Monday, 7 October 2013

My WWE Battleground 2013 Recap

Now this was a feel good moment. Photo credit:

Dolph Ziggler pinned Damien Sandow in a decent pre-show bout. I was expecting a passable kick off match here but it exceeded that for me, with worthy efforts from both wrestlers, especially the always reliable Ziggler. It was by no means the best pre-show bout I've seen but it was enjoyable enough.
Alberto Del Rio (c) forced Rob Van Dam to submit in a Battleground Hardcore Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. In their finest singles contest to date both men delivered stellar performances, utilising steel chairs, a trashcan and a ladder (although unfortunately no table which the fans, and myself, seemed keen for). Ricardo Rodriguez also played his part as he attacked the champ with a bucket to halt an armbreaker attempt, only to soon fall victim to a vicious kick to the head by his former boss on the outside, thereby taking him out of the match. Del Rio's submission win came after he latched on his armbreaker while RVD's arm was wrapped in a steel chair. 
While it was a fun watch, I still couldn't help but feel a bit deflated at the result. I just feel Del Rio as champion has worn thin by this point and RVD would be the ideal wrestler to bring interest back to the title again.
The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger) defeated The Great Khali and Santino Marella in an uninspiring tag bout up until the finish when Cesaro applied an impressive giant swing on Khali for the winning pinfall. Most of the match was pretty drab to be honest, with most men bar Antonio giving average showings.
Curtis Axel (c) pinned R-Truth to retain the Intercontinental Championship in a fair outing. Both wrestlers were competent and delivered worthy efforts but I simply struggled to get engaged, much like the fans in attendance who soon lost interest. Not a bad match by any means but not one I'd recommend. 
AJ Lee (c) bested Brie Bella to retain the WWE Divas Title in a passable affair. For some reason they had AJ target Brie's arm early on, which had no effect later as Brie seemed to use said arm with no problem as she made a comeback. The match could've been allocated a little less time too, it began to drag as the charismatic champion dominated. That all being said the bout was better than I'd predicted, but still nothing that special.  
Cody Rhodes and Goldust bested The Shield (Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) in a dramatic tag contest to gain back their jobs in WWE. As expected it was an exciting ride, with effective near falls and solid wrestling to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout, and an electric crowd too.
Of course the legendary Dusty Rhodes also played his part as he blasted Dean Ambrose with a bionic elbow and distracted Reigns so son Dustin could take him out, leaving Cody to hit the Cross Rhodes on Rollins for the vital one-two-three. As a nice touch various members of the locker room came out to celebrate (including 'Fit' Finlay and Arn Anderson).
Bray Wyatt pinned Kofi Kingston in a decent enough match up. Much like the earlier IC Title contest we received admirable displays from each wrestler but it felt like it was lacking a bit. 
CM Punk beat Ryback in a match with a drab first half but satisfying second. While Ryback dominated the bout became rather tedious, but Punk (who delivered a worthy performance) as any good face does made a comeback and brought some much needed excitement back.
For the finish Punk managed to low blow Ryback with a swift back kick for the winning pinfall as the referee was distracted by Paul Heyman at ringside, who was about to strike his former protege with a kendo stick. 
Randy Orton versus Daniel Bryan for the vacant WWE Championship ended in a no contest after Big Show came down and KO'd two referees (the first one when Bryan locked on a Yes Lock and the second being the returning Scott Armstrong who ran down after the first ref was taken out), Bryan and finally Orton. It was a strange and anti climatic end to the event, and one that made the already fairly weak build up to the title clash seem worthless.
The actual match itself had been solid for the most part, with stellar wrestling on both men's behalf and exciting near falls and submission attempt. The fans in New York also provided a terrific atmosphere for the top contest of the night, being thoroughly behind Bryan.
Overall it was a rather forgettable pay-per-view for the most part, with most bouts ranging from fair to average. That being said my highlights were RVD versus Del Rio, Cody and Goldust versus The Shield (at least we got a feel good moment from that) the second half to Punk versus Ryback and the majority of the main event.  

