The Cubed Circle Newsletter site has moved. This move has taken place for numerous reasons, I think that to take the site to the next level so to speak, I felt that a self hosted site was needed. The new site is therefore easier to navigate, newsletters are easier to download and the site is much more ascetically pleasing.
This site will be the long term home of the Cubed Circle Newsletter, for more information and the full site visit:
Sunday, 4 March 2012
Cubed Circle Newsletter Issue #21: All Together 2, WWE Kayfabe T-shirts, Recommendations for February and much more!
For a full-color PDF click here
The Cubed Circle Newsletter
In this week’s issue we cover the All Together show from All Japan, New Japan and NOAH, RAW, WWE Kayfabe t-shirts and we have a new segment in the recommendations column in the Bits and Pieces section. As always your feedback is welcome, either through the comments section, e-mail or the many social networks available in the contact section.
NJPW/AJPW/NOAH “All Together 2”, 2012/02/19 Sendai Sun Plaza Hall, 3,500 Full House Super No Vacancy, Review
Overall Show Thoughts
Overall this show was like the first All Together show, it was a show meant to instill unity and patriotism and I assume that’s what it did. This was a feel good show just like the first, but it capped off with two very good matches. It was \an easy show to sit through and most of the matches didn’t go all that long, it was not a must see show, but it was still very fun and there was some great wrestling on the show.
|The opening of the All Together show, at a packed Sendai Sun Plaza|
1. Gedo, Jado, Kenou & Taro Nohashi vs. Great Sasuke, Ryusuke Taguchi, Taiji Ishimori & Tiger Mask
This was a good opener that the crowd was into, especially during the brief portion where Gedo and Jado got the heat on Taguchi. Other than that, everyone got their spots in, but nothing about the match was all that memorable. Sasuke pinned Nohashi in 11:12 with the Sasuke Special 10.
2. Captain All Japan (Ryota Hama), Captain New Japan & Captain NOAH (Mohammed Yone) vs. TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) & Kentaro Shiga
I must say the team of captain All Japan, New Japan and NOAH looked amazingly great together. TenKoji did their best, but they couldn’t help or subsidize the wackiness and subpar workrate of the other team. Although it was fun, the match was far from a wrestling clinic, but luckily it didn’t go all that long. Tenzan submitted Captain New Japan with an anaconda vice in 10:27.
3. Jushin Thunder Liger, KAI, Kotaro Suzuki & Minoru Tanaka vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kaz Hayashi, Shuji Kondo & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
This match was full of good to great workers, which really made for a good match, besides some botched spots and pacing issues. You obviously had great workers in the match like Hayashi, Suzuki, Nakajima and Kondo who really carried the bulk of the match. Tanaka botched a moonsault off of the turnbuckle and a few other spots, but it didn’t detract from the match all too much. Kondo pinned KAI in 14:38 with a King Kong Lariat.
4. Manabu Soya & Togi Makabe vs. Takashi Sugiura & Yujiro Takahashi
I don’t know if Sugiura was hurt, or if he was just beaten down, but my God was he slow. I get that it was a heavyweight style matchup, but compared to Makabe and even Soya who wasn’t all that quick (Although while running from post to post he took two very hard turnbuckles). It was a decent match, although it was slow and pretty uninteresting until the finish. Sugiura pinned Soya in 11:46 with an Olympic slam.
5. Akebono, Kensuke Sasaki, Naomichi Marufuji & Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Yoshihiro Takayama & Masayuki Kono
I have seen way too many Taichi, Takayama, Nagata and Suzuki tags for my liking as of late. Nagata and Suzuki are great, but I would really like to see them more outside of tag matches, especially in New Japan. The heel team got the heat on Marufuji for a while and everyone hit their spots, although Taichi and Akebono got a bit too much time. Akebono pinned Taichi with a lariat big splash combo in 13:58.
6. Akitoshi Saito, Hirooki Goto & Jinsei Shinzaki vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano
This was a very fun match, jut for Saito and Shinzaki alone the match was worth it, not even counting Goto and Nakumura. The match was worked in a very fun manner and Goto pinned Iizuka in 13:30 with the Shoten Kai.
7. Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori vs. Keiji Muto & Kenta Kobashi
Muto and Kobashi’s selling in this match was absolutely incredible, from their facials to their vocals. They didn’t do a million flips or flops, but they didn’t need to do that to get over. Both of them are pretty beaten down at this point, although Kobashi seems to be more broken down than Mutoh. But, they never took any crazy or harmful bumps in the match, besides an inverted tombstone piledriver that Muto took, which makes it difficult to protect the head and neck. Akiyama and Omori got the heat on Muto then it was switched to Kobashi and so on, but the match was compelling all the way through. Muto pinned Akiyama in 20:20 with a moonsault, building up their Triple Crown match further.
8. Go Shiozaki, Seiya Sanada & Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Suwama & Takeshi Morishima
I was happy to see that Akiyama was kept in the Muto match, just because I don’t think that he would have fitted in here. However what I thought was strange was that there was no Okada to be seen, in fact Tanahashi was practically treated like the champion. What I was glad to see was that Tanahashi is just as over as he was before he lost the championship, although time will tell if the change is going to work or not. Regardless the match was great with everyone in the match being great workers what else would you expect. Morishima pinned Shiozaki in 23:14 with a back drop driver.
WWE RAW 2012/02/27
Overall this week marked the next in a string of good RAWs that have been taking place for a couple of weeks now. The show was pretty much made by the opening and closing segments, there was no Triple H Undertaker build this week, other than a good hype video.
The show opened with Punk coming out for a match with Daniel Bryan, but Punk was interrupted by Jericho, which I was happy about at the time thinking that the match wouldn’t take place and we would get the match again on free TV, when it could be a big mainevent down the line.
Punk and Jericho performed in the best segment of the night in my opinion, although the Cena/Rock segment was good, this segment leaned more towards the age old tale that has worked for so long, “I think I am better than you, you think you are better than me, lets settle it in the ring.”. That’s it and the segment didn’t need to be convoluted like the Cena/ Rock segment.
I was a big fan of the way that Jericho started the segment, saying that Punk was one of his favorites but he was a step above him, instead of going the other way and burying the guy. He said that he was the last of a dying breed, a group of wrestlers that toured the world having great matches and not caring about politics. He said that Punk was like him in a way, because he became something that everyone thought he couldn’t. Punk responded by saying that they knew just how good Jericho was. He carried on with his promo saying that he didn’t plagiarize anything and that Bret Hart called himself the best in the world. Jericho then said that he was on a completely different level and that it was not a gimmick, he had stayed at a higher level than anyone in history.
Then we got to the real meat of the segment, where Punk basically said the same thing that Cena has been saying, you left to write books, dance and sing, I am really getting tired of this whining. Jericho then said that while he was becoming a bigger star than Punk ever will be, all he could think about was how he had been ripped off because Punk was calling himself the best in the world. He said that the vignettes and jackets were all frosting on the cake. Punk said that they don’t need pyro or jackets, he said all they need is a ring to put on one of the greatest Mania matches of all time.
Out came Daniel Bryan for the match, at this point I realized the match was staking place, but it didn’t go all that long in fact is was a match, which damages the drawing power of this match in the future. The match was just a vessel for the progression of the on going Long Laurinaitis feud which isn’t all that engaging.
Both Sheamus and Jericho interfered in the match, with Sheamus inferring so that Punk could hit the GTS on Bryan. Jericho ambushed Punk after the match, locking in the Walls of Jericho on the ramp. The match featured good progression of the Sheamus Bryan program, but I can’t help thinking that it wasn’t really needed, as specially when a match of this caliber had to be degraded and given away free again.
They showed a video package of last year’s WrestleMania match between Triple H and the Undertaker with commentary and thoughts from Rock, Austin, Edge, Cena, Punk and Big Show.
Miz cut a promo on how he should be in the mainevent of WrestleMania, it was fine, but boy oh boy am I sick of hearing people wine about Rock and the top spot. This is the WWE’s problem, they have something, but then they just oversaturated it. Why have Cena come out and say something the week before, then have Punk say something and now Miz who isn’t even a top guy anymore, it makes no sense. After the match he had a pretty one sided dull match with Cena, he submitted Miz, the poor guy.
There was a tag team gauntlet match, I was fine with it since Primo and Epico retained, but after the match Kane made his big return (one week my god!) and killed everyone in the division, it was stupid. Sheamus was in a tag match, I had no problem with the match itself, but I wish there was more emphasis on him being the Rumble winner, I mean at least hype the match up as a bigger deal.
