The Grade Book #8 (April 7- April 12) April 18, 2012
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 Florida Championship Wrestling & 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.
Jason Namako provided a grade for Florida Championship Wrestling & TNA Xplosion.
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 April 7th)
Best Segment: The press conference for the Border Wars Internet PPV on May 12th that set up the main event World Title match between Davey Richards & Kevin Steen.
1. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) defeated "Technical Lightning" T.J. Perkins & Shiloh Jonze by pinfall when they pinned Jonze with More Bang for your Buck.
Mr. V: This match was very fast-paced and counter-heavy. I am starting to enjoy what the Bucks are doing as characters. The Bucks are arrogant and are willing to show that in the ring. It could have had a higher grade, but there were too many blown spots. Grade: 1.9
Jason N.: It was decent, although I felt Shiloh Jonze was a little out of place with how fast the Bucks & Perkins work. Perkins was solid in his role, especially off the hot tag. The Bucks were fine in their heel role as they have done well at making their heel personas work. Overall, decent opener. Grade: 1.8
Overall Grade: 1.85
2. "The Biggest Man in Town" Mike Mondo defeated Matt Taven by pinfall with a version of the Future Shock DDT.
Mr. V: This match was very fast-paced and counter-heavy. I am starting to enjoy what the Bucks are doing as characters. The Bucks are arrogant and are willing to show that in the ring. It could have had a higher grade, but there were too many blown spots. Grade: 2.5
Jason N.: Loved the intensity shown between the two as they really brought the hate. Mondo was great as the conniving heel with the feigned injury and then just going off on Taven with the repeated shots to the barricade. Taven was a good FIP here and showed good fire on the comebacks. The bumps they took were vicious and the finish was good in that it came out of nowhere and Mondo got the win by the skin of his teeth. Great performance by 2 lower card guys in ROH and hopefully, these two earned themselves permanent positions on the ROH roster. Hats off to both. Grade: 3.0
Overall Grade: 2.75
3. March Mayhem Finals in a 4 way Elimination Match: "The Dominant Male" Tommaso Ciampa w/The Embassy Ltd. defeated Jay Lethal, Adam Cole & "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett w/"Brutal" Bob Evans & "The 1st Lady of Ring of Honor" Maria Kanellis to win the $24,000 cash prize.
Mr. V: This match was very fast-paced and counter-heavy. I am starting to enjoy what the Bucks are doing as characters. The Bucks are arrogant and are willing to show that in the ring. It could have had a higher grade, but there were too many blown spots. Grade: 2.7
Jason N.: It was a fun match as it did a good job in really putting some sizzle on the Lethal-Ciampa feud. Ciampa going over was the right call as he needed a high profile win after the draw at 10th Anniversary. Cole & Bennett were solid in their roles, but Lethal & Ciampa made the match to me with their interactions and Lethal showing some real intensity in wanting to get at Ciampa towards the end. Fun main event. Grade: 2.6
Overall Grade: 2.65
Florida Championship Wrestling (aired April 9th)
Best Segment: The promo from Kassius Ohno.
1. Byron Saxton & Kenneth Cameron w/Conor O'Brian went to a no-contest.
Mr. V: All I can type is that Cameron was pretty good in the ring and Saxton was a great stoogy heel. I don't know what to think about the ending though. Grade: 0.8
Jason N.: It was OK for what it was, but the ending was kinda weird with the lights going out and then no one knowing what happened as they went to commercial. Grade: 1.3
Overall Grade: 0.95
2. Rick Victor & Paige w/Sofia Cortez defeated Aiden English & Audrey Marie by pinfall when Victor pinned English with a running Canadian Lifter (European Uppercut).
Mr. V: The only thing I can type about in this match is the fact that Victor was great at wearing down his opponent and Paige is well on her way to being in the WWE. English just did not do well enough for me to make this an above average match, and Audrey Marie still has a ways to go. In the end, I would say that we should keep an eye on Victor. Grade: 1.9
Jason N.: It was solid as Paige and Victor were good in their roles. Marie was decent on FIP, but English didn't really do anything for me with his work. Kinda bland to me. The stuff with Diaz attacking Marie and then brawling to the back was fine as it continues that feud. Overall, solid effort by all 4. Grade: 2.3
Overall Grade: 2.1
3. FCW 15 Title: Richie Steamboat (c) & Antonio Cesaro went to a 1-1 draw with a 20 minute time limit. By virtue of the draw, Steamboat retains his FCW 15 Title.
