Sunday, January 31, 2010

WWE Royal Rumble Preview

Tonight is the first WWE PPV of the year, The Royal Rumble!  Winner gets a title shot of his choice at WrestleMania.  I luvs me some battle royals, but I don't order PPVs anymore.  That said, here is a Royal Rumble preview.  Card subject to change, and card information courtesy of 411wrestling.

WWE Women's Title Match
Michelle McCool vs Mickie James

- McCool is the reigning Women's champion, who has just sat on the belt for months after getting hurt.  She's mediocre in the ring and awful on the mic, but she's also dating The Undertaker.  That said, this feud is the biggest women's feud in a long time...and it all started with McCool taunting Mickie with fat jokes and calling her "Piggy James".  Especially the last few weeks, the heat has been off the charts.  Here's the thing: McCool has humiliated James at every turn.  James HAS to win here, or this is one of the highest profile burials in recent WWE memory.  The winner, regardless, has Beth Phoenix to deal with, I figure.  McCool pretty much only has Maria to face (and she's disappearing soon due to Celebrity Apprentice), while Mickie could face Layla, Natalya or CM Punk's new recruit, Serena.

Winner: Mickie James

ECW Title Match
Christian vs Ezekiel Jackson

- I don't have a problem with Jackson, but of all the guys Christian could have been facing, he's kind of a letdown.  That said, Christian has battled Zack Ryder and William Regal a fair bit as it is, so Jackson's pretty much it.  I think Jackson ends Christian's reign as ECW comes to a close, and Christian moves on to Raw or Smackdown.

Winner: Ezekiel Jackson

World Title Match
The Undertaker vs Rey Mysterio

- Rey has been offended that no one is taking him seriously, while Undertaker has been avoiding Shawn Michaels.  This result is tied directly into the Royal Rumble, I figure.  I see a few scenarios:  1) If this match goes on first, Undertaker wins.  2) If it goes on after the Rumble, and Shawn loses the Rumble...he costs Undertaker the belt.  3) If it goes on after the Rumble and Batista wins, he costs Undertaker the belt so he can face Rey.  4) HBK wins the Rumble and costs Rey the match to ensure that he gets Undertaker at WrestleMania.

Winner: Rey wins, but with help.

WWE Title Match
Sheamus vs Randy Orton

- The least compelling match I could imagine.  Sheamus wins, I just don't know how.

Winner: Sheamus

Royal Rumble:

See the list of announced participants below.  I'm seeing Batista or Cena as the likely winners, just looking at the likely title pictures.

Winner: Batista, so HBK can screw Undertaker, and set up Batista vs Rey and HBK vs UT for WrestleMania.

* The Royal Rumble Match:

From Raw:
John Cena
Triple H
Shawn Michaels
Ted DiBiase
Cody Rhodes
The Miz
Kofi Kingston
Mark Henry
Jack Swagger
Big Show
Evan Bourne
Chris Masters

From ECW:
Shelton Benjamin
Yoshi Tatsu
William Regal
Zack Ryder

From Smackdown:
CM Punk
The Great Khali
Matt Hardy

Chris Jericho

Tommy's Take on: Martial Flavor, for D&D 4e

Martial Flavor is an interesting product.  Its a 3rd party 4th edition D&D supplement designed for the purpose of adding some extra variation to your D&D PCs...specifically, those of the Martial power source.  The book is a PDF, bookmarked and searchable.  It is written Hannah Lipsky, who basically IS Chaotic Shiny Productions, and has art by Rachel Yung.

The premise of the book is simple:  Five cultures, each of which has details on the races and classes that it favors, a discussion of their societal set-up, common threads in a appearance and so forth, and ending in some crunchy bits for your games, such as Utility Powers the PC can choose to take and cultural feats.  Nothing here REPLACES anything in 4th edition, just adds another layer of detail to the Race/Class paradigm.

The art is...not great.  On one hand, I think the colors are very vibrant, and I would be inclined to say they bring the art up a level.  The book is very pretty with the color scheme and tones in place.  On the other, there are several black and white, line art pieces that look much better than the color I don't know if the colors are actually boosting the quality of the color art, or actually bringing it down.  Either way, I would put it a tad below what I've come to expect from RPG art these days.

The Daikort Pact

The first culture is a race of mercenary warriors.  These are ruthless, cutthroat types who take missions from third parties and assign warriors to the job.  As well, the Daikort have a system of favors in place that they barter with one another which can be used to compel a packmate to perform a mission for you.

Sidebars cover naming conventions for the Daikort, in which they take animal names based off of their specialty, and a list is provided of 10 missions performed by the Daikort which can be used as inspiration for Daikort missions in your own game.  All of the Player's Handbook races get a paragraph discussing how well they fit with the Daikort, and the Player's Handbook 2 races get a single paragraph.

A series of sample NPCs (unstatted) are provided, and then the chapter provides mechanical options for Rangers and Warlords (such as replacing Prime Shot with a new Class Ability called Feral Strike).  A list of Utility Powers follows, such as Instinctive Orientation which gives you an internal compass, and Turn the Tables, which eliminates a surprise disadvantage and grants your party an initiative bonus.

14 Feats for the Daikort follow, for the Heroic and Paragon Tiers, many of them triggered off of failing saving throws or taking damage, giving the Daikort a “never say die” attitude.

The Elessim

The Elessim are a culture with a forgotten past.  Whatever has driven them to the circumstances of raising horses on the plains, they don't speak of it and they don't keep record of it.  They pay every God some homage, in fear of offending one by favoring another.

Again, each race in the first PHB gets a paragraph, though this culture favors the two elven races, humans, halflings and half-elves.

The mechanical options for The Elessim are provided for Rangers and Fighters, and all focus on mounted builds (like Fighters gaining an attack bonus when mounted).  The Utility powers have some nice effects, my favorite being Horse-Hearted, which allows for your mount catching something you may have missed and alerting you.  19 Feats are present for Heroic and Paragon tiers, all involving mounts.  A standout here is Fey Rider, which allows Eladrin to take their mounts with them when they Fey Step.

The Ikanoi

The Ikanoi are fantasy Eskimos who are very tribal and friendly with outsiders, if somewhat dismissive of their capabilities.  An Ikanoi will become lifelong friends with one that proves their worth to them, however.  Hailing from the cold grants Ikanoi cold resistance.

Ikanoi are all covered in tattoos, starting with a tribal chest tattoo and vary from there by the experiences of the individual.  Each location is meant for a different part of the person's heritage and experiences, and the author does a great job detailing this.  11 Guiding Ancestors are provided to flesh out the heritage of the PCs, as well as the legends of the Snow Spirits, imps known to steal babies and kill travelers.

The Races section here focuses on dragonkind, dwarves, humans and half-elves, with a single paragraph covering the remaining PHB races, and a second one for the PHB2 races.

Fighters, Rangers, Rogues and Warlords all get treatment here, from class abilities to Utility Powers.  I was less impressed with the Utility powers here, though I like the cultural details more.  20 feats, most of which are cold based, but more than a few of which are tied to the cultural link to the Guiding Ancestors.

The Legions of Arytis

This culture is designed around protecting the city of Arytis, to which they have a slavish devotion.  The children are trained to be guards from day one, and those not physically able to to join the guard wind up in whatever service capacity they are suited for.

This culture isn't specifically geared toward certain races, though dragonborn are mentioned as the best candidate if you decide this culture is composed entirely of one race.  Each core race gets a full paragraph here, with the PHB2 races again sharing a single paragraph.

Fighters and Rogues get the mechanical perks here, with Rogues acting as assassins and spies as opposed to thieves.  In fact, Arytyn Rogues get a noticeable build shift, focusing more on Strength as opposed to Dexterity.  15 feats, but one or two are truly nasty, such as Brutal Killer which grants you a free attack if your Sneak Attack Bloodies your target.

The Sijara

A second nomadic race, the Sijarans are less “horsemen” and a little more “gypsy”.  The appearance section here details the different colors of sashes worn by the Sijarans, with the meanings of each detailed.  As well, Sijarans are known for wearing lots of jewelry “wearing their wealth” as it were.

Half-elves, humans, halflings and tieflings get the most focus here, with two paragraphs covering all of the other races.

The mechanical perks focus on Warlords and Rogues, with the best Utility power (in my view) going to Warlords with their Whirlwind Strategy.  This allows them to shift one ally per round a number of spaces equal to their Charisma modifier so long as the Warlord isn't moving.  18 feats present here, such as Unshakeable Loyalty which allows a Warlord and his allies to make multiple saves against Charm and Fear effects each round.


The interesting part about this book, is that it is weighted more towards fluff than crunch, meaning that its easy enough to take these cultures and drop them into a different game system if you so chose.

I really liked the Ikanoi, at least from a fluff perspective, and I found the rogues of the Legions of Arytis as well as the entirety of the Daikort Pack to be intriguing.  There is definite use here for the non-4e group, but some nice stuff built in for the 4e group.

The plan is to expand this line with Arcane Flavor (and, I assume, Divine Flavor), as well as mini supplements for the cultures inside the books, expanding upon the information here.  In fact, Arytis and The Sijara have already been released as their own titles.

The author does a great job giving important details to the cultures, while providing information in broad enough strokes that a) you can drop it into your game easy enough and b) she doesn't bore you to death.

That said, there are downsides.  I don't know what the going rate is for D&D 4e third party PDFs is, but my gut tells me that $15 seems JUST a touch expensive.  Certainly, if you're going to buy it for a non-4e game, then I would have to see its a bit overpriced.  For me, I would rather pay $5 to have the Ikanoi fully fleshed out, than $15 and get a culture like The Sijara that don't appeal to me in the book as well.

The other thing, to my mind, and I hate sounding brutal..I just don't like the art, especially the color art.  The colors themselves are gorgeous, but something about the art is flat when colored.  The black and white art in the interiors looks much better than the colored cover.

Still, far from a bad product.  If you want a little more variation in your D&D characters, or even a unique group or two for your own fantasy game, you could do far worse than Martial Flavor.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tommy's Take on: WWE Smackdown! 1/29/10

Last week's Smackdown had a confrontation between Rey Misterio and HBK as well as an AWESOME confrontation between Maria, Mickie James, Michelle McCool and Layla.

Tonight: DX defends against The Straight Edge Society!

- Holy crap...DX is here RIGHT NOW.  Are they curtain jerking again?

- Are you ready?

- Rey interrupts?  I have a feeling this is about The Undertaker.  Yup...he's here to confront Shawn.  Seems he feels slighted about HBK overlooking him.  Wow.  Shawn's not making any bones about it.  Triple H to play peacemaker?  OH.  Hornswoggle reference!  Rey says he's going to beat Undertaker, which neither member of DX could do at WrestleMania.  Ouch...Shawn's threatening Rey...Rey's countering!  Rey just called him out!

