Thumbs WAY Up
Best Match: Orton vs. Christian
Worst Match: There really wasn't a single bad match on the show, but I guess Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
This was the first WWE PPV I've ordered on my own since last year's WrestleMania (I caught some of this year's at a bar) and I actually went back-and-forth on it up until maybe 5 minutes before the show was going to start. Even though the Punk angle has gotten me back watching WWE TV regularly for the first time in years, $55 is still pretty damn expensive. But I was very happy with my last-minute decision, because I think this was a fantastic show from top-to-bottom.
Maybe when you haven't been watching the product regularly for a while everything feels fresher, but I really like the direction they're going in right now. It seems like they're much more willing to let guys do their own thing in the ring- the matches no longer feel like total cookie-cutters of each other, and there's actually some real good wrestling on display. Like I said, I don't know if this is a recent development or not, but I really felt like I got my money's worth with a lot of great action, and that's all I can really ask for. On an aside, it's kind of strange that the mainstream promotion is the one putting on all these great matches with great workers, really letting guys like Punk & Daniel Bryan shine and featuring guys who legitimately get huge reactions from the audience, while the so-called "alternative" at TNA is pushing a Hogan-Sting "match" and having to pipe in tons of fake noise because no one gives a shit about anything they do anymore. It's amazing when you think about it.
Anyway here's some quick match-by-match thoughts:
Opening six-man tag: Really fun opener. Six-man tags are pretty hard to screw up in general, but everyone seemed energetic and they put together a very good performance to kick the show off on the right foot.
Sheamus-Henry: I put it as worst match, but honestly I enjoyed it for what it was. There were some awkward spots, sure, but it was a pretty good power battle. The finish was a really cool spot and some of the reactions of the fans when they went crashing through that barricade were priceless.
Divas Title: As you said Dave, one of the best women's matches in a while. What was interesting to me was how parts of the crowd seemed to be into Beth as a babyface even after this latest heel turn. It seems like heel turns in general don't exactly take with as much of the audience anymore (see: Christian, who still has his loyal supporters), which I think is actually a positive development since those divided reactions actually make for great television. Both girls really seemed to treat this like a real big stage and went all-out in pursuit of a good match, and I think they got it. Kelly's facials when Beth had her up for the Glam Slam were pretty damn awesome, and really added to the finish.
Bryan-Barrett: Another damn good match. As someone who used to be an ROH die-hard back in the day, I never thought I'd live to see the day when Bryan Danielson was getting significant time in a singles match on the third-biggest WWE show of the year, but there you have it, and he certainly took advantage. They struggled with the crowd at times but really seemed to win some of them over by the end, always the hallmark of a good match.
Christian-Orton: Holy shit, this match was fantastic. I'd put it only a slight level below Taker-HHH, which was a similar kind of all-out brawl. The crowd was way more into it than I expected them to be for a semi-main, and both guys really put their bodies on the line to have a memorable, classic encounter. I was a little disappointed to see Christian's title reign end so quickly, because I had started watching Smackdown again a couple weeks ago and I was really enjoying his schtick as the whiny, totally undeserving champion (which used to be a cliche but honestly it feels like they haven't done it to this degree in a while) and he's awesome in that role (see: his facials while Edge was turning on him). Oh well. Still an awesome, awesome match that legitimately had me on the edge of my seat for most of it. And what a finish.
Cena-Punk: I thought they might have trouble following that last match when it seemed like the crowd didn't react as loudly to Hunter & Punk's entrances as you would have expected, but boy did the crowd get into this one in a hurry. A totally different type of match than Christian-Orton, but still a really great main event. The finish felt a little anti-climactic but actually made total sense from a storyline perspective, and the announcers actually did a great job explaining the finish (HHH takes up special referee gig and just blew the call due to inexperience), so that was good. Of course, the ending came out of nowhere with Nash's return but it will probably play into the storylines, as I imagine Punk will accuse HHH of being behind it since everyone knows the two of them are buddies (and Hunter's facials in the aisle while all this was going on were great). LA was a great place to have Del Rio finally get the gold, since the crowd was really into him in the opener and gave a big pop for his title win.
Overall just wanted to stress that this show was fantastic and I can't wait for RAW. Really liking the direction of the company in general right now and they may just get me to drop another $55 again next month if they can keep this up.
Karlos Vemola vs. Ronny Markes
|I give UFC Live 5 a thumbs up.
Best match: Henderson vs. Miller. Great match. The main even was great too and I'm glad that Lytle finished it because that was a hard one to score. I could see Hardy getting one more fight before UFC lets him go.
