This is the RAW thread.
Wrestling — page 1985
http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/118-daily-updates/25186-wwe-announces-mania-set-all-time-company-ppv-records Far from the 1.9 million that the ESPN guy was talking about, but 1.3 million buys should definitively show that everyone in the midcard whining about Rock taking spots can suck it and like it.
I thought I would join in on the Brock Madness and wrote my synopsis for how I would like to see him booked this year.
From UFC to WWE: Booking Brock Lesnar
I hope you and the Blog enjoy it!
The Ultimate Fight Show
Hi Scott. I’m not sure what the procedure is to submit new topics for the blog and I didn’t want to threadjack but I wanted to know what you and the bloggers thought of this:http://www.facebook.com/l/GAQFz6ATPAQFpDLj_OG26oiZFVweMlQ_9AyBFmm13YRstDA/www.cagesideseats.com/2012/4/14/2949161/tna-news-eric-bischoff-and-dixie-carter-meet-with-spike-tv-executives I hadn’t heard this about Bischoff stabbing Dixie in the back before and was looking for your take on it.
Well it’s not exactly an objectively written article, that’s for sure. I don’t really get what Bischoff’s endgame would be, since he already has all the talent that he would have access to now. And TNA has been saying the same “Focus on young talent” and “Revive the X Division” bullshit for years now. Yeah, we’re gonna focus on the young talent while Hulk Hogan is fighting Ric Flair in a featured role. Oh, and by “young talent” they mean Carrot Bischoff. Dixie is very naive about the business and she unfortunately has put her trust in the wrong people and it’s cost her dad’s company millions of dollars.
21 years and have amassed a pretty sizable collection. I have read every Issue
I own once, and in most cases only once. A month ago I was laid off from work
and of course money becomes an issue and I had to cut back from my 20 issues a
month to my current three must buys. Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman, and I switched
from Uncanny X-Men to Avengers VS. X-Men because me loves a good fight! So I’m
sitting around and thinking what the hell am I going to read? Duh, I have
around 5,000 comics and close to 75 Graphic Novels. I could literally never buy
another comic again and have plenty to read. So Why not go back and read all of
these issues and give my personal take on them. I enjoy writing and I love the
Blog of Doom, so what better way to add these three great tastes and make them
taste great together! I hope everyone can laugh and have a good time with my
work and if you like reading this half as much as I enjoyed writing it, I will
be happy to write some more.
not written by either Stan Lee or Chris Claremont. Those are probably the two
biggest names associated with the X-Men, and neither wrote what is the most
important comic in the X-Men mythos. Uncanny X-Men #1 that came out in 1963 was
pretty much an expansion comic by Stan Lee. He was told he needed to create one
more monthly comic to go along with his other comics, Spiderman, Fantastic
Four, etc. He basically decided to come up with a comic that was a rip off of
DC’s Doom Patrol with the leader in a wheelchair and everything. He was also
tired of coming up with origin stories and decided it would be much easier to
just say, “Hey these weird people were just born this way!” So you have Uncanny
X-Men #1, a rip off of a third rate DC comic with a lazy premise. Wow, how did
this comic not break sales records and become the most popular comic for a
time? Oh, they did you say? Yeah, but not at first. In fact, in 1970 the comic
stopped featuring original material and merely consisted of reprints until
1975. This brings me back to Giant Size X-Men # 1 written by Len Wein and Dave
Cockrum. Giant Size #1 is the most important comic to the X-Men because it
introduced seven new mutants, some of whom became main characters that even
exist today, but we will get to that later.
running away from an angry mob armed with torches. I checked Wikipedia and there is no
Winzeldorf, there is, however, a Winseldorf Germany, but I’m not sure if it’s
the same place because they don’t mention that if you have blue skin the
residents of this town will seriously fuck you up. Nightcrawler runs for a bit
and then decides that he will “die like a man”, and dives into the crowd to
fight back, the mob overpowers him and one of the mob yells for someone to get
a stake. Thank God they thought he was a vampire, if they knew he was just a
mutant they might just have shot him! Professor X shows up, freezes everyone
with his mind, and makes Nightcrawler an offer he can’t refuse. The new mutant
accepts and we’re off to Canada. Next, Professor X makes an offer to Weapon X,
better known as Wolverine, to join his team. Fun Fact: Len Wein wanted
Wolverine to be an actual wolverine that was a mutant in that he mutated into a
man. Imagine the conversation the next morning after Logan sleeps with a chick,
“You know how you said you never tried bestiality before?” Xavier tells Logan he could be a free agent
instead of a secret one and Wolverine agrees to take his talents to South Beach
… er, Westchester and the school for gifted youngsters, even though Wolverine
was in WWII. Ahem. A military official demands the Wolverine stay because they
spent a lot of money on him. Wolverine slices up the man’s presumably expensive
shirt and tells him that if he wants him, he knows where to find him. Yes, we
all know where to find you Wolverine, in every fucking Marvel comic on the
stands. Soon we’re in Nashville Tennessee at the (I shit you not) Grand Ol’
Opry to find Banshee. This is where you find an Irishman with a sonic powered
voice. It’s not like they had a budget here, it’s a comic book. They couldn’t
find him in Ireland? The Professor could have swung by after leaving Germany.
Next panel the Professor is talking to Banshee in what is described as his
“shabby apartment”. So he wasn’t just in Nashville on tour, he was living
there? Something tells me there is more to this backstory that I care nothing
about. Next were in Africa where a topless Storm is treated as a goddess and
creates rain to help the crops of her worshipers. The Professor extends his
offer to join his school, and he has a blanket over his lap in the panel so I’m
guessing that’s not all he was extending. Then we’re in Japan where Sunfire
agrees to join, not because Xavier wants him to, but because he wants to show
off how badass he is. Next were off to Siberia where Peter Rasputin toils in
the fields when a runaway tractor is seen speeding towards a little girl. In
one panel the little girl is right in front of the tractor and still playing
with a smile on her face. If this kid lives they may need to check her hearing
out. Spoiler alert: she does live thanks to Peter and his convenient metallic
alter ego, Colossus who bashes the tractor to pieces. Professor shows up and
with some plodding and Peter’s parents blessing he decides yes he would like to
go and punch more than just runaway tractors. Finally, our world tour brings us
to Arizona where we meet John Proudstar who will be known as Thunderbird for
those keeping score. The Apache warrior brings down a bison cause y’know why
stop with stereotypes at this point in the comic. Xavier approaches Thunderbird
and John wonders “How a cripple got way out here?” I’m kind of wondering this
myself. I’m picturing him taking over people’s minds and having them carry his
wheelchair all the way out to these locations. John tells Xavier “To stuff a
cactus Custer!” It was his sterotypical way of basically telling whitey to beat
it. Xavier insults the Apache tribe and then Thunderbird agrees to prove him
wrong. So our new X-Men are assembled in New York where the Professor has used
his considerable mutant abilities to basically train everyone to speak English so
they can understand each other and gives them the uniforms that were made by
Mr. Fantastic with unstable molecules that adjust to whoever wears them. We
need to give major props to Mr. Cockrum here, his design for these X-Men have
for the most part stood the test of time.
they were brought together and Xavier introduces the newbies to Cyclops the
only remaining original member of the team. He then regales the group with a
story of the original X-Men plus reserve members Havoc and Polaris minus the
Beast (I believe the Beast was in the Avengers at this point). Xavier detected
a powerful mutant on the Island of Krakoa – you know, the third most hostile
island after Cuba and that one on Lost. They land in the Strato Jet – a
precursor to the blackbird – and Iceman says, “I think we took a wrong bus
gang. This place doesen’t look like Cleveland. All the insect in the air– the
overgrown jungle–! On second thought maybe this is Cleveland.” Oh that Iceman,
what a card. Cyclops the funsucker yelled at Iceman to shelve the snappy
banter, proving that Scott has no clue what snappy banter is or that we have
made big advancements in banter since 1975.The original team was attacked by
something Cyclops did not see and he woke up in the jet not sure what happened
to the other X-Men. The jet was on automatic pilot back to Westchester and
Cyclops couldn’t steer it back to the island. Also his powers were not working
so he could open his eyes without blowing
holes in everyone and everything he looked at. I call bullshit on this
story. He wakes up on the plane and could not stop an automatic pilot, whatever
Scott!. When Cyclops got back to the mansion and is talking to the Professor
his powers miraculously came back and he secured that shit with a spare visor.
This brings us back to the present with the new X-Men that need to go back to
Krakoa and find out what the hell happened to the original team. Sunfire being
a dipshit as usual says he will not join the team and the rest leave in the
jet. Then Sunfire is seen following them and Thunderbird tells Cyclops that he
see’s someone. Cyclops responds, “I see it Geronimo it’s– the Jap!” Damn!
White people are pricks! So Sunfire rejoins the team citing that he has his own
reasons. They reach the island and, Scott ,revealing that he has never watched
a horror movie, splits the team up in twos to look for the missing X-Men.
Cyclops keeps the jet, you know, in case he needs to accidentally wake up in it
with an autopilot that can’t stop until it takes him home where he can get
another group of newbies to try this again if need be. Scott and Thunderbird
exit the jet where the island swallows it up. Guess you’re not gonna be able to
pussy out this time huh Scotty? The two see a temple in the distance and as
they start to travel to it, they are attacked by vines. They make short work of
the attack because they have powers and they are fighting vines after all and
then make it to the temple. Next we see Wolverine and Banshee taking down a
giant lobster and mention they are making their way to the temple as well.
Storm and Colossus double team a landslide that seems to have a mind of its
own. Sunfire and Nightcrawler fight off birds that attack them, Sunfire just
burns the shit out of them, sending flaming birds to the ground like kamikaze–
oh sorry all the rampant racism in this comic has compelled me to take part as
well. The team meets up at the temple where they blow the door away and find
the captured X-Men with green tubes feeding them to something. They free the
X-Men and the island begins to shake like crazy and Angel tells the group that
it was the island’s plan to get more X-Men to come to it, because the island is
the mutant they were searching for. Krakoa shows its ugly ass and puts the
images in the X-Men’s minds of his whole plan. Like a James Bond villain of the
highest order, Krokoa shows them that he was bombarded by radiation from an
atomic blast that fused every living and nonliving thing on the island into one
organism. Now it’s hungry and it needs X-Men to feed its hunger, and that’s why
it freed Cyclops to bring more X-Men to its maw. Really Scott? Now you have an
island lying for you? So now the shit is on as Wolverine starts a knife party
all over Krakoa. All thirteen X-Men go apeshit with their abilities and it’s
all to zero effect on Krakoa. Professor X finally decides to help and attacks
the collective minds of the living lsland. Storm uses lightning to strike
Polaris who in turn uses that to amplify her magnetic powers. Krakoa knocks
Xavier out with its minds as the rest of the X-Men continue the assault.
Cyclops and Havoc focus their energy powers onto Polaris and with all of this
power she fires a magnetic pulse into the earth’s molten core. This act makes
Krakoa lose its form and the island begins to shake. Polaris is knocked out
from the amount of power that she channeled through her body. Havoc mentions
that Polaris (his long-time girlfriend) can’t run and is surprised to find
Iceman carrying her. Iceman says, “The lady doesn’t need your help hotshot
she’s in good hands for a change!” All this happens while the island is
destroying itself and every one of his friends and teammates are about to die.
Oh that Iceman, what a card. Iceman then creates an ice platform for all of the
X-Men to stand on while Havoc and Cyclops use their powers to propel them on
the ocean away from the island. Krakoa then severs from the earth and flies
into the sky as it is revealed that Polaris cut the gravity holding the island
in its place and launches it into space. I’m 99% sure that this has no backing
in any kind of real science. But for comic book science, that’s kind of cool
actually. Krakoa free from gravity takes off into space, but the land mass
disappearing from the ocean creates a vortex – think the end of Titanic in
reverse. Iceman creates an ice dome around everyone and the dome is pulled to
the bottom of the ocean. It bobs back to the surface and Cyclops blasts a hole
to free everyone. They come out right next to the Strato Jet which is floating
in the ocean. What amazing luck! They paddle the ice float over to the jet and
fly away wondering what are they going to do with thirteen X-Men. And that is
the end of the most important X-Men comic ever. After this issue Giant Size
X-Men was canceled so they could continue the story in the regular Uncanny
X-Men title. From there Chris Claremont would take this team from a generic
Stan Lee idea into a comic about mutants fighting for equality in a world that
hates and fears them. Under his guidance the comic would transition from
standard bad guy shows up and gets beaten up, to stories that would examine
social issues with equal parts action and soap opera. But those are stories
from issues for another time.
Hey Scott, Since today (04.15.12) is the 15th anniversary of PPV getting extreme (or at least extreme for those with Viewer’s Choice Cable Access), how about doing a little 2012 Scott Sez with Barely Legal?
