Physical X 1000

NXT TakeOver Philly
1-27-2018

Fact, there has never been a bad TakeOver. NXT TakeOver Philly didn’t disappoint. I was sad when this ended. What a physical PPV!

The Tag Team Titles start off the show. I liked this match, but I didn’t love it. The tag titles are usually at the top of the list of best matches for TakeOver shows. This one, not so much. Good back and forth, both sides get a chance to show off, but where was the big spot? The Undisputed Era wins with a roll-up. This match and the titles deserved better than a typical roll-up we see on RAW and Smackdown every week.

Velveteen Dream is probably one of the best NXT stars right now. He has a huge upside. He’s got the look, the attitude, and he can deliver in the ring. Please WWE, don’t mess this up. Dream guaranteed that he’d beat Kassius Ohno in thirty seconds. He didn’t, but he did win. This was a fun match. These guys beat the hell out of each other. So many big shots from both men. Huge top rope elbow from Velveteen Dream for the win.

I don’t know where Kassius Ohno is headed. He has no momentum. He looks destined to be an NXT lifer, and that would be a shame. He’s great a putting people over. Maybe that’s his role.

Ember Moon vs Shayna Baszler next. Baszler didn’t need to win this match, but she didn’t need to get pinned either. A DQ loss does her no damage while a pin makes her look weak because she lost both big matches she’s been in. Of course Ember Moon pins Baszler in the middle of the ring. They couldn’t help themselves. The match was mostly Shayna Baszler doing MMA things to Moon. Baszler took a great Eclipse from Moon. I thought she had her there. The last few minutes were Baszler trying to break Ember Moon’s arm, but the champ persevered and reversed it into a roll-up. Moon is still your NXT Women’s champ. Post-match, Shayna Baszler choked out Moon several times on the ramp while not one other women’s wrestler came out to help. Hello!!!! Where is everyone?

Aleister Black and Adam Cole spent the next match trying to mame and murder each other. An Extreme Rules stipulation is exactly what this match and PPV needed. Great spots by both men. The used everything they could find; chairs, kendo sticks, trash cans, ladders, tables, and the announcer’s table. How Adam Cole didn’t break his back on a sick double chair spot is beyond me. I winced in pain when Black delivered it. Like Velveteen Dream and Kassius Ohno, these guys beat the hell out of each other and it was great. Undisputed Era came out to save Cole, but Sanity took care of them. Black won, as he should have.

Aleister Black is so money. The sky’s the limit for this guy on the main roster if WWE doesn’t mess it up. Can you imagine Black vs Nakamura, Black vs Balor, Black vs Owens, Black vs AJ Styles, Black vs Rollins????? All of those, yes please.

Can’t believe the NXT Title match had to follow that, but that’s life. Another physical battle. Andrade Cien Almas and Johnny Gargano put on a hell of a show. So many near falls. Often, WWE does one near fall too many, but here they all worked. Zelina Vega tried to get involved only to have Johnny Wrestling’s real-life wife, Candice LeRae beat the crap out of her and have her running for the hills. Almas pinned Gargano and all the air went out of the crowd. Gargano went through a lot and the crowd went along with him. Johnny Gargano needs to eventually win this title.

As the show went off the air, Tommaso Ciampa attacked Gargano at the top of the ramp. It was expected. Although, I thought Ciampa would cost Gargano the title. I hope a Ciampa-Gargano feud doesn’t take Johnny Wrestling away from the NXT Title picture. He deserves to win gold. That being said, Gargano and Ciampa should have a fantastic feud.

  • Match of the night: Cien Almas vs Johnny Gargano
  • Pop of the night: War Machine, Ricochet and EC3 in the crowd.
  • No reaction of the night: AOP, might be time to move these guys up.
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Cafe Don Juan

I don’t know why, but I’ve been on a beef enchilada kick lately. All I care about is finding new Mexican restaurants and trying their enchiladas. Pizza, no! Hamburger, no! Steak, no! You get the picture.