Benavidez vs. Wineland was a really good match. It would have been even better if Wineland hadn't broken his nose early on because he seemed apprehensive after that. Dollaway vs. Hamann was very good as well. These were two fights you would want on a free tv prelim show if this were a ppv. Herman and Markes were both impressive with their wins. Vemola seemed to have a lot of hype behind him but didn't seem to do much except make Markes look good. I also enjoyed the many darce chokes in the Volkman/Castillo fight. Good win by Cerrone. He's going to keep winning and be one of the top lightweights again very quickly. They should have let Lytle have the mic a little longer at the end of the show but I guess they had time constraints. The news about Shawn Tompkins was the worst part of the show.
Condolences to the friends & family of Shawn Tompkins. Team Tompkins did a lot for MMA in Ontario and he had trained a lot of top notch fighters in London like "Hands of Stone" Sam Stout, Mark "The Machine" Hominick and Chris "The Polish Hammer" Horodecki that cut their teeth in the UCC/TKO promotion in Montreal. The sport has lost a great pioneer of the sport in Canada.
I would give tonight's UFC card a solid thumbs up and cannot see how anyone could rate it anything but.
From the sounds of Mike Coughlin's coverage, wish we could have seen some of those undercard fights as well. Milwaukee got a hell of a night of action. This was the perfect card for UFC to have on free TV, not as many "big" names to casual fans but I am sure this card is turning some free viewers into buyers for future PPV's.
Best fight: Lytle vs Hardy followed closely be Henderson vs Miller
Worst Fight: none
KO: Donna Cerrone
Submission: Chris Lytle but from the sounds of the undercard Ed Herman may take this one
Duane Ludwig vs. Amir Sadollah - What an awesome fight to start the card off. Ludwig's striking was so superior and he had Amir hurt a number of times. Hats off to Amir for standing with him and absorbing all of those shots. Those step in elbows Ludwig was throwing were inches from connecting in the first round. Bang slowed down a bit in the third but he definitely deserved a unanimous decision here.
Donald Cerrone vs. Charles Oliveira - Giddyup!! I thought Oliveira would give the Cowboy a bit longer fight but that was a nice body shot that took him down and a great finish. A big performance by Cerrone to a large audience on TV. This fight certainly will up his stock tremendously as Oliveira is no push over.
Ben Henderson vs. Jim Miller - This was another amazing fight. Miller was just an animal in consistently trying for a variety of submissions and Henderson continues to be the Houdini or Gumby of getting out of trouble. Henderson looked amazing and Miller is one tough SOB for absorbing all of those punches and elbows. I would love to see these two go again.
Dan Hardy vs. Chris Lytle - these guys delivered exactly what they promised, a nice stand up war. A great back and forth fight. What a perfect way for Lytle to end his career, thanks for all those entertaining fights. What is next for Dan Hardy? A few losses in a row now but he has not been in a lot of bad fights. It wouldn't surprise me to see him being released after another loss but he is an entertaining fighter who helps on the European cards and would like to see them keep him around as he gives his all out there.
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Have a great night all
Official Index of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Kevin Nash?!?!?!? Are they serious?!?!? I can't believe I passed on a free UFC show for that shitty finish. Complete bullshit. Fucking Kevin Nash...
Best match: Christian vs Orton
Worst Match: The women
This show was good but not as good as MITB. I just really wish they could have stretched this out a little further as there wasnt the same impact/anticipation in Cena-Punk. If they could have kept them apart til at least Survivor Series it would have been huge. I think a Summerslam with Miz vs Cena vs Rey in some type of combination would ahve been just as good of a draw, perhaps Miz vs Rey and Cena vs Del Rio and Del Rio still cashes in. Enough armchair booking though. I almost didnt order, glad I did but not as thrilled as the MITB PPV. I really liked the Sheamus vs Henry match, though I'm sure its not exactly match of the night, just a pleasantly entertaining bout though. I am not sick of these Christian -Orton matches though I would imagine they have to break it up eventually. Not have 100 hardcore matches constantly on this big scale really made this one and a lot of the spots stand out. Glad for Vince that the table broke so he didnt lose his mind on the headset. The RKO on the steps was beautiful. Cena - Punk was good but just didnt have the same vibe, and yes no Chicago crowd is going to change it but it wasnt just that. A lot of threads to carry forward, just hope nothing is rushed. Hope to hear Nash saying he did it to stick up for his buddy since he has no conflict, Cena's issues with HHH, where Punk goes from here, and Del Rio FINALLY getting the title.