(Spoilers for final season, not including the series finale episode)
I know you (at least used to) watch House, and if you still do I was wondering what you thought of the show the last few years as well as the upcoming series finale next week. Personally, I stopped watching the show about a year or two back and came back this season once I found out they were finally calling it quits. I don't think the show got "bad" in the traditional sense, but damned if it didn't get formulaic and tedious after so many seasons. I really believe it was one of those examples of a show outstaying its welcome due to still-solid-but-nowhere-near-peak level ratings for the network.
I do, however, have a bit of a problem with this final plotline they are going out with, Wilson having cancer. I don't know if they were trying to mimic real life (typically when someone gets cancer, it just sort of happens, right?), but to me it reeked of desperate/burned out writers grasping for some random (and in this case, ironic) dramatic story to close out the show, almost as if they threw darts at a board to see who they will kill off and how. Or if they were going for intentionally ironic with Wilson, a cancer doctor, getting cancer, well, that just sucks.

I actually dropped the show about two episodes after the awesome nuthouse show, because that was such a perfect series finale and I couldn't bear to continue with the same formulaic crap after that.  Plus Foreteen were beyond infuriating as a TV viewer and I couldn't take it anymore.  I think the show's peak was clearly the Cutthroat Bitch two-parter and really I lost a lot of interest after that, too.  I'll probably watch the finale on Monday (?) just to see how they wrap it up, but I have no interest in going back and watching the other seasons or anything.  

Ten Years Since Davey Boy Died
Hard to believe it's been ten years. I don't think he ever truly got the appreciation he deserves. 

I think he got a lot of appreciation, actually, given how terrible he became after the drugs and injuries took their toll on him.  He was a great worker for a while, but I wouldn't call him underrated or anything.  

Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: A Cold Day In Hell!

The Netcop Retro Rant for IYH: A Cold Day In Hell. With Summerslam 98 a mere two days hence, I thought it apropos to go back to the last time Steve Austin fought the Undertaker for the WWF title. (So that nails down the exact date this was written, at least.)  Live from Richmond, Virginia. Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. Free For All match: Jesse Jammes v. Rockabilly. Yes, it’s the battle of the New Age Outlaws when they both sucked. Billy has his hair dyed brown for some reason. No heat on either side and Double J’s music gets messed up by the sound techs. Nothing match as Billy controls and hits a DDT out of nowhere to halt a Jammes comeback and get the win. 1/4*  (Astonishing that these two would be the hottest act in wrestling just a few months later.)  Opening match: Flash Funk (without Funkettes) v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (without heat) BREAK IT…oh, wait, never mind. This was the “in between” period for HHH, after the blueblood thing and before the DX thing. He didn’t even have Mankind to feud with until Canadian Stampede. JR notes that the Hart Foundation bought five front-row seats from a scalper. (They should have just hung out outside the arena, probably would have gotten the same seats at that point from guys giving out comp seats.)  Pretty bad match with zero heat. HHH does his four offensive moves and very little else. Chyna interferes now and then. More boring stuff happens with a nice Funk bump. HHH goes to the top rope (!) but misses. Funk gets a cross-body but picks up Helmsley and goes for the finisher but HHH suplexes him off the top and Pedigrees him for the win. * Chyna drops Funk on the top rope for fun. (Poor Flash lost his Funkettes due to budget cutbacks at this point, a fate that will probably befall Brodus Clay pretty soon, I’d imagine.)  Clips from the UFC re: Ken Shamrock. Ken offers some soundbites on the situation. Mankind v. Rocky Maivia. After losing the I-C title to Owen Hart, Rocky got jobbing duty until coming back as a member of the Nation. (That was actually a good decision, because it allowed Rocky to blow off residual fan hatred of his babyface run.)  Rocky gives an introspective interview about too much success before the match. The Rock is drawing no heat here. Back and forth match, Mankind does a nice somersault off the apron onto Rocky. Crowd is dead. Match is boring. Mankind takes a wicked Rock Bottom on the metal rampway and that gets a decent pop. Rocky goes for the finishing series (no People’s Elbow) but Mankind rolls through a flying cross-body and applies the Mandible Claw for the submission. ** This loss was the catalyst for the heel turn. (And six months after I wrote this rant, they’d be main eventing for the WWF title.)  The original Austin 3:16 t-shirt commercial. Let’s take you back to RAW where we set up Ahmed’s gauntlet v. The Nation. Ahmed Johnson v. Savio Vega, Crush & Faarooq. I miss PG-13 rapping the Nation down to ringside. A very porky D-Lo Brown is also there and is a non-factor. If Ahmed can defeat all three members of the NOD, then they have to disband. Crush is the first guy in and they have a bad match. Ahmed uses a horrible Falcon Arrow for two. JR makes note of Ahmed’s gang roots, which was the prelude to his joining the Nation a few weeks later. Crush keeps signalling for the Nation to run in but Gorilla Monsoon prevents them. Crush goes for the heart punch but Ahmed rolls him up for the pin. Thank god. Savio is the next guy in and is actually looking very lithe here. Savio whomps Ahmed, but Ahmed comes back eventually to take control. It spills out of the ring and Savio takes to him with a chair and gets DQ’d, then destroys Ahmed with the chair. This was a decent segment (compared with the last one). That leaves Faarooq. Very quick match as Ahmed hits the Pearl River Plunge in short order, but Faarooq kicks out at two to a massive heel reaction. Faarooq clips him, Dominator and Faarooq gets the win. About *1/2 total. Ironically, about a month later the NOD would self-destruct, creating the Gang Wars, and Ahmed would join the new and improved Nation version 2.0.  (I just redid this match on Vintage Collection recently, and holy god was it horrible.  I think *1/2 was actually being exceedingly generous.)  More hype for Shamrock v. Vader. Ken Shamrock v. Vader. This is Shamrock’s debut in the WWF and it’s a submission match. (Has Vader ever submitted anyone in his entire career?  Does he even know any submission moves?)  Shamrock has different music from today’s. Shamrock with some oh-so-stiff kicks that were likely real. (That was actually a real problem with Shamrock in his early days, as he had trouble with worked strikes and needed to work with people who could get him adjusted to wrestling.  Oddly, no one told him that he didn’t know how to work and then buried him for months.)  Good thing he doesn’t do those anymore, otherwise there’d be muscle bruises all through the WWF. (People might have to get prescription painkillers!) They seem to be having trouble working together, which is understandable. Shamrock goes for a few submission holds which the crowd isn’t digging. Ken does take a nice bump as Vader suplexes him over the top rope to the floor. Vader bleeds hardway from the nose from a stiff Shamrock shot. Vader seems legit pissed at Shamrock because of it. (Now he knows how 60% of his opponents felt towards him.)  Vader gets the advantage and goes for the Vadersault, but Shammy barely moves out of the way. Shamrock with more submission moves and then starts pounding Vader in the corner with mega-stiff shots and Vader nails him with a legit-looking right to the head in retribution. Shamrock quickly grabs the leg for the ankle-lock and submission. **1/2 A less-than-thrilling debut for Shamrock. Vader is legitimately injured by the ankle-lock and limps out with help from the referee.  (Sounds like an interesting trainwreck, actually.)  WWF title match: The Undertaker v. Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin is only really, really over at this point as opposed to the levels he’s at now. The Harts make their way to ringside as UT and Austin do the staredown. Brawl to start and then Undertaker takes over. Long side-headlock from Austin. UT breaks free and Austin goes to work on the leg. Austin wraps UT’s leg around the pole and then lips off the Hart Foundation. Back in the ring and Austin continues kicking at the leg, including an STF. Ross notes that if Lawler ever moved out of Memphis he might learn some more holds. Oooooo. More working on the leg from Austin, then Austin gets tossed outside the ring and Undertaker goes to work on *his* leg. Well, they’ve got the psychology thing down pat. Undertaker viciously stomps the braced leg of Austin. (Why didn’t more people do that, I wonder?  Dude wore a target on his knee for YEARS and no one ever really went for it.)  Austin responds with a spinning toehold, and goes back to work on UT’s leg. UT tries the ropewalk and Austin drops him on the top rope. Superplex blocked by UT, but his big elbow misses. Double whip, sleeper and Austin counters with a jawbreaker. Austin gets put in the corner and rears back with the field goal to the Undertaker’s…uh…creatures of the night. UT with his own lowblow (big pop), chokeslam, but Austin rolls to the ropes. Austin snaps UT’s neck off the top rope, Stone Cold Stunner, but Brian Pillman runs over and rings the bell so Hebner doesn’t count. Zombie situp, whip, reversal and UT goes for the tombstone, Austin reverses for his own, but Undertaker reverses AGAIN and hits it this time for the pin to retain. This was actually a really good match. *** (Note that they made sure to make Austin look like a legitimate threat before jobbing.)  The Harts beat the hell out of the Undertaker after the decision, and Austin uses the moment to dump Bret out of his wheelchair and steal his crutches in order to make the save. The faces clean house and the Harts retreat. Then, in one of *the* defining moments for Austin, he jumps UT from behind and stuns him, just because he can. Fabulous. The Bottom Line: Main event was a good piece of the Austin-Hart storyline, but the rest was pretty forgettable crap. The WWF was in a major rut at this time outside of the awesome Hart Foundation saga, and it showed as they missed Shawn tremendously. Recommendation to avoid, and see you at Summerslam!  (This sounds like an interesting show on paper, actually, with Rock v. Mankind, Austin v. Undertaker and Shamrock v. Vader all on one two-hour show.  Might have to track it down and give it another go sometime.) 

