVD would make the perfect anti-hero in taking on the man who stands for everything he is against. He could win Money in the Bank and cash it in on Cena. That’s exactly what he did in 2006. He challenged John Cena to a match at One Night Stand and beat him to become champ, because RVD would never get a cheap win on someone when they are at their weakest. This time, he should capitalise on the man when he has been through a war. That would be the perfect way to set up the feud, in my opinion.

CM Punk: Rob could join forces with his old friend Paul Heyman and feud with CM Punk. Lesnar is already doing that at the moment, but it’s a thought for the future. I think the two of them could have some incredible matches, and there are enough connections there to work out a decent storyline.

Daniel Bryan: At some point, I would love to see him feud with Daniel Bryan. I haven’t got a clue how they should book it, but I think the two of them could do some terrific work together. Let’s hope Rob is sticking around for a couple of years.

Dolph Ziggler: If he does stick around for a while, another perfect candidate for him would be Dolph Ziggler. In fact, this could be a possibility in the not so distant future. Have Ziggles win back the gold at MITB and have Van Dam win the briefcase. Then you just need to choose a route to go down with a view to putting the two of them in the ring with the gold on the line, preferably with the gold hanging above the ring. A match between these two guys would be sublime, I’m sure of it.

There are many more great guys he could work with. He can work well with a lot of different people in a lot of different ways. I just hope they book something good storyline wise and get the best use out of a terrific worker. Rob is now a seasoned vet, and his experience and enthusiasm in the locker room will be a tremendous asset. They should use him to elevate some of the younger talent, but they must be careful not to kill his credibility by jobbing him out too often. That is my only concern with the use of Jericho in recent times. I say bring him in, put him a couple of big time matches, have him win a few and get a good bit of momentum going, then have him put over your next stars. Just be sure to tweak the balance delicately. Whatever they do, we will have to see. But I am extremely excited in anticipation for the return of the one and only, Mr. Pay-Per-View Rob Van Dam.

I hope you enjoyed what you read. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. What are your ideas for RVD? What do you think they should do? Thanks a lot for reading and for all of your support. We upload a post every day, so if you like what you’ve read and you like wrestling, go ahead and give us a follow!

Peace.

Wrestlemania 22: Big Time

wm2006So I’ve been up to my old tricks again and picking up random WWE pay-per-views to watch for nostalgia. Pretty much any Wrestlemania is a safe bet to be a good show, so I got Wrestlemania 22. It was the year of 2006 and featured some of the most memorable matches of recent wrestling history. I’ve decided to write a little review of the show. I hope you like it and I recommend you pick yourself up a copy and check out this little gem. Here is my idea: Every match on the card in five lines. Sound good? Then please read on…

Big Show & Kane v Chris Masters & Carlito (for the World Tag Team Championship)

It’s gonna be tough to fill five lines with thoughts on this match. It was mostly forgettable and doesn’t paint a good picture of the circa 2006 tag-team division. Two mix and match teams with no real identity had a match of little significance. It was fairly nostalgic seeing bald Kane again, and the only wrestler who’s t-shirt I’ve ever bought: Carlito, but that’s about it. Big Show and Kane retained in an average opener.

Money In The Bank Ladder Match (Ft. Rob Van Dam, Shelton Benjamin, Ric Flair, Finlay, Matt Hardy & Bobby Lashley)

Rob Van Dam became only the second ever Money In The Bank winner in this thoroughly entertaining match. Five great athletes in their own right and Bobby Lashley were a part of something really special. Some memorable spots, some phenomenal risk taking and a roller-coaster ride from start to finish. It’s matches like this that make you wish they didn’t remove the stipulation from Wrestlemania.

