Monday Nitro – November 4, 1996

Monday Nitro #60
Date: November 4, 1996
Location: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Attendance: 7,568
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re into November now and World War 3 is in three weeks. Well 20 days but you get the idea. Ok so it’s really 15 years ago plus a few months but we’ll be here all day if we get into that. Anyway after last week, there’s not much to go on so hopefully we really get things going tonight. Let’s get to it.

Sting is in the rafters. DiBiase, Vincent and Giant are in the crowd and looking up at him.

Tonight we start a tournament for the new WCW Women’s Title.

Eric isn’t here tonight, but rather in Portland trying to get Piper to sign a contract. Remember that. It becomes REAL important in a few weeks.

We get a clip from Havoc where Piper yells at Hogan. Tony says the fans have demanded it, including over the internet. Tonight a word is promised about the signing.

Marcus Bagwell vs. Brad Armstrong

Sting leaves before the match starts. Man even he hates Buff. Riggs it at ringside too. Random question but where have the Steiners been? Are they still out from the car wreck thing? Bagwell does the clap thing and to his credit, the crowd is doing it with him. Technical match for the most part as they’re on the mat a lot. One thing that’s unrelated to the match: there are fans in the front row leaning over people (nice guys) to try to see themselves on a screen. I guess there are monitors or something by the entrance. That helps a lot as far as the videos they play.

We take a break (in the opener? Between Bagwell and Armstrong?) and come back to Armstrong hitting some armdrags (with his strong arms I guess) to frustrate Bagwell. Bagwell hits him in the face and the brawl is on. The fans are getting into this too. A dropkick puts Bagwell down and he gets tossed to the floor. Bagwell does just the same, hitting a dropkick and a clothesline to put Armstrong on the floor. There’s a dive to the floor and Brad is in trouble.

The NWO is in the crowd. They seem to be in the same place we saw them earlier so presumably they’ve been there the entire time. Why we’re looking at them and should be surprised to see them eludes me but a lot of what WCW did eluded me. Ok now they’re leaving. A tornado DDT gets two for Armstrong. There’s a gutbuster for Bagwell and what looked to be a forearm to put Armstrong down. We get the same ending from Fall Brawl 95 with Johnny B. Badd vs. Pillman where they both hit cross bodies and Bagwell lands on top for the pin.

Rating: C+. Marcus Bagwell vs. Brad Armstrong got 15 minutes and a commercial on Nitro and IT WAS GOOD. I’m in an alternate universe here. Brad was almost always at least watchable but Bagwell was a tag team guy and the same wrestler he was five years earlier, so why in the world did this get so much time? I’m not sure but it worked pretty well.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Ice Train

We’re reminded of the NWO watching Page last week. Page whispered something to Nick Patrick before this starts. The NWO (Outsiders) are in the crowd watching again. Train easily overpowers Page to start and knocks him to the floor. Page is starting to look a lot like he would during his main run. The Outsiders leave. Page guillotines him on the top and hits a top rope clothesline to take over.

Tony says Teddy has become a role model for young people all over the world. I can see the tag team matches being made on playgrounds all over the world. Sunset flip (and a bad one at that) gets two for Train. Larry says Piper vs. Hogan would be the biggest match of the 20th century. I never thought I’d say this, but Larry has been in bigger matches than that would be. Pancake puts Train down for two.

Swinging neckbreaker gets the same and a huge kickout, sending Page onto Patrick. A powerslam and two splashes get a slow two. Page gets knocked to the floor when the Outsiders come in and destroy Train with the title belts. Patrick is on the floor with Page. The champs leave and the Cutter ends this.

Rating: D+. This was more angle than match, which is something you can usually say about Teddy Long’s clients’ matches. It’s cool to see the Outsiders doing something to pull someone up and it certainly worked with Page. Was there a kayfabe reason why Patrick never went on medical leave? I never got that.

Cruiserweight Title: Dean Malenko vs. Scotty Riggs

Dean vs. Psicosis is announced for the PPV. The bell never rings so technically this is just a big prematch exhibition. Riggs has a bad shoulder coming in. Tony: “Well he’s trying to win. That’s a good sign.” Well what else would he be there for? A pottery class? Syxx pops up in the crowd as Riggs hits the post shoulder first. Riggs doesn’t seem to mind as he turns on the jets and sends Dean to the floor. There’s a plancha and back in a top rope double axe gets two. Scotty goes up again but Dean falls against the ropes and Riggs crashes onto the apron. Bagwell throws him back in and Dean gets an easy pin.

