Many Internet wrestling writers spend most of their time nitpicking at promotions and wrestlers. At least that’s what they do when they’re not picking lint out of their bellybuttons while wondering how old is too old to be living in their parents’ basement.
Perhaps it’s their insecurity. Or maybe it’s pure jealousy. But many of these writers – and I’m giving some of them the benefit of doubt by referring to them as writers – spend their lives criticizing people who are excelling in arenas, literally and figuratively, in which they can only dream of being successful.
Achilles Heel certainly has no jealousy issues. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel the need to constantly tear down successful people. I’m secure enough in my own talent and good looks to praise others.
The target of most of the criticism is WWE, which just happens to be the top dog in the world of professional wrestling. WWE shouldn’t be immune from criticism, but it also deserves to be praised for recognizing when it has something good going.
I don’t know what the original expectations were for the Daniel Bryan-Kane feud, but when their anger management issues caught on with the fans, WWE followed the fans’ lead (as all good wrestling organizations should do). First, the WWE put Kane and Bryan in the tag team championship match at Night of Champions, having them defeat Kofi Kingston and R-Truth for the titles. If you attended Smackdown at Wells Fargo Center this week or watched it on television, you know that the show was centered around Kane and Bryan.
Kane and Bryan were involved in three matches during Smackdown. Each had a singles match, with each partner causing the other one to lose, and then they had a tag team match against their conquerors, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. At the end of the tag team match, Kane and Bryan not only destroyed Sandow and Rhodes, but they also beat the crap out of three other potential championship contending teams.
Kane and Bryan have a great storyline going. We know it eventually will lead to a breakup, but their relationship – while it lasts – is wildly entertaining.
When two wrestlers can keep a crowd captivated for more than 10 minutes while they decide whether or not to “hug it out,” you know you’ve got pure gold. Give WWE credit for noticing that the Kane-Bryan storyline had caught fire, if Kane will pardon the expression, and letting them run with the ball.
RETURN OF THE KING: The Greek god of wrestling is thrilled to see that Jerry “The King” Lawler is back home in Memphis after suffering a heart attack during RAW in Montreal on Sept. 10. As I noted last week, Lawler stopped breathing during the incident. Fortunately, he received immediate medical attention, which probably saved his life.
Lawler will do a taped interview for this Monday’s RAW. Welcome back, King. We’d love to see you back on RAW, but take your time. Restoring your own health is the most important thing.
ART OF THE STEAL: I couldn’t help but notice that Michael Cole was wearing a “Long Live the King” t-shirt during RAW this past week. “Long Live the King” just happened to be the title of Heel Turns the preceding week.
Coincidence? Achilles Heel doesn’t think so.
CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT: Not surprisingly, Achilles Heel’s previews of pay-per-views continue to be right on the money. I’m not referring to predictions. I’m referring to whether a pay-per-view will be worth your time. (I’ll let you decide if it’s worth your money.)
I told you Night of Champions looked like a good show because of the quality of the wrestlers in the matches and the uncertainty regarding who would win each match. As usual, I was correct. Night of Champions was a good show.
The C.M. Punk-John Cena battle for the WWE Championship was outstanding. I know some people didn’t like the simultaneous-pin ending, but I thought it was well-executed. WWE truly had people believing that Cena had regained the championship. Having the bout end in a draw also keeps both Punk and Cena strong, which is good for both of them. This won’t be the last time Cena and Punk cross paths. Having an excellent match without a decisive winner will help build the anticipation before their next pay-per-view encounter. With Cena having elbow surgery Tuesday, it also didn’t make sense for Cena to win the title
By the way, according to wwe.com, Punk now has the fifth longest WWE Championship reign of the last 25 years. He’s behind only Cena, Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and Diesel (Kevin Nash). If Punk holds the championship until the Royal Rumble, when he would face The Rock, he’ll have the longest WWE Championship title reign of the past 25 years. That will add further importance to his match with The Rock and, if he wins, possibly Cena at WrestleMania (or a three-way with Rock and Cena).
World Heavyweight champion Sheamus successfully fought off the challenge of Alberto Del Rio. This was a good match, but I didn’t like that Smackdown general manager Booker T reinstated the “Brogue Kick,” Sheamus’ finishing maneuver, after the key element of the prematch buildup was that Del Rio had the advantage because the Brogue Kick was banned.
