September 13, 2011

Spare Change Newsletter, volume 2 issue 1

Greetings all wrestling fans,

The Marshall Matters Show still suffering from technical difficulties, the writing staff here at SCWO Canada are filling in this week, and possibly next week as well, depending on whether or not I get the new microphone in the mail by then.

Everyone here at SCWO Canada loves Queen, and wanted to relate at the top at the MMShow program how nice it was to hear Freddy kicking off the return of the Rusty Report. Queen was my favorite band as a kid, my first favorite band, and remains to this day a reliable source of positive energy on tap. Now let's talk about some wrestling.


You don't often see Mark Henry in the first match of the night, but his bout with Big Zeke made up for in spectacle what it may have lacked in dynamism. It was cool to see what they looked like next to each other.

Muy Cara officially turned heel this week in a promo in which he pronounced his lack of respect for the WWE roster. I wish the camera panned the crowd more to show the weeping children, and parents looking ticked off ("I just paid $28 for a goddam t-shirt of this guy for my kid and now he's a bad guy? You gotta be kidding me.") As it was, the mood of the arena was palpable even without the crowd panning. You could almost hear the collective shlumping of shoulders. But then DBD comes out, gives a good promo challenging Muy Cara to a rematch, which MC responds to by dropping Bryan like a hot taco, wrapping him up in his own LaBelle Lock. COLD BLOODED! I will be rooting heavily for Bryan (as always) next week, but as I still expect Sin Cara to return to challenge Muy Cara to be the Undisputed Sin Cara, Daniel Bryan's match next week doesn't seem to bode well for him.

Jinder Mahal and the Great Khali broke up this week on Smackdown. Does this mean Mahal will move ahead with his threat to divorce Khali's sister, thereupon sending her back into poverty? Y'know, I don't have cause to say this very often, but it's too bad it's not the attitude era anymore. If this was still the attitude era, or even the 'get the F out' era, this divorce angle would play out like a (reverse) contract signing. A table, lawyers, paperwork, all in the ring, maybe a potted plant or two, Khali standing in the corner in a shirt & tie, looking more like a hulking brute than usual. The husband and wife make separate entrances, each with their own entourage, words are exchanged, voices are raised, and the next thing you know, the ex-wife is going, via powerbomb, through the table, which has by now been set on fire.

I had another funny thought during this match (the match being Jinder/Khali v. Air Boom) that when Air Boom breaks up, it would be great if they tried to do one of those angles where each guy claims that they've been carrying the team, the other guy's worthless, etc. I thought it was funny because of the trashtalk promo's they'd be cutting on each other. I couldn't think of anything they'd actually say that would be funny, it's more just their tones and ways of speaking that don't lend themselves to that kind of promo (or any other kind, really).

Speaking of funny/bad promos, this week Cody Rhodes said some of the weirdest things I've ever heard in a ring. Well, I guess it was mostly the delivery, not as much the words themselves that were weird, though saying that "there's a thin line between... unstable and thriving" is pretty strange. I don't dislike his character, and I think he's a very good wrestler, but the way he's been enunciating comes off as affected. It's not so bad that it detracts from the entertainment of the show, but it does take a lot of edge off of his character to seem as harmless as a B-movie actor. But he and Orton had a nice little wrestling match, after which Mark Henry came down, beat on Orton for a while, put a chair over him, and sat on it. This was really cool visually, and also it made me tense and nervous (in a good way) because I thought that the chair could break under Henry's massive weight.


Started out with a Jeff Hardy video package promoting the idea of redemption. Interspersed throughout the episode were shots of Hardy walking around the building, as if it took him 2 hours to get from the parking lot to the ring. When he finally makes it, it is for the final segment of the program. He comes down the ramp (amid cheers and catcalls) with his head bowed, brow furrowed in concentrated remorse, climbs in the ring, shakes his frowning head slightly to refuse the positive attention from his adoring public. He apologizes, and asks for "one more shot."

Opinion: Should have been fired as a matter of principle.

Eric Young had his first match on Impact for the first time in about 2 months, but the real highlight of the show was an off-the-wall promo from X-Division champion Brian Kendrick. Challenger Austin Aries was in the ring first, and he can talk to beat the band, but the Wizard of Odd stole the show. It served well to hype their match at Sunday's...


Opened with a 9/11 remembrance, which in my opinion was entirely appropriate, but would have come off a lot better if the narrated speech was given by anyone but the monster-voiced TNA narrator guy. Listen to this:

And then imagine that voice saying, "10 years ago today, the most tragic event in American history..."
Well meant, I'm sure, but came off a little too theatrical than was necessary. But now let's talk about some wrestling.

