As the final show before this Sunday’s major Pay-Per-View event, story of the night should be SummerSlam feuds. Expect final build for Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow, the World Heavyweight Championship match, and The Shield. [Read more...]
Here is the full card for WWE Summerslam on Sunday, August 18 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles and live on pay-per-view.
WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan with Triple H as special referee
Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
Ring of Fire Match: Kane vs. Bray Wyatt
Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow
Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn vs. Big E Langston and AJ Lee
Natalya vs. Brie Bella
Pre-show Kickoff – United States Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam
The show kicked off live from Sacramento, CA, with Daniel Bryan’s entrance to the ring. Final hype for SummerSlam should be the story of the night… [Read more...]
Very entertaining wrestling-heavy edition of WWE Smackdown tonight. There were a few misses (see below), but the in-ring action, highlighted by a fantastic main-even, made this a show worth watching. [Read more...]
Fun night for WWE Smackdown. While not every match was an instant classic, and some segments were weaker than others, the overall show delivered on what it set out to do. Let’s take a look: [Read more...]
A lot of stuff happened last night on Smackdown. That’s not to say a lot of important stuff happened – outside of a great Randy Orton v Christian match, and an interesting main event angle, most of the stuff was pretty standard fare. Still, it wasn’t a bad way to spend two hours. Let’s take a look:
Opening w/ CM Punk: “If I was John Cena…” was a great opening line. While I thought his attempt at relating Independence Day to his own individual independence was a bit out-of-character, his focus on winning Money in the Bank was strong. Alberto Del Rio interrupted him about halfway through, looking slick in an all-black suit. He claimed that it was “his show,” and proceeded to insulted America, Independence Day, and Dolph Ziggler. This gave CM Punk the chance to look intelligent here, by calling Del Rio out for his phony patriotism earlier in 2013.
It was an obvious a way to set up CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio for the main event, but it worked. Both guys looked game, and it allowed Smackdown to capitalize on the (rare) advertised apperance of CM Punk. By the numbers, but effective.
Punk – Heyman Backstage Segment: Heyman argued that Punk had nothing to gain from this match, being only 9 days from MITB. Punk ended up telling Heyman to just stay out of it. This segment served its purpose of furthering the divide between the two men.
The Usos def. Team Rhodes Scholars: Damien Sandow put over MITB before the match, and argued that Rhodes Scholars is not falling apart, contrary to what some people think. The Usos showed a lot of unity throughout the 25 second match. They hit a double-splash from opposite corners to finally put Damien Sandow away.
The Shield cut a solid promo after the match, putting over their unity, and planting the idea of Dean Ambrose “lurking” around with the Money in the Bank contract.
AJ Lee/Big E Langston Backstage Segment: After running away from Kaitlyn, AJ told Big E to get the car ready. He asked about Dolph Ziggler, to which AJ said she’d text him from the car. The beginning of the end for this power couple? Intriguing.
Randy Orton def. Christian: I really liked the backstage interview beforehand with both men, as it put this match in perspective (from their rivalry back in 2011), while also giving Orton and Christian the chance to state their case for Money in the Bank.
In-ring, these two got off to a slow start. After the commercial break, they amped things up quite a bit. A lot of great reversals by both men, and a good way to play off the fact that they’ve fought each other a number of times. Christian hit a sphere late in the match, and Randy Orton sold it like a champ.”Vintage” Orton psyched up the crowd, and after one reversed RKO, he finally nailed the second one.
If you missed Smackdown, this is THE match to check out. Orton and Christian have incredible in-ring chemistry, and while this didn’t live up to the hype of their great 2011 summer feud, it was the most entertaining match of the evening.
Dolph Ziggler def. Drew McIntyre: Ziggler cut an excellent promo before the match, commenting on how winning the World Heavyweight Championship was the biggest night of his career, and mocking Del Rio for his phony patriotism. Once the match started, McIntyre got a surprising amount of offense. He missed a running knee into the ring pole, which gave Dolph a chance to fight back into the match. Dolph hit the Zig-Zag and scored the win. Match was nothing special, but the overall segment clicked.
CM Punk vs. Alberto Del RIo (with Paul Heyman on commentary) ends in a no-contest:
Heyman, who had been ordered earlier in the night by Teddy Long to provide commentary during the match, added a lot to this segment. Both Punk and Del Rio matched up well inside the ring, and I appreciated all the subtle things both of these veterans added (like Del Rio’s focus on Punks arm, and the way Punk sold the injury).
After things sprawled outside the ring, Heyman getting involved was obvious. However, I did not expect Del Rio to punch Heyman, or Punk to look so incensed. I liked the ending here – Punk helping Heyman makes sense since they’re still friends, and it sets up a great next chapter between the two men. And while Del Rio ended up getting the short end of the stick, I don’t think he loses much for it. Entertaining segment.
Kaitlyn vs Alicia Fox: Solid in-ring work by both of these ladies. Alicia Fox showed a few good holds, and Kaitlyn stepped up the intensity. AJ Interrupted and distracted Kaitlyn, giving Alicia Fox the chance to steal a pin. I guess it works to further the feud, but the segment just felt missable by all accounts. If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a dozen times.
