Current Dragon Gate booker and Former ROH and ECW booker Gabe Sapolsky attended the WWE TV tapings on Tuesday night in Philadelphia and wrote the following on his MySpace:
I stopped by the Smackdown taping last night and left after CM Punk's promo. Punk was great, but the taping sucked. Most of the wrestlers were robotic (stop at top of ramp, pose, walk into ring, ignore entire crowd and turn to hard cam, pose, turn back to ramp and wait for opponent). Everything was formulaic. I sat there for two hours from the opening bell waiting through dead time between matches and endless videos before Smackdown actually started. However, it wasn't all bad as Tommy Dreamer is still over in Philly and Punk is a superstar. Anyway, my point. I saw some crappy wrestling lately that turned me off to the business.
WWE Superstar Chris Jericho responded with the following on his Twitter:
Dammit if Gabe Sopolsky wasn't impressed, then what chance does the WWE have to survive even one more day??? Breadline, here I come...
"Don't worry about the breadline Mr. Jericho, you are always welcome in Dragon Gate USA or EVOLVE," Sapolsky wrote. "Better yet, Mr. Jericho, consider yourself invited to 11/28 Philly or 1/23 (Chicago) DGUSA events and compare it to Smackdown yourself."
- The Undertaker def. CM Punk in a Hell in a Cell Match (New World Heavyweight Champion)
- Randy Orton def. John Cena in a Hell in a Cell Match (New WWE Champion)
- D-Generation X def. The Legacy (Hell in a Cell Match)
- Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & Big Show def. Batista & Rey Mysterio
- Intercontinental Champion John Morrison def. Dolph Ziggler
- United States Champion Kofi Kingston def. The Miz and Jack Swagger (Triple Threat Match)
- Divas Champion Mickie James def. Alicia Fox
- Drew McIntyre def. R-Truth
It’s time for WWE to elevate talent and make them into stars. John Cena vs. Randy Orton has without a doubt become more than stale… rotting would probably a better word. The company has done a decent job of elevating some young talent; most notably CM Punk who is the current World Heavyweight Champion and John Morrison who is the current Intercontinental Champion. This is hopefully the beginning of well-needed change within the industry and for fans of Pro Wrestling (or Sports Entertainment if you prefer) young and old. The following Superstars should (in my humble opinion) either be World Heavyweight (or WWE) Champion, or have at least been in major contention for the title, within one years time.
I believe WWE already sees that this young man is money. When I first saw Swagger I wasn’t sold. But after his outstanding series of matches with Christian, I knew he was destined for superstardom. A big time feud with Triple H, Shawn Michaels or the Undertaker could catapult Swagger towards gold.
Christian isn’t the new kid on the block by any means. He’s had multiple runs with the ECW, tag team and intercontinental championships. Not to mention the fact that he’s held the TNA (NWA) World Title on two occasions. Christian is arguably the best Pro Wrestler in the world today and if anyone should be elevated to the top, it’s him.
Evan Bourne’s matches in Ring of Honor got him noticed and for good reason. Bourne is no doubt the next generation of high flyer. His style, size and ring psychology resemble that of veteran Rey Mysterio. Bourne also has a look that screams baby face (good guy) which will (I believe) help him to move tons of merchandise. Bourne is a guy who really does need the championship because of his size. One would hope that the WWE wouldn’t go with the horrible “underdog” angle if Bourne were to get a run with the belt but would instead present him as simply being “that damn good”.
DiBiase reminds me of a young Randy Orton (except he actually seems to have his head on straight). He certainly has the look and the in-ring ability to be a LONG-TERM champion who could work as a heel or a babyface.
Like Evan Bourne, Kofi Kingston is an incredible spastic high-flyer whom I can actually see working baby-face his entire career. His work-ethic is second to none and he is a man who always gets a reaction both with his ring-entrance and pure athletic ability.
WWE seems to be missing the ball when it comes to MVP. Yes, he’s had a few backstage problems but compared to someone like Randy Orton it’s nothing. If WWE is going to pull the trigger with MVP they need to do it no later than WrestleMania 26. I’d love to see MVP win the Rumble and go all the way to the Championship. If they’re going to do it, the bottom line is that the time is NOW.
