Happy birthday Vince McMahon! To celebrate, I'm bringing Canton's Corner back! That's not really the reason, but the timing is impeccable.
Canton's Corner. It's back. For those that weren't reading my work in 2011, this was a weekly column I started that summer and I stopped doing it about a year ago. The last one I could find was in August 2012, so after a year-long hiatus I'm bringing it back. Why? Because I missed writing it. Last year I stopped it largely because I just didn't have time for it, but work hours have changed a bit and I know I can find time for it now.
My plan is to write this column and post it every Saturday morning or early afternoon. Why Saturday? Because I want to include thoughts on Smackdown, which airs Friday night. When WWE has a PPV and I post a preview I won't be writing this CC column. For every other weekend I will write it as long as I can. Some weeks will be longer than others. It's a time thing. It's a content thing.
The format is something I'll tinker with because there's no perfect formula for something like this, but I know I will be linking to a lot of things so in a sense it will be similar to Headlines articles that you read on TJRWrestling already. Enough of my gibberish, let's get to the topics at hand.
Three Best WWE Matches This Week
I'm not sure if I'll write about great matches every week, but this week there were three of them. Two of them are ones that everybody knows since Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena carried the annual SummerSlam event. The other one? Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro from NXT in a 2/3 Falls match.
1. Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk (No Disqualification) at SummerSlam
I've watched it three times now. I stand by the ****1/2 (out of 5) rating I gave it when I wrote live on Sunday. If you think that's too low then that's fine, but remember I'm not criticizing by preventing it from being five stars. I just don't think it reached that level. What I loved about it was that Punk was able to stand toe to toe with "The Beast" and did a damn good job in making us think he could get the win. There were great nearfalls for both guys, close submission attempts that looked realistic and the crowd was into everything they did. Awesome brawl. I loved it.
2. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena at SummerSlam
I think it was just as good as Lesnar vs. Punk (I gave it the same rating), but it was a different kind of match because they really didn't go out of the ring much. It was a straight up wrestling match for nearly 30 minutes. Most importantly, Daniel Bryan won clean. It wasn't a cheap win to beat Cena. It was clean right in the center of the ring. He knocked him out with a running knee attack that he's using as a new finisher and it worked. The events that happened after the win grabbed the headlines, but the match was magnificent too.
3. Antonio Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn (2/3 Falls) at NXT
This was taped about a month ago and I had a few friends who were in attendance that told me about how awesome it was, so I was excited to see it. Obviously they had plenty of matches together in Ring of Honor as Claudio Castagnoli (Cesaro) and El Generico (Zayn), but it's different in WWE. When two guys come from ROH you never know if WWE is going to acknowledge their past or even put them in matches together. Obviously with these two they realized the chemistry was there.
I loved the falls in the match. Zayn got the first fall in under a minute after hitting a dive over the top and then he got a quick rollup. It made sense because Zayn wanted to start out at a fast pace. It fits what his character is all about. Cesaro was able to ground him and he got a submission with an aggressive chinlock. How many times does that happen in WWE? It's very rare, but it worked. Most importantly, it made sense. The biggest spot in the match (other than the finish) was when Zayn hit a Tornado DDT after leaping between the bottom & middle ropes in the corner of the ring. You have to see that spot. It's beautiful.
Cesaro came back to win by countering a Tornado DDT in the ring with the European Uppercut (after lifting Zayn in the air using all his strength!) and then he finished Zayn off with the Neutralizer. It was outstanding wrestling that made sense from start to finish. Cesaro showed off how strong he was in doing some incredible spots including doing a superplex with Zayn's feet on the floor while Cesaro was on the middle ropes. That's not easy! The crowd loved the entire match. How could you not? Zayn will be on the main roster very soon and I'd love to see more matches between them on the bigger stage. Match rating? Same as the two matches up above.
Check out what my buddy Brandon Stroud wrote about it at With Leather because he saw it live and offers a great perspective on it. He thinks it's the WWE Match of the Year. He always makes a lot of sense to me.
Three match of the year contenders in one week. My MOTY pick is CM Punk vs. John Cena from the February 25th edition of Raw, but I really need to watch these matches again along with Undertaker's match with CM Punk at WrestleMania. So many choices.
Three Quick Thoughts on WWE Smackdown
I'm not writing full Smackdown reviews. Just a few quick thoughts.
