Canton’s Corner: Raw House Show, SD, TNA PPV, 9/11 – September 10
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
Welcome to Canton’s Corner. This week I’ll be writing about my Raw house show experience from Saturday, this Friday’s Smackdown and for TNA I’ll write about Sunday’s No Surrender PPV. I’ll also have some thoughts on the anniversary of 09/11 and how it affected those of us that watch WWE programming on a regular basis. I did the Raw Deal on Tuesday like I do every week plus my 20 WWE Ideas column on Wednesday. I really enjoyed writing that one. I got a ridiculous amount of feedback that I’m still replying to as best I can. If you emailed me and I haven’t written back don’t worry I will do so in the next day or two. Let’s get started with the polls.
Last Week’s Poll Results
The poll question was: Should the WWE unify the WWE Title & the World Heavyweight Title?
The result shows 51.5% saying yes and 48.5% saying no. That’s after 2,500 votes too.
I had an idea that it would be close, but it ended up being closer than I even thought. I voted no because like I said last week they need it to separate the brands and to have proper main events on the house show circuit, which is important.
This Week’s Poll Question: Will Mark Henry be the World Champion?
I think most people would agree with me that Mark Henry is on the best roll of his career at the moment. He is drawing massive heel heat, he is being booked ridiculously strong and there are some that think he will be the next World Heavyweight Champion on Smackdown. You have three choices. Happy voting.
I went with no. I don’t think they’ll do it although I’ve been very impressed with his work over the past few months.
Let’s move on to the weekly shows.
I wrote the Raw Deal already this week, so check that out here if you missed it. I was at the WWE Raw house show at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario tonight (September 10). Took my nephew (he’s 12) for his second WWE live experience and niece (she’s 10) for her first. We sat in the third row above the floor level, so it was perfect. It’s not a smart idea to sit on the floor with kids because it’s hard for them to see, but if you sit in the main seats in the arena it’s much easier to see.
I’d guess the attendance at 3,500 people with the upper level tarped off. I can remember about 8,000 at a house show in the summer of 2002 in the same building. Times have changed. The crowd was very loud. Lots of kids with Cena shirts being the biggest seller by far while CM Punk shirts did okay too. Punk was not advertised for the show, which upset a lot of people.
Justin Roberts welcomed us to the show. It started right at 7:30pm.
1. Dolph Ziggler over John Morrison
This was one of the best matches of the night. Crowd was hot for Morrison while Ziggler drew good heel heat. They had a competitive match for about 12 minutes with a lot of nearfalls. Ziggler won clean with the Zig Zag.
2. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks over Primo & Yoshi Tatsu
Pre-match we got a promo from Hawkins & Reks saying they’re underappreciated. Yoshi’s got the face paint and he’s a lot more serious now. Most people didn’t know any of them. Basic house show tag. Powerslam/neckbreaker combo for the finish.
3. Zack Ryder over Drew McIntyre
Big pop for Ryder, who appeared to be more over with this crowd than he is on TV most of the time. McIntyre’s music didn’t draw any kind of reaction. He did work hard to generate hate. Ryder won with the Rough Ryder.
Before the next match, R-Truth and The Miz cut promos. Truth told us he wasn’t Wayne Gretzky. The Great One has been retired for over a decade, yet he’s still the biggest babyface in Canada. We love our hockey. They did a great job of angering the crowd, even mixing some comedy in by teasing their catchphrases several times. It was a lot of fun.
4. Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston over The Miz & R-Truth
This is the other match that was a contender for match of the night. The heels worked over Bourne early and then they worked over Kingston. I’d expect an even better match at the PPV assuming they get more than the 13 minutes they got here. Bourne won with the SSP, which is the best looking move in all of WWE especially when you’re there live.
Naomi, along with her well shaped booty, hosted the audience dance contest. The winner got to go backstage. The four contestants were a dude in a Ryder shirt, an attractive woman, another woman and young kid in full Cena gear. The kid won. Shocking huh?
They had a short intermission here. It was about ten minutes long.
5. Kelly Kelly & Eve over The Bellas
This is the same boring match we’ve seen on Raw many times. Kelly got a big pop. The others barely got a reaction. The heels worked on Eve. Eve’s dropkick is even worse in person. Kelly hit about three moves before hitting the K2 COME ON~! for the win.
Jack Swagger came out to cut a promo. It was an anti-Canada promo. I think it’s written in the contract of wrestling shows to cut an anti-Canada promo every time they are in Canada. Who answers his open challenge? The Welsh born Mason Ryan. I guess there aren’t Canadians on Raw. They seem to be on Smackdown.
