Sunday, 14 April 2013

Wrestlemania 29 2013 Recap-Likes And Dislikes

Hi there. This is the final stop on the Road To Wrestlemania; Wrestlemania 29 itself. The Showcase of the Immortals, The Grandaddy of Them All, The Big One. Both me and you have heard all of those silly nicknames used probably thousands of times over the years, but that's for one reason-Wrestlemania is the biggest show in the history of sports entertainment. Did this year's live up to all the hype? Let's take a look at my 5 biggest likes and dislikes and see for ourselves.

Wrestlemania 29-April 7th 2013

The Undertaker Vs. CM Punk
For me, this match stole the show. It was definitely the best match of the night. Going in, there were quite a few concerns about the health of both men, but the two of them put aside the fact they may not have been 100% and put on an instant classic. It's strange to think that The Undertaker has been the oldest perfomer at the last few events (he's recently 48) and has managed to have five 5-star matches in a row. The guy has got to be the best performer ever at Wrestlemania. Anyway both men had the crowd eating out the palm of their hands with some of the great spots they did. My favourite one they did was when Punk gave Taker a GTS and Taker went into the ropes and came straight back with with a Tombstone Piledriver. The Undertaker was able to win the match (just like I predicted) and went 21-0 at Mania. There were rumours going into the PPV that this might be Taker's last match but on the evidence of this he's got quite a few more in him yet. Truly epic stuff.

HHH Vs. Brock Lesnar
The problem with The Undertaker not going on last was that the matches that followed it were hurt by not being a s good or as having as much crowd noise going on. It's obvious Taker is their favourite. HHH has had this problem a few times in the last 5-6 years or so when he hasn't been fighting The Deadman. Nevertheless, his match with Brock Lesnar was an undeniable like for me. It had a very big-fight feel to it. Brock Lesnar is a machine, a beast. Whatever you want to call him. This type of physical, violent weapon-based match suits both men perfectly, as evidenced by some of the spots we saw in the match. It was horrible when stuff like Lesnar throwing HHH through the announce table and HHH giving Lesnar the Pedigree onto some steel steps happened. Since HHH's career was on the line I correctly predicted him winning, as the match involved some desparation moves to put this fact over to the viewers at home. The only problem though was the crowd, who, like I said, didn't make that much noise because they had just witnessed the Punk/Taker match. Whereas the crowd made it seem like anything could happen in that match and made it feel more dangerous to Taker's streak, it felt that HHH was never in any of that danger and was safe throughout the match. Still, it was one of the best matches of the night and I'm not going to complain about that when it comes to Wrestlemania.

The Rock Vs. John Cena
Once in a lifetime part II. Last year's match was supposed to be the one and only time this match would ever happen, but here we are again. I would say that overall, with The Rock not being winded this time around, the match was allowed to flow better and go longer, which made it a better match to watch. Again, though, the crowd was not as into it as they maybe should have been, so that hurt how epic it felt. Some of the spots were good though, like when Cena went fro The Rock's move like last year and The Rock got up again just like last year, which led to Cena going for the Attitude Adjustment but being reversed and getting hit by a Rock Bottom only to kick out. The amount of reversals and kicking out of each other's finishing moves was great though, with each guy looking so strong by the end. Hopefully now that Cena is champ (another prediction I got right) they won't do this match for the third straight year next year should The Rock be at that PPV.

Fandango Actually Living Up To The Hype
Well, I gave this guy quite a lot of flack for not wrestling until now. I know he can wrestle, as I've seeen some of his stuff over the years, but I didn't know if his current gimmick would be over and if all his time trying to get others to pronounce his name properly was just a giant waste of time or not. However, despite all that, his recent beatdowns of Chris Jericho have been impressive. I was pleasantly suprised at how good this match was, and it wasn't just the Jericho factor either. Fandango more than held his own and looked strong in the victory that I correctly predicted. I'm not sure about Jericho losing to a main roster debutant but I understand the need to put him over. Hopefully now Fandango can establish himself and take off from here.

The Hall Of Fame Class Of 2013
What a class this was. In terms of accomplishments it has to be the best. Bruno Sammartino held the WWE title for a total of 11 years, including one 8-year run. Bob Backlund is also the second-longest WWE title holder, Booker T is the most decorated African-American superstar ever, Trish Stratus is the record 7-time holder of the Women's championship and Mick Foley is the Harcore Legend who has held the WWE title 3 times. Donald Trump is also important in the history of the first few Mania events and had an important role at Mania 23 when he shaved Vince McMahon's head. They are going to have a hard time topping this class next year and I feld immensely proud of all of these worthy inductees as they stood at the top of the ramp and soaked in the admiration. Well done to each of them, as well as WWE for putting together such a great group of classmates for 2013.

John Cena As Champion
While I enjoyed the match, I was disappointed to see Cena win and have him and The Rock hug it out and celebrate together at the end. I saw it coming because I thought it would've been the ending to last year's show before Rock won, but I didn't want to see it at all. It was too predictable. Plus, no one in the arena was happy about it and even Vince should know that you shouldn't send fans home unhappy with the final thing they see at the biggest event of the year. Cena as champ is overdone and while he hasn't held the title since 2011 he's had too many reigns as champ to not be stale at this point.

The Crowd
The fact that MetLife Stadium is an open air venue may have had something to do with it, as it could've scooped the air up and made it travel a lot less around the avenue, but I thought that the crowd were below par for a Wrestlemania event. They hurt the final two matches by not making enough noise and it seemed like they weren't into it, which hurt the overall show. The loudest they got was for Taker's match but they should still make the effort. Who travels all that way and pays all that money for a ticket and doesn't make any noise. When I was at Mania last year in Miami the place was unbelievably loud. It made the event feel special. Hopefully the usual post-Mania RAW will be as loud as it usually is. They need to be after this. Mania deserves more than what they gave here.

Bumping A Match Off The Card For No Reason
In my predictions I included all matches with the expectancy of actually seeing all those matches that were advertised. Maybe that was just too much on my part. Bumping off a match, even though it wasn't a top match by any means is just wrong. It robs the fans and the superstars and divas that were scheduled to take place. It's a slap in the face. Maybe if they aired less than the 100 video packages that were on the show or cut down the performance time of someone like P Diddy then you may have time to actually put on the matches that you advertised and show the thing the viwers care about most: the wrestling.