Sho nuff. The Netcop Retro Rant for ECW Barely Legal – I get a LOT of requests for this show, so I figured that since I was taping it for someone anyway, I’d do the long-awaited rant on it. For those not aware, this was ECW’s first ever and much anticipated PPV debut in April of 1997, with Sabu and Taz having built an issue for the previous year and a half to lead up to it. (2012 Scott sez: For a while I was literally making 3 or 4 copies a week of this show, which is weird because I wasn’t even able to watch the original PPV, being that we didn’t get ECW until 98. Of course everyone should know the story here by now, as Paul Heyman planned to take the ECW show onto PPV in 1996 with November to Remember, but then they went and crucified Sandman and every PPV company but one refused to deal with them.) – Live from the Bingo Hall. (RIP.) – Your host is Joey Styles. – Opening match: The Dudley Boyz v. The Eliminators. (This was the Dudleys defending the ECW tag team titles, by the way. Not sure why I didn’t note that.) The DUDs interrupt Joey’s opening spiel and we’re underway. Sign Guy takes Total Elimination right off the bat and the DUDs jump the Elims and get a two count on Kronus with a Rockerplex. They go for 3D early and miss, and the Eliminators get a chance to showcase their flashy double-team stuff, which in retrospect was 100% Saturn, and Kronus carefully following his lead. In retrospect, I have to say that all those people buying into Paul Heyman’s “Greatest tag team in the world” hype about Saturn & Kronus are looking pretty silly given how useless John Kronus turned out to be. (Not to speak ill of the dead, of course, but he really had nothing to offer once that team was done.) Long stall period, then Saturn & Kronus each moonsault onto the Dudleys on the floor. Back in and more spot showcasing from the challengers, with the Dudleys getting no offense. It’s basically a squash disguised as a tag title match, which I’m betting Paul is regretting looking back on it, because Saturn bolted for WCW very soon after this, while the Dudleys stuck with him for another two years. (Can you believe that it’s 15 years later and the Dudley Boyz are still basically going strong and could conceivably team up again and win another tag title if TNA decided to go that direction? They were a team with crazy staying power and not only held the ECW tag titles, but the WWF, fake WCW, WWE RAW, WWE Smackdown, NWA and TNA tag belts. There is no other team that will even have an opportunity to match that.) Total Elimination unceremoniously finishes Buh Buh at 6:30. Just a bunch of spots, which earns my standard rating for that type of match: *1/2 Joel takes Total Elimination, thus injuring his neck, an injury which he still has today. Man, what a trooper. (Whatever happened to Joel Gertner, anyway? You’d think SOMEONE would book him.) – Chris Candido comes out and whines about being injured, thus taking him off the PPV. Instead of Storm v. Candido, we get… – Lance Storm v. Rob Van Dam. Headlock sequence to start goes nowhere. RVD pulls out a nice tope con hilo as the first highspot. Rob was not what you’d call over yet. As a sidenote, I managed to create a pretty damn good RVD in Wrestlemania 2000 yesterday, using Test’s outfit and Ken Shamrock’s boots. The main problem was finding a taunt where he pointed at himself. Anyway, flying legdrop gets two. Lance retaliates with a springboard elbow, but misses a pescado. They fight on the floor for a bit and Rob finds a chair. A chair tossed at Storm gets a pop. He dropkicks Storm in the face with the chair in the corner for good measure. Frog splash (which was only around **1/2 at that time instead of *****) gets two. Storm hits a neat inverted powerslam on the chair to come back. Handspring splash in the corner and bodypress gets two. Storm tries a Boston crab, but it’s Philadelphia so RVD escapes. Storm then annoys the hell out of the crowd by hitting a chairshot that’s on par with Erik Watts’ dropkick. The crowd soundly boos that one. A tiger bomb on the chair gets two. RVD blows a springboard elbow for two. Storm hits another pair of pussed-out chairshots (who does he think he is, Hulk Hogan?) but RVD catches him on the third try with the VanDaminator, and a superfluous backflip splash gets the pin at 10:07. Another bunch of spots in lieu of a match. *3/4 (Yeah, this was a show that did not age well at ALL. It was already totally exposed by 2000, when I was writing this review, and it looks even worse if you’re watching it today. Storm didn’t really have cred until the Impact Players team and RVD was just kind of a guy until the TV title win in 98.) – Rob does his standard “no respect” speech from that time period and bitches about playing second fiddle to Candido. At that time, Rob was doing shots on Monday Night RAW, squashing Jeff Hardy in one match. Oddly, Hardy is now a bigger star than Rob, who despite being “Mr. Monday Night” hasn’t worked a Monday night show since 1997. (Yeah, that would change, although Jeff Hardy is still by far a bigger star. Even more oddly, RVD’s PPV debut for the WWF would be at the Invasion show against…Jeff Hardy.) Irony can be so darned ironic sometimes. – Gran Hamada, The Great Sasuke & Masato Yakushiji v. Men’s Teioh, Dick Togo & TAKA Michinoku. The Power Ranger is subbing for Gran Naniwa here. Hamada kills Taka to start and the faces triple-team him. Sadly, Joey didn’t yet grasp the proper pronunciation of “Sasuke”. KDX does its series of triple-teams and posing. Togo gets a FAT-ASSED SENTON~! for two on Yakushiji and they work him over for a while. Hamada comes in and things REALLY pick up. Sasuke and Teioh do one of those “sound and fury signifying nothing” tumbling sequences that ECW fans seem to always pop for. Nice spot next as Taka escapes a half crab from Sasuke and wiggles into an enzuigiri in one motion. Sasuke plays face-in-peril as KDX does the Togo muscle pose. Teioh nails a killer spinning DDT, then Yakushiji comes in and gets MURDERED. Triple-team powerbomb gets two on him. They try the same thing on Sasuke and blow it, the only bad spot of the match. Sasuke moonsaults onto both Togo & Teioh and gets two. The ending sequence begins with everyone pairing off two-by-two. Teioh pulls out an inverted atomic drop on Hamada…from the top rope! Yakushiji then takes a DDT and one of my favorite moves ever, the MIRACLE ECSTASY BOMB! Gotta love those Japanese move names. Togo and Hamada go next. Gran hits a DDT for two, Togo gets a powerbomb for two. He tries the senton bomb to finish, but Sasuke breaks it up. Yakushiji hits a flying rana and a tope suicida, and now it’s Taka and Sasuke. Michinoku Driver #2 gets two. Sasuke catches him coming off the top and moonsaults him for two. Powerbomb and tiger suplex finishes it for the faces at 16:55. This match, ladies and germs, is why I watch wrestling. ****3/4 Trust me, if you watched and enjoyed this match, get everything you can from Michinoku Pro around that time period, because IT’S ALL GOOD. (Bit overrated in retrospect, but generally my secondary source of revenue after Barely Legal dubs was people who would then write back and say “Holy shit, do you have any more stuff like that six-man?” and then I could sell them Michinoku Pro comps. I used to sit and watch 8 hour M-Pro comps with endless combinations of these guys. Although now I prefer having a full-time job and regular sex and stuff.) – ECW World TV title: Shane Douglas v. Pitbull #2. (There are a lot of dead wrestlers on this show. Healthy working environments were not Heyman’s specialty.) The story: Shane is a jerk who broke Pitbull #1’s neck and then tormented him during the healing process, and his partner wants revenge. Plus Shane was being stalked by a, ahem, mysterious masked man even though his identity was the worst-kept secret in wrestling. But on the off-chance you don’t know who it is, I won’t spoil it yet. The stip here is that if Pitbull doesn’t win the title, the masked man has to unmask. Riot cops are at ringside to protect Shane, in a bit that Vince Russo has now stolen twice, once in the WWF and once in WCW. (More than that since then.) Finally, in case you haven’t heard the story behind the actual match itself, Pitbull #2 is the DDP type, in that he likes to have the match scripted out beforehand, while Shane always insists on calling the match himself. The result was such a car wreck that I used it in the FAQ as the best example of mismatched styles. The match has almost no heat as they plod along best they can. The psychology is there on Shane’s part as he works on the neck, but Pitbull suddenly shrugs it off and comes back, and it’s never brought up again. Pitbull #1 is sitting at ringside and he jumps Douglas, but the riot squad drags him off. Meanwhile, back in the ring a piece of rail gets involved and they blow the spot. Pitbull makes the superman comeback but Shane uses a chair, knuckle dusters, the ringbell, and a hunk of table to subdue him long enough to go for the chain. (I know I get on those wacky runs sometimes where I exaggerate all the silly overbooking, but Shane literally used all those things in succession.) Yeah, because lord knows if a chair, knuckle dusters, the ringbell and a table didn’t put him down, certainly a CHAIN would stand a better chance. Chris Candido runs interference and Shane hits that most devastating of finishers, the BELLY-TO-BELLY OF DEATH, for the pin at 20:38. Yes, you read that right, Paul E actually gave this mess TWENTY MINUTES. He has since apologized to everyone for doing so. ½* (Absolutely true. At least he can admit his mistakes. I think 1/2* is very generous, as this was clearly a negative-stars affair.) – The masked man (looking pretty fat) comes out to be unmasked…as Shane’s flunky Brian Lee. One of the riot squad reveals himself to be Rick Rude, and Lee and Rude beat Shane down. Both Lee and Rude would jump to the WWF shortly after this. (A running theme on the night, in fact.) – Notable Raven promo in that he uses the phrase “Powers To Be” at one point, thus showing exactly whose fault that one is… – Taz v. Sabu. This was actually supposed to happen six months prior, but Torch reporter Bruce Mitchell sent PPV companies a tape of the crucifixion angle and the PPV ended up getting delayed until 1997 because of it. Slugfest to start here and they do a wrestling sequence. Taz gets an anklelock. He goes into a crossface and busts Sabu open very quickly into the match. They head into the crowd and Sabu hits a plancha. Back in the ring and Taz control on the mat. Sabu makes his chair-assisted comeback. Taz puts a stop to that. Back to the floor, and Sabu goes through a table. Back in and Sabu hits a rana for two and a top rope legdrop. It’s all for naught as Taz drops him on his head with a Tazplex or two and hooks the Katahajime for the submission at 17:45. Incredibly disappointing given the Sting/Hogan-like buildup. Match had no heat, either, oddly enough. **1/4 (Heyman was all buildup and no payoff, like with this and the endless RVD chase of the World title that never led anywhere.) – A great angle follows the match, however, as Taz offers the handshake to Sabu and they have a male bonding moment. Rob Van Dam attacks, however, and Sabu suddenly decides to join in, and we have a double-turn. They start to go after Fonzie after destroying Taz, but Fonzie pulls off his Taz shirt to reveal a Sabu shirt. It turns out that he bet money on the match, but on SABU, not his own man. Van Dam gives the “PPV Superstar” speech, another big moment for him. – Sandman v. Stevie Richards v. Terry Funk. Lots of chops to start, and Stevie gets two off a rollup on Funk. Sandman helps Stevie by suplexing him onto Funk, then double-crosses him by suplexing him, period. He disappears to the back and brings a ladder back with him. Funk takes it in the head for two. Terry climbs the moonsault and does an alleged moonsault off it onto Stevie, missing by a foot. Stevie sells it anyway. Stevie superkicks Sandman for two, then Sandman takes his patented upside-down bump to the ladder. Sandman & Stevie fight up the ladder and Funk knocks both off. He puts the ladder on his shoulders and swings wildly, knocking everyone out. Funk and Sandman slug it out, and Stevie comes off the top and nails both. Steviekick on Sandman gets two, prompting a big “bullshit” chant from the partisan crowd. Guess Paul underestimated how over the bWo was? (I never got the supposed brilliance of that one. Even in 1997 nWo parodies were a dime a dozen and it’s not like Blue Meanie had anything particularly witty to say on the subject. It was like a Family Guy “Hey, this is a thing you’ve heard of” extended cutaway gag or something.) They all fight to the floor and Sandman disappears again, returning with a trash can. Stevie gets suplexed on it for two. Sandman legdrops him under the ladder for two. They screw up another spot with the ladder, then Funk & Sandman hit a double-team powerbomb on Stevie and pin him. That just deflates the crowd even more. Sandman tosses some barbed wire into the ring, and gets whipped with it by Funk. Sandman wraps himself in it, and legdrops Funk off the top for two. Stevie tries to interfere, allowing Funk to put the trash can on Sandman’s head. A Steviekick and Funk moonsault finishes it at 19:07. ** Raven attacks right away. (Because they were running out of PPV time and nearly had the show end on them.) – ECW World title match: Raven v. Terry Funk. Raven destroys Funk, who is bleeding buckets. They fight out of the ring, and Raven puts him through a table. Raven’s Nest attacks and puts Funk out. Tommy Dreamer stands up from the announce position to yell at Raven, and Big Dick Dudley attacks from behind. He tries to chokeslam Tommy through three conveniently stacked tables but Tommy reverses and puts Dick through them in a bit of irony not unlike Shakespearean plays of yore. Tommy heads down to ringside and DDTs Raven, and Funk covers for two. A quick small package gets three and the title, however. Really, really awful match to end the show. DUD The Bottom Line: This show got huge praise at the time, and while it features the second-best match ECW has ever produced (I actually did give ***** to one, and one only, ECW match from 1995, and it’s probably completely not what you’d expect) there’s not much else wrestling-wise. Still, a near ***** match is always good enough for a thumbs up from me, and given I’ve seen this show almost 30 times now thanks to the huge amount of people who wanted a copy in 97 and I can still watch it, that at least shows it has staying power. I still completely disagree with the decision to put Terry Funk over Raven here, however. I was always on the side of giving Tommy Dreamer his first win over Raven at this show, and I think it would have worked out better for all involved had that happened. Anyway, no matter my feelings on this show, many many people hold this one dear to their hearts, and no matter how badly Heyman botched almost every PPV after this one, he still managed a good first impression and that counted for a lot considering the crap that was to follow this. (I think this show was actually released on DVD at one point, as an extra on another ECW DVD put out by WWE, but I could be wrong. Watching this show now and you’ll wonder why they became such a big deal.) Recommended show. (Not really, although there’s still a lot of nostalgia for it and that’s OK.)
Date: April 15, 2012
Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tazz
This is the second biggest show of the year for TNA as every match is inside a cage. The double main event is Roode vs. Storm for the title and Lethal Lockdown with Team Bischoff vs. Team Garrett in a match that no one really wants to see, even the big TNA fans. We also have Angle vs. Hardy in what should likely be Angle’s great match that he always has here. Let’s get to it.
Young/ODB vs. Rosita/Sarita has been added to the show.
The opening video is of Storm getting in a truck and saying that it ends tonight with Roode.
