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Shades Of Gray #23

It's a mid-week "Shades of Gray" for your reading pleasure, O-sters, and it's full of "Quick Hits" on TNA Turning Point, Christian Cage, the apparent demise of the Honk-A-Meter, the slew of WWE releases, and more.

No "Links of the Week" - but I'll make up for it in "Extras," with highlights from Elijah Burke's and Paul London’s WWE careers, as well as from Christian's WWE awesomeness. So strap in your seatbelt (you have a seatbelt hooked up to your computer chair, right?), and click that fucking link!

Quick Hits

All in all, Turning Point was a good PPV. And yes, that was a decent Kevin Nash match you saw (or probably didn't see). Too bad Nash had his buddy Scott Hall kicked out of the building – seeing more of Hall's drunken antics would have been entertaining.

Turning Point was reminiscent of TNA PPVs of about a year ago, when you could depend on solid offerings even if their TV show still sucked. Their TV show still sucks - but hopefully Turning Point will be the (sigh) turning point toward a new trend of quality TNA PPVs. As I've written before, it's important for the Main Event Mafia to look strong at the beginning of this feud, and they certainly did on Sunday, going 4-for-4 in their matches. The stronger they appear now, the more significant the TNA Originals' comeback will be at the end of this feud.

So I've learned nothing from Chad Ocho Cinco. In my last column, I “guaranteed” the 3-hour "Raw" wouldn't garner a rating higher than 2.9. They got a 3.0. My bad. Couldn't Nielsen have rounded the number down? Come on.

It looks as though we've seen the end of the Honk-A-Meter, O-sters. But I'm not so sure. I'm not going to make any guarantees, but I wouldn't be surprised if Santino wins back the I-C title soon (perhaps as soon as Monday), and re-instates the Honk-A-Meter, arguing that the title change didn't count because it happened in another country. After all, we all know cheating doesn't count in other postal/zip codes, right?

Here's a big non-wrestling FUCK YOU to Kevin Garnett for his bush league finger-waving bullshit. FUCK YOU Kevin Garnett! If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's the link. Listen, I'm a huge basketball fan. I'm a huge fan of old-school basketball, a time when hard fouls were praised, not looked down upon. But there's no excuse for his behaviour other than he's a disrespectful asshole. I was really hoping Jermaine O'Neal was going to stick up for his teammate and start another brawl.

While I'm on the topic of FUCK YOUs, here's another FUCK YOU to Viacom for pulling the episodes of Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling from YouTube. It seemed like it happened the day my last column was posted - in the column, I wrote “It’s stupid that Hulk Hogan’s new reality show isn’t playing on the Canadian version of CMT (as far as I know). But I’ve been able to catch it on YouTube, and (far the most part) I like what I see.” Coincidence? Get the Canadian version of CMT to show the episodes and I'll stop complaining. I was really interested in seeing heavily-edited, yet still utterly terrible wrestling from the likes of Dustin Diamond and Butterbean. Seriously. And I was really looking forward to seeing the episode when Danny Bonaduce literally killed someone. If any O-sters out there have links to episodes 2 through 5, hook me up.

I don't follow MMA too closely, but I'm really looking forward to Couture v. Lesnar Saturday night. For weeks, I’ve thought (and debated with friends) that Lesnar will be able to overpower Couture, who hasn’t had a fight in quite some time. But as the fight draws near, I can't shake the feeling that in front of the hot crowd, with the pressure on, against one of the best fighters of all time, Lesnar’s going to choke. So as of Wednesday I’m picking Couture to win. If Lesnar wins, though, we have the newest and biggest UFC superstar on our hands.

Over the past week or so, Paul London, Elijah Burke, Chuck Palumbo, Kenny Dykstra, and Lena Yada (who?) were wished the best in their future endeavours. Really, no one should be shocked by any of these releases. Yes, WWE got rid of some talented youngsters, but we still shouldn't be surprised - WWE makes stupid decisions all the time. Paul London would have been great if WWE was dedicated to a cruiserweight division - and he was great as part of a tag team with Brian Kendrick. But his size was always going to hold him back in WWE.

