Well, good day to all my students! First off, it is great to be back and writing once again now that I have completely revamped my lifestyle to have more time with the things that I love to do. I hope all has gone well with the readers since the Golden Yardsticks and Rotten Apples.
Well, I guess I might as well let the cat out of the bag. Until May, “From the Desk of Mr. V” will be on hiatus. With my duties as a physical education and health teacher it is really tough to sit here and type and I got the blessing from my editor-in-chief to take a break from the hoopla. Well, today I sit down in front of the class and finally dusted off the desk for a brief time that I hope can be every week.
Welcome to “The Grade Book”, a new weekly look into the matches (and some segments) in professional wrestling. I am “Mr. V” Anthony J. Valvo and I will be alongside WWE 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, and the ever-popular Ring Ka King in India.
This week is our first week, so we will be doing somewhat of a trail. Jason and I watched every match from the WWE, TNA, and ROH from February 18 – February 23. 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.
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 Wrestling on Sinclair (aired February 18, 2012)
Segment of the Show: After the Haas/Mark Briscoe match, Haas takes out Mark with a chair while his brother, Jay, (per stipulation to the match) was handcuffed. Haas said it was part of a plan, and paid the $10,000 fine to avoid suspension.
Match #1: “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” Kevin Steen def. Andy “Right Leg” Ridge with the F-Cinq
Mr. V – The match was what was expected, to set up Kevin Steen as a dominant contender for the ROH World Title. It was a squash, but Ridge’s limited elusiveness and Steen’s power made it fun to watch. Grade: 2.0
Jason – Very good squash match. Steen was great in this little squash, and while Ridge did mess up a few spots, he sold like a champ for Steen’s offense. Grade: 2.0
Overall – 2.0
Match #2: Adam Cole & “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards def. Mike Mondo & Matt Taven with a German Suplex/Pin Combo by Cole.
Mr. V – The match was pretty average, but it did book Cole as a bit better than Edwards in the match. The match worked well to build up the Cole/Edwards team, as they have a main event for the March 4, 2012 iPPV vs. Davey Richards and Kyle O’Reilly. Grade: 2.0
Jason N. – This match was to make Cole an almost equal to Edwards, and I think it did its job nicely. Not a big fan of Mondo’s gimmick, but he and Taven put on a good effort here. Edwards was almost an afterthought, but goal was to get over Cole, and they achieved it. Grade: 2.1
Match #3: ROH Tag Team Champion Mark Briscoe def. Charlie Haas with a Roll-Up
Mr. V – I really think Briscoe was great in brawling and showed quickness, while Haas was working the back. However it was a spotty, but good brawl that I hoped had more selling. This keeps the story between them solid up until their match in Late-March in Florida. Grade: 2.4
Jason – Very nice main event. Haas has gotten much better, both on the mic and in-ring since the heel turn, and Mark was good in his FIP work. Best match on the show by far. Grade: 2.2
WWE Monday Night Raw (aired February 20, 2012)
Segment of the Show: Though The Undertaker/HHH was good, it was easily John Cena’s Raw. John Cena’s promo on The Rock got the edge over his work against Eve.
Match #1: “The Great White” Sheamus def. “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry with a Brogue Kick
Mr. V – The match was too short, but it was a good tune-up to show Sheamus as a threat to Daniel Bryan’s World Heavyweight Championship. The match had some good brawling with hints of big-man quickness. Grade: 1.8
Jason – Match was OK, but it felt like a complete waste of time. This was a big match last year on Summerslam, and now it’s a 4 minute opener on free TV? Made no sense. Grade: 1.6
Match #2: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth def. WWE Tag Team Champion Epico &Primo w/Rosa Mendes with Trouble in Paradise
Mr. V – I thought Truth wrestled well, possibly Epico and Primo if they had more time could have saved the match. I don’t know if it was the wear and tear of the Chamber, but Kingston just looked lost in this match. Grade: 1.6
Jason – Decent little tag match. Epico & Primo work really well and held up their end. Unfortunately, when R-Truth is the better worker of the babyface team that is NOT a good thing. Grade: 2.0
Match #3: David Otunga def. Ezekiel Jackson with The Verdict
Mr. V – It was too quick, but there were hints of brawling by both. It needed to be booked to make Otunga look strong against a former Intercontinental Champion. Grade: 1.5
Jason – Bad, just bad. When Otunga is the better worker, that is again not a good thing. Grade: 1.1
Match #4: WWE World Champion Daniel Bryan def. Santino Marella with The Labell Lock
Mr. V – The match was good while it lasted. It probably went too quick, but let’s face the fact that Marella had his moment at Elimination Chamber. Grade: 1.0
Jason – A complete waste of time. After the great thing they did with Santino on the PPV, he goes and loses to Bryan in 1 MINUTE. Make up your mind WWE about what you want to do with Santino, and do it fast. Grade: 0.8
Match #5: The Bella Twins def. Aksana & Kelly Kelly with The Bella Buster
Mr. V – This match was not good at all, until the Bellas were part of the offense. The divas are better than this. Grade: 0.6
Jason – Aksana needs to be fired. That was the WORST elbow drop I have ever seen. It may be the worst match of 2012 so far, just atrocious. Grade: 0.4
Match #6: 10-Man Battle Royal won by Chris Jericho
Mr. V – I enjoyed the battle royal (sans the unfortunate Wade Barrett injury). The match told a story which is not often with this type of match. My only concern is the health of Barrett, but glad he will only be out for a couple months at the max. Grade: 2.3
Jason – Dropped down a ton due to the carelessness of Big Show leading to Barrett’s injury and the stupidity of Rhodes & Santino with the near landing on Barrett’s injured arm. Decent action in the battle royal itself, but the injury takes it down for me. Grade: 1.5
WWE Friday Night Smackdown (aired live on February 21, 2012)
Segment of the Show: We decided that the segment of the show went to the interaction with Daniel Bryan, The Miz, and Sheamus. Bryan may have used the same format, but give credit to The Miz for his work and Sheamus for his quick insults to Bryan.
