Humble Indie Bundle is back for a fifth time, featuring PSYCHONAUTS and LIMBO, plus three other games, which is worth whatever money you throw at it right there.  Plus if you play over the average price ($7 as of this writing) you get Bastion as well.  Basically it's a pay-what-you-want system, where you give whatever amount of money you feel is fair and you get awesome games in exchange.  No DRM, plus you get the soundtracks as well!  Best deal in gaming (I paid $10 in case anyone cares) and you're bypassing all the corporate bullshit and giving to charity.  

Handicapping The Rookies Of The Year

Someone sent me a question about Erik Watts this morning, which led me to check Wikipedia to see what he was up to now (answer:  nothing in particular), and I was reminded that in fact he won the PWI Rookie of the Year award in 1992.  Now, this was interesting to me, because PWI had a few solid choices, but there’s some far more interesting misses in the list.  1990
Steve Austin
El Gigante
Brad Anderson
Chris Chavis Obviously this was an awesome pick and the case where the winner really did go on to become the giant star they forecasted.  El Gigante…eh, I guess he did about as well as he was going to.  Brad Anderson, not so much. Chris Chavis went on to become Tatanka, but obviously Austin was the big one here.  Observer award winner:  Austin.  1991
Johnny B. Badd
The Patriot
Terri Power
The Lightning Kid Lightning Kid was of course the one who went on to become the biggest star by far, although Badd certainly had the look and charisma so you would have thought that he was the can’t miss prospect.  Certainly not a silly choice or anything.  The Patriot did OK for himself, although calling him a rookie here is ridiculous since Wilkes was already in the AWA as the Trooper for years before getting the mask.  That’s kayfabe for ya.  Terri Power was Tori, but hardly a candidate for this award.  Observer award winner:  Badd as well.  1992
Erik Watts
Diamond Dallas Page
Vladimir Koloff
Chaz Hindsight says that DDP should have won, but that was far from a sure thing at the time.  Watts is still a ridiculous choice regardless.  Koloff and Chaz (who was in Pedicino’s Global promotion that was getting so much play in PWI for reasons unknown) are so non-notable that they don’t even have their own Wikipedia pages.  I don’t think there was any legitimate rookie contenders to choose from in the kayfabe sense, but even so DDP should have won.  Observer award winner:  Rey Mysterio Jr.  Wow, was he 12 or something?    1993
Vampire Warrior
Robbie Eagle
Kent and Keith Cole
The Headhunters Hmm, Gangrel and Cole Twins?  Robbie Eagle went on to become The Maestro in WCW, but this is a pretty sad year otherwise.  Observer award winner:  Some Japanese guy named Jun Akiyama.  He did pretty well for himself, I guess.  1994
Bob Holly
Abbudah Singh
Mikey Whipwreck Really, 911?  This is like the all-ECW crew, since Abbudah Singh went on to become Ballz Mahoney.  Bob Holly is the clear pick out of this bunch, although Whipwreck would have played into kayfabe better at the time.  Observer award winner:  Whipwreck.  1995
Alex Wright
Craig Pittman
Lawrence Taylor
Madd Maxxine Lawrence Taylor?!  He wrestled one match!  Pittman flamed out after a few years in WCW.  Wright should have been bigger and wasn’t for a variety of reasons, but I can see this pick making sense at the time.  I don’t know who Maxxine is, the Wiki page links to the wrong person.  Observer award winner:  Perro Aguayo, Jr.  Well, PWI doesn’t cover lucha 1996
The Giant
Steve McMichael
Rocky Maivia
Joe Gomez Giant was a solid choice at the time, especially since Rocky had barely debuted by the cut-off date in kayfabe, but MAN does that look silly now.  Mongo finishing AHEAD of The Rock looks even sillier.  Joe Gomez is still kicking around.  Observer award winner:  The Giant.  Way to go, Dave.  Well, Giant did have a ton of upside and he was World champion right away.  1997
Prince Iaukea
Ernest Miller
Chris Chetti
Brakkus Well this year is a writeoff.  Iaukea is a good enough choice from a kayfabe sense.  Chetti went nowhere, neither did Bracchus.  Observer award winner:  Mr. Aguila (Essa Rios).  1998
Mark Henry Henry debuted in 96 so this is an odd place for him to say the least.  Goldberg, duh.  Observer award winner:  Goldberg.  No-brainer here.  1999
Shane McMahon
Evan Karagias
Vince McMahon
Lash LeRoux Yeah, that Vince, what a rookie sensation.  Karagias and LeRoux both flamed out of wrestling completely, and so did Shane himself I guess.  Wonder what Vince is up to now?  Observer award winner:  Blitzkrieg.  Another one-hit wonder.  99 was a rough year for new stars.  2000
Kurt Angle
Mark Jindrak and Sean O’Haire
Chuck Palumbo Any other choice cannot be justified with any argument whatsoever.  Lita ended up a solid #2 in this group, though.  The rest, we know the story.  Observer award winner:  Sean O’Haire.  Huh.  Way to pick ‘em, Dave.  2001
Randy Orton
Brock Lesnar
The Prototype Now there’s a hell of a rookie crop.  Interesting case, because Orton did not look like a star at all for a long time after his OVW debut, but obviously they were determined to wait him out and make a star out of him.  Brock you could tell was a big deal right from the start.  Truth looks like the redheaded stepchild out of this group.  The Prototype is a good wrestling name, did he ever amount to anything?  I mean, if he was a big star, he’d have been on RAW last week, right?  So he’s probably not.  Observer award winner:  El Hombre Sin Nombre.  Yeah, Dave missed the boat on that one.  Even that Protoype goof would have been a better choice, I’m pretty sure.  I wonder if that was an eligibility thing since Prototype debuted in 2000?  2002
Christopher Nowinski
Taylor Matheny The year of Tough Enough!  Gone, gone, gone, gone!  Observer award winner:  Bob Sapp.  I never saw much of him, actually.    2003
Zach Gowen
Sylvain Grenier
Matt Morgan Morgan ended up being the biggest star of the bunch.  Gowen was just missing a vital part, you know?  He just couldn’t get a leg up in the business.  He could only get so far, and then he got cut off at the knees by politics.  Observer award winner:  Chris Sabin. 2004
Monty Brown
Petey Williams
Johnny Nitro
Matt Cappotelli Obviously Nitro should have won this one, although at the time Cappotelli seemed like the sure thing out of the pair before the brain tumor ended his career.  Brown is now firmly in the “Whatever Happened To?” file, as is Williams.  Observer award winner:  Petey Williams.  2005
Bobby Lashley[21]
Christy Hemme
Mikey Batts
Ken Doane One wannabe MMA badass, a cheerleader, a referee, and a ring announcer.  Quite the crew of washouts.  Doane should have been way bigger, but WWE just drove him out of the business.  Observer award winner:  Shingo Takagi.  Not familiar with him.  2006
The Boogeyman
Charles Evans
Cody Runnels Yeah, the Boogeyman beat out Cody Rhodes for Rookie of the Year.  And Akebono got third just by working on shitty match with Big Show.  What a year.  Observer award winner:  Atsushi Aoki.  Get the feeling that Dave wasn’t big on the US scene at that point?  2007
Ted DiBiase, Jr.
Pelle Primeau
Mike DiBiase I’m pretty sure Hornswoggle wasn’t a rookie in 2007.  We’re still waiting on the Dibiases to do anything in the business to live up to their potential.  Primeau was an ROH guy who went nowhere.  Observer award winner:  Erick Stevens.  He hasn’t done much either since then.  2008
Joe Hennig
Brett DiBiase
Ricky Steamboat, Jr.
Ryan McBride There’s THREE Dibiases?  Ted had million-dollar sperm too, I guess.  Why hasn’t Vince just brought them all in with Sr. as manager?  Hennig was a safe choice, but obviously hasn’t panned out yet.  Observer award winner:  KAI, from All Japan. OK then. 2009
Mike Sydal
Jesse Neal
Brittney Savage
J.T. Flash I have nothing interesting to say here because I don’t know any of these people.  2010
David Otunga
Percy Watson
Corey Hollis Did you know that the 1977 Rookie of the Year runner-up had a daughter?  2011
Ace Hawkins
Nick Madrid
Briley Pierce

WWE as a Monopoly

I posted some thoughts on my blog that I think would mirror a lot of the posters on your blog. Basically, the product is terrible and nothing is change, so as a wrestling fan, I've resigned myself to that. And boy is that depressing.

Yeah, but now John Cena is gonna be on Smackdown every week, too.  If that doesn't make you rethink your whole stance, I don't know what will.  Plus if UFC has taught us anything, it's that too much of a good thing can never be bad, no matter how much you oversaturate the market with the same people, because everything is forever and nothing ever ends.  

Konnan’s Podcast

An absolutely phenomenal show from Konnan, as he's only 5 shows into his podcasting career and he's totally got it down cold.  This particular episode is an hour-long interview with Dave Meltzer, and it's just so cool to hear Konnan completely shooting from the hip about whatever's on his mind because he doesn't give a shit about burning bridges at all.  I was legitimately LOLing while listening to it, like his spot-on analysis of why UFC on FOX 3 tanked so badly ("Who the fuck wants to see Jim Miller in the main event?") and his reminiscing about becoming a giant star in his early 20s ("Bitches were all over, throwing pussy at me everywhere I went.")  He just comes across as a genuinely fun guy who has an opinion on anything you throw at him.  Dave, meanwhile, is telling crazy stories about classic wrestling promotions and his early years writing the newsletter and his contacts and such.  It's tremendous fun and I'm totally adding it to my podcast collection.

