BEFORE THE SHOW
So my little sister told me a while back that she'd be up in Chicago to visit me for Spring Break. Turns out that there was a Smackdown taping during that same time period. I asked if she wanted to do something like that and she was pretty ecstatic. My wife was too, because she thought maybe, just maybe, she'd see the Undertaker live.
To hype ourselves up we did something I've never done before in all my years as a wrestling fan. We went to Target grabbed some poster boards, markers, and glitter glue, to make some baddass signs to cheer on our favorites.
My sister made one for Matt Hardy. It turned out pretty good. I don't think she's particularly artistic (she makes up for it by being badass at Soccer) and she pretty much got his little Hardy Boy logo on the money. My wife made a little Rated R Superstar logo and then on the other side she did a silhouette of the Undertaker with a big white 18 - 0 in the black areas. Pretty nifty.
Me. I decided to go as generic as possible. My first poster was for R-Truth. I wrote R-TRUTH IS WHAT'S UP. That's it. Pretty solid right? And then on the otherside I decided to make a sign for an NXT rookie. After much deliberation, I decided to be one of the only Heath Slater fans in the building. And some one on a message board had mentioned him being generic so I thought what's the best generic sign
HEATH SLATER ROCKS.
And I held it up proud, you snarky cynical wrestling bastards. Little did I know that Heath was going to be kind of a big deal tonight.
JIMMY WANG YANG vs. TYLER REKS
Pretty good ovation for Jimmy Wang Yang. I think Reks was booed because he wasn't Jimmy Wang Yang. The match was pretty solid. If you ever hit up one of these events, the crowds are pretty fun for the dark match. Just because they're the first ones. It means the show has started and now we're starting to get what we paid for. It was pretty much all of Yang's signature spots in a good six minute match. Kind of wish it got TV just because anytime I seem to see Yang on TV he's getting booted in the face. Win with the moonsault, and I'm having fun.
Vickie Guerrero and Team LayCool come out for Superstars. I'm not joking, Vickie is molten hot lava of heel heat. No one shut up during her promo and you could barely tell what anyone was saying. I loved it. There was a very little boy in the seat above me (Our seats were right before the risers bump up about three feet so I could stand up and not be in anyone's way) and the little dude was hot all night. Booed the bad guys, cheered the good guys. And man did he hate some Vickie. Apparently they're insinuating that Beth Phoenix is a man, baby. Based on her awesome muscles and her participation in the Royal Rumble. Vickie announces Layla will face Beth in an "Inter-gender match". That's pretty funny. Beth comes out to an awesome ovation that I'm sure is partly because she's the opposite of Vickie Guerrero.
LAYLA vs. BETH PHOENIX INTER-GENDER MATCH
Beth was pretty hot and the crowd loved her offense. The match wasn't that bad at all. Layla does some cool things with her body language that plays to the back. She really performs much larger than herself. Sure it's a little clunky but I had a great time cheering for Beth. Beth of course nails her finsh, which I don't know the name too and gets the win. Guerrero distracts Beth afterwards for a McCool ambush but Beth is a step ahead and clears the heels out of the ring and up the ramp. Vickie is hilarious running up the ramp. Crowd really ate up all of this, and it was one of the hotter segments of the entire night, including the Smackdown taping.
So I've been really down on NXT lately and based off this taping, I'm pretty sure I will continue to be. To open the show we get all the rookies in a line up. Matt Striker conducts some interviews.By the time this is published you should have probably already seen NXT so I'm not going to give a total rundown. I will say that my HEATH SLATER ROCKS sign came in pretty handy. I was so surprised that he won the contest. I held my sign up and showed it to everyone yelling, "HE JUST BLEW YOUR MIND!" Then Kane was announced as the prize. I was said.
I think I converted some kids to Heath's camp with my awesome charisma as I'll explain later.
BRYAN DANIEL vs. DARREN YOUNG.
This was just okay. Both guys came out to that awful theme song instead of Punk and Miz's music. Bryan was bringing the heat and whipped out Cattle Mutilation for nothing. I have no idea why this ended the way this did. But man did he slap the bejeezus out of Darren Young. I will say that through out this show, a lot of fans just didn't give a shit. Which is unfortunate. And a lot of people sat on their hands for much of Bryan's stuff. I just don't get this loss more than any of the others.
