Urgent Question

With their rapidly growing influence and ability to put together matchups thought to be impossible, has Saudi Arabia become the Mecca of Sports Entertainment?
Apparently Brock is getting a one night payday numbering into the MILLIONS.  PLURAL.  So yeah.  

Stylish Booking

Like many, I'm a big AJ Styles mark. I'm happy he has been getting to perform on the biggest stage & show the uninformed how good he is. 

But HOLY HELL, what is with his booking? From Ambrose to KO to Nakamura to now (it appears) with Samoa Joe, they always seem to ruin good/great matches with idiotic finishes designed to extend feuds, but really end up killing all good vibes from the match and making him look like a dumbass.

Is this the writers/bookers just trying to justify their "creativity" with the storylines, or honest to goodness incompetence in being able to see how these finishes hurt the product? Just no faith a great wrestler can get stuff over just on in-ring ability?

I think it's the second one, yes.  Ultimately the writers have to justify their own existance so you need "creativity" instead of just going out and doing what makes sense and letting the guys figure out the finish on their own.  

Cena and #17

Hey Scott,

  Since John Cena is nearing the end of his in ring career do you think Vince will give him the official record breaking 17th title win before he hangs it up for good? 

He could, I suppose, but the actual record is closer to 25 anyway.  But I don't think Cena has any interest in breaking that record and nor does anyone else while Flair is still around.  

Finisher kickouts


I'm about to go all "get off my lawn" Bret Hart style, but……. Rollins kicks out of too many finishers.

Ok, to elaborate, I really like Seth but going back to that ironman gauntlet match from earlier this year, sub Dolph in for Seth, and let him kick out of everyone's finisher, wouldn't Dolph be held in the same reverence Seth is now?

The turning point for me was a Shield vs Bar match on PPV last year. Might have been No Mercy. Seth is laid out in the ring, and Cesaro (or Sheamus, it was a while ago so might be getting 'who did what to whom' mixed up) picks up Dean on the 2nd rope, leaps and POWERBOMBS HIM INTO a prone Seth on the mat. 1….2…. kickout!

A small part of whatever kayfabe I had held onto died in that moment. Rant over. Just bugs me is all. 

Fair enough.  Might wanna avoid New Japan, though.  

Breaking News

Hey, Scott:

Why does WWE leak random "breaking news" to outlets like Rolling Stone or Newsweek? Seems that it takes eyeballs/page views from wwe.com and no one could seriously believe that these "real news" outlets give rasslin' the rub of credibility. So, what's the point?

Networking, I guess?  I don't really get it either.  But hey, Sporting News got to break the story about Deonna Purrazzo entering the Mae Young Classic! 

Scott’s Earliest Stars

Hey, Scott:

Your response to the question about the quantity of quality matches in 2018, got me thinking:

1.) Is Steamboat/Savage at WM III (1987) the oldest WWF/E match you've given five stars to? What came the closest before this one?

2.) Same question for the NWA/WCW…off the top of my head, can I assume the famous Flair/Windham match was the oldest one in the company to hit the full monty for you?

3.) How about WCCW, AWA and/or Memphis? Have you ever handed out five stars for anything there for matches prior to, say, 1987?
1. Good question.  I can't remember if I actually reviewed the Slaughter-Patterson boot camp match, but that one would be pretty close if not five stars outright.  I don't think it's on the Network or any major DVD releases off-hand.  
2.  Nope, Tully vs. Magnum from Starrcade 85 was earlier.
3. I gave the famous Hennig-Bockwinkel 60 minute bloodbath the full monty but that's the only AWA match I can think of.  World Class was never about match quality like that, so no.  Memphis definitely not, although a lot of Randy Savage v. Jerry Lawler stuff was pretty hellacious and there's a famous Savage/Poffo v. Rock N Roll Express match that's great as well and features Ricky Morton getting piledriven through a table.  Also, I didn't personally give it *****, but the famous empty arena match between Lawler and Terry Funk is legendarily the match that Meltzer and Cornette thought was so great that they needed to expand the rating system from four stars to five.  I actually remember being disappointed by it when it popped up on WWE 24/7 years back.  

Shawn to return for Saudis

That link doesn’t have any info about Shawn, of course, but Dave was talking about the Crown Jewel show this morning and the semi main is going to be UT and Kane against Shawn and HHH.  To which I note that I’ve been saying for years that one day Vince would back a big enough truck full of money up to his ranch and he’d come back. And you all MOCKED me.  SPIT on me.  Sent me stupid questions about Lex Luger and Roman Reigns. 
Well who’s laughing now?  Shawn.  ALL THE WAY TO THE SWISS BANK ACCOUNT.  

