Hey Scott,
I was contemplating the mysteries of the WWEUniverse, and the following topics began to trend.

1. Before Vince was “outed” as the owner of the WWF, he was the excitable announcer and was still all over the product. But did Vince Sr. ever have an on-screen role? I know that the concept of the “wrestling authority figure” hadn’t really been invented, and kayfabe would have been crucial at the time, but I still can’t believe that the guy who started the WWF could sit in the front row of MSG without anyone knowing who he was.
2. This one gets raised a lot, but who should have won the ’99 Rumble? Austin needs to be in the main event of Mania, but if he wins a third straight Rumble from no.1, it would kill the entire roster. On the other hand, was anyone over enough to eliminate him? Should they have taken a chance on HHH, as he was getting the push soon anyway? Could they have had Big Show debut a month early, or was he still under contract with WCW at this time? Kane? Taker? Golga? Anyone would have been a better winner than Vince, but I just don’t see a way out. Blame Russo.
3. Is it true that HHH was supposed to beat Taker at Mania X7 with Shawn’s help? I only heard this rumour recently, and couldn’t believe the Streak could have been ended before it became a key selling point of main every year, including last year, when HHH met Undertaker for the first time.
4. Is Savage/Steamboat the only *****-match that’s less than 15 minutes long?
5. They usually get celebrities involved at Mania, so given Vince’s world revolves around Twitter, why doesn’t he just throw money at Gaga or Bieber and get them to appear and plug the hell out of the event beforehand? The Little Monsters and Beliebers rush to buy the event, it does 4.6 million buys worldwide, and Vince’s genius is confirmed. It couldn’t fail, right? Right?

Please don’t use the term “WWE Universe” on this blog. 1.  Vincent J. never appeared on TV that I’m aware of.  Most of the promoters of the time were strictly backstage, which kind of shoots down the whole “You have to be a wrestler to understand wrestling” argument, since I don’t think anyone would argue that Vince Sr. or Toots Mondt or the Crocketts didn’t understand wrestling.  Of course, once the sport became primarily a TV outlet, then The Promoter became a TV character as much as anyone. 2.  Big Show was definitely still under contract.  They were cutting it really close by having him debut at the February show, in fact.  That being said, Austin is the biggest star in the history of stars, so fuck the rest of the roster, he should have won the match for a third straight year.  3.  It’s true that Shawn was supposed to get involved, but no one has ever said that HHH was supposed to beat Undertaker.  I’m pretty sure that HHH was doing the job whether Shawn got involved or not, it’s just that Shawn was originally going to cost him the match and set up a HHH v. HBK feud.  4.  Well, ratings are subjective, but it’s the only one that I’ve given ***** to.  5.  He’d probably put Bieber over Dolph Ziggler, too.

Caliber Winfield’s Top 5 Greatest Fight Scenes

Hey, guys.

I know that a lot of wrestling fans are also big into film, TV, and other facets of pop-culture. So, my every-so-often column will always be a random choice, to keep things interesting. I hope you guys dig each effort. 
This time around, I thought I’d post what I believe are the Top 5 Greatest Fight Scenes of all time. I’ve been into martial arts and such since I was a kid, and have always been obsessed with fight scenes, and the beauty that can come with the choreography. Serious, some of the fight scenes you see these days are just gorgeous. 
So, here’s my Top 5, and I’d really like to hear which scenes you guys dig. And yes, before anyone posts the video of Captain Kirk fighting the Green Lizard Thing, it is a funny fight scene. 
Ong Bak: Thai Warrior
People might think I’m off my rocker for
including this, but as always, I’m a genius who often goes away from the
curve. Ong Bak: Thai Warrior is one of those movies that was first
passed around from friend to friend who were fans of martial arts. It
was like the stuff of legend, you had to see it. You had to see this new
kid, Tony Jaa. He was Jackie Chan times 10. So, you pop it in,  all is
well and rocking,  it comes to the first fight, and you’re expecting one
hell of a bout, then BAM. It’s one awesome knee to the face and it’s over. It’s far more impactful than any actual fight could have
been. It showed you right then that Ong Bak, and Tony Jaa, truly were something fresh.

Enter The Dragon
This one film caused a massive influx of
people taking up martial arts in the 1970′s. Seriously, I bet that not
only did local dojo’s see their attendance rise by probably 200%, but
probably 2-3 new dojos opened up per city. Hell, the song Kung-Fu
Fighting wouldn’t have been written if not for Lee. Bruce is such an
awesome guy that he needs…nay, deserves his own article. The guy has
influenced so many fields from film, martial arts, to writing and
exercise. His best known work is one of the greatest martial
arts films of all time, Enter The Dragon. The scene in question is also
one of the most iconic. Lee and Han doing battle in the hall of mirrors,
Bruce with his slashed up torso, Han rocking that bad-ass claw
hand. It is such an awesome scene, that any director or writer who ever plans
on creating a movie, no matter the genre, need to see this scene. If
you don’t, then you have offended my family, and the Shaolin Temple.
Revenge of the Ninja
If you’re a fan of martial arts films,
then chances are you have been since you were a kid. If you were a kid,
then you loved ninjas. One of the major stars of that era was the man,
Sho Kosugi. They say some people are born to play a part, and he was
damn well born to play a ninja. In this classic, a man named Cho has his
family slaughtered by ninja, and decides to move to America to start a
business with his best friend, Braden. Well, we come to find out it was
all a ruse so Braden could sell coke, smuggling it through Cho’s dolls, and he is in fact, a ninja.
Basically, there’s only one thing you can do in a situation like this.
No, you don’t call the cops, sissies do that, you go back to the ninja
ways you swore off forever, and do battle.
I’ve always loved the hell out of this
scene. It’s a pretty long fight scene that involves some hand to hand,
the acrobatics one expects with ninjas, an array of weapons, and a few
surprises too. It’s just a bad-ass brawl that is the pinnacle of on
screen ninja fights.
The Protector aka Tom-Yum-Goong
If you’re looking for a martial arts movie
with awesome fight scenes, honest to God, look no further than this
film. It’s hands down the greatest, most ambitious martial arts film
ever. It has some of the most innovative, incredible fight scenes
and moves ever caught on film. From Tony taking on about 40 kids on
bikes and roller blades who have light bulb tubes, to, what I believe is
an homage to Bruce Lee’s Game of Death by fighting 3 separate fighters
who have 3 different, and distinct styles. I wanted to include that
scene as well, but then this whole list would have been the Tony Jaa
Show. Search out that scene, it’s incredible. Now, this scene…
The only reason this scene isn’t number
one is simply because the first place fight is longer. This is probably
the most ambitious and creative scene in all of cinema. It’s a 4 minute
long, non-stop, no edits, no camera tricks fight scene. Tony walks up 4
flights of a tower, fighting people the entire time. He’s throwing
people over railings, through walls and tables, executing flying knees
through drinking fountains and people. This shot took about 6 weeks to
set up. After 6 different attempts, they finally got it. It truly has to
be seen to be believed.
Drunken Master II
Roger Ebert once said, regarding this film: “it may not be possible to film a better fight scene”
He’s spot on.
This fight scene is absolutely non-stop,
and truly has to be seen to be believed. Honestly, I’m not even going to
describe it, I’m just going to let you watch it all and see it for
yourself. So fast, so brutal, so f’ning incredible.
The guy who’s doing all the fancy foot
work is Ken Lo, one of Jackie Chan’s Stunt Team members, and at one
point in time, his personal body guard. How hard do you think
this guy can kick? He could probably cave in your chest. Or kick you so hard in the face it’d break your toes. 
Hope you guys enjoyed the list. I know some of you guys like to talk film & television, so, since Scott’s mailbag is usually for wrestling, anyone who wants to ask a question regarding movies or TV, or just get a topic going, send one my way and we can start a mailbag. email: [email protected]
If you’re digging the article, you can find more at these lovely websites:
Str8 Gangster, No Chaser – more lists, Man Movie Encyclopedia, reviews, pro-wrestling
WCW In The Year 2000 – A review of the worst year in pro-wrestling history.

