Cena Divorce finalized

http://www.tmz.com/2012/07/18/john-cena-divorce-resolution/Guess we won’t get a messy divorce to scar Cena’s public image and force the WWE to chance Cena’s character.
Though the divorce settlement is apparently sealed, I would assume Cena’s lawyers (with the WWE nagging Cena to make it go away) caved like Superman on laundry day? IE gave her a number above whatever the pre-nup said she would get and told her to take it or leave it and to their luck, she took it?

He was probably outnumbered in the courtroom and overcame the odds.

Stopwatch Measures

The letter you printed about a "shut your mouth match" reminded me of an idea I had back in the WCW Nitro days. At the time, there was a rash of seemingly endless monologues. Just a guy standing in the ring with a microphone, brutally wearing down the audience — Ultimate Warrior type stuff.
Meanwhile, Goldberg was floundering. His character needed a rework. That's when I realized WCW could kill two birds with one stone. The next time Vincent was liveblogging about what he had for lunch that day, a stopwatch would appear on the big screen, slowly ticking down. Then, when a full minute is up, Goldberg runs out and DESTROYS him.
Goldberg would pick up the microphone and make a simple announcement: He joined to wrestle, not to hear people talk. From now on, people had one minute. No more, no less.
Fan favorites could walk out to calmly reason with him. Hey listen old buddy — Bing! Minute's up, spear/jackhammer. Weasels could hire bodyguards to try and push it as far as they can go. Bing! Spear/jackhammer.
Has anyone ever done this story? Would it have gone over?
– Zeus

Well, there was a similar idea in 2002 with Three Minute Warning, but I've never seen an actual stopwatch like that before.  That is a pretty fucking cool idea, though.  Maybe with Ryback?  

To the Bat-Plug!

Hey Scott! Long-time reader, first time contributor. I made a short
"found footage" film about Bat-fandom and its obsessive heights. I
believe it is mildly humorous. Check it out if you get the chance, and
if you like it, perhaps you could be so kind as to plug it on your
blog? Thanks!

What's with all the online Bat-films, anyway?  It seems like a particularly fertile ground for people to make homemade movies with for some reason.  

Waiting for the Trade – Avengers

Waiting for the Trade
By Bill Miller
Avengers First to Last
by Peter David and Dwayne McDuffie; art by Michael Avon Oeming.
Collects The Last Avengers Story 1-2 and Classic Avengers 1-12.
Why I Bought This: This was another Free Comic Book Day purchase, which means it was the day after the Avengers movie. So besides being double discounted it was exactly what I was in the mood for including stories of the earliest days of the team. Peter David’s name didn’t hurt either.
The Plot: This is actually two very different stories. The Classic Avengers stuff by McDuffie is a series of short stories (about 5-10 pages each) that take place in the cracks of the original 1963 issues. The Last Avengers story by David is a possible/alternate/dystopian future tale that imagines how the Avengers come to an end.
Chapter 0 – An allegedly humorous story on how a young Stan Lee convinced the Avengers to come together to increase comic book sales.
Chapter 1 – The Avengers hold their first meeting.
Chapter 2 – After Hulk quits the Avengers, Banner wakes up covered in blood afraid that Hulk killed an innocent woman.
Chapter 3 – Giant Man and Iron Man test their new powers/armor in training while discussing how they can contribute to a team that includes Thor and faces powerhouses like Hulk and Namor.
Chapter 4 – Captain America reestablishes his identity with the government after being thawed out.
Chapter 5 – Cap and Thor meet for the first time during World War II.
Chapter 6 – Wasp in her civilian identity gets carjacked by a troubled young woman.
Chapter 7 – The Masters of Evil try to survive in another dimension that Thor banished them to.
Chapter 8 – Rick Jones tries to Cap’s advice on combat to dating. He meets a girl and gets in a fight with her ex.
Chapter 9 – Wonder Man has doubts about kidnapping Wasp for Baron Zemo.
Chapter 10 – Cap and Rick find themselves in 17th century France due to Immortus.
Chapter 11 – Cap and Spidey meet for the first time (and battle Electro).
Chapter 12 – Some of the Mole Man’s Moloids gets left behind in NYC and try to make a life for themselves. One of them falls for a heavy-set woman.
Chapter 12.5 – Another Moloid is exposed to Pym’s shrink gas and takes over an ant colony. Also a gorgeous pin-up/cover gallery by Art Adams.
Chapter 13 – In the future the Kang, Ultron and Grim Reaper unite. They nuke Avengers Mansion killing the current team of non-characters. The Pyms, as always taking responsibility for Ultron, form a new team that includes Cannonball, Human Torch, Hercules’ daughter, Black Knight’s son and She Hulk’s daughter. Hawkeye (now blind) and Mockingbird decline to join. We also learn how most of the real Avengers died over the years.
Chapter 14 – Spidey declines to join Pym, while Vision ponders joining having become detached from humanity over the years, and Wiccan leaves his studies with Dr. Strange to join. We see the final battle and Ultron pulls in many of his prior incarnations so the heroes are outnumbered. Cannonball dies and many of the others are wounded when Hawkeye and Mockingbird arrive to turn the tide. We learn Grim Reaper is Wiccan’s brother Speed instead of the original and get a flashback on Scarlet Witch’s death. Kang kills Pym which pisses off Ultron, who wanted that honor for himself. Ultron then attacks Kang giving Wasp the opportunity to kill Kang and avenge Hank. Vision returns to take down Ultron at the cost of his own life. After the battle Hawkeye hints that Captain America is still alive and that’s why he changed his mind about helping.
Critical Thoughts: I liked most of the short stories; I hated the Peter David future stuff, which is quite disappointing.
I’ll hit the short stores first. Chapter 1 has Hulk making fun of Ant Man’s powers, which is hysterical. Chapter 3 is also quite a good look at the insecurities of some of the lesser powered members and manages to foreshadow both Tony’s alcoholism and Pym’s nervous breakdowns without being heavy-handed. I liked Chapter 5 quite a lot. It is told from a young soldier’s perspective and while a bit violent the art and story were both good. The Moloids in New York is also surprisingly charming. Cap and Spidey is also funny and features my two favorite Marvel A-listers even though I’ve seen at least two other stories in the last five years claiming to be the first meeting of Cap and Spidey—although the most recent (a Spidey annual from about two years ago) could occur simultaneously with this one. Really all of the short stories are pretty good. None are actively bad, with maybe Chapters 4 and 8 being the only ones that are forgettable. Chapter 4 also clearly contradicts established Cap history by having him get a government check for his years on ice to reestablish his life and security clearances reactivated. Cap’s back pay was giving to him in a lump sum in the Mark Gruenwald in the 80s: it’s how he started his hotline and became a key plot point in the Cap No More story that I consider the greatest Cap story ever told so that’s a fairly glaring miss in my view. Also Cap didn’t get his government clearance back right away, as Stan Lee had Cap actively seeking that during the Cap’s Kooky Quartet Phase of the Avengers and then when he got reinstated it became the focus of his solo tales in Strange Tales.  
The Last Avengers story fails in every conceivable way. It comes across as a poorly done Kingdom Come rip-off with a few nods to Busiek’s Ultron run. But really its biggest failing is not being an Avengers story. The Pyms are the least interesting of the founders of the team and they are the only ones here. The children of the Avengers we meet in this have no real personality and then they are wounded and dead almost as soon as we meet them, so who cares? And then we get Cannonball and the Human Torch, who aren’t even Avengers, coming off the bench. WTF? Seriously, even if you want to go with the no Cap/Thor/Iron Man route, you can’t find any of the 150 or so heroes who have been Avengers to fill the aging heroes’ role in this story? You need the only member of the FF who was never an Avenger and a New Mutant? Nothing against Cannonball and Torch as characters but if I’m reading about the end of Avengers then I want to see the Avengers. (Or to paraphrase Malcolm from Jurassic Park: “Eventually you do intend to have Avengers in your Avengers story”). And why the hell aren’t we using the real Grim Reaper for the villains? How hard is it to unite the Avengers three main foes for the final battle? This thing just fails and fails again.
About the only positive thing I can say for it is Hawkeye and Mockingbird (my second all-time favorite comic book couple) end up together and more or less happy in the end. The Vision stuff, despite being clichéd, is also written fairly well on a personal level. Wiccan training to be sorcerer supreme seemed appropriate as he’s shown pretty strong power levels in his Young Avengers appearances and his presence at the death Vision and Ultron reinforces the whole family theme that drives those characters. The death of the West Coast Avengers also comes across as pretty horrific if that’s the vibe David was trying to create.
Grade: The Classic stuff gets a B+, with a few of the stories being clear A’s. The Last stuff would be lucky to get a D (and that first chapter of it is a definite E, as the little I liked is all in the second chapter). I guess the averages to somewhere in the C’s. I’ll call it a C- because I can’t in good conscience give a positive grade to trade that has that future story no matter how much I enjoyed Hulk making fun of Ant Man.

