The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up #1

IGR Weekly Wrestling Wrap Up

iGR Weekly Wrestling Wrap Up2

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a new feature on iGR. With wrestling video game releases being an annual affair similar to Madden or 2K Games sports releases, we realized that it may be fitting to do a column about it. Admittedly, with all of the different independent promotions around, and with so many running internet-based Pay-Per-Views, keeping tabs on all of them would require more than just yours truly. However, it is possible to view all of the wrestling that is aired on television. This column won’t comment on backstage news. There will be no discussion of what was said on Twitter, Tout, Facebook, or posted on YouTube (with the exception of what the companies decide to air). This column is specifically focused on the story lines with which each respective company is presenting us the fans on their television and (regular, or, in the case of Ring of Honor, internet) Pay-Per-View broadcasts. Although there will be remarks related to the quality of the matches, as that is supposedly the main medium, there will be more focus upon the stories. While the matches are supposed to be the end result or the impetus for a story, it is the stories and characters outside of the ring that make people want to watch those matches.

While others may divide their columns in to break downs of each show, this column will strive to provide cohesive analysis of the week within each company, regardless of how much material was aired. Because of that, it will have the most information, and go from there.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy.

WWE World Wrestling Entertainment:

WWE Championship: This may have only had new material that aired on this week’s Raw, but some may argue that we got enough with what the show provided. Mick Foley was involved with this, and although nobody mentioned his position as SLAM General Manager (who cares about non-subscription TV these days, anyway?), he did manage to get himself inserted in to the rivalry between Ryback and John Cena. He made a few disparaging remarks about The Ryback, and Ryback was interviewed later and made some pretty strong points. In the ring, Foley and Ryback faced down one another, and eventually, it looked like they were going to throw down. Fun moment happened here – Ryback used the term popular among the Internet Wrestling Community for John Cena, i.e. SuperCena. Of course, Cena came out to make the save, told Foley to bail, and faced off against him. However, The Shield came down, once again interfering. It looked like Cena was going to do to Ryback what Ryback did to him (let the Shield destroy him), but then came in and made the save, helping Ryback to chase the Shield off. However, once that was done, Ryback ate an Attitude Adjustment, and then glared at Cena, who saluted at the top of the ramp before doing his “You can’t see me,” hand wave. Of course, that can’t be the end, since they’ve got a while until Extreme RulesMy Take: While this is definitely a decent way to build up to a match that isn’t until next month, it felt like they could have left Foley out of it and there wouldn’t have been anything missing. If Foley had somehow used his power as SLAM GM to book Ryback in a match, it might have worked a little better. That, and it would be a way to sell SLAM outside of commercials aired during Main Event and SmackDown. However, I am still intrigued, so mission accomplished on that point.

World Heavyweight Championship: They decided to keep the champion separate from his challengers this week, as champion Dolph Ziggler appeared only on Raw while Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger (with his “founding father” Zeb Colter) went toe-to-toe on SmackDown. Ziggler was allowed to look strong in a match against Chris Jericho, or at least as strong as a weasel heel should look, and the match was actually given a reason. Vickie Guerrero, still being vindictive, decided to make it so that if Jericho won their match, the title match at Extreme Rules would become a fatal four way instead of a triple threat. With help from AJ Lee, Big E. Langston, and finally Fandango (more on that later), Dolph managed to get the win, and keep his match just heavily difficult instead of nearly impossible to win. The match itself was actually pretty good for TV, and could have been the show’s main event if not for things that happened later in the show. Meanwhile, through the rest of the week, Zeb Colter did the talking for Jack Swagger, first on Main Event, and then on SmackDown. Weirdest part – he accurately quoted Thomas Paine on Main Event. They actually gave us a preview of Extreme Rules on SmackDown, with Del Rio and Swagger going at it in a No DQ match. Swagger getting the win with a gut wrench power bomb was a nice twist, given that the ankle lock would have been too obvious, and Del Rio h as countered it too often. My Take: The way that they’re keeping Ziggler separated from his two challengers is both somewhat logical and highly confusing. It’s like they wanted to continue the Del Rio/Swagger feud from WrestleMania (because apparently nothing ends at that show anymore), but realized that they should have had Ziggler win the belt sooner. Hopefully he gets to have more interaction with his challengers at some point, because right now, the champion feels superfluous, and that is not how you build a championship run.