Match #1: “The Great White” Sheamus def. The Miz with The Celtic Slam
Mr. V – The ending was a bit spotty, but this match told a good story. The Miz actually had a solid match after struggling over the past few months and showed that he could be technical by picking Sheamus’ arm. Sheamus was solid in victory, but he probably could have sold Miz’s offense a bit better. Grade: 2.4
Jason – The best Miz has looked in the ring in 2+ months. Good limb work and believable near falls down the stretch. Only thing that hurt the grade is Sheamus’s no-selling of the limb work at the end. But, a good match overall. Grade: 2.3
Match #2: “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler & WWE United States Champion Jack Swagger w/Vickie Guerrero def. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth with The Zig Zag
Mr. V – The match was pretty lousy, expected a bit more from pretty much everyone involved. However I think it was not done well because of the time they had. This match felt like filler time, and there was no true story. Grade: 1.7
Jason – This was a much better match for Kofi & Truth this time out. Good babyface stuff, and as per the usual, Ziggler bumped his tail off for them. Ziggler & Swagger complement each other nicely, and I gotta admit, Vickie falling and throwing a temper tantrum definitely bumped the grade up a few pegs. Grade: 2.0
Match #3: The Great Khali def. Drew McIntyre with The Punjabi Plunge
Mr. V – What can I say? It was too quick. Poor Drew. Grade: INC
Jason – Complete waste of McIntyre. Khali, join Aksana on the unemployment line. Grade: INC
Match #4: “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry def. The Big Show by Countout
Mr. V – I like a good power match. These two rarely have a bad moment when in the ring and they both showed hints of quickness as well. Afterwards, looks like Cody Rhodes and Show will feud up to Wrestlemania. That can be a good thing for both. Grade: 2.3
Jason – Decent match, but again, complete waste from a booking standpoint. This was a main event feud and now it’s a meaningless match on free TV? Liked the Rhodes stuff at the end, and both guys put on a nice effort, but no sense booking wise. Grade: 1.8
Match #5: David Otunga def. Ezekiel Jackson with The Verdict
Mr. V – Unlike Raw, this was more fluent. I felt that Jackson carried the match though. I don’t know where this will lead to, possibly Team SD vs. Team Raw. Not sure, but the story is there. Grade: 1.5
Jason – Little bit better than the RAW match, but that is not saying much. Grade: 1.4
Match #6: WWE World Champion Daniel Bryan vs. WWE Champion CM Punk went to a Draw (or No Contest). Note: Bryan and Punk had one fall each and the third fall ended when both pinned each other.