The SmarKdown Rant–04.27.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 04.27.12 Taped from Grand Rapids, MI Your hosts are Michael Cole & Booker T. Josh Matthews is out thanks to making a stupid comment to Brock Lesnar, thus marking the first person in about 10 years to sell an injury past the end of the show. Daniel Bryan (with ridiculous overdubbed boos on his entrance) comes out to talk about finally getting rid of AJ. The crowd apparently hates him despite tons of “Yes” signs on camera and everyone holding up their arms in time with him. Bryan wants the 18 second loss STRICKEN from his record and put onto AJ’s record, because it wasn’t his fault. He called the match on Monday right down the middle, and offers totally fair and undoctored footage to prove it. He leads the crowd in a YES chant, but Alberto Del Rio interrupts. Ricardo cheerleads with “SI!” chants because he’s awesome, but ADR doesn’t get to make his point because Big Show interrupts now. And he’s unclear on the whole “Yes/Si” thing but chokeslams Ricardo just because. Big Show v. Alberto Del Rio Show chases Del Rio out of the ring, but ADR goes to the arm to take over. He quickly goes for the armbar, but Show throws out of it. Show makes the comeback with the spear, but Cody Rhodes runs in for the DQ at 1:50. Show beats the crap out of him and whips him, which is an awesome way to make him seem like a threat before he regains the title. ½* Meanwhile, Eve thinks that all the random crew members backstage should wear nametags. Big Johnny puts Eve in charge of Teddy Long, and his first job is to go get a nametag. Damien Sandow talks about more smart person stuff. Next week, he wrestles. Nikki Bella v. Alicia Fox Nikki stomps Fox down for two and adds a necksnap for two. Fox makes the comeback with dropkicks and gets an ugly back elbow out of the corner, but the twins do the switch and Brie finishes with the carpet muncher at 1:45. Michael Cole speaks the truth: “It was actually Brie who won the match, but it doesn’t really matter.” Indeed. Booker adds his wisdom: “Shucky ducky, quack quack.” They PAY this man to do this job. Meanwhile, Titus O’Neil and Darren Young harass Yoshi Tatsu, but Ezekial Jackson saves him and the fake crowd pops like they know who he is. Titus was pretty awesome here, cutting a sarcastic promo and showing personality. That’s half the battle, at least. Meanwhile, Teddy Long is now in a maid uniform, just when Aksana pops in with Big Johnny. Tonight, Antonio Cesaro debuts, and Teddy gets to do commentary with Big Johnny in his headset. Titus O’Neil & Darren Young v. Ezekial Jackson & Yoshi Tatsu Apparently Young and Titus are from some show called NXT. Never heard of it. Tatsu pounds on Young, but walks into a stungun while we get the Teddy and Cole alleged comedy hour at ringside on commentary. They double-team Tatsu and Young drops an elbow for two, and they finish with a Doomsday Device variation at 1:49. Just a squash. ½* They look like a couple of generic black guys in black tights now that Darren Young cut his hair off. I’m sure they’ll get the tag belts in a couple of weeks because they’ve already gone through the Usos and Yoshi Tatsu, so really there’s no one else left to beat. Randy Orton is out to talk about Kane and their impending falls count anywhere match. By the way, we’re two months into this feud and they still have no particular reason for even fighting. Blah blah blah unleashing hell, pain and suffering. And then here’s a random one for you, as Jinder Mahal interrupts. I don’t see this working out well for him. Jinder actually gets promo time, promising to pick up the pieces after Kane is finished with him. Orton gives him an RKO. What the fuck was the point of that? I think Orton’s promos are actually getting worse as he goes along, or maybe he’s just as bored by this feud as everyone else is. Antonio Cesaro v. Tyson Kidd CLAUDIO~! He is now apparently a former rugby player who was fired for being too violent. Hey, that’s a better backstory than most of these geeks get, so I’m down with it. Antonio headbutts Kidd down and adds a gutwrench suplex, which has Booker feeling nostalgic. Cradle flapjack finishes at 1:00 as he squashes the shit out of Kidd. Actually I think if he’s a rugby player, he should use Orton’s punt as a finisher. Claudio is money, hopefully they don’t fuck it up. The Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes Cody takes him down by the knee and goes to work on it, and adds a missile dropkick for two. Khali comes back and finishes him clean with the tree slam at 1:56. Well of course. ½* Meanwhile, AW gives advice to the tag champs and gives them until Monday to decide if they’re with him or not. Ryback v. Jacob Kaye The jobber gets to cut a promo, as they continue to find the geekiest geeks who ever geeked for Ryback to squash. And this guy doesn’t fare any better than the others, as Ryback finishes with the lariat and muscle buster at 1:00. I’m fine with this career trajectory for him. Meanwhile, AJ is still upset over getting dumped, but another chick attempts to cheer her up but gets slapped. I do not know this second person and they made no effort to introduce her, but she’s apparently AJ’s best friend. Sheamus v. Mark Henry The REMATCH. I’m a little sad that Henry’s role has exclusively become “guy with nothing else going on for bigger stars to beat”. Henry pounds away in the corner and dumps Sheamus, but he fights back to the apron and slingshots in with a shoulderblock for two. And we take a break. Back with Henry missing a splash and Sheamus uses the forearms on the apron, but Henry levels him with an elbow to take over again. He tosses Sheamus into the railing for a nice ragdoll bump, and back in for two. Sheamus comes back with a DDT for two and keeps trying to get “Brogue!” over as a thing, but runs into a clothesline for two. Henry charges and hits boot, and then the Brogue Kick finishes clean at 10:18. These two have good chemistry together. **1/2 Bryan comes out to applaud, but Sheamus asks if he’s going to kick Bryan’s head off and retain the title? The answer of course is “Yes!” The Pulse The wrestling was all brisk to say the least, but it sure makes for an easier show to watch than RAW most weeks. I still don’t think Bryan has a hope in hell of getting the belt back, but I’ll be happy if they get a chance to do a good long match this time. See you Sunday for the PPV rant.

Michael Hayes

Hello Scott,

Always enjoy a good mailbag, and would appreciate your opinion on something that has been bothering me for a while. Just what is the deal with Michael Hayes?
I appreciate the impact the Freebirds made, and he obviously must have a decent mind for the business given his career backstage and in the ring, but his ring-work came across as being centred around stalling and doing a crap moonwalk.

Yet he appears to be very well respected, and has ascended through the WWE from road agent to head writer. So is he a genius? Opportunist? Overrated?
Keep up the good work!

He's a smart guy, but a shit worker.  And a bit of a racist, apparently.  But yeah, he's always had a great mind for the business and he's a funny guy.  There's lots of guys like that, who were smart enough to make a good living for themselves but really found their calling as agents or writers (like BIG JOHNNY) because they can act as a muse for someone with better in-ring talent than them.  And then I guess you have the opposite like Ricky Steamboat, where he can still work circles around the guys he's supposed to be training.  

Discussion topic:  Who among today's guys are going to be the best agents and writers for the next generation?  Punk obviously.  Any dark horses?

Names v. Gimmicks

Even though we are in the era of wrestlers using either real names (Cena) or made up names that are supposed to sound like real names (Dean Ambrose), do you think there is still a place for gimmick wrestlers that have a radical character (like the Undertaker when he debuted)?  I think if done correctly, Snake from the Metal Gear Series could have been a success, a cross between Sgt. Slaughter and Benoit almost (plus he could have a manager like Otacon or Campbell who would yell SNAAAAAAAAAAAKE every time he lost).  Your thoughts?

Of course there’s still a place for radical characters.  Just look at Brodus Clay, the FUNKASAURUS.  Total gimmick character and he’s over like crazy.  Ditto for Hornswoggle and Santino, who are all total cartoon characters.  Kane is fading fast but he’s still a major player and he only debuted 15 years ago, which is still part of the modern era.  Really, it’s not the name or gimmick, it’s the person behind the character.  Undertaker probably would have bombed with anyone but Mark Callaway behind it, and someone can easily take another goofy gimmick and run with it, too.  In fact I wish they would try going that route more times than they do. 

Smackdown – April 27, 2012

Date: April 27, 2012
Location: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

the last show before Extreme Rules and we’re minus a Josh Matthews here
due to Lesnar killing him on Monday. We have a main event tonight of
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry in a non-title match which is a rematch from Raw
where Daniel Bryan cheated Sheamus with a fast count. Other than that I
don’t think anything else has been announced. Let’s get to it.

Do you know your enemy? Mine is time, as I want it to be next Friday so I can see Avengers.

We see a clip of Josh’s attack from Monday.

Bryan to open the show. He talks about cutting the cord and finally
getting rid of AJ. He’s out here to set the record straight: the
Wrestlemania loss to Sheamus doesn’t count and should go against AJ’s
record, not his. Then on Monday he was asked to be guest referee in
Sheamus vs. Henry. He said he’d call it right down the middle and he
did. Some people are saying he fast counted Sheamus but here’s footage
showing he didn’t. The count is shown in slow motion. We also get the
post match attack and YES Lock.

Bryan says it’s time for a
question and answer session. Did Henry beat Sheamus? YES. Did he make
Sheamus tap out? YES (not that I remember). Will he get the title back
on Sunday? YES. Cue Del Rio who asks a bunch of questions with Ricardo
shouting SI after every one in a funny bit. Big Show comes out and wants
to know if it’s YES or SI, which starts a chant. Show knocks Bryan to
the floor and chokeslams Ricardo. Good chokeslam too.

Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio

is joined in progress after a break and I’m pretty sure is non-title.
Show chops Del Rio in the corner and clubs him down with forearms. Del
Rio is knocked to the floor but he drapes the arm over the ropes to take
over. Show vs. Cody’s stipulation will be determined by a spin of the
wheel. Show shrugs him off and spears him down. He loads up the
chokeslam but Cody comes in for the DQ at 1:54.

Cody tries some
weapons but Show knocks them away. He steals Cody’s belt and whips Cody
with it a few times. Cody hasn’t gotten in a single successful attack or
victory over Show at all since Wrestlemania.

Ace and Eve are in
the back and he says that Eve can make whatever changes she thinks are
good on Smackdown. Just run them by him first. Eve says she doesn’t know
any of the crew people so maybe they should make them wear nametags.
They run into Teddy who wants to know what his job is. Ace says Teddy
reports directly to Eve, who tells him to go get a nametag.

We get a clip from the Divas Title match Monday where Nikki won it from Beth.

Sandow talks about enlightenment. The fans aren’t enlightened as they
worship people with nonsensical catchphrases and loud music. He debuts
in a week.

Alicia Fox vs. Nikki Bella

again. The place just goes silent for this as you can hear the girls
shouting at each other. Nikki throws Alicia and those hips around with a
snapmare and it’s off to a modified chinlock. Alicia comes back with a
one footed dropkick and basically falls off the middle rope for a back
elbow. Twin Magic lets Brie hit a facejam for the pin at 1:48.

and Young come up to Yoshi who I think they’re facing tonight. They
make fun of Japanese people that put their hands together and bow while
saying hai. They ask about Yoshi’s partner and imply he can’t speak
English. Big Zeke comes up and says he’s the partner tonight. They sing a
song about how Zeke is big and strong but doesn’t have any cuts. Where
were these guys on NXT?

Teddy is now in a maid’s outfit over his
suit and has a big nametag on his chest. Aksana comes in and he thanks
her for sticking by him. She’s surprised he has grandchildren and here’s
Ace who says Aksana’s favor has been granted: Antonio Cesar gets a
tryout match tonight. If he wins, he gets a job. Eve had an idea that
Aksana should be guest ring announcer. Oh and Teddy will have his own
ringside commentary table to make sure we have three commentators and he
starts next. Ace will tell him every word he says through a headset.