Rating: C. Not a bad match here and it foreshadows the troubles that the Males would have. Ok so maybe foreshadows is too big of a word given that they would only last like 3 weeks but you get the idea. Dean looked good here as did Riggs, and that ending fall looked awesome and painful at the same time. Decent little match.

We get a clip from last week with Mongo helping steal a win for Benoit.

Hector Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit

Hector is Eddie’s older brother and possibly even more talented. He’s also a dead ringer for Eddie if you just glance at him. I’ve often gotten them confused until I took a good look. Flair has had his surgery and Anderson is out with a back injury. On Saturday, Benoit said Sullivan is no longer the man he used to be. Sullivan pops up and says he’ll hurt Benoit in Baltimore. He’s actually talking about a house show.

Hector speeds things up and hits almost a Vader Bomb from the top rope out to the floor onto a standing Benoit. Benoit’s shoulder is still taped up. Hector works on the arm and mixes up the attack on it, because Hector Guerrero is smarter than most wrestlers. He goes to take the tape off and we take a break. After an NWO t-shirt ad, we come back to Benoit hitting a knee to put Guerrero down.

He draped Hector over the top rope with a release suplex and Guerrero is in trouble. Benoit works over the ribs and hooks an awkward abdominal stretch. Hector is basically crouched down and Benoit is bending over. Benoit hammers him down as Tony hypes up how amazing the second hour is. There’s the explosion. Hector grabs a small package for two. Guerrero speeds things up and uses a rolling tumbleweed style cradle for two. Woman breaks it up which isn’t a DQ. Benoit grabs a rollup via the distraction and uses the ropes for the pin.

Rating: C+. Another long match which again works. Benoit could move better this week which is a nice perk. Hector wouldn’t be around that much I don’t think so this was really just to avenge Eddie I guess. Nothing that great but they were moving well out there and the psychology worked so big points for that.

We look at Giant and Jarrett from last week. The Horsemen and Jarrett are in the aisle and Jeff says he’s the lead horse right now. Was he ever officially inducted? Benoit protests and says business pertaining to the Horsemen will be dealt with by a Horseman. Jarrett talks about getting WCW together as Sting watches. He just kind of goes on and on while we look at Sting.

The announcers talk about Sting.

Lee Marshall is in Florida for next week’s Nitro.

WCW Women’s Title Tournament First Round: Reina Jubuki vs. Madusa

Jubuki is Akiri Hokuto under a mask. Reina takes over quickly to start and chokes Madusa down. Another female Japanese wrestler comes out and watches. Her name is Zero apparently. Sonny Onoo rants like a heel Japanese man would in pro wrestling. Madusa hits something like what we would call the Stratusphere but Jubuki hits a release suplex and missile dropkick for two. The American grabs a quick German to pin the Japanese for the win. Too short to rate but it was way better than most modern female matches.

Michael Wallstreet vs. Chris Jericho

Wallstreet takes it to the mat quickly but Jericho works on the arm and then grabs a headlock. He tries to speed things up and Wallstreet fires him through the ropes. Tony calls the attorney of Nick Patrick a Schyster. I have a feeling there was a wink in there somewhere. Wallstreet pounds away as the announcers debate what the name Lionheart means.

Off to a chinlock and after awhile we look at the crowd. I can’t say I blame them as things got really boring all of a sudden there. Jericho comes back to break up the boring chants which were coming quickly. Missile dropkick sends Wallstreet out to the floor. Jericho gets sent into the post but as they come back in he grabs a quick small package for the pin.

Rating: D+. Nothing special here at all but they didn’t have much to go on. Jericho needed the ring time at this point and putting him in there with a veteran like Wallstreet was a good idea. This wasn’t all that bad but it’s nothing interesting at all. Basically just a way to make sure people remember who Jericho is.

Patrick and his attorney are here again and Jericho says there’s nothing wrong with the neck and that Patrick works for the NWO. Somehow this turns into an argument about Jericho’s dad playing in the NHL. Teddy comes out to yell at Patrick too. The attorney brings up Teddy being suspended while he was a referee like 8 years ago. Jericho cuts him off and says that’s the past, what Patrick is doing today.

We get a video from last week with Luger chasing after Sting to end the match with Booker.

Lex Luger vs. Booker T

Before the match we get an inset promo from Luger saying he’ll be waiting for Sting whenever he’s ready to talk. Luger grabs a delayed vertical suplex to start and seems to be more focused than he was last week. An elbow puts Booker on the floor and we take a break. Tony promises that if anything happens during the break, we’ll see it on replay. There’s no replay, so I guess we can assume that they just stayed in the same place during the break.

