If it’s not PG, then what is it?

Hey Scott,

On wrestling sites that I frequent, whenever the subject of low ratings, low PPV buy, Linda’s political campaign, etc, the vast majority of comments complain that if they would only go back to PG-14 or Attitude-level of “adult” programming, that it would fix everything. That or a John Cena heel turn.
Personally, growing up with wrestling far longer than the Attitude Era like yourself, I’ve seen a successful wrestling product that was kid-friendly. Hogan’s WWF era comes to mind. Possibly WCW around the same time. I also know that for all the success WWE had in those days (and wrestling in general), it wasn’t without a lot of really stupid, insulting ideas just because they could. Katie Vick and Pat Patterson’s underwear shit stain when he would strip and do the stinkface. Also, I’m REALLY sorry to everyone for that reminder.
Anyway, my point (and most intelligent people’s point) is that WWE’s lack of success or especially its stale product has nothing to do with its audience rating. Argument’s I’ve read for a higher rating never include anything that could be done in a PG product.
What would you say, then, are the most damning things WWE is doing these days that has nothing to do with its PG product? You’ve mentioned 50/50 booking. I’d add in the generic names, a lack of distinctly different matches (though, with the tag division returning, that’s changing a little), ADHD-level of writing, Vince’s inability to know pop culture, etc What say you?


All of that, yeah.  No emotional investment from the fans is a big one for me.  I have no reason to care if Randy Orton is beating Michael McDougall or David McKickflip a week after they debut out of NXT because none of these doofuses get any characters worth caring about.  Ooo, it's Fandango, who offers a subtle comment on the lameness of Dancing With The Stars, what a winner.  I've said it many times before and I'll say it again — the last guy fans were given any kind of emotional investment opportunity in was Zack Ryder, and that was purely accidental and was shot down immediately afterwards for being the "wrong" reaction.  We are supposed to be cheering Sheamus, the smiling goof who loves to fight and doesn't care about the World title he held for six months because he'll just get another shot for no reason anyway, fella, not the guys who actually put in the time and improve themselves in or out of the ring.  
But yeah, all that other stuff too.  And as noted, PG or 14 has nothing to do with it.  HHH drugging Stephanie and marrying her in Vegas works as a PG storyline or a 14 one because he's a sleazeball jackass who ruined someone's life for his own personal gain, not because he can say "ass" or bleed on TV or whatever.  