UFC and WWE PPV matches on iTunes

Not sure if you're an Apple guy, but I discovered tonight that UFC and WWE sell individual PPV matches in the Canadian iTunes store. These have been available in the US for a while, but now us Canucks can get in on the action. So instead of buying an entire DVD or BluRay, you can cherry-pick the best matches from PPVs for a few dollars. Sweet deal. I'm just downloading the two title matches from Elimination Chamber. Shame Amazon just shipped my Mania BluRay or I would have forgone the entire show to buy the top few matches individually for a third of the total price.

It's a neat idea, but $3.00 a match!?  I thought iTunes was supposed to be all about the $0.99 price point?   

What the FUCK

I'm away from my computer for 8 hours and here's what happened:
Raw is going to 3 hours now
Raw will be more interactive (so somehow it will be more Twitter friendly AWESOME)
Brooke Hogan signed with TNA (AWESOME, just what TNA needed)
TNA Botchpact will be live all summer.

I know how you feel.  I was at work and I hate trying to do blog updates from my phone, so thankfully Tommy Hall was all over this one.  Personally, I feel like Impact going live is a good move, although putting Brooke on TV is retarded, so it somewhat tempers that good news.  RAW adding a third hour is ridiculous, and it's just a move to artificially prop up TV rights fees and provide excuses for ratings at next year's investor's conference.  Think about this:  They now have 3 hours of RAW, 2 hours of Smackdown, 3 hours of PPV a month, an hour of Superstars, an hour of NXT…and they want to add a NETWORK?!?  It's a chore to get through Smackdown now that they've basically committed to it being the Dudes Squashing Jobbers and Cody Rhodes Losing For Two Hours show, and now I have to sit through THREE HOURS of RAW every week…PLUS OVERRUN?!?   And you just know we're gonna get a "Did You Know…" thing out of this trumpeting the ratings success every week.  How are casual fans ever supposed to get invested in the product if you have to make a three hour commitment to the product in order to follow things every week?  Yeah, if the product was hot like Nitro in 98, the fans would come along with the show, but this is the furthest thing from a hot product right now.  
Not a good time to be a fan on the fence, that's for sure.  

