Repost: 2002/52/hcraM– tnaR WAR KramS ehT

I’m wholly unfamiliar with the comic references, but your Mirror Universe rant on the first WWF Draft show shortly after this PPV is one of my favorite bits of your writing ever….any possibility of a repost on this blog?

2002 / 52 HcraM – TnaR WAR KramS EhT Is that a black hole over there? I’ll just take a peek and …. aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! The SmarK RAW Rant – March 25 2002 – Live from Penn State. – Your hosts are JR & Lawler, who both appear to have evil goatees. Huh. Funny how I never noticed that until now. – Linda McMahon (who also has a goatee) lays out the rules of the draft. – Opening match: The Unstoppable Force v. The Immovable Object. Albert Einstein appears to be doing color commentary. I thought he was dead? And since when do abstract concepts fight on RAW? Anyway, they kind of mash together in the center of the ring for a couple of minutes before all of time and space collapse in itself at 1:53. DUD Amazingly, despite the universe ending, the show still goes on. Geez, can’t the WWF ever adhere to their own stipulations? – Meanwhile, Flair & Arn plot out their draft picks. Arn seems to have shaved his beard off and grown his hair out. Huh. Vince also plots things out in his room, and he seems to be wearing a Bret Hart t-shirt. Weird. – Vince comes out for his first pick, and stops to give out some money to the people in the front row first. He appears to be carrying a sheet of paper marked “Booking Ideas from People Not Related To Me – Highest Priority”. His #1 draft pick: Saba Simba. Wow, didn’t see that coming. A little screen follows showing his vitals and a little note saying “Absolutely not Tony Atlas.” Vince reminds Saba that he won’t stand for any cheating or non-scientific wrestling holds in his promotion, and of course Simba agrees. The crowd starts a new chant for Vince: “You are a nice guy.” Well, this is weird. – And now it’s time for Flair’s #1 pick, as he counters with: Captain Redneck Dick Murdoch. I thought he was dead? Man this is a weird show. – Meanwhile, Olympic Gold Medalist Iron Sheik is upset with Vince for not picking him #1. – Ben Stone & Paul Robinette v. Jack McCoy & Claire Kincaid. Well, this one had potential but degenerated fast, as Jack & Claire spent the whole match arguing over whether they were having sex or not, while Stone went insane and started beating up fans at ringside and yelling about a conspiracy hatched by Janet Reno. Robinette wins by forfeit at 2:09, but his flatfro turns on him and demands a match at Backlash. Who booked this shit? * – Meanwhile, Sheik reads off all the gold medals he won in wrestling from 1908 until the 2002 Winter Olympics (even though there’s not actually wrestling in the Winter Olympics), so Vince capitulates and makes him his #2 pick. – Flair is out for pick #2: Dutch Mantell, Dead-Eye Dick and Black Bart – The Desperadoes. Three guys with one pick? – Vince is upset at that development (and who wouldn’t be?) so he counters in bold fashion – with Stan Hansen as his #3 pick. Sheik admires the strategy – this way, the Desperadoes will NEVER find Hansen. This IS just like a game of chess. – Meanwhile, the Desperadoes confront Flair and ask him if he knows where Stan Hansen got to. Nope, but he does know that his #3 pick is the Big Red Machine himself – Nikita Koloff! I thought he was a preacher in North Carolina? Man, this is the worst roster ever. – Science v. Religion. Science is squashing Religion all the way, until Religion suddenly calls for a Holy War and God comes down to smite Science at 2:40. I hate deus ex machina endings. – Vince makes his #4 selection: “Made in the USA” Lex Luger. – Flair’s up with his #4 selection: Sting. It seems to be the young, facepainted Sting, too. Apparently the bookers are getting so arrogant that they think they can just flaunt the laws of physics and not get called on it. Where’s Einstein when you need him? Oh, yeah, he died in the first match. – Vince’s #5 selection: Tekno Team 2000. Since when are they the tag team champions? Man, I must have missed a house show update or something. It seems weird that the WWF champion can jump from show to show but the tag champs are drafted, but then I’m still trying to wrap my head around the universe ending in the first match. – Roe v. Wade. This was mainly their lawyers arguing the rules before an appeals judge for 5 minutes, until the whole thing was distracted by a riot in the stands and the whole thing ended up as a double-DQ at 5:06. What an abortion. -* – Meanwhile, Vince & Flair get in each other’s faces. Flair takes Shaska Whatley, so Vince counters with Kona Crush. Now it gets serious, as Flair takes Big Bubba Rogers, and Vince counters with Mantaur. Flair seems upset at himself for missing that last one. Man, Smackdown is obviously getting the A-list talent here. – Id v. Superego. Ego is special guest referee, trying to maintain order. Superego tries to wrestle a scientific match, but Id keeps pulling a foreign object out of its tights until finally Ego calls for the DQ at 1:50. Id snaps and beats the crap out of both of them. It turns out that the object was just a cigar. – Meanwhile, Vince does the unthinkable, taking Bill Mulkey, while Flair takes Randy Mulkey. The Mulkey Boyz, split up? Could this be the end of Mulkeymania? – Man v. Superman. Friedrich Nietzsche is YOUR special referee. God is doing color commentary. Superman is laying a beating on Man, but Nietzsche keeps yelling at God about how he’s dead. God takes a swing at Nietzsche with a steel chair, hits Superman by mistake, and Man gets the pin at 1:23. DUD – Vince comes out for his #8 selection, with which he picks that hot new sensation, The Warlord, and his manager Slick. Flair reminds him that it’s HIS pick, so HE takes Warlord, and Slick seems to be looking more like Baby Doll. This is like a bad acid trip. So Vince instead takes The World’s Strongest Man, Dino Bravo. An enraged Flair counters with Barry Windham and his Power of the Claw. Vince takes rookie sensation Rocky Maivia, and Flair’s final pick is Precious. And she has an evil goatee. Worst Draft Ever. – Did I mention that I love Gedo and think that Rock-Hogan was a ****1/2 classic? The Top Line: What the hell is going on? A nice Vince McMahon? Bizarre matches? Evil goatees everywhere? Oh no…I’m trapped in the MIRROR UNIVERSE! Well, at least it makes for a more entertaining show than the crap we got on Monday instead.

Repost: 2002/52/hcraM– tnaR WAR KramS ehT

I’m wholly unfamiliar with the comic references, but your Mirror Universe rant on the first WWF Draft show shortly after this PPV is one of my favorite bits of your writing ever….any possibility of a repost on this blog?

