What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – April 21, 1997

by Logan Scisco

Footage of the
Undertaker tossing a fire ball into Paul Bearer’s face at In Your House last
night is shown
Vince McMahon, Jim
Ross, and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from
Binghamton, New York
McMahon interviews
Steve Austin, who will face Bret Hart in a street fight tonight.  McMahon announces that Austin will get a
title shot at the next In Your House pay-per-view, but Austin just tells him to
shut up because Bret Hart is the topic of conversation tonight.  Austin demands that Bret show up within a
minute to fight him, but Bret pops up on the Titantron with the Hart Foundation
and says that he’ll face Austin in a street fight tonight.  Bret runs down the American fan base lust for
violence and complains that Austin has a title match at In Your House.  After those comments, Austin heads to the
locker room.

Contest:  The Sultan (w/The Iron Sheik)
defeats Ahmed Johnson by disqualification at 4:50:
At the beginning of the match, McMahon makes the
outrageous claim that during the WWF’s tour of South Africa Ahmed received more
acclaim than Nelson Mandela ever did.  This
is a boring brawl, but Ahmed does bust out an impressive facebuster from a
suplex position.  Ahmed is on the verge
of putting the Sultan away when the Nation of Domination shows up on the
entrance stage.  Ahmed grabs a 2×4 and he
bashes the Sultan with it to make a statement to the Nation and loses.  Rating:  ½*
Sunny comes out in
an oversized Undertaker t-shirt.  Hendrix
urges us to buy it for $20 (plus shipping & handling) and that we should
call 815-734-1161 to get it.  It’s so odd
seeing the WWF sell merchandise on their shows like this fifteen years later.
Austin is shown
trying to break into the Hart Foundation’s locker room and Bret gets some WWF
stooges to tell Austin to go away.
Ken Shamrock comes
out for commentary and McMahon announces that Vader will face Shamrock at In
Your House in a No Holds Barred match.
Ross announces
that Tiger Ali Singh won the sixteen man tournament for the second Kuwaiti
Vader’s bullying
of a Kuwait newscaster on “Good Morning Kuwait”, which earned him a trip to a
Kuwaiti jail, is shown.  Lawler shows off
a funny drawing of Vader shoveling camel dung in the desert based on this
incident.  Shamrock says he doesn’t like
bullies, thereby making him the first WWF superstar to advocate the “Be a Star”
campaign’s agenda, and he challenges Mike Tyson to a match in the WWF.
-Footage of Austin
yelling at McMahon at ringside after slapping off his headset during the
commercial break is shown
Get your tickets
for the WrestleMania Revenge Tour, where Sid & The Undertaker battle Vader
and Mankind, Ahmed Johnson faces Faarooq, and Steve Austin & The Legion of
Doom battle the Hart Foundation!
Fight:  “Stone Cold” Steve Austin defeats
Bret “the Hitman at 8:23:
The purpose behind this one is that Austin is angry about
not finishing off Bret last night and thinks he can do it here, while Bret is
reluctant to fight Austin on his own. 
Before the match can get underway, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog
attack Austin from behind and Bret joins in for a three-on-one attack.  However, Shawn Michaels comes through the
crowd with a chair and eliminates Owen and the Bulldog.  Bret goes to Pillmanize Austin’s leg, but
Austin moves and then begins wearing out Bret’s knee with the chair.  Austin applies the Sharpshooter and refuses
to break the hold when WWF officials hit the ring.  Pat Patterson eventually helps the officials
get Austin off of Bret.  No official
winner is declared in this one, but for all intents and purposes Austin won
this battle of the feud.  This is
somewhat difficult to rate, but it was an entertaining brawl.
WWF President
Gorilla Monsoon tells Austin that he’s out of control and Austin says he’s not
done tonight and doesn’t care about Monsoon’s rules.  Monsoon bans Austin from the arena, to which
Austin threatens him up, and all of this takes place as the Hart Foundation
helps Bret to the locker room.  Seeing
Monsoon and Austin go at it is quite entertaining since the voice of the 1980s
is facing off with the top superstar of the 1990s.
Tiger Ali Singh
pins Salvatore Sincere with a spinning heel kick at 4:49:
In the discussion of guys the WWF put money on that never
panned out, Tiger Ali Singh has to be near the top of the list.  This is Singh’s RAW debut and he would
disappear for a year after this match. 
The match is technically fine, as Sincere dominates much of the action
and sells well for the rookie, who needs more proficiency running the
ropes.  A random spinning heel kick gets
the victory, but it’s an underwhelming debut. 
Rating:  *½
Paramedics take
Bret to the ambulance and the Bulldog and Owen are great here, as they keep
yelling at the paramedics for bumping over cables and wires and not adequately
taking care of Bret.  Like a horror film,
the camera pans inside the ambulance, where Austin is in the driver’s seat and
he moves to the back to attack Bret. 
Owen and the Bulldog come to Bret’s aid, but more damage has been
done.  That’s one of the more creative
attack segments in wrestling history, capped by Owen’s “what kind of crap is
this?” at the end.
Owen and the
Bulldog are shown looking for Austin backstage
Rockabilly (w/The
Honky Tonk Man) defeats “The Real Double J” Jesse James with a Shake, Rattle, and Roll at 8:48:
Since their match at In Your House last night was so
great we get a rematch between these two. 
Rockabilly is such a terrible gimmick, as Billy is just wearing his
usual cowboy attire.  There’s a funny
exchange on commentary as Lawler says he trusts the Honky Tonk Man’s judgment
and Ross asks him “What’s going on?  Are you two related?” to which Lawler responds
“Maybe.”  Like the previous night’s
encounter, this one goes on far too long and it kills the crowd.  After a ridiculously long time, Rockabilly
hits the Shake, Rattle, and Roll to get his first victory.  Really? 
Why give Rockabilly the win here instead of last night when he
debuted?  After the match, James attacks
Rockabilly but is nailed from behind by the Honky Tonk Man, who delivers two
sick guitar shots.  Rating:  ¼*
Austin is shown
arguing with Shawn Michaels in the locker room and WWF President Gorilla
Monsoon attempts to mediate to no avail. 
It’s as if Monsoon is trying to mediate a conflict in an eleventh grade
head-first plunge through an announce table last night is the Castro Super
Clean Slam of the Week
Mankind says Paul
Bearer didn’t cry when his flesh was burning last night.
Match:  The Undertaker (WWF Champion)
defeats Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) by disqualification at 12:14 shown
when Mankind interferes:
It’s the beginning of an era, as the Undertaker doesn’t want to wait for Helmsley’s ornate entrance and decks him in the aisle.  McMahon makes a great comment as he claims Helmsley can’t love Chyna because he can’t love anyone except for
himself.  I know he’s talking about the
character, but fifteen years later it can make you laugh.  This is merely a placeholder match, since
nothing is on the line and it doesn’t advance a specific story.  Dustin Rhodes, without his Goldust gear, is
shown sitting in the crowd with Marlena, who Ross acknowledges as “Terri”
thereby setting up the quasi-shoot interview he will give on RAW about his
life.  The Undertaker withstands a lot of
punishment, but during his comeback Mankind appears with a blowtorch, which is
just an insane plot development. 
Helmsley wisely flees and Mankind KO’s the Undertaker with the metal
casing of the torch, but after he lights it up again, the Undertaker sits up
and fights Mankind through the crowd. 
Well, the match wasn’t that exciting, since it was largely a kick-punch
affair, but that twist at the end was wild. 
Rating:  *
After the
Undertaker and Mankind brawl to the back, Marlena chokes Chyna with a leather
strap from behind in the crowd and Goldust/Dustin Rhodes brawls with
Helmsley.  That was a great plot point
for Marlena-Chyna, since Chyna made her debut choking Marlena from the crowd a
couple of months prior to this.
The Motel 6 Rewind
is Austin’s attack on Bret earlier in the show
Austin comes out
to be interviewed by McMahon a second time. 
Austin says he accomplished his objective tonight and he says he doesn’t
need the crowd’s support.  Austin says
that the Undertaker will experience a cold day in hell at In Your House and
tells McMahon he won’t be a role model as WWF champion.  Owen and the Bulldog attack Austin at the end
of his promo and McMahon tries to help Austin, but Owen tosses him into the
corner.  Shawn Michaels comes out and
saves Austin for the second time and McMahon is perplexed, seemingly having
lost control of his show.
-As we get ready to
go off the air, Brian Pillman emerges from the crowd and he attacks Austin with
a chair.  Pillman goes to Pillmanize
Austin’s ankle, but Michaels makes the save for the third time.
The Final Report Card:  This was the first RAW of the Russo era and
it began with a bang.  Bret was taking
some time off for knee surgery, so this was a good way to write him out of the
ring for a while.  The ambulance attack
put another memorable moment in Austin’s career and really sold Austin’s rebel
image to the audience.  The show also
made a minor plot point that becomes big later: 
the bigger on screen role of Vince McMahon as a character, since he got
physically involved at the end and the camera focused on his reaction to Austin
getting laid out by Owen and the Bulldog. 
As a mark, I remember watching this show in 1997 and thinking that the
show had moved in a different direction and that I really liked it.  After seeing it fifteen years later, I still
enjoyed the Bret-Austin action, but I have to admit that the rest of the show
is terrible.  Still, a thumbs up because
the parts you remember are the good ones and the chaos at the end left you
eagerly anticipating next week’s episode.
Monday Night War Rating:  2.8 (vs. 3.4 for Nitro)
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