PWI Plug

Was wondering if you could plug our podcast this week – I managed to
land an interview with the editor of PWI magazine on the PWI 500.  I
don't know how many of these he's done so far but a lot of ground was
covered in this one which went an hour and a half —

This week on the Nose Bleed Seats Podcast we feature a rare national
guest, the editor in chief of Pro Wrestling Illustrated Frank Krewda.
We discuss the PWI 500, its history, requirements, misconceptions,
possible #1 candidates, the infamous $50 bribe question, but also look
at how social media has influenced the business, who past the big
three promotions are #4-#10 in the country and much much more. Hosted
by the Mad Conservative and MOAV5706. Listen online or download to
your MP3 player or PC!
( homepage – )

Sounds interesting!

Michael’s Impact Review

MAY 17, 2012

–  Your hosts are Mike Tenay and Taz.  –  With the fallout from last Sunday’s Sacrifice, we get many questions answered in the opening video.  Then many more asked.  
–  Now inside the Impact Zone, Bobby Roode makes his way out and he is STILL the World Heavyweight Champion.  He has overcome the odds once again and will be throwing a huge bash next week to celebrate being the longest World Champion in TNA history.  He calls it his “It Factor Celebration of Domination”.  He calls out Hulk Hogan to hit the ring.  He has a list of demands for his party next week.  Hogan tears up his list because Roode hasn’t become anything yet.  He informs him that next week is Open Fight Night.  He says the World Title is going to be defended and invites a few of his “friends” to come out that may wanna partake in becoming the next TNA Champion.  Everyone from Devon to ODB is out there.  He is booking four elimination matches for tonight:  Rob Van Dam vs.  Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy vs. Ken Anderson, Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle. and then a Wild Card Battle Royal.  
1.  Bully Ray vs.  Rob Van Dam
–  Ray stops for a good minute and a half to rip up a sign and toss it in the air at ringside.  RVD works a side headlock and gets shoved back.  Ray pushes him back to the corner and gets dropped.  Rolling Thunder connects but Ray grabs a leg and works it over.  Ray misses a splash and RVD connects on a series of clotheslines.  RVD heads up top and misses a jumping side kick.  Bubba Cutter (not the great ECW one, but a cutter nonetheless) gets the win @ 3:22.  (Good match with back and forth action.  I can get jiggy with that all day.  C.)
–  We will take a look at King Mo later on.  I have no clue who this guy is, but his interview last week on MMA Live reminded me of Floyd Mayweather’s mic work.  That or Butters from South Park.
–  Back from commercial and they show THE WHOLE FUCKING INTERVIEW FROM MMA LIVE FROM LAST WEEK!  Fucking shit!
–  Backstage, Gail is pissed and telling Madison how she has to face both Velvet and Brooke tonight.  Madison don’t care.  Madison don’t give a shit.
2.  Wild Card Battle Royal
–  Entrants include Austin Aries, Crimson, Robbie E, ROBBIE T, Magnus, AJ Styles, Devon, Eric Young, ODB, Gunner, and Garret Bischoff.  By the time I type that, EY, ODB, and Crimson eliminated.  Magnus gone too.  Madison Rayne comes out to admire someone.  Robbie E eliminates ROBBIE T.  And Devon comes up from behind and tosses Robbie E.  ANOTHER COMMERCIAL BREAK?!?  SERIOUSLY!?  We are back and in the ring are Austin Aries, Devon, Garret Bischoff, AJ Styles, Gunner, and Austin Aries.  Devon charges towards Garret and gets eliminated.  AJ tosses Garret as he celebrates.  AJ and Aries do battle and its a counters in here Gentlemen.  AJ springboards over Aries and Gunner eliminates Aries.  AJ grabs Gunner and wins the Battle Royal @ 10:57.
–  Back on Impact and a blown up AJ Styles has the mic.  He says he has been business partners with Dixie for the last 10 years.  He can understand how things can get all mixed up, but they are both happily married. This brings out Daniels and Kazarian.  Kaz wants to know the truth about the pictures.  AJ swears his innocence.  Daniels breaks out an iPad and we see video of AJ and Dixie in a hotel headed to a room alone.  AJ snatches the iPad away and leaves the ring.  
–  We go back to 2006 when Angle defeated Joe the first time.  Now live backstage, Joe and Angle are chatting.  Angle slaps Joe and they brawl until the locker room breaks it up.  Hardy faces Anderson next.  Speaking of Anderson, he is chewing gum extra loud and breaking down angles of his controversial pinfall of Hardy from Sacrifice.  I change the channel.
3.  Mr. Anderson vs.  Jeff Hardy
–  Hardy with a waistlock to start and Anderson escapes.  Misses a neck breaker and Hardy drops him.  Hardy with a leg drop between the legs and gets 2.  Hardy kicks Anderson to the outside.  Anderson rolls back in and rolls him up for 2.  Hardy slingshots back in with a dropkick for 2.  Anderson returns with a neckbreaker for 2.  Hardy chop blocks the knee quickly.  Russian Leg Sweep by Hardy.  He grabs the legs and Anderson rolls him up for 2.  Hardy comes back with Whisper in the Wind for 2.  He goes for the Twist of Fate, blocked, Roll Through by Anderson, but Hardy counters with a Crucifix for the win @ 6:10.  (As much as I wanna be biased, a great match.  So much, I’m rating this a B-.)
4.  Velvet Sky vs.  Brooke Tessmacher vs.  Gail Kim
–  Gail tries to run and Brooke dumps her to the outside.  Couple of near falls between Brooke and Velvet.  Good three way moves (and not that way) including a Boston crab while Velvet has a side headlock.  Gail heads up top and dropkicks both women down.  Velvet hits In Yo Face on Brooke, but Gail dumps her to the floor.  Gail rolls up Brooke with a handful of tights for the win @ 4:40.  (Decent in ring work from all three.  Tried some interesting combinations and a good ending.  Hell a “happy ending” if you will.  
–  A pretty good commercial for the past 10 years of TNA airs.  Impressive.  
5.  Samoa Joe vs.  Kurt Angle
–  Angle tries an underhook on Joe and gets dropped.  Joe with a flying knee drop.  Joe wipes his boot on Angle’s face.  Joe charges into a belly to belly overhead throw.  Bobby Roode comes out to observe and we’ll be right back.  Back on Impact and Angle suplexes Joe over.  Angle rolls on top and chinlocks him.  Oh, and Roode is on commentary if you give a damn.  Joe escapes and Angle jumps off the second rope into an inverted atomic drop.  Joe hits the ropes and boots him in the face.  Joe lifts for a powerbomb and Angle slips out.  Angle with the Rolling Germans.  Joe hits the ropes and Angle lifts and nails the ANGLE SLAM!  Cover gets 2.8!  They trade shots and Joe belts Angle down.  Angle with the Ankle Lock applied. Joe kicks him away.  He puts Angle on the top for the Muscle Buster and Angle headbutts out.  Sunset flip off the top and Angle gets the win @ 12:27.  (Fantastic match.  I like that they hyped this match over the whole show and it delivered in every aspect.  B+.)
–  Hogan’s fucking rambling at the beginning of the show confused me.  I had no idea is we were setting up a five way match or what these guys were competing for.  Apparently Hogan will make the choice of one of these men to face Roode next week.  Other than that, every match was good.  Even the Knockouts match delivered.  Not a bunch of pointless promos backstage, just good wrestling in the ring.  And I am awarding $500 in Monopoly money to Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle for match of the night.  I always enjoy these two, much like my admiration for AJ and Angle matches.  Tommy Hall has you covered for Over the Limit and I’ll see you next week.

