December PPVs

Hey Scott,

I had an interesting take on something. I've been watching a lot of WWE PPVs lately from the month of December, and a lot of it is pretty darn good. I mean, December seems to have the reputation of a filler month PPV, and while there were some stinkers in there like 1998, 2003 and perhaps one of the worst PPVs of all time in 2004, I think it has delivered a handful of quality shows, moments and matches. For example:
95 – Bret/Bulldog
97 – Beginning of Rock/Stone Cold rivalry
99 – McMahon/Helmsley era begins, Jericho's first title win
00 – Six pack Hell in a Cell
01 – Undisputed title match series
02 – HBK/HHH 3 Stages of Hell, Benoit/Guerrero
05 – Taker/Orton Hell in a Cell
06 – Fatal 4 way tag team ladder match
07 – Edge/Batista/Taker, Jericho/Orton, HBK/Kennedy
08 – Edge/HHH/Hardy, Cena/Jericho, Orton/Batista, Mysterio/Punk
09-12 – I feel all 4 of the TLC PPVs have been very entertaining top to bottom cards and have provided a slew of great matches.

In my opinion, it seems like December is a highly underrated month in the pantheon of WWE PPVs. Would love to get your thoughts and some good discussion going on the blog, thanks.

My right hand shift key is working properly again!  Holy fuck that annoying.  Ever try to adjust your typing by only using one side of the keyboard?  What a pain.
Anyway, the December PPV has traditionally been the one I will skip and ignore 99% of the time, and given that it's drawn some of the lowest buyrates in the history of the company, many people agree with me.  In fact they should just scrap it and go right from Survivor Series to Royal Rumble.  This past one was the first December PPV I've actually ordered, not counting Starrcades.  All the other ones I've ranted on right away were either watched at friend's house or done on DVD when it was released soon after.  I think I still have the 2010 show on DVD sitting on my review pile, in fact.  It just tends to be SUCH a forgettable show I don't know why they even bother with it.  Yeah, the last couple have been great but does anyone really remember stuff like the Punk-Del Rio TLC match?  
So in conclusion, fuck my keyboard, it sucks.  

Great (?) Match of the Day: British Bulldogs v. Demolition

From Wrestlefest 88, one of those “lost” supercards that doesn’t really get much love in the DVD era either.  I wouldn’t really call it a “great” match as such, but I liked it well enough and this was the Demos at the height of their powers as heels, fo shizzle.  Feel free to keep sending interesting Youtube links, everyone.

Digital Bruno

Mr. Keith,

 Long time reader of yours. Just thought I’d share this with you if you didn’t see it.
“Bruno Sammartino is expected to be a character in the WWE 14 video game in an attempt to draw from an older audience.” From the 2/25 Observer
This is the funniest thing I’ve ever read in my life!

If you're gonna sell out, go all the way with it.  Just wait until Vince does something to piss him off again and then the lawsuits start, though.  

Maximizing Mania

Hi Scott,

Two questions.

1. I know that we all know that Cena/Rock 2 doesn't matter all that much – it's Mania and people but tickets for the brand name. My question is if they went Brock vs. Rock, with an entirely undefeated Lesnar for the year (no Cena loss) and Cena/Taker, how much would it effect the ppv buy rate? I just don't see this year performing as well based on the current matchups.
2. What matches do you really want to see as a fan?

1.  According to Meltzer, Brock v. Rock is already penciled in for Wrestlemania XXX, so there you go.  I think the buyrate is going to be the same either way, to be honest.  There's no real "superfight" to pop the buyrate massively higher, like the proposed UFC champion Brock v. Undertaker's streak match would have done.  

2.  Of the current guys?  Cena v. Undertaker would have some awesome drama attached to it.  I want to see Batista come back and see him and Brock beat the living fuck out of each other, preferably at Wrestlemania next year.  Also, Brock v. Mark Henry?  BOOK THAT SHIT.  Mizark is gonna turn himself babyface soon anyway.  