2002 / 52 HcraM – TnaR WAR KramS EhT Is that a black hole over there? I’ll just take a peek and …. aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! The SmarK RAW Rant – March 25 2002 – Live from Penn State. – Your hosts are JR & Lawler, who both appear to have evil goatees. Huh. Funny how I never noticed that until now. – Linda McMahon (who also has a goatee) lays out the rules of the draft. – Opening match: The Unstoppable Force v. The Immovable Object. Albert Einstein appears to be doing color commentary. I thought he was dead? And since when do abstract concepts fight on RAW? Anyway, they kind of mash together in the center of the ring for a couple of minutes before all of time and space collapse in itself at 1:53. DUD Amazingly, despite the universe ending, the show still goes on. Geez, can’t the WWF ever adhere to their own stipulations? – Meanwhile, Flair & Arn plot out their draft picks. Arn seems to have shaved his beard off and grown his hair out. Huh. Vince also plots things out in his room, and he seems to be wearing a Bret Hart t-shirt. Weird. – Vince comes out for his first pick, and stops to give out some money to the people in the front row first. He appears to be carrying a sheet of paper marked “Booking Ideas from People Not Related To Me – Highest Priority”. His #1 draft pick: Saba Simba. Wow, didn’t see that coming. A little screen follows showing his vitals and a little note saying “Absolutely not Tony Atlas.” Vince reminds Saba that he won’t stand for any cheating or non-scientific wrestling holds in his promotion, and of course Simba agrees. The crowd starts a new chant for Vince: “You are a nice guy.” Well, this is weird. – And now it’s time for Flair’s #1 pick, as he counters with: Captain Redneck Dick Murdoch. I thought he was dead? Man this is a weird show. – Meanwhile, Olympic Gold Medalist Iron Sheik is upset with Vince for not picking him #1. – Ben Stone & Paul Robinette v. Jack McCoy & Claire Kincaid. Well, this one had potential but degenerated fast, as Jack & Claire spent the whole match arguing over whether they were having sex or not, while Stone went insane and started beating up fans at ringside and yelling about a conspiracy hatched by Janet Reno. Robinette wins by forfeit at 2:09, but his flatfro turns on him and demands a match at Backlash. Who booked this shit? * – Meanwhile, Sheik reads off all the gold medals he won in wrestling from 1908 until the 2002 Winter Olympics (even though there’s not actually wrestling in the Winter Olympics), so Vince capitulates and makes him his #2 pick. – Flair is out for pick #2: Dutch Mantell, Dead-Eye Dick and Black Bart – The Desperadoes. Three guys with one pick? – Vince is upset at that development (and who wouldn’t be?) so he counters in bold fashion – with Stan Hansen as his #3 pick. Sheik admires the strategy – this way, the Desperadoes will NEVER find Hansen. This IS just like a game of chess. – Meanwhile, the Desperadoes confront Flair and ask him if he knows where Stan Hansen got to. Nope, but he does know that his #3 pick is the Big Red Machine himself – Nikita Koloff! I thought he was a preacher in North Carolina? Man, this is the worst roster ever. – Science v. Religion. Science is squashing Religion all the way, until Religion suddenly calls for a Holy War and God comes down to smite Science at 2:40. I hate deus ex machina endings. – Vince makes his #4 selection: “Made in the USA” Lex Luger. – Flair’s up with his #4 selection: Sting. It seems to be the young, facepainted Sting, too. Apparently the bookers are getting so arrogant that they think they can just flaunt the laws of physics and not get called on it. Where’s Einstein when you need him? Oh, yeah, he died in the first match. – Vince’s #5 selection: Tekno Team 2000. Since when are they the tag team champions? Man, I must have missed a house show update or something. It seems weird that the WWF champion can jump from show to show but the tag champs are drafted, but then I’m still trying to wrap my head around the universe ending in the first match. – Roe v. Wade. This was mainly their lawyers arguing the rules before an appeals judge for 5 minutes, until the whole thing was distracted by a riot in the stands and the whole thing ended up as a double-DQ at 5:06. What an abortion. -* – Meanwhile, Vince & Flair get in each other’s faces. Flair takes Shaska Whatley, so Vince counters with Kona Crush. Now it gets serious, as Flair takes Big Bubba Rogers, and Vince counters with Mantaur. Flair seems upset at himself for missing that last one. Man, Smackdown is obviously getting the A-list talent here. – Id v. Superego. Ego is special guest referee, trying to maintain order. Superego tries to wrestle a scientific match, but Id keeps pulling a foreign object out of its tights until finally Ego calls for the DQ at 1:50. Id snaps and beats the crap out of both of them. It turns out that the object was just a cigar. – Meanwhile, Vince does the unthinkable, taking Bill Mulkey, while Flair takes Randy Mulkey. The Mulkey Boyz, split up? Could this be the end of Mulkeymania? – Man v. Superman. Friedrich Nietzsche is YOUR special referee. God is doing color commentary. Superman is laying a beating on Man, but Nietzsche keeps yelling at God about how he’s dead. God takes a swing at Nietzsche with a steel chair, hits Superman by mistake, and Man gets the pin at 1:23. DUD – Vince comes out for his #8 selection, with which he picks that hot new sensation, The Warlord, and his manager Slick. Flair reminds him that it’s HIS pick, so HE takes Warlord, and Slick seems to be looking more like Baby Doll. This is like a bad acid trip. So Vince instead takes The World’s Strongest Man, Dino Bravo. An enraged Flair counters with Barry Windham and his Power of the Claw. Vince takes rookie sensation Rocky Maivia, and Flair’s final pick is Precious. And she has an evil goatee. Worst Draft Ever. – Did I mention that I love Gedo and think that Rock-Hogan was a ****1/2 classic? The Top Line: What the hell is going on? A nice Vince McMahon? Bizarre matches? Evil goatees everywhere? Oh no…I’m trapped in the MIRROR UNIVERSE! Well, at least it makes for a more entertaining show than the crap we got on Monday instead.

Cole Comparison

Hi Scott, hope you are well. With so much recent blog talk centered around announcers and commentators, it made me think about everybody’s favourite whipping boy, Michael Cole. Now many comments regarding Cole can be summed up as, “Well, he’s no Jim Ross.” Well, duh. That’s obvious. He’s pretty horrid, which brings me to my point. I think we need to lower the bar in how we compare the suckitude of Cole. For example, who would you rather hear in a commentating contest between Michael Cole and… Ron Trongard- Trongard, pretty easily Duke Doherty- Even I gotta give that one to Cole David Crockett- Wow. Although some like David’s extreme, let’s say, exuberance, I’m not so crazy about his approach. We’ll call that one a push. There were numerous bad commentators over the years that Cole’s qualilty could be compared to, such as Lee Marshall, Hillbilly Jim, or any number of late-era WCW announcers. Personally, I’d go with Superstar Billy Graham, as both interjected themselves horribly, pursued their own agendas, and were clearly on something (For Graham, any number of drugs. For Cole, Vince’s voice). Let’s properly quantify Cole’s badness as something other than “no Jim Ross!” Thoughts?

I don’t know how professional announcers do it.  I’ve been making test runs of the Podcast Of Doom and people who know me in real life know I sound like an NPR radio host on the phone at the best of times, so it’s weird listening back to myself through the headset.  Anyway, my current plan is to do a Monday night recording where I talk about RAW and read some e-mails, probably about 15-20 minutes worth of stuff total.  Nothing too in-depth, unless someone more tech-savvy than I wants to co-host via Skype and do all the mixing work for me. On the with topic at hand, however.  Cole v. Trongard:  Trongard was TERRIBLE, man.  Vince only hired him out of spite for Verne Gagne.  He didn’t get people over, didn’t call moves properly, just terrible.  I’d much rather listen to Michael Cole, who at least has a sense of humor. Cole v. Duke.  Duke is so terrible that the first time I heard him on commentary I thought it was Bruce Pritchard doing an extended parody as a rib on everyone.  Michael Cole wins again. Cole v. Crockett.  David Crockett FTW.  He got angles over bigtime, spoke with passion, put over the guys who needed to get over, all the things a good commentator should do.  Yeah, he was hyper, but I’d rather someone get too into the product than approach everything with detached irony. Cole’s problem is that he’s Gorilla Monsoon without a Bobby Heenan/Jesse Ventura figure to keep him in line.  Cole and JBL was tremendous because JBL didn’t put up with Cole’s bullshit and would speak his mind.  Sometimes too much, but we’re talking about Cole’s problems here.  Everyone else MC is working with currently are babyfaces and not particularly strong personalities at that.  Lawler is so mellow and toned-down now compared to the early 90s that he just lets Cole say whatever he wants and then tries to refute it well after the fact.  What we need is a Jesse Ventura who is willing to say SHUT UP COLE when he gets started. 

Cole Comparison

Hi Scott, hope you are well. With so much recent blog talk centered around announcers and commentators, it made me think about everybody’s favourite whipping boy, Michael Cole. Now many comments regarding Cole can be summed up as, “Well, he’s no Jim Ross.” Well, duh. That’s obvious. He’s pretty horrid, which brings me to my point. I think we need to lower the bar in how we compare the suckitude of Cole. For example, who would you rather hear in a commentating contest between Michael Cole and… Ron Trongard- Trongard, pretty easily Duke Doherty- Even I gotta give that one to Cole David Crockett- Wow. Although some like David’s extreme, let’s say, exuberance, I’m not so crazy about his approach. We’ll call that one a push. There were numerous bad commentators over the years that Cole’s qualilty could be compared to, such as Lee Marshall, Hillbilly Jim, or any number of late-era WCW announcers. Personally, I’d go with Superstar Billy Graham, as both interjected themselves horribly, pursued their own agendas, and were clearly on something (For Graham, any number of drugs. For Cole, Vince’s voice). Let’s properly quantify Cole’s badness as something other than “no Jim Ross!” Thoughts?

I don’t know how professional announcers do it.  I’ve been making test runs of the Podcast Of Doom and people who know me in real life know I sound like an NPR radio host on the phone at the best of times, so it’s weird listening back to myself through the headset.  Anyway, my current plan is to do a Monday night recording where I talk about RAW and read some e-mails, probably about 15-20 minutes worth of stuff total.  Nothing too in-depth, unless someone more tech-savvy than I wants to co-host via Skype and do all the mixing work for me. On the with topic at hand, however.  Cole v. Trongard:  Trongard was TERRIBLE, man.  Vince only hired him out of spite for Verne Gagne.  He didn’t get people over, didn’t call moves properly, just terrible.  I’d much rather listen to Michael Cole, who at least has a sense of humor. Cole v. Duke.  Duke is so terrible that the first time I heard him on commentary I thought it was Bruce Pritchard doing an extended parody as a rib on everyone.  Michael Cole wins again. Cole v. Crockett.  David Crockett FTW.  He got angles over bigtime, spoke with passion, put over the guys who needed to get over, all the things a good commentator should do.  Yeah, he was hyper, but I’d rather someone get too into the product than approach everything with detached irony. Cole’s problem is that he’s Gorilla Monsoon without a Bobby Heenan/Jesse Ventura figure to keep him in line.  Cole and JBL was tremendous because JBL didn’t put up with Cole’s bullshit and would speak his mind.  Sometimes too much, but we’re talking about Cole’s problems here.  Everyone else MC is working with currently are babyfaces and not particularly strong personalities at that.  Lawler is so mellow and toned-down now compared to the early 90s that he just lets Cole say whatever he wants and then tries to refute it well after the fact.  What we need is a Jesse Ventura who is willing to say SHUT UP COLE when he gets started. 