I Have Issues (5)

Batman vs. The
Incredible Hulk

“Can’t we all just get along?”
In the spirit of the summer blockbusters that will be
battling it out for your hard earned money I decided to do this post on a
little known gem from the 70’s. The Hulk and the rest of the Avengers are
making a great showing at the box office, but Batman is coming in as a sequel
to an already successful franchise.
 I myself go back and
forth on which publisher I like the best. It’s like music, sometimes I want
metal and sometimes I want some classical. While I am usually of the opinion
that DC has the better more iconic characters, the Uncanny X-Men is my favorite
franchise.  My first interest in comics
came with the Uncanny X-Men. Then I hit High School and girls became my number
one priority. Comics slid out of my life for three years.  Then in my senior year something brought me
back. Of all the events to suck me back in, Superman getting new energy powers was
the one that drove me back into the comic shop. You see my best friend in High
School was the biggest Superman fan I have ever met. He is the kind of fan that
loves the character so much that even a hokey money grab like this was met with
the enthusiasm of someone reading Watchmen for the first time. His enthusiasm
was so infectious that I bought all the issues leading up to the power switch
and continued for the next several years. Much like the early 90’s comics that
I love so much, these issues hold a special place in my heart. If you would
tell me that those issues suck, I would probably have to agree with you in a
way but just like music, sometimes it just hits you at the right moment and you
always remember the time you enjoyed it.
So this one event, along with just falling in love with DC
got me back into comics It then got me back into Marvel and then Image and
finally now where I just love a good comic.
So while battling over which comic/event to write about this
time I wanted to start a run of comics with great battles. This is a wrestling
site after all and who here doesn’t love a good rumble?
My first thought when it comes to great comic fights, is the
amazing Hulk/Wolverine from the Ground Zero storyline, but then who hasn’t read
that one already? While sifting through my comics for an idea I came across
this issue where the most unlikely of fights takes place. I can remember seeing
this issue when I first got it and thought, “How the hell is Batman going to
even put up a good fight against the Hulk?” Answer: He’s the goddamn Batman!
Plus this is the Batman from the ‘70s who much like Superman at the time could
pull off some amazing shit when he needed to.

DC And Marvel
Present: Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk
(W) Len Wein (A) Jose
Luis Garcia-Lopez

Inside a warehouse building, Bruce Banner is doing remedial
jobs for Wayne research. It’s all a ruse however, as Banner has come to Gotham
just trying to get close to an experimental Gamma-Gun. Banner feel’s this could
finally be the device that could cure him of the Hulk disease he has been
struggling with since his accident all those years ago. Suddenly everyone is
laughing their asses off like they saw Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Banner runs to
grab a radiation suit to wear.  Just as
Bruce is about to get suits to everyone, he spots the Joker and his cohorts.
Banner thinks, “No…not him!” (I always
find it amusing that in a lot of crossovers the characters from opposing
universes know all about each other. I’m not sure if anyone has come up with an
Earth-53 to explain where these events take place or not. Though I think I
heard something about an Earth-B where things that can’t take place anywhere
else happen.  It kind of defeats the
purpose to say this is continuity on an earth where there is no continuity, but
the creators probably just made it up to quiet nerds like me at conventions.)
Joker is about to have his men steal the Gamma-Gun, Banner rushes to the wall
alarm to trigger it for help. Bruce is spotted by the criminals and they tackle
him. As the men beat on him, Bruce Hulks out and tosses them all like ragdoll’s.
Firing with all the guns they have, nothing stops the Hulk who smashes everyone
and everything in sight! The few henchmen who remain standing grab the
Gamma-Gun with the Joker and start running it out of the door. The group is
surprised to find Batman swooping in to cut off their escape.  Batman sees the Hulk and tries talking slowly
to the man-monster to calm him down, it’s then that Joker steps in to the
conversation. The Joker points out that he too is constantly hounded by
authority figures and that, hey they both have green hair! (I was waiting for him to point out that they both loved wearing purple
but it never came up in the conversation.)
The Joker then convinces the
Hulk that Batman is scary looking and the ultimate authority figure and that if
Hulk should smash anyone, it’s him! The Hulk agrees and charges Batman.

