Welcome to Canton’s Corner. I’ll be looking at NXT & Smackdown this week. I was going to write about TNA a bit too, but I’ve decided to write a full column about TNA on Thursday of next week, so if you’re looking for my thoughts on their improved show (it is getting better) then look for that during the week. I’m in a bit of a rush due to some festivities this weekend, so this might be shorter than my usual CC column.

Before we get to the writing part of the column, I did a one hour interview with a very enjoyable Scottish podcast known as Inside The Ropes. The interview was conducted prior to this past Monday’s Raw, so we talked about No Way Out quite a bit. The link for Inside The Ropes is RIGHT HERE. It’s on ITunes too if you want to get it that way. Just click that link for the details. We had a lot of fun and talked about The Great Khali a little too much haha. Thanks to Kenny and Rob for having me on. It was a lot of fun.

My Random Thoughts on the New Season of NXT

This past week the new season of NXT started to air everywhere (it seems) except in America. It’s shown on The Score here in Canada at 5pm and 8pm on Thursdays, so I’ll be able to see it although I think it’s moving to Friday soon. I know it’s in the UK too. For the Americans out there, best thing to do is search for “wwe NXT 06 20 12” and you should find it. I’m not posting direct links here, but if you look it’s out there. I’m not here to review the whole show. I do have some quick thoughts on it.

– I like the set. It’s a small venue (even smaller than TNA’s), but it works for what the show is supposed to be.

– The video packages introducing some of the talent were well produced. They weren’t too long and got the point across.

– Dolph Ziggler’s brother is an interviewer named Briley Pierce. He looks exactly like him except with brown hair.

– I’m impressed by The Ascension. The video package introducing them worked very well. Their tag match win was pretty good too. Much better use of that Conor O’Brian guy than when they were making fun of him for looking like a rat on NXT.

– Too much Raw recap. We don’t need those video packages on this show.

– Husky Harris is gone. His new name is Bray Wyatt. The video they aired about him was interesting and showed me that he is somebody to keep an eye on. His look is unique and the promo they aired about him has me intrigued to see more of him in the future.

– The commentary team of Regal & Ross is tremendous obviously. They actually call moves. They put over the talent in the ring by talking about their actual background. There’s no bickering or stupid angles involving them. They’re there to tell stories to the audience, which is what the announcers are supposed to do.

– I’ve seen a bunch of Kidd/McGillicutty NXT matches. That was best match they’ve had and is around a four star match I’d say. It’s 15 minutes of pure wrestling. MM was very good while dominating the majority of the match as the heel and Kidd’s comeback was very exciting. I love Kidd’s moonsault and they shot it from the back angle so it was like he was jumping into the shot. The Dungeon Lock finisher is outstanding too. Kidd’s always been an elite worker. McGillicutty has improved since he was on NXT the first time around.

For more on the debut episode of the new NXT check out Lonestar’s review on TJRWrestling.com RIGHT HERE.

Smackdown Likes & Dislikes

As I’ve been known to do, here are my five likes and five dislikes from WWE Friday Night Smackdown this week. It’s not a recap of the show. It’s about what worked and what didn’t work. Let’s get to it.

LIKE – Sheamus defeats Dolph Ziggler in the main event

This was a non-title rematch of their match from Sunday’s No Way Out PPV. It was an entertaining TV match where you knew Sheamus was going to win again, but at least they didn’t bury Ziggler during the match. Sheamus is the long term World Champion that is going to be booked strong for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t the kind of match that is going to blow you away or make you mad if you missed it. It was a very good, three star TV match that was a nice end to a television show. Some weeks there’s nothing wrong with that.

Who is going to be Sheamus’ opponent for the World Title at Money in the Bank? We don’t know yet. I would assume they go with Del Rio, who has yet to have his one on one match despite it being advertised originally at Over The Limit (then changed into a four way) and No Way Out (due to the concussion). It could be a returning Chris Jericho too. That would be fresh.