The regular opening video is a history of Beer Money and how they had a lot of success but they were never friends. This has a lot of audio clips from the showdown on Thursday which is a good thing.
Team Garrett has a meeting. Garrett wants to go first to earn his team’s respect. Great. MORE Garrett. The team agrees.
Team Eric: Eric Bischoff, Gunner, Bully Ray, Kazarian, Christopher Daniels
Team Garrett: Garrett Bischoff, AJ Styles, Mr. Anderson, Rob Van Dam, Austin Aries
I was worried this would close the show so this is a nice surprise. This is TNA’s WarGames match and if Garrett’s team loses, he’s out of TNA. If Eric’s team loses, he’s out and can’t use his name in wrestling again. Three minute opening period then two minutes for each one after that and Team Eric has the advantage. Gunner and Garrett start of course and it’s power vs. speed.
Garrett tries to avoid the power but after a missile dropkick, Gunner takes over by running him down. Into the corner and Gunner hits a running knee to the head. No pins or submissions until all ten are in remember. He rams Garrett into the steel and Bully Ray is out next for a two minute advantage. Gunner holds him for a running boot to the chest. This is pure dominance for about 90 seconds until Austin Aries is in fourth. The fans were cheering his name so they’re giving the people what they want.
Aries EXPLODES on Ray in the corner and gets in some shots on Gunner as well. At about a minute in he runs into a boot and Ray takes over. Garrett stays in the corner where he belongs as Aries, the actually good wrestler, does the work. A missile dropkick puts Ray down and Kazarian, with a nearly shaved head, is in next. The fans chant that he looks stupid and it’s a three on one beatdown of Garrett. Gunner chokes Aries as Kaz fires off kicks to the ribs of Garrett.
AJ evens things up as this is in classic WarGames formula already. Kaz tries to meet him coming in but AJ slams the door on his head. Pele takes Gunner down but Ray runs him over. Sweet dropkick takes Ray down and everyone pairs off. Here’s Daniels for another advantage. It’s 4-3 at the moment and Daniels gives Team Eric the big advantage. Ray pulls off his belt and Garrett takes a whipping.
Anderson is the fourth guy for his team so there’s just Eric and RVD to go. It’s the heel beatdown again but AJ manages a nice suplex on Ray. Now back to your regularly scheduled beatdown with thirty seconds to go before Eric comes in. Here’s Eric in business casual attire. He holds Garrett for a big chop from Ray and Gunner gets in one as well. Eric and Daniels talk trash as the clock counts down.
Here’s Van Dam and he cleans house. There hasn’t been a lot of that in this match so far. There hasn’t been much to commentate on because it’s been 17 minutes of punching and kicking so far. That’s what these matches usually are so it’s not a shock, but it’s still not that interesting. Eric hides in the corner and here come the weapons. The match basically resets here as everyone gets a weapon and Team Garrett takes over.
Daniels takes a bunch of weapon shots and Aries stomps away on Ray. Eric gets dragged in by AJ and Austin and the beating commences. Van Dam loads up the Five Star but Gunner crotches him. Ray lawn darts Aries into the cage but Anderson comes back with a swinging neckbreaker to Daniels. Kaz gets the spotlight now as he beats up everyone before focusing on AJ.
Kaz monkey bars across the top of the cage but AJ follows him and kicks him down. He drops an elbow down on Kazarian and RVD hits the Five Star. Ray takes Van Dam down but picks up a chair. YOU DON’T PICK UP A CHAIR IN A ROB VAN DAM MATCH! Van Daminator puts him down but Daniels pops up to take Van Dam out. Daniels goes after Garrett but Garrett hits his falling Diamond Cutter.
He covers Daniels but Eric grabs a kendo stick to pound away on him. Eric insults his own wife by calling Garrett an SOB and beats Garrett half to death. The fans want blood. Eric is the only one up at the moment. Garrett pops up and guitars Eric for the pin at 26:04 to get rid of Eric for I’d say three months or so. That was completely out of nowhere.
Rating: C-. This was probably the worst Lethal Lockdown I can ever remember. There was A LOT of punching and kicking and no big spot at all. Also the whole thing here was supposed to be about Garrett’s big comeback but really all he did was pop up after a bunch of kendo stick shots, hit Eric once and pin him. Naturally that probably means more TV time for Garrett because that’s what the fans are screaming for in Eric’s ears, but that’s life in TNA. Getting this out of the way first was a good idea though.
Tag Titles: Motorcity Machineguns vs. Magnus/Samoa Joe
The Guns have generic music to start but their regular theme starts during their walk to the ring. Methinks that was a glitch. You can win by pin, submission or escape for the rest of the matches. Magnus and Shelley start things off. Things speed way up to start and Magnus gets a clothesline for two. Sabin gets a blind tag and a pair of kicks get two. Off to Joe who is too fat for Sabin to run over.
A crucifix into a sunset flip doesn’t really work either so let’s try a dropkick. That at least slows Joe down and it’s off to Shelley. Back to Magnus who gets caught in a pinball series of punches. Magnus comes back and manages a fallaway slam to throw Sabin into Shelley in a cool spot. Back to Joe who pounds Sabin down to give us a face in peril. I think he’s in peril to another face but you get the idea.
The champions double team Sabin to keep him in the ring including a big boot to set up a backsplash for two. Magnus hooks a chinlock but Chris comes back with a jawbreaker to get out. A spinning spinebuster puts Sabin right back down and it’s off to Joe again. Snap suplex gets two. Sabin grabs a tornado DDT while climbing up Magnus and is able to make the tag. Shelley comes in but even that doesn’t wake this crowd up.
Sliced Bread is broken up but Sabin powerbombs Joe out of the corner. Magnus is knocked off the top and a top rope double stomp gets two for Shelley. A move I think called the elevated Hero’s Welcome gets two on Magnus. Skull and Bones is broken up and Sabin is caught in the Clutch. Sliced Bread hits Magnus and Joe has to break up the choke to make the save. The champions’ finisher misses so Sabin hooks up a rear naked choke on Joe. Magnus hits a kind of Michinoku Driver on Shelley and Joe runs out of the corner, dropping Sabin on Shelley. The snapmare/elbow gets the pin on Shelley at 11:19.
Rating: B-. This started really slow but once they stopped the tagging it got a lot more exciting. I definitely agree with the champions retaining here as there’s nothing for the Guns to do in this division anymore. Having them as something like Beer Money for the last year they were together would be a much better spot for them which is something they could do now.
Robbie E says he’ll get the TV Title back. Why didn’t this go after Lethal Lockdown to save the crowd a bit?
TV Title: D-Von vs. Robbie E
D-Von rams Robbie into bigger Rob to start. Robbie takes him down and stomps a lot, followed by a middle rope forearm for two. Time for the chinlock for a bit before Robbie goes to the top rope (yes rope, not corner), only to get crotched. D-Von comes back with a shoulder block and Miz’s Reality Check. Corner splash sets up the spinebuster to retain at 3:26.
Rating: D+. I get the idea of filler, but it’s still D-Von Freaking Dudley with a title. I could definitely see Ray having a belt at this point as he’s elevated his game huge, but D-Von is so average it’s unreal. He’s huge and has gotten in great shape, but how many other people would be better with the title? In short, no one because it’s never defended so it doesn’t really matter, which is the much bigger part of the problem.
Robbie T beats down D-Von post match, probably to continue the feud.
Matt Morgan says that he’s in wrestling to make money and win titles. Tonight, it’s about revenge though and the cage is a prison cell.
Knockouts Title: Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky
No pigeons again and Tazz is upset. Her outfit is different this week as it’s more like a skirt. Madison comes out with Gail. Velvet grabs a fast rollup for two but Gail hits her in the back to take over. Velvet fires off some shots but Gail knocks her back, hitting a missile dropkick for two. More back work in the form of a backbreaker with the bending over the knee by Gail before she moves on to a knee lock, bending it around her own head.
Gail hooks something like a dragon sleeper which is countered by a jawbreaker. She misses a charge in the corner but Velvet is down too. Flying headscissors puts Gail down but she pops up to try and climb out. Velvet follows her up for some knees on the top rope. She looks for In Yo Face but settles for a sunset bomb for two instead. Madison starts yelling at Velvet as Gail tries to escape. Sky notices and tries an O’Connor Roll which is reversed into a rollup by Gail with tights for the pin at 7:27.
Rating: C-. Not the worst match ever but they’re not doing anything to help this already bad crowd. Gail keeps the title here, which I can live with because there was very little build for Velvet, but they need someone to breathe some life into this division. Gail and Madison has been played but it didn’t get mentioned at all here for the most part.
Here’s Flair for some chatting. If anyone can get a crowd fired up it’s him. Flair asks if the people know who he is and insults some fans at ringside for not knowing who he is. I think he’s drunk. He’s ticked off and that’s not good for who he’s ticked off at, and that would be Hogan. Tonight Hogan ended Eric Bischoff’s career and that’s not cool. He insults some fat guy in a yellow t-shirt and here’s Hulk.
Flair talks over Hulk’s music about how Hogan has ticked him off and there’s a good Hogan chant, the first solid crowd reaction in about an hour. Hulk asks if he can get in Flair’s ring and Flair says that’s fine. Ric sounds very drunk. Hulk says if Flair has a grievance, say it now. This is pure filler in case you couldn’t tell. Hogan says Flair asked if people knew who he was. He’s at Lethal Lockdown (is that match still going?) and here at Lockdown, Eric Bischoff is gone and can’t use his name again.
Hogan challenges Flair to a fight right now and that REALLY ticks Flair off. Hulk drills him and makes a funny face at him….and that’s it. Seriously, it was one punch. Flair says come back here and takes his tie off. Hogan leaves and Flair yells at Tenay. This has been going on WAY too long and it’s not accomplishing anything at all. The fans chant Space Mountain and Flair asks if someone wants to ride it….and that’s it.
We recap Crimson vs. Morgan which is pretty much Morgan’s feud with Abyss and Hernandez all over again.
Crimson vs. Matt Morgan
Crimson is now billed as “The Undefeated” on his graphic. Crimson goes for the door very quickly but Morgan keeps pulling him back in. Morgan walks into a clothesline for two as momentum shifts. Crimson rams him into the cage as the crowd is a little more awake now. He chokes Morgan on the ropes and a spinebuster gets two.
Crimson sets for what looked like the spear but walks into the discus lariat. Big boot puts Crimson down and it’s followed by a nice belly to back suplex. Morgan loads up the Carbon Footprint in the corner but gets tangled in the ropes. Crimson tries a quick escape but they wind up fighting on the top rope. Morgan gets crotched and tied up in the rope, allowing Crimson to climb out for the win at 7:26.
Rating: D. You know, if the time is such a problem tonight, maybe you could have this go a few more minutes and have the TV Title go longer than three minutes. It might keep the issues down a bit more. Anyway, this match was really boring as the feud has been put on hold for the last two weeks. This show is bordering on disaster at this point but there are some big matches to come.
We recap Angle vs. Hardy, which is because of Kurt not liking the way Hardy looks and acts, partially because of Angle’s son being a Hardy fan. Angle cheated to win last time at Victory Road.
Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Hardy
Angle said that he and Hardy could match HHH vs. Undertaker here and he’s had a great track record at this show so hopefully he continues that here. Hardy’s paint is black and white here. There’s this, the world title and the Knockout Tag Titles left so the show still has a small chance. Angle’s thigh is taped due to a legit injury. Kurt pounds him in the corner to start but Jeff comes back with the legdrop between the legs.
They’re going very slowly here but it might be a slow build. Jeff whips him into the corner and hits the slingshot dropkick but he’s holding his neck. Jeff seems to be ok though and he pounds Angle down in the corner. Kurt slams him into the cage which had a great sound. Snap suplex gets two. Back into the cage as it’s pretty clear Kurt is nowhere near 100%. It looks like Jeff is busted a bit but you can’t see that well.
Kurt rams him into the cage again and walks around a lot. Oh yeah Jeff is busted. Jeff comes back with a clothesline and both guys are down. Things speed up again and Jeff comes back with some forearms. Whisper in the Wind gets two. Twisting Stunner puts Kurt down and he loads up the Swanton, but Angle runs the corner and hits a GREAT Angle Slam out of the corner for a close two. Kurt goes for the door but Jeff dives for the leg. Angle pounds on his head and goes for the climb over but Jeff pulls him back. Now Jeff goes up and knocks Kurt back, hitting a standing top rope Vader Bomb for two.
Both guys are down again and it’s Hardy up first. He goes for the door but Kurt grabs the ankle and puts on the ankle lock. Jeff counters into the ankle lock on Angle (on the good leg) but Kurt rolls out. Twist of Fate puts Angle down and Jeff goes for the corner. Swanton connects but he goes up again and hits a second one which gets two. Kurt pulls him head first into the cage and the Angle Slam gets two. Hardy counters the Slam into one of his own before going all the way to the top of the cage for a super Swanton for the pin at 14:48.
Rating: B+. While it’s not as good as Kurt’s other matches, this was a HUGE step up over what the rest of this show has been. I don’t ever remember my heart being in my throat for a spot more than that Swanton though as I thought he was going to kill himself. Angle’s injury slowed this a lot but it was still a very good match and a major help that this show needed.
Knockouts Tag Titles: Eric Young/ODB vs. Rosita/Sarita
Eric and ODB have hockey jerseys on. ODB charges in to jump Sarita and Eric doesn’t know what corner to go to. Isn’t this where Eric is billed from? It’s a comedy match of course with Eric thinking he’s referee, which causes ODB to get in trouble. The girls keep trying to seduce Eric as they work over ODB. ODB comes back, spears Sarita and hits the Bam on Rosita for the pin to retain at 4:17.