Mr. V: This was a very fun match to watch. Steamboat was just trying to escape anyway near the end to salvage a tie and was a great babyface in this. We saw how much the FCW 15 Medal means to him. But let's talk Cesaro. Cesaro was flat out incredible in this match with his technical ability, sheer power, and it was Cesaro that carried the match. Steamboat was the icing, but Cesaro was the whole cake in this match. Grade: 3.0
Jason N.: It was solid, but it started off very slow. Sometimes the British style works and sometimes it doesn't and this time out, it did not. However, after they took the first commercial, they picked up the pace and Cesaro did good in putting some sympathy on Steamboat. The crowd got behind and then Steamboat fed off them and was good on his comeback. Cesaro bumped good for him, but also had nice timing on the cut-offs. Well worked match between the two and the draw will obviously lead to another match. Just wish the beginning wasn't so slow or this could have been much better, but all in all, good main event. Grade: 2.6
Overall Grade: 2.8
WWE Monday Night RAW Supershow (aired April 9th)
Best Segment: The pull apart brawl between Brock Lesnar & John Cena.
1. WWE United States Champion Santino Marella & "The Funksaurus" Brodus Clay w/Cameron & Naomi defeated "The Show-Off" Dolph Ziggler & "The All-American American" Jack Swagger w/Vickie Guerrero by pinfall when Brodus pinned Ziggler with the Funk It.
Mr. V: This was a very fun match to watch. Steamboat was just trying to escape anyway near the end to salvage a tie and was a great babyface in this. We saw how much the FCW 15 Medal means to him. But let's talk Cesaro. Cesaro was flat out incredible in this match with his technical ability, sheer power, and it was Cesaro that carried the match. Steamboat was the icing, but Cesaro was the whole cake in this match. Grade: 1.7
Jason N.: Decent tag match for what it was and I liked that they finally some much needed sympathy on Brodus with Ziggler & Swagger getting some believable offense. The Santino & Brodus team has potential to work, while Ziggler needs to get away from Swagger & Vickie ASAP. Grade: 1.8
Overall Grade: 1.75
2. R-Truth defeated Cody Rhodes by pinfall with the Little Jimmy after WWE Intercontinental Champion The Big Show distracted Rhodes.
Mr. V: This is a "bigger picture" match. Rhodes has been distracted from Big Show weekly since losing his Intercontinental Championship, and Truth got the victory for it. Grade: 0.9
Jason N.: Nothing match and was only used to continue the Big Show/Rhodes feud. Grade: 1.1
Overall Grade: 1.0
3. Lord Tensai w/Sakamoto defeated Yoshi Tatsu via referee stoppage after the Tensai Bomb.
Mr. V: All I can type is that it was a great squash and made Tensai out as a dominant force. Grade: 1.0
Jason N.: Another squash for Tensai, although Yoshi did a better job of selling Tensai's offense than Riley did the prior week. Grade: 1.4
Overall Grade: 1.2
4. WWE Title: "The World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry defeated CM Punk (c) by disqualification after Punk nailed Henry with the TV monitor.
Mr. V: Just a few strikes and we get a DQ. Punk is intense and is starting to lack discipline due to Jericho. It is a good story with Mark Henry in line as a threat to the WWE Championship. I don't expect Punk to lose the title next week. Grade: INC
Jason N.: Quick and pointless to continue the Punk/Jericho angle. Not much to comment on it than that. Grade: INC
Overall Grade: INC
5. Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez defeated "Long Island Iced Z" Zack Ryder by submission with the Cross Armbreaker.
