October 26 saw the return of Matt Cappotelli to OVW. The crowd was thick outside the arena tonight and it looks like they may have had to turn away a few people, but I can't be for certain about that.
I didn't write down any notes, so I'm just going on memory here. One thing for certain was that they filmed two shows tonight, so the whole thing ran more than two hours.
Elijah Burke vs. Doug Basham was the first match. They finally gave a name to Basham's personal assistant, as it was Morris, aka Mo' Green, but they never called him by name before tonight's show. Now it's Miles Green. Pretty decent first match for the night. I believe this is one of three matches that won't make it into the show.
CM Punk vs. Brent Albright was next. After having matches with Burke and Basham these past few weeks, I think Punk has finally found a good mix with Albright. I only recall one iffy spot in the match (alternating on chops, it looked like they got confused on who was supposed to chop who next and kinda fumbled their hands together for a second). Punk broke character and started laughing when he got Albright on the top-rope and people started cheering for the Pepsi Plunge. I believe this was Punk's best match in OVW so far, and he and Albright could have a good feud there if they go with it.
Maria (from WWE) got into a fight with Sosay backstage and they took it to the ring for a match that was mostly clothes-tearing and hair-pulling until Maria tore Sosay's dress off and Ken Doane came out to beat up Maria. Maria was saved by Bobby Lashley and they drove Sosay and Ken to the back.
The Jeter/Cappotelli match had the crowd split 50/50. More of a slugfest for the first half, it finally heated up and there were some very impressive moves from both, including a Wall of Jericho on the middle rope in the corner at one point. Probably one of the better ref bumps appeared in the match as well. Ken Kennedy came out to distract the ref, and when the ref went to the floor to grab the OVW belt away from Kennedy, Cappotelli jumped over the ropes and landed on both of them, driving the ref's head into the cement (as a work in the match). Jeter ended up getting the win with a blow to the head with the belt. Kennedy was bleeding from the mouth as he came into the ring to raise Jeter's hand.
Nic Nemeth in his caddy gear came out with Aaron Stevens, Beth and Shelly for a match against Chris Cage. They ended up in the sucky role of following the previous couple of matches, which was too bad. Solid match, but nothing compared to what came earlier. Alexis Laree came out at one point to scare off the other girls.
Renee Dupree vs. Robert Fury was a short dark-match that had Dupree doing his trademark dance. Nothing really memorable about the match, but wasn't bad.
Ken Doane had his match against Bobby Lashley. Both worked well together, with Doane coming off stronger than I would have expected. Doane won the match and Lashley took to the corners to applaud the audience, giving the feeling that this was probably his blow-off match to their feud and his last match in OVW.
Something went wrong with Al Snow's microphone, so they had to delay the final match while fixing it. When the delay got longer, Mike Mondo and Deuce Shade came out and did what I believe was an impromptu match to kill time because the match was not announced and Mondo and Shade came out brawling with Shade in his street clothes.
Final match of the night was a tag-team event with Seth Skyfire and Chett the Jett vs. Ken Kennedy and Johnny Jeter. Had to leave before it was finished however, so I don't know who won.
I swear I'm missing a match there, but that's nine events for the taping tonight that I can think of. Excellent night at the arena, and the audience really seemed into it. If this weekend's show is Punk/Albright and Jeter/Cappotelli, I think it may truthfully end up being one of the best OVW television shows of the year. At least from having just watched it live.
Can't completely disagree with Bored up above on the Punk/Albright match.
And, yeah, it's obvious that they have a good thing going with the Cappotelli/Jeter feud and want to milk it for a while longer. With the Lashley/Doane feud pretty much done, it's one of the few storylines that they have a built-up audience interest in right now.
I'm kind of curious also about where Heyman is going with Albright & Doane. I can't see him just dropping the fact that Doane took him out with brass knuckles, screwing him out of his "final" TV title shot. I'm guessing Doane will end up in the Punk/Albright mix somehow.
Of course, they've also never really finished up Albright/Jeter -- Jeter screwed him out of the Heavyweight title & has never beat him clean. Albright was "distracted" from that belt with the whole Doane situation. Heyman is good about having everything tie together, so I'm betting that will come up at some point.
The tag team scene is a little more of a concern to me though -- there simply aren't any established teams once The Tolands finish up at OVW. He's going to have to do some quick work to make the chase for the tag belts seem important.
Tremendous, tremendous show... yes Albright/Punk did make it on the show. I got Jeter/Cappotelli at **** but your mileage may vary.
Straight to action this week I believe.
Elijah Burke v.s. "Superstar of Superstars" Doug Basham (w/ Miles Greene aka Mo Greene aka Maurice aka Morris aka Lamont)
Doug's new gimmick is starting to rule. Miles has a Walk of Fame star with Doug's name on it he puts on the floor for Doug's entrance. Doug signs polaroids for the crowd. This was a good, Velocity-style opener. OVW Doug Basham rules so much. I think this gimmick has potential of making it with a little more tweaking. Anyway, Burke wins with a facebuster off the 2nd rope! Can't remember
Backstage, Maria and Sosay are dressed nearly alike, leading to a CATFIGHT, CATFIGHT in the ring. Man, this was just punching and rolling around, but Maria has potential and punches real well. Maria is about to win when Ken Doane runs out to save his valet. Bobby Lasheley runs out and spears Doane. Next week.. the showdown between these two men.