Powerslam gets two for Lex. Booker grabs a release Stun Gun to take over. Lex gets thrown to the floor where he takes a kick to the ribs from Sherri. Booker works on the back out on the floor. Back in the ring a hooking kick puts Luger down again. Side kick results in Booker crotching himself and Lex makes his comeback. He hits a powerslam and calls for the Rack but Booker grabs the rope. There’s a side kick to take Luger down and Colonel Parker is here to hug Sherri. An enziguri puts Lex down but Parker gets on the apron for some reason. Booker yells at him so Luger rolls him up for the pin.

Rating: D. This was a chore to sit through. The problem basically was that I don’t think anyone thought Booker was going to get a decisive win here so it was just kind of waiting around until the end of the match. That’s a very boring kind of match to watch and I stopped this whenever I could to do ANYTHING else. It wasn’t bad but it was very uninteresting.

Sting is still watching.

Eric Bischoff calls in and says that things are going well with him and Piper, but there’s no match signed, due to attorneys and agents interfering. He won’t say what’s wrong but he’s going to talk to Piper in Toronto next week. This goes on for awhile. Remember this segment. It becomes very important later.

Remember last week where we saw part of the Hogan vs. Piper showdown from Halloween Havoc but it was clipped for time? Well here’s the FULL version! That eats up ten minutes.

Here’s the NWO to end the show. Hogan demands a spotlight so he feels like he’s in California. Here’s a clip from Santa With Muscles, as we’re actually playing the “my B-movie is better than YOUR B-movie” game between Piper and Hogan. Hogan, as Santa, beats up some goons/thieves in a mall. Back in the arena, Hogan talks about the Cable Ace Awards or something and threatens to come to the ceremony and steal Ted Turner’s award. Is there a point to this at all? Hogan says Piper is scared and hiding out with Savage somewhere. He poses to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. Well it was better than last week due to the matches and wrestling being a lot better, but at the same time, nothing happened here. That’s the problem with having a main event like the big battle royal as everyone of note is in there and there might be a few other matches on there, most of which are just midcard matches. Things pick up speed soon enough though.

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Nightmare Matches

Okay I’d love to hear your answer to this My friend was asking me:  Worst possible dream match of all time? My answer:  Giant Gonzales circa 1993 VS Scott Steiner 2003 Can you top that?  I have a feeling you’ll blow me away

Steiner in 2003 was at least still capable of working a match.  How about Heidenreich v. Snitsky, a dream match we damn near almost got? 

Once In A Lifetime, Except For The Rematch

Hi Scott,
In my most recent pop culture article for Collective Publishing, I look at the “once in a lifetime” main event of John Cena vs. The Rock. The hype for this match has been attracting fans that left years ago and has created some buzz for WWE.  I am sure the event will rake in tons of money.  My article looks at what the prospects are for this match kickstarting yet another “wrestling boom period.”  The article is written for people who don’t watch wrestling, and so it does a lot of explaining that your readers may find excessive.  I still think it is an article they’ll enjoy and find worth checking out.

I honestly don’t think it’s created that much buzz or brought back lapsed fans or anything.  Speaking as a lapsed fan with friends who are lapsed fans, the Summer of Punk did way more to generate interest in that group, to the point where I actually talked people into buying Money in the Bank.  This year I’m into Wrestlemania, but none of this would have made me start watching RAW again if I wasn’t already. 

Welcome to the new blog!

If you’re reading this, then the DNS has successfully redirected for you, so just continue going to rspwfaq.com and it’ll redirect here automatically and then go back to the original site on Tuesday sometime.  I went with Blogspot over LJ because this offers a lot more ease in posting and changing the layout and it loads a hell of a lot faster too.  Plus I can use Disqus here, which I can’t with Livejournal.  As noted, this is just a temporary change so that Wrestlemania doesn’t bring the WordPress server crashing into the ocean.  

The First Montreal Question Of The New Blog!

Hey Scott,
Watching the Hart/Michaels rivalry DVD, there’s a point where Bret mentions he had already worked well beyond his contractually-obligated dates and could have legally told Vince to take his PPV and shove it, but didn’t out of good faith (or something, can’t remember exactly why he said he didn’t end up doing that).
It’s the first I’ve ever heard of this and, if true, doesn’t it give him all the leverage in the world (not even mentioning the creative control clause) to dictate, at least partially, how he wanted to go out? Would he have been black-balled in the business for no-showing, especially in Bret’s alleged case where he had already satisfied the terms of his contract and, throughout the years in general, was typically one of the true iron men when it came to working an insane number of dates?
Just curious as to your thoughts on that comment in general since, like I said, I’d never heard that part of it brought up by anyone before, but it seems to possibly paint Bret in a bit of a better light in hindsight.