Sunday, 6 October 2013

My WWE Battleground Predictions

Photo credit:

WWE Championship Match - Randy Orton versus Daniel Bryan:

Much like their previous PPV clash I'm not expecting anything but a solid outing, although I feel the build up has been fairly weak compared. Bryan winning the vacant strap seems like the more interesting choice, but I just can't help but see 'The Viper' win via suspicious circumstances, although I admittedly thought the same thing last month so I could be way off.   

Winner: Randy Orton

World Heavyweight Championship Battleground Hardcore Match - Alberto Del Rio (c) versus Rob Van Dam:

I'm relieved that they added the Hardcore stipulation here, this match needed that extra intriguing factor for me. I enjoy both men in the ring and they shouldn't have any excuses not to deliver an exciting bout here, not the least with my predictive victor RVD obtaining the title. But if he does then I wouldn't be shocked to see Mr. Sandow cashing in his MITB contract, it'd be the perfect way to gain him some heat.   

Winner: Rob Van Dam

CM Punk versus Ryback:

Unfortunately even against a superior talent I don't envisage this outing topping the great ones Ryback had with Cena over the WWE Title. This could be fun and should be enjoyable but nothing outstanding, hopefully I'm proven wrong. Will this be the end of Punk's feud with Heyman? I'm starting to hope things wind down now between them so they can move on to fresh foes. Punk to win and finally get some retribution on Heyman but not enough to end the rivalry just yet. 

Winner: CM Punk

WWE Divas Title Match - AJ Lee (c) versus Brie Bella:

Like any Bella-involved bout I don't hold high expectations, and certainly don't expect anything close to AJ's matches with Kaitlyn over the belt. That being said sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised (with Taryn Terrell's entertaining contests with Gail Kim being a prime example), but I doubt it tonight with this one. And I reckon AJ to retain, I don't see any reason for her to drop the strap just yet, recently bringing in Tamina as her new body guard would make it a strange choice too.

Winner: AJ Lee

Cody Rhodes and Goldust versus The Shield (Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns):

For me this bout has had the best build up out of any on the card tonight, and I'm very interested in the outcome so job well done there. Should be a dramatic one. I'm going with The Shield to somehow come out with a dubious win here, adding another twist to the Rhodes storyline.

Winners: The Shield

Intercontinental Title Match - Curtis Axel (c) versus R-Truth:

Could be a decent match up, and both men should make the most from being on the main card of a PPV tonight. Can't see beyond Axel winning here after Truth's definitive loss to Ryback on SmackDown.

Winner: Curtis Axel

Bray Wyatt versus Kofi Kingston:

Bit of a strange one I thought when this was put together, considering the more interesting possibilities for Wyatt to face off with. Nothing against Kofi but after all his failed pushes I just struggle to invest in them anymore. Should be a fair match up. Wyatt to win considering his current momentum.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Santino Marella versus The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger):

How this found it's way onto a PPV card ahead of Ziggler and the Money in the Bank holder I'm still trying to understand, oh well. I'm just hoping for Cesaro to swing around Khali to deliver something memorable, it's up to the stellar Antonio to make this match worth watching at all I reckon. The Real Americans in the long run seem like the more sensible choice to put over here, but I can see Santino and Khali walking away the winners.

Winners: Santino Marella and The Great Khali.

Battleground Kickoff Match - Dolph Ziggler versus Damien Sandow:

At first I wasn't too sure about this thrown together bout, but Ziggler is such a consistent performer that I'm expecting an enjoyable contest against the MITB Contract holder. But despite Sandow holding the briefcase I see Dolph gaining the one-two-three.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

My WWE Raw, 30th September 2013 Recap

It was a priceless moment. Photo credit:

