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a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

My Ballots - 2009 Cy Young/MVP AL/NL

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Congratulations to Tim Lincecum.  I'll have more about that this weekend on the Tendown.

NL MVP
1. Albert Pujols
2. Adrian Gonzalez
3. Dan Haren

NL Cy Young
1. Dan Haren
2. Javier Vazquez
3. Ubaldo Jimenez

AL MVP
1. Zach Greinke
2. Joe Mauer
3. Roy Halladay

AL Cy
1. Zach Greinke
2. Roy Halladay
3. Mariano Rivera

Survivor Series Preview - 2009/Best ever Survivor Series Matches

Survivor Series is Sunday from...little help...where is Survivor Series...Los Cruces?  Red Rocks?  Where the hell is Survivor Series?  DC.  Boom. 

For those of you unaware, I've been doing previews/reviews of WWF/E PPVs for my long time occasional writing partner Kirk Hiner since right after WM XII.  Kirk and I are both 39 and have been wrestling fans our entire lives, so we span the full Wrestlemania era; in the summers of 1990 and 1991 we would sneak into his shuttered fraternity in undergraduate school to watch WWF programming (see, cable television was hard to come by for impoverished college students in northwest Ohio two decades ago).  We've seen multiple PPVs together; Kirk attended Wrestlemania VIII (yes, that's how old we are, we bought tickets, with our grown up money, for Wrestlemania VIII) and we were at the greatest ever Survivor Series, '96 in MSG (on my myspace page, now behind the firewall, is a pic of us holding up our tickets) Kirk doesn't really watch anymore, relying on my quarterly updates - I watch..er..well...maybe a little more than that.  Don't judge me!

So, if you aren't Kirk, you can read this if you like, but it's really not for you. 

1 WWE Title: John Cena (c) vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels
-When last we left at Summer Slam, Orton was the champ - he and Cena feuded all autumn, switching the belt back and forth (a pretty bad feud, by the way - I have a post where I list every 4 star match in WWF/WWE history with Dave Meltzer's ratings for comparison with mine, we've grown further apart as the years have gone in our qualitative evaluation of top end WWE - but never further apart than a particular Orton/Cena that I thought was really more theater than wrestling and he gave 4+ stars ).  Hunter and Shawn are still doing their tired DX act - the program here is there isn't one; it's 3 babyfaces just having a match to see who wins the title.  It seems unlikely that's how it ends - there's really only two ways to work a 3 way where two of the guys are friends; TNA just did one (a 4 3/4 star match with Samoa Joe/AJ Styles/Chris Daniels which was either TNA's best ever match or their second best ever match - those three guys had the other contender for that title 4 years ago) and they took the two babyface friends (Styles/Daniels) and broke them up before the match.  WWE didn't do that - they are going into Survivor Series with Michaels/Hunter still supergood close buddies, which means one of them is turning on the other (and I assume taking the strap).

-There's nothing Hunter could possibly do to make me remotely interested in another match he'll ever have in his career.  He's dead to me.  But Shawn could turn heel.  A heel turned Shawn Michaels - a full on heel turned Shawn Michaels and I'm on board.  I really hope they go that way.  If I had to bet, Hunter turns.  This match will be okay, others will like it more than I. 

(edit, I'll go 3 1/2 here, albeit on the lower end of that number which will keep it out of the top ten- it was just fine, right about as expected absent the turn - maybe next month)

Someone bought the Silverdome for half a million dollars.  That's it.  The whole Silverdome.  Half a million dollars. 

2 World Heavyweight Title: Undertaker (c) vs. The Big Show vs. Chris Jericho
-Punk was Smackdown Champ when last we were here; he's one of my guys, and I enjoyed his being on top (Punk/Jeff at SummerSlam is WWE Match of the Year; that's a minority view - a true view, but a minority view).  But he dropped to Undertaker in October.  Jericho and Show are still tag champs, but they've got a business relationship gimmick - not friends, not enemies, just business associates.  The Show can't work even a little bit.  I'm assuming the Undertaker keeps, I probably won't like this match so much, others will like it a little more than that. 

(edit - maybe 2 1/2, again, as expected)

3 Batista vs. Rey Mysterio
-Batista just turned; he and Rey are legit friends and they've tried to pump up their on screen friendship to give some gravity to Batista's turn.  It's a good turn, his jackass heel character is significantly better than the alternative, neither version can work much.  Rey apparently is going to shut it down with a knee surgery (Rey keeps missing Wrestlemanias, as detailed in the Counterfactual; this one will be 3 in the past 4 years assuming he's still out).  So Batista's gonna hurt him.  I would guess we're building to a Batista/Undertaker thing. 

