“the King” Lawler are in the booth and they are live from Richmond, Virginia.
All: Rockabilly (w/The Honky Tonk Man)
defeats “The Real Double J” Jesse James with a DDT at 3:10:
match. This is the continuation of the
Rockabilly-Jesse James feud, which is a feud that seems very out of place by
1997 standards. I caught the clipped
version of this match on YouTube and its very tolerable because it eliminates
some of Rockabilly’s slow offense. The
DDT Rockabilly delivers at the end of the match is vicious. This was a simple squash for Rockabilly, but
it’s not like he was going anywhere with this 1980s-style gimmick. However, I have to ask again: If they were going to push Rockabilly why did
they job him out in his first match a month ago? Rating: ½*
Foundation tells Jim Ross that they have procured front row tickets for
tonight’s event and they bought them from scalpers outside of the building.
Contest: Hunter Hearst Helmsley
(w/Chyna) pins Flash Funk with a Pedigree at 10:02:
the storyline explanation was that they were afraid of Chyna and decided not to
show up. Interestingly enough,
Helmsley’s Titantron still shows the lady friends he was bringing to the ring
in 1996. Helmsley’s small feud with Mankind
began the previous night on Shotgun Saturday Night, when Chyna gave Mankind a
low blow to help Helmsley get out of the Mandible Claw. Predictably, Chyna interferes several times
to put Helmsley in control of the match.
Helmsley does a better job mixing up his offense, but the crowd is still
bored until Funk starts flying around on his comeback. Funk goes for the Funky Flash Splash, but
Helmsley crotches him and delivers a brutal super side suplex to set up a clean
victory. After the match, Chyna crotches
Funk on the top rope. A good opener, but
Funk looked much more impressive than Helmsley.
That’s not who got the push, though.
1-900-737-4WWF to hear from the winners and losers of tonight’s matches. It’ll cost you $1.49 a minute!
Ken Shamrock on the Titantron and Shamrock says that although he was attacked
by Vader and Mankind on the Free for All, he isn’t going to be shaken.
interviews Rocky Maivia, who admits that success may have come too soon but
says that he has learned a lot. Maivia
says that tonight’s match is about his determination and not his destiny. You can sense more attitude in these promos
from Maivia, which is foreshadowing the Rock character.
“The Rock” Rocky Maivia with the Mandible Claw at 8:47:
pay-per-view Sid was not available, so Maivia was plugged into this spot to
give us a battle of the future Rock N’ Sock Connection. Mankind was on the verge of a face turn
through the shoot interview segments with Jim Ross that were aired on RAW,
while Maivia was quickly plummeting down the card after a disastrous run as
Intercontinental champion. There’s
another small story behind this match and that is that Mankind eliminated
Maivia from the Royal Rumble in January, so Maivia is trying to get a small
measure of revenge here. The crowd boos
Maivia each time he is on offense, but they do pop for him giving Mankind a
Rock Bottom on the entrance ramp. Both
guys are really trying to raise the status of this match to more than a run of
the mill midcard match, but the crowd is having nothing to do with it. Maivia hits his finishing flying body press,
but Mankind has a great counter by applying the Mandible Claw and gets the
victory. Foley wrote in his book that
after this match he told some guys in the back that the WWF should cut Maivia
loose because he just “didn’t have it”, but I think that isn’t justified if you
watch this match. You can see glimpses
of a future star in Maivia, but he was in desperate need of a repackaging. Rating: **½
3:16 t-shirt by calling 815-734-1161 and then paying $20 (plus shipping &
gauntlet match to Ahmed Johnson on Raw is shown.
interviews Ahmed, who says that he is used to overcoming the odds.
Match: The Nation of Domination defeats
Ahmed Johnson when Faarooq pins Ahmed after a Dominator at 15:45:
Domination will be forced to disband. At
the time, this seemed to be the final blowoff for the never ending Ahmed-Nation
feud. Prior to the bell, WWF President
Gorilla Monsoon throws the Nation of Domination out of ringside and says that
only one wrestler will be allowed in the ring at a time. This shows Clarence Mason’s legal ability has
really been in decline since 1995 because the old Mason would’ve outmaneuvered
Monsoon and forced Ahmed to defeat ten members of the Nation as they surrounded
the ring with billy clubs. Ahmed and
Crush run through a DUDesque encounter that last five minutes, with Ahmed
countering the heart punch with a spinning heel kick and pinning him. Savio gives it a go and the crowd grows
restless about the lack of action ten minutes into the contest. Savio lasts seven minutes in a match that
wouldn’t crack ½* and when it appears that he’s going to lose, he grabs a chair
and wears Ahmed out with it to set up Faarooq’s entry into the match. Faarooq shows that his separated shoulder
injury was a rouse, but Ahmed catches him with a Pearl River Plunge, of which
Faarooq inexplicably kicks out, drawing the biggest heel reaction of the night
thus far. Faarooq quickly recovers and
finishes an exhausted Ahmed shortly thereafter to keep the Nation of Domination
intact. This told a good story during
its last three minutes, with Savio weakening Ahmed and Ahmed being too exhausted to secure a victory, but
it took forever to get there and it made this match a great cure for
insomnia. Rating: ½*
provided for the issue between Ken Shamrock and Vader.
interviews Vader, who says that his attack on Shamrock earlier in the evening
was a way to play with his mind.
