Canton's Corner: The Wrestling Week in Review – January 21

Canton’s Corner: The Wrestling Week in Review – January 21
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport

Welcome to Canton’s Corner. I have some news that will likely interest you, the reader. Starting February 1st, I will be posting recaps of all 27 WWE WrestleMania events. They will feature recaps of all the matches and segments, plus analysis as well as star ratings. I’ll also give the show a grade, list the stars of the show and add whatever other tidbits I can. I’m excited about writing it as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve already written the first three. The last one will be posted one week before this year’s WrestleMania 28 event. They will be exclusive to thejohnreport.net, except for a select few that I will post at other sites as well. Basically what this means is in February & March you’ll get a lot of my writing. With that out of the way, let’s get rolling with this week’s column.

Last Week’s Poll Results
The poll question was: Who do you think will win the Royal Rumble? The results after 3,200 plus votes, which might be the most votes for any of these polls, are:

Chris Jericho — 53.19%
Randy Orton — 14.78%
Brock Lesnar — 4.78%
Sheamus — 4.63%
Wade Barrett — 4.34%
Dolph Ziggler — 3.25%
Cody Rhodes — 3.22%
Brodus Clay — 2.44%

There were others listed, but nobody else got more than 2% of the vote. I thought it would be a two horse race with Jericho and Orton although I thought it would be closer than that. I am surprised that Brock Lesnar got the third most votes. I think the four favorites are Jericho, Orton, Sheamus & Barrett. If somebody else wins I’d be surprised.

Let’s look at some of the names put in there by people that voted for “other” in this poll: Your mom, PN News, Naked Mideon, Savio Vega, Chuck Norris, Snooki, Not me, Drew Carey, Zack’s tire iron, Mantaur Repo Man and Disco Stu. Great picks aside from Snooki. That’s just wrong.

This Week’s Poll Question: Are you a fan of Brodus Clay’s “Funkasaurus” character?
We’ve seen the new Brodus Clay gimmick for a couple of weeks now. Are you a fan?

It’s a resounding yes from me. I’m wondering what the masses think.

I wrote about Raw live on Monday, so here are some more thoughts.

Evan Bourne suspended for 60 days
The news of Evan Bourne’s suspension is disappointing. It’s his second failed drug test in the past three months and if he fails one more time he’ll be fired. He could get fired before he ever gets tested again although I haven’t heard that WWE has an interest in doing that. I’ve always liked the guy, even when I saw him during the days when he performed as Matt Sydal in ROH. He improved once he got to WWE. He stood out from the pack with his high flying performance. No, the high was not a synthetic marijuana joke although it’s a shame that a lot of people are going to associate that drug with him more than his actual talent. It was his own doing. You have a choice. He should know what’s allowed and what isn’t. Now Kofi Kingston is without a tag team partner. I had somebody suggest that they could put Justin Gabriel in the spot and the team likely wouldn’t miss a beat. It’s not a bad idea because he has a lot of the same traits of Bourne, but I don’t see that happening. The Air Boom team worked. It got over.

The interim Raw GM shows some fire
There were a lot of good promos on Raw. I personally enjoyed the performance of Mr. John Laurinaitis, who finally let loose with some heelish behavior. For months they booked him as a heel without being over the top about it. Now they’ve taken that next step with him. Seeing him explode verbally on Mick Foley was great, especially when he admitted that he would screw CM Punk out of the WWE Title. Then, to end the show a furious JL decked Foley with a microphone shot to the head. It drew a good reaction from the crowd because you could sense those feelings were coming from Laurinaitis for a long time. I’d imagine this leads to something at the PPV where Mick Foley prevents the screwjob from happening. That closing segment did a tremendous job of building up the Punk/Ziggler match due to all the possibilities of what the finish may be.

Why the US Title change?
I don’t understand the reasoning behind the idea to put the US Title on Jack Swagger. Zack Ryder won the title from Dolph Ziggler at TLC. A month later he dropped it clean to Swagger. Obviously they did it as a way to make John Cena feel bad because his little buddy got beat up by the evil Kane. Why do a title change, though? It could have been non-title. Ziggler had a really good run with the title to help establish it as a big deal. Now it’s back to where it was before as an unimportant piece of gold that can change hands at the snap of a finger. I wouldn’t be shocked if Ryder got it back in a month or two, but I’m still going to question to do the change in the first place.