Well, here’s the tricky thing with that particular contract dispute.  Yes, Bret had creative control over his character, and yes, Bret was only obligated to work a certain number of dates and thus had a huge amount of leverage.  However, you’ll recall that Bret punched Vince in the face after the events went down, which meant that Vince had a very solid case for assault and they would have spent the next millennium tied up in court counter-suing each other, and in the end both decided that the Mexican standoff wasn’t worth pursuing.  Would he have been blackballed?  Doubtful, he was already going to WCW, it’s not like Vince could resent him any more.  People have done WAY worse and gotten back in Vince’s good graces sooner.

Rock/Austin

Hey Scott, Not sure if you have had a chance to see the new Rock and Austin DVDs but I think you will be really impressed with the documentary portions. I used to work in TV Production (nbc sports, mlb network to name a few places) and stylistically speaking these two releases have to be the very best they have ever done from a production stand point. For one thing, they let the interviews breathe a little more, with no music in the background while people are talking. The graphics aren’t over the top (Sadly we don’t get the territories map they love to use in EVERY dvd project) but it’s just a very simple font to indicate the dates of certain matches. And more than anything there is no filler. They hit every monumental point in their respective careers and let the interviews speak for themselves, there isn’t even much voice over work just insustry experts talking about the careers of Rock and Austin. Looking forward to your review if you end up doing one, I do wish the match selection was better but both have had so many releases previously what can ya’ do you know?

Most importantly, does Brooklyn Brawler have a talking head segment in both DVDs?  Apparently for the Rock/Cena hype show they just recycled the Rock DVD footage, so it must have been pretty damn good. 

Betting on WM?

http://www.oddschecker.com/specials/other-specials/wrestlemania-xxviii/
Scott,
Have you any thoughts on the uk bookmaker odds (as shown in link) for the matches at wrestlemania, i know you have spoken before about the money made by WWE employees when Chris Jericho became undisputed champion; with the only possible value bet being Triple H at 13/2 to beat the Undertaker – is there any chance of this happening? or is there anything other match worth considering?
Match results can be accumlated together – Maybe all the faces to go over as you always hope for.  Works out about 6/1 if you count John Cena as the good guy, 7/1 if you use the Rock instead – along with Sheamus, Randy Orton, Undertaker, Big Show and CMPunk.

People who bet on pro wrestling get what they deserve, as do the people who TAKE bets on pro wrestling.

That being said, I have no idea how to interpret any of that stuff.  But no, there’s no chance of HHH beating Undertaker.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 27