ROH TV 2-23-13

News for DirecTV customers: Sinclair is negotiating a new
contract with DirecTV, and if it doesn’t work out all Sinclair stations will be
pulled from the carrier on March 1st. This pisses me off more over the fact
that I may lose my Fox affiliate than it does over losing ROH TV (which I can
still watch on, albeit 5 days later), especially with the first third
of the NASCAR season being shown of Fox. In other news, ROH has signed ACH to a
contract. Unfortunately, their first program for him is teaming him with
TaDarius Thomas. Ugh…
Kevin Steen is out to try and officially turn, cutting a
pretty intense face promo and sort of apologizing to the fans for being a dick.
Basically he wanted to kill ROH because of Jim Cornette, but with Cornette gone
he really has no reason to be pissed off anymore. He also informs us that he’s
giving Jay Lethal the title shot as a reward for getting rid of Cornette. Usual
good mic work from Steen here.
We see a pretty well done video package hyping the Top
Prospect Tournament final. Matt Taven looks more like a guy you’d see in the
X-Games than he does a wrestler when you see him in street clothes.
Top Prospect Tournament
Final: Matt Taven vs. TaDarius Thomas:
Truth Martini is absent from
commentary, automatically making this match better than all the previous
tourney matches. Winner of this gets a shot at the TV title against Adam Cole
(who wasn’t even at this taping thanks to attending the WWE tryout camp) at the
PPV on Saturday. Chain wrestling to start, Taven hits a dropkick to send Thomas
down. He tries a soccer kick that misses, Thomas is back up with capoeira kicks
that actually look pretty decent for 2. Taven ducks another kick and goes up
top for a twisting bodypress that Thomas rolls through for 2. Thomas grabs a
headlock, Taven fight free and hits a spinning wheel kick for 2. Thomas hits a
couple armdrags and a dropkick as Martini shows up at ringside. Taven comes
back with punches, Thomas is selling the ribs so Taven works the midsection in
the corner. Backbreaker into a gutbuster gets 2 for Taven. Taven hits a
stalling vertical suplex, kips up, and hits a twisting springboard somersault legdrop
that makes contact with nothing but Thomas’ head. Ouch… It gets 2, at any rate.
Thomas gets a sunset flip out of the corner for 2, La Magistral for 2, but he
eats an enziguri. Irish whip by Taven is reversed, and as he comes off the ropes
Martini grabs his foot. Thomas hits the distracted Taven with a legsweep, a
running elbow and a kick to the face gets 2. Hangman’s clothesline by Thomas
for 2, Dragon suplex only gets 2 this time. Taven reverses a suplex attempt but
accidentally takes out the ref with a kick to the head. Now Martini tosses one
his boots in to Thomas, but he throws it down because he’s a face, and in this
promotion faces don’t act all heelish. Taven grabs it but swings and misses,
both guys go into the ropes where Willie Wanker nails Thomas with the Book of
Truth and Taven pins him at 8:27. Shockingly good match with pretty decent
heat. ***, easily Thomas’ best match so far, as all the kicks looked nice and
crisp and he’s starting to work non-kicking stuff into his moveset. After some initial
reluctance Taven shakes hands with Martini.
Inside ROH: Just
PPV hype. Quick promos from Charlie Hass, Coleman & Alexander, The American
Wolves, Fish (who’s dressed like an accountant) & O’Reilly, Michael Elgin,
and Jay Lethal.
Jay Lethal is out for a promo. He thinks Kevin Steen is full
of shit, and he’s walking out of the PPV with the title. Daniel Bryan gets a good
pop when Lethal name-drops him.
Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish (still dressed like he works at
a bank or something), and Kyle O’Reilly are in the back with Veda Scott to cut
a crappy promo.
Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly,
and Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, and Michael Elgin:
6-man rules. They said last week that the Briscoes/WGTT match would be this
week, but they also said last week that the PPV was this weekend, so who knows…
Speaking of the Briscoes, they join us for commentary and are pretty much incoherent,
or maybe I just don’t understand the hick language. The face team attacks to
start and all 6 guys brawl out to the floor and we go to commercial about 30
seconds in.
Back from break and Fish is alone in the ring with the 3
faces, and he takes a powerslam from Elgin for 2. Delayed vertical suplex by
Elgin, O’Reilly and Strong try to get back in the ring but the Wolves send them
right back outside. Elgin finally gets 2 off the suplex after holding him
upside-down for nearly a full minute. Richards in now, Fish reverses an Irish
whip and Richards gets nailed from behind by O’Reilly and the heels take over.
Strong chops away in the corner, both guys throw some weak-ass forearms before
Strong hits a dropkick for 2. Fish in now with a senton for 2 and he kicks
away. Now Strong tries the minute-long vertical suplex, but can only hold him
up for about 10 seconds before Richards reverses it into a cradle. Another
dropkick sends him right back down and the heels continue to beat down Richards
in their corner with lots of quick tags. O’Reilly hits a spectacularly fucked-up
Dragon Screw just before we go to another commercial (one of the Briscoes: “Ya’ll
come back now, ya’ hear”).
We return with Richards making the comeback, and getting the
hot tag to Edwards off an incredibly stupid spot that ends with Fish DDTing O’Reilly.
Edwards hits Fish and O’Reilly with a kick from the top and chops away on Fish, who reverses
a whip but runs into a boot on a blind charge. Shining Wizard gets 2 for Edwards,
Fish comes back with a Michinoku driver. Strong in now and he tries for the
Stronghold, Edwards gets free and goes for the Achilles lock, Strong gets out
of that and we have a chop battle. Elgin tags in as Fish and O’Reilly get
dumped to the floor and the Wolves hit them with dives trough the ropes. That
leaves Elgin and Strong in the ring and Elgin just beats the piss out of him.
Black Hole Slam gets 2. He goes for a powerbomb but here’s O’Reilly with a
sleeper to break it up. Elgin German suplexes Fish while O’Reilly is still on
his back in a pretty impressive spot. Richards and Edwards both hit double
stomps off the top on Strong, but they get dumped and it’s now 3 on 1 on Elgin.
Strong hits the double knee gutbuster and Fish & O’Reilly hit Total
Elimination, Edwards makes the save. Everyone but Elgin and Strong end up on
the floor again, Strong hits 2 jumping knees and the Sick Kick for 2, a suplex
into a double knee backbreaker finishes for Strong at 14:49 aired. A couple
fucked up and/or stupid spots keep this from being great, but it was still
really good. ***1/2
Easily the best show of 2013 so far. Next week: I don’t
know, they didn’t bother to tell us. If there’s no review next weekend than the
Sinclair stations have indeed been pulled from DirecTV, so it won’t be up until
the following Thursday or Friday. Remember, if you lose your Sinclair stations
(or don’t get any to begin with) you can just go to and sign up for a
free account, and ROH TV will be shown on the website the Thursday after it
airs on TV.

