#nogreenday: We don’t get to hear the dulcet tones of Billie Joe as the show opens with Booker T having been attacked by Cody Rhodes on his way to the announce table. Of course Cole thinks Rhodes is justified because of Booker’s ‘biased’ views on Rhodes. Of course Cole is unbiased in his announcing, so he knows what he’s talking about. But that’s not important since Lilian Garcia is back as ring announcer! This sure takes me back. Having the Decade Diva back should be good for the show. Rhodes interrupts and finds one announcer arriving as one leaves quite funny and proceeds to rip on Booker for ‘moan-inducing cliches, a fab 5 that has 11 people in it’ and others. That whole list was hilarious as it encapsulates Booker’s commentary style almost perfectly. Rhodes then says he’ll take Booker’s place on commentary, which should lead to some interesting exchanges. Flexing his ‘comedic’ mic skills is good since it shows that Cody isn’t one-dimensional in how he heels on others.

#beattheclock: So the story is that Barrett and Orton will have Beat The Clock matches to decide who determines the stipulation for their match at TLC. Speaking of wrestlers who are also great commentators, Barrett is out first to face Ezekiel Jackson. The commentators are actually doing a good job of setting up the stakes for this match, explaining in concise terms so it’s easier for viewers to understand. Rhodes brings up the fact that it was Big Zeke he beat for the IC title. I wonder if someone will mention that Barrett and Zeke were in The Corre together, but on second thought maybe not. I’m surprised that Rhodes is actually being legit on commentary, saying we’re looking at a revived Zeke, praising him a bit, but of course Cole ruins the moment by taking a shot at Booker. Zeke goes for the Torture Rack, but Barrett counters into a Wasteland attempt and then counters Zeke into what looked like a Black Hole Slam. This gets him the victory at a time of 7:53. Wade gets a mic and then cuts a promo and we’re reminded how great he is on the mic. He could talk about advanced physics or read a phonebook and he would still make it sound interesting.

#americandragon: So D-Bry is out for another in ring promo, this time with Josh Mathews. All this really does is give Cole another excuse to insult and belittle Bryan. I don’t if the aim of this whole Cole-Bryan angle is to build Bryan as overcoming great odds or garner sympathy for him, but Cole’s invective has gotten really old and is more groan-inducing then Booker T’s commentary. This is an actual interview, with Bryan talking about what coming so close to the WHC meant to him. Cole can’t help himself, practically throwing a tantrum in telling Bryan to stop. D-Bry pulls out a Jericho-style ‘please shut the hell up’ and displays great emotion in countering Cole’s angry criticisms and gets in his face before Rhodes attacks him from behind. Cole callingĀ  Bryan a ‘nerd’ and hating on him, but going on to call him a ‘loser’ and undeserving is really going too far.

#ryderrevolution: So The Woo Train rolls on against Mr Wendy Heath Slater, whose jobber status is confirmed by losing to Ryder in about a minute. Of course most of the commentary was Cole continuing to rant, this time about how the lameness of Ryder and his following. Ryder HAS to beat Ziggler for the US Title at TLC, plain and simple. While a loss wouldn’t do him that much damage, there really is no reason for Dolph to carry a midcard title anymore, as he’s ready to move up. Give Ryder a decent run with the title and see how he can perform with an actual championship. Hey I like the Internet Championship as much as anybody, but it is made up. Maybe he could carry the US Title and the Internet title to the ring together?

#actuallowercardfeud: I know. I’m surprised as all of you that WWE can put together a coherent feud for the lower card. The reason for the animosity makes sense as Mahal feels DiBiase isn’t living up to his money upbringing and he is mingling with ‘commoners’. They have a match together now after coming out for the other’s match the past few weeks. This angle has legs and hopefully doesn’t end with this match. There are many directions it can go and can build up both guys, Ted as a legit face and Mahal as a legit heel. Of course Cole rants on the DiBiase Posse and Josh actually grows some balls and calls out Cole for talking out both sides of his mouth. Cole definitely isn’t happy with Ted getting the rollup victory.

#titanicthrowdown: So it’s another in ring promo from Big Show about how he’s going to beat Mark Henry, etc etc. The only interesting thing was Show bringing up the time he beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title at Survivor Series 2002. Interesting little tidbit and the last since Brock reference on screen since Cm Punk’s infamous shoot promo. What’s more interesting is footage shown of Big Show at the American Country Awards. He presented an award and also chokeslammed Trace Adkins through a table, which was sweet. What I’m concerned about is how this ankle injury is affecting Henry. He’s using it as an excuse and not really being the all-dominating monster heel he’s been.

#otungasbigmouth: Well it certainly got him into trouble when he had to face Orton last week on Smackdown and now has to face Sheamus. I understand he’s playing the lawyer-stooge and likes to mention his Harvard law degree as much as J-Funk likes to mention his titles. The reception Sheamus got when he came out was almost deafening and something Otunga will never get.

#morecoleranting: So the earlier confrontation leads to a match between Rhodes and Bryan. Cole gets to spout off about D-Bry more, so that’s unfortunate. I like how Rhodes comes out in that jacket thing with the hood over his face, similar to how AJ Styles does it. By the way, if there was any justice in the world AJ Styles would be the TNA World Champ, or perhaps even WWE Champ, if he ever made the jump. He’s clearly one of the best wrestlers in the world and deserves more then being in a second rate promotion. Anyways, back to business. If you ignored Cole’s hating on Bryan, you’d see a pretty good match, Rhodes focusing on Bryan’s ribs, Bryan showing heart and aggression. It’s ended when Booker runs in and goes to town on Cody. Later, Teddy makes Rhodes-Booker for the IC Title at TLC official.

#beattheclockagain: So Orton has to beat Dolph Ziggler in less then 7:53 in order to be able to name the stipulation. This of course goes against Orton’s slow, methodical style, so it’ll be interesting to see Orton work at a faster pace. Is it me or does Ziggler keep changing entrance music? He had ‘I Am Perfection’, then another version of it and now this new one. I wonder what that’s all about. Shockingly, Cole is being pretty fair in talking about both men and it’s kind of surreal that he’s tolerable. I’ve been very impressed with Ziggler as of late, especially in the ring. He’s focusing on wearing Orton down with submissions in this match, which is the smart, tactical gameplan. 4 minutes to go and Dolph is in control, but Orton gets back in it with a huge Superplex after the 3 minute mark. With 35 seconds to go, Barrett sneaks in and knocks Orton down. It appears it’s over, but Randall crawls back in and delivers a thunderous RKO for the pin with 2 seconds remaining. He gets to choose the stipulation, but Barrett attacks him afterwards and attempts to Wasteland him through a table, It is Dolph instead who goes through the table, making Orton’s stipulation choice clear. On a final note, I like the Beat The Clock Challenge because it creates tension such as towards the end of the Orton match. People are ‘on the edge of their seats’ so to speak. It’s like the final seconds of a tied hockey game in the drama it creates.