The Rock came out to a pretty big ovation, he cut a great promo on “a guy” in the back, which I presume in storyline was Cena, but in reality was Punk, but I am not sure. He talked about the “babyfaces” of the past such as Austin, Piper, himself etc. Cena interrupted and mentioned the notes on the Rock’s hand, which I never took much notice of at first, but after seeing how much of a big deal people made out the line to be I rewatched the segment. People were saying it was a shoot and I doubt it. First of all why would Cena double-cross Rock before their match, it makes absolutely no sense. Apparently Rock flipped out backstage, but why wouldn’t he retaliate right then and there, plus why would Vince want to kill his relationship with such a big draw. It being a shoot just wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense.
They bickered back and forth, until Cena basically said “you may be looking at the guy who doesn’t have any balls, but I am going to kick your ass.”. It was a good segment and I see where they are going, I believe that they are trying to make Cena into the person defending wrestling, to get the smart fans behind him. Which I doubt will work, but still it’s producing some great segments.
Overall this was another good show, with a good beginning and end, there was some stupid stuff in-between, but I still think that the show did more good than bad. As for the ratings, the show did worse than expected with the over run segment loosing quite a lot of viewers, which is very disappointing, given the fact that Rock was advertised and he seems to be the only major needle mover at the moment.
Bits & Pieces
WWE Kayfabe T-shirts
I understand the fact that we can’t go back to a time where kayfabe was fully embraced, respected and protected. But, the WWE has done something quite remarkable with their new kayfabe range, they have managed to simultaneously undermine their product along with their merchandise and content.
If you haven’t seen the shirts they are quit astounding, they are for sale on wweshop.com in the “kayfabe” section, they have shirts with such terms as “jobber”, “heel”, “I’m so over” and “what’s your finish?”. Now one could make a case for the shirts by saying that the term “jobber” and “heel” have been used in the context of the show in the past, but to put them on a shirt seems absolutely ludicrous.
The shirts actually don’t intrigue me as much as the fact that they were actually authorized by someone. I mean it took a couple of days or even hours before the infamous Sin Cara t-shirts were pulled, why should this be any different? I guess the WWE just don’t care about the fact that these terms have been acknowledged, after all Ziggler has “#heel” on the back of his tights which is a completely different matter entirely.
Another thing that absolutely astonishes me is the fact that people are actually buying these t-shirts. Besides the fact they are badly made and pretty ugly, what so called “smart fan” would actually buy one of these? Surely if you are smart you wouldn’t by one of these and if you are not then why would these interest you in the first place?
These shirts aren’t a tremendous insult to the business, although I don’t feel that they should have been released because I do find them stupid. It’s fine to break kayfabe in share holders meetings or radio shows, but to openly acknowledge it in the merchandise sector, a market that is theoretically based around the suspension of disbelieve is profoundly strange and idiotic.
Recommendations for February 2012
In terms of in ring performance, the WWE in month of February wasn’t the best. Yes we had the chamber which almost always produces great matches, but this year the Elimination Chamber pay-per view didn’t deliver the stellar mainevent caliber chamber matches it is known for. But, it hasn’t been all bad this month in terms of WWE produced content, Raw has been delivering at a consistently higher level than has been doing the past few months.
February produced some great promos from all the participants in this year’s WrestleMania matches, from Jericho to Cena most of the content has been good. Granted the content of the programming at the beginning of the month was far from stellar, partly due to the Kane vs. Cena angle. The main problems were mostly focused on the build to the Chamber, but the build to Mania has been consistent the whole way through, producing some enjoyable and memorable content.
The most notable match from New Japan this month was by far the IWGP heavyweight championship match, between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada. The match was great and will probably be one of the best matches from the first quarter of this year, but most people who follow the product view the change as questionable.
New Japan made the announcement that they were purchased by anime and card game company Bushi Road this month, although for a small amount. But, the choice to change the title was apparently made before the sale.
In terms of pure ring work, All Japan has been one of the best promotions of the year so far. They have produced great show after great show, with amazing triple crown title defenses from Jun Akiyama (age 42) as well as the Junior Heavyweights.
Akiyama put on what will probably be one of the best All Japan matches of the year together with Takao Ōmori also age 42 on the February 3rd All Japan show from Korakuen Hall. Although both men may not be in their prime they put on a great match, the show also featured a good junior heavyweight championship match between Kenny Omega and Kaz Hayashi.
The trend of great All Japan shows and matches continued throughout the month with great banquet shows and it looks like it is going to continue into March.
I am not going to touch too much on All Together, since it was already addressed earlier in the newsletter. The show was easy to sit through and was really just a genuine feel good show with a great mainevent. The show isn’t a must see, however the main and semi mainevents were both really good matches.
Kensuke Office Renamed Diamond Ring
The Japanese promotion Kensuke Office has been rechristened Diamond Ring and to commemorate this change they put on a special “renaming” show of sorts. This show ran for around two hours and featured some great matches. The mainevent between Nakajima and Shingo was great and would have been even better if Shingo continued to sell the injured arm throughout the match. The semi-main event was also great, a tag match between the team of Kenta Kobashi and Jun Akiyama taking of the team of Kensuke Sasaki and Mitsuhiro Kitanomiya. The tag match arguably featured greater psychology and storytelling, with Kitanomiya getting worked on and partially bloodied by Kobashi and Akiyama. He was pinned, but he got over in a big way, because of the way he show cased his fighting spirit.
Diamond Ring “Kensuke Office Changes” 2012/02/11
1. Kikutaro & Numazu Man vs. Masao Inoue & "Hollywood" Stalker Ichikawa
2. Ultimo Dragon, Taiji Ishimori & Satoshi Kajiwara vs Kazunari Murakami, NOSAWA
Rongai & Takeshi Minamino
3. Fujita "Jr." Hayato vs. Kento Miyahara
4. Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Mitsuhiro Kitanomiya
5. Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Shingo Takagi
Next Week’s Issue
In next week’s issue we cover the Ring of Honor 10th Anniversary Event, RAW, the continued build to WrestleMania, all the news from the week and more! For more on next week’s issue visit cubedcirclewrestling.blogspot.com.
New! Do you want to write for the Cubed Circle Newsletter? Contact Ryan at Rubyclouding@gmail.com
Sunday, 26 February 2012
The Cubed Circle Newsletter
For a Full-Color PDF click here
We have a huge issue for you this week, including an in-depth review of the WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per view, as well as a great Raw from this week. As always your feedback is always welcomed, either via the comments section, e-mail or the many social networks available, more on that in the “contact” section of the newsletter.
WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 Review
Overall Show Thoughts:
Overall the show was good, but it was still on the low end when it comes to Elimination Chamber shows. The chamber matches were good, but they didn’t live up to the standard of past chamber matches. I also wasn’t a big fan of the structure and pacing of the show, with the WWE Championship match going on first and the Kane vs. Cena match going on last.
I wouldn’t say that the show was easy to sit through, with parts of the Raw and Smackdown chamber and the Kane/Cena match dragging. The show wasn’t bad and was better than the Rumble, but like the Rumble show, it didn’t live up to the standards set by previous shows.