CM Punk kicked off the show (to a very healthy response) by stating that he contributes to the unpredictability of the show when he comes out but claimed that Heyman was predictable last week when he orchestrated the beat down of Punk in his hometown of Chicago. He want on to add that he will end the story when he takes out Ryback, whether it be on a Raw leading up to Battleground or at the event itself, and while Heyman may have pinned him on the mat at Payback he will get his revenge and put him out of his misery. 
Raw GM Brad Maddox then joined Punk and cautioned him about taking on Ryback before their PPV clash, saying that it would simply be "bad for business," of course. But Maddox did agree to grant Punk a match that night to let out some aggression, this cued Big E Langston to come out and kick start their impromptu match by clobbering Punk.
CM Punk pinned Big E Langston after hitting a GTS in a fair encounter. Much like Ziggler in his series with Big E, Punk deserves credit here for what he was able to accomplish against the limited Langston.
Kofi Kingston beat Fandango in a passable, if fairly forgettable match up. Kofi did a decent job here and managed to add a few parts worth a watch, and eventually applied a Trouble in Paradise kick for the one-two-three. Bray Wyatt then delivered one of his mysterious promos on the ramp where he described his hard life and finally claimed that "one by one, they must all fall down."
Backstage Randy Orton warned Brie Bella to schedule her wedding to Daniel Bryan before their title match on Sunday, as he might not be fit for it afterwards, 
Los Matadores (Fernando and Diego, formerly Epico and Primo) bested 3MB (Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater) in an enjoyable tag bout. Both members of the winning duo looked solid here, and had a fun entrance which included their own little bull called El Torito. Admittedly the crowd reaction wasn't anything outstanding for the team's debut but hopefully that will come, I personally enjoyed them and look forward to more. 
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon invited out Cody, Dustin and Dusty Rhodes and asked why they were so mad at them considering the apparent 'chances' they'd given them to get their jobs back. The COO then revealed the reason he'd held the family summit and offered the chance for Cody and Dustin to face the tag champions Rollins and Reigns at Battleground and if they win they get their jobs backs in WWE, but if they fail then none of the three will ever work for the company again. The Rhodes accepted the challenge. 
Dusty then got in Triple H's face in the most intense part of the summit and claimed that he would be there in his sons corner. Shortly after Stephanie and 'The Game' left the ring The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) battered Cody, Dustin and Dusty, finally Triple Powerbombing Cody to end the entertaining segment.
R-Truth pinned Curtis Axel in a brief and average contest after CM Punk's theme music hit and distracted the IC Champion, allowing Truth to strike with a Lie Detector for the victory. The wrestling was kept at a decent enough standard, but I just failed to find the interest. 
Brie Bella defeated Alicia Fox in a passable Divas match up. While it was never anything special, it was certainly above average for a bout involving a Bella. Unfortunately for the competitors the crowd in attendance were pretty indifferent to the whole thing, you could actually hear a pin drop. 
During an interview an enraged Big Show admitted that he couldn't take any more of the sick and twisted orders he's been receiving from Triple H and Stephanie and stormed towards the COO's office to knock him out.
Alberto Del Rio forced Zack Ryder to submit via arm breaker in a satisfying outing. Surprisingly Ryder was made to look competitive against the World Champion here as he controlled the start of their match up and briefly came back towards the end. Del Rio as standard was on solid form in the ring.
Paul Heyman, accompanied by Ryback, came to the ring and declared that he had to have CM Punk beaten up by his two associates in his home town last week. Ryback then took the mic and called Punk ungrateful for all that Heyman had done for him, claiming that Paul was a genius and that "there's nothing I wouldn't do for" him. 
Heyman went on to say that since Ryback had saved him he had a spring in his step and the World seemed like a better place. Paul continued to brilliantly lead us down the path of believing that he was about to propose marriage to Ryback, it was superb work on his part and I'll admit I was hoping he would for the sheer shock and impact, but of course his proposal was for Ryback to be his latest client instead.
CM Punk then attempted a sneak attack from behind but tripped over the barricade and feigned an obviously fake knee injury, only to suddenly chase off Heyman and Ryback with a few kendo stick strikes and attack Axel, who he GTS'd to finish off.
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) beat Dolph Ziggler and The Usos in a six-man tag bout. It was a stellar affair for the majority, with fine displays from ever man involved.
The police arrived to confront the pacing Big Show who was still awaiting Triple H's arrival, and as they were about to arrest him for threatening the COO Stephanie stepped in and once again aired Show's dirty laundry to help explain his stress and claimed that she would vouch for him, so they let him off.
Santino Marella pinned Antonio Cesaro in a fun outing for the most part. As usual Marella performed his usual comedy routing, while Cesaro delivered a worthy effort. Marella caught Cesaro with a quick pinfall for the win.
Jerry Lawler brought out Battleground competitors Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for their 'Face Off' in the ring. After being asked on his thoughts on Bryan being stripped of the WWE Title Orton explained that not directly receiving the strap back motivated him to become the real 'Apex Predator' once again. He also added that he was genetically superior to the smaller Bryan.
Bryan retorted by complimenting Orton talking a good game, albeit being a little monotone. He also claimed that he believed that Triple H had to motivate Orton in order for him to reach his full potential, but he didn't need any motivation. Finally Bryan lost his patience and began striking Orton when 'The Viper' asked why his fiancee Brie Bella would settle for him. 
Orton eventually gained control and performed his signature DDT off the apron onto the mat in front of a begging Brie Bella, and then RKO'd his rival through the announce table. It was a strong end to the show, and an ideal way to head into their title clash on Sunday.
Overall it was a fair Raw, unfortunately most contests were pretty uninspiring but there were more than a few segments that made it worth watching. My highlights were The Shield versus The Usos and Ziggler, Los Matadores entertaining debut, Heyman and Ryback's segment, the Rhodes family summit and the finale. 