Match: Ken Shamrock defeats Vader by
submission with an anklelock at 13:23:
submission and this was an excellent way to debut Shamrock, since it provided a
transition from his UFC background to the squared circle of the WWF. Vader was also an ideal opponent, since he
was seen as the toughest guy on the roster.
Shamrock doesn’t have his awesome theme music yet and it’s more
befitting a late 1980s jobber than the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Vader always loved stiff matches and he gets
all he can handle from Shamrock, who goes Antonio Inoki on Vader’s legs. Vader counters that with Memphis, as he
continually rolls out of the ring to avoid Shamrock’s offense. Although this is a work, it is a smooth one
and they do a good job mixing in brawling and MMA-style offense with
professional wrestling moves. During the
last couple of minutes, Shamrock just absolutely mauls Vader, which is
something that professional wrestling fans had never seen before and when Vader
tries to pose over Shamrock after knocking him down, Shamrock surprises him
with a takedown and finishes with the anklelock, which legitimately messes up
Vader’s ankle and puts him on the shelf for a couple of weeks. This wasn’t your conventional wrestling
match, but it was a breath of fresh air when compared to other things
on the card. Rating: ***
interviews Steve Austin, who says that after he defeats the Undertaker he’s
going to go after the Hart Foundation, who will be at ringside for the WWF
narrates some highlights of Steve Austin’s interactions with the Undertaker the
last couple of weeks.
Match: The Undertaker (Champion) pins
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin with a Tombstone at 20:09:
card. WWF history is a funny thing
because a year after this pay-per-view it would be the Undertaker coming to
Austin’s aid in an attempt to help him keep the WWF title. The Hart Foundation comes out and takes their
positions in the front row and Austin has a hard time keeping his concentration
on the Undertaker. Austin wears down the
Undertaker’s legs and the Undertaker responds in kind. The problem with this is that neither guy
really sells the leg damage long enough and it renders a good sixty percent of
the match meaningless. Even Ross is
forced to drop his euphemisms for a boring match. Austin and Hebner have a fun sequence where
Austin flips off Hebner behind his back and Hebner reciprocates when the
Undertaker tosses Austin across the ring.
Austin hits a Stunner after a hot shot, but Brian Pillman hops the
guardrail and rings the bell prematurely and this changes the momentum of the
match to allow the Undertaker to reverse an Austin Tombstone attempt into his
own version and retain the belt. A lackluster
main event that does few favors for the Undertaker, as he receives a mixed reaction
when he’s announced as the winner and he eats a Stone Cold Stunner at the end
of the broadcast. Rating: *½
the Hart Foundation jumps the guardrail and attacks the Undertaker, but they
leave Bret alone and Austin goes into the crowd, dumps Bret out of the
wheelchair, and clears the ring with one of the Hart Foundation’s crutches.
interesting part of the pay-per-view and it delivered, but the rest of the show
lacked the same “big match” feel. Even
the WWF title match played sideshow to what the Hart Foundation was doing at
ringside and it hurt some of the quality of the main event. Overall, I’m giving this a thumbs down
because although Vader-Shamrock was good, the first two matches weren’t all
that important and the gauntlet match and WWF title match didn’t live up to the
I will say this much for the Ryback push — the most intriguing main events tend to be those where both guys should win and neither one should lose, and that's definitely what they've got coming up with Punk-Ryback. However, I REALLY REALLY REALLY wish they hadn't painted themselves into a corner with the HIAC stip, because clearly this is the perfect time for Ryback to beat the shit out of Punk and Punk to walk out of the match and leave the arena like a coward. I don't often advocate that finish, but this would have been the place. But since they can't really do Sheamus-Show in the Cell yet, they have to have SOMETHING in the namesake match for the show, and Ryback-Punk is it. Maybe Ryback throws Punk through the cage door, and then Punk runs away and drives out of the arena? I dunno, but at least I'm somewhat interested in how they're gonna screwjob this one up, so that's…something? I guess?