The SmarK Rant for WWE Wrestlemania 27
(2012 Scott sez: Oh, wait, this is 2012 Scott. Never mind.)
Live from Atlanta, GA.
Your host is THE ROCK. Plus Josh Matthews & Jerry Lawler & Michael Cole, who is trapped in a GLASS CASE OF EMOTION.
Smackdown World title: Edge v. Alberto Del Rio
Edge has Christian with him, and ADR has pre-Funkasaurus Brodus Clay, which is kind of a weird role to see him in now. They slug it out to start and Del Rio goes to the arm right away, but Edge dumps him. He charges and runs into the railing, allowing Alberto to further beat on the arm, and back in for two. Del Rio chokes away on the ropes and pounds the arm again for two. To the armbar, but he misses a blind charge and hits the floor, allowing Edge to follow with a flip dive. That had to be killing him. Back in, Del Rio brings him in with a top rope armdrag for two. Edge comes back with a leg lariat as this thing is not clicking in the least. Edge with the flapjack for two, but Del Rio goes back to the arm and tries the cross-armbreaker, but Edge counters into the Edge-O-Matic for two. They trade rollup attempts and Del Rio rolls into the armbreaker, but Edge makes the ropes. Edge to the top, but Del Rio brings him down with an enzuigiri for two. Christian brawls with Brodus to kick off a feud that went nowhere, and Edge cradles for two. Impaler sets up the spear, but it misses and Del Rio gets the armbreaker, which should have been the finish. Edge fights through and cradles for two, however, and gets his Cloverleaf thing. Spear finishes at 11:14. Pretty blah opener, especially for a World title match, although obviously we now know the circumstances behind it. **1/2 Clearly the finish should have been Del Rio tapping him out to the armbar and then going on to drop the belt to Randy Orton after Extreme Rules, because this way Del Rio never got any momentum behind his main event push. And really, Edge’s offense is much more suited to a big stadium atmosphere than Del Rio’s arm work was, which also caused the match to suffer. Edge and Christian, sore winners, get revenge for winning by wrecking ADR’s car with crowbars. What did he do to warrant that? There’s offbeat shenanigans and then there’s outright vandalism!
Cody Rhodes v. Rey Mysterio
It’s Captain America for Rey this year. And of course this is the blowoff for Cody’s Dr. Doom gimmick, which lasted a surprising amount of time and did very well for him. Rey gets a rana from the top right away, but Cody puts him down and pounds him in the corner. Disaster kick gets two back before it was a finish for him. Rey with a flying headscissor attempt, but Cody reverses into the Alabama Slam for two. He chokes Rey out and goes to a nerve pinch, and they head to the top for a rare delayed superplex from Rhodes. That’s something you don’t see every day. He goes for Crossroads to finish, but Rey dumps him to give us TWO Michael Cole-isms at once: “Building momentum” and “Creating separation”. Back in, Rey with a pinning combo for two. Rey tries the Rube Goldberg bulldog, but Cody counters into a suplex for two. Rey sets up for the 619, but Cody catches him and gets the catapult for two. He pulls Rey’s knee brace off, but that allows Rey to recover with a moonsault for two. Rey removes Cody’s mask in response, and hits the 619 to the NAKED FACE, but the flying splash hits knee. Rey puts on the evil mask himself (although judging by his past problems with masks at WM, this might be a mistake) and gets a diving headbutt for two. The Atlanta crowd now gets behind Cody, who retrieves Rey’s kneebrace in a nice tit-for-tat moment, waffles him with it, and finishes with Crossroads at 12:00. That was a clever finish that was actually explained well by the announcers for once. I heartily endorse this event or product! ***1/4
Meanwhile, Teddy Long and Snoop Dogg audition various doofuses, leading to Roddy Piper laying out Zack Ryder while singing “Friday” and Hornswoggle rapping. Well this was certainly a use of time.
Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Ezekial Jackson & Wade Barrett v. Big Show, Kane, Santino & Kofi Kingston
AKA the “Get a bunch of people a payday match”. Amazingly, Slater & Gabriel were the tag champions just a year ago, and Barrett was the IC champion. The guys trade finishers to start and Show punches out Slater for the pin at 1:33. And that’s that. That kind of goes against Cody Rhodes’ argument about Show not winning at Wrestlemania. ½*
Meanwhile, The Rock runs into Mae Young, Eve Torres and Steve Austin.
Randy Orton v. CM Punk
Punk cost Orton the WWE title at Royal Rumble, due to Orton punting Punk TWO YEARS BEFOREHAND. Now that’s a grudge! And they say chicks don’t let things go easily. They quickly brawl to the floor and Punk boots the stairs into Orton’s knee, then comes in with a flying bodypress for two. Punk works on the knee, but Orton comes back with a neckbreaker. Punk catches a high kick and does a sort of jawbreaker onto Orton’s knee, and that gets two. Orton is kinda way overselling the knee for 3 minutes into a match. Punk with the running knee for two, and he sets up for the GTS, but Orton fights out and tries the RKO. Punk manages to counter that with a high kick for two. Punk to the top again, but Orton brings him down via the crotch and sets up for a superplex, giving us a great look at a “Randy Orton Orange-O-Meter” sign. That man really is quite orange. Punk survives the superplex and rolls out, wrapping Orton’s knee around the post and getting a ringpost figure-four in the process. Back in, he goes back to the knee and here’s where the announcers should have