- CM Punk, Luke Gallows and Serena!  I admit...the heat is huge.  Punk says Rey MUST be high.  Triple H trashes the Straight Edge life.  OH MY GOD!!!!  TRIPLE H IS A GOD!!!  HE JUST CALLED PUNK OUT ON LOOKING LIKE A JUNKIE!!!  Awesome.

- Teddy Long!  What happened to his probation?

- Boo...he just pulled the plug on the Straight Edge Society, and the crowd is pissed.  Rey vs HBK instead.  I don't think the crowd liked that.

- CM Punk vs Triple H one on one tonight!  Will he beat Punk faster than Cena did?

- Great opening segment.

CM PUNK (w/Luke Gallows & Serena) vs TRIPLE H

- I think the match has already gone on longer than the last time Punk faced cena.  Triple H keeping Punk down with headlocks.  Punk hammers away in the corner.  A series of kneelifts on Triple H.  Hunter fires back.  Punk beats him down.  Pedigree?  Punk slips away...Triple H gets the hair and pulls him back in!  Punk takes over and hits a springboard clothesline!  Commercials.

- Punk in charge when we return.  Has a head scissors on Triple H, and is driving elbows in.  Crotch chop by Punk!  Triple H fights back, but gets caught with a leg lariat!  Punk beats Triple H down in the corner.  Suplex blocked!  Suplex on Punk!  HUGE kick on Triple H!  Kickout.  Punk with the leg scissors to wear Triple H down again.  Charges Triple H and gets a boot!  Spinebuster!  Both men down!  Knee offense!  Triple H unloads!  Crotch chop!  High knee!  Pedigree?  Backdrop!  Running knee by Punk!  Bulldog blocked!  Kneebreaker!  Figure four!  Crowd Whoos!  Triple H has the ropes!!  Serena enters the!  Gallows with a cheap shot!  Crowd is PISSED!  GTS Blocked...Serena jumps on Triple H!  DQ

Winner: Triple H via DQ

- Gallows is beating him down while Serena is on his back!!!  Crowd is LIVID!  Punk is directing traffic!  Where's Shawn?!?!  Punk hammereing Triple H!  They have clippers!!  Here's HBK!  Triple H is up!  Staredown between DX and Punk!  Punk puts Serena in front of him!!  Crowd goes nuts!  Punk bails!  SHAWN TEASES THE KICK!!!  She bails!

- That wwas one hell of a segment.  That was an excellent payoff to the last few weeks.   The Straight Edge Society should be the ones that take the belts off of DX, and I don't even like Punk.

- Rey vs HBK tonight!

- John Morrison vs Drew McIntyre - NO DQ for the Intercontinental Title

- Chris Jericho is up next.


-  They do a recap of last week, but no mention of Superstars.  Jericho is slumming it here.  Striker does mention Superstars during the match.  R-Truth with some high impact offense.  Commercial.

- Jericho is still doing the Hogan ear bit.  Tearing R-Truth down.  A little miscue, but Jericho suplexes R-Truth onto the top rope.  Big gutbuster by Jericho.  Abdominal stretch on Killings.  Killings makes a big comeback, crowd's behind him.  Huge spinning leg scissors!  Kickout.  Ric Flair mention by Todd Grisham that turns into a subtle jab at Flair.  Walls of Jericho!  Counter!  Small package!  Kickout!  CODE BREAKER!  R-Truth held onto the ropes!!  Jacknife cradle!!  Its over!

winner: R-TRUTH via pinfall.  (Jack knife cradle)

- Wow.  A clean win over Jericho.  They'll feed him to anybody.

- Sheamus vs Orton and Rey vs Undertaker this Sunday.

- Batista is backstage looking like a golfer.  Seriously...what the Hell is up with that look?  Standard Rumble promo.

- John Morrison is WALKING!

No Disqualification Intercontinental Title Match

- The Morrison-McIntyre feud has looked a lot like the Sheamus-Cena feud on a midcard scale.  McIntyre was "pedigreed" into the corporate champion?  Triple H reference?  Morrison is cutting a promo about the prestige of the Intercontinental title, and putting over the No DQ stip.  Morrison's getting a lot better on the stick.  Nice promo.  There's a reason I'm a Morrison mark.  Striker is playing up the psychology of a No DQ match for a chicken heel.  Morrison with an unorthodox offense.  McIntyre with a jawbreaker but Morrison doesn't stay down.  Huge clothesline sent Drew out of the ring!  Crowd wants tables.  Kendo stick!  He swings it like an amateur.  Bolo would have ended this with one shot.  Cover by McIntyre with no avail.  Huge clotheslines in the corner.  Great heat.  Striker does an awesome job pointing out that the belt brings fame and money, not the other way around.  McIntyre is trying to end early, but getting frustrated.  Morrison sends McIntyre out of the ring...and kicks him when he tries to get away!  Turning into an ugly brawl now.  Drew just ground and pounding Morrison.  Getting the belt and posing...commercials.

- McIntyre still in control.  Morrison rallies but gets cut off.  TThe belt is still in the ring.  Flying Chuck, but Morrison is pushed over the ropes!  Drew has ring steps!  He misses Morrison!  Clothesline over the barrier into the crowd!  Morrison recovers!  McIntyre dumped back inside the ring area...diving clothesline over the barrier by Morrison!  Morrison kendo shot!  Cheap shot by Drew!  Hiptoss on the ring steps!  Cover...two!  Starship Pain?  Knees up!!  Scot Drop on the belt!!!

Winner: DREW MCINTYRE via pinfall (SCOT DROP on the title belt)

- Wow.  Very nice match...too bad Morrison had to lose.  Can we begin his main event build now? Oh...apparently his finisher is the FUTURE SHOCK.

- Here comes Michelle McCool with more heat than any wwoman in the company.  She needs to lose this belt NOW.  Mickie vs McCool this Sunday.  McCool's awful on the mic.  Saying she's ran Mickie off.  Video reminder of last week's awesome segment humiliating Mickie.  McCool is piling on the piggy jokes.  Calling out Mickie...Layla in a fat suit?  Totally saw that coming.  Crowd's not thrilled.  Striker thinks its hilarious.  Wait...this is a match?

Women's Title Match

- Piggy chases McCool out of the ring...and barely makes it back in.  McCool pins her with a schoolgirl.

Winner: MICHELLE MCCOOL via pinfall.  (Schoolgirl)

- Pure angle advancement.  Mickie REALLY needs to win the match.

- HBK is WALKING.  Batista stops him.  Says he'll take out Shawn at the Rumble.  HBK calls him overrated!  Triple H!  Batista decides that two on one sucks.  HHH and Batista stare down.  Did HHH ever beat Batista?


- I...don't really care about this match.  Lock up and headlock by HBK.  He's pretty much wrestling the Triple H match from earlier.  Shoulderblock on Rey.  HBK is bullying Rey.  Big chops taking Rey down.  Rey send udner the ropes and to the floor!  Headscissors into the 619 position and HBK bails!  Shawn hammers Rey in the corner...Rey reverses!  Trading blows!  Fight to the floor.  Snap mare by Shawn.  Drop toehold!  HBK goes for a superkick!  Rey ducks!  Headscissors takes them to the floor as we go to the break!

- Rey is working Shawn over as we return.  Rey is attacking the leg.  Smart move.  Leglock on HBK.  Headbutt to the hamstring.  Big forearm by Rey!  Neckbreaker by Shawn!  Ouch!  Rey went up, but Shawn knocked the leg out!  Rey went for a frankensteiner but got slapped down!  HBK with a figure four variation!  Rey gets the ropes!  Enzuigiri on HBK!  HBK gets the kippup and goes for the inverted atomic drop, but huracanrana!  West Coast Pop!  Inverted atomic drop by Shawn!  Rey with a reverse DDT out of a slam!  Springboard splash gets knees!  Shawn goes up...elbow!!  Spinning kick by Rey!  619!  Springboard into the superkick!!!  Both men are down!  Batista spears Shawn!  Spinebuster on Rey!  Triple H!!!

No Contest

- Triple H unloads on Batista!  Trading shots!  Spinebuster on Batista!  Clothesline takes both men out!  Rey and Shawn both getting up...lights go out!  Gongs!  Undertaker is in the ring!!  Double chokeslam!!!  Undertaker stands tall!!

Tommy's Take on: TNA Impact 1/28/10

Now for Impact.

Last week, Angle got to relive the Montreal screwjob.  AJ Styles officially joined Flair, and Mick Foley bloodied Eric Bischoff, who fired him.

- Will tonight's main event also be Angle vs Styles?

- Angle has "quit" and Foley is "fired"...does this mmean TNA originals will get time on the air?

- "Cross the Line" video package.

- "I flew 6000 miles for TNA".  Loser.

- Some kind of tournament at Against All Odds?  I couldn't hear what Taz said.

- Bischoff and Hogan to the ring.  Bischoff isn't showing any bandages or stitches.

- I bet they planted the "4 Sides 4 Life" sign.

- Is that Sean Waltman in the crowd?

- Why is Hogan calling out Foley?  I thought Foley was fired?  Either way, here he is.

- Is Foley taller than I thought, or has Hogan shrank?

- Nice...Hogan's going to "work things out" right here.  Hogan's saying Foley has potential, but they can make him work. 
- Foley is claiming that he didn't touch Eric.  Nice...Bischoff not looking rough is a plot point.  Good show.  Foley pointing out that he would have torn Bischoff up.  Hogan telling Foley to work it out or walk.

- Hogan's music hits...I'm confused.  "Work it out, or walk out.  That's up to Bischoff."  I don't think that segment made any sense.

- Crap.  Bubba the Love Sponge and Jeff Jarrett.  Can they PLEASE get rid of Bubba?

- Mr. Anderson and Christy Hemme backstage.  She calls him "Ken", and he gets offended.  Anderson doesn't have a match, so he has to "book" himself.  Issuing an open challenge to anyone: Sting, The Motor City Machine Guns, Beer Money, Samoa Joe or even Hemme.  But he REALLY wants Abyss.  Might be a good idea for someone lower on the card than Abyss to answer the call.

- I used to like that guy...but he's kinda worn off on me.

- An "8 Card Stud Tournament" to determine a #1 Contender to the TNA title...but Lashley still has a shot he hasn't cashed in, and Joe has a shot HE hasn't cashed in...

