Thursday, December 30, 2010

MKO: A Very Frosty Kristmas in 2010!

It's been six months since an eight minute showreel called Mortal Kombat: Rebirth sent speculative shockwaves throughout the online gaming community and MK fanbase [full story].

Reinventing the successful fighting franchise without authorized association; [MK: Rebirth] was actually one of many examples of independent productions borrowing from well known intellectual properties -- a practice used commonly to demonstrate, or practice, skills and techniques within familiar creative parameters. Just in time for the silly season, a new player has entered the demo arena to offer a decidedly lighter take on the MK property, a loving parody presented as a festive mock commercial.

Frosty Kristmas was directed by Manny Nickpour for his Netherlands based company, Hadoken Productions. The scene, filmed in a single night, was inspired by behind-the-scenes peeks at sequences from the 1997 platformer, Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, as well as staple techniques of 1970s genre cinema. Nickpour is no stranger to filming Mortal Kombat, either.
A longtime fan of the series, he created a stir in 2008 with the release of two fake teaser trailers designed to recapture the mystique of the series ahead of what would eventually be announced as Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe.

Full Article:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 12/26

#1 Kofi Kingston [--] (42-23-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

Big Show is finishing the year with a light load, giving Kofi Kingston clearance to finish 2010 as the number one wrestler in WWE and TNA. With only a single, brief Intercontinental title reign to his name this year, it's somewhat surprising that [Kofi] has maintained such a steady flow of success. I struggle to see him in an active main event picture in the near future, both in small part due to his style and stature, and also the abbreviated near-miss of his feud with Randy Orton. After a string of tag team matches that involved Big Show in Smackdown teams, and as a pairing, I could see how they might find some Tag Team Championship success in the new year.

As with last week, I'm compelled to mention a Money in the Bank action figure commercial I saw during morning cartoons, which seems to suggest there's some consideration for Kofi Kingston within the PG market. Perhaps in 2011 he will return to RAW, where that demographic is served, regardless of viewership. As much as I think he has a home on Smackdown, I'm just not sure I see a great benefit for the blue brand, or Kofi himself. Especially not after so many shots at the IC belt were missed out on. You never know, though.

#2 [--] The Big Show (40-15-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Randy Orton (34-19-6) (WWE)
#4 [--] Rey Mysterio (32-16-5) (WWE)
#5 [+2] Drew McIntyre (31-31-4) (WWE)
#6 [-1] Cody Rhodes (30-20-2) (WWE)
#7 [-1] The Miz (30-31-5) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#8 [+2] John Cena (28-22-6) (WWE)
#9 [-1] AJ Styles (27-12-7) (TNA)
#10 [-1] Dolph Ziggler (27-30-3) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]

#1 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (16-17-3) (TNA)
#2 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-18-0) (WWE)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (15-10-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (13-3-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#5 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (12-16-0) (WWE)
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-5-0) (WWE)
#7 [--] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (9-7-0) (TNA)
#8 [--] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (8-4-0) (WWE)
#9 [--] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#10 [--] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)

Superstar Spotlight:
#45 Douglas Williams
(15-16-2) (TNA)

The current reigning TNA Television Champion will put AJ Styles (#9) to the test on January 9th when they meet at TNA: Genesis. The match will determine Styles' future with the Fortune and Immortal stables, resulting in his ejection should he fail to bring the belt back to Ric Flair's golden team. The pair fought to a 1-1 draw in an Iron Match on the most recent edition of Impact!, one of several matches that Williams has been a part of in a strong December for the TNA brand.

The former British Invasion figurehead has done his dash with the X-Division and TV belts in 2010, earning the respect and adoration of peers and commentators throughout the industry. Some might regard his current feud with TNA posterboy, AJ Styles, as part of an on-going step-down for the former World Heavyweight champion, but I'm much more inclined to think of it as an interesting step up for Douglas Williams. In the youth oriented, polished market of WWE, it would be difficult to envision a World Champion Douglas Williams, but with TNA's roots still showing hints of their previous catch as catch can credentials, 2011 might yet hold new heights for a wrestler with an interesting character presence, and unique in-ring style.

The greatest doubt cast over Williams' most immediate prospects are the belt he currently holds, and the potential clash of styles with current World champion, Jeff Hardy (#22), who might not compliment the Brit as much as other wrestlers. Then again, with Hardy's penchant for highflying daring, Williams would still be in his kayfabe element, challenging with healthy disdain for the acrobatic antics of TNA's trademark X-Division bent. Given the champs' recent troubles, however, it seems reasonable to expect a change in the ranks at some point, and if December is any indication of TNA's intent to cross the line into 2011, perhaps the once glorious tone of sports oriented competition will return, and the top ranks will be populated with original and interesting names and styles.

Special Note: 2010's wrestling calendar will end cleanly on December 31st, with the final episode of WWE Smackdown for the year. This will presumably include a full week's worth of WWE RAW, WWE Superstars, and TNA Impact!, before the final Kayfabe Countdown.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

iChart 100: Four Years of Listening

#1 [604] William Ørbit - Cavalleria Rusticana (+1)
#2 [590] William Ørbit - In A Landscape (+2)
#3 [586] William Ørbit - Ogive Number I (+1)
#4 [571] Way Out West - Pulse of Life (-3)
#5 [553] William Ørbit - Piece in the Modern Style 3 (--)
#6 [553] William Ørbit - L'Inverno (+3)
#7 [547] 菅野よう子 [Yoko Kanno] - Bad Dog (-1)
#8 [542] CocoRosie - Rainbowarriors (--)
#9 [535] William Ørbit - Xerxes (+3)
#10 [530] William Ørbit - Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte (--)
#11 [526] Thome Yorke - Analyse (-4)
#12 [525] William Ørbit - Triple Concerto (-1)
#13 [486] William Ørbit - Piece in the Old Style I (-3)
#14 [484] William Ørbit - Opus I32 (+3)
#15 [478] CoLD SToRAGE - Body in Motion (-1)
#16 [475] William Ørbit - Adagio for Strings (+3)
#17 [465] Björk - Mouths Cradle (-4)
#18 [458] Underworld - Two Months Off (Radio Edit) (-3)
#19 [447] Vangelis - Love Theme from Bladerunner (-1)
#20 [429] Björk - Who Is It (Carry My Joy on the Left, Carry My Pain on the Right) (+1)
#21 [424] Moby - My Weakness (-1)
#22 [399] Bodyrox feat. Luciana - Yeah Yeah (D. Ramirez Radio Edit) (--)
#23 [390] CoLD SToRAGE - Cold Comfort (--)
#24 [382] Björk - Submarine (--)
#25 [369] Intermix - Mantra (+4)
#26 [367] Groove Terminator - Losing Ground (+10)
#27 [364] CoLD SToRAGE - Cairodrome (+1)
#28 [364] Madonna - Frozen (-3)
#29 [360] Sasha - Wavy Gravy (+5)
#30 [359] Gustav - Venua (-4)
#31 [352] William Ørbit - Barber's Adagio for Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix) (+4)
#32 [345] PNAU - Journey Agent (-2)
#33 [340] Hot Chip - Over and Over (-6)
#34 [333] Stardust - Music Sounds Better with You (Radio Edit) (-1)
#35 [329] UNKLE - Lonely Soul (-4)
#36 [327] Radiohead - Videotape (+1)
#37 [327] Pendulum - Coma (+1)
#38 [324] Björk - Visur Vatnsenda-Rósu (-6)
#39 [324] Einsturzende Neubauten - Blume (--)
#40 [321] Groove Zone - Eisbaer (Extended Mix) (+2)
#41 [320] The Future Sound of London - Papua New Guinea (--)
#42 [320] Rob Dougan - Clubbed to Death (Kurayamino Variation) (+6)
#43 [318] Björk - Desired Constellation (--)
#44 [318] Joe Jackson - Steppin' Out (-4)
#45 [316] Moby - Porcelain (Clubbed to Death Version by Rob Dougan) (+2)
#46 [314] Cassius - Toop Toop (-2)
#47 [307] Luke Slater - Stars and Heroes (-1)
#48 [306] Supreme Beings of Leisure - Strangelove Addiction (+8)
#49 [305] Console - 14 Zero Zero (-4)
#50 [298] DJ Krush - Dig This Vibe (-1)
#51 [298] Faithless - We Come 1 (+12)
#52 [297] Björk - Pleasure is all Mine (-2)
#53 [292] b(if)tek feat. Julee Cruise - Wired for Sound (-2)
#54 [289] Moby - Bodyrock (Hybrid's Bodyshock Remix) (-2)
#55 [285] Pet Shop Boys - I Don't Know What You Want but I Can't Give it Anymore (+7)
#56 [284] Björk - Vokuro (-2)
#57 [282] The Chemical Brothers - Let Forever Be (--)
#58 [280] Madonna - Drowned World/Substitute For Love (+1)
#59 [280] Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks (-6)
#60 [278] Pet Shop Boys - Miracles (Radio Edit) (+1)
#61 [278] Björk - Triumph of a Heart (+7)
#62 [277] Moby - Natural Blues (-2)
#63 [276] UNKLE - Rabbit in your Headlights (-8)
#64 [274] Moby - Memory Gospel (+3)
#65 [273] Rui Da Silva feat. Cassandra - Touch Me (+21)
#66 [273] Moby - Flying Foxes (+8)
#67 [266] Björk - Oceania (+5)
#68 [265] William Ørbit - Water From a Vine Leaf (-4)
#69 [264] Hot Chip - Grubbs (-11)
#70 [261] Ratty - Sunrise (Here I Am) (Radio Edit) (--)
#71 [260] Moby - ARP (-6)
#72 [259] 808 State - Pacific (808:98) (+16)
#73 [257] Gerling - Enter, Space Capsule (Radio Disko Edit) (+8)
#74 [256] Faithless - Salva Mea (Way Out West Remix) (+10)
#75 [254] Sash! - Chill Out No. 1 (+19)
#76 [251] Radiohead - 15 Step (+22)
#77 [251] CoLD SToRAGE - Messij Received (+1)
#78 [251] Orbital - Petrol (-5)
#79 [251] The Beta Band - Space Beatle (-10)
#80 [249] CoLD SToRAGE - Onyx (-14)
#81 [248] Faithless - Drifting Away (Paradiso Mix) (-5)
#82 [248] Pet Shop Boys - Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money) (+17)
#83 [241] Orbital - Halcyon (7" Version) (new)
#84 [241] Hot Chip - Boy From School (-11)
#85 [240] Nine Inch Nails - Just Like You Imagined (-14)
#86 [239] ana voog - Telepathic You (-11)
#87 [238] Hybrid - If I Survive (+9)
#88 [237] Raven Maize - The Real Life (Fatboy Slim Mix) (+3)
#89 [237] Hybrid - Finished Symphony (+8)
#90 [236] The Prodigy - Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix) (new)
#91 [233] Daft Punk - Around the World (-12)
#92 [233] The Chemical Brothers - Star Guitar (new)
#93 [233] Cassius - Toop Toop (Olivier Koletski Mix) (-16)
#94 [232] 菅野よう子 [Yoko Kanno] - Pulse (-4)
#95 [231] Daft Punk - Veridis Quo (new)
#96 [229] b(if)tek - 3 Seconds of Her (-13)
#97 [227] Faithless - I Want More (new)
#98 [226] Groove Armada - Dusk, You & Me (-3)
#99 [226] Underworld - Born Slipp (Nuxx) (new)
#100 [226] Timo Maas - To Get Down (RE)