6. Mason Ryan over Jack Swagger
Swagger ran away for much of it. He was working his ass off to help Ryan get over. Eventually Mason got his hands on him. He won with the Pumphandle Slam. I’ve always been high on Swagger. He’s even better live.
Justin Roberts introduced Ricardo Rodriguez. He brought out Alberto Del Rio. Funny bit before the match as Ricardo held a “John Cena rocks” sign while Del Rio held a sign in support of him. Every time Del Rio held up the sign they cheered while they cheered when Ricardo held up the sign. Then Del Rio ripped up the sign in support of Cena.
7. John Cena over Alberto Del Rio via DQ
Massive pop for Cena. I’d say the crowd was 90% in support of him. Del Rio ran away a lot at the beginning, but then he took control. Referee Scott Armstrong threw Rodriguez out early after he got caught tripping Cena. Del Rio did a nice job of working over Cena. Towards the end, Cena hit all of his usual moves in making the comeback, much to the delight of the crowd. They did a spot where they bump into Armstrong, who tumbled to the floor. Cena put Del Rio in the STF, the champ tapped, but there was no ref to see it. Rodriguez came back out, he attacked Cena in the ribs with a chair and Armstrong recovered enough to disqualify Del Rio. Post match, Rodriguez got hit with a chair while Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Del Rio. That ended the show.
The show started at 7:30pm. It ended right at 10pm. It was a good atmosphere, very kid friendly and everybody worked hard. No complaints here.
Biggest pops: Cena, Bourne/Kofi, Morrison
Biggest heat: Miz/Truth, Del Rio, Swagger
The worst fans to sit near? Teenage girls. I think I’m deaf.
I’ll be at Smackdown on Tuesday too. The Edge Appreciation night should mean a very hot crowd in Toronto.
This isn’t a full recap of the show. My fellow TJR writer Christian Michael covered it here as always. What I’ll do is offer up some quick takes using the LIKE/DISLIKE format.
LIKE – Mark Henry is booked like a true superstar heel
If you want an example of what good booking can do for a performer look at the transformation of Mark Henry into the killer heel that he is now. He destroyed Zack Ryder early in the show. He beat Ezekiel Jackson clean. Then he dominated Randy Orton at the end of the show, which he ended by sitting over top of him with a steel chair across Orton’s throat. He’s performing very well as a bully.
DISLIKE – The World Champ vs. The IC Champ means nothing
It’s under dislike although truthfully I didn’t hate it. More like I didn’t like it that much. It’s complicated haha. I wrote about this in the Twenty Ideas column too. They throw these matches out there as if they are regular TV matches. It did not have any kind of special quality to it. They also worked a slow pace that didn’t make it seem like any kind of special match. I thought this would be a PPV main event this year at this point. Now I wonder if that would be a good idea.
LIKE – A feud between Christian & Sheamus
This could be great. It started on Raw and it got furthered on Smackdown. Christian’s the chickenshit heel while Sheamus is the badass babyface. It’s the perfect contrast. Throw in the fact that Christian’s one of the best workers while Sheamus is very good for a big guy and you have the makings of an outstanding feud. I’m hoping they have a match this week on Smackdown, which then leads to a PPV showdown.
DISLIKE – Jinder Mahal & The Great Khali breaking up already
It feels rushed. I’m guessing that management hasn’t been too high on Mahal and this may lead to him being sent back down to FCW for some fine tuning. I just thought this team would be together longer. Instead, Khali’s already chopped him Andre the Giant style and I’m guessing the alliance is over. I’m not sure, but it feels that way. They need teams. Plus, I’d rather see Khali in a heel team than as a babyface again.
LIKE – Edge being on Smackdown next week in Toronto
That should be an awesome moment to see him back in his hometown. It’s especially great because I’ll be in the crowd. I’m looking forward to losing my hearing when his music strikes up on Tuesday. I’m interested to see if they have him interact with Christian again. I’m assuming they will, which will be great to see considering I first saw those two in the indies back in 1997.
– I’m excited about the possibilities of the Sin Cara/Daniel Bryan match next week. They had Sin Cara talk this week, essentially cutting a heel promo. By mentioning that he’s the “real” Sin Cara that opens the door for the original Sin Cara (aka Mistico) to come back to feud with him.