Yearly Review: WWF July 1988

Hulk Hogan makes his return to television. Plus, Rick Rude continues to get under Jake Roberts skin.

WWF World Championship scene: (currently held by: Randy Savage)

At the July 13th taping of Superstars, Randy Savage revealed that Hulk
Hogan would be his tag partner for the big tag match against Ted DiBiase
and Andre the Giant at Summer Slam. Hogan made his return to television
and announced that Miss Elizabeth would be managing them for the bout.

Savage would seemingly end his singles feud with Ted DiBiase by
defeating DiBiase at WrestleFest ’88 on July 31st. Savage had defeated
DiBiase countless times on the house show market as well. Can Savage and
Hogan coexist and defeat DiBiase and Andre? We will find out next

WWF Intercontinental Championship scene: (currently held by Honky Tonk Man)

At the July 13th taping of WWF Superstars, Honky Tonk Man announced that
Brutus Beefcake would have his final chance to win the WWF
Intercontinental Championship at Summer Slam.

Throughout the month, they
continued to have matches with each man picking up wins or in
Beefcake’s case disqualification wins.

Can Beefcake finally win the WWF Intercontinental Championship at Summer Slam?

WWF World Tag Team Championship scene: (currently held by Demolition)

At the July 13th taping of WWF Superstars, an alliance between
Demolition and Jimmy Hart was announced. Hart revealed that he would be
in Demolition’s corner as they compete against the Hart Foundation at
Summer Slam.

Demolition wouldn’t wrestle the Hart Foundation on the house show
market during the month. Instead, they competed against the Powers of
Pain and the British Bulldogs. They lost several matches against the
Powers Pain but luckily for them they were non-title bouts.

Other Happenings:
– Greg Valentine and Don Muraco continued to feud. At the July 14th
taping of Wrestling Challenge, Muraco tried to use Valentine’s shin
guard while putting on the figure four, but failed after Jimmy Hart made
the save for Valentine. After wrestling to a time limit draw on the
July 25th MSG show, Valentine attacked Superstar Billy Graham until
Muraco made the save. Valentine would normally win their house show
matches throughout the month.