Questions for blog

Hey Scott, reader since (I think) 1999.
Questions :
(1)    I read the hell out of the PWI ‘family’ in the 1987-1991 period (I was born in 1975).  How did the so-called ‘mark’ magazines work?  I mean, I know that a number of the ‘writers’ didn’t actually exist, but did the magazines contact the feds about upcoming angles they wanted to promote?  Did they get quotes from wrestlers ‘in character’?
(2)    Who is / was the greatest ever female wrestler (taking into account drawing ability, wrestling ability, promos etc.)?
(3)    Pop culture ‘lightning round’ (I hear that you ‘rule at lightning rounds’!) :
(a)    Pacino or De Niro?
(b)   Best Guns n’ Roses album?
(c)    Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth?
(d)   Nirvana or Pearl Jam?
(e)   Out of the nominees for Best Picture in 1994 (one of the great years in film) – Pulp Fiction, 4 Weddings and a Funeral, Shawshank Redemption, Quiz Show and Forrest Gump – which has stood the test of time?

  1.  It was almost all made up by Bill Apter under the variety of aliases.  Generally there was no cooperation from the promotions and the magazines unless the promotion wanted something out of them, so any quotes were just fabricated as needed.  
2.  Probably Akira Hokuto or Madusa in terms of actual drawing ability.  I mean, I love Trish as a worker and promo, but she was never in position to draw money outside of one match.
3.  I do rule at lightning rounds.
a)  Pacino!  Although his bad movies are REALLY bad, whereas DeNiro is at least pretty consistent.  They're two of my all time favorites though, so it's really an unfair question.
b) Use Your Illusion II is generally the one that lands in my phone's music player most often.  Civil War, Knockin On Heaven's Door, Estranged, Pretty Tied Up, Locomotive…all tremendous.
c)  I certainly like Sammy better as a solo artist and the only Van Halen concert I've had the opportunity to see was with him as singer, so he gets my vote.  But I own all the DLR Van Halen and solo CDs too, so I'm cool with both.  
d)  Nirvana until 1994, at which point Pearl Jam take over for a while.  I kinda got bored with them never touring here or doing videos and stuff, so I've drifted back to Nirvana again as a result and I've been very into Bleach and the box set lately.  Basically with Pearl Jam I'll listen to Ten, Vs, Vitalogy, No Code and Yield and sometimes the greatest hits if I want Yellow Ledbetter too.  
e)  I haven't watched Pulp Fiction in a while, and I'm compelled to watch Shawshank whenever it's on TV, but obviously Pulp Fiction is the movie that has had the biggest impact on movies in the long term.  

WWE cashing in on Lawler’s heart attack

Yeah, but guys make money off their own merch, so I don't foresee Lawler having any problem with a shirt celebrating him.  Plus it's a nice shirt, I'd buy it.  

