I am working on two news columns for you - one focusing on TNA and Indy news and one on WWE news - and should have them posted within a day or so. Watch the site or your inboxes if you subscribe to my newsletter for those big updates.
In this column, I will give you results of - and my thoughts about - WWE's Saturday Night's Main Event which just aired. I remember SNME from years ago when it was one of the best wrestling programs on TV. Did this SNME match those great shows? No, of course not. However, there were some good matches, some storyline development, and a few entertaining bits that added up to a pretty decent showing for WWE in their first prime time NBC special.
JIM ROSS returned to announce the show with Tazz and Jerry Lawler. I can't tell you how great it was to hear and see good ole JR once again and I sure hope the announce team for Wrestlemania will be the same as it was for SNME. I don't know how WWE will explain JR's return to announcing after the McMahons beat him up and fired him, but this is WWE land where anything can happen, and usually does.
JOHN CENA & TRIPLE H vs. REY MYSTERIO, RANDY ORTON & KURT ANGLE (Handicap match)
The crowd was pumped for this match and I was eager to see it as well. Poor John Cena was booed, then cheered, then booed again. It seems as if fans aren't sure whether they like him or not. For the record, I do.
This match focused much more on the semantics of Cena and Triple H working together than on the Smackdown guys. That confirmed once again that WWE sees Raw as their flagship show.
The action was good with many nice spots from all involved. Naturally, the ending was screwy. After about 10 minutes, Triple H gave Cena the Pedigree and walked off. He then returned and rolled a fallen Orton on top of Cena for the pin. Just as it looked like Orton was going to get the win for his team, Rey Mysterio broke up the count pulling Orton off Cena.
The idea was that Rey didn't want to win that way, but rather, cleanly.
Rey got a Pedigree for his efforts from Triple H. Angle clotheslined Triple H over the top rope and then Orton gave Angle the RKO. Cena was about to be Orton's next victim when he reversed the RKO into a schoolboy for the pin and win for the Raw team. Hunter stood on the ramp looking ticked off.
The match furthered storylines between Cena and Triple H as well as between the Smackdown contenders. Orton is definitely being set up as the bad guy of the group, attacking his own team members. It is curious that Orton interfered for Triple H on Raw against Cena and then, on SNME, Triple H chose Orton to get the pin on Cena (although it didn't work out that way). I wonder if there is anything to this new alliance between Orton and Triple H or if it is just two bad guys being bad guys…
BOOKER T and SHARMELL were backstage and Booker was complaining that he had injured his knee. A doctor said he couldn't compete in his scheduled match with the Boogeyman. We saw that Booker was just fine and delighted to get out of wrestling the worm eater. Later in the show, Boogeyman showed up and scared the wits out of Booker and Sharmell and they ran off. Teddy Long declared that Booker would face the Boogeyman at Wrestlemania.
EDGE and LITA came out for Edge's "Cutting Edge" Talk Show. Edge insulted Mick Foley harshly (He sure is good at being bad) and Foley came out. Edge set a table on fire that was quickly extinguished and Foley and he traded punches. Foley threw a bag of thumbtacks into the ring but ended up landing on them himself. Foley got revenge later when he gave Edge some stiff chair shots and left him laying on the ramp. Foley had tacks stuck in his head which was a good visual for you (or should I say, we?) hardcore lovers.
This was an effective segment to build heat for Edge and Foley's Hardcore Match at Wrestlemania. I was just disappointed that Foley got no time to speak since he is so good at it.
STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN and JBL had an entertaining beer drinking contest. JBL did his usual shtick talking about the hometown crowd and Americans in general. Austin rolled into the arena in a pick up truck and the two traded funny (and adlibbed) lines. This led to what we all knew was coming. Austin delivered a Stunner to JBL after he threw beer in Austin's face and Austin returned the favor and threw several pitchers of beer on JBL.
CHRIS BENOIT was briefly involved as he ran out to stop JBL from running away from Austin after he had tossed beer in Austin's face. JBL will be facing Benoit at Wrestlemania.
As silly as it sounds, this was actually quite entertaining and JBL and Austin have great chemistry. I would love to see the two go at it again, if only verbally. I am not a huge Austin fan but he definitely captures my interest when he is on and he seems to have not lost a beat being away from the ring for so long although the Stunner was pretty lame because JBL was wet and slippery.