CM Punk v.s. Brent Albright
*Jizzes*. Man, for a 30 minute match between these guys. Albright is basically a poor man's Benoit as I've mentioned so imagine Benoit v.s. Punk and that's this match, pretty much. This had the psychology of a 30 minute match in 12 minutes or whatever they had. Punk's angle is he hasn't shaken anyone's hand since arriving in OVW since he doesn't respect anyone. Anyway, Albright offers him a handshake and Punk refuses. They do about 4-5 extended wrestling sequences here and Albright ends up getting the better of the mat wrestling and offers Punk a handshake each time. Anyway, the final time Punk slaps the shit out of Albright when Albright goes for the handshake and starts striking him to death in a super dickish fashion.
Albright comes back with his standard offense, working on the arm, belly to belly suplex, armbreaker, and goes for the crowbar but Punk reverses it in a crowbar of his own! Albright finally makes it to the ropes after nearly tapping and not being able to roll out of his. After a bit more back and forth, Punk goes to finish off Albright and after the crowd chants it, teases the Pepsi Plunge. Albright throws him off and misses a diving headbutt. Albright finally comes back with rolling germans and then hits a half-nelson suplex and HEADDROPS punk for the 1-2-3!
I'd give this about *** 1/2. These guys better get their 20-30 minute match in OVW!
Swank promo for Jeter/Cappotelli
OVW Heavyweight Champion Johnny Jeter v.s. Matt Cappotelli
Dean Hill tells us they've already taken all their commerical breaks so this match will be commerical free (it's 32 after the hour!). There's "security" forming a wall in the middle of the ring to seperate these two. Crowd is jacked, definitely has a big-match feel. These two just brawl to start out and anytime Matt gets the edge, Jeter goes after the Cappotelli's injured leg. Punching wasn't particularly good or anything but it was intense still. Offense on the leg with Jeter busting out some swank submissions, leg to the ringpost. Matt comes back for a bit and then Jeter takes over on the leg again. Neat spot where Jeter has a boston crab on Matt cappotelli on the 2nd rope (after Cappotelli hit his shoulder into the ringpost). Jeter ends up begging off and Cappotelli teases like he'll forgive Jeter, then lariats him! Cappotelli ends up going nuts on Cappotelli. Jeter hits a superkick, Cappotelli kicks out. Jeter gets a whisper in the wind on Cappotelli which Cappotelli reverses into a pin, a decent amount of near falls. Matt hits a big plancha on Jeter after about 20 minutes getting a big OVW chant. Neat sequence where Jeter goes for a powerbomb, Matt reverses and goes for a rana, Jeter blocks it and has Matt in a Styles Clash position and turns it into a Texas Cloverleaf. Matt finally pulls himself to the ropes. Some of this is out of order since it was sort of there, but the overarching hatred and Matt selling the knee held up. Anyway, there's another double ko and Jeter nips up... then Matt nips up on the bad leg, hits a jumping spin kick and then superkicks jeter. Ken Kennedy runs down and pulls the ref out of the ring! Matt planchas on Kennedy and the ref who's trying to get him out of there! Kennedy throws the OVW title to Jeter. Jumping superkick to Kennedy. Back in the ring, Jeter tries to hit Matt with the title, Matt ducks, goes for a superkick on Jeter which is blocked, low blow, belt shot to Matt, 1-2-3!
Winner: Jeter in about 28 minutes
Man, I'm really mixed on how to rate this... techinically it was only about a *** 1/4 or so match, not a lot of innovative spots, never got into a great flow with a bunch of nearfalls or false finishes in a row (although there were some really good ones), storywise it was *really* good and hate-filled. I'll say it's ****, judging for OVW bias.
I think this was a case of two good matches bouncing off each other and causing one having to be rated a little less than the other. If the Albright/Punk match had been on the next episode, then Cappotelli/Jeter would look even better.
Saying that, I have no problems watching an hour-long show that gives us two powerhouse matches, one short character-driven one, and a filler that is just fun to watch. This is how to program an hour-long wrestling show and TNA would do well to study it.
What was really great about the Punk/Albright match all came down to storytelling. The whole handshake setup is perhaps an old one, but they worked it well and everything came back to the handshake Albright wanted at the beginning of the match. I'm surprised they cut off the ending where Albright grabbed Punk's hand and shook it while Punk was knocked out on the mat. Maybe they thought it was paying off the storyline too soon?
BTW, that swank promo for Jeter/Cappotelli wasn't shown to the audience during the taping, so that was a surprise when watching it Saturday night on television.
The show definitely held up to what I saw live on Wednesday. I also agree about Basham - the character is starting to really work for me.
There was also a big chunk cut out of the Albright/Punk match at the beginning. Don't know if it was due to time constraints or what. I figure that might play into the handshake at the end being cut, too. Either the match was better than they expected & they want to extend the feud or maybe they wanted to allow the Jeter/Capp match to shine more. Either way, I enjoyed this week's show. There's a house show this Wednesday - those are usually pretty good since the guys get longer matches & get to play to the crowd more vs focusing on pushing storylines.
Okay, okay.. after reading those interviews, it does look like she's pretty level-headed and fun. I do give her props for the strides that she's made. I watched a tape of Mania 2000, where she accompanied T&A to the ring.