Lack Of Unpredictability
In my predictions, including the pre-show match, I got 6 out of 8 match results right. That means that, for me at least, it was  a predictable show. That doesn't mean that it was a bad show by any means, but it lacked that swerve or that big out-of-nowhere moment that has helped past Manias like heel turns or top title changes. It needed something big happen that took people by suprise, which could have been related to my next dislike...

No Dolph Ziggler Cash-In
I was extremely disappointed to see Dolph Ziggler not cashing in his briefcase after the Swagger/Del Rio title match. It was tailor-made for him. The crowd, in one of there rare bursts of noise, were chanting his name when he wasn't even in the match, and when he lost the tag title match I thought for sure that he would be cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase later on in the night. The New York/New Jersey fans are ones that are fans of good workers whether they're heel or face, so they would've popped huge for Ziggler winning the world title for the first proper time (his sort-of reign that lasted a year at the start of 2011 doesn't really count), and it would've made the event even more memorable.

Overall Show Rating: 8/10-Like I said, it was a great pay-per-view that was stopped from being one of the best by predictablilty. It was still an immense show, as Mania usually is, which is evident in the score. It reminded me of the Royal Rumble in terms of being good but predictable. It's been the best PPV of the year so far and I'm interested to see where we go from here with the upcoming RAW and SmackDown shows in the build-up to Extreme Rules on May 19th.

So that's it for all this guys. The Road To Wrestlemanai 29 has ended with the culmination of this PPV. It's been an amazingly fun experience to write this for you guys to read and I'm overwhelmed with the amount of readers that have come along for the ride. It means a lot to me. I don't know where this leaves us in terms of if I'll be carrying on post-Mania, but we'll wait and see. Something will be decided soon. Until then, take care and make sure to keep tuning in and watch RAW and SmackDown. No matter how much they may infuriate us at times, we all still love them, right?

My Experiences Of Wrestlemania 28

Hi there everybody. This one has been a long time coming, but I know some people have asked me to do it so here it is, a brief description of my first Wrestlemania:

Last year, on April 1st 2012, Wrestlemania 28 took place. It was the first one I was ever going to see live, and I was both incredibly excited and terribly nervous. I went because The Rock Vs. John Cena had been announced a year in advance, and I thought that this would be the only time I would get to see one of the biggest cross-generational matches ever, as well as what I thought would be The Rock's last match. I was wrong on both of those accounts, but at the time I just wanted to go so much that I bought a ticket on the day they were released to the public in early November 2011. For me it was as important as one of those golden tickets for those kids who wanted to go inside Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

Anyway I got to Miami on March 26th, six days before the event, because it worked out as being cheaper overall. I didn't have tickets to the Hall of Fame of Wrestlemania Fan Axxess or anything like that, so I just had to do some sightseeing until the event on the Sunday. I picked up my ticket at Will Call on the Friday and had no problems getting in to the stadium on the Sunday. I got there just before 7:00 when the event was about to start. From the moment you pull up you know that this is a big deal. Every feels very epic and grandiose, like something special is about to go down. I went inside and bought some merchandise, and when I was going to my seat the first match was already over. 18 seconds. I'm sure you know I'm referring to Daniel Bryan losing his World Heavyweight ttle to Sheamus. My first and so-far only Wrestemania and I miss the fisrt match.

At that point I didn't think things would get any better. Luckily they did. The best match of the night was the 'End of an Era' Hell In A Cell match between The Undertaker and HHH with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. It was the best match I've ever seen live. Even though I should probably describe it to you now you probably already know everyting there is to say about it. Plus, I wouldn't be able to do it any justice at all. If that was the end of an era then they went out with a bang.

The biggest suprise of the night was definitely The Rock winning. I thought for sure that Cena had it in the bag because I, like everyone else, thought that this was The Rock's last match and he would be 'passing the torch' so to speak. The place erupted when he won and I've never experienced anything in my life as loud as the reaction to The Rock winning in his home town. It was truly epic stuff and memories that I will carry with me forever. I know that sounds cliche but I did live a childhood dream that night. I never thought I would see The Undertaker or The Rock live but to get both in one night, as well as having them win on the grandest stage of them all, was the best night of my life.

After the show the celebrations were going on well into the morning. Even people in the mega-long taxi queue were singing theme songs and pretend fighting with each other. It was unlike anything I've ever seen before or since. Seriously, if anyone is thinking of going to Wrestlemania in their life then they most definitely should. It was the best thing I've ever experienced and I'll never forget it, and neither will you should you go. To be in a place with around 80,000 like-minded people who share your intense passion for the same thing is surreal. Sorry if this is shorter than you expected but I was never going to go into every detail of the event because there is already hundreds or thousands of Wrestlemania 28 reviews and posts about what happened elsewhere. This was just a brief account of my time there and what it was like for me to go. I'm glad I shared this with you and I look forward to the 29th annual version of the event this Sunday. I'll be there with all of you in spirit!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

RAW Recap: Week 1st April

Even though the title of this usually has both RAW and Smackdown in it, this week's post will only feature my likes and dislikes about RAW, hence the slight title change. The final Friday before Wrestlemania doesn't usually feature a proper show, but instead is a highlight based one focusing on past Mania matches. I'm sure it's something similar for you non-UK readers as well. That's why I'm skipping that this week and only focusing on the show that had any new and fresh content. As well as that, I'll only do 3 likes and dislikes for this because I've got a lot going on, as I'm sure you've read before. So with that being said, let's move on to what you guys actually came here to read:

RAW-April 1st 2013

The Closing Segment
I'm going to be honest and say that I absolutely loved the closing segment of the show involving The Undertaker, CM Punk and Paul Heyman. I think it was the best closing segment to a show on this year's Road To Wrestlemania. A lot of people are saying that it was very controversial to have Heyman dress up as Paul Bearer because it disrespected his memory. I get where they're coming from with this point of view, although I don't really agree with it. There's always a fine line to walk when including and referencing the dead in segments such as these, but I think WWE and the guys involved pulled it off with respect. Judging by the way a lot of people are reacting, WWE have succeeded with the angle in terms of the response they wanted to get from it. They wanted to make people hate Punk even more and wanted them to want everyone to see him get his ass kicked so hard at Mania. I think it was a good angle in terms of storyline mind games, because The Undertaker originally came out to talk about Punk, and ended up lsoing his temper and getting caught out by Punk and Heyman's tactics. It was also cool to see Taker get physically involved and take some shots before his Mania match, because that hasn't happened in a few years. It makes Punk seem dangerous as well as calculated, because he's sucking Taker into these games and making him prone to making a mistake at the PPV. I still believe Taker will win, but I'm sure the doubt is there for some of the younger viewers or those that aren't part of the 'IWC' (I hate that term). I think I'm looking forward to this match more than any other at Mania, so it was good to see the build finish on a high, as well as for it to be the main event segment of the go-home show to Wrestlemania.