Monday Nitro – January 6, 1997

Monday Nitro #69
Date: January 6, 1997
Location: Monroe Civic Center, Monroe, Louisiana
Commentators: Larry Zbyzsko, Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

So as I talked about, the Youtube channel I used got shut down and I
don’t have any of those shows left. That being said, it means we’ll get
to the PPVs and the Raws and Nitros a lot faster now. This is the
beginning of a new year and we’re beginning to build towards Souled Out
with the first man thrown out of the NWO, the Giant, challenging Hogan
for the title. Let’s get to it.

Glacier vs. Bobby Eaton

We immediately start with a match which is a cool thing to see.
Glacier takes him down with a leg sweep to start. An armdrag sets up an
armbar (yes, a non kick from Glacier) which goes nowhere. Bobby tries a
leap frog but Glacier rolls between his legs which results in Eaton
landing on him. Glacier kicks hits a spin kick for two and another kick
for the quick pin.

We recap the epic Bubba vs. Konnan feud. Tonight it’s a Mexican strap
match between an American an a Cuban in Cajun country. Only in

Big Bubba vs. Konnan

This is the touch all four corners style. Konnan slugs away but gets
clotheslined down quickly. Bubba whips him very slowly and Larry sounds
like he has a sore throat. Tony says Bubba is an integral part of the
NWO. I hope his parents got him a dictionary for Christmas. Konnan hits
him low with the strap so Bubba punches him in the face with the strap
around his fist.

Bubba taps the first corner and Konnan jumps on his back with a
sleeper. Bubba slaps two more corners along the way but Konnan breaks
the momentum. Tony and Larry talk about what Piper was saying last week
when he was leaving to avoid talking about his boring match. Konnan
starts his comeback and uses the strap to take Bubba down. He gets two
corners and has his momentum broken to further this. Konnan gets three
but is kicked down. For some reason this doesn’t mean the momentum is
broken so Bubba “punches” (you could fit a softball between his fist and
Konnan’s face) him into the corner for the win.

Rating: F. See, this is what I don’t get: what
reason is there for a strap match? It’s a feud that no one wants to see
with two guys that mean nothing at all and the ending was stupid. The
announcers didn’t care about it and this is the third week that this
feud has been going on. Oh and the replay shows that Bubba’s hand was
open so even if the shot had hit, it would have been more like a
backhand slap.

Bubba beats him down post match to make sure the NWO looks strong.

Gene is with Kevin Sullivan and has a tape for him but Sullivan
doesn’t want to see it. He says there’s something between the two of
them that can’t be settled. Gene says the footage is of someone other
than Benoit/Woman and Sullivan says it better not be before he leaves.

Here are the Horsemen minus Benoit. Anderson is upset that he’s not
here but Flair implies that he’s off screwing Woman. Debra runs her
mouth again about how great the rest of the team is and how they’re
always here but Benoit never is. My goodness she’s annoying. Woman is
ugly and fat apparently and Mongo is a professional. Speaking of
annoying, here’s Jeff Jarrett to say he should get Benoit’s spot.
Anderson vetoes that almost immediately because Jeff whines too much.
Jeff says that Anderson has played second fiddle the whole year so he’s
here to talk to the horse’s head, not the rear. Guess what happens.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Arn Anderson

Arn is in street clothes and beats Jeff all the way to the ring. Jeff
comes back and gets sent to the floor but comes back in, hits a
neckbreaker and puts his feet on the ropes for the pin.

Flair goes after Debra for some reason and Mongo gets in his face.
Flair has to break it up and this is making my head hurt. In case you
can’t tell, Benoit isn’t around but that’s ok with Flair. Jarrett wants
in and Debra thinks Jeff is cute so she supports his membership. Mongo
supports who Debra supports but Anderson doesn’t want Jeff in and Flair
is stuck in the middle. This is of course being done while the NWO is
invading and the most elite group is too busy fighting because of Debra.
Don’t you just love that Bischoff booking? Anderson walks out. He would
only have one more match on Nitro so that’s one of his last walks out.

Souled Out ad.

TV Title: Steven Regal vs. Diamond Dallas Page

And there’s no Page. Regal comes out to new music and there’s a replacement.

TV Title: Steven Regal vs. Jim Duggan

These are old stomping grounds for Duggan who used to be a big star
in Mid-South. The bell rings and the NWO comes out to take over
commentary. Now we get the match going as I think Nash thanks his third
grade teacher for making him awesome. Oh wait that’s Eric. Duggan takes
over with clotheslines and the NWO implies Page has joined them. The
match turns into a boxing match with Duggan taking over.

The talk turns to Souled Out because that’s what announcers in WCW
do. They talk about the Miss NWO contest at the PPV as Duggan knocks
Regal to the floor again. Duggan takes him down with a shoulder and I
don’t think Regal has gotten a single shot in yet. Regal finally gets in
some kicks to take over but Duggan punches him back. Off to a chinlock
as the announcers talk about the WCW contract issues. Savage can’t join
the organization apparently. The guys collide and Duggan gets the tape
out. He knocks Regal out (referee is cool with it) but the time expires.
The match would have run about eight and a half minutes.

Rating: D. Now I’m sure a lot of people are going to
say “You just don’t get the point and the show is supposed to be about
pushing the NWO.” Yeah, I do get that. However, it gets REALLY annoying
hearing about it the whole show. It’s like Cole today: we get it but he
keeps saying the same things over and over because we’re too stupid to
get it the first time. It gets old in a hurry and it’s only going to get

Duggan waves a WCW flag post match.

Jim Powers vs. Hugh Morrus

The announcers talk about Jim Duggan and how the NWO announcers
wouldn’t talk about the Giant because they’re cowards. Powers hits his
usual stuff which is mostly no sold. Morrus takes him down and the
moonsault gets the pin. Basically a squash.

Hour #2 begins.

We recap the Horsemen split from earlier.

Rey Mysterio vs. Psicosis

Ok this has to be good right? It’s not that the matches so far have
been bad but if they’re treated like nothing of importance, why should I
care about them? When you have the NWO driven down your throat the
whole time, you get annoyed by the matches which aren’t that great in
the first place. They spin around a lot and Rey is sent to the floor.
Psicosis hits a rope assisted moonsault but mostly misses to give Rey
the advantage.

We hear about Liger winning the J-Crown but not the Cruiserweight
Title because the match was signed before Dragon won that title. Makes
sense. Psicosis takes over and hits a nice top rope spinwheel kick for
two. Rey gets sent to the floor and Psicosis sets for a dive. After
slipping the first time (but landing on his feet in the ring) he dives
to the floor and slams his face into the barricade in a painful looking

Liger vs. Dragon for the title is announced for COTC. Psicosis takes
Rey down again and hits the guillotine legdrop (love that move) for two.
A BIG powerbomb gets two and we hear about the Steiners coming back to
challenge the Outsiders at Souled Out. Another powerbomb attempt is
countered into a sunset flip with a bridge for two. Mysterio goes to the
apron and hits the West Coast Pop for the pin. It’s as sudden as it

Rating: B-. Yeah this was good. First and
foremost….well first and foremost the match was good. Second and
secondmost, the announcers didn’t talk about the NWO the whole time.
They talked about some other cruiserweight stuff, but at least it was
related to this. That helped things tremendously here and the match was
much more enjoyable as a result. Good stuff.

We get a clip from Starrcade of Eddie getting beaten up which apparently is the wrong clip.

Kevin Sullivan vs. Chavo Guerrero

We were supposed to see a clip of Sullivan at Starrcade hitting
Benoit. They start fast and Sullivan doesn’t even take his robe off.
Chavo gets sent to the floor but comes back with a missile dropkick to
both Sullivan and Jimmy Hart. We get the aforementioned clip of Sullivan
breaking a chair over Benoit’s head at the PPV. Things slow way down
and Sullivan hits the Tree of Woe and double stomp for the pin. Too
short to mean much but it wasn’t bad.

We get a clip of Hogan hitting Piper’s hip with a chair last week.
Piper screamed incoherently the whole time he was taken out so we spend a
few minutes trying to figure out what he was saying because it’s so
important right? We even get EXCLUSIVE footage of Piper being put into
the ambulance and Piper shouts even more. He’s since said it was the
last night of his career. Right.

US Title: Alex Wright vs. Eddie Guerrero

Syxx stole the belt at Starrcade but Eddie faces him in a ladder
match at Souled Out. They shake hands to start and exchange dropkicks
with Wright’s knocking him to the floor. Back in and it’s time to talk
about Hogan! Eddie takes him to the mat as some idiot says this is
boring. The champ comes back with a kind of leg lariat and the slingshot
hilo for two.

Off to an armbar (on the right arm for some reason) as this match is
totally being ignored. Clothesline gets two for Wright and it’s off to a
chinlock. Wright snaps off some European uppercuts and it’s back to the
chinlock. Here’s Syxx to make sure our NWO quota is met for the
segment. He sits on a ladder while wearing a belt and Tony says go up
and knock him off of it.