Cole Comparison

Hi Scott, hope you are well. With so much recent blog talk centered around announcers and commentators, it made me think about everybody’s favourite whipping boy, Michael Cole. Now many comments regarding Cole can be summed up as, “Well, he’s no Jim Ross.” Well, duh. That’s obvious. He’s pretty horrid, which brings me to my point. I think we need to lower the bar in how we compare the suckitude of Cole. For example, who would you rather hear in a commentating contest between Michael Cole and… Ron Trongard- Trongard, pretty easily Duke Doherty- Even I gotta give that one to Cole David Crockett- Wow. Although some like David’s extreme, let’s say, exuberance, I’m not so crazy about his approach. We’ll call that one a push. There were numerous bad commentators over the years that Cole’s qualilty could be compared to, such as Lee Marshall, Hillbilly Jim, or any number of late-era WCW announcers. Personally, I’d go with Superstar Billy Graham, as both interjected themselves horribly, pursued their own agendas, and were clearly on something (For Graham, any number of drugs. For Cole, Vince’s voice). Let’s properly quantify Cole’s badness as something other than “no Jim Ross!” Thoughts?

I don’t know how professional announcers do it.  I’ve been making test runs of the Podcast Of Doom and people who know me in real life know I sound like an NPR radio host on the phone at the best of times, so it’s weird listening back to myself through the headset.  Anyway, my current plan is to do a Monday night recording where I talk about RAW and read some e-mails, probably about 15-20 minutes worth of stuff total.  Nothing too in-depth, unless someone more tech-savvy than I wants to co-host via Skype and do all the mixing work for me. On the with topic at hand, however.  Cole v. Trongard:  Trongard was TERRIBLE, man.  Vince only hired him out of spite for Verne Gagne.  He didn’t get people over, didn’t call moves properly, just terrible.  I’d much rather listen to Michael Cole, who at least has a sense of humor. Cole v. Duke.  Duke is so terrible that the first time I heard him on commentary I thought it was Bruce Pritchard doing an extended parody as a rib on everyone.  Michael Cole wins again. Cole v. Crockett.  David Crockett FTW.  He got angles over bigtime, spoke with passion, put over the guys who needed to get over, all the things a good commentator should do.  Yeah, he was hyper, but I’d rather someone get too into the product than approach everything with detached irony. Cole’s problem is that he’s Gorilla Monsoon without a Bobby Heenan/Jesse Ventura figure to keep him in line.  Cole and JBL was tremendous because JBL didn’t put up with Cole’s bullshit and would speak his mind.  Sometimes too much, but we’re talking about Cole’s problems here.  Everyone else MC is working with currently are babyfaces and not particularly strong personalities at that.  Lawler is so mellow and toned-down now compared to the early 90s that he just lets Cole say whatever he wants and then tries to refute it well after the fact.  What we need is a Jesse Ventura who is willing to say SHUT UP COLE when he gets started. 

Cole Comparison

Hi Scott, hope you are well. With so much recent blog talk centered around announcers and commentators, it made me think about everybody’s favourite whipping boy, Michael Cole. Now many comments regarding Cole can be summed up as, “Well, he’s no Jim Ross.” Well, duh. That’s obvious. He’s pretty horrid, which brings me to my point. I think we need to lower the bar in how we compare the suckitude of Cole. For example, who would you rather hear in a commentating contest between Michael Cole and… Ron Trongard- Trongard, pretty easily Duke Doherty- Even I gotta give that one to Cole David Crockett- Wow. Although some like David’s extreme, let’s say, exuberance, I’m not so crazy about his approach. We’ll call that one a push. There were numerous bad commentators over the years that Cole’s qualilty could be compared to, such as Lee Marshall, Hillbilly Jim, or any number of late-era WCW announcers. Personally, I’d go with Superstar Billy Graham, as both interjected themselves horribly, pursued their own agendas, and were clearly on something (For Graham, any number of drugs. For Cole, Vince’s voice). Let’s properly quantify Cole’s badness as something other than “no Jim Ross!” Thoughts?

I don’t know how professional announcers do it.  I’ve been making test runs of the Podcast Of Doom and people who know me in real life know I sound like an NPR radio host on the phone at the best of times, so it’s weird listening back to myself through the headset.  Anyway, my current plan is to do a Monday night recording where I talk about RAW and read some e-mails, probably about 15-20 minutes worth of stuff total.  Nothing too in-depth, unless someone more tech-savvy than I wants to co-host via Skype and do all the mixing work for me. On the with topic at hand, however.  Cole v. Trongard:  Trongard was TERRIBLE, man.  Vince only hired him out of spite for Verne Gagne.  He didn’t get people over, didn’t call moves properly, just terrible.  I’d much rather listen to Michael Cole, who at least has a sense of humor. Cole v. Duke.  Duke is so terrible that the first time I heard him on commentary I thought it was Bruce Pritchard doing an extended parody as a rib on everyone.  Michael Cole wins again. Cole v. Crockett.  David Crockett FTW.  He got angles over bigtime, spoke with passion, put over the guys who needed to get over, all the things a good commentator should do.  Yeah, he was hyper, but I’d rather someone get too into the product than approach everything with detached irony. Cole’s problem is that he’s Gorilla Monsoon without a Bobby Heenan/Jesse Ventura figure to keep him in line.  Cole and JBL was tremendous because JBL didn’t put up with Cole’s bullshit and would speak his mind.  Sometimes too much, but we’re talking about Cole’s problems here.  Everyone else MC is working with currently are babyfaces and not particularly strong personalities at that.  Lawler is so mellow and toned-down now compared to the early 90s that he just lets Cole say whatever he wants and then tries to refute it well after the fact.  What we need is a Jesse Ventura who is willing to say SHUT UP COLE when he gets started. 

Cole Comparison

Hi Scott, hope you are well. With so much recent blog talk centered around announcers and commentators, it made me think about everybody’s favourite whipping boy, Michael Cole. Now many comments regarding Cole can be summed up as, “Well, he’s no Jim Ross.” Well, duh. That’s obvious. He’s pretty horrid, which brings me to my point. I think we need to lower the bar in how we compare the suckitude of Cole. For example, who would you rather hear in a commentating contest between Michael Cole and… Ron Trongard- Trongard, pretty easily Duke Doherty- Even I gotta give that one to Cole David Crockett- Wow. Although some like David’s extreme, let’s say, exuberance, I’m not so crazy about his approach. We’ll call that one a push. There were numerous bad commentators over the years that Cole’s qualilty could be compared to, such as Lee Marshall, Hillbilly Jim, or any number of late-era WCW announcers. Personally, I’d go with Superstar Billy Graham, as both interjected themselves horribly, pursued their own agendas, and were clearly on something (For Graham, any number of drugs. For Cole, Vince’s voice). Let’s properly quantify Cole’s badness as something other than “no Jim Ross!” Thoughts?

I don’t know how professional announcers do it.  I’ve been making test runs of the Podcast Of Doom and people who know me in real life know I sound like an NPR radio host on the phone at the best of times, so it’s weird listening back to myself through the headset.  Anyway, my current plan is to do a Monday night recording where I talk about RAW and read some e-mails, probably about 15-20 minutes worth of stuff total.  Nothing too in-depth, unless someone more tech-savvy than I wants to co-host via Skype and do all the mixing work for me. On the with topic at hand, however.  Cole v. Trongard:  Trongard was TERRIBLE, man.  Vince only hired him out of spite for Verne Gagne.  He didn’t get people over, didn’t call moves properly, just terrible.  I’d much rather listen to Michael Cole, who at least has a sense of humor. Cole v. Duke.  Duke is so terrible that the first time I heard him on commentary I thought it was Bruce Pritchard doing an extended parody as a rib on everyone.  Michael Cole wins again. Cole v. Crockett.  David Crockett FTW.  He got angles over bigtime, spoke with passion, put over the guys who needed to get over, all the things a good commentator should do.  Yeah, he was hyper, but I’d rather someone get too into the product than approach everything with detached irony. Cole’s problem is that he’s Gorilla Monsoon without a Bobby Heenan/Jesse Ventura figure to keep him in line.  Cole and JBL was tremendous because JBL didn’t put up with Cole’s bullshit and would speak his mind.  Sometimes too much, but we’re talking about Cole’s problems here.  Everyone else MC is working with currently are babyfaces and not particularly strong personalities at that.  Lawler is so mellow and toned-down now compared to the early 90s that he just lets Cole say whatever he wants and then tries to refute it well after the fact.  What we need is a Jesse Ventura who is willing to say SHUT UP COLE when he gets started. 

