28 September 2011

Promos By Hyphen: CM Funk: How WWE & Phil Dropped The Ball Part 1

Promos By Hyphen: CM Funk: How WWE & Phil Dropped The Ball Part 1

I tried to give this article more time. I did. CM Punk has been on fire since right after the Capital Punishment PPV when he sat down on the Raw stage and cut the promo of a lifetime on everybody who mattered in the WWE. He faced the biggest name in the wrestling business, John Cena, and was actually booked to win. And when Vince McMahon charged Alberto Del Rio out with his Money In The Bank briefcase to steal the WWE Title back from Punk, the Voice of the Voiceless dodged the bullet and disappeared into the crowd. Unsigned and with the WWE Title in tow.

Easily the coolest shit I had seen in years.

And the WWE and Phil (Punk's real name) messed it up.

The random twitter pictures of Punk gallivanting around Chicago with the belt were awesome. It was the closest Wrigley Field had come to a title since 1908 (anyone watch Catching Hell by the way? Stupid Bartman.). Raw went on with McMahon announcing a tournament to declare a new WWE champion and before Rey Mysterio and The Miz could face off in the final, Vince took the ring to fire Cena (a stipulation of losing to Punk at the Money In The Bank PPV the night before). Before the hammer fell though, Triple H returned and let Vince know that he had actually been relived of his duties and that he was now the new WWE COO.

Raw couldn't lose.

Punk even invaded a WWE Comic Con panel and waved his WWE Title in Triple H's face, much to the delight of all the fans in attendance.

CM Punk could not be stopped.

The next week on Raw, Mysterio defeated The Miz to win his first WWE Title. But then the problems started.

John Cena won the title back from Mysterio in the same episode. And who returns in this very action packed episode of Raw?

CM Punk with his WWE Title.

So this whole storyline where Punk was sick of WWE and wasn't going to play by their rules or re-sign is shot to shit. Sure, it was awesome to see Punk show up and have their suddenly be TWO WWE Titles. But why so soon?

Del Rio had been in place since the Royal Rumble to win the WWE Title at some point. The WWE held back his title push in favor of the Cena/Miz feud continuing from Wrestlemania XXVII and then had Cena help R-Truth get over as a heel. Why not bring the Del Rio/Cena feud into the picture? Was there a fear of low buy rates for SummerSlam after seeing the high numbers from Money In The Bank?

Punk was brought back too soon. His run from the Raw after Capital Punishment to Money In The Bank was unlike anything seen in the WWE in years. Non fans were talking about the WWE. Sports shows were mentioning CM Punk and the WWE. The WWE was doing something different. There was no reason to hold Punk out until at least the SummerSlam PPV or even the Raw after. The anticipation was there.

But now we have two WWE Titles.

Punk continued to put in excellent mic and in-ring work leading up to his SummerSlam rematch with Cena. He was over with the crowd. Everything he said became trending topics on Twitter. His "Best In The World" shirt was selling out as fast as the WWE could make them. But I could feel the magic of June 27 slowly fading away. Especially once Triple H inserted himself as special guest referee in the Punk/Cena Undisputed Title match at SummerSlam.

At SummerSlam, Punk and Cena had another great match. Nowhere near the classic of Money In The Bank, but still thoroughly satifying. But then things went from great to sour really fast.

Punk defeated Cena with a GTS when Triple H failed to see Cena's foot on the rope. Triple H put Punk over as the true champion and left Punk to celebrate. A returning Kevin Nash (who we hadn't seen since his appearance as Diesel at the Royal Rumble) came through the crowd, entered the ring, clotheslined Punk, proceeded to Jackknife Powerbomb the living daylights out of him, and then left as Triple H watched with a look of bewilderment. Alberto Del Rio rushed to the ring with his MITB briefcase and a ref, landed a poorly executed kick to Punk's head, and pinned the new champ to become the new WWE Champion.

I was anxious to see what Punk would say on Raw. I figured he would come out ready to fight everybody who's name wasn't John Cena. He was "The Best In The World" and he had been screwed out of his WWE Title (even though technically Cena got screwed first). Surely a rampage of epic proportions was in order.

Instead, he came out to confront Kevin Nash, who had come to Raw to explain his actions at SummerSlam. That confrontation led to Triple H joining the two and suddenly, a new storyline was formed.

About a text message Kevin Nash had received.

From "I hate this company and what it's come to", then going to "Why did you help Triple H screw me out of my WWE Title"?

Unfortunately, it doesn't get any better for Phil. Come back for Part 2.

19 September 2011

Promos By Hyphen: Night Of Champions 2011 Review

Promos By Hyphen: Night Of Champions 2011 Review

Yeah. I'm not thrilled about this.

I'm Kelen "B Hyphen" Conley. Rapper, writer, shoe salesmen.  But most importantly for this, I am a lifelong wrestling fan. I plan on being the wrestling blogger for BDL as long as they'll have me but enough of the formalities.

Mark Henry is World Heavyweight Champion.

I repeat. Mark. Henry. Is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

I'm not in shock that he beat my current favorite wrestler Randy Orton. I'm more shocked the WWE actually put it's most historic title on the World's Strongest Man. For years, Henry has toiled at mid-card level as he bounced from the Nation of Domination to his Sexual Chocolate storyline (look it up), to a guy who was thrown at Superstars who had been with WWE for shorter time periods as a "challenge". Sure, WWE threw the now defunct ECW title on Henry a few years back but anyone who's watched WWE for a month could tell you Mark never got a fair shot.

But more on that later. Match-by-match thoughts:

The Miz & R-Truth vs. Air Boom

Since WWE has no idea what to do with Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne, they've been forged into the tag team of "Air Boom". And since CM Punk has forced his way into the main events over the past few months, they don't really have anything for former WWE Title holder The Miz or token black wrestler turned crazy person R-Truth to do either. So we get this match.

