Thursday, July 30, 2009

Running 2009 MOTY List

Man, fuck watching TNA, I want to watch some shit I actually LIKE. New entries on the list are in bold, explanations below.

1. John Cena v Shawn Michaels, WWE, 1/12
2. Matt Hardy v Jack Swagger, WWE, 1/13
3. Jack Swagger v Matt Hardy, WWE, 1/25
4. Big Show v MVP, WWE, 1/16
5. Finlay v Jack Swagger, WWE, 1/6
6. John Cena v JBL, WWE, 1/25
7. Jeff Jarrett v Kurt Angle, TNA, 1/11
8. John Cena and Shawn Michaels v Chris Jericho and Randy Orton, WWE, 1/5
9. Big Show v Triple H, WWE, 1/9
10. Chris Sabin v Alex Shelley, TNA, 1/11
11. Jeff Hardy v Edge, WWE, 1/25
12. The Miz and John Morrison v Rey Mysterio and Kofi Kingston, WWE, 1/5

3. Jack Swagger v Matt Hardy, WWE, 1/25

MATT HARDY NEARLY KILLS HIMSELF ON A MOONSAULT FOR OUR SINS! The cool thing about rematches where the heel took the first match over the ace babyface is that the dynamic almost always changes. You see this a lot in John Cena matches, especially over 2008. Once the babyface is no longer working as champion, their matches become more about their offense and less their selling. For a good couple of years Matt Hardy was pretty much your middle card ace babyface in the sense that he was always having matches built around him selling. After going to ECW he moved up to the top of that card until he lost to Swagger in the first match between them. So this is really the first time we’ve seen a match that’s built around offense from Matt. It’s also the end of his babyface run because he turns heel later in the show. However, the other thing about rematches in such a situation is that they’re usually not as good. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a fucking awesome, awesome match, with great sequences of offense from Matt (his punches are particularly bang on, and that’s saying something, it’s not like Matt Hardy is Shane McMahon) and Swagger still finding it in him to ruin Matt’s arm even while taking an ass-kicking, but it worked better with the roles flipped. That said I did have to watch the two matches back to back to make up my mind, and I’d expect both of the matches to make the year end list. Really too bad we never got a third one.

6. John Cena v JBL, WWE, 1/25

It’s funny, this match is better than all of the Cena/JBL matches from 2008. All of JBL’s stuff (and isn’t it funny how half the time when I talk about wrestlers, I sound like I’m talking about pitchers?) looks really brutal, Cena was firing on absolutely all cylinders at this point, everything they do together looks good and builds well. However, and this is the funny part, it’s basically all irrelevant. This match is pretty much entirely about Shawn Michaels and the interplay between him and the other two. As cool as it is to listen to Jerry Lawler, himself known for excellent punches, speak in awe of JBL slugging Cena in the face, this match is more or less a study in wrestling character drama. Everything builds to the moment when Shawn has to interfere and in the process it leaves everything else feeling like an exhibition. As an exhibition, it’s a damn good one, and Shawn makes great conflicted faces the whole time up until the ref bump, which itself is well done. The finish is one of those incredibly simple yet incredibly gratifying WWE deals, along the lines of the count out spots that a hot crowd will just eat up and make you smile while watching them do so. Shawn kicks JBL, his evil boss that everyone hates, and everyone goes nuts, Shawn looks like he’s about to cry from the joy of getting to kick JBL, Cena looks incredibly proud, and then Shawn kicks Cena, everyone boos, Shawn rolls JBL onto Cena and walks off. Cena of course ends up kicking out and EVERYONE buys the nearfall. Again I saw this show in a movie theater, everyone there popped huge for the kick out. The best part is that the ref bump to finish is a full quarter of the match and yet there’s like three moves in it. It’s just that kind of match, simple yet effective, with a very gratifying finish. Yeah you see it coming from a mile away but it’s so well done that you cheer and you smile at everyone else cheering. Sometimes knowing that the innocence isn’t entirely lost is enough.

11. Jeff Hardy v Edge, WWE, 1/25

Possibly the worst looking match that will make the list this year but hey it’s early and there were a couple of really cool moments here, not the least of which was Jeff Hardy’s face paint managing to stay on for the entire match. Edge is one of the most infuriating things in wrestling for me, because I really like the guy and all but he’s just been so, SO bad for years now. For some reason he started getting booked as super diabolical heel with all this methodical offense and it’s just the worst fucking thing because it’s stripping like everything he’s good at doing from him and trying to make him be Triple H, which he’s no good at. Of course Triple H isn’t really working well as Triple H these days either but that’s another thing for the list really infuriating things. Edge had a street fight with Matt Hardy on the Smackdown! before this show and it fucking sucked. How the fuck does one have a bad match with babyface Matt Hardy? And yet Edge pulled it off. Two days later and we have this, which is just so much better. Of course you still have the lengthy Edge methodical control segment in the middle which is awful. For whatever reason he decides to sell all of Jeff’s offense by laying around and then limping towards Jeff to lay in some shitty offense of his own. At one point it feels like we’re waiting five minutes between exchanges and Edge throws a sub-Maria level forearm and I get visibly angry. So of course all of the good stuff here is led off by Jeff. I’m always very irritable when there’s a big heated grudge match and they start off with a lock up. A fucking lock up. Thankfully Jeff goes right after Edge to start things off which is much appreciated. Pretty much immediately after that the match dies until Jeff gets a really sweet looking Twist of Fate onto the apron, and in fairness Edge bumped for it real well. Jeff also almost murders both himself and Chavo Guerrero by trying to do a splash off of a ladder to an announce table, only he loses his footing and just kinda flails to the table and the entire time down everyone watching is seriously worried we’re about to witness a tragedy. That is both a good and a bad thing, the bad is obvious, the good is because it does add to the match a bit. Jeff Hardy matches kind of need that “sweet Jesus he’s going to kill himself” feel to them, plus if Jeff breaks his neck or something maybe it’d be believable that Edge’s shitty offense would be remotely effective. Matt and Vickie Guerrero come out for the finish, and of course the part of the match where they load up on talented people is the best part. The Matt turn was actually really awesome, I watched this in a theater with a bunch of people who were all legit shocked by the turn. Matt locks on that hate-filled glare and refuses to let it go for what seems like forever. Plus he was still selling his arm injury from the opening match! Fuck Matt Hardy is awesome.

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