Yep, while Matt's away, the Wood will play, as I've been asked to step in while the venerable Mr. Dawgs is on va-cay with his brood. It'll be pretty much your standard, much loved fare. News, views and jiggling parts of the female anatomy! So let's crack on...
WWE - We have buyrate news for a couple of shows. Wrestlemania 28 went slightly down from the estimated 1.3 million to a rounded-up 1.25 million as a more accurate figure. That said, they could still add buys to the final total and end up where they could round up to 1.3. I don't believe they've broken the overall record where they're at now for buys, but it for sure is still the highest grossing show of all time.
- Meanwhile, the buyrate for Extreme Rules has come in and Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena drew 251000 buys, 147000 in North America and 10000 internationally (which includes the UK on this occasion, unlike Over The Limit). That is indeed a good chunk up from last year's show, which did 217000. The negative on that is the idea of holding Brock's first match to a bigger show (Summerslam) would have increased the bump up. That said, there's no real definitive proof of that. You'd never truly until you did it and see the results. It seems as though, internally, there's no "blame" on Lesnar, but rather than they've made the "b-show" PPVs less important, which is entirely true. But similarly, putting Brock's first match on one kinda helped make it important and they gained results from it in a higher buyrate. We'll see how future PPVs do, both with Lesnar (Summerslam, one assumes) and without (Over The Limit, for example).
- Speaking of Over The Limit, my hectic schedule means I haven't managed to see the whole show yet. Indeed, just the well-reviewed and/or important parts, so for me, it was SHOW OF THE YEAR! But seriously, The Punk/Bryan match will be a top five lock in the MOTY voting (and while Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin may have been better for the "experts", fewer than usual saw it thanks to ROH's crappy iPPV facility), although for me, Taker/HHH was a notch above it. Liked the finish as it played into RAW, although coming out of RAW & Smackdown (the latter in particular), not so much... Also pretty good was the four-way for the World Title. Sheamus retained pinning Jericho with the White Noise for to retain the belt.
Not so good...well, crappy...was John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis. That said, I expected worse. The big complaint seems to be that Cena should have just finished him. Until RAW happened, that wasn't truly valid for me. Yes, WE knew Big Show was going to get involved and turn heel, helping Johnny Clownshoes to win, but Cena wasn't supposed to. That's dramatic irony. That said, they went and pissed the entire thing up on RAW the following night.
- Firstly, as I alluded to, Cena took a dump on the notion of dramatic irony when he opened the show and said those who told him he should have finished Laurinaitis off could stick it, as Big Show was always going to interfere anyway. Erm, if Cena knew Big Show would interfere and he would lose, why didn't he raise this to someone, such as the Board Of Directors and get that glaring "Big Show isn't a worker and can't be fired" loophole closed? Why did he delay? Why not finish Ace as fast as possible before Show could get involved? To say he was stringing things out because he was destined to lose makes LESS THAN ZERO SENSE.
That said, it wasn't even the most nonsensical thing IN THAT SEGMENT! Johnny came out and revealed that he had signed Big Show on Saturday night, meaning by the letter of the stipulation, Big Show should have been fired again. Now, while that sounds like Johnny being Johnny and screwing things up again, in actual fact, the idea that "Big Show signed Saturday" was WRITTEN INTO THE SCRIPT! That is just ridiculous. Just imagine how many people that script went through, and not one thought to say "Uh, this is screwed up..."?!?! People took to the Twitterverse and pointed out the massive flub, leading them to scramble all kinds of audibles to get themselves out of it.
Cole said they had agreed a deal to on Saturday, but wasn't actually signed until after the show. They did a WWE.com video with Johnny Ace where he gives a version (which features an obvious edit) and I believe there's a take on it on tonight's Smackdown. Just utterly ridiculous all round. And frankly, as they move to three hours, this can only get worse for them if this sort of thing keeps slipping through. That's not to mention they have one angle going on where Brock Lesnar is suing WWE because he didn't get the contract he got from Johnny Ace because HHH has to approve them, and yet, there seems to be no problem with Big Show breaking the spirit of, if not the letter of a stipulation in a match that could have gotten Johnny Ace fired and out of HHH's hair and getting re-hired and a healthy contract?