Shawn Michaels' Promo
Another aspect of the show that I really liked was good ol' HBK announcing that he will be in HHH's corner for his match against Brock Lesnar. I don't know why this was only just announced on the last show before Mania but I'm glad it's happening. Mania seems like more of a big deal when HBK is involved and he is able to hype a match or a PPV like no one else in the business. He's added some more quality to what I'm sure will be an awesome match and I'm interested to see what he'll do during the match. My guess is that he'll help HHH win by stopping Heyman's dirty tactics, but we'll see how it goes. I also liked the fact that HHH, Lesnar and Heyman all got together one last time before the PPV as well, because that set up even more intensity.

Chris Jericho Vs. Antonio Cesaro
In terms of matches, I'd have to say that this was the best of the night. It's not main event stuff but it was the best match, so I included it. I really loved the look the Walls Of Jericho had when applied on Cesaro for the win. The move looked badass and like it legitimately hurt. Sometimes Jericho just does a traditional Boston Crab, but I prefer it when the move looks like it did here, or when he puts a knee or foot on the opponent's head. It just looks better. The match would have been better if it went longer, but that's something this match has in common with all the others on the Road To Wrestlemania. It's not the best time for free TV matches. On a side note, Cesaro's moveset is really unique and those moves look like they hurt. A lot. He does stuff we don't see from anyone else, which is why I like him so much right now. It's a shame he's not in a match at Mania. One guy who is though is Fandango, who again looked impressive in his post-match attack on Y2J. I know that that will be a good match on Sunday, where I think Y2J will put over Fandango in order to help legitimise him.

John Cena's Opening Promo
Even though I loved the closing segment of this week's RAW, I was not a fan of the start of it. I've realised that over recent weeks I've been quite harsh in some of the things I've said about John Cena, even though I'm definitely not a Cena hater. One of the problems I've had with him is that he's saying the same things over and over again. While that can also be said about The Rock, at least he is entertaining while cutting his promos. John is not. I fully understand why he got those 'boring' chants that occurred on this show, because nothing he does or says feels new at this point. He's always in the same default 'Cena mode' as well. There's no variation in his emotion or his intonation. It makes people tune out to what he's saying, which makes me want to cheer him a lot less, because it seems hard to root for the guy who isn't saying anything original. It was like that last year with his 'you leave all the time' stuff that he was saying to The Rock. Give us something that makes us want to see you win, John! I think he will definitely win, don't get me wrong, but I can't see anyone other than the traditional young viewers that always cheer him wanting him to.

John Cena And The Rock Not Interacting
Speaking of  promos, what was with the two people involved in the main event WWE title match at Wrestlemania only cutting two separate promos and not interacting with each other? I didn't like that, nor did I understand it. I get that they had a big thing together last week with the legends panel that concluded with a Rock Bottom to Cena, but I wanted something similar here. It's similar to last week where HHH only cut a promo a week after having a physical contract signing with Brock Lesnar. It feels like a backwards step and that WWE have got the weeks the wrong way around. It doesn't make Mania seem any worse and I doubt anybody is not going to watch it just becausr they didn't interact on the last show before the PPV, but I still think it would have been better to see it.

Overall Show Rating: 8/10-In terms of building for the PPV I thought that this was a great show with lots of good segments, especially for the main events, which were topped off by the quality of the last segment involving The Undertaker or CM Punk. That was moneyand I look for them to steal the show at Wrestlemania this Sunday.

That's all I'm saying for RAW this week, as I'm only covering the main event stuff because I'm in a hurry. What I will leave you with however is my predictions for the nine matches advertised for Wrestlemania 29 plus the pre-show, so you can see how I did when I post the likes and dislikes sometime over the next few days. Please feel free to leave your own thoughts and predictions for the show. It should be a good one guys.

Wrestlemania 29 Predictions
Pre-Show Match: The Miz
Brodus Clay, Tensai, Naomi and Cameron
Dolph Ziggler and Big E. Langston
The Shield
The Undertaker
John Cena

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

RAW And Smackdown Recap: Week 25th Mar-29th Mar 2013 Likes And Dislikes

Hey there readers. Just to let you know, this week and next will feature shorter recaps than usual because I've got a lot of upcoming assignment deadlines to meet, meaning they take priority. That means that I'm only going to be covering the main event happenings on each show and not going into the usual detail. Anyway, the WWE had a great increase in quality in their programming this week, so let's get to the likes and dislikes.

RAW-March 25th 2013

The Undertaker Attacks CM Punk
I thought this was a fantastic way to open the show. It got the show off to a great start and made it feel like an epic show from the get-go in which anything can happen. CM Punk's promo was good, as he talked about the power he had over Taker and how he was confident that he would use that to beat him. The lights went out and Taker then came out and starting hammering him with rights and left, which is classic Deadman. The crowd was really hot for The Undertaker too, so it got them going early on. This is the kind of thing that I really like to see at the start of a show on the road to Mania, and it makes me wish that they did it a lot more this time round. Taker only got a little taster of what it will be like to get his hands on Punk, which is something the fans badly want to see, so it will be interesting to see what they do next week following on from this, which was in my opinion the best opening to a RAW episode this year.

The Rock And John Cena's Closing Segment
I think this week was the best interaction and build we've had for this rivalry this year. The concept of a panel of legends asking both Cena and Rock a set of questions was very unique and very well done. It was a fresh way of getting the two competitors together and having them talk about why they have to win at Wrestlemania. Both men made some valid points, and the segment was filled with the right amount of tension between them that usually make these fueds great. I thought The Rock edged it in terms of the things he said, like when he talked about his failures and how he knoes he will beat John Cena. Some of the things Cena said were impressive as well, such as when he said he has to beat The Rock, and there was even a slight tease of a heel turn with some of the grit in the things he was saying. His analogy of Donovan McNabb was weak though, mainly because it went right over my head what with me being a UK viewer and I didn't get it. I also liked the fact that we got some physical contact between the two, with The Rock coming out on top with a reversal of the Attitude Adjustment into a Rock Bottom. There has been a distinct lack of physical contact between everyone in the fueds on this year's road to Wrestlemania, so this was good to see. I enjoyed Rocky getting the upper hand this week, and I'm intrigued to see what will happen next week. I expect Cena to get some kind of revenge on him though.