Cole Comparison

Hi Scott, hope you are well. With so much recent blog talk centered around announcers and commentators, it made me think about everybody’s favourite whipping boy, Michael Cole. Now many comments regarding Cole can be summed up as, “Well, he’s no Jim Ross.” Well, duh. That’s obvious. He’s pretty horrid, which brings me to my point. I think we need to lower the bar in how we compare the suckitude of Cole. For example, who would you rather hear in a commentating contest between Michael Cole and… Ron Trongard- Trongard, pretty easily Duke Doherty- Even I gotta give that one to Cole David Crockett- Wow. Although some like David’s extreme, let’s say, exuberance, I’m not so crazy about his approach. We’ll call that one a push. There were numerous bad commentators over the years that Cole’s qualilty could be compared to, such as Lee Marshall, Hillbilly Jim, or any number of late-era WCW announcers. Personally, I’d go with Superstar Billy Graham, as both interjected themselves horribly, pursued their own agendas, and were clearly on something (For Graham, any number of drugs. For Cole, Vince’s voice). Let’s properly quantify Cole’s badness as something other than “no Jim Ross!” Thoughts?

I don’t know how professional announcers do it.  I’ve been making test runs of the Podcast Of Doom and people who know me in real life know I sound like an NPR radio host on the phone at the best of times, so it’s weird listening back to myself through the headset.  Anyway, my current plan is to do a Monday night recording where I talk about RAW and read some e-mails, probably about 15-20 minutes worth of stuff total.  Nothing too in-depth, unless someone more tech-savvy than I wants to co-host via Skype and do all the mixing work for me. On the with topic at hand, however.  Cole v. Trongard:  Trongard was TERRIBLE, man.  Vince only hired him out of spite for Verne Gagne.  He didn’t get people over, didn’t call moves properly, just terrible.  I’d much rather listen to Michael Cole, who at least has a sense of humor. Cole v. Duke.  Duke is so terrible that the first time I heard him on commentary I thought it was Bruce Pritchard doing an extended parody as a rib on everyone.  Michael Cole wins again. Cole v. Crockett.  David Crockett FTW.  He got angles over bigtime, spoke with passion, put over the guys who needed to get over, all the things a good commentator should do.  Yeah, he was hyper, but I’d rather someone get too into the product than approach everything with detached irony. Cole’s problem is that he’s Gorilla Monsoon without a Bobby Heenan/Jesse Ventura figure to keep him in line.  Cole and JBL was tremendous because JBL didn’t put up with Cole’s bullshit and would speak his mind.  Sometimes too much, but we’re talking about Cole’s problems here.  Everyone else MC is working with currently are babyfaces and not particularly strong personalities at that.  Lawler is so mellow and toned-down now compared to the early 90s that he just lets Cole say whatever he wants and then tries to refute it well after the fact.  What we need is a Jesse Ventura who is willing to say SHUT UP COLE when he gets started. 

Cole Comparison

Hi Scott, hope you are well. With so much recent blog talk centered around announcers and commentators, it made me think about everybody’s favourite whipping boy, Michael Cole. Now many comments regarding Cole can be summed up as, “Well, he’s no Jim Ross.” Well, duh. That’s obvious. He’s pretty horrid, which brings me to my point. I think we need to lower the bar in how we compare the suckitude of Cole. For example, who would you rather hear in a commentating contest between Michael Cole and… Ron Trongard- Trongard, pretty easily Duke Doherty- Even I gotta give that one to Cole David Crockett- Wow. Although some like David’s extreme, let’s say, exuberance, I’m not so crazy about his approach. We’ll call that one a push. There were numerous bad commentators over the years that Cole’s qualilty could be compared to, such as Lee Marshall, Hillbilly Jim, or any number of late-era WCW announcers. Personally, I’d go with Superstar Billy Graham, as both interjected themselves horribly, pursued their own agendas, and were clearly on something (For Graham, any number of drugs. For Cole, Vince’s voice). Let’s properly quantify Cole’s badness as something other than “no Jim Ross!” Thoughts?

I don’t know how professional announcers do it.  I’ve been making test runs of the Podcast Of Doom and people who know me in real life know I sound like an NPR radio host on the phone at the best of times, so it’s weird listening back to myself through the headset.  Anyway, my current plan is to do a Monday night recording where I talk about RAW and read some e-mails, probably about 15-20 minutes worth of stuff total.  Nothing too in-depth, unless someone more tech-savvy than I wants to co-host via Skype and do all the mixing work for me. On the with topic at hand, however.  Cole v. Trongard:  Trongard was TERRIBLE, man.  Vince only hired him out of spite for Verne Gagne.  He didn’t get people over, didn’t call moves properly, just terrible.  I’d much rather listen to Michael Cole, who at least has a sense of humor. Cole v. Duke.  Duke is so terrible that the first time I heard him on commentary I thought it was Bruce Pritchard doing an extended parody as a rib on everyone.  Michael Cole wins again. Cole v. Crockett.  David Crockett FTW.  He got angles over bigtime, spoke with passion, put over the guys who needed to get over, all the things a good commentator should do.  Yeah, he was hyper, but I’d rather someone get too into the product than approach everything with detached irony. Cole’s problem is that he’s Gorilla Monsoon without a Bobby Heenan/Jesse Ventura figure to keep him in line.  Cole and JBL was tremendous because JBL didn’t put up with Cole’s bullshit and would speak his mind.  Sometimes too much, but we’re talking about Cole’s problems here.  Everyone else MC is working with currently are babyfaces and not particularly strong personalities at that.  Lawler is so mellow and toned-down now compared to the early 90s that he just lets Cole say whatever he wants and then tries to refute it well after the fact.  What we need is a Jesse Ventura who is willing to say SHUT UP COLE when he gets started. 

Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania XI

Well I’m happy to hear that FCW has been saved but I do agree that the WWE needs to change the way it does developmental work.

I threw this idea out in one of the RAW threads a while back but I think the WWE needs to use the guys in house (Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, etc. etc.) as well as guys on payroll not doing much (Steve Austin, Undertaker, etc.) to help set up a new “territory” system.

Have Austin run a territory in Texas, try to convince Bret Hart to run a new version of Stampede in Western Canada, have Lawler and his friends put together something in the old USWA stomping grounds, etc. etc. and give them ownership, similar to the way Steve Keirn “owns” FCW. Give the developmental talent the opportunity to move from promotion to promotion and learn different ways to work from different voices and learn how to perform in front of different crowds that have different ideas of what entertainment is.

It would also be nice for some of the minor players on the current roster to get sent a work a territory promotion for a few months and regain their footing and return their gimmicks with the opportunity to work matches and improve their ring presence, charisma, mic skills, whatever.

That’s just my idea.

Wrestlemania XI
From the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut (I guess Vince knew this card wasn’t going to draw shit so he didn’t want to pay too much for company travel arrangements)
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

WWF World Heavyweight Championship: Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel

Quick “celebrity” update: Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Home Improvement was the guest timekeeper and Nicholas Turturro was the guest ring announcer. Nick actually looked very excited to be there to his credit. HBK is accompanied to the ring by Sid and Jenny McCarthy, I’m not sure which one would be more useful (still debating that to this day). Diesel has Pamela Anderson escorting him to the ring. Anderson was supposed to escort HBK but does it matter really? It’s Pam Anderson, who cares?

Diesel takes a swing at Sid and dumps HBK over the top rope so he can finish his introduction. Back in the ring they use a rope sequence and Diesel thwaps HBK with a nasty running punch. Shawn tries a different route, going with the armbar but Diesel tosses him into the corner and right back out of the corner. Big back body drop and Diesel tosses Shawn into the corner and over the top again. This is old-school Shawn, bumping like three men and doing it without hesitation. Shawn takes a powder and tries a Pearl Harbor job but Diesel catches him on the way in with a forearm. Shawn spits at his buddy and backs him the corner but Diesel shoves him off and meets him with an elbow. Press slam is countered by HBK but the vertical suplex is blocked and reversed. A kneelift sends HBK through the ropes and back to the floor. Diesel tries to pull Shawn in the ring so he goes to the eyes, a sunset flip is countered with a two-hand chokeslam into the ropes. Shawn ducks the big boot, however and clotheslines Diesel over the top and skins the cat back in. Shawn with a top rope crossbody onto Diesel on the floor and some ground and pound.