1. RAW Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz vs. R-Truth vs. Dolf Ziggler
This was the match for the WWE championship, theoretically the most important thing in the company and it went on first, I can not think of any reasonable explanation for this. There is a need for gaps between chambers, I understand, but to put the WWE championship match on first just comes across as stupid to me. Punk and Kingston started the match off, Kingston leapfrogged over the top rope and nearly killed himself, they began to exchange pinfalls and chain wrestle. Punk took a terrible looking big back body drop on the steel, the first of many. Punk catapulted Kingston into a pod and hit a big suplex on the outside. Dolf Ziggler was the next entrant, he did pull ups on the chain link and then delivered a leg drop on Punk on the steel. Kingston and Punk both went for springboard clotheslines and collided in midair. R-Truth was the next entrant, he came out hiptossing Ziggler over the top rope onto the floor and then landed a dive over the top, another brutal spot. Truth hit the scissors kick on Ziggler, who kicked out at two, Punk hit the knee on Truth who was perched on the top turnbuckle and hit a superplex for two. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, but he was thrown over the top rope, Punk went to the top rope for the Savage elbow and taunted Jericho who was still in his pod, Punk hit the elbow on Truth for three. Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise on Punk, but he was thrown over the top rope by Ziggler, Ziggler then covered Punk for two. Kingston leaped onto the chain link and hit a tornado DDT on Ziggler it looked absolutely brutal, the crowd chanted holy s***. Miz entered at around the thirteen minute mark which meant at this point they weren’t even hiding the fact that they weren’t keeping to the five minute allocated time. Punk was rammed head first into a pod by Miz. Ziggler then crashed against the steel floor once again, as he was thrown over the top rope by Miz. Miz pushed Kingston off the top rope to the floor and rolled him back into the ring for two. Miz went for the clothesline in the corner on Punk, but mistimed his steps or misjudged his force, so he had to hit him twice with two flimsy clotheslines. Miz went for the skull crushing finale, Punk countered, but Miz hit a DDT for two. Punk hit a scoopslam and transitioned into the anaconda vice, but Jericho’s pod opened at around the 17 minute mark, which meant that their was even more match time manipulation to be had. Jericho broke up the submission, Punk and Jericho then faced off and began to trade strikes. Jericho attempted to lock in The Walls of Jericho, but Punk countered it into the GTS, Jericho was able to reverse it and hit a running bulldog and a lionsault for two. Ziggler went for a rollup on Jericho, but Jericho hit a big code breaker and eliminated Ziggler. Punk was catapulted over the top onto the steel grating by Jericho. Punk rammed Jericho into a pod over and over again, until Jericho locked himself in an empty pod. Punk forced open the pod and began to unload on Jericho, but Jericho rammed Punk between the door and wrenched on the arm of Punk. Miz hit a big tornado DDT on Kingston on the steel. Miz went for a clothesline on Kingston, but Kingston hit caught him with a boot and went to the top rope. But, Miz climbed up and set Kingston up for the superplex, Punk then came and grabbed Punk for what I thought was the usual multiman suplex/powerbomb, but he hit a powerbomb on Miz for two. Kingston went to the top pod and hit a crossbody onto Miz and Punk, in what was one of the safest spots in the match. Jericho locked in the Walls of Jericho and eliminated him just moments after his big spot. Jericho threw Kingston over the top rope and continued to beat on him after he was eliminated. He then threw Kingston out of the chamber, but Punk kicked Jericho in the head knocking him out of the chamber. He held onto the chamber door as he was kicked out, but he “knocked a camera man down” so you couldn’t really see the fall that well. Doctors came out to look at Jericho, it went on for minutes. Miz attempted to take out Punk with a neckbreaker, but Punk hit a big kick on Miz, Miz kicked out at two. Punk hit his knee in the corner and bulldog for two, he went for the springboard clothesline, but Miz countered it into the skull crushing finale for two in a great near fall. Miz unloaded on Punk in the corner, Miz went head first into the post as Punk moved out of the way of the clothesline. Punk then hit the GTS on Miz to retain the title in 32:38. I think that the crowd really expected Jericho to come back, but he didn’t and I guess it was the best thing for their Mania match so I was fine with it. They could have used a slightly more convincing bump, especially given the bumps that we had in the match. The match itself I would say was a below par chamber match, with too much time shaving, parts that dragged and a anticlimactic finish.
The showed footage of the battle royal from Smackdown, Orton getting concussed as well as Santino winning the battle royal. They cut backstage to Santino who was preparing to drink raw eggs, in a Rocky spoof. He drank the eggs and then began to gag.
We had another John Cena Mania hype video, showing Cena training with developmental talent. Tyler Black as well as Consequences Creed were there, a developmental talent was shown lifting a huge amount of weight as everyone in the gym (including Cena) marked out. Everyone in the gym put over Cena and how much of a nice guy he was and how hard he trains. Cena said that the Rock and him would see what happens when the second bell rings and he takes on Cena. Good promo.
2. WWE Diva’s Championship Match
Beth Phoenix vs. Tamina Snuka
Phoenix taunted and slapped the chest of Snuka. Snuka took a bad looking bump on the outside before Phoenix began to work on the neck of Snuka. Snuka got out and hit a Samoan drop and went up to the top rope for the Superfly splash, but she was halted by Phoenix who delivered a superplex. They exchanged strikes, Tamina hit a Mongolian chop and landed chops to the chest of Phoenix. Tamina hit a splash in the corner and landed a big super kick, she went to the top and hit the Superfly splash, but Phoenix kicked out. This was supposed to get over the strength and toughness of Phoenix, but I would have liked to have seen the move built up better during the weeks leading up to the Elimination Chamber PPV. Regardless it made Phoenix look strong, after Tamina’s head met the turnbuckle Phoenix hit the Glamslam for the win in 7:16. Hopefully this will set up a match with Kharma at WrestleMania, it would make sense given the lack of depth on the women’s roster, plus it is probably the only women’s match in the WWE that people would care to see right now. This match was good by Diva’s standards and I was impressed with Tamina.
They showed a B.A. Star commercial with David Arquette and his crew, while emo music played in the background, it has been done and said to death no comment. They showed another Santino skit, he was punching some deli meat (presumably ham) he gave it the cobra. Josh Matthews was sitting in front of the doctors who were attending to Jericho. This was a double swerve, but that isn’t my issue, don’t the WWE realize, know or care about the situation with Jesse Sorensen? Because this really did come across as insensitive towards the issue.
Out came Laurinaitis and Otunga, Laurinaitis said that Teddy Long should be subjected to the same scrutiny as him, out came Alberto Del Rio. The fact that they wasted this surprise on a segment like this baffled me. Del Rio said that Long was nothing but a corrupt, good for nothing, piece of trash and Laurinaitis should become GM of Raw and Smackdown. Out came Henry, another hollow surprise, he said that Long was a bully in a funny line that didn’t get a reaction. He said that Long physically assaulted him and just like the good guy that he is he was fooled by Long and wrongly suspended. Henry said that Laurinaitis and him and never seen eye to eye, but he has never seen him abuse his power and he in not a bully. Out came Christian in an absolutely stupid move, when you have such a lack of talent and depth in the Smackdown chamber why would you waste Christian here, surely his return could have made for a much bigger return at some point. Laurinaitis gave Christian a hug, Christian said that he would have been champion if it wasn’t for Long, he said that Orton faked and injury and Big Show tried to break his [Christian’s] neck. He said that he will still be forced to compete in this unsafe working environment, so he will join Laurinaitis, haven’t we seen this before? Otunga took a group picture. I was actually baffled that the return of Christian and Del Rio were wasted on this segment, why would you waste a return for the chamber or a big moment on TV here. Well we could get a match at Mania, but even if we do, this seemed like a waste.
We had a trailer for Mania. Santino was shown running up the stares in another Rocky spoof. Josh Matthews interviewed Big Show, he asked about his WrestleMania track record and if it was important for him to walk into WrestleMania as champion, really? Big Show said that he has had over 4000 matches, but he has a bad WrestleMania record, he said that he has to walk out as World Heavyweight Champion.
3. Smackdown Elimination Chamber Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Wade Barrett vs. The Great Khali vs. Big Show vs. Santino Marella
The fact that you had two possible surprises in Christian and Del Rio to use in this match, who would have gotten big reaction and would have made the match far better, but instead they decided to put the Great Khali in, boggled my mind. The fact that Khali was in the match and Christian and Del Rio were in the other boggles my mind even further. Big Show and Barrett started off, Barrett took the Big Show down with kicks, Barrett began to work on the leg of the Big Show, but Big Show began to fire back and landed a big suplex into the ring. Big Show threw Barrett over the top rope to the outside and stood on him, Cody Rhodes entered, but Big Show remained dominant ramming Barrett into the side of the chamber and chopping Rhodes. Big Show threw Rhodes into the side of the chamber, but Rhodes clipped the injured leg of the Big Show and brought him down. Big Show began to make his comeback, but he was struck with a high low from Rhodes and Barrett, they started to work on the Big Show again, but Barrett clotheslined Rhodes over the top rope to the outside. Rhodes was rammed into the chamber by Barrett, was next to enter, however this time the clock was late. Santino unloaded on Barrett hitting head butts and shaking the ropes. He was then face to face with the Big Show, who hit chops in the corner and threw Santino across the ring, before being clipped by Rhodes again. Big Show chopped Rhodes and threw him over the top rope onto the steal along with Barrett. Show pointed at Bryan’s pod as the crowd chanted for Santino, Big Show was double suplexed on the outside by Barrett and Rhodes. There were light boring chants throughout the crowd. Rhodes then hit a great moonsault on a standing Barrett, Rhodes continued to ram Santino against the chamber arm first. Khali entered, he chopped Barrett and took out Rhodes, he hit the Punjabi Plunge on Rhodes and Barrett. He chopped Santino, but Big Show nailed Khali with a spear for the elimination, thank god they got him out early. Show stared at Bryan once again in the pod, Show managed to get his hand through the top of the pod as Bryan began to cower in absolute terror. Big Show, as Big as he is climbed through the top of the pod and began to unload on Bryan, who was trapped in the pod. Big Show continued to choke Bryan with the knee until the pod opened, Bryan ran, but he was thrown through a pod by Big Show. Bryan kept getting up, but Big Show rammed him into the corner and hit a shoulder block, he then signaled for the chokeslam. He hit the chokeslam on Bryan, but Barrett hit a big boot and kneed Show to the outside. Santino went for a pin on Barrett, but he kicked out at two, in retaliation Barrett threw Marella over the top rope down to the steel. Rhodes hit a beautiful disaster kick on Big Show from the side of the chamber, back in the ring Rhodes hit a DDT on Big Show and Barrett nailed an elbow. Rhodes covered the Big Show for the elimination in the 22nd minute. Straight after Rhodes got the elimination, Santino rolled him up and eliminated him in the 23rd minute, but Rhodes laid Santino out with Cross Rhodes after he was eliminated. Barrett covered Santino, but he kicked out, in hindsight this was a great near fall in the context of the match. In retaliation Barrett threw Santino over the top, after ramming Santino into the side of the chamber, Barrett tied Santino up in the chain link and began to kick him. Bryan went to the top, but messed up, instead he hit a crucifix on Barrett for two. Bryan attempted to lock in the LaBell lock, but Barrett countered and attempted to lock in a submission, but Bryan was able to escape and landed kicks on Barrett. Bryan was hung up on the top rope and clotheslined by Barrett, Barrett slammed Bryan against the chamber and squeezed the head and neck of Bryan in the door. Barrett went for Wasteland on Santino, Santino was able to hold on, but he was big booted to the outside. Bryan landed a big knee from the top rope on Barrett and proceeded to ram Barrett’s head against the chamber, just like Barrett had done to Bryan moments earlier. Bryan went to the top rope once more, but Barrett pushed him off, Bryan went through a pod, while still perched on the top rope. Barrett went for the Wasteland from the top rope, but it was broken up by Santino. Santino went for a superplex, he was shoved off, Barrett went for an elbow, but he missed. Bryan proceeded to land a diving headbutt on Barrett, who was pinned by Santino Marella, in a pretty surprising elimination. Bryan laughed and smiled at the thought of being the last remaining man along with Santino. Bryan Irish-whipped Santino into the corner and stared at him with psychotic eyes, Bryan kicked Santino and hit a buzz saw kick, but in a great near fall that really got the crowd into the match Santino kicked out. Santino got a roll up, Bryan kicked out, Bryan went for the headbutt from the top, but Santino got out of the way and hit the cobra, everyone was on their feet jumping up and down honestly believing that Santino Marella would become the Heavyweight Champion of the World. But, Bryan kicked out at two, Bryan locked in the LaBell lock it looked like Santino was going to break it, the crowd went insane, but Bryan locked it in deeper and Santino tapped at 34:03. The last five minutes of the match were great, especially the surprisingly great segment at the end with Bryan and Santino, probably due to the ability of Bryan and the charisma of Santino. However the rest of the match really dragged, Bryan came out last, which fitted well with his gimmick, but it hampered the match. The match was good and it was the best match on the show, but for chamber standards it was weak.