Some Good Matches
I was pleased to see both Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho face off against each other, as well as Alberto Del Rio in a match against Antonio Cesaro. They were probably the two best matches of the night. In terms of in-ring quality, matches usually tend to suffer quite a bit in terms of quality on the Road To Wrestlemania, as they are usually squah matches or very predictable ones, with the superstar that's in the higher profile match getting the win. These two were fairly good, however, which is what you would expect by now from these four, who are all solid in-ring workers. The only thing that I have aginst these matches is that they weren't long enough. Hopefully sometime post-Mania we'll see these guys have longer matches together as part of some good fueds involving each of them.

HHH's Promo
Now don't get me wrong, I actually enjoyed the promo, because what he said was actually very good and had a lot of passion in it. It made you want to see him kick Brock Lesnar's ass. It worked in that respect. However, my problem with the promo is not related to its content, but the fact that we were goven a promo in the first place. After last week's contract signing, I was hoping that we would carry on from there and have HHH and Brock/Heyman get more intense, but instead what we got is something I consider to be a backwards step. I understand that not every week can be brawls and fisticuffs, but to give us something like what we got last week this close to Wrestlemania, followed by this disappoints me.

Overall Show Rating: 7.5/10-This was no doubt the best RAW on The Road To Wrestlemania, so I'm glad to see things picking up at the right time. Things felt more epic and 'Mania worthy' on this show, which had admittedly been a problem of some of the shows in recent weeks.

That was the only problem I had with the things that happened in the main event fueds on this past RAW, so let's move straight on to this week's Smackdown:

Smackdown-March 29th 2013

The Rock Starting The Show
Since we know that Smackdown is clearly the number 2 show, it always feels like a bigger deal when someone like The Rock stops by for a 10-15 minute promo every now and then. It was basically a filler promo that only slightly expanded on what he talked about on RAW, stating how he knows he's going to beat Cena. Still, it was good to have him on and some of the stuff he said was generally entertaining, like how he came up with the 'candy ass' catchphrase and his reactions to the picture of him at 15 years old. There was a big suprise when Big Johnny came back after nearly a year away, which was hilarious. That's mainly because Laurinaitis is so unintentionally funny and it was genuinely unexpected. His interaction with The Rock was pretty funny too, with the crowd firmly behind Rocky and reacting to Johnny like they used to when he was around. He talked about how he wanted to work with The Rock to beat Cena as a way to get Cena back for getting him fired last year, but Rock was having none of it. The Rock Bottom he gave him got a massive pop from the crowd too. Never interrupt 'Story Time' with The Rock.

The Ryback/Mark Henry Bench Press Challenge
I liked this because it felt like a legitimate way to test these guys heading into Wrestlemania. Something like this was needed because of the no contact rule that was put in place. I liked the fact that they had both of these guys break the world record for the challenge they were doing, because it made both of them look legitimately tough. I understand why they had Mark Henry interrupt Ryback's turn after he equalled his score, because they didn't want either of them having a visible edge over each other going into the PPV, and because it was also a clever way of having them interact without actually touching each other. We'll see what they do on RAW this coming Monday, and I'm pretty confident that Ryback will win the match at Mania.

The Shield Get A Taste Of Their Own Medicine
From the start of the match you already knew that the team going against The Shield at Wrestlemania would win against a team that was just thrown together to be their opponents. I haven't like any of this teams matches against opponents like that, but what I have usually enjoyed is their post-match interactions with The Shield. This was no exception. What I liked about this team going after The Shield while they were coming out through the crowd is the fact that it's never been done before. At least not to The Shield anyway. Them taking the fight to The Shield was a refreshing change, and adds more intrigue to the Mania match. I think The Shield will win, but it should still be a good match.

The Lack Of Decent Matches
This was my only legitimate dislike for this past week's SmackDown. While I praised RAW for having some good matches despite being on The Road To Wrestlemania, I have to criticise SmackDown for a distinct lack of any. We only got 4 matches on this show, and one of them was involving The Great Khali, one of them was this short, predictable 6 man tag match that is basically the same every week, and the others had a hint of potential before ending. I understand its the the last proper SmackDown before Mania, and that they need to promote the matches with extra segments, promos and video packages, but they shouldn't do that by sacrificing in-ring action. Jericho/Barrett and the mixed tag match should have been longer, but I guess that in the grand scheme of things it doen't really matter because neither were the main event.

Overall Show Rating: 5/10-Despite The Rock appearing he couldn't save this show from being an average and largely forgettable. The most memorable thing that happened was probably the Bench Press Challenge, and even though I enjoyed that it wasn't one of the greatest segments I've ever seen. It was disappointing to see the best RAW on the Road To Wrestlemania followed by what was probably the worst Smackdown on that same road.

That's it for this week. It was a little longer than planned so hopefully it was still good. Next week the Smackdown they air over here in the UK is usually filled with highlights of past Mania matches, so I'll only be covering what I like and dislike about RAW. I'm still working on that post about my experience of Mania 28 last year as well. It's coming, I just have a lot of balancing and work to do at the minute. Thanks for reading and as usual comment on what you either liked or disliked about this week's shows. We're almost at the big one now. Look how far we've come!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

RAW And Smackdown Recap: Week 18th Mar-22nd Mar 2013 Likes And Dislikes

Hi folks, it's recap time!

RAW-March 18th 2013

The Contract Signing
I enjoyed this. I was a little worried about it being the main event segment, but I think they pulled it off well. Paul Heyman is so good at being the little weasel who gets people to hate him. He was also hilarious when he was getting beat up by HHH. HHH was good as the intense guy who wants to kick some ass and get revenge. That's his best role. This segment also showed how clever he is by having him hide the sledgehammer under the table. Lesnar was also good in what he had to do, but his role was limited. The way he was aggressively whacking that chair against the ramp was awesome. The crowd was a little dead at times, but I don't think that hindered what we saw. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks these intense brawls will continue.