- It was refreshing to see heel Randy Orton at the start of the show. I think his babyface promos were forced a lot of the time, so when he spoke here he had more conviction in his voice and it seemed like he was enjoying himself more. Daniel Bryan did a great job of firing back on Orton. They also announced that the WWE Title rematch would be at Night of Champions on September 15 based on the "champion gets a rematch" rule. That works for me.
It will be interesting to see if both guys will be on Smackdown regularly because CM Punk is rarely on it while Cena was never on it when healthy.
- The main event match between Bryan and Barrett in a steel cage was very good. Do I have to star rating everything? No. Obviously everybody knew that Bryan was going to win, but there's nothing wrong with that. After the match, Orton snuck up behind Bryan and dropped him with a RKO. No celebrations for Bryan allowed. I like it. Makes him such a sympathetic character that way.
- Darren Young got a clean win over Antonio Cesaro with the Gut Check. On Monday's Raw, Young and Titus O'Neil (The Prime Time Players) all of a sudden became babyfaces who were smiling all the time. Of course it was last week when Young announced to the world that he was gay and it garnered a lot of attention for WWE.
Do I think he's getting wins because he's gay? No. I think WWE realizes they need more babyface tag teams, so they turned these guys babyfaces because they have the personalities that will allow the fans to like. Young coming out was a personal choice because he felt he was ready to share it with the world while WWE showed how much they supported him. I'm happy for him and happy as a wrestling that the Prime Time Players are going to have a bigger role because they are hard working guys that deserve a chance.
This Week on WWE.com: Every Diva Ever Photo Gallery
There are a lot of features on WWE.com every week. They have a lot of content. It seems like they have adopted the Bleacher Report strategy of throwing up whatever random list they can think of because they want people to click on slideshows as a way to get more page loads. Each week in this column I'll mention something on the site that I liked or didn't like.
This week's subject? The Every Diva Ever Photo Gallery that had one photo of every diva that has ever worked for WWE. Anyway, it was cool to click through all of that to remember some of the women that have been there and it ended up being 101 women, so that's probably why they put it up because it's a unique number. They even included Mama Benjamin in there! What a brutal gimmick that was.
I've watched WWE all my life, but there were still some names on there that I don't remember at all or barely remember. Some of those names: Anastacia, Courtney Taylor, Mad Maxine (not recent diva Maxine), Rebecca (Dipietro - only know her from backstage stories), Rochelle Lowen and Velvet McIntyre. I actually remember a woman named "Muffy" that was on Smackdown once as a trainer for Stephanie because she needed help to prepare for a match. I think she was only on once, but I remember her due to the fact that she emailed me back in the day due to something I had written.
My five favorite WWE women all-time in order? Mickie James, Natalya, Trish Stratus, Sensational Sherri and Victoria. In terms of looks, I think Candice Michelle would be first. That voice didn't do it for me, though.
Who didn't make it in the photo gallery? Katie Vick. Rest in peace.
Random Awesome Tweet of the Week
This one goes to Zeb Colter (@WWEZeb), who regularly entertains me with his tweets that often involve berating people. This one is no exception.
I like the term twidiot. I've encountered quite a few of them in my four year run on Twitter. Generally speaking people are pretty cool. I just wanted to acknowledge a Zeb tweet because he's very entertaining on there.
Thoughts on Three News Items
- I thought the Triple H interview on Grantland was pretty awesome for the most part. He's a polarizing figure with online wrestling fans because some people really like the guy while others will always hate him no matter what he does. I sit on the "like" fence although it's not like he is one of my ten favorite wrestlers ever either.
The one part that was telling was when he talked about "dirtsheets" and while his tangent on Wade Keller of PWTorch was a bit off (Keller explained here) it showed that people in wrestling really do care about what people online say about them. I don't know how many wrestlers read the Wrestling Observer, PWInsider, PWTorch and sites like that, but it's probably a good chunk of them. Most wrestlers grew up with the internet like us. They're on the road a lot. Of course they are going to read about themselves. They'll probably talk to people too. Guys like Keller and Dave Meltzer have been in business for over 20 years (I think it's over 30 years for Meltzer) and it's because of all the contacts they have.
What I didn't like was when Triple H wondered why fans wanted to know more about the business. He compared it to how he's a friend of Criss Angel, but he didn't want to know how Angel did his magic tricks. Some of us want to know. People are curious. I think it's silly to talk down to fans as if to say "it's none of your business" because if we're watching and we want to know more that's our right. Don't tell me that Total Divas is a look at the inside of the business when last week's episode featured a woman thinking about getting a boob job. That's not the inside of wrestling. It's reality show bullshit.