The SmarK DVD Rant for THE ATTITUDE ERA Gotta have all caps for this one. Disc One First up, a quickie documentary about the creation of the Attitude Era following WWE’s lowest point after the steroid trials. As befitting the subject matter, it’s only an hour and edited to a very brisk pace to say the least. Usual discussion of the Monday Night Wars and how WCW was beating them with their “limitless budget”, leading to the makeover of RAW in 1997. Ironic note: They talk about how you can’t keep things looking the same forever, even though they’ve now had the same basic setup for something like 10 years now with no attempts to freshen it up. The talking heads start blowing through the highlights (The Oddities?) and then move onto D-X. Yeah, we’ve had like 9 DVDs on them already. And then all of sudden here’s VINCE RUSSO commenting on a WWE DVD! Man, he’s the new Steve Lombardi, I guess. And then talking about all the “great” storylines, we move onto the HHH-Stephanie nonsense and Steve Austin getting run over. Oh, and the Brawl For All, which JBL both takes credit and blames Vince Russo for. Onto ladder matches and the creation of the divas, then the raunch factor with Val Venis and the Godfather. Mick Foley thinks that perhaps stuff like Mark Henry and the transvestite might have pushed the envelope too far. Mark thinks that maybe he’s role model of sorts. We keep bouncing back and forth with the PTC controversy and the creation of Sunday Night Heat and then Smackdown. Then discussion of ratings records and This Is Your Life (“I felt like Roger Maris, because when you can you beat Stooges v. Posse…”). And then they go public, buy WCW and ECW, and win the war. So this whole thing was nothing, with no real insights and just a recapping of everything we already know from the other Monday Night Wars documentaries and stuff. But no blurring or bleeping! Hooray! But now the good stuff, the extras! Jim Ross interviews Goldust and Marlena from November 1997, following Pillman’s death. This was the start of Goldust’s turn to bizarre performance artist. You’d think Dakota Runnels would be pursuing a career in the business soon, actually. From December 97, Steve Austin throws the Rock’s IC belt off a bridge. Val Venis: Soldier of Love. His initial promo video! From November 98, Vince McMahon presents Mankind with the first Hardcore title. Vince’s reaction to “Thanks…DAD” still kills me. From July 99 on Sunday Night Heat, Jim Ross interviews HHH in the segment that completely altered HHH’s character from goofy DX leader into The Game. And he’s the best IN THIS BUSINESS. And he’s gonna get what he wants IN THIS BUSINESS. From January 2000, the Outlaws hang out at the Friendly Tap bar and get into a huge brawl with the APA. From February 2000, the Hollies are disgusted with Mark Henry’s romance with Mae Young, leading to a beating. So Mark goes to the APA for protection of his pregnant girlfriend, and she ends up fleecing them in the poker game and smoking cigars with them. Bradshaw’s reactions here are pretty funny. “You’re not supposed to inhale!” She gives them the money back in exchange for beating up the Hollies so that Henry can win his match. From Judgment Day 2000, Kurt Angle teams up with Edge and Christian to present their most epic five-second pose: The Jug Band! From Smackdown, July 2000: HHH trains Trish Stratus to wrestle but gets caught in a very compromising position. Obviously she paid attention. From RAW, October 2000: Edge’s most awesome birthday ever! “Dude, you were like totally born today!” Stephanie is a buzzkill because she’s sick, but E&C are ROCKING THE KAZOOS anyway. “You think you know me, you think you know me!” Oh man I miss these guys. Having the whole saga on here is awesomeness. From RAW, December 2000: Rock has words for his Hell in a Cell opponents, as he does impressions of everyone else. Rock’s grunting HHH impression set the standard for all that would follow and marked the first time that anyone else was allowed to point out his verbal tics. And finally, a compilation of GTV highlights. Disc Two And now the GOOD STUFF! From RAW, March 1998: Mike Tyson joins D-X. Sadly our first noticeable edit sees Tyson’s entrance music getting dubbed over. So yeah, Vince McMahon brings out Tyson as the special enforcer for the Austin-Michaels title match, and after threatening a fight with Shawn it’s revealed to be a SWERVE, as Tyson is D-X. Kind of funny how such a fundamentally insubstantial storyline ended up drawing such huge money. Tyson looked like a little kid on Christmas morning here, playing the heel. From RAW, March 30 1998: The business changes forever, again, as HHH fires Shawn Michaels from D-X in the wake of Wrestlemania, and introduces his replacement in the form of X-Pac. Waltman’s clearly drunk off his ass as he cuts a promo on Hogan and Bischoff like he’s some guy in bar, claiming that Hall and Nash are being “held hostage” by WCW. Nash had one hell of a case of Stockholm Syndrome when he got the book, then. From RAW, April 1998: Sable calls out Marc Mero and ends up hitting him in the nuts and delivering the Sablebomb. This was a pretty notable show in Canada as mentioned on commentary here, because it was the first time that RAW was actually live on TSN up here instead of tape-delayed by hours. From RAW, July 1998: The Nation of DeGeneration! This marked the debut of Vince Russo’s favorite trope, “Guys dressed up like other guys”. It was also an important storyline marker because it basically created characters for the Nation where they didn’t have any before. Specifically it gave Godfather and D-Lo their defining traits. Jason Sensation as Owen Hart is pretty tremendous, especially “I tried to be a tough guy, but I couldn’t grow my damn beard in!” From July 1998: BRAWL FOR ALL. Bart Gunn accidentally knocks out Steve Williams to derail his main event push. Whoops. As UFC later found out, you can’t book reality. Like how hard of a concept would it have been for them to just work this? By the third boring round the crowd is just brutally turning on the whole thing, and Doc going down by knockout had to be KILLING Jim Ross. Williams messed up his knee really badly here, too, and effectively ended any chance of a main event career again. WWF tag titles: Steve Austin & Undertaker v. The New Age Outlaws v. The Rock & D-Lo Brown v. Kane & Mankind From RAW, July 1998. I actually have a MATCH to recap here? All sorts of wackiness here, as the Nation brawls with D-X while Ken Shamrock kicks the shit out of Owen Hart before intros have even been completed, giving us D-Lo as Rock’s partner. Mankind quickly gets a neckbreaker on Austin for two. There is some crazy-ass star power on display here. D-Lo works over Austin, who is rocking the elbow pad due to his staph infection, but Austin comes back with the Thesz Press and FU Elbow. Billy Gunn comes in with a rocker dropper on D-Lo and press slam for two. Dogg elbow gets two. Mankind pounds on Dogg as Rock draws a “Rocky Sucks” chant just by STANDING ON THE APRON. So he comes in and really milks it by beating on Dogg. The Outlaws come back and Gunn hits a jackhammer on D-Lo for two, but Austin tags in and the champs kick the shit out of Gunn. The crowd just goes crazy for all of that and then just starts ragging on the Rock out of nowhere again. D-Lo drops a leg on Road Dogg for two and Rock gets a legsweep for two. D-Lo with the powerbomb for two, and Rock awkwardly has to reposition Dogg for the People’s Elbow, which the crowd goes BATSHIT for. People just HATED this guy. It’s just so wacky seeing the turnbuckles unblurred and hearing JR talk about the “WWF tag team titles”. Dogg continues playing face-in-peril, getting beat down by Kane & Mankind, before Undertaker gets tagged in and all hell breaks loose. Taker runs wild on everyone, but Kane casually chokeslams Undertaker and pins him to win the titles at 14:44. THEY’RE IN CAHOOTS, KING! Undertaker seems largely unconcerned about this turn of events. They were going somewhere with it, you have to give them that. Really boring match for the most part, despite the hellacious star power. **1/2 Lion’s Den match: Owen Hart v. Ken Shamrock From Summerslam 98, in the theatre adjacent to MSG. So yeah, this a weird, unique match held in a caged circle instead of a ring, full of cool goofy spots like Shamrock doing the Anthony Pettis springboard kick off the cage. Also, JR calling the most Italian stereotype in the history of Italians an “Irishman” because of his adopted name is hilarious. Owen kind of works it like a regular match, building to stuff like Shamrock backdropping out of a piledriver spot as we learn that Owen has been training submissions with DAN SEVERN. There’s lots of people I’d go to for submission training, and Severn is somewhere around #7654. Shamrock continues his cool cage springboards, showing he knows the environment, but Owen reverses one to a powerslam and uses the Sharpshooter. Shamrock walks up the cage to escape and uses the cage for a DDT. Shamrock throws some solid head kicks, but Owen runs him into the cage and gets a dragon sleeper. Shamrock walks the cage to escape and finishes with the anklelock at 9:00. This was actually a HELL of a match, full of innovative and fun spots and it made Shamrock look like a killer. ***1/2 WWF World title tournament finals: The Rock v. Mankind The main event of Survivor Series 98, of course. Another beginning of a long and successful feud. They fight for the lockup to start and Rock slugs him out of that and chokes away in the corner. Rock with a clothesline out of the corner for two and Mankind bails, as they brawl up the aisle and back in for a chinlock from Mankind. Vince and Shane join us at ringside as Rock fights out of the chinlock with a backdrop suplex and they hit the floor again. Mick goes for a suplex out there, but Rock reverses and goes after Vince, which allows Mankind to attack. Rock fights him off and gets a weak suplex onto the floor, and they brawl into the crowd and back again. Back in, Rock hits the chinlock as they’re having a rough time working out the match, according to Foley’s book, but Mankind fights up and puts Rock down with a knee to the gut. Cactus clothesline sends them back to the floor again and Mankind adds a chairshot. He picks up the stairs to follow, but Rock hammers it with the chair and then hits Mick in the face with it. Back in, that gets two. Rock slugs away in the corner, but Mick goes low and chokes him out on the ropes. Back to the floor, and Mick drops the elbow off the apron and then puts Rock on the table for a legdrop. Back in, that gets two. And Mick goes back to the chinlock again, but Rock fights up and slugs away until a blind charge puts him on the floor. Back in, Rock comes back with the DDT and slugs away, but charges again and gets dumped. Mick dives at him with another elbow, but Rock moves and Mick goes through the poor, defenseless Spanish announce table. Back in, it’s the People’s Elbow, which gets two. Mankind gets the DDT and it’s Mandible Sock time, but Rock reverses to Rock Bottom. Double KO, but Rock rolls over for two. Rock debuts his crappy version of the Sharpshooter, and Vince rings the bell, rings the fucking bell at 17:14 to make Rock the Corporate champion. This one never really got going, but they’d have far better ones just a couple of months later. **1/2 The Rock & Undertaker v. Steve Austin & Mankind From RAW, December 1998, to set up the Rock Bottom PPV. This is of course a giant brawl from the start, as they go all over ringside before finally settling down into Rock and Undertaker beating on Mankind. This is pretty lengthy and dull stuff until Rock hits the CORPORATE ELBOW, with Austin making disgusted motions on the apron, although it only gets two. Rock Bottom gets two. Finally Taker has had enough and just goes to brawl with Austin again, while the Corporation runs in for the DQ and beats Mankind down at 8:00. *1/2 Is it any wonder no one bought that PPV? It was the one with the Buried Alive match between Austin and Undertaker as well as Mankind giving himself the mandible claw to escape a submission loss, in case you’ve blocked it out. Speaking of blocking things out, Undertaker knocks out Austin and CRUCIFIES him, which I had totally forgotten. Er, sorry, SYMBOLIFIES him, because it’s not a cross. Oh, Vince Russo, you wacky hack Good thing Linda wasn’t running for Senate back then, or else she’d have lost by even more. Why did this need to be saved on DVD? Wasn’t this the kind of shit they were desperately trying to erase from YouTube recently? From RAW, March 1999. The beer bath, of course. This has already been on a million other “Best of RAW” sets and really didn’t need to be here again. WWF World title: The Undertaker v. Steve Austin This is from RAW, June 1999, the week after the HIGHER POWER show and the match that marked the highest RAW rating in history up until that point. Taker had won the belt at Over the Edge, in case, like me, you have lost track of all the Austin-Undertaker matches around this time. Taker attacks to start, but Austin gets the Thesz Press and elbow for two. Austin works him over with shoulders in the corner, but Taker escapes the stunner. Big boot puts Austin down and Paul Bearer hits him with his shoe, allowing Taker to clothesline Austin to the floor. We get some slow brawling out there before Austin makes the comeback. Back in, Taker gets two as JR reveals that Austin is actually the smartest figurehead of all time, because he booked himself a title match as CEO with the deck stacked against Undertaker. Austin tries a slam, but Taker falls back on him for two. We get a lengthy chinlock that Austin escapes from, and the ropewalk for two. And back to the chinlock, as this is hardly PPV caliber stuff. Finally after another chinlock, Taker goes for the tombstone and Austin reverses to the stunner out of nowhere for two, with Bearer saving to wake up the crowd. Another go, and KICK WHAM STUNNER gives Austin the belt back at 12:00. Man, they were sleepwalking through that one. ** However, the disc saves the best for last. From RAW, August 1999, as Rock comes out to cut a promo on Big Show, and it’s the COUNTDOWN TO THE MILLENNIUM. Yes, finally Jericho’s debut on WWE DVD without any blurring or bleeping or editing! This was of course the last big jump of the Wars. Jericho’s speech about how ratings are falling, buyrates are down and mainstream acceptance is zero comes off as kind of a shoot interview when applied to today’s product. The