Ezekiel Jackson/Yoshi Tatsu vs. Darren Young/Titus O’Neil

is on commentary at a separate table but can’t talk unless Ace gives
him the ok and the exact words in his ears. Young and Tatsu start in the
corner and Young takes him down with a Hot Shot. Off to Titus as Cole
berates Teddy. The heels beat on Tatsu with double teaming and on their
own. Young dropkicks the knee out on Jackson while he’s on the apron and
a REALLY bad modified Hart Attack out of the corner gets the pin on
Yoshi at 1:50. Young missed Tatsu for the most part so it was more like a
shove than a chop while Titus powerbombed him.

Here’s Cole in the
ring and he brings out Orton for an interview. Cole asks about Orton’s
match on Sunday and Orton says he likes to shoot first and ask questions
later. He’ll be ready to do whatever it takes to beat Kane on Sunday.
We get a video on their feud (long one too, like two minutes) and Orton
says he can almost respect what Kane did because it’s something he’d do,
but he won’t accept it. On Sunday, there are no rules so he can do
whatever he wants. Kane is the devil’s favorite demon, but even the
devil couldn’t so what Orton is going to do on Sunda.

Mahal? He thinks Orton and Kane will destroy each other and a new breed
will emerge. Mahal says he’s better than Orton all around and that
he’ll be waiting after Extreme Rules. Orton cuts him off and lays him
out with an RKO. Are they really going with Mahal vs. Orton after this?
Why? What has Mahal done to make them think he deserves that spot?

Kofi Kingston says don’t try this at home or school.

Tyson Kidd vs. Antonio Cesaro

doesn’t get an entrance. Cesaro’s music reminds me of Johnny B. Badd’s.
Cesaro is of course Claudio Castagnoli. He has what looks like socks
wrapped around his thighs. Booker: “Are those kneepads?” Cole: “No
Booker. If they were kneepads they would be around his knees.” Cesaro
uses a lot of power strikes and a gutwrench suplex to take Kidd over. He
throws Kidd in the air and hits a European Uppercut on the way down.
Cesaro sets for a cradle piledriver but falls forward ala DDP’s pancake
move for the pin at 1:10.
Teddy has to go in and do something he doesn’t want to do post match. He raises Cesaro’s hand and then Cesaro kisses Aksana.

video on Lesnar vs. Cena, including clips from the sitdown interview
and from Edge’s promo on Monday. Cena hasn’t said much in this.

Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes

is as a result of the attack before the six man from last week. Cody is
still sore from the whipping Show gave him earlier. Cody goes for the
knee which doesn’t work at all. He manages to take Khali down and DDTs
the knee before going up top. A missile dropkick puts Khali down for
two. Back to the knee but Khali gets up and uses some clotheslines to
take Cody down. Disaster Kick is caught in the Plunge….for the clean
pin at 1:59. Oh good grief I’m not going to bother explaining how stupid
this is.

Washington pitches to the tag champions some more and
thinks Rosa should talk some more. He needs a decision by Monday though.
Ryback comes up and glares at them and walks away. Washington tries to
set up a meeting with him.

The Usos are watching in the back.

Jacob Kaye vs. Ryback

says that he’s not going to be another no name schnook. I like this guy
already. He’s from Grand Rapids and has been trying to escape it for
years now. Kaye charges at him and gets thrown down immediately. Ryback
kicks his head off and chokes him with the boot. Gorilla press into a
powerslam sets up the clothesline and the Muscle Buster gets the pin at
1:08. This guy is so much fun.

Video on AJ going crazy last week.
She has no comment on anything but looks very evil. Kaitlyn comes up and
tells Striker to leave her alone. Striker leaves and Kaitlyn tries to
talk some sense into her so AJ slaps the taste out of her mouth. She
immediately seems to regret it but Kaitlyn leaves. This is getting

Mark Henry vs. Sheamus

overpowers him to start so Shemaus slows down a little bit. A headlock
doesn’t work and Henry puts him down again. Sheamus goes to the knee and
takes Henry down for two. He goes for the arm but Henry shoves him to
the floor with ease. Sheamus comes back with the slingshot shoulder for
two and we take a break. Back with Henry slamming the champ to take

Henry gets knocked to the apron and Sheamus hits the ten
forearms which are getting cheered a lot better lately. Henry easily
throws Sheamus down though and hits a HARD whip into the barricade. Back
in for a quick nerve hold but Sheamus gets out. Henry hits something
that looked like a crescent kick to put Sheamus down for two. Sheamus
comes back with his double ax handles to the chest and down goes

DDT gets two for the champion. He’s getting fired up now and starts to
pound his chest and shouting Brogue. Probably due to shouting very
loudly, Henry is able to run him over for two. A charge misses and
Sheamus goes up but jumps over Henry. Brogue Kick takes Henry’s head off
for the pin at 7:26 shown of 10:56.

Rating: C.
This was exactly what you would expect from these two. Henry is the
perfect foil for a guy like Sheamus as it looks impressive when Sheamus
beats him but Henry’s power is good enough to give Sheamus a threat.
Also it helps that Sheamus has a finisher that he can hit on anyone
instead of a power move.

Bryan comes to the apron and Sheamus
invites him down. Sheamus says this Sunday won’t be a fluke and there
won’t be an AJ to blame. Will Sheamus kick Bryan’s head off and keep the
title? YES! YES! YES! The chant ends the show.

Overall Rating:
B. I liked this show for the most part other than the Khali win. For
the life of me is it a crime to make him look strong before a rematch?
Anyway I liked a lot about this, including the push for the world title
match and Ryback’s match, as he’s the more interesting version of
someone like Tensai, minus the big win. Good show here and they pushed
the PPV strong, which is the right idea.

Big Show b. Albert Del Rio via DQ when Cody Rhodes interfered
Nikki Bella b. Alicia Fox – Brie Bella pinned Fox after a facejam
Darren Young/Titus O’Neil b. Yoshi Tatsu/Ezekiel Jackson – Double Team Powerbomb
Antonio Cesaro b. Tyson Kidd – Cradle Pancake
Great Khali b. Cody Rhodes – Punjabi Plunge
Ryback b. Jacob Kaye – Muscle Buster
Sheamus b. Mark Henry – Brogue Kick

Remember to like this on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @kbreviews

New Topics!

Time for some non-Montreal, non-Invasion topics!

Looooooooooong time reader and erratic contributor to the comments section who’s been a watcher (intermittently, at best, now) since around 1985 (I have distinct memories of Lex Luger as Florida and Southern Champion).  I don’t think I’ve ever actually written before, but am bored at work and figured I’d give you a shout.  A few random questions:
1. Tom Zenk.  All the measurables were there for Zenk to be a big star (Minnesota pedigree/Japanese experience/great body/high flying skills), yet he really never broke through as a top player.  His best chance seemed to be his WCW tenure (when, admittedly, they couldn’t find their ass from doorknob), but it never came together.  What gives?
2. Greg Valentine.  I always considered Valentine to be the great “lost” Horseman.  His history with Flair, tag team experience and old-school mentality made him an ideal fit, particularly when he was in WCW in 92; instead, they stuck him in a team with Terry Taylor (admittedly a great worker before his car accident).  When Flair came back in 93, wouldn’t Valentine have been a better choice than Paul Roma?  Anderson and Valentine (even at 41) as a tag team?  Yes, please.
3. Brad Armstrong.  Quickie on this one – the best all-around worker that never became a star?  The only comparison that I can think of is Bobby Eaton, but he had world title runs with the tag belts; other than the BS WCW light heavyweight title and an iteration of the six man belts (as Badstreet), he never really got through.  Any reason why not?

1.  Zenk never really had a chance to show the kind of charisma he demonstrated on the Observer radio shows, probably because he was mostly stereotyped into the “pretty boy” role and didn’t have much opportunity to break free from it.  Plus he never seemed to have much passion for the business in general.  2.  That is a very interesting idea.  Valentine would have fit with the Horsemen really well, actually, although by that point in WCW he had nothing left in the way of credibility anyway.  But I’m intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter. 3.  Brad just never had the charisma to be a top guy, as was demonstrated every time they tried to give him a “character” to play, like Buzzkill.  I always enjoyed his work, but he was never a guy who I would have paid money to see or anything. 

More on the Invasion…

Bet you're sick of stuff regarding the Invasion now, but it still seems to be a popular topic on the BLOG!~! so here goes….
One thing nobody's neccessarily brought up yet and just a thought – was the 'Invasion' really neccessary in the first place? Think about it like this – WCW had lost all credibility with wrestling fans by the point that Vince bought them out, right? So realistically, turning the whole shebang into "two separate companies" was never going to work – look at the reaction it got in Tacoma when they did 'WCW' at the end of the show with Bagwell vs. Booker, and that was really before they'd totally botched the angle (outside of DDP….). And really, was it "WWF vs. WCW" that the fans were clamouring for, or was it more stuff like Rock vs. Hogan, Austin vs. Goldberg, just as matches?
Basically what I'm getting at is this – would it have been smarter to just bring the big stars from WCW in as their own acts – essentially like how Goldberg and Steiner were eventually brought aboard – just to run dream matches that way, rather than even making use of WCW as a company? That way none of the younger wrestlers (O'Haire, Palumbo, Lance Storm, et al) would've had the WCW stigma attached to them like they did post-Invasion, and natural babyfaces like DDP and Van Dam could've just played those roles without being shoehorned into heeldom due to their WCW links. So basically, it's an injection of talent to freshen up the roster, rather than an 'Invasion'. Think of the buyout as bringing in more wrestlers rather than the tainted WCW name.
This worked well for UFC in bringing the PRIDE stars across, did it not? Some fans wanted a UFC vs. PRIDE type thing there but in reality UFC probably drew more by establishing guys like Rampage and Wanderlei as stars in their own right and by running the dream matches that the fans had wanted for years anyway (well, most of the time…). I dunno, just some food for thought.

