PWI UPDATE ARCHIVE

THE LAST TURN
THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of February 17-23, 2012
THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of February 10-16, 2012
THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of February 3-9, 2012
THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of January 27-February 2, 2012
THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of January 20-26, 2012
THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of January 13-19, 2012
THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of January 6-12, 2012
THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of January 1-5, 2012

OLDER ARCHIVES
PWI Update Archives: 2011
PWI Update Archives: 2010
PWI Update Archives: 2009
PWI Update Archives: 2008
PWI Update Archives:July-December 2007
PWI Update Archives:January-June 2007
PWI Update Archives: November-December 2006
PWI Update Archives: September-October 2006
PWI Update Archives: August 2006
PWI Update Archives: July 2006
PWI Update Archives: June 2006
Older Archives

THE LAST TURN

Six years ago, I took on the task of writing a weekly web column for pwi-oline.com primarily to remain on the fringe of the industry and to make some people laugh. I had no interest in sticking around nearly as long as I have, so much so that I recall asking then-Managing Editor Lisa Rocchi to “shoot me in the neck if I’m still writing this column when I’m 30.”

In four weeks, I’ll be 33, my neck is virtually unscathed, and, right now, you’re reading the final edition of this column.

For my final installment, I sit down at my desk with hopes of both entertaining and riling. The feedback I’ve received over the years tells me I’ve been successful at doing just that. Really, I can only recall three instances where I got genuinely angry pieces of mail: One suggested that all ideas that could ever be used in wrestling had already been done, one corrected my use of the word “penultimate,” and one was from my good friend Rich Angelo, who legitimately objected to my griping about John Cena’s mike skills. Aside from that craptastic hat trick, it’s mostly been accolades and indifference. Sweet, sweet indifference.

I’d like to use my final 1,000 words to thank all the wonderful people at PWI that made this column not only passable each week, but damn near good at times. They took my drivel week in and week out and morphed it into something that resembled a well-written recap of the weekly events. The brilliant minds of Jeff Ruoss, Harry Burkett, and Frank Krewda continually kept me on point and encouraged thoughtfulness. Whether it was Jeff’s truly skewed way of viewing things, Harry’s pragmatism, or Frank’s “you-can’t-put-that-in-writing-because-it doesn’t-make-sense”-itude, each has been instrumental in my column’s “success” (it’s a relative term), and I can’t thank each of them enough. It was a pure joy to work with them each week. I had as much fun dissecting the column and shooting the breeze as I did sitting down to write it.

Next up, all the wonderful people at Kappa Publishing, who allowed me to ramble on for 300-plus weeks. They could’ve pulled the plug at any moment, but regime changes and all, I remained. Like a cockroach … or the plague. Who am I kidding? I could walk right into the middle of palatial PWI headquarters in scenic Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, with a T-shirt emblazoned with my name and photo and still 90 percent of the folks there would have no clue who I was. Seriously, though, I appreciate the opportunity.

Of course, I couldn’t recognize the great folks behind PWI without acknowledging the amazing writing staff I’ve gotten to work with the past six years. I have been unbelievably fortunate to work beside such talented folks as Dave Lenker, Dan Murphy, Bill Meltzer, Will Welsh, C.F. Hunter, Brady Hicks, Al Castle, and, my all-time wrestling crush, Brandi Mankiewicz (she’s very real, and very awesome), among so many others. “The Turn” was an amalgamation of the styles and skills of all of the writers I was able to work with these past six years.  “Amalgamation” being writer speak for “subconscious plagiarism,” of course. If I’ve forgotten anyone, it’s only because there have been so many great people that it’s impossible to name you all. Plus, I’m drunk. Rat-ass drunk … Wait … I mean “creative.” Rat-ass creative.

Finally, my life in this industry would not have been as long or as enjoyable as it was without the following two groups. First and foremost, I can’t imagine I would’ve lasted nearly as long in this gig without the support and encouragement of the aforementioned Lisa Rocchi-Doyle and legendary publisher—and future hall of famer—Stuart M. Saks. Many a long afternoon did the three of us sit together and churn out book after book or fight over which bits of profanity I could sneak into a story (the answer: not many). They are two of the best co-workers I’ve ever had the honor to punch a time card next to and, more so, two of the best human beings I’ve ever encountered—just decent, good folks who cared about the product and wouldn’t put up with my crap.

And, in the end, the past six years would not have been possible without the support and rage of my fellow wrestling fans who took time away from searching for early morning Internet porn to check out the site each Friday morning and read the column. I never—not for one of the 94,608,000 seconds this column has existed—took you, the reader, for granted. The fact that you took any amount of time out of your schedule to read the thoughts and quips of this columnist still boggles my mind, in a good way, of course. I truly and genuinely appreciate each and every one of you.

Although I now head off for whatever-the-hell it is you do when you leave the wrasslin’ mob, I encourage you all to continue to support the PWI family of publications in all their forms. Some great and exciting things are happening with the books through virtual publication and social media. It’s a very exciting time to be a PWI reader and fan. I believe in Stu and Frank and their vision. They care about this publication and I am confident of their leadership. Enjoy PWI, support PWI, and become PWI. Engage the writers, set the tone for the books, and take advantage of all this great staff has to offer. Remember, when the state of the industry seems its bleakest, PWI has been a stalwart of all that is good and fun about wrestling for the past 30-plus years, and with your support, it’ll be there for the next 30.

The End.

THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of February 17-23, 2012

Elimination Chamber Recap
For all the grief we give TNA for its unabashed love of gimmick matches and even more gimmicky pay-per-views, it’s astounding how much we look forward to WWE’s Elimination Chamber pay card. Perhaps it’s because it’s a well put together event that centers on two grandiose matches with great implications and gold on the line. Or, you know, it could just be the structure itself. A glorified steel cage with compartments is, as the kids say, fairly badass.

Whatever the basic rationale we hold deep in our collective psyches, the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view is quickly catching up to The Royal Rumble as our favorite of the winter season and this year’s offering only helped solidify its place in our hearts. Four championships were on the line, two of them in Elimination Chamber matches, and all with the potential of being solid, quality affairs.