Sheamus came out after the match and confronted Bryan, Bryan attempted to fight back, but Sheamus hit the Celtic Cross (Referring to Fit Finlay’s over the shoulder back to belly piledriver) which seems to be his new finisher.
Hornswoggle was shown eating cheese, Natalya walked by, he said cut the cheese, she let out flatulence, this angle sucks! Hornswoggle then said cottage cheese referring to the weight of Vicky Guerrero, sure B.A. Star. Long said that Swagger was going to have a match, Swagger responded by saying that Laurinaitis should run both shows.
They showed a great trailer for the new Rock DVD.
4. United States Championship Match
Jack Swagger vs. Justin Gabriel
I have no idea why this was on the show, it served absolutely no purpose. Granted they needed to fill time, but they filled it with this? Swagger hit a big powerbomb, he then hit a splash in the corner, Gabriel botched a kick in the corner and hit a splash for two. Gabriel hit a dive to the outside, Swagger locked in the ankle lock and tapped Gabriel out in 3:05. I do not get the point.
We then had a new Rock Cena promo, which in principle revealed this year’s WrestleMania slogan as “once in a life time” good stuff.
5. Ambulance Match
John Cena vs. Kane
I really don’t think that this should have gone on last, just for tradition sake, a blow off match for a terrible feud like this, shouldn’t be put over the match for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. They brawled on the outside as the crowd duel chanted, Kane was near the entrance of the ambulance, but he kicked Cena off. Cena used the backboard as a weapon, he proceeded to Irish whip Kane into the steel steps. Kane worked on Cena in the ring, they exchanged strikes up until the point where Kane hit a sidewalk slam. Kane came off the top for the chokeslam, Cena caught him, he hit the five knuckle shuffle and got Kane up for the Attitude Adjustment, but Kane was able to get off of the shoulders of Cena with an eye poke. Kane locked in the claw, Cena proceeded to “pass out”. Kane dragged Cena to the outside and grabbed a conveniently placed wheel chair from under the ring, Cena began to come to, but Kane applied the claw once again. Cena began to fight back once more and fired back on Kane, while gasping for air in the most unrealistic way possible. Kane was rammed into the ambulance, Cena grabbed the wheelchair and rammed it into the stomach of Kane. Kane was put into the wheelchair and wheeled into a table, Kane was back out of the wheelchair and used as a weapon. Cena used a steel chair across the stomach and back of Kane, they proceeded to fight in the crowd, Kane was thrown over the barricade. Cena asked if he could get a spot in the Fave Five and hit Kane over the head with a monitor. Cena rammed the steel steps against the head of Kane, Cena smiled and yelled “do you want to have some fun?” as he hit Kane with the steps once again. Cena got Kane up for the Attitude Adjustment and walked up the steps in a great feat of strength, but Kane got off of Cena’s shoulders and hit a chokeslam through the table. Kane grabbed a stretcher and Kane dragged Cena for what felt like hours, until he placed him in the back of the ambulance. Kane attempted to shut the door, but Cena kicked it open and the slammed the door shut. Cena climbed on top of the ambulance, Kane followed suit, Kane went for the chokeslam off of the top, but Cena countered and hit the Attitude Adjustment off of the top. Cena climbed down and fireman’s carried Kane into the ambulance and shut the door to win the match in 21:20. I wouldn’t say that the match exceeded my expectations, but it wasn’t as bad as you could have expected it to be. The finish was satisfactory and the rest of the match was fine for the most part, besides the wheelchair spots are didn’t have any major problems with anything. The best part of the match for me is the fact that this angle has come to an end and now we can presumably focus on Rock vs. Cena.
Bits & Pieces
A Great Edition of Raw
This week’s Raw, apart from the mainevent which was a complete and utter train wreck, was the best Raw in months. It contained everything that you would want in terms of build for Mania, we had a very good segment between Taker and Hunter, an actual serious and a likeable Cena promo, plus Jericho vs. Punk was all but confirmed for Mania which can’t be a bad thing.
The show kicked off with a not so good segment between Cena and Eve, Cena was actually pretty good in the segment, but the same could not be said for the material or Eve’s performance. The one thing that astonished me through the whole segment wasn’t the content, or even what was playing out, rather it was the fact that the crowd was still chanting for Ryder, which proves that he could really have something.
Sheamus beat Henry clean, which is great for Sheamus, but not so good for Henry and his drawing power. R-Truth and Kofi Kingston pinned the tag team champions of Hunico and Epico, which logically should set up a championship match, but I am not sure if it will take place.
The Undertaker vs. Triple H segment was good, although Undertaker did rush some of his delivery and the crowd actually “whated” Taker which astonished me more and made me sad. It is going to be a cell match, would should make for great match quality and spectacle, but in terms of logical progression I can’t see why they didn’t go for a last man standing. The entire segment became quite magical, after the mentioning of Michaels and the convincing portion from Taker, where Taker said that Hunter wasn’t as good as Michaels. This promo will definitely be one of the promo highlights of the quarter, if not the year.
Bryan regained his victory over Marella in what was basically a squash and that can only be a good thing. Yes the Santino segment in the chamber was great, but Bryan is the champion going into Mania, so I had absolutely no qualms with this.
Then in what will probably be one of the highlights of the Rock vs. Cena feud, Cena cut a serious promo, devoid of comedy and jokes about not winning the match. Cena said that he will win the match against Rock, because Rock left and he has stayed the whole time, which admittedly has become a stale, washed out and redundant argument. But, in the context of the feud it was great, John Cena said that he would do it for the few that can call themselves professional wrestlers.
The segment will definitely leave the Cena character more likable and although they will almost certainly get a 85-95% reaction for Rock in Miami, this will probably add great significance to the program.
I don’t really want to go into the mainevent, because it has been done to death, but it was a train wreck. Jericho won a battle royal featuring some midcards and some geeks, almost 50% of the workers in the match got hurt, everyone was taking irresponsible bumps left and right it was just a disaster. But, we are getting a match between Jericho and Punk, which should have a good build and it should be a great match, that coupled with Rock vs. Cena, Triple H vs. Undertaker and Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus should make for five weeks of good to great programming.
Next Week’s Issue
Next week we will be covering the All Together 2 show, WWE Kayfabe t-shirts, Raw and more! For more on next week’s issue head over to CubedCircleWrestling.blogspot.com.