Friday, 30 August 2013

My WWE SmackDown, 30th August 2013 Recap

The Miz brought out his latest 'Miz TV' guests, Big Show and Dolph Ziggler and brought up the fact that they and many other wrestlers had to witness the beat down of Daniel Bryan at the hands of the COO, The Shield and Orton on this Monday's Raw. But when asked to comment on it Show and Ziggler struggled in fear of their punishment from management, so as Miz was about to discuss it Triple H interrupted him.
'The Game' once again questioned why the situation with Bryan was being taken so personally, and claimed that making Orton the face of the company was better for business and therefore better for them. He then booked Miz against Orton and Ziggler in a Handicap Match versus The Shield. But when it came to Show he ordered the clearly infuriated giant to sit at ringside for the night. As usual Trips was stellar on the mic, but he's been even better and convincing as of late back in the heel role.
Randy Orton pinned The Miz in a decent effort. There were some fairly drab periods but it was a watchable encounter on the whole. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) made their way out midway in the match and stood at the front of the ring. After the champ pinned Miz with an RKO he had the trio join him in beating on Miz until Daniel Bryan raced down and chased them off with a steel chair in hand. 
An upset Vickie Guerrero (who's now suddenly turned heel again over the last couple of weeks for some unexplained reason) accused Bryan of being a bully and as punishment booked him against Ryback
Rob Van Dam defeated Damien Sandow in a short but entertaining outing. RVD hit some fine form again with his trademark lively offence after a shaky match against Del Rio last Monday. The only downfall here was yet another clean pinfall on the Money in the Bank holder Sandow, for me he still needs work in the ring and some serious building up if he's going to hold the World Title. Alberto Del Rio came out afterwards and after calling Ricardo Rodriguez a traitor claimed that while RVD had his rolling thunder he was going to rain on his parade at Night of Champions.
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) beat Dolph Ziggler in a solid Handicap Match. It wasn't as exciting as the last three on one bout these four had but the action was stellar and there were no dull moments to be had. The trio further assaulted 'The Show Off' after and finally triple powerbombed him to tease Big Show.
Paul Heyman explained that his beating on CM Punk on this past Raw was a result of being forced into a corner by the fans online vote putting him in the ring with his former client. He also went on to admit that he was afraid regarding his and Curtis Axel's match at Night of Champions versus Punk because it guaranteed that he'll have to face his adversary in the ring like a man. But he also claimed that his actions against Punk have been a result of his Fatherly love, so imagine what he'll do against him when backed into a corner, finally adding that at NOC he and Axel "will own CM Punk."
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan bested Tons of Funk (Tensai and Brodus Clay) in an average tag bout. Fortunately it was kept short as the wrestling was pretty uninspiring from the get go. Bray Wyatt entered the ring after to hit Tensai with the Sister Abigail.
Daniel Bryan won via disqualification versus Ryback after Orton ran in while he had Ryback latched in a Yes Lock and was caught himself in the submission hold until Shield once again helped him out in clobbering the number on contender to the WWE Title. The match of the night itself had been an engaging one, with good displays from both men as they battled back and fourth.
Big Show finally had enough and entered the ring to Bryan's protection as the four men continued to beat on him. But an angry Triple H demanded him to leave, so he did. The show ended with Orton spray painting 'No' on Bryan's chest as he had done on his car last Monday night. 
Overall it was a satisfying show, with the majority of it worth checking out. My highlights were RVD versus Sandow, the opening segment, The Shield versus Ziggler, Heyman's promo and the main event. Unfortunately outside of them it was quite forgettable and probably not worth your time. 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