Yeah, but that's apples and oranges.  PRIDE had zero value except for the talent, whereas WCW's only value was the name.  While freshening up the roster also could have worked as a strategy, clearly the MONEY ($$$$$$$$$$!) was in pulling the trigger on the one feud that fans had been waiting for 20+ years to happen:  WWF v. WCW itself.  Guys like DDP and Van Dam were useful as new uppercard players, yeah, but the only storyline that the fans wanted to see was them invading from another promotion.  It was a rare case where the fans were almost literally trying to give the promotion their money and only needed the slightest excuse.  

Flashback: House Show Rant from May 2000

I think I had referenced going to this show in one of the 2012 Scott sez rants, and I was trolling through my archives and remembered that sure enough I had done a review for Wrestleline back in the day.  So just for fun, a May 28 2000 WWF house show report by ME. Netcop House Show Rant – May 28, 2000 So anyway, after weeks of begging and pleading with Wrestleline and much built up in the way of hopes, I ended up being gravely disappointed, as David’s promise to call the WWF on Friday afternoon yielded nothing, not even an e-mail to let me know one way or another. So it was lucky for me that the WWF opened up some seats on Saturday, and ended up picking up a pair of darn good seats at the proverbial last minute (section 201, row 21, which is dead center and the very first row of the upper deck, and just about the best view in the place) so I could finally see Benoit v. Jericho live and thus die happy. Well, relatively. I can’t for the life of me remember if I went to the show in 1992 that featured the only Edmonton appearance of the Nature Boy (I probably did, because the only WWF show here I can remember missing was one from 96 where the main event changed about 4 times in the days before the show and ended up with Sid v. Bret Hart) but Benoit is more of a modern hero to me, rather than Flair’s legendary type of heroism. By the way, if there’s any WWF people reading this, if this was 1993 and the show was being headlined by Yokozuna against Tatanka, you’d damn sure be ready to comp me and let me backstage, you cheap fuckers. Anyway, with that out of the way, my only other complaint is the woeful lack of merchandise at the show. For a company that’s pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars in merchandising money, they sure didn’t bring much of it here. The only HHH shirt they had was the lame “Not for the Innocent” one, rather than the much better “I Am the Game”, so I went with my second choice – an APA shirt. Considering the amount of shirts they were moving today, I’m frankly shocked they didn’t have a bigger selection of them. On with the show… – Opening match: The Godfather v. Al Snow. As always, if you HAVE to use Godfather, the opening match is pretty much the best place for him, because he gets the crowd going and generally tries hard, despite his total lack of talent. Nice ladies today, too. This was your basic comedy match, with Snow making a play for the hos on two occasions and getting jumped both times. Godfather ran through his usual stuff and got the pin off the Ho Train about 5 minutes in. Crap match, but it amused the rubes. ¼* Crowd was VERY hot for both guys. – Light Heavyweight title: Dean Malenko v. Crash Holly. Both guys get a babyface pop coming in, just because we’ve never seen either up here. Malenko quickly goes into the heel role by working on the knee and hitting a couple of low blows…and DRAWS HEAT. Wow, I had this one written off a lost cause in terms of crowd reaction before it even started. Match was a pretty good little mat wrestling run-through with the occasional “Elroy” chant for Crash. Just your standard Metal match, basically, as Malenko hits a tiger bomb into the Cloverleaf for the submission at about 8 minutes. * – T&A v. Too Cool. Trish gets guaranteed heel heat by insulting Edmonton and letting us know she’s from Toronto. Too Cool are just crazy over, it’s pretty scary. T&A continue to impress with some good double-team work as Scotty plays face in peril for a few minutes (with the crowd gamely clapping along to encourage him the whole time). Funniest spot of the night comes in the early stages of this match, as Scotty is bouncing on the ropes while waiting for a tag…and he falls off, onto the floor. Anyway, skip to the ending, as we get the usual pier-six, and Scotty hits the Worm on Test. Swear to god, I’ve NEVER heard a louder reaction to one move in my life. The whole place literally was lit up by flashbulbs when he did that thing. I don’t know he manages to get through it without cracking up. Grandmaster follows with the Hip Hop Drop, but Test nails him with Trish’s boot and pins him. As T&A leaves, we get our dose of Memphis for the night, because Grandmaster Sexay points out that when Trish took off her boot, we could all see “her hairy leg” and proceeded to start a “Shave your leg” chant. Cute. We get a couple of dance moves from both guys, and when Sexay does his, Scotty yanks down his pants. Crowd ate all of it up with a spoon. Match was pretty standard stuff. ½* – Bull Buchanan v. Bradshaw. No Faarooq for some reason, but Bossman was hanging around ringside and gets the award for “most stunned reaction” when the crowd spontaneously starts up a “Bossman’s gay” chant. Match was punch-kick all the way, as Bradshaw hits the Clothesline from Hell, but Bossman runs in for the DQ. Boring stuff. DUD – Paul Bearer makes a surprise appearance, talking about revenge for Kane’s broken hand. Bossman returns to beat him up, and who should return but… – Kane v. Big Bossman. This was about as bad as you’d expect, although Kane was just incredibly over. Bossman restholds us to death before Kane comes back and chokeslams him for the win. DUD – Road Dogg, X-Pac & HHH v. The Rock & the Dudley Boyz. The crowd was chanting for Rock off and on for the first half of the show, so thankfully they put this on before the intermission to shut them up. Road Dogg just has NO heat left at this point – it’s pretty sad. The loss of Vince Russo pretty much showed how much Jammes needed him to maintain his following. The fans just mercilessly boo HHH during his intro and pre-match insults for the crowd. Now that’s some serious heel heat. And as you’d expect, Rock’s entrance just absolutely blows the roof off the joint. Still, it’s not as loud as Austin’s pop was when he was here last year. The pop (and sustained heat) that Steve Austin got last year is one of the loudest I’ve ever heard in wrestling. Rock is still suffering from a knee injury, so it’s basically Dudleys v. X-Pac & Road Dogg for most of the (long) match, with an occasional appearance from the Great One to lay some smack down and then step out again. No 3D surprisingly, as Rock finishes HHH clean with the People’s Elbow about 10 or 12 minutes in (to another monster pop, although less than the Worm got). Earl Hebner cleans house on the heels, and then Rocky runs through his usual speech, which of course the crowd eats up. Match was pretty solid. ** – Intermission, during which I go for a couple of hot dogs and witness a fascinating phenomenon first-hand: In the span of twenty minutes waiting in line, three lines merged into one and I got bumped back about 6 places during the course of my waiting. And of course, I get about 3 places from the front of the line when the intermission ends, and since I’m thinking it’s going to be the advertised Bulldog v. Blackman match, I just keep waiting. It turns out to be Eddie Guerrero v. Saturn, and I mentally kick myself as a result. It should be noted that I could hear the pop for Eddie all the way over at the refreshment stands, which is a good sign. Saturn didn’t sound like he drew any heat. Zenon informed me that Eddie finished it with a top rope rana about 10 minutes in, and it was a decent match. Well, fuck. – WWF tag title match: Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. I get back in time For the Benefit of Those With Flash Photography. First time I’ve ever seen the Hardyz live, and the pre-teen girls scream just as loud live as they do on TV for them. Pretty darn spiffy tag match here, as Matt gets the beats put on him as Edge & Christian work in their now usual comedy spots to keep the crowd against them. Cookie-cutter ending, though, as Matt does the Twist of Fate to Edge and Jeff follows with the Swanton bomb, but Christian nails him with the title belt behind the ref’s back and puts Edge on top for the pin. Lots of hot near falls before the pin make this one a keeper. They’re gonna have to be careful with Edge & Christian, because they’re becoming so over and so dominant they the WWF runs the risk of another New Age Outlaws situation developing, whereby there’s literally no other teams left who can believeably hold the titles for any length of time. I’m sure they’re willing to take that chance, however. **1/4 – Kurt Angle v. Rikishi. Surprisingly, the crowd is sharply divided on Kurt Angle. I thought he’d be a total heel, but about half the crowd is completely into him. Rikishi gets a THUNDEROUS pop, and squashes Angle in short order, as Kurt literally gets no offense in. Rikishi Driver finishes after about a minute, and Too Cool run off Edge & Christian. Then they call for the dance-off, and OH MY GOD does the crowd explode. In a brilliant move, Too Cool teases facing in each direction, seeing which side of the arena provides the biggest pop. As a result, we spend about 10 minutes doing this, with the place just getting louder and LOUDER the whole time. Unbelievable. Finally, they do the dance, and it’s just an amazing, monster pop. Bigger than the Rock’s by far. Match was a DUD, but just listening to and watching the crowd during the whole thing is something to behold in itself. – And finally… – Intercontinental title: Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. I was wondering how they’d deal with the face-heel problem (Hometown hero Benoit is a heel, Calgary native Jericho is a face), but they went the obvious (and most effective route): Jericho, despite receiving the third biggest face pop of the night to that point, comes out and cuts a vicious anti-Edmonton promo and says “Calgary” about fourteen times, instantly turning the entire crowd against him. Nice to see him take one for the team like that. Benoit wears an Oilers jersey for good measure, and gets a monster ovation of his own. They proceed to have a REALLY good match, about on par with the title change on Smackdown a few weeks back. Both guys absolutely lay in the chops (although the crowd didn’t know to “whoo” for some reason) and go pretty much non-stop, with numerous “Benoit” and “Let’s Go Benoit” chants throughout the match. Benoit definitely seemed to enjoy the attention, too. Benoit gets the Crossface about 10 minutes in, but Jericho reverses to the Liontamer (HUGE heel heat for that), and then they do a triple-reversal spot on a tombstone, ending with Benoit hitting the move, and finishing with a diving headbutt to retain the title to a big pop. Surprisingly, he didn’t bust out the triple suplex, because that would have been way over, too, but the match was good as it was, and a fitting end to the evening. *** The Bottom Line: Nice to see the WWF actually making use of all the talent they’ve got under contract now, and putting out all the Canadians on this tour. Given the usual “Let’s do this and go home” atmosphere that creeps into the workrate during Canadian tours, it was a refreshing change of pace to see guys like Malenko and Benoit busting ass out there and getting props from the crowd for it. The crowd itself was pretty much rabid for everything, too, because Alberta is an old school Stampede territory so we can enjoy both wrestling and “sports entertainment” on equal footing most of the time. Anyway, despite the rapidly inflating ticket prices recently ($35 for upper level seating?!?), this was well worth the money and everyone went home totally happy with the product. Now if only we’d get that long-promised PPV here…