And anyone who references Brian Kendrick in opposition to this argument would be wrong to do so. He's over right now - but there will be no long-term investment in his character. He's just there to get the bigger (and far less talented) Ezekiel over. Back to Paul London: He's better off in TNA's X-Division (you know they'll try to sign him) or returning to ROH.

As for the others: it's clear that former members of the Spirit Squad are cursed. Or more accurately, they were called up to the main roster before they were ready, and after the cheerleaders were stuffed down everyone's throats for half a year and their characters got stale, creative couldn't come up with anything besides naming Kenny after a former Major Leaguer. Elijah Burke was grossly underutilized for the past year or so, and seems to have developed a decent-sized internet following because of his blogs; I was never a fan of Chuck Palumbo; and I have no idea who Lena Yada is.

In a recent blog post (written before these releases, and perhaps anticipating them), J.R. had this to say about some of the younger WWE talent:

"Amazing to see so many wanna be stars contribute literally nothing intellectually to their ring personas. Nothing. Many spend more time in catering or talking to one of seeming two dozen Divas than getting with those that can help them develop their presentation and in ring personas. Amazing."

It’s a fair complaint, but J.R. and the WWE need to understand that the fed’s own practices are, at least, partially to blame for the lack of originality among some of the undercard talent. WWE has taken away the need for a wrestler to develop his/her character. I don’t want to totally absolve the newer generation of WWE wrestlers of blame, as clearly guys like Santino Marella who take an active role in the development of their character are getting over, but by scripting (for the most part) every line of wrestlers’ promos, WWE is creating robots. Robots who, unlike Bender, have no personality. Or at least have no idea how to develop their characters. Robots who have no idea how to cut a promo that will sell PPVs.

*Spoiler Alert* Scroll down to "Extras" if you don't want to read about a news item from tomorrow night's "iMPACT!" But you probably should read it - unless you're a pussy.

The beat-down of Christian not only adds to the strength of Main Event Mafia, but it also gives Christian options. That's right, I'm praising TNA booking. It's been rumoured that the beat-down was done to write Christian out of TNA, (and as Big Daddy Donnie reported earlier this week) perhaps setting up a return to WWE. Also, if Christian decides to re-sign with TNA, they've got a great angle already set-up for him. Playing DDP to MEM's nWo could rejuvenate Christian's stalled TNA career.


1. Elijah Burke vs. CM Punk for the "ECW" title at Unforgiven 2007 (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3).

2. Here’s a match Burke said was a pleasure to be a part of: “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and CM Punk vs. Shelton Benjamin and Burke

3. MnM defend their Tag Team Championships against Paul London and Brian Kendrick (Part 1; Part 2).

4. Here’s another match from one of Paul London's and Brian Kendrick’s more prominent feuds.

5. Watch the beginning of this clip and just try to tell me the pop for Christian, if he decides to return to WWE, will not be huge.

6. Hey! I forgot Christian and DDP actually fought each other at WrestleMania X8. I probably should have remembered – I was there.

7. The UFC Countdown preview of Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Couture.

2 comments: on "Shades Of Gray #23"

Anonymous said...

i was at the raw show on monday in england, man, i witnessed the end of the honk a meter, im still distraught, but then again wwe found out that ppl actually liked that gimmick, so we shoudnt rele be suprised they got rid! but hopefully they bring it back like u say! is there any chance they could interlink the return of edge and christian at the same time, would be super over with me that

Andrew Gray said...

I think it would be cool (from a me marking out standpoint) if they linked the returns of Edge and Christian together. But it'd be a backwards step - they're two top heels separately, and a lot of the younger fans wouldn't even remember/know about their former tag team. Plus, my guess would be that Chritian would go to Raw.

Still, it'd be sweet if they formed a two-man power gimmick on Smackdown.