I have to say I'm really bummed to see that Mark Henry might be done. Gone are the days of Henry being in the Nation of Domination, of being Sexual Chocolate and dating Mae Young, gone are the days of Henry folding frying pans, ripping phone books and lifting cars, of Henry running around in wet white singlets that left less than nothing to the imagination, to the Kool Aid Man, and to the Hall of Pain. I have always been a Henry fan, even if I haven't always been rooting for him. When Henry had to drop the trap due to injury, I was worried that he would be done. I understand why he was in uber cranky mode backstage, I would have been if I'd been him.
It has to hurt to know your body just can't do it any more. Henry will be 41 next month and many of his contemporaries are stepping down and letting the next generation take over. While I can't imagine it's easy, it might be the time he has to do it. In my opinion it's much better to leave with your head held high, rather than keep trying to get that old glory back as you continue to age and just can't produce in the ring. I'm not going to name any names, but you know who I mean.
If Henry truly does have to step back from the ring, I feel for him, but of so many wrestlers who reach an age and leave the ring, I see a lot for Henry and his future. He's done a lot of work with literacy and the Be A Star program. So many people look up to Henry and he is a very interesting fellow, even if he wants to step away from the wrestling industry as a whole, I think he will do quite well. He might even, one day, live down the fact that he (in character) had sex with Mae Young and then she proceeded to give birth to a hand!
Backstage Segment > A-
The looks Trip gave Laurinaitis backstage while Laurinaitis was trying to show how magnanimous and helpful he'd been by leaving Trip to be destroyed by Brock was hysterical! These are the segments that Trip can be so great during. He barely has to say a word, but his facial expressions tell us everything he's thinking. The only time he's better is when he has HBK to work off from. Laurinaitis, as usual has two facial expressions, bored (vacant) and pissed (sucking on a lemon).
In Ring Segment > A
What's better than Trip? Trip and Heyman! First off, Trip talking about being in the ring at WrestleMania with Taker thinking about the legitimacy of the WWE was priceless! But then he went into the WWE's normal way of changing history. I found they way the WWE changed Brock's history was quite interesting. The way it was explained made sense, if you've lived under a Rock for the past ten years. And the WWE wouldn't be paying Brock five million for being a quitter. On the other hand I like the direction this is going and I can't wait to see what the continued plan for Trip and Brock is.
My teen son was in the room and made comments that Heyman needed to wash his hair, and cut his hair, and what was up with his pathetic walk? You have to realize that Max rarely watches wrestling and really has no clue what the ECW was, never mind Paul Heyman! Stacy, who is still getting to know who Heyman is, beyond what I've told him, was the one defending Heyman and telling Max that he just didn't understand what was going on. I have to say that I feel great about how Stacy's wrestling knowledge and interest has grown these past couple years. He was giggling when Trip put his hand in Heyman's face and Heyman voice went up eight octaves. To me this was so much better than Trip and Brock talking could ever have been. I didn't realize how much I'd missed Heyman until he'd returned last week, and this week he stepped it up a notch with what was truly all Heyman. What will they do next?
Video > B-
While I understand why they showed us Big Show mocking Laurinaitis and what happened there, but they did it so many times throughout the show that I was gnashing my teeth by the time Laurinaitis was out and Big Show was in the ring. Good video the first couple times, but they did it way too many times. By the time Laurinaitis and Big Show were in the ring together I was burnt out on the whole storyline. This grade is for all of the Big Show / Laurinaitis videos combined.
Punk and Santino vs Bryan & Cody (9:07) > B+
I like that Santino took a lot of the work in this match. After Punk had an ice pack to the back of his head last week after facing Tensai, whether anything came of it or not, it was nice to see Punk getting a bit of a break in the ring this week going into his match with Bryan at OTL this Sunday.
People can say they don't like Santino, but that man can go in the ring! He can be silly and make us laugh, but he can also work the ring and make almost anyone look good. He worked that ring against both Cody and Bryan, then made that horrible leap making us laugh. It was the end of this match that really drew me in. All four of them were on and tied the match up in a neat little knot. This might not have been a lot of Punk and Bryan, but it left me wanting and waiting for Sunday. Then again, this is a match I've been itching to see for a very long time.
Winners – Punk & Santino
Fox vs Beth (1:20) > D-
At least it was short? I couldn't give this an F because Beth did hit some solid moves here. The thing is that Foxy is so tiny that she looks like a ragdoll without any stuffing. The thing that impressed me after this match was over was the way Beth sold Layla's face plant. Layla might be tiny, but she didn't look like a floppy mess the way Foxy did. It's because of how Layla carries herself that I have some hopes for Sunday.
Winner – Beth
Video > A+
This video of Cena and the other Superstars granting wishes actually brought tears to my eyes. Everyone who reads my blogs regularly knows why Make A Wish is so close to my heart personally. That Cena spends so much of his personal time doing this makes me like him no matter what his character is doing on WWE TV at any given time.