people have been led to believe that mediocrity is excellence! Well that disc turned into kind of a slog once it switched from the awesome promos and angles and stuff and into the matches. Disc Three Intercontinental title: D-Lo Brown v. Jeff Jarrett From Summerslam 99, as I’m wondering why Jeff Jarrett warranted inclusion. D-Lo with a powerslam for two and a powerbomb for two. D-Lo goes up and lands on Jarrett’s elbow, allowing Jarrett to dropkick D-Lo to the floor. There’s a weird problem with the mastering here, as the picture is noticeably dark here. Like, distractingly so. They fight in the crowd and back in, where Jarrett takes over with a flying armbar. D-Lo fights back with a powerbomb for two and a backdrop suplex, but the Lo Down splash misses. Debra gives Jarrett the guitar and Mark Henry runs in to stop it, then turns on D-Lo and nails him to give Jarrett the title at 7:31. Mark Henry ended up getting the European title as his reward. Dullish match. **1/2 WWF tag titles: The Rock & Sock Connection v. Undertaker & Big Show From Smackdown, 9/9/99, and this is a Buried Alive match for some reason. And this disc is still really dark compared to the other ones. Honestly I feel like I’ve seen all the combinations of Rock/Undertaker/Mankind that I need to see. After the documentary heralding the varied storylines and characters, this has mostly focused on the big players and no one else. Anyway, they do some token stuff in the ring and brawl over to the gravesite, where Show goes into the ground but can’t get buried. Show tosses Mankind off the stage and into the grave, but Mankind is alive and drags Show down with him. Undertaker and Rock have seemingly vanished off the face of the earth while Show and Mankind roll around the dirt and fight over a sock. Mankind finally puts him out with the mandible sock and starts putting dirt on him. Meanwhile Rock and Undertaker randomly brawl backstage, which leads to a Kane-HHH fight. Like 15 minutes after poor Mick started digging dirt, Undertaker finally returns from Starbucks or whatever and saves Big Show. Mick ends up in the grave, but now HHH comes out and hits Show with the sledgehammer before burying Mankind himself at 10:22. And that gives Show & Undertaker the tag titles back. Clearly Vince Russo was spiralling out of control at this point. -** And then speaking of which, Steve Austin then comes out and beats up HHH, puts him in an ambulance, and then runs into the ambulance with a semi. Now there’s a metaphor for Vince Russo if there ever was one. Jim Ross & Steve Austin v. HHH & Chyna From RAW, October 99. Austin and HHH immediately brawl up the ramp, and back to ringside where Austin runs him into the stairs. More brawling outside while Chyna beats on JR in the ring. And yet Chyna was supposed to be a BABYFACE in the Jeff Jarrett feud going on at the same time! Austin and HHH fight all the way to the back and out the doors, leaving Chyna and JR to carry the actual match. We haven’t even had a bell so who knows if it’s even started. Chyna gives him the Pedigree, but now Jarrett runs in and hits Chyna with a toaster, then kidnaps her and loads her into a laundry hamper. Meanwhile, Austin and HHH randomly reappear again and brawl into the beer vendor, which is mainly stocked with Diet Coke. Austin just kind of beats him up on ice, and Austin’s music plays because he…won? I guess? Oh, and Jarrett gives Chyna’s laundry hamper a ride off the side of a ramp backstage. Oh man, he totally Zack’d her! From RAW, November 99. Lillian Garcia introduces a 10-bell salute for Big Show’s recently deceased father, but Big Bossman interrupts so he can read his own sympathy card. The old bastard has croaked and he ain’t never coming back, indeed. From RAW, November 99. Test tries to marry Stephanie, but has his nuptials thwarted by HHH, coming to you on tape from Vegas the night after his own beautiful drugged out wedding to the bride. This was like the Punk-Ryback of wedding angles, as they had delayed and delayed to find a new payoff to the wedding angle before finally settling on the HHH storyline and thus finally getting the Game over. And man, as soon as they got to the “if anyone objects…” part and HHH’s music hits, you knew something big was gonna happen. Especially since they played through the whole special dedication song and then revealed HHH’s sleazeball master plan. He’s just at his most slimy and wonderfully evil here, kicking off the most white hot period of his career. And then of course Test was unable to hold up his end of the deal and lost out on the biggest push of his life. The Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. Too Cool From Smackdown, January 2000. Not sure what the significance of this one is, since Too Cool is already into the Rikishi thing at this point. Scotty with a suplex on D-Lo, and Grandmaster adds a bulldog out of the corner. Godfather tosses Scotty around, but misses the Ho Train, and the match just stops so everyone can come in and party with the ladies instead of fighting. That’s a unique finish. This brings out Mark Henry and Mae Young to announce their pregnancy. Hardcore title: Crash Holly v. Hardcore Holly Tazz immediately runs out and attacks Crash, as do the Headbangers. Crash wisely runs into the crowd to escape, but gets ambushed by the Mean Street Posse. Funaki mugging a ref and stealing his shirt is a funny spot. Crash sneaks outside, then locks everyone out to escape with the title. European title: Chris Jericho v. Eddie Guerrero From RAW, April 2000, the night after Wrestlemania to be exact. Eddie dedicates the match to his “Ancestors in Spain”, but quickly gets faceplanted by Jericho. Eddie reverses a powerbomb into a sunset flip and stops to woo Chyna, then catches Jericho with a sleeper. Jericho suplexes out, so Eddie tosses him and they exchange chops on the floor. Back in, Eddie misses the splash and Jericho comes back with the bulldog for two. Ref is bumped and Jericho hits the double powerbomb and Lionsault, to no avail. This brings Chyna into the ring to count on Jericho’s behalf…and then she turns on him as a result of LATINO HEAT, and Eddie wins the European title at 5:35 to kick off one of the hottest acts of the year. Short match, just there to set up the turn. ** Intercontinental title cage match: Val Venis v. Rikishi. From Fully Loaded 2000. Rikishi tosses Val around and they fight on the top rope. We so some standard escape tease stuff. Rikishi hits the cage a couple of times as we call for the bladejob, but none comes. C’mon, Rikishi, you’re SAMOAN. It’s your DUTY to bleed like a pig. Val lariats Rikishi for two. Yeah, it’s one of those dumb “escape or pin” variations on the cage match. Nice ropewalk elbow gets two for Val. Val tries to climb out, but gets caught. Val blades. He slugs away but gets sent to the cage and Rikishi follows with CHEEKS OF FIRE and the Buttdrop of Doom, for two. Rikishi goes for the door but Trish slams it in his face. Val hits the Money Shot for two. Lita runs out and rips off Trish’s top, then whips her with a belt in retaliation for the beatdown in the first match. Val & Rikishi fight on the top rope, and Val bumps the ref on the way down. Arrgh! Rikishi goes to the top to climb out…and walks along the edge, then HITS A SUPERFLY SPLASH! HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! Scrape Val off the mat, he’s DEAD. Tazz then comes out with a camera, rams it into Rikishi’s head, and Val drags himself on top for the pin to retain at 14:11. All the run-ins didn’t help a blah match, but WHAT a finish. *** TLC Match: Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz v. The Dudley Boyz. From Summerslam 2000. Chair-throwing exhibition to start. The ladders come in early and Buh Buh makes the first run at it. Edge legsweeps both he and Matt off the ladders. Christian climbs but Buh Buh takes him off with the full-nelson bomb from the ladder! OUCH! Jeff climbs and Edge pushes him off, onto another ladder that snaps up and smashes the prone Matt in the face. DOUBLE OUCH! Dudleyz hit the Wazzup Drop from the ladder, and D-Von brings the tables. Christian takes 3D through one. They stack the tables outside 2-on-2, but Edge foils that spot with a chairshot. Matt hits the Twist of Fate on Edge and a legdrop off the ladder, and Jeff follows with the leapfrog legdrop OVER the ladder. Edge gets sandwiched in a ladder and Matt tosses Christian off the top rope, onto that ladder, killing Edge. Oh man, these guys are INSANE. Outside, Jeff tries the swanton bomb spot from WM2000, but Buh Buh is onto him this time and moves. Continuity! Big ladder gets set up, and four guys climb. All four fall off. Buh Buh’s still alive so he tries, but the champs push the ladder over and he takes a dive through that table stack outside. Awesome spot. Matt tries it, but D-Von is okay now so HE pushes the ladder over, and Matt goes through ANOTHER table stack on the OTHER side of the ring. I fear for these guys’ lives, I really do. Edge & Christian climb, but now Lita comes out and pushes THEM off. She takes a spear from Edge moments later and rams her head into the mat. Man, even the people running in are bumping like freaks. D-Von and Jeff, the last survivors, race up the ladder and each one grabs a belt…and the ladder falls over, leaving them swinging in the air! Wild! D-Von falls off and the crowd explodes…but Jeff can’t loose the belts, and Edge & Christian smash a ladder into him to knock him off, then climb up and grab the belts to retain. Canadians SO rule. Gotta go the full monty here again. ***** No 37-second pose from the champs, though. WWF World title: Kurt Angle v. HHH v. The Rock v. Steve Austin v. Undertaker v. Rikishi From Armageddon 2000. Holy crap there’s some star power there! And Rikishi. They’d be creaming themselves to have that kind of name value in one match these days. Normally I’m peeved about licensed music getting edited out, but in the case of Undertaker, I can live without ever hearing Limp Bizkit again. Everyone brawls to start and Taker gets two on Angle. He chokes Angle out in the corner, but then they disappear and Rock slugs it out with Rikishi. And then it’s HHH v. Austin, as Austin gets the Thesz Press and drops the elbow for two. Austin chokes away on the ropes and gets two. HHH comes back with the high knee, but now it’s over to Rock and Angle. Rock with a samoan drop for two and then they head outside, and we switch to Angle v. Undertaker. Angle escapes and baseball slides Rikishi, while Austin and HHH continue their ongoing battle. HHH gets to eat steel and bleeds as a result, but Rikishi takes advantage by legdropping Austin on the way into the ring. Rikishi offers his support for HHH, but KICK WHAM PEDIGREE gets two. Rikishi was never portrayed as being the bright bulb in the package, was he? Great sequence sees everyone hitting their finishers off of that in a kind of glimpse into the future of these sorts of trainwreck matches. And with everyone out, Undertaker tosses HHH around the cell. In the ring, Rikishi misses a corner splash on Austin, but slugs him down instead. Then things get a bit silly, as Vince drives a truck down to ringside and vows to rip down the cage, but gets chased off by Commissioner Foley. So that conveniently leaves a pickup truck at ringside, filled with some sort of packing material. Driving the truck into the cage has broken the door down, so Austin and HHH escape and fight down the aisle and into the cart-themed set by the entrance. This gives us an innovative spot with Austin using the boom camera as a weapon. Soon everyone fights to the car lot and Rock teases Rock Bottom on HHH on top of a car, but instead he takes KICK WHAM PEDIGREE and bleeds a little. Austin catapults HHH into a car for another great visual, and everyone fights back down to the cage again. Austin and HHH continue their little war by heading to the top of the cage and actually manage to make it suspenseful by slugging it out on the edge. Austin with KICK WHAM STUNNER, but now Angle and Undertaker have followed them up there. Undertaker beats the hell out of Angle and ponders which side of the cage to toss him off of, but now Rikishi and Rock head up there. Another great moment as Undertaker threatens the timekeeper, from the top of the cage mind you, and convinces him to throw a chair up to the top. Man, that’s some respect. Rikishi gets the chair, however, and beats UT down with it. However, Rikishi is of course NOT SMART and going after Undertaker on top of the cage is a supremely bad idea. Which he learns when Taker chokeslams him off the cell and into the truck in retaliation. Rock and Austin have a staredown on their way to drawing a million buys for Wrestlemania, but their all-too-brief slugfest leads to the People’s Elbow, which is interrupted by HHH. Rock lays the smackdown on him and hits Angle with Rock Bottom for two, but Austin saves. KICK WHAM STUNNER and Rock sells the shit out of it, but HHH lets his hate of Austin consume him again by making the save, allowing Angle to pin Rock at 32:00 to retain the title. This did an awesome job of making me want to see the big Austin-HHH blowoff, although Angle still wasn’t at the top of his game as a worker, which is kind of scary. I wasn’t a huge fan of this one back in the day, but watching Austin, HHH, Rock and Undertaker going out there and doing their thing in their primes has allowed this one to age quite gracefully and set the stage for bigger car crash matches to come. **** The Pulse A lot of the set was the awesome stuff that used to make Monday nights fun, although once things got into a seemingly endless loop of Undertaker/Mankind/Austin/Rock stuff it turned into a bit of a chore to sit through. However, the change of pace at the end was nice, even if the entire match selection was a bit dodgy to say the least. This is actually a case where I would have been happier with LESS in-ring stuff, because the whole thing had the feel of a tape-trading compilation for the first half or so, and I really liked the differences from the usual WWE releases. We’ve already had the TLC match on a zillion DVDs and the beer bath on a zillion DVDs. It kind of lost sight of what it was supposed to be celebrating and turned into yet another “Best of RAW volume 19483” DVD set. However, it’s still lots of fun, and best of all, UNEDITED! No bleeps, no blurs, only one music edit I could find. The documentary is actually refreshingly honest for the most part, too, and I think it’s worth a buy for nostalgic fans like us.