Eddie looks at Syxx and walks into a northern lights suplex and then a
backbreaker, both for two. Back to the chinlock for a bit and then Alex
hits a top rope sunset flip for two. Spinwheel kick looks to set up a
top rope double ax for no cover again. Northern lights suplex the sequel
gets two. Alex goes up again but Eddie jumps up and hits a superplex
for no cover again. Frog Splash keeps the title in El Paso.

Rating: B-. See, this is a good example of the
opposite of what I was talking about earlier. This was actually
interesting and a good match which just happened to have a lot of NWO
talk in it. I can overlook the chatter when the match is good which this
was. I’d love to see some more of these two with about fifteen minutes
and less Syxx.

Road report from Lee Marshall. Did he ever actually do anything on Nitro other than this?

Amazing French Canadians vs. Harlem Heat

The Heat clears the ring to start and Tenay actually brings up the
history between the managers. Stevie and Jacques start us off and Stevie
controls with power. Booker comes in, misses an elbow but Spinaroonis
up. Harlem Side Kick takes Jacques down but Oulette comes in to cheat.
Back in and a piledriver gets two for Jacques. Stevie comes in off the
tag and cleans house. The Canadians mess up with a flag and Stevie
knocks Oulette out so a powerbomb/top rope elbow combo can pin Jacques.

Rating: C-. Not a bad match here but it’s the
textbook (what class is that? I’d love to take it) example of a filler
match. You had a good team and a bad team and the good team beat the bad
team with a double team move. I’m not sure what else there is to say
here but it wasn’t bad or anything.

We get a clip from Starrcade of Luger vs. Giant and Sting whispering something in their ears.

Lex Luger vs. Meng

It’s a power match of course with neither guy moving much off
anything done to them. Meng runs him over and stomps away. Then he
stomps some more. A piledriver puts Luger down for two. Lex comes back
with the forearm and a powerslam for two. Meng misses a charge in the
corner and there’s the Rack but the referee goes down. Barbarian runs in
and takes a powerslam as well. He Racks Barbarian and that’s good for
the submission. Tenay: “Does it matter?” Tony: “You’re right Mike it
doesn’t matter.”

Rating: D. Just a power match here but not a very
interesting one. The ending makes it even worse as it was just stupid. I
can get the referee not noticing in a stretch but seriously? Tony and
Mike saying it doesn’t matter? Wait why am I surprised by this at all?
Nothing match and that’s the main event people.

Here’s the NWO for the big ending segment. Eric praises Hogan for
beating Piper twice in a week and then Giant by himself. Hogan talks
about a battle royal which either never happened or that I don’t
remember at all. I think it was the former and that he was talking about
the ending to last week’s show. Here comes Giant and the people are two
rows deep on the apron.

Giant cleans house and has Hogan all to himself. The right hand is
caught and Bischoff hits Giant in the back while his legs were wide
open. Nice job Bruce Lee. Hogan gets in a chair shot and Giant goes
down…again. The NWO beats him down for awhile and then go to the
announce desk. Sting comes out and checks on Giant. Sting points the bat
at the NWO and drops the bat to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. Not a very good show this week
but there were two very solid matches which bring it up a lot. This is a
good example of where you can summarize the issue the NWO story had: if
you didn’t like that story, you were screwed. It’s annoying hearing
about it all the time but at least we didn’t have to hear about how
great Piper the savior was this week. It’s a better show than recently
due to the two good matches but other than that, not much due to having
too many squashes.

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

NXT – May 30, 2012

Date: May 30, 2012
Location: Riverside Centroplex, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Commentators: Josh Matthews, William Regal

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Back to what has officially become the most boring show this side of
Warriors of Wrestling. We’re hopefully wrapping this season up but
getting there is really dragging, as there were zero stories last week
as well as no promos at all. That’s a shame as the show was starting to
get good up until that point. Let’s get to it.

To give you an idea of how much cares about this show, their
website says it’s up every Wednesday at 4pm EST. It’s currently 8:05pm
EST and I have to watch this on Youtube because neither today’s show,
nor last week’s show are currently on’s NXT page.

Curt Hawkins/Tyler Reks vs. Usos

It’s 8:19 and the show can now be found on, if you look in
the What’s Hot section instead of the NXT section. If I’m a TV company,
I’d be curious as to why I should put a show on that they don’t even
bother to put up on time. Anyway Jey and Reks get us going. Not much
going on so far so Jey shouts to the crowd a little bit. Hawkins comes
in and nothing goes anywhere now either. A quick chin/headlock by Jey goes nowhere so we head to the mat.

Off to Jimmy who armdrags Hawkins down and it’s back to Jey. A
headbutt to the chest gets one and the Usos tag again. Regal explains
what cutting the ring in half means, because a term like that needs an
explanation apparently. Jey escapes a slam and hits a great superkick to
put Hawkins down. Reks pulls Curt to the floor to avoid the Superfly
Splash so the Usos dive onto both heels as we take a break.

Back with Jey holding a hammerlock on Hawkins on the mat. Jey loads
up a superkick but Hawkins drops to the floor and suckers Jey in. Blind
tag brings in Reks and the Usos lose control for the first time. Hawkins
comes in with a kick to the back and a chinlock. Back to Reks who puts
on something like a Tazmission.

Jey escapes and it’s off to Jimmy on a not very hot tag. A Bubba Bomb
puts Reks down and the Umaga hip smash gets two. Hawkins interferes,
allowing Reks to hit a Downward Spiral for two. Jey comes in with a
Samoan Drop for two. Jimmy is sent to the floor and Reks/Hawkins hit a
powerslam/neckbreaker combo to pin Jey at 10:59.

Rating: C. The match was pretty boring until the
ending where things picked up in a hurry. That being said, we’ve seen
these two teams fight more times than I can remember, which makes this a
little less interesting. Also having no story to it hurts things, but
the match was perfectly fine. More Usos please.

Tamina Snuka vs. Kaitlyn

Maxine is on commentary, which is literally the first continued story
in two weeks. She’s fought them both before and this is due to last
week’s Kaitlyn vs. Maxine match apparently. Kaitlyn takes her to the mat
and hooks a bodyscissors and a rollup for two. Tamina takes her down as
well and puts on a seated abdominal stretch. Maxine makes fun of
Kaitlyn’s hair and Tamina changes to a chinlock. The crowd is
surprisingly not completely dead here. Kaitlyn fights out and hits a bad
cross body for two. Kaitlyn trips her up as they run the ropes and
hooks a full nelson with her legs to make Tamina tap (with her foot) at

Rating: D+. The match was pretty dull, but I’m
digging this dueling submission story they’ve got going with Maxine and
Kaitlyn. Also it’s amazing how far less unbearable the Divas are when
they get some time to work out a match instead of hitting like three
kicks, a missed charge and the finisher with a signature move thrown in.
Imagine that: wrestling makes things better.

Raw ReBound is about Big Show, which is all that Monday’s show was about anyway.

Justin Gabriel/Derrick Bateman/Percy Watson vs. Michael McGillicutty/Johnny Curtis/JTG

Hey Justin is back. JTG still has the new attire and I still don’t
want to see him ever again. Watson and JTG get us going Watson works on
the arm but JTG speeds things up a bit. That’s cool with Watson as he
runs over JTG and slams him down for two. Off to Justin who hooks an
armdrag into an armbar. JTG gets him into the corner and it’s off to
Curtis who takes over.

Gabriel channels his inner Steamboat and armdrags his way to freedom,
taking Curtis to the mat. Off to Bateman who dropkicks Johnny down for
two. He misses a charge though and McGillicutty stomps Bateman down in
the corner. Everything breaks down and the faces stand tall as we take a
break. Back with Michael putting Bateman in a chinlock and punching him
in the face a few times.

Dropkick gets two on Bateman. Back to Curtis who has #letsgetweird on
his trunks. If you really want to push Twitter that hard, you would
think they could find a better billboard than Curtis. McGillicutty and
Curtis tag two more times as I guess they won’t like JTG either. Curtis
gives up the tag and it’s off to Watson. Watson cleans house but JTG low
bridges him to send Percy crashing to the floor.

JTG pounds on Percy both in and out of the ring, getting two in the
former. Off to the chinlock again and then back to Curtis. Elbow to the
face gets two. Watson hits a belly to belly out of nowhere and makes the
tag to Justin. JTG comes in at the same time and things speed up.
Gabriel hits a blue Thunder Bomb for two and everything breaks down.
Bateman dives on McGillicutty and Curtis while Gabriel hits a jumping
tornado DDT for the pin at 12:13.

Rating: C+. This was pretty good but it came and
went. You had three good guys, you had three bad guys, you had twelve
minutes, and the good guys won. It was pretty entertaining though and
that’s really all you can ask for on NXT in this weird kind of limbo
period they’re in at the moment.

Overall Rating: C+. Like I said in the main event,
you really can’t ask for more than about 45 minutes of entertaining
matches from Superstars II anymore. Regal’s position as matchmaker is
never mentioned anymore, the attacks in the back are never mentioned
anymore, and the Hawkins/Reks being security is never mentioned anymore.
I know I’m in the small minority here, but I kind of wanted to see
where those things were going. I’ve spent a year on this already and I’d
like to see some resolution to those stories. This was entertaining at
least though.