(Round One)

As Hulk lunges, Batman deftly leapfrogs over the brute to
land safely on the other side. Hulk turns in disbelief at how fast this man is
and then sends a green ham hock his way. Batman again evades by ducking under
the punch.  Batman then attempts to
strike at the green monster’s nerve centers, the whole time thinking, “Fall!
Why won’t you fall!” The Hulk just gets angrier to which he takes another swipe
at Batman who falls back, realizing he needs to stay away from the monsters
grip. However Batman’s plan comes too late as the Hulk gets him in his grip.
Just as he’s about to snap his spine, Batman boxes Hulks ears to which he
finally let’s go in pain. (I love
Batman, but I call bullshit on that. Superman boxing Hulks ears? Okay. This,
not so much.)
The Hulk tosses a large piece of equipment at Batman who at
the last second gets out of the way. Hulk is about to smash puny Wayne when the
detective throws down a handful of sleeping gas pellets that can “drop an
elephant”. The Hulk, just smart enough for battle tactics, sucks in some fresh
air and holds his breath.  Batman put’s a
breather on his own mouth and then with all of his strength, pushes his body
from a kneeling position into a sharp kick into the Hulk’s solar plexus. The
Hulk let’s out his breath and then instinctively sucks in the gas. The Hulk
trudges towards Batman but at the last second topples over, unconscious.

(First fall goes to

Hulk reverts back to Banner and Bruce Wayne comes out to
help him. Bruce offers him a job in Wayne corp to create another Gamma-Gun and
this time with an eye toward helping Banner find a cure for his curse.  Elsewhere the Joker is using his newly
acquired Gamma weapon on the Alien creature known as the Shaper of Worlds. The
Shaper is a somewhat obscure Hulk villain who is a sentient cosmic cube that
has decided to use his abilities to make dreams and nightmares come true.
Shaper looks like a Voltron Rowbeast with tank treads instead of legs. You know
what? Here:
The Shaper was flying in space but got too close to a
supernova and now has been damaged. His dreaming powers have driven him insane
and he needs power to get back to normal. The space being has promised Joker
unlimited power if he can help him. Now with the Gamma-Gun, the Joker fires
into the Shaper. At first the gun appears to be working, but then the Shaper
informs his criminal cohorts that the gun has failed and if the Joker wants the
power he was promised he must find another way to fix him.
Later, Banner is aboard a ship in Wayne’s fleet and is
starting to lose his cool.
The other scientists working for him are telling him that there is something
wrong with the gun. Banner does not want to hear it. Before he can Hulk out,
Alfred approaches Banner and calms him down. (They don’t mention it, but this makes me wonder if Banner had someone
in his life like Alfred, could he have learned how to control himself? Alfred
has kept Batman from going over the edge for years, so it stands to reason he
could do the same for Banner.)
Meanwhile Batman is scouring the streets for information on
the Jokers whereabouts. After beating on a few thugs in a warehouse, Batman
finds a clue.
Back on the ship, the military show up and demand Bruce
Banner turn himself in.  Alfred protests
this, but Banner agrees to go peacefully for the safety of everyone around him.
Alfred just won’t give in, and gets a rifle butt to the face for his trouble.
It’s then one of the military men yells at another that the boss told them to
act like they are proper military. Banner realizes that they are not who they
say they are and after a couple of seconds of struggle, he Hulks up! After an
unsuccessful Taser blast later, Hulk is again throwing soldier boys around like
toys.  Suddenly a looming shadow over
Hulks shoulder causes the green giant to pause. Turning around, Hulk finds a
monster twice his size in the vague shape of a man but made of some kind of
dough. The monster was created by the Shaper of Worlds to bring the Hulk in,
and does just that as it morphs it’s midsection into a cage and traps the Hulk
inside of it.  
Back in the Jokers hideout he convinces the Shaper that
Banner, could figure out how to fix him right up. At the very mention of his
puny alter-ego, Hulk rages and destroys the dough boy and charges the Shaper.
With what little power he has left, the Shaper freezes the Hulk just before he
is about to destroy everything. The Hulk jumps away, but the Shaper lets the
Joker know that he must bring him back, because he does not have the power to
do it himself.
The next scene is by far my favorite of the comic. Batman
sees his signal in the sky and swings towards it. As he reaches the rooftop
with the spotlight, he finds the Joker has lit it up. Before Bat’s can pound
the clown prince of crime, he lets the Dark Knight know the situation they are
facing. A Hulk loose in Gotham. The Joker convinces Batman that they need to
work together to find the monster. Batman reluctantly agrees and in the next
panel the two star-crossed characters are running the streets like partners.
One panel even shows Batman sneaking a peek from an alleyway while the Joker is
behind him, looking inside a trashcan (Classic!)
 Soon this preposterous pair comes
across the Hulk who is about to thrash two criminals who tried to mug him in
his sleep.  Batman tries again to reason
with him, but the Hulk wants none of it as he jumps away, warning him that he
should not follow.

(Round Two)

Batman tosses his Batarang tied to a rope around the Hulks
ankle. Holding on tight, Bat’s sails through the air. Hulk crashes through the
roof of a parking garage and Batman has to angle his descent just right to land
through the hole and not get splattered.  Gas pellets worked really well last time and
Batman not one to give up on a good plan tries it again. The Hulk waves his
hand in a fan like motion and blows it away. Batman, sure that this would work
again was already in motion for a flying kick, and realizes too late that the
gas is gone. Hulk gets Batman’s ankle in a grip and using his momentum against
him to toss him against the wall. (I
hate to be nitpicky but wouldn’t it have been better to grab his leg and stop
the momentum. The Hulk’s strength coupled with Batman’s momentum would have
snapped his leg in half! I know… they would never do this.)
Batman arcs his
body so his feet absorb the impact against the wall, stopping himself from a
broken back. Picking up a car, Hulk tosses it at Batman who dives through the
passenger side window and out of the driver’s side, avoiding yet another near
death attack. Once through the car and in the same motion, Batman grabs onto
Hulks leg. Again trying to reason with the monster, Batman gets smacked to the
ground. Hulk picks up yet another car, and Batman realizing he is severely out
of his element here throws a handful of smoke bombs on the ground. In seconds,
the Hulk can’t see his prey and starts to smash through everything and
collapses part of the parking garage in the process.  Hulk, through with his temper tantrum jumps
away yet again. The Joker shows up and pulling wreckage away finds Batman mostly
fine under a couple of cross-beams that took the brunt of the collapse.