History of ECW 4/28/1998

Taped from Philadelphia, PA
Airdate: April 28, 1998
Hosted by Joey Styles


Joey welcomes us to another installment of the History of ECW. Highlights of Shane Douglas’ winning the NWA title back in ’94 will be shown. Also the saga between RVD and Sabu continues heading towards the PPV.
We get the opener plus a promo for Wrestlepalooza on “enemy turf.”
Joey welcomes us to the show asking the question: Which corner will Fonzie be in during the RVD versus Sabu match at Wrestlepalooza? As he promotes the matches for the PPV he states that Douglas’ match will be “his last title defense for a while if not ever.”
Highlights of the match between Shane Douglas and 2 Cold Scorpio from August 1994 are shown. Basically Douglas took advantage of a mistake by Scorpio (missed moonsault) by giving him a belly-to-belly suplex and then pinning him. After the match Douglas cuts an historic promo. “In the tradition of Lou Thesz…Jack Brisco…Dory Funk, Jr…Terry Funk, the man who will never die…the real Nature Boy Buddy Rogers…from the Harley Races to the Barry Windhams..to the (pause) Ric Flairs…I accept this heavyweight title…Wait a second…Kerry Von Erich…the fat man himself Dusty Rhodes…this is it tonight, Dad. God, (the belt)’s beautiful. And Rick Steamboat…and they can all kiss my ass!” He throws down the belt. “Because I am not the man who accepts a torch to be handed down to me from an organization that died (RIP) 7 years ago. ‘The Franchise’ Shane Douglas is a man who ignites the sport of professional wrestling.” He grabs the ECW heavyweight belt. “Tonight before God and my father as witness I declare myself…as the NEW ECW heavyweight champion of the world! When you set out to change the face of professional wrestling, so tonight the new era begins…the era of the sport of professional wrestling…the era of ‘the Franchise’…the era of the ECW.” Crowd chants “ECW!”
A long list of past highlights of Shane Douglas is shown. Perhaps this was Paul Heyman’s way of tipping his hat to Shane Douglas because he wasn’t sure if recovery from his elbow surgery (among other physical issues) would enable him to re-enter the squared circle.
Heyman gives a voice-over for a video package of “Scott Charles ‘Bam Bam’ Bigelow” then New Jack. Yes, Paul actually said Bigelow’s full name in case no one already knew it.
Highlights of a victory for the tag champs over Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney are shown including a double superplex to seal the deal.
Back on January 31 the Triple Threat came to fruition when BBB nailed Taz with the TV title belt. After Taz was demolished Candido hammered Storm with the tag title belt. Heyman’s excerpt regarding the mandate for the tag champs is then shown in full.
The introduction of a match between the tag champs versus Chris Chetti and Jerry Lynn is shown. As you would expect Candido asks for his own entrance music and bitches out the ring announcer for not naming him first. We cut to where Axl trashes Candido using Sunny as his pawn then gives him a chair shot to the head. After Lance attacks both Rotten and Mahoney he gets crowned with a chair shot as well!
Next we get highlights of the match between the tag champs versus Rotten and Mahoney from Fort Lauderdale. Storm gives both Mahoney and Rotten chair shots. After Candido re-enters the ring and gives more chair shots to Mahoney Storm wallops Candido with a chair shot to the head! Ultimately Storm hits a springboard back elbow and Candido steals the pin. When Storm confronts him about it he receives a belt shot to the head.
Our next recap is Justin Credible and his feud with Mikey Whipwreck. Highlights of previous matches are shown including Credible’s decimation of Mikey’s knee in Buffalo. Also Mikey gives the Whippersnapper to Nicole Bass. We return to Queens where Credible grabs Beulah by the hair. Upon trying to give her That’s Incredible she escapes and low blows him. Chastity and Beulah get into a quick CATFIGHT before Jason breaks it up and clotheslines her. Mikey hits the ring and gives the Whippersnapper to Jason, Chastity, and then Justin. Dreamer follows with a DDT on Credible and gets the pin. Following that we get Justin’s “4 Life” promo from last week then Mikey’s Super-Whippersnapper. Jason pulls out the referee and the heels trio gets the best of Mikey finishing with That’s Incredible.
Joey mocks DX’s invasion of WCW with ECW’s invasion of Marietta, GA for their PPV.
Our next recap begins with Joel Gertner’s disgusting promo about Dreamer, Sandman, and Lori Fullington. After that we get the clip of the Dudley Boyz’ stalking Beulah before Sandman, looking like he just fell off the EMT gurney, scares the bejeezus out of all of the Dudleys and informs them of their impending receipt at the PPV. Joey mentions Sandman and Dreamer’s invasion of the WWF at Mind Games in September 1996.
Our next recap (smell a theme here?) begins with the match between BBB and RVD. The Van Daminator gives RVD the victory and the TV title. Then highlight of RVD’s match with Al Snow where Sabu costs him the victory is shown. Next Heyman informs Fonzie that Sabu gets his title shot at the PPV…against RVD! After that we get the ECW Fan Cam footage of Sabu versus Fatu. Winner gets to keep his four letter name. RVD masquerades as Sabu and takes his place in the match. RVD steals the glory and the pin. Our next highlight features Snow versus Sabu. Snow tries the Super Snow Plow, but Fonzie breaks it up. Snow and Sabu fall through the table. Before Sabu can easily pin Snow RVD throws in the towel costing Sabu the match.
Joey promotes the matches at the PPV.
Our next recap (sick of this yet?) features the highlights of Shane Douglas. Not only does Joey mention Douglas’ psychological handicap but also his physical handicap in his match against Al Snow. The promo war between Douglas and Taz is shown. Shortly after his match against Al Snow at the PPV Douglas will have bone spurs removed from his elbow. Also he has a cracked bone in his upper palette. On top of that he boarded a plane against doctor’s orders, and his sinuses “exploded” according to Joey. “This is the last stand of a great champion” bemoans Joey. I heave my dinner. Joey basically counts Douglas’ chances of retaining the gold at the PPV as slim and none.
Styles closes out the show with an interesting fact: “Snow gave us all…HEAD!” Somewhere Mick Foley is snickering.
On the one hand you have a HARD SELL for the PPV here. On the other hand you have a clip show of ALL the angles since Living Dangerously back in March. If you haven’t been paying attention to the show for the previous couple of months this show catches you up and makes you want to buy the PPV. However, if you have been watching all along this show is a mere refresher and a chore to recap again. Nonetheless I did enjoy seeing Douglas’ speech from 1994. Next week’s edition will be the actual Wrestlepalooza PPV itself. Stay tuned!

