Monday, December 29, 2008

IWW: Interview with Colin Delaney (part one)

IWW interviews Colin Delaney (part one)

Indeed Wrestling Weekly, the program with quite a misleading title, has finally returned to air the first part of our interview with former WWE Superstar and current CHIKARA performer - COLIN DELANEY~!

In part one - we talk about growing up, memories of Upstate NY wrestling, breaking in and starting his tag team with Jimmy Olsen, the epic DELANEY CLAN matches, working ROH ringcrew and more. Colin only had a little while so we stuck to mostly pre-WWE talk. The abrupt end of this conversion was because my puppy unplugged my microphone before I signed off. How professional! Anyhow, we'll be back with Colin later this week and will continue the conversation with a focus on his WWE run.

If you have questions for Colin, you can pm me, email the show ( or post them as a response to this thread.

Hope you enjoy it! If not, well, at least it was free.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

9/7/08 - WWE Supershow in Rochester, NY

WWE "Super Show" House Show in Rochester, NY by Ray Rhodes

Friday Night (September 7th) I attended the WWE House Show at the Blue Cross Arena in sunny Rochester, NY. Despite being hailed as a "Super Show" that would feature all the best stars from all three brands, I figured that just meant a Raw live event with Mark Henry on the card. I wasn't that far off.

Tony Chimmel started us off by introducing our special host for the night, Eve, somewhere in the audience that the spotlight couldn't quite find. She upgraded a family to front row after asking the trivia question, "What city did Wrestlemania 24 hail from?" Many of us always joke that the WWE thinks we need constant rewinds and replays because we don't have a long enough attention span or good enough memory. Looks like they're right because I had already forgotten. It's Orlando, of course. Tony also let us know that WE the people could determine the stipulation between Matt Hardy and Mark Henry (score!) in the ECW Championship match: 2 out of 3 Falls, No DQ, or Falls Count Anywhere by joining the digital age and texting our choice. Let me first point out that it's no trick of the TV, the masses really do love Matt Hardy. And *blush*, I do too.

The opening bout featured Chavo Guerrero (w/Bam Neely) against the spastic high-flier Evan Bourne. Not to be confused with Matt Bourne, aka Doink the Clown (which would be awesome). Of course, we all know Evan Bourne used to be Matt Sydal before ECW gave him his requisite awful WWE name (see also: Ryan Braddock, Ricky Ortiz, Gavin Spears, Braden Walker).

Ways to know you're at a WWE House Show: No Pyro, A Diva Host somewhere in the crowd, and Chavo stalls and works the audience for 10 minutes. Pop Quiz later. To be honest, I've had a hard time getting into Chavo if he's not fighting Rey and to me, Evan Bourne is just Cody Rhodes with a higher vertical leap. The two wrestled for a bit before Evan hits the first of at least 35 dropkicks we would see in the night. Bam Neely looks on. Eventually, Bourne hits the sweet Shooting Star from the top to finish Chavo and take the crowd pleasing win.

Next, Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella put their titles on the line against Kofi Kingston and (I hope it's Mickie James, I hope it's Mickie James, I hope it's Mickie James), D'OH, Kelly Kelly. Despite the hot chaps, Kelly Kelly looked more green than a sea sick sailor and was baffled several times. Which was okay because Santino seemed baffled at much of Kofi's movements as well. The crowd didn't seem to mind too much though, but Santino and Beth were able to defend their belts successfully. Santino had a pretty good opening promo about only needing 62 more weeks to break the I-C record.

When you think "Super Show" I know you're thinking "Primo Colon". If so, you'd be happy when Willian Regal came out to fight the brother of Carlito himself. They decided to tell a story by working some arms and well, that's about it. Most of the match took place on the mat and not in an interesting way, either. Primo spent much of the match getting worked over, but not in a cool "Regal Stretchin' Him" or "Regal Knee Striking" kind of way but more of an "Arm Lock" kind of way. Eventually, Primo would make a comeback--in the form of 4 consecutive dropkicks. And that's it. He slapped on a backslide, took the upset and the crowd rejoiced. Sort of.