Not in the least bit shocked that CM Punk retained the gold despite—as we were told ad nauseum—the odds being against him as the incumbent champ. He’s WWE’s bridge star between guys like perennial good guy, and noted hate non-embracer, John Cena, and Monchichi-bearded Randy. If Punk had lost the gold to anyone in the Chamber, we really didn’t see any compelling feuds coming from it. Sure, Chris Jericho is stating his case on a weekly basis but, despite liking both guys quite a bit, that doesn’t scream for attention the way a championship feud leading into WrestleMania should. So, it made a world of sense to us to see Punk retain. However …

… we’ll still claim shock that the squirrelly Daniel Bryan continues to shock the world and remain champ. Crappy disposition aside, we still dig the guy, but seeing him defeat a collective that averaged, approximately, four feet height advantages (we kid) on him was impressive. The thought on our end was that everything we saw led us to believe that the Chamber match was custom built for a guy like The Big Show or Wade Barrett to capture the strap. Shows what the hell we know, eh?

The undercard was relatively solid, with U.S. champ Jack Swagger retaining over Justin Gabriel and Divas champ Beth Phoenix doing the same in her match with Tamina Snuka. Overall, the champs looked strong—as expected—but both challengers gave us hope for the future, which is really all you can hope for in matches like that. Of course, this was all a precursor to the huge Cena-Kane blood feud Ambulance match, which, of course, was going to blow the roof off … oh, it’s over.

We’re not really big fans of matches like these, but even by our very low standards, it didn’t do much for us. How it sneaks in behind the other matches where titles are on the line is beyond us. Still, we enjoyed the pay card overall. Well-paced action, good drawing power for the big matches, and it’s likely the last time we’ll have to pay full price for it.

The Week In Televised (and Onlline)Wrestling

Friday, February 17
Smackdown
Let’s face it: This episode was essentially an infomercial for the Elimination Chamber pay card two nights later, but there were some bright spots—specifically—Santino Marella winning the Press Your Luck Get Into the Elimination Chamber match. Of all the participants, “The Milan Miracle” was clearly the crowd favorite.

Saturday, February 18
ROH
Charlie Haas: Badass? Hey, we’ve met the guy and we can tell you that there are few genuinely nicer human beings on the planet. Yet, his utter and complete decimation of Mark Briscoe (in a losing effort) on Saturday night was only made cooler by his tossing of $10,000 in cash at Kevin Kelly to cover his and Shelton Benjamin’s eventual fines. Never thought we’d buy him as a legit baddie, but we were way off.

Monday, February 20
Raw
Hey, look, another Raw supershow. That’s just … super. The big news of the night was Chris Jericho winning the battle royal to become, officially, CM Punk’s opponent for WrestleMania 28. Again, as we said above, this really doesn’t do much for us, but—meh, we’ll watch. The bigger issue to us—and trust us, we try to avoid getting political at all—was the opening segment with John Cena tearing down “hoeski” Eve Torres. Here’s the thing: If WWE is going to pretend it’s PG … hell, if it’s going to pretend it’s anything but what it is … it can’t have segments where guys tear down women like that. Sure, Eve’s intentions were wrong, but the public humiliation in the town square was a bit much. We give everyone enough credit to acknowledge this is just television and done for entertainment. Remember that the next time your son or daughter is watching a similar segment.

Tuesday, February 21
Smackdown
A very enjoyable Tuesday edition of Smackdown allowed us to forget about the two-hour infomercial from the previous Friday night. The evening was capped off with an indy wrestling fan’s dream: CM Punk versus Daniel Bryan under the production value of WWE. Hell of a nice exhibition with both champs getting the jump on each other and giving us spot-monkeys something to go nuts for on a Tuesday. Having it end in a draw—with each picking up a pinfall and going to a no-contest—was very solid.

Wednesday, February 22
NXT
Hey, a 20-plus minute introduction episode of NXT. Sweet! No, seriously, while we would usually crush an episode as formulaic as this, we really needed to have everything reset for us, and we actually watch each week. So, some guys are good guys, some are not. There are women, some with good intentions, others with none. Derrick Bateman still looks like a solid WWE prospect, Tyson Kidd can’t break through the glass ceiling that exists for only him, and Percy Watson is the best mid-season addition since Arnold and Willis’s brother Sam. Done. All caught up—thanks!

Thursday, February 23
Impact Wrestling
Remember how Sting was supposed to “pass the torch” hundreds of times over the past few years? There was AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy and any number of also-rans who were supposed to grab that torch and become the face of the industry for the next decade. Although that didn’t end up happening (the guy is still competing right?) we have a new theory. Sting isn’t here to pass anything aside from credibility and a lifetime’s worth of experience to only the most worthy in TNA. He’s giving a bit of the fire to each as he goes. Case in point: How damn good is Bobby Roode right now? We’re legitimately looking forward to his title match with Sting at Victory Road, and it’s primarily because we want to see Roode’s progression. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

 

THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of February 10-16, 2012

The Week In Televised (and Onlline)Wrestling

Friday, February 10
Smackdown
What the hell did we just see? We understand that WWE is trying to maintain a TV-PG rating, and that it’s trying to appeal to a younger audience, but we’re still not quite certain what having Natalya suffer through gastrointestinal issues achieves. Whatever the hell it is WWE is looking to do, making her the "butt" of an unfunny gag just flat-out doesn’t work. Are they reaching out to the tween crowd with colitis? Consider us lost on this one.

Saturday, February 11
Ring Of Honor
Another big win for Jay and Mark Briscoe on Ring Of Honor Saturday night. And, by “win,” of course, we mean a loss coupled with the hijacking of $5,000 despite technically falling to The House of Truth following a disqualification. The Briscoes made off with the check as part of a bet made prior to the match. A nice, satisfying ending for the good guys and fans, but, moreover, it was preceded by excellent, action-packed wrestling. We can take a schlocky, happy, good guy finish so long as the fight is good. The fans were hot for it and proved that not every episode has to end with some controversy.

Monday, February 13
Raw
We don't know what made us laugh more on Raw Monday night: Kane truly believing that his mission was accomplished when John Cena kissed the true love of his good friend Zack Ryder, or, the young girl crying at the end of the night when an invalid Ryder was pushed off the stage. We're leaning more toward the first because, well, the second just makes us seem like heartless bastards. That John Cena finally "embraced the hate" simply because he kissed his best friend's girlfriend is not only asinine, but a tremendous letdown for what seemed like a promising angle. Hell, if that's all it took, then we used to "embrace the hate" every weekend with our fraternity brothers' girlfriends. Look at us—we're John Cena! Although, as Cena, you can't see us, hence don't look at us. We’re monsters.