– Like I wrote on Monday, Cena was fantastic in his destruction of Swagger. If he ever turns heel, I have no doubt he’d be effective in that role. He can be a legit badass if they ever booked him that way.

A few likes and dislikes from this week’s Smackdown.

LIKE – The continued excellence of Daniel Bryan
I mentioned a lot of the things I liked about DBry last week. This week he might have been even better. One of the harder promos in wrestling is when you have to go out there by yourself, gauge the reactions of the audience and try to get your point across. Bryan did that very well at the start of the show. There was also this gem of a line during his speech when talking about his injured girlfriend AJ: “She said she loves me. And I have a great admiration for her as well.” Awesome heel move. Absolutely perfect. When he makes his entrance to the ring, I like how he constantly yells “WORLD CHAMPION” just to annoy people too. Little things like that can make a heel great and DBry is at that level right now.

The Lumberjack match against Mark Henry was okay. Obviously they did the smart thing by not having a clear decision for the finish because it sets up the Royal Rumble match well. The match got thrown out after the lumberjacks started a brawl inside the ring. What made it work for me was when the announcers were questioning why Daniel Bryan was walking away from it. Some may look at him as a coward. Others may look at him as smart. I like the way he’s been booked.

The other DBry related thing that I like is the announced triple threat match at the Royal Rumble between Bryan, Mark Henry & Big Show. That’s what I expected. What I didn’t expect was the cage match stipulation. I’d assume that is done so Bryan can retain the title in a crafty way, possibly by climbing out while the other two are in some kind of battle. It’s a way or Bryan to retain the title without likely pinning either guy. Usually I’d complain about that, but I’m okay with it considering the opponents.

DISLIKE – Too much Teddy Long
There was way too much of Teddy Long on this show. I did notice that Michael Cole was complaining about him even more than usual this week, questioning why he’s had his job as long as he has. When you throw in the angle with Aksana plus the deal with Drew McIntyre, perhaps they are leading up to an angle that would remove him as the Smackdown GM. I hope so. It’s not that Teddy Long is a bad performer. It’s just that he’s an overexposed character that doesn’t offer much aside from his lame “holla holla holla” line as well as booking too many tag matches. I don’t understand how somebody as talented as Jim Ross has been pushed aside constantly despite being the best person ever at his job while somebody like Long is still on television in the same role for such a long time. Maybe he’s got dirt on Vinny Mac? You never know! They should put William Regal in the GM role. He’s too good not to be a regular character.

By the way, Mark Henry telling Long to spin the wheel himself was great. I can’t believe I’m enjoying Mark Henry as much as I am of late. Who would have thought?

LIKE – Wade Barrett over Sheamus
It was a tables match. I don’t generally like those kinds of matches, but they did a good job with the gimmick. With that said, I’m a little disappointed that Jinder the Jobber Mahal was the reason for Sheamus losing because that story should have ended a while back. I guess the reason it was done is so that Sheamus could save face and still look like a badass as he put Mahal through the table after the match was done. Barrett winning was a good decision, though. It gives him more momentum going into the Rumble, which will have Randy Orton making a return.

DISLIKE – That damn roulette wheel
I’m tired of that roulette wheel every time they are in Vegas. My Facebook friend Kaliq Harris, from Las Vegas, summed it up pretty well: “It’s so annoying that when WWE comes to Las Vegas the theme is always spin the wheel. This is a billion dollar company, where is the creativity?” I agree. They must love that wheel huh? Every time they do TV in Vegas they bring that wheel out. I bet the fans there are sick of it. I should add here that Las Vegas is my favorite city that I’ve ever been to. The best.