The radio spots during the week in Rochester were advertising Jeffy Hardy against Carlito against Shelton Benjamin in a Three Way Dance for the US Title. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. Jeff Hardy was a no show but R-Truth was in the house to get rowdy. If he wasn't introduced as Carlito and didn't come out to his music, I wouldn't have believed it was him with his new make over. This was an elimination type match and after R-Truth's recent vignettes and Shelton Benjamin's old vignettes (I brought a gun to school once. The end), we figured this match was a "Who had the hardest childhood to overcome match". It wasn't Carlito as he was eliminated first. Poor guy. R-Truth and Benjamin battled it out for a good chunk of time and I wish I could tell you they put on a classic. If you've been alert at all in the last few years you already know that Benjamin cannot have a decent match with someone who isn't a main eventer. It all falls apart. No exception here. Truth and Benjamin were lost a few times including an Ax Kick that Wasn't Really an Ax Kick and a couple Ducking Mystery Clotheslines spots. Finally, Shelton retains.

Intermission came and went, as they usually do.

Up next we had the World Tag Team Champs, Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase take on Cryme Tyme. First they had a few things to say, mostly about being Priceless or whatever. Yawn. Match was alright and Cody hits his awful DDT for the win.

Everyone loves Matt Hardy and it showed. Mark Henry is a large, large man. The match, picked by texting, was the No DQ match. And here I thought the 2 out of 3 Falls would win. Huh. The two had an energetic fight with Henry looking as good as he ever probably has or will again. After several near falls for Hardy he eventually falls to the World's Strongest Slam. Good match. Special Note: Henry managed to take a "Big Show Bump" of taking a Bulldog by bumping on his back. Tremendous.

Main Event City: Kane, The Great Khali, and MVP took on Big Show, Rey and HHH. The place went nuts for Kane, Rey and HHH, of course, with Rey probably getting the nod. Match featured several SHOW DOWNS and Crotch Chops. Good work by all six, I must say, in a fun match which, of course, saw the faces go over and the place go home happy. The two main events seemed to be enough to make everyone forget about the uh, forgettable first half and the lack of Jeff Hardy, Batista, Jericho, Punk, UT, Cena, etc. To be fair, I think Hardy was the only one of that bunch that was actually advertised on local promos (Cena was too before getting hurt, I think, but that's understandable).

Overall it was a decent time but really could have used some quality talkers. Aside from Santino, no one really worked the crowd verbally, which is a shame because that's half the fun of it.

Ray Rhodes, probably more critical than I should be.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Night of Champions Review by Ray Rhodes

Night of Champions Review, Thoughts, and Comments

by Ray Rhodes

After the RAW Draft and the following Supplemental draft the entire WWE was shaken, not just stirred as in previous drafts. The skeptical viewer (see: the entire IWW staff) would see this as a shameless gimmick to force people to pay attention and to order the Night of Champions PPV to see where the title belts would wind up. And, it seems, a giant swerve to the Internet Community. Jim Ross to Smackdown!? Take that, Good Ole JR! Rey Mysterio to RAW? Where what will the Hispanic audience do? HHH to Smackdown!? They said it would never happen! DH Smith to Fridays? But he was going to be Ted Dibiase's partner! The Swerves! The Intrigue!

Yet, not only was it a shameless gimmick, it was also a great way to freshen up the stale feuds for which I am entirely grateful for. So thank you, WWE, for sending Umaga to Smackdown. Funaki needs his face caved in by Umaga's ass right quick.

Tonight was the Night of Champions and for me, the gimmick worked. I am a huge mark for the title belts and title matches a just the thought of a night where all the belts would be on the line sends shivers down my spine. But since the rising cost of gas has forced Zip Whittle to cut my pay, I haven't been nearly as enthusiastic about dropping 40 bones for a PPV. Any hesitation, however, went away after the draft. Bring on Night of Champions!

With Finlay and Hornswaggle officially moving to ECW, I knew the tag titles could go either way on the hot opener. The Fighting Irish against Miz and Morrison in a worth while match would rest squarely on the ability of the four to manage hard hitting wrestling, tag psychology and comedy. Which they did and then some. Miz and Morrison are fast becoming the best tag team of the last few years (sorry, Carlito and Chris Masters) and Finlay and the sprite put up as much fight as they should without Miz and Morrison losing too much credibility. WWE went the right way here and had the Chick Magnet and the Emperor of Abs go over here.

Speaking of tag teams, the Draft sent Deuce over to RAW. They've done similar things in Drafts of Yesteryear just before they fire someone useless. Sorry, Deuce, we hardly knew ya.

Matt Hardy had to defend his US Title against someone other than MVP. And the world rejoiced. Sadly, though, that challenger would be Chavo Guerrero, who can't seem to have a good match unless it's with Rey Mysterio and 7 years ago. The two worked a decent match, to be fair, and Matt Hardy picks up the win after reversing the last suplex in the Three Amigos and hitting the Twist of Fate.