Curt Hawkins/Tyler Reks b. The Usos – Powerslam/Neckbreaker combination to Jey Uso
Kaitlyn b. Tamina Snuka – Full Nelson with Legs
Justin Gabriel/Derrick Bateman/Percy Watson b. JTG/Johnny Curtis/Michael McGillicutty – Tornado DDT to JTG

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

Dead In Five Years!

The perfect time to go to three hours.  Obviously it'll have to be John Cena in every segment, plus commercials for his movies, and video packages about him supporting the troops and healing sick children with his magic spinner belt.  
Seriously though, it's getting scary how pushing only one person as meaning anything results in no one caring about the show when he's not on it.  I know the gut reaction from WWE is going to be to re-push all the big names harder than ever, but they really need to do like 97 and go the opposite by pushing the Zigglers and new FCW geeks to hopefully create new stars without baggage and multiple drug violations.  

Blog of Doom Team-Up!

Michael Bradley and & I thought it’d be a sweet deal to team up for an article and come up with what we each thought were the Top 5 ECW Title Matches. 
#5. ECW Tag Team Titles: Steel Cage/Weapons Match The Eliminators vs.
The Gangsta (Natural Born Killaz show – August 24, 1996)
This was
around the time I first started watching ECW. I was really into the
Eliminators and wished they could have been pushed better than they
were. But at that time, there was no one more over as a team than the
Gangstas. They were the “extreme” in ECW. This match started as a
brawl, which was right down the Gangstas alley. New Jack and Saturn
mixing it up on the floor; Kronus and Mustafa in the cage. As it broke
down over the next 14 minutes inside the cage, weapons and high risk
moves made it a match I will always remember. []

#4. ECW World Title: Mike Awesome vs. Taz vs. Masato Tanaka (ECW
Anarchy Rulz – September 19, 1999)
This match was more emotional than
anything for me. Taz was in the middle of his run as ECW Champion and
it was already known he was headed to the WWF. More than anything, the
breaking of kayfabe and the locker room breaking during the match as Taz
embraced Paul Heyman as he left ECW will be a permanent fixture in my

#3. ECW Television Title: Jerry Lynn vs. Rob Van Dam (ECW Hardcore
Heaven 1999 – May 16, 1999) RVD
and Jerry Lynn. The Whole F’N Show
versus The New F’N Show. It was an argument I had with my fellow ECW
friends over who was better. I sided with Lynn and hoped this was his
night. A battle for the ages that stole this show, was booked as no
time limit. As perfect of a match as you can get on the technical side
and you had to sympathize with the bloody Lynn, who would not quit.

#2. ECW Tag Team Titles: Jinsei Shinzaki & Hayabusa vs. Rob Van
Dam & Sabu (ECW Heatwave 1998 – August 2, 1998)
This was my first
chance to see an ECW pay per view live. A card I will never forget. I
had seen Haybusa from the internet and through tape trading, but never
on a live show. I always thought of him as Sabu through a mask. Now I
got him, Shinzaki (another fave of mine), Sabu, and RVD all at once?!?!?
Maybe one of my top 3 tag team matches EVER! It had everything.
Technical wrestling, high flying, high spots, hardcore
spots…everything. An A+ in my book.

#1. ECW World Title: Shane Douglas vs. Terry Funk vs. Sabu (The Night
the Line Was Crossed – February 5, 1994)
Historic on many platforms.
First, this was a first in the fact you had 3 guys in the ring at the
same time. You had Funk who was 49 years old at the time, you had the
unpredictable Sabu, and a young heel who was at the top of his game in
Shane Douglas. What was to come was an hour of innovative moves and
very entertaining action. A match ECW tried to duplicate but never
lived up to the original. 
 Mike’s thoughts on Caliber’s picks:
 #5. I have this match on my list as well. A little higher, but when
narrowing down a list to just five, I can see this hidden gem getting
lost in the shuffle. The art of tag team wrestling is lost these days
and this match is almost 14 years old. Dare I say, the greatest tag
match in ECW history.

#4. When compiling this list we had
hundreds of matches to sift through. This one I overlooked altogether.
Going back and watching this thing, I was blown away. The power of
Pitbull 2 versus the mixed style of Jericho was amazing. Even Jericho
showing his strength by reversing a Tombstone had me popping. Great
ending sequence and just shows how great Chris Jericho was before the
mainstream audiences got a look at him.

#3. I contemplated
putting this one on my list, but eventually crossed it off. I went back
and watched it again and it was ULTRA violent. It reminded me of one
of the best barbed wire matches ever that many have never seen: Cactus
Jack versus Terry Funk from Japan. This one may have been even better.
Funk, at 53 (!), faced the maniacal Sabu. Two
things I distinctly remember in this one. Sabu basically tearing his
muscle in half early in the match, and then Funk and Sabu being in a
tangled mess of barbed wire at the end. A weird finish but I dare
anyone reading this to duplicate it. Holy shit!

#2. This was
another match I had to eliminate off my list of finalists. Guerrero was
Television Champion at the time. With the extreme and hardcore style
really over-shadowing this match, it was amazing to see what a show
these two put on. A slow build turning to some amazing reversals, mixed
with mat wrestling, made this a match to remember. By the end with the
match ending in a 30 minute time limit draw, the ECW arena was on its
feet. They stood and applauded both men and chanted Eddie’s name as he
stood up still ECW Television Champion.

#1. Another match that
made my list and it is hard not to rate it number one. So good, in
fact, that ECW began its run on TNN with this as the first match
mainstream fans witnessed. It is that good. Like I already said,
whether you were a RVD fan or a Lynn fan, you had to appreciate what
both men brought to the table. I enjoy this one so much that I have to
go back and watch it in its entirety from time to time

 #5 – ECW Tag Team Titles: Jinsei Shinzaki & Hayabusa vs. Rob Van
Dam & Sabu (ECW Heatwave 1998 – August 2, 1998)
I gotta be honest, I’d never seen this match-up until I read Mike’s list. I’d always wanted to see Hakushi’s ECW stuff, as to see what he could do, not being encumbered by The Cliq. 
The match is fantastic, as it’s a mix of everything ECW has to offer. Great technical wrestling mixed with high impact spots and a few splashes of hardcore. RVD & Sabu are a fantastic team that just don’t get their dues. I truly feel they’re up there with some of wrestling’s tall time greatest. And that’s a shoot!
Rating: ****
#4 – ECW World Heavyweight Championship: Terry Funk vs Sabu (ECW Born To Be Wired – August 9th, 1997)
I love a good barbwire match. Now, that’s not to say that all it takes is some barbwire and I’m happy. If that were the case, I’d love me some CZW. But when you get 2 wrestlers who would do just fine without in the ring, you’ll get something special. Such was the case when 53 year old Terry Funk took on Sabu for the ECW Championship in a barbwire bout. They built up the suspense, keeping the audience guessing as to who’d be the first to meet the wire, and when they finally did, they never left it. Sabu performing Air Sabu into the wiring and tearing his bicep completely open, is one of ECW’s great stories. When it happens, you can see him in a panic, and trying to wrap it up with masking tape, even as Terry gives him a neckbreaker through two chairs. A brutal bout that just goes to show how far passion can go when performers actually care.
Rating: ****
#3 – ECW TV Title: Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko (Hostile City Showdown – April 15th, 1995)
This right here is the biggest reason why I always loved ECW. For me, it wasn’t about the hardcore wrestling, but about the great technical wrestling. ECW fans are the smarkiest smarks of all time. They care about this business as much as anyone, so when you go out and give’em a show like Eddie & Dean can, the crowd is going to lap it up. ECW was bad-ass because they’d put something like this on their hour-long TV program. WCW wouldn’t do that, neither would WWE. As for the match itself, what’s to say? Two of the all-time greatest going full tilt, bell to bell. Neither one of them ever really get the advantage, and just keep beating the holy hell out of one another until the time limit is reached. One hell of a match. 
Rating: ****1/2
#2 – ECW TV Title: Pitbull #2 vs Chris Jericho (Hardcore Heaven 1996 – June 22nd, 1996)
A lot of praise is often given to the match where Jericho lost the TV Title, the 4-corners bout. While it’s a great match, it doesn’t compare to when he won it. Despite soon being on his way out, Paul put the strap on Jericho, and he responded by having one hell of a match with Pitbull #2. In my 2nd favorite power vs speed match, Jericho tries to match Pitbull’s strength with speed, and a constant onslaught. Everytime he gains momentum though, Pitbull gets in a power move to bring it to a screeching hault. Then when Jericho goes for a high-risk, Pitbull gets the reversal, and damn near ends the thing. However, the end of the match sees Pitbull getting things turned around on him as Jericho reverses a top-rope powerbomb into a huricarana. It’s an incredible match, and something that needs to be released on DVD. 
Rating: ****1/2