Be sure to visit http://www.rockstargary.com to check out more info on me!

The SmarK RAW Rant–09.17.12

The SmarK RAW Rant – 09.17.12 Live from Bridgeport, CT Your hosts are Jim Ross, Michael Cole & JBL Paul Heyman, now using Punk’s music, starts us out. “Cult of Personality” actually works even better for him than it does for Punk, in fact. So apparently the finish of last night’s match was embroiled in controversy (really?), and Heyman calls out referee Chad Patton to defend his actions. We get various footage showing both shoulders down, thus proving that Punk is still the champion. John Cena and his pink ribbons interrupt, and he’s got no beef with the ref, he just wanted the match to go on longer. But in fact Cena STILL doesn’t want to give Punk respect, because he didn’t BEAT Cena, he merely retained the title. And now we get Alberto Del Rio complaining about not getting a rematch. And of course AJ is here to make the predictable Del Rio & Punk v. Cena & Sheamus tag match for tonight. Man, if you had told me a year ago that we’d still be seeing Cena feuding with Punk and Del Rio a year later…well, I probably wouldn’t have been that surprised, actually. Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio v. Epico & Primo Cara quickly takes Primo down with the flying armdrag and Rey gets a corner splash for two. Double kick gets two and we take a break. Back with Sin Cara getting worked over, but he comes back with a tornado DDT on Primo and makes the hot tag. So we missed the entire heat segment in the commercial. Rey runs wild on Epico and puts him in the corner with a rana, then both guys get put in 619 position. Cara finishes Epico with a swanton at 7:23. Match was fine, although there wasn’t much actually shown around the break. ** Wait, weren’t Primo and Epico babyfaces last time we saw them? Not that anyone cares anyway. The Primetime Players come in for the beatdown afterwards, still bitter about losing their #1 contendership. They’re taking stuff now, apparently. The booking path with the masked men is pretty easy to map out, but the question is whether they can hold it off until Wrestlemania. Eve v. Beth Phoenix Color commentator Layla casts aspersions on the moral fiber of Eve, who gets a rollup for the pin at 1:10. Brodus Clay v. Heath Slater Clay proceeds to squashing Slater, but Antonio Cesaro provides some distraction and Slater gets two. Brodus finishes him with the splash at 1:40 anyway. The Miz debuts his new segment (I hate when they call it a “talk show” like it’s some sort of separately scheduled program) and interviews Booker T, trying to find out why Booker is such a bad GM. The crowd chants “boring” at this, and Booker makes Miz v. Ryback for right now. Ryback destroys the perfectly innocent furniture for some reason, and I guess we’re not actually getting that match. Dolph Ziggler v. Santino Santino gets a rollup for two, but Ziggler hits a neckbreaker to take over and drops an elbow for two while the crowd starts to openly chant for him. Ziggler stops to disrespect the sock puppet, and shrugs off Santino’s comeback attempt. Santino gets a second comeback, but can’t find his cobra sock, and the Zig Zag finishes at 4:02. Very extended squash for Ziggler. Thank god they didn’t job Ziggler to Santino as well. * Wade Barrett v. Justin Gabriel I like the beard on Barrett, actually. Gabriel uses some quick kicks, but Barrett tosses him and back in for a backbreaker that gets two. Barrett pounds on the ribs until Gabriel makes the comeback, and the fans chant “we want wrestling”, which the announcers interpret as “we want Nexus”. Gabriel comes back with a lionsault for two, but Barrett lays him out with an elbow to the head for the pin at 4:00. So what was the point of the ribs for the whole match? * Meanwhile, Jared from Subway shills subs. WWE Tag team titles: Kane & Daniel Bryan v. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth You know, for as much shit as I give them about not pulling the trigger at the right time, they put those belts on Team Friendship at EXACTLY the right time, because they had a hot act and they needed the belts to keep it going to the next level. The challengers work on Bryan’s arm to start, but Bryan doesn’ want to tag out to Kane. Kofi gets a bodypress for two as a result, and now Kane gets tagged in. Kane beats on Kofi in the corner, but charges and hits the floor. Man, this crowd is just dead outside of Bryan’s stuff. Bryan and Kane get into another argument and we take a break. Back with Kane holding a bearhug on Truth, but a missile dropkick allows Kofi to tag back in. Kofi hammers away in the corner and gets a flying bodypress for two, and the Boomdrop follows. Kane blocks the wacky kick, so Daniel tags himself back in and another argument ensues. Truth runs wild on Bryan and gets a front suplex for two. Truth slams Kofi on Bryan for two, and Kofi gets a dropkick for two. Double kneedrops get two for Truth. So is Bryan the face in peril or what’s the deal here? Kane finally gets a tag and hits Truth with the flying clothesline for two. Sideslam and Bryan tries to tag in again, but this time Kane won’t let him and Truth hits the Little Jimmy for two. Kane chokeslams Truth and Bryan tags himself in and finishes with the No-Lock at 14:00. This was just all over the place and the crowd was dead for most of it. *1/2 This of course all leads to the one spot that the crowd DOES care about, as the tag champions hug it out. Randy Orton v. Tensai Orton slugs away to start, but Tensai uses the POWER OF THE HEAD to take over and gets a powerslam for two. And now the bearhug. Is this show over YET? Tensai works on the back and then goes to the dreaded nerve pinch and now the crowd is turning on this match hardcore. Hearing Jim Ross having to parrot “creating separation” and “building momentum” ad nauseum is sad and disheartening. Orton finally comes back with the draping DDT off the pink rope, and the RKO finishes at 6:07. I fail to see how it’s an “RKO out of nowhere” when he stands there setting the move up for 30 seconds. ½* Damien Sandow is out to kill the ratings and give us a vocabulary lesson, but Zack Ryder interrupts and they’re having a match. Damien Sandow v. Zack Ryder We’re joined in progress after the break with Ryder backdropping Sandow and hitting a dive that gets two. Sandow drops a knee for two, bows, and gets another two. Sandow with a chinlock and elbowdrop for two as the announcers ignore the match and have a ridiculous argument about what constitutes a big word. Ryder gets a small package, which Sandow reverses for two, but Ryder comes back with the Broski boot. Sandow bails to escape, but another try hits and gets two. Sandow finishes with the neckbreaker at 5:22. This just kept going. * Sheamus & John Cena v. Alberto Del Rio & CM Punk Del Rio goes after Cena to start, but Cena backdrops him for two. Sheamus gets a Regal Roll for two, and Punk comes in and immediately gets bulldogged. Punk bails for advice from Heyman, and it appears to work as he takes over on Cena in the ring. The heels work Cena over in the corner, but Sheamus gets the tag and clotheslines Punk for two. Del Rio comes in with an impressive superkick, but Sheamus gives him the forearms and White Noise, but Del Rio comes back with a backstabber for two. Punk wraps him up with a surfboard, but Sheamus reverses out for two. Del Rio comes in with a chinlock and stomps Sheamus down for two. Sheamus gets a backbreaker and it’s hot tag to Cena, however. STF is broken up by Del Rio, but Sheamus hits him with the brogue kick. Cena finishes Punk with the FU at 9:45, despite Punk’s foot clearly being on the ropes. **3/4 The Pulse Eh, just a show. Nothing particularly offensive, and I can live with a bunch of squashes as long as it’s building to a PPV and gets people over. At least it means there’s a midcard again.