NWA-TNA Weekly PPV #18

October 30. 2012
Your hosts are Don West and Mike Tenay
Tony Mamaluke vs. Kid Kash

 The show is starting with both of the men already in the ring. They trade off a bunch of stuff in typical X Division over-choreographed fashion that ends in a stand off, without any applause from the crowd. They trade off some more stuff, which is kinda sloppy, ending with a pinfall reversal sequence. Mamaluke ducks out and Kash hits him with a pescado. Back in the ring, Kash hits a corner clothesline but ends up hitting the turnbuckle when Mamaluke catches him with a drop toehold. Neckbreaker gets two. Mamaluke roughs up Kash as Tenay mentions how Mamaluke was trained by Dean Malenko. Kash fights back and gets a pumphandle backbreaker then applies an STF-like move until Mamaluke reaches the ropes. Kash gets knocked off the apron then Mamaluke takes him down with a baseball slide. He rolls him back in and gets two. Mamaluke roughs him up then throws him in the corner. He eats boot off a charge and Kash gets a moonsault block for two. Kash works the arm but Mamaluke counters into an ankle lock as the camera is on Kash’s face as he reaches for the ropes. After he escapes, he hits Mamaluke with a double springboard cross body, getting two. Clothesline gets two. Mamaluke then reverses a waist lock and kills him with a German Suplex. Both men are down for a while. Kash floats over on a suplex attempt and gets the Bank Roll for two. That is nasty looking move and should probably have been the finish. Mamaluke gets up, basically no-selling the move, and both men now engage in a chopping battle. Kash gets a backslide for two. Mamaluke tries one of his own but Kash counters and hits the Money Maker for the win (8:48) *1/4.
Thoughts: Not much to see here besides a few decent moves. There was no flow to the match. Also, the selling was basically non-existent. The crowd was silent for most of this and it doesn’t help when TNA flip-flops Kash between a face and heel. Also, no one cares about Mamaluke. He really isn’t that impressive anyway.
West and Tenay run down the show, featuring the first round of the tournament to determine the #1 Contender for the NWA-TNA Heavyweight Championship. Also, Ron Killings defends his title against Scott Hall. AJ Styles defends the X Division Title against the Amazing Red.
Mike Tenay interviews Scott Hall in a pre-taped bit. He mentions Hall’s past and how he never won the World Championship. Hall says he is glad to be in TNA and is attracted to the “Young Renegade” promotion going against the big promotions. TNA was the only place that would bother hiring him at this point. He brings up the prestige of the NWA title and mentions how there are young guys trying to make a name” and “old guys having fun.” He puts over Killings but then says that he is not quite as good as he thinks he is and the interview closes. Interview wasn’t special but Hall came off decently here. At least he appeared lucid, which is a plus for him anyway.
Killings comes out to the ring and raps. The crowd tells him that he sucks as Killings comes back and tells them that they swallow. He calls out Scott Hall, Curt Hennig, and Syxx Pac for “locker room politics” then downplays the rumor that Jeff Jarrett is Mr. Wrestling III. I’m guessing that was a vague internet rumor at the time because it hasn’t been hinted at on these shows. Killings then completely botches Hall’s “Don’t sing it, bring it” line as Hall comes out with a mic. He tells the Truth to stop messing with the fans and quit being Jeff Jarrett’s stooge. He tells him that Jarrett is playing him like one of “Ricky Riccardo’s bongo drums” then asks for a dose of the Truth. What is up with the dated pop-culture references? Anyway, this segment didn’t exactly make me excited to see this match.
NWA-TNA World Heavyweight Championship
Ron “The Truth” Killings (Champion) vs. Scott Hall
Hall throws his toothpick off the forehead of Killings, causing him to laugh. Hall takes down Killings and works the arm. He slaps the back of his head a few times to irritate the Truth. Hall puts him in the abdominal stretch as West and Tenay speculate as to who is Mr. Wrestling III. Hall goes back to the arm but Killings hits him in the face. Killings floats over Hall in the corner and comes back with a leg lariat. Killings then gets his the Pelvic Thrust Powerslam as the crowd starts cheering for Hall. Flying forearm gets two. West accidentally refers to Hall as “Ron Hall” as Killings gets the axe kick for two. Crowd starts with an “overrated” chant as Truth gets a top rope guillotine leg drop for two. Hall comes back but Killings kicks him after a back drop attempt and gets a Downward Spiral for two. Hall manages to duck a kick from Killings and Hall gets a chokeslam as both men are down. Hall comes back with the discus punch then catches him with the fallaway slam. He places Killings up top and hits the super back suplex. He signals for the edge but Mr. Wrestling III runs in the ring. Hall knocks him down and unmasks him but he is able to run away without revealing his identity and Killings hits Hall with the Truth Conviction for the win (6:47) *1/2. West believes he saw light colored hair, further adding to the speculation that he is Jeff Jarrett. It is completely obvious at the build and movements that this is not Jarrett.
Thoughts: Match was short but it was one of Hall’s better efforts in this company. At times, Hall even looked motivated. They are going to play up the Mr. Wrestling III storyline and
A video of the Curt Hennig/Jeff Jarrett feud plays but there are audio problems and they cut away from it after a little while. The feud has lasted a whole two weeks.A second attempt to run the video fails then Jarrett comes out. He says he will make this short and sweet. Jarrett promises to win the tournament and will beat the Truth to become champion. He then addresses Mr. Wrestling III situation and declares a bounty on his head, stating whether this is done privately or publically, he will pay. Hennig interrupts with his awful theme music. He says Jarrett is a “dumb” guy, sounding a bit buzzed. He then asks if he was the same guy who was “Double J” and “The Chosen One” before asking if he is “DDP.” What is the deal with the DDP stuff from Hennig? Did they have a beef? He then states how Jarrett and Mr. Wrestling III are never in the same place together before telling Jarrett that he will kick his ass.
Three-Way Dance
NWA-TNA World Tag Team Championship Match
Hotshots vs. Chris & Rick Michaels vs. Chris Harris & James Storm
Harris & Storm brawl with the Hotshots outside of the ring. They also have “AMW” on the back of their trunks. Rick & Chris Michaels then attack Harris & Storm as everyone gangs up on the tag champs. They beat on them for a while as the camera work is really bad, making it difficult to see what was going on. They finally get into the ring as Rick beats on Storm. He ducks his head and Storm drills him with a superkick. Harris comes in and runs wild on everyone. Storm joins in and they beat on the Hotshots. O’Reilly pulls Harris out of the ring as Chris hits Storm with a DDT. O’Reilly breaks up the pin, then brawls with Rick. Handspring elbow by O’Reilly and the Hotshots team up on Chris Michaels. Stevens knocks Rick off the apron with a punch that missed by a mile. Harris breaks up a pin attempt. Stevens then hits him with a frogsplash, getting two. The match breaks down again as Rick clears the ring of the Hotshots. He ducks a clothesline from Harris and hits him with the Double Shot as Chris Michaels drops the elbow from the top rope, getting two. Chris is unhappy about the count and Storm pushes him out of the ring. Rick and Storm brawl until Storm puts him in the veg-o-matic. Harris shoves O’Reilly off the top rope and hits the legdrop to get the win. This finisher by Harri & Storm would later be known as the Death Sentence (6:25) ¾*. Immediately after the match, the lights go out and when they come back on, Slash and Brian Lee are in the ring destroying everyone. The camera cuts to Father James Mitchell on the ramp as he orders his men to “take the garbage out.” Lee drags Storm up the ramp then suplexes him before choke-slamming him off the ramp. He then takes Harris to the back and places him on a table as Mitchell orders Slash to “sacrifice himself for the church” as he jumps off the balcony and crashes through Harris. That looked cool, even if it was a bit played out from ECW using it so often. Mitchell decides that it has been enough carnage for one night as he tells everyone the New Church are back in TNA and will do anything they want for as long as they want until he tells them to stop. He then doesn’t care about rules and regulations and he is the “Personal Messiah” off the New Church. Good promo by Mitchell and a very effective segment to get over the new tag-team of Lee & Slash. Looks like they are finally building towards an interesting tag feud.
Thoughts: The match was a mess but the post-match stuff was effective. Harris & Storm continue to look great though.
Mike Tenay in another pre-taped interview, this time with Bob Armstrong. Bob says there will be new officiating rules as if the champ gets counted out or disqualified, he will lose the title. Tenay then brings up those who criticize Bob about who gets title shots. Bob tells him that the best way to do this is a tournament. He named Don Harris the referee for these matches.
West runs down the first round matches:
Curt Hennig vs. Jeff Jarrett
Sonny Siaki vs. Jerry Lynn
Syxx-Pac vs. Brian Lawler
Ron Harris vs. BG James
Apparently, only three of these matches will take place tonight.
Ron Harris vs. BG James  
Ron’s brother, Don, is the referee. Tenay lets us know that Syxx-Pac vs. Brian Lawler will not take place tonight due to Syxx suffering from a hip injury. The two men lock up as Don breaks it up. Ron backs BG into the corner but Don breaks up as a closed fist was being used. He does the same to BG and Ron knocks him down. Harris drops a few elbows as the camera cuts to Jarrett and Hennig brawling backstage. We now have a split-screen as Hennig is bleeding from the head. Back to the match, BG gets a flying forearm then a kneedrop, getting two. We go backstage again as Hennig is getting his head looking up, acting dazed. BG fights out of a headlock. He gets his foot up on a charge and beats on Ron in the corner. He does mounted punches as Don pulls him off for using a closed fist. Bob Armstrong now comes out and we go split-screen again as a group of jobbers are holding back Jarrett from Hennig. Bob tells Don that he is doing a horrible job as the official as Don believes that to be “bullshit.” Bob orders Ron back to the ring and Don to the back. He and Don push each other then Don knocks him down with a punch. In the ring, BG rolls up Ron for the win (5:52) DUD. BG runs out and attends to his father.