Tuesday, February 14
NXT
What was the deal with all the wrestling this week on NXT? Checking out the show online this week, we were confused. See, we’re used to watching updates on love triangles and things of that nature, so wrestling really distracted us this week. Tyson Kidd looked particularly good and is potentially worthy of getting another shot at playing for either the A or B teams on Monday or Friday nights. He desperately needs to change his look, but his style finally feels as if it’s sound enough to put on an entertaining big match. Let's just hope this isn't a trend with NXT and next week we get back to what wresting fans everywhere want to see: pointless story drivel with as little action as possible.

Thursday, February 16
Impact Wrestling
Sure, it's not Pac-Man Jones or even Bart Scott, but there was something cool about seeing the running back of the newly crowned world champion New York Giants show up on Impact Wrestling last night to save James Storm. To the victor goes the spoils, and, apparently, part of those spoils is showing up on late-night wrestling broadcasts on Spike TV. Some guys go to Disney World, but Brandon Jacobs chases off Bully Ray. Frankly, we would’ve chosen Disney, but, you know, he’s already in Orlando. He could still pop over for a visit.  Suppose he should just leave that for Eli. Can't imagine Jacobs sees any sort of action, but does that matter? With big daddy Vince Russo gone, TNA is hurting for some NJ/NY star power. If ever there was a moment for the legendary Stu Saks to make his wrestling debut, now would be it.

Weekly Top 10
The announcement was made official yesterday that WrestleMania 29 will be taking place at MetLife Stadium in North Jersey. (We bet against it and were wrong … oh, well.) Rotund but not jolly New Jersey governor Chris Christie took time away from destroying the unions and taking veiled sexist shots at women to make the announcement official yesterday morning, and, as natives to the East Coast, we couldn't be happier. A short drive north from Philadelphia, and this time next year will be getting psyched up for a trip to yet another WrestleMania. Also, something else to get excited about are all the wonderful things North Jersey has to offer. Here are the Top 10 pieces of "Garden State" Americana you must check out next year when you come to 'Mania 29:

10. Take any number of excessively priced The Sopranos tours of seedy strip clubs and industrial centers.
9. Dare to visit the ghost town that is the abandoned Prudential Center cavern. Is it stalactites or stalagmites? We always confuse those two.
8. The hidden gem of the Northeast: Piscataway.
7. The amazing White Castle in said Piscataway. Nothing special about this one, but it’s always been good to us.
6. Take a tour of the event facility, MetLife Stadium, home to 'Mania 29, the world champion Giants, and loudest perennial disappointment Jets.
5. Liberty State park is fairly lovely in the spring. That’s the truth.
4. Just minutes from actually being in New York rather than pretending you’re a New Yorker without having to make the effort.
3. Finish that iPhone photography project of "Smoke Stacks Of The World" that you've never planned on starting.
2. Roll through scenic Newark. No … seriously, just keep going. Speed up, even.
1. Head to romantic Brick: Experience all the warmth of Jersey Shore while still feeling the grounded sensibility of Mob Wives.

Trending
Buy: Was there a more fun version of Shawn Michaels than D-X Shawn Michaels? We think not.
Hold: The memory of retiring icon Shawn Michaels is one that still warms our hearts.
Sell: Not digging the creepy, retired, amateur-taxidermist looking Shawn Michaels we now have.

Angle Of The Week
The angle of the week is the ultimate and final rulebreaker turn by Daniel Bryan. We really didn't expect him to hold the gold for this long, but it’s been fun to watch, and we genuinely enjoy seeing him compete. But, picking fights with both The Big Show and Randy Orton once again has us thinking that there's no way in hell this guy is much longer for the bottom of the card—much less Earth—if he keeps making such powerful enemies.

What You Should Be Doing … But Probably Aren’t
What you should be doing this week is checking out the recent BBC coverage on Kurt Angle’s apparently legitimate prospects for wrestling in the London 2012 Olympics. While we really didn't give much faith or credit to something like this, it's starting to gain steam, so all we can do is pay attention at this point. It will be interesting see how far this goes and to what extent Angle actually follows through with this, given his history of health and personal issues. We have to mention the odds are stacked against him at age 43, but we learned never to count this man out, and we're pulling for him in whatever he ends up doing.

Owen Hart Memorial Nugget of Information
A somber remembrance tomorrow, as it would have been the 31st birthday of “Sweet And Sour” Larry Sweeney. Sweeney, regionally popular on the indy circuit, passed away last year at age of 30. We at “The Turn” remember Sweeney for his infectious enthusiasm and ability to entertain us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and fans tomorrow.

THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of February 3-9, 2012

Special Commentary
Back by popular demand (we’re popular, and we demand it), we bring you the announcement you’ve all been anxiously waiting by your dial-up Internet connection to read: Nominations are now being accepted for the Turn Hall Of Fame Class of 2011 and 2012. Confused? You should be. But, allow us to explain away the hurt.

See, in protest of the injustices of the world and the growing disparity between the “haves” and “have nots” in our country, last year The Turn chose to not induct members into its Hall. It just didn’t seem right, moralistically, to focus on something as trivial as television as our very planet’s existence was threatened.

Just kidding. We just flat-out forgot to do it! Honestly, with so much going on in the industry last year, there really wasn’t a logical landing point for the Hall nomination process, so we just skipped it. That’s the beauty of writing your own column for the premier wrestling magazine in the world: You can pretty much do whatever the hell you want. Thanks, PWI!

Now, that’s not to say we didn’t want to induct worthy folks into the THOF. In fact, looking back, 2011 made for some truly excellent television, in and of itself. Overall, there are a handful of very worthy newcomers who, despite their relatively limited body of work, could warrant discussion for the Hall. Still, what we’re looking for in the nominees and eventual inductees are those folks who made you want to tune in each week. The guy or gal who stepped up and delivered time and again and dominates that era of television in your memory.

To refresh your collective minds, here are the criteria we encourage you use in making your nominations:

1. There are no specific categories. We’re not looking for the “best” or “worst” of all-time, but rather folks whose body of work on televised wrestling is worthy of inclusion in THOF. Look for overall contribution to either the betterment or detriment of televised wrestling. There is no minimum career durational requirement.

2. Consider all televised wrestling over the past 20 years. Yep, that’s right—if there’s an indy promotion in your state that has been running a show with one wrestler who you feel deserves mention, nominate him (or her). Better yet, if you have a link to an online clip of to their greatness, forward that along as well. It could only help your nominee’s chances. We’ll do the legwork from there.

3. There are two possible ways to get into the THOF and that is either as a wrestler or as, what we’ll call, a “builder.” Builders would be the folks that may have stepped into the ring on occasion, but are best known for the stuff within a show that helps make it more of a, well, television show.