It's become something of a tradition, something of an obsession, to make note of this statistical findings, throughout the year, and on the anniversary of my receiving this iPod. I received the gift for Christmas in 2006, rather reluctantly, I might add, with a surly disposition I'm more associated with than I'd like. I've made these notes ever since, and while I remain an active blogger throughout the year, they remain some of the most revealing posts I make. Usually I prefer an impersonal tone, relevant to subjects. The same can be true of these iChart posts where I have occasionally included commentaries of a musical nature, but I suppose music is itself an inherently personal thing.

As I write this, I certainly feel very personal things. I feel the weight of the sadness I have carried with me for over a year now, reminded of the absence of my dearest friend, who passed away in October of 2009. He was often present at various points during these writings and I miss him very much.

I am writing this before beginning the stat counting, aware that a lot of new music has found it's way onto my iPod over the last ten months. I know I stopped listening to music for a while when I was feeling dark, and I suppose you could say it's return and reinvigoration has been reflective of the mourning process. For anyone who enjoys music actively, I suspect the same would be true. Now more than ever I recognise that, as much as these numbers are subject to whim and seasonal tastes, they are also indicative of the soundtrack to a person's life. If only I had more tracks to choose from, and a list of songs that made me seem a bit cooler. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm quite confident I'm chillingly cool and it's everyone else who's become fashionless dorks.

What do I hope from posting these lists publicly?
I think we should all share an understanding of blogging as, occasionally, the act of a one-sided conversation. That is to say, this isn't necessarily a deliberate act, undertaken with the expectation that someone will read it. Rather, it is simply a journal, a log of events, which I will surely revisit at some point in the future. If you visit with me, I suppose it's pleasant to have company. If nothing else, you might be inclined to investigate some music you haven't heard of. As the years tick on, I certainly find fewer and fewer people who share my specific tastes and preferences, some of which might have come from similiar online discoveries, explorations, and recommendations. We didn't have YouTube and iTunes in 1999, either! Gosh, the digital age sure has made old men of young souls!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 12/19

#1 Kofi Kingston [--] (42-23-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

With only one more week of competition left in 2010, it seems all but guaranteed that Kofi Kingston will go down in history as the first counted #1 wrestler in the Kayfabe Countdown. Of all the wrestlers competing in WWE and TNA in 2010, Kofi has not immediately emerged as the most memorable or accomplished, but his impressive win/loss victory and steady contention for the Intercontinental title on Smackdown suggests the company is at least invested in his markettable brand.

Kofi experienced some near misses with the main event, gaining a short-lived burst of heat early in the year during encounters with Randy Orton (#3), but the moment that perhaps left it's biggest impression on me came from a commercial. While the results of toy battles might matter even less than the average win/loss; for a character of [Kofi's] relative insignifcance to star in a Money in the Bank playset commercial, victorious in action figure form, surely means quite a lot in an era defined by it's toybranded PG perspective.

#2 [--] The Big Show (40-15-2) (WWE)
#3 [+1] Randy Orton (32-19-6) (WWE)
#4 [-1] Rey Mysterio (31-16-5) (WWE)
#5 [+1] Cody Rhodes (30-20-2) (WWE)
#6 [+2] The Miz (30-29-5) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#7 [-2] Drew McIntyre (30-31-4) (WWE)
#8 [-1] AJ Styles (27-12-6) (TNA)
#9 [--] Dolph Ziggler (27-28-3) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]
#10 [RE] John Cena (26-22-6) (WWE)

#1 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (16-16-3) (TNA)
#2 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-18-0) (WWE)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (14-10-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [+1] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (13-3-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#5 [-1] Layla & Michelle McCool (12-15-0) (WWE)
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-5-0) (WWE)
#7 [--] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (9-7-0) (TNA)
#8 [--] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (8-4-0) (WWE)
#9 [--] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#10 [--] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)

Superstar Spotlight:
#58 Alberto Del Rio
(12-7-3) (WWE)

2010 has been good to Smackdown's swanky Spanish superstar, Alberto Del Rio. His heated rivalry with Rey Mysterio transformed into a championship possibility, but alas, the TLC Pay-Per-View did not cap off an incredible year for the former mascarado. In what many consider to be his signature match -- Edge (#11) emerged victorious from the titular stipulation, defeating Del Rio, the now former-champion Kane (#15), and Rey Mysterio (#4), a trio providing good company in their mutual defeat.

In '09 I eagerly anticipated the arrival of Dos Caras Jr at almost every imaginable turn, seeing entry points where there were none. Relishing the possibility of a second masked luchadore within the wrestling giant's ranks was a naive hope, but one sponsored by early reports that suggested the Mexican legacy star would not be asked to remove his mask in a deal with WWE. It remains a somewhat sour point, for me, that the traditions of the mask were not honored by WWE, who could probably use a healthy injection of conceptual and stylistic diversity, but the results have done well to ease my disappointment. Alberto Del Rio may be a very different character to the man of 'two faces', but he's been no less an injection of life and intrigue into the Smackdown roster.

I would have liked to have seen Del Rio begin 2011 as the World Heavyweight Champion, but ultimately respect that he will have longer to earn that reward and further his WWE career with solid feuds, and enjoyable matches. It's the kind of seasoning that multi-title winner, Edge, has lacked in his rapidfire championship reigns over a few short years, and is similarly absent from the majority of WWE's recently elevated stars. Del Rio was only called up from development in FCW in June of 2010, so it could fairly be said that his successes against Rey Mysterio are an achievement already. Christian (#24), his would-be opponent before a pectoral tear, now waits in the wings of 2011, along with Edge and the other headlining stars of the blue brand.