** Ray Rhodes Nice Touch Moment of the Match**

When Matt Hardy hit the Twist of Fate out of the suplexes, Chavo's bodyguard was taunting the crowd and didn't see the reversal. So when Matt went for the cover and got the three count, Neely was caught off guard and it didn't give him a chance to try and interfere. If he had been watching, it would have looked silly for him to just stand there, especially since he's a heel. So, nice touch.

The Internet World had been a buzz for weeks. Who would be Diabase's partner? Was it DH Smith? No! He went to Smackdown! Was it Teddy Hart? Yeah, right. Was it Cody Rhodes in a move that makes no sense, even to the most toothless of rednecks? Of course! In a swerve that make no legal sense, even in professional wrestling, Cody Rhodes turned on Hardcore Holly and was announced his own mystery opponent. When Dibiase pinned Holly, Rhodes lost the titles with Holly and won them with Dibiase at the same time. To make matters worse, Dibiase has the worst theme music in the last 12 years as well as the worst finisher. Million Dollar Dream into some sort of Russian Leg Sweep? Apparently money can't buy you happiness, good theme music or a decent finisher. But it can buy you an awful storyline. If Ted Dibiase Sr. was dead, he's be rolling in his grave.

Somebody in the WWE woke up and had a good idea. Use Jericho to his ability. And his ability is to be a great heel and to have incredible matches, not brawling with JBL and wrestling once a month.

Now that he's in a great feud with HBK, something had to be done with the IC Title. And that something was recent draft acquisition, Kofi Kingston. In a very strong back and forth match, Jericho did what Jericho does and Kofi showed glimpses of living up to his potential despite a few rough patches. Throw in HBK, a superkick on Lance Cade and a surprise upset and you've got some intriguing TV for the next few Raws. I admit it, I'm hooked.

Pigs began to fly and Hell was frozen over because tonight was the night Mark Henry became a World Champion. It's been a long 12 or so years of multiple let downs, painful matches, and a dozen injuries but Mark Henry has done it! Night of Champions brought us Kane, Big Show and Henry in a match of Sloths. It actually started decent until Kane got roughed up on the apron after getting dumped from the ring which left Show and Henry in the ring longer than should be allowed by law. Eventually, Henry gets the win after massive amounts of bodies crashing around. Mark Henry is a happy man tonight, but the world weeps.

Mickie James defended her Women's Championship against Katie Lea Burchill in a match that would, in my mind, make or break Katie Lea. On a side note, I was digging the Burchill v Kennedy angle but they abruptly ended it and sent Kennedy to Smackdown. Jerks. The two women had a pretty good women's match truth be told and it was an actual match, with barely a hair biel, hair pull, or hair based offense at all. Thank you. Mickie picks up the win but I hope they continue to feud for another month or so.

I originally thought whichever World Title match went on last would be the big title change of the night. So when Edge v Batista was in the Viscera Spot, my hope of Batista taking the title to RAW fell apart. After weeks of getting screwed over, it seemed like the perfect point for Batista's revenge. Sadly, Edge retains but after Batista picks up Vickie and hurls her onto La Famiglia, I'd say it was worth it.

So, logically, HHH was losing to Cena, right?

I guess not.

After hyping the match as a match that would give us a moment we would never forget, it was a typical Cena/HHH match. It almost seemed too robotical and cookie-cuttered and at no point did it reach the point of intensity it should have. Even the false finishes were predictable and with HHH winning it just seemed like a cheat. Sure, it wasn't what was expected but sometimes what is expected is what's needed. Raw needs a champion and for that not to be resolved at Night of Champions just seems like a dirty trick. Like sending Matt Striker to RAW. Sorry, Matt, you're probably not going to have a job anymore.

The best part of the night, perhaps, for comedy anyway, was when Batista and Cena were talking backstage, CM Punk came up and made sure we remembered he had the Money in the Bank Briefcase. Just the thought of Punk againt Cena or Batista made me have a fit of laughter. The day Punk beats either of them is the day Carlito beats HHH. Stranger things have happened, however, Mark Henry is a World Champion after all.

Final Word: The PPV started off good but a baffling and stupid tag team match and no title change in either of the main events brings a possible A grade to a strong B.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Future Presidents appears on RAW; King of the Ring returns!