Without a doubt the most talented WWE talent to have never held either of the top championships is Shelton Benjamin. His in-ring ability is simply incredible. Many critics have said that he doesn’t have enough charisma to be on top but I feel that’s simply not true. Benjamin should have had a title run years ago when he was feuding with Triple H. I feel that this man still has a lot of gas left in the tank but I hope that WWE will at some point begin to use him properly.
John Morrison has just started his Intercontanental title reign, capturing the belt from the now suspended Rey Mysterio. He’s also a formal tag team and ECW Champion. Morrison certainly has the in-ring ability but his charisma as a face is somewhat lacking. I feel if Morrison is going to hold one of the big two, it’s going to be as a heel. This may seem odd considering the fact that he’s a high flyer but given his look I see Morrison capturing his first major championship after a heel turn. Make no bones about it, John Morrison is destined for the top spot at some point in the near future.
DH Smith is just starting his WWE career but much like DiBiase he’s got the look and seems to quickly be developing the in-ring ability to be a future World Champion.
Many people will question my decision to put Knox on this list. But hear me out. Knox has a great look and he gets how to work as a big man. Every week this gigantic dwarf continues to get better and better in the ring. Not to mention the fact that he’s a great talker. If WWE is going to push a big man it should without a doubt be Mike Knox.
At least from my vantage point, which is by the way the vantage point of a fan, WWE has ten men they can make into Champions or at least feud at that level. Men like Randy Orton and John Cena are certainly not old by any stretch of the imagination and should still be thrown into the mix as well (I hate to admit that about Cena considering I’m not a fan of his even in the least). But right now, I feel that the men listed above are the guys WWE should focus on the most. Shawn Michaels, the Undertaker, Batista and even Rey Mysterio and Chris Jericho are starting to wind down their careers (or will be within a short amount of time). WWE has to get the next generation of talent ready. They have an incredible roster but the question is how they utilized their talent.
It should be noted that both Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuiness (both formal Ring of Honor World Champions) have signed with WWE. The only reason that they aren’t on this list is because they have not started with the company. I feel that I should say that it would be insane if at some point both men were not WWE or World Heavyweight Champion.
Pro Wrestling is always changing and evolving. It cannot stay stagnant, certainly not in the current economic environment we live in today. Whether they like it or not WWE has heavy competition in the form of UFC on Pay-Per-View. While many would contest this I can tell you now that a majority of people only buy one pay-per-view a month (and that includes me). At the end of the day it all comes down to money and that money hinges on whether or not WWE can produce competitive, athletic, entertaining stars. I am in no way predicting some sort of doomsday scenario for WWE but I am staying that the time to step it up and create new talent is now and not later.
-Yuen Fei Lung 云飞轮
Written: September 12th 2009
- D-Generation X def. The Legacy
- CM Punk def. Jeff Hardy (New World Heavyweight Champion)
- WWE Champion Randy Orton def. John Cena
- Unified Tag Champions Chris Jericho & Big Show def. Cryme Tyme
- Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio def. Dolph Ziggler
- ECW Champion Christian def. William Regal
- Kane def. The Great Khali
- MVP def. Jack Swagger
WWE SummerSlam is one of the big ones. But is it worth your hard earned dollar? Let's take a look at the card.
Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena - Singles match for the WWE Championship
PREDICTION: Randy Orton has had the championship for quite awhile. I could easily see WWE giving the belt back to Cena. I do hope that this match is the culmination of this feud because, like many others, I feel we've seen Orton vs. Cena one too many times.
Chris Jericho and The Big Show (c) vs. Cryme Tyme - Tag Team match for the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship
PREDICTION: Cryme Tyme has been groomed for a big win and I have no doubt that we will see that results with Cryme Time winning their first taste of gold within the WWE. Perhaps Jericho will turn on Show or vice versa? Only time will tell!
Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler - Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
PREDICTION: Rey Mysterio surprised most people by coming out the victor at Night of Champions when he defeated challenger Dolph Ziggler. Alas, Ziggler is a rising star and considering Rey Mysterio doesn't need the I.C. title (honestly, shouldn't he be going for the WWE Championship or World Heavyweight Championship?) Dolph will probably get the win over the masked icon.
Jeff Hardy (c) vs. CM Punk - Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the World Heavyweight Championship
PREDICTION: In what will probably steal the show and (rumor has it yet again) be Jeff Hardy's final WWE match for quite some time, Hardy will likely do the honors on his way out putting over CM Punk. It's a smart call by WWE because Punk is arguably on the top of his game. Also, a win over Hardy will cement him as a legitimate champion in many fans eyes.
D-Generation X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) vs. The Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase) - Tag Team match
PREDICTION: I hope something big to happen here. We could either see the end of Legacy or perhaps a heel turn by Triple H. Wouldn't it be great of Michaels was the one to make the turn, super kicking The Game right in the kisser (though perhaps his nose would be an easier target!). But what I hope for and want are usually two different things. In any case, I'm going go with Legacy. If Legacy gets a win over D-Generation X it could lead to a long-term feud between the two teams.
The Great Khali vs. Kane - Singles match
PREDICTION: This can't bode well. Kane is an outstanding superstar but to stick him in the ring with Khali isn't even right. Khali is a sight to see but the fact is, he just CAN'T WRESTLE! Why WWE doesn't simply use him as an enforcer or in a tag team is beyond my understanding. Let's hope this match is early in the card and VERY quick.
Jack Swagger vs. Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP) - Singles match
PREDICTION: Jack Swagger and MVP are nothing but money! This is going to be an outstanding technical contest featuring two of WWE's finest.
Christian (c) vs. William Regal - Singles match for the ECW Championship
PREDICTION: William Regal is always so under-utilized and I'd love to see him get the strap. Speaking of under-utilized... Christian deserves much more than the ECW title. In any case, I see this match opening the show and Christian holding on to his title.
WORTH THE MONEY: Many have claimed that the SummerSlam card is weak but if you really look at it close, we have some very high quality matches. D-Generation X vs. Legacy is bound to offer some drama. Jack Swagger vs. MVP should be a terrific match for fans of straight-up Pro Wrestling. Christian vs. William Regal will also offer a high quality but short match. Finally, the TLC match between CM Punk and Jeff Hardy will without a doubt deliver a magnificent spot-fest that will please everyone. So, is it worth the $40.00? In my opinion SummerSlam 2009 IS WORTH YOUR MONEY.
PHILADELPHIA – For weeks, World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk said Jeff Hardy didn’t stand a chance against him. There was no way a flawed man like Hardy could defeat a competitor who follows the straightedge way of life, Punk claimed.
But at Night of Champions, Jeff Hardy proved CM Punk wrong when he pinned him in the center of the ring and captured his second World Heavyweight Championship.
This victory over Punk was a long time coming for The Charismatic Enigma. Jeff thought his dream of becoming the World Heavyweight Champion had finally come true at Extreme Rules when he defeated Edge in a Ladder Match, but the moment was short-lived. Mere seconds after he grabbed the gold, Hardy had to face CM Punk, who was cashing in his Money in the Bank title opportunity. Battered and tired, Jeff was unable to put up a good fight and The Straightedge Superstar won the title.
At The Bash, Hardy’s frustrations continued. When it seemed as though The Charismatic Enigma had pinned Punk to win the gold, it was revealed that the champion’s foot was under the ropes. When the match was restarted, Punk kicked the referee in the back, resulting in a disqualification and no title change.
But when the two Superstars met again at Night of Champions, there was nothing CM Punk could do to stop Hardy’s drive to win. The World Heavyweight Champion utilized his aggressive and unique offense to slow the Cameron, N.C., native down, but he simply couldn’t break the colorful warrior’s spirit. Even Punk’s brutal finishing maneuver, the Go to Sleep, wasn’t enough to keep Hardy down.