Special Note: Countdown includes results from the WWE: Tables, Ladders, Chairs pay-per-view event, where Edge (#11) defeated Kane (#14) to become the WWE World Heavyweight champion for the sixth time. Combined with WWE Championship victories, it is Edge's tenth reign as a world class champion. Christmas also saw the disappointing release of Kaval (#93) from WWE; formerly known as Low-Ki, a two-time TNA X-Division champion and the first ROH World Heavyweight champion.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Quick Predict: WWE Tables Ladders & Chairs (2010)

Fatal Four-Way TLC World Heavyweight Championship match
Alberto Del Rio vs Rey Mysterio vs Edge vs Kane (c)
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio

Table WWE Championship match
Randy Orton vs The Miz (c)
Prediction: The Miz

Chair match
Wade Barrett vs John Cena
Prediction: John Cena

Ladder #1 Contender (WWE title) match
John Morrison vs Sheamus
Prediction: Sheamus

Tag Team Table match
Natalya Neidhart & Beth Phoenix vs Laycool
Prediction: Laycool

Triple Threat Ladder Intercontinental Championship match
Jack Swagger vs Kofi Kingston vs Dolph Ziggler (c)
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler (c)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 12/12

#1 Kofi Kingston [+1] (40-22-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

After eleven weekly Countdowns at the top of the rankings, Big Show has been toppled! It's the first time, since the Countdown went weekly in September, that Big Show hasn't reigned over the rest of the list. He spent this week's Smackdown out of the ring, while a DQ win over Dolph Ziggler in an Intercontinental title match bumped Kofi Kingston back into the top spot he occupied earlier in the year.

As evidenced by his win/loss rate, Kofi Kingston has enjoyed some measure of success throughout the year, but after the rub from Randy Orton seemed to be aborted, Kingston struggled to gain lasting recognition. His reign as IC champion this year was both brief and forgettable, like many of his feuds. A second run at the belt against Ziggler looks likely to end his year, but the odds of the belt being around his waist are even, at best. His shot at reigning as year-end Kayfabe Countdown #1, however, might be a little bit better if Big Show's workrate of the last two weeks is any measure.

#2 [-1] The Big Show (39-15-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Rey Mysterio (31-13-4) (WWE)
#4 [--] Randy Orton (31-18-6) (WWE)
#5 [--] Drew McIntyre (29-31-4) (WWE)
#6 [--] Cody Rhodes (28-20-2) (WWE)
#7 [--] AJ Styles (27-12-6) (TNA)
#8 [--] The Miz (27-29-4) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#9 [--] Dolph Ziggler (26-26-3) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]
#10 [--] R-Truth (25-22-4) (WWE)

#1 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (16-16-3) (TNA)
#2 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-18-0) (WWE)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (14-10-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (12-14-0) (WWE)
#5 [--] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (11-3-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-5-0) (WWE)
#7 [+2] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (9-7-0) (TNA)
#8 [-1] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (8-2-0) (WWE)
#9 [-1] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#10 [--] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)

Superstar Spotlight:
#193 Xavier Woods
(0-2-0) (FCW)

Better known as Consequences Creed to NWA: Anarchy and TNA fans; FCW's Xavier Woods is a star already occurred. His time with Total Non-Stop Action produced memorable matches in the X-Division, including a 2008 feud with Petey Williams, and led to his eventual reign as Tag Team Champion with Lethal Consequences partner, "Black Machismo" Jay Lethal (#73). Unfortunately, like the six-sided ring he graced, Creed was a casualty of the Hogan/Bischoff regime that took over TNA at the beginning of 2010, and released him after only two matches.

In a twist of the expected, TNA's loss may be WWE's gain. The global wrestling phenomenon has used FCW extensively as a development territory, sourcing talent for their core roster, as well as the pseudo-reality competition, NXT. FCW stars have risen to incredible heights, with Wade Barrett (#21), Bryan Danielson (#39), Alberto Del Rio (#56), and former TNA X-Division Champion and NXT Season 2 Winner, Kaval (#103), all graduating through the Florida development system on top of their previous accolades.

It's difficult not to want for and imagine the possibilities of Creed's rise to the WWE roster, either through NXT, where he would make a fitting pupil for mentor R-Truth (#10) [ie; Truth or Consequences], or as a singles competitor introduced cold. His gimmick, a red, white and blue reference to Apollo Creed of the Rocky series of films, shouldn't distract from the legitimate talent of a wrestler who is both charismatic, and also skilled in the finer art of wrestling. A man who just recently held the FCW Tag Team Championship with Wes Briscoe, and could certainly add some much needed flavour to WWE's version of the same.

Special Note: On the December 6 episode of RAW, Santino Marella (#37) and Vladimir Kozlov (#35) defeated champions, Justin Gabriel (#22) and Heath Slater (#27), in a four way Tag Team Championship match also featuring Mark Henry (#61) and Yoshi Tatsu (#45), and The Usos (#13).

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 12/5

#1 The Big Show [--] (39-15-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

Big Show had the week off, giving our statistical race toward the end of the year a boost of intrigue. Kofi Kingston picked up a win over Jack Swagger (#17) on Smackdown to equal the Big Show's priority win count. With four weeks still to go in 2010, this two-horse race remains very much alive!

Meanwhile, with Edge (#18) set to take a second shot at Kane's (#12) World Championship at the TLC PPV, speculation regarding Big Show's title potential seems to have ended. He began 2010 as a reigning Tag Team Champion with The Miz (#8).

#2 [--] Kofi Kingston (39-22-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Rey Mysterio (30-13-4) (WWE)
#4 [--] Randy Orton (30-18-6) (WWE)
#5 [--] Drew McIntyre (29-30-4) (WWE)
#6 [+1] Cody Rhodes (28-19-2) (WWE)
#7 [-1] AJ Styles (27-12-6) (TNA)
#8 [--] The Miz (27-29-4) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#9 [+1] Dolph Ziggler (26-25-3) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]
#10 [-1] R-Truth (25-22-4) (WWE)

#1 [+1] Robert Roode & James Storm (16-16-3) (TNA)
#2 [-1] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-18-0) (WWE)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (13-10-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (12-14-0) (WWE)
#5 [--] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (9-3-0) (WWE)
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-5-0) (WWE)
#7 [--] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (8-2-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#8 [--] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#9 [+1] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (8-7-0) (TNA)
#10 [-1] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)

Superstar Spotlight:
#14 Sheamus
(23-19-3) (WWE)

The King of the Ring tournament made it's long awaited return two weeks ago, beginning with qualifying matches on RAW and Smackdown. On a special three-hour RAW last week, Bryan Danielson (#42), Alberto Del Rio (#56), Cody Rhodes (#6), Ezekiel Jackson (#65), Drew McIntyre (#5), and Kofi Kingston (#2) competed in the elimination brackets, but it was ultimately Sheamus who came out on top, victorious as the 2010 King of the Ring over recent rival, John Morrison (#16), after enjoying the easy ride of a bye created by the double count-out draw of Ezekiel Jackson and Drew McIntyre in the first round.

The once prestigious crown adds to Sheamus' other fast-tracked successes, including a two-time reign as WWE champion, and the Slammy Aware for Break-Out Star of 2009. In many eyes, it is considered a precursor to the return of Triple H (#80), who Sheamus sent to the sidelines after a street fight at April's Extreme Rules. It was the conclusion to several months of fighting between the two, and a considerable rub for such a relatively young performer.

I could be somewhat critical of Sheamus' list of achievements, which have come with the kind of speed that WWE is now associated with. It is a trend that has greatly diminished the prestige and accomplishment of these titles that were once unobtainable even to some of wrestling's greatest stars. He first emerged as a breath of fresh air, creating much needed distraction from the headlining usual suspects of the RAW roster that he is now in danger of becoming part of. The King of the Ring has done well to continue the construction of Sheamus as a longterm main event prospect, adding to his accolades, without cheapening the belts.

Special Note: The Countdown includes results from the TNA: Final Resolution PPV, where Douglas Williams (#46) defeated AJ Styles (#7) to become the new Television Champion.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Quick Predict: TNA Final Resolution (2010)

No time for love, Dr. Jones!

Heavyweight Championship match
Special Guest Referee: Ken Anderson
Matt Morgan versus Jeff Hardy (c)
Prediction: Jeff Hardy

Full Metal Mayhem Tag Team Championship match
Generation Me vs Motor City Machine Guns (c)
Prediction: Motor City Machine Guns

Television Championship match
Douglas Williams vs AJ Styles
Prediction: AJ Styles

X-Division Championship match
Cookie suspended above ring in a shark cage
Jay Lethal vs Robbie E
Prediction: Robbie E

Submission match
Jeff Jarrett vs Samoa Joe
Prediction: Samoa Joe

Casket match
D'Angelo Dinero vs Abyss
Prediction: D'Angelo Dinero

First Blood match
Rob Van Dam vs Rhino
Prediction: Rob Van Dam

#1 Contender Tag Team match
Beer Money Inc vs Ink Inc
Prediction: Beer Money

Falls Count Anywhere
Mickie James vs Tara
Prediction: Mickie James

Friday, December 03, 2010

MKO: Official MK Website Launches Feedback Feature!

Since it's countdown launch back in October [full story], the Official Mortal Kombat website has had fans anticipating the opportunity to register to discuss and reveal new details about some of their favourite characters. Today, the wait has ended!