I write about wrestling because I love the business. I always want to know more because if I care about something I want to learn about it. It's as simple as that, really. If people want to learn more about wrestling by reading about it online then that's their right. More power to them, I say.
Other than those things, I liked the interview a lot. Great insight into the way he thinks about things in wrestling and how hard he worked to get where he is. Of course I'll still make smartass comments about who he's married to, but it's nothing personal. I respect him a lot. I applaud him for the vision he has for WWE's future.
- There was a news item in the Wrestling Observer that mentioned The Rock may not be a part of WrestleMania 30 at all because the merchandising has been told to not make Rock merchandise. Of course he's on the cover of the WWE 2K14 game they have coming out in October, but as far as merchandise goes it doesn't seem like there will be new Rock material for fans. (WrestlingInc)
I'm fine with it. The show will do great without him. His presence the last three years helped although it helped more at WM28 than it did at WM29 as the better buyrate suggested. However, if he's not going to be wrestling then why not put him as the Hall of Fame headline name? It makes a lot of sense to me.
- Bill Goldberg answered a fan on Twitter by saying "nope" to the rumor about being in talks with WWE for WrestleMania 30.
I'm fine with that. For a few years in WCW I didn't mind him, but the more matches he had the easier it was to see how limited he was. It's been ten years since he was in WWE full time. Now in his late 40s I really don't think he should be wrestling again.
The Only TNA Related Item This Week
I'll write about TNA at some point in this column down the road. Not this week. I could write about the questionable management in TNA Wrestling, but I'm in a positive mood and want to stay that way.
The only thing I took away from this week's show was how incredible Brooke Adams' ass looked in those leather shorts of hers. Of course I have a pic for you.
I edited out Bully Ray and Tito Ortiz (mostly) because nobody wants to see that. Keep on doing what you do, Brooke. We appreciate you.
Sometimes I Talk Too Much
I don't really talk too much in my everyday life, but this week I did three podcasts that I need to shill so I figured that was an appropriate title.
On Tuesday we did a 90 minute of TJRWrestling Radio. My buddy Ace and I were joined by former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas. You can listen to that right here or get it on iTunes right here if you prefer. We talked about everything that happened on SummerSlam, Jimmy shared some Brock Lesnar stories and sadly we did not talk about Total Divas.
On Wednesday I joined TJR writer Mike Aires and Mike Durst for their TJRSports radio show that you can listen to right here. We talked SummerSlam and of course plenty of NFL talk as well. We also talked about how I got started with wrestling writing too. I really enjoyed talking to them. It might end up being a monthly thing as far as when I appear on there again.
Then on Thursday I joined The Wrestling Show with Sleazy & the Fatman to talk about SummerSlam and you can get that here if you're interested. They also upload the entire show to Youtube, so go that route if you want too.
I like doing audio shows, but sometimes it's hard to keep it fresh and say different things. I did the best that I could. If you have a radio show and you want to have me on, just look at my contact info at the bottom of this column, contact me via any of those methods and we can try to work something out.
Happy Birthday to Vince McMahon
We'll end it on this note because today is the 68th birthday of WWE Chairman Vincent Kennedy McMahon. No word on if the doctor said "what a maneuver!" when he was born, but he had to pick up his famous catchphrase somewhere.
Sometimes I get asked who is the one person in wrestling I would most want to meet. My answer is always Vince McMahon. I think he's fascinating. I want to know what he's really like. I want to pick his mind from the business sense. I wonder about how he goes about the creative process. There are so many things I would want to ask him.
Put it in perspective. Without him there would not be as much professional wrestling on television. Without him I'm not writing this column. You're not reading this column. His company and his career have affected our lives so much over the years that all I really want to say is thank you so much for all the entertainment over years. Good or bad, we keep coming back.
To celebrate Vince McMahon's birthday here's a video all about his famous Power Walk.
Make sure you do his Power Walk at some point during the day to pay tribute to the man on his birthday.
That's a wrap at just over 3,000 words. I'm not sure if it will be that long every week, but I'll see.
Let me know what you think about the return of Canton's Corner. Should I change things? Add other aspects to it? I'm always open to ideas, so don't be show. Fire away using the contact info below.
Thanks for reading. See you on Monday (or maybe Tuesday) for the Raw Deal. I don't know if it will be live this week.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org