Canton’s Corner: The Wrestling Week in Review for August 13
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
Welcome to the fourth edition of Canton’s Corner. It’s my weekend look at the week of wrestling that focuses on WWE Raw, Smackdown and TNA’s Impact Wrestling. Before I get started, I just want to thank everybody for the feedback to my major column covering Summerslam 25 Greatest Matches on Monday and Thursday. I received a lot of comments via Twitter, Facebook and email. Who knew people still emailed? Haha. I was pleasantly surprised to receive emails from people within the business that praised my work. I can’t say who (let the guessing begin!), but it meant a lot to know that the people we watch on TV every week can respect what I do too. They are fans just like us.
Outside of the weekly Raw Deal & Canton’s Corner columns I don’t have anything major planned for the rest of August. However, in September I have two major columns planned. One will be at the start of the month (I’ve already started working on it) and the other will be at the end of September. I won’t say what they are about because people steal ideas. All I can say is that they should lead to a lot of interesting discussion, which is what I like after I spend so much time writing these columns.
As always in Canton’s Corner we start with the poll of the week. Before we can move on to this week’s poll, we have to look at last week’s poll results.
Last Week’s Poll Results
The question from 8/6: What will be the better major title match at Summerslam?
The result: Punk/Cena 78.21% – Christian/Orton 21.79%
I voted for Christian/Orton, which as you can see was not the popular choice here. I understand why that is because all of the focus is on Punk/Cena, but I think both matches are going to be given a lot of time and be very good in terms of its quality. I think we’re at a good time to be a WWE fan because it’s pretty much a guarantee that both matches are going to be excellent.
This Week’s Poll Question: What is WWE’s #2 PPV?
We all know that WWE’s biggest Pay-Per-View event every year is WrestleMania. The question is what’s number two? The big three after WrestleMania are January’s Royal Rumble, August’s Summerslam and November’s Survivor Series. All of those PPVs have over 20 years of history behind them, yet there’s no clear #2 PPV out of that group. Now we can decide what it is. The official question is: What is WWE’s #2 PPV in terms of importance? Use whatever criteria you want to vote. Pick one of the three.
My pick? Summerslam. It used to be the Royal Rumble, but I think it has lost its importance because ever since they brought in the WWE Title and the World Title it has hurt the impact of the Rumble winner. Too often the winner of that match wrestles in the match that isn’t last match at WrestleMania. Even though the Rumble match is one of my favorite annual matches, winning it doesn’t matter as much as it used to. I think it’s between those two with Survivor Series coming in a distant third. It should be pointed out that this year’s Survivor Series will be huge since it’s New York City and they are already promoting the return of The Rock at that event. That will raise the importance of Survivor Series again although it’s definitely taken a hit in the last decade.
Let’s move on to the weekly shows.
I already wrote about Raw at length this week here so check that out if you haven’t already. In this spot this week I’ll share my predictions for Summerslam. These are just my picks. If you want to read the picks of the 14 man staff of TheJohnReport.net you can do so RIGHT HERE fella. I’m sorry if this is a “repeat” for some of you, but this is my fifth post in six days and frankly what else could I write about without regurgitating the same things? If you’ve already read the Summerslam preview then skip down to where you see the Smackdown logo for more new material.
In the preview we didn’t know if Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett was official. Why couldn’t they announce it last week? On Smackdown we found out it was going to take place at Summerslam. I’ll lead off with that.
Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett
With Daniel Bryan in the role of “Mr. Money in the Bank” it would make sense for him to win the match and be kept strong through the end of the year. He’s already said that he’s going to cash in the briefcase at WrestleMania 28, which means they have a lot of time to build him up before that. He lost clean to Del Rio on Smackdown and that was followed up with an attack by Barrett. I think they’ll have a solid 10 minute match here with Bryan winning via submission.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
Divas Title: Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix
I think anything other than Beth Phoenix winning in dominant fashion is a bad move. She should win the match and her heel buddy Natalya, going by the name of Divas Of Doom as a team, should be there to celebrate. It’s a good position to put the divas division because you’d have two bigger, more talented heels working with the younger group of babyfaces that would be elevated by working against them. Sorry Yelly Yelly. This time when you yell it will be in pain.
