Welcome to "The Grade Book", a weekly look into the matches (and some segments) in professional wrestling. I am "Mr. V" Anthony J. Valvo and I will be alongside WWE Superstars/ROH on Sinclair/FCW Recapper and Co-Host of "The Wrestleview Independent Roundtable" Jason Namako to provide our "grades" for each match that was aired on television for the past week. World Wrestling Entertainment, TNA Impact Wrestling, and Ring of Honor will be highlighted weekly in this feature. We may also include matches from TNA Xplosion.
Jason and I watched every match from the WWE, TNA, and ROH from March 31 - April 6, 2012. We will provide a couple of sentences as thoughts and give the readers a Grade Point Average or GPA. If you are not familiar with a GPA, it is based on a point system from 0.0 to 4.0. We then will give it a letter grade based on the quality of the match.
The contents are as follows:
Mr. V and Jason Namako provided a grade for ROH on Sinclair, WWE Monday Night Raw, WWE NXT, WWE Superstars, TNA Impact Wrestling, and WWE Friday Night Smackdown. Those shows are part of the weekly rankings.
(Note: Due to his busy schedule this week, Jason was only able to provide a grade for ROH on Sinclair & WWE Superstars.)
Mr. V and Mr. Namako's GPA Scale
4.0 - 3.6 - A 3.5 - 2.6 - B 2.5 - 1.6 - C 1.5 - 0.7 - D 0.6 - 0.0 - F or INC
After our Grade Book is opened, we will then offer what we thought was the Show of the Week. We will award two points for the show of the week and one point to the runner-up, similar to what the "Mr. V" columns were in months past.
Now remember readers, this is completely subjective. There is a difference between the words "objective" and "subjective". If you don't know what that means, look it up on dictionary.com.
So, let's begin.
Ring of Honor on Sinclair (aired March 31st)
Best Segment: I really enjoyed the Kevin Steen segment after the Davey Richards squash. Right now, I think it is booked that Steen got under Richards' skin and now it is evident that their paths will cross very soon.
1. March Mayhem Qualifier: 'The Dominant Male" Tommaso Ciampa w/The Embassy Ltd. defeated Kyle O'Reilly via referee stoppage with a knee to the head.
Mr. V: I really liked Ciampa's control segments, he worked the upper body and showed skills in power. I think if he adds 20 pounds of mass this guy will be a keeper for ROH for many years. O'Reilly did have some moment with his quickness and he did appear to be too aggressive in the story. Overall, it was a good opener and the story was spot on, as after the knee to the head for the KO stoppage it shows that Ciampa is "The Dominant Male". Grade: 2.3
Jason N.: Good match in the sense that they are starting to have Ciampa win more matches via ref stoppage and I like that because it can add a new sense of unpredictability and danger to him where you don't know if he can beat you with Project Ciampa, or if he will just straight knock you out with his knee strikes. O'Reilly sold the finish very well and made you think he was really knocked out, which got over that whole KO power from Ciampa in a good fashion. Grade: 2.3
Overall Grade: 2.3
2. Proving Ground Match: Ring of Honor World Champion "American Wolf" Davey Richards defeated Ryan McBride by submission with the Anklelock.
Mr. V: There is not much to this, as Richards squashed McBride in 2 moves (or three, not sure). Grade: INC
Jason N.: Squash for Richards, but liked it in the sense that this is what they should be doing with Richards all along. Just having him go out there and mow through people in a 1 minute. Grade: 1.0
Overall Grade: 0.5
3. March Mayhem Qualifier: "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett w/"Brutal" Bob Evans & "The 1st Lady of Ring of Honor" Maria Kanellis defeated "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards by pinfall after reversing a roll-up by hooking the tights.