CM Punk Getting In Undertaker's Head
CM Punk is on a freakin' role. He has been for the last few years now. The guy is so good it's unreal. Best in the world? Definitely. The way he acted like a total jerk was genius. Him getting inside Undertaker's head was good because it felt fresh, as he hasn't had that since his Edge/Shawn Michaels matches at Mania. He's making The Undertaker angry, which is never good, but he's doing it via mind games, so it's fun to see that due to it usually being The Deadman who's messing with people's heads, and not the one on the receiving end of them. Roll on next week when I expect things to get physical. The Deadman wants his urn back damn it!

Jericho Ripping On Fandango's Name
Y2J is hilarious. He's a natural entertainer. Some of those names had me genuinely laughing out loud. Fan-dangler was comedy gold. This looks like it's building towards a Mania fued between the two, which is a little disappointing in the sense that I want Jericho to have more importance, and it seems like a big step down from competing for the WWE title at last year's PPV. Still, if anyone can pull it off it's Y2J. Especially if we get more stuff like this segment.

Booker T In The Hall Of Fame
This year's class looks like one of the best ever. Maybe even the very best ever. In terms of superstars and divas that were around when I started watching it certainly is the best. All of the people being inducted this year are very decorated former champions. Especially Booker, who is the most decorated African-American superstar of all time. It's only fair he goes in because he's a living legend and he'll fit in right at home as a Hall Of Famer. Congratulations Booker T, it's more than well-deserved.

Jack Swagger Getting Aggressive
I've said it for weeks that this fued needed to get more physical. That is what we got here. Swagger came out after Del Rio beat Cody Rhodes and beat him down. The beating was very well done, too. It made Swagger look like a legitimate threat. The way he took out Ricardo Rodriguez was awesome too, because he was ruthless in his attack. He looked like a wild animal out there when he attacked both guys, so it makes people question whether or not Del Rio can overcome the odds and get revenge at Wrestlemania. Things are going well in this rivalry now that we've built up some steam and are close to the PPV.

The Intercontinental Title Match
This was definitely the best match of the night. I still don't rate The Miz that highly, but he did well here. Jericho was Jericho, which is all that needs to be said there, and Wade Barrett was good as the powerhouse of the match, as well as the clever champion who seized his opportunity well to steal the win. I'm not suprised Barrett retained, and I think we'll see him and The Miz carry on this budding rivalry in the coming weeks. Maybe they'll even make it onto the Mania card or the pre-show. We'll see where things go.

The HHH/Lesnar Stipulations
Is it just me, or did anyone find that the match stipulation for their Mania encounter was a little weak? The match is going to be awesome, and the fact that there is a stipulation involved suits the fued because it needs to be a very physical match, but no holds barred? Really? It's one of the most generic stipulations out there. Something like a cage or last man standing match would have suited things better. The way the fued started off was so epic with Lesnar getting his head busted open by HHH, and to see that develop into a simple no holds barred match feels like a step backwards. Also, HHH's career being on the line almost guarantees he'll win, which takes some of the unpredictability out of things. Still, I have high hopes that things will be great at the actual PPV. I just wish the stipulations were a little more interesting.

The Setup For Ryback Vs. Mark Henry
The fued is fine and something I really want to see, but considering that these guys are two of the biggest and baddest guys around, I would like to think that they could have fought their own battles. Even if one of them went to Vickie or Booker and demanded the match against the other, it would be better than Vickie randomly just making the match with no buildup to the decision. That's only a minor complaint, but it's something I thought was a little strange.

John Cena's Opening Segment
John Cena sounding like he was just out there for no reason at the start of this week's show. It sounded like he didn't have a point to make and they just threw him out there with the Prime Time Players in order to kill some time. I know it's not his fault or WWE's, at least not fully, beacuse it's hard to sell a main event title match when the champ isn't even there, which leads me to my next point.

No Rock Again
Even though I totally understand why The Rock's not there and don't hold anything against him, it's just a fact that things are harder to sell without him there to do it. You can't hype the WWE title match well without the WWE champion, so I don't like him not being there to get involved and make the build better. It's also a less entertaining show without The Rock because he's just so entertaining. Hopefully the next two weeks will be stellar segments involving these two. They need to be.

Overall Show Rating: 5.5/10-This was only a marginal improvement over the past two weeks, but at least we're getting there. The advancement in some of the mania fueds was good, and we got some new matches either offically announced or teased which was good to see. With The Rock back next week and CM Punk and The Undertaker hopefully kicking things into a higher gear, next week should yield a higher score than those of recent weeks. We'll see what happens I guess.

Here's the Smackdown section of the recap:

Smackdown-March 22nd 2013

The Return Of JBL
There's no arguing that this man is pure gold on the mic. It was strange hearing Cole back but JBL worked well with both him and Josh Mathews so it was all good. I know that in the grand scheme of Wrestlemania the commentators don't really matter, but I really like what JBL brings to the (announce) table so in that respect I'm glad he's back. Also, congratulations JBL for successfully climbing Mt. Death in South America. What he's doing is great and more than I could ever accomplish.

Fandango Does Something Meaningful
If he wrestles anything like how he delivers a beating then we're in for some good times watching Fandango. I've seen his work as Johnny Curtis so I know he can go in the ring, but I haven't been a fan of his Fandango character not wrestling at all. Now I expect him to make his debut at Mania against Y2J who'll be looking for revenge for getting an ass whooping here tonight. If things stay at this level of quality heading into Mania then I think this will be a solid fued, and I'd be less angry should Jericho put him over at the PPV. As for the beating itself is was very intense and impressive, so hopefully Fandango can keep up those kinds of performances and go forward from there. He'll need to against someone as great as Jericho.

Ryback Clotheslining Mark Henry
The crowd popped huge for this. I'm expecting something explosive when these two meet on April 7th and we got a small taste of it here. It was an impressive clothesline too, which is what you need to take someone like Henry down. This little encounter got me even more excited for their match, and it was a good segment that promised a very physical encounter. I still wonder if Ryback can hithis finisher on Henry. Maybe that will be this PPV's Hogan/Andre bodyslam moment? Hopefully.