LIKE – The dance off with Brodus Clay, William Regal & Vickie Guerrero
You know how WWE can have some really bad comedy segments? They are far too common, sadly. Once in a while there’s a gem of a comedy segment and that’s what this one was. Brodus Clay did his elaborate dancing and then we found out that Vickie Guerrero was his opponent for it. What did she do? The “Elaine” dance from Seinfeld. Cracked me up. Brodus ended up winning, then William Regal came out for the random save of the “buxom wench” Vickie. He went on to do a ridiculous dance of his own. Brodus ended up hitting his “Ah Funk It” finisher (terrible name by the way) to end the segment. It was pretty funny, though. My early thoughts on the Funkasauras? It’s a fun gimmick. I like it.

DISLIKE – Ted Dibiase over Hunico in a flag match
A flag match? In 2012? Silly. I don’t think the wrestling business is clamoring for flag matches. I’m not sure what they’re doing with Dibiase either. His feud with Jinder Mahal went nowhere. This feud is happening because Hunico is jealous of Dibiase’s parties with the fans. Weak.

Other thoughts:

– I always write about how talented I think Tyson Kidd is, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t share this article. In it Kidd mentions possibly forming a tag team with somebody like Justin Gabriel or Trent Baretta. I’d be all for it, especially with Baretta. They could be an exciting babyface tag team in the same mold as the Rockers or Hardy Boys. The tag division needs more depth. These guys have talent. It would be wise to pair some of them up.

– I liked the tag team match featuring Epico & Primo vs. the Usos. More tag teams are a good thing.

– Cody Rhodes continues to impress. I don’t think the Gabriel match will lead to a feud. That was more of a one time thing so that Cody could get a win.

I forgot about the Twitter Ten for this column. I’ll do it in the Raw Deal on Tuesday.

Some likes and dislikes regarding TNA’s Impact Wrestling.

LIKE – Alex Shelley confronts Austin Aries about the X Division Title
Finally they use Alex Shelley again. It’s about time. He’s been one of my favorite performers in TNA for many years now. After the monthly “Aries beats everybody” promo, it was finally Shelley’s turn to answer the call. They’re both good talkers and workers, so it should be a hell of a match when they likely meet at the Against All Odds PPV next month.

DISLIKE – Too much Garett Bischoff
I don’t know what it is, but I’m tired of this “kid” already. Maybe it’s because his dad comes across as such a douchebag on camera, on Facebook, on Twitter and everywhere else. I just don’t care about seeing Bischoff’s son going from referee to wrestler to the point that they need to stick it down our throats with videos of him training. There’s no it factor with him. He’s just another guy…with a dad that is the executive producer of the show. I guess time will tell as far as GB is concerned.

LIKE – Mickie James over Madison Rayne in a cage match
They put this match at the top of hour two, they gave them a decent amount of time and holy crap they actually booked a Knockouts match with a clean finish. That’s rare. I’m pretty sure Mickie’s record over Madison is about 10-2 in televised matches in the last year, so it doesn’t add much. Still, it was a very solid match where they used the cage a little bit too. That DDT by Mickie on Madison looked painful too. I’d imagine she was pretty sore after taking that one.

DISLIKE – AJ Styles is just another guy
Is his contract up soon? Can he leave this company please? It’s ridiculous that AJ Styles is just another guy in TNA these days. With their ten year anniversary coming up this summer, how can you not use your “franchise” guy better? He was in the World Title feud with Roode, but nobody believed he was going to win that. AJ is booked to be such an idiot that has to deal with people turning on him every three or four months. I just want him in a better angle, that’s all. For the record I don’t believe his contract is up soon or that he wants to leave. I was just throwing it out there because I’d love to see him get a shot in WWE.

LIKE – Jeff Hardy vs. James Storm
This was a number one contenders match. No finish. They had a really nice match before the ending. It was a very good babyface match that was given a decent amount of time to tell a story. The match ended after Bully Ray attacked both guys as well as the referee. Then the old man in the shades, Sting, took care of the big bad bully, which allowed Robert Roode to attack both guys with belt shots. I guess the idea is that since nobody won, nobody gets a title shot. Of course this is wrestling, so what it really means is that both guys will likely get a title shot, which will make it a triple threat match at Against All Odds. Both guys deserve the title, quite frankly. They’ve actually created something good here.