been like “Orton is in pain with every offensive move he makes!” instead of 5 minutes ago. Punk controls with a leglock, but Orton fights out and gets the powerslam. Backdrop suplex gets two. Punk boots him down and snaps on the Anaconda Vice, but Orton rolls him into the ropes to break. From there it’s the draping DDT and he sets up for the RKO, but Punk is down for a while so he changes his mind and opts for the punt instead. The knee gives way on the run-up, however, which is an interesting twist, but he was just suckering Punk in. RKO is blocked by Punk and he slides out of the ring in a nice bit of wordless acting from both guys. Punk comes in with a flying clothesline, but that’s reversed into the RKO at 14:49. Would have worked better if he had punted Punk to end the feud, but this was a pretty great finish as is. ***1/2 I know this one didn’t get much love at the time, but I think removed a bit from the disappointment surrounding the show it was a really good match where they delivered the best they could. And really, Orton did some good goldbricking at the end there and Punk’s facials were tremendous. Of course, both guys would end up as World champions later in the year, too.
Meanwhile, Mean Gene meets with the Rock and introduces him to John Cena’s #1 fan, Pee Wee Herman. About as hilarious as it sounds, maybe even less.
Michael Cole v. Jerry Lawler
Steve Austin is of course the referee here as they cram in every overbooking trick they can. Cole hides out in the Cole Mine while Lawler beats up Jack Swagger and then runs Cole’s face into the plexiglass. Lawler kicks Cole’s ass for a while in the box and they head in to start the match for real, but Swagger attacks Lawler from behind. An anklelock allows Cole to take control right away and work on the ankle. Cole goes up for a Swaggerbomb, but then opts for one off the first rope instead, and that gets two. Cole looks ridiculous out there, but I guess that’s partly intentional. Although this is insanely long already for this kind of match. The crowd starts a “boring” chant as Cole pulls down a strap and applies an anklelock, but Lawler fights that off without breaking a sweat. Lawler stomps a mudhole, prompting Swagger to throw in the towel, but Austin wants none of that. Swagger DEMANDS that the match be stopped, and that earns him a stunner. Cole pleads with Steve for his life, but Lawler makes his comeback and beats on him as this thing just keeps GOING. Lawler busts out the dropkick in honor of his Wrestlemania debut and goes up with the fistdrop for two. And he applies his own anklelock for the submission at 13:51. They gave this FIFTEEN MINUTES?!? Should have been 3 minutes, tops, with Cole getting his offense and Lawler laughing it off and beating the crap out of him to finish. Booker T leaves his announce position and gets a stunner afterwards, just because. BUT WAIT. It’s the Dusty Finish, as the Anonymous GM chimes in and reverses the decision to really kill this thing dead. -***
HHH v. Undertaker
I was listening to the year-end awards show on the Observer site, and Dave and Bryan were talking this up as even better than the Punk-Cena ***** classic from Chicago. HHH’s extended “For Whom The Bell Tolls” intro is pretty awesome, as is the Undertaker’s Johnny Cash theme. Probably cost a ton of money just for the entrances alone, though. HHH slugs away in the corner to start, but gets tossed and they brawl outside. Taker clears a table right away, but HHH spears him into the Cole Mine (now there’s a concept that thankfully died a quick death) and heads back in. They exchange fisticuffs again and Taker gets the flying clothesline, but HHH blocks the old school ropewalk and sends him to the floor. Into the railing, as the upside of only working once a year becomes evident. Hey, if you’ve got the financial security to be able to afford only match per year, you might as well leave it all on the table so to speak. HHH is already trying a Pedigree on the table, but Undertaker backdrops him to the floor instead. JR is worried about his internal organs, so you know it’s painful. The replays show that, yeah, HHH just took a flat-back bump off the table and onto the mat. Ouch.
HHH is standing, so Undertaker hits the annual Wrestlemania tope suicida, thankfully not killing himself this year. He sets up the stairs but can’t hit anything as we get more and more teases and setups, but he charges instead and HHH counters with a spinebuster through the Spanish table! Holy shit, they’re just letting it all hang out. Back in, Taker catches him with a chokeslam for two as JR is really talking up the end of the streak. UT wants the Last Ride, but HHH slugs out of it and then pounds him in the corner. Oh, that’s not smart, Cerebral Assassin. Taker indeed tries the powerbomb, but HHH escapes and sets up for the Pedigree, which Undertaker escapes, but HHH gets another spinebuster for two. That was a great sequence of two guys knowing each other. He grabs a chair, but Taker kicks it back in his face and then just UNLOADS with it. Safely on the back, I should note. However, he pauses for dramatic effect, and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE for two. HHH sets up for a superplex, but this time Taker does hit the Last Ride, and that gets two. Tombstone time, but even with the pose it only gets two. The chair is still around, so Taker picks up HHH and tries again, but this time it’s reversed into a DDT on the chair and both guys are out. They both pull themselves up on the ropes in a cool visual of two guys fighting through it to continue beating each other up, and HHH recovers first with the Pedigree for two. Kicking out of two Pedigrees? Is this guy CM Punk or something? And it’s a THIRD one for two. Holy cow.