(I’m giving the
second fall to Hulk, though Batman definitely had some cool moves in this one.)

The Hulk wanders the streets and comes across a blind man.
Hulk is surly as usual and wonders to the blind man why everybody won’t just
leave him alone! The blind man manages to convince the Hulk that maybe if he
wishes to be accepted by people that he should help them instead of destroying
things. Then the Joker appears from an alley and agrees with the blind man that
the Hulk should come with him. (Any
other villain and this would be ridiculous, but the Joker is damned
unpredictable, I buy it.)
The Hulk agrees and goes with the Joker.  The blind man then pulls his face off
revealing it to be a mask, and that man is Batman, true story.
At the docks the Joker tells Hulk to go in and destroy the
Shaper. Batman, enraged at the Joker for not going in with him, slaps the clown
in the face.  Running to catch up, Batman
tells the Hulk that they should work together, the Hulk reluctantly agrees. Just
as the two reach the outside of the warehouse the Shaper creates a nightmare
for them. A horde of villains that have challenged both Batman and the Hulk
over the years appear and together the heroes take them down.
Villain Roll Call!
Two-Face, Rhino, Abomination, the Leader, Killer-Moth and
the Scarecrow.
Now on to the warehouse, Batman finds the door locked and
prepares to pick it, the Hulk simply smashes it open. The Shaper has created a
barrier to protect himself, but the Hulk thinking he is stronger charges into
it. The power of the barrier is so great that it knocks the Hulk unconscious and
changes him back to Banner. However the Shaper was able to siphon off some of
the Gamma radiation in the attack. The Shaper, now repaired and stocked back in
energy reserves decides that he want’s to go back to the stars to do whatever
it is that he does out there. The Joker then reminds the Shaper the deal they
made at the beginning. Batman realizes that the Joker’s whole game plan was to
just get more power for himself. (The
heck you say?)
The Shaper keeps up his end of the bargain by granting the
Joker the power to make his dreams come true. (He gives him a copy of “The Secret”?) The Joker changes his
costume with a snap of his fingers. He now wears a jesters costume as he flies
away on a Persian rug. Having turned all of Gotham’s people into clowns, the
Joker flies around surveying his new kingdom as Batman follows him. Oh did I
also mention that the Joker turned Batman fat and has him in a jester variation
of his costume.  Banner, now awake and
the Hulk again is also turned into a clown.
(Strange enough this isn’t the first time the Hulk has been in a clown costume,
remember Avengers #1 when he hid in a circus?)
The next page has all of
Gotham turned into an Alice in Wonderland parody, while the Joker is the Mad Hatter.
Also Batman and the Hulk are in matching Tweedledee and Tweedledum costumes. (Wow this shit really went off the rails
didn’t it?)
After several more pages of complete nonsense from the Joker he
starts to burn out as he just can’t settle on what crazy mofo thing to create
next. Just as the Joker lets his mind slip Batman gives him a punch that knocks
him on his ass.  The Joker now too crazy
to even use his powers is sent back to Arkham.  Jim Gordon realizes that Banner is missing but
before he can put out an A.P.B. Batman tells him to let him go. “You know we’re
lucky in a way. At least we have our dreams! But all Bruce Banner will ever
know is a living nightmare!” (Man, that’s
some deep dark shit to end a comic on Wayne.)

So for a comic I think this had its moments and the fights
were pretty impressive but the whole Shaper of Worlds business was a little
much for me. The Shaper complicated a comic that didn’t need to be rocket
science.  Still I enjoyed this issue even
more on the second time around; maybe I’m getting soft in my old age?

 So we have a draw in
this comic, but who will win the battle at the box-office?

I have gotten several email requests for reading all of my
past installments of “I Have Issues” without having to search through the Blog
of Doom to get them. For those that are interested I have created a Blog at
that has all of my past installments in order, for your reading pleasure.
Thanks everyone for the support!
(J. Ryan, [email protected])

Awesome Normal Moves

I was watching some old Batista stuff after hearing about his alleged comeback, and I noticed that his spinebuster is awesome compared to everyone else’s, which got me thinking about other guys who made mundane moves look great. All I could come up with were Jannetty’s dropkicks, Hennig’s snapmares, and Benoit’s suplexes, but I’m sure there were others. Who else can you think of that made a fairly basic transition move into something more? 

Dolph of course sold the shit out of a monkey flip at Wrestlemania, but that’s more him selling than delivering.  Guys like Randy Orton do awesome dropkicks and make that into a pretty killer move, I think.  Or Santino’s hiptoss.  Really, anything can be a great move, it’s just in the delivery and sell.  

This week with Caliber Winfield…

This week, I thought I’d keep the theme in house and go with wrestling, and talk about my favorite moments from when I was a kid. 

Before we get to the main event, I thought I’d dip into the mailbag. Of course, there’s only one letter in the mailbag, but I like sounding needed.
“Calibur. i was watching Goodfellas the other day and I happen to think the scene where we go through Henry’s entire day of selling guns, coke, and cooking with his brother is one of if not the best scene in moive history. What do you think, and i thought the blog would want to pitch in on this as well”
Man, anytime I see Goodfellas on TV, no matter where it’s at, I have to watch it from that point until it finishes. The scene in question is excellent, and definitely one of the greatest. For me, however, it has to be the scene where Todd, Dirk, and Reed head to the drug-dealers house to sell him baking soda. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s a scene from Boogie Nights. It’s absolutely perfect. Alfred Molina is borderline psychotic from all the coke he’s smoking, playing Russian Roulette with himself and screaming about song order on an album while his Chinese house-boy lets off fire crackers. The tension just keeps building, as the music makes a perfect bed for everything taking place. It’s perfect. 
Anyone else who wants to be featured, hit me up at [email protected]
Sure, as adults, as wrestling fans, we’re as passionate for it as anything. Well, almost anything. When you’re a kid and you’re a wrestling fan, there’s no half-in. You’re OBSESSED. You don’t miss a minute of the programming, you get all the action figures, you read all the magazines. Being a kid, and being
a wrestling fan is something I really hope my kid gets a chance to enjoy, if I ever have’em. He’ll rarely have more fun in his life.