Shawn is back in the ring and hits a baseball slide, the second one misses but Diesel charges, Shawn ducks and Diesel hits post. Diesel appears to have hurt the ribs with the shot so Shawn goes to work and hits a running splash from the ring to the floor. HBK continues to work on the ribs and adds in some kicks to the knee. A running boot puts Big Daddy Cool down but HBK doesn’t go for the pin. Two super stomps to the face and Shawn hits the second-rope bulldog for two. Crowd starts to get behind Diesel but Michaels counters a corner whip with a second rope springboard elbow for two. Now there’s a “Let’s Go Shawn” chant going on as HBK works the back with a couple of hammerlock knees. Shawn goes to the top and lands the elbow drop on the back for another near fall. Front face lock but Diesel flips Shawn over. Shawn tries it again and Diesel powers out again so HBK hits him with a running punch in the corner. Diesel catches HBK on another springboard attempt but he gets run into the buckle instead. Sleeper hold by Michaels and Diesel goes to both knees. After a couple minutes of that Diesel rises and backs Shawn into the corner. A couple of elbows from the champion and two corner clotheslines officially turns the tide. Snake eyes and a sit down splash on a prone HBK but the champion tosses HBK to the corner and the floor instead of going for a pin.

Back in the ring and HBK tries to escape again but Diesel grabs him and we get the obligatory ass shot. Back outside the ring and a slugfest ensues. Off camera the official jumped to the outside of the ring to stop Sid from interfering and twisted his ankle. In the ring Shawn hits sweet chin music but there’s no referee. Finally the limping official returns and counts two. Big heel pop for that. Meanwhile Sid removes turnbuckle padding and instructs Shawn to inflict the damage but Diesel rallies with a back suplex and both guys are down. Shawn weakly rolls over for the pin but gets a near fall. He climbs the ropes but jumps right into the arms of his best friend. Sidewalk slam puts both men out again. Diesel grabs Shawn’s legs and catapults him into the buckle, I think the original spot was to have HBK hit the exposed buckle but they were too far away and he hit the middle buckle instead. Diesel hits the big boot and the jackknife gets the victory.

(Diesel def. Shawn Michaels, pinfall, ***3/4, terrific effort by Shawn and Nash was more than willing to keep up with his buddy. Shawn would turn face the next night and Diesel would hold the title for 358 days, which was a extremely long reign given the time period although Cena held it for over a year in 2006/07)

The Challenger

1996 In Your House 7: Good Friends, Better Enemies
From the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

No Holds Barred Match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship: Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels

We’ll get to the storylines later because these two want to slug it out in the middle of the ring and Diesel ends the rally with a knee but Shawn dropkicks Diesel over the top rope (which gives him time to remove his S&M gear). Michaels baseball slides Diesel and then climbs to the top and hits a moonsault to the floor. Michaels goes to WWF Deportes and grabs Hugo’s boot, which he uses coming off of the top for a near fall. Diesel reverses an irish whip and sends Michaels over the top and into the steel railing. Outside the ring but not for long as Diesel sends Michaels back in the ring and lays in the power stuff as the crowd tries to get a “You Sold Out” chant going. Short-armed clothesline by Diesel and he gives the champion snake eyes. Diesel totally working the angle as he taunts McMahon and Jose Lothario before choking Michaels away in the corner. Sidewalk slam by Diesel and he unwraps his hand tape and starts choking the referee. Awesome. He pulls the refs belt off and lays in some wicked lashes on Michaels. He wraps the belt around the champion’s throat and chokes him out as the referee revives himself. Diesel hangs Michaels off the rope and ties the belt to the rope so Shawn stays put. Diesel manhandles the Fink and grabs his chair, whacking Michaels in the back.

Back in the ring and Diesel has quickly won over portions of the crowd. Another chair shot on Michaels as the champion begs off. Diesel goes for the kill shot but Michaels moves and the challenge hits the ropes and has the chair bounce back in his face. Michaels grabs the chair and goes for a shot but Diesel gets a low blow first. Irish whip from Diesel and a big back body drop that gets a two count. Neck wrench from Diesel because kicking your friend’s ass has to be tiring. Michaels fights out of the hold but Diesel continues to pound away until he sends the champion back to the floor. Diesel follows Michaels to the floor and jackknifes him through the announce table! Damn! Move is doubly awesome because it was the main announce table and McMahon and Lawler had to clear all the debris off Michaels and fight their headsets. Diesel grabs the title belt and poses while Michaels fights to his feet with Vince screaming “it’s over! Let it be over!” Michaels grabs the fire extinguisher and sprays Diesel to change the tide. Flying forearm and the kip up gets the crowd excited. Michaels grabs a chair and drops Diesel with a shot to the face. Irish whip from Michaels but he sets too early and Diesel hits a forearm and then the big boot.

Diesel signals for a second jackknife but Michaels hammers away on the challenge at the top of the hold and fights out. Michaels from the top and he hits the big elbow. Time to warm up the band but Diesel catches sweet chin music and drops him with a clothesline. (both McMahon and Lawler are using microphones instead of the headsets as they were “damaged” in the table spot, cool touch). Both men back to their feet and Diesel clotheslines Michaels back over the top. Diesel with a hangman slam on the steel railing and he goes back…nope he does. Diesel whips Michaels in the ring and attacks Mad Dog Vachon! He pulls off his prosthetic leg! Diesel threatens to hit Michaels with it but Shawn goes low. Shawn grabs the leg and whacks Diesel across the head with it. Let’s tune up a band the second time and sweet chin music finishes a fucking awesome brawl!

(Michaels def. Diesel, pinfall, ****3/4, this was absolutely epic and the epitome of good vs. evil. By far Kevin Nash’s best match ever and he was beautifully over the top with his attempts to destroy Michaels.)

The Decision

Match: One is a very good heavyweight title match, the other was a match of the year candidate (1996 was actually a great year for the WWF in terms of high quality main events with Shawn carrying the torch with some memorable brawls and Bret/Austin closing the year with a ***** classic at Survivor Series). HUGE EDGE: In Your House

Storylines: The Wrestlemania match was more of a respect storyline as Michaels, the rising star, was booked as “the favorite” against the inexperienced champion. So Diesel was fighting for respect. The IYH match was based on a recent turn from Diesel and was more or less his “go home” match before heading to WCW. Simple, but effective. SLIGHT EDGE: Wrestlemania

Intangibles: There was certainly a belief from a few people (me included) that Shawn was going to win the Wrestlemania match since it wasn’t going to close the show so it was a mild surprise to see Diesel retain. It turned out to be the final step in Michaels’ ascension to the top as he was clearly the man in terms of workrate. A face turn all but made him the king of the promotion without the crowd, which came at Wrestlemania XII. There was no doubt who was winning the IYH match since Diesel was about to leave the promotion. That being said they certainly sold the hell out of the drama in the second match and a novice would think that Diesel was going to take that sucker. SLIGHT EDGE: IYH

Verdict: Really little doubt here as the In Your House match is a classic while most people don’t remember much about the Wrestlemania one as everything outside of the Lawrence Taylor-Bam Bam Bigelow stuff was throwaway.

Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania XI

Well I’m happy to hear that FCW has been saved but I do agree that the WWE needs to change the way it does developmental work.

I threw this idea out in one of the RAW threads a while back but I think the WWE needs to use the guys in house (Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, etc. etc.) as well as guys on payroll not doing much (Steve Austin, Undertaker, etc.) to help set up a new “territory” system.

Have Austin run a territory in Texas, try to convince Bret Hart to run a new version of Stampede in Western Canada, have Lawler and his friends put together something in the old USWA stomping grounds, etc. etc. and give them ownership, similar to the way Steve Keirn “owns” FCW. Give the developmental talent the opportunity to move from promotion to promotion and learn different ways to work from different voices and learn how to perform in front of different crowds that have different ideas of what entertainment is.

It would also be nice for some of the minor players on the current roster to get sent a work a territory promotion for a few months and regain their footing and return their gimmicks with the opportunity to work matches and improve their ring presence, charisma, mic skills, whatever.

That’s just my idea.