Mr. V: Del Rio needs to re-brand himself as a wrestler. His injury delay took a bit longer than usual, but in the end it is nice to see his quickness against Ryder. Grade: 1.2
Jason N.: Short but sweet match. Del Rio gets a win under his belt while Ryder gets some hope spots in before being made to not mean anything anymore. Gee, I have no idea why 700,000 viewers left between the last 2 weeks? Grade: 1.5
Overall Grade: 1.35
6. John Cena defeated David "A List" Otunga by submission with the STF.
Mr. V: Del Rio needs to re-brand himself as a wrestler. His injury delay took a bit longer than usual, but in the end it is nice to see his quickness against Ryder. Grade: 1.6
Jason N.: Solid match. Otunga has vastly improved in both his character and his in-ring work in the last 6 months. He and Cena have good chemistry in the ring and Cena did a good job of carrying the match while giving Otunga his moments to shine. Grade: 2.0
Overall Grade: 1.8
WWE Super Smackdown Live!: Blast from the Past (aired April 10th)
Best Segment: Piper's Pit with Daniel Bryan & AJ.
1. "The Viper" Randy Orton & "The World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry went to a no-contest after Orton ran to the back to attend to his father, who was attacked by Kane.
Mr. V: Henry's power and Orton's devious quickness were showcased in this match. I really liked how well the exchanges were and in the end no one lost momentum. And just when I thought Orton vs. Kane was a bit dry the writing team just writes another chapter that I am interested in reading. Grade: 2.0
Jason N.: Good match for what it was before the non-finish. These two have always had good chemistry with one another, and this match was no different. Grade: 2.2
Overall Grade: 2.1
2. Ryback defeated Benny Camer (Independent wrestler Bobby Shields) by pinfall with the Muscle Buster.
Mr. V: Ryback won after two moves. End. Grade: 0.5
Jason N.: Ryback squashes another jobber and I like Ryback more each week. Nuff said. Grade: 1.0
Overall Grade: 0.75
3. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) defeated "The 1 Man Southern Rock Band" Heath Slater & Tyson Kidd w/WWE Hall of Famer "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart by pinfall when they pinned Slater with the Uso Splash.
Mr. V: We need more Jimmy Hart in our lives, seriously. If not for Hart, this match would have been a snoozer. Grade: 1.4
Jason N.: Decent match for what it was, but as much as I like Jimmy Hart, he was very distracting in this match and somewhat hurt the match to me. Grade: 1.9
Overall Grade: 1.65
4. Mixed 6 Person Tag: The Great Khali, Alicia Fox & Natalya defeated Drew McIntyre & The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie) by pinfall when Fox pinned Nikki with a Northern Lights Suplex.
Mr. V: McIntyre develops a character, which was the only saving grace. Too bad the Bellas are rumored to leave. Grade: 0.5
Jason N.: Complete waste of time. Grade: 0.6
Overall Grade: 0.55
5. Hunico w/Camacho defeated WWE Hall of Famer "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan by disqualification when Duggan hit Hunico with his 2x4.
Mr. V: Like I said with Hunico. When he gets five minutes on Superstars, he is great. When he wrestles two minutes on Smackdown, it looks bad. I rest my case. Grade: 0.6
Jason N.: See the last match for thoughts. Grade: 0.8
Overall Grade: 0.7
6. WWE World Heavyweight Champion "The Great White" Sheamus & WWE Hall of Famer "Mean" Gene Okerlund defeated Daniel Bryan & Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez by pinfall when Sheamus pinned Bryan with the Brogue Kick after Bryan was distracted by the WWE Legends.
Mr. V: This was a nice feel good moment when the WWE Legends all arrived to protect Mean Gene. As for the match, outside of Bryan's quickness there was nothing to really showcase in this main event. Grade: 1.1
Jason N.: So why should I care about a best of 3 falls match on PPV that I have to pay for when Sheamus has shown he can easily beat Bryan? You know, these ratings this week make a lot of sense now to me. Just saying. Grade: 1.6
Overall Grade: 1.35
WWE NXT (aired April 11th)
Best Segment: The interactions between William Regal, Reks & Hawkins and Johnny Curtis & Maxine.
1. Johnny Curtis w/Maxine defeated "Showtime" Percy Watson by pinfall with a roll-up after Watson was distracted by Maxine.