Thoughts: This entire segment was a clusterfuck. The match was not the focus, not like it would have been good or anything, but the backstage stuff and stupid storyline about Don Harris being the referee for the tournament was thrown out after one match.
Recap of last week’s stuff between Jorge Estrada/Priscilla and Ace Steel/Mortimer Plumtree, setting up for a match.
As Estrada and Priscilla are in the ring, Mortimer takes the mic. He says that he would never fight a woman, because he is a man. He rambles on a bit before stating how he secured the services of someone proclaiming to be more woman than Priscilla as Miss TNA Bruce walks out.
Jorge Estrada & Priscilla vs. Ace Steel & Bruce
Estrada gets distracted by Plumtree, allowing Steel to attack. Bruce chases Priscilla around the ring but gets taken out with a suicide dive by Estrada. Tilt-a-whirl headscissors on Steel then he hiptosses Bruce. Steel blocks a rana and Bruce dropkicks Estrada from his shoulders, getting two. Scoop slam gets two. Estrada comes back with a crossbody but Bruce fights back. Steel tags and gets a delayed vertical suplex. The heels take turns beating on Estrada. He dodges a splash and tries to tag Priscilla, like that is going to do anything productive, but Plumtree pulls her off the apron. Estrada escapes a double team and hits Bruce with a poor excuse of a leg lariat. Steel checks on Bruce and in a very contrived spot, Estrada hits both men with a crossbody, getting two. Steel alley-oops Estrada but he takes out Bruce with a shoulderblock. Priscilla trips up Steel and Estrada gets the Trip to Graceland, getting two. Estrada fucked that move up completely. He sets up for a moonsault but Bruce shakes the ropes and Estrada falls to the mat. Steel hits the Twist of Cain then tags Bruce, who rolls him up for the win (5:53) DUD. After the match, Priscilla checks on Estrada as Plumtree gets on one knee and orders Steel to bring him Priscilla. He puts her over his knee and slaps her ass. They then stomp Estrada and clear the ring shortly afterwards.
Thoughts: Match was a waste of time and Estrada was the sloppiest he has been since joining TNA. Looks to be setting up for a feud between Bruce/Plumtree and Estrada/Priscilla.
Curt Hennig vs. Jeff Jarrett
Hennig stumbles out, all bandaged up and bloodied. Jarrett hits him with a chair from behind in the aisle and the bell rings. He rolls Hennig in the ring and taunts him before hitting the Stroke for the win (0:59). After the match, Jarrett comes in with a chair. One by one he destroys security. Jarrett then backs up Jeremy Borash and tells Hennig if he still going to kick his ass as Hennig is then helped to the back by security. 
Thoughts: I guess TNA didn’t want to take a chance on Hennig in the ring again. Speaking of Hennig, I can’t believe how disastrous his TNA run has been. He looks like he has been partying non-stop since the WWE fired him. In regards to this tournament, we have had two matches and they have both been meaningless.
Goldylocks is backstage with Jerry Lynn. He says he is focused on the tournament then again mentions how he has been “held down” and been victim of “backstage politics.” I like Lynn but it is ridiculous to hint that politics held him down from getting a world title shot in the WWF and WCW.
Video Recap of the Siaki/Lynn feud. The clips are shown with music being played.
Goldylocks is now backstage with Sonny Siaki, who is up close and personal with Goldy. He talks in the third person and says nothing of note.TNA is trying to make him into the Rock and its failing but you cant blame Siaki. He just doesn’t have the charisma to pull of this character.
Sonny Siaki vs. Jerry Lynn
Lockup to start as Lynn breaks cleanly. Siaki backs Lynn in the corner and hits a few shoulder-thrusts until Lynn fights back. He gets a Tilt-a-whirl headscissors then stomps Siaki in the corner. Top rope bulldog gets two. Siaki pulls up on an Irish whip and ducks out as the crowd goes into a loud “Rocky Ripoff” chant. Lynn boots him and takes him out with a running somersault plancha from the apron. Siaki reverses an Irish whip and sends Lynn into the guardrail. Lynn fights back and rams Siaki’s head off the steps. He rolls Siaki back in and gets two. Lynn charges but Siaki catches him with a stungun. Short-armed clothesline by Siaki as the crowd continues with the “Rocky Ripoff” chant. Legdrop gets two. Another pinfall gets two. Siaki chokes out Lynn with his foot as Tenay brings up how Siaki is smart by focusing on another bodypart besides the knee. Lynn floats over in the corner and gets a cradle for two. Siaki floats over on Lynn and gets an inverted DDT backbreaker before hitting the DDT. Siaki works on the neck for a bit. Lyn manages another rollup but Siaki hits him with a neckbreaker, getting two. Siaki goes back to the neck then chokes him out with his boot in the corner. Siaki applies a chinlock for a while. Suplex gets two. He heads up top but Lynn pops up and shakes the ropes. Lynn climbs up and hits a superplex but is in too much pain to attempt a pin. Both men trade punches until Lynn gets a backdrop. He hits a few clotheslines then gets a DDT for two. TKO gets two. He goes for the cradle piledriver but Siaki backdrops Lynn. Samoan Pop gets two. Lynn fights out of the Siakalypse but shoves Siaki into the ref. Siaki goes outside and brings in a chair. Siaki whiffs on a chairshot then gets the chair kicked into his face. Siaki floats over on a suplex attempt then DDT’s Lynn onto the chair. He wakes up the ref but only gets two. Siaki is pissed at the ref, allowing Lynn to get up. He charges at Siaki, who counters with a drop toehold then puts his feet on the ropes for leverage and gets the win (15:08) **1/2. After the match, Lynn beats on Siaki all over the ring and up the apron. He tosses Siaki off the ramp and into the guardrail in similar fashion as Siaki did to him a few weeks ago.
Thoughts: The match was fine, but did drag at times. The crowd was really ragging on Siaki here, who did nothing about that. He didn’t interact with the fans at all, basically ignoring them the whole time. At least we got a meaningful match from this tournament.
Recap of the Brian Lawler/Syxx Pac stuff from last week. This was shot in black-and-white with old-timey organ music playing. They were going for a comedy effect with some of the shots on Lawler but it didn’t work.
Goldylocks is with Brian Lawler and April. Lawler says the romance between Romeo & Juliet and Anthony & Cleopatra pail in comparison between the love he has with April. He runs down Syxx as April looks worried. This ends with Lawler kissing April. I gotta say, April was hot, but that is the only positive about this never-ending storyline.  
Lawler and April are now in the ring. He makes fun of the fans, until one pushes back. Lawler then slaps him and drags him over the guardrail. He beats on him until security shows up. Lawler then states how he had something to say but “assholes like that” are why they will not get to hear what he has to say then challenges the fans. The Lawler character is all over the place but I believe this was a segment to kill time as his match with Syxx Pac was delayed due to an injury.
NWA-TNA X Division Championship Match
Amazing Red vs. AJ Styles (Champion) w/Mortimer Plumtree
These two trade some stuff that ends with Styles nailing Red with a roundhouse kick. They then do a fantastic, fast-paces sequence moves that ends with Red connecting with a roundhouse kick. Red lands on his feet after a German Suplex then, in a perfectly timed spot, he dropkicks AJ out of the ring while he was attempting a springboard. Red puts on the brakes then kicks down AJ before going back into the ring. Red runs out and hits a beautiful somersault tope con hilo. Red then rolls him back in and gets two. AJ misses a charge and gets dropkicked in the back. He then picks up Red for a gutwrench but drops him with a cutter. Spinning neckbreaker by AJ is followed by a delayed brainbuster, getting two. Red tries for a Code Red but AJ is able to fight that off. AJ goes for a suplex but Red escapes and this time manages to get the Code Red, getting two. Red eats elbow off a charge and AJ gets the phenomenon, getting two. Red fights out of a headlock then manages to counter a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker into a tornado DDT. Incredible move. Styles picks up Red from the Styles Clash position and flattens him with a sitout powerbomb, getting two. AJ delivers a stiff kick to the back then after ducking a few clotheslines, nails him with a superkick. Red escapes from a front facelock as a “TNA” chant breaks out. AJ charges but eats boot then in one fluid motion, Red sweeps AJ and hits the Red Star Press, getting two. This match is awesome. Red tries a rana but AJ catches him and tries to set him up for the Styles Clash. Red escapes from that and takes him down with a rana, getting two. West is losing it on commentary, openly cheering for Red. AJ catches Red with a boot then catches him with a faceplant, getting two. Red eventually fights back and gets a roundhouse kick in the corner and takes him down with a spinkick, getting two. Plumtree distracts Red, who then walks into a clothesline. AJ goes for the Spiral tap but Red knocks him off the rope. AJ attempts the Styles Clash but Red escapes. Red takes him off the top turnbuckle with a rana but AJ rolls through and gets the win (12:38) ***3/4
Thoughts: Awesome match. This really elevated Red’s position in the company. He became a major player in the X Division tonight. He was great and has a fantastic chemistry with AJ. This match somewhat saved this show.
West runs down next week’s show:
X Division Tables Elimination match: SAT’s vs. Ace Steel vs. Kid Kash vs. Tony Mamaluke
Jorge Estrada vs. Bruce-If Estrada wins, Priscilla will become Miss TNA
AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn for the X Division Title (Again)
Jeff Jarrett vs. Curt Hennig (Again)
BG James vs. Sonny Siaki in the Heavyweight Title Tournament
Final Thoughts: The last two matches and the re-introduction of the New Church were the only good things about this show. I’m fine with the #1 contender tournament but the first two matches were a waste and the stipulation of Don Harris being the referee for the entire tournament didn’t even last one match. The Brian Lawler and Bruce segments are intolerable and the Mr. Wrestling III storyline is starting to really wear thin. Judging by the line-up for the following week’s show, it doesn’t look like a must-see event as you have more of the same. However, there was a power struggle behind the scenes as Panda Energy had bought a controlling share of the company right before this show. Vince Russo and Jerry Jarrett were at each others necks around this time.