Mr. V: I am actually surprised that Bennett went over in this match, but with the help from Evans and Maria he got booked to get over a former ROH Champion. Edwards showed some power near the end and had the quickness moveset throughout the match, but Bennett did a great job slowing it down with good technical work at the upper body. A win for Edwards would have been stagnant, but a win for Bennett was refreshing. Grade: 2.6
Jason N.: Very good back and forth match, but the finish where Maria really came into her own as a heel with feigning that she was hurt from the collision with Edwards to lead to Bennett getting the win and then just laughing about it and being so condescending towards Edwards with "Oh, I'm sorry" bit. Maria's heel work as the manager to Mike Bennett has been one of the most surprising things I have seen so far this year because it seems so natural to her, but yet still so surprising in the sense that before this, she has NEVER been a heel. So, to see her be so natural with the mannerisms and whatnot with being a heel, makes you really wonder why in the world did the WWE let go. Just baffling to me. Good effort by everyone involved. Grade: 2.8
Overall Grade: 2.7
WWE Monday Night RAW Supershow (aired April 2nd)
Best Segment: You may think that we will go with Lesnar's return, but instead we think the best segment was The Rock opening up Raw with a show of respect to John Cena. He teased a run at the WWE Championship and joked about his Canadian Football League days.
1. Triple Threat Match for the WWE United States Title: Santino Marella (c) defeated "The All-American American" Jack Swagger & "The Show-Off" Dolph Ziggler w/Vickie Guerrero by pinfall to retain the title when he pinned Swagger with the Cobra.
Mr. V: The elusiveness by Marella was great. He needed to find a way to escape and in this story, he successfully did that against two former world champions. It was not a bad wrestling match, either. I just wished it went a bit longer. Grade: 1.4
Overall Grade: 1.4
2. Lord Tensai w/Sakamoto defeated Alex Riley via referee stoppage after the Tensai Bomb.
Mr. V: I just want to say it is exciting to see Albert back in a WWE ring and I think this has staying power. Now speaking of that, we saw tons of power and brawling from Tensai in this match. Riley sold all of the offense like a champ. Grade: 1.1
Overall Grade: 1.1
3. WWE Title: "The World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry defeated CM Punk (c) by count-out after Punk could not make it back in the ring by the 10 count. However, Punk retains the WWE Title as Henry cannot win the title via a count-out.
Mr. V: There were a lot of matches that did not score high on Raw this week, but this was the exception. I enjoyed the story these two told in the ring. Punk sold his wounds from WrestleMania well and Henry exploited them by attacking the back and demonstrated great power as Henry normally does. Punk was a very good babyface in this match and was a great babyface-in-peril. The transitions were solid and the result was perfect. Jericho is still feuding with Punk. Henry gets a bit of a push thanks to his alignment with the Raw GM. Good booking. Grade: 3.0
Overall Grade: 3.0
4. Kofi Kingston defeated Cody Rhodes by pinfall with the Trouble in Paradise after Rhodes was distracted by the Big Show.
Mr. V: This match was to protect Kingston I felt. Sure, he was the "winner", but the story here is now The Big Show gives Rhodes a taste of his own medicine. Good story over the Intercontinental Title at the moment. Grade: 0.8
Overall Grade: 0.8
5. The Miz defeated "Long Island Iced Z" Zack Ryder by pinfall with the Skull Crushing Finale.
Mr. V: I am so happy that Ryder is transitioning to a more aggressive wrestler. He has a reason to be upset and in his "run" near the end of the match we got to see that side of Ryder. The Miz was there for the ride and kept it entertaining; however there is a part of me that writes that The Miz needs a character change. Grade: 1.4
Overall Grade: 1.4
WWE NXT (aired April 4th)
Best Segment: The best segment (by default) would be Maxine and Johnny Curtis' quest to find Matt Striker's kidnappers. The kidnappers turned out to be Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks and thus continue one of the most entertaining stories in the WWE.
1. "Showtime" Percy Watson defeated Tyler Reks w/Curt Hawkins by pinfall with a roll-up.
Mr. V: I can't type enough reasons why I think Watson is a one-to-watch talent in the WWE. He might be nothing more than a jobber on a Raw or Smackdown, but he has a flawless moveset for a babyface. The flow and timing to this match was very good with Watson's speed blended with Reks' wear down abilities. This match showed that these are the two most improved wrestlers in the company now. Grade: 2.7
Overall Grade: 2.7
2. Natalya defeated Kaitlyn by submission with the Sharpshooter.
Mr. V: If the WWE gives divas like Natalya more than a two minute program, they can get a good match out of her. I was impressed with Natalya's quickness and technical work. Kaitlyn was carried a bit in this match, but to a casual fan I don't think it is a problem. Grade: 1.6
Overall Grade: 1.6
3. The Usos w/Tamina Snuka defeated "Mr. No Days Off" Darren Young & Titus O'Neil by pinfall with the Uso Splash on O'Neil.