Cafe Don Juan is west of downtown and it looks like it’s been there a while. It’s not fancy and the menu is kind of small. I imagine this place has regulars who don’t even have to order; their usual just miraculously shows up in front of them minutes after sitting down. It’s one of these places that closes after lunch. Luckily for me, I had a rare afternoon off.

The beef enchiladas were as good as I’ve had anywhere; dare I say the best. The beef was well seasoned and the enchiladas were topped with gooey cheese and a thicker than usual (not complaining) enchilada sauce. What a wonderful combination. I probably don’t need to go anywhere else for enchiladas, but what fun would that be? I mixed the beans with a combination of the chip salsa, green salsa and spicy salsa. So good! The spicy salsa is kept in a metal container on the table. Kind of like you would see in a Chinese restaurant with chili oil. First time seeing that.

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The wife wasn’t hungry so she had two tacos which I tried. The carne guisada taco was full of beef stew in a thick sauce. No condiments needed, it was good on it’s own. In the future I would like to just order the carne guisada, take it home, and eat it on top of some hot, steaming white rice. Just a thought. The other taco was chicharrones and eggs. This went well with the green salsa. I kind of wish it was without the eggs. We should have ordered the chicharrones as a stew. Next time.

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I look forward to going back to Cafe Don Juan in the future. There were other interesting things on the menu. I think breakfast will be our next meal there. Maybe I too can become a regular. We all have our own goals.

Cafe Don Juan
1422 W. Commerce Street
San Antonio, TX 78207

Sami Zayn + Kevin Owens = Gold

Smackdown 1-23-2018

I sure hope the rumors are true and Shinsuke Nakamura wins the Royal Rumble because Smackdown could use some excitement. Smackdown isn’t a bad show. They have great talent and interesting storylines, but there’s something missing.

This episode was way better than last week’s and did what it was supposed to do as a go home show, advance storylines and make me want to get the PPV. To be honest, I was gonna watch the Royal Rumble anyway. Too bad RAW had to pack in so much nostalgia instead of actually working on getting people excited about the PPV.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are the best thing on WWE TV right now. Snarky Sami Zayn is the best Sami Zayn. I love AJ Styles, but the idea of WWE co-champions KO and Sami sounds like pure gold. How would that even work? That’s what’s great about it, not to mention the eventual turn and match between these two. Go back and watch their feud on the WWE Network; it’s fantastic.

AJ takes the bait from Sami and KO and accepted their challenge to fight them both in one night. Daniel Bryan continues to give the illusion that he’s stacking the deck against AJ. I somehow think this storyline ends with a big swerve. There’s no way the fans want to boo Daniel Bryan. I see Shane McMahon somehow joining KO and Sami. A heel Shane is easy to boo, especially if he starts to morph into a milder version of Mr. McMahon. If Daniel Bryan does get cleared to wrestle, a Shane O Mac – Daniel Bryan feud could be interesting.

AJ beats Owens, but loses to Sami Zayn. Both matches delivered, and Shane tried to even the odds by trying to make sure AJ only had to worry about one competitor at at time. Great stuff and two storylines advanced at the same time. What a concept! Who knew WWE had it in them? There’s no way RAW and Smackdown have the same writers.

Chad Gable and Jey Uso had a great back and forth match. Gable can do so many things in the ring. I wonder if he’ll get a chance as a singles competitor because he deserves to do more than just be part of a tag team. Gable wins. I wonder if WWE would put the titles on Gable and Benjamin at the Royal Rumble? The Usos are probably the best tag team on the planet right now, but Jey Uso getting a DUI recently might give them a reason to switch the titles.

The rest of the show also delivered. Shinsuke Nakamura beat Baron Corbin by DQ when Randy Orton decided to show up and RKO everyone. Good, physical match prior to that. Earlier, Nakamura gave a backstage interview without his mouthpiece in. Finally! His English isn’t the greatest and that mouthpiece wasn’t helping. It made a huge difference.

