Being a resident of Baltimore, there hasn't been much to cheer for for this summer. Once again, the Orioles' atrocious pitching staff has led to them sitting in the cellar of the American League East albeit with some rays of hope.
And in the wake of Derrick Mason's retirement, it may be a tough fall for me as well.
However, this past week the WWE invaded the Baltimore/D.C. area and there was a lot to cheer for and reminded me what made me a pro wrestling fan in the first place.
Last Tuesday as well as last night, the WWE did something in the First Mariner Arena that the Blast haven't done, sell out the arena.
First, RAW was in the Verizon Center in the nations capital and just like the team that inhabits that building, the Wizards, the show wasn't all that great. The tag team main event was not very good, either.
Add that in with WWE's predictable decision to make John Cena beat the clock and face Randy Orton in a SS 2007 rematch left me feeling bored.
I did think the divas match foreshadowed a possible Gail Kim heel turn (which has been in talks with Maryse undergoing knee surgery again). Shaq was okay as well, but other than that, the show was pretty ho-hum.
I was looking forward to seeing Christian's appearance on ECW. Then later in the show it was announced that Christian was going to face Zack Ryder in the main event, I was kinda split.
It was great to see that Ryder was going to get a main event shot against the champion but on the other hand, I also wanted the match to get enough time where Ryder could show that he had come a long way from being a pinball for the likes of Rey Mysterio, Batista, and the Undertaker.
After Tommy Dreamer announced that get his rematch against Christian the following Tuesday in an Extreme Rules match. Ryder came out and cut a short promo.
Following all of this the two were given roughly 15 minutes of TV time to wrestle and they didn't disappoint.
Ryder used good in ring psychology, and when the time came for the pace to quicken, Christian did just that with Ryder staying with him every step of the way. It also didn't hurt when Ryder was being put over by ECW color commentator Matt Striker.
In the end, Christian blocked a Zack Attack attempt and hit the Killswitch for the victory. However, Ryder showed in that match that he belonged in the top tier of ECW that night.
That match could have easily been the match of the week, that is until SmackDown aired last night.
SmackDown as a whole was a good show (as always) but there was something different about that night. With every match that passed by, the anticipation growing with the Charm City crowd knowing that unlike any Oriole game they saw this year, they were in for something that was truly special.
When I heard Justin Roberts utter the words "This bout is set for one fall and it is for the World Heavyweight Championship", everything just seemed to go away.
Forgetting about the heartache of the AFC Championship game, the fact that my hometown team was in last place and blew a 5-4 lead in the 7th inning against Boston (nice going Jeremy Guthrie), forgetting about the fact that Baltimore is one the most violent cities in the country.
All I cared about at that point was seeing two of the best athletes in the WWE go at it for the richest prize in pro wrestling.
The two men I'm referring two are Jeff Hardy and John Morrison and in case you didn't know, have a history that dates back to 2006. At that time, Morrison was known as Johnny Nitro had just ditched Joey Mercury after losing the WWE Tag Team Titles. Only a short time later, he would win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
He would reign supreme in the mid-card division until Jeff Hardy would make his return the the WWE after spending time in TNA among other promotions. \
The two would engage in a fierce rivalry that would also involve Mercury and Melina along with Jeff's brother Matt.
During that feud, Nitro and Hardy faced off for the Intercontinental title in a ladder match. The two put forth a tremendous match which saw Hardy retain his Intercontinental gold. Ironically, that matchup also took place in Baltimore.
Fast forward to 2009, both men found themselves once again on opposite sides of the ring this time for the first time as babyfaces.
Given the history these two men had with each other, my hometown was sure to be in for a classic, and both men didn't disappoint in the slightest bit.
Both individuals put on a high flying clinic that left me in awe. In the end, Jeff Hardy would have his hands raised in victory.
However, Morrison had nothing to be ashamed of in this matchup. And just like Ryder on Tuesday, Morrison showed that he's ready and that he belonged.
Whenever they make a DVD out of these men's careers, this match will certainly be on both men's set.
Baltimore has had it's share of heartaches as far as sports goes over the years. From the Colt's moving to Indy without any warning, to the Jeffrey Maier interference incident, to the Nationals taking whatever fanbase the Orioles had left (not much though since they suck too), to the Baltimore Bullets becoming the Washington Wizards, there has been little to cheer for aside from a few bright spots especially over the last few years. This past week has been a different story.
Now Baltimore fans (wrestling fans of course) can say that their city hosted two match of the year caliber main events in one showing. Thanks for reading.
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