Wrestlemania XI
From the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut (I guess Vince knew this card wasn’t going to draw shit so he didn’t want to pay too much for company travel arrangements)
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

WWF World Heavyweight Championship: Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel

Quick “celebrity” update: Jonathan Taylor Thomas from Home Improvement was the guest timekeeper and Nicholas Turturro was the guest ring announcer. Nick actually looked very excited to be there to his credit. HBK is accompanied to the ring by Sid and Jenny McCarthy, I’m not sure which one would be more useful (still debating that to this day). Diesel has Pamela Anderson escorting him to the ring. Anderson was supposed to escort HBK but does it matter really? It’s Pam Anderson, who cares?

Diesel takes a swing at Sid and dumps HBK over the top rope so he can finish his introduction. Back in the ring they use a rope sequence and Diesel thwaps HBK with a nasty running punch. Shawn tries a different route, going with the armbar but Diesel tosses him into the corner and right back out of the corner. Big back body drop and Diesel tosses Shawn into the corner and over the top again. This is old-school Shawn, bumping like three men and doing it without hesitation. Shawn takes a powder and tries a Pearl Harbor job but Diesel catches him on the way in with a forearm. Shawn spits at his buddy and backs him the corner but Diesel shoves him off and meets him with an elbow. Press slam is countered by HBK but the vertical suplex is blocked and reversed. A kneelift sends HBK through the ropes and back to the floor. Diesel tries to pull Shawn in the ring so he goes to the eyes, a sunset flip is countered with a two-hand chokeslam into the ropes. Shawn ducks the big boot, however and clotheslines Diesel over the top and skins the cat back in. Shawn with a top rope crossbody onto Diesel on the floor and some ground and pound.

Shawn is back in the ring and hits a baseball slide, the second one misses but Diesel charges, Shawn ducks and Diesel hits post. Diesel appears to have hurt the ribs with the shot so Shawn goes to work and hits a running splash from the ring to the floor. HBK continues to work on the ribs and adds in some kicks to the knee. A running boot puts Big Daddy Cool down but HBK doesn’t go for the pin. Two super stomps to the face and Shawn hits the second-rope bulldog for two. Crowd starts to get behind Diesel but Michaels counters a corner whip with a second rope springboard elbow for two. Now there’s a “Let’s Go Shawn” chant going on as HBK works the back with a couple of hammerlock knees. Shawn goes to the top and lands the elbow drop on the back for another near fall. Front face lock but Diesel flips Shawn over. Shawn tries it again and Diesel powers out again so HBK hits him with a running punch in the corner. Diesel catches HBK on another springboard attempt but he gets run into the buckle instead. Sleeper hold by Michaels and Diesel goes to both knees. After a couple minutes of that Diesel rises and backs Shawn into the corner. A couple of elbows from the champion and two corner clotheslines officially turns the tide. Snake eyes and a sit down splash on a prone HBK but the champion tosses HBK to the corner and the floor instead of going for a pin.

Back in the ring and HBK tries to escape again but Diesel grabs him and we get the obligatory ass shot. Back outside the ring and a slugfest ensues. Off camera the official jumped to the outside of the ring to stop Sid from interfering and twisted his ankle. In the ring Shawn hits sweet chin music but there’s no referee. Finally the limping official returns and counts two. Big heel pop for that. Meanwhile Sid removes turnbuckle padding and instructs Shawn to inflict the damage but Diesel rallies with a back suplex and both guys are down. Shawn weakly rolls over for the pin but gets a near fall. He climbs the ropes but jumps right into the arms of his best friend. Sidewalk slam puts both men out again. Diesel grabs Shawn’s legs and catapults him into the buckle, I think the original spot was to have HBK hit the exposed buckle but they were too far away and he hit the middle buckle instead. Diesel hits the big boot and the jackknife gets the victory.

(Diesel def. Shawn Michaels, pinfall, ***3/4, terrific effort by Shawn and Nash was more than willing to keep up with his buddy. Shawn would turn face the next night and Diesel would hold the title for 358 days, which was a extremely long reign given the time period although Cena held it for over a year in 2006/07)

The Challenger

1996 In Your House 7: Good Friends, Better Enemies
From the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

No Holds Barred Match for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship: Diesel vs. Shawn Michaels

We’ll get to the storylines later because these two want to slug it out in the middle of the ring and Diesel ends the rally with a knee but Shawn dropkicks Diesel over the top rope (which gives him time to remove his S&M gear). Michaels baseball slides Diesel and then climbs to the top and hits a moonsault to the floor. Michaels goes to WWF Deportes and grabs Hugo’s boot, which he uses coming off of the top for a near fall. Diesel reverses an irish whip and sends Michaels over the top and into the steel railing. Outside the ring but not for long as Diesel sends Michaels back in the ring and lays in the power stuff as the crowd tries to get a “You Sold Out” chant going. Short-armed clothesline by Diesel and he gives the champion snake eyes. Diesel totally working the angle as he taunts McMahon and Jose Lothario before choking Michaels away in the corner. Sidewalk slam by Diesel and he unwraps his hand tape and starts choking the referee. Awesome. He pulls the refs belt off and lays in some wicked lashes on Michaels. He wraps the belt around the champion’s throat and chokes him out as the referee revives himself. Diesel hangs Michaels off the rope and ties the belt to the rope so Shawn stays put. Diesel manhandles the Fink and grabs his chair, whacking Michaels in the back.

Back in the ring and Diesel has quickly won over portions of the crowd. Another chair shot on Michaels as the champion begs off. Diesel goes for the kill shot but Michaels moves and the challenge hits the ropes and has the chair bounce back in his face. Michaels grabs the chair and goes for a shot but Diesel gets a low blow first. Irish whip from Diesel and a big back body drop that gets a two count. Neck wrench from Diesel because kicking your friend’s ass has to be tiring. Michaels fights out of the hold but Diesel continues to pound away until he sends the champion back to the floor. Diesel follows Michaels to the floor and jackknifes him through the announce table! Damn! Move is doubly awesome because it was the main announce table and McMahon and Lawler had to clear all the debris off Michaels and fight their headsets. Diesel grabs the title belt and poses while Michaels fights to his feet with Vince screaming “it’s over! Let it be over!” Michaels grabs the fire extinguisher and sprays Diesel to change the tide. Flying forearm and the kip up gets the crowd excited. Michaels grabs a chair and drops Diesel with a shot to the face. Irish whip from Michaels but he sets too early and Diesel hits a forearm and then the big boot.

Diesel signals for a second jackknife but Michaels hammers away on the challenge at the top of the hold and fights out. Michaels from the top and he hits the big elbow. Time to warm up the band but Diesel catches sweet chin music and drops him with a clothesline. (both McMahon and Lawler are using microphones instead of the headsets as they were “damaged” in the table spot, cool touch). Both men back to their feet and Diesel clotheslines Michaels back over the top. Diesel with a hangman slam on the steel railing and he goes back…nope he does. Diesel whips Michaels in the ring and attacks Mad Dog Vachon! He pulls off his prosthetic leg! Diesel threatens to hit Michaels with it but Shawn goes low. Shawn grabs the leg and whacks Diesel across the head with it. Let’s tune up a band the second time and sweet chin music finishes a fucking awesome brawl!

(Michaels def. Diesel, pinfall, ****3/4, this was absolutely epic and the epitome of good vs. evil. By far Kevin Nash’s best match ever and he was beautifully over the top with his attempts to destroy Michaels.)

The Decision

Match: One is a very good heavyweight title match, the other was a match of the year candidate (1996 was actually a great year for the WWF in terms of high quality main events with Shawn carrying the torch with some memorable brawls and Bret/Austin closing the year with a ***** classic at Survivor Series). HUGE EDGE: In Your House

Storylines: The Wrestlemania match was more of a respect storyline as Michaels, the rising star, was booked as “the favorite” against the inexperienced champion. So Diesel was fighting for respect. The IYH match was based on a recent turn from Diesel and was more or less his “go home” match before heading to WCW. Simple, but effective. SLIGHT EDGE: Wrestlemania

Intangibles: There was certainly a belief from a few people (me included) that Shawn was going to win the Wrestlemania match since it wasn’t going to close the show so it was a mild surprise to see Diesel retain. It turned out to be the final step in Michaels’ ascension to the top as he was clearly the man in terms of workrate. A face turn all but made him the king of the promotion without the crowd, which came at Wrestlemania XII. There was no doubt who was winning the IYH match since Diesel was about to leave the promotion. That being said they certainly sold the hell out of the drama in the second match and a novice would think that Diesel was going to take that sucker. SLIGHT EDGE: IYH

Verdict: Really little doubt here as the In Your House match is a classic while most people don’t remember much about the Wrestlemania one as everything outside of the Lawrence Taylor-Bam Bam Bigelow stuff was throwaway.