Rating: D. Was Eric ever legally in? This was a comedy match to bring the crowd down a bit before the main event. There’s not much else to say here other than the girls minus ODB looked good and Eric is still not that funny. This served its purpose well enough though so points for that.
The announcers talk about the main event for awhile.
Roode says tonight is a fight, not a wrestling match. He’s out for blood and they hate each other. Some idiot fan tried an ECW chant during this.
We recap the main event. It’s another excellent package with Roode talking about how he’s the champion and he’ll do anything to win and Storm talking about how it took ten years to get to this moment.
TNA World Title: James Storm vs. Bobby Roode
Storm drives a truck into the arena. He has something resembling the AMW trenchcoat but it’s not quite the same. Storm jumps him on the floor before the bell rings and takes the fight to him. He rams Roode into the cage and drops an elbow from a table. The bell hasn’t rung yet and they have over half an hour. Storm blocks a cage shot and they fight up the entrance. All Storm so far.
Storm swings a chair at the cage but misses, allowing Roode to hit a clothesline to the back of the head to drive Storm’s head into the steel. Roode gets a beer bottle and Storm is busted. The beer is put on the steps as Roode hammers away. Montgomery Gentry and Storm’s wife are here. They go into the cage and there’s the bell. Roode is in full control and rams Storm into the cage again.
Roode yells a lot and the crowd is quiet enough that you can hear most of it. Suplex and knee drop get two. That cut is opening more and more. Storm Hulks Up and wins a slugout but a running elbow takes him right back down. Storm gets a boot up in the corner but Roode takes him down with a big clothesline for two. Roode does the cheese grater spot on the cage and the tape on Storm’s wrists are all covered in blood.
Roode is still shouting in Storm’s face and has Storm’s blood on his face. We cut to Storm’s wife and she looks as interested as parents when their kid isn’t on stage in a third grade school play. Storm comes back with a bunch of punches and clotheslines. Here’s the Eye of the Storm but Roode escapes. A catapult sends Roode into the cage and the Eye of the Storm gets two.
James walks into a spinebuster for two. Roode is busted also. Closing Time (Codebreaker/Backstabber combo) gets two. Now Roode gets the cheese grater treatment. Roode ducks a dive and Storm eats cage, allowing Roode to hook the Crossface. Storm manages to roll to the ropes but both guys are spent. They go to the corner and Storm fights out of a superplex but gets his head rammed into the cage.
Roode climbs on Storm to try to get out and he kicks Storm down to the mat. Storm climbs up and gets Roode dangling on the top of the cage. He’s back in now and they slug it out on the top rope some more. Storm pulls him down and loads up the Last Call but it hits the referee flush on the jaw.
Roode takes him down and has the door wide open but he wants the beer bottle. He busts it over Storm’s head and demands that Hebner come in for the cover but it only gets two. Instead of sprinting out the door, Roode walks into the Last Call but Storm can’t follow up. Storm superkicks Roode out the door, AND HE KEEPS THE TITLE at 17:39.
Rating: B. This company amazes me. If there was EVER, I mean EVER, a more perfect setup than this, I’d love to see it because this was as perfect as you could get and they go the other way. On top of that, they do it TONIGHT, with the crowd being as uninterested as they’ve ever been. The match was great, the ending…..oh dear.
Storm hugs his wife to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. The first half of this show was dreadful, ranking up there with some of the worst shows I’ve ever seen. Angle vs. Hardy breathed life into it and the Knockout Tag was as good as it was going to be. The main event was going strong and then they completely deflate the place (ok it was deflated already) with the ending. This was the perfect place to end Roode’s reign, but instead they swerve us just like at Bound For Glory. I get the idea of a surprise, but there are times where you go with the obvious. This was one of them.
Team Garrett Bischoff b. Team Eric Bischoff – Garrett pinned Eric after a guitar shot
Samoa Joe/Magnus b. Motorcity Machineguns – Middle Rope Elbow to Shelley
D-Von b. Robbie E – Spinebuster
Gail Kim b. Velvet Sky – Rollup with a handful of tights
Crimson b. Matt Morgan – Crimson escaped the cage
Jeff Hardy b. Kurt Angle – Swanton off the top of the cage
ODB/Eric Young b. Sarita/Rosita – The Bam to Rosita
Bobby Roode b. James Storm – Storm superkicked Roode out of the cage
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There’s been lots of talk on the blog recently about how thin the WWE roster is with the exodus of top talent in the past few years.
Occurred to me that the problem isn’t so much the high turnover of stars at the top, that’s happened before at the end of the Rock n Wrestling, New Generation and Attitude eras.
The issue is more how many of the WWE’s headliners of the past 5 years have left without putting over any new stars on the way out.
HBK – Retired by the UndertakerFlair – Retired by HBKBatista – Quit following loss to CenaRVD – Lost to Orton in a Stretcher MatchJBL – Quit after losing to MysterioVince McMahon – Fired by HHH, lost last match to Bret HartJericho – Left 1st time following loss to Cena, left second time following loss to Orton
In all these guys leaving the WWE the wrestlers who got the rub on the way out were Cena, Orton, Mysterio, HHH, HBK and The Undertaker. All of them multi-time world champs by that point anyway.
On top of that you’ve got the ones that left due to unforeseen circumstances
Angle – Left due to Wellness issues (last televised match a no contest against Sabu)Edge – Retired as Champion defeating Del Rio in last matchBobby Lashley – Quit while injured to pursue MMAUmaga – Fired due to Wellness issues
Plus you’ve got the Benoit and Guerrero tragedies.
Then you’ve got HHH and Undertaker who are semi-retired. I don’t think HHH has put over a new main eventer since Jeff Hardy and honestly cannot remember the last time Undertaker lost to someone who wasn’t already a bona fide main eventer.
In fact in all this Jeff Hardy is probably the closest they’ve come to someone going out on their back, but then I really don’t think they planned for him to go out to Punk like he did and it’s not like they made anything of it.
Isn’t this the root cause of the lack of elevation? Punk, Bryan, Barrett, Rhodes Sheamus, Ziggler etc are all trying to make each other. Nobody from the previous generation (except maybe Booker?) is giving them a leg up.
What do you think?
I absolutely agree. Not to mention that WWF treats the previous generation like a bunch of clowns who we’re supposed to mock as entertainment, so if they do bring in a “Legend” to give someone a rub it never works anyway. So you’ve got Dolph Ziggler out there paying tribute to Curt Hennig every night, but Hennig isn’t on the current politically approved list of people who we’re allowed to remember respectfully, so they never bring it up. And now the guys they’ve got get beat all the time, so beating them means nothing.
Hey Scott,I was just sitting here thinking about what I think would be an awesome way to do the Cena – Lesnar feud from this point. Thought it might make good conversation for your blog…..Someone posted a comment about running a “Knightfall” (from Batman) storyline involving Punk. I think there is some money to be made from copying the storyline from Rocky 3, where Lesnar just destroys Cena at Extreme Rules and takes the belt. He then destroys everyone else in his path for months on end, while Cena continues his downward spiral and loses at all pay per views because his “head isn’t in the game” after the loss to Brock. Then sometime after Summerslam, The Rock returns and helps Cena regain his edge ala Apollo Creed did with Rocky. Cena then begins the climb once again to the top, building to another showdown with Lesnar at Wrestlemania next year with Rock in his corner. In the meantime, Lesnar could get cockier and cockier about the ease with which he is chewing people up. Hell, to kickstart the whole storyline at extreme rules, Lesnar could pull Cenas dad from the crowd before the match and clothesline him or something leading Cena to be distracted and easy pickings for Brock in a 5 or 10 minute match. And how awesome could the motivational workout videos of Rock and Cena be with Rock bringing the fire back to Cena. Whether anyone else would be into or not, it would hook me on the product again.
I think if you’re gonna do that one, you’d have to do it at Summerslam because it’s too long term to do in a promotion as accelerated as WWE. I think it’s a terrific idea, though, with Cena being forced to go to his hated enemy for help because Brock is just too much of a threat. It’s a pretty classic story, actually, which is why Rocky 3 used it and was such an awesome movie.
They really should put one of the belts on Lesnar right away, though. Having the two World titles as undercard matches underneath Brock does the belts no good. If Brock is the top guy in the promotion, he should be the champion, period. What I really wish is that there was a MITB briefcase floating around that Brock could get, because Daniel Bryan pulling out every cheating trick in the book to regain the belt from Sheamus at the PPV by the skin of his teeth and then getting immediately destroyed by Brock (complete with “shitting his pants” terror on his face) would have a really fun vibe to it.
Scott, love the blog and your work. The Rocks past run has re-engaged my interest in WWE after being driven away due to the atrocity that was the Invasion period. I’m sure you’ve answered this somewhere, but in your opinion why did the Invasion angle blow so much? Was it because Vince didn’t pay out for the big guns? Was it the wretched involvement of the McMahons on every second of tv, or just terrible overall booking? This should have been a great time to be a fan but ended driving me completely away for a decade. Most importantly, what do you think would have been the most effective way to play this out? Thanks MH
The main reason was because Vince didn’t want to treat WCW as an equal to the WWF, even though he owned both promotions. The money in the angle was simple: WCW are the invaders and that’s the last bit of kayfabe that fans would wholeheartedly accept. So they immediately burned through that entire angle, plus the ECW involvement, in one show and had nowhere else to go with it. As well, they were doing a half-assed attempt to keep WCW running as a second touring company (an idea which eventually became the RAW/Smackdown brand split) and just couldn’t decide what they actually wanted to do with the whole thing. So yeah, TERRIBLE booking plus Vince’s ridiculous need to “humble” people who dared work for his competition equaled the most money left on the table in wrestling history. And the thing is that they didn’t even NEED the big guns. The novelty of seeing DDP and Booker T would have been enough to make them into featured attractions, but again they didn’t fit with Vince’s mentality and so WWF guys had to become fake WCW invaders instead. It was really cutting off your nose to spite your face.
The SmarK Rant for WWF Backlash 2002
(2012 Scott sez: This is the last ever PPV with the WWF name on it. So I guess you can kind of consider it the OFFICIAL official end of the Attitude era, especially considering how the show ends.)
– Live from Kansas City
– Your hosts are JR & King
– Opening match, Jobberweight title: Billy Kidman v. Tajiri.
Shoving match to start, which Tajiri kips out of. Stalemate is established with armdrags and Kidman eats turnbuckle. He comes back with chops, but gets catapulted, then turns it into a dropkick out of the corner for two. That sequence looked a bit messed up. Headscissors puts Tajiri on the floor, where he pulls Kidman out and dumps him on the railing. Back in, Tajiri drops a knee and chokes away, like the New York Islanders. (These days the Islanders are lucky if they even flirt with the playoffs, let alone choke in them. And yet Garth Snow is still employed last I checked.) He gives Kidman a quote, dehabilitating, unquote, kick to the face and hits the chinlock. You can’t get much more devastating than dehabiliating someone. You can discombobulate them occasionally and bamboozle them if you’re lucky, but to actually move above debilitating someone and force JR to mangle the English language in an effort to describe the action, well Dang Jethro, that’s something special. (Still can’t get “Dang Jethro” over at this point no matter how hard I tried. I should also note that I made it a personal goal to use “discombobulate” in my rants as much as I could.) Kidman snaps off a rana, but walks into a backbreaker and gets hung in the Tree of Woe. Tajiri dropkicks him in the face and chokes him against the post like Yashin trying to jam in a goal. (The stuff where I take incredibly cheap shots at other people’s hockey teams doesn’t age very well, I’m afraid. But then it’s not like the Canucks were anywhere near the playoffs at that point anyway.) Another backbreaker turns into a submission hold, but Kidman knees out for two. Tajiri pounds him down again and drops an elbow. Kidman fights back, but walks into the Tarantula. The Big Kick misses and they slug it out, with Kidman using a dropkick to counter the handspring elbow. Tajiri reverses a suplex into an enzuigiri in a sweet move, and then they reverse each other until Tajiri gets a bridged german suplex for two. Kidman misses a clothesline and gets kicked in the face for two. Tajiri tries a powerbomb, but you can’t yada yada. It gets two. Shooting Star Press misses, and Tajiri gets the Big Kick for two. Crowd chants for Kidman, shockingly. That must be a hallucination cruiserweights don’t draw! HHH said so! (HHH says a lot of stuff.) They head up, and Kidman manages a Rydien bomb off the top, for two. Yikes. Kidman powerbombs Tajiri, but gets misted for the pin at 9:07. It was the RED mist, too, which in WCW would permanently blind the hapless victim. (Maybe that’s what Lord Tensai is spitting into his hand before doing the claw?) Being a sports entertainer instead of a wrestler may have saved Kidman’s vision. ***1/2
– Meanwhile, the APA reunite after their two long weeks apart.
– Bradshaw v. Scott Hall.