Assorted April PPV Countdown: Backlash 2007

(2012 Scott sez:  Here’s where we wrap it up for another month, as I never did get around to watching Backlash 2006, and the show has traditionally become a skip for me since 2007 because I’m generally sick of WWE again after Wrestlemania.  Caliber Winfield offered me the chance to do a Scott sez job on his reviews of the missing shows, but I thought that it not only went against the spirit of the gimmick in the first place, but also would be cheating since I haven’t actually seen any of the shows outside whatever one had the six-man where Orton won the title from HHH and Cena put Edge through a giant spotlight like they were in a 50s Batman comic.  Update on the laptop situation!  After weeks of my full-size Toshiba laptop blue-screening on me, which I attributed to the hard drive dying, I switched back to the netbook.  You may have noticed my rants and mailbag answers getting suddenly very concise because for us people with big hands it’s somewhat torturous to touchtype on a tiny keyboard like that.  And then the NETBOOK started randomly freezing up on me (apparently Acers have that issue, which would have been nice to know before I bought it), so I was like “fuck it, I’d rather have an unreliable shitbox with a full-sized keyboard on it”.  However, just for fun, I pulled the RAM out of the Toshiba laptop on the off-chance that it was faulty and causing my issues, and replaced it with 2GB of the seemingly millions of memory sticks I have scattered in my office, and BOOM, perfectly functional again.  You will note that I have typed two paragraphs on the subject without my fingers cramping up on me.  Hallelujah.)  The SmarK Rant for WWE Backlash 2007 – Figured I might as well get this one done. – Live from Atlanta City, New Georgia – Your hosts are the usual gang of idiots. RAW World tag titles: The Hardy Boyz v. The Cow Boyz Matt starts with Lance Cade and takes him down with a headlock, as they work off that for a bit until Cade elbows him down. Matt takes them both down with hiptosses and goes back to his headlock, but gets pounded in the redneck corner for a bit. Over to Murdoch, but he gets slammed and double-teamed by the Hardyz, as Jeff dropkicks in for two. Double-team elbow gets two for two. Another double-team gets two for Jeff. Sadly, Jeff has stopped wearing hankies in his back pocket, thus robbing me of perfectly good material. The Hardyz clean house and Jeff hits the challengers with a tope con hilo, but Matt is busy updating his MySpace and doesn’t add his own highspot. (I believe it was actually shortly after this that Matt, myself, and everyone else in the Western hemisphere abandoned Myspace for Facebook and never looked back.)  Back in, the yodelling elbowdrop gets two on Murdoch. Blind charge misses, however, and Murdoch gets a clothesline from behind and Matt is YOUR face-in-peril. Cade & Murdoch whip him into the corner and Cade goes for a powerbomb to follow up, but Matt gets Jeff back in, and he promptly lands on his head while trying a baseball slide. And NOW we have someone in peril. Into the ring, Cade gets a uranage into a powerbomb for two. Over to Murdoch who adds a sarcastic Matt yell before dropping a leg on Jeff for two. He blocks Jeff’s attempt at a jawbreaker and kicks him down for two. Cade pounds him down and a short clothesline gets two. Murdoch with a suplex, but Jeff blocks into a small package for two, so Murdoch boots him down for two. Some double-teaming in the corner allows Murdoch to drop an elbow and Cade to hit the chinlock. Jeff quickly escapes with the jawbreaker, but Murdoch cuts off the tag. Backdrop suplex gets two. They take turns beating on Jeff’s back, but he kicks out of it and tries for the tag…only to have Murdoch take out Matt and thus cut it off. Murdoch goes up and hits Jeff’s foot, but no-sells it (ha! Good, I hate that spot), but Jeff gets the hot tag anyway. Bulldog for Murdoch gets two for Matt. The heels can’t get their shit together and Matt gets the Side Effect for two, but Cade drops out of the heavens with a rather impressive flying elbow to break it up. Murdoch gets two off that. Had that been the Midnight Express, it would’ve been over. Sunset flip gets two. Matt comes back with the Twist of Fate, and Jeff sneaks in for the swanton, and that’s all they need. (The Hardy Boyz d. Cade & Murdoch, Matt pin Murdoch, 15:20, ***) The Hardyz are like pizza — even when it’s mediocre, it’s generally pretty good. Unless Jeff is feeling REALLY unmotivated on a given night, the formula is pretty darn simple and they pull it off every time. Jeff’s moveset and look are really showing their age, however, unlike Matt who freshened up his whole image with the heel turn.  (And then they reversed THAT again with their current TNA run, where Jeff still looks like a contender and Matt looked like a homeless guy dating a stripper.)  Meanwhile, Shane gives Umaga a pep talk. Vince pledges to make Shane the ECW World champion tonight, but he won’t hear of it. WWE Women’s title: Melina v. Mickie James. Mickie takes her down with a fireman’s carry and they trade wristlocks, but Mickie gets a monkey-flip for two. Mickie starts working a headlock and they reverse out of that, so we start again. Melina goes to the headlock this time and Melina reverses out, then fakes a lost contact and attacks from behind. That’s the spirit! (Ah, the old lost contact lens spot, just like Gotch and Hackenschmidt used to do.)  Mickie monkey-flips her out of the corner for two and then pounds her down for two. Mickie decides to go up and Melina dumps her to the floor as a result. Gravity: Not just a good idea, it’s the law. Back in, Melina gets the hairtoss for two. A nicely melodramatic choke on the ropes gets two. And then Melina really brings the goods by putting Mickie into a full-nelson…using her legs! Damn, I don’t know why anyone didn’t think of that before now. The leg power should be better and the leverage is a huge advantage. Mickie makes the ropes, and gets a cradle for two, but Melina chkes her out in the corner. Mickie slugs back, so Melina takes her down with a senton while ramming her head into the mat. That gets two. Mickie comes back and tries a high kick, but falls into the splits, so Melina tries kicking her and also does the splits. Yet another unique spot. They slug it out and Mickie gets two, but makes the comeback. Clotheslines and a hairtoss into a neckbreaker get two. Mickie goes up and a high cross gets two. Melina backs into the corner and catches her with a high kick, and an inverted DDT finishes. (Melina d. Mickie James, inverted DDT — pin, 9:02, ***) Holy cow, this was GOOD. Legitimately, not just the sliding pity scale I usually use for these matches. Lots of hard work and unique offense here. Good on ya, ladies, keep up the good work.  (This would have been mostly Mickie.  Although I’m sure it couldn’t top Alicia Fox v. Melina, but then what could?)  Meanwhile, Mr Kennedy interrupts an Edge interview backstage and plants the seed of doubt into his mind about what might happen if he wins. Meanwhile, Steve Austin apparently has a movie out. Could have fooled me. This special look actually makes the movie less appealing than the trailer did. US title: Chris Benoit v. MVP They fight for the lockup to start and MVP gives him a clean break, but shoots in for a leg anyway. Benoit takes him down with a facelock and they trade positions until Benoit powers him down and goes for the crossface. MVP makes the ropes and bails to escape. Back in, MVP takes him down with a headlock and they trade shots until Benoit reverses to a headscissors, and from there into the bridge and backslide for two from Benoit. Benoit keeps taking him down and tries the Sharpshooter, and MVP is caught in the middle of the ring. He makes the ropes before Benoit can sit down on it, however. Benoit pounds on him in the corner, but MVP comes back with a high kick to the back of the head for two. MVP goes to a neckvice, but Benoit ducks the kick this time, so MVP counters with an overhead belly to belly for two. Back to the neck hold, and he throws elbows to work on it, but Benoit has had ENOUGH and fires off the rolling germans. He goes for the top, but MVP quite smartly grabs onto his leg to keep him from heading up there. Benoit suplexes him as punishment, but it kept him from his goal, which is interesting. Because really it’s much smarter to prevent someone from getting up there than it is to try to counter them once they’re there. MVP manages a stungun for two. Benoit comes back with a crossface, but they’re too close to the ropes again. Really, however, you’re supposed to be IN the ropes, not reaching for them. Tommy Young would have totally kicked his arm away. (Referees today, am I right?)  MVP hooks Benoit in a crucifix submission, but gets caught using the ropes, so he switches to a high kick for two. Another try is countered to the german suplexes, and this time he’s not stopping at three. We get five of them and Benoit goes for the top again, this time making sure that MVP can’t stop him, but this time MVP counters with the knees. MVP uses a half-crab to follow up, but Benoit makes the ropes. He tries a suplex, but Benoit tries to counter to the crossface, and when MVP shifts his weight to block it, Benoit counters again to a small package to finish. Ha, he got Dean Malenko with that one 10 years ago, I think. (Chris Benoit d. MVP, inside cradle — pin, 13:09, ***1/2) They got time to tell their story, and it worked well. The announcers did a great job of telling that story, too, with MVP trying to counter Benoit’s offense and finally getting beaten at his own game. Better than Wrestlemania, with a better finish to boot.   (This was such a strange feud, as we were all so sure that MVP was getting the title and he just kept losing the title matches before finally winning the damn thing.  Although they sure didn’t have much of a window of opportunity to get that belt off Benoit.  Had they changed their mind again and stuck with him as champion until June, you would not be seeing that US title today, I’m betting) Meanwhile, John Cena insinuates that Randy Orton may be a homosexual. Orton doesn’t say much to help his case. Walking punchline Ron Simmons is luckily there to finish. ECW “World” title: Bobby Lashley v. Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & Umaga Shane decides to start for Team McMahon, and quickly gets pounded in the corner as a result. Spinebuster and Shane bails as the announcers note that Shane is a former European and Hardcore champion, as though those titles ever meant anything.  (I would like to once again rage about Shane never getting his comeuppance for the Euro title win in 1999.  He never even had to lose it in the ring, he just forgot about the belt and eventually gave it to Mideon as an offhand thing.)  Umaga comes in to try and Lashley hammers on him as well, but Umaga fires back and stomps him down. Lashley jumps over him in the corner, however, and clotheslines him to the floor. He gets rid of Shane as well and you can cut the tension with a knife, as everyone (except those watching the show and those in the arena) want to see Vince v. Lashley! Shane comes back in and gets suplexed and Lashley continues slugging on Umaga, but Shane trips him up and out of the ring. Umaga sends him into the post and we head back in, as Umaga uses the BACKRAKES OF DEATH. Shane goes to work on the arm with a Fujiwara armbar and a kind of half-assed cross-armbreaker. Lashley powers out of that and gets two. Back to Umaga, who goes to a bearhug and then into a samoan drop. The strategy is kind of all over the place here. Shane drops an elbow and now goes to the back, and it’s a camel clutch to use up more time. Comeback time for Lashley, who backdrops Shane and gets a torture rack into a backbreaker for two. Powerslam gets two, but Vince breaks it up and it’s the epic showdown we’ve all been waiting for! And now finally the heels get smart and triple-team Lashley, as Shane hits him with the belt while Vince distracts the ref. And then Vince tags himself in and gets two. Lashley rolls him up for two. Back to Umaga, who adds a flying splash, and Vince tags back in again and gets two again. So Umaga gets sent up again and hits another flying splash, and that one is enough. (Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & Umaga d. Bobby Lashley, Vince pin Lashley, 15:44, **) Not actively bad the way that the Lashley-Umaga singles matches had been, but just overly long and lacking the anarchic goofiness that Vince’s best work has. I’m sure Shane Douglas is rolling over in his grave at Vince winning the ECW title, but to the rest of the world it’s really not that big of a deal. Meanwhile, the new champion and his son go taunt the ECW Originals, who all stand around like shmucks.  (What a stupid storyline this whole thing was.)  Smackdown World title, Last Man Standing: The Undertaker v. Batista Taker charges in with a boot and an elbow to start, but Batista catches him with an elbow and slugs away. Taker gets the flying clothesline and goes old school, but Batista catches him with a sloppy powerslam for the first count attempt. Taker is up, so Batista chases him to the floor and they brawl out there. Taker smartly throws a kick at the taped leg of Batista, and when that works quite well he stays on it. Batista gets to the apron, where Taker kicks him in the head and then guillotines him, and Batista is up at 8. Batista sends him into the stairs and they head back in, but Batista tries to go up and gets caught as a result. Taker brings him down with a superplex, and there’s something you don’t see from him every match. Both guys are up at 7, but Batista less so. They exchange punches and Batista catches him with a clothesline, but Taker is up at 8. Another clothesline, and Taker is up at 4. Slam and legdrop from Batista is a 6. Taker tosses him to break up the momentum and gets the announce table ready, but Batista manages to whip him into the railing. That gets 6. Batista wants the powerslam, but Taker reverses to a backbreaker and now Batista is forced to take the 7 count. Stairs to the head for some blood and a 5. UT pounds on the cut and finally gets back to that table, putting him through it with a legdrop. That only gets 9, however. Taker is none too happy with this, and they head back into the ring again. Corner clotheslines from Taker and Snake Eyes, but Batista has a rush and spears him instead of selling it. That gets a 7, and Batista hits him with a spinebuster right away. Taker gets up, so he gives him another one, then picks him up for a third. That’s good for a 9. Demon bomb, but Taker powers him into the corner to break and chokeslams him. Both guys are down, and it’s 9. Taker slugs away in the corner, but with a touch of irony gets powerbombed, mimicking all the times he’s done that to opponents. Taker is up at 9 after the crowd freaks out a little bit, so Batista grabs a chair and simply hits him with it. Well, that works. No count, as he follows with another try at the powerbomb, but it backfires as Taker backdrops out of it. Tombstone follows, but while it’s good for a pin in a normal match, it doesn’t keep Batista down for 10. He exits stage right to buy some time and they brawl up the ramp and slug it out on the entranceway. Batista spears him through the crash pad and the stage falls over, and both guys are counted down and out as a result. (Undertaker draw Batista, double countout, 20:24, ****) Silly finish, to be sure, but the match was super-intense and instead of the boring standing around that plagues most matches of this type, it had the guys hitting power moves and then recovering quickly for another one. How Scott books the finish: Batista powerbombs Undertaker, but Undertaker hits him in the head with a chair on the way down, and there’s your double countout. RAW World title: John Cena v. Edge v. Randy Orton v. Shawn Michaels Four-way trashtalk to start and the faces clean house, but Shawn immediately turns on Cena and throws chops in the corner. Cena comes back with a fisherman’s suplex for two, but Shawn gets a neckbreaker and Team RKO storms back in and dumps them. Edge and Orton slug it out, and Orton dropkicks him to the floor, where Cena adds a cheapshot and sends him back in. Edge gets tripped up by Shawn, but Cena comes over for the brawl and Edge baseball slides everyone. Shawn slams him on the floor and heads up for a moonsault onto the rest of the gang. Back in, it’s Edge and Shawn, who clothesline each other. Cena also comes back in, via the top, with a legdrop onto both of them in a neat spot. That gets two. Orton catches Cena with a lariat and stomps on everyone, then gets rid of Edge and Shawn and goes after Cena. Backbreaker gets two. Garvin Stomp and kneedrop get two. Cena comes back and slugs away in the corner, but charges and hits the post and he’s out again. This brings Shawn back in, and he throws chops at Orton and gets the flying forearm, only to walk into a leg lariat from Edge that gets two. Orton rolls Shawn up for two. Edge and Orton decide to stop and collaborate, whipping Shawn into the corner and stomping away on him. Cena crawls up and they launch him into the table to get rid of him again for a while. Rated RKO take turns on Shawn in the corner and get a double backdrop, and it’s a double boston crab. Not sure how that would work if Shawn decided to tap. Cena breaks it up and starts throwing shoulderblocks, and that gets rid of Shawn. Backdrop suplex for Edge and the five knuckle shuffle follows, but now Shawn and Orton team up and pull Cena out of the ring and into the post. Shawn sends Orton into the post too, just because you can’t trust him. He tries to piledrive Orton through the table, but Edge saves with a chair, and then turns on his own partner as well. Treachery RULES. Back in, Edge charges with the chair, but gets caught in the STFU as a result. It’d be really great if Cena could actually learn that move someday. (2012 Scott sez:  Nope, he still sucks at it.)  Edge makes the ropes, so Cena catches the returning Orton instead. Shawn saves and cradles Cena for two, then gets the forearm and makes the comeback with atomic drops on everyone. Edge and Orton get the heave-ho, and Shawn goes up, but has to stop and take out Edge. Flying elbow for Edge instead, and another one for Orton seems likely to follow, but Cena follows him up and tries an FU off the top. Edge and Orton team up to bring them both down and it’s a four-way car wreck. Edge tries the FU on Edge, but Shawn breaks it up, so Orton hits Shawn with the RKO. Edge DDTs Cena for two. Edge tries to spear Cena, but runs into Orton, and Cena FU’s Edge, but Shawn superkicks Cena…who falls onto Orton to finish. Whew. Now THAT was a finish. (John Cena d. Edge, Randy Orton & Shawn Michaels, Cena pin Orton, 19:16, ****1/4) I would have preferred to see a four-corners format so we could have done away with the silly “One guy gets tossed to the floor and lays there for four minutes” thing, but all the different little stories told and the reversal sequences made for a tremendously entertaining match that I almost wanted to stop recapping and watch a lot of times, which is a good sign.  (Why didn’t they just do Rated RKO v. Cena & Michaels, though?  They were the wacky feuding tag team champs at this point, weren’t they?)  The Pulse: Best top-to-bottom PPV from the WWE in a LONG time, with only one bad match and a whole lot of good-to-great ones. Strongly recommended.  (Can’t really remember this one.  Sounds pretty good.  I’ll take this guy’s word for it, I guess) 