I'm sure Vince McMahon and WWE do not consider TNA "competition" in any real sense, nor should they. They do not compete head-to-head and are in an entirely different stratosphere in terms of media and business model. However, given Vince's history of raiding competition, can you see him trying to do that to TNA just for the sake of it? TNA has picked up some steam in terms of a niche audience and he certainly isn't looking over his shoulder in any sense, but could you see him throwing big contract offers at top guys just to keep TNA way beneath him? Or just to be a bully like the old days?
Nah, I think Vince is past the point of doing stuff like that to be an ass now that he's apparently more worried about Mattel bailing on their toy deal and/or launching a new show for every night of the week to be concerned with petty things like talent acquisition. If there was ever a time that sort of thing was going to happen it was during the Flair/Morgan contract thingie earlier this year, and nothing came of it, so I doubt anything will.
The SmarK RAW Rant – 10.15.12 Live from Nashville, TN Your hosts are Jim Ross and Michael Cole Big Show starts us out, complaining about the debate and Sheamus in general. So tonight, he’s going to erase the spectre of his previous 45 second loss to Daniel Bryan by beating him tonight. We cut to the back, where the tag champs happen to be watching, and AJ forces him to go out. Sadly, Kane does not have his back. Why can’t those crazy kids just get along? Big Show v. Daniel Bryan Bryan stops to tear up a little kid’s goat face mask at ringside, so hopefully they won’t get sued over THAT. Show pounds on Bryan and tosses him by the beard right out of the ring, and we take a break. I’m really beginning to find it obnoxious when they take commercial breaks 30 seconds into a match instead of waiting for a more organic point later on. We return with Show holding a bearhug until Bryan escapes. Bryan dropkicks the knee and the crowd goes APESHIT for him as makes the comeback with kicks in a great sequence and gets two. Corner dropkicks, but he walks into a chokeslam at 7:30, most of which was during the commercial break. Still fun. ** Why are they taking the hottest act in the company and beating him on TV like that, though? Kane saves Bryan from a knockout punch, so he kinda has Bryan’s back. Paul Heyman introduces CM Punk, who is ready to announce his opponent for Hell In A Cell. He notes that if anyone, including fans, physically disrespect him, he’ll put them down. Well he certainly showed that. And Vince disrespected him, so Punk beat him up so badly that he’ll never compete in the ring again. Whew. So he goes over the choices for his opponent: The one-armed man, or the next big monster. The choice seems obvious, but fans are DISRESPECTING him, so he decides to think it over and reveal his answer later, in a higher-rated quarter hour no doubt. This brings out Vince (is it halftime in the football game or something?) and now there will be a contract signing later tonight where Vince will announce his opponent instead. What a fucking waste of time this was. Just a totally cynical ratings grab on their part. Alberto Del Rio v. Brodus Clay Clay is now sans entrance, so this probably won’t last long. Clay puts ADR on the floor with a shoulder tackle, but Del Rio goes to the arm and gets two. Brodus misses a charge and Del Rio finishes with the armbar at 2:00. ½* Meanwhile, Punk wants another fight with Vince McMahon. Santino & Zack Ryder v. The Primetime Players We’re joined in progress because they must be running short on time AGAIN. Apparently Zack and Santino are “Team Co-Bro”, because all teams must have “team” in their name. We’re joined with Titus holding a chinlock on Santino, but Zack gets the hot tag and hits the Broski boot for two. Titus finishes with the powerbomb at 1:33, however. Fine for a 90 second match, I guess. * Heath Slater’s newly named 3 Man Band runs out for the beatdown afterwards, as they are indeed now dressed like Poison after last week’s comment from JBL. Dolph Ziggler is out to challenge CM Punk for the PPV because Ryback doesn’t deserve the shot, and David Otunga also joins him to complain. So AJ brings out Ryback for a handicap match. Ryback v. Dolph Ziggler & David Otunga Ryback no-sells a dropkick and hits Ziggler with the clothesline, and Dolph tags out to Otunga. Ryback hits him with a jawbreaker drop, prompting Ziggler to walk out on the match. Ryback finishes Otunga with the Shellshock at 1:45. So I guess it’s Ryback v. Ziggler at the PPV when Cena gets the shot tonight. Meanwhile, Paul Heyman sucks up to Vince and pitches the rematch, but Vince makes the match against Heyman instead. Meanwhile, Matt Striker goes to AJ, looking for an apology from Kane, but he gets a match with Kane instead. There is some wantonly irresponsible matchmaking going on tonight. Antonio Cesaro v. Justin Gabriel Cesaro gets a vicious clothesline and double stomp, then puts Gabriel on the top and hits a kneelift and another double stomp. The crowd starts a USA chant for some good old fashioned xenophobic heat, and Cesaro holds a waistlock on the ground. They slug it out and Gabriel fights back with an inverted DDT and 450 splash, but it only gets two. Gabriel springboards at him, but lands on the UPPERCUT OF DOOM and the Neutralizer finishes at 3:44. I think Gabriel actually got too much offense – Cesaro is the future and he should have just destroyed him hardcore. ** Matt Striker v. Kane Wonder if the ratings CAN get to 2.4 or lower? Because they’re sure trying. Striker asks again for an apology, noting that no one wants to see mindless carnage. The crowd chants “mindless carnage”, thus