The rest of RAW wasn't much of anything. Most interesting stuff came with Bryan & Punk as they played off last week's Smackdown where Punk teased attacking Kane with a chair, but Bryan got it, only for Kane to see him with it and beat him up. That said, between this and what happens on Smackdown, rather than the logical, and undoubtedly awesome idea of a Bryan vs. Punk submission match at No Way Out, it looks like it will be Punk vs. Bryan vs. Kane. Ugh...
- In Corey Letson's RAW Review on Monday night, I had him put in a bit for me. See, I'm going to pick up the new NXT show, and call me crazy, but I was expecting it to start this week. Quelle Surprise! Not only did it not start this week, with them taping NXT before Smackdown as usual, but there's no apparent firm timetable for the taping from Full Sail University to start airing as of yet.
NXT was NXT this week. OK action, awesome commentary with Josh & William Regal. Highlight for me Regal noting that Jinder Mahal's cousin was a karaoke champion. His name being “Getupand Singh”. While JR & Regal will be great (and are when together on the actual FCW) on NXT, I suspect there will be far less of the comical Regal, which is a shame. He should follow in Foley's steps and take up stand up comedy.
- Smackdown, well, I know this handsome dude who will be reviewing it later on today for this very website, so I won't spoil it for you now...
- Movie news and The Rock's GI Joe film has been pushed back until March next year, right around Wrestlemania time. The reason given publicly (at least to deadlinehollywood.com) is that the film is being retro-fitted into 3D (excuse me while I puke...), which will drive bigger box office, given the levy on 3D films. At least in the UK. However, The Avengers is still doing great business, Spiderman looks like it'll do great and then there's the next Batman film out later in the summer, so moving it means it doesn't get crushed at the BO. However, with Rock pretty much committed to working next year's Wrestlemania, you will probably be able to expect a massive amount of crossover in the build.
- Chris Jericho did an interview with the UK "Newspaper" The Sun (it's more like a comic...an illegally run Murdoch comic) and he revealed that the idea for him not saying a word all those weeks was actually Vince McMahon's. Since it was a kick-ass idea, I feel some DAP is due for Vinny Mac on that one. Also, Vince kiboshed the original idea they had for the build to Punk vs. Jericho at Mania, and they ended up at the angle of Jericho needling Punk, using Punk's family.
Jericho also noted that people incredibly over-analysed his return videos, noting there was literally nothing about the girl in them other than she was "creepy", and was certainly not supposed to come back with a girl, or a valet. The only real over-arching idea was that it was supposed to the "end of the world as we know it".
- Speaking of Vince and his ideas, while the Jericho ones were good, others...not so much. Former WWE writer Dan Madigan was on the "Review-A-Wai" show on the LAW website, and revealed that Vince requested that in the film "See No Evil", that Jacob Goodnight (played by Kane) would pull out his penis and it would be THREE FEET LONG. Yep, a 36-inch wanger. Thankfully, Kane's behemoth boy bazooka remain in his pants for the whole film, so cooler heads prevailed somewhere...
- Finally, it was revealed late last night that The WWE's "Revolution" viral video campaign was not for a new TV show to take the place of NXT at the Smackdown tapings. It was not to debut Dean Ambrose with (although that's not to say they aren't high on him anymore, this just didn't up being for him), but in fact leads to the reveal of the WWE 13 game! The game is set to be released on November 1st. Approximately 8 days before Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2. I know where my money is going...
The advert will feature CM Punk predominantly, and have the tagline "Live The Revolution". I can't wait to hear what B.S. THQ come up with this year to sell their latest glorified coaster. Rather than "Live The Revolution", how about a tag line of "Online won't be complete drizzling arse-water this year...HONEST!" That would be revolutionary. The ad spot itself shows Big Show & Mark Henry's superplex spot from Vengeance in a Smackdown ring with it blowing up, Stone Cold driving Mankind through the guardrail like he's Goldberg or Samoan, and various character shots such as Punk, Jericho, Show, Sheamus & Henry. Can't truly judge the graphics quality yet, as the "spoiler" video is a cam-shot of a screen running the ad. But from what I could tell, it looks about the same. That said, this is THQ and one of the laziest developed game franchises of all time.