8 Card Stud Tournament Qualifier

- Two of the blandest looking men on the roster.  Awesome.  Chelsea's cute.  Quick cuts to women in the audience...are they supposed to look put off?  Isn't he the face?  Wolfe's new tights are an improvement.  I notice that both men are bald and wearing purple.  Wolfe unloads, chops to the throat, boot choke.  Hernandez faces Daniels in this tournament as well.  Wolfe is working over the arm.  Wristlock brings him down.  Wolfe has both arms locked, but Morley rolls through.  Morely fights back....armbar takedown.  Wolfe charges into a boot!  Morely fires back with his good arm and hits a one arm neckbreaker.  I can't help but notice that Morely's offense looks identical to Hardy's from Superstars.  Morely goes for the Money Shot...Wolfe cuts him off!  TOWER OF LONDON!

Winner: DESMOND WOLFE via pinfall. (TOWER OF LONDON)

- Can we get a Chelsea photoshoot?

- Jarrett barges in on Hogan and Bischoff, minus an attorney.  Jarrett's backpedaling on his tirade from two weeks ago.  Hogan seems accepting, Bischoff is skeptical.  Jarrett's offering to start over from the bottom of the ladder.  Wait...are they throwing Ken Anderson vs Jeff Jarrett out this week with no build?  Either they have no confidence in either man, or they still hate money.  Bischoff's still doing his movie villain crap after people leave his office.  I'm confused...did Jarrett just turn face again?

- Screwjob recap.

- Back in AJ's locker room, they're looking at suits.  Apparently AJ is sitting on the belt for 30 days.  Its funny, because when Flair was champion back in the day, he was the hardest working champion in wrestling.

8 Card Stud Tournament Qualifier

- Will anyone with hair get in this tournament?  Daniels attacks at the beginning.  TNA needs to remove all of their hexagonal graphics.  Hernandez with a delayed suplex.  Daniels tries for a sunset flip but Hernandez just stands there...then flips him overhead.  Daniels takes over with an eye gouge and enzuigiri.  Good.  I'm tired of guys twice Daniels size selling his power offense.  Daniels grounds Hernandez.  Jawbreaker staggers him for an STO and then a moonsault!  Angel's Wings?  Backdrop!  Daniels sends him to the floor.  Slingshot shoulderblock back in!  Hernandez on fire!  Biel!  Misses a charge.  This is looking a little sloppy.  Both men up top...Daniels thrown off!  Misses a splash!  School boy with feet on the ropes, but he kicks out!  Daniels is so screwed.  Huge shoulder from Hernandez.  Border Toss!  Dominator!

Winner: HERNANDEZ via pinfall (DOMINATOR)

- Two men are in...Hernandez and Wolfe.  Nothing special.

- Dear God.  Mike Tenay is mediating Team 3D and The Nasty Boys.

- Beautiful People preparing backstage.  They take on Tara, Kong and Hamada later on.

- Team 3D vs The Nasty Boys at Against All Odds.  EW.  Ya know, Sags no longer has a mullet at least.  Knobbs does.  Security seperates them.  I just can't believe annyone thinks this is a good idea.  The Nastys have only been "missing" for ten years?

- Really?  SAGS just called Brother Ray fat?

- Really?  D-Von just called The Nastys fat?  Team 3D have been in TNA for five year already?

- I don't like Team 3D, but Knobbs and Sags are just embarrassing next to Team 3D.  Crowd gives a mild reaction to the idea that they want to see this match.

- That's the best reason not to watch the match.

- Hemme interviewing The Beautiful People.  Hemme goes straight to Angelina Love being back.  Are they really building to Lacey vs Angelina?  It should really be Love vs Sky...Sky is definitely the more forceful personality there.

- Lashley is talking to Bischoff again.  Bischoff fires him.  So...we spend two weeks with Lashley demanding his release...they ignore him.  He changes his tune...and they fire him?  What?


-  Kong, Hamada and Tara have all the belts between them.  Tara and Kong have been known to have issues as well.  The Beautiful People are scared on the floor, because of the spider.  Madison Rayne will be starting off against Hamada.  Rayne tries to ignore her, and Hamada hits some slow motion kicks and headbutts.  Hamada ropewalks Rayne's arm and then hits an armdrag.  Rayne reverses and tags Velvet, who tags Lacey...who tags Rayne...who will probably take the pin.  Hamada gets free and tags Tara.  Tara with a slam and she steps on Rayne before hitting a moonsault.  Sky kicks Tara on an irish whip. and Tara gets isolated in the Beautiful People corner.  Double hair takedown by Sky and Tara.  Kong is in!  Rayne is dead!  Double clothesline doesn't budge Kong!  Hamada back house with whiffed kicks.  Tara slams Lacey...Hamada moonsault!  Rayne with the Ugly Stick on Hamada!

Winners: THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE via Rayne pinfall on Hamada (Ugly Stick)

- They attack Tara with the Ugly Stick!  Love is in cleaning house!

- Not a good match at all.

- Hogan has Earl Hebner backstage...Hebner is claiming Angle tapped, Hogan is calling BS.  They are actively referencing Montreal.  Seriously?  Hebner is actively taking credit for screwing Bret, and says Flair paid him off...and Hogan suspends him?  That's not a fireable offense?  Well...this IS TNA.

- Just embarrasingly bad.  There's no logic there, and it is clearly piggybacking off of the Bret-Vince angle...because TNA doesn't have anything else.

- Angle is here?  I thought he quit?

- Flair is backstage with AJ...who looks like he's never seen a girl before.  Wow.  AJ is just so unnatural here.  There's talk that he's dying his hair soon.

- UGH.  Bubba tracks down Mick Foley.  Why is he here?  Foley is optimistic that he'll be alright, no matter what happens with Bischoff.

- UGH.  Angle.  I don't want to hear this.  Seriously...I thought he quit?  Hogan has given Angle a chance to qualify for the 8 Card Stud Qualifier. There just really was no point to the "Angle gets no more shots" bit, huh?  Angle claims the fans are disappointed in AJ, but they don't sound like they fully agree.  This from the asshat who was in charge of The Main Event Mafia.  Now we're getting the "Flair doesn't care" bit, and he wants to strip AJ of his "innocence".  Um...AJ's already had about three heel turns.  I'm really sick of the idea of AJ vs Angle, myself.

- SIGH.  Hogan.  Where's Eric Young?  Or Beer Money?  Raven and Daffney?  Sorry...tuning out here.  I don't like either one of these bald bastards.  Angle's apologizing for accusing Hogan of being involved in the screwjob, I guess.

- Waltman attacks Angle!  Here comes Hall!  Waltman with the Bolo Legdrop!  COINCIDENCE?!

- Security running off Hall and Waltman.  Appparently quitting or being fired means you get to be on TV every week.


- Red is X Division champion.  Most of the guys in this match are smaller than me.  Kendrick, apparently, isn't getting along with Shelley or Sabin.  Big, choreographed X Division spots.  One, I don't type fast enough to keep up and two, if they're not going to sell anything, why should I?  Kendrick pins Red with a cradle after a blind tag.

Winners: MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS & BRIAN KENDRICK via pinfall on Red (Kendrick cradle)

- Here comes The British Invasion!  Beating down Red!  Rob Terry with a choke slam!  Terry's going to cash in the X Division shot, Brutus Magnus cuts him off!

X Division Title Match

- Back from the break, apparently Magnus made Terry give Doug Williams the X Division title shot!  CHAOS THEORY on Red!  New champion!

Winner: DOUG WILLIAMS via pinfall (Chaos Theory)

- Jarrett's really starting to show his age.

- The Money in the Bank gimmick is WWE.  I'd like to see TNA do something a little more original.

- Foley and Bischoff backstage, with Foley trying to get Eric to reveal how he got busted open.  Foley launches into a story about his son crapping at Chuck E. Cheese's.  Foley would rather clean up crap than work for Bischoff. Bischoff is leveraging Abyss and Borash to make Foley remain working there?  I'm confused with who they are trying to keep and who they're trying to fire.

- Bischoff barges in on Flair, Styles and the women.  AJ!  What about your wife and kids?!  Your Christian values!  Apparently Flair's contract is air tight.  AJ will be working at Against All Odds...but Bischoff won't tell him against who.

- Where's Samoa Joe?

- Main event is next.


- This could be very generic.  Crowd is crapping all over Anderson, and I think its X-Pac heat.  Jarrett gets no music or video, and is slapping they reverse the heel turn?  Anderson backpedals early on.   Jarrett has to remember for a second that he's working face.  Jarrett's looking winded?  As that selling the "ring rust" or is that legit?

- Back from the break and Anderson is beating Jarrett down, ramming his arm into the ringsteps.  Hammerlock...and drop on the mat.  Main event armbar.  Sleeper by Anderson...Jarrett wristlock by Anderson.  Jarrett fights up...shoulderblock by Anderson.  Sorry...this thing really is bland.  Anderson up top...misses the Swanton!  Even my son sees the end coming...and he barely watches wrestling.  Jarrett rallies...Stroke!  Low blow by Anderson!  Small package!

Winner: MISTER ANDERSON via pinfall (small package)

- Bischoff was pleased backstage.  That match was very, very "blah".

- Anderson attacks post match!  Beating Jarrett down!  He's waiting on Jarrett to get up...sizing him up...Mic Check (flatliner).  No Abyss?  Bischoff does the evil movie villain thing again.

- I still don't know what to make of TNA.  No Eric Young, no Beer Money, no Samoa Joe.  TONS of Bischoff and Hogan.  Anderson-Jarrett was incredibly bland.  I can't imagine people who want to see Team 3D vs The Nasty Boys...honestly, there just wasn't much to enjoy in this episode.

Tommy's Take on: WWE Superstars 1/28/10

WWE Superstars!  Routinely the best show of the week!

Sorry I'm with bad weather and Angelus being home has kept me running behind on the wrestling viewing.

Trying to cram three shows in AND a Royal Rumble preview.

- Rotating WWE Superstars opening.


- Wow.  The Bellas are univerally awful.  Jillian is the unsung hero of the Raw Divas division.  Katie Lea is just cool.  This will be ugly.  Katie is wrestling with Brie...tag to Nikki.  Nice double team on Katie.  Leg roll move...I don't know what to call it.  Jillian tags in and Nikki is getting taken apart.  Angelus just popped for Jillian doing a hair toss on Nikki.  Nikkie fights back in the corner, and tags Brie.  Hiptoss senton on Jillian.  The Sudden Impacts were cooler...they did a hiptoss 450.  Jillian chokes Brie on the ropes and that sets up a Katie boot.  Man, I hope Katie and Jillian win.  Katie Lea Catatonic Backbreaker!  Brie kicks out.  Boo!  Hot tag.  Nikki unloading with dropkicks...that look like they are connecting, unlike Eve's.  Man...Nikki is on a roll.  Katie unloads with forearms...Victory Roll by Nikki as Brie nails Jillian!  That's it!

Winner: THE BELLA TWINS via pinfall on Katie (Nikki VICTORY ROLL)

- Man...that was better than expected, but I wish Jillian and Katie had won.  Not like the  crowd would have turned on the Bellas just for jobbing.  I mean, they both jobbed to Maryse in one match a few weeks ago.

