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 IGN.com, 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: http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/News/read.cds?article=1300

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: http://www.mortalkombatonline.com/content/News/read.cds?article=1295

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]