#1 – ECW Television Title: Jerry Lynn vs. Rob Van Dam (ECW Hardcore
Heaven 1999 – May 16, 1999)
 I use to love this match so much, I gave it ******. Seriously. It was so far and above anything I’d seen. Over the years, I’ve since knocked that off, but my love for this match will never wane. I’ve never seen a match where two people had each other so scouted before. I mean, it’s at least 5 minutes before someone is actually able to hit something. Awesome stuff. Some people prefer their first big PPV outing, but I prefer this one, because they call back to that PPV in a manner where RVD may have hit him with something before, but doesn’t this time, because Lynn saw it coming. You also have Lynn busting his face on the floor, but refusing to give up. They fly all over the place, as you truly feel Lynn is at RVD’s level, but just can’t grab the brass ring. Not only is it my pick for ECW’s best title match, it’s my pick for ECW’s best match ever.
Rating: *****
Caliber’s thoughts on Mike’s picks:
#5 – I loved The Eliminators, but to be honest, The Gangsta’s never did it for me. I like hardcore wrestling, but The Gangsta’s were about as bottom of the barrel as you could get. Simply walking around and hitting people with weapons. Now New Jack, that’s a different story, I always found him entertaining. Even when he’s telling stories about Terri Runnels having “grease” on her face. That all being said, this match is still very entertaining, as The Eliminators keep the match from being a total “you hit me with a crutch, I hit you with a frying pan” sort of deal. 
#4 – Yeah, I agree with Mike on the historical, and emotional impact of this one. I loved Taz at this point, and was so excited for him to finally come to the ‘E. Unfortunately, we all saw how that played out. When I saw this match, I was shocked at how quick Taz went out. I really thought he’d get to fight till the end. However, it makes complete sense for him to bow out quick, and let the two new guys prove themselves. The reason I couldn’t include this match in my list, is the whole locker room clearing out in the middle of the match really takes you out of it, disrupting the flow. Still, a huge moment in ECW. 
#3 – These were the guys that ECW decided to showcase when they first went national on TNT. So obviously anytime they get together, you’re getting your money’s worth. Hell, they did it again in TNA, some 12 years later, and still kicked ass. I know a lot of people have problems with the stalling, but I dig it. It fits perfect with Van Damme’s character. If you watch the video link we provided, the guy who uploaded it cut out all the stalling, so it’s straight action. 
#2 – Like I said in my article, the team of RVD & Sabu is severely under-rated. The promos they did were really funny, with Van Damme just running his mouth, and pissing Sabu off. He’d do things like ask Sabu for a high-five, but then leave him hanging as he started going on and on about how great he is. This match shows just how well they do, and don’t work together as Van Damme won’t tag in, and then near the end, Sabu pushes Rob out of the way to snag the pin. Awesome. 
#1 – Other than Shane throwing down the title, this is the moment you hear the most about in ECW. However, I just can’t go along with it. First, I think the match runs too long, second, all three guys don’t even stay in the match for the whole time. I can’t fault Mike for picking this, because it is one hell of a moment for ECW, and a lot of people like the match. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have tried to re-create it so many times. I will say, their 3-way barbwire match at Hardcore Homecoming is great stuff. 
Alright, thanks for joining us, guys. ECW doesn’t get a lot of love from Mr. Keith, so we felt we’d throw a little it’s way, respecting and remembering ECW the way it was. Not the way Shane Douglas thinks it is. By the way, there will be an Extreme Reunion show in June! Maybe with luck Scott will do something illegal, and the judge that forced that guy to be Jerry Seinfeld’s butler will be his judge, and see to it his punishment is attending this show. Fingers crossed. 
As always, you can find more of Caliber Winfield at Str8 Gangster, No Chaser and WCW In 2000
Michael Bradley can be found here at the Blog of Doom, every Thursday night, with his review of iMPACT Wrestling.

Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: WWF Judgment Day 2000

The Netcop Rant for WWF Judgment Day 2000 – As a reminder, or cheap plug depending on your point of view, there is also an AUDIO version of this currently available, featuring yours truly doing the spoken word interpretation for you illiterates out there. As a warning, I’ve been told I sound like a “soft rock DJ” by more than one person, but it’s still all good.  (With the switch to Blogger I’ve pretty much given up on my podcasting dreams.)  – Live from Louisville, KY – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. – Neat opening bit to start as they list all the things that happen in one hour. Unless I missed it, I don’t think “In one hour Mark Madden eats 750 jelly donuts” was there. – Vince offers the Regime a pep-talk as a way of reminding people of the matches for tonight. This segues into Gerald Brisco going for coffee and thus being forced to defend his Hardcore title all the way there and back throughout the show.  (I feel like Santino would be hilarious in the Crash Holly role today if the Hardcore title was still around.)  – Opening match: Kurt Angle, Edge & Christian v. Too Cool & Rikishi Phatu. For the Benefit of Those with Flash Photography (in Kentucky? Yeah right…), the pose tonight is “The Jug Band”, which in this case comes complete with instruments and silly teeth for Edge. As opposed to his normal-looking teeth? (Oh, man, the glory days of Edge & Christian.)  Kurt Angle has a new “menage-a-flag” pattern on his tights. Pier-six to start. Edge & Grandmaster Sexay start the match proper, with Edge taking an enzuigiri. Missile dropkick follows, and Scotty comes in for the double-team elbow. Scotty & Christian do a wrestling sequence that leads to a Scotty suplex. Funny spot as Sexay lies on the top rope to block a cross-corner whip that would hurt Scotty, but when Edge tries the same thing to protect Christian he gets hung up there. Grandmaster Sexay loses his pants, but manages to tag in Rikishi, who cleans house and gets caught briefly in the heel corner. Scotty comes in, but the Worm is stopped with a cheapshot. Angle controls with a suplex for two. Christian comes in and Scotty gets an over-the-shoulder powerbomb onto the top rope, ala Black Blood. Yeah, I know, 90% of you have no clue what I’m talking about there. (Black Blood was Billy Jack Haynes’ brief flirtation in WCW in 1991, doing a hooded executioner gimmick.)  Rikishi gets the hot tag and hits CHEEKS OF FIRE, then Kurt takes the Stinkyface. He tries the Rikishi Driver to finish, but the champs break it up and double-DDT Rikishi, which is no-sold. Edge spears him, however, and decides to mock the Worm. Big mistake, as Scotty retaliates with his the real Worm. Christian hits Rikishi with the ringbell in the meantime, but Sexay comes off the top with the Hip Hop Drop for the pin at 9:47. Good (and very HOT) opener. ***1/4 – Shawn Michaels cuts a quick promo and utters those words we never thought we’d hear: “Tonight, I’ll do that job”. Okay, so it’s in a different context, but it’s a start.  (Did Jimmy Korderas have to tape up his fists to get him out there to referee?)  – European title match: Eddie Guerrero v. Perry Saturn v. Dean Malenko. Saturn & Malenko hit the Decapitation move quickly, and generally look to be in cahoots. That ends quickly as Saturn turns on Malenko. Saturn pancakes Dean and press-slams Eddie. Guerrero escapes a suplex and lowblows both at once, then hits a rana on Dean, and one on Saturn. Malenko blocks a flying headscissors with a sideslam for two. Eddie gets a tornado DDT on Saturn for two. Dean ligerbombs Eddie for two. Reversal sequence gives Dean the Cloverleaf, but Saturn breaks it up. Eddie and Dean go upstairs, but Saturn drops Eddie on the top, then gets shoved off by Dean. Eddie heads back up and takes a gutbuster from the top. Saturn dumps Dean and splashes Eddie for two. Saturn gives Dean a Cloverleaf of his own, and Eddie breaks it up by using Saturn’s brainbuster on him, then Dean adds to the coolness by putting Saturn in the Rings of Saturn! Eddie breaks that up, and dumps Saturn. Dean suplexes Eddie and splashes him for two. All three are up and we get a triple german suplex, with one person suplexing the other two in the middle of their suplex. Wild. Chyna then trips up Dean, who falls on the LOADED ROSES OF DEATH (loaded with a lead pipe in this case) and Eddie hits an Oklahoma roll for the pin at 7:58. Great match with the right person going over. ***1/2  (Kind of weird that only three months after the Radicalz debut, they were already feuding with each other and going their separate ways.  Should have been able to milk that group for MONTHS.)  – The Big Slow v. Shane McMahon. Shane comes flying at him with the tope con hilo right off the bat, and that proves to be not terribly bright on his part, because the Show catches him and destroys him. Into the ring, where Show literally kicks his ass and looks to finish quickly, but the run-ins start with Bossman and T&A both inflicting some damage. Trish Stratus even contributes a low blow, but gets tossed out of the ring in dramatic fashion. Shane crawls to the entrance and gets tossed into it, bumping all the place. T&A attack, and all three men are able to beat the Show down with various plunder. Bull Buchanan adds to the attack, and Shane drops a speaker on Show’s leg, then breaks a gimmicked cinderblock over his head for the upset pin at 7:13. This was good enough for what it was, with some crazy bumps by Shane. ** I don’t see why yet another McMahon had to go over, though.  (Let it play out and see where it goes…)  – Submission match, Intercontinental title: Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. BRING ON CANADIAN VIOLENCE! Slugfest to start. Jericho gets a bulldog and chops away. Jericho goes into a Fujiwara armbar, and they trade tombstone reversals until Benoit hits a shoulderbreaker off it. Benoit hits a diving headbutt onto Jericho’s shoulder and stretches him, thus setting the trend for the match with the shoulder injury. Jericho escapes and tries the Walls of Jericho, but Benoit flips out of it and goes to the apron. Jericho follows with the springboard dropkick and they brawl on the floor. Jericho goes to the stairs as Benoit keeps on the shoulder. Jericho comes back with a kneebreaker on those stairs. Back in the ring, Jericho gets the double-underhook backbreaker and we do some meat-chopping. Jericho’s blind charge misses and he hurts his shoulder further. Benoit rams the shoulder into an exposed turnbuckle twice and works it with an armbar. More chops. Snap suplex and keepdrop to the shoulder follow. A short-arm clothesline leads to a vicious cross-armbreaker (called a “fujiwara armbar” by JR incorrectly). Jericho makes the ropes. Benoit charges and hits the turnbuckle knee-first, and Jericho takes some shots at the injured knee and pulls off the knee-brace, using it as a weapon. Figure-four is attempted and countered, so Jericho dropkicks the knee and Lionsaults him. Jericho then pulls out his own version of the Tarantula! Benoit fights out, and eventually works to the triple suplex, which is then countered into the Walls of Jericho. Benoit escapes by nailing him with the knee brace, then slaps on the Crippler Crossface. Jericho fights out twice, but Benoit subtly moves the arm down to the throat on the third try at it, and Jericho is choked out at 13:27, leaving the title with Benoit, who now looks like even more of a bad-ass with a finisher that can nearly kill people. (Um…yeah.  I’m gonna go be somewhere else now.)  Hella stiff match here, too. ****1/2  (Way too high.  They had much better matches later on.)  – Table match: The Dudley Boyz v. Smoke & Ashes. D-Von beats on Dogg for a while, then it turns into a formulaic tag match wit D-Von as face-in-peril. Nothing of note happens until Buh-Buh gets the hot tag and drops both D-Xers with an atomic bomb and a samoan drop. We head to the floor, where a brawl erupts and Road Dogg puts D-Von through a table with a pumphandle slam for the first “elimination”. Back in the ring, Buh Buh powerbombs X-Pac through a table to even it up. The ref then goes through a table to bump him. 3D on Road Dogg looks to finish, but the ref is of course out. They try to put Tori through, but Gerald Brisco stops them, and X-Pac hits the X-Factor on Buh Buh, through the table, for the win at 10:55. This was exactly as good as I and everyone else thought it would be. ** – Iron Man match, WWF title: The Rock v. HHH. Make or break time, kids. HHH sends the Regime back to the dressing room, because he wants to do this himself. – First fall: Staredown to start. Rock hits the headlock and they fight over that for a while. Rock gets a pair of two-counts of rollups and HHH bails. Back to the headlock. HHH breaks and works the arm. Single-arm DDT gets two. Back to the arm. Rock gets a Rock Bottom out of nowhere at 11 minutes for the pin. 1-0 Rock. – Second fall: They brawl outside. HHH drops Rock on the railing, but charges and hits his knee on the railing. Rock works the knee on the floor, dropping it on the stairs. Back in, Rock kicks at the knee, and applies a figure-four, once which is thankfully 1000% better than the one he busted out on Smackdown. (Rock is awesomely terrible at submission wrestling.  Has the guy managed to get ONE submission move right on a regular basis?)  It gets a few two-counts. HHH reverses and they brawl into the crowd. Back in with 20 minutes gone, HHH drops a pair of elbows for two. He keeps trying for the pin. I *love* that spot, especially in the context of a long match. HHH dumps Rock to the floor, then back in for a Pedigree and the pin to even it up. 1-1 tie. – Third fall: The Rock is still groggy, so HHH small packages him for the pin. 2-1 HHH. Great spot. – Fourth fall: Rock bails to recover and they brawl at the entrance. Back in, Rock tries a spinebuster, but that’s reversed to a facebuster and a piledriver for ANOTHER HHH pin. 3-1 HHH. – Fifth fall: HHH goes up top and gets slammed off, and Rock busts out La Magistral for two. Whoa! Moveset, baby! HHH hits a high knee for two. Sleeper follows. Rock fights out and hits a belly-to-belly, then a botched floatover DDT for the pin. 3-2 HHH. – Sixth fall: Back to the floor for more brawling. HHH grabs a chair and wallops Rock in the ring, drawing a DQ. 3-3 tie. – Seventh fall: Rock is out cold, so HHH calmly pins him. 4-3 HHH, and another great bit of booking there.  (Yup, giving up the fall to make another fall, but one that hurts Rock WAY more than it hurts HHH.)  – Eighth fall: 15 minutes left, so HHH goes to the sleeper again. And it WORKS! 5-3 HHH. Man, what a well-booked match this is, with all sorts of finishes that you don’t see everyday.  (Ugh, that was the start of HHH’s Main Event Sleeper spot.  Even he couldn’t get that one over.)  – Ninth fall: HHH & Shawn get into a fight, allowing Rock to come back. HHH takes a wicked bump over the top onto the cameraman, and they fight on the floor. Back in, HHH gets two. Rock superplexes him for a double-KO spot. He rolls over for two. Back to the floor, Rock slingshots HHH into the ringpost, but gets whipped into the stairs. Over to the announce table, where HHH tries a Rock Bottom of his own, but Rock reverses and Pedigrees HHH! And the table doesn’t break…OUCH! HHH gets counted out. 5-4 HHH. – Tenth fall: 4 minutes to go, the McMahons make their return en masse. Rock takes them all out as they come, People’s Elbow, goodbye. 5-5 tie. – Deciding fall: 2 minutes left, and all of D-X charges the ring and attacks, but the nursery rhyme video plays on the Titan-tron, and the Undertaker returns! The crowd goes apeshit as he chokeslams everything in sight (with Shawn having been bumped onto the floor) as time expires…but Shawn recovers, calls for one last DQ at the bell, and HHH wins the match 6-5 to win the WWF title for a fourth time. Could’ve lived without the finish, but the match was the best old-school WRESTLING MATCH I’ve seen since the 80s. HHH is God. ****3/4  (I have since regretted making that statement.)  The Bottom Line: I freely eat my words…I thought that HHH and Rock didn’t have the stamina, selling or moveset to pull this puppy off, but they did and they did it with mustard on top. 58 minutes of all-out busting ass, including some never-seen moves from them, awesome effort, and the only black mark being a goofy ending that kind of disrupted the flow of the match. Still, this is one of the best pure wrestling shows you’ll ever see, featuring nearly 90 minutes of sheer workrate in the form of the Euro title, the I-C title, and the WWF title. Who says wrestling doesn’t matter? Thumbs way up for one of the best wrestling shows I’ve ever seen.  (That’s pretty strong praise for a show I can’t even remember now, but 2000 was a hell of a year for PPV in the WWF regardless, and this was one of the strongest entries.  Sadly it’s never been released on DVD.) 

The Piledriving Critique: Let’s Play WWF Betrayal Episode 2

The Masked Reviewer has been busy recently with work. Check out this second part of his on going Let’s Play where he audio blogs about his life, going to Raw, and upcoming show news. Also, you can continue to see how bad he is at video games!