- Matt Hardy vs David Hart Smith later on, apparently with Great Khali, Ranjin Singh, Natalya and Tyson Kidd all at ringside.  Khali-Hardy is so random.

- Does Spartanburg, SC just have amazing corporate tax laws, or what?


- Masters is winning...right?  I believe this is a Rumble qualifier.  Masters as a face is still so weird.  The two little guys keep acting like they are going after Masters, but Primo decides to nail Chavo instead.  Masters dominating both men.  Masters gorilla presses Chavo, Primo nails him and Chavo winds up covering him.  Chavo and Primo was some quick, quick exchanges until Masters kills them with a double clothesline.  Chavo all over Masters.  Masters fires up and stomps him down in the corner.  Huge powerslam!  Primo makes the save.  Primo unloads on Masters...spinning headscissors!  Springboard gets caught...Masterlock?!  No!  Chavo dives and Masters catches HIM!  Primo knocks Masters out of the ring, and Chavo sends him over the top onto Masters!  Chavo crashes on both men as we go to break!

- Back from the break and Masters is still out of the match, and Chavo has a top wristlock on Primo.  Primo rallies...Chavo droptoehold!  Rolling senton!  Nails Masters as he climbs back in!  Chavo walks into a Primo dropkick!  Trading blows.  Spinning back elbow by Primo!  Catches Masters with a Russian Legsweep!  Masters blocks an irish whip...Primo drops his chest across the turnbuckles!  Chavo with the 3 Amigoes...Primo small package on the third!  Masterlock attempt on Chavo!  They backdrop Primo out!  Masterlock...Chavo slides down...Masters wheelbarrows him up and into the MASTERLOCK!!  Chavo is fighting!!!  Submission!

Winner: CHRIS MASTERS via submission (MASTERLOCK)

- They are doing a GREART job with Masters and the psychology that the Masterlock is a killer.

- Video recap from Smackdown last week, where Natalya was flirting with Khali and Matt Hardy upset David Hart Smith with a small package.

- Awesome "Rumble by the Numbers" video package.

- Chris Jericho?

- In a suit?

- Is there not an ECW match this week?

- Jericho's bagging on the other Rumble participants.  Standard Jericho promo, guaranteeing a Rumble victory.

- Oh...crap.

- R-Truth.

- I really don't like R-Truth.  Jericho's facial expression was tremendous.  R-Truth agrees that Jericho is the best at what he does: Being an arrogant loud-mouth who runs his mouth all the time.  Also throws in annoying and aggravating, and "that pimple that appears at the wrong time".  He's just piling it on.  R-Truth just called him...Jack Sparrow?  R-Truth says he's winning the Rumble..."No Chance in Hell"...=P  R-Truth says he'll personally eliminate Jericho if he gets the chance.

- Suckerpunch by Jericho!  Trading blows!  R-Truth with a big kick, and Jericho bails!

- I hate R-Truth, but that was a nice segment for building him up.

- Main event is ECW match tonight.

- William Shatner hosts RAW...and Bret Hart has been invited back!

DAVID HART SMITH (w/Tyson Kidd & Natalya)) vs MATT HARDY (w/The Great Khali & Ranjin Singh)

- random.  Matt Hardy is the "heart and soul" of Smackdown.  Alright.  Lock up.  Smith has the clear power edge.  Smith trying to outwrestle Hardy...going for an armbreaker, but Smith turns it into a sleeper.  Hardy unloads with right hands!  Twist of Fate?  Bailout!  Baseball slide!  Hardy up top...Natalya stands in the way!  Khali goes around the side of the ring to chase off Kidd and Natalya.  Commercials.

-  We return...and DH Smith is applying a top wristlock.  Didn't I see this earlier in the show?   Seriously...I hate matches that look exactly the same on the same show.  The Road Agents, at least, should be watching for this crap.  Smith channels Arn Anderson with a hammerlock slam.  Hardy uses his injured arm for a clothesline and sells apropriately.  Natalya gets a slap in.  Smith isolates Hardy in his corner, which he would do if this were a tag match.  Nice touch.  Smith mocks the damage to the arm.  Hardy fights back...ellbow off the ropes!  Sleeper drop!  Right hand clothesline and bulldog gets two.  Calling for the  Twist of Fate!  Smith catches the boot...Side effect!  Kidd looks like he's looking for a chance to jump in!  Natalya with a distraction and Kidd with am armbreaker on Hardy!  Carbon Footprint by Smith!

Winner: DAVID HART SMITH via pinfall (Big Boot)

- Khali unloads on the Hart Dynasty!   Khali cleans house!  Helping Matt up, who has to stop Khali from raising the injured arm.  Khali throws Hardy over the top rope!  Just a reminder that it is every man for himself!

- Not a good match at all.  No real energy, it was dragging at several points, and certainly not main event calibre...the triple threat was better, even if Chavo and Primo are lower on the totem pole right now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tommy's Take on: WWE Monday Night Raw 1/25/10

I didn't cover last week's Raw, (or any of last week's shows) but it did have some nice segments, including The Undertaker confronting Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels about Bret Hart and the Royal Rumble respectively.  Kofi Kingston and John Cena teamed up to defeat Legacy in a nice match, and HBK and HHH had some dissension over the Royal Rumble.   DX still has not acknowledged that CM Punk and Luke Gallows are the #1 Contenders to the tag team titles, though.

- This week: Will Bret Hart return!?

- Guest host is some dude from Psych, because Cena is guest starring on their show.  Apparently there was supposed to be two guys, but one needs an appendectomy.  WWE is still claiming both will be here.

- DX is here!  For a match?  Jon Heder did a nice job last week as the heel Seth Green.  Man...their intro takes forever.  NICE!  Hornswoggle is missing and HHH references it.  HBK sent Hornswoggle home and gets booed.  HBK and HHH having a stand-off about the Rumble.  See, HHH wants the belt.  HBK wants to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania again.   Crowd is turning on HBK.  HHH is cutting a great promo about the importance of the Royal Rumble.  Very nice work.  HHH says he will step on HBK's dream to get to his.


- I figure it had to be...there aren't any other tag teams on Raw.  Both teams are falling apart...who falls apart first?  DX is defending the belts against Punk and Gallows this Friday.  Title change?  HHH goes for a quick Pedigree on Rhodes, but DiBiase yanks him out of the ring.  "Breaking news" about the guest hosts after the break...

- Back from the break and Rhodes and HHH are tag to HBK.  HBK is hitting his signature spots.  One guest host is down.  Scoop slam and HBK goes up for the elbow.  Rhodes slips out of the ring...HBK dives onto Legacy!  Rhodes neckbreaker as HBK enters the ring!  DiBiase in and he's on fire.  Legacy double team.  SWEET dropkick by DiBiase.  Neither team is showing any dissension.  OW.  DiBiase just booted HBK in the head.  Rhodes suckerpunches HHH and gets backdropped...but HBK can't tag!  DiBiase with the Million Dollar Dream...HBK flying mares him out of it!  Superkick?  No, too low...HHH is in!  Knee based offense!  HHH destroys both men.  Pedrigree on Rhodes?  Blind tag!  HHH and HBK having a stand off!  Rhodes shoves HHH into HBK!  Shawn goes to superkick Rhodes, catches DiBiase!  HHH shoves HBK and nails Rhodes!  Shawn gets the pin.

Winners: DX via pinfall (Superkick on DiBiase)

- Not bad...both teams showed some signs of breaking.  Looks like Punk and Gallows will be winning the belts when DX dissolves this week.

- Sneak peek of the Cena on Psyche episode.

- MVP vs Big Show...NEXT!

- Last week, Big Show knocked out MVP when MVP was trying to get at The Miz.


- GAH.  I don't need to hear MVP on the mic.  The Miz comes out before Big Show does.  I hope The Miz beats MVP when they do face off.  Ha!  "I'm not sure what straight up ballin' is"  Awesome.  I can't tell if Miz has heave spray on tan, or its just weird lighting.  Awwesome.  Prison rape jokes.  Here comes Show looking big and nasty.  Have fun, MVP.  Sticking and moving, but Show gets ahold of him and the murder commences.  Big chop that makes no sound.  Miz is still in the aisle.  Drive By kick in the corner!  He runs into a choke slam!

Winner: BIG SHOW via pinfall (Choke Slam)

- Miz is trash talking MVP, Big Show isn't impressed.

- Apparently McMahon makes another decision yet again about Bret Hart tonight.

- Cody Rhodes sounds like such a sissy when he's acting all huffy.  DiBiase is about to get in Cody's face when Orton interrupts.  Orton's trying to play peacemaker...wait, no...he's bagging them out for losing to DX and not saving him from Sheamus.  This stable is still such a charisma void.

- Cena is backstage with Dulay Hill, of Psych.  Pimping Psych.  Chris Jericho at the door?  No, The Miz.  HA!  "I had to google your name to know who you are."  The Miz is tremendous.  Hill is putting The Miz in a match against a mystery opponent.

Divas Tournament Semifinal

- UGH.  Maryse is talking, too?!?  Seriously...she's SO BAD in EVERY way.  Now, the Mickie James segment from Friday was great.  Pyros erupt, interrupting Maryse.  NICE!  Dulay Hill is in the pyro booth.  His mic skills blow hers away.  Here comes Eve...who, according to the graphic, no longer has a last name.  Eek...Gail Kim vs Alicia Fox will also be on tonight.  PLEASE let Eve win.  She won't, but that would be great.  This is off to a bad start.  Eve did dropkick a little better this week.  Ungraceful senton by Eve.  Eve iis dominating.  Missed a moonsault!  French Kiss blocked!  Northern Lights release!  Kick out at two.  FRENCH KISS.

Winner: MARYSE via pinfall. (FRENCH KISS)

- Ugh.  That matchh was UGLY.  And I CAN'T STAND Maryse...have I mentioned that?

- Mr. McMahon is heading to the ring!

- Recap of Undertaker interrupting Vince last week.  Vince burying WCW and Bret all at once.  Huge "We Want Bret!" chant.  Vince reaffirms the "Bret is never coming back" bit.  Vince is claiming its all just business.  I assuming he's going to plants now.  Vince is in the crowd!  Interviewing fans, about Bret.  Claims he hasn't heard a good reason.  CENA!!!  Here comes John Cena!  Cena is standing up for the legends!  Cena pointing out the Vince needed the legends to become a billionaire.  Kind of a risky angle what with Linda running for Senate.  Good...but risky.  Cena's demanding Bret come back next week.  HA!!!  Cena says that if Vince doesn't, he's going to find him on his 90th birthday and knock his teeth down his throat.  God, Cena is awesome.  Vince caves!  He's inviting Bret back next week!  But he's Crossed The Boss.  Cena vs Sheamus!  That's supposed to be punishment?  Its not like Cena's scared of Sheamus.  I hope like Hell we're not getting a Montreal angle tonight.