Winner: Beth Phoenix
World Title: Christian vs. Orton
It’s weird to even think that it’s going to happen, but I’m rolling with Christian here. I think the No Holds Barred stipulation will allow for some kind of shady finish that will keep the title on the champ as he moves on to feud with Sheamus. Perhaps an angry Mark Henry, furious from losing earlier in the show, can show up, beat the crap out of Orton and injure him because it’s a No Holds Barred match meaning no DQ for it. This would allow Christian to retain the title without having to face Orton again. It’s a shady finish, but that’s how they are booking Christian going forward, so we might as well get used to it. I’m assuming they will get 20-25 minutes and it should be a great match with a lot of fun brawling spots planned.
Undisputed WWE Championship Match: John Cena vs. CM Punk w/Triple H as Referee
Hmm, what to think here? All signs are that this match will likely get 30+ minutes. I think 45 minutes is very likely. The question is can they make it interesting for that long? Last month’s Money in the Bank match was arguably the match of the year in WWE (that or HHH-Taker at WM27), so it’s a case of can you top this? I don’t know if they can, but it will still be a very good match that probably hits the four star level. As for the prediction, I think there will be a lot of teases of Triple H turning heel, but I don’t think it will happen. It will end up being a straight up match. The result? I’m going Cena because I think they will want to even this PPV main event series at 1-1, which will lead to a third match at a future PPV down the road. If Punk wins that’s fine obviously, but my gut instinct is to pick Cena here. Either way I don’t see Punk or Cena leaving Summerslam as the WWE Champion.
Winner: John Cena
Note the phrase “attempt to cash in” meaning that if he cashes in and if the ref rings the bell then that’s the attempt. If he wins or loses is irrelevant, but the writer is encouraged to predict that aspect as well.
Yes. I’m calling it again. Del Rio cashes in and wins the WWE Title to end Summerslam. It will take the wind out of the sails of whoever wins the long title match, but it will happen. With the Mexican tour coming in September it makes a lot of sense to get that title on Del Rio. Plus, they can wait to do the third Cena/Punk WWE Title match (assuming one of them gets the title back by then) until possibly Survivor Series when Rock could be the guest ref. Imagine that? I’m thinking big.
It was an average show this week. Check out my buddy Christian Michael’s review here for a full recap of the show. I’ll hit on a few points from Smackdown as well as one from NXT this week too.
Like – Cody Rhodes as Intercontinental Champion
I’m very happy for Cody because he’s the most improved performer in WWE in the last year. While I liked the “dashing” gimmick more than the mask gimmick, he’s still a lot of fun. He beat Ezekiel Jackson relatively clean to win the title. It wasn’t a great match, but it’s the result that I like because frankly Zeke was one of the worst IC Champions in the history of the company. What an awful title reign that was. It was funny when Michael Cole celebrated with a paper bag at the end of it too. Post match, Big Zeke destroyed Dibiase. Hopefully it means Zeke goes heel soon because he’s not working well as a babyface. By the way, Cody’s dating Layla. He’s doing well for himself isn’t he?
Dislike – The opening promo by Triple H & Christian
Yawn. We see Hunter on Raw every week cutting the same promo and now we see it on Smackdown too. Basically he was out there on his own for a few minutes to run down what we’d see on the show. Then Christian came out to confront him. Despite the fact that they are both great talkers the whole first quarter hour fell flat. Basically Christian did a speech about how he was going to sue Hunter if he doesn’t change the Orton match at Summerslam while Hunter told him to be a fighting champion. That led to Christian showing some guts to end the promo, which led to his match against Sheamus where he took a countout loss because he is, in fact, a chickenshit heel champion. The promo wasn’t very productive.
Like – The Sheamus/Henry feud continues to be hot
They are doing a great job of keeping the momentum strong for their showdown at Summerslam. Henry crushed Johnny Curtis in his in-ring Smackdown debut and then Sheamus came out for a fight. Henry backed away, though. It builds up the anticipation well. It’s been a very old school feud. I’m enjoying every aspect of it.
Dislike –Sin Cara version two
In case you didn’t know, WWE developmental wrestler Hunico was under the Sin Cara mask this week because the original Sin Cara aka Mistico is still suspended for 30 days due to failing a drug test. The announcers pointed out that Sin Cara had put on weight (he was noticeably chubbier) and that he added new moves. That’s another way of saying that this guy wasn’t as athletic. I doubt the kids noticed, but anybody that looked closely could see the difference. My hope is that they give Mistico a shot again because everybody makes mistakes and he deserves a second chance.