Jack Swagger Vs. Chris Jericho
This was the second time they fought each other in a row and twice they've had a good match. This one wasn't as good as last week's, what with that being the main event, but it was still a solid match. This one was more about Swagger getting momentum for his world title fued with Del Rio and building to the Fandango/Jericho match with the beatdown that followed. It was still the match of the night, though, which is a testament to how good both men are. Hopefully soon or when Jericho next comes back from leaving then these two can develop an awesome fued. After seeing bothe of their matches together it's easy to see that the potential is definitely there.

The Main Event Segment
Lately I've said that The Shield have been too repetitive with their crowd entrance, but it was the right way of having them come out here. I thought it was good that Big Show, Sheamus and Randy Orton were all bickering amongst each other before uniting to focus their attentions on getting rid of The Shield. If The Shield hadn't taken their time to get to the ring via the crowd then the segment would n't have been as effective in showing the faces as being on the same page, beacuse if The Shield had just come out with the lights going out and them appearing in the ring then it wouldn't have given the others time to seem vulnerable and arguewith each other. In that sense it was an effectivr segment, and it still left that seed of doubt in the viewers' minds as to whether or not they can all work together. Look for that them to be the driving force of this fued in the coming weeks.

Too Many RAW Rebound/Recap Videos
This isn't a major comlaint, and since it's Mania season I can understand why they show all these videos in order to let people catch up on anything major that they may have misses. Still, if they're watching Smackdown then I think it's safe to say that they've watched RAW too. The amount of time all those videos take up could probably free up enough time to give us another solid segment. Hopefully that's what they'll do in the future instead of so many long videos but I won't be holding my breath on that.

3MB In The Main Event
This is a dislike beacuse of the predictability of it all. As soon as we found out that Show and co. would be fighting 3 other men it was so obvious who it would be. They tried to make it interesting with the suspense of not telling us, but we already knew. Even the five year old kids most likely knew. Also, 3MB don't belong it a main event, especially considering it was just a glorified squash match. Drew McIntyre belongs there, and maybe the other two will in the future but definitely not now. It was a fairly boring main event to say the least.

Overall Show Rating: 7/10-This is the same as what I gave last week's show, even though I felt it was mostly better. I think it's because last week's mainevent was better than this week's, which hurt the overall score and made both week's even. There's never usually anything seriously wrong with or bad about Smackdown, so I have faith that things will either at least stay the same or get better. Hopefully the latter.

Well that's it for another week. Please leave comments on anything I've said that you agree or disagree with, or if there's anything you feel I've missed out altogether that is worth talking about. Next week sometime there'll also be a post about my trip to last year's Wrestlemania 28 in Miami, so hopefully you'll read that at some point too.

Monday, 18 March 2013

RAW And Smackdown Recap: Week 11th Mar-15th Mar 2013 Likes And Dislikes

Hey there, it's that time of the week again. As usual it will be the RAW section first followed by the Smackdown section. Let's get to it:

RAW-March 11th 2013

The Tribute To Paul Bearer
With Paul Bearer passing last week, this was the first real opportunity WWE had to pay tribute to him. I thought they did a great job. The video package at the start of the show was amazing, highlighting the great career and tremendous impact that he had on the business and the fans. It was also fitting for The Undertaker to come out at the start and honour him the way he did, doing his traditional kneel and hand raising motion that he does to the urn. That was the ultimate sign of respect from The Undertaker, because Bearer had such a huge impact on Taker's life and career, and he's surely missing Bearer the most out of everyone involved in WWE. The ending was similar too, with both him and Kane doing that classic pose in honour of Bearer, which was nice to see. I think that Paul would've been happy with how he's become part of the buildup to the Taker/Punk match at Mania, because he loved the business and would've been glad to be involved in someway. Punk coming out to interrupt the paying of respects from Taker and then attacking Kane at the end were classic heel moves that got him lots of boos, which is obviously why it was done. Some people will say that they crossed the line by having Punk do that, and that they disrespected Paul Bearer and his memory. I don't think they did, because the show had a lot of respect involved, and it was a show that was filled with tributes to Paul, like with the videos highlighting some moments of his career, so it felt like it had the right amount of gravitas to it, as well as feeling like a show that was dedicated to his memory.

Punk Taking The Urn
Again, another way to get Punk lots of heat. It was obvious Punk taking the urn was going to happen at the end, with it being featured on camera a lot, but it still made him the most hated man in the building. It added a lot to the Punk/Taker rivalry, which has become a lot more personal and has gone up a few notches in intensity because of it. It was a creative way to make the build for the match a lot better, because they only have a few weeks to make it seem as big a deal as the past few years have, which I don't think it would've have without this tragedy because it seemed like it was just thrown together last-minute. Anyway, I'm now more optimistic about where this is going, even though I was always going to enjoy the match between my all-time favourite and my favourite current full-time superstar.

Brock Lesnar Taking Out The New Age Outlaws
First of all, it was great to see arguably the greatest tag team of all time for the second week in a row. I used to love watching thses guys back in the days of DX, so it was great for a slice of nostalgia. Second, they can still go in the ring, but we didn't get to see that, as Brock Lesnar came out and just laid waste to the both of them. Since they're not full-timers anymore and are friends of HHH, it made sense to use them effectively here and add to the build for the HHH/Lesnar rivalry. It gave Lesnar and Heyman the opportunity to answer HHH's challenge from last week, and gave us some exciting news, which is that there'll be some stipulations for the match, and that's the only way we'll get the match. We'll have to wait until next week to find out what they are, which is good becuase that will make people tune in to see those revealed. HHH has to sign the contract without knowing what they are, and WWE are playing it up by asking if we think HHH will agree to this. We know he will, but it's good for the casual fans to get pumped up about. I'm interested to see what they are, because this fued is suited to stipulations, as it's going to be more of a brawl than a match based on what we've seen so far. Hopefully they're going to be good.

No Rock On The Show
I know he's a big movie star and his off promoting some of them, and I know that WWE are getting a lot of free press with The Rock carrying that belt with him on all the red carpets, but I think that the WWE champion shouldn't miss a show on The Road To Wrestlemania, especially when his match is the main event of the PPV. Him not being there is directly affecting the build to his match with John Cena, who wasn't on TV this week because WWE didn't want him drawing attention to the fact that The Rock wasn't there, as if we didn't know that anyway. The build to their match last year was better, because The Rock was there most weeks, and when he wasn't he did promos and stuff via satellite. There's none of that this time though, and he's not on next week's show either. I hope the build doesn't suffer too much without him, but Cena will have to hype the match big time next week. Let's see what happens.