Political theatre jumped in the squared circle on Monday night as all three major Presidential Candidates appeared on RAW in taped speeches laced with wrestling catchphrases. Also on this special three-hour episode, WWE held a one-night King of the Ring tournament crowning the first champion since King Booker’s 2006 win. (Prior to that, the tournament had been retired since June 2002 when Brock Lesnar defeated RVD in the finals. Trivia note: only five of the sixteen men in that 2002 tournament – Edge, Hardcore Holly, William Regal, Val Venis and Chris Jericho – are still working for WWE now.)

WWE did not announce the participants for this tournament in advance. The news that the Presidential Candidates had each taped a message for the show was also late-breaking. No doubt, with a very close primary in Pennsylvania, any efforts to target young voters (Obama appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Monday as well), were being pursued aggressively. The overnight ratings for the show were not released yet but are expected to be higher than normal for the last two hours.

The timing for a one night, three-hour RAW directly preceding Sunday’s Backlash PPV is interesting. Typically, these specials are directives from USA. A seven-match one-night tournament like King of the Ring is an excellent way to fill the time but on a go-home show directly prior to a PPV, is it dilutive to selling Backlash? PPV storylines were woven into the tournament as well as promos for the RAW main event. However, the tri-focus of KOTR, promoting the upcoming pay-per-view and the messages by Obama, Clinton and McCain gave the show a very odd feeling.

First round was Chris Jericho (Intercontinental Champion, RAW) and Montel Vontavious Porter (US Champion, Smackdown). This pairing is especially interesting because Jericho honed his skills as one of the last modern wrestlers to really tour the world (Europe, Mexico, Japan, North America) prior to joining WWE. MVP joined the professional wrestling community much later in his life, but has shown a veracious ability to learn and improve ever since Kane literally lit a fire under his ass during their inferno match. Both have expressed a deep appreciation for Japanese strong-style wrestling. With these expectations, the match was okay but not incredible. Surprisingly, MVP submitted to the Walls of Jericho after Y2J escaped from the Play of the Day. Considering that Jericho is the referee for the Batista/HBK match and MVP has a singles match with Matt Hardy, I would have thought MVP would continue. However, seeing the rest of the matches, the decision must have been made that face-face matches would play better than heel-heel matches.

Next match was “Never say Die” Matt Hardy and “Mr. Money in the Bank” CM Punk. Considering MVP’s loss, it seemed evident that Hardy would be doing the job. Another match that would play very well in front of a ROH audience, Punk was able to get the pinfall after Hardy escaped from the G2S (KENTA’s Go 2 Sleep).

Fit Finlay and Great Khali had a short match ending in a disqualification. Khali was killing Finlay and destroying his leg by wrapping it around the ringpost. Eventually, Big Show appeared and the two had a short confrontation. I was surprised they had Khali giving Big Show the Tree-Slam on Smackdown last week. Personally, the allure of these two giants fighting one another (in my mind because Big Show had to take Khali’s place in the awful Punjabi Prison Match several years ago) is only special if we can’t see them taking bumps on free TV.

Finlay and son Hornswoggle were leaving when William Regal came out and it was announced that the diminutive former bastard son of Vince McMahon had been entered into the King of the Ring tournament. Regal made quick work of Hornswaggle by applying the Regal Stretch and immediately garnering a submission victory.

CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho in the KOTR semi-final match in the best match of the evening. These two men met just three weeks prior on Monday Night RAW during the build-up to the Money in the Bank Ladder match at Wrestlemania. In that encounter, Jericho landed the Code Breaker to defeat CM Punk in an excellent match. On Monday night, CM Punk avenged that loss when he managed to nail the G2S for the win. With a tournament which has the possibility to create new stars, CM Punk seemed like the right person to get some additional momentum. However, since he already holds the “Money in the Bank” title shot, it’s questionable whether he really would have needed to win this tournament as well.

William Regal and Fit Finlay had their usual face-bustingly violent affair. It was terrific to see them working over each other with their brutal strikes. Eventually, Regal managed to destroy Finlay with a devastating combination of senton-punches-knee lift and Regal stretch for another submission victory. Because of Finlay’s knee injury from the Khali match, I was surprised this one went as long as it did.

The finals for the 2008 King of the Ring tournament was William Regal versus CM Punk. Again, in another promotion, given sufficient time, this could be one of the finest matches of the year. On RAW, this was merely a good, albeit too short, final for a one-night tournament. In the end, Regal matched to apply the Regal Stretch for a third consecutive submission triumph.

