Wrestlemania 27 Reaction

I wasn’t going to order Wrestlemania this year. We were going to a local drinking establishment where we could watch it free. However, there were literally no seats and it was crazy loud, so we turned around and went home. Mrs. Penguatroll begged and begged, and in the end, I caved, and we ordered it.

It was a huge mistake.

The price tag for WM this year, in HD, was $64.95. In the end, some of the matches were hugely disappointing, others never happened, and only three really stood out to me as being of reasonable quality.

Winner in bold:

The Good Matches

HHH vs. Undertaker

I want to say one thing off the bat — this was not as good as HBK – Taker 1 or 2. I didn’t expect it to be — HHH isn’t the wrestler Shawn Michaels is. He’s still one of the best in the business, but he’s no HBK. That said, this match told a very different story. Triple H did everything he possibly could to win — I counted a dozen chair shots to the back at one point, even one to the head, which isn’t done these days (the whole Chris Benoit fiasco). They teased the sledgehammer, but it never got used. In the end, HHH gets choked out, yet Taker looked borderline dead at the end of the match. Whether Taker was just selling really well or he’s just lost a step or ten, I was genuinely afraid for a few moments he might be unconscious.

Randy Orton vs. CM Punk

Probably the best match I saw all night, in terms of skill and work-rate. Punk did a fantastic job of playing the sadistic bastard who reveled in Orton’s misery, and when he got what he had coming, it was awesome. Orton isn’t as hugely popular as he was a few months ago, but the man sold the leg injury the entire match, which is something some Superstars forget from time to time ::cough:: John Cena ::cough::

Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio

He won via shenanigans, but honestly, this is the right move, and I give WWE props for letting the right man win. A very entertaining match, and Rhodes has grown tremendously as a character. He’s a future world champion, no mistake about it. Mysterio brought his A game; the second best match on the card in terms of technical ability.

Edge vs. Alberto del Rio

Honestly, it was phenomenally stupid to put this match first. I expected more from ADR, but the match was still fairly good. My biggest complaint (although I know why they did it now) was that they’ve successfully cheapened the Royal Rumble — that’s now two years in a row the Rumble winner hasn’t won the title at Mania. I’m beginning to worry that del Rio is a one-trick pony — work the arm, hit the cross armbreaker, match over. I love submission wrestlers, and del Rio is a great one, but he needs more moves in his arsenal to truly be great. He’s almost there.

The bad matches

Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella and Kofi Kingston vs. The Corre [sic]

I had to look up the match time afterwards. Two minutes. Two! You’ve got four hours, WWE — surely you could have used your time better? It’s a shame, because I like all the guys in this match.

John Morrison, Trish Stratus, Snooki vs. LayCool and Dolph Ziggler.

Let’s see. We’ve got five bona fide wrestlers, multi-time champions of one kind or another, and one publicity stunt. The men were never in the ring at all. Trish showed quite a bit, but Snooki pinned Michelle McCool for the win. A complete waste of time. I get why they did it — Vince wants casual viewers to buy his show — but I got up to get a sandwich and missed nothing. Well, I missed 90% of the match, but in another sense, I did miss nothing.

Michael Cole vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler

This was actually an entertaining match. Cole got his ass handed to him, after Jack Swagger was taken out of the equation, and Stone Cold was awesome as the guest referee. Here’s what I didn’t like: the ending. The “Anonymous RAW GM” disqualifies the King after the King made Michael Cole tap out because Stone Cold “got physical” with Michael Cole. Stone Cold stunned three people during the match, none of them Michael Cole. He gently shoved Cole at one point — apparently that was the DQ. It’s ridiculously obvious that Cole is the GM, or somebody extremely pro-Cole. They’ve kept this up for way too long, and it looked like they didn’t want the feud to end between Jerry and Cole, which actually pisses me off — it’s gone on for way too long.

The worst match of the night

Penguatroll, I hear you ask, aren’t you missing the main event? No, but I wish I did.

The Miz vs. John Cena

This was a reasonably acceptable match,  wrestling wise. The Miz showed more talent than he has in a while. There was a reasonable amount of interference, to be expected, since Miz is a “chicken shit heel” and not a “bad ass heel.” I was legit stunned when he kicked out of the AA — it’s just not something you see often, and helps establish the Miz as a legit competitor.

Here’s what I hated. First, they tease the double count out. The Rock comes out, interrupted by the RAW GM, at which point he chucks the laptop and restarts the match, no DQ, no countout, etc.

Then, he Rock Bottoms Cena and Miz covers, so Miz retains the championship. This is the first time since WM XIX that a heel won the main event — I give them credit for showing balls here and knowing that a lot of people would crap on the match. This sets up all kinds of interesting things — Cena vs. Miz vs. Rock triple threat, etc. — but it’s still a cheap end for the end of Wrestlemania. Why not put HHH-Taker last? I wouldn’t have been nearly as mad. Hell, even let Miz retain cleanly — show he’s not a wuss and can win matches legitimately.