Mr. V – This match actually put me on edge, really liked the battles with the GMs to continue the match until there is a winner. Bryan and Punk have amazing chemistry and there was never a dull moment in the match. Both were great with the quickness aspect to the match and Bryan worked on Punk’s arm for a good bit. It was a unique ending to a main event on Smackdown, which made for good TV. Grade: 3.1
Jason – Best match on TV this week. These two work really well together and this was one of the rare times were piloting something and having no winner both times(the RAW match in January) does actually more help than harm. Ending was goofy, but it didn’t deter the match to me overall, good stuff. Grade: 2.8
WWE NXT (aired February 22, 2012)
Segment of the Night: Not much on segments, but we gave the nod to the backstage turmoil between Maxine (who wants out of NXT), Derrick Bateman (the babyface who wants to remain on NXT to have fun), Kaitlyn (Bateman’s friend and possible secret crush), and Johnny Curtis (the creep)
Match #1: Tyson Kidd def. Tyler Reks with The Sharpshooter
Mr. V – I was very surprised with how well they worked together in this match. It went long for an NXT match, and I gave credit to Reks for his brawling and technical style (he worked on Kidd’s arm for a good couple minutes in the match). Kidd was crisp with kicks and his counter to the Sharpshooter was spot-on. Grade: 2.7
Jason – Thought this was a little better the Hawkins match last week. Kidd has settled in nicely since turning back to a babyface, and Reks did a nice job on his control segment. Grade: 2.3
Match #2: Titus O’Neil def. Alex Riley with a Powerbomb and some help by placing feet on the ropes
Mr. V – This was not a good match to help either wrestler. O’Neil was terrible selling and was stiff as a board when Riley tried to pin him. For a rivalry, this failed to tell a story in the ring. Grade: 1.6
Jason – This did not work. Titus is very awkward to me as a heel, plus the fact that it makes no sense for him to be friends with Darren Young when they were at each other throats 3 months ago. Riley is a good babyface, but needs to SLOW DOWN. Not that good, and really underwhelming. Grade: 1.4
WWE Superstars (aired February 23, 2012)
Segment of the Night: Well, there were no segments. But that Raw Rebound featuring The Undertaker and HHH was nice.
Match #1: Michael McGillicutty def. Alex Riley with The Turning Heads
Mr. V – The match could have flowed better at the start. The match featured McGillicutty’s quickness and technical abilities. The match was very move-for-move for the most part and near the end I was not entirely impressed with either one, particularly Riley. Grade: 2.0
Jason – Good match from these two. Riley still needs to slow down, but his babyface fire shined through. McGillicutty has improved greatly from a year ago, and IMO, he is an early candidate for Most Improved or Underrated for 2012. Grade: 2.2
Match #2: Tyler Reks def. Mason Ryan with Full Throttle
Mr. V – This felt like a powerful fight. But that was it. Reks was fantastic in this match and probably controlled about 90% of the match. But it takes two to tango, and Ryan is just all power and nothing else. Grade: 2.1
Jason – Just an OK match to me. Reks was again very good on his control segment but Ryan really needs to step his game up. Right now, Ryan is one of the worst sellers in the company and that needs to pick up quickly or he’ll be out the door fast. Grade: 1.7
Match #3: Jinder Mahal def. Justin Gabriel with a Camel Clutch
Mr. V – I was not impressed with the flow to this match. It lacked technique. Mahal can’t even keep his shoulders down for three seconds if he tried, and the two are just not a good fit in the ring together at this time. Overall, I found this match to be lazy. Grade: 1.8
Jason – Actually, a very solid match and I was impressed of the effort from both Gabriel and Mahal. These two worked pretty well together and this to me, was one of Mahal’s better performances to date. Not a great match by any means, but it was enjoyable and good effort was shown by both. Grade: 2.1
TNA Impact Wrestling (aired February 23, 2012)
Segment of the Show: We chose the ending of the show in which Sting goes back to being the “Insane Icon” and challenges Bobby Roode to a non-title match at Victory Road.
Match #1: Magnus and Samoa Joe def. Crimson and “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan with their 3 move combo to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship
Mr. V – This match actually had some solid moments, but lacked a bit of punch for a title match. I think it told a story more towards the challengers of this match. Where do the champs go from here? Only time will tell. Grade: 2.2
Jason – Better match than the one these two teams at the last PPV. Magnus & Joe work really well together and carried Crimson & Morgan to a solid effort. Looking like a Crimson heel turn, which may be a mistake, but we’ll see where it goes from here. Grade: 2.0
Match #2: Zema Ion def. Alex Shelley with a Bible Black (thanks Josh Boutwell)
Mr. V – It had some quality back and forth work, but too flashy. It was tough to take notes on a match like this, but my only gripe is that neither one of them sold a single move. Grade: 1.8
Jason – Shelley looked good in the match again, but Ion was flashier than aluminum paper here. Just spot after spot from him, and while I got a chuckle seeing Aries with the wine & popcorn, the match just didn’t do it for me, mostly due to Ion’s flashiness. Grade: 1.7