My WWE Raw, 26th August 2013 Recap

The champ looks on at his handiwork. Photo credit: 

Triple H kicked things off by reminding us of his actions towards Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam and on last week's Raw, explaining that what he did at SS was for "business" but the beat down he orchestrated on the former champ last Monday was "personal" after the way he'd spoken about his family. 'The Game' then claimed that the ratings and social media scoring were through the roof last week due to their new WWE Champion that he brought out, Randy Orton.
The COO rewarded Orton for grabbing the brass ring and running with it (in his words) by gifting him a brand new Cadillac payed for out of his own pocket. Daniel Bryan then also came out and first thanked all the fans for supporting him, John Cena for giving him the title match at SummerSlam and finally Triple H for revealing his true self when he Pedigreed him at the aforementioned event. He also added that he'll most certainly be recapturing the WWE Title come Night of Champions
Trips retorted by claiming that in the real world dreams don't always come true and then booked Bryan in a Gauntlet Match against The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) who'd also been guarding the ring during the enjoyable opening segment.  
Cody Rhodes pinned Fandango in a brief and unremarkable encounter that existed only to lead on to another match up afterwards. Rhodes caught Fandango in a roll up for the one-two-three after the ballroom dancer was distracted by The Miz reenacting/mocking his entrance. 
Damien Sandow (who'd provided guest commentary) took this chance to attack his rival Rhodes along with Fandango, so Miz saved Cody from the double team attack and helped send them packing. Raw GM Brad Maddox then predictably booked all four men in a tag team match, amusingly even mentioning that fans should see what's coming here. 
Cody Rhodes and The Miz bested Damien Sandow and Fandango in an average to fair tag bout. The wrestlers did fine, but you wouldn't miss a great deal by fast forwarding through this one. Miz gave the only real worthwhile performance, and also gained the win with a Skull Crushing Finale on Sandow after Fandango had abandoned his partner and walked up the ramp.
CM Punk defeated Curtis Axel in a stellar back and fourth contest. As usual these two delivered top displays in the ring, never putting a foot wrong. As per the stipulation (as voted for online by the fans) Paul Heyman had to then enter the ring with Punk, at first he tried to run away but he was then dragged into the ring by officials much to Punk's delight. 
But as the victor was about to get his hands on his former mentor, Axel popped up with a low blow and handcuffed him. Punk made a brief comeback and got in a few kicks on Heyman and the IC Champion but once again Curtis came to the rescue of his manager and cracked him with a steel chair. Heyman then received a kendo stick and began viciously beating on Punk in and outside the ring to end the dramatic segment, screaming that he once loved him and he broke his heart.
Brie Bella beat Natalya in a forgettable outing. Natalya did the best she could but unfortunately some sloppiness and instructions clearly being told by Brie spoilt it a bit. Much like their last match their fellow Total Divas counterparts tangled outside the ring.