Monday Night Open Mic

First and foremost I’m happy to see that Jerry Lawler is on the road to recovery. Steve Austin has company at being a tough SOB.

Not shocked that I missed a PPV that from all accounts seems to range from entertaining-to-kick ass. Whenever Cena and Punk are given 25 minutes it’s bound to be good. They are a great pair and again as much as the Cena character can grate on us he’s proved to be a solid in-ring performer and his match quality can stand with any of the good ones.

Not much more to add. L’Shanah Tova to my Jewish brothers and sisters out there. Enjoy the show, come out swinging, keep it clean.

Hollywood Rock?

Hey Scott, first time/long time etc.  Want to say first that I loved reading the complete 2003 (buy it on amazon people! – http://www.amazon.com/Scotts-Blog-Doom-Presents-ebook/dp/B0093EGBB6/ref=la_B001JS89P0_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1347915232&sr=1-6), and was hoping you'd convert other full years into ebook form?  I'd love a 2002/2004 version, or any other full years for that matter.

Anyway, I saw a commenter speculate that WWE could turn Rock heel after the Rumble to make the assumed WM29 Main Event Vs. Cena more intriguing to viewers.
I hadn't thought of it, but I think the return of Hollywood Rock circa '03 could be GENIUS.  You'd probably still have the same people booing/cheering each guy anyway, but we'd get amazing cocky heel promos and the Rock wouldn't be exposed when his crowd pandering doesn't quite click like during last year's build.


I'm working on 2002, although my collection has holes so it's taking a while to find and convert everything.  I'm also working on some WCW stuff, which entails actually reformatting all the WCW PPV rants from text into Word files and sorting by year, and that's taking a shitload of time as well but I've been meaning to do that one for years anyway.  
Anyway, Hollywood Rock was such an underappreciated character, possibly because no one wanted to see it, but man could he go out and carry off some cheap heat like no one's business.  The problem was that Rock is SOOOOO good that he turned himself babyface again right away because no one wanted to boo him, and I think that's actually what would happen again with Cena.  I don't them trying is out of the question, of course, because they're still so desperate for Cena to get cheered, but I don't think the heat would last until Wrestlemania, especially if he's coming off beating supposedly hated heel CM Punk for the title.  

Punk at Wrestlemania

This is an obvious topic, but I'm interested in you and the blog's opinion, especially after the recent direction of his character-who do you think Punk will/should face at Wrestlemania?  They have hinted at a Punk/Rock match for the title, but I just don't see them letting Punk be in the main event of a show that can have Rock, Lesnar, Taker, HHH, and Cena at the top.  Since they're clearly pushing him to be the top heel, do you see him facing one of those guys(and probably laying down), or do you see him dropping the title before then and facing somebody like Sheamus or Daniel Bryan to push them further up the card?  I'm sure most fans would like to see him face the Rock because we'd be guaranteed a good match and probably a better story leading up to it than Punk/Jericho and Rock/Cena from last year, but the fact that they don't trust Punk to main event B shows makes that seem pretty unlikely(although still more likely than an Austin return as some have suggested).  Just wondering what you think. 

I think with Rock-Cena 2 and Brock-Undertaker (or maybe Brock-HHH 2 and Undertaker against let's say Orton) already on top of Wrestlemania, it'll be pretty crowded up there as it is.  Punk can always jump to Smackdown and be top heel there against Sheamus, because god knows he'll probably still have that fucking belt by Wrestlemania while Dave says "Ziggler is going to win it any week now" on the radio show every day.  Plus I think that Punk-Sheamus would have a good dynamic, even if Sheamus's HHH-like booking is getting really irritating and we all know how the match would end anyway.  

Night of Champions 2012

of Champions 2012
September 16, 2012
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
another WWE PPV here and in this case almost everything is for a
title. This doesn’t really mean much as almost every show has four
or five title shots but it’s an interesting theme I guess. The main
event here is Cena vs. Punk III for the title with Punk defending for
once, which is the third combination they could go with in their
series. Other than that not much really stands out here so let’s get
to it.