Extreme Surprises?

Dear Scott, So as we head into Extreme Rules, with very little set, most people are at least pretty sure about the outcome of the WHC match:  this match represents the blow off and final face victory in the Bryan/Sheamus feud.  Bring on Alberto del Rio. I’m not so sure.  Between the face victories in the tag matches (including the legends tag), the response to the Bryan/AJ angle and the very underwhelming (through no fault of Sheamus’) response to the Ginger Champion, I’m smelling a title hot shot that wasn’t in the works before Mania. As for the feud, Bryan hasn’t dominated nearly enough to make people foam at the mouth for his loss, and I think WWE was already pretty high on Bryan even before the Vanilla Spring and the rise of the yes chant. So my question from all of this: “what does it take for WWE to scuttle their plans?”  We saw it in the Summer of Punk and it does feel like they are admitting on one level or another that they need to start relying on fan reaction, but do you think that they are ready to admit defeat on Sheamus?  Is this looking to you like their ready to re-write their script for the next few months? Also, fodder for discussion, what are some major title changes or title runs that were scrapped because of fan reaction or lack thereof? Finally, my bold predictions: Bryan wins the opening fall in 18 seconds with the Yes! lock.  Sheamus taps quickly because he has another fall to spare, and wants to prevent long term damage. Second fall ends with a thunderous Broque kick and the 1-2-3 Bryan is still out from the previous fall, Sheamus rolls off and rolls back on for a near 3rd fall, just to catch the IWC in a moment of rage. AJ turns heel and wins Bryan back with interference leading to the 3rd fall It has it all.  Poetic justice, overbooking, and a little “Gotcha” moment for the IWC. 