(Oh shit, I can tell this is gonna be a bad idea before I even re-read the review. Who the FUCK thought this would be anything remotely close to a decent idea?) Man, X-Pac looks so butch with that Kane mask on. Especially when he points to his crotch. All badasses wear Halloween masks and make rude gestures involving their genitalia. I think I read that on WWF.com. Faarooq comes out to even the odds for Bradshaw. Scott Hall tries a novel approach to winning a slugfest, by throwing a toothpick at Bradshaw. Bradshaw punches him in the face. I’d say Bradshaw’s method is more effective. No wonder Hall couldn’t get over in Japan. Bradshaw hammers away and gets a DDT for two. Hall bails and runs into Faarooq, who hammers both Hall and X-Pac. Back in, Bradshaw drops an elbow for two. Suplex gets two. More punching as Hall does his drunken Terry Funk selling job before picking an arbitrary point to come back with his own punches. He chokes like Osgood and stomps away in the corner. (I really had a bug up my ass about someone’s hockey team at this point, holy cow.) That goes on for a while. Bradshaw shoulderblocks him down as the crowd loses patience with this mess. And they wanted to push Hall to the main event again? JR notes that Hall is a veteran who “doesn’t make many mistakes”. I assume we’re talking about in-ring mistakes only here, otherwise the door is WIDE OPEN off that comment. Bradshaw comes back with an elbow and a boot as JR uses the Mystery Code Word for DUD “bowling shoe ugly”. I feel so inside. Bradshaw gets the Clothesline from Heck for two, but X-Pac delays the pain by putting the foot on the ropes. Note to JR while I’m at it: You would run like a SCOLDED dog, as in a lower life form who has been chided by a bigger person. (Like when Vince McMahon yells in your headset.) Running like a SCALDED dog would involve getting dropped in boiling water for a couple of minutes and would probably have the SPCA on your ass. Just had to say it. Bradshaw spends an eternity staring longingly at X-Pac, perhaps contemplating a forbidden romance that we’ll never know about, allowing Hall to sneak up from behind and give him the worst low blow I’ve seen in weeks, and get the rollup pin at 5:45. When you can’t even hit another guy in the nuts properly, it’s time to quit. DUD (They PUT HALL OVER?!? Did they just start going down the Texan depth chart until they found someone from the state who WOULD do the job to Hall or something?)
– Meanwhile, Vince wastes a few minutes of valuable PPV time before disappearing for the rest of the night.
– WWF Women’s title: Jazz v. Trish Stratus.
Jazz appears to have stolen her costume from Faarooq’s 1996 leftovers. Or maybe it’s Faarooq, who can tell? Molly Holly lays out Trish before the match, allowing Jazz to attack and get a sideslam for two. Trish fights back, but walks into a fireman’s roll. She gets a clothesline, but Jazz blocks a jawbreaker (disdainfully I might add), and a slugfest erupts. Trish gets the Kawada kick for two. Note to Trish: Watch Benoit to learn how to chop someone. Hint: Throwing your head back after each chop only gives you a sore neck. (Trish actually switched to forearms for most of her striking offense and got about 250% better by no small coincidence.) They head up and Trish ranas Jazz down, and gets a pair of clotheslines and a neckbreaker for two. Hey, that’s almost psychology. Jazz powerbombs her for two, making sure to sit out, because everything in wrestling is more deadly when you sit out. Jazz chokes like the Red Wings at home, (Good LORD man let it go. Wings went on to win the Stanley Cup in 2002 so really constantly busting on them at the point where it would have been the first round of the playoffs looks pretty fucking stupid in retrospect. There you go, Wings fans.) and misses a blind charge, which gives Trish a two count. Trishdog is blocked with a backdrop suplex for two. Trish’s big boot is met with a Dragon-screw that leads to an STF for the submission at 4:25. The main eventers could learn something from watching this stuff. *1/2
– Jeff Hardy v. Brock Lesnar.
(Brock’s PPV debut!) Jeff’s day-glo entrance makes him look like he had a barium enema before the match. And hey, if that’s what the kids these days are into, who am I to argue? Just remember: Your colon is not a toy. (It’s still preferable to dubstep.) Brock’s music is pretty much Generic Rock #193A. (Brock is a rare case where they just kept the original music and never had Saliva or Finger Eleven or any of the other interchangeable post-grunge sellouts record a new theme for him. Or maybe they did because I’m thinking “Here Comes The Pain” was a song on one of the WWF CD releases but it just never got use as his entrance music.) Hardy attacks and gets creamed. He regroups and tries a pescado, but gets caught. Back in, bodypress gets two. Brock shrugs him off and pounds the shit out of him in the corner. Overhead belly-to-belly and Brock does the TWITCH OF DOOM to reinforce his point. Another suplex, but Jeff is still moving, so a triple backbreaker follows. Lita stands on the outside looking like she’d rather be getting stoned in the back. Jeff fights back, showing way too much offense for cannon fodder, and Brock shrugs it off. Jeff fights back again with a corkscrew and gets his usual lame offense, leading to the swanton, which Brock shrugs off. Jeff takes a powder and grabs a chair, but walks into the TKO. Heyman wants more punishment. I concur that dyejob alone warrants another powerbomb. Brock gets the double powerbomb, and luckily he doesn’t sit out because we may have never seen Jeff alive again had he done so. Another one for fun and the ref stops the match at 5:32. I’m not a big fan of finishes like that, but the point was made. ½* Minor note: If this was 1985 you’d see Lesnar v. Hogan headlining all the house shows around the horn within two weeks, and Brock would be pulling in $20,000 a week as a result. (Lesnar v. Hogan did headline later that year, although once Brock made it big in UFC he’d laugh at $20,000 per week.)
– Edge v. Kurt Angle.
I’m disheartened that Angle has ditched the Mirror Universe tights. Even worse, he now has goofy white boots with his name written on them. I believe that history has dictated that there haven’t been many significant figures in the annals of wrestling who have their name written on their boots. Initials are generally fine, but actually writing the name in black letters on white boots is a bit of a wrestling fashion faux pas. Angle grabs a headlock and overpowers Edge, but gets slugged down. Edge runs into an elbow, but gets a dropkick. Flapjack and he dumps Angle with a clothesline. They brawl for a bit and head back in, where Angle catches him coming in with an Olympic foot to the face. Edge retorts with a leg lariat, but gets dropped on his head with a german suplex. Crowd doesn’t appreciate that as much as they should. Angle stomps a mudhole and chops away, but Edge returns fire. He walks into an overhead belly-to-belly, however, for two. He keeps slugging Edge down, but Edge fights back, only to get suplexed for two. Angle hits the chinlock as the announcers mock Brian Hebner’s hairstyle. Edge breaks free, but again walks into the german suplex. He retaliates with an overhead belly-to-belly of his own, however. Ooo, how Japanese using Angle’s own strategy against him. They slug it out and Edge gets a forearm and backdrop to come back. Impaler gets two. Bulldog gets two. Whatever happened to Edge’s version of the Sharpshooter, anyway? That’s always a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Edge goes up, but Angle remains awesome and runs up for a superplex that gets two. I love that move. Anglelock is blocked by Edge, so he keeps slugging away. Edge figures out how to block the german suplex, but Angle counters his counter and finishes the move, taking it to the rolling germans to make doubly sure. It only gets two. That’s actually an awesome sequence, showing continuity within the match and psychology. Angle gets prepped, but Edge gets his own suplex for the double KO. Edge dumps Angle to buy time, and then he heads out after him with a bodypress off the top. That puts both guys down, however. Back in, Edge goes up again, and a missile dropkick gets two. Now Edge is prepped for the kill, as the KICK WHAM IMPALER is reversed to the Angle Slam, for two. Angle goes all Memphis and pulls down the strap, wrenching in the Anglelock, but Edge reverses to a rollup for two. Angle lariats him down like it’s a WWF THQ game or something, and heads out for a chair. He hits himself in the face on the rebound of a missed shot, however, and Edge gets two. And he’s still selling the ankle injury. Kudos. Spear is blocked with a kick to the face, and the Angle Slam ends it at 13:23. Easily Edge’s best match ever. ****1/4 Definitely worth renting the tape to check this one out. (Renting? Tape?) Another month of matches with Angle can do nothing but good for Edge’s future career. (Preach on, 2002 Scott.)
– Chris Jericho comes out to tell everyone that he’s leaving, which of course guarantees that he’ll be back for the main event.
– Intercontinental title: Rob Van Dam v. Eddy Guerrero.
Eddy attacks to start, but takes a spinkick to the face. Rob rolls into the monkey flip and a leg lariat gets two. They slug it out and Eddy dragon-screws him and stomps away. Rob spears him in the corner, but can’t get a suplex. Eddy’s feisty today. He stomps a mudhole, but Rob responds with his own kicks and a standing moonsault for two. High kick gets two. Botched floatover suplex gets two. Rob goes up, but gets crotched. Eddy slugs him down and goes for the superplex, but Rob drops him on the top rope to break and follows him down with a missile dropkick and handspring moonsault for two. Eddy cradles for two. Rollup gets two. Rob puts him on the floor with the kickout, and he follows with a quebrada. They brawl and Rob puts Eddy on the railing and guillotines him. Back in, Rob gets two. Rolling Thunder is countered by Eddy lifting the knees, and the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker establishes a back injury to work. Backdrop suplex gets two. Eddy keeps kicking the back and moves into a Rita Romero Special with a side of facelock. Eddy keeps on the back, using a Gory Special to try to elicit a submission. No dice, as Rob rolls him up for two. Eddy knocks him down again and gets a leg lariat, and the slingshot senton gets two. Eddy pounds the back again and springboards into a rana for two. Vertical suplex is rolled into a backdrop suplex for two. Eddy heads up to finish, but Rob pops up and kicks him down. Eddy calmly powerbombs him off the top so hard that the ring nearly breaks. It gets two. Rob reverses another powerbomb and Eddy bails and grabs the belt, but Rob bumps the ref by mistake. Eddy puts him down again with a neckbreaker, and finishes with the frog splash at 11:42 to become the champion. I think the complaints from the whiners centered around the lack of offense from RVD, but screw that, Eddy DISMANTLED Rob, neutralizing all his offense and then beating him with his own move. That’s wrestling, dude. ***1/2 (Eddie was coming back from his well-publicized demons after getting fired at this point, and getting the title here was a big sign that they were going to have some faith in him. RVD actually regained the belt in a ladder match on RAW where I was in attendance in Edmonton, which marked the first title change I had seen live. Although not the last.)
– And now, my first-ever stream of consciousness match review. (This was me trying something very new and different for my match review in lieu of the usual play by play. It proved to be fairly divisive at the time.)
– Undertaker v. Steve Austin.
Speaking of fashion faux pas, Ric Flair appears to have stolen Ernest Miller’s red slippers, sticking out like a sore thumb in a ring with two guys dressed all in black. Isn’t there some rule about wearing red boots after WrestleMania? I’ll have to ask Martha Stewart once we both end up burning in hell. They do the big staredown to start and dance around in lieu of actually doing anything. Undertaker grabs a headlock. FEEL THE ELECTRICITY! Austin gets overpowered and Undertaker dances again. **** classic! Oh, sorry, thought I was watching Rock-Hogan again for a second. Okay, Austin recuperates from that devastating shoulderblock and he’s ready for action again, so they’re back to it, and now he grabs his own headlock. IRONY~! Oh man, we’re getting closer to ***** by the minute. Undertaker dances again. I can’t stand the excitement much longer. Okay, back to the lockup, and Undertaker gets another headlock. Austin clotheslines him, however. Now we’re getting somewhere. More stalling follows. Well, they’re old. Now Austin wants a test of strength, but then he DOESN’T. Oh, TAG. He’s so the master of psychology. UT overpowers him again, but Austin gets a hiptoss and armdrag, and I’m pumped for a mat-wrestling exhibition until Ric Flair’s red boots ruin the mood. Austin works the arm while JR explains the psychology as though anyone watching gives a damn. Austin goes to the pounding, but UT clotheslines him for two. Then goes to the arm. ROPEWALK OF DOOM looks to pep up the match, and it gets two. Man, I just can’t stop focusing on those boots. It’s like mangled bodies in a car wreck. Oh, wait, it’s the THESZ PRESS and FU Elbow, with extra FU. That gets two. Plus it knocks the bandana off, which is like the universal symbol of “time to whoop ass” amongst the over-40 set these days. They brawl out and head back in as UT exchanges bon mots with a fan, but Austin dumps him again. Well, that was a pointless exchange. They head over to the announce table and Austin rams him into the devastating plastic addition, but he spends too much time adjusting his knee brace and walks into a big boot. Undertaker decides to give him back some of the devastating plastic, and they struggle for control of the stairs like two aging, crippled generals on the battlefield of life. Or whatever. Into the crowd for lack of anything sensible to do to fill time, and Undertaker actually stops to clear the timekeeper’s table before getting rammed into it. He’s not only a badass, he’s well-organized. The exciting brawl continues as Austin tries a piledriver, but UT reverses it. Well, geez, when do you ever see that? That was a totally unexpected development from where I sit. Undertaker calls a spot into the camera while the drunk and his luchadore “friend” wander out to do nothing in particular. The crowd is so into the thrilling Austin-UT brawl that they chant “X-Pac Sucks”. Austin meets the stairs and you know he’s devastated because he keeps clutching at his forehead, as if to say “Ouch, knave, thou hast injured my forehead!” X-Pac continues looking intimidating, in a “gay street toughs” type of way, while Undertaker legdrops Austin on the apron. JR has no logical reason for them to be there. And yet there they are, on camera. Go figure. Undertaker now goes to work on the leg of Austin after spending the last 10 minutes hitting him in the head and neck, which makes me think he should have planned his attack a bit better beforehand. I mean, the guy’s wearing KNEE BRACES for god’s sake, this ain’t rocket science. Austin makes the ropes, but UT hangs on. You know he’s still hanging on because he nods his head as though that adds extra pressure to the hold. A DDT gets two and he hits the chinlock, as the focus shifts again back up to the neck. Dude, pick a body part and stick to it already. Be decisive I mean, look at Flair, he’s out there with boots so fruity that Jeff Hardy would probably go “Dude, you look gay” if he saw them, and he didn’t think twice about wearing them. Austin tries a sleeper, but gets suplexed. Is the sleeper the new spinebuster for the main eventers or something? Is Entertainment Weekly gonna do one of those lists where it’s like “Red is the new yellow” and “The Sleeper is the new Spinebuster” next week? Austin tries the stunner, but gets clotheslined for two. UT is so upset at this that he rubs his forearm into Austin’s face. The nWo is so upset that they stand around and do nothing. I leave it to you to judge which attack is more devastating. Austin fires back with an attack not so much designed to punish as it is to get the crowd chanting “What” in time with the punches, but UT clotheslines him to stop it. He goes for the turnbuckle, which Flair ignores completely, but Austin whips him into it. Wow, never seen that before, either. Double-clothesline, but Undertaker seems more annoyed than knocked out. Flair isn’t counting anyway. Austin slugs back, again giving the fans a chance to chant “What” rather than doing something useful like going after the leg or pointing a lockerroom disturbance and then stunning the distracted Undertaker, but alas Ric Flair, 16-time champion, gets bumped by a simple shoulderblock and Austin gets his KICK WHAM STUNNER with no referee present. In a world where Flair gets bumped by a shoulderblock, Austin shouldn’t be getting clean wins anyway. UT goes low and signals for the chokeslam (which might be seen as telegraphing the move by someone more cynical than myself), but it only gets two. I don’t know if Austin is guttier to kick out, or to participate in this boring match for 20 minutes without falling asleep. UT grabs a chair to no avail, but changes gears and gets a big boot for two. I’d stick with the chair next time. Austin gets a spinebuster for two. That’s like, so last week. I read that in Entertainment Weekly. Austin tells Undertaker to get up, but Flair is bumped again. Well, politeness might have helped his case somewhat and avoided that whole situation. Chairshot gets two for Undertaker. See, that’s what rudeness gets you. Austin reverses the dragon sleeper into a clothesline for two. He goes for his own, but UT escapes and goes for the chair again. Austin slugs him down again. I sense a limited offense from Austin tonight. Austin grabs the chair, but gets booted and pinned at 26:58. Austin’s foot was on the ropes, but dwelling further on the subject might prolong the match, so we’ll move on. That Austin he can’t work WWF style. * He gets his heat back after the match, however, as he spins his fists like Dusty Rhodes before punching UT and delivering KICK WHAM STUNNER. Oh, TAG. (You might be thinking “Oh, he just hates Undertaker, the match must be better than that.” It’s not. Undertaker was like the anti-Flair for a good chunk of 2002, dragging everyone down with him until the Angle stuff revived his in-ring career.)