Monday Nitro – February 24, 1997

Monday Nitro #76

Date: February 24, 1997

Location: ARCO Arena,
Sacramento, California

Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyzsko, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It’s after SuperBrawl
now and we’re on the way to Uncensored, which had a very unique and
what I thought was a very entertaining main event. That’s in three
weeks though so for now we’ll stay on this show. Piper lost last
night after Savage became the newest member of the NWO. Yeah I’m as
shocked as you are. Other than that not a lot happened other than
Luger and Giant beginning what I’m sure will be a LONG tag title
reign. Let’s get to it.

Public Enemy vs.
Jeff Jarrett/Steve McMichael

Jarrett beat Mongo last
night to become an official Horseman. Rock is now bald and starts
with Mongo. That goes absolutely nowhere so a double tag brings in
the other guys. Grunge puts him down with a swinging neckbreaker and
Rock comes back in to work on the shoulder. Rock misses a charge in
the corner and Jarrett stomps away on him. Off to Mongo for nothing
and Jeff comes back in. Jeff leapfrogs him and Mongo takes out
Rock’s legs twice in a row. Rock tries a leapfrog but gets
powerbombed down. Here’s the briefcase but he hits Jarrett again,
allowing Rock to get the pin.

Rating: D+.
This feud just wouldn’t end no matter how long it kept going for. At
the end of the day though, Jarrett and Debra weren’t interesting at
all but they kept forcing those two and Mongo down our throats all
summer. Jarrett FINALLY went back to the WWF and Mongo stopped
getting TV time to end it, but that’s months away.

Cue the Horsemen to the
ring to yell at Mongo. Anderson rips him apart and Flair is mad.
Flair says we need to be a team. Anderson says that everyone is
getting stronger while we’re getting weaker. Jarrett and Mongo are
the only two healthy Horsemen so Anderson makes them shake hands.

Jim Duggan vs.

Galaxy is somewhat more
famous as Damien. Tony says this will be a classic. We need to have
a chat about what that means. Galaxy is just tiny compared to
Duggan. Duggan throws him around and backdrops him with ease. Out
to the floor and the fans are into Jim here. Duggan beats up Galaxy
on the floor and no sells Galaxy’s limited offense in the ring.
Three Point Clothesline and the taped fist get the pin. Nothing but
a squash.

Post match Duggan
challenges Hogan.

Hugh Morrus vs. Joe

Gomez takes him into
the corner to start and breaks clean. Morrus takes him into the
corner and pounds on him. See who had the better career and figure
out what the smart move to make is. Gomez tries to speed things up
and grabs an armbar which defeats the purpose of speeding things up.
A dropkick puts Morrus down and it’s back to the armbar. Morrus
catches a leapfrog into kind of a spinebuster to set up No Laughing
Matter for the pin. This was nothing again.

We get some stills of
last night’s Sullivan vs. Benoit match. It was another wild brawl.
I don’t remember Woman looking good like this at all from this era.

Ice Train vs. La

We get an inset
interview from Teddy Long to Jackie of all people. La Parka starts
with rapid fire kicks but Train runs him down and hiptosses him for
two. Train keeps running him over but La Parka hits an enziguri to
take over. Top rope spinwheel kick gets two. World’s Strongest Slam
gives Train the advantage again and a corner splash has La Parka
flattened. The masked man comes back again with a spinwheel kick (he
likes that one) and Train is knocked to the floor. A big corkscrew
plancha takes him out and they head back inside. Train hits a HUGE
clothesline and a splash for the pin.

Rating: D+.
I liked Ice Train but this didn’t work all that well for me. I seem
to remember these two having a match a few weeks ago that was better
than this. Not much to this but the power vs. speed idea is
something that it’s hard to screw up. Given who was in this, it was
what you would call a pleasant surprise.

Chris Jericho/Eddie
Guerrero vs. Faces of Fear

Jericho and Guerrero
faced each other last night for Eddie’s US Title with the champion
retaining. Barbarian and Jericho get things going. Eddie comes in
with a cross body but his cover is easily shrugged off. Off to Meng
who shrugs off all of Eddie’s offense and headbutts him down. BIG
(not HUGE) powerbomb plants Eddie but he comes back with a
headscissors which allows the tag.

The small guys double
team Meng but it doesn’t get them very far. A backsplash gets two
but Meng kills Jericho with a belly to back. Barbarian hits a
superplex to the Canadian but Jericho manages a rollup for two. Meng
will have none of that though as the Faces (of Fear) hit their
backdrop into the powerbomb spot which is always cool.

There’s the double
headbutt but Eddie makes the save. Jericho finally avoids an elbow
drop and it’s off to Eddie. Everything breaks down and it’s time to
fly. Jericho loads up a Lionsault but Barbarian stops him from
trying (he would have missed by a mile anyway). Dean Malenko comes
out and shoves Eddie off the top, right into Meng’s boot for the pin.

Rating: C+.
This was pretty good here but you again had power vs. speed with the
speed team being a very good combination. Based on that alone you’re
going to have a good match. Malenko lost the title last night
because of Eddie so so there’s your explanation for the interference.
Fun match.

Time for hour #2.
There’s not much to recap so we’ll talk about the PPV a bit. Oh ok
we can talk about the Horsemen from earlier.

Juventud Guerrera
vs. Rey Mysterio

Juvy doesn’t mean much
yet. Rey tries a kind of backbreaker but Juvy counters into a DDT
and a springboard spinwheel kick to take Rey down. Off to a knee
lock but Rey kicks him in the face to escape. They grab a test of
strength grip and we get a nice gymnastics routine. Rey tries a
moonsault press but Juvy ducks underneath and hits one of his own for
two. Off to a chinlock which doesn’t last long. There’s a SWEET
springboard into a sunset bomb by Guerrera. Out to the floor goes
Rey and Juvy hits a sweet suicide dive. Juvy’s rana is countered
into a powerbomb and the West Coast Pop gets the pin.

Rating: C+.
These two are usually gold together but this was bronze at best.
Still though they were the best at this point for the high flying and
the flips and stuff like that. Also there was a great bit of
commentary in this right before Rey went up for the finish. Tony:
“He’s going to try something from the top too.” Heenan: “Thank
you Sherlock!”

Lee Marshall is in

TV Title: Pat Tanaka
vs. Prince Iaukea

Tanaka comes out to
what would become Goldberg’s theme. Slow feeling out process to
start as the Prince is very apprehensive. Iaukea tries a kick to the
ribs but gets caught in a dragon screw legwhip. Prince comes back
with another kick and it’s time to stand around. He takes Tanaka
down, hits a springboard senton backsplash and the top rope cross
body retains. Bad match.

Dean Malenko vs.
Ultimo Dragon

Dean is all serious to
start and drives Dragon into the corner. They go to the mat and
trade some quick submission holds. That goes to a stalemate so Dean
offers a handshake and pulls Dragon into a clothesline. Dragon gets
ticked off and fires off his kick series to take over. Dean trips
him up and fires off fists to send Dragon to the floor. Dragon is
whipped into the barricade as Malenko is turning heel as the match
goes on.

Back in for a chinlock
as Malenko is in control. That shifts into a camel clutch but Dragon
reverses into a surfboard. This is the seated version with the
chinlock instead of the full bridge. Now it’s the Indian Deathlock
with the bridge. This is getting fun. Sunset flip gets two for
Malenko. Tiger bomb gets two for the same. Dragon sends him to the
apron and tries the same springboard dropkick that Jericho uses but
it TOTALLY misses.