Mr. V: I was a bit underwhelmed with this match. The only high marks I gave to this match were Jey Uso's quickness and Young's wear down tactics. Jimmy was a tad sloppy and was not selling as well as he was previously. I don't know what to point at when it comes to O'Neil, but he may need to improve his work ethic...and fast! The finish killed it for me. Grade: 1.5
Overall Grade: 1.5
4. Michael McGillicutty defeated Derrick Bateman by pinfall with the Turning Heads.
Mr. V: I was really impressed as all disciplines were showcased except for power. It made sense because both wrestlers are not power types. The chemistry that Bateman and McGillicutty had was there and McGillicutty has improved greatly as a character with a story. I feel that both of them are late-bloomers in the WWE and I hope for their continued success. Grade: 2.5
Overall Grade: 2.5
WWE Superstars (aired April 5th)
1. Hunico w/Camacho defeated Tyson Kidd by pinfall with a version of the Olympic Slam.
Mr. V: This was a match I really enjoyed. I liked how there was just enough of a distraction by Camacho that gave Hunico the edge in this match. The match was very "scientific", which is still hard for me to digest after Hunico's work as the imposter Sin Cara. Kidd was very solid as the babyface in this match. The match was just a basic formula that worked real well for Superstars. Grade: 2.8
Jason N.: The best thing on the show this week. Really good back and forth match between these two as Hunico is starting to find himself in the ring. The character is still kind of bland, but the in-ring work from him has greatly improved. Kidd continues to show he is more comfortable as a babyface, as he was good on the FIP work and showed nice fire on his comeback. All in all, good way to kick off the show. Grade: 2.2
Overall Grade: 2.5
2. The Usos defeated Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks by pinfall when Hawkins was pinned with the Uso Splash.
Mr. V: Jimmy once again struggles on the sell again. It is just a tad frustrating because The Usos have a shot at doing well in the future. The match had some fluent exchanges, and I again Reks showed his improved wear down tactics. The ending to this match really hurt the grade. Grade: 1.7
Jason N.: It was a short, but effective match as the crowd was very much into the Usos and Hawkins & Reks did a good job of garnering heat & sympathy onto the Usos for when they made their comeback. Well done there. Grade: 1.9
Overall Grade: 1.8
3. R-Truth defeated "The 1 Man Southern Rock Band" Heath Slater by pinfall with the Little Jimmy.
Mr. V: Is it wrong to say that Slater controlled the flow to this match? I thought the transitions were great in this match and it is nice to show that Slater is more than just a glorified jobber to the more well-known superstars. Though both had good chemistry, I felt that there were parts of the match that was obviously edited. Grade: 1.9
Jason N.: It was a fun match with playing off both Truth & Slater's interactions with the imaginary "Little Jimmy". Its goofy but for some reason, it worked in this match. Again, short but entertaining match with Truth & Slater that was mainly used as a showcase for Truth. Grade: 2.1
Overall Grade: 2.0
TNA Impact Wrestling (aired April 5th)
Best Segment: Honestly, the best segment was not the Hogan interactions but the refreshing confrontation between Bully Ray and Austin Aries. It helped Ray get over as a hated wrestler and it gave Aries some well-deserved air time.
1. "The Charismatic Enigma" Jeff Hardy defeated "The Olympic Gold Medalist" Kurt Angle by count-out after Angle refused to get back in the ring and walked out on the match.
Mr. V: I thought Hardy was surprisingly technical early in the match, as he worked on Angle's arm. There was a lot to dislike about Angle's performance. Granted that he is hurt, but he wrestled like a robot out there. Angle had no story in the ring or any emotion. Hardy once again was the star. He made the match acceptable. I gave it extra points for the aftermath, as we will get them in a cage at Lockdown. Grade: 2.3
Overall Grade: 2.3
3. #1 Contenders Match for the TNA Knockouts Title: Velvet Sky defeated "Hardcore Country" Mickie James, Tara, Winter, Angelina Love & "The Queen Bee" Madison Rayne by pinfall when she pinned Mickie with the In Yo Face.