Air Boom won because Truth was distracting the referee when his partner clearly had Bourne beaten and pinned. When Miz didn't get his 3 -count, he pushed the referee and cost his team the match. So Miz and Truth attack the referee and complain of a conspiracy as the cameras fade.

Let it be said: I hate the WWE tag division because it's been non-existent for years. But instead of putting time into rebuilding the tag teams or even eliminating the belt, WWE forces stars to tag who have no chemistry with each other and we get matches like this. Air Boom will live on for a few more pay-per-views before Kofi and Evan have to face each in a singles match, signaling their team's end. Miz will eventually get moved back into a Singles title picture and Truth will fall back to his mid-card status, crazy or not. I'd rather the Cruiserweight or European Title be brought back instead of watching half thought through matches like this one.

Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes

Even though Orton's Legacy faction was broken up two Wrestlemania's ago, WWE still insists on keeping DiBiase and Rhodes intertwined. This match was written straight to the point though, with Rhodes winning after DiBiase failed to use Cody's mask against him. I've always liked Rhodes and DiBiase since they debuted but WWE really needs to let them get away from each other. At least for a year. I'd perfer to see Christian, Sheamus, or another SmackDown wrestler get a shot at the IC Title. That would clear up at least some of the wrestlers vying for Henry's World Title. Cody and Ted will probably have a rematch at Hell In A Cell though.

John Morrison vs. Alex Riley vs. Jack Swagger vs. Dolph Ziggler

Morrison is the only wrestler who interested me in this match. Riley is a wrestler who is better off in a tag team, Swagger has decent ring skills but no mic skills (get him a manager that's not Vickie!), and Ziggler is stuck in a dead end story line with Vickie. Sure, Ziggler won the match and retained the US Title but even Vickie doesn't take him seriously anymore.  I'm sure this match will just lead to more storylines with these 5 but I really wish Morrison would get a shot to hold a title again.

Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton

Orton has turned into SmackDown's John Cena with the World Title never leaving his waist for more than 2 PPV's at the most. But this was the best writing WWE had all night. A physical match all the way through, I thought it was over for Henry when Orton hit his trademark DDT. But when Orton got careless, he was tossed into the ropes unexpectedly and got kicked in the knee and the whole tide changed. With Henry back on his feet, Orton went for a desperation RKO, but Henry just shoved him away. As Orton staggered to his feet, the World's Strongest Man collected him up for a World's Strongest Slam (which Randy had kicked out of earlier in the match) and it was over. Henry took the mic and screamed at the crowd for not believing in him then walked off with the gold.

I'm happy for Henry. Since R-Truth's heel turn and his own turn were so close together, I almost thought WWE was leading to a minority fueled faction that would demand that the WWE give them a chance finally. But I like Henry's one man against the world storyline much better. Randy will get his rematch at Hell In A Cell, unless they do it on SmackDown, but don't be surprised to see Sheamus challenging for the belt sooner than later.

Beth Phoenix vs. Kelly Kelly

For years, WWE has let go of every single Diva that could actually wrestle (Gail Kim actually quit after a dead end storyline with Daniel Bryan). But they're pushing Phoenix and Natalya as the Divas who can bring respect back to the Divas division (which was what Kharma was supposed to do until she came up pregnant) and they've been challenging Eve and Kelly Kelly for weeks now. So common sense: have Phoenix win the belt, right? No. Kelly Kelly wins after taking a powerbomb from Phoenix like it tickled. The Divas division never concerns me too much but something different needs to happen. Or just keep the Divas on the Superstars show.

John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio

Cena wins. He was due after putting CM Punk over at the Money In The Bank & Summer Slam PPV's. But I really feel this cheapens all the build up the WWE had been doing with Del Rio since he won the Royal Rumble. Del Rio had successfully terrorized many Superstars since January and his rise to the WWE Ttitle made sense (especially since so many storyline changes had occurred since the Rumble that prevented him from winning the Title before Summer Slam) but having Cena play the hero again and win the Title rather easily is typical WWE writing. Of course, this could open the lane for another Punk/Cena match at Hell In The Cell but with Punk rapidly becoming a face (and shaking Cena's hand at house shows) Del Rio will get another shot. WWE really needs to push the fact that Del Rio is still the most dangerous man on Raw tho.

20110918_noc_v_hhhpunk_c(Courtesy: WWE.com)

CM Punk vs. Triple H

This match was well-written as well but it was predictable. Miz and Truth get more screen time by interfering, Laurinaitis (who looks scared to death out there) is seen texting, Kevin Nash appears and attacks everyone, Triple H brings back the sledgehammer, nails Nash, and then finally beats Punk to remain COO.

This match was highly entertaining so I can look past WWE stopping Punk's cutting edge storyline to wrestle The Game. We didn't need Miz and Truth here. They didn't further their conspiracy claims by trying to make HHH lose. Everyone knew Nash would be back but WWE is smart for having him attack Triple H as well as Punk. Now it seems Laurinaitis is the one who is pulling Nash's strings and starts a feud between him and Triple H.

But here's the problem: Nash appeared to be injured after the match. He's supposed to wrestle Punk at Hell In A Cell. What can they possibly do with Punk if Nash (who was held back from wrestling at this PPV) can't wrestle again? And how does this affect Punk's storyline if he's stuck wrestling HHH again? Not to say Triple H can't still hold his own in the ring but why would WWE want to delay their hottest star?

Of course, all of this is just speculation and reaction. PPV's are where the matches happen. Raw and SmackDown are for the storyline progression. We'll talk more after Raw tonight.

PPV rating: 5/10.

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