Dean is knocked to the
floor anyway but Dragon hits a big dive to take Dean out to make up
for the miss. Back in Dragon hits a springboard rana for two but
Dean rolls through for two. La Majistral gets two for Dragon. Dean
snaps off a release German and chokes Dragon which is completely
against his character. Sonny gets on the apron and earns a right
hand. Dean keeps choking and gets disqualified.

Rating: B-.
As always these two have great chemistry together. Dragon was one of
the few people that could keep up with Dean on the mat but had a
different style to him than Eddie or Benoit which made him a more
interesting opponent. This was good and it gave Dean a heel turn
which was a good thing for him here.

Dean says he’s tired of
the lack of respect he’s been getting. He’s coming for Syxx too.

Diamond Dallas Page
vs. Dave Taylor

Taylor is in a pith
helmet, khakis and a vest. Two of those come off to get us to the
match. Taylor starts fast but Page knocks him back. Cue the
Outsiders as Page hits what we would call a TKO to take out Taylor.
No cover though as Page stares down the Outsiders. Savage runs in
through the crowd to set up the main event feud of the summer. The
match just ended. A fan runs in which goes badly for him. Page gets
spraypainted and takes the elbow. Savage officially gets his NWO

After a break the NWO
is still in the ring. Hall talks for a bit about nothing in
particular and brings out Hogan. He gives Savage a gift: the now
happy Elizabeth.

Tag Titles: Lex
Luger/The Giant vs. Harlem Heat

And never mind as Eric
comes out and says the titles are going back to the Outsiders because
Luger wasn’t medically cleared. Luger says he’ll do it if all of the
titles were on the line at Uncensored. This stipulation would lasts
all of five minutes because it was forgotten the next week. Luger
talks about getting a team together which means….oh dear it’s THAT
segment next week. Sting comes out with the bat and stares at Luger.
Then he stares at Hogan, who hugs him to no reaction. Announcers:

Overall Rating: C+.
See, this is what good wrestling gets you. Nothing really happened
again here but the wrestling was good. That also made the show go by
faster which is always a good thing. The main event would be set up
next week in one of the dumbest segments ever, which would go against
one of the best Raws ever. Then again no one was watching Raw at
this point so it didn’t matter. Better show this week.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews

July PPV Countdown: WWF In Your House #16 (Canadian Stampede)