Monday, 20 February 2012
For a full-color PDF click here
Cubed Circle Newsletter
Cubed Circle Newsletter
This week’s newsletter is a tad bit shorter than usual, but don’t fret, next week we have a huge issue for you, more about that at the end of the issue. As always you’re feedback is welcomed either via email, the comments or the many social network options available.
New Japan Pro Wrestling New Beginning 2012
Overall Show Thoughts
Overall this was another well paced New Japan show, with a lot of good wrestling and progression. However, I did feel that there were too many title changes on one show, you could make the case for the Intercontinental title and maybe even the IWGP Heavyweight title if that’s were they had to go, but the Jr. Tag Titles really didn’t need to change hands and they could have done the Intercontinental title change on another show. But, if you are looking for a fun show with some good wrestling and a great main event then this is a show for you.
1. YOSHI-HASHI & Yujiro Takahashi vs. King Fale & Tomoaki Honma
This match was an opener, yes, that’s what it was. The match felt a bit clunky with Fale and HASHI in there, although there were some good spots in the match, they didn’t fit together very well. After getting some cheap shots in Takahashi pinned Fale in 7:51 with a wonky looking jackknife cradle.
2. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tama Tonga & Captain New Japan vs. Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano
In an awesome heel move, Iizuka ripped off the announcers shirt and poured water on him, in complete bully fashion. Captain New Japan delayed and showboated on the ramp while his partners were attacked from behind and double teamed. This was mostly a comedy match, with Captain New Japan getting all of his wacky spots in. The crowd was super behind Tonga, which made the fact that Tonga was pinned by Yano with a powerbomb in 8:35 stupid, since you had a guy that could have clearly done the job in Captain New Japan.
3. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match
Apollo 55 (Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi) (c) vs. No Remorse Corps (Davey Richards & Rocky Romero)
I enjoyed this match more than the Dome match, it felt more important than the Dome match, although the wrestling itself wasn’t necessarily better. The title change didn’t really make much sense, given the amount of title changes on the show and the fact that the titles were just changed. Richards pinned Taguchi in 15:10 with a powerbomb.
4. Ten Man Tag Team Elimination Match
Blue Justice Army (Wataru Inoue & Yuji Nagata), KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask & Togi Makabe vs. Suzuki Army (Lance Archer, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku & Yoshihiro Takayama)
Just seeing Takayama enter the ring, let alone wrestle made me sad, although he functioned better in this match than his last few. Participants in the match could either be eliminated by pinfall, submission or being tossed over the top rope. Archer eliminated KUSHIDA with a modified crucifix bomb, he then eliminated Tiger Mask soon after with an F5. The crowd were really into the over the top gimmick and were into all the teases. Inoue was thrown over the top rope to the outside by Archer, this made Archer look really strong. Makabe eliminated Taichi and Michinoku in quick succession, after being worked on and double teamed by the heel team. Makabe and Suzuki proceeded to trade strikes, but Suzuki was able to get the upper hand as Makabe was worked on by the heel team. Makabe continued to absorb punishment, until he finally got the big tag to Nagata. Suzuki and Nagata traded strikes, until Nagata was eliminated over the top rope by Suzuki, leaving Makabe as the last remaining member of the face team. Makabe took a double chokeslam and a shining wizard, but he was still able to kick out. Makabe began to clean house, taking on three guys at once, but Suzuki was able to lock in the sleeper, he got Makabe up and hit the piledriver for the win in 19:43. There was a bit of post match brawling with Nagata and a few members of the heel team, but not much. The match did a great job of making Makabe look great, as well as Archer who came off like a monster. Even though the match felt a bit sloppy at points, it still told a good fun story and it served it’s purpose well.
5. IWGP Tag Team Title Match
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (c) vs. Bad Intentions (Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson)
Even though a few months have past since the Tokyo Sports Awards, Bad Intentions is still doing the anti-Tokyo Sports gimmick. This match much like the IWGP Jr. Tag Title match felt more intense and far more emotionally fueled that their Dome match. Kojima pinned Giant Bernard in 17:47 with a lariat. They shook hands after the match and Tenzan cut a promo in broken English, saying that Bad Intentions were super.
6. IWGP Intercontinental Title Match
Masato Tanaka (c) vs. Hirooki Goto
Yujiro Takahashi interfered at the start of the match, attacking Goto on the ramp. Goto hit an absolutely brutal Fireman’s carry neckbreaker from the top rope, where his knee was driven right into the neck of Tanaka. Goto pinned Tanaka in 13:26 with the Shoten Kai winning the Intercontinental Championship. Having a war like this, along with a big name like Goto holding the Intercontinental Championship, gives it more meaning than it had in the past, even if the championships are just going to be merged at some point. Yujiro challenged Goto to a match after Goto won the championship.
7. Tetsuya Niato vs. Shinsuke Nakumura
They brawled a lot on the outside and on the ramp, Nakumura worked on Niato, until Niato hit a big powerbomb which seemed to hurt the mouth of Nakumura. Niato pinned Nakumura with the star dust press in 17:38 in a hard fought match. Niato is presumably going to challenge Okada at the next big show.
8. IWGP Heavyweight Title Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada
The match felt like a big deal, even though Okada doesn’t necessarily have a superstar aura yet. Tanahashi lost a tooth early on and the camera crew did a good job on focusing on it. Tanahashi hit the high fly flow to the outside, Okada hit the tombstone piledriver, but was unable to make the cover. Okada then hit a big tombstone piledriver to the outside, which Tanahashi sold well. Tanahashi hit a high fly flow to the back of Okada and went up for a second to the stomach, but Okada got the knees up. We had an assortment of nearfalls up until Okada hit the rainmaker (short clothesline) for the win in 23:22. The crowd was absolutely stunned and rightfully so, sure Tanahashi and Okada had a good match, but putting the championship on him is a ridiculous and short sited move. Tanahashi is really over and he has proven that he is a big draw for the company, he has held the championship for a long time, but there have been no signs that he is beginning to loose his drawing power. Who knows maybe Okada’s reign can work and maybe he can draw, maybe New Japan’s houses will continue to grow, I don’t know. But, if something like the Tanahashi title reign works, why change it?
Credit to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter at F4Wonline.com/Wrestlingobserver.com for the match times.
Bits & Pieces
Vince Russo Gone!
Some may say that he was an influential part of the business, (not really) others may say that he had his place at a certain time, while others may say that Russo was the reason for the death of WCW and every negative aspect of modern day wrestling. Regardless of what you think, Vince Russo has left his position at TNA a few weeks ago, but it was only revealed to the public as well as most of the talent this week.
Russo was replaced last year by Bruce Prichard as head of TNA creative, which means that in all likely hood this won’t make a major difference to what we see on TV. What could make a difference though is the involvement of David Lagana, although Bruce Prichard, Hogan and Bischoff are obviously still the ones in charge.
Hopefully this leads to a positive change for TNA, if the product doesn’t improve then we can be sure that it is the Hogan, Bischoff and whoever else is there combo and that will obviously be a very hard problem to fix. Hopefully we see a change like we did at the start of the Storm Roode angle, because that will obviously be the best thing for TNA and the best thing for the business as a whole.
Terrible Elimination Chamber Go-Home Show
To put it in gentle terms, this was the end of the good string of Raws over the past few weeks this week’s Raw was bad. Excluding a great Triple H Michaels segment this show had no redeeming qualities, unless of course train wrecks are your thing.
Well at least they built up the chamber well right? Wrong. Nothing on this edition of Raw made me want to by the show, in fact it did just the opposite. Instead of captivating the viewer to buy the show with good matches and good promos, we had a very boring match between CM Punk and The Miz and a verbal debate of all things! The verbal debate featured all six men in the Raw chamber and honestly it had no substance, but after all how could six men in a verbal debate get me to by a pay-per view. The Miz was ribbed, as his time expired and he continued to recite his lines, but other than that nothing was very note worthy from the debate.
The Kane/Ryder/Cena/ Eve angle got far worse this week, with botched camera angles and terrible writing. Ryder looks terrible and has basically lost all of his steam, I can’t help thinking that this is just another rendition of the ECW situation. Maybe Vince just wants to get rid of those pesky Ryder chants and boy did he succeed. If the site of Ryder almost completely braced up isn’t enough to bring you to tears, just because of the pure stupidity of it all, the Cena and Eve portion surely will.
Eve and Cena now seem to be locked into a romantic relationship, after all top baby faces are always single and the former US champion is just a wimp anyway right? The show ended with a terrible segment between Cena, Kane and Ryder, where Ryder was completely emasculated by Cena. Kane said that Cena had embraced the hate, but that’s splendid, you see Kane feeds off of hate, so I guess like Popeye and his spinach, Kane will just eat the hate oozing from the pours of Cena and win the match. Kane pushed Ryder off the stage, Mick Foley said on twitter that it was a bad bump, but the stage really didn’t look that high, there were mats and Ryder was padded up.