HHH grabs the chair and goes all Steve Austin-at-WM17 on him, but Taker is old and stubborn and won’t stay down. So it’s a VICIOUS chair to the face, and UT got his hands up so fast that it looked unprotected. The crowd’s kinda freaking out a bit now because Taker is getting the BEATS put on him, and he can’t even do the zombie situp. HHH suggests, gently, that Undertaker stay down again, but Taker keeps fighting, so HHH resignedly gives him the famous tombstone…for two. If I was watching this live, I would have bet money that it was going to be the finish and the streak was over. So with all rational options exhausted, HHH gets the trusty sledgehammer to end it for good. However, HHH gets sucked into the gogoplata while trying to bash Taker’s head in. I hate it when that happens. HHH is equally stubborn and won’t tap, instead grabbing his hammer and threatening one last skull-bashing before finally dropping it and then tapping out at 28:54. It definitely wasn’t as good as Punk-Cena (one of the greatest matches of all-time), but it certainly wasn’t “two guys hitting finishers and then laying around” like others have accused. They were two guys who wanted to let it all hang out at Wrestlemania, with Undertaker stubbornly refusing to die (great choice of song to reflect that, even!) and HHH hitting everything he had and then letting his temper force himself into the one mistake that allowed the beaten Undertaker to win. I also the minimalist approach to it, as it gets portrayed as a brawl with a bunch of shortcuts, but it was really only one chair and one table and the rest was the in-ring finishers doing all the damage. Not something I’d want to watch over and over, but it was definitely something that deserved the viewing at least once. Not the Match of the Year by any means, but I’d call it a solid second place. ****1/2 The pace was slow, however, because Undertaker really is an aging and beat up old guy. So it’s obviously a very effective role for him to play during a match.
Dolph Ziggler, Layla & Michelle McCool v. John Morrison, Trish Stratus & Snooki
Man, Laycool just disappeared off the face of the earth, didn’t they? McCool, who looks about 90 pounds here, slugs it out with Trish to start and then counters the Matrix with a stomp to the gut. Trish reverses the Styles Clash into a facebuster, and tries the headstand headscissors, but ends up tumbling to the floor with Michelle instead. She keeps coming with a double clothesline onto Laycool and a rollup of McCool for two, then lays her out with the chick kick for two. Dolph brawls with JoMo, which leads to a Starship Pain on the floor, and Snooki comes in with a handspring elbow on McCool and a splash to finish at 3:48. Just time filler in a show that didn’t need any more filler, but nothing offensive. * Of course, this match ended up helping to seal Morrison’s fate, as he bitched on Twitter about how Melina should have been in Trish’s spot here and pretty much earned himself a pink slip.
WWE title: The Miz v. John Cena
You know, lost in the Miz’s fall from grace is the equally tragic plummeting of Alex Riley from main event manager of the WWE champion to modern day Superstars job guy. John Cena’s Wrestlemania entrance has now progressed to a full gospel choir. Test of strength to start and Cena goes to a headlock, but Miz stomps him down in the corner. Cena gets a gutwrench for two and MAN is this crowd dead now. Taker-HHH must have destroyed them. Miz with a DDT for two. Miz misses a charge and Cena goes up with the guillotine legdrop for two. But he misses his own charge and Miz takes over again with a boot for two. Another big boot gets two. Miz puts him on the apron and gets a kneelift for two as Cena is off on another world, which I believe turned out to be Cena knocking himself silly at some point early on. Cena comes back with the five knuckle shuffle, but Miz reverses the FU into a DDT for two. Miz undoes a turnbuckle, but Cena cradles for two and hooks the STFU. Miz quickly makes the ropes, but A-Ry runs Cena into the EXPOSED STEEL and Miz gets the Skull Crushing Finale for two. They sell it like a big near-fall, but the crowd just gives it a sarcastic “TWO!”. Another try, and now the ref is bumped, because that’s EXACTLY what this boring match needed. Riley lays out Cena with the briefcase and Miz gets two. Miz charges with the case and accidentally hits Riley, but Cena’s FU only gets two. That would have been a really flat finish anyway. They head outside and Cena clotheslines Miz into the crowd, then follows with a spear over the railing where he CRACKS his head on the floor. Oh man, that was scary. Both guys are out and it’s a double countout at 14:48. Well that’s just an awful finish. *1/2 However, The Rock is OUTRAGED at this bullshit and comes out to restart the match himself. So Cena tosses Miz back in, but Rock turns on him with a Rock Bottom and leaves, allowing Miz to get the pin and retain the title. I am just astonished at how badly this entire show was booked at times. And then Rock beats the crap out of Miz, too. And that’s Wrestlemania, ladies and gentlemen!
The Pulse
Holy crap, minus Undertaker-HHH that’s a pretty dire PPV, Wrestlemania or not. Traditionally one awesome match influences my rating upwards, but we’re in the digital age now and that awesome match is already on a “Best of 2011” DVD, so fuck this show. Strong recommendation to avoid and I’d put this one solidly in the bottom third of Wrestlemanias.