DISLIKE – Weird booking in the tag team division
The team of Crimson & Morgan beat the team of Joe & Magnus at the PPV. Then Crimson beat Magnus in one minute here because Crimson has the undefeated streak that leads to absolutely nothing. Remember his brief story with Kurt Angle that killed his momentum? Now he’s a tag wrestler. I understand why. You could see how green he is at times. If that’s the case why book him as an unbeatable wrestler? The story here is despite losing at the PPV as well as in this match, Joe & Magnus beat them down two weeks in a row. Here’s to hoping their match at the next PPV isn’t as boring as the last one was.

One final point not about this week’s show. I definitely like the idea of taping Impact episodes in England next week. They are doing two episodes at the Saturday event in London’s Wembley Arena. There will likely be over 8,000 fans there, which would make it the largest crowd for an Impact event on television or PPV. I’m surprised it took them this many years to figure out that taping over there would be a good idea, but that’s the genius of TNA for you. They should do two or three tapings there. Not just one. Their signature PPV event Bound For Glory drew like 1,500 paid customers. It was so bad that the company chose to not fly in other talents not part of the event. If you can get 8,000 people to show up in England why not do more tapings there? You can actually make money off ticket sales. Use that.

Random Clip of the Week
It’s Royal Rumble season. I had to go with a Rumble related video. Here’s one that shows the final elimination of every Royal Rumble match. As a fan of the match concept, it’s pretty cool to see it put together in a nine minute video package.

The Flair win is the best of the bunch while the Undertaker/Michaels sequence is the best final two part ever.

Melo Out with Steve Melo

The wait is over. It’s another edition of the Melo Out! Thankfully, RAW this past Monday night was much better than the previous week’s episode. For one, I didn’t pass out and have to watch the repeat so that is always a good thing when you make it through the entire show. But I don’t want to talk about RAW or Smackdown, I want to talk about a certain rumour that has been floating around the internet as of late.

Multiple website are saying, claiming (and as far as I am concerned, wishing) that Chris Jericho is going to win the 2012 Royal Rumble. Most of you probably already know that. But in case you don’t know, there has been plenty of talk as to how will he actually win. The theory that I first read on Arda Ocal’s blog and different variations of it since is simple.

“#29 enters the Rumble. What happens next doesn’t matter, just the result. Everyone who is in the ring is eliminated… EVERYONE. The last two find a way to eliminate each other. The ring is completely empty for a period of time until the countdown begins for #30. Lights go out, we see the blinking jacket, and there is Chris Jericho, who, smiling, steps foot in the squared circle and the bell rings, signalling the end of the Rumble. Cue the over-pandering to the crowd, the cheers, the running around slapping hands. How audacious would it be for Chris Jericho to win the 2012 Royal Rumble without lifting a single finger to do it?” – Arda Ocal

My answer? Amazingly audacious. The only problem I have with this is that now I have read it and played the scenario in my head more times than I care to count, I don’t want to see the rumble end any other way. This is exactly how I want it to end. It has never….EVVVVVEEEEERRRRR been done before. The fact that it would intentionally piss some people is great because it’s not like it is crappy booking. It’s great booking building towards another rumoured feud with CM Punk at Wrestlemania 28. It’s no secret that I wasn’t a fan of his return debut as I thought my idea would have still been better (since he didn’t talk regardless), but I gave this a chance and I am liking where it may be going. The only problem is that I love that idea so much that I may just be unintentionally setting myself up for unnecessary disappointment should the Rumble end differently. I would imagine Orton, Barrett, Sheamus and Jericho are the final four. We shall see. The rumble is always my favourite match of any pay per view to watch so either way I am very much looking forward to it.

Until next week, sit back, relax and melo out, because that is what wrestling & the rumble is all about.

Steve “The Melo Man” Melo
Facebook: MeloOutTJR
Twitter: @MeloOutTJR

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That’s a wrap for this week. I’ll be back on Tuesday with the Raw Deal and next weekend with the Royal Rumble preview. No Canton’s Corner column when there are WWE PPVs. Then on February 1 the first WrestleMania recap goes up.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton – john@thejohnreport.net
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