The Netcop Retro Rant for In Your House: Canadian Stampede. – Me and my big mouth. I make an offhand comment about this being the last great PPV before Wrestlemania XIV for the WWF, and I suddenly get deluged with e-mails asking for the rant on it. I’m not a machine, people. (Yes I am.)  But because I love each and every one of you equally (except CRZ), I figure I’d capitulate to my adoring public and finally do the long-awaited Canadian Stampede rant.   But first, the minor details: This was the last PPV to bear the “In Your House” moniker as the primary title and was the last two-hour PPV for the WWF, as all of them from Ground Zero on were given catchy names first and foremost and were three hours long. It was also one of the highest grossing shows of the year for the WWF, even with our shitty exchange rate.  (UFC also is discovering how much Calgary loves to spend money this weekend.)  It was also the last WWF PPV released on Coliseum Video before the changeover to WWF Home Video. I was actually supposed to be there live, but work intervened and I had to get left behind here in Edmonton to tape about 4 copies of the show at once. Everyone else did a road trip to Calgary and apparently had a great time (not that I’m bitter), (Yes I am.) including having drinks with Shawn Michael’s then-fiancée Julie and wardrobe chick Terri Fittipelli. The setup for this show came on the heels of Bret Hart’s massive heel turn…in the US. See, up here in Canada, his anti-US stance was interpreted as being an ultra-patriotic Canadian answer to the usual jingoistic American bullshit that we’ve been swallowing in our own media and TV shows via the US for the past fifty-some years. Whereas the US had many people to represent them in wrestling, all Canadians ever had were the goofy Rougeaus (who were massively over in Canada), the lumbering Dino Bravo and the occasional flash of brilliance from Bret Hart. See, the US as a whole doesn’t really deal well with opposing points of view to interfere with it’s blissful xenophobia, so when Bret started going off about how fundamentally unfair the US justice and health care systems are and how Canada might actually have a better one, that was interpreted as the actions of a heel.  (And you’ve got ObamaCare now.  So Bret was right.)  But up in Canada, what we heard was someone actually standing up for us instead of making us the butt of back-bacon and maple-syrup type jokes, and a result, by the time Bret and family returned to Calgary for this show, they were literally national heroes. (I can’t overstate enough that they were literally NATIONAL HEROES.  It was crazy, especially now considering how apathetic the country and population in general is towards WWE these days.)  The United States as a whole didn’t really understand that because Steve Austin’s anti-hero was the prevailing trend at the time, which was kinda Bret’s whole point with his tirades against the eroding family values of the US to begin with, and in fact the cynicism built into the American mindset of Generation X and the greedy baby-boomers was such at that time that an all-American hero probably would have been booed out of the building anyway. Witness Kurt Angle. Sure, the Patriot worked in the short term as the foil for Bret Hart, but that wasn’t because people liked it, it was because they hated Bret. And the climax of all this was Bret’s triumphant return home, in what would end up being the last time that the real Bret, the Canadian hero and the man that I truly respected and would follow through almost anything, would show his face before life beat him down into insanity and a web of his own paranoia and self-loathing. I think this show stands as pretty much the best memory he could have gone out on, anyway. – Live from Calgary [dramatic pause], Alberta, Canada. – Your hosts are JR, The King and Mr. McMahon. – Opening match: Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Mankind. This is a rematch from King of the Ring where HHH went over Mick to win the crown, turning him face in the process. The crowd is AMPED, and as a result everyone cranks it up a notch for this show. And when Mick Foley cranks it up a notch, look the fuck out. If long play-by-play bores you, too bad, because I’m doing it for every match here. Slugfest to start, won by Mick as he hits a quick slam, legdrop and double-arm DDT. Zen (my roommate) sighting #1: He walks by the camera at various times in the night carrying very prominent signs. The first one is “Everything Zen”. (Not surprising.)  Mick tosses HHH and drops a Cactus elbow, adding a “bang bang” for fun, and to foreshadow his impending transformation. It gets two. He tosses HHH again, allowing HHH to head for the hills. Mick chases and they brawl on the ramp, with Mick getting a suplex there. HHH sunset-flips back into the ring, but gets caught with the Mandible Claw. Chyna saves him. Mick chases her and HHH nails him from behind, allowing Chyna to hiptoss him into the steps for that nasty spot he always does. HHH clips him for good measure as he climbs back in and goes to work on the knee. Figure-four (rope assisted) gets two. Mick breaks it and comes back. An accidental low blow gives us a double-KO. Mick is up first and hits the charging knee to the corner, then puts HHH in the Tree of Woe and drops an elbow on his nose. Pulling piledriver gets two. Cactus clothesline sends both out, where Hunter nails Mick in the knee with a chair, and when the ref is distracted with him Chyna adds a clothesline for good measure. Back in and Mick catches HHH with the Mandible Claw again as he tries a top rope move, but Chyna posts him to break it up. Mick chases her again, and HHH follows for a brawl on the floor, which ends in a double-countout at 13:09. Super hot opener and a great match to boot. **** (Sounds a bit high to me, actually.  They would do better later in the year.  I’d probably go ***1/2 or so now.)  That would be enough to make a two-hour show thumbs up right there. But I guess they were in an over-achieving mood tonight… – TAKA Michinoku v. The Great Sasuke. The idea was to push SASUKE as the light heavyweight champ, and Taka was just some jobber he brought along to make him look good. Funny how that one turned out. But first, Mick and HHH continue their brawl as they return from the dressing room and fight into the stands and the penalty box. Zen sighting #2 in honor of the match: “This is Workrate”. It was my goal in the pre-show planning session to make *the* definitive smart mark signs, and I think it worked. Feeling out process to start. Crowd seems a bit disinterested. Taka works on the arm but gets caught with a spin kick. Sasuke goes into a half-crab. Sasuke uses some stiff kicks, so Taka nails him and dropkicks him in the face, twice. KAIENTAI~! Sasuke backdrops Taka to the floor and follows with a tope. Both are down. Back in and Sasuke hits a viciously stiff kick combo, the last one right in the mouth, drawing the requisite “oohs” and “aahs”. Taka blocks a kick and legwhips him, then dropkicks him out of the ring and debuts the springboard plancha to a big pop. Beautiful camera work there. Back in and Taka reverses out of a german suplex and hits a rana for two. Sasuke comes back with a handspring elbow, sending Taka out. Quebrada (Asai moonsault) follows. Back in, Taka gets a belly-to-belly for two. Ohtani-like springboard dropkick gets the crowd going, and the Michinoku driver gets two. Taka goes upstairs and gets dropkicked coming down and a moonsault press from Sasuke gets two. Thunder fire bomb and tiger suplex finishes it at 10:00. Stars for everyone! We’re having a 2-for-1 special tonight! ****1/2 They would then proceed to TOP that match the next night on RAW, with Sasuke debuting the Space Flying Tiger Drop on North American TV, an event I was lucky enough to be there for this time.  (This was indeed crazy for the time.  Again, I’m probably a bit too high on the rating, but it blew away everything else on the show as far as pure work went.)  – Meanwhile, outside, Mankind and a bloody HHH brawl into the parking lot before finally being seperated. This would set up the cage match at Summerslam, and then finally their wild brawl at the MSG RAW that saw the return of Cactus Jack the first time. As a side note, Foley debuted another personality 8 days after this, as his alter ego Dude Love helped Steve Austin regain the tag titles from Owen & Bulldog in San Antonio. – WWF World title match: The Undertaker v. Vader. This was supposed to be Ahmed Johnson’s big breakthrough match after his heel turn, but (and here’s a shock) he was injured, so Vader took his place, thus actually promising to give us a GOOD match. Undertaker pummels Vader to start, and hits a stinger splash for two. Ropewalk gets two. Vader comes back, but Undertaker hits the flying clothesline for two. Vader goes to the headlock. Undertaker boots him out. They brawl on the floor and Undertaker goes to the stairs. He necksnaps Vader from the apron, however, and comes in with a clothesline off the top for two. An uppercut puts Vader on the floor again. Taker chases Paul Bearer (who has been screaming “Murderer!” all match in reference to the angle that introduced the Big Red You-Know-Who) and Vader jumps him. Back in and Vader boxes his ears. Flying clothesline from the second rope gets two. Splash gets two. They rest for a bit, and Undertaker mounts the comeback. Vader knocks him down again. Undertaker keeps fighting up and tries a chokeslam, but Vader kicks him low to block. Undertaker tries the tombstone, but Vader falls on him for two. Vaderbomb misses, and Undertaker returns the low blow and then CHOKESLAMS HIM OFF THE TOP ROPE. Awesome. Another chokeslam gets two. Tombstone finishes at 12:37. Crowd goes NUTS. Guess what? This earns worst match of the night honors…at ***1/2! When have you EVER seen that outside of Japan?  (Oh man, the WWF champion doesn’t even get to main event!  What a mid-carder.)  – Farmer’s Daughter sing “Oh Canada”. Zen and HSB got to hang out with them, too, lucky bastards. The Fink introduces Ralph Klein (Alberta’s premier and the only politician in the whole fucking country with the guts to stand up to Quebec) and the Hart family. – Cue the magic. – Main event: Goldust, Ken Shamrock, The Legion of Doom and Steve Austin v. Brian Pillman, Jim Neidhart, British Bulldog, Owen Hart and Bret Hart. Everyone from the US team gets SERIOUS heel heat. Steve Austin is nearly booed out of the building. The Hart Foundation is introduced one-by-one, with the ovation building with every guy, until the roof is nearly ready to blow off the place when Bret comes out. It gives me a lump in my throat to watch it. (This was probably the high point of Brian Pillman’s life, and I’m glad he got this moment before his death.  The look on his face when he get to play a straight babyface while basking in the ROAR of the Calgary crowd one last time is something to behold.)  Austin & Bret start. Oh, by the way, the announcer make mention of a little documentary being shot at ringside. Something about “wrestling” and “shadows” or something like that. Bret beats the hell out of Austin, drawing INCREDIBLE face heat in the process. The crowd literally boos Austin’s every move. I mean, literally, when the guys MOVES they boo him. Austin quickly gets the cobra clutch, and they do the reversal spot in the corner for two. Austin misses the rope run, and Anvil tags in. Austin gets the Thesz press and tags Shamrock in. Zen sighting #3: He gets my masterpiece, “What’s Kayfabe?” on screen for a good chunk of time, and then had it confiscated by Adam (of George and Adam fame) about 10 seconds later.  (Today of course no one would care about such a sign, but we were REBELS back then, dammit!)  