Do you want to buy the Elimination Chamber now?
Next Week’s Issue
We have a big issue coming up next week, including the WWE Elimination Chamber in depth, Raw, All Together 2 and so much more. For more on next week’s issue head over to cubedcirclewrestling.blogspot.com.
Sunday, 12 February 2012
Cubed Circle Newsletter Issue #18: Nick Diaz: MMA's Crazy Man, A Territory System in 2012?, Top Matches of 2012 and so much more!
The Cubed Circle Newsletter
For a Full Color PDF click here
In this week’s issue we cover the crazy man know as Nick Diaz, the second RAW on the Road to WrestleMania, a possible WrestleMania 28 card and so much more! As always I welcome any feedback, either via the comments section, email or the many social networks available. And with that being said, please enjoy the issue.
Nick Diaz: MMA’s Favorite Crazy Man
We have been over it what seems like a hundred times and this will be the last time that it is said in the newsletter and this I swear. This newsletter is primarily a professional wrestling newsletter and for the most part MMA is not covered. For multiple reasons, first of all I started this newsletter strictly to cover professional wrestling and wrestling related topics and second is that I do not believe that I have sufficient knowledge of MMA judging and it’s inner workings, to be able to effectively cover it on a weekly basis.
But, it seems that I find myself covering MMA more and more every month and this can be summed up to one single, simple cause. This cause is the fact that professional wrestling is MMA and MMA is professional wrestling, if you look closely enough you will be able to see this more and more. From the way that fights are built up to the way that feuds develop and progress in a logical manner, something that wrestling seems to have forgotten for the past few years. It’s just that simple, there is no way to get around it and therefore this relationship will not be mentioned in grave detail unless something drastic takes place in either the MMA or the wrestling world that warrants it.
MMA will be covered in this newsletter from time to time, maybe not in great detail, but when I think that something is relevant to wrestling or something occurs that just makes me think about their similarities, I will include it in the newsletter without the long repetitive prologue.
Nick Diaz and George St. Pierre have been locked in a heated feud for months now, ever since GSP suffered a knee injury and Diaz cut a post fight promo after a fight with BJ Penn, saying that GSP was faking the injury. There seems to be some real heat between GSP and Diaz, which made it even more important business wise for Diaz to win the fight against Condit. But, that was not the case, Condit won the fight on a somewhat controversial judges decision and Diaz said in a post fight interview that he was going to retire.
The MMA underground fired up in an outrage and even casual MMA fans were talking about how Nick Diaz was “cheated” out of the interim championship and a match with GSP. So what was the logical thing for Dana White to do? He started preparations for a rematch, after all GSP will only be ready towards the end of the year. So regardless of whether it was right or wrong to have rematch, preparations began, with Condit being promised an above average payoff for the match. Diaz was very happy with this and even said that he would fight for nothing in a typical Nick Diaz statement. Suffice to say, the match was never booked.
Ignoring the fact that this fight wouldn’t have even been considered if Diaz won by the same exact decision, the fight was off. Rumors circulated that Diaz had failed a drug test, these rumors were correct.
Regardless of whether you think cannabis is right or wrong, on a recreational or medical basis, this was a violation of the UFC’s rules, not only that, it was a violation of the Nevada State Athletic Commission rules. Now Diaz is facing what looks like a minimum nine month suspension, which would render the rematch argument a mute point.
There are now an argument taking place, on one hand you have the people saying that it is only cannabis and therefore it shouldn’t be that big of a deal and then you have the people on the other side saying that you can’t trust Diaz and he should be fired. Both arguments are obviously very extreme, but Diaz is a very polarizing personality. Obviously bringing him back without any repercussions is out of the question, it would be a huge sign over favoritism on the UFC’s part and it would be very irresponsible. But, the people on the other side that argue that Diaz should be fired or fight on the preliminary level or also in the wrong.
The people that say that Diaz should be fired for a combination of violations and this most recent violation or arguing a very hypocritical point. They said that the UFC was displaying favoritism towards Diaz for considering a rematch, but firing him just because he is Diaz is also unfair and is biased in the opposite direction.
At the end of the day Diaz his a big draw, he is an interesting personality and he has heaps of charisma, but he is also reckless and he lacks the business smarts that fighters like Sonnen and GSP possess, so at the end of the say you have to be biased in a way. In my opinion he should be put on a one year suspension, in that time if GSP holds on to the championship then GSP could cut promos after each fight, calling out Diaz. This would build to a huge money making fight, but at the end of the day, I’m a simple wrestling fan, what do I know?
A Territory System in 2012?
If you are not aware this year marked the start of a production headed by TNA in India, entitled Ring Ka King. The show is catered to an Indian audience and is broadcast on the TV channel Colors. And the early numbers seem to say that this project is going to be a success, at least in the short term. According to the Wrestling Observer, Ring Ka King garnered a higher viewership than Raw gets across the whole world combined!
This got me thinking, what would happen if TNA or any other promotion that’s not WWE for that matter, begin to spread to other countries, with each production catering towards the market at hand. According to the success of Ring Ka King this could be a viable business model for TNA, they haven’t been able to break through the US market in a big way, but they have the backing of Panda Energy which helps them and hinders them in a way.
If TNA is able to make money from this Ring Ka King project, then what will happen if they spread to other relatively untouched territories? Can you imagine a successful promotion in China? With their huge market, a market that is even bigger than the Indian market, if they are able to break through there, then that promotion could become one of the biggest, currently.
Think about how many regions are relatively untouched by big promotions: Australia, Parts of Europe, Parts of Africa, Brazil, Argentina and China just to name a few. Even companies like New Japan under new ownership seem like they ant to spread to different regions, granted the new NJPW management seems a bit to ambitious and granted they are looking into the US market, which is obviously not untouched, but even that showcases how the global mindset seems to be taking over in some ways.
If the WWE’s business model doesn’t allow this kind of globalization, then other promotions really have an opportunity to expand in places that are seemingly out of the WWE’s reach. You have probably heard a thousand times how the territories are dead and that they could never make a resurgence, because we have the internet and a lot of the secrets of the business have been exposed to the general public. But, if promotions begin to set up shop in other countries, creating hotly contested hot spots, then maybe this will be the future of the business. Will it happen? Who knows. But, I think that you should keep a close eye on Ring Ka King and the events that follow.
Bits & Pieces
Second Raw on the Road to WrestleMania
This week’s raw was another solid show, it had more on it than last week, but it also had more flaws. They built to the Undertaker Triple H and the Jericho Punk matches nicely, but they gave away the Elimination Chamber mainevent on a free show, Miz almost murdered Truth and we had a Smackdown mainevent given away for nothing.
From what I can gather it seems that the WrestleMania match between Undertaker and Triple H will be a last man standing match, it would only make sense given the fact that the entire argument that Triple H puts up is around the fact that he walked out and Undertaker didn’t. Will this make for a better match? Probably not. The near falls a key element that made there previous match so good will be gone, but it still should be a good match.
The Punk and Jericho segment on the show was interesting, Jericho came out and finally cut a promo, saying how people such as R-Truth, The Miz and the high flyers on the roster stole his gimmicks basically. He then said that Punk was the worst offender, Punk saying that he was the best in the world was the worst insult to Jericho. So out came Punk, who was going to cut a promo, but instead walked off, Jericho was going to hit him with a cheap shot with the microphone, but hesitated. I can honestly say that this was the best thing I have seen from the WWE in months.
The mainevent was honestly a complete mess, there were botches left and right, Miz nearly killed Truth, Jericho botched the finish with his foot on the ropes, the whole match was a disaster and the worst part is that it wasn’t necessary. Why did they have to put all the combatants from the chamber in one match? Why do we need to know who comes in last and spoil the surprise? The answer is we don’t, but they did and it backfired.
Another problem was that the crowd in the arena didn’t react half as good as they were expected to. This could have been caused by the amount of footage shown on the Tron, but I doubt it. This lessened the impact of the show, however this was not the WWE’s fault.
Overall this week’s show was another solid one, although I would have wanted better. This show continued the steady build to Mania which was a plus.
Likely WrestleMania 28 Card
I have compiled a likely WrestleMania card, that could be of interest.