The new official message board offers a range of standard discussion forums about the games and web content, as well as special categories dedicated to Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Mileena, Shao Kahn, and Raiden. These categories are attached to a rankings system, which will allow fans to unlock new materials on each characters' dedicated bio page through forum discussion. The preview bars will also see existing materials, such as the Scorpion and Sub-Zero vignettes already released, be made accessible from the site.

The update also brought with it revised editions of biography text supplied for each of the feature characters. Details alluding to the increasingly elaborate mythologies of each character included backstory accumulated from recent releases, as well as brand new revelations about favourites like Sub-Zero, previously known in-fiction as Tundra, and the very tournament itself, which is said to have been influenced in it's creation by Raiden.

Full Article:

Wrestling: The European Championship

Triple H, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Jeff Jarrett, Diamond Dallas Page, Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam. The unwritten tier system might've seen the WWF European Championship fall third to the Heavyweight and Intercontinental titles, but the names that held the strap over it's brief five-year history are surprisingly impressive.

It was part of Shawn Michaels' dual title reign as the first WWF Grand Slam champion; the underscore in British Bulldogs' bitter and fruitless struggle for the Heavyweight title; part of Kurt Angle's rise as one of the most quickly decorated stars in wrestling; and a feather in the cap of many stars who went on to hold top title gold.

In 2002, the European belt was unified with the Intercontinental title on Rob Van Dam, and subsequently absorbed into that year's version of the World Heavyweight title as part of the WWF brand split extension. The desire for symmetry in the brands eventually saw the United States title -- absorbed during the acquisition of WCW -- fill the void created by the eventual return of the IC belt. It has been a fair and equatable system in theory, but in practise, exposed as many problems in modern WWE as it has solved.

The beauty of the WWF's title arrangement as of 1997 was simple. It offered opportunities to the entire roster, relative to their status, or style.

For those not yet ready for a rise to the top, the Intercontinental and European titles offered legitimate stepping stones at the upper and mid-card levels. The Light Heavyweight and Hardcore titles played specialist alternatives to the slightly more prestigious Euro belt, completing the picture in a way not seen since the brand extension. If this titles' absence in 2010 is a criticism, then it's also a criticism of the modern product, which I often choose to describe as polished to the point of erosion. Even so, I think very little would need to change to make the European title a successful commodity in the current era. In fact, in ideal circumstances, it would help encourage that depth of investment that existed in the Attitude Era, with favourite wrestlers from the top to the bottom of the card.

Due to it's lower grade, the European title would offer the possibility to legitimately contend a championship during international tours, which go otherwise untelevised, and are inappropriate for top belt changes. Also, with WWE farming the Florida Championship Wrestling developmental territory quite heavily since the introduction of NXT, there's an obvious potential for the establishment of a strong mid-card tradition. The European title would be right at home on a show like WWE: Superstars, which typically features this middle-section of the roster, and would allow seasoned stars to initiate some of these new inclusions with a more longterm record than some of the forgettable avenues used now.

For me, a great sticking point of the past decade has been attempts to fasttrack main event stars into extended championship runs. While it would not guarantee a more considered approach, the presence of a championship heirarchy would at least offer more stop-gaps for giving the rub to up and coming names. I might've preferred The Miz put more years into working his way up the ranks before winning the WWE title, for example. Other stars with potential might include:

Montel Vontavious Porter (#11)
What better way for an MVP to show off his status than by jetsetting to the most glamorous cities of the world? With a few cheesy promos infront of blue screen backdrops, MVP could up his stock as a European champion who claims to represent and reside in various cities across Europe. It was a concept used during D-Lo Brown's reign, and I think, could make the ballin' MVP a superstar worth noticing, giving him a place on the card that he can make his own.

Tyson Kidd (#27)
The high-flying alternate in the crumbling Hart Dynasty tag team would be right at home with the European championship, I think. He has the wrestling skills to bring credibility to the title, and with DH Smith involved in any capacity, it would be a great way to add extra motivation to an already personal feud. A chance to begin Kidd's career as a singles wrestler without the stigma of a [still defunct] Cruiserweight title reign, or a premature push.

David Hart Smith (#24)
DH Smith stands in a pretty mighty shadow, but as a European champion, I think he would be making the best of a family legacy. At the present, it's difficult to see how far Smith's future goes with WWE. If there's a long run in him, then this could be a pretty charming beginning to a quest to do what his father wasn't able to -- become the holder of all the major championships.

Vladimir Kozlov (#42)
In 2008, Kozlov came in strong, marching his way to a short but noteworthy undefeated streak that included a victory over The Undertaker on Smackdown. After a disappointing showing in a WWE Championship match at Survivor Series, he was quickly downgraded, tumbling down the roster to ECW henchman, landing on RAW as comedy relief opposite Santino Marella. I enjoyed the indomitable Russian gimmick, but would agree he was far from ready for top gold. The Euro title would have been an opportune way to follow through on his monster heel status, without embarassing the concept or gold.

William Regal (#93)
The four-time European champion probably deserves better, but it seems increasingly unlikely that William Regal will ever match tenure for success. In the event that he never receives a JBL-style push to the top, the former King of the Ring might as well exhibit his dominance over a division he's represented so well in the past. A small, but fitting reward for his years of service.

Drew McIntyre (#5)
His Intercontinental Championship reign came with a lonesome DDT and an unconvincing elevation. It doesn't take a genius to slap the European title on wrestlers from outside the US, but I think that's more a testament to the credibility of the concept, than a criticism. Drew McIntyre could've established himself much more appropriately at this level.

Cody Rhodes (#7)
Despite the pedigree of some of it's holders, the European title came to be associated with the underside of it's mid-card trappings. A certain style emerged as a result of that, and I feel Cody Rhodes might be at home there. The belt would certainly help break up his bizarre skinny-ankled grey boots that look like socks with underpants, and add some gold to his dashing demeanour, without compromising other belts.

Ted Dibiase Jr (#50)
Once the more promising of the Orton-following Priceless tandem; Dibiase has struggled to find character or success in the RAW ranks. Recent battles with Bryan Danielson for the US title exposed how underdone his persona has become. Had the European title been active, Dibiase's post-Orton career might've been salvaged sooner by a more appropriate championship goal.

Mark Henry (#58)
No matter how hard they sell his big-man status, I can't ever see myself accepting Mark Henry as a contender for the WWE or World Heavyweight championships. Somehow not quite in line with the image of an IC champion, I would be more than willing to accept a Mark Henry who dominates his opponents as a two-time European champion.

Santino Marella (#46)
Soiled beyond repair by his extensive feature as a comedic foil, the Italian Marella could at least find a starting point to earn back some credibility by way of his European heritage.

Tyler Reks (#94)
Emerging as one of the FCW recruits, Reks might not be ready for a championship reign just yet, but the presence of a European title would at least provide an avenue for him to get the rub from some of the other names mentioned on this list, with the potential to earn an eventual reign and benefit from that accordingly. He wouldn't be my first choice, but he'd certainly be welcome in the division. Appearances on Superstars highlight this.

Percy Watson (#125)
It should be plain to everyone that Percy Watson is ready. Percy Watson is already happening. Percy Watson is bringing the party to your house, be it via FCW, or NXT. Percy Watson is already a legitimate fact, and the European championship would just be a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Ibiza pales in comparison. Percy Watson is the official party capital of the world. Oh yeah!!

Finlay (#137)
If he ever absolutely has to occupy a championship contender slot again, then it might as well be the Euro belt.

Charlie Haas (#167)
Haas recently reunited with his Worlds Greatest Tag Team partner, Shelton Benjamin, in Ring of Honor, but if it wasn't too late for Haas, the European title would've given him a chance to flex his in-ring skills, putting a catch as catch can face on a belt, without the burden of his lack of personality getting in the way.

Rankings provided come from the Weekly Kayfabe Countdown.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

MKO: Mortal Kombat at the Brazil Game Show!

November 20th saw the launch of the third annual two-day Brazil Game Show; an expo designed to bring developers from around the world to the South American city of Rio de Janeiro.

In preparation for the release of their latest installment in the long running Mortal Kombat series, producer Hector Sanchez of the NetherRealm Studios team was there to offer a playable demo of the game and interact with fans from the region. The presence of the fighting franchise; which was acquired by Warner Brothers in 2009 from Midway Games; helped spur the event onto a massive new attendance record of an estimated thirty-thousand people on the floor.

Mortal Kombat is expected to be released in the early part of 2011 for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The game boasts classic returning characters featured in the BGS demo, such as; Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kitana, Johnny Cage, and others. No new characters were featured at the show, with recent announcements, Jax and Sonya, absent from this build.

NetherRealm Studios has released pictures from their trip to Brazil Game Show!
Find them attached above, or in the gallery of the official Facebook for the game.