TNA - Matt mentioned this last week, but there's an update on Ric Flair's situation in WWE. It seems to have come to a point where Flair doesn't want to be there and TNA are coming round to the idea of not wanting him. Much like the last European tour, where Flair put bar visits on tab and then couldn't pay, a similar situation flared up (pardon the pun) at at bar in Orlando, where between that and his behaviour, Flair was banned from the joint. Flair does have his own advertising deal with Coca Cola on a product that seemingly, in theory, could allow him to live outside of wrestling, although he would probably sign the Legends Contract with WWE if released from TNA. As Matt noted, Ashley Flair will be starting with FCW at some point, rather than with OVW/TNA.
- Ashley Flair may not be coming in, but a legend's daughter who is, is Brooke Hogan, as mentioned by Matt last week, in the role of "Knockout Law" or whatever the title is now. Not only that, Brooke will be making her debut on the first of the live summer shows at the end of the month. This probably won't end well.
- Brooke Hogan in, Alex Shelley out. It's been widely reported at this point that he's out when his contract expires soon. Many have him pegged to head to WWE. I would wager that if he does go to WWE to be in the vaunted "Crusierweights" show on the WWE Network, since the Network doesn't start until the winter, he'll take shots in Japan and the US Indies before he goes. One can only hope Sabin follows him, especially if to WWE.
- While WWE's buyrates news this week was positive, it not spectacular, it looks like TNA Sacrifice will have only done around 8000/9000 buys, as it's been couched as going half Lockdown, which did 17000. Didn't see the show, but heard good things. So that seems a bit of a shame. Naturally, since it was overnight for me, I haven't seen TNA's second "Open Fight Night" either. Not that I'd want to. The concept blows.
- Encouraging news for Ring Ka King, the Indian offshoot of TNA, and a return. While they didn't blow away the Colors Network with the ratings they did get (although they were fair enough), the replacement show, a MMA show, is only doing half what Ring Ka King did. That probably helps TNA & Endemol when it comes to seeing about a second season.
I dipped in and out of Ring Ka King as it goes. What didn't help was I could barely understand a word of it unless an American was speaking.I missed a couple of weeks before the end, saw Angelina love show up with a midget and a sumo wrestler for no apparent reason, and then in the end, the heels seemed to escape on the back of a low-loader truck like they were going to carnival. Wacky...
- You wanna know what else is utterly wacky and incomprehensible? The ticket prices for TNA's next European tour (which will include another Impact taping in London. This tour is being couched on the idea of them doing cage matches on every house show for the first time. I'm sure they did a cage match on their second UK tour at some point. That said, that tour was the one with the kick-ass main events that ended up almost uniformly being bait-and-switches. Anyway, the top price ticket for the HOUSE SHOWS (probably the TV too, but I got an e-mail regarding the house shows from a couple of the venues themselves is £79. In US Dollars at today's exchange rate, that is $125! Their lowest price is £22.50 ($35). Here's a tip as I recall from the last tour earlier this year. Get cheap tickets, as they will likely move everyone down closer to the ring. That was reported as happening most nights.
ROH/US Independants/International - Almost entirely due to the twatting up of their Border Wars iPPV feed, Ring Of Honor have announced that the complete Kevin Steen vs. Davey Richards match from that show will air on this coming week's TV show. Given that the title win was supposed to be an integral part of a year-long angle, that makes sense to me, since even with the ratings ROH must get, it's still infinitely more than were able to see the show live.
- As it goes, Kevin Steen is reported to currently have a concussion.
- Also, this week marked the first anniversary of Sinclair Broadcasting buying Ring Of Honor. Met Joe Koff at the ROH show I went to with Guttman, Matt & Canadian Bulldog last September. Nice guy.
- You may have thought it wouldn't, but "Extreme Reunion" is going to run new dates in New York (June 29th) and Philly (June 30th). The ECW guys who caused issues aren't being asked back. Jerry Lynn (until his retirement at the end of the year), Crowbar, Stevie Richard and Little Guido will be regulars, with other guys coming in. One of those names is Matt Hardy, who will possibly face Lynn on those shows. There will also be newer talents. I honestly don't get the thinking behind the name. How can you have an ongoing brand with the word "Reunion" in it, especially when the reunion aspect was for the first show only?