1. Money in the Bank Ladder Match
2. Diva’s Championship Match
Beth Phoenix vs. Kharma
3. Big Show vs. Shaq
4. World Heavyweight Championship Match
Randy Orton/ Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus
5. WWE Championship Match
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
6. Last Man Standing Match
Undertaker vs. Triple H
7. John Cena vs. The Rock
Top Matches of 2012
1. SUWAMA vs. Daisuke Sekimoto AJPW 2012/01/02 **** ¼
2. Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards ROH Final Battle 2011/12/23 **** ¼
3. La Sombra vs. Valador Jr. NJPW Fantastica Mania 2012/01/22 ****
4. Manami Toyota, Hanako Nakamori & Sawako Shimono vs. Aja Kong, Mio Shirai & Tsubasa Kuragaki Chikara JoshiMania Night 3 2011/12/04 ****
5. Ayako Hamada vs. Sara Del Rey Chikara JoshiMania Night 3 2011/12/04 ****
6. CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. The Miz TLC Match WWE TLC 2011/12/18 ****
7. Masato Tanaka vs. Tomoaki Honma NJPW 2011/12/23 ****
8. Kevin Steen vs. Steve Corino No DQ Match ROH Final Battle 2011/12/23 *** ¾
9. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki NJPW 2011/01/04 *** ¾
10. Hikaru Shida vs. Yuzuki Aikawa Bull Nakano Produce Empress 2011/01/08 *** ¾
Next Week’s Issue
Next week we will be covering, the IWGP title change, RAW, the news from the week and tons more. For more information, head over to cubedcirclewrestling.blogspot.com.
Sunday, 5 February 2012
Cubed Circle Newsletter Issue #17: Royal Ruble 2012 Review & The First RAW on the Road to WrestleMania
For a full Cover PDF click-here
The Cubed Circle Newsletter
In this week’s newsletter we cover the Royal Rumble and the first Raw on the road to WrestleMania. A 6+ page issue, as always feel free to leave feedback, either in the comment section, by email or by the many social networks available.
WWE Royal Rumble 2012 Review
Overall Show Thoughts
The Royal Rumble was a disappointing show this year, the WWE title match underwhelmed, the World Championship match wasn’t able to go very long, the Kane vs. Cena match was bad and the Royal Rumble match was fun, but lacked star power and importance. As a whole this show didn’t feel like the second biggest show of the year, the show should have featured a great WWE championship match and a good Royal Rumble, but instead we got a hollow WWE championship match and a lackluster Rumble.
The commentators failed to get the big stuff over and superstars that should have been made on the show like Ziggler, walked out far worse than they came in. The Rumble was back to 30 men this year, but had way more filler than even last year’s Rumble that featured 40 men. A show like this won’t kill business or anything, but the WWE need to have long term consistent booking, without changing their plans every minute if they want to avoid the slippery slope to fan apathy and start building stars.
1. World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry vs. Big Show
Cole started off burying Bryan who is turning heel, well done. The crowd began to chant for Bryan, he was more over than he has been in the past. Bryan attempted to escape the cage, but was immediately halted by Big Show and Henry. Henry was sandwiched against the cage as Bryan began to escape the cage. Bryan attempted to escaped the cage multiple times, each time he was halted by Henry and Big Show. Bryan was man handled by the Big Show, up until the point were he punched the cage and began to sell the hand. Bryan got in some offense, landing a drop kick to the leg of the Big Show and kicking Henry and then getting Big Show to the grown. Bryan almost escaped through the door, but he was pulled back by Henry. Big Show began to pick Bryan apart, but Bryan kept firing up. Henry, who was injured, began to work on Bryan as the crowd chanted Sexual Chocolate. Big Show went for the big right hand, but Bryan hit a DDT and locked in the LeBell Lock, but it was broken up by Henry. Big Show hit the big right hand on Henry, but Bryan broke it up and started to scale the cage. Big Show went after him, once Bryan made it to the top show caught him, Show held onto Bryan who was hanging from the top of the cage. Bryan fought back and was dropped by the Big Show to retain the World Heavyweight Championship in 9:01. The last spot of the match was anticlimactic, I don’t think that anyone thought that Bryan was going to escape at that point and expected the Big Show to pull him back in. The match didn’t go long, which was probably due to Henry’s knee injury. The match didn’t do much for Bryan, as he still looks like a fluke champion.
We had a commercial for Elimination Chamber, Sheamus narrated it. We then had the first of two promos for the Rock and Cena match, the first was for Cena and was obviously an attempt to make Cena out to be the face. Sure it made him look like a good guy, but nothing short of having Cena rescue orphans from a burning orphanage that the Rock set fire to, will change the reaction of the crowd in Miami.
2. The Bella Twins, Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs. Kelly Kelly, Eve, Tamina & Alicia Fox
The heels worked on Eve, Cole said that the Bellas reminded him of Harlem Heat in the day, Booker responded with a simple “no” which was pretty funny. Fox was tagged in and was worked on by Bella, seems that the only way Fox knows how to sell, is to scream. All the women in the match were on the outside which set up a big splash by Kelly onto all of them. Phoenix forcefully tagged and pinned Kelly with the Glamslam in 5:27. It was a five minute Diva’s match, it was what you would expect. After watching JoshiMania and the Bull Nakano Retirement show, this just felt like an insult.
They showed a few clips from the Kane/ Cena/ Ryder/ Eve segments on Raw from this past week. They then cut to Ryder who was backstage in a wheelchair, who was back a week after having his back broken. He bumped into Laurinaitis who welcomed Ryder to the Rumble and informed him of his luxury dressing room and that if he needed anything all he had to do was ask. Eve came up to Laurinaitis and said that he had done enough, she also said that he was pompous and vindictive and she hopes that he will be fired on Raw. Laurinaitis then walked and said that’s gratitude for ya in an awesome nonchalant manner
3. John Cena vs. Kane
The crowd dual chanted “lets go Cena” and “Cena sucks” which had it’s place given the content of the Cena Kane feud. Kane was Irishwhipped knee first into the steps, Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Kane fell onto the back of Cena. Kane worked on the jaw and mouth of Cena, the crowd was really behind Kane and against Cena at this point. Kane worked on Cena, they exchanged strikes, but Cena is knocked down, this sequence was repeated multiple times. Kane went for the claw once again, but Cena powered out. Cena countered the claw into the STF, but Kane powered out of it and went to the top rope, were he hit the clothes line and singled for the chokeslam. But, Cena ducked and began to land shoulder blocks, he signaled for the five knuckle shuffle, but Kane grabbed the throat of Cena and hit a big boot. I wonder why no one has tried this before, while they were lying in the middle of the ring frozen waiting for Cena to hit his move. Kane had Cena up for the superplex, but Cena countered and hit the five knuckle shuffle from the top rope. Cena got Kane up for the Attitude Adjustment, Kane countered, both men then went to the outside and began to brawl. They were counted out at 10:56. They brawled backstage, Cena was hit in the back with a chair, Kane kicked open a door to expose Ryder in the wheelchair. Kane clawed Ryder in the wheelchair, he passed out in about five seconds, this felt like a really bad horror movie. Kane wheeled Ryder into the arena and rolled him into the ring, Eve came out and begged Kane to spare her boyfriend. But, Kane tombstoned Ryder in front of Eve, he then turned to Eve, who obviously can’t run through the ropes and has to cower in the ring. Out came Cena, he was chokeslammed, Eve was still in the corner, cowering, is there a force field between the ropes? Kane then stared at Eve and left. The match alone, went longer then the opening match for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, which is preposterous. To put it bluntly, this feud sucks!
We had a new B.A. Star commercial, which was really well placed, since it was shown just after Kane killed a man in a wheelchair, go WWE you are good people. They then showed the Rock promo for WrestleMania, it made him look like a huge star, he talked about his debut, tweeting and his heritage. They showed clips of him working out and him visiting his grandparents grave site which actually made him look just as good as Cena if not better.
4. Brodus Clay vs. Drew McIntyre
I’m sorry isn’t McIntyre supposed to be gone? McIntyre shouted “he’s mocking my business!” understandable. McIntyre got some offense in, but Clay jiggled up and hit him with the What the Funk (crossbody) for the win in 1:04. I feel bad for McIntyre.
We had a pretty nonsensical cheesy promo for Monday’s Raw, where Laurinaitis’s future as RAW GM will be decided.