Too Many Squash Matches
On the Road To Wrestlemania, I know that they usually make the guys in big matches, or those in higher-profile matches look better than all the others by making them beat their random opponents quickly, but it's not very entertaining. I want to see more than the world heavyweight champ beating the US champ in about 2-3 minutes for example, and it happens lots of times on every show every week until Mania. I get that it makes them look more dominant and focused going into the PPV, but I would still like longer matches, or at least more entertaining ones in the coming weeks.

Bad Highlight Reel Segment
This segment was just doomed from the start. First Jericho's jacket just died half way through his entrance and then came back to life out of nowhere, and then his Jeritron 6000 or whatever number we're on had something wrong with it and the set had to be removed from the ring. Obviously none of this can be blamed on Jericho, who did a great job carrying us through the mistakes with his humour and grace, ut it was still unfortunate. But that's live TV, it happens. What can't be forgiven though is Cole just ripping on everything and making it look 10 times worse than it was. If even the commentators are ripping the segment then why should the fans or the viewers care. I sends a bad message to those watching. None of that was even the worst part, though, as that was definitely Brad Maddox's performance. He was stumbling on his lines and was taking too long getting to the point, and his jokes weren't even funny. When he told people to remove the Jeritron it looked as though he was just remembering his lines and wasn't paying attention to anything that happened, or he was making a bad joke about things going wrong. Usually Maddox is funny and I'm a fan of him just popping up randomly and annoying whoever is around. I don't know just yet what his best role is, and I'm willing to give him a few more chances to find it despite massive blunders like this one.

Overall Show Rating: 5/10-This is the same rating I gave last week's show, as it was around the same in terms of quality. Obviously it was dominated by the tributes and paying of respects to the late Paul Bearer, and it was those things that produced the best parts of the show. The rest was pretty average in terms of match quality, and the Mania undercard wasn't really built up here either. The lack of Rock or Cena appearing hurt the show, but obviously they'll both be featured heavily over the next three weeks. Things will start to take shape and get more intense then. It always does.

Now onto the Smackdown likes and dislikes for the week:

Smackdown-March 15th 2013

Ryback Not Fighting Mark Henry On Free TV
I included this first, not because it was my favourite thing that happened on the show, but because it was the first thing that came into my head. I've mentioned how I'm looking forward to both of these guys facing off because it's going to be a battle of the behemoths, so I was disappointed to find out we were getting that match on a Smackdown and not at Wrestlemania as I originally thought. I wondered were they would go from there if they had a match on TV, because there would be no point in seeing the Mania match having seen this three weeks before. Luckily they had the sense to stop the match after about a minute of pushing and grappling by getting The Shield involved by taking out Ryback. By having Sheamus and Orton pick him, followed by this attack, they're trying to make us believe that Ryback is now in the six-man tag team match against The Shield. However, I've been watching WWE for far too long to believe that, and by next week or the week after we should see Ryback vs. Mark Henry announced for the PPV. The post match attack by Henry all but confirmed that. So we can pencil that in for the PPV, which is something I'm glad about, because it will be interesting to see them go at it, and to see whether or not Ryback can hit his finisher on someone of Henry's size.

Brad Maddox On Commentary
It suprised me how good he was on commentary this week. Last time he seemed a bit uncomfortable at the booth, but it seemed to come more naturally to him this time, probably because he was there for a longer period of time. Don't get me wrong, he's no JBL and I can't wait for him to come back soon, but I put this down as a like because I was pleasantly suprised at how good a job he did. Hopefully he's this good at everything else he does and doesn't have any more blunders like what happened on RAW.

Dolph Ziggler Winning Again
I know it's early days and just one match, but it was good to see Dolph Ziggler picking up a win after losing a lot over the last few months. It's also good to see him involved in some form of rivalry or fued heading into Wrestlemania. His numerous interactions with Team Hell No recently, as well as AJ's for that matter, seem to be leading into some form of Wrestlemania match, most likey with Team Hell No putting the tag titles on the line against him and Big E. Langston. It's not the position I'd like to see Ziggler, Daniel Bryan or Kane in at this moment in time, but I'm sure that all three of them will get better singles runs at some point later in the year, so I shouldn't make that big a deal about their role at Wrestlemania. I'm just glad it looks as though they'll be there at this stage. In terms of the match Ziggler and Kane had on this show it was good, and was probably the second best one of the night. You know what you're getting when you put these two guys together because they are both so solid in the ring. Langston's post-match beatdown on Kane was impressive too, so it looks as though this will be an entertaining fued, where it might be time for Team Hell No to drop the belts. We'll see what happens.

The Chris Jericho Vs. Jack Swagger Match
Jericho doesn't really have any direction or obvious superstar he will be fighting at Wrestlemania, which is a shame because he's still one of the best and deserves a high-profile match. Maybe the timing of his return has something to do with not getting a top match this year. Anyway, while that's a shame, having him in the main event of the more wrestling-heavy show is definitely not. I've seen him work with Swagger before, so I knew this was going to be a good match. As I've said so many times on the Road To Wrestlemania over the past few weeks, it was obvious the guy who is in the more high-profile match at Wrestlemania, or in this case even on the PPV at all was going to win, but that didn't stop me from enjoying what we got here. It was a solid TV main event with lots of back and forth, with both guys on top at several points in the match. I loved the amount of submissions and submission attempts there were here, as well as all of the reversals, because they are something that we really see dominate a match nowadays. Jericho is always money in match, as he can have a good one with anyone, while Swagger looked dominant and a threat to Del Rio after picking up a hard-earned victory against a tough opponent that is of the calibre of Y2J. While I've often called for more intensity and physical interaction between Swagger and Del Rio, I'm glad that here they didn't do anything, because it wouldn't make sense for the babyface to sneak up from behind and take out the heel. This way, we got to see Swagger celebrate his win and that let the viewers focus on how good he looked and whether or not he'll beat Del Rio at the PPV.

Fandango And The Great Khali
I wish this guy would just hurry up and wrestle already. There's a rumour that he might wrestle Y2J at Mania, but to me that's just a waste of Jericho, because he should be in something a lot more important and not wasting time with a guy in the mid-card who we haven't seen wrestle as this character yet, as well as someone who we don't even know is worth all the hype character-wise. I get entertained from time to time by Fandango trolling the audience, but at least make it worthwhile and not with a guy who can't even talk. I get that it was done this way because Khali obviously wouldn't pronounce his name correctly, but is there really a need to keep doing this and keep making so that it's not entertaining? It also takes up far too much time each show, and since it looks like he'll be debuting at Mania, it will probably be this way for the next three weeks.