giving last night’s TNA crowd a run for their money. This has been a really great crowd for a pretty crappy show. Kane and Striker hug it out, but Kane gets carried away and chokeslams him at 1:55. No actual match here. Miz brings out Kofi Kingston for his interview segment. Miz again reminds us all that he main evented Wrestlemania and Kofi is a B-lister, so Kofi challenges him to a match tonight. Miz points out that all the little kids go “Yay, Kofi”, but no one actually cares about him. I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. Sheamus v. Wade Barrett Wade slugs away in the corner and works on the arm, but Sheamus hits him with a short clothesline and follows with the forearms on the apron. Barrett fights out of it and stomps Sheamus down. Pumphandle slam gets two. Barrett hits the chinlock, but Sheamus fights out with elbows and hits the Regal roll. Barrett bails and Sheamus follows with a shoulderblock off the apron, but now Big Show interrupts like last week. And we take a break while everyone stands around watching him come out. Back with Barrett in control, but Sheamus uses CLUBBING FOREARMS to put Barrett on the floor, and back in Barrett kicks him off the apron in retaliation. Barrett pounds away and gets two, then goes to a rear chinlock. Sheamus escapes with the backbreaker as Michael Cole promises yet ANOTHER recap of the Vince-Punk segment after this match. Yeah, that’ll make stay tuned in. Sheamus comes back with the forearms on the apron, and a suplex into the ring gets two. Barrett comes back with a clothesline out of the corner and he goes up with a flying elbow for two. Sheamus escapes the Wasteland, but walks into the Bossman slam and that gets two for Barrett. Both guys are down and Sheamus misses a charge, but goes up and misses the shoulderblock. Cloverleaf, but Big Show distracts him and pulls him out of the ring to draw a DQ at 16:45. Match was going well before the bullshit finish. Not as hard-hitting as last week, but I guess they had extra time to fill now. *** Meanwhile, John Cena advises Vince that he’s ready to go if he’s picked. Divas title: Eve v. Layla Shoving match to start and Eve works on a headlock. JR notes that Eve and Kaitlyn are very talented “in different ways” inside the ring. That’s a very generous assessment of Kaitlyn’s talents. Eve tosses Layla and gets two back in the ring. Low kick gets two. Eve figure-fours the head in a cool submission attempt that ends up going way too long, but Layla makes the ropes. Are they just trying to burn up time now? Layla comes back with a high kick for two and they botch a bodypress spot before Layla manages to hit it for two. Layla goes up, so Eve trips her and pins her to retain at 4:44. Layla had her foot on the ropes, but no one cares. *1/2 Meanwhile, Kane and Daniel work things out backstage and argue about how funny the Big Show chokeslam was. So Bryan tells Kane to face Show next week. Meanwhile, Vince interviews Ryback. The Rhodes Scholars v. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara No, wait, because after promising this match for the whole show, Cole now clarifies that Rey Mysterio is not here because of illness, and thus the match will take place next week instead. What the FUCK? There’s gotta be more to that one. I mean, how ill could he be that he couldn’t stand on the apron for a couple of minutes? Meanwhile, the 3MB gets kicked out of a bar. The Rhodes Scholars v. Primo & Epico The Colons attack Sandow and chase him out of the ring. Back in, Primo gets a dropkick on Rhodes for two, and slingshots into the ring with a senton for two. I think they’ve finally succeeded in burning out this awesome crowd, because they’ve been dead silent since the women’s match. Sandow comes in with a chinlock and the heels cut off the ring and work Primo over in pretty dull fashion. Primo gets the heat forever and makes the hot tag to Epico, who hits Sandow with rolling backdrop suplexes. Blind charge hits Sandow’s elbow, and the neckbreaker (“The Terminus”) finishes at 7:31. Zzzzz. * The Miz v. Kofi Kingston Kofi attacks in the corner to start and they brawl on the floor, where Kofi gets a clothesline. Back in, Kofi with a dropkick, but Miz drops him on the top turnbuckle and puts him down with a clothesline. Corner clothesline and Miz goes up with a double axehandle for two. Kofi with a sunset flip for two. Neckbreaker gets two. Miz hits the chinlock, but Kofi makes the comeback and they trip over their own feet while fighting for the finisher, which leads to Kofi getting the wacky kick out of nowhere at 5:15. Probably doesn’t bode well for his chances on the Main Event. Another dull match in a series of them tonight. *1/2 Main event contract signing: Wait, wasn’t there supposed to be a Vince-Heyman deal, or was that just Vince being a jerk and they didn’t intend to follow up on it? Anyway, Vince brings out Punk and Heyman, Cena and Ryback, and hopefully they wrap this up quickly because this has been the most boring fucking show since the original NXT. Everything since Sheamus-Barrett has literally been putting me to sleep. Vince is about to announce his decision, but Cena interrupts and gives us up his shot to THE RYBACK. In the Cell. That’s gonna be quite the trainwreck. Ryback signs the contract and then lays out Punk with the Shellshock. Either they’re gonna need an epic way to weasel out of this one at the PPV, or else Ryback is gonna have to squash him and win the belt. The Pulse What a weirdly paced show, as they rushed through the first 90 minutes and then everything slowed to a crawl for the rest. As usual, I was just begging for it to end by third hour, and the live crowd seemed to feel the same way.
