QOTD #33: Feeling old

Off Topic Wednesday!
Today’s Question:
What makes you feel old?
We’ll look at your answers on this tomorrow. In the
meantime, start the discussion right away by scrolling to the bottom.
Otherwise, stick around for yesterday’s SummerSlam discussion.

I had asked you about your favorite SummerSlam match of all
time. There were plenty to choose from, and while this crowd definitely
gravitates towards the modern era, we did get a lot of different flavors. Let’s
see what you said…
Milktruck: It might not be the best match, but HBK/HHH
told the best story with the best announcing. People crapped on it because it
was at the peak of the HHH overkill, but it’s pro wrestling at its best. Watch
the crowd lose its shit when HBK wins and how he kisses the referee’s head. Jim
Ross saying it was the most amazing performance he had ever seen in his XX
years of wrestling. Just perfect.
I was a full on “mark” the night this match happened. I
remember so clearly how hard the WWE tried to downplay expectations. They kept
focusing on Shawn’s bad back, and that this would be a one-time only spectacle.
Then it was changed to a street fight, and it looked clear they’d be relying on
props and gimmicks to get them through. Then the magic happened. I was sure
that after a 4 year layoff, Shawn’s back had to be a mess to keep him out of
the ring that long. Triple H just worked it over for 20 minutes, and I cringed
every time he added just a little more. This match also ended the string of
unwatchable Triple H pay-per-view disasters, and reminded us that Shawn
Michaels was the absolute best at what he did.
TheConvictor: Honky Tonk Man vs. The Ultimate Warrior.
Words cannot describe how much I hated the Honky Tonk Man as a kid. Actually,
there are words: I despised that fat, no-talent Elvis impersonator who stole
Ricky Steamboat’s title, shoved Ms. Elizabeth to the ground, and couldn’t beat
anyone without help from Jimmy Hart or the Hart Foundation. Watching Warrior
squash HTM like a bug after answering his open challenge (and seeing HTM’s
false bravado turn into panic once Warrior’s music hit) was a glorious
experience. I still watch the match at least once a year and smile every time
Warrior hits the big splash.
My best friend grew up a huge Warrior fan. This occurred
before I started watching, so when he was trying to get me into it, this was
the first thing he ever showed me. I didn’t quite understand why it was such a
big deal until I got the HTM backstory; but this is exactly how any sneaky
piece of crap heel deserves to have their reign come to an end. Starrcade 1997
should have taken a page out of this book.
DJ Sprite: I’m probably in the extreme minority on this
one, but Orton-Benoit from the 2004 Rumble. Orton’s heel run with Evolution was
perfectly done, giving him the support from the crowd to be a believable
champion. A solid match, with an RKO out of no where to really sell the move as
that much of a game changer. Shame that title reign fell so flat after.
I was at SummerSlam 2004 live, and while I definitely
recommend the crowd to anyone, I don’t have as much to say about the show. I am
happy to see that someone got something out of that main event, it always came
across as flat to me.
Darren: My favorite….I’m gonna go with a different
approach: 2001 – Angle v. Austin. Austin was injured, and they had botched the
Invasion, so I wasnt expecting much. Instead we got a classic bloodbath, an
awesome comeback with Angle, and the absolute greatest screwjob ending I’ve
ever seen. Nick Patrick basically going nah…..you’re DQ-ed had me cracking UP
laughing…and it fit with the storyline. Maybe Bret-Perfect or Bret-DBS was
better. Maybe you liked one of the ladder matches, but this was probably my
favorite.
It is rare that a screwjob ending is accepted as the correct
finish, but truthfully, the DQ was their only way out here. Steve Austin needed
to continue carrying that title just a little bit longer. He was the hottest
act in the company as the hated Alliance leader. But Kurt Angle had also found
his mojo, and was finally, after 2 years, being given the crowd support he
never had during his initial title run. He was now a legitimate force, and
losing was completely unacceptable. With neither guy in a position to do the
deed, since it would have deflated the entire angle, their only option was this
one. If you ever want to watch a match where someone becomes a made-man in one
night, check this out as Angle kicks out of Stunner after Stunner, and the
audience buzz becomes uncontrollable when they realize Austin might be on the
verge of losing everything.