Further—if only to remind you who currently graces the hallowed halls in what used to be the photo room at PWI headquarters in sexy Blue Bell, PA—here are the current members of the THOF:

Class of 2008
Bobby Heenan (Builder)
Dusty Rhodes (Wrestler/Builder)
The Rock (Wrestler)

Class of 2009
Sting (Wrestler)
Arn Andersen (Wrestler)
Rey Mysterio Jr. (Wrestler)

Class of 2010
“Stone-Cold” Steve Austin (wrestler)
Gordon Solie (Builder)
Hulk Hogan (Wrestler)

So, there you have it. Please send your nominees to PWI_Turn@yahoo.com or just forward it to us on Twitter (@PWI_Turn) and we will start compiling the list of those wrestlers looking to step into television immortality. Please remember, we’re looking to induct two classes, so nominate early and often. Unlike the NFL Hall of Fame, we promise you will have heard of at least a couple of the inductees. However, like the NFL hall of Fame, suspected use of illegal substances during one’s career does not preclude them from consideration and enshrinement.

The Week In Televised (and Onlline)Wrestling

Friday, February 3
Smackdown
No DQ match between Wade Barrett and Randy Orton for a shot at Daniel Bryan’s World title on tonight’s episode of Smackdown? Thank you, WWE, may we have another? Hell of a match last Friday night, with Orton coming out on top and earning a shot at the gold. We’ll put cash on Bryan retaining tonight, though. Dude shocked us with the steel cage victory over Big Show and Mark Henry, so ain’t no way he’s losing the title to Orton tonight on a non-pay card, right? He’s totally losing now, isn’t he? Oops.

Saturday, February 4
ROH
Hey, Kevin Steen, that was fairly badass of you. Reinstated after a one-year absence from ROH, Steen took the opportunity to run down anything and everything Honor-related on Saturday night’s broadcast, ultimately earning an escorted exit from the arena courtesy of Jim Cornette. Think, the audacity of Chris Jericho with the body of the guy that drives the beer truck in your neighborhood, but used to play tight end in high school and almost was recruited by a big SEC school before injuring his knee. That guy. Steen is good for ROH.

Monday, February 6
Raw
Come hell or hell, the ’Taker-Hunter rematch is clearly taking place at ’Mania, whether we like it or not. Still not thinking it’s a great idea, but what do we know? We just watch the shows and stuff. More intriguing is the rumored—and now legit—feud between WWE champ CM Punk and Chris Jericho taking hold this week. We’ll pass on John Cena embracing the hate (wouldn’t a hug just make the hate feel better about itself anyway?) and focus on the pending “Y2J” versus “Cult Of Personality” clash in Miami. That could be a show-stealer if it comes to fruition.

Wednesday, February 8
NXT
IYou know why we don’t watch television shows that our wives and girlfriends enjoy? Precisely because of the situation that the Curtis-Bateman-Maxine-Kaitlyn love … square, we guess … has presented us with. Everyone has some sort of emotional connection to the other, be it hate, jealousy, love, lust, or what have you and, frankly, we just want to see folks beat each other up and the occasional cat fight. Perhaps that’s why Jersey Shore was so popular for so long. Still, when Curtis popped out from behind a closed door the other night, revealing that he heard the ladies’ boy-talk, it was pretty much the end of the night as far as we were concerned.

Thursday, February 9
Impact Wrestling
Just a suggestion, and we mean this not as a slight to our friends in TNA, but maybe they should consider staying overseas permanently. Another solid offering, this time with Sting closing the show by having TNA World champ Bobby Roode tap out to the Scorpion Deathlock. From top to bottom, the programming was restaurant-quality and the storytelling didn’t take away from the wrestling nearly as much as it does when they’re stateside. Plus, one last bit of love to the fans in the U.K. You all brought it and it came across huge on the telly. That’s how you say television, right? “Telly?” Well done, folks.

THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of January 27-February 2, 2012

The Week In Televised (and Onlline)Wrestling

Friday, January 27
Smackdown
Alright, we were way off in thinking Randy Orton would win The Royal Rumble match. But, c’mon, he seemed like the clear favorite in his hometown, returning from injury. Plus, you know, watching last week’s Smackdown didn't help either. When he came out and cleared house and genuinely frightened Wade Barrett, we figure we were in the clear and the match was Randy Orton's to lose. Well, Randall, you let us down. Sheamus ended up winning the event on Sunday night and now Orton is free to pursue his blood feud with Wade Barrett and go forward … you know … without a title shot.

Saturday, January 28
ROH
A little love to the 2011 ECWA Super 8 champion Tommaso Ciampa, who continued his unbeaten streak on ROH this past Saturday night. Ciampa’s string of victories is easily winning him favor with the fans, primarily because of his work ethic and his demeanor. He comes off as crazy and combines that charisma with sound technical wrestling. We love seeing the guy get the type of publicity he deserves. He has a great personality and ROH is very lucky to have him in the promotion. Here’s to hoping he continues the success.

Monday, January 30
Raw
Wait, what just happened to The Undertaker's long heralded return? Hold up … is ’Taker really challenging an equally rusty Triple-H to a rematch that could only pale in comparison to last year’s? Listen, we dug last year and are perfectly happy with it, but we also figured Triple-H’s installation as one of a long line of lost souls in ’Taker’s ‘Mania streak was sufficient. To have a rematch at this point really doesn't make much sense. At all. Perhaps it's the thought that ‘Taker can finally go 20-0 against another future hall of famer. Maybe, just maybe, this is the year he loses. Or maybe he actually has trouble finding an opponent, and that’s the angle. Whatever way it goes, we're really not psyched for this year's version.

Wednesday, February 1
NXT
It appears that Titus O’Neil has officially completed his transition to rulebreaker after taking Percy to the woodshed the other night on NXT. Fortunately for Percy, Alex Riley was just insignificant enough to be not needed by the other brands and, thus, available that evening to go make the save. Actually, having O’Neil man-up and embrace the dark side (are they just taking the Cena angle for a spin, here?) makes him a more valuable piece of the NXT roster. But most importantly, surpassing all other discussions, who else wanted to take the air guitar Heath Slater was playing and just lay him out with it? We’re talking old-school, Honky-Tonk-Man-style.