Like – Justin Gabriel vs. Tyson Kidd on NXT
We’ll wrap this section up with something that wasn’t on Smackdown. It was a match from NXT that saw Justin Gabriel, now a babyface, defeat Tyson Kidd and you can watch it here. This was the best match on WWE TV this week, getting 14 minutes of time and featuring two of the most athletic guys in the company. I’d rate it at ***1/2 and encourage you to watch it if you haven’t done so already. It’s an excellent back and forth match that featured some great nearfalls, submissions and an electrifying finish. The future is bright for both Gabriel & Kidd.
– I’m fine with the name “Divas of Doom” for Beth Phoenix and Natalya. I guess it’s like a Legion of Doom type of thing. It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here.
– One final point to make is that I enjoyed the end of Smackdown when Christian said that his match with Orton at Summerslam was anything goes and he had “the best thing going.” What does that mean? I have no idea, but it makes me think he’ll have some help to win the title. Perhaps an angry Mark Henry as his enforcer? It could be. I’m not sure. I was intrigued by that line, though.
TJR Video Run-In
Last week TJR reader Cory Frizzell had the “out of line” video. This week? TJR reader David Threlfall has made a very funny John Canton Titantron video that I feel like sharing. I didn’t ask him to. He did it on his own and frankly I think it’s awesome. It’s about 40 seconds of clips and then it loops over. As for the song? That’s part of the fun! For those wondering, yes that is indeed my face in all the clips. Enjoy.
If you want to make a video send the link to me either at email@example.com, Twitter @johnreport or Facebook at Facebook.com/thejohnreportnet. It doesn’t have to be about me. I just want to post funny stuff, so make it funny and it could be in the column.
TNA had a PPV on Sunday. It wasn’t very good. Kurt Angle turned heel to win the World Title from Sting and some other stuff happened that wasn’t too impactful. Yes, I used that word for a reason. I watched Impact Wrestling on Thursday and have come away with three dislikes and two likes from the show.
Dislike – Kurt Angle goes heel
It was painful listening to Angle’s promo on Impact because nobody in the crowd wanted to boo him. Sure, the camera showed a few people with their thumbs down, but the Impact Zone was more dead than normal. The promo was filled with piped in crowd noise; a steady stream of “Boo” to the point that it took away from what he was saying. The turn wasn’t built up well at all, nor was it necessary. It was almost as if they realized “hey we better use Kurt to make a young guy” and they decided to do it during the last Impact taping where they kept harping on Kurt wanting to do the right thing. There was a bit more heat when he attacked Crimson after the main event, but I don’t think the crowd was ready for him to turn heel. We’ll see how this “Angle vs. the young guys” angle goes. I don’t doubt Kurt. What I doubt is the quality of opponents he’s going to face.
Like – Beer Money wins a 3 team tag match
The team of Beer Money beat RVD & Pope and Styles & RVD in an exciting tag match. What I liked about it was that the finish was very well done with Robert Roode scoring the pin. Of course it’s TNA, so they only got five minutes when it should have been more than ten instead of having to rush the finish. Still, I’ll give it a like because Beer Money’s the best act in the company. I’m hoping that they are split up soon because they need them in singles. Robert Roode is a future main eventer. I think near future too.
Dislike – Ken Anderson turns…again
He just turned heel a few months ago when he beat Sting for the World Title. Then he lost the title back to Sting and now, after Immortal beat him up, he’s a babyface again. I think he’s better in the heel role instead of this “Stone Cold” Anderson position that they love putting him in. I guess the positive is that Immortal didn’t look like a bunch of jobbers when they beat him although they did look like jobbers in the main event because they couldn’t beat Crimson in what was basically a 3 on 1 match. Immortal might be the most poorly booked main event heel stable ever. It’s brutal to watch.
Like – X-Division gets a 225 pound weight limit
In a backstage promo, Eric Bischoff told smaller wrestlers (and Abyss) that they would have new rules for the X-Division. From now on a wrestler has to weigh 225 pounds or less to be in the X-Division. That means that the division with no limits now has a limit. I’m okay with it because it defines the X-Division a little bit more, which is what was needed. I’m assuming Austin Aries wins the X-Division Title from Brian Kendrick at the next PPV, which is fine by me because Aries is one of the best talents in the company.
Dislike – Los Double J
Jeff Jarrett did a long promo harping on his success in Mexico that was so boring I fell asleep while watching it and I wasn’t tired. After waking up, I re-watched it and wish I was still asleep. This was the same type of promo that Jarrett would do in the dying days of WCW. I understand the kind of heat they were going for, but it was cheap heat that was nauseating.
