the only Benoit question that matters

Scott,
I've been reading your work for more than 15 years – frightening. I wanted to ask you something that might be a little touchy feely for your tastes, but I'm hoping you'll give it a thought. Though I'm a fan of your work and I wouldn't ask you to change your style for anything, I can say that you will hide behind your intellect and sarcasm when a question has the chance to hit a nerve. I'm asking you to just be honest.
       One of the reasons I gravitated toward your work back in the late 90s was your admiration for my favorite wrestler, Chris Benoit. There were a lot of guys on the internet who championed his ringwork, but you were a better writer, and a lot of the times your rants would seem to crystalize bits of thoughts from my head into something coherent in print about Benoit. You saw him for what he was in his strengths and weaknesses – a guy who, in my opinion, is the greatest ring worker to wrestle in North America (Shawn is an amazing entertainer, but you believed Benoit was kicking the crap out of people and getting the crap kicked out of him) but also rather out of his element in the modern era of angles, mic work, and being an accessible personality to put on t-shirts and the like. No, I'm not a delusional fan ala "Stan" of Eminem's song, but as he went along his career, I oddly felt like I'd experience his journey along with you, from all of the brilliance amidst the shit in WCW through surreal highs (the IC title win at Wrestlemania 2000, for example) through unbelievable matches (Rumble 2003 vs Angle) through periods where he was just kind of there (most of 2003 after the Rumble) through the pinnacle at WM 20 (which I consider a perfect match, even from an objective standpoint) and the reasonable success he had from 2005 on. 
So now we're six years removed from the tragedy, and I'll still watch Benoit matches, enjoying them more than most any other match I'll watch and wondering the whole time if I was always watching a monster in plain sight. Whatever the horrible chain of events that led to Benoit becoming a man who murdered his family, I'm still left just haunted by the thing. It goes beyond the "rational" stance that you shouldn't have heroes because they can only let you down. Fuck heroes, I just want to be able to look at a guy whose work I like and know he isn't the devil incarnate. I think about how when I'm hanging out with my 10 year old nephew and we watch some wrestling on YouTube, the one wrestler I'd want to show him to show him how awesome wrestling can be is Benoit – and yet I haven't, for several reasons. I don't need you to solve my dilemma over it, because I am (basically) an adult and can deal. But I want to know, aside from humor skirting bad taste (not a judgment, I'd think you'd agree), you deal with that – the guy you admired as a worker coming to an end like that. How DID you feel when you heard the news? I'd be grateful to hear your take.
   Jesse

I don't particularly seek out Benoit matches anymore, but I'm fine watching them now.  I think there's a disconnect where I don't really associate the person who did the horrible things with the person in the ring, mostly because everything suggests that he really did become a different person in those last days.  That being said, I don't really enjoy watching his matches anymore either, and I couldn't recommend using him as an example of in-ring greatness at this point.  Frankly I don't know if anyone ever came to terms 100% with what he did, because it was just so hugely monstrous.  

Newman’s Take: PRIDE 3

-Again this is another card I know next to nothing about, although checking the wiki tells me it has Sakuraba vs. Newton which is meant to be a classic and NO GRACIES VS. JAPAN! Word.

PRIDE 3

06/24/98
Tokyo, Japan

-Your hosts are Stephen Quadros and Bas Rutten.

Daijiro Matsui vs Akira Shoji

This was of course prior to both guys gaining reputations as the stereotypical Japanese Tomato Can for their later fights against the likes of Murilo Ninja and the ilk. Quadros tells us Matsui is out of the same camp as Sakuraba which means he might be another pro-wrestler who can actually fight.

Fight begins and I suddenly realize that Matsui here looks like a Japanese Anthony Pettis in the face. Takedown attempt fails for Matsui and Shoji clocks him with a left, forcing him to shoot again. Shoji stuffs it and grabs a front headlock as suddenly I’m struggling to take Bas seriously. I had his Lethal Street Fighting stuff on Youtube at the weekend with my buddies, see. YOU try taking Bas seriously after hearing BANG BANG BANG, never underestimate the kick to the groin. Oh, the fight. They trade off with some strikes and go to the ground where Shoji gets the back and lands some punches. Matsui stands and ends up leaning out of the ring, taking more punches as Quadros mixes the two up. I guess the Japanese DO look alike, in a nice world where no political correctness exists. Anyway the ref brings them back in and they circle out before Matsui shoots again. Shoji hits a super-quick sprawl and takes top position in side mount. Little happens though and Matsui scrambles to his feet. Another takedown attempt follows but again Shoji sprawls and grabs a front facelock. Knee connects to the shoulder for Shoji. He also appears to be chin-butting the back, which is odd as fuck. Back to the feet and Shoji lands a knee and then trips him right back down into half-guard. Beautiful transition from Shoji allows him to take the back but he’s too high and Matsui shakes him off. Shoji’s first up though and he lands a pair of soccer kicks to the body as Matsui tries to grab an ankle. Shoji decides to let him back up and they circle before clinching and Shoji gets another takedown into guard. Couple of punches to the body from Shoji but the action’s definitely slowed up now. Man I wish PRIDE would’ve had a clock on screen for these shows so you can tell how long is left. Upkick from Matsui and he escapes to his feet. They look gassed now too. Round ends as Matsui fails on a takedown.

Second round begins with a takedown to guard from Shoji. Little action from there so Shoji stands over him and leaves Matsui down in the crab position. Matsui jumps up and we’re back to standing. Bas and Quadros are treating this like an amazing fight but I dunno, it kind of sucks. I guess their standards dropped after PRIDE 2 and those Gracie horror shows. Takedown attempt from Matsui is stuffed and Shoji takes the back, but doesn’t have hooks in. Matsui does a tremendous job of spinning over and he winds up on top in Shoji’s guard. But a right hand. Quadros is marking so badly for this. I think someone’s paying him extra. Takedown attempt from Matsui is again stuffed and Shoji takes the back once more. Nothing happens from there as Matsui traps Shoji’s arm. Shoji works the right arm free to drop some punches, but they don’t seem to have much effect. Matsui spins over to guard and eats some flush punches as Shoji passes into mount. Bas sounds like he’s saying Shoji should be “kneeing the cat”, but I’m unsure what he’s meaning to say. Matsui gets half-guard back and the action slows up. Reversal from Matsui and he goes for a takedown of his own, but Shoji of course blocks it and gets a front facelock. Matsui manages to work up to his feet but ends up in the same spot again as Shoji sprawls. Round ends there.

Matsui’s corner seems to be letting him drink from a garden hose between rounds, which is odd even for PRIDE. He has a funnel of some kind at least. Third round is delayed as the ref wipes Matsui with a towel. They finally get going with a trade of punches for a moment. Neither man cleanly lands. They circle for a while before another trade leads to a Shoji takedown into full guard. Very little happens from there before Matsui muscles Shoji off as he tries to pass the guard. I just don’t get why Bas and Quadros are creaming over this stuff. Back to the feet and it’s BACK TO CIRCLING. These guys cannot punch for the life of them as they exchange some awful-looking stuff. To be fair Shoji has power though as he stuns Matsui with a crude right hook. Matsui rushes him though and tackles him to the ground in guard. Guillotine attempt by Shoji but it doesn’t look tight to me. Matsui pops his head free seconds later. Action slows down before a scramble sees them leap up, and Shoji throws a flurry that largely misses. Matsui goes down anyway and Shoji stands over him posturing. Matsui shoots again but Shoji grabs the front facelock off a sprawl as Bas advises him to knee the shoulder. Better than kneeing the cat, dude. They come back to their feet and Matsui shoots but Shoji once again sprawls, takes the back and this time he slaps both hooks in. He makes the error of crossing his feet though and Matsui tries for that footlock variant that Joe Rogan goes on about so often. Round ends in that position.

Fourth round of how many I don’t know. Ah, Bas says it’s one extra round. Well, lucky us! Head kick (!) misses for Matsui. Shoji blocks another takedown attempt and grabs the front facelock, then lets Matsui stand. Announcers are coming to the conclusion that this is definitely going to a draw. Brief, crap punching exchange breaks up the circling for a moment. Baseball slide for some reason from Matsui and he ends up in the crab while a confused Shoji stands over him. Back to the feet and Shoji clocks him with some crude power punches, then sprawls to defend the takedown. Back to the feet and Shoji lands with a flurry before sprawling again. Knees to the shoulder land for Shoji and he connects on some punches to the side of the head too. They come back up and hopefully there’s not long left. Three minutes according to Bas. Wild flurry from Shoji and he gets a slam down to guard. Shoji gets full mount but Matsui bucks and tries to get out, almost slipping out of the ring in the process. Ref calls them back up to their feet to avoid that and they circle out. Takedown attempt from Matsui is naturally defended and a scramble sees them back on their feet. Takedown from Shoji and they go flying out of the ring. Thankfully they don’t land on the floor or anything and the refs call them back inside where the fight ends.