Naomi beat Liv Morgan in a singles match that ended with all the Smackdown women in the ring after the match. Liv Morgan had some nice moves and looks to be improving in the ring. She certainly has life after the Riott Squad. Nice tension at the end of this segment when Becky Lynch went after Naomi and tried to put her over the top rope. Every woman for themself.

Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Bobby Roode vs Rudev Day and Jinder Mahal. Pretty good match. Everyone had a chance to look strong, especially Bobby Roode. Woods pins English, and the crowd is happy. Rusev did his thing here, but they need to do more with him. The fans love Rusev Day and this could go far if WWE let it. Rusev should be going for the US Title next. Jinder is done. Let Rusev chase, it’ll be a lot of fun.

Match of the night: AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn
Pop of the night: AJ Styles. The guy is money.
No reaction of the night: Naomi. Yes she glows in the dark, but I don’t feel any excitement when she comes out. Fans aren’t really feeling the glow.

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RAW Twenty-Meh!

RAW 1-22-2018

RAW25 had so much promise. There were so many big names announced and it was the go home show before the Royal Rumble. Easy, right? Somehow, with so much to work with, WWE found a way to make this show underwhelming.

The show was coming from two separate locations, the Barclays Center and the Manhattan Center (where RAW was born). The show peaked in the open. Shane O Mac and Stephanie introduced Vince McMahon and he heeled it up for the crowd like we would expect from Mr. McMahon. Glass breaks and the crowd loses it’s mind. Surprisingly, Stone Cold didn’t say a word during this segment, but words weren’t needed. The fans only wanted one thing and Austin delivered. First, Mr. McMahon sacrificed Shane to Stone Cold to take a stunner the way only Shane O Mac can. Vince thought he was safe, but of course he got a stunner. The fans lose their minds even more. Shane gets one more stunner before Austin drank/bathed in several beers. Perfect open. Too bad the writers forget their creativity for the rest of the show.

The rest of the RAW25 portions of the show felt like any other special edition of RAW when they bring back the old-timers/former stars. You had APA playing cards, The Dudleys doing their thing to an unsuspecting mid-carder, DX doing their shtick, and various stars in situations backstage. The DX thing was cooler than normal because HHH, Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, X-Pac, The New Age Outlaws, and The Balor Club shared a Too Sweet moment after Gallows and Anderson dispatched of The Revival. Poor Revival, they lost their match with the Good Brothers and then got hit with everyone’s finisher.

The Undertaker cut a promo at the Manhattan Center. It was confusing. I was expecting something big; he would officially announce his retirement or he would call out Cena for a Wrestlemania match. Neither happened. At least, I couldn’t tell if either happened. He said something about his opponents finally being able to rest in peace. Then he left. WTF was that? I’ll give Taker this, he looked to be in good shape.

The fans at the Manhattan Center got screwed. They paid minimum $250 to watch RAW on a screen, a couple of 205 Live matches, The Undertaker, and the DX segment. How do they not have Rob Van Dam show up there? He was only Mr. Monday Night. The fans were getting restless throughout the night. I was worried a riot would break out.

Woken Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt also happened at the Manhattan Center. Why would you have these two guys fight before the Royal Rumble? WWE, that’s why? Of course, Wyatt beats Matt with Sister Abigail. Why? WWE, that’s why. This location and this crowd was perfect for Woken Matt to take it to the next level. Why not introduce Vanguard 1, Senior Benjamin, Brother Nero? Why WWE, why???? Opportunity missed.

As for the Royal Rumble build part of the show, there wasn’t much to it. The Miz beat Roam Reigns for the IC Title with a smooth exposed center turnbuckle move. I guess this opens the door for Roman Reigns to win the Royal Rumble in Philly? WWE wouldn’t do that, would they?