As some of you know, in addition to writing about wrestling here, I also periodically review music over at Inside Pulse. Normally, I never like to mingle the two. But recently I was thinking about wrestling-themed music releases. On normal circumstances, music themed from wrestling doesn’t really work as regular music for me. There are old WWF themes that I love, but I would never put them on my iPod or anything. There is one exception to that, though. In 1998 ECW released their hopefully-titled Extreme Music, Volume One. Mostly comprised of cover versions of ECW theme songs, this album has the kind of replay value that most other wrestling-related music never reaches.
In his book Fargo Rock City, Chuck Klosterman makes brief mention of the wrestling/heavy metal cross pollination and gives props to Extreme Music for the quality of its covers. Two of the heaviest hitters cover Metallica. Most are familiar with Motorhead’s version of “Enter Sandman”. That’s right, The Sandman beat HHH to the punch in having a Motorhead theme. This version still makes the rounds on YouTube to OG metalheads who weren’t familiar with ECW, it seems. Lemmy’s vocals add a little crunch and grime to the most radio-polished of Metallica’s early work, which serves them well. The prayer in the bridge sounds particularly sinister with Lemmy’s whiskey-tinted growl. However, the riff loses a little luster with Motorhead’s more stripped down guitar attack; a lot of James Hetfield’s signature fatness and depth in his rhythm playing gets aggregated into a grungy mess. Also covering early Metallica are their old buddies in Anthrax, this time tackling “Phantom Lord”. This was actually a B-side to the “Inside Out” import single they had released that year, so ECW just got the leftovers. Still, it’s a smart move for Anthrax to take on a track from Metallica’s early fantasy-lyric-laden thrash days. Definitely something more up Anthrax’s alley, and they go at it with full force and a stripped down production that gives it the immediacy and tone of an old vinyl 7-inch. This one was one that I think got cycled around a few different ECW people but it represented Mike Awesome on the album.
Other metal legends get covered to more mixed results. Muscadine (a side project of psych-folk solo artist Jonathan Wilson) do a lackadaisical cover of AC/DC’s “Big Balls”, the inimitable theme song of Balls Mahoney. Rather than attempt to mimic the late great Bon Scott’s voice, a fool’s errand for anyone including Brian Johnson himself, Wilson adopts the bored ennui of a joyless socialite and delivers all the ballroom puns as deadpan as Steven Wright himself. It’s an interesting choice, and in some ways I might even prefer that version. Rob Van Dam’s theme of “Walk” by Pantera gets a much less capable remake, by the Rhode Island band Kilgore. While they get brownie points for naming their band after a Kurt Vonnegut character, they do no justice to the Pantera original. While I certainly grasp that not just anyone can shred like Dimebag, the solo in Kilgore’s version is completely half-assed and lacking any any fretboard pyrotechnics. Even the uneven phrasing that Phil Anselmo deploys in the original is evened out by Kilgore’s frontman. If their intent was to turn one of the all time classic grind anthems into a radio-friendly unit shifter, Kilgore succeeded. Justin Credible wasn’t one of the most beloved ECW workers by any stretch but quite a few people seemed to be enamored with “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck”, by industrial cult-favorites Prong. While Kilgore did “Walk” a disservice by polishing a gritty classic, Australian band Grinspoon actually put their stamp on “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” by not attempting to imitate Tommy Victor’s grunting vocal style. In its place the clanky industrial of Prong’s original turns into a pop-metal gem.