Fandango def. Justin Gabriel: Gabriel was just getting started before Fandango caught him with a kick and scored his patented leg drop from the top rope. It was good to see Fandango in action again, but this match did very little to convince me that Fandango is going to win Money in the Bank. These two could put together an interesting match. As it was, this segment was a complete throwaway.
Zeb Coulter/Jack Swagger/ Antonio Cesaro Video: Another one of the “We The People” videos, with the added bonus of Cesaro in a KGB hat. Coulter said a lot of hogwash about Americans not taking July 4th seriously, blah blah blah. Next, please.
Smackdown last night was the perfect way to end a great week of WWE programming. Between the well-paced PPV this past Sunday, the number of great surprises on Raw, and the wrestling-heavy focus of Friday Night Smackdown, wrestling fans should feel pretty satisfied. [Read more...]
On Sunday night at the TNA Slammiversary pay-per-view, Kurt Angle was introduced as the second inductee to the TNA Hall of Fame. There’s no doubt that Angle deserves the honor and is, quite honestly, one of the all-time greatest in-ring performers in the history of professional wrestling.
But I couldn’t help thinking about something when it comes to his career: how much greater would it be if he never left the WWE?
While Angle signed with the WWE in October 1998, he didn’t make his official debut until November 14, 1999 when he defeated Shawn Stasiak at the Survivor Series PPV. He left the company on August 25, 2006 after working out his release. So, his time there was roughly 6 years and 9 months, filled with great memories of him having matches against the likes of Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Steve Austin and even Shane McMahon among many others.
Several weeks after his time with WWE, he signed on with TNA and made his debut on October 9, 2006 when he confronted Samoa Joe in the middle of the ring on Impact. So, Angle has now been with the company for 6 years and 8 months.
That’s right – Kurt Angle has almost been with TNA for as long as his entire career with WWE.
I still remember being in the Impact Zone at the No Surrender PPV back in 2006 when everyone was waiting for the big announcement TNA was going to make. This one was sealed up tight with only a handful of people in on what it would be. (I even knew someone who was in the know and tried every trick I knew all night long to get out of him but he wouldn’t budge.)
Right before the show went off the air, the video played showing that the former WWE World Champion had jumped ship, making him the biggest signing in TNA history at the time.
The building exploded. The online wrestling community went berserk.
TNA got a bonafide blue chipper even though he was already beaten and battered, going through the grind of the WWE for the past six years and was physically and emotionally beaten down.
Who cares because he was Kurt Angle, one of the biggest stars in all of wrestling at the time as he was leaving the big pond to make a splash in TNA.
How big has that splash been though? Sure, he’s been a big deal in TNA. He’s had plenty of very good matches in the company especially with AJ Styles.
But how many great matches can you point out at a moments notice? How many memorable moments had he truly has with TNA?
Of course, his debut was fantastic, confronting Samoa Joe and giving him a head butt right between the eyes.
And their match at the 2006 Lockdown PPV was incredible with them meshing an amazing mixture of wrestling and MMA moves in a match that some thought may bring about a stylistic change to wrestling.
In TNA, Angle has been very good but not overly memorable. And it’s not because he isn’t good because he has been. Part of that is because the company hasn’t blown up since his arrival or anyone else’s for that matter.
It seems like every week the company does the same rating as it always does or in the same ballpark. Some shows are fine, some are not but nothing that really sticks out in the long run.
And Angle has been caught up in this. He’s in TNA and they’re the #2 wrestling company. There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s just a fact.
But with WWE – the #1 wrestling company in the world – Angle was a big deal.
A really big deal.
He has classic matches like at WrestleMania 21 – a beautiful symphony of wrestling – of WrestleMania 19 where he and Brock Lesnar almost killed themselves in an incredible athletic display. And there’s others.
Most wrestling fans ever remember the funny Kurt Angle on television and his back and forth with Edge and Christian, Commissioner Mick Foley and even wearing a cowboy hat in conversations with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. And there are plenty more moments.
Moments that easily come to mind, all from his WWE days. Mind you, that was at the beginning and peak of his career (which came about very quickly) and was on wrestling biggest stage in the WWE. So, yes, there is an advantage there.
But with TNA, you don’t have that many specific moments that stand out involving Angle. Some of that is because it is TNA, a smaller stage than WWE. Some of that is because Angle – while still very good – has been past his prime and really beaten up. That’s fair. You can also make the argument that TNA hasn’t done a good enough job of creating those type of moments for Angle.
Which leads me back to the original question: what if Kurt Angle had never left the WWE? What if he was just given a break and allowed to freshen the batteries and continue to be a part of the machine?
Like I said, no one disputes how good, even great, Angle has been during his career. But he would be even greater if he had never left WWE. There would be more discussion of him being one of the greatest of all-time, a sure-fire WWE Hall of Famer.
He would be on a different level, one of the elite in the pantheon of wrestling greats.
It just wasn’t meant to be.