- Great segment, thanks - in no small part - to John Cena.


- Eek.  Not sure either man can afford a loss right here. Apparently both men are in the Rumble.  Basic start but Kofi sped it up until Miz kicked his head in.  Miz has him grounded.  Miz and DiBiase use the same running kick.  Tacky.  Miz looking dominant.  Kofi slides through the ropes with a kick!  Splash across Miz' back!  Double neckbreaker by Miz!  MVP's music hits!  TROUBLE IN PARADISE!


- Here comes MVP to taunt Miz!

- Carlito takes the host to the production truck so Carlito can kiss up to him.  Hill randomly books Carlito into a match with...Kelly Kelly?  Carlito's going to wrestle in street clothes!


- Carlito gets the jobber entrance.  SANTINO!  Kelly's just really kinda gorgeous.  Santino tells her not to take another step.  He's pimping the Best of Raw 2009 DVD.  Santino wants to be taken seriously!  Santino is replacing Kelly Kelly!  Jack Swagger wipes out Santino!  Bait and switch!  Swagger throws Santino over the top!  He's chasing Santinto the floor...head into the post!  Swagger doing push ups over Santino.  Swagger steps on Santino to walk away.  The crowd hatred is building through the segment.


- Well, at least Carlito didn't have to job to Kelly Kelly.  Good for him.

- Royal Rumble video package.  Good package...acknowledging the history of the Rumble.

- I won't be watching the Rumble, but I'll do a Rumble preview.

- Other Psych guy is on speaker phone.  Alicia Fox walks in...weird to see her sharing camera time with Cena.  She's kissing up to Hill.  Hill's predicting an Alicia win, and he's going to be her good luck charm.  Hill's kinda funny with Cena.

Divas Tournament Semifinal

- Wrestling booking logic says Kim HAS to win, so that Maryse can take on a face.  Kim with the jobber intro...but that means nothing this time.  Fox is largely dominating.  Kim with a sweet powerslam!  Kim with her...finisher!

Winner: GAIL KIM via pinfall (FALLING BOOT)

- Alicia is throwing a fit all over Hill.

- Sheamus is WALKING!


- Good power match.  Sheamus has come a long way in carrying himself like a store.  Ended in a predictable Orton run-in, when he RKOed Sheamus.

Winner: SHEAMUS via DQ

- Orton tried to use the elevated DDT on Cena, but Cena countered with the Attitude Adjustment to end the show.

- Raw continues to be much better than Impact, and steadier than Smackdown right now.  I think I'm going to start rewatching Rumbles, just because.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tommy's TNA Genesis 2010 Preview

TNA Genesis airs tonight, and it is the first PPV of the Hogan Era.  It has been set up entirely by the last two weeks of television, so...not a lot of build.  TNA has announced the final card which, of course, is subject to change.  I'll break it down match by match, and give you my thoughts.


Backstory: Desmond Wolfe faced The Pope on the January 4th Impact and got pinned in a fluke roll-up.  This week, he beat Samoa Joe, and taunted Dinero who was providing commentary.  That's...pretty much it.  Their match on Impact was pretty good.  Wolfe is a great technical wrestler and Dinero is very athletic.  Their match lost something when Dinero kept forgetting to sell his arm, which was the point of Wolfe's offense.  One other x-factor to note is that Dinero had a run-in with Orlando Jordan on the January 4th Impact, and Jordan was mentioned again this week, so I would expect him to play a role in the finish of this bout.

Winner: Desmond Wolfe due to Orlando Jordan shenanigans.


Backstory: Morely, of course, is the former Val Venis.  He debuted in TNA on January 4th doing a straight riff on the Venis gimmick, but this week he had morphed into an "Artiste".  He claimed to be the leading internet distributor of fine cinema, which is kind of insulting in this day and age, and he wanted to launch the TNA Film Division.  Daniels came out, acting like a fan boy, before laying him out with his patented offense that looks ridiculous on a guy that much larger than him.  The TNA crowd popped for that, but Daniels - like a good soldier - heeled out...we're supposed to take the wrestling purist as the heel and the film maker as a face.  All that said, this could be a good bout if they are given any time to work with.  Expect Daniels to eat the fall, though.

Winner: Sean Morely.


- Lashley is trying to get out of his TNA contract so he can focus on MMA.  Hogan, apparently, is refusing...despite telling EVERYBODY that they have to "earn" their spots.  To further muddy the waters, Hogan is giving interviews talking about how he's going to force Lashley to put TNA first.  On Impact this week, Lashley destroyed Lethal Consequences and threatened to keep destroying the TNA roster until he gets his release.  In response, Hogan and Bischoff have pitted Lashley against Abyss.  Personally, I think it's a bait and switch: Lashley attacks Abyss before the match, demolishing him, and his wife cuts another heat generating promo.

Winner: No match, but Lashley is the only one left standing.


- Beer Money got laid out on the January 4th Impact, apparently by Hall, Nash and Waltman doing their best nWo impression.  This week, they demanded a match with Hall and Nash, and Bischoff has granted it.  There was a brawl on Impact this week that turned into a 3 on 2 thanks to Waltman before Bischoff ended the fight.  Hall and Nash, of course, were The Outsiders - a major tag team with no real accomplishment other than killing the WCW tag team division.  Beer Money, Inc. consists of, arguably, the two best tag team wrestlers in TNA's history.  That said, there is no way The Band is losing this fast.  Beer Money's putting them over, with the justification that they have to "build a story".

Winners: Hall and Nash.

TNA X Division Championship
Amazing Red (c) vs To Be Determined

- Red has been the invisible X Division champion for a few months.  His one appearance the last two weeks was the cluster of a Steel Asylum match that garnered Bullsh*t chants.  No speculation on who his opponent is, but look to Red dropping the belt.  My money's on Sean Waltman, personally.

Winner: Not Amazing Red.

TNA Knockouts Championship - Best Two out of Three Falls
ODB(c) vs Tara

- These two have had an issue for several weeks, with ODB pinning Tara with a handful of tights on the January 4th Impact to end a second short Knockouts title reign.  The bad news is, that match was pretty bad.  The worse news is, this match is best two out of three falls.  Let's hope they work out the kinks this go around.

Winner: Too close to call, as I'm not sure Hogan and Bischoff consider the Knockouts division to be a priority.

TNA Tag Team Championship

- The British Invasion have been invisible on TV the last two weeks.  Morgan and Hernandez squashed Raven and Dr. Stevie in order to win the title opportunity.  On Impact this week, they were attacked by Rob Terry, the manager/bodyguard of The British Invasion.  I would say there's a terribly good chance that Morgan and Hernandez are winning some gold.

Winners: Morgan/Hernandez and its not even close.

TNA World Heavyweight Title Match/Angle's Last Shot At Styles In 2010

- AJ pinned Angle in a fatal four way to win the title, and Angle had AJ locked in the Ankle Lock at the time limit on an Impact rematch.  It took months for Angle to get his title match, but it happened on the January 4th Impact, when AJ pinned Angle clean, even after being attacked by Tomko during the match.  Hogan declared Styles and Angle the two best wrestlers in the world, and they made a rematch for Genesis.  On Impact this week, Tomko attacked AJ again, and got a title shot, but failed to win.  Ric Flair has been watching Styles for the last two weeks as well, and Styles was acting a little, well, heelish last week.  "Last Shot" stips usually mean a title change, but - especially if AJ does turn heel at Genesis - then AJ winning really makes sense, as it gives Kurt a reason for serious frustration.  I think AJ does retain, as his push is what Hogan and Bischoff are using to justify bringing in the Hogan Australian tour.

Winner: AJ Styles with shenanigans.

The Debut of TNA's Newest Talent Acquisition

- Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Sean Waltman, Ric Flair, Orlando Jordan, Jeff Hardy, Shannon Moore and The Nasty Boys all debuted on January 4th.  Hogan is pushing a huge acquisition for Genesis.  Speculation seems to be Ken "Kennedy" Anderson or Rob Van Dam, arguably the two largest free agents in wrestling right now.  A looong shot would be the arrival of Shane McMahon, who left the WWE on January 1st...however, he seems far more interested in MMA than wrestling at this point.

Conspicuous by Their Absence

- Sting has been watching "The Band" from the rafters the last two weeks, and they ran an angle where he was ticked about Hogan coming in...which is weird, because the last time Hogan and Sting were in WCW together, they were on the same side.

- The Nasty Boys spent two weeks trashing Team 3D's locker room, and attacked them this week.  No match has been announced, but I bet we at least get a backstage fight.

- TNA Global Champion Eric Young hasn't been seen for more than just seconds the last few weeks and isn't on the card.

- Samoa Joe choked out Abyss on January 4th and jobbed clean to Desmond Wolfe, but isn't on the PPV despite having a title shot, if The Hogan Regime doesn't ignore Feast or Fired.

- The Beautiful People exploded on Impact this week, with Angelina Love returning and attacking them...but they aren't scheduled for the PPV.

- The TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions Kong and HAmada are also not on the card.

- Rhino was supposed to wrestle Abyss January 4th and was laid out.  However, he hasn't come back seeking revenge and isn't on the card.

- Jeff Jarrett cut a very face-ish promo on Impact January 4th and Hogan tried to out-face him and utterly Jarrett did a full heel turn this week.  Despite being told he would have to "earn his spot", he's not scheduled for the show.

- Mick Foley is MIA, but that's his gimmick right now.

That pretty much covers all the bases for this PPV.  To be honest, I haven't seen anything compelling enough to make me want to order it these last two weeks, but your mileage may vary.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tommy's Take on: WWE Smackdown! 1/15/10

- Tonight on Smackdown: Rey Misterio vs Batista in a family friendly cage! This should be...something!

- Smackdown opens with a recap of the no contest from last week at the hands of Undertaker's special effects.

- Smackdown opening video.

- Is the big "X" on the Smackdown logo in reference to "ten years", I guess? I notice the WWE cage doesn't look like a red toy cage, at least.

- Undertaker IS on hand tonight.


- Oh, sweet Jesus. We're opening with THIS?! Talk about setting the bar high. Jericho's face is painted up to sell the Tyson punch. Audio on the Tyson punch recap is sweetened to make the hit sound harder. Jericho's selling the swollen mouth well during the promo. He's not giving up on his efforts to get on he's the new Chavo. Great. Morrison is here! Slo-Mo Intro! Morrison Bret Hart's his glasses. Is the crowd dead, or the audio bad? Nice! Morrison slaps Jericho in the bruise! Awesome. NO! DREW MCINTYRE! Dammit! I want this match!! We head to commercials as McIntyre heads to the ring.