Mr. V: If I had a "sleep match of the week", this would be it. Both had great chemistry and told a story in the ring. Though this was a very good opener for them, Curtis finally earns a victory while Watson getting distracted continues his frustrations with Maxine. Grade: 2.7
Jason N.: Solid match, but like the Reks/Watson a couple of weeks back, the Maxine/Regal stuff took a lot away from this match and while the actual angle was good, it should have been done backstage instead of taking away from a match. Grade: 2.1
Overall Grade: 2.4
2. Tyson Kidd defeated Michael McGillicutty by submission with the Sharpshooter mixed in with a triangle choke.
Mr. V: This was a great main event, just a shame that not many people watched it. The match was very back and forth, but controlled. McGillicutty was great in his technical work and quickness. Kidd was the man "in-peril" again and it turned out to be a very good outing for him. Grade: 3.1
Jason N.: The 1st match between these two was better, but this was still a damn good match. Really liked Kidd pulling out that new submission finisher as a way to almost separate himself from the Hart mystique that McGillicutty was dogging him on. McGillicutty continues to improve and he and Kidd have shown really good chemistry in their feud. Grade: 2.6
Overall Grade: 2.85
WWE Superstars (aired April 12th)
1. Kofi Kingston defeated "The Party Starter" Curt Hawkins w/Tyler Reks by pinfall with Trouble in Paradise.
Mr. V: This was a pretty basic, but effective match between two guys who really needed a good showing. Hawkins, in my opinion, carried this match with his wear down holds and technical ability. Kingston struggled early, but did pick it up in the end. I wished for a bit more selling in this match, but overall it was ok. Grade: 2.4
Jason N.: Best thing on Superstars this week, but not by a lot. Match was solid, but had a few clunky spots in between. Hawkins shows improvement everytime he is in the ring, but sometimes he also why he is still on these lesser known shows, and this was a perfect example of such. Grade: 2.0
Overall Grade: 2.2
2. Kelly Kelly defeated Brie Bella w/Nikki by pinfall with a Jackknife pin.
Mr. V: Brie Bella was very good in controlling the back of Kelly. Brie has improved leaps and bounds the past few months. While I enjoy Kelly showing intensity in the match, she needs to be taught to tone it down a notch. Grade: 1.9
Jason N.: Standard Divas match. it wasn't bad, but I have seen this match so many times that they all just blend together. Grade: 1.6
Overall Grade: 1.75
3. Jinder Mahal defeated "The Personification of Domination" Ezekiel Jackson by submission with the Camel Clutch.
Mr. V: I don't want to bore anyone with this match. While Mahal attacked the neck of Jackson that led to the finish, it was just a poorly-executed match. One would think not to pair these two up because they don't work well together. Grade: 1.3
Jason N.: Very bland and boring. Mahal continues to show these glimpses of promise, but then goes back to not being that good. Zeke continues to be treated as nothing, and if I were him, I'd rent, not buy. Grade: 1.4
Overall Grade: 1.35
TNA Impact Wrestling (aired April 12th)
Best Segment: The in-ring face-off between Bobby Roode & James Storm.
1. In a match taped for Xplosion, Crimson defeated Eric Young w/ODB by pinfall with the Red Sky.
Mr. V: This was very average. Young is there to energize the crowd with his antics, but it was a bit too much. Crimson needed to be a bit edgy in the match, and despite him being a powerful wrestler he just lacked it in this match. Grade: 1.8
Jason N.: It was OK, but it seemed like there was a lack of chemistry between these two. Crimson is a little better off as a heel, but still shows that he has a lot to learn. Young tried, but it seemed like it didn't click for some reason. Grade: 1.7
Overall Grade: 1.75
2. Gunner defeated Mr. Anderson by disqualification when Anderson would not listen to the referee's 5 count.
Mr. V: Man, I loved the brawling in this match and it was going great until the end. Anderson is improving, but there are moments in which he is just not as quick in transitions as Gunner. The match was booked to be intense, and it reached the objective. Grade: 2.0
Jason N.: Solid match for what it was. Really like this newfound intensity from Anderson and since coming back, he has showed some improvement in the ring, which is very promising. Grade: 2.1
Overall Grade: 2.05
3. TNA X-Division Champion "A Double" Austin Aries defeated "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels by pinfall with the Brainbuster.