The main theme of the show was the wrapping-up of the Bound For Glory series. Bully Ray was the points leader going in, he had a match against James Storm, and Robert Roode was facing Gunner. Whoever had the most points after those matches would go on to challenge for the TNA championship at the Bound For Glory PPV next month. I didn't have a strong opinion of the outcome of this series going into No Surrender, but the way it was all put together pulled me into the story, and I was really into it by the end.

Bully won his match against Storm. He was now far enough ahead of Roode and Gunner (who were tied) that their match would have to be won by submission to even tie Bully Ray in the standings. (Pin gets 7 pt.s, submission gets 10). Beer Money cut an awesome promo. Gunner and Roode had a great match, each guy desperately trying to trap the other in a submission move. Roode eventually succeeds, which I was cheering for, because Roode in a contender's spot would make for great TV. More Roode promos and wrestling matches=superior Impact. But he hasn't got that spot yet, because he's tied with Bully Ray. So Eric Bischoff comes out and announces that there would be an extra match on the card-- Roode v. Bully Ray. A little while later, Bully cuts one of his killer promos (the second of the night), and by the time Roode and Bully are in the ring with each other the crowd is solidly behind Roode. Roode beat Bully Ray and will be going to the main event next month.

The Roode-Gunner match was a very close second place for match of the night, but that prize would have to go to Brian Kendrick and Austin Aries for the X-Division title. I love both characters, they had a badass match with a high level of intensity; the pace was impressive, and they each took some nasty looking bumps outside the ring. There was a lot of variety in what they did, there were lots of cool moves, and both guys are just fun to watch in general. I'm not describing it as a 'spot-fest', it wasn't like that at all, it was just a damn good wrestling match. The only thing I didn't like about it wasn't their fault, and that was that I already knew who was going to win the match. See, the first match of No Surrender was for the #1 contender spot to face the winner of the Kendrick-Aries match. A babyface won, some new guy named Jesse Sorenson whose gimmick is carrying a football to the ring. Since the champion Kendrick is a babyface, and the challenger Aries is heel, I had to expect that the X-Division title would change hands, and that Jesse Sorenson would be going into a program with Austin Aries, which indeed will be the case.

Also, if you care, Hulk Hogan cheated to help Kurt Angle retain the TNA title versus Sting and Ken Anderson.


I've written so much already, and there's so much left to go, I'll abbreviate this one a bit.
Darren Young & William Regal open show with good promos to set up main event, which was fun to watch, Regal has a million tricks up his sleeves and is a great performer. Ended with Matt Striker blocking JTG from interfering with the match. Maybe next week- Striker/Regal vs. JTG/Young? Dumbest question ever asked.
Yoshi Tatsu has a brand new look, new moves, new attitude. I will definitely cover this more thoroughly in the future.


Mason Ryan debuted his first personal entrance theme, and came out smiling to face JTG. Signs point to --->Mason Ryan being a babyface? That's, y'know, whatever, but he kind of stunk in general. When he came out, he turned around and held out his arms, fists clenched, just like Chris Jericho would do back in his Y2J days. His finisher is some kind of bodyslam with an over-elaborate setup. He did a few different bodyslams during the match, but mostly just did a bunch of lariats and bodyblocks again and again. Still, it's stuff like this that I love watching Superstars for. Newer guys trying things out for the crowd. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Mason Ryan may have sucked, but the next match I loved.

Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks teamed up to face Percy Watson and Titus O'Neil, and it was the first time either of these teams have tagged together. There were some awkward moments that showed their inexperience; while trying to isolate a single member of the opposing team, they'd beat a guy down into his own corner by mistake, etc.
Titus and Percy have a similar look-- they're both bald, black, athletic, ex-NFLers with big smiles. Natural babyfaces with some amount of natural charisma, and decent in the ring considering their non-wrestling backgrounds. Tons of guys who don't "make it" in sports try wrestling, and very few make it through. Percy Watson stands out as a guy who I think could break that barrier, and he just might take Titus on the ride with him if they continue to work together.
Hawkins and Reks made less of an impression personality-wise, but they did have a cool team finisher. Actually, the move wasn't that cool, it was just the fact that both guys were involved in it that made it cool, even though that used to be commonplace. I'm expecting them to show up on Smackdown to support Wade Barrett, which could be great.

Alicia Fox beat Tamina in an especially hard-hitting Diva's match. I really like Fox's wrestling style. She knows how to use her long legs to make it look like her kicks are really painful, and she's got a killer dropkick. She sells well too, so good body language all around. That combined with her slinky entrance, and I think we have my favorite Diva.

Brodus Clay beat another jobber, but no updates for him except that he still rules.

And now we're at the main event for Superstars, which was Daniel Bryan versus Heath Slater, and this match was awesome. There was great back and forth, both guys threw a bunch of moves out there, and paced it very well. It was so good, as a matter of fact, that I'm a Heath Slater fan now. Didn't see that coming! Now, finally...