– Rick Rude continued to get under Jake Roberts skin. Rude wore
wrestling tights with Roberts’s wife Cheryl’s face painted on them. They
would continue to have matches on the house show market, with each man
picking up wins either by pin fall or by disqualification. Roberts would
get some measure of revenge a few times by putting Damien on Rude.

– The Rockers lost their first match of their WWF careers to the
Rougeau Brothers at the July 25th MSG show. Before the lost, the Rockers
had a brief undefeated streak lasting around a month.

– Big Bossman continued his winning ways picking up several wins over
Sam Houston. Bossman continued to handcuff his opponents after the
matches and beat them senseless with his nightstick.

– The Ultimate Warrior continued his winning ways with victories over
Bobby Heenan, Dino Bravo and Hercules throughout the month. Warrior has
yet to lose during his WWF career.

– Jim Duggan and Andre the Giant continued to feud throughout the
month. Andre would win most of their bouts. They also competed in
several lumberjack matches with Andre still coming out on top.

Bob’s Reaction: 
Considering Andre is on his last legs when it comes to in-ring performing, I’m rather surprised that Duggan wasn’t able to have more success against Andre. Duggan was always a popular guy for the WWF, and winning a feud against Andre could have propelled him up the card further.

The feud between Rick Rude and Jake Roberts continues to be a bright spot as well for the WWF. Rude is an incredible heel and knows how to rile up a crowd.

It’s understandable that DiBiase failed to win the championship, but I found his feud with Savage to be entertaining and didn’t feel like it dragged along. The matches on the house shows were also nicely done.

Warrior and Bossman both appear to be rising up the card pretty quickly. Both men would have major roles in the WWF in just a few months.

What are your memories of the WWF at this time? Feel free to share them below.

Also, check out my blog Wrestling Recaps and if you enjoy the series support the blog by liking it on Facebook!  

Promoting my first novel!

Hey Scott,

Long-time fan, occasional commenter on the site, and have sent in some questions before. I’ve also bought a couple of your books in the past. And SPEAKING of books…
My first novel has just been released by Pro Se Pulp Press. They specialize in pulp-style stories like Doc Savage and The Shadow.
My novel, the first in a series I call The Armadillo Mysteries, is called The City of Smoke and Mirrors. Its star, Dilbert Pinkerton, is a mutant armadillo private detective. He digs for the truth. His first adventure takes him to Nevermore Bay, home of the mysterious vigilante, The Buzzard. The book is superhero detective fiction, heavily inspired by my favourite author, Simon R Green (who wrote the fantasy detective series, The Nightside). I’ve also been told that fans of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files will also like this.
Here’s the Amazon link for the book, available both in print and digitally:
And of course, I heartily thank anyone who picks it up and do please let me know what they thought.
Nick C. Piers
Good luck!  I too really should get off my ass and do another couple of Kindle books.

Japanese Wrestling

Regular reader on the blog

Was wondering your thoughts on Japanese Pro Wrestling. You rarely speak about Puro(aside from the occasional Tanahashi match) More specifically I was wondering your thoughts on Japanese Wrestling in the 1990's. Were you a fan? Did you like AJPW or NJPW better? Or do you think it's overrated?  

Also where would you rank some of the top Japanese stars(Misawa, Kobashi, Kawada, Jumbo, Liger, etc.) in terms of the Greatest Wrestlers ever? I'm not asking a numbered list or anything too crazy, just wondering your opinions on them.

Thanks for (hopefully) answering my question, looking forward to hearing your response on the blog.

My interest in Japan in the 90s was a pretty narrow subset consisting of New Japan Juniors and Michinoku Pro.  I was never a big fan of the AJPW "strong style" stuff, which was generally characterized as guys taking a piledriver and then seemingly hitting three clotheslines before selling the original move like death.  I respect the artform, it just wasn't my bag.   That being said, I've seen tons of Misawa-Kawada-Kobashi combinations and I've loved 99% of them as individual matches.  Not to mention that the style pretty heavily influenced the current WWE "trading a million finishers" style that has permeated the main event for years now.  And of course Muta and Liger are pretty high up on my all-time favorites list.