Team Rhodes Scholars Teaming Up And Losing Again
Both of these guys are too good to be a tag team that just loses most weeks. Both guys should be near the top as singles wrestlers, but they make a good team that's also funny because they're so pretentious, and them teaming together and going after the tag titles could elevate them both. However, they split up when they were gathering momentum during their first run, and even though they're split up, they keep on tagging togther. And losing. And not geeeting anywhefe because of it. Hopefully they have a match at Wrestlemania, and hopefully they win it and go on to better things afterwards because both Sandow and Rhodes are too good for what they are doing at the moment.

Lack Of Variation In The Shield
I really love The Shield and their gimmick, and I think that all three of them have the potential to become mega stars. The reason I've included them in the dislikes section is only minor though, but I felt that it was worth mentioning. Recently The Shield have been coming out and attacking people like usual, but lately I've been finding how they go about it to be monotonous and boring. When they debuted, the lights went off every now and then and when they came on people were either laid out or being taken out. Over the last few weeks, however, we've just seen them come out through the crowd, which takes too long and let's the victims seem stupid for just standing in the ring and waiting for them after they've seen them and have been watching them for like two or three minutes while they make they way down to the ring. It's become the same old thing during the past few RAW and Smackdown episodes, so maybe more variation is needed in how they set up their attack, or maybe they could just bring back the lights going out and them beating somebody down when they come back on. It was more fun when we didn't know how or when The Shield were going to come out and get someone. That's the only thing that's wrong with them at the moment.

Overall Show Rating: 7/10-Last week I said I had faith that this week's show would be better than the one last week. I was right. There were two good matches, especially the main event, and there were more matches set for Mania, as well as the existing fueds also being advanced. As usual, we're getting more physicality in these segments now that we are only around three weeks away from the PPV, so hopefully things will continue to get better and keep going on this upward trend, culminating in what will hopefully be an amazing PPV.

Right, well that's all we have for this week. Please come back next week we're it will be more of the same, and at some point soon I'll have my Wrestlemania 28 experience posted up here. I don't know when exactly but it'll be this week or next. It will defintiely be before Fandango wrestles a match that's for sure.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Information On Getting To Wrestlemania 29

Right. Here we are. With a little over 3 weeks (23 days) left until Wrestlemania, we are at the business end of what WWE likes to call The Road To Wrestlemania. The PPV is on April 7th, and those that are going will more than likey be making travel arrangements over the coming days or the next week or two. At least I was around this time last year. Anyway, the point of this post is to give people info and prices of things they will need if they are travelling to New York/New Jersey for the show. All of the following information is accurate as I'm typing this, and will be accurate by the time I publish the post. If you come across this information a little late then it may have changed by then, but you could still use this as a sort of estimate/guideline if you have to. Since I live in the UK, this will more likely than not mainly help other UK readers/travellers the most, with things such as flights to and from certain destinations. However, things like ticket prices and nearby hotels to stay in are worldwide issues that everybody will encounter, so hopefully those global readers will get some use out of this information. With that being said, let's get to the info:

Wrestlemania 29 Tickets
On the WWE website, which redirects you here,, to the Ticketmaster page for buying the tickets, shows that the prices for the tickets vary between $65.00 (£43.00 or €50.00) and $2076.00 (£1376.00 or €1595.00). Obviously the price increases the closer you want to be to the ring. As of this writing there are still some seats available in the most expensive seating area near the front, so if anyone wants to go and hasn't bought a ticket yet then they could still sneak in there and get some really great seats. If you are a foreigner or are not getting your tickets through domestic postal services in America then you have to reserve your tickets in Will Call, which is like a holding office for tickets. WWE will email you on the earliest possible day that you can go and collect the tickets from the Will Call office of the stadium, which is usually 3 or 4 days before the event.

There is also, and all of its other variations to consider, as I met a lot of people last year who had got their tickets on there at cheaper prices, because there are people who buy them just to sell them again to make some money, or they sell them because they can't go etc. Even if you pay a little more for a ticket in a certain scetion on ebay than you would on ticketmaster, it is still worth checking out because for some it could be the only way they get a ticket, and it could be the difference between going and not going.

Package Holidays
On the website, as well as all of its appropriate international affiliates, the price for a package flight/package holiday is an all-inclusive £750.00 (€883.00 or $1150.00) for any hotel. These prices are for any flights that leave between 25th March and 5th April. That's quite a fair bit of time in order to buy those tickets, and the choice of when you want to leave and how long you spend over there before Wresltemania is also very wide in range. Whatever hotel you pick is not important either, because the prices are the same for each one around the tri-state area, as this seems to be a banner price that is set to the website and doesn't vary depending on hotel locations in New York and New Jersey.

Money To Take
If you plan on eating out and going sightseeing and other various places, as well as buying both souvenirs from the trip and wrestling merchandise for you or someone else, then I would advise taking from $1500 to $2000 if you have it. £500 is $700 at the moment, so if you get the money exchanged around the next few days then that should give you a guide of how much money to take. I only took that $700, which turned out to be just enough because I didn't go that far in cabs and didn't eat that much. If you stay for longer than the week that I did then you need more. As I said before, this info is accurate as of now but it's just a guideline for you to go by.

So that's all the information I have for monetary needs for UK Wrestlemania travellers. I know it's not much, but I've covered the essentials based on the information available on the websites I used to sort out my flights and accomodation and stuff, and I also included the price guidelines and how much money I used last year. Also, t-shirts and stuff like that were $30.00 at the merchandise stands last year, which actually works out at £20.00, which is cheaper than the £25.00 or £30.00 that we pay over here. It might be worth it to grab a few as bargains in order to save quite a bit compared to what you would be spending if you bought them at the UK shows.

If even one person benefits from any of this information then it'll be worth it, so please do read it if there's a chance it could be you. Whether or not you are even going, and if you are then whether or not any of this applies to you, I just want to say that I hope you all enjoy Wrestlemania from wherever you are. It's a special event that brings together so many people driven by this overwhelming passion that we all share. I just wish I could do more to make sure everyone enjoys it as much as they can, and that everyone saves as much money as possible.