Battle Royal
Clay, Epico, Primo, Justin Gabriel, Tensai, Tyson Kidd, Michael
McGillicutty, Zach Ryder, Titus O’Neal, Darren Young, Jinder Mahal,
JTG, Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater, Ted DiBiase, Santino Marella
winner gets a US Title shot at Cesaro later in the night. Cameron is
back from suspension apparently. Anybody but Santino. Anybody.
Slater asks everyone to stand back so he can dance and he’s
eliminated by 15 people at once. McGillicutty is thrown out as is
DiBiase in about 40 seconds. Brodus dumps Primo and Mahal a few
seconds later. The problem in battle royals is that there isn’t much
else to say other than who tosses out who until we get to the end.
Brodus puts out Epico and Tensai LAUNCHES Gabriel out.
is sent to the apron and tries a slingshot hurricanrana but gets
powerbombed onto the pile of people. The monsters square off and
Santino tries a double Cobra to no avail. The Players and McIntyre
team up and dump Brodus, who may have hurt his shoulder. The Cobra
puts JTG out and Ryder dropkicks McIntyre out. Brodus leaves and his
shoulder seems fine so maybe it was just something quick. There’s
the Cobra and it drops Tensai and Young, with the latter getting
dumps Santino and we’re down to Titus, Young, Tensai and Ryder.
Titus suplexes Young onto Tensai before the partners go after Ryder.
The Players double team Ryder but get dumped by Tensai. Tensai
thought Ryder went out but he slid back in. Tensai charges into the
double knee in the corner but he blocks the Rough Ryder into a
powerbomb position. He goes to dump Ryder but Ryder counters into a
hurricanrana to eliminate Tensai for the win at 5:42.
C-. It’s a battle royal so
there isn’t much to say here. Ryder getting the shot is fine as the
fans are going to react to him. He doesn’t have much of a chance
against Cesaro but that’s ok as I’m sure more than one other title
will change hands tonight. This was about what you would expect, but
at least Santino didn’t win which would have been insufferable.
opening video is all about Cena vs. Punk. They aren’t even hiding
that the Smackdown Title means nothing does it?
talks about the Lawler story and says that Jerry is going home this
weekend. That’s great to hear. JBL is introduced as the replacement
and says that he’s just keeping the seat warm for Lawler.
Title: The Miz vs. Sin Cara vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
the match, Miz complains about having to be in this and says that
he’s going to file a complaint against Booker T for making him do
this. Miz is champion coming in if you’re new at this. Rey is sent
to the floor to start but Cara sends Cody to the floor as well before
armdragging Miz outside too. Cody and Rey come back in as Cara drops
to the mat for no apparent reason.
time for the masked guys to fight. I know this has been a match
people have wanted to see and I’m not really sure why. Rey takes
Cara down for two but Cody makes the save. The unmasked guys go at
it for awhile and everything breaks down. Rey goes up but takes too
long so Cara goes after him. The Disaster Kick hits Cara but Miz
breaks up a superplex so he can hook a Tower of Doom which gets two
on Rey. Miz sends Cody to the floor as the fans sound like they’re
chanting for Cody.
short DDT gets two on Rey but Cara comes back with some high flying
stuff to send Miz to the floor, followed by a big dive. Rey hits a
headscissors on Cody on the floor followed by a seated senton off the
apron. Cara gets two on the champ off a slingshot senton but he gets
sent into the corner for the corner clothesline from Miz. Rey comes
in with a kind of Vader Bomb for two (why has that move become so
popular lately?) but Cody jumps him from behind for two of his own.
puts Cody in 619 position but gets sent into the post by Miz. Miz
goes after Rey but winds up taking the 619 instead. The top rope
splash gets two for Rey on Miz but Cody saves. Cody tries to steal
the pin on Miz but Cara saves. Cody goes for Cara’s mask but Rey
saves. Rey gets sent to the floor with his sliding bump and Cara
hits Cody in the head with an enziguri from the apron.
tries to put another mask on Cody but Miz runs in and hits a
backbreaker/neckbreaker combo for two on Cara. Miz tries to
powerbomb Cara but Cara puts the mask on him instead. Cody tries
Cross Rhodes on Cara but Miz bumps into them (he can’t see because of
the mask) and hits the Finale on Cody for the pin to retain at 12:42.
B-. This was a great choice for
an opener as they hit a great streak of near falls and saves in
there. The ending was creative but I’m really not sure what it
added. Miz pinning Cody doesn’t mean anything significant and he
would have hit the Finale on him in that situation if he could see or
not. Good opener here which got the crowd fired up.
Prime Time Players are talking to Eve when someone comes up to tell
her there’s an emergency. Eve runs off and finds Kaitlyn down with a
bad ankle. She isn’t sure who attacked her but Eve says they’ll
figure out something.
recap the Anger Management story with I believe the same video that
aired on Friday. Basically Kane and Bryan both have anger issues and
have been sent to anger management, resulting in some wacky outcomes
and a tag title shot tonight.
Kingston/R-Truth vs. Kane/Daniel Bryan
and Kofi start but it’s quickly off to Truth. The big man powers
Truth down and it’s off to Bryan for some NO kicks which drive him
crazy. Truth armdrags him down and it’s back to Kofi with a top rope
forearm for two. A BIG kick to the face puts Bryan down and it’s
back to Truth for the spinning legdrop. The champions are the heels
here by default, but it’s more like they’re just the less popular
to Kane who pounds Truth down into the corner and stomps away a bit.
Back to Bryan and the fans erupt. The fans are going to turn this
guy face by force soon and it’s going to be massive. Bryan fires off
some kicks for two and it’s back to Kane for a low dropkick for two.
The challengers try to work together but Bryan misses a dropkick in
the corner and it’s time for a fight.
almost brawl but Bryan wants to hug it out, drawing the pop of the
night so far. JBL freaking out over stuff is something I’ve missed.
Truth FINALLY makes the hot tag after apparently writing the great
American novel while the challengers hugged. Kofi hits his usual
stuff and it sounds like the fans are booing him.
pulls Bryan to the floor to avoid Trouble in Paradise and they get in
another argument. Kofi dropkicks Kane and (almost) hits a flip dive
onto Bryan. NO Lock to Kofi doesn’t work as Truth makes the save to
more booing. Bryan kicks Kofi in the face but Kane tags himself in
and loads up the clothesline. Another argument with Bryan lets Kofi
run up for a rana but Bryan holds Kane’s foot. Kane stays on the top
but Bryan shoves him off into a splash to Kofi to win the titles at
B-. This was different but the
fans ate it up with a spoon. There was absolutely no other option
for this match as Kane and Bryan are currently over like free beer in
a frat house. The pop for the win is bigger than probably all of the
reactions for a tag title match in the last five years combined, so
at least people are paying attention now.
guys say they’re the champions post match but Kane sends fire from
the posts to end the argument.
can’t go tonight and Eve says no one deserves the title match
tonight. Booker says Eve can have it. Teddy isn’t pleased.
and JBL talk about breast cancer and how WWE is partnering with a
cancer research foundation which is why the middle rope is pink.
Nothing wrong with that at all.
Title: Zack Ryder vs. Antonio Cesaro
won the preshow battle royal to get this shot. The word of the night
is Unfair, which is what Cesaro thinks this match is. Cesaro takes
him down with ease to start but Ryder takes Cesaro down by the wrist
to counter. A flapjack and dropkick get two for Ryder but Cesaro
shrugs them off and hooks a chinlock. A clothesline gets two for
Cesaro as does the gutwrench suplex.
gets the same off a regular suplex and the fans cheer for Ryder.
They slug it out but Cesaro throws him into the air and hits the
European uppercut for two. Cesaro hooks a reverse neckbreaker but
pulls Ryder onto his back for a submission hold. Ryder escapes and
hits a discus lariat for no cover.
rollup gets two for Ryder as does a middle rope dropkick. Ryder hits
a neckbreaker for two and Cesaro rolls to the apron. He goes up but
Ryder brings him down with a hurricanrana. Ryder loads up the Broski
Boot but Aksana pulls him to the floor. Back in and a European
Uppercut sets up the Neutralizer to retain the title at 6:40.
C-. This was perfectly fine.
It wasn’t a great match at all but for a thrown together PPV title
defense this was fine. Cesaro needs a bit more development but he’s
fine having random challengers like this one. Ryder is good to throw
out there as the people still like him so the fans react to what he
does. Nothing great but this was fine.
Del Rio and Rodriguez are in the back. Ricardo has his neck brace
off and Otunga yells at him, saying it needs to be on at all times
even though Ricardo says it’s not hurting anymore. They call Ricardo
stupid and he puts the brace back on.
Ziggler vs. Randy Orton
grudge match here. The fans like Ziggler and they fight over a
lockup to start. Ziggler avoids a right hand and brags about doing
so. A clothesline takes Ziggler down and Randy stomps away. Dolph
comes back with a dropkick and a neckbreaker for two. Cole is
playing the straight man on commentary here tonight and it’s really
refreshing. Orton counters a suplex into a slingshot suplex for two.