The recent overuse of the word “sequence” on commentary

Hi Scott

I don't know if it's just me, but it feels like the commentary teams on WWE are going overboard with their use of the word "sequence" nowadays – every time there's a good bit of back and forth in a match, we get "What a sequence!" or similar.

Is it just me, or is this a really badly judged turn of phrase? It just feels… I dunno, like they're basically saying "Look at the prepared choreography, folks!" and it just utterly obliterates any sort of kayfabe or suspension of disbelief.

Maybe I'm just being too picky? What do you think?

It's just another bit of Vince weirdness that he gets onto from time to time, I think.  But yeah, I find that kind of thing pretty annoying as well.  

“At least the match will be good”

I've been seeing the hype for NXT, New Japan, etc. and it definitely seems like there isn't a space anymore for fans of sports entertainment. By "sports entertainment," I don't mean the lowest common denominator sports entertainment that insults the intelligence (Russo-esque worked shoot promos that announce wrestling is fake, old women birthing rubber hands, etc.), but just great promo work, fun catchphrases, and characters you can easily summarize beyond just the fact that he's a great wrestler.

I'm seeing a lot of people like Meltzer losing their minds over how good the in-ring work is these days, and undoubtedly NXT and New Japan provide good technical wrestling matches (and I can respect that), but what about fans like me who moreso love wrestling for its great talkers like Rock, Piper, Jake etc. or wild back-and-forth promos like Austin-McMahon, HBK-Jericho, etc.? 

I don't *care* that Seth Rollins is a great wrestler. I care that he doesn't have an interesting character beyond "great wrestler in The Shield." It's the same reason I'd watch the next HHH-Taker match a hundred times over any Seth-Drew match. I don't care that a match will be good. I want a story.

In short, would you say there's ANY promotion today that does sports entertainment particularly well?

…what's wrong with Seth Rollins?  He's a good talker.

You should check out Being the Elite on YouTube.  Probably be right up your alley.  

Has WWE Speak gone too far?

I was watching Hell in a Cell with my brother and his wife. I think it

was during the AJ-Joe match(it may have been another match), they

brawled outside the ring and into the crowd.

The commentators said that they "left the ringside area and entered the

WWE universe". We all burst out laughing at that. Yes, I know that the

crowd/fans have been called the "WWE universe" for nearly a decade now,

but that HAS to take it to new depths, hasn't it?

Or maybe the fans and the WWE employees really do exist in different

universes? It could explain the different understandings of who is

actually over…

Yup, that's one of their weird WWE-isms and they've trying to hammer that one home for a couple of years now, without much success.  See, because all fans are part of the "WWE Universe".  Unless you're in Toronto, which is Bizarroworld.  It gets confusing even for Vince, I bet.  

Technically best year of matches?

With Wrestle Kingdom, Dominion, All the Takeovers, some examples on the weekly nxt show, and HIAC, and I’m not even including if you’ve seen anything from G1, Golden Lovers/Bucks, and Omega/Ishii from Hiroshima…

Technically is this the highest rated year, let’s say 4.5 Star and up, from you?

Sent from my iPhone

Including the G1?  Hells yeah. I haven’t even been reviewing those shows but the matches I’ve watched have been **** classics out the yin yang.  Plus you had Kenny and Okada breaking the damn scale this year.  It’s not even close I’d say.  

Covering for Roman, ruining HIAC

1) After the debacles at WrestleMania and Backlash with the crowds shitting on Roman Reigns main events, the WWE has now resorted to using smoke and mirrors to cover up for him. At SummerSlam, they teased the Braun cash-in from the onset to keep the crowd excited. And tonight they added Foley as ref, have the 4 stable mates brawl on the Cell and do Cell bumps, BROCK comes back with Heyman… have you ever seen a company cover for the champ as much as WWE is “shielding” Roman from the crowds honest reactions?  

And 2) in BOTH HIAC matches tonight referees wanted to stop or did stop the matches… so why are they booking this stipulation anymore? Let’s make the most violent match possible… but stop the matches if they get too violent? It’s particularly insulting while they’re shilling Foley’s network special and reminding everyone that he finished the match after nearly dying twice!

I think it's kind of telling that on the "Hell in a Cell" PPV, the two actual Cell matches were some of the weakest matches of the night.  
With Roman, I dunno, it's like the best analogy I can offer is a little kid who skins his knee and finally lets it heal for a bit, but then can't stop picking at the scab.  That's what it felt like last night, where Roman got less than a month as the true top guy without Brock being there to overshadow him, and then BAM, right back to Lesnar looming in the background again before the poor guy can even finish his first title defense.  I kinda feel for the guy, I really do.  He's just completely handicapped by their obsessive need to make him into the TOP GUY and sacrificing everyone around him over and over to make it happen.