Divas Champion AJ Lee then addressed the divas and their 'reality' show, receiving support from the fans for putting down the show that's been rammed down our throats every week, thereby encouraging more Bellas in the ring unfortunately. She added that all they were to her were "cheap, interchangeable, expendable, useless women," which for all of them bar Natalya, I agree with. She went on to claim that she'd done more in a year than all of them in their collective careers, which again is true for most of them. It was the strongest promo AJ's ever given, and I agreed with every single word of it. It was funny to see the sour reactions from the rest of the female wrestlers too.
Rob Van Dam pinned Alberto Del Rio in a passable, if a bit of a disappointing affair. I was personally expecting a bit more here from these two talents. Don't get me wrong it wasn't bad but there were a few botched moments and I never really got into it like I did with the far superior bouts the World Champion has had with Christian recently. I can see Ricardo Rodriguez turning on RVD come Night of Champions in the title match which Van Dam earned with the win here. 
During an interview Ryback grabbed Josh Matthews by the head and chucked him to the ground after being questioned about his bullying antics backstage as of late. 
Randy Orton beat Christian in an entertaining effort. Much like the brilliant series they had back in 2011 both men worked very well together. Granted there were a few off moments, but the tight wrestling and effective near falls more than made up for it. Orton gained the win after poking Christian in the eye unknown to the referee, then struck with an RKO. Afterwards Bryan appeared on the big screen and sarcastically congratulated him on the win, then revealed that he'd spray painted 'Yes' all over his brand new Cadillac.
Triple H ordered Brad Maddox to bring out every WWE wrestler to the stage and watch Bryan's match later on as a lesson, and if any of them interfere they're immediately fired.
Titus O'Neil bested Jack Swagger in a fair but unmemorable bout. It was watchable, but there was nothing remarkable about it. It felt more like filler than anything, although I understand utilising Darren Young with his current popularity.
Backstage a furious Punk demanded a match with Heyman from Brad Maddox. So the GM booked him in an elimination handicap one against Heyman and Axel at Night of Champions, and if Heyman tries to get out of it he'll never be seen again.
Before the main event Renee Young tried to interview Big Show, Dolph Ziggler and The Miz on the Handicap Match they were about to witness and the current situation with Triple H, but they refused to answer in fear of loosing their jobs. 
Daniel Bryan won the Gauntlet Match versus The Shield (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose). Daniel Bryan first defeated Seth Rollins in a superb contest. It was gripping stuff from the opening bell, and the best one on one match Rollins has had on the main roster. Both men deserve credit for top efforts here.
Bryan went on to win via disqualification versus Rollins and Ambrose after each of them would break up his Yes Lock attempts on the other Shield member. The trio continued to assault Bryan after, spearing him and then triple powerbombing him with the nod from Triple H. The COO looked on at the wrestlers on the stage, checking if anyone wanted to say something, but no one did. Orton also came out and RKO'd Bryan for good measure. Big Show looked desperate to do something but refused to, which struck me as odd considering he has an iron clad contract anyway, he couldn't have gotten fired? 
Overall it was an enjoyable Raw, with a few solid and above average bouts for TV and significant progress in the bigger storylines. Plus that tremendous (and truthful) promo from AJ. Admittedly it wasn't as strong as last week's show, but that was pretty exceptional. my highlights were CM Punk versus Axel, Christian versus Orton, AJ Lee's speech and the lively Gauntlet Match.    

