Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 01/16

#2 Alberto Del Rio [+3] (3-1-0)
(WWE: Smackdown)

I fully expected to have to defend the presence of Jeff Jarrett at the top of the Kayfabe Countdown rankings for at least a few weeks. He started the year with a triple threat week of matches, appearing twice on the first Impact of the year, and again on Pay-Per-View in a no contest pseudo-MMA encounter with Kurt Angle. Fortunately, I hadn't counted on WWE flexing the muscles of their vast network of programming hours to show a proper investment in Spanish Smackdown up-and-comer, Alberto Del Rio.

A legacy luchadore better known to Mexican fans as Dos Caras Jr; the now unmasked star was in the Kayfabe Countdown spotlight in 2010 [December 19]. Just a few weeks later, he's topping the countdown, fresh off an encounter on RAW with soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer, Shawn Michaels. The sweet chin music finisher might have put a retiree on higher ground than a fresh face, but the honor of interrupting the Heartbreak Kid in his big moment is already being universally praised as the ultimate rub for a could-be future legend.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing for Del Rio. Plans for a feud with Christian were abruptly ended by a wrist injury, and last week on Smackdown, Del Rio's prolonged feud with babyface lucha, Rey Mysterio, was given 'final battle' billing despite a dubious countout victory in the third of a Best of Three falls. Not a terribly convincing way to end a feud, but I guess it's still a good win for a 2010 recruit some are billing as a legitimate contender for the upcoming Royal Rumble.

#1 [+2] Kofi Kingston (3-0-0) (WWE) [Intercontinental Champion]
#3 [-2] Jeff Jarrett (2-0-1) (TNA)
#4 [+2] Robert Roode (2-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champion]
#5 [+2] James Storm (2-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champion]
#6 [+2] Randy Orton (2-0-0) (WWE)
#7 [new] Matt Hardy (2-0-0) (TNA)
#8 [new] Chris Masters (2-0-0) (WWE)
#9 [new] Yoshi Tatsu (2-0-0) (WWE)
#10 [-8] Ken Anderson (2-1-0) (TNA) [World Heavyweight Champion]

#1 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (2-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [+1] Eve Torres & Brie Bella (1-0-0) (WWE)
#3 [+1] Madison Rayne & Sarita (1-0-0) (TNA)
#4 [+1] Natalya Neidhart & Eve Torres (1-0-0) (WWE)
#5 [+1] Natalya Neidhart & Brie Bella (1-0-0) (WWE)
#6 [new] Randy Orton & Jerry Lawler (1-0-0) (WWE)
#7 [new] Angelina Love & Winter (1-0-0) (TNA) [Knockouts Tag Team Champions]
#8 [new] Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy (1-0-0) (TNA)
#9 [new] Chris Masters & JTG (1-0-0) (WWE)
#10 [new] Yoshi Tatsu & David Hart Smith (1-0-0) (WWE)

Superstar Spotlight:
#67 Wade Barrett
(0-2-0) (WWE)

NXT Season One raised a lot of questions about the WWE's newest TV project; some good, some bad. It might have been argued that Bryan Danielson (#37) (WWE packaged as Daniel Bryan) was given the short end of the stick, but when you consider the explosive impact of the entire cast's assault on RAW, including the decimation of John Cena and the very ring he had occupied, I guess everyone came up trumps for at least a night.

The Nexus has been plagued with problems for the majority of it's duration. Danielson was briefly let go for an obscure no-choke rule on the soft core PG show, Skip Sheffield took an injury, and the group was booked weak before their time when push came to shove. If nothing else looked sure to come out of Nexus in the longterm, Wade Barrett was it.

As some cynics might've predicted back at the beginning, John Cena got the better of his rookie-turned-revolutionary nemesis, devastating him before the end of 2010 in a chair match Barrett won't want to remember any time soon. A legitimate injury suffered by John Cena during a cage match at a houseshow was ultimately a blessing for Barrett, offering some unlikely, but much needed credibility, even if it's slim pickings as an untelevised victory. However, desperately searching for a way forward, The Nexus have been given a lifeline in new management, CM Punk stepping in to the role after an unflattering week of absence from the decimated Barrett. Worse still; rather than tackle the situation head-on, it now seems Barrett has been shipped off to the internally perceived "B-Show," where he'll be invited to do it all over again with the aid of Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, and Ezekiel Jackson, on Smackdown.

Giving Barrett the chance to shine on a wrestling centric show has the potential to be another blessing in disguise, if it doesn't claim too many of the other stars on the show, ie; Countdown #1, Alberto Del Rio. Even so, I hope against hope that WWE are able to overcome their stubborn opposition to the idea of heels fighting heels, giving Barrett the chance to at least respond to CM Punk's subordination and his teammates' treason. It just doesn't seem fair to a character who put so much into the angle, carrying it at times with a charisma quite unlike his fellows'. Personally, I think it would make a fantastic Wrestlemania showdown, but before we start looking that far ahead, there's a Royal Rumble to consider. Neutral territory for opposing Nexus' to planet the seeds of a bigger feud in March? Fingers crossed!

Special Note: Last week's Kayfabe Countdown [January 9] required a correction to account for's failure to list a rematch between newly crowned Intercontinental Champion, Kofi Kingston (#2), and losing champ, Dolph Ziggler (#48). The double result is counted in last week's edited Countdown, and this week as well.

Additional: Last week's Kofi Kingston error has trickled into this week, creating another false result. Kofi Kingston is actually #1, Alberto Del Rio a close #2.

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.

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