I am disappointed, though, that all we got to see of Chris Benoit was a one minute run in.
MICKIE JAMES & TRISH STRATUS vs. VICTORIA & CANDICE
Anyone who didn't see Mickie's turn coming hasn't been watching Raw at all. Trish wrestled the match alone and didn't tag Mickie in. She won after a couple minutes. Mickie shook hands with Trish to say goodbye after the match then tried to kiss her. Trish pushed her away and Mickie snapped, slamming Trish with a kick to the face and a Statusfaction (Trish's own finisher). Later, we saw Mickie screaming that Trish broke her heart and now she was going to break Trish. Obviously, that match will happen at Wrestlemania as expected.
This was just a vehicle for Mickie to turn on Trish, the wrestling was almost non-existent.
MARK HENRY & DAIVARI came out to proclaim that Henry was unafraid of the Undertaker and that he would win the casket match the two will be involved in at Wrestlemania. This brought out the UNDERTAKER who brawled with Henry then chokeslammed Davairi into a casket and tombstoned him before leaving the ring.
I think this segment fell flat. I don't know many people who are looking forward to seeing Mark Henry in any kind of match let alone a casket match. Undertaker got a good response though as usual.
At last, the main event was upon us.
"HBK" SHAWN MICHAELS vs. SHANE MCMAHON in a STREET FIGHT
This was a good match. Shane has aged but hasn't lost his athletic ability nor his love of crazy, dangerous moves. The two battled around the ring and inside it, using a ladder and tables for the big spot of the night. Vince, of course, was involved, swiping at Shawn every chance he could. Shane and Shawn fought on a ladder where Shawn then superperplexed Shane from the top of the ladder onto two tables set up on the floor. Both men were down. Vince screamed for help but wouldn't allow anyone to tend to Shawn, just his son.
The two fought inside the ring where Shane inadvertently slammed Vince in the face with a trash can that was supposed to be for Shawn. Shawn used his Sweet Chin Music finisher to knock Shane out. Just as Shawn was about to get the pinfall, Vince yanked the ref out of the ring. He then low blowed Shawn and Shane put HBK into the Sharpshooter (Bret Hart's finisher). Vince called for the bell in a recreation of the famous 1997 Montreal "screw job" of Bret Hart then made Lilian Garcia announce that Shane McMahon had won by submission, which she haltingly did.
The show ended with Shane and Vince celebrating yet another tainted victory.
This ending was clearly designed to tie in the fact that Bret Hart will be at Wrestlemania and is giving off vibes that Vince will try to do to Shawn Michaels what he did to Bret Hart (in real life, not a storyline) in 1997. WWE hopes, I am sure, that fans think Bret will interfere in the match but please don't count on that. Bret loathes the constant reminders of that debacle and he sure wouldn't want to save Shawn Michaels (who played a huge part in tricking Bret into "losing" his last WWE match).
If you don't know the whole story behind Bret Hart's 1997 departure from WWE and his subsequent bitterness toward them for so long, email me. I will write a short synopsis of the event here for those to read. I am assuming that most fans know about the circumstances that led to Bret Hart going to WCW and being "screwed" out of the title at the 1997 Survivor Series pay per view since WWE doesn't seem to want us to ever forget about it. Below is a link to get the fantastic video "Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows" that Bret produced which includes details and footage leading up to that night as well as footage of that night and after. It's a fantastic look at Bret, WWE, and the wrestling business.
Overall, the show was decent and had some entertaining spots. I wish they had a good high flying cruiserweight bout, though, because those tuning in who may be new to WWE or old fans who don't watch now, should be exposed to the smaller, high flyers as well as the main event stars in the promotion.
I give the show an overall 3.5 stars out of 5. It could have been better - but much worse as well.
What did you think of SNME? Talk about it on the forum! I will be there to discuss it.
I will be back very soon with a load of news -- including who WWE has signed recently (All were there before but were fired), TNA's very first house show results, a change in TNA's move to Thursday nights, Wrestlemania, and much more.
Have a great week!
A must see for any Bret Hart fan or anyone interested in the wrestling business behind the curtain.