Believe in The Shield: There’s really no other way to phrase this bit. These guys were all over Raw and SmackDown. After a huge arrival on Monday (via helicopter and then Land Rover), they made a backstage promo. Then, they attacked Team Hell No backstage after Kane got in to an argument with Daniel Bryan, with Bryan having a plan for the match, including diagrams, and Kane saying that that was a bad idea. Although they managed to seem like they were going to have a three-on-one handicap match, but Team Hell No arrived before the match could really start. The match itself was a great three-on-three match, and apparently it was under lucha libre rules, because The Shield sure as hell didn’t tag in and out like a normal American tag team would involve. They managed to draw both big men on the opposing team to the outside, stealing the win over Daniel Bryan and running off. On SmackDown, they once again gave a promo, this time just about The Undertaker. Although The Undertaker managed to beat Dean Ambrose with Hell’s Gate, he took a three-man powerbomb through the announce table. My Take: Well, I definitely believe in The Shield at this point. I don’t know what the hell they’re actually trying to accomplish, seeing as they’ve already made a name for themselves. They feuded with John Cena and somehow managed to stay relevant in the writers’ minds. The real problem is that, as a three-man group of equals, if they went after any title, at least one of them would be left out.

Mark Henry and Big Show versus Randy Orton and Sheamus: So, on Main Event, JBL managed to goad Mark Henry in to attempting a four-man gauntlet to show that he is the toughest man in the company, even tougher than Randy Orton, Sheamus, or the Big Show. After steamrolling through both Usos and Santino in the same time as one would expect a regular decent match to go, he had to take on Khali (more on him later), and after realizing he’d been set up, Henry bailed and took the count-out loss. On SmackDown, Sheamus and Big Show mixed it up, and although Sheamus managed to look strong, he still ate the loss. Of course, this was mostly due to Mark Henry coming through the crowd and distracting Sheamus by man handling the ring steps long enough for Show to clean Sheamus’ clock. Sheamus repaid Henry in kind by giving him a Brogue Kick during his match with Orton, and then letting Orton deliver an RKO afterward. My Take: Alliances of convenience are never a bad thing in wrestling, and given that both men are good guys taking on bad guys, it has much more potential to be successful. The best part of this is that it stems from WrestleMania, but isn’t continuing the same rivalry as before.

It’s Fandango: On Raw, Fandango cost Chris Jericho his match. However, he also managed to take on William Regal and score a victory against the man the swing dip reverse STO. Of course, Chris Jericho attacked him at the top of the ramp, then showed his skills from Dancing With The Stars. However, Fandango did manage to save some image by taking on Justin Gabriel and winning using the leg drop. As always, he says, “It’s FAAAAN-DAAAAAAN-GOOO!” after each match. My Take: Well, it’s nice that they’re behind this guy. I’m not sure what continuing a feud with Jericho will do for him, given that Jericho is involved in so many side projects and therefore can’t necessarily be a constant presence. Hopefully they have somewhere for him to after they decide that the feud with Jericho has run its course.

Tons of Funk versus Rhodes Scholars: So we saw the rivalry continue between these two groups on Raw, but this time in singles competition. Although Damien Sandow (side note: Somebody in the audience cosplayed as Sandow, and I honestly marked out a little bit for the guy, since I love cosplay) managed to gain the early victory against Brodus Clay, that wasn’t the end of the night. Cody Rhodes took on Tensai, and given that the former Albert/A-Train/Giant Bernard had success as a singles worker, it was a given that he would defeat Cody Rhodes. Well, that, and a Tons of Funk victory dance has to happen at some point on a show where they appear. My Take: Once again, we see that WrestleMania (or at least matches that were scheduled to happen at ‘Mania) don’t end things. This feud must continue, even if the matches we’re getting don’t give us much, and there really isn’t much left to say between these two teams.

The Divas: We had a Divas Battle Royal on Monday that saw Naomi (of the Funkadactyls), Aksana, Tamina, Layla, and AJ competing for a shot at the Diva’s championship, because WWE suddenly realized that the belt exists. Layla, being from the UK, was allowed to wear clothing resembling the Union Jack, and to be the one that looked like she was getting the win. Of course, AJ stole the match, playing possum until Layla was right by the ropes, trying to roll a limp AJ out of the ring. AJ celebrated, and Kaitlyn (the champion, who was on commentary) was not happy. Of course, with this being the UK, Layla had to get something of a victory, so she took on Aksana on SmackDown, and won with a somewhat sloppy Magistral Cradle variation she calls Infinity. My Take: Well, it’s nice that the WWE remembered the ladies, at least.