They’re moving AJ onto other things as far as I can tell.  I think they’ve purposely cooled Bryan off a lot as of late, and like it or not you’re getting Sheamus v. Del Rio for the next three or four PPVs.  Sheamus is just going to beat him two straight falls and that will be that.  He’s the big project and HHH’s boy, so no matter how much the fans reject him in Chicago he’s getting pushed and that’s it.  And hey, as I’ve said before, I have absolutely nothing against Sheamus.  I’m glad he’s getting a run with the belt and really had he just won the belt in a competitive match at Wrestlemania I, and most of the fanbase, would have no problem with this reign and Daniel Bryan moving down for a bit.  His appeal is being hurt by something totally out of his control, and it’s kind of a shame because the Del Rio program is going to be brutally ignored by the fans.  But because Sheamus and Del Rio have already been chosen as the next big stars, they’ll keep getting pushed and pushed until they stick.  That’s just the way it works, sorry. 

Michael’s Impact Review

Impact Wrestling on Spike TV
April 26, 2012
The Impact Zone – Orlando, Florida

–  Your hosts are Mike Tenay and Taz.

–  Backstage, Hulk Hogan addresses all the TNA champions in the back to begin the show.  He says any of them could be called out.  He calls their titles “straps”.  That’s not very kayfabe…or is it?  Gail Kim is not happy with this and says it so many times Hogan just ignores her.  He singles out the Tag Team Champions.  Soon enough, Hogan just turns his back to them and just cuts a promo to the camera.  He welcomes everyone to TNA Open Fight Night, BROTHER.  A nice fancy video follows.

–  In the arena, Devon makes his way to the ring.  Devon is fully drenched in sweat and says he wants to give his opportunity to one man.  His sorry excuse for a brother, Bubba.  Who is Bubba?  Bubba the Love Sponge?  I would love to see that actually.  OH, he is talking about Bully Ray.  Ray is in the back with the entire locker room and asks Ric Flair, who is eating a fucking sucker, if Devon is serious.  Ray heads to the ring and says he doesn’t want to be in the same ring as Devon.  He says he is tired of making Devon a star…he had to do it for 15 years, mind you.  He tells Devon to go to hell and turns his back on him and heads up the ramp.  Devon attacks him in the aisle and they brawl around the ring.  Bell rings so….
1.  Devon vs.  Bully Ray
–  Ray rolls in the ring and begs off.  Devon throws him into the corner and hammers away on Ray.  Devon heads up top and gets crotched.  We’ll be right back!  Back on Impact as Bully Ray drops elbows on Devon.  Ray is slightly cut over his eye.  Ray with a running splash gets 2.  Devon knocks Ray to the mat and comes back with a flying shoulderblock.  He charges the corner and Ray counters with a big boot for 2.5.  Ray turns and runs into a Standing Spinebuster.  Devon covers for the win @ 9:37.  (I would have loved to see Ray take the belt in this one, but a good match between the two.  C+.)
–  Backstage, Aries laughs at the fact that Ray lost.  He says soon enough he will get his hands on Ray.
–  Elsewhere, Ric Flair promises to throw a helluva bash tonight to send off Eric Bischoff.  Not bleeping his name this week.  Flair says his life has been one non-stop party for 63 years.  I guess he is done with his sucker.
–   In the locker room, Kazarian and Daniels brag to Angle how they helped him win against AJ last week.  Angle says he didn’t need their help and he will show them a different side of him if he sees them near the ring again.
–  Jeremy Borash is headed to the ring.  He is here to call out someone.  Not a wrestler, an employee.  JB has been there longer then anyone in the company.  He says there hasn’t been a bigger prick in the last 3 years than Eric Bischoff.  He wants to put his fist down EB’s throat right now.  Now Eric Bischoff is headed to the ring.  JB asks Eric if he wants to take a picture of him.  JB alludes to Bischoff drunk posting on Facebook.  Really?  Bischoff calls him an idiot and Bully Ray runs down and nails JB in the balls.  Bischoff asks for a referee to come down to the ring and count him out.  Bischoff lifts JB’s leg over his head and pins JB.  He slaps him around some more and poses karate style as Ray takes more pictures.  
–  Now TNA stars reflect on Eric Bischoff.  Ken Anderson runs his mouth…I black out momentarily.  
–  NOW ANARQUIA HAS A MIC??!?!?!?!??  TNA is daring me to change the channel.  Anarquia makes and open challenge to anyone in the back.  Out comes….
2.  Anarquia (with Sarita, Rosita, & Hernandez) vs.  Kurt Angle
–  Anarquia backs up and says Hernandez will fight him.  Angle turns to Super Mex and Anarquia attacks Angle from behind.  Soon enough, an Angle Slam and Ankle Lock and Angle wins it @ 49 seconds.  (I would take a shit on this except for the fact that Angle kicked ass and is back to be a face.)
–  We meet Gut Check contestant Alex Silva.  He is from OVW and heads down to the ring with Al Snow.  
–  Back on Impact Wrestling, Al Snow explains that you can go online and sign up for Gut Check.  He brings out Alex Silva’s opponent….
3.  Alex Silva vs.  Robbie E (with ROBBIE T)
–  Al Snow and Taz on commentary for this match.  Robbie slaps Silva and Silva slaps him down.  Silva explodes with a clothesline out the corner.  Robbie is up and drops him down with a clothesline, as well.  Robbie heads up to the second rope and misses the Fist Pump Elbow.  Powerslam by Silva gets 2.  Robbie gets up and Silva jumps over him.  Robbie slaps him and hooks in a Impaler DDT for the win @ 2:19.  (Silva’s timing was a little off but he had intensity.  Robbie tried to make the kid look good.  D.)
–  Dixie Carter will not miss Eric Bischoff.  Big shock there, might have been shooting there a little bit.  
–  Backstage, Hulk Hogan addresses the top tag teams of TNA and wants to hear why they should get a title shot.  Daniels says MCMG already had a shot.  EY and ODB, well one is a man and the other has a beard. LINE OF THE NIGHT!  He says Anderson and Hardy hate each other.  MCMG say they want the shot more than anyone else.  He asks Hardy and Anderson if they can get along.  Anderson kisses Hardy on the face and says he loves him.  He asks ODB and EY if they are ready fresh off there honeymoon.  EY says they are undefeated and promises ODB to Hogan.  (Hitting a little close to home, ehh, Hulkster?)  Hogan says MCMG they already lost at Lockdown and he is worried about Sabin’s knee so he eliminates them out as a choice.  Ahh horseshit, Hogan!
–  Brooke Tessmacher heads to the ring and calls out Gail Kim.  She says beating her last was no fluke.  Very bad promo form Brooke, but the bitch is hot.  Non-title match up here.
4.  Brooke Tessmacher vs.  Gail Kim
–  Gail attacks Brook and throws her into the corner.  Gail toys with Brooke and does really put much into the match.  Overhead fireman’s carry slam by Gail.  Brooke is up and dropkicks her down.  Gail is up and boots her back down.  Gail calls her a piece of shit and slaps her again.  Gail misses a missile dropkick.  Brooke lifts her in a sidewalk slam and into a faceplant for the win @ 3:56.  (I mean couldn’t we really all predict what was coming?  D+.)
–  Backstage, Daniels is confident they will be getting their title shot.  Kazarian says if AJ doesn’t show next week, they will reveal the secret.  
–  We see RVD capturing the #1 contender-ship last week.  Bobby Roode says he ain’t scared.
–  Backstage, Roode introduces himself to Alex Silva and Al Snow.  He said he had to make many sacrifices  just  to get a contract.  He tells him to always expect the unexpected and punches Silva in the gut.
–  Back in Hogan’s office, he says EY and ODB aren’t taking things seriously and eliminates them out.  He tells the 2 remaining teams to meet him in the ring for his decision.
–  Oh it’s time for Garret Bischoff to give his thoughts on Eric Bischoff.  He says Impact will be a better place without him.  
–  Bully Ray is on the phone and is interrupted by Joseph Park.  Park says he wants answers to his brother’s whereabouts.  He goes to give Ray his card and Ray tells him to shove it.
–  Tag Champions head to the ring and are followed by Daniels and Kazarian.  Now Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson head to the ring.  Finally, here comes Hulk Hogan to make his decision.  He agrees that Daniels and Kazarian are a cohesive unit.  But the unpredictability of Anderson and Hardy is what he likes more.  So….
5.  Magnus & Samoa Joe vs.  Jeff Hardy & Mr.  Anderson
–  Joe and Anderson begin things with Joe stomping Anderson down.  Joe turns and Anderson beats him down.  He grabs a wristlock and hesitates to tag Hardy.  Joe runs over and tags Magnus and now Hardy comes in.  Magnus runs into a head scissors throw and Hardy covers for 1.  Hardy works the arm and tags in Anderson.  Joe gets tagged back in and Anderson continues to argue with Hardy.  We’ll be right back.  Back on Impact (well actually got caught up in the NFL draft) but Joe is covering Hardy for 2.  Joe charges the corner and Hardy catches him with a back elbow.  Whisper in the Wind connects.  HOT TAGS AROUND!  Swinging neckbreaker by Anderson gets 2.  Anderson charges Magnus and gets tossed.  Deep powerslam by Joe on Hardy gets 2.5.  Jawbreaker by Hardy and Twist of Fate connects.  Magnus on the outside throws Anderson to the ringsteps.  Hardy gets off the top rope and hits Magnus with a clothesline off the apron.  Anderson back in an grabs Joe for the Mic Check.  Joe blocks, rollup by Anderson, Joe opens his legs and clamps on the Triangle Choke for the win @ 10:57.  (Slow start but built to a great match.  Liked seeing these two teams against each other in the ring.  B-.)  Post-match, Daniels and Kazarian attack the champions on the ramp.  
–  Time for the Eric Bischoff Farewell Party.  Ric Flair, Daniels, Kazarian, Gunner, and Bully Ray make their way to the ring.  Flair says we are here to celebrate not mourn.  He says he can celebrate like no other.  Fans start in with singing goodbye to Bischoff.  Flair gets pissed and says he hates wrestling fans.  Out comes Eric Bischoff wearing lots of denims.  Thanks to Taz for pointing that out.  Flair says Dixie should be on her knees thanking him for coming to TNA.  He says Bischoff is the reason Hogan is in TNA, and the same for Ric Flair.  Flair invites any woman to come in and sleep with Bischoff tonight?  Flair thanks Bischoff for all he has done.  Gunner personally thanks Bischoff and calls him a father figure.  Flair gives Bischoff a Rolex watch.  Bully Ray has the mic and says he is the wind beneath his wings.  Fuck….it’s Garret Bischoff.  He comes out with Jeremy Borash, Austin Aries, the Motor City Machine Guns, and RVD.  They have a gift for Bischoff.  JB inducts Eric Bischoff into the TNA Shed of Shame.  Out rolls a yellow port-a-john.  Garret grabs his father and throws him in the SOS.  They lock him in and tip it over.  Bischoff emerges covered in shit and pukes in the port-a-john.  
–  Overall I thought the show was good.  I liked the matches…fresh match-ups.  Some bad stuff mixed in, but overall I could appreciate some fresh ideas.  The Bischoff send-off party was surreal seeing how the last time I remember Bischoff having an embarrassing send-off from TV, I was in the arena watching Vince fireman carry him into a garbage truck.  The Gut Check thing could be cool, but when you take the trainer from the first Tough Enough and rip the idea of Tough Enough off, I can’t help but think the negative outweighs the positive.  One last note, I hope we are not headed for ANOTHER Jeff Hardy/Ken Anderson rivalry.  Nothing more, I can really expand on that statement…it speaks for itself.  See you Sunday for EXTREME RULES!