Mr. V: This match was very entertaining, but it was spotty. I thought Aries was tremendous, as he was fluent in everything that he did in the ring. Daniels realized that and was booked to use cheap shot antics and that added a lot to this type of match. I honestly type that if they were given 30 minutes for this match they would not have missed a step. Grade: 2.6
Jason N.: Damn good match. These two have really good chemistry with one another, dating back to their match at Glory by Honor IX back in 2010 that a lot of people enjoyed, myself included. Still on the fence about Aries as a babyface, but what can you do if the crowd likes you so much. One of the top matches this week on TV. Grade: 2.9
Overall Grade: 2.75
4. Bully Ray defeated "The Phenomenal" A.J. Styles by pinfall after using a chain from Eric Bischoff's wallet.
Mr. V: They struck gold again with this match. Again, I enjoyed the flow and finish to the match. Ray is an opportunist and will do anything to get a victory. Styles showed the audience once again why he can compete with anyone in the ring. It was a well-rounded match that I enjoyed. Grade: 2.5
Jason N.: Another good match here. AJ showed some vigor here and Bully definitely had his working boots on for this. The big-man/little-man match-up sometimes can work and sometimes it doesn't, this time it did. Really enjoyed it. Grade: 2.4
Overall Grade: 2.45
5. "Hardcore Country" Mickie James & Velvet Sky defeated TNA Knockouts Champion Gail Kim & "The Queen Bee" Madison Rayne by pinfall when Sky pinned Kim with the In Yo Face.
Mr. V: They struck gold again with this match. Again, I enjoyed the flow and finish to the match. Ray is an opportunist and will do anything to get a victory. Styles showed the audience once again why he can compete with anyone in the ring. It was a well-rounded match that I enjoyed. Grade: 1.7
Jason N.: Solid Knockouts match. Velvet was kept to a minimum here, which is good since she is not the best in the ring. Mickie was surprisingly good here as a FIP and Gail & Madison worked well together on their control segment. Grade: 2.0
Overall Grade: 1.85
The Honor Roll
Distinguished Honors- Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd, WWE NXT, April 11.
High Honors- Antonio Cesaro vs. Richie Steamboat, Florida Championship Wrestling, April 8.
Honors- Austin Aries vs. Christopher Daniels, TNA IMPACT Wrestling, April 12. Matt Taven vs. Mike Mondo, Ring of Honor on Sinclair, April 7.
The Grade Book
A+; A; or A-: None.
B: Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd (NXT), Antonio Cesaro vs. Richie Steamboat (FCW)
B-: Matt Taven vs. Mike Mondo (ROH), Austin Aries vs. Christopher Daniels (IMPACT Wrestling), Adam Cole vs. Jay Lethal vs. Mike Bennett vs. Tommaso Ciampa (ROH)
C+: A.J. Styles vs. Bully Ray (IMPACT Wrestling), Johnny Curtis vs. Percy Watson (NXT),
C: Curt Hawkins vs. Kofi Kingston (Superstars), Aiden English & Audrey Marie vs. Paige & Rick Victor (FCW), Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton (Smackdown), Gunner vs. Mr. Anderson (IMPACT Wrestling), The Young Bucks vs. Shiloh Jonze & T.J. Perkins (ROH), Gail Kim & Madison Rayne vs. Mickie James & Velvet Sky (IMPACT Wrestling)
C-: David Otunga vs. John Cena (RAW), Brodus Clay & Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger (RAW), Brie Bella vs. Kelly Kelly (Superstars), Crimson vs. Eric Young (Xplosion), Heath Slater & Tyson Kidd vs. The Usos (Smackdown)
D+, D, or D-: Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder (RAW), Alberto Del Rio & Daniel Bryan vs. Gene Okerlund & Sheamus (Smackdown), Ezekiel Jackson vs. Jinder Mahal (Superstars), Lord Tensai vs. Yoshi Tatsu (RAW), Cody Rhodes vs. R-Truth (RAW), Byron Saxton vs. Kenneth Cameron (FCW), Benny Camer vs. Ryback (Smackdown), Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Hunico (Smackdown),
F or INC: Alicia Fox, Natalya & The Great Khali vs. The Bella Twins & Drew McIntyre (Smackdown), CM Punk vs. Mark Henry (RAW)
Our Weekly TV Rankings (Week 8)
1) WWE NXT
2) Ring of Honor on Sinclair
3) TNA Impact Wrestling
4) WWE Super Smackdown Live!: Blast from the Past
5) WWE Monday Night RAW Supershow
6) WWE Superstars
Overall Rankings after Week 8
1) WWE NXT (7 pts.)
2) TNA Impact Wrestling (6 pts.)
3) Ring of Honor on Sinclair (5 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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