5. WWE Championship Match
CM Punk vs. Dolf Ziggler with John Laurinaitis as special guest referee
Laurinaitis came out and said that he would officiate the match from the outside and that there would be a WWE official in the ring. Laurinaitis removed Guerrero from ringside, which got a decent pop from the crowd. Cole botched a line and asked Booker if he had a problem with Laurinaitis in WCW, because he was a better worker than booker, Lawler asked what? Cole replied “a better wrestler.”. Punk went for the anaconda vice after both men went back and forth for a few minutes, but Ziggler made it to the ropes. Punk landed a topé suicida to the outside, Punk went to the top rope, he was pulled off by Ziggler and landed on the ropes instead of in the ring. Ziggler delivered a flurry of elbow drops on the mat, Booker then said that if Laurinaitis stays too long he might kill the business! The commentary in this company. Ziggler went for the fameasser, Punk countered into the sitout powerbomb for two. Punk hit the knee in the corner and the bulldog and signaled for the GTS, Ziggler countered it into a catapult into the turnbuckle. Punk got the cross body on Ziggler, but Ziggler rolled through, they exchanged strikes up until Punk landed a big kick on Ziggler. Punk was going to the top rope and hit a Savage elbow, there was a ref bump, Punk locked in the anaconda vice, Ziggler tapped but Laurinaitis was distracted with the injured referee. Ziggler came from behind and got a roll up on Punk, Punk countered into a rollup of his own and got the three count but Laurinaitis was still distracted with the referee. Punk got Ziggler up for the GTS, the leg of Ziggler hit Laurinaitis, the referee was still down. Punk was angry and shouted “the next one’s for you clown shoes!”. Punk got Ziggler up for the GTS once again, but Ziggler countered it into the fameasser for two. Ziggler went for a second fameasser, but Punk countered it into a catapult and hit the GTS for the win in 14:30 with Laurinaitis and the referee counting in unison. This match made Ziggler look like a complete and utter geek, he was practically beaten three times clean, he never got any near falls in and the match only went fifteen minutes, which is shorter than the whole Kane and Cena segment. Ziggler deserved better, he is as close to the whole package as they are going to get for a while, so they should be protecting him. Overall the match was very underwhelming, it felt like a teaser and we got some pure match in there, but it was mostly one big angle which is a shame, given how good the match could have been.
They showed a commercial for the WWE YouTube channel, which will feature exclusive content and web series, the Network light I guess. We had the first real WrestleMania 28 commercial, I can already tell that the theme is going to get on my nerves.
Miz came out and cut a promo, saying that everyone was snickering at him backstage, he said that they think that he is afraid of being number one in the Rumble, but he said that those were the same people that said he wouldn’t mainevent WrestleMania or become WWE champion. He said that he will prove them wrong and he will be the last man standing and the winner of the Royal Rumble, because he is the Miz and he’s awesome.
6. The Royal Rumble Match
This year’s Rumble was very uneventful, don’t get me wrong it was fun, but that’s about it. There was no starpower, they swerved us at the end and they didn’t manage to get much out of it going forward. The Miz lasted the longest, but was barley even acknowledged by the commentators who were to busy arguing over who lasted the longest between the three of them. There was no surprise entrant in the Rumble, sure there was the whole” anyone is eligible gimmick”, but that made no difference to the Rumble, given the fact that it was pretty much that way in past Rumbles. There were surprises, but the surprises were at the level of Road Dogg, Duggan, Ricardo and the three commentators. There was no real point in having Jericho come out even at 28 since they killed the thought of a return match, sure Sheamus eliminated him to win the Rumble, but who’s going remember that in a year or two? There were a lot of comedy spots in this year’s Rumble, some good some bad, there was a Mr. Socko vs. Cobra face off and Ricardo coming out in a broken down car. There was also the commentators who took up three spots and a lot of time, it would have been fine if it didn’t stop them from getting a lot of important stuff over, which they outright failed to do. The problem that the WWE has at the moment in regards to lack of starpower was fully showcased here with people like Jey Uso and Hunico having to fill slots, in spite of people like Foley, Road Dogg, Jim Duggan, Ricardo Rodriguez and the commentators entering the Rumble. One person that I was happy to see return was Kharma, who will undoubtedly bring much needed aid to the Diva’s division, although her gimmick may have been killed by her emotional farewell address. The one spot that this match will be remembered for will undoubtedly be the spot were Kofi Kingston did a hand stand all the way to the steps, it may not have been as spectacular as Morrison’s spot last year, but it was still a sight to behold. Another problem I had with this year’s Rumble was the fact that not only did guys like Miz, Ziggler and Rhodes not get put over, but they actually looked worse going out especially Ziggler. Jericho came out at number 28 and the lights went out, which I thought was pretty cool during the Rumble, but the gimmick was killed, but they seem to be moving it to the next level. The big surprise at number 30 was the Big Show, which felt like an anti-climax. The final four was made up of Jericho, Big Show, Orton and Sheamus. Big Show was eliminated by Orton and Orton was eliminated by Jericho, making Jericho and Sheamus the final two. Everyone was ready for Jericho to win, he skinned the cat twice, but he was Brogue kicked out of the ring, leaving Sheamus as the winner of the 2012 Royal Rumble, in an anti-climax. I doubt that people were upset or angry, but this just seems to leave people apathetic towards the Rumble and Sheamus. This year’s Rumble had arguably more filler than last year’s Rumble, which had 40 men and that is a bad sign. Granted Mysterio, Sin Cara, Christian and Alberto Del Rio have all been put on the shelf, but even that doesn’t seem like a valid excuse. Overall the Rumble was fun to a point, but failed to deliver the big match atmosphere and sense of grandeur that some of the past Rumbles have offered, not only that but the finish, seems to leave many people apathetic towards the winner and the Rumble itself, which suffice to say is not what the Rumble is about.
Royal Rumble Entrant Order
1. The Miz
2 Alex Reilly (Returning)
4. Cody Rhodes
5. Justin Gabriel
7. Mick Foley (Returning)
8. Ricardo Rodriguez
9. Santino Marella
11. Kofi Kingston
12. Jerry Lawler (Returning)
13. Ezekiel Jackson
14. Jinder Mahal
15. The Great Khali
17. Booker T
18. Dolph Ziggler
19. Hacksaw Jim Duggan (Returning)
20. Michael Cole (Returning)
21. Kharma (Returning)
23. Road Dogg (Returning)
24. Jey Uso
25. Jack Swagger
26. Wade Barrett
27. David Otunga
28. Randy Orton
29. Chris Jericho
30. Big Show
Royal Rumble Eliminations
1. Alex Reilly (The Miz)
2. R-Truth (The Miz)
3. Primo (Mick Foley)
4. Justin Gabriel (Mick Foley, Ricardo Rodriguez)
5. Ricardo Rodriguez (Santino Marella)
6. Epico (Mick Foley)
7. Santino Marella (Cody Rhodes)
8. Mick Foley (Cody Rhodes)
9. Jerry Lawler (Cody Rhodes)
10. Jinder Mahal (The Great Khali)
11. Ezekiel Jackson (The Great Khali)
12. Hacksaw Jim Duggan (Cody Rhodes)
13. Booker T (Cody Rhodes, Great Khali, Dolf Ziggler)
14. Great Khali (Cody Rhodes, Dolf Ziggler)
15. Michael Cole (Jerry Lawler, Booker T)
16. Hunico (Kharma)
17. Dolf Ziggler (Kharma)
18. Kofi Kingston (Sheamus)
19. Road Dogg (Wade Barrett)
20. Jey Uso (Randy Orton)
21. Wade Barrett (Randy Orton)
22. David Otunga (Chris Jericho)
23. Jack Swagger (Sheamus)
24. Cody Rhodes (Big Show)
25. The Miz (Big Show)
26. Dolf Ziggler (Big Show)
27. Big Show (Randy Orton)
28. Randy Orton (Chris Jericho)
29. Chris Jericho (Sheamus)
Bits & Pieces
First RAW on The Road to WrestleMania
This week’s Raw was the best in months, by far. Not only did it progress the Jericho angle nicely, but it also featured two very good television matches. Orton and Ziggler had a very good match, that probably didn’t do anything for Ziggler or Orton, but it made for good TV. The Orton Ziggler match was followed by the highlight of the show, a match between Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, the match was pretty authentic to ROH with both men even shaking hands before the match. They went at it until the Jericho run in, when Jericho attacked Bryan causing Punk to be disqualified.
Of course everything wasn’t all good, the Laurinaitis firing with Triple H dragged and when the Undertaker finally arrived and confronted Triple H the crowd didn’t react to it a fraction as well as they did last year. This may be due to the way that Triple H has been portrayed on TV, his match with Punk or even the fact that Taker came in while Triple H was taking part in that wacky Laurinaitis segment, regardless this is something that they are going to have to make matter.
Another thing that I wasn’t too happy about was the fact that Sheamus was barely featured on the show, which was a bad move, given the fact that he is the 2012 Royal Rumble winner. Treating the Royal Rumble winner as a simple after thought will devalue the Rumble very quickly, so next week I would like to see Sheamus featured far more.
Overall this was the best Raw in months and the ratings showed this, with this week’s Raw receiving one of the best ratings in months, although this could just be put down to the fact that it was the post Rumble Raw. Unfortunately the viewership dropped slightly during the second half of Raw which has become a trend. Hopefully the WWE can improve on this and continue to produce good weekly TV.
Next Week’s Issue
Next week we cover the purchase of New Japan, Raw, the news of the week and more! For more information head over to Cubedcirclewrestling.blogspot.com.