Shamrock controls easily, so Pillman tags in. He uses a blatant cheapshot and gets CHEERED for it. I know wrestlers always say that they like playing a heel and riling up the crowd, but Pillman had a grin about 4 miles wide on his face the entire match because of the babyface heat he was drawing. Backbreaker gets two. Shamrock hits a belly-to-belly, and everyone tags out. Owen & Goldust go. Enzuigiri gets two for Owen. Crowd starts with a VERY loud “Austin sucks” chant, and Austin wisely plays off it for fun. Hawk comes in with a legdrop on Owen for two. Flying splash gets two. Owen quickly comes back with the Sharpshooter, but Animal breaks. Big heel heat. Bulldog comes in with a hanging suplex and powerslam for two. Bret & Animal go next, and Bret kicks his ass. Goldust comes in and gets his ass kicked, too. Then he gets caught in the corner and a mass-beatdown results and the crowd is rabid and I’m nearly standing up and cheering even now. Owen comes in and hits the post on a blind charge, but comes back with a leg lariat on Animal and a missile dropkick. Rana is reversed into a powerbomb and powerslam. The LOD hits the Doomsday Device fro two, and another brawl erupts. Austin posts Owen and smashes a chair into his knee, then takes a shot at Bruce Hart in the front row. Crowd lets Austin know how much he sucks as Owen heads to the back for medical attention. Austin gets pummelled in the corner to the delight of the crowd, but he fights free. Austin and Pillman go and a quick stunner ends that fight pretty quick. Bret bails him out and posts Austin, then smashes a chair into HIS knee and applies the ringpost figure-four as the announcers gasp in shock at the bloodthirsty crowd. Back in the ring, Bulldog crotches Hawk on the top rope for two. Austin heads to the back for medical attention, too. Animal & Anvil get into a test of strength. Anvil wins and the Harts double-team Animal. Bret gets caught in the corner, but Shamrock plays to the crowd and Pillman sneaks in and clotheslines him. Hey, Ken, you’re a HEEL here. Shamrock then gets caught in the Hart corner and sent to the floor, where Pillman gleefully launches him into the Spanish table. Pillman is just having the time of his life out there. Sadly, this would be the last great match of his career. It’s nice to actually see a smile on his face for an entire match, ya know? Hart gets the russian legsweep for two. Bulldog comes in and pulverizes Shamrock, but a low blow turns the tide. Ah, now you’re catching on, Kenny. Goldust comes in to clean up with a bulldog on Bulldog and the Curtain Call, but Pillman interferes again. Goldust goes aerial and gets superplexed down for two. Austin makes his return. It’s Bret v. Austin again, and Austin wins this round. Suplex gets two. Bret DDTs him and goes for the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Sleeper is escaped with a jawbreaker, and it gets two. Bret comes back and gets the Sharpshooter, but Animal saves, and the crowd is PISSED. Austin does his own version, and Owen returns now to make the save. Austin clotheslines him out to the floor and they fight there. Austin takes a shot at fomer referee Wayne Hart, and they end up brawling as Wayne jumps the railing. Bret comes over and nails Austin for hitting his brothers, then rolls him into the ring. Austin has some choice words for Bret, which lets Owen roll him up for the pin at 24:30. Like you need to ask what this gets. ***** – In a glorious end to the whole thing, the entire Hart family clears the ring of Team US, and then Austin makes another go at it with a chair and gets the shit beat out of him 10-on-1. That’ll learn ‘im. The Harts continue the beating until security finally gets in long enough to arrest Austin and drag him back to the dressing room in handcuffs. Austin flips off the crowd behind his back as the Harts celebrate, end of show. The Bottom Line: Some quick match puts the average match rating at a little over ****. 4.19 stars, to be somewhat exact. That means there were no matches on this card that were anything under “fucking awesome” in layman’s terms. If this show had any sort of long-term historical significance it could very well be considered the greatest PPV ever. I still think it got screwed over in the 97 RSPW awards in favor of the sentimental favorite ECW show, but that’s life. At any rate, it’ll always hold a special place in my heart, and if nothing else will serve as a reminder that all-too-brief time in 1997 when Bret Hart was motivated again and happy. It also provided a brief window when Canada could express it’s own unique form of patriotism, because sometimes heroes still do exist, even if they do get screwed over in the end. Canada won’t forget him, though, even if Vince wants to. Strongest recommendation. (As a bonus, here’s the RAW from the next night, via my 24/7 rant) The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Monday Night RAW – July 7 1997 – Live from EDMONTON, ALBERTA! My first ever live RAW, although you’d probably have to be looking really closely to see me. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. – This show, and the Canadian Stampede show from the night before, absolutely represented the pinnacle of Bret Hart’s hero status in Canada. You wouldn’t even believe how over Bret was all night long. – And of course we start out with none other than Bret Hart, wearing an Oilers jersey to really suck up full force. Bret gives a pretty famous speech here, thanking us for letting him be our hero and how he loves to leave the US. He clarifies that he’s not anti-American, he’s pro-Canadian. Although playing the gun control card in Alberta doesn’t go over too well, because it’s the Texas of Canada. He promises to regain the WWF title for the fifth time at Summerslam. In retrospect, I wish he wouldn’t have. Next up, Owen Hart, who is readying to defend the Intercontinental title against Steve Austin in another match that kind of changed the face of wrestling forever. British Bulldog also joins us, and we get a rousing Canadian national anthem on the TitanTron. Which allows Steve Austin to run in and lay them all out with a chair to a big heel reaction. Like they weren’t having the time of their lives with this stuff. – Taka Michinoku v. The Great Sasuke. Sasuke was still being pushed as the great white hope of the light heavyweight division here, although that would quickly change. Brian Christopher joins us on commentary to really amp up the annoyance. Taka attacks to start but gets kicked to the floor, and Sasuke quickly gets a tope con hilo. Oh man, he’s totally ripping off the Undertaker. Back in, Taka tries to work on the arm and they go the mat for two, where Sasuke reverses to an anklelock. Taka makes the ropes, so Sasuke puts him down with a spinkick combo and Taka bails to regroup. Taka pops backin with a missile dropkick to put Sasuke on the floor, but he blows the somersault moonsault and then does it again. Well, it popped the crowd so I’ll forgive it. Taka suplexes him back in, but Sasuke reverses to a german, which Taka flips out of and into a belly to belly for two. Michinoku Driver and Taka goes up, but whiffs on the moonsault. Sasuke tries a Lionsault, but Taka dropkicks him in mid-move. Taka charges and gets dumped, and Sasuke follows with the SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP. This is about as far from Tommy Rogers v. Bobby Fulton as you can get, yo. Back in, Taka reverses a suplex, but Sasuke gets a bridged german suplex for two. Crucifix powerbomb finishes at 5:45. Taka gets basically written off a jobber by the announcers, but he’d be back and Sasuke wouldn’t. Highspot extravaganza, although still really short. *** – Savio Vega v. Crush. This is the official start of the Gang Warz period, as Crush and Savio introduced their posses the week before. Interesting that DOA were mostly the precursor to Undertaker’s 2000 revamp. Savio attacks Crush to start, but gets booted down and pounded, as the crowd makes Crush into the defacto babyface early. Backbreaker and Crush holds it as a submission move, but Savio comes back with a leg lariat to put Crush on the floor. This triggers a showdown between the factions, and back in the ring Crush comes back with a bad clothesline to put Savio out. DOA attacks him for the DQ at 2:21. * Just storyline stuff. – Meanwhile, Paul Bearer continues to insist that Undertaker’s brother, Kane, is still alive. And Undertaker is a murderer. A MURDERER! Man, who knew that silly idea would last 11 years and counting? – [Blur] Tag team tournament finals: Faarooq & D-Lo Brown v. Owen Hart & British Bulldog. Love that blurred graphic. Winner faces Steve Austin and a partner of his choosing next week for the tag titles. Steve insists that Mankind will never be his partner because he’s an earless freak. Owen hiptosses D-Lo to start, but gets elbowed down. Over to Bulldog, so Brown brings Faarooq in and we get a posedown. Bulldog with a powerslam and clothesline, but D-Lo gives him the cheapshot as you get a pretty good shot of Zen with a “Lawler’s Hardcore” sign at ringside. The Nation works Bulldog over in the corner, but he comes back with a faceplant. D-Lo cuts off the tag and suplexes Bulldog for two, then goes to the chinlock, but Bulldog fights out and then runs into a knee. Back to the chinlock and Owen gets suckered in to break it up, allowing more shenanigans from the Nation. Faarooq with his shitty powerslam for two, but a splash hits the knees and D-Lo has to cut off another hot tag. Brown chokes Bulldog out and pounds him down for two, but Bulldog escapes the Dominator and it’s hot tag Owen. Leg lariat for D-Lo and Faarooq and the crowd is losing it, especially when Pillman attacks Kama with the Canadian flag. They all brawl on the floor and Owen beats the count at 6:49 to win the tournament. Weak finish that really dragged a hot match down. Mankind (with an Austin 3:16 shirt) comes out and promises to see them next week in a funny bit. Kind of neat seeing uber-heels Owen & Bulldog wrestling a total babyface formula here and popping the crowd the whole way, but it worked. **3/4 – Meanwhile, a pissed-off Austin gives his thoughts to Vince McMahon, and when Vince finishes with “Thank you for joining us”, Austin tells him to shut up. That’s the kind of touch that made him a superstar. – Steve Austin v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Some doofus at ringside has a sign that says “Hunter: Future World Champion”. Yeah right, Nostradamus. And I suppose he’ll marry Vince’s daughter and take over the promotion after that, too, because that’s about as likely. Lockup to start and Hunter gets all in Austin’s face, so Steve decides to out-wrestle him. Austin offering a formal bow is great. Austin starts working the arm, so HHH goes to the eyes and slugs away, forcing Austin to fire back and interrupt his wrestling exhibition. Hunter bails and Austin follows to dump him on the railing, then offers another bow. This one was weird because we (the crowd) really WANTED to cheer for Austin, but it just wasn’t the right place for it. Back in, Hunter with a rollup for two, but Austin flattens him with a lariat for two. Austin with the facelock as we take a break, and return with Austin going for a superplex, as Vince puts forth my theory about the crowd wanting to cheer for Austin but being afraid to. Weird, I’m thinking like Vince now. And yet I don’t have a creepy childhood neurosis about getting beat up by muscular men, so that’s good. Hunter stomps away in the corner and adds the kneedrop for two. Austin comes back with an atomic drop, but walks into a clothesline, as the crowd now starts cheering for Hunter to overcompensate. Austin comes back with the Thesz Press and clotheslines Hunter out of the corner, but Chyna trips him up and draws a face pop. Hunter grabs a chair, but Mankind runs out to save his buddy and take the chairshot in his place, and KICK WHAM STUNNER ends it at 6:15. This was pretty good, with the weirdest crowd dynamic you’ll see outside of Goldberg v. Lesnar. *** Austin, impressed with Mankind’s moxie, offers him a spot as his tag partner, and turns on him after a hug. DTA, Mick, DTA. Mankind promises that drastic measures will be taken next week and he’ll never be the same again. Gotta say, given that buildup it should have been Cactus Jack introduced to the WWF as the payoff. – Eric Shelley v. Brian Christopher. Shelley is representing all of Canada, according to ring announcer Sunny, which doesn’t say much for us. Christopher attacks after offering the handshake, but Shelley monkey-flips him and goes to the armbar. Christopher comes back with the Stroke and a northern lights suplex, but Shelley gets a bad rollup for two. Dropkick puts Christopher on the floor and Shelley tries to follow with the highspot, but splats on the floor and looks stupid in the process. Back in, Christopher with the missile dropkick while Lawler does Polish jokes about Ivan Putski. Shelley comes back and misses a corner splash by a mile, allowing Brian to finish with an inverted DDT and flying legdrop at 3:45. Shelley was pretty awful here. *1/2 They were trying to do a “WWF-ized” version of the cruiserweight division with storylines and heels, which shows how they didn’t get what made it work for WCW in the first place. – More with Steve Austin, as he promises that if he doesn’t win the title from Owen Hart at Summerslam, he’ll kiss Owen’s bare ass right there in the ring. – Bret Hart v. Goldust. Bret attacks on the floor, and into the ring for an atomic drop and clothesline, but Goldust slugs back. A slam is reversed by Bret for two and he whips Goldust into the corner and works the back with a backbreaker, then hangs him in the Tree of Woe. Goldust bails as DOA heads down to ringside now. The Hart Foundation also joins us and we take a break. Back with Goldust and Bret brawling on the floor, and back in Bret drops the elbow for two. Russian legsweep gets two. Goldust slugs back as this drags on, and we hit the chinlock. And now LOD & Shamrock head down as Goldust gets the lariat for two. And back to the chinlock. Much of the match has been taken up by people looking menacing, which I’m sure works great for TV but isn’t exactly enthralling viewing. Bret comes back with a suplex for two and then blocks a sunset flip for the pin at 7:24. ** And we’re out.