For me, it started the night after the inaugural In Your House. I was flipping through the channels, I had one of those cable boxes where it had a list of about 10-15 channels in three rows, you’d click the channel, then flip the switch to the row you wanted, and bam! So as I was flipping I found some guy with curly hair beating the  hell out of a guy dressed like a king. He was swearing, and just losing his mind. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. From that point on, there was nothing greater.  My parents would go to church, and I’d have a match against the sofa pillow while I watched Superstars. I’d leap off the sofa, dropping the big elbow, knowing full well the pillow couldn’t continue.

I recall there was a time when Raw ended that I was so upset, I was in tears. You see, the upcoming PPV was going to be Nash vs Sid, lumberjack match. As Raw came to an end, Diesel was in the ring with his ‘jacks, and Sid was headed to the ring with his. Just as Sid stepped into the ring, it ended! I was SO upset that I seriously almost cried. At 11 years old, there just wasn’t anything worse. At 28 years old, that match, there just isn’t anything worse.

That’s something about being a kid that I miss. I didn’t care about match quality, I just wanted to see my favorite wrestlers beat the bad-guys. Razor Ramon was my favorite, and no one was cooler. End of story. I broke my foot in the 6th grade, so my mom would go to Crazy Mike’s Video every day and rent me a wrestling tape. She had explicit instructions to make sure the tape had a Razor Ramon match on it. If not, then something with Diesel. You can’t imagine my joy when she came home one day with a purchased, PURCHASED copy of WrestleMania 10! Are you kidding me? Razor Ramon is in a ladder match and I get to own it?! There was no greater.

I use to watch the PPVs scrambled, as I’m sure a lot of you did. I remember running home from hanging out with my friends because I absolutely HAD to see, or hear, Bret Hart vs Yankem, and Diesel vs Mabel. This was a must. I also watched the IYH where Bret took on Jean Pierre Lifiet. Now, one of the happiest days of my life was when my parents finally let me order a PPV. I set up a blanket, I had pizza, chips, soda, the works. I had my action figures ready, along with my WCW toy ring, which was way too big for my figures, and I was set. 

Survivor Series 1995, baby. 
We called them…and holy hell. We needed to have some crap called a “cable box”. A cable box?! What the hell is that? WHY? WHY?! But my mom, being the awesome mom that she is, risked many speeding tickets to get to the cable store in time to get a box. I don’t know what your guys’ looked like, but mine was about the size of a DVD player now. Or the size of a dreamcast, if you will. It had the red numbers for the channel, and when you’d order a PPV, the channels on the front of the box would flash. Was it awesome. I ended up having to get the replay at 8pm that night, but it didn’t matter. I was in heaven. 

Now, at the time, the WWE was all there was. WCW was crap. It was full of old guys who couldn’t cut it with the awesomeness of the ‘E. I’d occasionally watch a replay, but only for a laugh. So, you could imagine my absolute horror when I was 7 minutes into a call on the Ross Hotline, and found out that my boy, Razor Ramon was headed South! This could not be. I was heart broken. I mean, I’d just bought myself a sure fire chick-magnet piece of jewelry, the golden razor blade that said Razor Ramon on it. I’d…I’d look a fool to wear it if he was in WCW now.  I tore down all the Razor pictures in my room, feeling betrayal speed through my veins. But at least I had Diesel, I tried to comfort myself wi—aaah, you gotta be kidding me! I didn’t want to see my guys in WCW, losing to Hulk Hogan after getting hit with a woman’s shoe. Nothing good could come of this. 

But then…

The most excited I’d ever been as a kid was when Razor debuted on WCW, starting a war. I raced out to the family TV to change the channel and show my mom just what was going down. I mean, why weren’t they preempting all channels for this?! After a few months, it was like my dreams had come to fruition. Here they were, my guys, destroying WCW. Trying to burn it down to the ground. It did not get any better. Especially since I still believed that wrestling was real. My mom would never argue with me about that, but she’d ask me questions like

“How are Kevin & Scott making money if they aren’t working for WCW?”

“Duh, mom. They have Billionaire Ted! He’s a millionaire! He’s footing the bills! And WCW won’t call the cops because they know the nWo brings the ratings! They need them!”

As the years went by, my belief of it being real was dwindling. The last straw was when a friend of mine brought in a copy of the WON to the school, and I read about how Macho Man agreed to the 6-man match at Starrcade if he got the pin. The more I read, the more sense it made. Wrestling wasn’t on the real, and I finally turned to the smark side. with Raja’s old website as my homebase.

Of course, another pillar of one’s childhood wrestling memories is the wrestling video games, perhaps we’ll save that till next week. 
Thanks for reading, guys. Take it easy.
– Caliber
Str8 Gangster, No Chaser – Got an interview with Matt from Botchamania up, plus my thoughts on Extreme Rules, along with The Man Movie Encyclopedia, and 3 years worth of some alright. 

Title Randoms

A few random questions regarding titles:
1. What was the concept of the original NWA Television title?  Was it just some arbitrary belt they decided to stick on a singles guy, or did it really have a gimmick attached to it in which it was to be defended on every TV show?

2. Do you think we will see the WWE and World Heavyweight titles unified any time soon?  The "SuperShow" thing makes the brand extension basically null and void at this point anyway.  Besides, in the kayfabe sense, wouldn't one champion (especially a "best in the world" type like CM Punk) be wanting to prove who is the "real world champion" ala Ric Flair in 1991?  Having two (theoretically) equal titles kind of flies in the face of the World Champ paradigm in general, especially in the kayfabe sense.