– The Kelly/Natalya match was well constructed. Natalya’s my favorite diva in the company while Kelly’s a hard worker that is improving every time she works with Natalya or Beth. I liked the story of Natalya being on offense the entire time while Kelly only won in the end with a counter move. It shows how resourceful Kelly is while not hurting the credibility of Natalya either. Works for me. Didn’t Beth look especially hot this week? Damn!
I did watch Impact this week. It was slightly better than average although they still do the usual amount of head scratching things. It’s amazing how if you look at the TNA roster over the year you can see just how many of their key guys have turned from heel to face or vice versa. It’s ridiculous. That’s why nobody ever really gets over. Instead of writing about the show, here’s a look at Sunday’s No Surrender PPV with my thoughts and predictions on each matchup.
TNA X DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Austin Aries
They had a pretty good promo on Impact. The story’s been built up well with Aries playing a Jericho like professional looking heel while Kendrick is more of a freak. Aries is one of the best talents in the company and I think he’s going to win the X Division title here. If they get more than 10 minutes then it’s your match of the night. I doubt it tops 10 minutes, though. The Pick: Austin Aries
#1 Contender’s Match to the X Division title: Kid Kash vs. Jesse Sorensen
The winner of this gets a title shot at the winner of the match above. I’m going with Sorensen since he’s the babyface and I think Aries will end up being the heel X-Division Champion. By the way, Kid Kash is 42 years old. Even their X Division wrestlers are old. The Pick: Jesse Sorensen
TNA KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Winter vs. (c) Mickie James
Winter had a three week title reign that ended when Mickie won the title back a couple of weeks ago. This past week on Impact, Winter spit the “blood” in Mickie’s face again to earn a victory in a tag match. I think Mickie’s going to retain the title here although I’m not sure if the feud is really over. I thought they’d put the title on Velvet Sky at Bound For Glory. Now I’m not so sure. The Pick: Mickie James
“The Blueprint” Matt Morgan vs. Samoa Joe
The worst booked person on the TNA roster since Hogan & Bischoff took over nearly two years ago has been Samoa Joe. Not only has he turned heel/face a lot, but they barely use him right. In the Bound for Glory tournament, he was the worst performer of them all. Then he turned into the angry jobber that attacked people. I think he’ll win this match here to get some momentum before he puts over Crimson at Bound for Glory. That’s what logic says. Logic isn’t always useful when it comes to TNA, though. The Pick: Samoa Joe
TNA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Mexican America (c) vs. “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero & Devon
As of this writing on Saturday afternoon on the TNA website the (c) was actually by the names of The Pope and Devon as opposed to the actual champs. Go TNA. I’ll go with the champs retaining due to the babyface team screwing up because that’s how TNA books these things. The Pick: Mexican America
BOUND FOR GLORY SERIES MATCH: Bully Ray vs. James Storm
This tournament started out with so much potential, but it has fizzled out just as every potential good TNA angle does. You would think that the BFG Series would end with the top two guys wrestling at this PPV to determine the winner. Instead, the final four are wrestling in singles matches where the guy with the most points wins the series. They can’t even book the finals in a way that offers an exciting conclusion. That’s how inept the booking is. I’ll take Storm here although Bully Ray is one of the best performers in the company, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. The Pick: James Storm.
BOUND FOR GLORY SERIES MATCH: Bobby Roode vs. Gunner
Roode’s likely going to win the BFG Series. That means he’d have to go over here. I love how nobody explains why Gunner had 19 matches in the tourney yet some people had as few as 9 matches. Oh right because it’s TNA…where using your brain is a bad thing. Roode goes over here, likely via submission. Does that mean he wins the series? I guess so. I swear they make it up as they go along. The Pick: Robert Roode
TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Mr. Anderson vs. Kurt Angle (c) vs. Sting
Anderson is back to being Stone Cold Ken Anderson after his brief heel run. When I was at a house show nearly three months ago Angle was the face and Anderson was the heel. Now it’s different. Meanwhile, Sting is in another main event even though he’s been proven not to draw in TNA. If there was any sort of disciplinary action in TNA they would strip Angle of the title due to his second DWI in 6 months and they would send him home for three months. Keep in mind that Angle is by far my favorite male wrestler in the company. I’m just saying if you mess up twice like that you should be punished. Nope, not here. He’ll likely keep the title because he’s the right opponent for Roode while Anderson will wrestle Ray at BFG and Sting gets Hogan. Ugh. I’m groaning already about that one. The sad thing is I think Sting winning here and then Hogan winning the title is possible too. That’s how screwed up the booking is. The Pick: Kurt Angle
This may be the least watched PPV in company history coming off one of their lowest TV ratings this week too. If Spike TV ever decides to pull the plug based on the sagging ratings then TNA will be in big trouble. They still get a 1.0 rating, which means 1.4 million viewers or so, but is that enough considering it’s about the same as what they’ve been getting for the past five or six years? I’m not sure.