Follow-up discussion about WWE guys to TNA and vice-versa

Hey, Scott. Since I didn't really agree with the premise of the e-mail about sending someone from WWE to TNA and vice-versa, I'd like to ask you this two-part version of it:
1. What TNA guy(s) who haven't previously been in WWE do you think could realistically make it big in WWE? And by "realistically," I mean no "If they let them be who they are and not ruin them!" smarky nonsense. I mean someone WWE would A) be interested in and B)who would work well in the WWE system and flourish there? I know the typical answer to this one from smarks might be a muscle freak like Crimson or Magnus, but they know they can create their own monsters. I think Bobby Roode is the best call here.

They definitely want Roode.  I think either he or Storm is the best bet for the future, although Storm might be limited by his image as a southern ass-kicker.  

2. What WWE guy(s) do you think could be a boon to TNA's business in the fairly near future (say, in the next year or two)? Again: realistically, since we all know Cena, Taker or HHH ain't walking into the Impact Zone. This one's harder to me, since guys like Miz or Ziggler are the caliber of stars we've seen make that move (think Christian, Mr. Anderson/Kennedy, Booker T) but they haven't really moved the needle considerably in terms of drawing a bigger audience. So this one's tougher. One could say it's conceivable that a guy like Punk could end up there if big stars like Angle or Hardy did, but there were extenuating circumstances to those guys leaving WWE that Punk almost certainly wouldn't face. Since he's not a product of the WWE system and brainwashed to think it's the only place he can work like so many others, I could envision Daniel Bryan going to an easier schedule in TNA that allows him to do other things he wants (MMA training, music). And I could also see that moving said needle.

I don't know about the whole "moving the needle" thing, because it's more that they're going to need a solid year of good product rather than just one person coming in and turning things around. I think TNA would be better off poaching someone from WWE's developmental or a high-level indy guy and developing them themselves, much like they did with Beer Money or Chris Harris.  Harris, by the way, fucked up bigtime and should have stayed, I think we can safely say.  Anyway, I think if Ohno/Cesaro/Rollins flame out in the WWE-lite circuit, they would be the best bet, because they have some major league experience without all the WWE baggage.  

History of ECW 3/31/1998

Taped from Philadelphia, PA

Airdate: March 31, 1998

Hosted by Joey Styles

Joey welcomes us to another installment of the History of
ECW emanating from the hallowed halls of the Bingo Hall, er, I mean the ECW
Arena. A Dudleyville street fight will occur between Little Spike Dudley (LSD,
hehe) and Bubba Ray Dudley. Joey also states that we will see footage of Al
Snow’s becoming the #1 contender to Shane Douglas’ World title.

Highlights of last week’s match of Al Snow defeating RVD
with an accidental assist from Sabu are shown.

Our purveyors of hardcore enlighten us with some wit during
the opener: “Attention Parents: Please Get Your Kid’s Permission Before
Watching This Program.”

Joey promotes Wrestlepalooza on May 3. Added to the card
will be a match between Sabu and the World TV champion Bam Bam Bigelow. However,
next week Bigelow will defend his TV title against RVD. According to Joey
Fonzie only wants RVD to soften Bigelow up for the PPV. Also Mikey Whipwreck
returns to action in his hometown of Buffalo, NY in order to face Justin
Credible yet again. He will certainly want revenge for what Credible did to his
knee the last time they fought in Buffalo.

Highlights of RVD’s dissing of Sabu back at Hostile City
Showdown ’96 are shown. Then highlights of last week’s handshake between BBB
and Taz follow. New Jack wants to compete in singles competition while Kronus
will head to Japan to work with FMW.

Match 1: “Little”
Spike Dudley versus Bubba Ray Dudley (w/ D-Von, Sign Guy, and Big Dick Dudley
along with Joel Gertner) in a Dudleyville Street Fight

Gertner introduces Sign Guy Dudley who holds a “You Idolize
Me” sign. He also introduces Big Dick Dudley with his “25 7/8 inch” arms. He
even fluffs himself up with his self-introduction. Appropriately the ECW
faithful call him an “asshole.” Joel proceeds to introduce D-Von (w/ crowd
approval) but gets interrupted by Big Dick. He feeds us some bologna calling
him a bantamweight at 132 pounds. Uh huh, sure. He then introduces Bubba Ray at
350 pounds which might actually be light for what he looks like here. Spike
Dudley comes to the ring wielding a chair. He weighs 155 pounds according to

Bubba and Spike start the match with a collar and elbow tie-up.
Predictably Spike gets thrown down. He springs back up immediately for another
tie-up. Again he’s thrown to the canvas. In pinball fashion he bounces back
with a series of forearms to the head. He gives him a couple of flying forearms
but cannot knock Bubba off his feet. Spike springs off the ropes in an attempt
to deliver more forearms but gets planted with a vicious slam.

After a quick edit Spike goes low on Bubba and attempts the
Acid Drop; however, Bubba easily picks him up to give him the belly-to-back suplex.
Bubba grabs the mike and uses a South Park-ism: “OMG I killed Spike!” He then
whips Spike face-first to the turnbuckle and drops an elbow to the back. After
giving him a punch Bubba whips Spike off the ropes into a sleeperhold.
Immediately Spike drops down to give Bubba the jaw-jacker.

We fast-forward to where Spike comes off the ropes and Bubba
uses his momentum against him to throw him outside to the exposed concrete. He
follows him and grabs a chair. Guess what happens here? Yep, Spike eats chair.
Again we fast-forward and Spike is busted open as he is rammed face-first into
the steel ring post. Moving forward some more and we find Spike bulldogging
Bubba on the concrete floor!

Spike then gets on the apron and gives him a rolling
shoulderblock while Bubba’s on the floor. Back in the ring Spike mounts the
second turnbuckle in order to soften up Bubba. He tries to stand on Bubba then
give him a huracanrana but receives a running powerbomb instead.  Bubba steps on Spike applying his full weight
onto him. He goes for the Bubba bomb but Spike escapes. He nails Bubba low then
drops him face-first to the chair on the top turnbuckle. Spike then gives Bubba
the Acid Drop. D-Von makes the save.

Big Dick comes in the ring, holds Spike up like a ragdoll,
and chokeslams him. D-Von and Big Dick put the boots to Spike, but Kronus hits
the ring on Spike’s behalf. He whips D-Von into the ropes and gives him a
spinning heel kick. Without delay he gives Big Dick the same treatment. He then
kicks Bubba into the middle of next week which Bubba oversells quite well.
Unfortunately the numbers catch up to Kronus as he falls victim to the Dudley
Death Drop! Big Dick military presses Kronus then powerslams him.

Gangsta music plays so New Jack must be on his way to the
ring. Indeed he is as he drags plunder to the ring and tosses it inside. New
Jack brandishes some weapons and lays them into both Bubba and D-Von. Big Dick
gets fed a chair by New Jack! New Jack has a steel bread rack and wallops Bubba
in the nether regions. I cringe in sympathy. Bubba writes in pain on the
canvas. New Jack ensures Bubba gets no love tonight with a follow-up knee “down
there.” OUCH!