Friday, 23 August 2013

My WWE SmackDown, 23rd August 2013 Recap

Bryan explodes with a knee on his way to the win. Photo credit:

Vickie Guerrero started things off by introducing the WWE Champion Randy Orton, who claimed that he wanted to be a champion the fans could look up to, a role model. He went on to say that while he appreciated The Shield, Triple H and the McMahons help on Monday's Raw, he didn't need it. 'The Viper' also once again reiterated Vince's words that he was now the "face of the WWE."
Daniel Bryan then joined Orton and first thanked Cena for the chance to challenge for the title at SummerSlam. He then turned his attention to the champ, who he admitted was prettier, taller and more chiselled than he was, but he also reminded him that he had to earn every single thing in the pro wrestling business while Orton had it handed to him by WWE.
Bryan also added  that he had a rematch clause due for the strap and wanted to have it that night. Unfortunately Orton told Bryan that he'd have to wait until Night of Champions. As 'The Viper' was leaving he tried  a sneaky RKO but Bryan got the best of him and reversed it and dropkicked him out of the ring. It was a stellar start to the show, with both men on great form right now.
Curtis Axel defeated Cody Rhodes in a decent outing. Both wrestlers gave worthy efforts here, adding another enjoyable match up to Rhode's current streak. Axel delivered a hangman's facebuster (cool name for a finisher) for the win after Paul Heyman distracted Cody from the outside. Afterwards Heyman took to the mic and accused CM Punk of causing him emotional distress following his recent actions, stating that he was on a downward spiral since he left him and his actions on the past Raw were "befitting a mad man." 
Axel claimed that Punk didn't deserve a IC Title shot and added that he had a brighter future than him and the advantage of Heyman in his corner, then challenged him to a match next Monday night. It's good to see Axel back in the spotlight.
Dolph Ziggler pinned Big E Langston in a fair contest. As standard Ziggler was on solid form, making the best from the more limited Langston. There were some nice moments but it was rather forgettable on the whole.
Alberto Del Rio forced Christian to submit in a great back and fourth encounter. I know these two have faced off a lot recently, but when the quality of matches is this high I struggle to get tired of it. Both men are two of the most consistent in ring performers in the company today.
Afterwards Del Rio bragged that there was only one of him, and that his Latino fan base couldn't live up to his standard due to being "peasants." But he asked them to still follow him to greatness. The champ's former announcer Ricardo Rodriguez then came out and told Del Rio that he and the rest of the Latinos didn't want to follow him, but would rather follow his new associate Rob Van Dam, who hit Del Rio with a rolling thunder after Christian struck with a missile dropkick as retribution for ADR refusing to let go of his signature arm breaker after he'd already won the bout. I look forward to the inevitable title clash between RVD and Del Rio at Night of Champions. 
Big Show and Mark Henry beat 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal) in a passable Handicap squash match. Henry was down for a short time, but he and Show dominated for the most part. It was never great but it was watchable.
Afterwards the tag champs Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins appeared on the big screen and sarcastically applauded their win, then stating that while Show and Henry were an intimidating unit they weren't good enough to beat them.
Darren Young bested Antonio Cesaro in a competent contest. I understand Young's recent push, but it still frustrates me to see Cesaro relegated to this spot he's in at the moment. The sooner he ditches the drab Zeb Colter and Swagger the better.
Backstage Ryback lost his patience with a Dad getting his autograph for his son when he revealed he didn't even know who Ryback was. In response the obnoxious Ryback, who was actually very amusing here, tore up the autograph.
Daniel Bryan defeated Wade Barrett in an entertaining Steel Cage Match. I was expecting a fun main event but this exceeded that, with solid wrestling and exciting moments in the best televised match these two have had to date. Afterwards as Bryan celebrated Orton snuck up and applied an RKO, standing tall with his strap as the show ended.
Overall it was a decent show, most matches were watchable but two were above average for televised contests. It was also nice to see some progression in the interesting Bryan Orton feud, with hopefully some more inclusion from Triple H and the McMahons next Monday night. My highlights were the main event, Axel versus Rhodes and Christian versus Del Rio. 