JBL v Chris Benoit (for the United States Championship)

It’s always weird watching old Benoit matches now for obvious reasons, but every time I do it just reminds me of how sad it is that Vince and WWE try and deny his existence, because his work in the ring was some of the best in the business. I love JBL in and out of the ring and he pulled off the classic heel move here, using the ropes to pick up the win on the IWC’s favourite martyr Chris Benoit.

burningtableEdge v Mick Foley (Hardcore Match)

This is one of those classic matches I was talking about. There were no need for titles here. Just good, dramatic booking and you find yourselves with a rivalry literally on fire, one that can only be settled with an extreme brawl. This is a match I’ve seen countless times, and one of my favourite hardcore matches of all time. Edge picked up the win with the move of the night, spearing Foley through a burning table.

The Boogeyman v Booker T & Sharmell

Preluded by a very hokey backstage segment involving the King and Queen, and a role call of ‘freaks’ which unfittingly included Ted DiBiase Sr, this match was only memorable because of The Boogeyman’s awesome gimmick, and habit of beating his opponents by psyching them out with a live worm feast. Booker gave a solid performance as usual, in a good but not great match-up. Bring back The Boogeyman!

Mickie-James-vs-Trish-StratusMickie James v Trish Stratus (for the Women’s Championship)

Mickie picked up the win against multiple and long term Champion Trish in this bout which makes a mockery of the current ‘Divas’ Division. Trish was one of the best of all time and that’s why she is in the Hall of Fame. Mickie was just emerging at this point and brought something completely new to the WWE at that time. AJ Lee has stolen her gimmick, but can’t come close. Mickie James is wasted in TNA.

The Undertaker v Mark Henry (Casket Match)

Taker continued his streak, not a great surprise. He defeated Mark Henry in a very solid casket match. Knowing that Mark can’t do a whole lot at his size, Taker knew he would have to do a lot of the work. Even at his age, the man can still move like a great athlete. At this point he was still capable of walking the ropes, and leaping clean over them like a missile towards Mark Henry. Not his best Mania match, but a good one.

shawnShawn Michaels v Vince McMahon (No Holds Barred Match)

Just another reminder of how great both of these men were in their respective roles. Even when he was getting up there, HBK could still drag a 60 year old with no real wrestling background through a Wrestlemania worthy match. Vince showed how far he is willing to go for the company he built yet again. Shawn came off of a giant ladder to drop the elbow on the boss through a table. One superkick later, he was the winner.

Rey Mysterio v Randy Orton v Kurt Angle (for the World Heavyweight Championship)

Rey Mysterio picked up the win in honour of his dead friend and wrestling icon Eddie Guerrero. Some (especially Randy Orton) described him as a charity case. Whatever your opinion on that is, he was part of a very good Wrestlemania match. He did also work hard for an entire career, earning the respect of many people as an innovator and a high flyer. It’s never good to see Kurt Angle lose though.

Torrie Wilson v Candice Michelle (Playboy Pillow Fight)

This is definitely the hardest match to fill five lines. If I wanted to see gratuitous nudity, I would go to Brazzers. The highlight of this contest (Michelle did the job in the end) was Torrie pulling off a textbook vertical suplex. In all seriousness, I didn’t pay much attention to this. It was basically as close to being in a strip joint as wrestling can be, featuring an actual former porn star. The PG era has killed this art-form.

stfuqJohn Cena v Triple H (for the WWE Championship)

This pivotal match occurred near the start of the now historic Super-Cena era. An absolutely epic Triple H entrance, CM Punk on the side of Cena’s gangster car, and an awesome, educated crowd. The man who apparently buries all did the job by tapping out to Cena’s STF – something (at the time) I never thought I’d see. The crowd were all over Cena from start to finish, in a fairly average Wrestlemania main event.

Summary

What’s my overall impression of Wrestlemania 22? On the whole, it was so-so. However, as I mentioned before, it did feature some of the most memorable matches of the last ten years. In particular, Foley v Edge, Money In The Bank and McMahon v Michaels were extra special. I’ve managed to even keep my summary inside five lines. If you’ve enjoyed reading, please go ahead and follow my page, and tell your friends!