Mr. V: Well, it was very spotty and that was expected when you have a six-way match. The match was very inconsistent and hard to follow. I thought that the program between Love and James was a good moment in the match as they slowed it down enough to keep the match from being that "spotfest". Though Sky is not the best "knockout" in the division, she does deserve another opportunity to win back her title. Grade: 1.4
Overall Grade: 1.4
4. "Cowboy" James Storm defeated "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles by pinfall with the Last Call.
Mr. V: In the segment before this match, Styles said that he is much quicker than Bobby Roode and that was no joke. Both were very fluent in the ring and give Styles credit for working on Storm's leg during the match. The match was very move-for-move, but it told strong storytelling. Storm needed the best in TNA and beat him. Now that he beat Styles with the Last Call, it is safe to say that Roode could possibly lose the title at Lockdown. Grade: 2.4
Overall Grade: 2.4
5. The Motor City Machineguns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) defeated Mexican America ("Super-Mex" Hernandez & Anarquia) w/Rosita & Sarita by pinfall with the Skull & Crossbones (Neckbreaker/Frog Splash Combo).
Mr. V: This match was just to highlight the return of the Machineguns. I thought Hernandez was a great power guy in this match, but the creative team wanted the fans to know that the Guns are back. The finish to the match could have been cleaner and for a second (and don't take this the wrong way) but after watching this match I thought Sabin came out full swing while Shelley looked like the man out for almost a year. Grade: 1.5
Overall Grade: 1.5
6. Mr. Anderson defeated TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode by reverse decision. Roode had originally won the match by pinfall after hitting Anderson with a beer bottle. However, new TNA General Manager Hulk Hogan came out and awarded the match to Anderson.
Mr. V: Again, is Brian Hebner (ref in charge) going to even acknowledge that pieces of "a beer bottle" were in his vicinity? I thought Roode was the star of this match, though he did not get the win. I don't know if Anderson is appearing this way, but he is looking really lazy since his return. Roode controlled the flow of the match, while Anderson just followed Roode's lead. Overall, I just was not entirely impressed with the overall format of this match. Grade: 1.9
Overall Grade: 1.9
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (aired April 6th)
Best Segment: Though the vignette by Damien Sandow was a strong lecture, the best segment of the week goes to Daniel Bryan giving AJ "the boot" after she "cost" him the match at WrestleMania. It might be degrading, however we think this will bring a great storyline in the near future.
1. Handicap Match: David "A List" Otunga & "The World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry defeated R-Truth by pinfall when Otunga pinned Truth after a World's Strongest Slam by Henry.
Mr. V: Could there be a bit of turmoil between Henry and Otunga? After the World's Strong Slam, Otunga wanted the scraps and Henry looked hesitant. There were exchanges between Truth and Otunga, and then there was Henry to squash Truth. Grade: 0.9
Overall Grade: 0.9
2. Street Fight: "The Viper" Randy Orton defeated "The Big Red Machine" Kane by pinfall after the RKO on a steel chair.
Mr. V: Smackdown delivered with a match that I thought would have been best on the Mania card. Orton and Kane had great chemistry and the one thing that caught my eye was that there was never a dull moment in this match. Both are brawlers and Kane's wear downs were offset by Orton's quickness in the match. It was probably the most well-rounded match of the week after it was all said and done. Grade: 3.1
Overall Grade: 3.1
3. Ryback defeated Barry Stevens by pinfall with a Muscle Buster.
Mr. V: When did a jobber get the mic? Well, it was a squash for the returning Ryback (or Skip Sheffield). Ryback, if healthy, could be a power guy that Smackdown may need. Grade: 0.7
Overall Grade: 0.7
4. WWE Intercontinental Champion "The World's Largest Athlete" The Big Show defeated "The 1 Man Southern Rock Band" Heath Slater by pinfall with the Showstopper.
Mr. V: This match was a complete squash, with the Big Show showing off his dominance. Grade: 0.5
Overall Grade: 0.5
5. Nikki Bella defeated WWE Divas Champion "The Glamazon" Beth Phoenix by pinfall with the Bella Buster after Beth was distracted by Kelly Kelly at ringside.
Mr. V: So, this match happened. Kelly with a stare down and Nikki gets the non-title victory. Grade: 0.5
Overall Grade: 0.5
6. Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez defeated WWE World Heavyweight Champion "The Great White" Sheamus by disqualification after Del Rio feigned being hit by a steel chair and the referee disqualified Sheamus.