Match #3: TNA Knockouts Champion Gail Kim def. ODB w/Eric Young with the Eat Defeat
Mr. V – I actually enjoyed this match and my pick for match of Impact. ODB was amazing as a face in peril and just had the moveset that made for a good match against Gail Kim. The match featured ODB’s power and Kim’s quickness. Also, some good brawls throughout. Grade: 2.3
Jason – This was Gail’s best match since coming back, mostly in part to ODB. ODB is still a very underrated female worker in my book, as she has carried two not so good workers in Gail & Mickie to 2 good matches in the last few months. Gail was good on control, and ODB was very good as a FIP. Hats off to both. Grade: 2.2
Match #4: “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles def. Robbie E. w/Robbie T. by Disqualification (For TNA TV Title, Robbie E retained due to finish)
Mr. V – Nice to see AJ Styles use some power against a guy who can bump well. Robbie E was good as well with selling AJ’s offense while showing his character. I don’t know where Kazarian and Daniels fall into this feud, but it has me worried. Grade: 2.0
Jason – Interesting match here. Styles & Robbie worked well together, and the match was solid. However, the Kazarian interference and this whole goofy storyline dropped this down a peg into an OK match for me. Nothing against Styles and Robbie E’s work, just the storyline tie-in with the finish just made no sense. Grade: 1.8
Match #5: “Cowboy” James Storm and “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy def. Bully Ray and Kurt Angle in a No DQ match when NY Giants Running Back Brandon Jacobs chokeslammed Bully Ray through a table
Mr. V – This match kept my interest, however the transitions to the end took way too long for me to grade it higher. I enjoyed the brawling by Bully and Storm, but there was nothing else in this story. I thought maybe they were too worried about getting that finish in. Grade: 2.1
Jason: I really enjoyed this match. Bully & Hardy carried the load in this, and the interaction with Brandon Jacobs was done very well. Only downside was the work of Angle. Obviously the Olympic are more on his mind than wrestling nowadays, so best bet would be to keep him out of the ring. Strom was solid, and I thought Bully & Hardy really made the match for me, along with the Jacobs stuff at the end. Grade: 2.5
Our Weekly TV Rankings (Week 1)
Before we get to our Honor Roll and Grade Book, let’s show the classroom how we have each show ranked this week.
1) Impact Wrestling – This may come to a shock, but overall the show had some very good moments with the Knockouts match and the story between Sting and Bobby Roode.
2) ROH on Sinclair – While the matches on this card were not great, they had good moments with a few good non-wrestling segments thanks to Inside Ring of Honor and Charlie Haas paying his team’s fine to continue their story with The Briscoes.
3) Friday Night Smackdown – It was wrestling heavy, and that was a good thing for “The Blue Brand”. With exception to Punk vs. Bryan and Sheamus vs. Miz, the matches just were not there. The opening segment helped with this ranking.
4) WWE NXT – The stories were pretty good as we are uncertain what will happen next week with the direction of the brand. Also, Maxine’s request has us pondering her future. Kidd vs. Reks really helped make it an average show.
5) Monday Night Raw – The show was very segment heavy, with John Cena cutting two very good promotional segments. The matches were average at best and could have gone longer.
6) WWE Superstars – The matches were above average, but with no segments it ranks at the bottom.
Overall Rankings after Week 1
1) Impact Wrestling (2pts.)
2) ROH on Sinclair (1pt.)
3) Friday Night Smackdown (0pts.)
4) WWE NXT (0pts.)
5) Monday Night Raw (0pts.)
6) WWE Superstars (0pts.)
The Grade Book
Just like in the previous “Mr. V” columns, we will pick out the Top 3 matches and place them in our Honor Roll. Then we will show you the overall book for the previous week.
Distinguished Honors: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, WWE Friday Night Smackdown, 2/21.
High Honors: Tyson Kidd vs. Tyler Reks, WWE NXT, 2/22
Honors: Sheamus vs. The Miz, WWE Friday Night Smackdown, 2/21
The Grade Book
A+; A; or A-: None.
B: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (Smackdown);
C+: Mark Briscoe vs. Charlie Haas (ROH); Sheamus vs. The Miz (Smackdown); Tyson Kidd vs. Tyler Reks (NXT); Gail Kim vs. ODB (TNA); James Storm and Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray and Kurt Angle (TNA)
C: Kevin Steen vs. Andy Ridge (ROH); Adam Cole and Eddie Edwards vs. Matt Taven and Mike Mondo (ROH); 10-Man Battle Royal won by Chris Jericho (RAW); Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (Smackdown); Mark Henry vs. The Big Show (Smackdown); Michael McGillicutty vs. Alex Riley (Superstars); Tyler Reks vs. Mason Ryan (Superstars); Jinder Mahal vs. Justin Gabriel (Superstars); Magnus and Samoa Joe vs. Crimson and Matt Morgan (TNA); AJ Styles vs. Robbie E (TNA);
C-: Sheamus vs. Mark Henry (RAW); R-Truth and Kofi Kingston vs. Epico and Primo (RAW); Zema Ion vs. Alex Shelley (TNA);
D+; D; or D-: David Otunga vs. Ezekiel Jackson (RAW); Daniel Bryan vs. Santino Marella (RAW); David Otunga vs. Ezekiel Jackson (Smackdown); Titus O’Neil vs. Alex Riley (NXT);
F or INC: Brie Bella and Nikki Bella vs. Aksana and Kelly Kelly (RAW); The Great Khali vs. Drew McIntyre (Smackdown).
That ends our first ever 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!!