Tryout: I Have Issues #2

I Have Issues (2) The Original Avengers VS. X-Men I was planning on doing some Avengers issues in anticipation of the new movie coming out. While deciding which issue to do I came across this little gem. It’s the first battle between the Avengers and the X-Men. I thought it might be neat for those like me who are reading the current AVX storyline to see how the first bout went down. I will also be doing newer stuff for those who have little to no interest in the old school comics but let’s travel back to 1968 first. Avengers # 53 (1968) (Writer) Roy Thomas (Artist) John Buscema (Roll Call) Avengers: Black Panther, Wasp, Hawkeye, and Goliath X-Men: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel Brotherhood of Evil Mutants: Magneto, Toad, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver On the first page it is noted that Cyclops has just taken down Quicksilver as he is attempting to rescue his fellow X-Men from Magneto’s island fortress. This took place in X-Men #45 which I do not have so sorry on that one. The Avengers are standing over Cyclops ready to drop him if he even reaches his visor. Cyclops mentions that he is not sure if they are really the Avengers or just robots under the employ of Magneto (robots were a big problem in the 60’s and 70’s comic universes, so this isn’t as ridiculous a comment as it may seem. So were apes come to think of it, I’m glad they got that crap under control in the 80’s) Cyclops fires an optic blast to take Hawkeye’s aim off of him. (I guess The Avengers didn’t have access to the Marvel handbooks, because everyone knows Cyclops has pressure pads for his visor in his gloves.) Black Panther leaps at Cyclops and stops his Visor from firing again. (A quick note on Black Panther to those who don’t know about him, he is the King of the African nation of Wakanda. Black Panther is trained in loads of martial arts and has a connection to a Panther deity that grants him strength, agility and augmented senses. He is also an inventor and has a slew of advanced weapons in his vibranium suit. So in layman’s terms, he’s Marvel’s Batman.) Cyclops breaks loose from Panther’s grip and fires at him from point blank range. Turning to Goliath Cyclops fires the platform he’s standing on, collapsing him to the ground. Cyclops dashes off to rescue the rest of his captured team all the while he wonders if these Avengers are the real McCoy’s but if they are then why are they attacking him? To answer this question we travel back in time one hour where Angel is flying to the Avenger’s mansion to ask for help. Caught in some type of electric cage security system the Avengers come across the trapped bird and free him. Angel mentions Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver having joined up with their father Magneto to which Black Panther replies that they are looking for those two mutants as well. I smell a team up! (Scarlet witch and Quicksilver were former and future members of the Avengers if you are wondering why the Avengers are looking for them.) So the Avengers assemble and travel in their jet to Magnetos island fortress but when they reach it they discover that their equipment is going all wonky on them. Realizing that the interference is coming from the Angel, they reach into his soft (I’m assuming) feathery wings and finds an electronic device tucked away. They infer from this that Angel must be in league with Magneto. To further confuse the situation with the two super-teams, Hawkeye decides to fire an “I-Spy arrow” into the island fortress. The camera on the arrow shows Cyclops talking to Quicksilver instead of pounding him. This is of course further proof that the X-Men are up to something and working with Magneto. The Avengers know it’s probably a trap but go anyway cause they are all kinds of badass. The Avengers tie up Angel and leave him in the jet in case he is working for the enemy. Next we see Magneto who is watching the whole thing unfold and it is all according to his plan. His flunky Toad is not so sure about this and gets a backhand for his sniveling behavior and for just being an annoying little prick. Scarlet Witch is also present and is thinking, “If only Pietro (Quicksilver) were here, he would know what part to play in this grim and gritty drama.” Could Wanda (Scarlet Witch) be regretting her decision to turn evil? Wanda stops her father from further bullying Toad, while Toad himself holds onto the hope that someday his Master will appreciate his loyalty. We return to the Avengers who have just set foot into the fortress and Goliath shows some concern for Hawkeye who takes offense to this for some reason. Hawkeye even says to Goliath “for my money you couldn’t lead beans to Boston!” (God I love that line.) Black Panther tells them to chill but they are having none of it and start a fight. (I never realized how much rampant anger and intolerance was going on in these old comics, they should have been checking for steroids, because there were some serious roid rages going on back in the day.) Goliath grabs Hawkeye’s fist and lifts him off the ground and Hawkeye yell’s “turn loose my fist, you mile high meatball!” (This is awesome!) Panther tries to grapple them both to the ground, and Goliath tells him to butt out unless he wants some too! (Man this shit would not have gone down with Captain America still on the team. He just would have decked them both and completed the mission by his lonesome. He then would have told them that they should vote and also start behaving or they won’t be allowed to save the world next time. That’s why Captain America rules!) Black Panther has Goliath’s entire head in a body grapple and Hawkeye tells him to clear because he’s got a knuckle pie with Goliath’s name on it! Goliath tosses Panther and Hawkeye stops the fight saying they don’t want to kill each other. Wasp enters the scene and tells them they all need to wait until the mission is over before continuing personal fights. Goliath agrees but says that when they fight Magneto his heart won’t be in it (is this what’s known as creative differences?) Magneto loves what he sees and mentions that Scarlet Witch has gone to find her brother and that the devices that he had toad implant on the X-Men would give him control of them. Now having let Cyclops free his teammates, he can use the X-Men whom the Avengers already think are bad guys, to destroy them. All of this brought about from Magneto letting Angel escape and get the Avengers here in the first place. (Magneto is a fucking evil genius!) So the X-Men want to team up with the Avengers to fight Magneto until their heads go all fuzzy and they forget that they are allies with the Avengers and only want to destroy them. The Avengers show up and this shit is on! Beast leaps at the Black Panther who deftly dodges the charge. Panther puts Beast in a headlock, to which Beast grabs him, slamming him to the ground the whole time using every word in the dictionary to show he’s not just a stupid musclebound lunkhead. Cyclops fires off a blast dropping the floor above onto Goliath, while Hawkeye fires some trick arrows at Iceman who destroys them with an ice barrier. Panther tosses Beast off of him. Goliath reaches out from the rubble and grabs Cyclops’s leg. Cyclops blasts Goliaths hand freeing himself and Goliath is left wondering how they can be beaten by a bunch of mutants. The next panel is pretty sweet. Goliath is gripping Cyclops whole head in his fist. Marvel girl is trying to telekinetically blast Wasp while Hawkeye is firing an arrow with his legs encased in ice and Panther is leaping to avoid Beast punching his lights out. Panther realizes that the reason the Avengers are losing the fight is because they are thinking of the X-Men as fellow heroes and not as enemies. Basically the gloves are coming off and Panther uses Beasts own momentum to throw him into a concrete wall. Goliath is gripping Cyclops’s head so hard he is about to pass out while Hawkeye’s trick arrows have gummed up Iceman’s ice constructs. Magneto is wondering what the hell?! He is then confronted by Angel who has escaped from the Avengers Jet. Angel pops Magneto and Toad in their mouths and Goliath and Black Panther crash through the wall. The Avengers admit they knew it was all a trick and only loosely tied Angel up and pretended to start having a fight to put Magneto off his game. (These guys are good.) Magneto bounds the heroes in the metallic floor and orders Toad to blow up the fortress with the self-destruct. Toad instead decides to blow the whole island and gives them all one minute to escape. Scarlet Witch has her brother and they follow toad to safety as Magneto jumps down an escape hatch. Outside the escape ship is taking off as Magneto emerges from the escape tunnel and leaps to the ship that is taking off. Magneto tries using his powers to reach the ship but Toad reminds him that they made this particular ship out of nonmetals. Magneto is gripping onto the side of the craft and Toad gets revenge by stomping on Magnetos hand to force him down onto the rocky coast below. The combined Avengers and X-Men get in the jet and take off wondering if they will ever see Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver again. Then the island blows up and we see Magnetos helmet floating in the water amongst the wreckage. This was a pretty fun issue with some cool moments mixed in. This not the slobberknocker you would expect or hope for with these two teams. Both teams are missing the more popular members from their respective groups, but this was still a pretty fun read. Next Post: Loki’s confrontations with the Avengers. Weekly Question: Who’s your favorite Avenger, and what moment made them your favorite?