Mr. V: One of the few matches recently that offered all disciplines that were reached in my Grade Book (Power, Brawling, Technical, and Flying/Quickness). Del Rio looked impressive in his return to the ring and while his character hasn't changed, I like how he pretended to sell the chair shot (hey, soccer or "football" players do it all the time). Sheamus' first match as "champion" was a good one and I think they booked this right. Sheamus needs opponents, and with Bryan, Del Rio, and possibly a big name from Raw per the upcoming draft in the mix it could mean for some real fresh material for the Smackdown brand. Grade: 3.0
Overall Grade: 3.0
The Honor Roll
Distinguished Honors- Kane vs. Randy Orton, WWE Friday Night Smackdown, April 6.
High Honors- CM Punk vs. Mark Henry, WWE Monday Night RAW Supershow, April 2 & Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus, WWE Friday Night Smackdown, April 6.
Honors- Eddie Edwards vs. Mike Bennett, Ring of Honor on Sinclair, March 31 & Percy Watson vs. Tyler Reks, WWE NXT, April 4.
The Grade Book
A+; A; or A-: None.
B: Kane vs. Randy Orton (Smackdown), CM Punk vs. Mark Henry (RAW), Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus (Smackdown)
B-: Eddie Edwards vs. Mike Bennett (ROH on Sinclair), Percy Watson vs. Tyler Reks (NXT)
C+: Derrick Bateman vs. Michael McGillicutty (NXT), Hunico vs. Tyson Kidd (Superstars), AJ Styles vs. James Storm (IMPACT Wrestling), Kyle O'Reilly vs. Tommaso Ciampa (ROH on Sinclair), Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle (IMPACT Wrestling)
C: Heath Slater vs. R-Truth (Superstars), Bobby Roode vs. Mr. Anderson (IMPACT Wrestling)
C-: Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks vs. The Usos (Superstars), Kaitlyn vs. Natalya (NXT)
D+, D or D-: Darren Young & Titus O'Neil vs. The Usos (NXT), Mexican America vs. The Motor City Machineguns (IMPACT Wrestling), Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella (RAW), The Miz vs. Zack Ryder (RAW), Angelina Love vs. Madison Rayne vs. Mickie James vs. Tara vs. Winter vs. Velvet Sky (IMPACT Wrestling), Alex Riley vs. Lord Tensai (RAW), David Otunga & Mark Henry vs. R-Truth (Smackdown), Cody Rhodes vs. Kofi Kingston (RAW), Barry Stevens vs. Ryback (Smackdown), Davey Richards vs. Ryan McBride (ROH on Sinclair), The Big Show vs. Heath Slater (Smackdown), Beth Phoenix vs. Nikki Bella (Smackdown)
F or INC: None.
Our Weekly TV Rankings (Week 7)
1) NXT - Overall quality and a hint of storylines tying into the show in my opinion made for this as the show of the week.
2) Smackdown - The changing of the guard come in full force, and despite a few squashes they show featured two solid matches and a couple new twists to storylines.
3) Ring of Honor - The show was good, but it did not really stand out like other ROH editions. Solid matches and stories, but nothing really special.
4) WWE Superstars - The matches were not bad, but the lack of segments (which is always the case) hurt the overall grade for the show.
5) Monday Night Raw - Outside of Punk vs. Henry, this was not a good wrestling show. The segments were good, but predictable outside of the return of Lesnar.
6) Impact - I felt that some of the wrestlers were lounging around in the ring, there was only a couple moments that had interest as well. Overall, WWE stepped up this week and ROH stayed pat. Impact did not take the show to the next level.
Overall Rankings after Week 7
1) TNA Impact Wrestling (6 pts.)
2) WWE NXT (5 pts.)
3) Ring of Honor on Sinclair (4 pts.)
4) WWE Monday Night RAW Supershow (3 pts.)
5) WWE Superstars (2 pts.)
6) WWE Smackdown (1 pt.)
That ends this week's edition of the Grade Book on Wrestleview.com. Give us your feedback by e-mailing either Mr. V or Jason Namako at the e-mails below. Thank you for reading and be sure to check out all the other columns on Wrestleview. You are...DISMISSED!
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