Wresltemania Challenge: Wrestlemania X

No need to bore you with the bullshit, I’m comparing ladder matches!

Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania X
From Madison Square Garden in New York City
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon

Haven’t seen this one in about eight years so it gives me a good chance to pop in the “True Story of Wrestlemania” DVD and watch it on HD (sort of). Shawn is accompanied by some big stiff named “Diesel”, I bet you that guy won’t amount to shit and if he does someone will regret it.

Shawn tries to do some cutesy wrestling, counter stuff but Ramon does a half chokeslam/half urinage on him. HBK rallies back with a swinging neckbreaker, however, but gets sent to the buckle. Ramon with a shoulder block but Shawn catches him on a charges and sends him through the ropes. Diesel roughs up Razor on the outside but gets caught by the official like a dumbass and gets kicked out of the match. Good riddance, we’ll never see that guy again. Back to the match and Shawn gets caught with a right hand while he’s protesting and Razor slides back in the ring. Corner whip and Shawn does the somersault sell and Razor clotheslines him over the top. Both men outside and Razor lifts up the protective mat to expose the concrete but Shawn cuts him off and sends him back in the ring. Ramon retakes control and goes for the Razor’s Edge but Michaels’ back drops him over the top and onto that concrete Ramon exposed (serves him right!). Shawn goes after the ladder but Ramon recovers and sends Shawn in the ring. Ramon grabs the ladder and Michaels does a baseball slide onto the ladder and into Ramon’s ribs. Ouch.

Now we’ve got the ladder in the ring and Shawn jams it into Ramon’s midsection again. Shawn with more ladder shots to the stomach and then one to the back, nasty shots too. Ramon leans on the ropes to recover and Shawn casually tosses it on Ramon’s back again. Michaels figures he’s got Ramon hurt enough so he sets up the ladder to climb. Ramon cuts him off and pulls down his pants so Michaels kicks him off and hits the elbow drop from about the fifth step. Michaels with a scoop slam on Ramon and Michaels climbs to the top of the ladder and hits a superfly splash that hurts both men. Michaels recovers first and starts to climb but Ramon pushes the ladder over and Shawn falls into a stun gun (awesome sell too). Irish whip from Razor and they knock heads. Michaels recovers and sets the ladder up in the corner but Razor reverses the Irish whip and sends Michaels into the ladder and over the top. Ramon goes out, and takes the ladder with him. A couple more ladder shots that looked weaker than the ones Shawn did. Ramon sets the ladder up on the ropes and slingshots him into the ladder. Shawn falls back to the floor and the ladder goes with him (it’s the little things that take a bump to the next level).

Back in the ring and Ramon just waffles Shawn in the face with the ladder and Shawn does another somersault sell over the top. Ramon sets up the ladder and is ready to climb as the crowd heat is off the charts. Michaels climbs the top and hits double axe to get Ramon off the ladder, which falls and lands right on Shawn’s back. He probably needs to watch those bumps on he might have back injuries later in his career. Both men recover about the same time and start to climb together. They slug it out at the top of the ladder before Ramon slams Shawn off the ladder and the ladder falls again. Ramon sets up the ladder again and climbs, he slaps at the belt before Michaels dropkicks the ladder and Ramon falls up. Shawn then pushes the ladder over so it lands on Ramon. Michaels with an irish whip, Ramon ducks a clothesline but Shawn hits sweet chin music (not a regular finisher yet). Michaels teases going for the Razor’s Edge but hits a piledriver instead. Michaels grabs the ladder and climbs the ropes to do a suicide fall onto Ramon, with the ladder providing an assist.

Shawn sets the ladder up and climbs again as the crowd is about to riot. Shawn slaps at the belts as Ramon shakes the ladder and then decides to shoulder block and sends Shawn into the ropes with his foot tied up. Ramon climbs as Shawn tries to escape (and gets his arm tied up in the process) but it’s too late as Ramon grabs both belts in what remains a beautiful classic.

(Ramon def. Michaels, ladder climb, *****, still as good as it was 18 years ago. This will always be the definitive ladder match in wrestling).

And the Challenger

Summerslam 1995
From The Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Doc Hendrix (amazing that Jim Ross couldn’t have called one of these matches…Geez)

Ladder Match for WWF Intercontinental Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon

This was originally supposed to be Shawn vs. Sid or someone else but the card was so shitty that they decided to put on a good match (or so I heard). Both guys are babyfaces but Shawn was ungodly over at this point to Ramon is sort of the de-facto heel. Shawn’s S&M gear is something to behold. If I had to dress like that I’d find Jesus too. Both guys are at the peak of their asshole ways so they bitch at the official about not raising the belt quick enough and throw about three minutes worth of temper tantrums before a bell rings. They start with a little wrestling reversal sequence and counter each other’s finishers. Not that it would do a lot of good to hit a finisher, then go outside and retrieve a ladder and then set it up and then climb. But whatever. Shawn wins an early slugfest but Shawn takes the first of his sick bumps going right over the post on the on the floor. Ramon goes for the ladder but Shawn cuts him off, back to the ring as Ramon suplex Shawn from the apron to the floor UNPROTECTED! What the fuck man! Shawn’s leg hits the top of the railing (one of the more dangerous bumps he’s taken).

Ramon’s second attempt at the Edge fails and a double clothesline gives us an early break but Ramon gets a fall away slam from the middle rope. We’re five minutes into the match and Michaels’ stupid bump count is at three. Ramon finally grabs the ladder and smartly counters Shawn’s baseball slide in a not-so-subtle nod to their WM X match. Ramon goes for the belt but Shawn saves. Shawn tries to climb and Ramon chases him and drags him down in a nasty way, with Shawn’s leg wrenched inside the ladder. Ramon gets busy on the leg like a mofo to a big pop from the anti-Shawn contingent and does the “Pillman” move with the ladder about a year before it became popular. Shawn is getting Cena heat here as a large group of guys are cheering Ramon while the majority of female screams are going for HBK. Ramon slams Shawn on the ladder with his leg taking the brunt of the blow. Ramon continues a sick assault on the leg to the point of where you can imagine what kind of all-around talent this guy has when he’s not in another world. Shawn tries to fight back but Ramon counters with a drop toe hold and Indian deathlock.

Despite this Ramon still can’t scale the ladder as Shawn catches him with a suplex. Ramon goes flying into the ladder twice and dropped with the flying forearm to a mixed reaction. Bodyslam and a moonsault press off the ladder, splash from the tippy top of the ladder catches nothing but canvas however. They fight at the top of the ladder and a headbutt from Ramon sends them both off and to the floor. Ramon grabs a second ladder and it’s a race to see who can set up their ladder and climb, Shawn appears to be leading the race but Ramon wisely stops his pursuit and opts for a Razor’s Edge instead. Ramon spends FOREVER adjusting the ladder so Shawn grabs his ladder and it’s another race. Shawn kicks Ramon off his ladder but is too far away to grab the belt. Ramon tries for another Edge but a sweet moment of revenge Shawn backdrops him over the top and finally grabs the belt.

(Michaels def. Ramon, 24:56, *****, I bumped that up in case you are wondering. Awesome match and although they used some of the template from the Wrestlemania match, they also did some things differently. Ramon’s very heelish work on the leg was a good pace setter.)

The Decision

Match: Really arguing over which match is better is sort of pointless for me because I had them rated the same and I don’t believe one ***** match is better than another or the other wouldn’t be rated *****. Sidenote is that both Lawler and Hayes are awful on the commentary. DRAW

Storylines: For the Wrestlemania match Shawn was coming off of a suspension and paraded around with another version of the Intercontinental title and calling himself the true champion since he never lost the belt. Simple but always works. The second match didn’t have a storyline, it was just booked so both guys could look awesome. EDGE: Wrestlemania.

Intangibles: The Wrestlemania match is still known as the definitive ladder match in wreslting. I don’t think that will change any time soon since ladder matches are done with more frequency these days and the repeated spots make it harder to reach this level. Wrestlemania really put Michaels and Razor on the map as two of the promotions top guys. Did the WWF miss some of the boat on Scott Hall? Maybe. The Summerslam match solidified Michaels’ place as the top worker in either of the major American promotions, setting up his eventual ascension to world title status. The match it also put Hall in a place to financially capitalize on what was soon to be the hottest period in wrestling. In many ways the Wrestlemania match has less historical value than the Summerslam match if you think about what transpired in the following months. EDGE: Summerslam.

Verdict: This is one of those debates that has staunch defenders on each side and will probably never have a winner. So I’ve decided to choose my side and that side is Wrestlemania.