Random Clip of the Week
September 11, 2001. It’s a day that the world will never forget. The attacks by Al Qaeda on the World Trade Centre in New York City and the Capitol in Washington DC are horrific reminders of the world that we live in. It was a Tuesday. I was getting ready to head to my class (I was in my third year of university at the time) that was going to start at 10am. At 9am I was shaving, getting ready, etc. while I had the news on in the other room. I heard about the plane crashing into the WTC. I called family & friends to make sure they were watching. It felt surreal. Even though I’m Canadian, believe me when I say that my country sympathizes with our American neighbors and we felt the pain too. I stayed home the whole day watching it along with family. The rest of the week at university we spent the time talking about it. I also remember the WWF’s Smackdown show on the Thursday of that week, September 13. It was one of the first forms of entertainment that returned to normal after the attacks. Listen to Vince McMahon’s speech, look at the tears on the faces of the performers that we admire so much and listen to American National Anthem sung so well by Lilian Garcia. This show is one I’ll never forget. Thanks to Brandon for sharing this one.
Powerful stuff. I just want to send a thank you to all those that have served for our freedom post 9/11 and continue to put their lives at risk for our safety. To all those that lost loved ones on that day, I’m sure that this weekend will be a tough one for you. God bless you and yours.
Melo Out with Steve Melo
Are you ready to Melo Out? I am! Like last week, I am not going to get into Raw or Smackdown, because each show had several things that I disliked more than I liked. So rather than continue on ripping Michael Cole and his commentating again or express my sadness on how the Divas of Doom are quickly turning into the next Lay-Cool thanks to the booking department or how ridiculously predictable the ending of Raw was, I won’t…even though technically I just did. Oh well.
I want to talk about something that has been on my mind for a while now. I want to talk about Kurt Angle. I realize that some of you could care less about him at this point in his career, not to mention that he has not been doing himself any favours as of late. Regardless, Kurt Angle is and always will be my all-time personal favourite wrestler. When I first got into wrestling, which was during the attitude era, Angle had debuted in November of 1999. I had already been watching for about 2 years up to this point, but there was something about his character that got my attention. He was very arrogant which immediately made him a heel. Why did we want to hate him? Much like Alberto Del Rio today, he was better than us. Del Rio is constantly showing off his wealth while Angle was constantly bragging about being winning the 1996 gold medal at the Olympics. But unlike Del Rio, Angle actually did win. This was not part of some gimmick to make us hate him. He was our Olympic hero whether we liked it or not and he constantly reminded us of that fact. And if being great on the mic and cutting a decent promo wasn’t enough, the guy could actually back it up in the ring. He was very entertaining and constantly had me laughing when he spoke and immersed to the television like a fat kid on a cheeseburger when he wrestled.
So what happened? Well, Kurt got fed up with WWE, jumped ship to TNA and had some great and memorable matches. In his personal life, he got divorced and discovered Twitter, which has not done him any favours at all. He got a DWI and just recently got slapped with another one that he is denying, but mugshots do not lie. It’s all in the eyes. I know nobody is perfect and we all have our problems, but there is nothing funny about driving while being impaired. I lost a very good friend of mine 2 years ago this month because he was in the wrong place in the wrong time and got hit by a drunk driver. So for his sake, I hope as a person that he stops with the lies and gets the help he needs because it is obvious that he is wrestling his own personal problems. And that is a shame. A damn shame.
By the way, my column got hacked. So until next week, sit back and enjoy wrestling, because it’s real. It’s damn real to me dammit!
Canton, Angle & Melo in June 2011.
The NFL is back on Sunday. I’m happy about that. There’s also a TNA PPV on Sunday night that I’m not watching because I’m watching the NFL all day. The NFL is my first priority, and then wrestling as far as my fandom goes. Go Rams is all I have to say. On Tuesday I’ll do my best to get a Raw Deal up in the morning. Then later on Tuesday I’m going to the Smackdown taping in Toronto with my buddy Steve Melo, which is what I’ll be writing about next week in this column.
Have a great weekend.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my 10+ year column archive at the Wrestling Oratory right HERE.