Blogger v. Livejournal?

Just wanted to throw out a quick poll before Wrestlemania weekend.  Of course there’s the old Livejournal site, rspwfaq.livejournal.com, which is fine but is driving me nuts because I can’t find a layout that I like yet.  So I set up a test Blogspot site as well, rspwfaq.blogspot.com, and it looks really nice and has the advantage of being pre-linked with all my other Google accounts.

So Blogspot v. Livejournal:  What’s the vote before it gets temporarily switched over tomorrow?

Edit to add:  By popular request, here’s Tumblr as well.  Even though I think I’m too old to actually get the point of tumblr.

Blogger v. Livejournal?

Just wanted to throw out a quick poll before Wrestlemania weekend.  Of course there’s the old Livejournal site, rspwfaq.livejournal.com, which is fine but is driving me nuts because I can’t find a layout that I like yet.  So I set up a test Blogspot site as well, rspwfaq.blogspot.com, and it looks really nice and has the advantage of being pre-linked with all my other Google accounts.

So Blogspot v. Livejournal:  What’s the vote before it gets temporarily switched over tomorrow?

Edit to add:  By popular request, here’s Tumblr as well.  Even though I think I’m too old to actually get the point of tumblr.

Blogger v. Livejournal?

Just wanted to throw out a quick poll before Wrestlemania weekend.  Of course there’s the old Livejournal site, rspwfaq.livejournal.com, which is fine but is driving me nuts because I can’t find a layout that I like yet.  So I set up a test Blogspot site as well, rspwfaq.blogspot.com, and it looks really nice and has the advantage of being pre-linked with all my other Google accounts.

So Blogspot v. Livejournal:  What’s the vote before it gets temporarily switched over tomorrow?

Edit to add:  By popular request, here’s Tumblr as well.  Even though I think I’m too old to actually get the point of tumblr.

Blogger v. Livejournal?

Just wanted to throw out a quick poll before Wrestlemania weekend.  Of course there’s the old Livejournal site, rspwfaq.livejournal.com, which is fine but is driving me nuts because I can’t find a layout that I like yet.  So I set up a test Blogspot site as well, rspwfaq.blogspot.com, and it looks really nice and has the advantage of being pre-linked with all my other Google accounts.

So Blogspot v. Livejournal:  What’s the vote before it gets temporarily switched over tomorrow?

Edit to add:  By popular request, here’s Tumblr as well.  Even though I think I’m too old to actually get the point of tumblr.

Blogger v. Livejournal?

Just wanted to throw out a quick poll before Wrestlemania weekend.  Of course there’s the old Livejournal site, rspwfaq.livejournal.com, which is fine but is driving me nuts because I can’t find a layout that I like yet.  So I set up a test Blogspot site as well, rspwfaq.blogspot.com, and it looks really nice and has the advantage of being pre-linked with all my other Google accounts.

So Blogspot v. Livejournal:  What’s the vote before it gets temporarily switched over tomorrow?

Edit to add:  By popular request, here’s Tumblr as well.  Even though I think I’m too old to actually get the point of tumblr.

Blogger v. Livejournal?

Just wanted to throw out a quick poll before Wrestlemania weekend.  Of course there’s the old Livejournal site, rspwfaq.livejournal.com, which is fine but is driving me nuts because I can’t find a layout that I like yet.  So I set up a test Blogspot site as well, rspwfaq.blogspot.com, and it looks really nice and has the advantage of being pre-linked with all my other Google accounts.

So Blogspot v. Livejournal:  What’s the vote before it gets temporarily switched over tomorrow?

Edit to add:  By popular request, here’s Tumblr as well.  Even though I think I’m too old to actually get the point of tumblr.

Blogger v. Livejournal?

Just wanted to throw out a quick poll before Wrestlemania weekend.  Of course there’s the old Livejournal site, rspwfaq.livejournal.com, which is fine but is driving me nuts because I can’t find a layout that I like yet.  So I set up a test Blogspot site as well, rspwfaq.blogspot.com, and it looks really nice and has the advantage of being pre-linked with all my other Google accounts.

So Blogspot v. Livejournal:  What’s the vote before it gets temporarily switched over tomorrow?

Edit to add:  By popular request, here’s Tumblr as well.  Even though I think I’m too old to actually get the point of tumblr.