DISLIKE – Ryback beats up two skinny jobbers

Again? At the PPV he was saying he wants to face three guys, yet they put him against two once more. It’s funny to see him toss around 150 pound dudes like they were nothing, but it’s getting tiresome. At least the Baltimore crowd seemed to be appreciative of his efforts although on Smackdown you never know if the sounds we hear are legit. I think fans are ready to see face some different opponents, so it will be interesting to see when he gets an actual feud and who will be the one to get destroyed by him.

As an aside, since I’ve complained about it a lot it’s worth noting that Ryback’s finisher is called Shell Shocked. It’s okay. Not great. The move is sponsored by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I think.

LIKE – Big Show destroys Brodus Clay again

I’m not sure what I liked the most about this. It was either the fact that they did an entertaining segment that effectively put over the power of Big Show or simply because I’m so tired of the stale Brodus Clay character that deserved a beating like this. I think it’s because I’m tired of Brodus Clay. This will likely lead to a longer feud between Show & Clay down the road that will hopefully make Clay a more serious character because if he keeps going on the path he’s on he’s going to lose fan support rather quickly.

By the way, the addition of David Otunga dancing like Carlton Banks after the beatdown was pretty funny too.

DISLIKE – Big Show being in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match

This is a minor dislike. Prior to Show’s destruction of Brodus Clay, he announced he would be in a MITB ladder match. Does anybody want to see him try to climb a ladder? No. I guess it could be similar to Kane being in the match many times over the years and he actually won a couple years ago, but I’m not that interested in the Big Show character. I have a worry that the match is going to be all about him. I don’t expect him to win though. Assuming that there are two MITB ladder matches (that’s what I keep reading although it’s not confirmed by WWE yet), this is the opportunity to elevate new people. Show will likely lose due to Brodus Clay getting his revenge on him there. That’s just a feeling on my part.

LIKE – Alberto Del Rio defeats Christian in an entertaining match

This is why I like Smackdown a lot. It’s the show where talents like Alberto Del Rio & Christian get a chance to have a quality 10 minute match where the IC Champ Christian does a wonderful job of putting over Del Rio, who needs it. Christian’s in the spot that Jericho’s been in for many years. He can lose a lot of matches and the fans won’t care too much because he’s been such a consistently good performer for so long that he has earned the respect from the viewers. They’re going to react to him no matter what. He’s also one of my favorite wrestlers, so I’m glad he’s out there putting on good matches on a regular basis. Del Rio needed the win.

DISLIKE – Mick Foley booked like just another guy

Mick Foley is the Hardcore Legend and he’s my pick to be the headliner at the 2013 Hall of Fame in New York/New Jersey. You couldn’t tell that on Smackdown, though. He barely got any screen time despite being “in charge” of the show. He was the GM this week yet the first person we saw was Teddy Long. Why? I’m tired of Teddy. The only use of Foley was seeing him awkwardly dance with Great Khali backstage and then a comedy in-ring segment where he was cut off by Heath Slater. That’s it? Foley needs to be made out to be a bigger deal than he was here.

LIKE – AJ continues to interject herself in anything Kane is involved with

On Monday we saw AJ skipping around the ring while dressed like Kane. On Smackdown she was in the role of guest timekeeper (why do we need a timekeeper anyway?) and she helped Kane win his eight minute match against Daniel Bryan. How? Bryan had Kane in the Yes Lock while the big man was trying to fight out of it. All of a sudden AJ rang the bell, so Bryan thought he had won when in fact he did not. That allowed Kane to recover and hit the Chokeslam on Bryan for the win. Creative booking. I like that. It’s not something we see all the time, so it worked for me.

The loss doesn’t hurt Bryan very much because it was only due to the behavior of AJ as the timekeeper. It was smart booking. I liked it a lot.

DISLIKE – Santino’s comedy segment

This was brutal. I can’t believe they did a time filling segment like this on one of their main weekly shows. There are so many talents on the roster (especially the divas) that could use the 3-4 minutes of TV time given to Santino, who got kissed by a random “fan” in a comedy way. The Santino character gets plenty of TV time. Why not give it to those that need it? Weak.

LIKE – Tag teams are actually feuding

It was another nice win by the Prime Time Players as they defeated the Usos clean in tag team action. After the match, they were confronted by Primo & Epico backstage. Can you believe it? An actual storyline involving tag teams in WWE! It’s about damn time!