For more check out Marc B.’s Impact Wrestling review posted on thejohnreport.net on Sundays.
Random Clip of the Week
Summerslam 2005. Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels. A dream match for some. Apparently the deal was that Michaels would put over Hogan here and then Hulk would put him over down the road. That wasn’t agreed to by Hogan, so the story goes that Michaels decided to make a bit of a mockery of the match thanks to a ridiculous amount of overselling. Being the Michaels fan that I am, I found it hilarious. Thanks to greatness of youtube, here is a great video (with the right kind of music) that summarizes the great work that HBK did to make Hogan’s offense look a lot better than it really is.
My two favorite bumps were the one after the clothesline over the top rope and the one that followed Hogan’s big boot to the face. Hilarious. I should also point out that Michaels’ heel promos prior to this match were some of his best work ever. The one in Montreal was particularly great.
Melo Out with Steve Melo
Well, it’s official. A new era is upon us. I’m not talking about the rock & wrestling era. I’m not talking about the attitude era. I’m not even talking about the lackluster PG era that followed. I, or course, am talking about this new era many fans are already referring to as the reality era.
In my first column, I wrote that (and I quote) “Blurring the lines between scripts and reality is perhaps the answer that WWE has been looking for in becoming as popular as they once were.” Hate to say I told you so but it would appear that the Melo Man was correct. WWE has been slowly getting more and more entertaining. Usually I find myself complaining about something, but I can’t help but embrace this new era. On RAW, the commentating was far better from the week prior. Cole was less annoying and J.R got more talk time. Cole still needs to go in my opinion. You already have the guy on Smackdown. Let him “be the voice” of that. Beth Phoenix also cut an intriguing promo, basically saying that it is time for a change in the diva’s division. If by change she is referring to better wrestling matches like the one she had teaming with Natalya last night and more cleavage than I for one approve. The Miz was also impressive except the thing with him is no matter what he does he just doesn’t come across as a tough guy. He reminds me of an average everyday guy who if you were to get in a fight with in real life, you might actually stand a fighting chance. Am I alone on this? Maybe it is his face in general that bothers me or the fact that he sleeps next to Maryse every night.
Lastly, I would look like a total doofus if I overlooked the contract signing that ran ridiculously long to end RAW. Even though it went about twenty minutes, it was so well done that nobody cared. Every time Punk spoke, I peed my big boy boxers. Not really, but you get the metaphor I’m sure. If it was laundry day, then yes it would be pajamas. But I’ll be damned if I give Cena that satisfaction. I will however give him his “mad props” as Kurt Angle would say for cutting an equally great promo. Both did a very effective job of hyping up their Summerslam rematch tomorrow. I’m sold.
As far as Summerslam is concerned, what do I see happening? Hate to say it but I see Cena winning because of Triple H and not necessarily clean. Post match, Triple H goes full heel and takes out Punk, who is arguing with him regarding the finish, while Del Rio nails Cena with the MITB briefcase from behind. Triple H counts the pinfall. Del Rio is your new WWE Undisputed Champion. This sets up a CM Punk/Triple H feud while Cena feuds with ADR in hopes of reclaiming a world title for a disgusting 12th time. It also means Triple H would be a heel for the first time in many years. He is better as a heel and for the boss role he now has, a heel is always a better fit. That is how I see it. It makes the most sense in my opinion, especially considering WWE will be heading to Mexico soon. It makes sense that Triple H would do “what is best for business” and want Del Rio to be champion. That’s a great storyline in itself because it also takes reality into effect. I think it would work great.
That’s all the time for this week.
Enjoy Summerslam, sit back, relax & Melo Out, because that’s what wrestling’s about.
What a week. Fifth post in six days for me. There were two parts of Summerslam’s Greatest Matches, the Raw Deal, the Summerslam Preview and now Canton’s Corner. On Sunday I’ll have live Summerslam coverage and then on Monday I’ll have live Raw coverage. That will be 7 posts in 8 days. Guess what, though? I love what I do. Next week I have Tuesday to Friday off work too, so it will be a nice break for me. Thanks for all the support because writing about the wrestling business keeps me from going nuts…or maybe it makes me crazier. That’s up to you to decide.
Join me for live Summerslam 2011 coverage exclusively at thejohnreport.net. I’ll be writing live and you can share your thoughts in the comment section right below. My expectations for the PPV are very high, so let’s hope it’s a great show that truly delivers just like Money in the Bank did.
Have a great weekend.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit my 10+ year column archive at the Wrestling Oratory right HERE.