– Meanwhile, Coach shows Flair the finish to the match. When Flair realizes that his boots were clashing with the rest of the outfits, he reacts by going “Oh, shit”.
– WWF tag title match: Billy & Chuck v. Al Snow & Maven.
Maven’s eyebrows v. Rico’s sideburns: Who wins in a shoot? (I wish that Rico had been the cop that arrested Maven a couple of weeks ago.) The champs attack to start but get foiled by the Tough Enough crew. Snow dons the headband as though to laugh at their gimmick. AL SNOW laughs at someone’s gimmick. Man, that’s a burn and a half. Maven gets dominated quickly, however, but comes back with a DDT on Billy. He just can’t make that tag, however. He gets an enzuigiri on Chuck, hot tag Al Snow. Well, the second part of that sentence is the first sign you’re in trouble. Snow gets clotheslined by Chuck, however, and Billy gets a neckbreaker for two. Oh, I see, this is one of those more complex tag matches with multiple twists and turns. Rico’s argument with the crowd about his sexual preference is far more interesting. Billy misses his charge and Chucks ends up headbutting him low in a wacky miscommunication spot. Hot tag Maven, but he uses the dropkick up too soon and walks into a Dumbasser. Snow saves, but Chuck junglekicks him. Rico messes up his interference as the intrigue gets my heart pounding at least an additional beat per minute, and Maven works his only other move, a flying bodypress, in for two. He tells Billy to get up, and we all know how well that worked for Austin. And indeed, Chuck superkicks him for the pin at 6:00. Note to aspiring champions: Always use manners when asking someone else to get into position for your finisher. ½* (And then don’t forget to shake hands in the dressing room before and after the match for good measure.)
– WWF World title: HHH v. Hulk Hogan.
(This was originally announced as HHH v. Undertaker on the post-WM RAW, and then Hogan got subbed in literally four days later on Smackdown because they were desperate to cash in on his resurgent popularity while it lasted. Turns out they just weren’t fast enough to catch that wave, even sticking him in the very next title match available less than a month removed from Wrestlemania.) They do the melodramatic lockup spot to start, which is apparently the only thing Hogan can do these days without requiring two weeks of prep-time for. It’s a stalemate. See my seat? 90% of it is unused because I’m ON THE EDGE OF IT, baby. Posedown follows. And since the lockup gravy train has been milked, we move to the test of strength. So is HHH playing Ultimate Warrior or Hulk Hogan? Things look bad for the champion, but the power of HGH prevails and Hogan is down to his knees! Well, maybe Hogan is playing Stephanie, then. (That was a much edgier joke when it wasn’t a well known fact that they were married.) Can Hogan overcome this early disadvantage and win the all-important knucklelock battle? No! HHH elbows out of it and goes into Wristlock Battle. I’ve seen better men than Hogan submit to HHH’s wristlock before. God knows Benoit wouldn’t have been on the shelf for half as long if it wasn’t for the devastating firepower of HHH’s overhead wristlock. Hogan goes to the headlock, thus bringing us on par with Austin-Undertaker. Hogan knocks HHH down and poses, thus reaffirming how strong he is. I’d say that knocking HHH down did a better job of that. And when did Hogan start wrestling like Lex Luger? HHH starts pounding on him, but Hogan has CRAZY OLD MAN POWER. (These days you can subtract the “POWER” from that statement.) Alas, the bandana gets knocked off, and Hogan’s bald spot does NOT prove to be a solar panel to provide energy. Hogan comes back with two clotheslines and punches away, taking me back to 1985 again. Not in a good way. Hogan puts his head down for too long and gets nailed by HHH, however, turning the tide again. Man, I shudder to think how devastating that much would have been had he hit it after leaving his head down for like 5 seconds. And if he did a sit-out version of whatever it was going to be? HHH would be dead right now. HHH charges and gets dumped, however, since by default he’s the only one capable of taking a bump. They do something that could laughably be referred to as brawling if you were in a particularly ironic mood, and HHH gets suplexed on the floor, again, because he’s the only one physically able to take a bump. More quote, brawling, unquote, and they head back in. HHH chops away and whips Hogan so hard into the turnbuckles that he himself falls down from the force of it. Pedigree is reversed to a catapult, and Hogan cradles for two. Is HHH just wrestling himself here or does Hogan’s presence actually serve a purpose? Hogan comes back with a corner clothesline and more 80s punches. Diamond Cutter gets two. Whoa, Terry brings the moveset. Just call him Hulk Benoit. (You know, given his eventual relationship with Linda…no, I won’t go there.) HHH escapes a deadly bodyslam and clips Hogan, as Hulk collapses to the mat in slow-motion. Again, and Hogan uses the ropes to gingerly guide himself to the mat. JR interprets the booing crowd as anti-HHH. HHH works on the knee, and you know it’s bad because Hogan says “Oh my god” to the camera in the acting voice that won him acclaim in such movies as “Mr. Nanny” and “Mr. Nanny 2: Still Nannying”. HHH works the leg as JR actually says with a straight face that he’s trying to neutralize the effectiveness of the big boot and legdrop with this strategy. So why can’t Hogan just use the OTHER leg? I mean, it’s not that complex a move. HHH stays on the leg, boring the crowd. JR notes that Hulkamania is a feeling, an emotion. So’s nausea. HHH goes to choking, which of course sets up the figure-four. This is like watching Dusty Rhodes taking the clawhold in Florida for 15 minutes. HHH redeems himself somewhat by using the ropes, but he’s fighting a losing battle. He’s also putting the move on the wrong leg, but that’s the least of the problems with this match. Hogan reverses, and can’t seem to remember which knee hurts when he gets up. HHH goes to the sleeper (see my point?) as Hogan again finds a way to lay around doing nothing for a couple of minutes while HHH does all the work. He fights out with a suplex, and almost gets HHH in the air! Keep at it, Hulk, we know you can do it someday. Hogan wins a slugfest and gets the Axe Bomber, and he’s back, brother. Big boot and legdrop, but the ref gets distracted by Jericho. Well, so much for HHH’s big strategy. Jericho chairs Hogan, but HHH is too virtuous to accept the win that way, so he instead chooses to beat up on Jericho. Must be that selective sportsmanship thing. Hulk, meanwhile, is hulking up and ignoring the knee injury. The legdrop misses, however, and the Pedigree follows. However, now Undertaker spoils the party by bumping the ref and brings in a chair to KO HHH with. Hogan doesn’t want it that way, either, but he too stops to beat on UT. Then he changes his mind and pins HHH anyway to win the title at 22:04. I take it back THAT’S selective sportsmanship. Hulkamania is alive! Well, so is communism in China and crotch rot, and no one’s real thrilled about them, either. HHH and Hogan have the big staredown, and HHH offers his hand in friendship, because even though it took two ref bumps, two people interfering, and a chair to beat him, BY GOD he got beat by the better man. Hell, without a belt to the head for a two-count, this was practically a clean win anyway. Of course, they might as well have skipped the entire opening 18 minutes and skipped right to the run-in parade, but if the WWF wants to waste their time giving Hogan 20 minutes per match, it’s their business. ½*
The Bottom Line: Well, strike while the iron is hot, I guess, and HHH’s big run as a babyface got over about as well as New Coke, so huzzah for senior citizens. (Of course, the disastrous Hogan title run was somehow even worse than HHH’s, showing that Hogan’s big return match snowed even Vince McMahon that time.) Rumored main event for next month: Hogan v. Undertaker v. HHH v. Jericho. One guess who does the job there after carrying the entire match. (Oh no, 2002 Scott, instead we got Hogan v. Undertaker AND HHH v. Jericho. Although Jericho still did the job, of course.)
Overall, the undercard carried the show well enough to be a thumbs in the middle, but this reeked of WCW meaningless undercard salvaging a total disaster in the main events. Besides, Hogan’s good for comic relief, if nothing else.
Tonight begins the LONG process of importing the posts from WordPress over to Blogger, and it’s a huge pain in the ass and kind of buggy. So there will be two things you will notice:
1) There will be some multiple posts of older stuff. Nothing I can do about it.
2) Comments from the old blog are gone. Sorry, but I have to convert everything in very small chunks, and the easiest way to cut down the size of the file transfers is to delete all the comments. I still have the permanent backup for posterity on my hard drive and I’ll transfer them over again via Disqus someday, but for now they’re gone.
3) All the tags from the old blog are also gone. See point #2.
4) It’s just going to be my stuff moved over, not the other authors. Nothing against them, but again, I can literally only convert 1 MB of posts at a time and every bit of space counts.
At any rate, I’m currently working backwards and have March 2012 – October 2011 transferred over. I’ve added a handy search box to the sidebar so you can look up the 2012 Scott sez rants and such if you’d like now.
Sorry this one is a little behind, folks. It’s been a busy weekend for yr. humble scrivener. Friday I was in Watertown, NY for Night One of Squared Circle Wrestling’s Living On The Edge. 2CW is the hottest indie in the Upstate NY area and, for that matter, a lot of the northeast. They regularly feature top-level indie talent from ROH, CHIKARA, and others, as well as having regular visits from WWE legends and other free agents. Couple that with an impressive local roster, and a 2CW show is always a good time. So, join me for a recap of both that show, featuring some big ROH names, and of course, (last weekend’s) ROH TV, where we see the final 4-way in the March Mayhem tournament between Jay Lethal, Tommaso Ciampa, Mike Bennett, and Adam Cole.
I’m gonna go a little quick and dirty on ROH this week, because there really isn’t too much to say. This one was from the very tail end of the taping schedule and it’s from before the last iPPV, so a lot of it is no longer relevant.
–We opened with The Young Bucks vs. TJ Perkins and Shiloh Jonze. Not much to go on with this one. TJ is ready to break out in ROH but as of now they don’t really have a direction for him. Jonze has been used as a jobber before in ROH and hasn’t really showed much of anything as far as being a worker. Usually Bucks matches tend to fall into tornado tag formula, with everyone in the ring at the same time, which works well for their double teams. This one was a more standard tag formula match, and it worked well that way. The Bucks got to use their stick & move high flying to beat down Jonze, and TJ got to come clean house off the hot tags and show his own high flying offense. The end had both babyfaces incapacitated with superkicks and Jonze falling victim to More Bang for Your Buck for the loss. Not bad at all, but TJ deserves better than meaningless jobs in tag teams. Possibly, once things work out with Amazing Red and ROH, those two can keep going on as a team.
–Following up from a while ago, Mike Mondo vs. Matt Taven was next. Why is a question I have no answer for. Mondo doesn’t really interact much with the rest of the ROH roster, and his style is drastically different than most. What little I’ve seen of Taven on YouTube hasn’t impressed me greatly (his big claim to fame is having a really good arm drag). I just don’t get the continued need to have these guys fill TV time, especially when nothing they do effects anything else on the roster. Mondo is positioned as the star here, but his WWE-trained style is going to clash with the rest of the roster if he ever starts to mingle with them. So I just don’t see the point in keeping him around, especially since his character is so derivative of Crash Holly. Not much of note happened here, with Mondo playing some kind of mind games with Taven regarding his boot, and Mondo capitalized and finished off with his double-arm DDT.
–Inside ROH was comprised this week of a press conference for the Toronto event in May, Border Wars. (Incidentally, reports are that ROH is no longer going to be working with GoFight Live, so I’m not sure what their iPPV status is at this point. After the massive technical problems that turned so many people off of Showdown in the Sun, this is the best course of action for ROH if they don’t want to risk losing fans because of something that was someone else’s problem). Davey Richards and Jim Cornette addressed the event with some general platitudes, and then of course Kevin Steen interrupted. Steen made a challenge to Davey, which Davey was hot to accept, but of course Cornette objected. Finally, Richards had to play hardball: either give him a match with Steen or he takes the ROH title and leaves for Japan. Kind of an interesting choice for Davey’s character to put Cornette in a position where he could risk screwing ROH either way. I see this as another clear sign that Davey is working toward a big heel turn. So Cornette relents, and we have what I imagine will just be the first of many matches this year between Davey Richards and Kevin Steen.