backbreaker sets up some clotheslines from Randy but he can’t hook
the Elevated DDT. The camera keeps cutting to Vickie and it’s
getting distracting. Ziggler tries a hurricanrana but Orton counters
into a powerbomb. Orton gets shoved off the top and a missile
dropkick gets two for Ziggler. Dang it quit cutting to her. We get
it: she’s on the floor and shouting a lot. We can see that very
clearly from the regular camera shot.
drops a bunch of elbows capped off by the jumping elbow for two. Off
to a chinlock with the headstand by Ziggler but this time he bridges
forward to crank on the neck even more. Back up and another dropkick
gets two for Ziggler. Dolph goes up but gets crotched and
superplexed down for two. They slug it out and Ziggler holds his
own. He runs into an elbow but takes Orton down with the Fameasser
for two.
head to the floor with Orton taking over. He hits the Elevated DDT
off the barricade but Orton throws Ziggler back in instead of taking
the countout. That only gets two back inside and Orton loads up the
RKO but gets countered into the sleeper. Orton throws him off his
back, throws Ziggler into the air and pulls him into the RKO for the
pin at 18:15.
B+. Very good match here with
Ziggler more than hanging with Orton. JBL pushed the idea that if
Ziggler cashes in, Orton should get a title match. My guess is that
they’ll go with that feud after Orton gets back from the movie which
isn’t a bad idea. I’m not wild on Ziggler losing AGAIN but at least
it was in a competitive match.
get a sneak preview of Dredd 3D.
Title: Layla vs. Eve Torres
can’t say I blame them for swapping in Eve. Kaitlyn just can’t do
anything in the ring. JBL is talking about the Loch Ness Monster and
other conspiracy theories for some reason. Layla grabs a quick
rollup for two followed by a headlock. You can see the fans walking
to the back during the match. A low dropkick takes Eve down and they
shake hands, only for Eve to get a cheap shot to take over. Eve
hooks a headscissors choke as the fans chant OLE. Layla makes a
comeback but misses her bouncing cross body. The rolling neckbreaker
gives us a new champion at 6:35.
D+. The match was technically
fine but my goodness the crowd being silent brings it down. Eve
being champion makes sense but it’s not like the title changes
anything with her. She’s FAR better in the ring than some of the
girls on the roster so I can’t complain much there, but they’ve
treated the title like nothing for so long that this doesn’t mean
anything at all.
cancer survivors are here and at least they’re not booed.
we get a video about breast cancer.
is shouting about being the tag team champions and runs into AJ who
is just standing around with her hips cocked to the side in a short
skirt. She doesn’t say anything so Bryan keeps walking and runs into
Dr. Shelby. Kane shows up and shouts that he’s the tag champions
(I’m not messing up with grammar. That’s what they’re saying).
get in another fight and AJ snaps and tells them to calm down.
Shelby makes Bryan congratulate Kane but Kane won’t say anything.
Bryan yells that he’s the tag team champions but Kane pops up and
pours Gatorade over Bryan. Kane: “I’M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!”
Stop the shot. Just cut it now. This isn’t going to be topped.
Kane can be heard running off shouting that he’s the tag team
champions and AJ loses it with laughter.
look on JBL’s face somehow makes it even better. “I came back for
that hilarious moment, we bring it way down with a recap of Del Rio
vs. Sheamus. In short, they had a match, Sheamus beat Del Rio, they
had another match, Sheamus beat Del Rio again, Del Rio complained,
now they’re having another match and Sheamus can’t use the Brogue
World Title: Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus
is in mostly white attire here which isn’t a great look for him. We
get the big match intros which is a nice touch. Before the bell
here’s Booker T. He’s concluded his investigation into the Brogue
Kick and the move is legal, thereby making the last two weeks TOTALLY
POINTLESS. Sheamus fires a quick Brogue Kick but takes out Otunga
instead. Referees come out to take Otunga to the back.
defends his own loss to Mysterio in 23 seconds as Sheamus pounds away
in the corner. A neckbreaker gets two for Sheamus and we head to the
floor where Sheamus hits the shoulder from the apron. Del Rio throws
him off the steps into the announce table to take over. Back in the
ring and Del Rio cranks on the arm followed by a kick to the ribs.
Del Rio uses Seth Rollins’ Blackout for two. Cole is talking about
the history of the title and thankfully they say it only goes back
ten years.
shoulder gets sent into the post and a double ax off the top to the
arm gets two for Alberto. Del Rio goes up again but Sheamus knocks
him off, only to have Alberto grab an armbreaker over the ropes. An
attempt at another ax handle is countered by an ax handle from
Sheamus. Sheamus fires off more running ax handles and rams Alberto
face first into the post.
are the ten forearms in the corner and Alberto is in trouble. White
Noise is countered into a Backstabber for two. The fans want
Ziggler. The Cross Armbreaker is countered into White Noise and the
fans still want Ziggler. The Brogue Kick misses and there’s the
enziguri in the corner for a very close two. Another Brogue Kick
misses but Sheamus escapes the Armbreaker but he can’t hook the
charges at Del Rio but gets low bridged and his arm is trapped in the
ropes. Del Rio fires away kicks and Sheamus is in trouble. There’s
the Armbreaker but Sheamus rolls on top of Del Rio and powerbombs him
down to break the hold. Brogue Kick misses and there’s the
Armbreaker AGAIN. Sheamus almost taps but makes the ropes with his