The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact–11.15.12

The SmarK Rant for TNA Impact – 11.15.12 So I was making fun of the new Attitude Era DVD set on the blog a bit, joking it’s probably 7 hours of Vince McMahon promos and 2 minute matches, and wouldn’t you know what showed up in my mailbox this morning. However, the “match” listing as it is, which doesn’t comprise many actual matches, is so batshit crazy awesome that I’m now insanely pumped to review this thing. This is absolutely the only DVD set where you’re gonna get Bart Gunn v. Steve Williams in the Brawl For All and then Undertaker v. Steve Austin in the highest rated match of all time a little later. Kudos to the coked-up geniuses behind this disaster, because this is going to be the FURTHEST thing from boring and that’s what I love! “Going live is everything.” – Eric Bischoff. Taped from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Todd Keneley & Taz & Mike Tenay. Now they’re just fucking with us. Jeremy Borash was the best part of the commentary team! James Storm joins us to start, now the #1 contender after the PPV. However, yet again, Bobby Roode interrupts with beer to celebrate. Roode notes that he’ll likely fail yet again and Roode will have to carry him again, and Storm asks if “he’s done running his bottle-sucker” and chases him off. Roode, however, is done fighting unless Storm wants to put his title shot on the line. Roode wants to sex with Storm’s underaged daughter (when she turns 18, I should clarify), and that’s enough to suddenly make Storm stupidly accept this ridiculous challenge. Meanwhile, the Aces question DOC’s dedication to the cause, and now he’s gonna have to earn his jacket back again. The dartboard picks the next target. X title: Rob Van Dam v. Kid Kash Kash attacks to start, but Rob takes him down with the legscissors. Kash slugs away and they do a nice criss-cross before Kash puts RVD on the floor. Kash follows with a rana to the floor and back in for two. Kash goes up with a bulldog and follows with a moonsault, but it misses by a lot. Rob comes back with Rolling Thunder for two. So weird as Tenay talks up Rob’s WWE World title in 2006. Does anyone even remember that? Rob finishes him with a monkey flip into the frog splash to retain. This was every match we’ve ever seen between them. ** Meanwhile, Eric and ODB continue showing their passion. Meanwhile, Kurt Angle has to choose a partner against the Aces tonight, which is Garrett Bischoff tonight. Wes Brisco seems to feel this is not the best choice. Jesse Godderz v. Eric Young Jesse lays him out and gets a powerslam for two. I’m glad he’s wrestling men now so we can actually see what he can do. Snap powerslam and Jesse stops to pose before hitting a legdrop for two. Choking follows, and he gets a really nice dropkick. Just basic stuff but he does it really well for a guy so green. Young finally comes back, but walks into an abdominal stretch, with added posing. Young makes the comeback and drops trou to reveal that although he started as part of Team Canada, he now supports the USA. ODB and Tara brawl while Young gets a powerslam and goes up. Jesse trips him up, however, and finishes with a bicep pose stunner at 5:02. He’s bringing back the stunner! How can you not love this guy? Nothing great here, but for as bad as Jesse was supposed to be he looked totally fine here, and in fact I think they’ve got something with him because he bumps well and is naturally obnoxious. ** Meanwhile, Hogan just CAN’T put Joseph Park back in the ring again, because he’s not trained. Joseph interprets that to mean he should attend a wrestling camp to learn. That could be funny. TV Title: Samoa Joe v. Magnus Nope, turns out that Magnus is the target for Devon and his crew tonight, as they lay him out and DOC gives him the BALL PEEN HAMMER OF DEATH. Bully Ray makes the save before Magnus can be finished with a baseball bat. Meanwhile, Austin Aries congratulates Jeff Hardy, who once again provides his own inner monologue, like a freakier Dexter or something. Is he gonna start talking to the ghost of his dead father to state the obvious next week, too? HOW IS TNA READING JEFF HARDY’S MIND?!? And if they have this technology, why doesn’t someone just use it to figure out who’s under the damn Aces and Eights masks? Kurt Angle & Garrett Bischoff v. Devon & Some Other Big Masked Dude Angle hits Devon with a rough suplex, but the other guy (The Professor of Hard Knox?) beats on Garrett a bit. Garrett hits Knox with a shoulderblock and Angle works the arm, but a cheapshot from Devon puts the Aces in control. Devon with a suplex for two. Knox gets a corner splash and cuts off the ring with a facelock, but Angle comes back with suplexes and dumps Devon. Bischoff gets laid out by another mysterious masked dude, and Wes Brisco chases them off as Angle rolls up Knox for the pin at 4:41. Boy, could the stakes BE any lower at this point in the storyline? These guys now lose all the time and are portrayed as inept at their jobs, we have no idea what they even want, and we don’t know who any of them are except for the obvious. This storyline SUCKS. * Meanwhile, Tara accidentally walks in on Brooke Hogan sharing a moment with Bully Ray (…the fuck?!) and as usual Brooke is all bitchy and sarcastic despite supposedly being a babyface. Meanwhile, Dixie Carter is really disappointed in how much AJ is slipping lately. Knockouts Battle Royale: Gail Kim v. Mickie James v. Madison Rayne v. ODB v. Miss Tessmacher Quite the battle royale roster there. Apparently Mickie had surgery to remove a large mass this past Monday. But…they’re both still there! Also, she’s back to being a smiling babyface again after the heel turn teases before she left. You’d think this was obviously leading to ODB getting a title shot after beating Tara a couple of times. Rayne and Kim double-team ODB, but Tess makes the save before grinding her crotch in Kim’s face and getting tossed out. Now there’s a spot you don’t see in every battle royale. And man, Tessmacher has just become a whole lot of nothing since losing the title, hasn’t she? More vaginal wackiness as the heels get rammed into ODB’s crotch multiple times as a highspot and Rayne goes out via booze to the face. ODB collides with James and gets tossed by Kim as a result. So Kim beats on Mickie in the corner, but gets pulled out with a headscissors at 5:30 to give James the title shot. So that ODB storyline is just kind of done, I guess. Meanwhile, the Aces kick DOC out of the group for some reason, but it’s a SWERVE and they’re just messing with him. Wes Brisco has once again taken the time to change outfits, back into his Aces gear and mask, after appearing in his good guy guise earlier. WHY? What is the point of the elaborate ruse and wardrobe switches? This storyline makes absolutely no sense. And it feels like they’ve totally given up on it but just keep dedicating 30 minutes a show to it for the hell of it. Even Hogan doesn’t care any more! He’s more concerned about Joe Park hurting himself because he’s such a goof. AJ Styles joins us to discuss his loss at the PPV. He’s looking like a homeless guy more and more and he’s having a bad year, being accused of banging crack whores and Dixie Carter and such. This brings out Daniels & Kazarian (really? AGAIN?) and really their theory is that AJ is the cause of his own problems. So Daniels suggests one last AJ-Daniels match (didn’t they already have the last one ever?). Meanwhile, Austin Aries is a master of non-verbal communication, which is perfect because Jeff Hardy can apparently speak to the audience via telepathy. Meanwhile, Kurt Angle pitches Wes Brisco for the Gut Check next week and D-Lo stands up for it. #1 Contender match: Bobby Roode v. James Storm Sponsored by some shitty show on Spike! Quite the pedigree on Storm, as he’s as gullible as Sting and as big of a choker as Lex Luger. At this point I barely even feel sympathy for the character. Roode immediately pulls a turnbuckle off and gets a nice flying armbar takedown off the exposed turnbuckle, and we take a break. Back with Roode working on the arm and getting two. Roode goes to work with a wristlock, but they slug it out and Storm gets a Russian legsweep. Comeback time with an atomic drop and neckbreaker, and Storm goes up and gets brought down again. Storm keeps fighting with a powerbomb for two. Roode escapes the helicopter slam with a spinebuster for two, into the crossface. Storm quickly makes the ropes and hits the codebreaker, but can’t get the superkick, and Roode sends him into the turnbuckle and pins him at 11:00 to win the title shot. Lame finish, decent match. **1/2 And I’m really sick of this matchup, so hopefully Roode v. Hardy will be something fresher. The Pulse This was alright, although I was mostly stopping it every other segment to catch up on Wednesday’s comics because it wasn’t holding my attention in the slightest. But FUCK YOU if you bought the PPV to see that #1 contender match, signed TNA. I’m so incredibly over the Aces storyline but they have some long-term plan for it and keep slogging through it regardless of how bored everyone is with it. They really need to find some new matchups not involving WWE castoffs because we’ve seen Daniels v. Styles and Roode v. Storm and Mickie v. Tara all a million times before and they keep going in circles with them. Next week, though: Alex Silva, Wes Brisco, Taeler Hendrix, Christian York AND Sam Shaw! All on one show! That should be something.

The Fall of Del Rio

I'm still a huge fan of Del Rio's in-ring work and ring psychology but it appears that the crowd couldn't care two cents about him if his life depended on it and I was wondering where did it go wrong? He was progressing nicely after his debut and I didn't mind him winning the Rumble. After he lost at Wrestlemania, he seemed to be in a funk until winning MITB. And we all know what happened once he cashed it in. Do you think things would have been better for him if he had won the title at Wrestlemania or that he waited to cash in the briefcase? Also, why don't they do more with his character when the opportunity is right there in front of our faces? He's rich. Use it more to his advantage by paying off guys to do his dirty work or bribing referees or something. 

I feel like we've discussed this one a few times already, but yeah, I think he would have been 100x better off beating Edge at Wrestlemania to win the title instead of losing there and then losing to Christian and then losing to Cena and then losing to Punk.  The original plan had been Del Rio winning the belt and then dropping it to Orton right away, however, so either way he was kind of boned.  
And just ONCE I'd like to see him buy a better spot in the Royal Rumble ala Ted Dibiase.  

Fwd: Chikara-Whiplash of emotion

In the thread on Chikara from a few days ago people mentioned many zany things about the promotion, but they missed the craziest thing of all.  The way the company shifts gears from wacky parody too deathly seriousness, having Kingston cut one of the most emotional promos you're going too hear in this modern era-and then having an incredibly serious main event to crown their first champion.  I just thought it was only fair to highlight Kingston's work here after claims that Chikara is never serious about anything

Fair enough. There's always a place for both extremes between the serious and the wacky comedy, as long as one doesn't overwhelm the other, I think.  


Hi long time reader of yours, recently found your blog. A query I always had was why did the wwf big up Power and Glory , if memory is correct via a Battle Royal just to job them out straight away.? Also they gave them the rockers injury angle? I was a fan, but they seemed to get pushed then jobbed like mad.

Cheers Gav

Power and Glory were kind of the unfortunate victims of circumstance in that they were seemingly being set up for a title feud against the Rockers in the summer of 1990 (when they did the injury angle) but then the Rockers had their title reign erased and suddenly P&G weren't needed at that position on the card any longer.  And with LOD coming into the WWF at the same time, they were #4 on the tag team depth chart (#5 if you're still counting Demolition at that point) and they just kind of lost their spot completely when the Nasty Boys came in shortly after.  Just really bad timing for them, I guess.    

Fwd: gimmic ppvs

Scott —

They invented all these "gimmick" pay-per-views to make the fall pay-per-view season more interesting: Night of Champions (last year's main event: not a title match), Hell in the Cell (one Cell match, but whatever) and TLC (which at least has a tables match, a ladder match, a chair match and a TLC match). But when they get to Survivor Series, which was the original gimmick pay-per-view, it's more or less a normal card with one "VINTAGE SURVIVOR SERIES" match.

I don't get it? I love the first two Survivor Series (especially those 10-on10 matches with the tag teams), so why not do a bunch of elimination matches instead of the same old thing. Otherwise, what exactly makes a Survivor Series? My thoughts: Team Cena/Ryback + others v. Team Heyman (4 or 5 man teams, I don't care), Team Sheamus v. Team Barrett (here I'd want Cesaro and the three man band with Barrett), Daniel Bryan's team v. Kane's team (I'd break up all the tag teams and put a member on each team, with the winning team winning his team the right to be the "Captain" of Team Hell No), Randy Orton's team v. Alberto Del Rio's team. And a ten-chick match, if they still have ten chicks (I guess they always throw Ryder in there).

I just think a bunch of elimination tag matches, especially with some creative booking (like captains getting eliminated and whatnot) would be more fun then the standard junk. Also, if Barrett, let's say, pins Sheamus in an elimination match, wouldn't that set up a title shot for him the next month instead of some stupid Smackdown Battle Royal?

– Joe

That's thinking about it far too logically for them.  The Survivor Series thing is a vicious circle — they downplay the history and tradition of the show because it doesn't draw anymore, and it doesn't draw anymore because they've downplayed all the history and tradition.  Honestly, if they actually had feuds that were heated enough to where it would justify settling things in elimination matches and then a title match on top, they'd be fine.  But everyone is mired in 50/50 booking and they can barely even book backwards long enough to justify their stupid Hell in a Cell PPV concept, so of course Survivor Series is going to get the shaft.  You can easily add meaningful stips as well, like whoever eliminates the most people gets a title shot of their choice at the next PPV, or gets #30 in the Royal Rumble, or whatever.  Something to make it seem IMPORTANT.  Which it's not at the moment. 