–The main event is the Final 4-Way in the March Mayhem tournament, Jay Lethal vs. Mike Bennett vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Adam Cole. The winner of this one wins $24,000 as was put up by each of the 8 tournament competitors. The main issue here is between Lethal and Ciampa, as this was taped before Lethal lost the TV title to Roderick Strong. Lethal starts off by tearing into Ciampa, and before long Ciampa tags out to Mike Bennett and attempts to stay on the apron for as much of the match as possible. Lethal looked great here, as a fired up Jay Lethal is an exciting Jay Lethal. A lot people can’t work as well at a faster pace but Lethal seems more comfortable there. Adam Cole gets incapacitated during a commercial break by a spinebuster to the ring apron by Bennett, making him the underdog for the rest of the match. After Ciampa took over on Lethal, Bennett tagged himself in, leading to heel miscommunication between the two. Lethal scored the pin on Bennett with Lethal Injection to eliminate, but then immediately got eliminated himself by Ciampa’s knockout knee strike. Adam Cole works really well from the beaten up, underdog position. He’s good at pulling out “desperation” moves, and he does well to inspire crowd sympathy. One cool spot saw Ciampa hitting the repeated knee strikes to the corner, only to have Cole cut it off with a strong superkick. Cole got a near-win with a rear naked choke, in one of the only times I can remember a heel doing the “arm drops twice and stops before three” gimmick. In the finish, Lethal attempted to run back in and take out Ciampa, and Ciampa used the distraction to crotch Cole on the ropes (which didn’t really make sense, since Ciampa is the one who should’ve been distracted, but it does work in terms of Ciampa’s crazy-intense character). Ciampa then finished with a particularly sick looking Project Ciampa, leaving Cole folded in half for the pin and the 24 Gs. Everyone was on their top game here and the fast paced action was really fun. Cole showed a really adept talent for playing Ricky Morton, while Lethal showed that breakneck speeds suit him well. Ciampa showed, as always, that’s he’s fucking bank.
–In all, it wasn’t an utterly skippable ROH TV, because the opening tag was decent and the main even was really enjoyable, plus the press conference set the main storyline for the company further into motion. But, it was still kind of a lame-duck show, since not a lot of the storylines really carry over to what’s going on now. Either way, don’t take my word for it: go to ROHwrestling.com and check it out for yourself.
As for the 2CW show, it was one of the biggest shows they run all year. While they were at the Fairgrounds in Watertown, rather than their usual location in the smaller, auxiliary YMCA arena, they were in the larger main arena, with several bleacher seat sections. All told they filled all their reserved front row seating and the large bleacher sections. At one point they said they had over 800 people in attendance, a really solid crowd for them. A few highlights:
–The main draw was Sgt. Slaughter, who came out to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance before being cut off by The Insurgency. I believe that kind of thing is what go Finlay fired from WWE, right? I haven’t seen The Insurgency before, and I think they might be guys that travel around with Sarge just for indie shows. Their manager is a chubby guy named Bin Hamid (? ..maybe?), and the other two guys names were unclear. One of them looked a lot like one of the Maximos from former ROH/TNA tag team The SATs. Sarge was joined in the ring by a Marine that jumped the rail, as though he was a fan making a run-in. I never caught his name but the 2CW Facebook page says he’s Jason Wayne. They set up the main event for later, with Sarge & Wayne against the two Insurgency guys. Not much went on there, although Sarge did get in there and brawl a little bit. In the end he locked on the Cobra Clutch and the manager came in for the interference with the Iranian flag for the DQ. Sarge took him out with the Cobra Clutch and led a big USA chant to close the show. The idea with Sarge was to appeal to all the Army guys in Watertown that are stationed at Fort Drum, who got in with free admission. I didn’t see anyone that I noticed in uniform though, although many may have been there in street clothes. I’m pretty sure Drum had a big field drill this weekend, so maybe they would have had an even bigger turnout if not.
–After a match won by local talent Matt Milan, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash hit, and Brodie Lee made a surprise appearance through the crowd to take him out. This drew out Kevin Steen, who was advertised for the 2CW title match in a 3-way with champ Jay Freddie and SWB. Steen made some jokes about Brodie having recently signed to WWE developmental, and made note that he’s never wrestled Brodie and may never get to, leading to Brodie getting added to the title match. The match was a fun brawl, with mostly outside brawling. At one point the much smaller Freddie locked Brodie in a Sharpshooter and Steen responded by locking SWB (better known as Slyck Wagner Brown, but I guess he’s simplifying these days) in his own Sharpshooter, face to face with Freddie, and then spitting on him. After Freddie and Steen were both eliminated in short order, Brodie scored the win over SWB to claim the 2CW title. I’m not sure what the outcome of that will be, regarding when Brodie goes to FCW. Steen cut a promo on Brodie afterward, thanking him for appearing, and then kicking him in the nuts and heeling out on the 2CW fans for not having him back after his first appearance years ago. Steen then left out the back arena doors with the 2CW belt.
–The Briscoes were also in attendance, as they wrestled The Olsen Twins, Jimmy and Colin (aka Colin Delaney, formerly of WWE). It was very cool seeing the Briscoes up close and personal, and they had a lot of fun with some comedy spots with the Olsens, involving the Briscoes’ beer supply and the Olsens’ Four Lokos. After taking over with some Hillbilly Kung Fu from Mark, Jay hit Jimmy with a chokeslam, of all things, and Mark hit a frog splash for the win. Briscoes let the fans know afterward that they will be back to Watertown (and, as I type this, word is breaking that the Briscoes have defeated First Class for the 2CW Tag Titles in Rome tonight, so I’m sure they’ve got more appearances in store). Afterward Jimmy Olsen turned on his partner Colin, leaving him laying in the ring and spitting on the crowd to massive boos.
–As for the regular 2CW talent, the big news was the bloody hardcore match between “Juggernaut” Jason Axe and Isys Ephex. After a quick wrestling sequence, they set to taking each other apart with chairs, a barbed wire baseball bat, and a broken beer bottle. Axe had a small trickle of blood at first but, after gouging Ephex with the bottle, Ephex did about a 1.4 Muta. He has bleach blonde hair, and it was stained completely red, and even from the back bleachers, you could see the blood pumping out of the cut. After the match in the bathroom, a number of people were complaining about having been bled on in the front row. Thumbtacks also got involved, and Ephex gave Axe a really sick and dangerous looking curb-stomp into them. The end saw Ephex get driven through a ladder propped up between the apron and the guard rail for Axe to take the win. Check out 2CW’s Facebook page for a picture of Ephex’s bladejob, it was truly sick. From where I was sitting in the bleachers I could see the open backstage area, and Steen and the Briscoes were all milling about. After Ephex started bleeding, they all watched the match intently, and you could tell they were impressed with the juice.
–Other matches saw Loca Vida pin Muscle Marcos in a fun opener, The DOS defeat First Class in a tables match that led to a retirement match being booked between Zaquary Springate and I.B. Green, and Matt Milan beating the large trio of Pete D. Order, The Beast, and Superbad. All exciting matches featuring talent that is ready to break out on the indie scene.
All in all it was a very fun show, and I highly recommend anyone that is in the Upstate NY area to check out a 2CW show. It’s a great crowd and the wrestlers are all extremely dedicated to their craft. As another plus, I got to meet Steen briefly, and wished him well in his upcoming match with Davey. I met the Briscoes during the beginning of the Milan/Order, Beast, and Superbad match, and Mark was dancing up a storm to “Bad Boys” while the heels entered the ring. Very cool to meet some of my favorites from the ROH roster. Unrelated to 2CW, this morning I went to an autograph session in my town with Jay Lethal. It wasn’t, unfortunately, too heavily attended, so I got to hang out for about an hour and just shoot the shit with Jay and some local wrestling fans. He had some cool stories about Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Jim Neidhart, and about the tiny plane he flew up here in. Jay’s a very cool guy and it was a lot of fun to just sit and hear some of his stories. So all in all, it was a great wrestling weekend for me. But don’t take my word for it, go to a 2CW show and check it out for yourself.
I’m sure all of you at some point have thought about who the best wrestler ever is. Well on WrestleZone Forums, every year we try to figure out who he is. We take 128 of the greatest wrestlers of all time from around the world and rank then like the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Over the next 6 weeks, we’ll narrow down the field is down to one. This is the biggest event of the forums and I’m personally running the tournament for the third straight year. We hope you’ll join us for a very fun event and some excellent discussion.
Here’s a link to the main tournament section of the forums:
And the brackets:
Please keep in mind that in order to vote in a poll, we require you to have ten non-spam posts. This is done to prevent people from flooding the polls in someone’s favor unfairly.
The first set of matches goes up on Monday afternoon.
If you have any questions feel free to ask me here.
Any thoughts on the worst matches we never saw, but could have? I was thinking along the lines of winter 1998, when Warrior debuted in WCW and Goldberg was champ. Would Goldberg vs. Warrior at 'Starrcade' 1998 have been the worst 'big match' ever?
The Hogan v. Yokozuna match in WCW that Hulk was pushing for in 98, when Yoko was 800 pounds and could hardly move, would have been right up there. Warrior v. Nash would have been something to see as well. Can you imagine them asking Nash to go out and sell for Warrior?
…the return of Brock Lesnar doesn't work out like the company had planned? Hear me out…
1.) When Brock came back the night after WM, on the stage he seemed a little uncoordinated just on bouncing before he walked to the ring. You and I both know that when it goes for MMA fighters, it goes in a hurry. My point is what if Brock is shot from his time in MMA and really can't bring it in the ring like he used to. While I'm not gonna say he's in Scott Steiner territory, worst case scenario – what if he just can't even work a decent scripted match over the next year…
2.) I'm not buying the legitimacy angle or talking point. Hardcore MMA fans couldn't stand Brock when he came to UFC b/c of the stigma of his time as a WWE wrestler. They aren't gonna follow him back to the very outlet that they loathe. The very week after WM, the Raw rating was DOWN w/ no competition from the NCAA National Championship and kids weren't out of school on Spring Break. My point – the people that hate Brock aren't gonna tune in to watch him in the WWE and that doesn't help w/ casual fans either b/c there's no real sizzle.
These are just my thoughts and I hope it all made sense. Anyhoos, we'll see where things go from here. And another thing, w/ all the shit that Cena spouted off about the Rock for leaving the WWE high and dry, what the hell is he gonna say about Lesnar? If he says anything at all?