Meanwhile Kronus and Big Dick fight on the outside. Kronus
is also busted open. We head back inside the ring and New Jack is being pummeled
in the corner. Bubba sets up a table, but Spike jumps on his back. We move
forward and Sign Guy is in the ring. His sign reads: “New Jack dropped the soap
in prison.”  Joey mentions Big Dick’s
time in prison as well. He makes fun of Kevin Nash’s “Attica” comment by
stating that some of the ECW talent actually has done time in prison rather
than joke about it. Sign Guy eats a weapon shot to the head by New Jack and is
out cold. Bubba tries to go after New Jack, but Spike delivers another Acid
Drop to Bubba through the table! He gets the pinfall! Spike, New Jack, and
Kronus leave the ring in victory and blood. **

We return to the WWE Studios where Joey promotes a clip from
a couple weeks ago where Al Snow confronted Shane Douglas in Queens, NY.

Get your VHS copy of ECW’s Living Dangerously now by calling

Highlights of Living Dangerously are shown. Sunny removes
her robe in order to join Lance Storm against Candido and Douglas. As obvious
as if it were written on her cleavage she turns on Storm. Lances pleads for
Head while in a camel clutch. Al Snow hits the ring and goes to war with
Douglas. He even throws Douglas into the hole created by the BBB-Taz match
earlier in the evening. He then pulls him out, gives him the Snow Plow, and
pins the World champion!

RVD, Sabu, and Fonzie are backstage. Once again RVD’s ego
takes center stage. Fonzie almost breaks a blood vessel in his forehead hyping
the match between Sabu and BBB at the PPV. RVD predicts he’ll win the belt next
week. According to RVD, “Rob Van Dam’s timing is right now.”

The Blue Meanie quotes Dr. Seuss but gets interrupted by
Nova. He mentions Richards’ leaving last year and the Blue World Order.

The FBI makes predictions about the PPV. They make reference
to BBB’s stitched eye after his encounter with Sandman last week.

The Blue Meanie asks Nova if Stevie should come back. Nova
said: “Nope…I killed him!” The Blue Meanie is flabby, er, I mean flabbergasted
and uses the earlier mentioned South Park reference with regards to Stevie.

Chris Candido, Shane Douglas, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Francine
tout BBB’s victory over Sandman despite the cane shot to the eye.

Sandman gives an unintelligible promo from the locker room.
Let’s just say beer as well as a lit cigarette was involved.

Douglas cuts a promo on Al Snow. According to Shane, “Bill
Watts tried to hold me down. The NWA tried to hold me down. The World Wrestling
Federation, Vince McMahon, and all his kiss-ass cronies with brown noses tried
to hold me down.” He even mentions ECW holding him down by having him “carry”
Terry Funk. He closes out the show by “shooting” on Al Snow.

Joey closes us out by promoting next week’s match between
RVD and Bam Bam Bigelow in Buffalo, NY.

Overall this episode epitomized the term “clip show.” The
Dudleyville street fight went from a one-on-one encounter to a six-man melee; although the
win by the underdog always has a sentimental place for me. Next week’s show
promises us some flavor with a World TV title match and a revenge match between
Whipwreck and Credible. Let’s hope Hardcore TV succeeds next week, because this
episode wasn’t very good whatsoever.

Be sure to visit http://www.rockstargary.com to check out more info on me!

NWA Worldwide 1-2 & 1-9-88

NWA Worldwide Jan 2, 1988

Hosted by Tony Schiavone and David Crockett

Show opens with clips of a Lex Luger interview that turns into a brawl with Arn Anderson. They usually opened the show with some sort of random tease.

Tony and David promises tons of action with the apparent main between The Superpowers vs. Tully & Arn.

Larry Zybysko cuts a promo with Baby Doll looking menacing behind him. They throw out threats to Dusty Rhodes.

Ricky Morton vs. ???

They don’t always mention the name of the underneath guys (I hate the term jobber) and eventually I will make up names for them. This guy looks like Norm Duke (the bowler) on HGH. Fast-paced start as Morton gets a hip toss, Duke tries for one of his own and Morton counters with a backslide for a pin in about 30 seconds. All righty.

* Bunkhouse Stampede promo that makes the match seem much more entertaining than it is. I’ll give you two guesses of who’s idea this was *

We’re back with Morton cutting a promo. He loves America, he’d die for America. He’ll probably die sucking blow off of some hooker in a cheap motel somewhere on the Tennessee-West Virginia border.

Tony talks about the upcoming Bunkhouse Stampede and brings in Jim Crockett, who announces Ric Flair vs. Road Warrior Hawk for the card. Then we bring in Dusty, who gets funky like a monkey and talks about winning money and titles. Typical Dusty stuff.

Ronnie Garvin vs. The Masked Neverstar

Yeah, 20 seconds later Garvin ends this with the stomp. The Garvin stomp seems dumb in theory but I think it could hurt.

Tony is back in the interview room with Lex Luger. I always thought Luger’s promo skills were underrated during his first face run. He shouts out threats to the Horsemen.

Sting vs. The Masked Executioner

Not sure if that’s his name or not, I doubt it will matter. Looks like the exact same guy in the Garvin match with a new masked suit. Probably made $50 that night for the double duty. Stinger Splash, scorpion, about 25 seconds and we’re done. This is like a tribute to the early years of Magnum T.A. or something.

Back in the interview studio with five-time champion Ric Flair…five times eh?…Flair shouts a ton of insults at Hawk. He also talks about cars, money and pussy…all the things any self-respecting man needs.

“Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert vs. George South

South is one of the great legends of southern wrestling of course. He’s got a record of like 2-18347 I believe. He starts off hot against Gilbert with a hip toss but Gilbert hits a sweet flying clothesline and the hot shot for the victory in about a minute or so.

Solid promo from Road Warrior Hawk as he answers Flair and talks about how much he doesn’t like cars or jet airplanes…Money and pussy, however, he’s all for it.

NWA World Tag Titles: The Superpowers vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard

Koloff overpowers Blanchard a few times to start, Blanchard catches him with a knee but Koloff comes back with a body slam and Tully retreats and makes the tag. I must say Arn Anderson hasn’t aged much in 24 years. He’s gotten a little bigger, but who doesn’t. Arn stalls after a rope sequence and they take a TV timeout.

We’re back and Dusty has cleaned house. Tully powerwalks back in the ring and loses a slugfest with Dusty. Atomic drop sends the Horsemen into each other and Dusty slaps on the figure four until Arn comes in and breaks it up. Tully escapes but Arn gets caught going for a kick and Dusty drops an elbow on his leg. Arn goes to the eyes and rallies back. He catches Dusty on a blind charge and goes to the top but Dusty tosses him off. Big lariat by Dusty and he slaps on the sleeper. Tully breaks it up as they take a break.

We’re back and the Horsemen are now in control. Arn with a coolio elbow lock but Dusty kicks out of it. Tully jumps in the ring and continues working on the air with two arm snaps. Tag to Arn and more arm work, Dusty rallies and tries to make a tag but nothing happens. Tag to Tully and Dusty hits a flying cross body (sort of, think Brodus Clay) but Tully makes the tag and Arn keeps hammering away at the arm as Crockett mentions the Horsemen breaking Dusty’s arm before. Dusty rallies with an elbow but Tully comes in with a shot to the leg and keeps the heels in control. Tully goes for the slingshot suplex but Dusty reverses it. Tag to Arn but he sets too early and Dusty with a big DDT that allows him to make the hot tag.

Koloff with an elbow on Tully, he slams both men and clotheslines both men. Koloff with corner punches, Tully reverses a corner whip but Koloff explodes out of the corner with the sickle. Pier-six brawl and Arn throws Koloff over the top for the automatic disqualification. Arn and Tully beat down Dusty in the ring while Flair jumps in and attacks Koloff. Lex Luger jumps in and we’ve got a crazy brawl. Luger and Arn fight back to the dressing room while the Superpowers handle Flair and Blanchard. Perfect acceptable old-school goodness. **1/2

Promo time with Paul Jones, The Warlord and Ivan Koloff. Paul Jones puts up $50,000 of his own money that the Powers of Pain can take out the Road Warriors in some bench press challenge. One of those things that sounds better in theory.