- CHIKARA returns to iPPV on June 2nd with CHIKARASAURUS REX II: How To Hatch A Dinosaurlive from Philadelphia at the Trocadero. The current lineup reads as: CHIKARA Grand Champion Eddie Kingston & Jigsaw & The Colony vs. GEKIDO (17, The Shard, deviANT, combatANT & assailANT) in a ten man tag. Hallowicked vs. Tim Donst in a battle of former Young Lions Cup champions. F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano) vs. The Young Bucks - Best Two out of Three Falls. Gran Akuma vs. Icarus - Ladder Match for Akuma's CHIKARA career. Sara Del Rey & Saturyne vs. The Batiri, Obariyon, Kodama & Kobald in an inter-gender handicap match. UltraMantis Black vs. Ophidian Colt Cabana & Mixed Martial Archie vs. The Throwbacks, Dasher Hatfield & "Mr. Touchdown" Mark Angelosetti
- The World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico have added Velvet Sky to the "Aniversario 2012" weekend shows. This is in addition to John Morrison, Melina, Davey Richards and, naturally, WWE's Epico & Primo.
UFC - Big suspension news coming out of the UFC. Nick Diaz has been suspended for a year for being busted on a test for marijuana. That sounds harsh given that Alistair Overeem only got 9 months for steroids, but, put it this was, Diaz was a douchecanoe about it. His team came up with a raft of excuses, but each was rather debunked and the kicker was Diaz admitted that when he promised not to smoke weed anymore to a previous hearing in 2007, he broke that almost immediately, saying he likely did it when he got home that day. This kills the notion of Diaz vs. GSP happening any time soon, and certainly out of the question for GSP's return later in the year. A match they were desperate to put on.
- On the flip side, Chael Sonnen was granted a testosterone exemption, meaning he can use it while in training. The conditions were that he would have to undergo regular blood testing of his serum testosterone level and would have to be within range. They ordered him to test the morning after his next fight with Anderson silva on 7/7, and would have to take regular tests, out of competition, at his own expense, to show he was still within an acceptable range. Also he would not be allowed to take a shot after July 1st ahead of that Silva fight.
Chael is now the fourth fighter in the state of Nevada, along with Dan Henderson, Todd Duffee and Shane Roller to get themselves and exemption to use testosterone. The most interesting thing is that he revealed he had taken shots twice a week since 2008, and was tested often in this period, and yet he'd never failed a test, which suggests a flaw in the system
- Renan Borao is replacing Dominick Cruz for the fight against Uriah Faber on the 7/7 show, after Cruz was injured. This was revealed on last week's Ultimate Fighter. It was originally set to be Michael McDonald that Faber faced, with the deal being secretly done for the big reveal on TUF. However, either the day of doing the deal, or the day after, McDonald' badly injured his hand, putting him out of the match.
- Matt noted last week that Dana White had surgery. Well, actually, he didn't in the end. So he wouldn't miss work, while laid up, it was decided to go with meds to try and sort his problem out
TUF 15 FINALEis on June 1, 2012 from Las Vegas Nevada and the line-up is as follows: Martin Kampmann vs. Jake Ellenberger FINALS from TUF 15 LIGHTWEIGHT
UFC on FX 3is on June 8, 2012 from TBD and the line-up is as follows: FLYWEIGHT TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINALS: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall Scott Jorgensen vs. Eddie Wineland Dustin Pague vs. Jared Papazian
UFC on FX 4is on June 22, 2012 from Atlantic City NJ and the line-up is as follows: Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida Brian Ebersole vs. TJ Waldburger Rick Story vs. Rick Attonito
UFC ON FOX 4is on August 4th from Los Angeles California and the line-up is as follows: Hector Lombard vs. Brian Stann Ryan Bader vs. Lyoto Machida Phil Davis vs. Chad Griggs Travis Browne vs. Ben Rothwell
And finally, here's that lass COURTNEY STODDENthat Matthew has been raving about recently...
I gotta go now and write Smackdown, so feel free to twitterise me at @aaron24wood. Or you can hit up the comments section or @MattDawgs or @JamesGuttmanWWI and plead with them never to allow to do this column again if you hated this facsimile of Matt's weekly efforts.
Also, don't forget to head over to ClubWWI.comwhere there are HUNDREDS of interviews with your favourite wrestling stars of yesteryear and today, as well as us motley crew with our own podcasts.