No judges here so it’s a draw. Decision would be Shoji’s easily but it doesn’t really matter. I hated this fight, sorry. There wasn’t much action considering it was 40 minutes and when there was action it was really repetitive. It wasn’t anywhere near as offensively bad as Kimo/Severn or Gracie/Kikuta or one of those fights but it definitely stunk.

Daiju Takase vs Emmanuel Yarborough

Aw man, CLASSIC freak show stuff here as Takase is 169lbs while Yarbrough – best known for fighting Keith Hackney at UFC 3 in a ludicrous fight – is tipping the scales at 600lbs or so they say, and looking at him I believe them. Only in Japan, folks!

Fight begins and Takase literally sprints around the ring to avoid being cornered by the fat dude. Yarbrough is moving like he’s waddling through treacle. He makes a couple of swipes for Takase but can’t seem to reach him due to the speed difference. Dude makes Takase look like Ben Johnson or something. We’re about three minutes in here and nothing has happened and yet it’s still fascinating due to the size difference. Bas mentions that Yarbrough is looking gassed already, which is insane. Body punch from Takase. One of Yarbrough’s swipes almost catches Takase and he has to dodge out of the way. He’s lunging in with overhand punches now which is risky as fuck. Running punch lands for Takase as Yarbrough appears to be sucking in serious wind. Looks like he might even slump himself in the corner as he’s so fucked. Alright, so this is beginning to suck now. Quadros is reduced to making Humpty Dumpty jokes and all sorts. Literally nothing is going on here. Takase does manage to land a couple of glancing punches but nothing major. Round mercifully ends there.

Second round and they pick up where they left off, with Takase almost slipping out of the ring after eating a swipe from Yarbrough. Yarbrough’s picking up the pace here but he’s going to gas any second. Sure enough he instantly slows down and is now barely able to move. This absolutely sucks. Referee gives TAKASE a warning for stalling which is pretty ridiculous. What the fuck is he supposed to do? It must be noted that when the ref stepped in Bas’s first thought was that Yarbrough needed oxygen. Takase decides to risk it all and go for a single leg off the restart, but of course the big man lands on top. Crowd go APESHIT as Takase sits up though to land some punches as he desperately tries to wriggle free. He does manage to trap an arm and then sits up to land some more punches and Yarbrough just looks DEAD. But it’s dead weight that’s holding Takase down. Takase decides to punch the legs now and then he slips free and lands punches to force the tapout.

Erm, not sure what to say here. It was watchable I guess just for the freak show factor and the comedy of the announcers but on the other hand it was literally one of the very worst fights I’ve ever seen. I’m leaning more on the side of “it sucked” just because of the sheer length of it.

Kazushi Sakuraba vs Carlos Newton

This is a super-famous match for those who haven’t heard about it before and I believe it’s the one that really put Sakuraba over the top as a major star and also made a name for Newton (although he’d fought in UFC already at this point). First time I’ve seen it so I’m pretty pumped. Pre-fight Bas presents both guys with flowers and then gets on the mic to hype a possible fight in the future with Rickson Gracie, which would’ve RULED, for the record. I guess the announcing is live on this show too as Quadros seems to be on his own and then Bas rejoins him and asks how he did.

Fight begins and Sakuraba opens with a pair of low kicks. Newton shoots on a takedown but Sakuraba blocks it and they end up clinched on the ropes, then move across the ring before Sakuraba uses a sick whizzer to avoid a trip and land on top in guard. Sakuraba looks to pass and they spin around as Newton blocks, before Newton bucks his hips and Sakuraba jumps right into an armbar attempt! It look deep but Newton manages to stand and defend brilliantly, working into side mount for good measure. Sakuraba rolls over into donkey guard but Newton slips out of that and takes side mount again. Reversal from Sakuraba and now he’s on top in guard. Toehold attempt from Sakuraba but Newton avoids and gets the back before taking top position. This is AWESOME. Side mount from Newton and the crowd are applauding. Sakuraba gives his back, but then switches it into a single leg and gets back into top position. Outside of the low kicks at the beginning this is basically a pure grappling match. They spin again as Sakuraba aims to pass the guard, and then leaps over right into an armbar. Newton flips his way out though and takes top position but Sakuraba grabs a single leg as Newton rides him. Takedown from Sakuraba and he’s back in Newton’s guard. Again neither guy is throwing any strikes at all. Sakuraba decides to let Newton to his feet and tries some sort of jumping kick that glances. Takedown attempt from Newton but Sakuraba shows sick wrestling and balance and defends to take top position again. Toehold attempt from Sakuraba and it looks like he’s got it locked, but Newton somehow sits up and yanks his leg free to take Sakuraba’s back. He gets one hook in and gets the other too, but he can’t seem to control Sakuraba. Great job by Sakuraba to shake Newton off and he’s back in Carlos’ guard. He passes into side mount but Newton works to regain guard right away. Nice punch from Sakuraba surprisingly enough but he doesn’t follow it up. Newton looks for a triangle but Sakuraba slips out and looks for side mount, and they come back to their feet. Left high kick from Sakuraba is blocked. Takedown from Sakuraba on the bell. Tremendous round.

Second round and Newton catches a kick and gets a rear waistlock, using it to trip Sakuraba down. Sakuraba immediately goes for a kimura but Newton defends and keeps the waistlock before going for the hooks. Sakuraba blocks and they spin around on the ground and end up with Newton still having the back. This is perhaps the best grappling match I’ve ever seen in MMA. Good knee from Newton lands to the body but Sakuraba still seems pretty chilled. Body punch from Newton and it looks like he wants to get the hooks in but is super-wary of being reversed. Reversal from Sakuraba but Newton turns it on him and locks up the right arm with his legs in almost a crucifix. Sakuraba rolls and gives his back again. Flurry of punches from Newton and he avoids a kimura to keep the back control. He gets a hook in but Sakuraba immediately escapes and turns into Newton’s guard. These guys are so technical it’s unbelievable really. Pass from Sakuraba and he locks up an armbar, but Newton evidently has rubber limbs as he avoids it and then spins over the top to get his arm free. That was a ludicrous escape. Newton again gets the back but he still can’t get the hooks in. He decides to sit back in an attempt to get the hooks….but that allows Sakuraba to isolate the left leg, roll over right into a kneebar and FORCE THE TAPOUT!~!

Phenomenal stuff. That was probably the best extended grappling sequence I’ve ever seen in MMA, period, and I mean, I’d heard there were rumors of a gentleman’s agreement to do grappling only, but they did throw some strikes so I guess that can’t be true. Just a tremendous contest between two of the most technical fighters to ever set foot into the ring and I have new respect for both of them after watching it. This was literally like five years ahead of its time in terms of what these guys were doing when you compare them to, well, anyone else on the PRIDE roster at this point.

Gary Goodridge vs Amir Rahnavardi

Goodridge is usually good for a fun fight so you’ll never see me complaining about his presence on one of these cards. Amir for those who haven’t heard of him is a Bas Rutten student, so naturally El Guapo sounds quite pumped to see him in PRIDE. Goodridge is ludicrously huge here.

Fight begins and Amir connects on a low kick, then bulls into a clinch where he eats some solid punches and a couple of nasty knees to the body. They break off and Amir decides to clinch again, where he botches a trip and winds up on the bottom with Goodridge on top. Big right hand from Goodridge as he looks to posture up in half-guard. Flurry lands for Goodridge but Amir manages to tie him up eventually and the action slows down a bit. Couple of right hands do get through for Goodridge but they’re pretty sporadic to say the least. Goodridge tries to posture up, but in the process Amir goes for a leglock. Looks like he might have it as he goes for a kneebar, but the leg isn’t in deep enough and Goodridge manages to pull free to get back on top. Nice triangle attempt by Amir but Goodridge manages to posture free. Amir keeps his hips high and tries for it again, but winds up flipping over and Goodridge takes his back and lands a couple more punches. He rolls and Goodridge remains on top, and this time he starts yelling at Amir wildly to hit him. This is bizarre to say the least. Amir gets full guard and obliges though, but obviously he doesn’t have much power as he’s landing from the bottom. Goodridge on the other hand DOES have power, and so he postures up and drops some SLEDGEHAMMERS that knock Amir into next week. Holy shit.

Decent fight with a couple of slow points, but holy shit what a knockout. Between this and the Taktarov knockout, Goodridge looked like a scary dude at this point in his career when he wasn’t losing to guys with a bit more skill than him. Thankfully for Amir he doesn’t go out on a spineboard like Taktarov did.

Mark Kerr vs Pedro Otavio

This was Kerr’s second fight in PRIDE following that disastrous debut against Branko Cikatic at PRIDE 2. Otavio is better known as THE PEDRO and I believe he’s remembered mainly for a fight with Gary Goodridge where Goodridge squeezed his balls. No, really. He’s a big dude actually but he has nothing on THE SPECIMEN.

We get underway and the Pedro pushes forward and avoids a couple of kicks. He throws a ton of feints, but it doesn’t help him as Kerr hits an easy takedown into the half-guard. Pedro tries to reverse out but I mean, how are you going to do that to THE SPECIMEN? Brutal punches to the body land for Kerr. Kimura attempt on the left arm from Kerr and he uses BRUTE CAVEMAN FORCE to twist it up for the stoppage. Post-fight Pedro absolutely flips out saying that he didn’t tap but dude, Kerr would’ve fucking torn that arm off had the ref not stepped in.

Kerr was terrifying at this point. Just a giant, aggressive, steroid-enhanced monster. Total squash.

Nobuhiko Takada vs Kyle Sturgeon

One look at the name ‘Nobuhiko Takada’ in MMA instantly draws suspicion and of course, a quick check of Sturgeon’s record tells us that this was his lone MMA fight. Odds on this fight being a total and utter work have to be high, then. I guess Takada needed to rebuild his credibility from somewhere after being thoroughly embarrassed by Rickson Gracie at PRIDE 1. Sturgeon is a big dude who looks mean, but that’s about it.

They circle around to begin and Sturgeon throws a kick that Takada avoids. A second one lands to the head and drops Takada but it looks suspicious. Low kick from Sturgeon but Takada fires back with one of his own. Takedown from Sturgeon into the guard but Takada reverses and they stand. I’m calling it now, this is a fucking work. Takedown from Takada into Sturgeon’s guard. Sturgeon clings on and lands some short punches while grunting and making MEAN FACES. Takada drops back for a heel hook, barely cranks it and Sturgeon TEASES THE TAP and then taps just like a pro-wrestler.

Fun enough to watch as it was quick and action packed but shit, if that was a legit fight I’m Wayne Rooney. Still, I’d rather see a work than something shitty like Kimo/Severn I guess so there is that.

-Show ends promptly there. Literally no credits even, just boom, show over.

Final Thoughts….

Well, this was far better than the previous two PRIDE shows simply by the existence of Sakuraba/Newton, which is a genuine classic that any self-respecting MMA fan needs to see. Outside of that though the rest was surprisingly okay too. Sure, Shoji/Matsui stunk and Takase/Yarbrough was freakshow nonsense, but neither fall under the umbrella of “possibly the worst fight ever” like a couple of the fights on the first two PRIDEs and then the other three fights at least have decent finishes even if they’re two squashes and a blatant work. Worth a thumbs up for Sakuraba/Newton, but skip over the first fight.

Best Fight: Sakuraba vs. Newton
Worst Fight: Shoji vs. Matsui

Until next time,

Scott Newman:
[email protected]
The Oratory
TJR Sports

SK Commentary

Hey Scott, big fan of your reviews and the blog blahblahkissyourassblahblahillsuckyourdickblahblahblah. Anyway, a while back you talked about recording commentary for different shows, PPV's and such that we could download and listen to while watching the show ourselves. Kinda like what Rifftrax does. Just wondering why you dropped the idea. And if there's enough interest from The Blog Otters (you're welcome Paul) would you consider doing it and maybe charging a little per show commentary ($5 or whatever wacky Monopoly Canadian money). I think this would be fun especially for a real bad show. Thanks.

Peace
Magoonie

P.S: I don't know if you finished the show yet but any chance for a rant on the Buffy seasons?

We kind of stalled out halfway through the fourth season with Willow getting into the dark arts and Buffy's commando boyfriend.   Demon-slaying Spike is pretty hilarious, though.  We tried starting Angel at the same time but haven't really got past the fourth episode or so.  Someday I'll finish powering through it, though.  
As for the commentary thing, doing rants where I can pause the show and take care of my other stuff is one thing, but trying to run through a 3 hour PPV while doing live commentary is another thing entirely.  Plus I feel like I'm much funnier when I have a chance to stop and edit in jokes later rather than trying to come up with witty stuff off the cuff.  It would be disappointing for everyone, trust me.  I had previously told Ryan Murphy and Caliber that if they wanted to do a podcast deal where I only had to come in via Skype and not have to do any of the technical end, I'd be willing to give it a shot, but nothing ever came of it.   Maybe the Place to Be guys want to try something like the Rifftrax deal with me, I dunno?  

Undertaker Questions

1. When/how was it decided that Undertaker would go back to his goth gimmick?

2. Were there ever rumblings of him jumping to WCW? While he tended to be a major part for the 90s, he had so many dull feuds I'm curious if WCW pondered luring him too.

3. Was there ever anyone else in the running to portray Kane that we know of?

1.  It was just a thing for Wrestlemania XX and I guess he liked doing it.  It was more of an undead cowboy thing anyway, not really a "goth" gimmick at that point.
2.  Nope, never.
3.  Nope.  We all knew it was gonna be Glen Jacobs from the moment it was teased.  

Slamboree 1998

Slamboree
1998

Date: May 17, 1998
Location: The Centrum,
Worcester, Massachusetts
Attendance: 11,592
Commentators: Mike
Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Tonight
is pretty much a filler show as Hogan is nowhere to be seen and we
have a double main event. We have Hart vs. Savage in a grudge match
and Sting/Giant vs. the Outsiders for the tag titles, with Sting in
WCW and Giant in the NWO Black and White. There is however one
moment on this show that ranks right up there with the biggest
surprises and best received moments in WCW history. Let’s get to it.

The
opening video has some words like controversy and power over shots of
the people in the two main events.
The
announcers talk about the main events tonight to convince us that
buying this show was a good idea.
We
get Bischoff’s challenge to Vince from Thunder, complete with him
reading the letter from Vince’s attorney.
We
go outside to see Doug Dillinger (head of WCW security) waiting for
Vince to arrive with WCW fans (certainly not plants of any sort)
shouting about how much they hate Vince. Tony tells us not to worry
because the matches will indeed go on despite Vince not being here.
TV
Title: Chris Benoit vs. Fit Finlay
Finlay
is defending. The set here is simpler than most from 1998 with a big
SLAMBOREE logo and a door in the middle. You don’t often see doors
in sets so it’s a change of pace if nothing else. They shove each
other around a lot and the crowd is really into this already. Benoit
counters a headlock into a top wristlock as Tony confirms that the
name Fit is due to Finlay being fit for any sport.
They
fight into a test of strength and wrestle into a string of near falls
either way until Finlay takes over with an armbar on the mat. Back
up and they run the ropes with Benoit getting two off a hiptoss and
we have a standoff. Benoit hits a chop so hard that it knocks
Finlay’s strap down. A backbreaker has Finlay in trouble so Benoit
pulls him from the ropes to the mat, slamming Finlay’s back onto the
canvas again.
Finlay
comes right back with a hard clothesline and Chris rolls to the
floor. This has been very physical so far with both guys beating the
tar out of each other. A hard slam on the floor has Benoit in even
more trouble but Finlay actually goes inside to give Benoit a change
to get up. Back in and Finlay stomps away before putting on a
reverse chinlock. Benoit stands up with Finlay on his shoulders into
an electric chair drop, hurting his own head in the process.
Some
hard chops stagger the champion but he goes right to the eyes to stop
Benoit’s comeback. We hit a chinlock for a good while before Finlay
elbows and kicks at Benoit’s back. Back to the chinlock for a bit
before he drives Benoit chest first into the apron. They head to the
floor with Benoit cracking Finlay with a chair for a pop but not a
DQ. Benoit goes in for a suicide dive but goes head first into the
chair to give Finlay control again.
Back
in again and Finlay slams him down for two before staying on the back
with more elbow drops. A clothesline drops Benoit again and we’re
into chinlock #3. Benoit fights up again and avoids a charge into
the corner, followed by the rolling Germans. Finlay elbows him in
the face to block a fourth but has to quickly get to a rope to break
a Crossface attempt. The snap suplex sets up the Swan Dive but
here’s Booker T before Benoit can jump. Finlay uses the distraction
to kick Benoit in the back of the head to knock Chris out cold. Back
in and the tombstone retains Finlay’s title.
Rating:
C+. Nice opener here but again,
is there any point to not giving Benoit a title yet? He’s over, he’s
having solid matches, there’s a feud with Booker already written, but
he can get two days total as champion without ever being on TV with
the belt? Nothing against Finlay, but I don’t see the point in
having him as champion here.
Brian
Adams vs. Lex Luger
This
is fallout from Scott Steiner and Adams injuring Rick Steiner’s
shoulder. One punch sends Adams out to the floor and Luger follows
him out so he can ram Adams’ and Vincent’s heads together. Luger
rams Brian’s shoulder into the post twice in a row for some payback.
The arm gets snapped across the top rope and there’s a powerslam to
set up the Rack less than two and a half minutes in.
Vincent
finally does something by distraction Luger so Adams can hit a quick
piledriver to take over. They head outside again with Adams kicking
away to protect his bad shoulder. Back in and Adams gets two off a
backbreaker and a pair of legdrops gets the same. A double
clothesline puts both guys down but Adams is quickly up. In a
surprise ending, Luger ducks a clothesline and grabs the Rack for the
submission.
Rating:
D. As shocking as it was for
Luger to win a match with anything other than his usual sequence,
there wasn’t much to see here. This could have been on any given
episode of Nitro and probably should have been. Luger was just so
lost at this point, having nothing of note to do and just floating
from one NWO match to another.
Saturn
cancels the gauntlet match against Goldberg and says he’ll be going
one on one with him. Why this was changed is beyond me but it’s
probably better this way. If anyone in the Flock doesn’t like it,
they know where to find him.
Cruiserweight
Battle Royal
You
can be eliminated by going to the floor or pinfall here and the
winner gets a title shot at Jericho later in the night. The more
entertaining part though is Jericho doing the introductions in Dave
Penzer’s place.
Super
Calo: This guy’s hat never comes off!
Chavo
Guerrero Jr.: He used to be a great bartender but he’s the scourge of
the Guerrero family.
Ciclope:
From selling chimichangas to WCW!
Damien:
He can’t afford a mask so he’s using paint!
El
Dandy: The winner of the Lou Ferrigno look-a-like contest.
El
Grio: The world light featherweight champion!
Juventud
Guerrera: Pulled up in a rusted out 67 El Camino Chevy, the ugliest
man in our business, Quasimodo Guerrera!
Marty
Jannetty: He’ll rock rock until he drops drops.
Kidman:
A lost and lonely soul and Jericho has calamine lotion with him.
Evan
Karagias: 0/10.
Lenny
Lane: I want my Loverboy tape back!
Psychosis:
He has a lot of hubcaps in his collection and can get you one if you
need it.
Silver
King: If he wins 12 more matches he gets to be Gold King.
Johnny
Swinger: Johnny Cinger!
Villano
IV: Representing Villano I-LXII!
Everyone
goes at it to start and if you go through the ropes to the floor it’s
an elimination as well. Evan is out first but there are still too
many people to be able to do much. Chavo backdrops Swinger out and
hits a tornado DDT on someone I couldn’t see. Psychosis hits a
springboard hurricanrana on Damien but doesn’t throw him out. Super
Calo is dropkicked out by Juvy and King is out at someone’s hands.
Lane and Dandy have a mini match in the middle of the ring as Juvy
hits a gorgeous top rope hurricanrana to take Psychosis down.
Grio
gets dumped and Lane misses a dive off the top. Jannetty and Villano
both go out as we’re down to eight. Lane goes up but Kidman throws
Juvy into him to knock Lane out. Juvy dropkicks Damien out and we’re
down to six. Dandy is dropkicked off the apron and it’s five:
Ciclope, Chavo, Kidman, Psychosis and Juvy. Kidman low bridges Chavo
out as Heenan does his schtick of picking everyone in the match.
Psychosis misses a charge and goes out as Juvy pulls Kidman out.
Juvy sees he’s alone with Ciclope….and eliminates himself to give
Ciclope the title shot?
Rating:
C. It’s a battle royal so how
good can it really be? The high spots were nice but at the same time
they made a lot of the guys in the match look stupid for trying
something like that. The ending was confusing but all will be
explained in just a few seconds. Nothing outside of the ordinary
here other than some high spots.
Jericho
hits the ring immediately but Ciclope unmasks to reveal…..DEAN
MALENKO! The place goes NUTS in one of the loudest pops WCW ever
had.
Cruiserweight
Title: Dean Malenko vs. Chris Jericho
Dean
shows more emotion in a fifteen second burst than he did in his
entire career, stomping Jericho down in the corner and a suplex puts
him down again. A dropkick sends Jericho out to the floor and Dean
follows him out with right hands to the head. Back in and Dean opts
to fire off more punches instead of rolling Jericho up when he has
the chance. A quick hot shot gives Jericho a breather and a
backsplash gets two.
Jericho
suplexes his down and gets another two off the arrogant cover. The
Lionsault gets the same and we hit the chinlock. Dean fights up and
tries the Liontamer on Jericho but Chris quickly makes the rope. A
top rope back elbow to the jaw gets two on Malenko but the top rope
hurricanrana is countered into the top rope gutbuster. The
Cloverleaf gives Dean the title back.
Rating:
A. The match was decent though
nothing great, but the story here is the emotion. This whole story
was built up on the emotion the fans felt for Malenko and wanting to
see him make Jericho eat his words. It’s a classic story: hero
falls, villain reigns and runs his mouth, hero returns to vanquish
the villain. No unexplained turns, no politics, no swerves (ok maybe
one with the disguise) and possibly the loudest reaction ever in WCW.
Clearly there’s nothing to this storytelling idea though right?
We
have a Vinnie Mac cam and a white limousine arrives. Tony: “If Jim
Ross comes out and carries his bags you know it’s Vince.” They cut
away before anyone gets out.
Diamond
Dallas Page vs. Raven
This
is a Bowery Death Match, meaning last man standing inside a cage.
There’s a roof on the cage too. Page pounds away to start but Raven
sends him face first into a trashcan in the corner. An elbow to the
face drops Raven but he sends Page into another can. Page is whipped
face first into the cage several times and Raven empties the weapons
from the cans. The breather lets Page get the bullrope around
Raven’s neck to whip him into the cage a few times.
Page
wraps the rope around the top of the cage to hang Raven but Bird Boy
gets his legs on DDT to block the pressure. Raven falls to the mat
for an eight count but a VCR shot to the head draws an ECW chant and
a seven. Page gets kicked into another can in the corner and a shot
to the back with said can gets another seven. Some cookie sheet
shots have Page in trouble and Raven puts on a sleeper, only to have
Page ram him into the corner, crushing the referee in the process.
Page
hits a quick jawbreaker and sends Raven face first into the chair.
Reese and the Flock easily overpower Raven’s riot squad and cut open
the lock on the cage. Van Hammer comes out from under the ring with
a stop sign to lay out the rest of the Flock and handcuff Reese to
the guardrail. Page stomps Raven down in the corner but two members
of the Riot Squad comes in to stomp DDP down.
They
unmask as Kidman and Horace but Page fights them off with Diamond
Cutters. Raven comes back with a fire extinguisher to the ribs and
the Even Flow but Page is up at eight. They slug it out in fast
motion before Raven Diamond Cuts Page. Page is up again, ducks a
chair shot and Diamond Cuts Raven for the ten count.
Rating:
C-. This was WAY overbooked but
it’s not a horrible match. Hopefully it ends the feud though as
there’s just nothing left for these guys to do to each other. Ending
it inside of a cage is as good as they’re going to get, especially
after Page had to fight off the Flock almost on his own. Decent
match here but it needed more violence.
Post
match the last riot squad guy starts handcuffing all the Flock
members to the cage. He cuffs Raven as well, reveals himself to be
Mortis, unmasks as Kanyon (yet to be named) and does the Tommy
Dreamer chair shot heard round the world.
More
from the Vinnie Mac Cam.
The
announcers talk about the tag title match, which sounds like the main
event.
Ultimo
Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero
If
Dragon wins, Chavo is free from Eddie. Eddie takes him down by the
arm to start but Dragon armdrags him down. There are A LOT of empty
seats across from the cameras here which I believe were full earlier.
Dragon takes him down with a snapmare but Eddie complains about a
hair pull, going so far as to demonstrate on the referee. Off to a
test of strength with Dragon bridging off the mat. Eddie drops down
onto him but can’t break said bridge which is always impressive.
Dragon
fires off his kicks but a simple dropkick from Eddie puts him down.
A headscissors out of the corner takes Guerrero down again and here
are more kicks from the masked man. Back in and Dragon kicks away
even more before putting on a half crab into a bridging Indian
Deathlock. Eddie gets back up and pokes Dragon in the eye to take
over before getting two off a suplex.
Off
to a quick front facelock from Guerrero before they head outside for
some fun. Guerrero sends him into the barricade and chokes with a
camera cord. Instead of following up though, he slaps Chavo around
for a bit. Back inside and Eddie loads up a hurricanrana off the
top, only to get crotched and enziguried to the floor.
The
Asai Moonsault takes Eddie down again but Dragon hits his head on the
way down. Back in and Dragon gets two off a backbreaker and a
moonsault gets the same. The super hurricanrana is countered into a
tornado DDT from Eddie but the Frog Splash misses. They trade Dragon
Sleepers but Chavo takes Eddie’s feet off the ropes. Dragon
accidentally kicks Chavo, allowing Eddie to hit the brainbuster and
Frog Splash for the pin.
Rating:
C+. Usual high quality match
from these two as the Guerrero Saga continues. Dragon looked good
out there as it’s nice to see him finally have a story of some sort.
The Guerreros’ story is solid stuff as well with actual character
development, which compliments the matches very nicely.
Post
match Chavo yells at Eddie before stomping Dragon out of frustration.
Eddie offers him a free shot but Chavo can’t do it. He kisses Eddie
on the cheek instead as the insanity is about to begin.
Vince
“The Reason For The Ratings” McMahon has a dressing room. Just
go with it.
US
Title: Saturn vs. Goldberg
Just
one on one instead of the advertised gauntlet match. Goldberg easily
shoves him into the corner to start before clotheslining the
challenger down with ease. A gorilla press into a powerslam puts
Saturn down and a shoulder knocks him to the floor. Back in and
Saturn fires off kicks in the corner but charges into a spin kick
from the champion. Goldberg LAUNCHES him into the corner before they
head outside.
Saturn
ducks a clothesline and Goldie’s arm goes into the post. Back in and
a top rope spinwheel kick gets one and we hit the chinlock. Goldberg
fights up but walks into a swinging neckbreaker to set up the
chinlock again. Back up and Saturn grabs a chair before superkicking
Goldberg into the corner. Using the chair as a springboard, Saturn
kicks Goldberg in the back but a second attempt is countered with the
spear. The Jackhammer retains the title.
Rating:
D+. This didn’t do much for me.
The arm went nowhere and it never felt like Saturn had a chance.
Goldberg is in an awkward place as he’s too big to squash people and
midcarders are no real challenge anymore but he’s not quite ready to
face main event guys. That’s a very tricky jump to make but it would
come soon enough.
We
actually get full entrances for Bischoff vs. Vince with Eric winning
by countout. Well done on wasting PPV time and looking silly while
the WWF was starting to crush you, but at least Bischoff gets to
laugh. In all sincerity though, at least they didn’t use the WWF
method of using an impersonator or a midget.
Bret
Hart vs. Randy Savage
Roddy
Piper is guest referee for no apparent reason. We get the long stall
session to open things up until Bret gets in the first shots,
pounding Savage into the corner. Savage goes to the eyes and maybe a
low blow for two. He pounds Bret down in the corner and chokes away,
only to have Bret go after Randy’s bad knee. A suplex puts Randy
down and a headbutt to the hamstring puts Savage on the floor.
Bret
throws the steps at Savage but Randy moves to avoid breaking bones.
Savage sends him into the barricade and they head into the crowd for
the big walk around the arena which is called brawling. Back to
ringside with Savage slamming him on the floor. This has been a
brawl the entire way so far. They get back in with Bret wisely going
after the knee and starts his usual wear down sequence.
He
cannonballs down onto the knee, wraps it around the ropes and
stretches the hamstring a bit. A Russian legsweep and a piledriver
get two for the Canadian before he just stomps Savage down in the
corner. Randy gets in some shots of his own and actually gets two
off a one legged suplex. The top rope elbow connects but Randy bangs
up his knee on the landing, allowing Bret to kick out at two.
Bret
sweeps the legs and puts on the Sharpshooter as Liz comes running
out. Savage counters into a Sharpshooter of his own (camera was on
Liz so we didn’t see it) but Bret gets a rope. Bret kicks Savage low
and hits Piper with a foreign object, only to have Savage take it
away. Here’s Hogan to wrap Savage’s leg around the post, allowing
Bret to put on the Sharpshooter for the win.
Rating:
C. This took awhile to get
going but the overbooking drags it down again. Hogan showing up
makes you wonder why he couldn’t defend the title here or why he
needed to be champion in the first place. Have Savage defend against
Bret here and keep the title by DQ etc, but Hogan just NEEDED to be
champion again I guess. Also it’s looking like we’re never getting
an explanation from Bret on why he helped Hogan.
Piper
takes the object off Bret’s hand but doesn’t do anything.
Tag
Titles: Outsiders vs. Sting/The Giant
Hall
is back and does the survey for the first time in months. Sting
starts with Scott and there are the driving shoulders to get us
going. A quick chokeslam puts Sting down and there’s the Giant
imitation. Sting comes back with a pair of atomic drops and a
Stinger Splash but he has to fight off Nash as well. Giant comes in
and headbutts Nash to the floor and Hall joins him for a meeting.
Back
in and it’s time for the battle of the monsters with Nash now all
aggressive to go after Giant. Nash can’t Jackknife him so he chokes
in the corner instead. Giant comes back with a big boot and an elbow
drop before driving his hips into Nash’s ribs in the corner. The
fans cheer for the Wolfpack as Sting comes in. Sting takes Hall down
but gets kicked in the face by Nash, allowing for the tag off to
Scott. A quick fallaway slam gets two on Sting as the fans are WAY
into Hall.
Back
to Nash for Snake Eyes before it’s back to Hall for some stomping.
Nash drops the crotch on Sting’s back before firing off knees in the
corner. Hall comes back in again for the abdominal stretch with a
hand from Nash. Sting hiptosses out but misses an elbow drop,
allowing another tag to Kevin. We hit the bearhug but Sting claps
the ears a few times, allowing for the hot tag off to Giant, even
though Giant is a heel.
Giant
kicks Nash down and drops a Hogan leg for two before going….to the
top? He misses a splash from up there so Nash can stay alive and
Dusty gets on the apron for some reason. Nash loads up the Jackknife
but, of course, Hall turns on Nash with a belt shot to the back,
giving Sting and Giant the titles.
Rating:
C-. Match was just ok but the
illogical heel turns are getting annoying really fast. There’s no
reason for all these turns and the lack of ANY explanation so far is
making them even worse. So now we have a WCW guy and an NWO Black
and White guy holding the tag belts, meaning it’s now all on Sting to
make a decision and presumably setting up Hall vs. Nash. Anyone want
to bet on that match not happening?
Giant
and Hall welcome Sting to the NWO but Sting doesn’t move to end the
show.
Overall
Rating:
C. I watched this show
about a year and a half ago and other than the Malenko stuff, I don’t
remember a thing from it. The show isn’t that bad but NOTHING on it
stands out at all. It’s a totally watchable show with some good
matches sprinkled in and nothing horrible, but it comes off like one
of the least important shows I can remember, doing little more than
setting up Nitro. Find the Malenko/Jericho stuff though as it’s well
worth seeing.

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:

www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Thunder – May 14, 1998

Thunder
Date: May 14, 1998
Location: Whittemore
Center Arena, Durham, New Hampshire
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Lee Marshall, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s the final show
before Slamboree and we have even more drama in the NWO. This time
it’s the Giant joining NWO Hollywood to help protect Hogan and get
his hands on Kevin Nash at the same time. The latter makes little
sense as Giant already has a match with Nash on Sunday but if you try
to think too much about this stuff your head will explode. Let’s get
to it.

The announcers talk for
a bit about the end of Nitro and give us a quick preview of tonight’s
show, including Savage vs. Sting.
We get a new version of
Bischoff’s challenge, this one themed like an NWO announcement.
Basically Bischoff is a martial arts expert and invites Vince to come
break Eric’s limbs and choke him to death, so come to Slamboree.
Expect to see this about a dozen times tonight.
Mando Guerrero, Eddie’s
older brother, is disappointed by Eddie’s recent actions. Chavo has
it tough enough due to being a second generation wrestler without
having to be Eddie’s nephew.
Chavo
Guerrero Jr. vs. Reese
Reese is Eddie’s
handpicked opponent, selected for how similar he is to Chavo. Reese
lumbers at Chavo but the smaller guy speeds around and fires off
chops for no effect. Reese throws Chavo around with ease but
Guerrero comes back with a springboard kick to the chest to stagger
the giant. Chavo goes up but an Eddie distraction allows Reese to
catch Chavo in the chokebomb for the fast pin.
Post match Ultimo
Dragon, Eddie’s opponent on Sunday, comes out to stop Eddie from
berating Chavo. Chavo walks away while Eddie is caught in the Dragon
Sleeper.
We recap the “fan”
attacks (Kanyon) on Raven over the last few weeks.
The announcers talk
about Raven’s challenge for a Bowery Death Match on Sunday.
We also get a clip of
Raven beating Page for the US Title at Spring Stampede and the
ensuing brawls over the next few weeks. They also air Page’s promos
on Raven from Thunder two weeks ago, the fight with the bullrope, JJ
giving Raven a riot squad and the challenge for the Bowery Death
Match. Are they running REALLY short on time tonight? They aired
about seven minutes straight of videos of the feud.
Since that’s not enough
on these two, here are Raven and the riot squad. He’s tired of
hearing about DDP. What about Raven? This isn’t Dodge City and Page
can’t string him up like Josey Wales. If Page wants him, come get
him right now. Here’s Page through the crowd because he was just
waiting at the top of the arena. Page dives over the squad to get at
Raven but the beatdown is on almost immediately. That looks a lot
like Austin diving over the cops to get at Vince a few months after
this aired. Page gets hung by the bullrope.
Goldberg has to defend
the US Title by running a Flock gauntlet on Sunday.
The Outsiders will
actually be here tonight.
TV Title: Kenny Kaos
vs. Fit Finlay
In case you didn’t
think the other High Voltage member getting a title shot was stupid
enough. Finlay grabs a nerve hold to start but Kaos comes back with
a hiptoss before pulling Finlay away from the ropes. Finlay drags
him to the floor by the hair for a quick pounding before taking Kaos
back inside, getting two off a splash. Kaos gets the knees up to
block a Vader Bomb and gets two off an atomic drop. The champion
pounds away but misses a charge into the post, only to take it to the
floor where Rage helps out his partner. Back in and Finlay hits the
rolling senton and the tombstone to retain.
Rating: D.
Nothing match as Finlay didn’t sell anything Kaos did and easily beat
him after getting double teamed. This wasn’t really even a squash
with Kaos getting in some offense but to no effect. I still don’t
get why Finlay was champion anyway as he hadn’t really done anything
significant prior to winning the title.
We see Savage calling
out Bret from a few weeks ago.
Here’s a live action
person dressed as a character from the animated movie Quest For
Camelot to hand out t-shirts. This doesn’t seem to be announced to
anyone in the arena, but why would they need to know who this big
viking looking guy is?
US Title: Sick Boy
vs. Goldberg
Sick Boy goes right for
the champ and actually takes him down with a snapmare. We get a
nerve hold but Goldberg easily fights up. A pair of dropkicks
stagger him but Goldberg comes back with a gorilla press, setting up
a bad looking spear and the Jackhammer to retain the title.
The Flock swarms
Goldberg but he takes down Riggs, scaring everyone else off.
Saturn says he uses a
basic side kick like people have been using for thousands of years.
He didn’t steal it from Glacier or any other reject from a video
game.
Chris Adams vs.
Saturn
Before the match Kidman
asks Adams if he wants to lose to the Rings of Saturn or the Death
Valley Driver. Adams doesn’t say anything so Kidman picks the Death
Valley Driver, which will be set up by the Cryonic Kick and there’s
nothing Glacier can do about it. Security holds Van Hammer back from
getting in the ring. They trade hammerlocks to start as Tony rips
apart the Flock for being a bunch of spoiled brats as children.
Saturn catches an
incoming boot to the ribs but Adams takes him down with an enziguri
for two. Adams misses a top rope knee drop and Kidman hands Saturn a
chair. Saturn gets a springboard into the corner for a clothesline
before sending Chris out to the floor. Adams comes back with some
right hands but gets sent into the ropes, setting up the superkick
and Death Valley Driver for Saturn’s pin.
Rating: C.
Better match than expected here with Adams at least being game out
there. I like the idea of Saturn calling his finish but it would be
better if it was in a feud with ANYONE but Glacier. Was there no one
else out there you could have use a superkick to set up a feud with
Saturn at all? Not a bad match at all though.
This week in WCW
Motorsports because all WCW fans care about car racing.
Robbie Rage vs.
Chris Benoit
Apparently Nitro will
be split in two on Monday with one hour from 7-8 and one hour from
11:30-12:30. Rage no sells some chops to start and gorilla presses
Benoit down with ease. An overhead belly to belly has Benoit in even
more trouble and it’s off to a half crab from Rage. Kaos is nowhere
to be seen for some reason tonight. Rage loads up a powerslam but
rams Benoit back first into the corner instead of slamming him down.
Benoit avoids a top rope splash and there’s the Swan Dive followed by
the Crossface for the submission.
Rating: D+.
Nothing special to see here but Rage got in far more offense than he
should have. This was out of the 1995 Randy Savage playbook: get
destroyed for most of the match and then hit a big move for the win.
It doesn’t do much for Benoit but at least he got the win going into
his title match on Sunday.
Here’s Eric Bischoff
with his fists up and something to say. The announcers talk about
the challenge but aren’t sure if they should support Bischoff or not.
Bischoff talks about Vince sending guys where Vince knows Eric won’t
be, but he’s received a letter from Vince’s lawyers, saying that
Vince will NOT be at the PPV and stop promoting him as such.
Bischoff says ok but Doug Dillinger will still be there to guard the
door and make sure Vince gets to the ring safely. The announcers
still aren’t sure what to say.
Buy the Outsiders
shirt!
Tag Titles:
Outsiders vs. Public Enemy
And there’s no Hall.
Nash complains about politics in the back with Bischoff and Hogan
keeping Hall off live TV. However, they can’t stop him from being at
the PPV for some reason so Hall WILL be at Slamboree. He stops to
talk about how sexy he looks tonight and brings out his replacement
partner for the night: Dusty Rhodes. Rocco starts for the
challengers as Dusty chills on the floor.
Nash throws Rock into
the corner and chokes him with the boot before firing in some elbows
for two. More corner choking ensues before Public Enemy double
suplexes Nash down. Rhodes pulls Grunge to the floor and the
Jackknife to Rocco followed by the Bionic Elbow retains the titles.
Heenan: “DUSTY IS 1-0!”
Rating: D.
This was barely long enough to rate but it was basically a joke
match. The fans popped for Dusty so I guess the Wolfpack is
officially a face group. They’re definitely faces in the NWO but it
wasn’t entirely clear if they were faces overall. It’s nice to see
the belts defended at all though as I don’t think they’ve been on the
line since February.
Sting vs. Randy
Savage
We get a lot of pyro
before the entrances. Savage jumps Sting in the aisle and I don’t
think there was a bell. They head inside with Sting taking over and
backdropping Savage down. Savage rakes the eyes and takes it back to
the floor with Sting sending Randy into the barricade and actually
hitting the Splash against the steel. That might be the only time
I’ve ever seen that connect in WCW. Back in and the Stinger Splash
misses but Sting comes back with an elbow to the jaw. Not that it
matters as here’s Bret Hart with a chair for the fast DQ. Match was
just over two minutes long.
Giant comes in to save
Bret from Savage, only to have Nash come in to save Savage with a
chair shot. Sting hits Nash with the chair, leaving just Sting and
Giant standing. Giant gets a mic and says that once they win the tag
titles, Sting has a decision to make. He throws Sting a black and
white t-shirt and Sting doesn’t immediately say no. Giant leaves so
Luger comes out to try to talk reason into Sting.
The Bischoff challenge
to McMahon ends the show.
Overall Rating: D+.
Well let’s see: we get no explanation from Giant, the only major
story development is for what happens after the tag title match, we
saw two High Voltage matches for some reason, and nothing new was
added to the PPV. This show just didn’t need to happen, which is the
case with almost all of the Thunder shows anymore.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Plug for Battleground PPV

Hi Scott,
I was hoping you’d be able to plug us for the Battleground Play-Per-View tomorrow.  The winner gets a copy of your book.  Below you’ll find the exact email that goes out to my mailing list.  I’m also going to announce it on Twitter in a few minutes.  If you can retweet it that would be great!
Thanks,
Watsuki
Battleground 2013 Play-Per-View

Dungeon of Death Giveaway
The winner of this PPV will receive a copy of Scott Keith’s book Dungeon of Death. You can also check out Scott Keith’s Blog of Doom or order some of his books from Amazon on paperback or on Kindle

Follow Stablewars on Twitter
Follow Stablewars on Facebook


Battleground 2013 Card
1 – WWE Title Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
2 – World Title Match: Alberto Del Rio © vs. Rob Van Dam
3 – WWE IC Title Match: Curtis Axel © vs. R-Truth
4 – WWE Divas Title Match: AJ Lee © vs. Brie Bella
5 – The Shield vs. Goldust & Cody Rhodes (Lifetime ban from WWE if the Rhodes lose, plus Dusty is fired)
6 – CM Punk vs. Ryback
7 – Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston
8 – Pre-PPV Kickoff Match Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow
9 – Tiebreaker: What will be the match time of Rhodes/Goldust vs The Shield?

Picks must be submitted by Sunday, October 6th at 7:30pm EST
http://www.stablewars.com/ppv/registration.php?fed=WWE

*** This email is sent only to email addresses that signed up for the reminder service on the website.  If you wish to be removed from the mailing list simply reply to this email and ask to be removed.***

QOTD 25: The Blog Botter Pull List

Hola Blog Botters, after a brief hiatus I return with a question that allows you to embrace your inner geek.

Lets talk about pull lists. As a guy whose never been really ‘into’ comics enough to buy them regularly, I have always found the term ‘pull list’ sort of romantic, the idea that you pick up a series of titles every month because you care about them, and are willing to drop your cash until they piss you off to no end. So lets expand on that ‘pull list’ concept and extend it to all kinds of media.

What’s your current ‘media’ pull list across TV, Music, Movies, Comics, and internet related things?

  
I’ll break mine down into categories


TV
Agents of Shield – The last episode was kind of hokey, but I’m going to keep watching until it gets cancelled or does something silly.

Modern Family – Consistently funny and heartwarming without being too saccharine, it’s got some of the best writing and acting on TV. The key to comedy is making sure that none of the characters know they’re in a comedy, and Modern Family nails it.

Shark Tank – This is my new “Pawn Stars” great stuff, my whole family likes to watch it, and if I had the chance I’d plow through this show in a weekend if were available on demand.

The Newsroom – While not a great show, it’s certainly decent, and as a TV person I enjoy the little details and nuances of seeing super human versions of people I know doing TV-related things.

Music 
Bowling For Soup – Anything they put out, I pick up. Just nabbed their “Lunch. Drunk. Love.” album and it’s exactly what you’d expect from them.

Eminem – He fell off my pull list around the time I heard “FACK” for the first time, but got put back on after Recovery.

Barenaked Ladies – While a lot of their magic has kind of kaputted they still show flashes of brilliance, so I always check out anything they put out.

Graphic Novels

Ultimate Spider-man – I bought the SUPER BIG trade paperback that collected I think the first…24 issues of the series, and kept buying them until they didn’t exist, and that’s really the only way I can make Graphic novels work within my budget. But this series is a riot. Brian Michael Bendis seems to know his shit when he gets to take a character and work it within his own world and context, but I guess he has a habit for dropping the ball when taking over for other people?

Anything Jeph Loeb  – His Superman and Batman work are some of my favorite comic books of all time, especially his Long Halloween stuff. Hush was cool, too.

Internet related

The Blog of Doom – Barring excursions I probably spend more time checking out this blog than I’d care to admit, lets just not tell any pretty girls, kay?

Grantland – Anything Masked Writer / Bill Simmons I absolutely check out. The video game content is a little hit and miss, opting to focus on history instead of feel and what games communicate to a player, but no one’s perfect.

Total Biscuit / Jesse Cox / Alzorath – Just general gaming channels I can stand on the internet.  TB and Cox have a fucking wondering series where they play Terraria and annoy each other to no end, and Cox in particular is one of these guys you can’t help but feel happy for, as he seems like a genuinely happy guy who is pretty amazed that he gets to play games for a living. Alzorath is more a personal choice because he’s the only person on the internet who plays Shadow Era and casts it, so I check that out too.

Zero Punctuation  – Probably one of the first ‘web shows’ I ever watched regularly, and boy is his stuff good, though he can occasionally miss the point of a given game in his quest to be hyper critical, which I do appreciate.

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Blog Botter Award: Scott Keith (you may heard of him) for suggesting Doom Bots as the new title for the guys who frequent the blog. I took his advice, sorta, and we are all now Blog Botters. His award can be found below:

Yes, that’s a robot throwing a concrete block.

1. GTA Online: Give “Meekin’s Mobsters” a Google if you want in on the temporary crew while we set up an official one. Waiting for the kinks to get hammered out before I make a real logo and such.

Hogan Post-nWo Question…

Long time reader, first time emailer. I never kept up with the week-to-week happenings with WCW, and was curious when and how Hulk Hogan turned face and went back to the red-and-yellow during the Spring/Summer of '99. Was there some long-rumored news about it, or was it typical WCW just doing something at the last minute to get a rating win? Since we're on the subject of WCW from that time period, who's bright idea was it to turn Sting heel?

That's quite the large font you've got going there.  Kudos.
It was definitely long-rumored, in the sense of "Rumors are WCW is so desperate that they're going to put Hogan back in the red and yellow and expect it to pop a rating".  Which it did not.  But yes, the actual timing was basically WCW in ratings freefall and flailing for something.  
The Sting heel turn was the decision of the booking committee that ran the company between Nash getting fired and Russo getting hired.  That particular show (Fall Brawl 99) didn't even have a main event until the Nitro before the show, and previously they had been building it up as "Top Secret" in advertisements.  Understandably, the whole period of time was a disaster on all fronts.  I guess ultimately you'd blame Bill Behrens, but I don't know if the heel turn was his actual idea or if he just approved whatever stupid nonsense that guys like Terry Taylor pitched him.

Smackdown – October 4, 2013

Smackdown
Date:
October 4, 2013
Location:
Riverside Centroplex, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Commentators:
Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
the final show before Battleground and the company has gone from on
fire to limping into the PPV in a matter of weeks. Bryan vs. Orton
is the main event on Sunday again but it feels like an afterthought.
The problem is it doesn’t feel like an afterthought to any specific
thing as none of the matches feel like a big deal at all. The main
event tonight is Big Show vs. Shield so I guess that’s our focus
tonight. Let’s get to it.