Denny Hart: Mr Perfect vs Bret at summerslam 91 is my
favorite match of all time. Watched it like 25 times as a little kid on the
tape from my local video store. Perfect made Hart a mega star in that match.
Funny how now the ic title is a joke.
This match is awesome; it really showed that Bret was ready
to be a player in the singles ranks, and didn’t need brother-in-law Jimbo to
watch his back. He could more than carry his own, and was rewarded justly with
the faith of WWE brass.
redman: Im gonna go with rock vs brock lesnar 2002.
The whole show was awesome. At the time I didn’t think they built lesnar up
well enough to beat the rock but the hot crowd that night said different. It
was a hot crowd, nonstop action, and although rock broke the sharpshooter in
the match cuz heyman was distracting the ref, it was still pretty much a
straight up clean battle with the new monster overthrowing the rock. The match
starts with rock trying to repeatedly punch lesnar but after a couple, lesnar
just grabs rock and over head suplexes his ass. That was the story of the whole
match was rocks electrifying intensity not being good enough to beat the
stronger bigger meaner younger guy. The main reason its my favorite though is
cuz its one of the few matches I can still watch today and enjoy the WHOLE
match just like when it was live
It’s unbelievable that 12 years have already passed since
this one happened, because Brock looks as good today as he did then. The
vignettes building this one up were strong. Rock laid off the comedy, and
instead we got all sorts of shots of him going back to his football training.
Why? Because he knew he was walking into the ring with the greatest genetic
freak wrestling has ever seen, and he’d damn well be ready. And despite all
that … the crowd shits all over him and wants to see Lesnar leave him for dead.
That’s the power of Brock Lesnar. No matter how big a monster he is, the fact
that it comes from his raw talent leaves us needing to see more of it. There’s
no games, no jokes, just raw destruction. And that’s why he works. Rock couldn’t
have put him over any stronger.
Knuckleberry Pinn:
Cena / Batista 2008. Another match where
I honestly had no idea who was going over (compared to the other 3 major
matches on the card, which were great but very predictable in their outcomes).
If I’m not mistaken, this match was only like thirteen minutes long, but it
WORKED in this situation in that both wrestlers were all: “fuck this let’s
throw our biggest power moves at each other and may the best man win.”
Recent fans probably could not begin to understand it; but
at the time this was considered the best “dream” matchup the company had left.
Cena and Batista had led similar trajectories; right up to winning their first
titles on the same show at Wrestlemania 21. Both had been very well protected,
both rarely saw defeat, and both had been kept carefully separated from each
other (back when the brand split meant they did not wrestle on the same show).
This was the first meeting of the two “young” stars that were expected to be
the WWE’s future, and it delivered.
Andy PG: Let’s give some love to Demolition v. Hart
Foundation, 1990, two out of three falls. Complete with the LOD run-in at the
end to throw a monkey wrench into Demolition’s plans to keep switching off all
day, the Harts playing the underdog roles to perfection, and the debut of Crush
as an ornery bad boy who could kill you. The heat was off the charts for this
one, even in Philadelphia.
Oddly, despite the LOD appearing to be headed straight for
the huge money feud with Demolition that the fans undoubtedly wanted to see,
this wound up being more or less the end of their run. Sure, they had a small
feud with the Road Warriors, but nothing to the degree of the nuclear run I
think we all expected. I consider this Demolition’s send off, and they couldn’t
have gone out on a better note, completely dominating the Harts, and losing
only due to the Harts inability to roll over and die like so many opponents
before them.