- Morrison in control. McIntyre's at ringside, but not on commentary. Morrison with a Flying Chuck, but Jericho throws him over the top rope! Jericho on the attack. Striker talks about Jericho recording all WWE programming to study his opponents. Huge knee by Morrison! Jericho covers his face so Morrison goes to the body. Lionsault misses, Flying Chuck hits! Only two. Kick blocked...Walls of Jericho...Morrison flips out! Jericho charges and hits the corner! Starship Pain? Jericho moves! Morrison lands on his feet! Walls again...victory roll by Morrison! Moonlight Drive? Back to the Walls! He's got it! McIntyre stands...he's taunting Morrison! Morrison powering to the ropes! Morrison gets the ropes! Slugs Jericho! He's trying to get to McIntyre! CODEBREAKER!


- Jericho wins matches?

- McIntyre in the ring, taunting Morrison. Steps on his face! Very nice match.

- Either the crowd is dead or the crowd mics are dead.

- Crap...Punk's "saving" someone

- I haven't had enough sleep for this. Here's CM Punk and Luke Gallows. Punk's blabbing. I don't care. How family friendly is it to have the fans booing the only sober superstar? Why haven't they went after Slam Master J, since he was the one keeping Luke on meds? Luke's a decent mic worker. Pleasant surprise. I miss Muhammad Hassan. Teehee...the plant got in the ring like a girl. Crowd is trashing the guy for going along with Punk. I don't get it...what's the bald thing have to do with the straight edge thing? Another boring, aimless segment. Can we get to the point? KHALI?!? Matt Hardy?!?!

#1 Contenders Match

- Well, that second team is REALLY random. jobber entrances tonight. Interesting. I'm positive that one of the two heel teams has to win this. Smith and Hardy to start. Smith hammering Hardy. Falling sleeper and tag to Khali! Khali clotheslines Smith to the floor! Things getting ugly on the floor as they head to a break.

- We return with Gallows and Khali standing offf! Slap by Gallows! Khali clothesline! Brain Chop! JTG with a bling tag on Khali! Gallows gains control and tags Punk. JTG gets the upperhand, but Tyson Kidd and Gallows with the save! Khali dumps them! Smith and Shad dump Khali! Hart throws Shad out...and Khali yanks Smith out! Hardy off the top on the whole pile! JTG blocks the GTS! Gallows blind tag! 12th STEP on JTG!

Winners: CM PUNK & LUKE GALLOWS via pinfall on JTG (12th STEP)

- Did someone hack my Extreme Warfare? Trevor, the plant from earlier, enters the ring and raises Punk and Gallows hands.

- Josh Matthews gets Batista out of his locker room, who doesn't want to talk about Rey or The Undertaker. That was such a bad segment. Undertaker speaks...NEXT.

- He IS actually here! Undertaker slowly heading to the ring. Eerie blue light for the promo. Undertaker says he will destroy whoever wins in the cage match. Addressing Shawn Michaels and Wrestlemania now. Undertaker is forgetting that he's faced Kane twice at Wrestlemania, making Shawn's request for a rematch sound like its unheard of. Undertaker is going to Raw to confront HBK! Question: What if Undertaker agrees to the match, but someone wins the Rumble and wants to challenge him for the World title? Just saying.


- Beth looks ticked. Mickie looks cocky. Ref gets between them so there's no false start. Striker is killing Todd's abuse of grammar. Beth overpowers Mickie. Just brutalizing her now. Huge kick. Umaga butt crush! Beth dominating. Chinlock. Mickie is fighting up. Side backbreaker! Mickie can't get going. Mickie dropkicks the knee out! Big kick to Beth! Hotshot by Beth! Scoop up...charge into corner! Tree of Woe! Beth gets DQed for brutalizing Mickie! McCool and Layla tried to sneak in, but Beth saw them! Beth walks away and they are brutalizing Mickie! HA! Layla accidentally pulled Mickie out of the way! Mickie fights back, but McCool with a chop block! Mickie fights back AGAIN...but collapses. Styles Clash!


- Hm...this angle is still intriguing. The one story that has me truly curious where its going week to week.


- Hm. I just noticed that Teddy Long and Vickie Guerrero have both been completely absent. Matthews is backstage with Dolph, who is feeling cocky. Dolph LOOKS less cocky out here. Striker with a history of the sleeper hold. Dolph tries to stick and move but Kane gets ahold of him! Kane hammering Ziggler in the corner! Toss up and drop! Ziggler tries to fight back with no effect. Kane stalking Dolph. Elbowdrop. Another! Kane choking Dolph in the ropes. Dolph debuted two years ago? Really? Sleeper hold! Kane sends him right over the top rope! Commercials.

- Dolph with a chinlock. During the break Dolph used the ringpost and ringsteps to wear Kane down. Neck snap. Only gets a one count! Laying into Kane now, who is covering up. Big dropkick brings Kane down. Another chinlock on Kane. Crowd getting behind Kane. GOOOZLE! Dolph's in the ropes! Runs into a boot! Big shot! Kills Dolphs with two clotheslines! Scoop...slam! Kickout! Kane's going up...Dolph cuts him off! He's climbing! Kane headbutts him off! Dolph bails! Kane has to chase him! Dolph into the apron! Kane follows him on...Dolph with a huge kick! Dropkicked Kane to the floor! Sleeper on the floor! Kane is ramming him into the ringpost! Kane barely breaks the count! Up top! Dolph moves! FAMEASSER! Kickout! ZIGZAG caught! CHOKESLAM!!! THATS IT!

Winner: KANE via pinfall (CHOKESLAM

- GREAT match. Dolph brings out the best in Kane. That was awesome. Their little series was great. Now let Dolph lay low, then cost Kane the Rumble.

- Cena Fiesta Bowl video.

- Rey is WALKING. Faces are wishing him luck. Josh Matthews here for some final thoughts. Rey is cautiously optimistic. The cage is LOWERING.

#1 Contender's Steel Cage Match

- Rey climbs over the top to get in, but Batista enters through the door. Batista is pleased. Rey isn't running, but he's not hurting Batista. My God! He's almost up the cage already! Batista catches him and powers him around the ring. Rey tries a cross body and Batista catches him...Rey slips down! Takes out the legs! Batista in position...Rey can't do the 619! I'd dropkick him in the back of the head, myself...but nice bit. Batista charges...drop toe hold again...Rey runs up his back and is almost out of the cage! Batista catches him! Nice booking. Powerbomb? Rey drops down...Batista gets him by the head and launches him into the cage! Seriously...all these tattoos disgust me. Crowd chanting "619", completely missing the point of the earlier booking. Gorilla press into the cage! He tries again, but Rey holds on and climbs! Rey off the top with a version of the West Coast Pop! Runs into Batista's boot! Batista spears...the cage! Rey is pummeling Batista! sitdown dropkick! Kickout! Rey lunges at Batista, gets caught, small package! Batista back in control. Striker thinks Rey is demoralized. Sizing up another spear! He hits! Spinebuster! Push ups! Flexing! He's calling for the Batista Bomb! Rey is crawling for the door! He lets Rey get out the door, then yanks him back in! Batista Bomb...Rey grabs the cage! Kicking Batista off! He's over the cage! Batista goes for the door! Rey kicks the door in Batista's face! Rey hits the floor!

Winner: REY MISTERIO via Cage Escape

- I'm not a huge fan of either guy, but that was a very well booked cage. Three good matches, one hot angle (Divas)...MUCH better show than last week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tommy's Take on: TNA Impact 1/14/10

- Did not recap ECW or Superstars, though they were perfectly good shows.  Going to try to do this tonight, though my hand hurts like crap.

- TNA opening recap from last week shows exactly two TNA Originals, AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett.  Angle and Foley get some face time and the rest is all nWo and surprise arrivals.  BUT THINGS HAVE CHANGED.

- There's a TNA PPV this weekend...Mike Tenay doesn't know whose in the main event, even though the website has hyped AJ Styles vs Angle since last Monday.


- Generation Me were known as The Young Bucks.  They look like the two most bland indy wrestlers you could imagine.  This coming from a guy who was a pale, skinny and out of shape indy wrestler, but did his level best to ensure that he wasn't "bland".  I sure do like Chris Sabin.  Apparently Generation Me are "Max and Jeremy".  Genius.  Alex Shelley with a Randy Orton-esque chinlock.  The nWo are walking backstage, distracting from this match.  Apparently they are "The Band".  And Foley hasn't been seen since the attack.  Huh.  That was an impressive sequence.  An inverted atomic drop on Sabin, then flipping backward through the ropes and hitting a moonsault on Shelley.  This match would have been a MUCH better opener last week than that abomination of a Steel Asylum.  All high spots, no psychology...that's the X Division.  Its an impressive dance, but none of it matters, ya know?  Take it home!  Generation Me wins.  Nice debut if you like the X Division spotfests.

WINNERS: GENERATION ME via pinfall on Alex Shelley (450 Splash/Moonsault)

- Apparently The Nasty Boys are still wrecking the Team 3D locker room.  Team 3D is trying to break in.  Yawn.

- Video package of Hogan putting over Angle and Styles, and making the rematch.  Apparently Genesis is Angle's last title shot.  Hopefully that means AJ is winning.  An "impact player" is debuting at Genesis.

- I won't be recapping Genesis.

- God.  Kurt Angle.

- I don't know what I dislike more...watching him wrestle or hearing him talk.

- Of course Styles winning the title wasn't a fluke...he's a FOUR TIME World Champion.  Ugh.  Angle's putting Styles over here...hopefully for good.  AJ's video package looks like crap.  He's coming out to confront Angle.  AJ's coming across kinda  Crowd doesn't like the "this is your last shot" stuff...because that doesn't work when faces do it.  At least that was short.

- The Masked Man attacks AJ again!  Is that...Abyss?  Oh, no...Tomko!  That would have worked much better if Tomko hadn't been redebuted with no fanfare weeks ago.

- I think I wanna see The Book of Eli.

- Recap of Tomko killing AJ.

- Hemme with "The Band".  GOD...Bubba.  Yuck.  Seriously, if he stays here, I'm going to stop watching.  Hall with gangsta slang.  The Band refusing to talk about where Foley went.  Seriously...if Bubba stays, I go.


- Angelina Love in the crowd with no fanfare.  SIGH.  Sky and Rain are happy to see her, Lacey looks annoyed.  This should be a murder.  Hamada is still limping.  Rain and Sky look nervous, Love looks disapproving.  Ha!  Sky with the Karate Kid pose.  Sky's offense is ugly.  Love is cheering on Madison.  Kong and Hamada are faces in this match, apparently.  AWESOME BOMB on Rain ends it.