Midnight Express & Big Bubba vs. Mighty Wilbur, Italian Stallion and Kendall Windham

Wow that’s like the JTTS sampler platter there. I never understood why Barry didn’t go to bat for Kendall more back in the day. The Windham Brothers could have probably been an awesome mid-late 80s tag team before the Steiners came about. Wilbur overpowers Lane a little bit while Cornette joins the broadcast (uninvited of course). Lane teases a test of strength but suckers Wilbur into his karate stuff instead. Wilbur catches Lane off the top and the faces rough him up a bit. Back elbow by Windham but Lane goes to the eyes and tags. Windham with a hip toss to Eaton but the Midnights take over with double teams. Tag to Bubba who crushes Windham with a knee lift. Tag to Eaton and a cross tag to Lane. He sets too early and Windham with a kneelift. Hot tag to Stallion, big back drop on Lane but he botches a monkey flip. Corner punches but Eaton breaks it up. Tag to Bubba who gives Stallion another knee lift and tags to the Midnights where a double flapjack ends things.

NWA Worldwide 1-9-88

We kick off the show with Sting and Warlord…I love those 15-second teases that lead into the show.

Hosted by Tony and Davey

We kick it off with a Midnight Express promo…who am I kidding it’s a Jim Cornette promo. He is bragging about a team beatdown on Dusty Rhodes and kick starting the “Dusty Rhodes I should have quit while my monkey was still funky tour.” Who isn’t feuding with Dusty? The Horsemen, Larry Z and The Midnight Express. Anyway typical superb Cornette stuff.

Jimmy Garvin & Michael Hayes vs. Two Random Guys

Garvin and Hayes are faces at this stage in 1988 and frankly they were fun faces because they liked dancing, partying, perms and they had Precious with them and she was always smiling and happy…I don’t hate Garvin like Scotty does, I always enjoyed his sort of pretty boy rednecky gimmick.

Anyway Hayes does some arm work and tags in Garvin for a slam. Garvin takes random guy #1 into the buckle and tags Hayes who also takes him into the buckle…and does it again…why can’t this be a 30-second squash? Tag to Garvin, double elbow, they strut and get a two count. Back to the arm. Tag to Hayes, back to the arm, tag to Garvin, back to the arm, tag to Hayes, axe from the middle rope, back to the arm…tag to Garvin…leg drop on the arm…Garvin drops some knees on this poor guy’s shoulder. He must’ve drank their beer or snorted their blow or something because they are beating the shit out of this guy. Hayes roughs him up. Garvin back in and he roughs him up. Fuck man. Finally they let him tag and random guy #2 fares no better. Finally a brainbuster ends this mercy killing.

Interview room with Larry Z and Baby Doll. Larry has shifted from Rhodes to Barry Windham and his Western States Heritage title. Larry cracks on beating Kendall Windham over and over again and they show clips of him beating Kendall thanks to a little help from Steve Williams. So Dr. Death jumps into this interview time and threatens Windham too…geez talk about a lack of targets for the heels in 1988 NWA.

Kevin Sullivan vs. Zippy Zipperson

I couldn’t think of anything more creative before Sullivan sent this poor guy into the post and tied him into the tree of woe. Double stomp ends this in roughly 40 seconds.

Tony and Davey talk about promising fans cash for a mail-in. I guarantee no one won a fucking thing.

Sullivan and talks about how Mike Rotunda/o is going to beat up Nikita Koloff.

Dick Murdoch vs. Windham Houston

Hell I don’t know if it’s Kendall Windham or Sam Houston. Are they the same person? BTW he’s feuding with Dusty Rhodes too. He beats the piss out of Windham Houston and just grabs a chair and wallops him. Powerslam and belly to belly suplex finishes this in a minute.

Lex Luger stops by for a ringside interview. He says he’s made some positive changes in his life and talks crap about the Four Horsemen. He says he knows how Ric Flair thinks and lives and how he’ll eventually be a broke joke of a human being. I’m just assuming on the last part. Luger is a little rough in this interview proving that pre-taped is his best option.

Barry Windham vs. Joe Doe

Yes it’s John Doe’s lesser-known brother. He actually gets a body slam on Windham but Windham’s version hurts more because he adds a few uppercuts. Beautiful dropkick and the lariat ends this one in an under a minute.

The Road Warriors cut a promo, they are sick of being challenged by everyone in the NWA…Well there are a lack of faces around here. Hawk cracks on Paul Jones having a failed sex change. He says the Power of Pain are pussy cats and the Road Warriors are alley cats. G-rated trash talk at its finest. I did love Hawk’s line of “we’ll beat you on hate alone.” Yeah.

Eddie Gilbert vs. Gary Royal

Criss cross and Royal with a hip toss and body slam so Gilbert screams at him. Gilbert sends Royal into the buckle and then hits his coolio flying clothesline. Face stomp and a sweet dropkick. Royal rallies again but misses a high cross body. Hot shot finishes this one in about a minute and a half.

Nikita Koloff vs. Dead Meat

Yeah you know where this is headed. No sell, no sell and Koloff dumps Meat over the top rope. Hangman from Koloff and a the Russian sickle ends things in short order.

The Superpowers cut a promo. Koloff always had a solid fake Russian accent. Dusty shows the tape of the Midnight Express and Bubba attacking him. Dusty says it’s personal and his sister could whip Cornette on any street in this country.

Jimmy Garvin and Michael Hayes cut a promo in the interview room. They are pissed at the Four Horsemen and they show the clips of why. Garvin has Flair beat, Horsemen save the title and they do a crazy beat down on Hayes until Luger makes the save. Hayes says the Horsemen aren’t the same without Luger. Garvin didn’t say much.

Dick Murdoch in the interview room and threatens Dusty Rhodes, Ronnie Garvin and Nikita Koloff

Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard vs. The Non-Erich Brothers.

Tully beats on one of the Non-Erich’s, we’ll call him Brad. He tags in Arn, who beats on him as well before letting him tag John Non-Erich. Arn snapmares him and stomps him in the face. Tag to Flair who chops him and adds a hip toss. Flair forces John to tag Jake and brings him in the ring with a suplex. Tag to Blanchard and he adds in some kicks before tagging Arn. Spinebuster and a tag to Flair who slaps on the figure four for the easy win.

More Bunkhouse Stampede promos. I might do a couple of the 1988 PPV rants but not this one unless it just appears on YouTube. I won’t go out of my way to find it.

Horsemen promo. Flair makes the appeal for Barry Windham and Lex Luger runs out. Flair reminds him of the numbers so Barry Windham joins the party. Is Windham surrounding Lex or helping him…We’re outta time and so am I! We’ll continue this next time.

Shut your mouth match

Hey Scott,
I used to aspire to be a WWE writer and I always wished they would do an angle with Rock and Jericho where they would settle their differences in a
"Shut Your Mouth" match.  The loser would not be able to speak on TV for "X" amount of time.   My idea would have been to have Rock lose the match, and
every subsequent TV appearance after would require him to have a "guest translator" to speak for him.  Now imagine the interactions you could do with Regal
or Tajiri or Hurricane speaking for the Rock trying to imitate him.  What do you think? 

I think they should have ripped off Savage-Steamboat and had Jericho bash him in the throat with a ringbell so that he COULDN'T talk.  Then when he finally gets to cut his big promo, it draws an epic reaction and truly gives him reason to want revenge.  Given that people paid good money because they wanted to hear Rock talk, depriving them of it for 6-8 weeks would REALLY make them want to pay money to hear it.  

Kamala fundraiser

RD and Scott,
Can you post this to WrestleCrap and your blog, respectively? It's a post on CRZ's The W message board about a Kamala shoot DVD where the proceeds are going to help him out with medical bills and cost of living. He's going through a tough time. I'm not associated with it in any way, I just wanted to see the guy get some money because it seems like he needs it. Thanks. 

Surprised that someone in WWE hasn't picked up the bill, actually.   

RAW 2003?

Anyone happen to have my 2003 RAW and Smackdown rants saved by any chance?  I know there was someone who sent me the 2002 collection, but I'm also missing up through November of 2003 and I'd like to have my archives as complete as possible so I can do a series of "Year in review" type Kindle books next for 2000-2005 where I do the weekly shows and PPVs in chronological order.  I can probably reconstruct it all through the 411 archives, but there's formatting issues there and I don't have access to the source anymore.  I also need the 2005 shows, but I can pull those off Insidepulse much easier if needed.  

If you can provide assistance, drop me a line.