Jon Eks: One of my all-time sentimental favorite
pay-per-views was SummerSlam 98. Highway to Hell – great theme song, terrific
build, and good storyline blowoffs. As a huge DX mark at the time, I was ALL IN
on HHH chasing The Rock, and their ladder match was killer. The pop when Hunter
unhooked the belt is one of the underrated great ones of all time. Hunter then
went off and had knee surgery, and DX slowly spiraled downhill until their
eventual breakup, and then the awesome heel reunion in 2000. This event was
their face pinnacle.
The strange chemistry and obvious career path parallels
continued for Rocky and Triple H up until Rock took off for Hollywood. These
two had a couple of clunkers along the way, but more often than not they were
ready to do whatever it took to upstage each other, almost like watching a
couple of lions trying to take over the pride. This match was the pinnacle of
their midcard days. Rocky was playing Honky Tonk Man 98 to perfection, and had
screwed over Shamrock and Triple H more times than I can remember. You knew his
comeuppance wasn’t long, and Triple H finally was able to find a way to
overcome Rocky’s shenanigans and put a stop to his never ending run with the IC
belt. Good choice!
Vic: John Cena vs. Randy Orton in 2007. Cena was
closing in on 1 year as WWE Champion, having fantastic matches with veterans
and spoonfeeding the rookies. Orton was settling into sociopath-mode having
just punted HBK, RVD, and Dusty Rhodes. It’s sad that Cena vs. Orton has been
reduced to a side-joke, because this match is their finest. The crowd is split,
hot and just as ready for for Orton to win his first WWE title as they are for
Cena to keep on rolling. The match is crisp and exciting – they don’t pull out
anything crazy but it’s loaded with subtlety that JR and King pick up on. The
opening headlock exchanges, for example, pops the crowd in a simple way that
some Indy guys can’t figure out. I honestly think this match is a masterpiece
as it mixes a focused story with two personalities. If it had a better ending,
wasn’t on a forgettable card, and Cena vs. Orton wasn’t done to death, this
would be remembered fonder. I love rewatching this one.
The biggest issue with this pair, today, is that they have
settled so comfortably into their roles, and have had so many matches with Cena
as the good guy and Orton as the bad guy, that there is literally nothing left for
these two to do together. That’s not to say they haven’t had great matches
together; you pick their very best as far as I’m concerned. But I’m not sure I
could turn to watch it willingly, just the idea of Cena and Orton together
makes me want to go to sleep.
Mike Mears: Punk v. Lesnar, and the gap between it and
No. 2 would probably be bigger than the gap between No. 2 and No. 10 on my
list. The only minor flaw in that match is Punk lingering on Heyman a biiiit
too long. Otherwise, that match has everything I love about pro wrestling:
amazing psychology and scientific wrestling, brutal violence and seething
hatred, a molten-hot, borderline nuclear crowd. There are few examples in
wrestling history that so perfectly blend workrate and sports entertainment
into a 30-minute package that had me and my friends screaming at the TV
cheering for Punk with the same intensity as if Illinois was playing in the
Final Four again. It would be my favorite match in wrestling history if Punk
had won. As it stands, it’s easily in the top five.
This was my favorite match of 2013, and like you, it wasn’t
remotely close. Lesnar carries so much legitimacy into every match he wrestles,
that you genuinely believe he’s going to be able to kill his opponent anytime
he wants. Punk was my favorite wrestler on the roster (controversial pick,
right?) – and anytime you pair a super talented worker with Lesnar’s ability to
transform into Ivan Drago, you’re in for a great night. Everything here worked.
Punk was desperate from go, resorting to every tactic, legitimate or cheap,
that he could use. When he countered the kimura, there was hope for the little
guy … until Brock Lesnar reminded him “I’m Brock fucking Lesnar”, and just
stands up with Punk on his arm and powerbombs him TWICE.
It was also nice to see after all those SummerSlams, we can
still be treated to something special. This is also my pick for my favorite
SummerSlam match of all time. Big apologies to the obvious runner up, Eric
Bischoff against Shane McMahon.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your hump day, and I’ll be
back here again with you tomorrow.