Speaking of Pantera: before the formation of Damageplan, Dimebag Darrell, Vinnie Paul, and Rex Brown splintered off from Anselmo to form the side project Tres Diablos, featuring Dime on vocals. Their sole recorded work was their reworking of “Heard it On The X” by ZZ Top, representing Francine on this CD. Think the southern-fried version of thrash favored by bands like Alabama Thunderpussy and REO Speeddealer and you’ve got an idea of what these Cowboys From Hell got to do when they let their Texas roots show. It fit them well and it’s a shame that they never recorded any more tunes in that vein before moving on to more butt-metal pastures. Another 90s band goes back even further than ZZ Top, as Monster Magnet covers The MC5’s classic “Kick Out The Jams” for Axl Rotten. Monster Magnet’s syrupy stoner-metal style doesn’t quite jibe with the proto-punk of MC5, but it’s a hard song to get wrong (even Presidents of the United States of America did it well, albeit by changing the lyrics and speeding it up to double time).
One last cover on this album is the standout track: as given to Bam Bam Bigelow, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden fame does a take on The Scorpions’ “The Zoo”. Trent Reznor famously said of Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt” “It doesn’t belong to me anymore,” and that’s how I feel about The Scorp’s tale of debauchery and fear at Berlin’s Banhof Zoo. It might have come from a personal place for them, but where it was all cheese metal sheen in the original, Bruce amplifies the bluesy swing in the riff and unleashes the voice, his unparalleled bleacher-reaching howl over the chorus. Klaus Meine has a similarly big voice but when it comes to metal vocals, you DON’T win that arms race with Bruce fucking Dickinson. Without having to compete with the riffage in Maiden, and able to go back to the blues roots that all NWOBHM heavyweights sprung from, Bruce sounds like he’s having unadulterated fun on this track, and it must be heard.
Of course not all the songs on this record are covers. White Zombie’s “El Phantasmo and the Chicken Run Blast-O-Rama (Wine, Women, and Song remix)” was Lance Storm’s theme for years. It originally appeared on their remix album Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds, and if you’re familiar with any of the electronic-influenced remixes of Rob Zombie’s music, you know about where this one stands. It’s still one of the standout tracks from the 90s classic Astrocreep 2000, so it comes off well here. Megadeth chimed in with an instrumental version of their track “Trust” for Jerry Lynn. I actually prefer this instrumental version to the original. While the original has a very different tone, with Dave Mustaine singing about “my body, your body” and just generally trying to sound intimate (and Mustaine trying to be sexy is not a mental image I’m comfortable with AT ALL), the instrumental reveals the guitar track that sounds like a score for an epic battle in a fantasy film.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the bookends to this album, Harry Slash & The Slashtones originals. “This Is Extreme!” is the ECW Theme song any real ECW fan remembers well, and it serves as an intro here much as it did on Hardcore TV. It’s a great atmospheric track but without the images of Tommy Dreamer waffling Raven with a chair and the like it doesn’t have the same effect. Sabu’s “Huka Blues” theme closes out the album. The Arabian vibe, the haunting saxophone, and the monster-plod riff all play together really well, making one of the very scarce original theme songs in ECW their best (I’d take this any day over “Total Elimination”). That even today Bully Ray’s TNA theme sounds like a mashup of his old Dudleyz theme and “Huka Blues” speaks to the lasting influence of Harry Slash’s original.
So there you have it. Twelve songs from ECW during its early days of PPV and expanded TV presence. A few years later, they followed up with the much less interesting Extreme Music Vol. 2: Anarchy Rocks, but that one was mainly filled with drab nu-metal that didn’t correspond with most ECW entrance themes. Not much of ECW’s side merchandise was worth its salt (I’m thinking here of their terrible video games and hideous action figures) but Extreme Music, Vol. 1 tied into the excellent musical tradition that ECW brought to North American wrestling and cemented its place as the only wrestling album worth listening to, in my book.