Full Article:

American History K: Wrestlemania VII

He is one of the most feared entities in professional wrestling, whose impact included winning the WWF Heavyweight Championship away from Hulk Hogan just one year after his debut, during the height of Hulkamania in 1991. Since, The Undertaker has forged a legacy of two decades of destruction, winning various major championships, and setting record firsts as a character unmatch in theatricality and spectacle. His history in Casket matches, Hell in a Cell cages, Inferno matches, and the Buried Alive stipulation that recently ended his current tenure as a World title contender, is legendary, but no accolade is greater than the unprecedented success he has enjoyed once every year.

The Undertaker debuted at Wrestlemania in the year of his first championship, facing "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka in the mid-card of May's Wrestlemania VII. Victory was assured for the gloomy heel, who dispatched the Superfly in under five minutes. It was a significant victory even for it's time, but nobody could've imagined that it would be but the first in a sequence of a staggering eighteen unanswered victories at Wrestlemania!

What if things hadn't been so easy for the Deadman, though? What if events unfolded in a very different way, and The Undertaker's incredible pageantry was rivalled by a force so awesome, no destiny could steer him towards victory?...

In 1991, he was twenty-two, and in five years he would be writing his own name in the history books by winning an Olympic Gold Medal for America in grecco-roman wrestling. He is Kurt Angle, one of the most decorated superstars in the history of professional wrestling, whose accomplishments came faster and thicker than anything The Undertaker could handle.

At Wrestlemania VII, The Undertaker certainly would've cut an imposing figure opposite the relatively diminutive grecco-roman grappler, but with youth in his corner and an intensity that cannot be matched, Kurt Angle's American History K would have changed the expectations of wrestling overnight. I mean, The Undertaker was already a hundred freaking years old in 1991, any way, wearing that stupid hat. He won matches because he avoided taking moves. If Vince McMahon told Koko B Ware he could act like nothing could hurt him, then he would've been undefeated at Wrestlemania too. But he didn't. He told him he was an idiot with a bird.

Sure, Undertaker had size and power on his size, and maybe even the support of the crowd. In 1991 things were simpler. It's true, it's true. But once the audience witnessed a seven foot man being overhead german suplexed with a release, then the tide would've turned. The stupor of a man as excellent in the field of catch as catch can delivering a perfect moonsault would've been broken as the crowd listened to a grown man's cries be silence by the snapping of an ankle.

WCW, in it's infancy after beginning in 1988, would've collapsed instantly. Kurt Angle would've been elevated to unquestioned main event status, facing Hulk Hogan as a babyface against the heel faker. Kurt Angle would have arisen to the absolute heights of professional wrestling glory in 1991, yet still competed for and won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1996. It is only during this period that the WWF recovers, having collapsed under the weight of a lack of competition for Kurt Angle's phenomenal style of wrestling. This is American History K, and you thank me for this education experience.

Epilogue: Crippled and embarassed beyond repair, The Undertaker was forced into an early retirement by this version of Wrestlemania history. Summoning the dark arts, he travelled backward through time, preventing Kurt Angle's premature rise through the ranks of the World Wrestling Federation by occult means. Undeterred, Kurt Angle went on to become the NCAA Division I competition runner-up, after interference from Paul Bearer prevented him claiming ultimate victory. With Angle out of the picture, Undertaker went on to win the hardcore championship as a cyclist, and punched Scotty 2 Hotty at the Royal Rumble.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MKO: IGN Names Top Ten Fatalities!

In 2011, Mortal Kombat will return in all it's gory glory, bringing with it the deadly finishing moves that were controversially scaled back for their 2008 crossover, Versus DC Universe.

In preparation for the elaborate bloodletting and general dismemberment, IGN has picked up the gauntlet to list their Unofficial Top Ten Best Fatalities! Featured in the list are favourites like Scorpion's Toasty Flame Breath, along with some more obscure fare you might not expect.

You can find the full article on, or watch the video embedded above, for the office rundown with moving pictures. Mortal Kombat is currently in production under NetherRealm Studios, with a pending release date expected for the first half of 2011.

Full Article:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 11/28

#1 The Big Show [--] (39-15-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

It was a "shock" upset victory for Alberto del Rio in King of the Ring qualifiers on Smackdown that handed Big Show a rare count out defeat this week. These situations rarely favour big men and with Del Rio's star on the rise, the win was all but secured. More shocking was perhaps the elimination of his rival, Rey Mysterio, who would've made for a solid tournament rematch in the same vein as what we saw on RAW, with a Survivor Series rematch between Ted Dibiase and Bryan Danielson, and a side-winding battle between Sheamus and John Morrison's pal, R-Truth.

With only a month to go, it seems a statistical certainty that either Big Show or Kofi Kingston will end 2010 as the most successful wrestler in the Kayfabe Countdown. Eight wins clear of nearest rivals, Rey Mysterio (#3) and Randy Orton (#4), the chances of this two horse race being overtaken are close to none, with approximately only six-or-so dates for wrestlers from Smackdown, and one less for RAW.

#2 [--] Kofi Kingston (38-22-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Rey Mysterio (30-13-4) (WWE)
#4 [--] Randy Orton (30-18-6) (WWE)
#5 [+1] Drew McIntyre (28-30-3) (WWE)
#6 [-1] AJ Styles (27-11-5) (TNA) [Television Champion]
#7 [--] Cody Rhodes (27-18-2) (WWE)
#8 [RE] The Miz (26-29-4) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#9 [-1] R-Truth (25-22-4) (WWE)
#10 [-1] Dolph Ziggler (25-25-3) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]

#1 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-18-0) (WWE)
#2 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (15-15-3) (TNA)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (12-9-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (12-14-0) (WWE)
#5 [+2] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (9-3-0) (WWE)
#6 [-1] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-5-0) (WWE)
#7 [-1] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (8-1-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#8 [--] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#9 [--] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)
#10 [--] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (7-6-0) (TNA)

Superstar Spotlight:
#83 Jeff Jarrett
(8-10-1) (TNA)

TAP THAT MAT! 'nuff said.

Special Note: On the November 22 episode of RAW, The Miz (#8) used his Money in the Bank contract to defeat Randy Orton (#4) for the WWE Championship. Orton had defended the title against Wade Barrett (#17) immediately prior, in a rematch of the Survivor Series main event.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 11/21

#1 The Big Show [--] (39-14-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

It's been a mixed bag for The Big Show in 2010.
He entered the year as one of the vital forces reinvigorating WWE's Tag Team titles, and has finished the year as one of the headlining faces promoting Smackdown since it's move to SyFy, including a captaining role in many team matches. His workload has seen him have up to three matches a week between RAW, Smackdown, and Pay-Per-Views -- significant for a man of his size and condition. Yet, despite this sustained significance, accolades have been few.

His Team Smackdown affiliations have kept him in close contact with Kayfabe Countdown rival, Kofi Kingston, and a return to the tag team division is always a possibility. There's also the fact that Big Show recently enjoyed a win over the World Heavyweight Champion, who very narrowly escaped defeat at Survivor Series when Edge was controversially counted for having his shoulders down after a spear-born pin cover. Edge might remain in the mix, but I do wonder if the year won't end with Big Show finally re-entering competition for the top championship, even if he doesn't best "the devil's favourite demon", Kane, in the end.

#2 [--] Kofi Kingston (37-22-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Rey Mysterio (30-12-4) (WWE)
#4 [--] Randy Orton (29-17-6) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#5 [--] AJ Styles (27-11-5) (TNA) [Television Champion]
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre (27-30-3) (WWE)
#7 [--] Cody Rhodes (26-18-2) (WWE)
#8 [--] R-Truth (25-21-4) (WWE)
#9 [RE] Dolph Ziggler (25-25-3) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]
#10 [new] Montel Vontavious Porter (25-27-1) (WWE)

#1 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-18-0) (WWE)
#2 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (15-15-2) (TNA)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (12-9-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (12-14-0) (WWE)
#5 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-5-0) (WWE)
#6 [+4] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (8-1-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#7 [--] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (8-3-0) (WWE)
#8 [-2] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#9 [-1] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)
#10 [-1] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (7-6-0) (TNA)

Superstar Spotlight:
#NR Billy Gunn
(0-0-0) (Independent)

Between the recent "old school" RAW, WWE's overdue resurrection of the King of the Ring tournament, and it's flagging Tag Team competition, it's hard not to think back to better days like those of the late nineties. During the boom period of their Attitude Era, WWF created a roster that, peaking in 1999, had successful and popular characters from the top of the roster, to the bottom. One of their major properties was that of the New Age Outlaws; members of Degeneration X both; Road Dogg Jesse James, and Bad Ass Billy Gunn ("Mr. Ass" in formal situations, of course).