Winners: AWESOME KONG & HAMADA via pinfall on Rain (AWESOME BOMB)

- Lacey and Velvey scraping Rain off the ground.  Angelina attacks Lacey!  Pounces on Sky!  Clocks Lacey!  Love just became the top face of the division!  Nice.

- AJ busts into Bischoff's office.  Apparently the TNA World Champion can't talk to the guy in charge.  AJ doesn't sound convincing trying to be badass.  Bischoff is trying to talk AJ out of fighting Tomko.  Apparently this Tomko situation is going to be the excuse for AJ to lose to Angle.  Why doesn't Bischoff have a main event?  Its half an hour into the show?  Are they making this up as it goes along?  Apparently AJ vs Tomko is a title match.

- Beer Money apparently doesn't know where Bischoff's office is.

- Hogan is, apparently, the selling point for Genesis.

- Borash finds Bischoff who is meeting with "someone" next week.  Borash is trying to find Foley.  I bet he has amnesia and is wandering the streets of Cleveland.  Bischoff stress that Foley is missing because Borash let Foley in last week.  Beer Money found Bischoff.  Beer Money wants Hall and Nash...and takes Storm's beer.  Nice cock block.  *sigh*


- All the X Division guys on steroids looks STRANGE.  Lashley attacks them!  He's killing themn by himself.  Apparently they were supposed to wrestle Team 3D.  So...everyone is supposed to earn their spot...but Lashley wants to leave and can't? least Lashley's not wrestling.  Kristal is threatening to destroy the enter TNA roster until she gets a meeting with Hogan.  Why are they trying so hard to keep him?  I could see it if she was demanding his title shot or something.  Here comes Team 3D...with an ax.  This going to be a promo on The Nasty Boys.  Nope...3D on Creed.  Match over.

Winners: TEAM 3D via pinfall on Creed (3D)

- Brother Ray cutting a promo on The Nasty Boys.  *Yawn*  Ray burying The Nasty Boys for riding Hogan's coattails.  Should Ray or Devon be calling anyone fat?  They are headed to their locker room with their ax.  Nice...Ray takes the "Team 3D" sign.  Nastys ambush Team 3D.  It is worth noting...I have never liked the Nastys, ever...and I have seen exactly one good match with them in it, against Rick abd Scott Steiner as they were reaching their peak.  That was something like twenty years ago.

- Tomko/AJ package.  Wait...Tomko taught AJ everything he knows?  He was at least a two time World Champion at that point.  I hope that was supposed to delusional.

- Sean Morely out with a riff on the old Val Venis video package.  Not wearing a towel, though.  He's no Evan Stone...wait, what?  Still living off the porn gimmick.  So now he's a porn director.  Where's his website?  He's an online director...where's the website?  Huh?  This would be fine if he wasn't riding the WWE gimmick.  ...a film division? confused.  TNA Films?  Interrupted by Daniels, who still has no eyebrows.  Daniels is smiling.  Handshake.  I think the Beautiful People already welcomed him.  ...Daniels is here to pitch a screenplay.  So...from World title wait...nope...I think he's going to drop Morely.  STO!!  Awesome!  Wait...Daniels isn't the face in this scenario?  Really?  That was awesome.  Too bad he's going to be putting Morely over now.  Blah...Morely fights him off.  I think I would have waited for that.

- ODB vs Tara in a Knockouts Title rematch at Genesis.  2 out of 3 falls?  Eek.  Nice...ODB has had "nastier" things than tarantulas on her belly.

- Here comes Jarrett with what looks like a lawyer.  I guess Hogan was pissed about getting booed.

- Matt Morgan and Hernandez will be facing Beer Money later on.

- Or now.


- How come we haven't seen The British Invasion?  I think that bodes ill for their title reign.  I guess everyone's a face here?  Looks like Hernandez jumped on that suplex before they lifted him.  Morgan tags in and wipes out both Beer Money members.  Wow...Hernandez and Morgan are being portrayed as being smarter tag wrestlers than arguably the two best tag wrestlers in TNA history.  Here comes Rob Terry to attack Hernandez, but Morgan is all over him.

Winner: No Contest

- Here comes The Band to the ring, where Beer Money is!  Waltman first, followed by Nash and Hall is gradually making his way to the ring.  Waltman getting brutalized!  Now its three on two.  The Band just looks sad.  Security hits the ring to break it up.

- Blah...Bischoff.  Commercial break.

- Bischoff with a cryptic comment for Beer Money.  Bischoff is acting like he doesn't know what The Band is up to.  Hall and Nash vs Beer Money at Genesis, apparently.  Hm.  God luck, guys.  Sting is in the rafters, but they cut away.

- Another cranky Tomko promo, painting AJ as being selfish.  At least they are providing backstory.


- Wolfe just looks SO bland.  Hm.  Apparently Wolfe and D'Angelo Dinero are having a Genesis rematch.  Hebner holding Wolfe back from Joe.  I predict a non-finish in two minutes.  Joe pummeling Wolfe.  Wolfe has gotten nothing in so far.  Joe gets distracted by the ref, but quickly takes over. Goes for the KOKINA CLUTCH, but Wolfe gets in the ropes.  Wolfe just can't get going against Joe.  Wolfe counters Joe's corner reversal...Hammerlock DDT drops Joe.  Hm...I already forgot about Orlando Jordan.  Wolfe flips off the camera, British style.  Wolfe looks like he's setting up the TOWER OF LONDON but JOE is turning it into the KOKINA CLUTCH...Wolfe with the TOWER OF LONDON!  Joe loses...clean?


- Wolfe is taunting Pope, who has been doing commentary.  Wolfe tries to talk to the camera, and they cut to The Pope.  Brilliant.

- Limo with Ric Flair outside.  Apparently to do commentary.

- Another Tomko promo.  They have done a nice job with this.

- Jarrett busts in on Hogan!  Jarrett tells Bischoff to take a seat, and gets in Hogan's face.  Now Jarrett's heeling out.  Sigh.  Well, he IS a better heel than a face.  Yup, that's a lawyer.  God...I'm already tired of Bischoff one upping everyone.  Jarrett no-sells Bischoff.  Nice.  Hogan's getting in Jarrett's face...Jarrett's hiding behind his lawyer.  SIGH.  The TNA crowd got the memo that they're supposed to booing Jarrett.  I'm confused...Hogan's a face, Bischoff's a heel or the worst face ever.

- Amazing Red vs a mystery opponent at Genesis.

- Desmond Wolfe vs D'Angelo Dinero at Genesis.

- Abyss vs Lashley at Genesis.

- ODV vs Tara.

- British Invasion vs Hernandez & Morgan.

- Beer Money vs Hall & Nash.

- Angle vs AJ Style or Tomko.

- "Major" talent acquisition.

- Flair here for commentary.

TNA World Title Match

- Flair is here to "observe".  Super special ring announcing.  I thought Borash was looking for Foley?  AJ is all over Tomko!  Tomko bails.  AJ follows!  Here comes Angle to observe.  Angle goes to the broadcast booth and shakes hands with Flair as Styles murders Tomko.  Tomko fights back with a big powerslam.  Commercials.

- I HATE the little TNA mini-breaks.

- Both guys down as we come back from a second break.  Tomko is choking AJ.  Hands AND boots alternately.  AJ slides down, enzuigiri!  Pele?  Pin!  AJ is still beating Tomko down! feud?

Winner: STYLES via pinfall (PELE KICK)

- Tomko attacks post match...but Angle with the save!  Angle hands Styles the title back as Flair wattches on...AJ walks away and Flair smiles.  So Sting putting AJ over was all for nothing?

- Genesis video package focusing on AJ-Angle.

Marvel SAGA: Villainous Callings for Heroes

Using Villainous Callings for your Marvel SAGA Heroes

In lieu of an “alignment” system, the Marvel Superheroes Adventure Game has a system called Callings. Callings are the reason why your hero or villain does what they do. Spider-Man is motivated by Responsibility of Power – after all, his Uncle Ben taught him that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. Dr. Doom's primary calling is World Domination. The Calling system explicitly points out four Callings as being “Villainous”, or not suitable for heroes. However, with a little work, you can make heroes using any calling.

Let's take a look at the four villainous callings and how to apply them to heroes in your Marvel SAGA campaign. Note: I am NOT advocating using the villainous callings for heroes, I'm just providing some perspective on how they COULD work if players and GM agree.

Vengeance: The first, and most obvious, calling we're going to look at is Vengeance. More than a few heroes have answered the call of vengeance, such as The Punisher and Ghost Rider. This is a calling much more suited for a darker game. Death will surely be more common in a Vengeance-driven game, so don't go too hard on your players if you allow Vengeance as a calling and they have a tendency to go for the throat. The specifics of the Calling will also set the tone for the campaign. Ghost Rider's role as Spirit of Vengeance opened him up to a wide range of adventures, seeking revenge for the bad things that happen to innocents. Punisher swore vengeance on organized crime. You'll get more mileage out of a broader vengeance campaign than one focused on a singular individual such as Magneto or The Green Goblin. Swearing vengeance on mutant terrorists could work, but you and your players must keep a constant eye on things before it turns into war on all mutants, moving your PCs into a more villainous realm.

Greed: Simply put, a hero with the Greed calling is a hero for as long as the paychecks keep coming. This is not without precedent. “Checkbook heroism” is far from unheard of. Your hero may be an operative of the US Government, but not motivated by duty, but by cash. Maybe you're a Hero for Hire. This doesn't mean you'll do ANYTHING for a paycheck, just that you won't stick your neck out unless there's compensation in the wings for you. Greed-driven heroes can expect conflict, at least verbal, with other heroes who look down on their less than altruistic motives. You probably won't be Captain America's favorite person, though Iron Man might grasp your reasoning a bit better. Some heroes are motivated by fame, you don't care about that, as long as you get fortune. Just apply some manner of morals (not turning on your allies at the drop of the hat) and this should work fine.

World Domination: Sometimes the line between a hero and villain is a very fine line indeed. The Squadron Supreme lost faith in human governments to run their own affairs and took over the planet, brainwashing villains into reforming. Dr. Strange, The Hulk, Namor and Silver Surfer were bound to each other whenever trouble was afoot, so they decided to take over the world to ensure that threats ended and they wouldn't have to deal with one another any longer. Cable once set out to dominate the planet in hopes of ensuring that his future would never come to pass. A World Domination game relies on its heroes to not cross those lines that will send them screaming into villaindom. Also, even if you do make sure of that, you're STILL going to get a visit from Captain America, The Avengers, The X-Men or all of the above. You'll also have plenty of fun with supervillains: Even if you're a mutant, Magneto's not a follower...Doom knows no one can rule better than he, and so forth.