Thursday, February 2
Impact Wrestling
A massive shout-out to all of the folks in attendance who made Impact Wrestling pure a joy to watch at home. Last night, we were treated to a couple of very solid matches, including two by bona fide main eventer James Storm. His non-title match with Bobby Roode early in the broadcast was a showcase of two of the top organic (apologies to the indies) guys in TNA, which is precisely what we’ve been calling for since the dawn of time (or, 2005). The latter match between Storm and Bully Ray was pure eye candy and a straight-up brawl, with “Cowboy” getting the win. The fans were nuts last night and that made for a very enjoyable loafing around experience on our couch. Well done, TNA.

Weekly Top 10
For the second time in four years, the New York Giants and New England Patriots will meet to crown the champion of the National Football League this Sunday. And, while we truly don't care much for either team and wish that there was a way the game could end in the first-ever scoreless tie in the history of the spectacle, it does give us a chance to list our Top 10 favorite all-time wrestling giants and patriots:

10. El Gigante (giant)

9. The Great Khali (giant)

8. The Patriot (if we have to categorize this for you, immediately seek medical attention)

7. Jim Duggan (patriot)

6. Big John Studd (giant)

5. Hulk Hogan (patriot)

4. John Cena (patriot)

3. The Big Show (giant)

2. Sgt. Slaughter (patriot)

1. Andre The Giant (giant)

Trending: AARP Edition
Buy: For all his faults, John Laurinaitis called the Punk-Ziggler match at Royal Rumble somewhat fair. Can’t fault him for that.

Hold: Having Hulk Hogan thrill the crowds in England was fun. Maybe he loses his passport for the return flight home?

Sell: The potential Undertaker-Triple-H-’Mania rematch isn’t really happening, right? Right?

Angle Of The Week
How can the angle of the week not be Hulk Hogan’s overseas appearance for TNA in England, last night? Sure, we're still not sold on the Bischoff-vs.-Bischoff feud. Actually, we genuinely don’t like it one bit. But, throwing Hogan in there as Garrett’s trainer, as clichéd as it is, finds us actually intrigued, if only for a minute. Of course, if this occurred in the friendly confines of Orlando, the moment may not have been as big. The overseas fans truly sold it and their palpable excitement—on television, no less—definitely made the moment better.

What You Should Be Doing … But Probably Aren’t
What you should be doing this week is sending us your predictions for what 2012 Royal Rumble winner Sheamus will to do with his mandatory title match. Word is that he’s going to announce a decision soon, and let the world know who he intends to challenge for the gold the big event in Miami. But, before he breaks the actual news, we want to know what you think he should do and will do. Shoot us an e-mail at PWI_Turn@yahoo.com. Compel us with your thoughts and we’ll post your response in the middle of this very column next week.

Owen Hart Memorial Nugget of Information
Happy trails to one of our favorite wrestlers in recent years, John Morrison. We regret that we didn’t give the story much coverage a few weeks back, and that we didn't wish the man a proper farewell. When both Morrison and WWE acknowledged that the former tag team specialist’s contract expired without renewal we wanted to give it some time to breathe. Hell, this is wrestling. We could be getting worked, here. Turns out, the guy is stepping away from WWE for a while to hopefully recover from a laundry list of nagging injuries. Hopefully it’s time well spent and we, for one, will welcome him back one day should he choose to resume his career.

THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of January 20-26, 2012

Special Commentary
Fried ravioli. World championship baseball. A giant arch that lets you know there are better things ahead. Ahh, the wonders that are St. Louis, Missouri. This weekend the “Gateway To The West” gets even more interesting when The Royal Rumble comes into town and crowns Randy Orton its winner. Oh, but you say, “Great and wonderful Turn, Randy Orton isn’t around … how on earth could he possibly come back at an event in his home town and win, thus earning a trip to the main event of WrestleMania?” To that we say, “Silly reader. It’s wrestling.”

Honestly, The Royal Rumble is easily our second favorite WWE pay-per-view event of the year, after ’Mania. It’s just a wonderful, silly premise that has kept us riveted ever since its inception. The mass of humanity in the ring beating the bejezus out of each other for the chance to be elevated to a stature of potential greatness. Friends turn against friends; enemies pair up to serve their own needs. It’s human emotion at its best. Plus, it gives us an awesome reason to pound adult soda pops and ingest copious amounts of chicken wings in the week before the big NFL game. Life, in the interim, is quite good.

So, looking at the card from top to bottom, we’re actually pretty psyched for this weekend’s installment into Rumble lore. We’ve gone on record—for weeks now—with our pick of Orton to win the big match of the show, but let’s break down the rest of the card with our picks and predictions:

WWE Championship: The deck is stacked against CM Punk in his title match with Dolph Ziggler. Yes, Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger are banned from ringside, but with a streaking Ziggler in the other corner and John Laurinitis “calling it down the middle,” the time is ripe for Punk to get hosed out of the gold. Still, we’ve got to go with the battle-tested champ. He’s just too damn good. Winner: CM PUNK

Grudge Match: Kane is attempting to lure John Cena to the dark side and, if anyone can, it’s the guy with the creepy skin-looking mask and anger issues. Plus, with Ron Paul tanking in the polls (there’s always Florida) Kane is going to be extra peeved. Cena always seems to excel in these situations, and we don’t think there’s any reason to bet against the guy, now. Still, it feels like it would be a terrible waste of an angle to allow this “embrace the hate” thing go by the wayside. We’ll give the win to Cena, but Kane will steal the show. Winner: JOHN CENA

World Championship: Hey, wasn’t that Daniel Bryan championship run nice? Is there any way he actually makes it out of the steel cage with the title with The Big Show and Mark Henry in there as well? Can’t imagine that he does, although the dude has surprised us time and again. We’d like to be contrarian and say that he’s going to keep the title, but we just don’t see it. Let’s call it for the “World’s Strongest Man.” Winner: MARK HENRY

The Week In Televised (and Onlline)Wrestling

Friday, January 20
Smackdown
Don’t care that he’s raising good points about being slapped into two very daunting matches in the two weeks prior to The Royal Rumble, but punking out of a fight hardly seems worthy of a World champion. Yet, by evading the mashed-up battle at the end of Smackdown last week, Daniel Bryan did just that. He’s got a good argument, but didn’t help his position by running. Here’s hoping he has an elderly relative or young child to throw in front of a charging opponent this weekend. He’s going to need it.

Saturday, January 21
ROH
Tag team wrestling fans, look no further than ROH. Although, if you actually are a fan of quality tag team wrestling, there’s a good chance you were already doing just that. How could you not dig the Briscoes-vs.-WGTT feud? Ignore the fact that all four guys can wrestle their respective asses off—because they can—but they play off each other perfectly. The structurally sound and fundamentally superior WGTT playing the unpopular villains to the brash and wild Briscoes is precisely what you’d hope to see in a battle. Very enjoyable scenario on ROH.