It was as one-half of the tandem that Billy Gunn really made waves, but by 1999, each had enjoyed successful stints as singles competitors, with Intercontinental and Hardcore championship reigns to each of their respective names. 1999 also reflected the hopes to groom Billy Gunn for bigger things, with these plans signified by his victory in the 1999 King of the Ring tournament. When the dissolving of DX came and went, Billy Gunn's chance to shine soon followed, but it wasn't to be. Despite capturing another of the covetted grooming tools of major stars, the Intercontinental Championship, Billy Gunn's star failed to rise, and after meandering through various return spots, he was let go from WWE. Gunn has enjoyed mixed success since, spending significant years in TNA without garnering greater gold.

I wouldn't characterize Billy Gunn as one of the great talents of wrestling history, but it strikes me as a shame that he never reached the heights that seemed laid out for him. In interviews after leaving the company, Gunn was critical of Triple H's involvement in his release, a fact made all the more bitter by the way their relationship produced Gunn's highs as a member of DX. Gunn remains a fixture of the independent scene where he has once again reformed the Outlaws team with Road Dogg. Here's hoping they can recapture some of the success they once had.

Special Note: Countdown includes results from the WWE: Survivor Series PPV.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wrestling: Survivor Series (2010) Predictions

It's been one of the classic WWF/WWE "big five" Pay-Per-Views for more than twenty years, but at the beginning of 2010, WWE announced it no longer had use for the antiquated event, aiming to replace it with another of it's many concept shows. Fortunately, Survivor Series did not go the way of the King of the Ring PPV, becoming reinstated as plans for the Nexus faction began to take hold in RAW's programming -- a blessing, to be sure!

No Holds Barred WWE Championship match with special guest referee, John Cena
Wade Barrett vs Randy Orton (c)

If you've been living under a wrestling rock, then you wouldn't know that this match comes with an added special stipulation: If Wade Barrett wins the title, John Cena will be released from the contract that binds him to Barrett's service. If Orton retains, then John Cena will be fired, as is apparently allowed by Barrett's powers over him. A situation that all but forces Cena to aid his begrudging master, or so it would seem.

For us fans, the rock and hard place comes in the form of the unlikelihood of John Cena's absence from WWE programming, versus Wade Barrett's relative unreadiness to hold as covetted a top spot as the WWE Champion. A predicament, to be sure, but not one that's at all foreign. In 1998, for example, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was given many challenges that threatened unemployment, such as Judgment Day, where he refused to count three for either Undertaker, or Kane. Steve Austin, a bigger star in stature and monetary gains, always found a way back to teevee and to the WWE roster. If pushed, I'm sure John Cena would have similar fictional methods available to him, as well. Will they go the long way around, though? I'm not sure it's in keeping with the WWE style any more, certainly not if they want to get away with this angle.

Barrett is quite green, still. His power as a talker has carried him since winning NXT and forming The Nexus, but I'd be reluctant to say that makes him a worthy WWE Champion. Of course, being worthy has very little to do with championships in WWE, these days. Neither does the logical outcome though, either. What about Money in the Bank holder The Miz? He has until the end of the year to cash his championship shot in -- will he play a factor?

I honestly don't know what to expect of this match, and that has elevated it above it's otherwise mediocre status. These usual suspects of the RAW main event rarely entice, but the possibility that WWE will make a hard decision is enticing. John Cena as a heel aiding Wade Barrett's victory with glee might be the best possible outcome, but that's too easy, and I don't think it'll happen. Exactly what will happen, I do not know!
Prediction: Randy Orton

Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match
Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, Chris Masters, Big Show & Montel Vontavious Porter vs Alberto del Rio, Tyler Reks, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger & Cody Rhodes

Personally, I don't feel Survivor Series need revolve around these classic ten-man elimination tag matches. My favourite Survivor Series shows might actually be 1998, where the WWF title was contended in a King of the Ring style elimination tournament, and 2002, where the feature of the night was the first even Elimination Chamber -- a survior's match if there ever was one.

The construction of the match has been somewhat clumsy, but it at least provides an eclectic mix of Smackdown's wrestling stars. Alberto del Rio continues to rise through the ranks, with many assuming he'll be groomed for a spot as a face. He certainly has a team backing him that should put up a worthy challenge against the heroes of the match-up. I think he might get the rub.
Prediction: Team del Rio

World Heavyweight Championship match
Edge vs Kane (c)

The last thing I want to see before the decade is through is Edge with another championship reign. Kane's first on-going reign in the top spot hasn't been anything to write home about, but it's serving a purpose. With any luck, this will be a decent match, but I don't need to see Edge get the better of it for a satisfying end. Perhaps a DQ finish, or some other non-title situation.
Prediction: Edge

Sheamus vs John Morrison
Morrison's role as rescuer made for a confusing build-up to this match, but at the end of the day, it's got the making of a great mid-card bout. These two have very different styles, and while there's potential for disaster, I think Morrison will be up to the challenge of working a good match. Sheamus was on the receiving end of a shock upset to Santino Marella (the man who Morrison saved). I would expect his winning ways to be restored here.
Prediction: Sheamus

Tag Team Championship match
Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov vs Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (c)

Why oh why, Heath Slater? Why?
There's a popular theory going around that Vince McMahon wants to destroy tag team wrestling. It's a symbol of the fictional premise of the pseudo-sport, and all he's interested in selling is "entertainment." This match might actually help make the argument. The best legit team, The Hart Dynasty, has been jobbed silly over the past few months, taking a pointless barrage of losses to patchwork pairing, Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre, who've now dissolved themselves. Kozlov and Marella are barely comedy relief, but also one of the most successful duos of the year. Honestly, I wouldn't be too fussed if they picked up a shock win. I used to have a bit of a soft spot for Kozlov, and wouldn't mind seeing him finally get a credit to his name. I'd think there's more to come from the Nexus, however, and they will benefit from backing up their claim to the gold (or bronze, "big ass pennies" as Jeff Hardy put it).
Prediction: Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater

Intercontinental Championship match
Kaval vs Dolph Ziggler (c)

Despite being a two-time X-Division champion (as Low-Ki), Kaval just can't buy a win in WWE, it seems. That's a path Bryan Danielson knows all too well, which, for both men, included statistically unimpressive runs through NXT, before joining the big shows with more losses to come. Danielson ("Daniel Bryan") finally got the rub when he won the United States title from rival, The Miz, and has been winning some of the better matches of each show, ever since. I don't know that the same fairytale ending is in Kaval's future, but hopefully this is the start of something. Ziggler has given the IC belt some sense of stability, but it's an otherwise forgettable run. In 2011, it'd be great to see prestige come back to the WWE titles. Good matches like this might be a start.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler

United States Championship match
Ted Dibiase vs Daniel Bryan (c)

Ted Dibiase has been suffering from a severe lack of personality, something his former Priceless teammate, Cody Rhodes, has done well to avoid. I still prefer Dibiase of the two, but absolutely could not stomach a US championship reign at this point in time. Maryse adds some interest to his appearances, but no amount of bad singing and babes will be enough to make Dibiase a worthy contender to this title. The best we can hope for is a decent match. Bryan Danielson needs a better class of challenger to etch his name in history with, but at least he isn't on the losing end of this questionable encounter [I hope].
Prediction: Daniel Bryan

Handicap Divas Championship match
Natalya Neidhart vs Layla & Michelle McCool (c)

I don't know what the point of this match is, or the Divas title, for that matter.
With TNA dropping the ball on their women's tag titles, they might as well make the Divas belt a tandem title (as discussed many times throughout 2010). Pointless either way.
Prediction: Michelle McCool & Layla

The Kayfabe Countdown: WWE Top Ten
Cumulative tally based on the win/loss records of televised matches.

#1 The Big Show [--]
#2 Kofi Kingston [--]
#3 Rey Mysterio [--]
#4 Randy Orton (WWE Champion) [--]
#5 Drew McIntyre [--]
#6 Cody Rhodes [--]
#7 R-Truth [--]
#8 The Miz (Money in the Bank) [--]
#9 Kane (World Heavyweight Champion) [--]
#10 John Cena [RE]

#1 Tyson Kidd & DH Smith [--]
#2 Layla & Michelle McCool [--]
#3 Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes [--]
#4 Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov [--]
#5 Brie Bella & Nikki Bella [--]

MKO: IgroMania Magazine Cover Reveals Sonya!

Premiere Russian gaming magazine, IgroMania, has revealed an alternate cover for their latest issue, and in doing so, confirmed another favourite for Mortal Kombat in 2011!

IgroMania No. 12(159) Cover featuring Sonya and Scorpion.

MK's first lady of fighting, Sonya Blade, appears in fully rendered glory alongside series mascot, Scorpion, in a mock character select screen that references the first two games, and characters from other articles as well. This is the first time Sonya has appeared officially, sporting a decidedly different look from her traditional outfits. The render(s) replace cover artwork designed around NetherRealm Studios' Mortal Kombat dragon symbol and title text [pictured below].

The image confirms months of speculation regarding Sonya's impending status; leaked by IgroMania's Editor-in-Chief via their website message board. The issue, No. 12 (159), officially goes on sale November 23, with a five-page feature on the new game.