Other Stuff: William Regal also took on fellow Brit Wade Barrett, losing on SmackDown to the Intercontinental Champion. R-Truth and Big E. Langston got respective one-on-one victories in squash matches against jobbers Antonio Cesaro (now a yodeler) and Zack Ryder (now without spiked hair). Kofi Kingston, after saturating last week, was nowhere to be seen, in spite of being the United States champion. The Usos seem to be getting some ground on the secondary shows, and so does the odd trio of Khali, Natalya, and Hornswoggle. Oh, and Rhodes Scholars are becoming regular antagonists on SLAM. My Take: How do you completely forget about one of your champions? What, is it either the Divas or the US champ? Other than that, SLAM exists in its own little world (as Monday evidenced), so although it’s fun to watch, I wouldn’t put much stock in the importance of the stories the show tells, outside of while you’re watching SLAM.

TNA Total Nonstop Action:

Aces & Eights: Okay, this is probably going to be a permanent fixture in this section for the time being. They forced their way in to a building even though security tried to bar them, they came out during a confrontation between Bad Influence and James Storm, beating him down, then beating down an attempted save from Joseph Park. Bully Ray was happy to mention that all the company’s heroes were gone because of his group, and repeats his call out to Hulk Hogan. Strangely, they had to point out that Devon is a Television champion who barely defends his title. Of course, that was true before he was revealed as a member of Aces and Eights, so it wasn’t such a huge mention. However, the end of the show was the major thing, with Hogan facing down Bully on his own, even after his daughter begged him not to. Brooke even took the blame for most of what has happened, and technically, she should. But Hulk wanted to be a good man, and actually managed to hold off Aces and Eights until the lights went out, Sting showed up, and the two cleaned house. Sting acted like his loyalties were divided, pointing his bad at Hogan twice even though he attacked Bully and crew. My Take: Why in the world are these two the saviors of TNA right now? Is it because they want AJ to be ambiguous for as long as possible? Speaking of them …

Bad Influence Tries to Revive Fourtune: Remember how much TNA started to suck right after Hogan and Bischoff came in and totally changed the company? Fourtune was a part of that time period, but apparently Daniels and Kaz think that having AJ and Bobby Roode join them to re-form the team is the way to beat Aces and Eights. Of course, AJ was in the audience for the entire show, not getting involved with anything, so that was a no-go. Meanwhile, their attempts to recruit Bobby Roode were a bit of a toss-up, given that he’s teaming with the greatest everything that ever lived in Austin Aries. Heck, even when Daniels and Kaz tried to get Roode the victory for the tag team belts, it wound up back-firing. My Take: Obviously, this could easily turn in to the three-way tag feud that this was meant to become, especially with what happened last week, but the added layer of Bad Influence attempting to re-form a heel stable to stop a heel stable is a really odd caveat for it.

Matt Morgan, Savior For Hire: So Matt Morgan has apparently taken a look around the roster, and come to the conclusion that, with no heroes left, there really isn’t any place for the company to turn, except to a seven-three muscle-bound fighter that can get the job done. He was well aware of the limited options that Hogan has, and tried to parlay it in to a title shot. Although Hogan was a bit hyperbolic about what letting Morgan have his way – getting a title shot against Bully Ray as a means to stop Aces and Eights – would mean, Morgan was still great in these segments. My Take: It really seems like Morgan could tease joining Aces and Eights. Bully explained that each and every person that joined the group had been a person that Hogan turned away at some point. Fun times.

The Knockouts Title: This was basically just the match between Velvet Sky and Mickie James. Although they did try to build it up well enough, as it was mostly just the in-ring match, a lot of it felt like filler. If they had shaved a few minutes off of the match but still fit in everything that they did, it would have been a decent way to feature the knockouts for the evening. As it was, it allowed fans to see that there is no way that ODB is a partial official, Velvet Sky will do anything to win, especially with an injury, and Mickie James doesn’t want to be shoved to the side anymore. My Take: Well, it was cool to have something that never, ever mentioned the Aces and Eights on the show.

Other Stuff: Robbie E is continuing a feud with Rob Terry, using Jessie Godderz as an ally in the whole thing. But man, Robbie E is such a tool. Also, where exactly was anybody in the X-Division? How about the guys that have actually won Gut Check? Christian York, savior of the company would be a heck of a story to try. Not much else comes to mind, with the excuse for everybody else being gone existing as Aces and Eights victims.