A tournament such as King of the Ring offers an opportunity to make new stars. One of the main problems with the WWE Brand Expansion is that with the multiplying number of belts, it becomes harder and harder to establish anyone but the very top tier of the company: Triple H, Randy Orton, John Cena, Undertaker, Batista, Shawn Michaels and Edge. When you remove these players from a major tournament, you are only left with faux-main event contenders (JBL), Tag Champions (Hardcore Holly), Intermediate Belts (US Champion MVP & Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho) and ECW “Superstars” (Kane & Chavo Guerrero). The Fit Finlays of the roster are people whose sole job is really to be a credible opponent without really being a major contender. Wasting a slot on Hornswaggle, especially without a storyline about Regal being a conniving GM stacking the tournament in his own favor, is a real shame. Instead, elevating a young star such as Lance Cade or re-establishing a potential powerhouse such as Umaga would have had far more impact. William Regal’s transition to King of the WWE will hopefully be a productive adventure. He definitely has the skills and background. The real question is – who will he defend his royal title against?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Wrestlemania in Orlando - Ric Flair retires!!

JBL defeated Fit Finlay in a “Belfast Brawl” match. (An interesting choice for hot opener because it’s always tough to follow a weapons melee as the first broadcast match of the night. However, there wasn’t a lot of other choices except perhaps Umaga vs Batista or Bunnymania.) Finlay was accompanied by his returning “son”, Hornswaggle (a.k.a. the Little Bastard), who didn’t really play much of a role in the match. Finlay tried to bring the violence including kicking out the vintage Benoit/Finlay moment of diving to the outside to see the hijo answered with a nasty weapon shot. JBL’s table spot was interesting because he seemed uncertain whether he wanted to take a flip bump or not, so he ended up going shoulder/head first. Ouch. JBL ends up winning with the clothesline from hell.

Money in the Bank with Seven Men: MVP, John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Chris Jericho, CM Punk and Mr Kennedy. There was no strong contender going into this match following the suspension of number eight man Jeff Hardy due to a drug test violation. As with all Money in the Bank matches, Shelton Benjamin worked hard and a spectacle ensued. Some creative spots with interlocking the ladders brought the nice innovation factor. Matt Hardy made a surprise return to knock MVP away from the briefcase which was a pleasant continuation of their feud. In the end, CM Punk won the match. However, his future is very uncertain – a title shot at ECW One Night Stand, perhaps?

Batista versus Umaga had a solid match with the Samoan Bulldozer working over the Fujian grandfather’s back. In the end, Batista narrowly managed to execute a powerbomb on the giant monster and won the “Battle for Brand Supremacy”. This did not have a big-match feeling about it, nor did feel like it was a meaningful encounter between the two brands. Umaga is probably moving off RAW in the coming weeks.

Kane won the ECW Championship (his second “world” title reign) by chokeslamming and pinning Chavo Guerrero in less than ten seconds. Kane has been on every Wrestlemania since 1998. We’ll see if his reign as ECW champion will be a ratings failure like Morrison’s.

Ric Flair lost his career-threatening match against Shawn Michaels and retired. HBK showed a lot of emotional throughout the match and put his body on line with a Asai moonsault into the announcer table that looked like it busted his ribs and a flip from the top rope to the floor that looked brutal. Arena was emotional with Flair’s last match and that sentiment will no doubt grow tonight as RAW is built around his farewell.

Bunnymania Lumberjack Match did not have Torrie Wilson as a nameless Diva on the outside. Beth Phoenix & Melina defeated Maria and her partner Ashely (filling in for a re-injured Candice Michelle). Not much to say about this match except that Snoop Dogg was given a ridiculous giant throne to watch it at ringside and later hit Santino and kissed Maria. What a great ad for his parenting reality show!

Triple H, John Cena and Randy Orton had a very well-laid out title match where the heel championship was able to retain. Crowd was vociferously booing Cena during this match as expected. Triple H was very popular but did not wear his Halloween costume. This fued will continue!

Floyd “Money” Mayweather defeated Big Show by Knock-out after Paul Wight fought an army of handlers, took several chairshots and was punched in the head by a world champ boxer while wearing brass knuckles. This match was laid out very well and the crowd was very excited to see the natural heel get hit. This may have been the best celebrity pro-wrestling match yet executed.

In the main event of the evening, Edge lost the World Heavyweight Title to The Undertaker by submission. The story of this match was the Undertaker’s 16-0 Wrestlemania streak which remains intact. Many observers pegged this match as the best on the card following a quiet beginning. Undertaker has been working hard to get the Gogoplata submission over and on Sunday, the crowd popped huge so it was a success. As usual, the show ended with a face winning a major championship.

Pre-WM IWW show: