1996 reviews


Hi Scott, hope you are well.

Have noticed that you've stopped you're reviews of the 1996 Raws & Nitros. I was under the impression that you had been enjoying the shows (at least the Nitros). Had that changed, or did life get in the way? They were a cool little peek into the past, and I hope they're not gone for good, especially with how important '96 was in the big picture. Take care.

​The impression I was getting from the blog was that we're a little overloaded with 1996 WCW reviews, so I decided to cool it for a while.  I wouldn’t want to Roman Reigns the reviews. ​

Smackdown – February 26, 2015

Smackdown
Date:
February 26, 2015
Location:
Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators:
Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton
Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Wrestlemania
is creeping up on us and you can see most of the card from here. The
main story coming out of Monday was Randy Orton rejoining the
Authority for about two and a half hours but ultimately turning back
against them. For some reason he let Seth Rollins off easy, which
likely won’t be addressed tonight. Let’s get to it.

Opening
sequence.
Here’s
Daniel Bryan to open things up. The fans chant YES but Bryan shouts
NO for a change. That’s what he said a few years ago when he was
frustrated at the lack of opportunities. He was wrong though,
because the fans were in his corner. The fans gave him the
opportunity to climb the ladder to the top and he won the WWE World
Heavyweight Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania XXX. He
had to give it up due to injury, but then he had another chance to
get it back at Fast Lane.
However,
he failed and there’s no Wrestlemania main event this year. Without
that motivation, does that mean the YES Movement is dead? NO it does
not! He won’t back down because he has big plans this year. Before
he can get those out though, here’s Bad News Barrett who has somehow
gone a full three days since losing a match.
No
one wants to hear Bryan’s sob story because losers like Bryan don’t
deserve the spotlight. Neither does a thief like Dean Ambrose, so
here’s Dean for the brawl. He and Barrett fight to the floor so
Bryan picks up the Intercontinental Title. Barrett demands it back
but Ambrose decks him from behind and takes the belt back. Daniel
didn’t seem interested in the belt other than keeping it away from
Barrett. Cole sounds like he’s begging us to believe that Barrett is
still champion.
Dean
Ambrose vs. Miz
Is
he going to step on Miz’s sunglasses and break his foot this time?
No Mizdow because he might be off shooting the commercial he
mentioned on Raw. An early rollup gets two for Dean but he gets
caught in a neckbreaker for the same. We’re already in the chinlock
but Ambrose fights up with rights and lefts. Some running forearms
drop Miz again but Barrett comes back out to steal the belt again.
The distraction doesn’t work for once though as Dean hits Dirty Deeds
for the pin on Miz at 2:47.
We
look at stills of Orton returning on Sunday and video of the story
with Rollins on Monday. Lawler tries to defend Orton’s lack of
action by saying he was worried about Big Show and Kane. I’d be
worried about them too if I wanted anyone to stay awake during my
matches. Seriously even Bryan couldn’t survive a Kane feud.
After
a break, Barrett can’t get Renee’s name right but says Ambrose and
Bryan don’t deserve to touch this title.
Naomi
vs. Natalya
Say
it with me: this officially started on Total Divas, even though
there’s been almost no animosity between them on that show. Somehow
though, that’s better continuity than you usually get on the main
shows. They run the ropes to start and Natalya drops down, only to
get rolled up for two. A headscissors drops Natalya again and we hit
a chinlock with Naomi using her legs instead of the arms. Both girls
hit cross bodies and the guys get into it on the floor. The referee
holds Naomi back from a downed Natalya, allowing the Canadian to hit
the discus lariat for the pin at 2:48.
Here
are the Russians to brag about their win on Sunday. Rusev says this
is what a championship looks like and Lana walks us through some
stills of Cena’s spirit being crushed over and over again. Lana says
Rusev isn’t one to sleep on the job and brags about Putin sending
them congratulatory emails. She even shows us one, of course in
Russian, which probably has a very funny translation.
Rusev
repeats that Cena gets no shot at Wrestlemania so he needs a new
opponent. Cue Jack Swagger as we flash back to August. Jack says
there’s no such thing as a scared US Champion and the fight is on.
Just like happens every single time, Rusev survives a storm and
superkicks Swagger into the Accolade. Was there NO ONE ELSE they
could have used for this spot? Like……sweet goodness there really
isn’t much of anyone is there? Is the roster really that thin? Or
are the faces really that lame?
Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan
Non-title
of course, because even Bryan hasn’t fallen enough to want the
Intercontinental Title. Barrett isn’t sure where to put the title.
Byron Saxton introduces R-Truth on commentary. Truth: “COACH! I
MISSED YOU!” Ok that was funny. Barrett shoves Bryan down to
start but gets sent into the corner for a kick to the ribs. The
surfboard knee stomp sends Barrett back into the corner as Truth
thinks a crumpet is a musical instrument.
More
kicks stagger Barrett but the Winds of Change connect for two.
Daniel bails to the floor as Truth keeps babbling about how he should
be Intercontinental Champion. Back from a break with Barrett putting
on a chinlock. I really do feel sorry for him. This is at least the
second and probably third loser title reign for him and I don’t know
what he does to deserve it.
Bryan
fights up and hits more YES Kicks for two but Barrett avoids the
running dropkick in the corner. The title was knocked to the floor
and Barrett is distracted, allowing Bryan to hit the Flying Goat.
Truth: “Bryan looks like a chicken dipped in Rogaine.” How do
you even respond to that? The YES Lock goes on and Truth sneaks over
to the corner and steals the belt but gets back on commentary with
the belt under his jacket. Bad News makes the ropes but turns around
for the running knee and the pin at 10:31.
Rating:
C-. This feud is turning into a
battle over who can suck more than the other guy. Somehow though,
Barrett is going to wind up leaving with the belt because that’s how
WWE works. Then they’ll wonder why no one cares about Barrett, the
title, or the losers in the match. Truth was funny on commentary but
that doesn’t mean I want to see him in the ring. At least the title
is getting some attention tonight though.
Barrett
can’t find the title but Truth denies any involvement. This is
somehow making Barrett come off like someone we should feel sorry
for, because we’re supposed to feel sorry for someone who loses every
match he has.
We
get a sitdown interview with Roman Reigns from earlier today. Reigns
praises Bryan for a hard fought match on Sunday and says Bryan knows
what it takes to get where Reigns is going. We look at a clip of
Heyman’s speech on Monday about how Reigns just can’t do it. Roman
is tired of hearing about how he can’t do something and says he’ll
have to train harder than ever before. Lesnar has been on this stage
before but Reigns doesn’t have any experience at this level. He
needs to talk to people in his family to see what it’s like to be
there.
Reigns
wants Lesnar to be bouncing around the ring and at his very best when
he faces a man representing a proud family who is trying to make a
better life for himself and his family. My goodness this guy is just
not good at making me care about him. That’s the problem with him:
he’s just ok at most things other than spearing people in half. He’s
great as a heavyweight monster, but as a humanized character, he’s
just stuck in the middle of the pack. Five minutes of him talking
about what he needs to do didn’t make me care about him any more than
I did in the first place, and I can’t imagine it getting better
anytime soon.
Truth
runs into Ambrose and says he beat Barrett for the title. Ambrose
says he’s coming for the belt so Truth just hands it to him. Cole:
“HAHAHAHA!” And that sums up the whole thing better than I ever
could.
Fandango
vs. Curtis Axel
Axel
shows us a clock which has him in the Royal Rumble for 32 hours,
giving Cole and Lawler something else to laugh about. Fandango jumps
him to start so Axel throws him over the top. Curtis: AXELMANIA!
Fandango plants him with a release suplex and the Last Dance is good
for the pin at 1:03. Again, I care about the loser more than the
winner.
Miz
interrupts Mizdow’s commercial shoot and mocks him for just ripping
Miz off. The director didn’t know Miz was interested in being part
of this commercial and gives him the part instead. That’s ANOTHER
face who is treated like a loser, but at least he hasn’t……when
did he last win a match? This company is really bad at setting up
good guys. Of course they have to face adversity, but they really
need to win once in awhile. This idea of just letting the fans carry
them doesn’t hold up for everyone but it seems to be all WWE is doing
lately. Either that or have the champ lose every time.
Barrett
will be defending the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania in a
ladder match against an unknown number of unnamed opponents. Sheamus
returns there maybe?
We
get the Sting career retrospective. WWE does a lot of things wrong
but they’re awesome at things like this.
Adam
Rose vs. Goldust
Rose
has entered the Andre battle royal. Before the match we get a recap
of Stardust attacking his brother on Sunday. Rose jumps him to start
and charges into the powerslam for two. The Final Cut is good for
the pin at 1:02.
Stardust
is dressed as a monkey Rosebud and jumps Goldust.
Bray
Wyatt claims that Undertaker is clinging to his legacy. He’s a
snake, but even the cleverest rat can only run from the snake for so
long. How long does Undertaker think he can hide? Time is ticking
because Wrestlemania is approaching. Come find him.
Seth
Rollins/Kane/Big Show vs. Erick Rowan/Dolph Ziggler/Ryback
We
get the Jon Stewart response to Rollins before the match starts.
Kane headlocks Rowan to start but gets runs over by a shoulder block.
A fall away slam (that’s way too popular of a move these days) and
jumping elbow get two for Rowan and it’s off to Ziggler for a nice
response. Kane drives Dolph into the corner for a tag to Rollins,
who is quickly dropped with a neckbreaker.
Big
Show makes a blind tag and throws Ziggler down with a cobra clutch
throw as we take a break. Back with Kane holding Ziggler in a
chinlock before kicking him in the face to give Rollins two. Big
Show comes back in with a headbutt to set up the Vader Bomb. Big
Show: “I’M GOING TO HIT MY MOVE!” It’s only good for two though
and Dolph scores with a quick Fameasser but he has to add a running
DDT to Kane. That’s finally enough for the tag to Ryback and house
is cleaned.
An
overhead belly to belly sends Rollins flying into the corner and a
big powerslam plants him for good measure. The Meat Hook connects
but Mercury comes in for a distraction. Big Show breaks up a double
Shell Shock as everything breaks down. Rollins dives onto Rowan but
his Blockbuster attempt is caught in a Shell Shock. Kane makes a
save but eats a Zig Zag, only to get dropped by Rollins. The Stooges
are thrown in again and the distraction lets Ryback hit Shell Shock
on Rollins for the pin at 11:07.
Rating:
C+. Well the booking has been
frustrating all night so why not job out Rollins again while trading
wins in the never ending feud as well? If
there’s one good thing here, it’s Ryback looking like a monster this
whole time. However, none of this matters until it actually leads
somewhere for him. Odds are
he’ll be put into the battle royal though and get lost in the
shuffle.
Overall
Rating:
D+. This
show was one of the most head scratching shows I’ve seen in a very
long time. Between having
the Intercontinental Title literally handed over from one guy to
another in what felt like a parody sketch instead of…..whatever
that really was supposed to be to faces looking like hopeless losers
to somehow making me feel bad for a villain to trading wins with Big
Show and Kane continuing to look strong to set up whatever in the
world they’re going to do, this show was every problem WWE has going
on right now.
The
short matches are a confusing point for me. On one hand, I really
don’t want to see these matches keep going on and on, but at the same
time I’d like to see a match get enough time to not be a huge waste.
Throw in Roman Reigns just talking for five minutes and not getting
anywhere and this was a really rough show to sit through.
Results
Dean
Ambrose b. Miz – Dirty Deeds
Natalya
b. Naomi – Discus lariat
Daniel
Bryan b. Bad News Barrett – Running knee
Fandango
b. Curtis Axel – Last Dance
Goldust
b. Adam Rose – Final Cut
Dolph
Ziggler/Erick Rowan/Ryback b. Kane/Big Show/Seth Rollins – Shell
Shock to Rollins
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Which Shoot Interview Should be Reviewed Next

This week I have chosen four shoots from guys who have recently left the WWE. Here are your choices:

Alberto Del Rio

http://www.rfvideo.com/albertoshootinterview.aspx

Curt Hawkins

http://www.rfvideo.com/curthawkinsshootinterview.aspx

Drew Galloway

http://www.rfvideo.com/drewgallowayshootinterview.aspx

Tyler Rex

http://www.rfvideo.com/tylerrexshootinterview.aspx

Vote by clicking on the link below. Voting ends Saturday at noon.

http://vote.pollcode.com/43398313

BoD Thursday Night Thread

On tap for tonight:

WWE Smackdown airs at 8pm EST on Syfy, highlighted by a rematch of the six-man tag from Fastlane as Dolph Ziggler & Ryback & Erick Rowan take on Seth Rollins & Kane & Big Show.

The NBA has two games on the schedule that will be shown on TNT. At 8pm EST the Golden St. Warriors take on the Cleveland Cavaliers while at 10:30pm EST the Oklahoma City Thunder face the Phoenix Suns.

In the NHL there are 9 games on the schedule with the Minnesota Wild vs. Nashville Predators at 8:30pm EST on NBC Sports.

College Basketball has multiple Nationally televised games tonight, highlighted by #21 SMU vs. Memphis at 9:00pm EST over on ESPN 2.

Also, don’t forget to check out Place to be Nation’s “The Great WrestleMania Re-Book Series” as they cover WrestleMania IV. Click on the link below and give that a read.

http://placetobenation.com/the-great-wrestlemania-re-book-wrestlemania-iv/

RF Video Shoot Interview with Koko B. Ware

This was filmed in 2005

The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein

It runs at two hours long

The video starts with Koko, dressed in a pinstriped white suit coat wearing a cross, asked if he was a fan of wrestling growing up. He said he was about 16 or 17 growing up in Tennessee when he saw a group of guys working out and wanted to get into that so they made his parents sign a waiver that they would not be responsible for any injuries that may occur then he began to work out in this building, which also had wrestling on Thursday nights. He talks about the local guys like Jackie Fargo and Herb Welch that he used to idolize.

He broke into the business after the guys he worked out with noticed him as he was improving. Koko credits Plowboy Frazier (Uncle Elmer) with getting him started as he booked him in a small town in Arkansas. Frazier told Jerry Lawler about him and after watching him wrestle, Lawler asked Koko if he could make the Memphis TV taping the next morning.

When asked about the hardest part of training, Koko said it took two weeks to get used to the mat as he was having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning before drifting off topic about he was training to become an auto mechanic and how he switched careers to wrestling as he was adapting well to the business.

Koko talks about how hot the Memphis territory was at that time. He said that his first opponent on TV was against Jos LeDuc. Koko said that he was a good “bump man” and knew how to bump for the power guys. LeDuc put him over after the match, as did the promoters and guys backstage as Koko said that put a smile on his face as he never had all of this admiration before.

About Nick Gulas, Koko calls him one of the most lovable promoters to work with but if you did not know him he could rub you the wrong way. He also said Gulas was odd with payouts and how he would tell you its not how much you make but rather how much you save. Koko talks about how he loved the territory as you were home every night.

On the “Sweet Brown Sugar” name, Koko said that he was a special guest referee in a match and helped the heel beat Lawler. Koko then said that the fans called him “Sweet Brown Shit” after that.

He said that the veterans in the locker room at that time never gave him a hard time on purpose.

Feinstein asks Koko about Lawler. He says that when you went to Memphis, you have to go in with the mindset that he is the king. He then talks about guys bitching about not getting the main event spot over Lawler as Koko said he earned the right for that spot as he built up that territory.

Koko credits Jerry Jarrett for helping him on his interviews by making Jarrett cut a promo against guys in his backyard. Jarrett would also told him to play off of Martin Luther King’s “I Had a Dream” speech but that his dream was to be a professional wrestler and then speak about that. He said there were no scripts back then either.

When asked, Koko said that he did not feel that his earlier gimmicks or stuff was racist. He then talks about how you cannot go into a wrestling promotion and tell what you are and are not willing to do as that reflects a bad attitude and as a result, you will be sitting on the sidelines.

He puts over Jimmy Valiant as a talent and a person. Koko says that Valiant was a big fan of his as well. Koko said that he teamed with Bobby Eaton once when his opponent no-showed so Bill Dundee, the booker at the time, decided to pair them up together. He said that they had a great match and even did an “Ebony and Ivory” gimmick briefly that got over.

Koko says that Steve Keirn started out as a really good guy then tells a story about his gimmick as Stagger Lee, which is what he used when he lost a “Loser Leave Town” match. At that time, Keirn was given the Fabulous Ones gimmick, who wore suits. Koko said that Lawler gave him the Lee gimmick and told him to shake all of the fan’s hands. After a show in the locker room, Koko was backstage with the Fabulous Ones, Ricky Morton, and Bill Dundee. He said that everyone but him knew what was going on as Keirn wanted to speak to him. Koko said they went to the showers as Koko leaned on the rail as Keirn asked who gave him permission to dance and shake the hands of the fans. Koko said that Lawler gave it to him, assuring Keirn that he would not steal his idea. Keirn then said okay but as eh went ot walk away, he turned around and sucker-punched Koko, who thought they were friends as they used to ride together. Koko got up and landed a few shots then he got pulled away as Koko says that Keirn was the one who should have gotten pulled away as he started the whole thing. Koko then said he ran down Keirn, saying that the territory did everything they could have to get him over as Koko says this was his first big break and he was not about to lose it over this. He then talks about how Eddie Marlin told him it was enough after he thought about going back after Keirn, prompting Koko to tell him that if he was the one who started the fight, he would get fired. Koko said that he has ever spoken to Keirn since and says he longer holds a grudge against him as he (Koko) has turned his life around now.

He then skips ahead and talks about another locker room fight that he had with Paul Roma in the WWF. Koko said that Roma had a chip on his shoulder at the time then called Koko “Buckwheat” one night then Koko confronted him. Roma said he called him that because that is who he is as Koko said he fought with him but after that happened, they got along and are friends now. (For the record, Roma had a completely different recollection about what happened in his shoot interview that I reviewed).

Feinstein asks him about some other workers in Memphis. He said Robert Gibson was a great guy and Koko live with him and his girlfriend as he puts over the girlfriend’s cooking. He calls Norvell Austin a good wrestler but was older at the time. Koko says that the PYT’s gimmick helped him out at that time. He puts over Eddie Gilbert, saying he was born to be a wrestler, then says he thinks the world of the whole Gilbert family. He says that Tommy Rich was a great guy as well then tells a story of how Rich wrote him a check to get new tires for his car when he was short on money. Koko says he never forgot that.

When asked about Bill Dundee as a booker, Koko says that he is just “alright” but needed someone to work off of before talking about how a booker needs to also work with someone who is not actively wrestling at the time for it to work.

He then went to Texas to work for Fritz Von Erich after a brief stay in Leroy McGuirk’s territory in Oklahoma. Koko said that he and Norvell were the first black tag team in Texas. He said they replaced the Freebirds as the heel team then tells a story of how Andre the Giant got the Freebirds fired in the WWF as they constantly came in drunk.

Koko said that he never saw the drug problems with the guys in World Class but that the ones who did use would come into the locker room about ten minutes before their match, usually already dressed.

After World Class, Koko went back to Memphis and worked a series of gimmick matches, including the first scaffold match. Koko said he volunteered to face Dundee because no one else wanted to and he was young and hungry. He then talks about how spending five years in Memphis taught him how to wrestle and how angles work.

He then talks about how the “Koko” name was given to him by his high school football coach due to what Koko says is his smooth, silky skin. He denies that there was any racism with this name. When he needed a name to wrestle, Plowboy Frazier asked him so he suggested Koko then in Mid South, Jim Ross added the “B. Ware” part and it took off from there.

Koko said that Bill Watts did not want guys who couldnt take care of themselves in the ring and if you couldnt stretch him or make it look real, he would fire you. On whether or not Watts was racist, Koko said he didnt see that as he pushed JYD, Butch Reed, Ernie Ladd, along with himself. Koko said that Watts knew talent.

He was then asked if he was upset about losing in the First Round of the UWF Unification Tournament as Koko said no as this is an entertainment business and not a shoot and if it was, he would not be in this business along with a majority of the other guys he was working with.

Howard Finkel was the one who contacted Koko about joining the WWF. Finkel told him to pick a date that would not interfere with his schedule for Watts so he could fly up for a meeting with Vince. Koko said he told Watts about the meeting and how he respected him but that he wanted to see what the WWF could offer, as he had a family to provide for and wanted to give them the best.

When he first met Vince, Koko said he was overwhelmed as New York City was huge and he had no idea where he was going then realized that on the same flight was Kamala, who was also flying to meet with Vince and jokes how they initially kayfabed each other as to why they were there then came clean with each other. Koko said that he felt comfortable when Vince spoke with him during their meeting. When it ended, Vince told Koko to go home and think about the offer but not before asking if there was something he would like to add to his gimmick. Koko then took a picture out of his pocket of him at a pet store in Baton Rouge that had a macaw in the background as Koko said that he wanted the bird with him, adding that he also had the bird tights made. Vince said that it was not a bad idea but made sure that he was okay traveling with the bird as Koko said it would not be a problem. So, Vince bought the bird and had Koko pay him back as he was working for him. Koko then said that his wife, who had a background in dancing, came up with the bird dance as it was easy enough for everyone from young and old to do in the crowd. Koko said that for someone his size (5’7), the gimmick got him over as much as possible in the WWF.

On the drug scene in the WWF at that time, Koko said that it was not a big problem until the incident in which Iron Sheik and Jim Duggan got caught with drugs together. He claimed that guys only did some things to “get by” but not more than that.

Koko said that he helped Hulk Hogan out while he was in Memphis as he trained him there, along with Brutus Beefcake, then did not see him again until entering the WWF and said how Hogan never forgot about that.

He puts over Greg Valentine, saying he always had good matches together. Koko said that the Honky Tonk Man broke in with him and that they used to train all day and night together and how they remain good friends today. He said that Randy Savage was nice to him and booked him for the IWC promotion. When asked about how Savage treated Elizabeth, Koko said he was protective and cannot blame him as if his wife was in the business, he would be the same way as some guys in wrestling do not respect the women. He also said Savage would fight you in an instant and tells a story of how Honky was doing a wiggle at Elizabeth during matches as Savage was pissed and confronted him backstage.

When asked about WrestleMania III, Koko said whenever someone asks him about his career he always thinks back to that show as it feels so good to have 93,000 cheer you on and it is the culmination of all your hard work in the business. He said he was so thankful to make this show has he said he was just a country boy that made it to this huge show.

Koko said that everybody cracks due to the travel at some point as he talks about struggling with the language barrier during International travel. He then says that everyone (not just wrestlers) should stay out of the country for one week to experience that.

He gets asked about several of the guys he worked with. Koko loved working with Jake Roberts and recalls one fan called the Humane Society after Jake cut a promo about Damien eating Frankie and they actually came into the building and told them to keep Damien away from the bird. Koko said that the Dynamite Kid was a funny guy as he laughs recalling a time when he hid Outback Jack’s knife. He also said that they shaved the head of one of the midget’s at a bar when they were passed out, saying it was sad. Koko talks about another rib when  Steve Keirn took a dump into Jerry Lawler’s crown the night Lawler made his debut as payback from when he was in Memphis.

When asked about the Dynamite Kid/Jacques Rougeau incident, Koko said that he was not there but said he knew something would happen. Koko said that Jacques was a nice guy but that if he landed a punch, you were in trouble. He tells a story of when Jacques went to Terry Taylor’s house once, apparently after Taylor did something with his girlfriend, and dropped him when he opened the door.

Koko said Curt Hennig was a good friend and an outstanding talent. He says that his death hurt everyone. He calls Rick Martel a “classy guy”  and was very family oriented and would try to learn how to speak French with him. He did not get the chance to work with Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels much but credits Shawn for finding god. On the Ultimate Warrior, Koko said he had a lot of animosity inside of him as the company made him wait for a longtime until he got a chance as when he first entered the company he would barely get booked. Koko said that Chief Jay Strongbow went to Vince and said they should use this guy before someone else snatched him up. Koko said he was a good gimmick guy.

On the Undertaker, Koko said that he was not doing anything under his real name then credits Vince for giving him the gimmick as that can go on and on forever because you can cool him off for six months then bring him back. Koko said he can do some nice moves but not much else other than that.

He was not disappointed that he only got a dark match at WrestleMania VII because he never got his hopes up and appreciated things as it happened.

Koko was not shocked when Lawler joined the WWF because despite the animosity, Lawler was talented and Vince recognized talent.

When asked about how he formed the High Energy Team, Koko said that something happened with Jim Neidhart and if left Owen without a partner so Bobby Heenan was the one who suggested Koko as his replacement. Koko said that Owen was a great guy then says the whole Hart Family are great people. He said he had great matches with the Headshrinkers but hated the top rope splashes they took from them as they always knocked the wind out of them, even joking that if you had to “take a crap” when you were laying down for the move, you would shit your pants. He loved working with the Nasty Boys and the Beverly Brothers.

Feinstein backtracks and asks Koko about the “Wrestling Album.” He said that they shot the video during a cold morning in San Francisco. He was happy to be the lead singer of the album then briefly mentions how he is the lead vocalist in his church choir today.

Koko now talks about how he got fired. They were overseas at a bar when Shawn Micheals and Jim Troy, one of Vince’s executives, got in each others faces and started to spit at each other as they were both tanked. Koko said he went over to break it up then Troy started to egg Koko on about being a “phony tough guy” and how Vince pays him a lot of money to take care of “fake tough guys” as he pushed both Koko and Shawn out of the way. Koko then asked Troy why he tried to fight him and got slapped. Koko said he immediately snapped and beat on Troy like “Ali beat on Frazier.” He then said that Troy got up and ran out the door afterwards and when Koko looked at his own hand, it was sliced open from a beer bottle as he puts that same hand in front of the camera to show the scar from that incident as he said a doctor came to the hotel to sew it up. After that, Koko told Marty Jannetty about what happened.  Marty was pissed so he ran down to the front desk, demanding the clerk give him Troy’s room number. Mrty then decided to hop over the desk because he was taking too long and decked the poor clerk, demanding the keys. Jannetty and Koko went into the room as Jannetty kicked down the door and destroyed the room as Troy was not there. They headed back down to the lobby when they saw Troy getting out of a taxi as Koko told Troy it was not over yet and hit him again. Koko said that the lobby of the hotel connected to a diner and Koko left Troy hanging over a table. The next day, Pat Patterson came over to him ask what happened. Koko said that he saw Troy’s wife, who couldnt believe what happened then said he was Troy’s face and that he had two black eyes that he described as being “blacker than he is” before telling Patterson about the incident. Terry Garvin then told Koko before a show in Paris that Vince wanted him to go home. Vince then called up Koko pissed off about how he beat up his executive then after hearing the story, Vince got pissed that one of his executives tried to beat up a wrestler and how he cant have this in his company. Vince put over the severity of the beating he gave to Troy and said he had to get rid of both but he got rehired shortly thereafter. Koko then says that Vince holds that against him today but that he holds nothing against Vince or the WWF and would give anything for a chance to wave his hand to the crowd at Madison Square Garden today.

He said that WCW offered him a deal to be “under their roof” but that there was no money involved so he declined the offer.

When asked, Koko said that he had no problem going back to a smaller territory in Memphis after the WWF because he was not “too good to come down” from a bigger place on the National scene. He said that Brian Christopher has a whole lot to learn and was not ready for the WWF when he started as he started “doing things” when he got into the spotlight and said he paid his dues for a while before making it to the WWF and knew how to maintain himself when he got there. He said that Reggie B. Fine was a funny guy but does not know how to wrestle and is a gimmick man.

He still watches the WWE today and likes when guys he worked with make special appearances. He says that he does not sit around crying about not getting invited to the shows or the Hall of Fame as the whole business is a work. Koko said why get upset when you are told to lay down for someone and does not take it as serious as others do because it is all entertainment.

His favorite matches were against Jerry Lawler in Memphis because he learned a lot in the ring with him.

When asked, Koko said he was surprised when the Jarrett’s never reached out to him about working for NWA-TNA. Koko said he doesnt expect a long run with the company but thought he could help them out for a short run as he does own the Koko B. Ware gimmick. He says they are great guys, regardless.

Koko said he is older now and would not work full-time for Vince today as a result if he was asked.

On the high-flyers in wrestling today, Koko said that he has seen moves that he thought humans were unable to do and takes their hats off to those guys but separates those guys from the wrestlers who use psychology and how they will not draw main event money working that style as you need to sell and tell a story.

Today, Koko says that he has his own painting business as he wrestles occasionally. He also said that he had to wake up in the real world eventually and learned this trade. The camera then zooms in on his face as he says wrestling took himself, a country boy, around the world four times and has no regrets as he got to see the world.

In closing, Koko thanks the fans as he gets really emotional as he thanks everyone and how he does not hold grudges any longer because of his belief in god and says he will go around and apologized to anyone that he has mistreated before thanking the interviewers for allowing him to tell his story. He then thanks Vince McMahon for his opportunity to make his name in this business as he is now recognized around the world as he starts to tear up a bit as he looks up and thanks everyone.

Final Thoughts: I thought this was a good interview. Koko came across as a good guy and seemed very thankful for the opportunities he got in life due to wrestling. Koko was not bitter at all regarding his time in the business or his position on the card in the WWF. He did skirt over any mentions of drugs and was vague on his own usage (One of Roma’s claim in his shoot was that Koko was fucked up on drugs during their fight) but regardless, the interview was solid.

His story on how he got fired was pretty crazy and definitely worth a listen. Koko also seems to be at peace with himself as he mentioned himself being involved with the church. At the end when he broke down, it seemed like he did so due to a combination of being upset about his past behaviors and just being thankful to get to share his love for professional wrestling. At the end of the interview, I became a fan of Koko as a person.

Overall, I recommend this interview as it had a mix of crazy stories and genuine heartfelt moments from a wrestler thankful for all the chances he received in that business. I thought Koko came across as being sincere as well.

You can purchase the video by clicking on the link below

http://www.rfvideo.com/shootwithkokobware.aspx

Fast Lane Video Review

Hi Scott,
 
Long time reader of your stuff – All the way back to 411 days etc……
 
Always browse your blog, I've started this reviewing lark myself, and enjoy doing it but have 14 views….14. 
 
Know this isn't normally "the done thing" but I'm a 33 year old Scotsman who wants the world to hear what I have to say about wrestling. Plus im not good at it and need feedback on how to improve!
 
A gentle blog post with the link would be lovely 🙂 http://youtu.be/JjQ9_p7ab60 
 
If you like this, i'd happily do these for your blog for every WWE PPV (and NXT big event)……
 
Good Evening

 

The Reigns In Spain

And now a collection of the Reigns mail I got this morning! Hey Scott With everyone chiming in on the whole Roman Reigns thing and the big complaint being that “he’s not over”, everyone seems to be ignoring the elephant in the room and that’s *why* he’s not over. If they’d tried this push a year ago when the Shield was the hot new thing then maybe the workrate crowd get pissed but I think the majority of Joe Average fans would’ve bought it. Since then though, for a guy who the office sees as the “next big thing” Roman’s hardly been handled as such. It’s odd because he’s the one who kept the Shield music and outfit and yet he’s the one of the three who’s character has changed the most – Rollins was the Thinking One and so it makes sense he’d be the guy to join HHH; Ambrose was the Crazy One with a penchant for overestimating his own abilities sometimes and then Reigns was the Cool One, says fuck-all but smashes everyone he comes up against. Suddenly now though not only is he saying way too much, he’s also having to sell for guys like Kane and Big Show (where in the Shield days Ambrose and Rollins did most of the selling) and trade wins and stuff and so of course he’s not going to be as over as he should be. I’d argue in fact this whole push has been dead in the water since he spiked Vickie’s coffee and became like every other post-Cena babyface. The whole selling point of Roman Reigns was that he was a badass and a killer, not a cocky smart-mouth. Why should anyone care about him when all he is now is another Dolph, essentially a sub-Cena type? It’s another case of failing to see the forest for the trees – when Roman came back the strict instruction should’ve been to not have him sell, to not have him job, and to crush everyone he came up against while barely saying a word, Goldberg-style. That’s how you get a guy like Reigns ready for Lesnar and avoid the mess they’re in now. If they’d done that then for sure people would be clamouring to see him face Brock. Yup. Next e-mail! Hey Scott, During Austin’s podcast with Triple H, there was something that HHH said that really caught my attention. He noted that “making someone a good guy is almost the worst thing you can do for them today”. It’s obvious that WWE deserves a significant amount of the blame when it comes to pushing new guys to the top, but it definitely seems like the heels that they push — no matter how much they ram those guys down people’s throats — do became main event-level guys. I’m sure a certain part about that is that is the basic storytelling mechanics of professional wrestling, but I look at a guy like Seth Rollins and think it could have been just as easy for him to get “X-Pac heat” instead of being pretty much universally accepted by all segments of the audience in the position that he’s in. With the anti-hero thing still strong with such a big part of the audience, would it have been better for WWE to run with Roman Reigns as a heel (maybe even keeping the Shield together as The Authority’s heavies) until the Rumble? Even if he was still just as unprepared as he is right now, it seems like all of that could be disguised — and, basically, the audience could feel in control of his ascent — if they had done something along the lines of how they got Batista over with Evolution at the beginning of 2005? I recognize that it’s all still fantasy booking at this point, but is it just the storytelling advantage that heels have that makes it easier to get new guys over when they are in that role? And, at what point does the fault for the backlash and its effect on the storylines heading into WrestleMania actually reside with the jaded audience? I think it’s because it’s easier to book effective heels and because Vince apparently has no idea how a babyface should act.  You can book a heel to crush the good guys and shit on the local sports team and it nearly always works, but finding a top babyface requires a real organic connection with the audience that is tricky to figure out and navigate at the best of times.  Which is the long way of saying, yes, Reigns absolutely should have been a heel until fans WANTED him to turn.  The key is to do what you want while making fans think THEY wanted it first, ala Rocky in 1998.  Or Batista in 2005.  With all the talk about how Bryan was apparently still rehabbing his neck until just before he came back, do you think that maybe his falling off the cliff in the last few weeks could lead to him disappearing to rehab it further, and possibly to his retirement? I can’t believe how completely the WWE has dropped the ball on him, but then again, they have dropped the ball so completely in the past year, that I don’t even watch the new product anymore (except NXT). I keep wondering, maybe Bryan came back to kill the Yes Movement so that he could go away for a while (forever?) without everybody constantly chanting for his surprise return. Also, on the Dr. Amman lawsuit. I know everybody is saying that the WWE is going after Punk for “getting one over” on them, but what about Colt in all this? There’s no WAY Cabana has the money Punk has to fight this lawsuit. Is Punk going to have to pony up for his buddy as well, or is Colt in a world of trouble here? Punk doesn’t have to, but hopefully he will.  It’s a major dick move on WWE’s part that’s kind of getting lost in the attention over Punk.  They’re basically trying to blackmail him into settling by holding his friend (who doesn’t have the money to fight) hostage.  Then they can be like “You settled, so QED you lied about the injury” and probably sue him for something else.  Because that’s how they roll.  As for Bryan, I just wish he’d quit doing the fucking headbutt. Wouldn’t it make the most sense for Rusev to beat Cena, and build up Rusev as the unstoppable monster to face Reigns at SummerSlam? Or, since they would screw it up over that timeframe, just bring up the whole “Rusev was screwed in the Rumble” storyline that they quietly ignored, and use that as the impetus for his title shot against Reigns. I know they don’t want to job Cena but Reigns is, what, 10 years younger? If they’re really going to make Reigns the next big thing, shouldn’t that be top priority? Clearly it was when it came to squashing Bryan. Rusev could still beat Cena.  I mean, it would be a terrible story and go against my theory that they’re booking Cena after watching the Rocky movies in succession, but Rusev still has juice as a heel monster.  But then they’d have to do Rocky V with Reigns as Tommy Gunn, I guess.  Scott, With Brock supposedly walking out Monday over “Business Matters”, it got me thinking. His initial run lasted 2 years and he sues the company and wins. He comes back 8 years later for more money and barely has to work. After a couple of missteps he is the strongest booked guy in company and will carry the main title into the biggest show of the year. What is it about Brock that would make Vince essentially give him the keys to the castle? Especially when it seems he’s only loyal to the business of Brock Lesnar.  Have you SEEN his meaty thighs?  Vince has.  Really though, Vince thought there was money in him, but the end of the PPV era has essentially killed his value as a draw now.  I mean, he already justified his original contract value handily, but basically if you can make money for Vince, he’ll take you back. 

BoD Daily Update

Brock Lesnar Update


Just prior to this past Monday’s RAW, Lesnar and Vince McMahon got into a business disagreement about negotiations over a new contract. Although the exact matter has been kept quiet it is just business related and not about any creative differences.

Credit Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter






WrestleMania Ticket Sales Update

At this moment there are between 11,000-12,000 tickets still left for the show. It has also been noted that those who have been unable to get their friends comped for the show in the past have been able to do so this year.

Credit Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter






Ring of Honor Looking for a New Television Deal?


The company is currently in preliminary talks with both Spike and AXS regarding a potential television deal.

Credit Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter





Also, head on over to Place to be Nation to check out the latest episode of the “Kevin Kelly Show” podcast with his guest, Stevie Richards. Click on the link below to check that out.

http://placetobenation.com/the-kevin-kelly-show-episode-29-stevie-richards/










Lukewarm

Scott:

Thinking through all the Mania title matches, have you ever seen the babyface challenger come in this lukewarm for his 'moment'?  I know Cena has split crowds, but he was way over when he wrestled JBL.  And do you agree with Meltzer this week that the fans have given in on Bryan or could we see the backlash fire up again in a huge way as they head to San Francisco (where Bryan was Mr. Giants) and then Chicago for Extreme Rules? 

​I think the fans now know and have accepted Bryan's demotion at this point because obviously going against it went nowhere.  Like the song says, when I fight authority, authority always wins.  Even if the Reigns thing flops in May and they suddenly decide to go back to Bryan again, the time to pull the trigger was now and it'll be just as doomed to failure as Reigns was.  ​I'd post the Meltzer piece here because it's seriously one of the best things he's written, but that of course would be bad.  It's easily found, however.  I think f4wonline.com even has a cheap signup special right now where you can get in for $3.99 instead of the usual $10.  
Anyway, as to the first question, Cena wasn't splitting anything when he won the title, he was a monster babyface with pretty much 100% support.  The split crowd thing didn't start until a couple of years into his title reign and it's become kind of a revisionist history that people didn't like him.  I was fully on-board the Cena train when it happened, make no mistake.  This year's show might be one of the weakest main events ever, aside from Shawn-Diesel in 95 (and really Big D was pretty lukewarm then) or Taker-Sid in 97.  I really can't think of any babyface on this level of cooled off besides Nash, and especially not one where the attempt was being made to turn him into a tippy top guy.  Maybe Lex Luger in 94?  But even then there was intrigue about who would win.  

WrestleMania Disaster


Has there been any other  WrestleMania that has had the opportunity to be such a disaster? Sure others such as IX and XI, weren't great, but they knew where they were headed going into the show. This year you just get the feeling they have no clue.  I've been a fan for over 30 years and for the first time ever, I have not one bit of interest in the show.

Hey, look, I've got no problem with the story being told or whatever.  I don't mind if the promotion picks a guy and says "Here's the guy, we're gonna push the shit out of him" as long as they can justify it with crowd reactions or numbers or SOMETHING.  I'm a wrestling fan, I know the deal.  That being said, Reigns has nothing.  He doesn't draw ratings, move house show numbers, sell merchandise, cut promos, or get great crowd reactions.  He's a guy that some people like, and some don't, and most don't really care about.  

As to the content of the e-mail, Wrestlemania 25 was really a show saved by the Undertaker-Shawn match because the rest was horseshit.  Edge/Cena/Show was nothing, HHH-Orton was a disaster that lost interest every week leading up to it, Jericho v. the old-timers was a total eye-rolling deal…it was just such a lackluster show for something that was supposed to be the 25th anniversary.  And I really wasn't feeling the UT-Shawn match, but it turned out so awesome that of course it's all that anyone remembers about it now.  

First title win at wrestlemania.

Hey Scott,
There have been several wrestlers whose first world title win has been at wrestlemania but it hasn't happen in awhile.
Savage at 4; warrior at 6; Yokozuna at 9; michaels at 12; Austin at 14; Benoit at 20; cena and Batista at 21; and Rey at 22.
If reigns wins, this will be the first time in 9 years a persons first world title was at wrestlemania.
One cannot even say it is because of the two title system because all of the recent wm title changes like Bryan and cena and Sheamus already a world title for 2-3 reigns already.

Thoughts?

​It just goes to show how incredibly stale all the characters over the past few years have been, with everyone already multiple time World champions by the time they get to Wrestlemania.  That's one thing that worries me a lot about moving the belt from invisible champion to Reigns — you can bet they're going to start going back to the follow-the-bouncing-ball title changes when business drops and they need a ratings crutch.  ​
Also, Meltzer had an awesomely bittersweet piece in the new Observer talking about the fate of Daniel Bryan this year, and it's just tremendous as you can really tell how sad he was personally when the promotion gave up on Bryan and then the fanbase also gave up on him the night after Fastlane.  HHH may have talked about how the book is never finished or whatever nonsense on Austin's podcast, but in Bryan's case the book is really closed now on his time as a main event guy, and it's gonna go down as such a huge waste, all for Vince's failed Reigns experiment.  

NXT – February 25, 2015

NXT
Date:
February 25, 2015
Location:
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators:
Corey Graves, Alex Riley, Tom Phillips
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
still living in Kevin Owens’ NXT as he shows no sign of letting up
soon. Last week he ran through former NXT Champion Adrian Neville,
clearing more of the path to get to his showdown with Finn Balor.
Other than that, we have the potential split of Carmella from Enzo
Amore and Colin Cassady, which might be well received by the NXT
fans. Let’s get to it.

Opening
sequence.
Hideo
Itami vs. Bull Dempsey
Dempsey
elbows him in the face to start and drives another into Hideo’s
chest. A chinlock doesn’t last long as Itami fires off elbows of his
own, followed by kicks to the leg. That’s fine with Dempsey who hits
a running Vader style splash for two to regain control. When all
else fails, just have the big guy run someone over. Itami comes back
with a quick series of strike and a running basement dropkick in the
corner. A running kick to the face is enough to pin Dempsey at 2:50.
Tyler
Breeze superkicks Itami as he leaves. He stops to take a picture
though and Itami gets up to chase him away.
Video
on The Brian Kendrick, who is making a return tonight like Rhyno did
last week.
Lucha
Dragons vs. Tye Dillinger/Jason Jordan
During
Dillinger/Jordan’s entrances, Solomon Crowe hacks the feed and says
he’ll be NXT Champion. Jordan drags Sin Cara into the corner but
Kalisto is pulled in, only to get face planted for his efforts. Off
to Dillinger for a mocking bow to Cara as the fans chant NO ME GUSTA
(“I don’t like it!”) and a slam to Kalisto.
It’s
quickly back to Cara who quickly takes Dillinger into the Dragons’
corner for a tag back to Kalisto. That’s quite the fast exchange.
Dillinger and Jordan (thank goodness for those letters on the trunks.
To be fair I couldn’t tell the Hardy Boys apart for years either)
don’t seem to agree on a tag so Tye tells him to relax. Cara slips
over for a tag to Kalisto as things speed way up. Jordan drops to
the floor and walks out on the match, allowing the Salida Del Sol and
Swanton Bomb to pin Dillinger at 3:31.
Rating:
D+. This was angle advancement
but I’m getting a little bored with the Dragons. We saw them win and
lose the titles and they’re still basically the same team. Those
belts have always been defined by heel teams so the Dragons never did
much for me with the titles. Nothing much to see here, especially
considering Jordan and Dillinger haven’t meant anything in months.
Finn
Balor is ready for Kendrick tonight and isn’t looking ahead to Owens.
After
a break, Dillinger demands Jordan come out here. He doesn’t care
whose match is next because he can whip that man too.
Baron
Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger
End
of Days, 17 seconds. Corbin needs to move up the ladder a bit now.
Give him a feud against someone not named Dempsey.
Charlotte
says the title is coming back where it belongs next week.
Breeze
says Itami will soon be squashed in his trap.
Quick
video on Sami Zayn in Abu Dhabi.
Bayley
vs. Becky Lynch
The
fans are split on who to cheer for but the Bayley fans boo at the
Becky fans. Becky charges
into an elbow in the corner but avoids a splash, setting up a
pumphandle suplex for two on Bayley. A
hair whip legdrop gets the same and we hit the chinlock. Bayley
fights up and takes Becky outside for a baseball slide through the
corner ala Sami’s running DDT.
Back
in and the aggression comes out of Bayley with some running corner
elbows, complete with the tightening of the hair band (as
usual, far more adorable than it should be).
Bayley tweaks her arm but
shoves Becky away and keeps going. A middle rope back elbow to the
jaw gets two on Lynch. The Belly to Bayley is countered into a
seated
armbar out of nowhere and Bayley taps at 4:30.
Rating:
C. As
usual, this is miles ahead of the messes that the Divas usually put
on. The Divas seem impressed when they manage a suplex. This was a
four and a half minute match with different stages and even some
psychology with the arm. It’s so much better than listening to BRIE
MODE or someone putting on lip gloss. You can still be a heel
without makeup if that’s believable.
Rhyno
is back because he loves the intensity he sees here in NXT. It
reminds him of the energy he has when he Gores people in half.
Jason
Jordan did what he did and will give an explanation when he wants to.
Finn
Balor vs. The Brian Kendrick
Owens
is on commentary and says
he’d love to face Balor anytime he’d like. Kendrick
grabs a headlock to start but gets thrown off and dropkicked down.
Brian claims an ankle injury
but goldbricks to grab a small package for two. Back to the headlock
on the mat but Balor kicks him off, sending Kendrick crawling away.
It’s even more goldbricking though as he grabs a hammerlock. Owens
doesn’t like something Riley says and leaves as Kendrick grabs
another headlock.
Back
from a break with Balor hitting a running forearm to the jaw to put
Kendrick down. Finn charges
into a boot to the jaw though and eats a tornado DDT for two. A
kick to the chest drops Kendrick again though and the Sling Blade
does the same. The top rope
double stomp is good for the pin on Kendrick at 11:32.
Rating:
C-. I
like seeing Balor having a bit simpler match for a change but I’ve
never been a fan of Kendrick. He’s much more interesting on the mic
than in the ring but it’s continuing a cool idea of having people
return to the show like this. Owens vs. Balor has real potential to
tear the house down though and this was more build to that.
Post
match Owens comes out and stares at Balor before throwing Riley over
the announcers’ desk. Balor stares him down from the ring and
invites Owens to come fight him. The champ walks away to end the
show.
Overall
Rating:
D+. This really didn’t
do it for me and was one of the weaker shows they’ve had in a long
time. They’re in a holding pattern until we get to Balor vs. Owens
and then the big rematch with Owens vs. Zayn. Tonight’s show felt
like a filler episode but next week there’s going to be a title match
which NXT almost always does well. Not a bad show this week, but not
one of their better episodes.
Results
Hideo
Itami b. Bull Dempsey – Running boot to the face
Lucha
Dragons b. Jason Jordan/Tye Dillinger – Swanton Bomb to Dillinger
Baron
Corbin b. Tye Dillinger – End of Days
Becky
Lynch b. Bayley – Seated armbar
Finn
Balor b. The Brian Kendrick – Top rope double stomp

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

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