After Rock lays out Cena, he then gives a People’s Elbow to the Miz, and so the person celebrating at the end of Wrestlemania… wasn’t even part of the card.

This fails on at least three levels.

1) A lot of fans are going to be pissed because the Miz won. I’m not one of them, I’m pissed at how he won, but hey, a lot more will be mad.

2) The Miz looks like a chump because he had to retain without outside help.

3) Cena (that’s right, Cena!) looks like a chump because he got his ass handed to him by a guy who hasn’t wrestled in seven or eight years. You can argue all you want that Cena got screwed, and he did, but if Cena is truly the man in the company, he needs to look like at Wrestlemania.

So here’s what we got: one really good match, two good to great matches, a decent match, and a bunch of crap. This is not what I expect from Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania is where some feuds end and others start, not “every feud carries on exactly the same.”

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Getting To 270

The Road to 270 is back.  Thanks to it, I have a chance to make some baseless speculations a year and a half out.

  • In 2008, Barack Obama gathered 365 electoral votes to John McCain’s 173.  Thanks to census reapportionment, Republicans automatically gain 6 electoral votes, supposing the next election goes exactly as this one went.  179 R, 359 D.
  • McCain was about as bad a candidate as Republicans could field, and Obama about as good a candidate as Democrats could field.  As a result, I don’t see Republicans losing any of the states they held in 2008.  My most likely candidates for losses would have been Missouri, Louisiana (the last southern state to go Republican), Kentucky, Tennessee, or West Virginia.  Bill Clinton won each of these states twice, but they have gone Republican since 2000 and it seems very unlikely they would shift.
  • Pretty much any Republican candidate could win Indiana and Florida back.  These are typically Republican-leaning states that went big for Republicans in 2010.  In addition, the one at-large vote in Nebraska that went to Obama would almost certainly go back to the R side in 2012.  That would be 220 R, 318 D (+41 R, -41 D).
  • It is also extremely unlikely that Virginia or North Carolina would vote for Obama again, particularly given the reaction to Obamacare in the 2010 election cycle.  In the 9 prior elections, only one of those states voted for the Democrat:  North Carolina in 1976.  These were two of the first southern states that went Republican, and would be likely to remain as such, especially with a decent candidate.  248 R, 290 D (+28 R, -28 D).
  • New Hampshire is a very interesting swing state.  They have gone for the Democrat in four of the last five elections, but went for the Republican in the 5 prior elections.  In addition, they elected a Democrat for governor, but after that, they elected a Republican Senator, two Republican House members, 5 out of 5 Republican Executive Counselors, and 19 of 24 Republican state senators.  There is a legitimate chance that New Hampshire could swing to the Republican side with a good enough candidate, but probably still an outside chance.  248 R, 286 D (-4 D).
  • Nevada and Colorado are in play.  Colorado seems to have moved to the Democratic side with their 2008 and 2010 elections, but prior to that, it was a solid Republican state.  Nevada is less of a solid Republican state, but still winnable.  A good Republican or a bad economy could move these into contention.  248 R, 271 D (-15 D).
  • Wisconsin is my candidate for most interesting potential swing state.  Of the last 10 elections, they have gone for the Republican candidate 3 times:  the landslides of 1972 and 1984, and the election of 1980 (which was also a pretty big win).  Since then, they have been solidly Democratic.  But with their local shift to the right, Wisconsin might actually be in play for 2012.  248 R, 261 D (-10 D).
  • There is some talk about Michigan possibly being a Republican swing state, but I don’t see it.  Sure, Detroit (one of the bases for Democratic voters) has shrunk considerably, but they haven’t gone for a Republican since 1988.  Only in a landslide would they shift to the Republican side.  I think the same of Pennsylvania, which has even more of a track record of voting for Democrats.  Minnesota is also unlikely to swing, even if Tim Pawlenty were to be the Presidential candidate.
  • Ohio is still the key to any Republican victory.  Florida seems pretty likely, especially with seniors having moved to the Republican side in 2010.  But for a Republican to win, I think they need to take Ohio.  If they take Ohio, it would be 266 R, 243 D (+18 R, -18 D).

At that point, any one of Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, or New Hampshire could win it for Republicans (with New Hampshire’s 4 providing the bare minimum for an electoral victory), and President Obama would need to take all four to win.  Republicans could also be competitive in New Mexico, giving them a fifth state which could move them to victory.

What’s most interesting about this is that, without the 2010 reapportionment, the same electoral map layout would have made it 260 R, 250 D (-6 R, +7 D), and so Republicans would have needed Wisconsin, or Colorado + Nevada / New Hampshire to win.  Throwing in New Mexico would have added another state to possibility #2 and opened up a third possibility:  Nevada + New Mexico.