Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wrestling: The Kayfabe Countdown - 02/27

#1 Edge [--] (11-1-1) (WWE)
[World Heavyweight Champion]

Another week, another win for Edge on Smackdown. The current World Heavyweight Champion doesn't look to be having any troubles in the push department, despite being bogged down in an obscure team-up with Kelly Kelly (#50) against the ailing forces of Vickie Guerrero (#108) and her crumbling house of cards. This premature march of heroes might lead some fans to speculate the chances of Royal Rumble #1 contender, Alberto Del Rio (#2), who'll face off against Edge at Wrestlemania XXVII for the title.

With John Cena (#38) and The Miz (#7) likely to headline, and The Rock in a supporting role, you'd have to think the good guy glory will come from some form of reconciliation between "The People's Champion" and his rapping counterpart, Cena, setting up a customary happy ending for the massaged Mania audience. Which really only lends credence to the theory that Del Rio might be gearing up for a win. He certanly seems to have the more impressive build, besting Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston (#26) in the most unflattering of manners for the IC belt. In other words -- I'm starting to believe and get very curious about the recent WWE signing of Mistico, who may or may not join his lucha fellows on the blue brand just in time for the "showcase of immortals." Very interesting!

#2 [--] Alberto Del Rio (9-2-1) (WWE) [Royal Rumble]
#3 [+5] Ken Anderson (6-3-0) (TNA)
#4 [new] Justin Gabriel (6-3-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champion]
#5 [-2] Randy Orton (6-4-0) (WWE)
#6 [+3] Rey Mysterio (6-4-0) (WWE)
#7 [RE] The Miz (6-6-0) (WWE) [WWE Champion]
#8 [-4] Robert Roode (5-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champion]
#9 [-4] James Storm (5-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champion]
#10 [-4] Frankie Kazarian (5-1-0) (TNA) [X-Division Champion]

#1 [--] Robert Roode & James Storm (5-0-0) (TNA) [Tag Team Champions]
#2 [+5] Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (4-2-0) (WWE) [Tag Team Champions]
#3 [-1] Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (4-4-0) (WWE)
#4 [-1] Sarita & Rosita (2-0-0) (TNA)
#5 [-1] Edge & Randy Orton (2-0-0) (WWE)
#6 [-1] John Morrison & R-Truth (2-0-0) (WWE)
#7 [-1] Rey Mysterio & R-Truth (2-0-0) (WWE)
#8 [new] Edge & Kelly Kelly (2-0-0) (WWE)
#9 [-1] Layla & Michelle McCool (2-1-0) (WWE)
#10 [-1] Madison Rayne & Sarita (2-1-0) (TNA)

Superstar Spotlight:
#NR The Undertaker
(0-0-0) (WWE)

Depending on who you ask, WWE's latest Wrestlemania return campaign may have backfired, somewhat. As remarked upon at the time [February 6], it never struck me as likely that the 2 21 11 promos would regard anything but the return of the Deadman, but it seems some fans had so thoroughly talked themselves into anticipating the arrival of Sting, that they were disappointed by The Undertaker.

The Phenom didn't arrive on RAW alone this week, immediately follow by a returning Triple H, whose silent face-off with the Deadman confirmed their involvement in the annual clash to test Undertaker's winning power. On the one hand, I thought this was a very simple and effective moment, which used all the cache value of these two tested stars, as well as the weighty iconography of the Wrestlemania name and logo itself. On the other hand, I was disappointed that the atmospheric cabin promos that preceded Undertaker's return weren't of more value. Despite an exit that implied some sort of passage to the afterlife, and these return promos that insinuated something akin to a home haven for the wild west inspired Undertaker, it was for moot, a mere transition from clip to stage playing out the involvement of the rainy desert and it's cultish gloom.

I've always been a fan of the pageantry and the fiction of The Undertaker, which are aspects generally lacking from today's WWE product. That said, I wouldn't let personal preference get in the way of appreciating what was ultimately a much more convincing set-up than I would've expected of a match that will only have one month to breathe. In a way, it segues out of the Shawn Michaels challenges of the previous years, which completely changed the complexion of what it is to challenge The Undertaker's streak at Wrestlemania. I would still have loved to see Brock Lesnar return to challenge the streak in an MMA-infused encounter, but I doubt Undertaker is physically up to making the most of that scenario, any way. With Triple H, it becomes a match about status and standing. A continuation of the previous two years that sees the fresher of the DX duo take on the Deadman, in a rematch of their 2001 "X-Seven" clash that gave 'Taker Mania win number nine! Roll on number nineteen!

Special Note: On the February 21 episode of RAW, John Cena (#38) and The Miz (#7) were paired together to win the Tag Team Championships. They lost the belts back to Justin Gabriel (#4) and Heath Slater (#22) immediately, granting the latter pair their second reign for 2011, and third overall. It was about as pointless as it sounds.

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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