Opened with Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez being their charming and hilarious bad guy selves, interrupted by Bret Hart who accuses Del Rio of being all style and no stubstance. Del Rio says something funny about illegal Canadians cleaning his house. Then John Cena comes out, and in contrast to ADR, Ricardo, and Bret, he starts acting goofy. He looks at ADR's crotch from a few angles, and says he can't tell from looking if he's got any balls, which was gross and stupid, and I don't remember what else he said, but his tone was light, even spritely, as though their upcoming match was no big deal at all, just another walk in the park. And this was the last show before that match, which happens to be at a PPV for the WWE title! Not to mention that Cena's the challenger and Del Rio's the reigning champ. So Cena ticked me off in this segment, and I'm all the bigger fan of ADR & Ricardo for the way they struggled to keep some gravity in the situation, and to maintain the integrity of their characters and the title.

Another great heel duo will be in action together for the first time since June, when they take on Air Boom this Sunday. Remember when they tagged in June? I don't either really, but I do remember this moment:

They'd just lost a match and gotten their asses kicked by interfering referee Stone Cold Steve Austin, but the Anonymous Raw GM reversed the decision to give them the win. They were cute then, and they were cute this week when they did each others catch phrases. Sorry if the animated image takes too long to load, it's almost 14 megabytes. The one of Del Rio and Ricardo I posted late last night is almost 10, so I apologize if that is difficult to view as well. I just learned how to make those things, and I don't know how to compress them or shrink them yet.

Also, JR referred to Air Boom vs. Miz/Truth at Night of Champions as being the "united champions WWE tag title match-up." which I took a soundbite from, but won't be using.

We learned on Raw how the US title would be defended at NoC this weekend, that being in a four-way match in which Dolph Ziggler will be defending against Jack Swagger, John Morrison, and Alex Riley. The machine seems intent on continuing to push A-Ri, despite sucking real bad lately, as evidenced in the tag match featuring the same four guys. I'm rooting for Swagger personally, he's my favorite of the four by far.

There was a second sucky tag match later on which saw Jerryatric Lawler and Sheamus handily defeat the ExNex. This did nothing but embarrass them further. Sheamus can't get any more over by putting them away, and Lawler might as well be Drew Carey out there for all the relevant wrestling he'll ever do from here on out, so the only ones with something to gain from this match was ExNex. They couldn't even get any heat, they just ate shit on this one. I hope they get some measure of payback, at least Otunga, he can talk and has a gimmick besides "my Daddy..."

And now for the main event, and the only selling point of Night of Champions: HHH - Punk. They had an interesting exchange this week. You could tell it was unscripted, but that they each went out with the intent of going to the very edge of breaking kayfabe, trying to give the feud that "real" feel which it had gotten away from somewhat since Kevin Nash came into the picture. They talked about "opportunities" and HHH even said that to be successful in the business, all you have to do is get "over" with the fans. That was so close to breaking kayfabe that I was was half expecting Punk to reply that he couldn't because he was playing heel. I guess that might have been too far to go, but it still would have been awesome.
There was a part of this segment where HHH gets super serious, gets in Punk's face, and is on the mic talking about how it's personal, and he's staring daggers at Punk, and gets very close to his face. He's very intimidating, very alpha, and Punk just looked right back at him, cool as hell.
I've noticed a few guys visibly lose confidence when Mr. Hs does that to them. It happened about a month ago on Smackdown with Christian. Christian could barely look at HHH, let alone look into his eyes.
I really liked what you said on your show that you thought that Punk could stay unburied against anybody. After seeing how he stands up to HHH face-to-face and on the mic, I think you were right.

What I hope happens at NoC is that there's a swerve where CM Punk's suspicions are correct, and HHH has actually been conspiring with Kevin Nash (and others) to set Punk up for a beat-down. HHH could tell the audience that he fooled them all, and become the villain that Punk needs to work against. It could still be cool if it went the opposite way-- that Nash is on Laurenitis' side, and will knock off HHH during the match so that John L can be the next COO. A COO coup. A cuckoo COO coup, even. That wouldn't be cool in itself, but it would be interesting if HHH and Punk ended up on the same side, so to speak, with a common enemy in the new COO and his minions.
And while I'm at it, I also wish that ADR makes Cena tap in the middle of the ring, no interference.

Even though I couldn't do a proper fake podcast show this week, I can go ahead with one of my plans for it, which was to introduce a feature called The Hall of Thriving Stubstance. Being inducted into The HOTS is a distinction I'd like to give to wacky phrases heard on wrestling shows. I was planning on ending this week's Marshall Matters Show with the inaugural HOTS induction, which I wasn't be able to do as such, but I will be able to do as thus:

Inductions are the promos of Cody Rhodes and Brian Kendrick, each of which are sampled here, plus some commentary from Booker T.

So, from everyone here at SCWO Canada/MMShow International, have a nice day.


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