Skip Sheffield's promo about nice guys finishing last, was pretty good and I think I'm going to like mean ass Skip Sheffield.
MICHAEL TARVER vs. JUSTIN GABRIEL
I honestly don't remember much about this. Justin was getting pretty good reactions from some people, but this was really quick and pretty uninteresting. Hey a 450 Splash.
DAVID OTUNGA vs. WADE BARRETT
These guys came out to their mentor's music, which got huge reactions. But once the match started the crowd kind of fell silent. At least in my section. I didn't see too much going on elsewhere. Otunga was, I guess working face. He had given out about 100 comp tickets for people here in Chicago, and they may have been the only one's cheering him. Wade is just a dominant competitor and I felt like he was kind of moving half speed for David, but I could be wrong.
KANE vs. HEATH SLATER
This was actually much better than the other matches. Heath was solid and Kane pretty much built the whole thing. At one point Heath was getting worn down and I heard some one trying to do the slow build clap. I look around and I see this young guy, maybe 14 years old clapping by himself. Then I start clapping with him and he looks at me with this huge grin. I look at him and I go "YEAH MAN LET'S DO IT!" So then he starts clapping harder and I start clapping harder and eventually Heath Slater gets choke slammed. But it was a damn cool moment of wrestling communion.
Out comes Jack Swagger, he's back in old black tights, and I'm a little sad. He cuts a promo on how awesome he is. The more he talks the more traction he got, getting some pretty awesome heat. I think his big line was saying that "now that Shawn Michaels career is over you can now declare Jack Swagger is the best pure performer in the WWE." People didn't like him even mentioning HBK's name. Out came John Morrison who started dissing swags, telling him that he may hold the title, but he isn't a champion. He also digs at his lisp, which made bunches of people laugh. Nex thing you know they're wrestling.
JACK SWAGGER vs. JOHN MORRISON
This was just okay. Really early on Jack Swagger got a cut on his face,s o they stopped the match and checked it out. Then later the ref was given a towel and wiped of Jack's face again. It kind of worked, because Swagger was such a dick when it came time to get cleaned up. It kind of pulled the heat on to him rather than the WWE for instituting a kind of lame rule. The finish was a little wonky, and I'm not sure how it'll play on TV. Morrison baseball slides Swagger and the turns out on the apron, looking for maybe an Asai Moonsault. Swagger kind of pauses and then ducks in a sweeps Morrison of the apron to the floor. It was a really long pause, and looked like Swagger didn't know when to come in. And it really made Morrison look kind of silly for standing there for so long. Swagger rolls in JoMo's body for a Power bomb and a 3 count
WINNER: JACK SWAGGER
A graphic came up saying Punk was going to convert Darren Young later. Awesome.
Jericho was backstage with Wade Barrett and Swagger showed up. He explained that he picked Jericho because he was hurt and was a sure thing. Jericho was pretty over the top here, and pretty damn hilarious. Told Swagger that a nice suit and a serious demeanor doesn't make him Jericho or a champion.
SHAD GASPAR PROMO
So Shad came out so new music and Titantron. Then he turned around and came back out to Cryme Tyme stuff. I'm thinking the new music and Titantron were a test run for the live audience. I really liked it. Shad shaved his head really close, which I knew would happen considering it's getting a little thin in places. His promo here is really really solid. I mean great heel turn promo. He came off natural, and as he picked up steam the crowd started to let him have it. It was pretty great as, he seemed to just get mild interest. But as by the time he got to his money line, they were really against him. JTG ran out and slid in to the ring. Shad rolled out. JTG followed only to get leveled with the boot. More boos. Also, JTG didn't corn roll his hair it was just pulled back. I wonder if he's working on a new singles look as well.... Anyway, make sure you give this a look, because this new Shad, is something to look forward to.
DREW MCINTYRE vs. MATT HARDY
Drew came out and got on the mic. After some boos he told the people he wasn't going to waste his breath on them. Drew is really starting to look like a star. The new music is really awesome live. And he's developing a really nice aura around him. Matt's reaction was pretty good.
The match was probably the best of the night. Matt was bringing the goods, and was venturing into old man Terry Funk territory. I mean he was all wobbly and did the blind wild punches into the air. It could be a great new direction for him. His comebacks were hot. He got in the second rope legdrop, which I don't see so often, and he did the elbow from the apron onto McIntyre outside. Once on the floor Drew pulled Hardy into the steel of the ring apron, similar to one of his Morrison matches. Then he hit his DDT on the floor. Nasty. He rolled in Hardy and pinned him for the three. Really solid match. I had a lot of fun.