ROH Ring of Honor:

SCUM: Because if one company is successful with huge group angles, why wouldn’t others? We started off the show with Kevin Steen being out in the ring, and Steve Corino interrupting him before he could get a word in edge wise. Although Corino still wanted to take down ROH, Steen is actually fine with how ROH is now that Jim Cornette is gone. He’s even fine with Jay Briscoe being champion – so long as he can get the title back. Corino said that no matter what the changes were, SCUM’s goal stayed the same. And SCUM came to the ring. Corino said that SCUM needed to have the ROH World Championship, but maybe Kevin didn’t need to hold it. Steen replied by saying he was fine with everything that SCUM, and specifically Corino, wanted to do, and Steen saying that he was out as long as Matt Hardy is in. That drew SCUM in to attacking Steen en masse, ending with Steen eating a Twist of Fate. Later in the evening, they stopped a match between newcomer Jorge Santi and Tadarius Thomas. The match had the potential to be awesome, but instead, SCUM, sans Matt Hardy, came out and destroyed both competitors. That brought out Nigel McGuinness, who eventually got Corino to agree to a tag team match between two SCUM members and the team of Jay Lethal and Michael Elgin, with a bunch of stipulations added. It seems like it’s a way to get Kevin Kelly a permanent broadcast partner, albeit it’ll be a heel color commentator that supports a heel stable (more a la Heyman than Taz, one hopes). My Take: While it is nice that ROH has been sticking with an angle that they’ve developed, to the point where it interferes in parts of the show, it’s also nice to know it hasn’t taken over almost the entire show. There were still two other matches, and they managed to make a match for the upcoming iPPV that still has some intrigue.

The Television Title: We got a great match out of ACH and champion Matt Taven, but there was also some other intrigue there. Mark Briscoe, the number one contender, was on color commentary, and although he used redneck phrasing a lot, he was still building interest in his title shot at the iPPV. The whole thing was worth watching in its totality. The fact that Matt Taven has such flamboyance makes him a really effective heel in a company like ROH. My Take: If you’ve got a chance, check out this match. It sold the potential for a Television title match at the internet Pay-Per-View, and that seemed to be the point. Ring of Honor may have a few major angles, but sometimes, it’s perfectly fine to use matches to make people want to see more, especially with an indy fed.

Mike Bennett, Roderick Strong, and Mike Mondo: Although this was really convoluted, this was all about all three of them getting in one another’s faces. Bennett and Strong put on a solid match outside of the Mondo antics, Mondo did some good commentary, and Bennett’s trainer/manager “Brutal” Bob was a good addition on the outside. Mondo managed to give Strong the victory, but attacked Roderick after the match. It turned in to a three-way fracas, with security eventually breaking things up.

Other Stuff: ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe delivered an incomprehensible promo about his match against Adam Cole at Border Wars. Apparently, there are some Pro Wrestling NOAH stars coming to ROH specifically for the show in Toronto. Oh, and yes, it is in HD, because Sinclair is on local stations, all of which have apparently switched to HD broadcasts.

WWE: Extreme Rules
WWE Championship Match: John Cena {C} vs Ryback
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler {C} vs Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger

TNA: One Night Only
Joker’s Wild Tag Team Tournament, ending in a battle royal with all six of the winning teams. Many TNA stars are involved, although some pairings seem a little less than random. It’s six tag team matches and a battle royal, and airs in place of Impact on May 3rd.

ROH: Border Wars
ROH World Championship: Jay Briscoe {C} vs Adam Cole
ROH Television Championship: Matt Taven {C} vs Mark Briscoe
Pro Wrestling NOAH vs ROH Match: Taiji Ishimori vs Eddie Edwards
Paul London vs Davey Richards
CRAP LOADS OF STIPULATIONS: Jay Lethal and Michael Elgin vs SCUM
I Quit: BJ Whitmer vs Rhett Titus
Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander vs ACH & Tadarius Thomas

That’s it for this week’s edition. Until next week, IT’S STILL REAL TO ME!

Nicholas Villarreal

Game Review/News Editor at iGame Responsibly
Nicholas Villarreal is a seasoned writer on the staff of iGame Responsibly, covering breaking news, as well as game reviews.

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