Wresltemania Challenge: Wrestlemania X

No need to bore you with the bullshit, I’m comparing ladder matches!

Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania X
From Madison Square Garden in New York City
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler

Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon

Haven’t seen this one in about eight years so it gives me a good chance to pop in the “True Story of Wrestlemania” DVD and watch it on HD (sort of). Shawn is accompanied by some big stiff named “Diesel”, I bet you that guy won’t amount to shit and if he does someone will regret it.

Shawn tries to do some cutesy wrestling, counter stuff but Ramon does a half chokeslam/half urinage on him. HBK rallies back with a swinging neckbreaker, however, but gets sent to the buckle. Ramon with a shoulder block but Shawn catches him on a charges and sends him through the ropes. Diesel roughs up Razor on the outside but gets caught by the official like a dumbass and gets kicked out of the match. Good riddance, we’ll never see that guy again. Back to the match and Shawn gets caught with a right hand while he’s protesting and Razor slides back in the ring. Corner whip and Shawn does the somersault sell and Razor clotheslines him over the top. Both men outside and Razor lifts up the protective mat to expose the concrete but Shawn cuts him off and sends him back in the ring. Ramon retakes control and goes for the Razor’s Edge but Michaels’ back drops him over the top and onto that concrete Ramon exposed (serves him right!). Shawn goes after the ladder but Ramon recovers and sends Shawn in the ring. Ramon grabs the ladder and Michaels does a baseball slide onto the ladder and into Ramon’s ribs. Ouch.

Now we’ve got the ladder in the ring and Shawn jams it into Ramon’s midsection again. Shawn with more ladder shots to the stomach and then one to the back, nasty shots too. Ramon leans on the ropes to recover and Shawn casually tosses it on Ramon’s back again. Michaels figures he’s got Ramon hurt enough so he sets up the ladder to climb. Ramon cuts him off and pulls down his pants so Michaels kicks him off and hits the elbow drop from about the fifth step. Michaels with a scoop slam on Ramon and Michaels climbs to the top of the ladder and hits a superfly splash that hurts both men. Michaels recovers first and starts to climb but Ramon pushes the ladder over and Shawn falls into a stun gun (awesome sell too). Irish whip from Razor and they knock heads. Michaels recovers and sets the ladder up in the corner but Razor reverses the Irish whip and sends Michaels into the ladder and over the top. Ramon goes out, and takes the ladder with him. A couple more ladder shots that looked weaker than the ones Shawn did. Ramon sets the ladder up on the ropes and slingshots him into the ladder. Shawn falls back to the floor and the ladder goes with him (it’s the little things that take a bump to the next level).

Back in the ring and Ramon just waffles Shawn in the face with the ladder and Shawn does another somersault sell over the top. Ramon sets up the ladder and is ready to climb as the crowd heat is off the charts. Michaels climbs the top and hits double axe to get Ramon off the ladder, which falls and lands right on Shawn’s back. He probably needs to watch those bumps on he might have back injuries later in his career. Both men recover about the same time and start to climb together. They slug it out at the top of the ladder before Ramon slams Shawn off the ladder and the ladder falls again. Ramon sets up the ladder again and climbs, he slaps at the belt before Michaels dropkicks the ladder and Ramon falls up. Shawn then pushes the ladder over so it lands on Ramon. Michaels with an irish whip, Ramon ducks a clothesline but Shawn hits sweet chin music (not a regular finisher yet). Michaels teases going for the Razor’s Edge but hits a piledriver instead. Michaels grabs the ladder and climbs the ropes to do a suicide fall onto Ramon, with the ladder providing an assist.

Shawn sets the ladder up and climbs again as the crowd is about to riot. Shawn slaps at the belts as Ramon shakes the ladder and then decides to shoulder block and sends Shawn into the ropes with his foot tied up. Ramon climbs as Shawn tries to escape (and gets his arm tied up in the process) but it’s too late as Ramon grabs both belts in what remains a beautiful classic.

(Ramon def. Michaels, ladder climb, *****, still as good as it was 18 years ago. This will always be the definitive ladder match in wrestling).

And the Challenger

Summerslam 1995
From The Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Hosted by Vince McMahon and Doc Hendrix (amazing that Jim Ross couldn’t have called one of these matches…Geez)

Ladder Match for WWF Intercontinental Title: Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon

This was originally supposed to be Shawn vs. Sid or someone else but the card was so shitty that they decided to put on a good match (or so I heard). Both guys are babyfaces but Shawn was ungodly over at this point to Ramon is sort of the de-facto heel. Shawn’s S&M gear is something to behold. If I had to dress like that I’d find Jesus too. Both guys are at the peak of their asshole ways so they bitch at the official about not raising the belt quick enough and throw about three minutes worth of temper tantrums before a bell rings. They start with a little wrestling reversal sequence and counter each other’s finishers. Not that it would do a lot of good to hit a finisher, then go outside and retrieve a ladder and then set it up and then climb. But whatever. Shawn wins an early slugfest but Shawn takes the first of his sick bumps going right over the post on the on the floor. Ramon goes for the ladder but Shawn cuts him off, back to the ring as Ramon suplex Shawn from the apron to the floor UNPROTECTED! What the fuck man! Shawn’s leg hits the top of the railing (one of the more dangerous bumps he’s taken).

Ramon’s second attempt at the Edge fails and a double clothesline gives us an early break but Ramon gets a fall away slam from the middle rope. We’re five minutes into the match and Michaels’ stupid bump count is at three. Ramon finally grabs the ladder and smartly counters Shawn’s baseball slide in a not-so-subtle nod to their WM X match. Ramon goes for the belt but Shawn saves. Shawn tries to climb and Ramon chases him and drags him down in a nasty way, with Shawn’s leg wrenched inside the ladder. Ramon gets busy on the leg like a mofo to a big pop from the anti-Shawn contingent and does the “Pillman” move with the ladder about a year before it became popular. Shawn is getting Cena heat here as a large group of guys are cheering Ramon while the majority of female screams are going for HBK. Ramon slams Shawn on the ladder with his leg taking the brunt of the blow. Ramon continues a sick assault on the leg to the point of where you can imagine what kind of all-around talent this guy has when he’s not in another world. Shawn tries to fight back but Ramon counters with a drop toe hold and Indian deathlock.

Despite this Ramon still can’t scale the ladder as Shawn catches him with a suplex. Ramon goes flying into the ladder twice and dropped with the flying forearm to a mixed reaction. Bodyslam and a moonsault press off the ladder, splash from the tippy top of the ladder catches nothing but canvas however. They fight at the top of the ladder and a headbutt from Ramon sends them both off and to the floor. Ramon grabs a second ladder and it’s a race to see who can set up their ladder and climb, Shawn appears to be leading the race but Ramon wisely stops his pursuit and opts for a Razor’s Edge instead. Ramon spends FOREVER adjusting the ladder so Shawn grabs his ladder and it’s another race. Shawn kicks Ramon off his ladder but is too far away to grab the belt. Ramon tries for another Edge but a sweet moment of revenge Shawn backdrops him over the top and finally grabs the belt.

(Michaels def. Ramon, 24:56, *****, I bumped that up in case you are wondering. Awesome match and although they used some of the template from the Wrestlemania match, they also did some things differently. Ramon’s very heelish work on the leg was a good pace setter.)

The Decision

Match: Really arguing over which match is better is sort of pointless for me because I had them rated the same and I don’t believe one ***** match is better than another or the other wouldn’t be rated *****. Sidenote is that both Lawler and Hayes are awful on the commentary. DRAW

Storylines: For the Wrestlemania match Shawn was coming off of a suspension and paraded around with another version of the Intercontinental title and calling himself the true champion since he never lost the belt. Simple but always works. The second match didn’t have a storyline, it was just booked so both guys could look awesome. EDGE: Wrestlemania.

Intangibles: The Wrestlemania match is still known as the definitive ladder match in wreslting. I don’t think that will change any time soon since ladder matches are done with more frequency these days and the repeated spots make it harder to reach this level. Wrestlemania really put Michaels and Razor on the map as two of the promotions top guys. Did the WWF miss some of the boat on Scott Hall? Maybe. The Summerslam match solidified Michaels’ place as the top worker in either of the major American promotions, setting up his eventual ascension to world title status. The match it also put Hall in a place to financially capitalize on what was soon to be the hottest period in wrestling. In many ways the Wrestlemania match has less historical value than the Summerslam match if you think about what transpired in the following months. EDGE: Summerslam.

Verdict: This is one of those debates that has staunch defenders on each side and will probably never have a winner. So I’ve decided to choose my side and that side is Wrestlemania.