Fwd: Lawler/Punk angle

FYI: Someone within WWE told me Lawler wasn't aware of Monday's angle until he was at Gorilla, and had a huge problem with it.

Don't know if that changes your line of thinking or not, but there you go.

Meltzer's take on it was that everyone in the angle, including Lawler, Punk and Heyman, all signed off on it well in advance, so who knows for sure.  I will say again that even if Lawler was bothered by it (and JR certainly seemed to be) , Lawler has done much, MUCH more tasteless angles in WWE alone over the years.  Although you'll note that they're playing the "We're so EDGY!" card for this angle, but you don't see anyone out there making fun of their bullshit breast cancer month or the million tributes to the troops that air.  The last Observer actually has a huge expose on the Susan B. Komen foundation and what a joke it really is, on par with the Jenny McCarthy autism nonsense from a few years ago.  Not that we should be surprised, since most legitimate charities outside of Make A Wish want nothing to do with WWE.  


Hey Scott,

Long time blog reader all the way from Pakistan currently its my only link to wrestling now , keep up the great work. 

Stone Cold tweet reacting to Heyman's hart attack

"I believe in pushing the envelope in an aggressive fashion. But when a guy damn near dies at ringside, let it go. You look at all the contributions Jerry Lawler has made in this business: from a work standpoint, a promo standpoint and then as a broadcaster. I think that's pushing the envelope in the wrong direction. There's better ways to go get real heat than that."

I reckon he genuinely felt offended and not doing it to add any heat to possible Punk feud what do you and blog of doomers think?

cheers, Zohaib

See again, I wasn't offended by the bit at all.  I've seen way stupider stuff from them, and I'm 100% sure that Lawler himself was totally fine with the angle.  What bothered ME was Vince airing footage of a man who was clinically dead at the time getting revived and packaging it like a "Last time on Impact" pre-show video.  That was way beyond the pale for wrestling, because now I wonder if there's footage of Owen Hart out there that might get shown in that context someday.  But Paul Heyman faking a heart attack in the ring and CM Punk laughing it off on Twitter?  That's nothing.  

I Have Issues (14)

Tower Of Babel
JLA 43-46
(W) Mark Waid (A)Howard Porter/Steve Scott (I) Drew Garaci/Mark Propst

In the Himalayan retreat of Ra’s Al Ghul, (whose name translates to “The Demon Head”)  a conflict is boiling over, over a baby tiger. A young servant of the Demon is pleading for his life to his master because he accidentally fed the tiger some chocolate and now it’s dead. Ghul explains to the young man that the tiger he was charged with caring for had a special diet because it was supposed to mate with a female when it came of age and that was supposed to keep the near extinct species of Javan Tiger alive. Now the female is and will be the last of the species. Ghul then asks that his huge manservant show the young man the same courtesy. As the man is dragged off screaming, Ghul goes to meet with his daughter Talia in his nature preserve that is filled with near extinct animals of all types.
Here he discusses the shame that so many animals have to be protected while six billion parasites ravage the planets resources and destroy the world, all while continuing to flourish! (Psst, I think he’s talking to us.) But tomorrow he states he will being his plan to pare the human race down to a manageable size. Talia asks what he will do about the interference he will and always does encounter in his plans. The Demon replies that his League of Assassins has instructions that if followed to the letter will nullify that recurring problem. As for the Detective… he notes that distracting him was so easy that he can’t believe that he had never thought of it before.
Bruce walks through the Graveyard with a bundle of roses in his arms. He has a solemn look as expected on his face, until he sees something and his face goes to complete shock. The roses fall to the ground and on the next page we see the open and empty graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Martian Manhunter is the first target as Talia watches him through goggles and the League of Assassins (LOA) fires off a large missile that catches the Manhunter full on in the chest but explodes into metal dust.  J’onzz wonders why there was no explosion and then he sees the dust up close and that’s when he realizes that the missile was carrying small metallic nanite-like insects.
A few hours later the Black Forest in Germany is on fire as Flash and Wonder Woman just arrive and start to take out the trees around the blaze to stop the fire from spreading any further. 
After they have stopped the inferno, Flash comments that J’onn was the nearest Leaguer but they lost his signal, though with his weakness being fire it makes sense he would be nowhere near the blaze. It’s then they notice a figure on fire in the center of the blaze and Diana challenges Flash to race her. Flash gladly obliges but Wonder Woman warns that she was granted the speed of Mercury, to which Wally replies, “Oh, I’m sorry I thought you were fast.” (Mark Waid writing Wally West is like the pairing of peanut butter and chocolate.)  As they reach the man on fire Wonder Woman tries to knock him out with a tree trunk and the man grabs the trunk from her and in a fit of insanity swings it and knocks Wally for a ride.
Diana flies up and catches him and they decide that they need to create a vortex around the stranger to take the oxygen away from his flame. Together they run in a circle around him and the flame dissipates, and it’s then they see the figure is J’onn his body looking like a brittle stone statue. The Manhunter begs for help.
Elsewhere at the United Nations Headquarters, representatives of Atlantis are meeting with the countries of Rhapistan and Turkey, when Aquaman and Plastic Mam come crashing through the roof. Plastic man forms a trampoline to stop the brunt of Arthurs fall. Behind the heroes and through the roof comes a small squad of LOA members. Ra’s Al Ghul’s crack team of murderer’s fire off a missile and Plastic Man stretches in front of it, and freezes solid upon impact. Arthur realizes that if his teammate is struck again he will shatter and dives in front of the next missile which opens with some type of strange gas. One of the soldiers charges forward with a hammer and strikes Plastic man crashing his form to the ground and with that the LOA are out. Aquaman still on the ground and weakened has every member of the U.N. handing him water to which he screams for them to get the liquid away from him.

Later on the Moon in the JLA Watchtower Superman uses microscopic vision to scan the nanites on J’onnz body while in the background they have the Manhunter in a water tank, ala Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back. The Flash is trying to put Plastic Man back together at superspeed as Arthur is on the verge of passing out. The toxin has made him scared to death of water, but being that he needs water to live he is extremely weak.  Superman calls Bruce who is currently dodging bullets on a helicopter where more LOA members are flying to their next targets. Batman is unaware of what is happening to the JLA and is only taking out assassins because the trail of where his parent’s bodies have been taken has led him here. Batman blows Superman off as he looks at the manifest which points his next destination as being the Himalayas. Clark points out to Wally that it is not like Bruce to ignore them. As Wonder Woman and the Flash secure Plastic Man in his own protective pod they realize that they can’t get in contact with Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern).  Superman points out that he heard the LOA mention that they had a deadline on taking out the JLA, so he needs to investigate what the endgame is.

Ra’s Al Ghul is sitting in his control room with a silver tower on his view screen. The countdown has begun as the full unknown power of the Tower is about to be activated.

Superman zips back to the Daily Planet and gets back into his Secret Identity to use the newspaper’s resources to find out what is going on in the world to piece together what The Demon has in mind.  Clark asks Perry White if anything big has been happening in the news lately and Perry who is in a hurry tosses Clark the days paper and tells him to find out for himself. At this moment the Tower is activated and Clark attempts to read the newspaper and finds that it’s all gibberish! Everyone all over the office are going nuts as any written words can no longer be read. Looking outside, Clark comments that everything is all babble…! 
Wally and Diana are trying to find Kyle’s apartment but have no clue what’s going on as they do not understand the symbols used instead of numbers on the apartment doors. As they reach GL’s apartment door they knock but get no answer. Flash vibrates the door knob, destroy it and they enter the apartment to find Kyle sitting in a chair by himself.  Turning at the sound of his friends voices, Kyle asks, “Wally is that you…? To which we see that GL is blind.
In New York, everyone at the stock exchange is going haywire as the worlds economy is an hour away from complete collapse. Gang wars are started in Columbia as no one can tell where rival turf is located and Ra’s is watching the whole thing on view screens as he awaits the only one who has ever been able to oppose him. The door to the control room explodes as Ghul is surprised, Batman is early. The Dark Knight enters the chamber enraged leaving a trail of unconscious assassins in his wake as he demands to know where his parent’s bodies are. Ra’s shows Batman his screen showing the destruction and terror that his scientists have created. Technology that can scramble the language centers of the human brain. Ghul also points to his Lazarus pit that has kept him alive for so many years and wonders if it isn’t time to use it for something else, such as raising the dead. Above the pit are the coffins containing the deceased Wayne’s.
In Kyle’s apartment he is losing it at the thought of never being able to see again. Wally tries to calm him and explains that they are under attack. Arthur calls up the trio and tells them that they need to get ready for another attack; because he figured out that the LOA is using the frequencies of their signal devices to track them, which means they will continue to attack them wherever they are and right on cue the door to Kyle’s apartment burst open. The LOA soldiers fire off two devices, one for Wally and one for Diana.
Superman is rescuing people from accidents in all the confusion as he communicates with Oracle. Oracle asks Superman if he can see ultrasound. Superman squints and says he can see a Sine Wave and now that he sees it he’s noticed that he can hear it too. Superman asks how they can jam it. Oracle replies that they need six billion pairs of earplugs.
Wonder Woman shakes her head as she sees another female warrior in high tech armor charge at her and punch her through a wall. Diana wipes the blood from her mouth with a smile and the battle is on as Wonder Woman meets her equal in combat and fights for hours.
Wonder woman is actually unconscious with a VR chip embedded in her brain that makes her think she is fighting. Wally is on the ground and having epileptic seizures at light speed.  
Above Metropolis Superman is setting up an old device of Brainiacs. A force field emitter that he rewires to emit a frequency that blanket’s Metropolis in white noise.  Oracle remarks only 5.9 billion people to go. Clark mentions he’s going to need Wally’s help for the rest and he flies off to find the Flash.
In Kyle’s apartment Talia and the LOA relay that Wonder Woman and Flash are down and Green Lantern is no longer of consequence. GL in anger yell’s that they are wrong and goes berserker rage as he fires off green energy blasts everywhere. Kyle is trying to create and trying to shield attacks but without his vision he has no way to aim the ring and one shot brings him down, to which Talia replies that they only have one target left which is good because she is tired of her father’s manipulations.
Batman thinks over the possibility of his parents being returned from the dead for several seconds, then throws a batarang at Ra’s Al Ghul and then punches him right in the face. With a smile the Demon pulls out a red stone and Batman knows exactly what it is and starts to panic.
Just as Talia and her team begin to leave the apartment, they are attacked by Martian Manhunter who is in a water suit that keeps him from catching on fire and he barrels through the guys. Talia thinks quick and pulling Diana’s metallic tiara off her head she tosses it into the water suit and busts it open just a crack, enough for J’onzz to start burning up again. Its then Superman bust through the floor and Batman calls through the device to Warn Superman but Ghul warnns that his device will not penetrate the compound walls.
Batman fights tooth and nail through the soldiers as he gets to the outside all the while Superman is being introduced to a piece of mutated red kryptonite from out of Talia’s pocket.  Batman calls through the transmitter that he needs to get out of their! It’s too late as Supes skin has turned translucent and he is screaming in pain. Batman calls through the device that everything the LOA is using were from his own plans to take the JLA down. 