: Okay, I admit...I've got nuthin'. You could be a well-intentioned anarchist, who is willing to destroy property in order to overthrow or disrupt what you believe to be a corrupt regime, but stopping short of murder. Even then, those actions will have consequences that make it much harder to classify anyone with a “Demolisher” calling as a hero, and most would argue that any anarchist with a real cause would fall under Idealist. The best use of Demolisher for a hero would be after a traumatic event and a fall from grace: The hero suffers a catastrophic loss and temporarily snaps, going on a rampage, followed by an arc in which the hero deals with the loss, makes redemption for their actions and so forth.

There you have it: a small discussion on how to apply Marvel SAGA's four villainous callings to heroes in a game. I hope this article is at least moderately useful to you and I welcome any and all constructive input.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tommy's Take on: WWE Monday Night Raw 1/11/10

- Alright...gonna try this again. Raw's guest host is Mike Tyson. The Diva's tournament continues. John Cena is back...not much else has been announced.

- Mike Tyson is the most awkward guest host...good lord. Nice "You screwed Shawn" chants. Sheamus to interrupt. I didn't even recognize his music. Tyson looks RIDICULOUS with that tattoo. Why's Tyson backing down from Sheamus? Nice fakeout on Sheamus! Randy Orton? weird. Orton calls Sheamus on creating a "SportsCenter moment". Orton wants: A title shot. CENA! He's been MUCH missed in his week off. HA! "I came here to see Mike Tyson!" Cena's stealing Morrison's "accent mockery" angle. CENA WITH THE PUNCH-OUT REFERENCE!!! Cena for the win. Kofi! I booked Kofi as Sheamus' opponent in Extreme Warfare Revenge. Nice opening segment so far. Kofi points out he's never had a title shot. Crowd was chanting...something...Cena went "Rocco" on them. The smarks in the crowd are actually taking over. Weird. Sheamus wants the Rumble off. *Yawn* Triple Threat: Kofi vs Cena vs Orton! CENA BACK TO THE PUNCH-OUT! Awesome.

- Tremendous opening segment. I gotta imagine Kofi is winning...since Kofi-Sheamus can be on a Rumble PPV without taking buyrates, ala Lesnar-Holly.

- Promises of more McMahon-Hart developments.

- Cena's gonna be on Psyche.

Divas Championship Tournament

- Gail Kim and Maryse are already in, this match is to face Gail Kim next week. Kelly is hot, and a little better than she gets credit for. Fox is overrated, in my view. Already said that Gail-Jillian got buried on Superstars and this is on Raw, but Kelly and Fox are considered hotter on the totem pole. My God! Kelly whips Fix over the ropes and to the floor, and then dives on her! Fox with a powerbomb out of nowhere!

Winner: ALICIA FOX via pinfall (Powerbomb)

- Decent. Kelly is getting of the most athletic Divas and more attractive. But the heel going over was obvious with the announcement that the winner was facing Gail. I don't even know who's left to face Maryse. Eve and...?

- Cena Fiesta Bowl package.

- Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes here to talk. Legacy is talking about how they helped Orton win the Rumble last year. Rhodes and DiBiase already arguing over who's winning this year. DiBiase pimping his movie. Rhodes is trashing Cena's "Marine". Orton? Mark Henry! And Evan Bourne! What happened to Bourne and Primo?


- All four men are already in the Rumble. What happened to Henry and MVP? Bourne is on ECW tomorrow. DiBiase and Bourne locking up. Bourne sure is good..and over for losing so much. They need to pull the trigger on this turn. Bourne is seperated and getting killed. Lawler sounds like he has a cold. Man...Bourne sells like a champ. Rhodes is just stalking Bourne. Big slam and a knee drop. Rhodes with a nice hammerlock/chinlock variation. Enzuigiri! Bourne trying to tag! Henry in! Rhodes is dying! Black man headbutt! Nails DiBiase! Gorilla press on Rhodes! Calling for the Shooting Star! DiBiase saves Rhodes! DiBiase sends Henry out! Bourne nails DiBiase! CROSS RHODES on Bourne! Legacy wins!

WINNERS: LEGACY via pinfall on Bourne (CROSS RHODES)

- Decent. Mostly just to advance the Legacy split.

- DX backstage! HBK is going to confront Tyson! This one is definitely being played for laughs, though. Nice...Triple H calls Tyson "the man that knocked (Shawn) out for four years)".

- ECW Homecoming for a shot at Christian, TOMORROW.

- HBK confronting Tyson backstage! Tyson looks miffed that HBK is touching him. Tyson shoots him down! Says he liked knocking Shawn out! Jericho! Jericho is back for, what I assume, is going to be his last Raw appearance...until the draft or big supershow. DX vs Jericho/Tyson! If DX loses, Jericho gets a "Brand-Free" pass. shocked. Still gotta imagine Jericho's getting the suckerpunch.

- Hart/McMahon recap. I want to point out that the reason the Hart angle is better than the nWo angle is because WWE actually told everyone the relevant backstory, instead of assuming everyone knew it.

- Teasing "Retribution" tonight.

- Jack Swagger has taken over the ring. He apparently cut off an announcement from Cole and Lawler. Swagger is issuing an "over the top" challenge for tonight...Mark Henry's already been here. Big Show? SANTINO! Alllright. This should be funny. Ha! Santino was going to issue the same challenge.

OVer The Top Rope Challenge

- Swagger murderering Santino with bear hug charges. Vader bomb. Swagger is eliminating Santino...Santino holds on and takes Swagger over! Santino wins!


- Swagger chases Santino off!

- Recap of Tyson meeting Austin and the pull apart.

- Oh, the big announcement is the DX tag match vs Jericho/Tyson.

- Triple threat is NEXT.

#1 Contender's Match

- Lawler bagging on Kingston for losing last week. Orton goes after Cena, gets clocked by Kofi. Double team on Orton! Kofi splashes Orton. They are stalking Orton. Orton powders...Cena gies after him, sending him to Kofi. Kofi throws Orrton out...stares down Cena! Here comes Sheamus! Orton attacks both men! Commercials.

- Orton with the ratings-killing chinlock. Apparently a lot of people last week flipped over from Angle-Styles multiple times to see Orton locking Kofi in a chinlock. Cena got taken out during the break. Coming back in and Orton with the elevated DDT. Cross body by Kofi gets two! Kofi in charge! Orton with the 3.0 but Cena comes alive! Misses a charge into the corner! Kofi SOS on Orton! STF on Kofi! Kofi is FIGHTING! Orton with the save! Cena shoulderblocks on Orton! Protobomb! Five Knuckle Shuffle! Cena wisely cuts his run down to avoid surprises from Kofi. Attitude Adjustment blocked by Kofi! Kofi on fire! Boom Drop! Trouble in Paradise knocks Cena out of the ring! Kofi pounces on Orton! Cody Rhodes attacks Cena! He's got the ref! DiBiase clips Kofi! Orton sizes up Kofi...RKO. Wow. Orton-Sheamus is the least compelling match I could imagine.

Winner: RANDY ORTON via pinfall on Kofi Kingston (RKO)

- Sheamus taunts Legacy from the ramp. Seriously...Kofi-Sheamus could have been interesting. Sheamus-Orton is about the most yawn-worthy match I could imagine.

- Hornswoggle is taunting Tyson. Tyson threatens to jump rope with Hornswoggle's intestines! Ha! Of course, the obvious swerve is Tyson clocks Jericho, is wearing a DX shirt, and buries the hatchet with HBK.

- Clips of MVP winning the US Title shot from last week.

- The Miz is backstage. The Miz is talking about how unwanted he was when he debuted. Telling a story about being banished for 6 months for "spilling crumbs" in a referee's bag. Mentioning JBL...mocking JBL. he has a "private locker room". Mocking MVP. He's strolled from the backstage area to the arena. I have to admit...he's been brilliant since splitting from Morrison. Nice! Says MVP should still be in jail. "I'd rather you hate me for everything I am, then love me for something I'm not." Awesome delivery. Is he intentionally looking at the wrong camera? Great promo. Uh-oh. MVP an ugly suit. MVP making a nice promo about hard work and "earning" things. "Miz is awesome" chant. Wow. Miz strips down to his undershirt. Calls Miz a monkey. Hm. Imagine if Miz had been the one to say that. They are having a conversation about...flinging poo. MVP with an intense recap of his life in prison. Staredown. MVP throws the mix at Miz! MVP clobbers Miz! Drive By kick knocks him out of the ring!

- Very effective segment. Wow.

- Recap of last year's Hall of Fame event.

Divas Championship Tournament

- Well...that explains that. GOD...Maryse on commentary. YUCK. Torres will be facing Maryse after beating Katie. Surfboards are awesome in Divas matches. Just saying. Not even talking about the match, talking about the Maryse-Miz angle. Katie looking great, but this match is a foregone conclusion. Maryse buries the match by talking about how boring it is. Screw you, Maryse. So Gail vs Maryse in the finals after all the interesting wrestlers were eliminated? Ugh.

Winner: EVE TORRES via pinfall (School Girl)

- Carlito is hitting on Gail Kim...Mr. McMahon! Next!


- Here comes Vince.

- "We want Bret", Vince ignores it. Vince says Bret is scared. Vince says he screwed Bret last week. "Boring" chant. Smarks? Vince bars Bret from the WWE...FOREVER. Short and sweet.

- Tyson and Jericho sparring backstage. Main event is NEXT.

- Don Johnson and Jon Heder next week? Good lord.

- If DX Loses, Jericho Gets A Free Pass

- I guess Big Show's working Superstars this week? This is an angle masquerading as a match, so Tyson can slug Jericho and reveal the DX shirt. I would have preferred a Jericho-HBK match ending in a Tyson screwjob ala WM. HBK is calling out 'Taker AGAIN. Wanting 'Taker to answer him on Raw next week! Hey, Shawn, just go win the Rumble. Then you can challenge UT for the belt. Duh. Tyson looks so out of place. Tyson and HBK to start? Tie ups and Tyson throws him off. Shoulderblock on HBK. Where's Masters? Superstars again? HHH and Tyson stare down! Tie ups...HHH refuses to back down. Big shove on HHH! Jericho tags in! Jericho getting made a bitch. Again. Several sunset flip reversals on HBK and Jericho. Tyson back in...Hornswoggle in a boxing robe! Jericho tags in...everyone in the ring...Tyson behind comes the KO. Yup...DX shirt. To his credit, Jericho sees it coming before happens. HBK pin.

Winners: DX via pinfall on Jericho (Tyson KO)

- HBK and Tyson hug. Jericho is selling it COMPLETELY dead.

- Not a bad show. A lot of annoying elements kept down, some strong promo work, especially from Miz and MVP. Bret is barred from WWE, so of course he'll be back next week. Orton vs Sheamus is the worst WWE Title match I could imagine, though.