Posting incase TPrincess was busy or forgot
by Adam Curry ROH TV 10-14-12 Back with this week’s edition of ROH TV, lineup tonight has Kevin Steen against Rhett Titus for the ROH World Title, and more Survival of the Fittest qualifiers with Davey Richards taking on Mike Bennett and Jay Lethal facing Tommaso Ciampa. And, of course, ROH held the Glory by Honor iPPV on Saturday night. I haven’t seen the show so I can’t really comment on it, other than to say that I think the right people went over for the most part. From what I can tell the reaction to it has been 100% positive, and more importantly the show went off without any technical problems. The TV tapings are in the can for at least another 2 weeks after tonight’s show though, so let’s just get to it. We open with clips from Adam Cole/Tadarius Thomas last week, edited with the spots out of order from the actual match to make it look better. C’mon guys, that’s just bush right there… Mike Bennett (w/ Maria Kanellis and Bob Evans) vs. Davey Richards: Richards nearly wins it right off the bat with a kick to the head and a rollup. To the corner with some knees to the face, an avalanche and a clothesline get 2, and Richards goes straight from that to an anklelock. Bennett makes the ropes and ducks outside to hide behind Maria. Richards chases him around the outside and runs into a cheapshot from Brutal Bob. Bennett hits some pretty good looking punches, but Richards comes back with more knees and sends Bennett to the guardrail, followed up with a boot to the face. Back in and Richards taunts Maria while doing and Indian deathlock. Bennett to the ropes and then an elbow, and now Richards takes a powder. Bennett with some chops on the outside, an attempt to ram Richards into the post is reversed, but Bennett catches himself and a blind charge leads to Richards getting dropped back-first onto the apron as we cut to commercial. Back from the break as Bennett gets 2 off a clothesline and goes to the headlock. They slug it out with some decent looking forearms, and Richards runs into a superkick. It gets 2. Vertical suplex gets 2, and Bennett stars working the back. McGuiness is getting into late-90s Jerry Lawler territory here with his commentary on Maria, even going so far as to say “I always wanted to see her pussy”, which obviously gets bleeped. They slug it out again and Bennett gets clotheslined to the floor, and Richards follows him out with a dive through the ropes. Back in with a missile dropkick from Richards, but he eats boot on a blind charge. He comes back with an enziguri for 2. Out to the apron now, and a Richards kick finds the ringpost. Back in and now Bennett with the anklelock, but Richards reverses into a rollup for 2. As expected, Richards just stops selling the ankle injury (reminding me why he’s my least favorite of the ROH regulars), hits a suplex, and boots Bob Evans in the face from the apron. Richards with a stomp to the back from the top and back to the anklelock AGAIN. Bennett rolls out of it and sends Richards to the ropes and a punch from Maria, which the camera misses. And now here’s Mike Mondo to distract Bennett, and a kick to the face finishes it for Richards at 9:44 shown. I really could have done without that finish, and hopefully the Mondo/Bennett feud is over with the match at the PPV. *1/2, they couldn’t seem to decide if they wanted to do a straight match or a brawl and the finish sucked. And of course now Richards starts selling the ankle again… R.D. Evans brings out Tommaso Ciampa on crutches and cuts his usual shitty promo. He claims Ciampa has a torn ACL, but the fact that he throws down the crutches and walks around on it says otherwise. He says “You know what you have to do when a thoroughbred breaks his leg, you shoot him” and brings out QT Marshall. Oh, great… Evans hits Ciampa from behind with the crutch and he and Marshall go after the knee. So Marshall takes Ciampa’s spot against Lethal. Fuck… QT Marshall vs. Jay Lethal: A superkick and a springboard dropkick send Marshall to the floor, and Lethal follows him out with the Bret Hart dive through the ropes. Brief brawling on the outside, and then back in as they work each other over in the corner. Baaaaaaack body drop and a cartwheel dropkick each get 2 for Jay. He stomps on Evan’s hands and tosses Marshall out and into him, but an attempted highspot is cut off by Marshall with a tilt-a-whirl slam. He takes over with his shitty offense, and Evans chokes out Lethal while Marshall distracts the ref. Lethal misses a blind charge and tries the pin with his feet on the ropes, but the ref sees it. Backdrop suplex gets 2 for Marshall. Jay makes the comeback with some chopping and punching and hits a SWEET springboard elbow. He gets flapjacked however, and a clothesline gets 2. He starts playing to the crowd and ends up taking a superkick and the Lethal Combination. Serves him right. Jay goes to the top and Evans hops up on the apron to run interference, and here’s Prince Nana out to attack Evans. Lethal Injection on the distracted Marshall ends it at 6:40 to send Lethal into the Survival of the Fittest match with Richards and Adam Cole. Didn’t we just see that finish in the last match? *, Lethal tried, but Marshall is just useless. Quick promo from Adam Cole hyping his PPV match. Inside ROH: Just hype for the already-happened PPV. Truth Martini, Rhino, and Michael Elgin cut separate promos furthering Elgin’s face turn from last week. Steve Corino joins us for commentary, and we see clips of Kevin Steen bitch-slapping a fan. ROH World Title: Rhett Titus (w/BJ Whitmer) vs. Kevin Steen (C) (w/Jimmy Jacobs): I have no idea how Titus earned this title shot, as he’s not even a singles wrestler. Titus attacks Steen as soon as he gets through the curtain and they brawl outside for a while. Titus tosses Steen into the ring to start the match proper, and they continue with some more punchy-kicky stuff. Steen bails to the floor after a dropkick, and Titus hits a somersault dive onto Steen and Jacobs. Corino, as usual, is great on commentary arguing with McGuiness and Kelly. Back in a fameasser gets 2 for Titus, but Steen tosses Titus to the apron and hits an ugly (in a good way) DDT through the ropes. Steen goes to the top and Titus catches him, but ends up getting crotched and put into the tree of woe, and Steen hits a cannonball. Steen stomps away, Titus comes back with kicks and a corner clothesline gets 2. They head back outside and an attempted rana leads to a powerbomb on the ring apron by Steen. Back in for a 2 count, then Steen misses the moonsault. Jacobs tries to hand Steen a spike but Whitmer takes him out and Titus ends up with it. The ref stops him from using it, and Steen hits a F5 for the pin at 6:42. **, OK but too short to really get anything going. Not a terrible show, but just felt kind of flat, and the shitty finishes didn’t help. Next week sees Homicde vs. Roderick Strong, Mike Mondo vs. Kyle O’Riley, and Rhino vs. Michael Elgin in Survival of the Fittest qualifiers to round out the match, which we’ll see in 2 weeks.