Monday, January 23
Raw
Did Chris Jericho just prophesize the end of the world on Sunday? How is it possible that we missed out on this? Is it some Mayan thing? And, why was this glossed over in favor of John Laurinitis apparently being in job trouble? We should absolutely start getting our affairs in order. Starting right now, we’re giving away all of our worldly possessions and divorcing our spouses in order to follow “Y2J” into the abyss on Sunday evening. Somehow, we always knew the end of the world would come with a man in a glowing, lighted jacket.

Wednesday, January 25
NXT
Why isn’t Health Slater getting the love he deserves? A nice win over Trent Berretta on Wednesday night really should allow the two-time NXT-er to get more virtual ink moving forward. We’re still not sure he’s worthy of a main roster spot, but he’s perfectly suited for NXT status. Actually—and we acknowledge this will read weird—but if WWE still had a light heavyweight division, we could see Slater being a top contender. Instead, he’ll have to settle for Internet greatness. Or, you know, Internet very-goodness.

Thursday, January 26
Impact Wrestling
We all knew it was coming eventually, but how psyched were you to see the AJ Styles-Frankie Kazarian match finally put in place for Against All Odds last night? We’re calling it the match of the night already, well before the event takes place. Both are similarly constituted in the ring and bring many of the same attributes, but we’re going to give the early nod to Styles. He’s too damn experienced and has done it more than Kaz and in bigger situations. This should be a match—barring any sort of TNA “creative” screw-up in between—that makes the event worth the price of purchase.

THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of January 13-19, 2012

The Week In Televised Wrestling

Friday, January 13
Smackdown
Either Daniel Bryan is a genius, or we reached an all-time low in the reign of the World champion last week. Whether it was dumb, unfortunate luck or purely by accident (as he’d have you believe), Bryan retained the gold when his girlfriend AJ was run over by The Big Show when utilized as the prettiest human shield we’ve ever seen. Regardless of his tactics, the unlikely champ is still with the gold, Show openly wept and is now psychologically defeated, and A.J. is no doubt still feeling the effects of being run over by 400 pounds of man. Still unsure whether we admire Bryan or feel a sense of lingering pity for what Show does to him when he discovers the ruse.

Saturday, January 14
ROH
Hey, TNA, if you're wondering how to pull off an excellent multi-man tag team match, we recommend you check out last week’s episode of ROH. Edited for television, the 80-minute, eight-man tag team bout was a thing of beauty. The flow of the fight kept the viewer’s attention throughout, the pace of the wrestling was superb, which has become very much what we expect from ROH. For the record, Team Red—consisting of Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, El Generico, and Eddie Edwards—won the match and the $10,000 check that came with it. But, of course, the real winners were the fans … no, screw that, the real winner was the group with the big, fat check. We just lucked out by being able to watch.

Monday, January 16
Raw
If they ever decide to write and stage a musical based in the life of Suge Knight, we believe there would be no greater star than the smooth and jiggly Brodus Clay. Perhaps the greatest entrance that so very few people in the arena care about, in our humble opinion. Although, in the interest of full disclosure, we have personally seen PWI Publisher—the very real and not at all make believe—Stu Saks enter the office in the exact same manner, complete with dancing girls. We need Clay to be in every match, every broadcast, because it's awesome. Speaking of awesome: Mick Foley. Good night of wrasslin’.

Wednesday, January 18
NXT
There's some buzz on the Internet about the fact that it appears—finally—that some of the primary storylines will be coming to a head next week. And this may seem true with Darren Young finally stepping up and looking more like what was expected of him and Derrick Bateman getting whatever the hell type of resolution he’s looking for (dude … let her go). What really intrigues us is waiting to see what NXT does the week after next. There’s plenty of build-up to closing some of the loops that have existed seemingly forever … but what nxt, NXT? That, our friends, will be the most interesting development this side of The Royal Rumble (Randy Orton wins, FYI).

Thursday, January 19
Impact Wrestling
The proverbial cold shower for any fan would be when you’re treated to a beautiful main event that is spoiled by some overly thought storyline angle that mucks it all up. James Storm and Jeff Hardy and went to a no-contest after TNA World champ Bobby Roode came down and interfered. It was a very unsatisfying finish to a very interesting and intense match-up. We have come to the long overdue realization that TNA does not tell a logical story with twists, turns, and such, but rather prolongs angles by simply buying time through garbage finishes like last night’s. Yep, we get it, Bobby Roode is a bad guy. Established.

Weekly Top 10
For all you social media nerds like us out there, the announcement that Sting not only started a YouTube page but also a Twitter account probably geeked you up just a little bit. Understanding the limitations of a Twitter account, it still feels pretty cool to be one degree of separation away from some of the biggest folks in industry. Names like “Stone-Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock or, even bigger, the entire writing staff of “The Turn” (@PWI_Turn). Here is our top-10 wrestling-related folks you may want to follow on Twitter in 2012:

10. @funtimeshelly (Shelly Martinez)

9. @steveaustinBSR (Steve Austin)

8. @TheeBlueMeanie (The Blue Meanie)

7. @BobbyHeenanSaid (Classic Bobby Heenan announce table quotes)

6. @realMickFoley (Mick Foley)

5. @TheRock (Dwayne “The Rock Only For Three Hours In April” Johnson)

4. @JCLayfield (JBL)

3. @CMPunk (CM Punk)

2. @IAmJericho (Chris Jericho)

1. @theChrisHero (Chris Hero)

Trending: Buy Low, Sell Low Edition
Buy: John Laurinaitis as the high-powered WWE executive

Hold: The sweet, sweet memories of the mulletted Johnny Ace

Sell: Road Warrior Animal's brother. Dude has become much, much more than the family afterthought.

Angle Of The Week
Although the angle of this week is something that occurred off-screen (usually verboten for our purposes), it stands to have a substantial impact on what you will end up seeing on television. With the 60-day suspension of Evan Bourne for a second violation of the WWE Wellness Policy, you have to imagine that the Air Boom era will be disbanded, and Kofi Kingston will be left to fend for himself yet again. While we won't speculate on what to led to Bourne’s suspension, we have to admit that we are quite disappointed. Tons of talent, huge charisma, but unless he can keep his head on straight and focus on what really matters, it could end up being a short WWE career for the guy.