If it weren’t for Punk vs. Cena, Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler would unquestionably have had the match of the night. Absolute excellence from both wrestlers.
As I mentioned earlier, having Daniel Bryan and Kane beat Kofi Kingston and R-Truth for the tag team championship was the right move. So was having Eve defeat Layla for the Divas Championship, which included a storyline in which someone, presumably Eve, injured Kaitlyn before the match, allowing Eve to take her place. This prevented the only potential dud match from taking place.
The Miz retained the Intercontinental Championship in a four-way match with Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara and Cody Rhodes. Antonio Cesaro retained the United States Heavyweight Championship by beating Zack Ryder, who won a pre-show battle royal to earn the title shot.
Night of Champions wasn’t an epic show. But it was a consistently entertaining show that was filled with good matches, including a few (Cena-Punk, Orton-Ziggler) that rose to the level of excellence.
Remember, Achilles Heel wouldn’t steer you wrong.
ON THE EDGE: The presence of Edge was a nice surprise for those attending Smackdown, including me, on Tuesday. It’s always great to see the man who still truly “reeks of awesomeness.”
You can get an autograph and have your picture taken with Edge on Oct. 7 from 2-5 p.m. at Dave and Busters on Columbus Blvd. in Philadelphia … for $100. Tommy Dreamer will also be at Dave and Busters that day. You can get his autograph and a photo for $25.
RIGHT ON THE MONEY: I know what you’re thinking: I can’t believe Achilles Heel hasn’t reminded us yet that he correctly picked the winner of CHIKARA’s King of Trios. Well, I’m trying to avoid being “insufferable,” as Eric Fisher suggested I would be in Fish ‘n Chips. (And I’d like to thank Fisher for his “gratitude” in return for me praising his King of Trios article from 2011 in last week’s Heel Turns.)
The fact is I correctly predicted The Spectral Envoy would win the tournament. Yes, I mentioned three other teams, but I clearly said The Spectral Envoy (Hallowicked (left), Frightmare, UltraMantis Black) was my top choice.
CHIKARA will make a southern swing through Alabama and North Carolina on October 6-7. The next opportunity to see CHIKARA in Philadelphia will be Nov. 30.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: CHIKARA went back in time for its tag team gauntlet match on the third night of King of Trios. Marty Janetty and the 1-2-3 Kid (Sean Waltman, a.k.a. X-Pac) won the match. One of the teams they eliminated was the Barbarian and the Warlord, who had eliminated Ax and Smash in a matchup we first saw in battles for the WWE tag team titles during the 1990s.
TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES: Ring of Honor continues to have pay-per-view issues. There’s nothing wrong with the in-ring product, but that doesn’t matter if people can’t see it. Many people who ordered “Death Before Dishonor X,” an Internet pay-per-view on Sept. 15, did not get the feed for the first portion of the show. The ongoing technical problems are damaging Ring of Honor’s opportunity to gain a higher profile, not to mention to make more money.
As far as in-ring news, Steve Corino and Jimmy Jacobs won the tag team championship. The beginning of the Survival of the Fittest tournament begins at tonight’s (Saturday’s) television taping in Baltimore.
BACK FROM OBLIVION: The battle royal to determine the No. 1 challenger for the U.S. Heavyweight Championship featured some of Achilles Heel’s favorite underutilized wrestlers. Drew McIntyre, Michael McGillicutty and Ted DiBiase were all involved. Unfortunately, McGillicutty and DiBiase were among the first wrestlers eliminated.
My eyes could have been deceiving me, but McIntyre was actually part of an angle on Smackdown. He and Jinder Mahal interfered in Heath Slater’s match against Brodus Clay, beating up the eccentric-looking big man. A stable of underutilized heels has been tried before, and it has usually been unsuccessful. But I’m hopeful that this faction, which could include McGillicutty, will work out. The best way for it to work out is for McIntyre to emerge as the leader of this group.
GODS OF WRESTLING: The Greek god of wrestling was pleased to see another “wrestling god” back in the WWE this week. With Jerry Lawler out of commission, John Bradshaw Layfield filled in on commentary at Night of Champions and on RAW (as did Jim Ross). As always, JBL was entertaining.
SMACKDOWN REVIEW: Let’s review Smackdown from Philly. Edge returned, Kane and Bryan were the backbones of the show and Drew McIntyre was involved in an angle. From Achilles Heel’s perspective, that’s a pretty darn good night.