Obviously the titles have become devalued in WWE, but what do you think was the worst year in terms of damaging the world title?
I think Russo's 1999 wins by a landslide. At that point, the title still at least meant something, but the spastic booking of the title that year was ridiculous. We had Rock becoming a THREE-time champ between Survivor Series 1998 and the run-up to Wrestlemania XV. Austin wins the belt, but drops it to Undertaker who wasn't even the #3 guy in the company at that point. Austin gets it back, but drops it in a weird three-way to Mankind…who jobs it to HHH the next night. HHH's push hits a speedbump when he drops the belt to VINCE MCMAHON…who vacates it, only to have HHH win it back in the six-pack match. Hunter finally beats Austin (which should have happened at SummerSlam to give it any meaning in the first place), but drops the belt on-the-fly to Big Show…who defends in December against Big Boss Man? What a headache. It was so bad that I still remember it off the top of my head.
If we're considering other promotions too, then 1999 surely wins because WCW wasn't much better that year. Nash enters the year as champ after the ill-advised Goldberg job. He lays down for Hogan. We get sheisty booking of some Hogan-Flair matches. Flair gets the belt, but drops it the next month in a four-way…to DDP? They do the DDP-to-Sting-to-DDP title switches on Nitro. Nash takes it BACK from Page at the very next PPV. Instead of dropping the belt to Sid to set up the Vicious-Goldberg program, he drops it in a TAG match to….Randy Savage? Savage jobs the belt the very next night to Hogan (just like in 1998). Hogan faces Nash at Road Wild ANYWAY and retains. Sting takes the belt in one of the worst heel turns ever, drops it to Goldberg in an on-the-fly match that had no hype or build-up. He loses it to Bret Hart in a contrived Montreal knockoff, retires Bret for real, and the title gets vacated. An even bigger headache that parlayed into the Sid-Chris Benoit "title win" thing and ANOTHER vacancy.
I think 1999 takes it,but then I haven't actively watched the current product since about 2003, so there may be worse years.
99 WCW, and 2000 for that matter, were both HORRIBLE, but that might be just a subset of the general horribleness of the product at the time, hard to say. I do have to say the Russo/Bischoff Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot of the promotion and vacating all the titles did irreparable damage to the company in general, not to mention all the belts. Never mind that Booker T won his first title from Jarrett, the guy who wasn't even CHAMPION at the time. Having three vacancies (Benoit vacates, Sid vacates, Hogan vacates) and "starting a new era" deals within a couple of months of each other did way more damage to that belt than the rapid-fire Nash/Hogan/Flair/Savage switches did the year before, IMO.
In 1999, the WWF ran the Rock vs. Mankind title match on “Halftime Heat” during the SuperBowl. At the time, wrestling was red-hot and that seemed a pretty smart stunt to try at the time. However, we never saw it again (as far as I recall). Did it just bomb in the ratings? Bad P.R.? I have no idea who performed at Halftime for that Superbowl but if just a handful of viewers switched over to see Rock-Foley and, more importantly, the WWF gets mentioned during the Superbowl, it seemed a worthwhile endeavor. What gives?
It cost them a lot of money and it BOMBED in the ratings. I don’t think anyone is foolish enough to counterprogram the Superbowl now, even Vince McMahon.
Edit: Apparently “bombed” was too strong a word. I guess I meant “scored a giant rating”. I always get those two confused.
Dear Scott Keith,
Canadian Bulldog here (don't pretend like you don't know who I am!!!). We once tag-teamed in the All-Star territory against Ivan Gorky and The Frog.
Thanks for the plug (and the compliment), Scott — I feel it's truly what Diamond Timothy Flowers would have wanted.
C'mon now, the Frog's partner was the Atomic Kid, not Ivan Gorky. That's just sloppy.