WINNER DREW MCINTYRE
CM PUNK SAVES DARREN YOUNG, BUT NOT REALLY, REY MYSTERIO DOES.
Punk came out and the crowd was bonkers for him. big time CM Punk chants. It wasn't until he started really laying in that the boos came out. I wish Darren Young had a more solid character so fans would want him to stay the same. Punk has some great lines about hair in this. Of course Darren changes his mind and bows up on Punk, pushing him down. They gang up on him until REY MYSTERIO hits the ring. He cuts a promo accepting their match and the stipulations.
Teddy Long comes out and gives everyone in Chicago what they want to see, Rey vs. Punk in a street fight. Right Now.
C.M. PUNK VS. REY MYSTERIO - STREET FIGHT
This was kind of in the middle for me. Luke Gallows was cracking me up at rings die jumping like a big goofy kid at anything Punk did. This might play better for me on TV because there was some outside spots I didn't see so well. I don't get the finish though, as it is a street fight, and, Punk should be winning stuff where there's no rules. Especially if Luke and Serena are at ringside. But whatever. It was a fun match, and man is Rey popular in Chicago.
WINNER: REY MYSTERIO
The Dudebusters came out and got a little promo time. Apparently Trent Baretta beat COD 4 in one day. And Caylen shot 12 3-pointers straight in Trent's driveway, blind folded. Could be cool if they go even further over the top, but I don't think either guy is funny enough to pull it off. The Hart Dynasty came out to a good reaction.
DUDE BUSTERS vs. THE HART DYNASTY
The crowd kind of decided this was snack time. The match was a pretty okay tag match that got better as it went. DH set up for their version of the Hart Attacked but Tyson got sidetracked. I thought that they were going to lose once that happened, but DH didn't let me down and beat the crap out of whoever was in the ring with him. His Sharp Shooter was pretty hot looking too. I want more Hart Dynasty.
DOLPH ZIGGLER ANSWERS JOSH'S QUESTIONS
Josh: Hey Dolph, how'd it feel to put the seven foot tall Great Khali to sleep?
Ziggler: Like this.
*Josh takes a nap, Dolph with the assist.
Meanwhile Edge gives Swagger a history lesson on his first MITB cash in. And then makes funs of his lisp. A-Holes.
CHRIS JERICHO vs. EDGE - WINNER FACES SWAGGER FOR THE TITLE
This was okay in the first half and then picked up before the Double Count Out. Not as good as their Mania match, but it was a different story to be told. Jericho was hot as hell, and did some great taunts to set the people off. They brawled in the crowd for the count out, which is always fun. Edge hit the spear and then when Swagger came down, he nailed the spear on him too. Thanks for tuning in folks.
DOUBLE COUNT OUT.
POST MATCH PROMO FROM EDGE
Edge cut an awesome promo for Chicago. He said that this arena was honestly one of the reasons he became a wrestler. He said that when he was young he watched an old VHS copy of the Wrestle Classic. And then he explained, for the young-uns that this show had all the greats, and he name checked, Junk Yard Dog, Ricky Steamboat, Davey Boy Smith, Dynamite Kid, Paul Orndorf and some one else. He said the atmosphere in that arena was amazing, and that every time he stepped foot in here, we never disappoint him. He said "Even these guys in the front row who hate my guts aren't disappointed. They may be disappointed when they look in the mirror, but that's another story." Huge pop for that. Anyway, he declared that next time he rolled into town, he'd be World Heavyweight Champion. Just a really cool promo that had that thing that is just so awesome about Edge, and that's his sense of wrestling history. I really wish this was on TV, because I think it would be a very cool face promo. It sounded so much better than some of his regular "Rah Rah Rah" speeches and was much more genuine.
OVER ALL THOUGHTS:
Good time, with some good matches. NXT was disappointing. No pros? I thought these guys were paired up? Also no R-Truth, which was sad, since I made him a poster. No Undertaker which made my wife mad. And she made me promise to keep taking her back to shows until he showed up. Oh well. Definitely check out the Matt Hardy match, and Shad Gaspar's promo. Also D.H. Smith's Sharpshooter. Good stuff.