Remember to follow me on twitter! @maskedreviewer

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant–05.28.12

The SmarK RAW Supershow Rant – 05.28.12 So 16 years ago today, Scott Hall debuted in WCW and kicked off the New World Order. Man, don’t we all feel old now. Live from New Orleans, LA Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler Corporate Big Show joins us to start, as Michael Cole notes that many people called his turn “one of the darkest days in WWE history.” I dunno, I’d say that Owen Hart dying in the ring or Chris Benoit murdering his family were pretty dark, but I suppose Big Show turning for the 16th time was pretty bad. I’d say you could order it 1, 2, 3. Maybe one of the wrestlers dying of painkiller addictions at number 4. So we’ll say Owen Hart first, Chris Benoit second, Big Show joining with Johnny Ace third, and Eddie Guerrero’s heart exploding fourth. Oh, hell, let’s just go ahead and move Big Show up to #2. So anyway, Show is now full on heel, talking about how no one is in his league and he’s a giant and not an entertainer. And it pisses him off that Brodus Clay was dancing mere MINUTES after he was begging for his job. They should have stopped the show! Or least that’s what I wished would have happened. Show is also angry at John Cena for being a huge clown instead of standing up for his friend. I appreciate them trying to tie together all the ridiculous plot elements here, actually. So yeah, Show is gonna knock Cena out at the PPV. Santino Marella v. Alberto Del Rio Del Rio attacks, but Santino quickly evades and gets the Cobra out, only to fall victim to the armbar at 0:48. What is the point of squashing your US champion in less than a minute like that? Del Rio’s got no interest in the title, and if they need a jobber there’s tons of them on NXT. Meanwhile, Big Show takes out his bad mood on Alex Riley. WWE tag titles: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v. Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler The champs double-team Swagger in the corner and Truth gets two. The champs clean house and we take a break. Back with Kofi playing face-in-peril, but he quickly the hot tag to Truth, who goes wild on Swagger with a rollup for two. Kofi with a high cross on Ziggler, but Swagger rolls up Truth for two. Truth with the downward spiral to retain at 5:50. Dolph, tired of losing all the time, walks out on the team afterwards. Smart man. Fun little match. ** Meanwhile, Brodus Clay saves Santino from a Big Show beating, and that gives him a match with Big Show later tonight. Big Johnny, with scooter and entourage of flunkies, is out for some announcements. Big Show v. John Cena is now a steel cage match, and he’s the most popular WWE superstar in history. Apparently he’s on the cover of WWE ’13, and has the poster to prove it. It’ll be bigger than Pac-Man! Sadly, CM Punk interrupts his celebration and unveils the actual cover, featuring him. CM Punk v. Daniel Bryan So this is now a match for Bryan to “perhaps put himself back in contention” for the title. Wasn’t that match already announced for the PPV in some form? They trade wristlock reversals and Punk gets an atomic drop and drops knees on Bryan for two. He goes to a bow-and-arrow, but Bryan falls on top for two. They fight for a bridge and Punk gets a backbreaker for two. Bryan takes over on the arm and dumps Punk, but misses a baseball slide and Punk gets the springboard crossbody to the floor. AJ joins us at ringside as we take a break. Back with Punk missing a bodypress, as Bryan goes back to the arm. That goes on for a while, but Punk makes the comeback with kicks and a neckbreaker for two. Punk with the knee into the corner into a rollup for two. Springboard clothesline gets two. Punk goes up for the elbow, but Bryan brings him down with the superplex for two. Bryan removes a turnbuckle as AJ distracts the ref, but Punk gets a high kick for two. He charges, however, and Bryan hotshots him onto the EXPOSED STEEL for the pin at 16:29. Good TV match, albeit a bit slow around the break, but the finish was pretty flat. ***1/4 And that brings out Kane for another destruction of both guys, but Punk chases him off with a chair. Why do we need Kane in this feud? Christian v. The Miz Christian gets a sunset flip, but Miz rolls out and kicks him down for two. Corner clothesline and Miz hits the chinlock, and a neckbreaker gets two. Back to the chinlock, but Christian comes back with a missile dropkick for two and sets up for the spear, but Miz boots him down for two. Christian goes up with a back elbow, but gets distracted by Cody Rhodes, and Miz rolls him up for two. Christian finishes with the Killswitch and frog splash at 4:10. Sucks to be Miz. ** Meanwhile, Big Johnny chews out his flunkies, because he might retire in 10 or 20 years and he needs people he can COUNT on! The Miz is still bitching in the ring, but Randy Orton comes out and gives him the RKO. Back in the territory days, this would be the point when you’d leave for somewhere else to freshen up the character, because obviously Orton has got nothing going on. Miz would probably go somewhere else under a mask at this point. Sheamus v. David Otunga Otunga gets a cheapshot on the apron to take control and gets a shoulderblock for two. Once again he stops to pose, and Sheamus destroys him with the White Noise and brogue kick at 2:42. Just a squash. Brodus Clay v. Big Show I want to also point out that having Clay introduce his own valets is really stupid. So suddenly they’re playing up Clay’s 22-0 record after never mentioning it, so he’s jobbing here. Nope, instead it’s no match, as Show Tells It Like It Is and talks about what a talentless clown Clay is turning into, then spears him on the floor and beats the hell out of him. And Kofi & Truth try to save, so Show beats the hell out of them, too. I normally approve of this sort of thing, but I just have no interest in seeing Big Show getting the push. The Pulse Not a terrible outing, but as noted it’s just building to a match that I have zero interest in seeing in any form. And it’s a match that we’re getting for the next few months, I’d bet. UFC was a hell of a show on Saturday, though. I’d recommend ordering the replay instead of watching this.