Osuka showed her dominance ahead of the Royal Rumble by clearing the ring of her tag partners after winning the match against the four heels. Jason Jordan pissed off The Bar and Seth Rollins. Elias had a great night. First he got to interact with Jericho, who called him a stupid idiot and put him on the list. Elias was able to anger the Brooklyn crowd with one of his songs. John Cena comes out and eats a guitar shot across his back for his troubles. The shot looked strong. Jeff Jarrett could learn a thing or two from Elias. The final segment of Braun Strowman putting Brock Lesnar through a table seemed a bit rushed.

I kept waiting for a big thing to happen on RAW25, but it never did. Where was The Rock? Where was Mick Foley? How can you have Steve Austin and not The Rock and Mick Foley? I get that The Rock is some big movie and TV star, but you could’ve at least had a taped segment or something. Are we going to have to wait until RAW30?

The WWE missed a big opportunity with this show. There were probably some fans watching who tuned out long ago and this was the best WWE could do? They had an opportunity to wow some long ago fans and they blew it. Way to play it safe WWE.

  • Match of the night: The Miz vs Roman Reigns
  • Pop of the night: Stone Cold Steve Austin
  • No reaction of the night: Michelle McCool when they brought out the divas….errrr…..women

Too Sweet 5

The Tournament Begins

Mixed Match Challenge 1-16-18

The Mixed Match Challenge is something I’ve been excited about. WWE has done a great job with the videos and promotion for this tournament, but it makes me wonder why they can’t treat their other shows with the same enthusiasm. The concept of a Facebook only show is very interesting, and I don’t think this will be a one-time deal. Having shows on different platforms is the future. There’s no way this company is going to evolve by just sticking to one television channel and their own network. This tournament will be a good gauge of interest in their product outside of the traditional mediums.

The first matchup of the tournament was Finn Balor and Sasha Banks vs Shinsuke Nakamura and Natalya Neidhart. I was kinda bummed that Nakamura was paired with Natalya, but they won me over with the promo videos with Nakamura acting like a cat. The match itself was very enjoyable. There was some good action between Balor and Nakamura, and Nattie and Sasha. There was also some good comedy stuff in between. At one point, Sasha was about to dive to the outside to take out Nattie, but Nakamura caught her and put back on the ring apron. She then proceeded to jump over him and take out Nattie like originally planned. That’s exactly what this tournament should be, good action with a mix of comedy. In WWE, you usually get one or the other. They try not to mix them unless Heath Slater and Rhyno are in the ring, or it unintentionally happens when Braun Strowman is going on a rampage backstage.

The match goes back and forth until Sasha pinned Natalya with the Bank Statement. Crowd popped and everyone went home happy. Actually they didn’t go home yet because 205 Live took place immediately after the match. Nice way to start the tournament. I hope they can keep it up. Next week, Asuka and The Miz vs Carmella and Big E. Asuka and The Miz are my favorites to with the whole thing.

  • Match of the night: Duh!
  • Pop of the night: When Finn Balor Too Sweet’d Nakamura after a set of back and forth holds
  • No reaction of the night: None. Crowd was hot for this.

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New US Champion

Smackdown 01-17-18

I look forward to Smackdown every week. It’s kinda my show, but it’s getting hard to get through the shows lately. KO, Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan, and Shane usually are enough to make it an enjoyable show. This week, no KO and Sami in the ring, no furthering of the Shane-Daniel Bryan tension, and no AJ Styles in the ring. Instead, we got Jinder Mahal wrestling twice on a show that only had four matches.

For some reason, WWE changed the US Title finale from the Royal Rumble to Next week to tonight. Jinder Mahal beat a very game Xavier Woods in the first semi-final and Bobby Roode beat Mojo Rawley in the second semi-final. Both matches were decent, nothing special. I want to like Mojo Rawley, I really do, but if he were gone tomorrow, I probably wouldn’t notice.