Frustrated with Jeff’s resilience, The Straightedge Superstar grabbed his gold and tried to leave the ring, but the adrenaline junkie dragged him right back in and delivered the Twist of Fate. Then, with 17,774 fans in the Wachovia Center chanting his name, The Charismatic Enigma scaled the top rope and delivered a picture-perfect Swanton Bomb onto Punk, scoring the victory and the title.
After the match, Jeff Hardy passionately celebrated his championship win with the WWE Universe, but the party can’t last for long. If CM Punk’s track record is any indication, the former World Heavyweight Champion is already concocting a scheme to get the title back.
What will happen the next time these two Superstars meet? Watch the next edition of SmackDown at 8/7 CT on MyNetworkTV to find out.
-Match 1: Chris Jericho & Big Show def. Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase
-Match 2: Christian def. Tommy Dreamer
-Match 3: Kofi Kingston wins 6 Pack Challenge
-Match 4: Michelle McCool def. Melina
-Match 5: Randy Orton def. John Cena & Triple H
-Match 6: Mickie James def. Maryse
-Match 7: Rey Mysterio def. Dolph Ziggler
-Main Event: Jeff Hardy def. CM Punk
WWE's Night of Champion takes place this Sunday (July 26th) live and only on Pay-Per-View. Let's take a look at the card.
WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Triple H vs. John Cena
PREDICTION: I believe that this will in fact be the main event and has the potential to be a very good match. However, given the fact this PPV is a lead in to SummerSlam I believe Randy Orton will walk out holding the strap.
World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
PREDICTION: Will this be Jeff Hardy's final match on PPV before he takes time off? That possibility is certainly there. It's also possible that WWE could drag the feud out to SummerSlam. Either way, I see CM Punk keeping the gold.
Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler
PREDICTION: This is the match that could launch Dolph Ziggler if he beats Mysterio for the IC title this Sunday. As much as I love Mysterio and wish he could have a longer run as the champ I think WWE realizes that they've got to establish new stars and so I predict that Dolph Ziggler will in fact cheat to capture his first WWE gold.
United States Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Big Show vs. MVP vs. Carlito vs. Jack Swagger vs. The Miz (Six Pack Challenge)
PREDICTION: If given enough time, I believe that this will be the match of the night. As I've said on my Twitter, "Kofi Kingston is money". That being said, I don't think Kingston needs to U.S. title long term and I already feel that both Swagger and MVP are on track for heavyweight gold in the near future. So, who would benefit most from winning the U.S. title? I feel that The Miz is going to continue be a good heel and for that reason he is my pic to win this Sunday.
ECW Champion Tommy Dreamer vs. Christian
PREDICTION: This could also be a match that steals the show. Tommy Dreamer is a legend and it is my hope that he will keep the ECW Championship.
Unified Tag Team Champion Chris Jericho & A Mystery Partner vs. Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes
PREDICTION: Who will be Jericho's partner? How about Christian? I could see Jericho and Christian losing the Tag Team Championships to Legacy. Of course, after the match Jericho will turn on Christian and this will set up a feud between the two at SummerSlam.
Women's Champion Michelle McCool vs. Melina
PREDICTION: I think Melina will beat McCool.
Divas Champion Maryse vs. Mickie James
PREDICTION: Maryse is as hot as it gets but I have not been impressed with her ring work. Thus I think the ultra talented Mickie James has gold in her future this Sunday.
WORTH THE MONEY: There are some good matches on this card. Randy Orton vs. Triple H vs. John Cena is a strong main event where all three superstars will work hard. CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy is sure to be an intense match (it also may very well be the last time we see Hardy for awhile) and the Six Pack Challenge match-up is sure to deliver for those looking for highspots. But at $40.00, that's an incredibly hefty price to pay for just three hours of action. Plus Night of Champions is in many ways just a short interlude before SummerSlam. So despite the good card, I can't recommend spending that kind of money in this economy unless you're a hardcore fan of wrestling. My suggestion? SAVE YOUR MONEY (Or watch it at your local sports bar)!