What You Should Be Doing … But Probably Aren’t
What you should be doing right now is checking out the press releases and the stories surrounding TNA's production of Ra Ka King. The show, which is going to feature primarily Indian performers and as well as TNA wrestlers, and will be hard as hell to find in the States. We mentioned King in this column in a few weeks back, but with the January 28 debut on the horizon, TNA is now ramping up its promotion. This venture should be very intriguing to fans of the business side of the industry and we’re pulling for it to succeed.

Owen Hart Memorial Nugget of Information
On this date 10 years ago, Triple-H—who, coincidentally, dubbed Owen “That Nugget,” eliminated Kurt Angle to win the 15th annual Royal Rumble match and secure a, then-WWF, World title match in the main event title match at WrestleMania X8. Back then, youngsters, there was only one major world title in WWF with the advent of the Undisputed championship. Hunter would go on to defeat champion Chris Jericho in front of 68,000-plus in the SkyDome at Toronto, Ontario, to win the gold.

THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of January 6-12, 2012

The Week In Televised Wrestling

Friday, January 6
Smackdown
Can you really blame Daniel Bryan for taking the easy way to victory in his defense last Friday night against The Big Show? His is a great story. We're very happy to see him get the level of recognition we’ve always believed he deserves, but we don't see this going much longer. Show has now been hosed in his pursuit of the gold multiple times and it is just a matter of time before the goodness in the man gets overtaken by that which drives him to succeed at any cost. Forget Mark Henry for the time being. The Big Show is easily the most dangerous man to Daniel Bryan's championship reign.

Saturday, January 7
ROH
As much as it pains us to say, there's a better than good chance that at some point the career of Jay Lethal he's going to end up in WWE. Of course, he'll likely be wasted in his role in WWE, but that doesn't mean he won’t be there at some point. He's just too good, too talented, and too marketable to not take that next step up at some point. His ROH Television championship match against T.J. Perkins on ROH last week is a perfect example of but a fraction of the seemingly limitless potential Lethal possesses. We hope he resists temptation just a little while longer, but we couldn't blame the guy for chasing a steady check.

Monday, January 9
Raw
Nice night of Raw this past Monday. Easily the biggest news Monday night was the announcement of Edge and The Four Horsemen as inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame. Honestly we have no problem with Edge getting in this early. We’ve been fans of the guy forever, and he deserves it, given that his retirement seems legit. The Horsemen, however, make little to no sense whatsoever and we’re talking about a hall that counts Pete Rose amongst its inductees. We're Horsemen people, but we're calling bovine excrement on this one!

Wednesday, January 11
NXT
It is probably about time that The Usos get a fair shot on one of the two bigger brands. You know, that would be assuming that the company still recognizes tag team wrestling as a craft. We're not going to take any more time griping about the forced demise of tag team wrestling that WWE has fostered over the years. Still, The Usos go out there every week and put forth the best effort of arguably anybody on that roster, and it's time that they get the some actual airtime. Just a side-note, NXT may be the most beautifully shot WWE program. Visually, it's damn impressive. That is all.

Thursday, January 12
Impact Wrestling
TNA would be wise to handle the James Storm and Jeff Hardy situation carefully. Both are viable candidates for number-one contendership. However, if one is made to look much stronger than the other or, subsequently, the other is made to look far too weak, TNA could severely diminish the potential drawing power that both have. However, we’re going to put our money on James Storm coming out looking better in this mini-feud. The reason being that Jeff Hardy has a built-in audience that isn’t going anywhere, especially having stuck through all they have thus far. Storm is still gaining traction and needs to come out on top, so says us.

Weekly Top 10
For everyone keeping an eye on the NFL playoffs this past week, you probably recognized that there may have been, perhaps, excessive coverage of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow in the news. To some extent, it’s well deserved. After all, the guy had succeeded beyond all expectations and took his team into the second round of the playoffs. Sure, the Broncos got the ever-loving snot beat out of them by the New England Patriots over this past weekend, but that doesn’t diminish Tebow’s contributions this season. He played fine football, but of course, his greatest claim to fame is introducing the world to what is very affectionately now known as "Tebowing." Or, more specifically, kneeling down in silent prayer on the sideline following a touchdown. No judging here. In fact, here are the Top 10 Tebow-inspired wrestling celebrations we would like to see in 2012:

10. “Pope-ing”: How D’Angelo Dinero hasn’t capitalized on Tim Tebow’s fame is beyond us

9. “Miz-terpice”: With Chris Masters in India, why not take some artistic license, eh?

8. “Zack-tastic Voyage”: This is the one where after a victory (or a valiant loss) Zack Ryder gets back in his spaceship and settles down back on the Web, where his angle works best.

7. “American Draggin’”: Daniel Bryan pulls his broken body back to the lockerroom area after being crushed by Big Show and/or Mark Henry.
6. “Storm Chasing”: This is where James Storm gets so blotto he spins in the ring both before, and after, matches as if he’s a tornado. The marketing writes itself.

5. “Cody-fiying”: Dashing celebration that involves overly grandiose coverage of a tremendously bland accomplishment.

4. “R-KO’d”: Win a big match, suffer a devastating injury, grow a weird-ass beard.

3. “Aries 3:16”: Celebrate by telling everyone how great you are and watching them not care.

2. “Punk-ing”: This is where you screw with the fans just enough to have them love you. No genuflecting is required.

1. “Rock-ing”: Following a victory, the athlete gets as far away from the sport as possible, appearing only to make largely forgetful appearances in schlocky movies.

Trending: Booker T Edition
Buy: The dude is in superior condition and is willing to make Cody Rhodes look good. We’re digging grandfatherly, put-you-over Booker T.

Hold: But, never forget, under all the goodwill is a badass … in flame-emblazoned spandex. Keep close to your heart Harlem Heat Booker T.

Sell: We loved it, but this officially is us putting King Book-ah to bed.

Angle Of The Week
Since we didn't acknowledge the actual angle portion of it last week, we're going to have to give the angle of this week to the weepy, confusing eyes of one Chris Jericho. We still really don't know what to make of the whole issue, but we also still can’t help feeling like we're being played. If you listen to our peers in the wrestling writer universe, Jericho is eyeing the championship match with whoever is holding the gold heading into WrestleMania 29. Call us crazy—and we’ve never gotten into the ring—but we’re not sure that the best way to go about that is by coming on stage, rallying the fans, crying, and then leaving. If that were the case, we would’ve been World champion of something on prom night 1997.