The same six girls, but different from the same six girls on RAW, fought in a 6-man match that was won by the Riott Squad. This looked like a showcase for Liv Morgan. She looked the most impressive in this match. I hope they call up more women because it’s hard to get excited about these matchups week after week.

The show closes with Jinder Mahal vs Bobby Roode for the US Title. I’ll be honest, I thought Jinder was getting over her because WWE wanted to build him back up for possibly another WWE title run. Well, Bobby Roode beat Jinder to become the new US Champion. Where does Jinder go from here? Is WWE admitting that their experiment didn’t work? Is Jinder gonna start sliding down the mid-card? What’s gonna happen to the Bollywood Boys? Personally, I’d move the Bollywood Boys to 205 Live. They can work, and 205 Live needs new blood, so we don’t have to see the same people every week.

Some other stuff happened with AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, and Randy Orton, but it wasn’t that memorable. Most of the night was spent hyping the Mixed Match challenge. Overall, this episode was a miss.

  • Match of the night: Roode vs Mahal
  • Pop of the night: AJ Styles during an interview segment
  • No reaction of the night: Mojo Rawley (what’s the point?)

Roode

Braun Gets Fired

WWE RAW 01-15-2018

RAW was in San Antonio, but I didn’t go. Don’t ask!

The show starts off with Braun Strowman getting fired by Kurt Angle for creating an “unsafe working environment”. This is the same Kurt Angle who once sprayed milk all over the ring and had people slipping and falling all over the place. C’mon Kurt! Braun didn’t take this lightly. He proceeded to wreck everything in sight and threatened to continue until everyone got, “these hands”. How does WWE not have a “These Hands” t-shirt up on their shop by now. It’s basically a license to print money.

Angle Milk 2 (1)

So Strowman smashed Angle’s office, flipped a semi, put Kurt Hawkins through a catering table, and ate some chocolate cake, Angle re-hired him on the (phone) advice of Stephanie McMahon. Braun would get one last bit of destruction in before ending his reign of terror. He threw Michael Cole onto some security/local indy jabronis. Cole couldn’t continue and we still had over half the show still left to go. “Thank You Braun. Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap.” Tom Phillips replaced Cole for the rest of the night. Maybe Cole should take a break once in a while. I could get used to not hearing his annoying voice week after week.

I actually liked the show, even though I can’t remember half the stuff in the middle. I think the same six girls were in or around the ring for a match. I’m surprised Paige didn’t announce anything, but WWE said she wouldn’t be in the Rumble because of her “injury”. I wonder what They’re waiting for. Heels win, meh!

The same cruiserweights plus Goldust came out for a match. Face wins, meh!

Jason Jordan should be officially turning soon. He’s so annoying, the crowd hates him, and his face teammates can’t stand him. Just turn the guy already so we can build to the match with Kurt Angle.

The main event was great. Finn Balor with the Good Brothers at his side took on Seth Rollins with Jason Jordan in his corner. Corey Graves said there was a lot of “good brotherin'” going on at ringside. I like that he turned that into a verb. The match went back and forth with both guys hitting their moves and some nice kicks. The best part of this match was the return of the Seth Rollins Curb Stomp. It looked sick. He beat Balor with it and everyone went home happy.

curbstomp

The ending was a bit weird. Camera zooms in on Finn Balor with Anderson and Gallows in the ring. Balor looks legit dazed. The camera hung on too long because nothing went on. Is this part of an angle? I doubt WWE wants to do a concussion angle. Remember a few weeks ago when Itami shattered Brian Kendrick’s face with a GTS? Lots of podcasts and dirt sheets were saying that they were gonna ban the move. No way that move is banned and the Curb Stomp isn’t. Maybe the GTS will be saved for bigger moments.

Match of the night: Balor vs Rollins
Pop of the night: Anything Braun did
No reaction of the night: The Revival