Big Show vs Kane (4:34) > B
I always love seeing these two big men in the ring together, tagging or fighting it out. While they might not go as quickly or crisply as they did ten to fifteen years ago, they still always make me both smiles and cringe. They hit moves that so few big men can hit and they never take it easy in the ring or on each other. Kane hit a crossbody on Big Show, they both used the ropes and worked outside wonderfully. Of course Laurinaitis screwed Big Show, but that was pretty much a given. For what we saw of ring work and how they worked together, I was thrilled, but I'm always thrilled to see these two guys, especially together.
Winner – Kane
In Ring Segment > C-
While I understand what they were doing and why, the whole thing was a disjointed mess. Big Show sold it well, Laurinaitis can only sell two facial expressions and that's in a good segment, and this wasn't a good segment. The blubbering and crying was a bit much, but Big Show made this segment work the best he could, but he was dealing with a lame storyline, lame writing and and the biggest lame-o of them all – Laurinaitis!
Funkasaurus & Kofi & R-Truth vs Miz & Dolph & Swagger w/ Vickie (6:59) > B+
obviously they're setting up for Miz and Clay to have a feud, but I'm against it. I don't know what Miz did to get in this boat, but he's sinking fast. Hopefully he can pull something out with this feud, but I doubt it. I also think that Dolph and Swagger have fallen into a rut with Vickie and they need to do something because they're being so terribly boring! They need to do something before they get lost in the wash of mid-card talent who are stuck in purgatory of not climbing any higher. Both really can be great, and I think Dolph has what it takes to be a top guy, but the way they're going right now they'll never see a main event! The worst thing about all of this is that most of the guys in this match worked a top rate match, but it seems flat to me in that they never seem to get any further than another tag match – I mostly mean Dolph and Swagger. I'd still love to see Swagger and Brock doing something together, but that's just me.
I'm very interested in seeing what will happen with the Colons and Ryan hanging out with AW. Hopefully it will go better than the AW show on WWECW did! One last thing, when Clay was pinning Miz, Miz actually picked his leg up for Clay to grab. I didn't notice that the first time through, but watching it again Stacy noticed it and pointed it out to me. It looked pretty bad in that light. (I did time this match last night, but I somehow missed posting it, sorry.)
Winners – Funkasaurus & Kofi & R-Truth
WWE Rewind > B+
I haven't had the chance to watch last week's Smackdown yet (will make sure I watch it before I write my OTL Predicts), so seeing this video was very cool. I also thought the production crew cut the video together in such a way that it made me want to go watch the show. So bravo to the wrestlers and and production crew for this one.
Backstage Segment > A-
Punk was really good here and said all the right things, but AJ was downright scary! That little bit of a thing can pack a huge emotional punch in the littlest of movements. The look in her eyes, the pout on her lips, the way she turns a phrase. Knowing she's a gaming geek, not sure if she's into table top RPG, but I'd love to game with her. After this I'm expecting her to cause trouble on Sunday.
Jericho vs Orton (9:01) > B+
I enjoyed watching Orton face Jericho one on one more than I thought I would. It was nice to see them reversing each others moves, something that happens less often than I think it should. They worked hard in the ring and the ending, while screwy, was completely plausible. They did a solid job of setting up for OTL and I'm excited. Orton and Jericho in the ring together was great, but add in Sheamus and it's going to be thrilling! Oh, ADR is in the match too? Oh well, he shouldn't mess it up too much.
Winner – Jericho via DQ
In Ring Segment > C-
The only way this whole thing would have worked was if Laurinaitis had gotten right into Cena's face and screeched that the only reason he wasn't being fired was because Laurinaitis was going to beat him down this Sunday. That's all Laurinaitis had to do to clear up the disjointed creative mess they booked themselves into. One simple line and much of the issue would have been handled. Guess RAW creative is really going in too many directions right now!
I will say that while Cena did take a big step back into being uber corny and too young, I laughed a lot when Laurinaitis couldn't get a word in edgewise because Cena was in his face yelling LOOOOOSSSSSSERRRRR at him. The side of me that loves getting into arguments with my kids like that was cheering, the old lady who's annoyed with Cena not having a set when he's on mic made me want to throw tomatoes at the TV. Adding in Laurinaitis and the segment was a mess! The one thing I will give Cena is his reaction after Laurinaitis slapped him and left the ring. Cena got very serious, scary serious, and that was a great way to end the show. I just have one question – Since when has douche baggery been a bleepable offense?
Some really great moments in this show and some that were absolute bollocks. Hopefully it was enough to bring in a solid group for Over The Limit, but I'm not banking on it. Maybe Smackdown will hit a homerun?