Batman runs through the snow dodging bullets and being chased by LOA soldiers as he yells into the transmitter that Ghul must have raided his secret files but that he can get them all out if they listen. It’s then that Ra’s decides to go two phase two of his plan and activates it. Just as Batman’s solution is starting to get transmitted to Aquaman, his words turn to gibberish and Aquamans response sound like the same nonsense. Batman turns to find the Assassins have trapped him on the edge of the cliff and as they spout babble he realizes that Ra’s has stolen the language from everyone now. Batman leaps off the cliff and when the idiot Assassins leave under the assumption that Batman must be dead, Batman scales the cliff.
Back in the JLA headquarters Aquaman struggles to remain conscious as he tries to teleport Superman back and away from the manufactured kryptonite. Plastic Man appears, still very much with cracks in his body and catches Aquaman as he drops. On the next page Aquaman finds himself in a desert and feeling fine. In the next panel we see he is in a water capsule as J’onzz telepathically places his mind in a place devoid of water. Plastic man makes his finger extremely thin and extracts the VR device in Wonder Woman’s ear to stop her mental battle. (Finger…Wonder Woman, this joke writes itself.) Superman struggles to keep himself from exploding with power as his transparent skin enables the yellow sun to go directly into his cells and gives him more power then he can handle. Still he is the only one that can microscopically laser the device attached to the Flash and he does so with great difficulty. J’onzz detects a post hypnotic suggestion in Kyle’s mind and he tell’s the young GL to remove his ring from his finger. As Kyle takes the most powerful weapon off of his hand his vision starts to return. The Martian explains that the ring does whatever Kyle wants and the post hypnotic suggestion was making him subconsciously create the illusion he was blind. (I don’t know if that was clever or far fetched, but since it is Mark Waid I am giving him the benefit of the doubt.) Kyle put’s the ring back on and of course his vision returns because subliminal messaging doesn’t work if you are aware of it. Superman relays what he sees and hears on Earth, with his powers amplified to pre-crisis levels here and the JLA doesn’t know where to begin as the world is tearing itself apart without being able to communicate with each other.
Back in Ra’s compound The Demon is having a disagreement with his daughter as one of his masked foot soldier assassins approaches. The soldier claims that the Batman has perished. Talia asks him if they have the body. He admits that they don’t and gets slapped.  Ra’s orders the soldier to have everyone on the mountainside search for the Detective. As the soldier leaves the still bickering Ghul’s he pulls off his mask revealing Batman himself.
In the JLA Headquarters they scan Aquaman and see that his fear toxin is wearing off, but not soon enough for him to be able to help the team. The JLA discuss the fact that they can’t believe Batman would do this to them. Wally West calls him a control freak and Batman calls to them through his transmitter that he has uncovered where Ra’s signal is coming from and that he will send them coordinates to follow him. (Batman has one of the Assassins nullifiers, if you’re wondering how he is able to talk to the JLA right now.) Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Plastic Man are all in a hurry to join the party but Superman, still hurt from Batman’s actions and no longer completely trusting the Dark Knight, zips off on his own and position’s himself in the sky right in front of the Batplane. Batman turns at the last second and Superman pulls alongside him. Batman tells Clark that they will have to use J’onn and his telepathy to communicate once they get on the ground. The whole time he is talking, Superman is staring at him as if to say, “this shit right here… not over!” 
As they reach the ground, Batman is barking orders while the League just stares at him and then a couple of Jet’s from Ra’s are spotted heading there way to stop them from taking out the silver tower. Green Lantern says something which is complete nonsense and Wonder Woman thinks to him that Batman did not understand him. Kyle thinks back that it was a good thing, because he must have told Batman to Fuck Off! GL and Wonder Woman take off to intercept the jets and the other four ready themselves to take on more assassins assigned to protect the tower. As Superman and the Flash break through the ranks and get inside the building even the telepathy is starting to fail as they are at ground zero of the signal. Superman jumps at the red light inside the building and Wally asks him if he is okay to go on. Superman looks at the Flash with a look that only someone with the power of a demigod can and orders him to get everyone out. Several seconds later with all of Ghul’s scientist and guards out of the tower, Superman single-handedly brings the whole place down. 
Marching out of the flaming wreckage, Superman walks right up to Batman and demands to know “Why?” Batman responds that he has his reasons. Then they hear Talia’s voice over the transmitters. She explains to them that her father put in a failsafe and that even without the tower he could still do damage. Ghul’s plan was to escalate worldwide tensions and it worked as the country of Rhapastan is preparing a biochemical strike on Turkey over misunderstandings. The League finds it hard to trust Talia but she tells them that she is tired of being a pawn and that she is going to direct them to the bioterrorists, but before she can say anything a gunshot is heard. Taking over the transmission is Ghul’s right hand assassin and he tells the JLA they will never be able to stop it.
Don’t ever promise cake and not deliver, EVER!
Back on the Moon, J’onn takes off the water suit he has been wearing and notes that Martians shed their skin and with it some of the nanites have been peeled away. His body is steaming but no longer on fire. With this the Martian loses some of his concentration and Aquaman starts to panic as he realizes that he is in water. J’onn climb’s into the tank and holds Aquaman still, telling him to turn the fear into anger as he thinks about who did this to him…Batman. 
At the site of the tower, Plastic Man of all people is berating Batman. Batman responds that they will talk about it later. 
When you can make this guy angry you have really accomplished something.
Batman orders the angry League to find the men who are going to set off the weapons while he and Superman will take Ra’s on personally. Superman asks, “why?” to which Batman replies “because he knows where Ghul is and Superman can fly.” As Superman picks up the Dark Knight, Superman says, “that was not they “why” he meant.” Wonder Woman, Plastic Man and Green Lantern travel across the ocean to the tiny country of Rhapistan while Flash runs ahead to find the weapon. As the trio reach the shore they find Flash vibrating intangible as he has found the canister with the virus already opened on the shore and if he runs he will scatter it even further, if he becomes intangible he contracts the virus, essentially he’s stuck!
As Superman flies Batman towards Ra’s hideout, Batman explains that it was the villain Agamemno giving criminals access to their bodies back in the silver age as his reason for setting up the weapons against his teammates. Superman is not buying the excuse for one minute but they are nearing Ra’s so he cans it.
Meanwhile Ra’s is ordering his henchman that has shot Talia tossed into a lion pit (The henchman shot her in the leg if you’re wondering.)  Superman busts through the ceiling and Ra’s releases his jungle cats, knowing they could slow down the heroes and also that the heroes would never harm innocent creatures. (This is true in this day and age but I can remember reading numerous silver age stories where many an innocent animal was clocked by a superhero, back when cat punching was done behind closed doors and no one talked about it, those were simpler times though.) Superman swoops down and saves the henchman in the pit as Ra’s runs for it.
Meanwhile in Rhapistan, GL has quarantined the area around the Flash but knows they need to find the second canister that Talia mentioned. ( I know the goal is to poison Turkey but wouldn’t it poison Rhapistan also? Man you just can’t trust assassins.) Seeing the heroes nearing them, the Assassins start spraying the crowd in the city with machine guns and Wonder Woman runs in and blocks every single bullet with her bracelets.  As Wonder Woman and Plastic Man near the man with the canister he jumps off the roof and is saved by Diana with her lasso.
Back in Ra’s compound Superman has used heat vision and pipes to fashion a cage around the big cats. (Old school baby!) As the world’s finest duo charged after Ra’s Batman warns Supes that there is one more fragment of Red Kryptonite unaccounted for and that he needs him to recover the coffins as he drops the bombshell that his dead parent bodies are in the compound as well. They bust through to the main chamber and as Supes goes to save the Waynes he finds the red K sitting in between the coffins. Batman busts heads of LOA members as he goes after Ra’s. Ra’s drops the caskets and they come falling down on top of Clark ready to drop everyone into the Lazarus pit.  At the least second Aquaman uses his hook to pull Superman to safety and Martian Manhunter pulls the Wayne’s coffins to safety. In the meantime Ra’s has escaped but they League has the scientist that created the Tower of Babel.
At this same time in Rhapistan the terrorist is holding the canister and threatening to twist it open. Wonder Woman asks him if “he is ready to die?” He responds that he is but Wonder woman convinces him that he will not be a martyr because Ra’s does not care about his soldiers. Nothing will be remembered except for the suffering he will have brought to millions. When she asks him again, he has a different answer and secures the canister.
Later on the Moon Flash recounts that Superman used heat vision to destroy the virus and heaved the contaminated soil into the sun. (Ookay.) But the JLA has a bigger problem right now, what to do about Batman? Batman waits in a separate room as they discuss what to do. Wally explains that he was a child when the JLA were taken over all those years ago, but that everyone was afraid of the JLA, so he can see that they may need strategies against themselves. Flash votes no for expulsion. J’onn replies that he would be a hypocrite for voting for expulsion when they all know that in his early days in the JLA he was keeping tabs on all of the members as well, though he never created weapons, he just was new to the planet and didn’t trust anyone. J’onn and Arthur disagree and argue to which it takes the League to keep them from tearing each other apart. Next it goes to Kyle who says, that he’s not happy with Batman, but he can’t see getting rid of him. Wonder Woman makes the case that she cannot go side by side into battle with someone and completely trust them if they don’t trust her and she votes for him to be expelled. Plastic Man has a great respect for Batman but as his memory returns to being shattered he votes for Batman to be gone. The vote comes down to Superman and Superman is aware as well as the entire League that Batman knows them all well enough to know how they will all vote and as they go to see Batman in the other room they find he has left.
J. Ryan Buck ([email protected])
Previous installments here http://lostscribe0.blogspot.com/