The SmarK Rant for WWF Backlash 2K1 (2012 Scott sez: In addition to the change from “Netcop Rant” to “SK Rant” and finally to “SmarK Rant” with this very rant in 2001, I was also doing the pretentious “2K1” year designation, possibly because I was playing a lot of NHL 2K1 on Dreamcast at that point. Sadly, 2K1 failed to gain universal acceptance and I dropped it a couple of PPVs later.) Kinda ironic that the WWF is suffering from it’s own backlash, namely from the online fans who are getting increasingly pissed off with their short-sighted booking, empty promises and unfulfilled potential. (Sound familiar?) Of course, much like WCW when the same thing happened to them, their solution to the problem has been becoming a reliance on having their shills tell off the hardcore fans because they’re just “smarks” who don’t know how to run a promotion, and that the “real” fans are still responding to the stale main events and nonsensical storylines. (Sound familiar?) But no matter how much you try to sugar-coat the bile with excuses, Smackdown still did a 3.1 rating last Thursday and the interest for this PPV seems non-existent compared to even Royal Rumble, let alone Wrestlemania. (Vince McMahon would dance a jig in the streets if Smackdown did a 3.1 these days.) And isn’t it funny how much of a non-factor Austin, the World champion mind you, has become since allying with HHH? After chasing the World title for a year, now he wins it and becomes a coffee-fetching flunky for a guy who tried to kill him less than six months before. (Yeah, that was absolutely an issue and one of the reasons why the heel turn was such a flop.) One thing’s for sure: No matter how things shakedown in the next few months, you can bet HHH will end up on top. That’s not a criticism, by the way, just an observation. (Indeed, that proved to be absolutely true.) By the way, for those who keep asking, my website has moved from Rantsylvania.com to TheSmarks.com. There’s a long story about why you now see an article on rape at the old address, but much of it is probably tied up in Sean Shannon’s various mental problems. (That was quite the interesting day, as I woke up and discovered that I could no longer access my own website due to my webmaster having what can only be described as some sort of psychotic episode. And no, I do not know whatever happened to Sean Shannon, aside from him getting a sex change and apparently doing quite well for herself.) Live from Chi-Town. Your hosts are Paul E & JR. Opening match: X-Factor v. The Dudley Boyz. (Was there a theme song that got people less pumped up than X-Factor’s? As a wrestling theme it was terrible and it also signalled that you’d have to watch X-Factor, so it was a double whammy of suck.) Big brawl to start. The Dudz suplex Albert and Spike comes off the top with an ugly cannonball move, then he gets tossed over the top onto Justin & X-Pac. Back in, he gets a crucifix on Justin for two, and a rollup for two. Albert comes in and blocks the Acid Drop, and Spike takes a beating. Justin charges and posts himself, allowing the hot tag to D-Von. He nails X-Pac, but a cheapshot makes him brother-in-peril. The Glimmer Twins post him and and Albert gets some shots in. X-Pac’s lightning legdrop gets two and he hits the chinlock. Spinkick sets up some choking, and Justin gets a Bossman slam. Albert’s underhook slam gets two. D-Von gets the double-clothesline, hot tag Buh Buh. Bubba Bomb for Justin, sideslam for X-Pac. Justin takes Wazzup, but Buh Buh misses a blind charge and takes the superclique for the pin at 8:00. Perfectly Accectable Wrestling. **1/2 The bookers then annoy the shit out of me by having the Dudleyz IMMEDIATELY get their heat back by putting X-Pac through a table. Good lord, this promotion is on cruise control. Hardcore title: Rhyno v. Raven. Rhyno charges and runs into a stop sign for two. Trashcan to the head gets two, but Rhyno shoulderblocks Raven and uses a can for nefarious purposes. Raven hits the floor and gets covered for two. Rhyno sets up the stairs at ringside and tries a daring dive off them, but misses and smashes into a chair. Raven steals his idea and leaps off them with a lariat for two. Back in, Raven punches Rhyno to the floor and tosses more plunder in. Rhyno posts him, and uses the “Keep Off” SIGN OF DEATH for two. Again with that, it gets two. Back in, Rhyno hits him in the head with a shopping cart, but gets drop-toeholded into it. Ouch. Roadsign gives Raven a comeback and he gets the bulldog for two. Rhyno charges with the shopping cart, but Raven knocks him off, dropping the cart on him in the process. Raven runs him down with the cart, but walks into a sign for two. Rhyno preps the Gore, but misses and crashes into the shopping cart, trapping himself. That’s a brilliant spot. Raven pounds on him with a sink and gets two. Crowd was TOTALLY buying that near-fall. Rhyno pops up and gores him for the pin at 8:11. Really terrific hardcore match as the WWF continues to at least do a great job bringing Rhyno along. ***1/2 (I find it interesting that they just kind of gave up on Rhyno the way they did, given he was getting good reactions and had the kind of look and explosive offense that they usually dig.) Duchess of Queensbury match: Chris Jericho v. William Regal. I think we all feared an outbreak of Russocity here. Regal actually brings the “Duchess” with him, who looks like Hank Azaria in drag, guaranteeing HOURS OF HILARITY for all. Jericho goes for the arm and gets some CANADIAN VIOLENCE. He goes up with a flying forearm and a dropkick sends Regal to the floor. They brawl for a bit, and back in as Jericho misses a dropkick badly. Regal gets two off a suplex. He spreads some goodwill and hits the chinlock. He goes up but gets dropkicked and rana’d. More Canadian Violence and a forearm set up the Lionsault, but the “first round” has expired, according to the Duchess, so the match continues. Everyone who CAN’T predict the finish from 8 miles away please leave the room now. Regal rolls him up for two. Jericho goes up, but gets caught, catapulted and suplexed onto his head. Nasty. Regal Stretch, but Jericho makes the ropes. Jericho gets the Walls of Doink, but of course now submissions don’t count. Note to future WWF writers: If you don’t have any GOOD ideas for a cutesy match, just DO A MATCH. Jericho goes after the Duchess but gets nailed with a scepter by Regal. Now it’s no-DQ, and the crowd just totally tunes out as they all see where this is going, too. The near-fall on Jericho back in hardly even gets a reaction. Regal gets a back elbow and a suplex for two. Jericho hits an enzuigiri and comes back to stomp a mudhole. Regal bails and lands in the Duchess’ lap (OH THE HILARITY! STOP MY SIDES FROM SPLITTING!), but Jericho tosses her into the ring, puts the Walls on her LIKE A MORON, thus leaving himself completely open to a chairshot for the pin at 12:34. Way too long to build to an obvious and totally unwanted Russo finish. ** Jericho’s character is just dying before our eyes, and they either need to get him up into the main event or find something new and different for him to do besides being the smart-ass Canadian who ends up back where he started. (He just kind of floundered in that position until they were suddenly like “Oh, let’s put both World titles on him and then have him headline Wrestlemania as Stephanie’s dog-walker” and wondered why he didn’t get more over in that position.) With X-Pac, Kane, Benoit and Regal it’s always win one, lose one, win one, lose one. (Much like the entirety of the promotion today.) Oddly enough, with HHH it was lose one, lose one, lose one. How about that. (At least he’d get one back soon enough.) 30-minute Ultimate Submission match: Chris Benoit v. Kurt Angle. Lockup series to start, and they do a sweet mat-wrestling clinic. Angle goes for the ankle early, Benoit makes the ropes. Back to the mat, Angle makes the ropes and bails. Back in, Benoit controls the mat again. He goes for the Crossface, Angle makes the ropes and bails. Back in, Benoit grabs a waistlock and they fall to the floor where Benoit locks on the Crossface to no avail. Angle stalls. Back in, Angle grabs a legbar and gets the first fall at the 22:54 mark. Benoit with some CANADIAN VIOLENCE, but Angle works the knee with a pair of clips. He walks into a cross armbreaker, however, to even it up at 21:55. Benoit pounds him in the corner and goes to the armbar again, but Angle makes the ropes. Benoit gets a shoulderbreaker and more CV to the shoulder, so Angle grabs a chair and clocks Benoit. Anglelock puts him up 2-1 at 19:38. Benoit is still out, so Angle puts him in a Crossface to go 3-1 at 18:18. Backdrop suplex and Angle stomps Benoit to the floor and they brawl. Back in, Benoit backdrops him out and posts him. Angle sends him to the stairs, however, and Anglelocks him on the floor. Into the ring, Benoit blocks an armbar and makes the ropes. Angle grabs an abdominal stretch, reversed by Benoit. Angle makes the ropes, but Benoit snaps on a Sharpshooter, drawing a huge pop from the crowd. The WWF should take note and build that up as a finish for Benoit. (They did in fact.) Half-crab with a knee to the face is enough for a submission to make it 3-2 at 11:55. Angle runs away, Benoit chases. Angle runs again, Benoit chases again. Again, and Benoit gets caught coming in. Slugfest and Angle tosses Benoit. Back in, Angle suplex and Benoit hits the ropes to prevent anything. Good psychology there. Blind charge misses, but Angle goes for the ankle again. To the floor, Angle suplexes him. Back in, Benoit tries his own anklelock, but Angle makes the ropes. Dropkick misses and Angle stretches him with a choke. Benoit breaks but gets clotheslined. Overhead belly to belly, twice, by Angle. Benoit comes back with the rolling germans and counters the anklelock into one of his own to tie it at 2:07. Benoit goes after the knee, viciously clipping him. Back to the germans, but Angle goes low and grabs the anklelock until time expires at 30:00. The match, of course, continues into OT. If Angle was from Dallas, Benoit would be in REAL trouble. (Hockey reference there.) Angle gets a Steiner-ish belly to belly, but Benoit takes him down and they tustle. Benoit struggles into the Crossface and gets the win at 1:33 of overtime. Really really solid psychology and intensity, but a lot of the stuff just didn’t seem to go anywhere and the fast submissions really hurt the believability of it for me. ***3/4 (Seems like they were kind of overdoing the submission match conceit with this gimmick. Like, a submission match would have been fine without the need to cram a bunch of them into 30 minutes.) Shane McMahon v. The Big Show. (I don’t have the foggiest recollection of how we got to this particular feud after Wrestlemania.) Shane grabs a kendo stick and canes Show into dog chow to start, drawing a “Shane O Mac” chant. Show clotheslines him and back in we go. Shane uses a chair to put him down, then gets an ETHER-SOAKED RAG?!? Didn’t Paul Bearer retire that gimmick in 1999? Holy 60s flashback, Batman! Show goes down, but Vince runs in and chairs his boy. Show comes back with a sideslam and bumps Shane around, then hits the Final Cut (of Meat). Chokeslam, Show picks him up. Test runs in and brawls with Show to the entrance, and Shane climbs the scaffolding. Test puts Show on the VERY conveniently placed black staging area, and Shane comes off from 239 feet in the air or whatever they’re claiming this PPV and gets the win at 11:55. Why would you even waste the stuntman bump on a Big Show match that was already flirting with negative stars? *1/4 European title: Matt Hardy v. Christian v. Eddy Guerrero. Well, we’ve got these guys, and we have no clue what to do with them, but they have good matches, so here you are. Welcome to the monopoly. (Going strong for 11 years and counting!) Heels beat on Matt and toss him, but Christian turns on Eddy. Powerslam gets two. Eddy gets a rana and they head up, but Matt shoves Eddy off and rolls him up for two. Christian nails Matt, but Eddy suplexes him. Everyone out. Matt sunset flips Eddy for two, and Eddy bails. Matt lariats Christian for two, but Eddy pulls Matt out. Christian follows and gets DDT’d by Matt. JR notes how nice it is that Edge & Jeff aren’t hanging around at ringside and that’s it man on man on man. Eddy suplexes Matt in, and then brainbusters him for two. Matt backdrops him and goes upstairs, but Eddy blocks with a rana attempt, which is stopped by Christian. Matt suplexes Christian onto Eddy and clotheslines them both. Yodelling legdrop on Eddy gets two, and Christian brawls with Matt outside, allowing Edge to run in and spear Matt on the floor. Oh, lord. Eddy covers Matt for two. Jeff then joins us and attacks Edge as Christian gets the Unprettier on Eddy, but Jeff comes in and swantons him, leading to the Twist of Fate for the pin to retain at 6:37. Way too short given all the interference allotted. This would be a good RAW match…but it’s a PPV, ya know? **1/2 In fact, I could make that comment about a lot of this stuff tonight. (Yeah, I don’t remember one minute of this PPV this far.) WWF World title, Intercontinental title, Tag team title match: Undertaker & Kane v. Steve Austin & HHH. (Cast in point, the main event, which I again didn’t even remember. If you had held a gun to my head before re-reading this rant, I could not have told you what the main event for this show was.) Heels bail right away and the Long Stall begins. UT beats on Austin in the ring, then Kane beats on HHH. Austin gets the same. HHH Uses the Knee on Kane and goes after the arm, but gets clotheslined. Austin comes in and runs like UT like a chickenshit. The Austin character gets weaker by the week. Taker stomps him and whips him hither and thither for a bit, and Kane comes in to continue. Austin nails the arm and tags HHH, who walks into a big UT right. Ropewalk on both heels and both bail. Back in, a HHH cheapshot puts UT down and they double-team. They beat on him on the floor and Austin hits a kneedrop back in the ring. More beating in the corner. DDT on HHH turns the tide, and Kane almost gets a tag, but not quite. Thesz Press for UT and FU elbow, but he no-sells and hits a double-clothesline on the heels. Hot tag Kane. Sideslam for Austin and Kane goes up with a lariat and slams HHH off the top. They nails the arm, but Kane fights them off. Austin finally gets the arm and they work on it, for TEN MINUTES. Seriously, that’s all it is. Austin comes off the top what feels like a year later and hits boot, and Kane breaks a sleeper with a suplex. HHH gets the Pedigree, but Austin wants the cover and gets one. Taker chokeslams him, and Kane gets two. Kanezuigiri for HHH, hot tag UT, but the ref misses it. UT cleans house and Wedgiebombs HHH, but HE’S NOT LEGAL. Of course, it’ll go uncalled the other 99/100 times it happens, but such is life. Stunner for Kane, and Austin goes brawling with UT and is basically forgotten. Vince runs in, gives HHH his trusty sledgehammer, and that finishes Kane at 25:02 to give HHH & Austin the tag titles. Like anyone cares. **1/2 I know it’s a main event and all, but 30 minutes (with stalling at the beginning) is just INSANELY long for what these guys are limited to right now. Notice how HHH gets the winning pin on Kane, a finish that pretty much everyone called, once again proving HHH is indeed the most intelligent person in our so-called sport. The match would have been higher on the spectrum of the good end if they didn’t have that immensely boring middle portion and if Austin wasn’t Budro to HHH’s Bill. (Case in point about Austin, as they neutered him for the heel turn and built up HHH as the alpha dog, and then were stuck with cowardly heel Austin on top when HHH got injured.) The Bottom Line: The show lacked anything really bad, and the good was good enough for a VERY mild thumbs up, but does the world REALLY clamour for Austin v. Undertaker part 18 next month, or that show-stealing HHH v. Kane match? (This show and whatever the May show was called both did pretty putrid buyrates, a trend for WWE that continues to this day.) Can the WWF at least throw me a bone and have the Canadian Chris Connection win the tag belts from Austin & HHH in a somewhat non-screwy fashion tomorrow night? (Well, a month after this, yes.) Will Rick’s thumb be firmly in the middle for this show again? (I find it astonishing that the months after they BOUGHT WCW would be so ungodly dull and boring. You’d think that this would have been the most exciting time to be a wrestling fan ever, but it just went wrong in so many ways and killed the boom period once and for all.) Stay tuned for all the answers, same smark time, same smark channel!
The shark-jumping moment for me was definitely Brian eating the poppy diaper in the bank vault. The switch to HD momentarily renewed the show, but it's been incredibly hit-or-miss since then and I've been kind of letting them pile up on the DVR for a while now. The Brian & Stewie time travel episode was pretty great, but as noted otherwise it's been a parade of gross-out jokes as of late. I'm not losing sleep over missing it, I've got all the seasons on DVD and it's available on Netflix and all over syndication anyway.
Was hoping you could plug the interview we recently did with Gary
Michael Cappetta…thanks so much!
Wrestling fans, in the latest Place to Be Podcast, Scott, Justin &
Graham Cawthon interview the legendary ring announcer Gary Michael
Cappetta. GMC delivers an in depth chat, navigating through his time
with WWF, AWA, JCP, WCW and ROH, including great stories about his
early days in the business, the night Mick Foley lost his ear, his
relationship with Vince McMahon, his final days working for Eric
Bischoff and how he hooked up with Ring of Honor, plus much, much
This is a must listen for all old school wrestling fans, so kick back
and enjoy this trip through time with GMC!