Full Article:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 11/14

#1 The Big Show [--] (36-14-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

It was on Smackdown that Big Show picked up a tidy victory over current World Heavyweight Champion, Kane! He extends his lead to a clean win over nearest Countdown rival, Kofi Kingston, giving me the task of desperately trying to think of something interesting to write about a guy who has been in the top spot since I started doing these weekly updates, back in September.

If you operate on the assumption of wrestlers not appearing on multiple shows, then there are approximately nine more ranking opportunities left in 2010, which makes Big Show's run to the end all but assured. The question that remains -- will a World Championship shot be the feather in his 2010 cap? A win over the current champ isn't a bad argument!

#2 [--] Kofi Kingston (34-21-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Rey Mysterio (28-12-3) (WWE)
#4 [--] Randy Orton (28-17-5) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#5 [--] AJ Styles (27-11-5) (TNA) [Television Champion]
#6 [--] Drew McIntyre (27-27-3) (WWE)
#7 [--] Cody Rhodes (25-16-2) (WWE)
#8 [--] R-Truth (25-20-4) (WWE)
#9 [--] The Miz (25-29-4) (WWE) [Money in the Bank]
#10 [--] Kane (24-15-4) [World Heavyweight Champion]

#1 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-17-0) (WWE)
#2 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (15-15-2) (TNA)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (12-8-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (11-12-0) (WWE)
#5 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-4-0) (WWE)
#6 [+2] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (8-4-0) (WWE)
#7 [-1] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (7-2-0) (WWE)
#8 [-1] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)
#9 [--] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (7-6-0) (TNA)
#10 [new] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (6-1-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]

Superstar Spotlight:
#64 Samoa Joe
(10-10-2) (TNA)

He's a former TNA Heavyweight Champion, a four-time TNA X-Division Champion, a former ROH World Champion, and former ROH Pure Champion. The question of Samoa Joe's status and legacy is a forgone conclusion -- he finished 2006 and 2008 at #4 in the PWI 500, and is arguably one of the greatest wrestlers to come out of the post WCW buyout and monopoly of WWE over professional wrestling's upper ranks.
Of late, Joe has been in a very different position to the highs of those previous years, however. The influence of the Hogan/Bischoff regime has not been kind to a wrestler like Samoa Joe, who certainly has been recognised as a legitimate contender through TNA's short-lived rankings system, but has failed to reflect that in his position on the card and permeation through the company.

Joe is currently fighting the good fight against Jeff Jarrett (#90) and members of Immortal -- a team that boasts significant talent, but questionable relevance to the betterment of Samoa Joe. It is a situation that encapsulates some of the downsides of TNA's invitation to Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, and the retro influences they inspire. The shift has gradually veered increasingly toward the "Entertainment" monopolized by WWE, leaving behind the "Sport" that TNA had done a good job to represent during Samoa Joe's reign as top champion. I hope TNA can find a way to get back in touch with that tone, and elevate Samoa Joe with it. Despite loitering in the mid-card, the potential for Joe to rise at the end of the year seems evident, given that Immortal's most active talent is current Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Hardy (#26), with whom I'm sure Samoa Joe would have some great main event bouts! He's a fine wrestler, unique in so many ways, and worthy of acknowledgment as our spotlight superstar.

Special Note: I wanted to acknowledge the fact that, as we reach the end of the year, the rankings are much more stable than they were before I began these weekly updates. That's a natural symptom of things levelling out. I am undecided if I will continue the Countdown into 2011. It would be nice to share those more active observations, though.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 11/7

#1 The Big Show [--] (35-14-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

Big Show reclaims the clear lead after doing double-time during the week, with a special appearance on RAW as Pee Wee Herman's giant-sized "cousin" and protector from Show's former tag team partner, The Miz. On Smackdown, Big Show reteamed with Kofi Kingston, his nearest Kayfabe Countdown win/loss rival, once again, picking up yet another team victory since the two combined as part of Team Smackdown at Bragging Rights.

Big Show's win/loss dominance reminded me of a quote from Vince McMahon which, more or less, criticized WCW's handling of the then literally named Giant, with the conviction that he would do better. That hasn't necessarily been true over the years, but in 2010, the numbers cannot be argued with! Big Show is a dominant giant!

#2 [--] Kofi Kingston (34-20-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Rey Mysterio (28-12-3) (WWE)
#4 [--] Randy Orton (28-16-5) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#5 [+3] AJ Styles (26-11-5) (TNA) [Television Champion]
#6 [-1] Drew McIntyre (26-27-3) (WWE)
#7 [-1] Cody Rhodes (25-16-2) (WWE)
#8 [+1] R-Truth (25-19-4) (WWE)
#9 [-2] The Miz (25-28-4) (WWE) [Money in the Bank]
#10 [--] Kane (24-14-4) (WWE) [World Heavyweight Champion]

#1 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-16-0) (WWE)
#2 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (15-14-2) (TNA)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (12-8-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (11-12-0) (WWE)
#5 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-4-0) (WWE)
#6 [--] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (7-2-0) (WWE)
#7 [--] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)
#8 [--] Brie Bella & Nikki Bella (7-4-0) (WWE)
#9 [new] Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal (7-6-0) (TNA)
#10 [-1] Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne (6-1-0) (TNA)

Superstar Spotlight:
#NR Brock Lesnar

(0-0-0) (UFC)

Millions of viewers flooded to YouTube to watch it, and the entire wrestling and mix martial arts community spent the next week talking about it. No, it wasn't Brock Lesnar's shock loss of the UFC World Heavyweight Championship [to Cain Velasquez]! Rather, the implied challenge issued to him by former WWE rival, The Undertaker, who was present at ringside for the fight, and broke from an interview to ask a just defeated Lesnar, "You wanna do it?..."

Theories have been many, most connecting Brock Lesnar to a possible WWE return at Wrestlemania, reprising his role as challenger to Undertaker's legend, this time at the Deadman's undefeated home of 'Mania. Wrestling Observer has offered other arrangements of events, however, which conspired to inadvertently create a buzz out of aborted plans for a contrived challenge. It was allegedly to be at the post-fight press conference that The Undertaker emerged to converse with Brock Lesnar, but the Observer reported that it was cancelled when Lesnar felt his presence would take away from Cain Velasquez' victory celebration. He probably wasn't in the best of moods after losing his Heavyweight Championship, either, one should imagine.

Plans for Lesnar to add some celebrity buzz to WWE's biggest event of the year seem to be unlikely, at least in the capacity of a wrestler. Zuffa's Dana White was quick to nix the concept, reaffirming the totality of Lesnar's exclusive contract to Ultimate Fighting Championship. Then again, maybe White's in on it! Who knows? The only thing certain is that a Lesnar/Undertaker rematch would be a huge draw for WWE, and an exciting way to challenge the Undertaker's secure undefeated streak at the annual showcase.

Special Note: Results include the TNA: Turning Point Pay-Per-View, where Robbie E (#116) defeated Jay Lethal (#63) to win the X-Division Championship.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Wrestling: Turning Point Predictions

Jeff Hardy defends his ill gotten World Heavyweight Championship when he meets unlikely substitute contender, Matt Morgan, in the main event. Plus -- members of Fortune, EV2.0 and Immortal duke it out for supremacy in the undercard.

World Heavyweight Championship match
Matt Morgan vs Jeff Hardy (c)

Given that earlier in the year he made a habit of cracking skulls between his foot and the turnbuckle post, it's somewhat surprising that Matt Morgan would emerge as a spokesman for head injury safety. Then again, maybe a man with intimate knowledge about dishing out such injuries is the perfect person to stand up for Ken Anderson, who apparently sustained an unintentional legit head wound and concussion after a Jeff Hardy chair shot.