The
opening recap shows Orton laying out Bryan to end Raw. The Bellas
being involved makes me roll my eyes.
Theme
song.
Here’s
Big Show to open things up. Show says he’s been embarrassed of how
he’s treated some people lately and we get a knockout montage. Big
Show talks about Stephanie and HHH holding the job over his head and
how some people can understand what it’s like to have to do things
they don’t want to do. He knows he can’t be forgiven but asks for
some understanding.
After
what his wife said to Stephanie he isn’t even sure if he’s a man
anymore. There’s so much anger and frustration built up inside of
him that he threatened to knock HHH out on Monday. If he had done it
though he would have been fired, but just for threatening it he has
to face the Shield in a handicap match. However, if he’s going down
he’s taking Shield with him.
Cue
HHH because what would an opening segment be without him? He’s
ashamed that Big Show doesn’t like his leadership, but Big Show’s
frustration and financial and marital problems are all on Big Show.
HHH has considered Big Show a friend for the last 20 years, meaning
he knew Big Show in college, two years before Show had his first
match in WCW.
HHH
holds up Big Show’s mortgage, which apparently he’s paid, meaning Big
Show owes him rather than the bank. Therefore, either Big Show gets
his emotions in check or HHH moves into Big Show’s house. As for
tonight, since Big Show is so crazy, we’ll make the main event Big
Show vs. Shield/Randy Orton. And Big Show is crushed yet again,
because there will be NO strong heroes in this company.
Rob
Van Dam vs. Fandango
The
announcers spend all of Fandango’s entrance talking about breast
cancer and how pink everything is. Fandango dances to start so RVD
does the finger points, earning himself an elbow to the head. Rob
comes back with kicks in the corner and a monkey flip to take over.
Van Dam goes to the apron but gets knocked to the floor as we take a
break. Back with Rob coming off the middle rope with a kick to the
face and some regular kicks for good measure. Rolling Thunder
connects but Summer breaks up the Five Star for the DQ at 2:30 shown
of 5:00. This match needed a break?
Fandango
goes to find some weapons post match but Rob gets the upper hand and
lays Fandango out with a slingshot DDT. He finds a trashcan and
Fandango gets a Van Terminator to pop the crowd.
Ryback
vs. R-Truth
Jobber
entrance for the monster. Ryback powers him into the corner to start
but Truth comes back with some right hands to send Ryback to the
floor. Heyman calls Truth a bully and Ryback will have none of that.
Back in and Truth escapes a gorilla press before kicking Ryback down
for two. The ax kick misses and the Meat Hook and Shell Shock
complete the squash of Truth at 2:24. Your #1 contender to the
Intercontinental Title everyone.
Post
match Axel lays out Truth again to really make sure no one buys him
as a contender.
Alberto
Del Rio isn’t worried about Dolph Ziggler tonight when a stagehand
comes up with the trashcan RVD used earlier tonight. The champion
isn’t pleased.
Alberto
Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Non-title
of course and Sandow is on commentary to hype up his Battleground
pre-show match with Ziggler. Before the match we get the top ten Van
Dam moments video from Raw. Sandow refers to Ziggler as a former Mr.
MITB instead of a former world champion. That tells you almost
everything you need to know about Dolph at the moment. Feeling out
process to start with Ziggler getting a quick rollup for two, sending
the champion to the floor.
Back
in and Del Rio stomps Ziggler down, only to be dropkicked out to the
floor as we take a break. We come back with Alberto holding a
chinlock until Ziggler fights back up. Dolph misses a charge into
the post and Del Rio has a shoulder to work on. A belly to back
suplex gets two on Dolph and we hit the chinlock again. Ziggler
fights up and comes back with another dropkick to knock Alberto off
the apron, only to have him snap Ziggler’s throat across the ropes.
Dolph comes right back again though with a top rope X Factor to put
both guys down.
JBL
tries to talk Sandow into cashing in as Dolph pounds away right hands
in the corner. A running clothesline puts Del Rio down but he still
avoids the Fameasser and gets two off a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
Alberto goes up but dives into a dropkick for a close two count. The
champ gets back up and hits a LOUD running enziguri in the corner for
two of his own. Del Rio loads up a superplex but gets countered into
a sunset bomb for another close two.
There’s
the sleeper from Ziggy but Del Rio rams him face first into the
buckle for the break. A middle rope double stomp to the back has
Dolph down again but the low superkick is countered into a rollup for
two. The second attempt at the kick connects for two for the
champion but Ziggler rolls through the armbreaker into the Fameasser
for a VERY hot two. Not that it matters as the armbreaker goes on
for the submission from Dolph at 10:30 shown of 12:50.
Rating:
B-. This got a lot better at
the end but ziggler having almost no chance at all didn’t help
things. That’s the problem with how WWE takes guys down the card:
there’s almost no way to believe they could win a big match when
they’re on a losing streak. Del Rio as usual is much better in the
ring than he is as a character but that’s been the case for years. I
could have gone for more arm work than just at the beginning and
ending of the match though.
Los
Matadores vignette.
3MB
vs. Los Matadores
Slater/Mahal
again who ranted about Toroito costing them the match. There’s no
McIntyre in sight for the second straight show. The bullfighters do
their flips and bull stuff before the bell. Diego cranks on Slater’s
arm to start and shouts OLE a lot. Mahal comes in and gets his leg
swept out from under him before being double backdropped.
Back
up and Los Matadores hit a combination backbreaker/slingshot splash
for no cover. Slater comes back in and takes over with a kick to the
face and a quickly broken chinlock. Fernando comes back with Ultimo
Dragon’s corner headstand before it’s back to Diego vs. Mahal. Diego
hits a reverse Cross Rhodes followed by the double Angle Slam for the
pin at 3:20.
Rating:
D. Remember the match on
Monday? This was the same thing but with less flipping and less
excitement. Los Matadores don’t seem to have a long shelf life to
them but at least it gives us another tag team for a few months.
Nothing to see here though as the bull continues to steal most of the
attention.
Post
match Torito dives on 3MB.
Heyman
and his Guys are ready for their matches on Sunday. Truth’s dream of
being Intercontinental Champion is false but at least he’s not CM
Punk. On Sunday, CM Punk will fight to the death but it just won’t
be enough. After the beating, Punk will be looking up at his lord,
master and owner: Paul Heyman, the best in the world.
Brie
Bella vs. Aksana
Please
for the love of all things good and holy keep this short. Brie moves
away from Aksana to start before dropkicking her out to the floor.
Back in and Aksana sends her throat first into the middle rope and
stomps away for two. We hit the chinlock on Brie before Aksana
crawls around on all fours. Brie comes right back with a middle rope
Bella Buster for the pin (ignore Aksana’s foot on the ropes) at 2:10.
Post
match here are AJ with the psycho eyes and Tamina for whatever
reason. AJ says after she keeps the title on Sunday, Brie and Bryan
can go have a goat faced kid. After the doctor sees the abomination,
he’ll spank Brie instead of the baby. I’m still wondering why I’m
supposed to cheer for the Bellas other than who they sleep with.
Kofi
Kingston vs. Big E. Langston
Before
the match we get a clip from Smackdown of Bray Wyatt laughing at
Kingston but not attacking him. Langston runs Kofi over to start and
gets two off a running splash. Kofi goes up for a cross body but
gets caught in midair, only to slip down Langston into the rollup for
the pin at 52 seconds. Was there no one else that could do the job
here? No one at all?
Post
match here’s Bray on the stage with the Family behind Kofi. Bray
talks about calling a hero another facade of a failed generation.
This Sunday, the first will fall so follow the buzzards. Kofi still
isn’t touched.
Post
break Bray vs. Kofi is announced for Sunday.
We
look back at the Rhodes Family segment from Raw. Word on the street
is that Stephanie is ticked off for Dusty going slightly off script
and putting his hand on her face. Heaven forbid everything isn’t
EXACTLY planned out for her for once in her life.
Shield/Randy
Orton vs. Big Show
It’s
Ambrose in first with Show pounding away in the corner and
headbutting Ambrose down. Off to Rollins who tries a kick to the
ribs before being thrown into the corner for a beating of his own.
It’s Reigns’ turn now but he goes down when trying a shoulder block.
Randy gets the tag and tries to keep Big Show away from him in a
smart strategy. Show gets him in the corner anyway for the not so
loud chop, sending Randy running off to Rollins.
Seth
actually knocks Show down with a top rope knee to the jaw and a kick
to the face gets two. Randy is out on the floor until Reigns softens
Big Show up a bit more. Orton comes in for some stomping and the
knee drop for two. A quick DDT gets two more for Orton and it’s back
to Roman. Show clotheslines Reigns down a few times before hitting
his own spear for no cover. All of the heels come in at once but Big
Show fights them off until Ambrose brings in a chair, only to have it
punched into his face for the DQ at 5:40.
Rating:
D+. That’s the only way you can
end this if you want to save any face for Big Show. Obviously you
can’t have the giant go over and you don’t want the heels to look
weak (Heaven forbid of course) so the DQ after Show holds his own is
the best option. Much like everything else on the show tonight
though, this didn’t mean much.
Orton
hits Show in the back with the chair but there’s no effect. Instead
Reigns spears Big Show down as the fans chant for Bryan. There’s an
RKO for Big Show and Orton wraps the chair around Big Show’s neck.
Cue the Usos to take care of the Shield and FINALLY Daniel Bryan
shows up to fight Orton. Bryan fires off kicks and hooks the YES
Lock but Ambrose gets back in for the save. Dean takes the running
knee and a staredown ends the show.
Overall
Rating:
D+. This wasn’t a bad
show but what did it change about Sunday? The only thing added here
was Wyatt vs. Kingston which could have been done just as easily on
Raw or at the PPV itself. The wrestling was just ok and HHH is now
Big Show’s landlord to make sure Big Show doesn’t get to grow a spine
to fight back against the tyranny. Also what happened to the locker
room rebellion? None of those guys have done anything against HHH
and company for over a week and there’s no sign that they will in the
future. As usual, this story just keeps going with no real direction
to be seen.
Results
Rob
Van Dam b. Fandango via DQ when Summer Rae interfered
Ryback
b. R-Truth – Shell Shock
Alberto
Del Rio b. Dolph Ziggler – Cross armbreaker
Los
Matadores b. 3MB – Double Angle Slam to Mahal
Brie
Bella b. Aksana – Middle rope Bella Buster
Kofi
Kingston b. Big E. Langston – Rollup
Shield/Randy
Orton b. Big Show via DQ when Big Show hit a chair into Ambrose’s
face
I’m assuming someone will be doing Battleground on Sunday.  If not then make sure to check out Andy’s Raw recap on Monday night which I’m sure will cover what happens on Sunday.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6