Rock Star Gary Reviews RAW is Owen

WWF RAW IS OWEN By Rock Star Gary Live from St. Louis, MO Airdate: May 24, 1999 Hosted by Jim Ross (JR) and Jerry “the King” Lawler JR opens the show by pointing out that all the WWF Superstars are by the curtain and on the entrance ramp to pay tribute to the late Owen Hart. Vince, Linda, and Stephanie McMahon are shown prominently in the front. Crowd chants for Owen. Howard Finkel asks the audience to rise and join the WWF Superstars “to pay our respects to Owen Hart” for a ceremonial 10 bell salute. Tears run down the face of Mark Henry. Jarrett is also shown weeping. Finkel then directs everyone to watch the Titantron for a video tribute to Owen. Vince McMahon narrates footage that truly depicts Owen Hart as a special performer and person who will be missed greatly by everyone. JR then introduces us to “one of the most unique broadcasts ever in the genre of sports entertainment here tonight”. The show will be a 2-hour tribute to the life of Owen Hart. Along with 10 unique match-ups there will be sentiments shown between the matches of the WWF Superstars and how Owen impacted their lives and careers. Mick Foley offers his sentiments to his friend Owen. He states that Owen was his son Dewey’s favorite wrestler. The “Nugget” chant was loved by Mick’s children. Mick mentions that Owen talked about his family quite often. Bradshaw then discusses Owen’s penchant for being “cheap on the road”. Bradshaw also notes the reason he did that was because he wanted to retire early and spend time with his family. Match 1: Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra) versus Test Before Jarrett’s opponent can be introduced he lets us know that Owen never was a “nugget”. Test makes his way out and the contest starts right away. Jarrett drops his leg over the back of Test’s neck across the ropes then struts. To the corner Test hits boot on a blind charge but then Jarrett walks right into boot to the face. Test lifts Jarrett into a fireman’s carry and drops him face-first. Sidewalk slam puts Jarrett on the mat. Debra walks up the steel steps wearing a pink dress suit. The crowd begins to chant for “puppies”. Test then slams Jarrett and heads to the top rope. Unfortunately for him he jumps directly into a boot from Jarrett. Shoulder-first DDT by Jarrett takes Test down. In retaliation Test delivers a clothesline and then a powerbomb for a near fall. Debra is now up on the apron. She opens her top to reveal a sexy white bra to distract Test. Test falls for it and gets slapped. Jarrett then delivers the Stroke. Instead of going for the pin he puts Test in the sharpshooter in memory of Owen. Test taps out! Owen’s sharpshooter was an excellent gesture by Jarrett here. Test shows a lot of promise in this match. Jarrett, Test, and Debra all wore armbands in memory of Owen. Mark Henry recites a poem he wrote for Owen. He states that when Owen died it felt like “hands around my throat”. His poem supposedly was titled “Burn When You Cry”. Droz offers his thoughts. He believes that Owen lifts people’s spirits either at his own or someone else’s expense with his practical jokes. While Henry’s tone was very somber Droz’s tone is upbeat because he’ll always remember Owen as a “great guy”. Match 2 for the WWF tag team titles: X-Pac and Kane (champions) versus The Brood X-Pac wears the armband here as does Edge. JR compares The Brood to the Freebirds as a trio acting as a tag team only. Edge and X-Pac start off. Similar to last night JR notes that all the competitors in the match are in their 20s. It really was a dig at WCW for showcasing wrestlers in their 40s such as Piper and Flair. Shoulderblock by Edge leads to a spinning heel kick to put X-Pac down. Fast-paced action by both athletes sends Edge to the canvas after he receives a heel kick. X-Pac celebrates with a crotch chop and tags in Gangrel. Kane tags in but gets double-DDTed by The Brood. He no-sells and gives a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to Edge and a high back bodydrop to Gangrel. Christian comes in and receives a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for his troubles. X-Pac tags in and lands a series of kicks to Edge in his corner. However, he gets knocked to the outside where Gangrel and Christian double-team him. They throw him back in. Edge misses a blind corner splash and receives an enziguri to send him into the middle of next week. Tags are made by both teams. Kane hits Gangrel with a flying clothesline from the top rope! He then boots Edge and Gangrel to the face. Clothesline to Edge leads to X-Pac’s Bronco Buster! In the meantime Kane chokeslams Gangrel. Kane then lifts X-Pac up and splashes Gangrel for the pin! While the finish was their own the heel kicks and enziguri were nice nods to Owen. The tandem double-team finish was entertaining as well. HHH and Chyna take their turns to discuss Owen. Chyna remembers Owen for making people laugh. HHH appears to be very heartbroken. He states: “In a business where you often see the people’s personalites we’re like a family…Owen was always one that was at his best.” HHH tells us at the Royal Rumble Owen was the only guy tough enough to schoolboy and backslide him and not allow him to get free. Owen will always have a place in HHH’s heart and be his friend. He loves and will never forget Owen. Dave Hebner joins us and tells us that Owen always wanted to make sure everyone had a great day. Owen was a caring and giving man to others. According to Dave as a gag “He’d (Owen) tie my shoes together when I went down for the count.” Match 3: The Hardy Boyz (with Michael Hayes) versus Taka Michinoku and Sho Funaki I’ll try my best to keep up with this since it’s definitely going to be fast-paced. All four competitors are wearing the Owen black armband as well as Michael Hayes. Matt starts the match off with a suplex to Funaki. After a missed clothesline Matt receives a flying forearm. Taka tags in. He delivers a spinebuster to Matt. Funaki holds Matt in a camel clutch while Taka dropkicks Matt directly in the face! A tornado DDT is telegraphed by Taka. Jeff tags in and hits a senton to Taka on the floor! The Hardyz then deliver a Whisper in the Wind to Taka. A double-team maneuver lands Taka on his face. Jeff then misses a corkscrew moonsault off the top. Taka applies the Michinoku Driver to Jeff. Both teams tag out. Funaki hits each Hardy with a dropkick. Clothesline by Matt sends both men outside. Hayes grabs Funaki and whips him into a Jeff Hardy dropkick! Taka also seeks some frequent flyer miles and leaps from the top rope onto everyone! Funaki and Matt re-enter the ring. Matt delivers the Twist of Fate to Funaki for the pin! The Hardy Boyz were definitely on the upswing of their careers here. If only they could keep their heads on straight. Bruce Pritchard gives us his thoughts on Owen. He refers to Owen as a “great practical joker and a tremendous performer in the ring.” Dustin Runnels credits Owen as a great family man. He relates a funny story about Harley Race. Owen put an entire bottle of hot sauce in Harley’s chili when he wasn’t looking. Harley gets so mad that he broke out his stun gun for Owen. Match 4: Hardcore Holly versus Ken Shamrock Add Holly to the list of wrestlers wearing an Owen armband. Shamrock and Holly start off with some mat wrestling which leads to a very nice Northern Lights suplex from Shamrock! He hits a heel kick and then a huracanrana to Holly! Shamrock immediately takes him down and applies the anklelock. Holly taps out! Very quick match. Shamrock showcased himself well here. Faarooq says that he’ll miss Owen a lot. Test relates a story about the boys in Chicago a few months ago doing a double-shot . The first show was cancelled due to bad weather so the guys had to wait at the hotel to find out if they had to work the second show. Test receives a phone call from the local promoter. By the end of the call the promoter says “he’ll tell them that Test said to cancel the show”. Test didn’t find out about it until this morning that it was Owen who had called him. Great prank. Horrible timing on the discovery however. Match 5: “Mr. Ass” versus Mankind Chalk up Billy Gunn as an armband wearer. Billy incites the crowd by saying: “If you’re not down with Owen Hart, I got two words for ya!” The crowd obliges with the normal response. JR relates a story where Owen stole his hat before a TV taping. Crowd chants for Foley. After some fists are exchanged Mankind backdrops Gunn and clotheslines him out of the ring. Mankind follows him and introduces Gunn’s face to the steel steps. Back in the ring Gunn dropkicks Mankind on the knee. He works the knee on the ropes then clips Mankind. Next he grabs a chair from ringside, but in the ring Mankind preps Mr. Socko. Gunn gets on the apron and is forced to eat Mr. Socko. Gunn gets counted out! Mick then gives a “Whoo!” for Owen after the match. While the slow burn for “Mr. Ass” continues the star of the match really was Mick. Jeff Jarrett mentions that in this business there are a lot of acquaintances but very few friends. On the verge of tears he calls Owen his friend. When he thinks of Owen he thinks of integrity. He calls Owen a “man’s man”. Owen made coming to work fun for Jeff. In a feature taped earlier today at an undetermined outdoor location Michael Cole talks about the matchup between The Rock and HHH at Over The Edge last night. After some highlights Cole discusses the WWF title match. Highlights of that match are then shown. Considering there was no replay to sell showing highlights of the two main matches including the finishes was a kind gesture to the WWF audience. Edge offers his feelings on Owen. He refers to Owen as the “leader of a Canadian mafia” when it came to the boys. He felt honored that he wrestled Owen in his last match in Chicago. Match 6: D’Lo Brown and Sexual Chocolate Mark Henry (w/ Ivory) versus The Acolytes Everyone in the match, including Ivory, wears the Owen armband. Faarooq and Henry start off. To try to take Henry off his feet Faarooq tries a standing shoulderblock, leg kicks, and then a running shoulderblock. He charges Henry but gets caught with a powerslam. D’Lo tags in but immediately gets a jawbreaker. Bradshaw tags in and works over D’Lo with kicks, right hands, and chops along with a corner clothesline. He tosses D’Lo to the outside where Faarooq introduces D’Lo to the steel steps face-first. Back in Bradshaw delivers a Russian legsweep. Faarooq tags in, but D’Lo takes over to give Faarooq his patented standing legdrop. Farooq gives D’Lo the DDT. After a tag Bradshaw levels D’Lo with a running shoulderblock. Another tag-in by Faarooq but D’Lo delivers a heel kick to him. Tags are exchanged on both sides. Henry takes over with a shoulderblock and two clotheslines! Double team shoulderblock by the Acolytes puts Henry down again. However, D’Lo got the blind tag. The Acolytes then double-team D’Lo with a belly-to-back suplex neckbreaker combo. Henry makes the save. In a unique twist heel miscommunication by the Acolytes leads to a rollup by D’Lo on Bradshaw for the pin! Upset victory here, but Faarooq and Bradshaw truly carried this match. Pat Patterson thanks Owen for being a great person. Hardcore Holly relates that in Mobile, AL Owen kindly put Holly over in a match. Match 7: Road Dogg versus WWF Intercontinental Champion The Godfather (w/ ho’s) Road Dogg enters the ring wearing the Owen armband and welcomes the crowd with his catchphrases and his spiel the crowd knows well. According to Road Dogg “You know who I am. It ain’t about me. It’s about the King of Harts this evening.” Godfather brings out some of St. Louis’ “finest”. Godfather hits his catchphrases to the crowd’s approval. JR reveals an embarassing pool prank that Owen pulled on him on the WWF Wrestle Vessel. Godfather grabs the mic and offers Road Dogg to join him and the ho’s to “light it up all night long”. Crowd voices their approval. Road Dogg replies “Why don’t you and I go burn one and tell some Owen stories?” They leave the ring simultaneously after that. Paul Bearer in his normal non-high-pitched voice wishes farewell to Owen. X-Pac calls Owen “the funniest guy I’ve ever met”. He then offers a prayer to his wife and 2 children. Match 8: WWF Hardcore Champion Al Snow (w/ Head) versus HHH (w/ Chyna) Considering what HHH did to the Rock last night I wouldn’t want to be Al Snow this evening. Both men and Chyna wear the armband. They hit the ropes and Snow gives HHH a spinning heel kick. He knocks HHH out of the ring then executes a baseball slide. Back in the ring Snow flips over HHH but gets a high knee for his troubles. HHH works him over and when Snow gets close to the ropes Chyna wallops him! HHH delivers a vertical suplex and drops the knee to the forehead. Snow gets whipped to the turnbuckle, applies the brakes, and clotheslines HHH. Snow then headbutts HHH while holding his arms. HHH flops face-first. Even JR has to give the nod to Flair on that one although not by name. Snow then backdrops HHH coming off the ropes. After a body slam Snow mounts the top turnbuckle but misses the moonsault. A Pedigree finishes Al’s night. While Snow was over with the crowd HHH continues his push although less violent than last night. Road Dogg is having a tough time expressing himself but offers his prayers to Owen’s family. Gerald Brisco empathizes with Owen as the younger brother of a superstar. He thanks Owen for being a consummate professional and all the great memories. Match 9: Big Show versus Goldust (w/ Blue Meanie) A svelte Big Show (w/ ponytail and armband) leaps over the top rope. Goldust pushes Blue Meanie (also with an armband) into Big Show. Meanie tries to make a dent in the giant to no avail. Big Show attempts to give Meanie the showstopper but Goldust lowblows him. Double team clothesline misses and Big Show launches himself to clothesline both Meanie and Goldust. He then hoists Goldust high in the air and gives him the showstopper! Meanie gets one of his own as well! Big Show covers both men for the pin! Boiled squash with a side of fried squash, anyone? Physically Big Show looked really good as well as agile. Debra states that “the world has lost a really great person”. Owen “touched my life and brightened my day”. She begins to blubber and expresses denial about Owen. She felt honored to work with him. Shane McMahon relates a story about pulling a prank on Owen in Chicago with Bret. They tackle him after he’s already gone to sleep. Subsequently Bret’s boots are missing in the morning while Shane’s stuff ends up in the shower. He wishes Godspeed to his family. Match 10: Val Venis versus The Rock Val joins the list of Owen armband wearers. The Rock gets a big pop upon his entrance. The Rock sports another cast on his left arm. “Finally The Rock has come back to St. Louis!” After a brief mention of Owen the Rock hits his catchphrases with the crowd completing his sentence. “Owen, this is your night. And, damn it, you know The Rock loved you like no other.” He dedicates The People’s Elbow to Owen. Val starts working on the arm; however, Rock delivers the Rock Bottom in an instant thereafter. The People’s Elbow gets the pin! Very short match proving that The Rock truly was a superstar. Also wearing an armband JR gives his farewell to Owen stating he wishes he “could be as good a man as him so that I can see him again someday”. Even I choked up on that one. Lawler then mentions holding Owen’s head last night and learns to “never leave home without telling the people you love what you think of them”. JR is truly choked up. The glass breaks and here comes Stone Cold Steve Austin! The crowd ERUPTS! Steve receives a couple of Steveweisers from ringside. A picture of Owen is on the Titantron stating “In Memory of Owen Hart 1965-1999”. Austin toasts and salutes Owen with his beer. Purposefully he leaves a cold one for Owen in the center of the ring. Well, if people thought the WWF was heartless last night for continuing the show they got a whole lot of heart from the WWF tonight. Overall 23 WWF Superstars including managers and valets wore the Owen armband. This was truly an epic night in remembrance of Owen. Ten matches with no DQs in an era where DQs were the norm was a breath of fresh air. But it was all in Owen’s honor. Although this show is extremely sad in its tone I would recommend it to each and every wrestling fan that hasn’t seen it. Show biz isn’t always pretty, but when a man like Owen Hart touches all the people around him like this you must be thankful and remember him always. Grab your loved ones and a box of tissues and enjoy this one, folks. You won’t regret it.