(edit - maybe 1 3/4, it was a squash, fine for what it was but it wasn't much - I assume they shut Rey down now)
4 Team Kingston (Kofi Kingston, Montel Vontavious Porter, Mark Henry, R-Truth, and Christian) vs. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, CM Punk, and William Regal): Five-on-five Survivor Series Elimination match


5 Team Morrison (John Morrison, Matt Hardy, Evan Bourne, Shelton Benjamin, and Finlay) vs. Team Miz (The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, and Jack Swagger): Five-on-five Survivor Series Elimination match

-We've got 3 elimination matches scheduled (the women are the third, so no preview, as it will be pointless); Kingston's getting a TV push in a program with Orton and it seems to be taking hold (he's good, he wouldn't be my first choice for this push, but they could do worse), I wouldn't be surprised to see them book Kingston strong over Orton here such that they can keep this going.  MVP/Mark Henry are a filler babyface tag team (MVP is good, or was, he hasn't been in a position to do much in awhile; you know Mark Henry's deal) I guess they're feuding here with Legacy (Dusty's kid Cody, and Ted, Jr.) they're both fine, it's Ted they like and the working assumption is a face turn is coming sooner than later.  No way to tell yet if either of them can work.  R-Truth is Ron Killings; he's been nowhere since coming back from years in TNA, but now is feuding with Punk, who has been a top guy (and successfully so, at least seemingly - and certainly successful from a work and a character perspective) but they've buried him here.  And you know Christian, he's terrific - currently babyface ECW Champ - feuding with Regal (so good for the Counterfactual!  Look at all the workers!  I heart Survivor Series!)

John Morrison is the former Johnny Nitro, babyface (wow, can he not talk - he can work, but he cannot talk) IC Champ.  The Miz is the kid from the Real World, heel US Champ - they were longtime heel tag partners, now broken up and on different shows.  Miz has really improved, both on the stick and in the ring - he still wouldn't be in the first 20 guys I'd want to see in his spot, but I don't hate him.  The rest of the babyface team is made up of good workers they don't care about - Matt, Evan Bourne (a terrific high flyer, he's Matt Sydal in the Counterfactual) Shelton and Fit.  The heel team has two super green guys they really like (Hunter, apparently loves them both) McIntyre and Seamus (two UK guys both doing killer gimmicks on different shows).  Dolph Ziggler is Nick Nemeth, a good amateur wrestler - and Jack Swagger is Jake Hager, a better one.  They're both young but good (you'd like Swagger).  I'm going to tag them up (spoiler alert) in the Counterfactual next year (babyface team in my world, call them D1, for Division One). 

Let's say faces go over in the first match, heels in the second. 

(edit, let's say 3 1/4 for both of them, maybe the top end of 3 1/4 for both - I liked them both just fine, the book was exactly as I expected - the downside of their pushing the young guys they're pushing is it means they won't push the young guys I want them to push; if it was Danielson getting the Seamus push, I'd be really excited).
6. Women.

-That's it.  They say the new Hart kids (Davey's son Harry and TJ Wilson) are going to wrestle dark (Harrys fine, TJ is really good) and that would be good for the Counterfactual.  And anytime they want to bring up Low Ki and Bryan Danielson (I've lost you now, I know - but remember how I told you in '96 you had to start watching Benoit/Eddy/Dean? - if the opportunity ever presents itself, we're gonna have a similar conversation) that would be great. 

So, I'm not expecting much work - but I like Survivor Series matches, so I'm looking forward to that.  And if they turn Shawn and not Hunter, I'm popping. 

There's lots of room to crack this list as Survivor Series has historically been the weakest of the big 4 events; after just the top few, this is really not a great list -
Here are the Top 10 Matches in Survivor Series History.


1. Bret Hart d. Steve Austin ('96)
2. Bret Hart d. Shawn Michaels ('92)
3. Bret Hart d. Diesel ('95)
4. Shawn Michaels d. Bret Hart ('97)
5. Eddy/Chavo d. Angle/Benoit and Edge/Rey ('02)
6. Jericho/Christian/Orton/Steiner/Henry d. Michaels/RVD/Booker/Dudleys ('03)
7. Sid d. Shawn Michaels ('96)
8. Strike Force/Young Stallions/Rougeaus/Bees/Bulldogs d. Hart Foundation/Islanders/Demolition/Bolsheviks/New Dream Team ('87)
9. Bob Backlund d. Bret Hart ('94)
10. HHH d. Ric Flair ('05)

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