As shocking as it is for Jeff Hardy to be pushed into a heel spot at the top of TNA, it's turning out reasonably well. Given Hardy's ability to be a draw as a face, I don't know if the show will represent a Turning Point for Hardy's cash value as a heel, but his heartless promos have been something to enjoy. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the Charismatic Enigma unleash a Twist of Hate in this match, which will presumably go his way. Matt Morgan has always struck me as a decent enough satellite contender, but his abrupt insertion into the match, intriguing as it's been, is no reason to put the belt on him. Hardy retains, but I wouldn't be surprised if the straight rules of the match produce a convoluted result, with cameo appearances by members of Morgan's former Fortune partners, or perhaps Mr. Anderson himself.
Prediction: Jeff Hardy

Pink Slip Tag Team match
EV2.0 vs Fortune

As far as I can tell, the specific line-up for teams in this match hasn't been clarified. AJ Styles, Frankie Kazarian, Beer Money (Robert Roode & James Storm), and Douglas Williams are the available options, with various ECW originals free to compete in a team bout. I would probably think the Fortune members are too important to discard in any fashion per the stipulation that the winning team can fire a member of the losing team, so it's safe to assume they will walk away with the victory. (Although; when does Ric Flair's contract end...?) Which means Raven(!), Sabu, Stevie Richards, Rhino, or Brian Kendrick is headed for the chopping block.
Prediction: Fortune

Tag Team Championship match
Team 3D vs Motor City Machine Guns (c)

I have mixed feelings about the way Team 3D inserted themselves into a tag title shot at the Bound for Glory PPV. Claims of an impending retirement is a little tough to believe, particularly with reports flagging their contract renewal. One almost has the sense they might spring a heel admission into one of the various factions floating around, and put one over on Machine Guns, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin. You couldn't argue that Brother Ray and Brother Devon aren't assured a place in tag team wrestling history, but for the good of the present and future, I'd like to assume the belts stay with the Machine Guns, with a big rub coming their way. I'd like to, but I'm not sure I should...
Prediction: Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (MCMG)

Lumberjack match
"The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero vs Abyss

I don't really know what to make of this match. This seems like the dregs of the faction-oriented storytelling going on in TNA right now, which really makes me long for unrelated singles competition, the kind of sports-referencing entertainment that was going on last year when the ring still had six sides. I haven't clarified the role of the lumberjacks. It'd be nice if some of the Xplosion relegated wrestlers, like Brutus Magnus, were getting some face time in the mix. It would probably make more sense for members of Fortune, Immortal, or some other nonsense to fill the void, but whatever. How many times can one man get screwed? Good luck, Pope.
Prediction: Abyss

Tommy Dreamer vs Rob Van Dam
A statistical note -- RVD held only one loss to his name prior to his return after losing the TNA World Heavyweight Championship (which was stripped without another loss added to his record). He's had to do the job lately. Even so, I wouldn't expect Tommy Dreamer to get the better of him. In-fighting within the ECW ranks is probably more variety than we could rightly expect of the current faction focus. I'm not real thrilled about wrestlers like Kurt Angle going absent, however, while Tommy Dreamer occupies a spot on the card. It's wearing a bit thin. Roll on RVD's title rematch against Jeff Hardy -- a combo with more chemistry than the main event.
Prediction: Rob Van Dam

Samoa Joe vs Jeff Jarrett
Speaking of wrestlers in the wrong position; I'm not especially convinced by Jarrett's rising significance. Samoa Joe has been nigh irrelevant for most of the year, and I'd very much like to see him scale the ranks again as a competitive singles wrestler with an eye for the top prize. He has been perhaps the biggest victim of the increasing dismissal of the sport of wrestling. Here's hoping he picks up a much needed win against a tired opponent.
Prediction: Samoa Joe

Mickie James vs Tara
I've never been a big fan of Mickie James, and I'm not likely to start any time soon. That damned "hardcore country" song has been haunting my dreams at night! It would make sense to keep her hot with a win here, leading to a title match with reigning Knockouts Champion, Madison Rayne. Unfortunately, the conventional wisdom that once made TNA's womens division a feature of the company has since gone by the wayside.
Prediction: Mickie James

X-Division Championship match
Robbie E vs Jay Lethal (c)

So convincing is his Jersey Shore-inspired gimmick, and so foreign is he to me, that I didn't realise Robbie E was actually a wrestler. His challenging for the X-Division title feels like a good idea taken in the wrong direction. It's a contemporary gimmick, but it's not fitting of what should be a prized title, I believe. I hope Jay Lethal cleans the clown's clock and gets back to fighting the likes of Amazing Red -- on Pay-Per-View and US TV, instead of house shows and Xplosion.
Prediction: Jay Lethal

The Kayfabe Countdown: TNA Top Ten
Cumulative tally based on the win/loss records of televised matches.

#1 AJ Styles [--] (Television Champion)
#2 Rob Van Dam [--]
#3 Kurt Angle [--]
#4 Jeff Hardy [--] (World Heavyweight Champion)
#5 Robert Roode [+1]
#6 James Storm [+3]
#7 D'Angelo Dinero [+3]
#8 Abyss [-3]
#9 Ken Anderson [-2]
#10 Velvet Sky [-2]

#1 Robert Roode & James Storm [--]
#2 Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin [--] (Tag Team Champions)
#3 Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal [+2]
#4 Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne [-1]
#5 Hernandez & Matt Morgan [-1]

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 10/31

#1 The Big Show [--] (33-14-2)
(WWE: Smackdown)

The only superstars with a televised thirty-plus 2010 victories; Big Show and Kofi Kingston continued their winning ways this week, picking up a tag team victory on Smackdown! The Kayfabe Countdown allies reprised their role of Bragging Rights Pay-Per-View partners to defeat recently dethroned tag team champions, Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes! It was a far more successful collaboration than Big Show's latest film, in which he plays a dim-witted orphan whose gentle giant status is capitalized upon when he burns down the orphanage, and is forced to earn money in mixed martial arts bouts. Knucklehead might be unworthy of note as the latest flop in the WWE production line, but after earning an alleged $75US during it's miniscule opening week, it could be on the fast track to cinematic infamy! WWE have traditionally relied on DVD sales to make back their film productions, but one wonders if even home movie success can save this one from the harsh light of history!

#2 [--] Kofi Kingston (33-20-2) (WWE)
#3 [--] Rey Mysterio (28-12-3) (WWE)
#4 [--] Randy Orton (27-16-5) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#5 [--] Drew McIntyre (26-26-3) (WWE)
#6 [--] Cody Rhodes (25-15-2) (WWE)
#7 [+1] The Miz (25-27-4) (WWE) [Money in the Bank]
#8 [+1] AJ Styles (24-11-5) (TNA) [Television Champion]
#9 [-2] R-Truth (24-19-4) (WWE)
#10 [--] Kane (23-14-4) (WWE) [World Heavyweight Champion]

#1 [--] Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (16-15-0) (WWE)
#2 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (14-14-2) (TNA)
#3 [--] Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin (11-8-2) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#4 [--] Layla & Michelle McCool (11-11-0) (WWE)
#5 [--] Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (9-3-0) (WWE)
#6 [--] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (7-2-0) (WWE)
#7 [+1] Big Show & The Miz (7-4-1) (WWE)
#8 [-1] Nikki Bella & Brie Bella (7-4-0) (WWE)
#9 [--] Velvet Sky & Madison Rayne (6-1-0) (TNA)
#10 [--] Curt Hawkins & Vance Archer (6-4-0) (WWE)

Superstar Spotlight:
#192 Brutus Magnus
(0-5-0) (TNA)

If you're a member of the wrestling mainstream, you could be forgiven for assuming former-TV Gladiator turned wrestler [Brutus] Magnus was given his marching orders at Total Non-Stop Action! With a 2010 record of 0-5, Magnus' winless cellar-dweller status in the Kayfabe Countdown belies the success he's actually had after an energetic comeback in June!

International viewers will have seen Magnus return with a new look and single-name moniker way back in June on TNA's second-tier international television programme, Xplosion. The show, made-up of recap materials and mid-card bouts booked specifically for the international broadcast, has been created with an eye for the United Kingdom, and taken full advantage of the international talent still with TNA. Magnus worked his way on Xplosion toward a Global Title match against former-British Invasion partner and Welsh bodybuilder, Rob Terry (#60), before he united with Desmond Wolfe (#94; formerly Nigel McGuinness) to form the irreverent combination of London Brawling. With a combination of smarts, style, smugness, and good old fashioned cheating, London Brawling earned their way to a Tag Team title shot at the end of July, defeating Rob Terry & Hernandez and Ink Inc in an elimination tournament. Alas; their No Surrender match never eventuated after Desmond Wolfe was sidelined by a mysterious medical condition. It proved to be another truncation of Magnus' rise in TNA, one that came in spite of his signing a new longterm contract with the company in July, and developing a beret wearing gimmick as something of a ladies man. [Note: Generation Me replaced London Brawling at the No Surrender PPV, where they were defeated and began a subsequent feud with champions, The Motor City Machine Guns.]

Fans of TNA and Xplosion will have seen Magnus return to singles action, (accompanied by Wolfe's valet, Chelsea), where he suffered a surprise defeat against show regular, Eric Young (#106). An unceremonious return for a wrestler with as much talent as he has had bad luck, but a welcome one, none the less! It is a reminder of the value of the Xplosion television hour, which is all too often overlooked by American coverage.

Special Note: Justin Gabriel (#28) and Heath Slater (#35) were crowned WWE Tag Team Champions on this week's edition of RAW, "winning" the belts from Sunday's newly crowned champions, John Cena (#12) and David Otunga (#36). It was part of a Nexus angle.

The Kayfabe Countdown is based on the cumulative tally of wrestler win/loss records, based on televised matches from WWE and TNA 2010 broadcasts. At present, they includes TNA: Impact!, WWE: RAW, WWE: Superstars, WWE: Smackdown, and monthly Pay-Per-View events.