What You Should Be Doing … But Probably Aren’t
What you should be doing right now is following the discussions online about whether or not WrestleMania 29 will be held in Canada, as initially expected, or now possibly in the latest rumored front-running state: New Jersey. That's right, we said New Jersey. While we have to put the smart money for WrestleMania 30 being in the Mecca of entertainment, New York City, it would then lead us to believe that WWE wouldn’t hold the event in the tri-state area in back-to-back years, hurting Jersey’s chances. But, stranger things have happened. Plus, if it’s in Jersey, we have to imagine that would then bring Snooki out of whatever tree stump or clinic she resides in and back into the picture.

Owen Hart Memorial Nugget of Information
Yep, that was John Cena you saw on the box of Fruity Pebbles at your local grocery store. The very same cereal by which The Rock implied that Cena was, perhaps, slightly not as tough as one would imagine or that he was hiding behind his flamboyantly colorful wardrobe. Cena and Post Cereal reached an agreement where the former champ will appear on boxes of the addictive Flintstones-inspired cereal for the next three months as part of a contest where children can win an opportunity to meet him. Dude turned this around as quickly as possible and made an angle on TV into the crossover promotion of the early year. Well played, Cena.

THE TURN: Skewering The Week Of January 1-5, 2012

Special Commentary
Y2J’s Return—Awesome Ploy or Awesomest Ploy?

Did we just experience one of the hardest slaps in our collective faces or is a man losing the desire to do what he does best right before our eyes? Really, we can’t imagine that anything other than either of those two scenarios were running through Chris Jericho’s head on Monday night as the obscure vignettes teasing a “return” ended by revealing “Y2J” as the one in the prophecy.

In an unusual and unbelievably clever twist, Jericho fawned over the fans, riled their senses and delivered a big, heaping pile of … nothing. Absolutely nothing … and it was freakin’ brilliant!

Seriously, sometimes we’re actually allowed to press a glass up against the fourth wall that separates “Turn” folk from the industry and listen to the insider buzz. Hardly makes us part of the establishment or, frankly, purveyors of even decent rumors. But, allow us to assure you, that we don’t have the foggiest idea of why this angle started as such and where it’s going. The easy pickings are what we, and our peers in the industry, have guessed. We—as a fan base—either just got played by Jericho or the man simply couldn’t fake enthusiasm anymore and we watched the fire that drives him to compete slowly be extinguished.

Whatever it ends up being, we’re pretty psyched to see it play out. The only hook that we would find genuinely disappointing would be if Jericho simply slipped back into the, “See … I told you that you’re all lemmings and look how I prove it” mode of his prior run. The “better-than-you” approach is fine for villains, but gets stale after a while. To resurrect it now would seem to cut short what should be a pretty cool angle.

Allow us to part with one last scenario: What if Jericho wasn’t the person alluded to in the vignettes, but simply is part of a bigger ruse? What if the one who is to arrive is only being preceded by others? Who the hell was “she” throughout? That’s really going to bug us until we get some sort of explanation. Meh, let’s just enjoy the ride.

The Week In Televised Wrestling

Friday, December 30
Smackdown
Alright, so everyone sees Cody and Dustin Rhodes teaming up to beat the stuffing out of Booker T, right? C’mon, folks, no one is buying the brother-versus-brother angle as being legit, right? Sure, Cody took it to his older brother last week in the final Smackdown of 2011, but this really has all the makings of a turn. Booker has effectively let his guard down and is now psychologically back in a place where he and the former Goldust are unlikely allies. What the Rhodes family gains from destroying Booker T … in 2012 … is anybody’s guess. This can’t end well, for any of them.

Saturday, December 31
Ring Of Honor
Oh, yeah, they’ve arrived. To be fair, ROH has been around and viable for years. But, in our humble opinion, elevation to “Turn” weekly review status truly makes a program legendary. Right, Wrestling Society X? Ugh. Anywho, as we alluded a few weeks back, ROH will now be covered in our weekly review and we couldn’t be happier. Excellent match to kick off last week’s broadcast, with ROH heavyweight champ, and 2006 ECWA Super 8 winner, “American Wolf” Davey Richards retaining the title over Roderick Strong. That’s what you get from ROH, for the uninitiated: a hell of a match to open the show. We’re hoping for a big year from these guys. Buy back some of the cred we may have lost supporting Santino Marella’s continued employment.

Monday, January 2
Raw
“Embrace the hate” may end up being wrestling’s phrase of the year for 2012. Or, it may just be another in a long line of forgettable catch phrases from scrapped angles that never really materialized. But, c’mon … they shot fire from the damn ring Monday night. That has to be good for something, eh? Whether the newly frightful Kane is successful in instilling the seeds of evil in perennial goodie John Cena is not yet clear. We’d like to believe that this will end with Cena overcoming the temptations of evil and rising in some Batman-y success. Wait … Kane … Bane. Oh, bloody hell. Hopefully they’ll end the suspense prior to Chris Nolan’s version this summer.

Wednesday, January 4
NXT
Uncomfortable tongue kissing, a marriage announcement, and a guy willingly going by the name “Sweet Meat”? NXT has got to be the number-one watched Internet wrestling program worldwide … in prisons. Overall, a very strange week of NXT, with Maxine confirming that she and Curtis would be getting hitched in two weeks, despite her torrid love affair with Bateman still, you know, being torrid. Bateman is clearly being affected by the love of his life (at least for the past few months) running off with the competition … unless, of course, this was all a plan between Maxine and Bateman to get Curtis out of the competition, assuming there is still a competition.

Thursday, January 5
Impact Wrestling
Heading into Genesis, we expected the typical, run-of-the-mill go-home show with little substance and plenty of buildup. But … wait … what was that? Was that a Frankie Kazarian turn against A.J. Styles during their tag match? Sure, the ol’ walk-out-on-your-partner act is dated and, in some cases, can be overcome if the team really wants to succeed but, actually, does that ever happen? Like, ever? Once you’re angry enough to leave your partner to the mercy of opponents—Samoa Joe and Magnus, no less—it’s curtains for the team. Now, whether it’s Styles—who would be justified—or Kazarian—who set the foundation—that beats the hell out of the other, it will be a fun game of cat-and-mouse to follow. We’re betting that Styles will take the high road and try to get to the bottom of things, while Kazarian will cry “overshadowed” and punk out. Either way—how geeked are you for this feud?

© Kappa Publishing Group, Inc. “Pro Wrestling Illustrated,” “PWI,” “The Wrestler,” and “Inside Wrestling” are registered trademarks of Kappa Publishing Group, Inc. Privacy policy and terms of use.