By the way, on WWE.com they are spelling it as Prime Time Players rather than Primetime as one word, so I will likely shorten it to PTP occasionally as well.

DISLIKE – Zack Ryder is used on Smackdown but not on Raw

It was nice to see Zack Ryder get an actual win even though it was a quick squash of Heath Slater, who is quickly become the joke heel jobber on all WWE shows. My question is: Why not use Ryder on Raw in his hometown when the fans were chanting for him during segments involving others? I’ll never understand the logic of burying people in their hometown.

Quick Takes

– I thought it was smart to announce that Vickie Guerrero would be running Raw & Smackdown next week. It’s important to build things from week to week, so now at least we can expect to deal with her annoying voice for the next two shows.

– Aside from Big Show announcing his entry into a Money in the Bank match, nothing was announced regarding July’s PPV. I’d assume next week’s editions of Raw & Smackdown will give us some more info involving the annual July event that is typically one of the better PPVs of the year.

I liked this week’s edition of Smackdown. I would give it a rating of 7 out of 10.

Random Clip of the Week

I know that often times I link to great matches over the years because of how awesome they are and I want you to relive them along with me. This time, though, I wanted to look at a unique “match” from Smackdown that saw Eddie Guerrero wrestle John Cena in a Parking Lot Brawl from September 11, 2003. That Frog Splash off the roof of the car is very unique. Rest in Peace, Eddie Guerrero. We will always miss you and we will never forget you.

Melo Out

Are you ready for the 1000th episode of RAW? Well, if you read my mini column two weeks ago you would know by now that I am not. Were you excited to see Vince back for a yet another lack luster three hour edition of Monday night RAW? Neither was I. Besides the Triple H and Paul Heyman confrontation and the opening tag match, this show did nothing for me except put me out. Is this what we are to expect for RAW when it officially goes three hours in July? I sure hope not.

I missed the No Way Out pay per view because it was my first father’s day and therefore family comes first. But it didn’t really matter in the end. All the matches that I knew ahead of time that were on the card I predicted the winner. So it felt like I didn’t really miss anything at all. I will have to dedicate the time to check out the CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Kane match as I read that was pretty good from a couple of people now. And Big Show in the main event against Cena? Doesn’t it feel like I just seen him toss Cena into a giant light fixture? That did happen right? I am allowed to remember that aren’t I? I think I’ll pass on the Santino and Ricardo tuxedo match though. Seriously? We have gone from the age of Bra and Panties’ matches to this? Sometimes I feel like the WWE gave us fans a free ten year supply of heroin only to suddenly cut us off and expect us to suddenly quit cold turkey. As Carlito would say… “That’s not cool!” Man I miss that guy. He spit in the face of people who didn’t want to be cool. True story.

Speaking of true stories, I caught a bit of NXT because I read there was a new show format and that Dusty Rhodes was now the GM (not that authority figures mean anything anymore much like the any superstar being fired stipulation storylines are concerned) and I liked what I saw. Just the fact that Jim Ross and Regal are on commentary make this show great. Why oh why are these two greats not on RAW doing commentary? And where oh where are my WWE ice cream bars? CM Punk is a freakin’ liar. I thought we would have had a new belt by now too but it’s been over 200 days of the same bling bling in the ring ring. See what I did there? Hopefully soon though because that thing is uglier than a two dollar whore. Hi Candice Michelle how you doing? But going back to NXT, It could definitely give Impact a run for their money as far as ratings go, which is kind of sad when you really stop and think about it.

Until next time, sit back, relax and melo out, because that is what wrestling is all about.

Steve “The Melo Man” Melo

Facebook: MeloOutTJR

Twitter: @MeloOutTJR

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Thanks Steve. That’s all for now. I’ll have the Raw Deal live on Monday on TJRWrestling.com and I’ll also post a column about TNA that should be out on Thursday most likely. I don’t think I’ll be doing a Canton’s Corner next weekend. It’s Canada Day on Sunday July 1, so I might be away during that weekend.

Chris Jericho is back on Monday. Yes! See ya Monday for the Raw Deal.

John Canton – thejohnreportnet@yahoo.com

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