feet instead. The corner enziguri misses for Del Rio and the Brogue
Kick finishes clean at 14:27.
B. These matches are fine but
there are three problems with the feud. First and foremost, the
story is incredibly boring. I mean, they’re REALLY boring. Second,
Sheamus is not going to tap out to the Armbreaker. It’s flat out not
going to happen, just like 99.99% of all heel submission holds in
world title matches. It just does not happen in the WWE. Third,
Sheamus has beaten him twice coming into this so what was the point
of a third match? This feud needs to be over now, just like it
needed to be over a month ago. Still though, pretty good match.
on the National Guard which has some members here tonight.
recap Punk vs. Cena. Punk has been champion for about ten months but
he thinks he can’t get respect because of Cena. Tonight he gets to
define his reign, whatever that is supposed to mean.
is in the ring and praises Punk, saying that Punk has described
himself as a Paul Heyman Guy.
World Title: John Cena vs. CM Punk
has the old school hoodie on and comes out first. Cena has a new
shirt. Punk’s trunks are Yankees colors. My goodness they’re
pushing the tar out of this heel turn. After the big match intros
we’re ready to go. Punk is getting booed but it’s not 100%. He
holds up the title for like a minute before the match starts. It’s a
pose off and Cena throws his shirt to the crowd where his dad catches
takes him to the mat and Punk’s trunks even have pinstripes on them.
Cena gets a quick headlock but it’s released quickly. Cole and JBL
keep rattling off stats and histories which is much better than Cole
laughing at stuff. A quick release fisherman’s suplex puts Punk down
but Punk elbows Cena in the face to escape. Punk takes over with a
headlock takeover and the dueling Cena chants begin.
misses a charge in the corner and Punk dropkicks him in the face for
two. They’re still in first gear. Punk walks over Cena’s body to
get to the corner for some posing. That was awesome and he escapes
the AA attempt on top of that. A DDT gets two for Punk and he fires
some elbows to Cena’s chest. Off to a chinlock followed by a
bridging Indian Deathlock and Heyman has those evil eyes going on.
head to the floor as Cena tries to get a breather but Punk sends him
right back inside. Cena baseball slides him to the floor and throws
Punk into the crowd. A suplex on the floor takes Punk down and we
head back inside. The AA is countered into a high kick and it’s off
to a camel clutch. Back up and Punk fires off some jabs for two.
The GTS is escaped and Cena starts his finishing sequence, only to
counter the spinning slam into a cross body for two.
avoids the neckbreaker and takes Punk’s head off with a clothesline
for two. The Shuffle is blocked and Punk gets two off a neckbreaker.
Punk goes up for a cross body but Cena rolls through into an AA
attempt but Punk grabs the rope to block. Cena busts out a suicide
dive to take Punk out. Not bad at all. Back in and Punk slaps on a
very quick Anaconda Vice but Cena gets on top of Punk and puts on the
STF. Punk rolls out of that into a Crossface but Cena stands up with
it and slams Punk down to escape.
slug it out with Cena taking over but he walks into a leg lariat.
The knee in the corner sets up a clothesline followed by the Macho
Elbow for two. Cena counters the GTS into the STF and JBL (I feel
like I’m on Sesame Street) freaks out. Punk gets to the rope and the
GTS hits clean for two. A kick to the head gets two and Punk slaps
him in the face. GTS and AA are escaped but Cena hits the spinning
slam and Shuffle followed by the AA for a VERY close two. Heyman
looks like he’s 13 and finding a Playboy.
goes up but misses the top rope Fameasser and there’s the high kick
for ANOTHER close two. They’re in the main event slugout mode now
and it’s great stuff. Punk hits some shots to the face and a
spinning backfist. A knee to the head gets two and Punk goes up,
only to miss a moonsault. It wouldn’t have hit even if Cena had
stayed in the same place. AA is countered and a not so great GTS
gets two.
tries a Rock Bottom for two. Cena hits an AA out of nowhere for two.
Cena puts him on the middle rope and tries a belly to back superplex
but Punk knocks him off. John runs right back up and hits a middle
rope German for the pin and the title at 26:54. Both of their
shoulders were down and I think you know where this is going.
the referee is saying not so fast (my friend) and it’s a draw.
A-. While it’s not as good as
MITB (that’s an unfair expectation though) and a bit below Summerslam
if I remember that match right, this was still top shelf stuff. The
ending sets up another match in the Cell where it belongs and I’d
certainly like to see another match between these two. I’m not wild
on the ending but it makes perfect sense. Great match too.
clocks Cena with the belt.
A-. This was an
excellent show with nothing bad on it at all. The worst match was
probably the Divas and that was pretty much fine. Most importantly
of all though: they treated the belts like something that mattered
tonight and it made a noticeable difference. JBL on commentary was
great and Bryan/Kane are still great. You had two really good
matches and a bunch of other solid ones. Very good show here and
probably their best PPV since Wrestlemania.
Miz b. Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes – Miz pinned Rhodes
after a Skull Crushing Finale
Bryan b. Kofi Kingston/R-Truth – Kane pinned Kingston after a top
rope splash
Cesaro b. Zack Ryder – Neutralizer
Orton b. Dolph Ziggler – RKO
Torres b. Layla – Spinning Neckbreaker
b. Alberto Del Rio – Brogue Kick
Cena vs. CM Punk went to a draw
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com