My TNA Hardcore Justice, 22nd August 2013 Recap

The reformed AJ Styles leaps at the now fired Devon. Photo credit:

Bully Ray and Mr. Anderson exchanged a few concerned words backstage, with the former asking why he wasn't informed about Tito Ortiz joining Aces & 8s and why the World Champion hadn't been returning his texts or phone calls. The Aces leader responded by telling Anderson to worry more about getting his own business in order.
Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian (or the Extraordinary Gentlemen's Organisation as they're now called) came out and first congratulated Bully on obtaining the World Title last week, but also warned him that he has a target on his chest and one of them will be facing him come Bound for Glory as they've intelligently teamed up to help each other in the BFG Series. 
Just as Roode then asked Austin Aries to also team with them (which would be another great acquisition) the tag champs James Storm and Gunner joined them. 'The Cowboy' warned Daniels and Kaz not to trust Roode as he'll turn on them as soon as they've played their part just like he did with him. 'The It Factor' claimed that Storm was just jealous, which he denied and then challenged them to a match right there and then and with the help of Gunner sent them out of the ring to get things kicked off.
Bobby Roode and Kazarian defeated James Storm and Gunner in a solid tag bout. It wasn't too long but maybe that was a positive since you were constantly engaged by what was happening. It was simply a fun watch and a lively start to the show. 
Manic pinned Sonjay Dutt in a decent encounter. Both men delivered fine efforts, but I admittedly found the match lacking a little something. Maybe that's just me being fussy. I am relieved to see they've switched X Division back to one on one bouts too, it never made any sense to me having three-ways all the time, it grew tiresome.
Joseph Parks bested Jay Bradley, Christopher Daniels and Hernandez in a Bound for Glory Series Street Fight. It was an entertaining outing on the whole, and I'm very thankful for the Street Fight stipulation as it would've probably been fairly pedestrian otherwise. Austin Aries appeared to have joined the Extraordinary Gentlemen's Organisation as he high fived the trio, but then quickly turned and brainbustered Daniels before leaving.
Parks gained the victory after having one of his aggressive turns after seeing his own blood, Black Hole Slamming Bradley for the one-two-three.
New TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bully Ray came to the ring to boast that after winning back the strap and having Tito Ortiz by his side everything was now right again in TNA. He went on to also bring out his partner Brooke, but it turned out not to be Brooke Hogan (who has now been let go from the company) as we were led to believe, but Brooke Tessmacher, or "hot Brooke" as Bully referred to her. Just before the champ had Tessmacher suck his wedding ring from his finger he asked "does anybody doubt that Bully Ray can ever be stopped?"
Gail Kim beat ODB in a fair contest. The action was pretty stellar for the majority, and although it wasn't up to the standard of recent matches involving James, Kim and Terrell it was still superior to anything you'll get from the female talent on the main WWE roster right now. 
Before the main event, where the man pinned or submitted is fired from TNA, Mr. Anderson offered the one-man short Main Event Mafia the chance to pick someone to lay down and be terminated. Of course the Mafia flat out refused. AJ Styles then strolled out, only to have his older music hit and revert back to his 'Phenomenal One' persona and join the MEM. It was a cool moment and he received a healthy pop for it. 
Main Event Mafia (Sting, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Magnus and Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson) defeated Aces & 8s (Devon, Mr. Anderson, Garett Bischoff, Wes Brisco and Knox) in a five on five tag bout, and as a result of being pinned by Styles, Devon was fired from TNA. 
It was a pretty enjoyable main event, with constant action in and around the ring to keep you interested. The only let down were the displays of the more limited wrestlers involved, such as Bishcoff and Brisco. There were certain periods that were a little more drab too but on the whole it was a watchable affair.
Overall it was a decent enough show, it wasn't as exciting or memorable as last week's other special Hardcore Justice edition of Impact but it wasn't a bad show by any means. There were no bouts that fell below average and we had some nice progression in storylines with Brooke Tessmacher joining up with Bully and Devon being terminated (although does anyone really care too much about that?). My highlights were the main event, the street fight and Storm and Gunner versus Roode and Kazarian.