3. Do you think HHH will end up with some more World Titles so he can claim he has more than Flair?  Or is that still even a 'thing'?

4. Would the booking strategy of having CM Punk hang on to the title for a year bring back any luster to the gold?  He's already got a pretty long reign going by modern standards.  Sad commentary?

5.  We blog about regrettable title reigns often.  Arquette, The Miz, Vince Russo, Vince McMahon, etc.  That is more from the IWC standpoint, but what do you think are some of WWE's most regrettable title reigns?  The ones that even Vince and the bookers would secretly admit they'd like to erase (aside from Benoit, for different reasons).

1.  No concept, just a vague title that was supposed to be defended on TV more often than the other singles belts.
2.  Two titles = Twice the merchandise that you can sell to people wanting to buy replica belts.  They're just props to WWE at this point anyway.  
3.  No one cares anymore.  Cena is like, what, a 22 time champion or something by this point?  Orton has 47, right?  
4.  It'll mean something when he gets beat, but only as long as they make it mean something.  If Daniel Bryan wins it and then jobs to someone in 18 seconds right away it'll mean nothing again.  Cena held the title for over a year and then they had that PPV where it changed hands THREE TIMES in the same show and suddenly it meant nothing again.  
5.  I think Arquette and Russo for sure.  I'd also add HHH's first two title reigns, because had they waited until he was hotter after the Steph turn the win over Big Show would have been GIGANTIC for him.  

Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: WCW Slamboree 1996

The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Slamboree 96 – Into the home stretch of WCW PPVs now, as we wrap things up with Slamboree ’96 (which I didn’t order back in the day and have only watched once since then) and then finish off with Road Wild ’99 (which I watched live, but was very drunk while doing so). And then that’ll be every WCW PPV ever, in the bag.  (I used to have a LOT of time on my hands.)  – Live from Baton Rouge, LA – Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Dusty. – This of course is the last, and worst, iteration of Dusty Rhodes’ original “Battlebowl” idea, with “random” drawings forcing people to team up, with winners advancing until there’s 8 people left for a battle royale to crown the “Lord of the Ring”. – Opening match: Road Warrior Animal & Booker T v. Road Warrior Hawk & Lex Luger. Let’s see if Booker can carry three guys at once. Oddly enough, Hawk & Animal have different variants on the same “Iron Man” ripoff. Luger was in full babyface mode at this point, in preparation for the impending nWo invasion. Animal starts with Luger and they do the dramatic lockup in the corner, before Luger stomps away. Powerslam, but he doesn’t cover. Animal works him over in the other corner, and gets his own powerslam. Luger gets a suplex, which is no-sold, and Booker comes in to work on Luger’s arm. Charge hits boot, and Luger gets a clothesline out of the corner to take over again. Okay, we’ve obviously mastered the punching and kicking, let’s move into the 20th century now. Booker misses an elbow but recovers with a Spinarooni and sidekicks Luger. That gets two. It’s funny – WCW marketed Booker as a viable contender while ignoring the marketing possibilities of the Spinarooni, while the WWE markets his catchphrases while ignoring the viability of him as a contender. That pretty much sums up their differences in a nutshell. (And that’s why one is still here and one is gone.)  Axe kick gets two. Partners Hawk & Luger get into a fight, which leads to a pier-six brawl, and Luger runs away from the fight. It’s a double-countout at 6:55, which eliminates both teams from the tournament. That is so incredibly stupid that it can only have come from WCW. Horrible match, filled with bad wrestling. DUD – The Public Enemy v. Kevin Sullivan & Chris Benoit. This match really stretches the bounds of credibility as far as random drawings go. (It’s also pretty fucking depressing that 3 out of the 4 are dead.)  I mean, at least back in the early 90s (which I recently learned from the source that it WAS booked in advance, not truly random) (Wait, a wrestling event is predetermined?  HUBBA-WHAAAA?!)  the teams were suitably bizarre and thus seemed random. Benoit starts with Rocco Rock and gets pounded, and Rock hits him with a headscissors. That turns into a shoving match and stalling follows. Rocco gets a rana as Dusty and Bobby have a funny discussion about what would happen if they were partners. A second rana is reversed into a powerbomb by Benoit. He pounds away and brings Sullivan in, which turns the match into a brawl. That’s smart, because 3 out of the 4 guys aren’t good for much else. Sullivan pounds on Rocco with a chair, but gets put on a table. Benoit cuts off a dive by Rocco with a clothesline, but gets suplexed out of the ring. Sullivan and Johnny Grunge keep fighting on the floor, but Sullivan and Benoit both end up on the table, and the Public Enemy dive onto it, putting Benoit through when Kevin moves. Back in, Rocco gets the pin on Benoit at 4:44. This could have been SO much more if they had booked it like one of the crazy brawls both teams were known for. 1/2*  (Why the fuck would they put Public Enemy through to the next round anyway?  Who booked this crap?)  – Sgt. Craig Pittman & Scott Steiner v. Rick Steiner & The Booty Man. I’ve had nightmares involving these four guys wrestling each other. I mean, seriously, Rick Steiner and BRUTUS BEEFCAKE? Is that someone’s idea of a sick joke? Kimberly is playing Brutus’ “booty babe” as a result of DDP jobbing to him at Uncensored. So there’s at least one (or two) things to watch here. Pittman and Booty start, and do a ridiculously bad mat- wrestling sequence. Pittman headbutts him low to end that charade, and Scott Steiner, who was not yet the Big Bad Booty Daddy and thus couldn’t really be confused with The Booty Man at that point, comes in with a butterfly powerbomb for two. For some reason he tags Pittman back in, as Booty tags out to Rick. Pittman pounds on Rick, who cheerfully no-sells everything and powerslams him. Pittman gets a german suplex, but Rick comes back with a Steinerline and Pittman decides that cowardice is the better part of valor and tags out to Scott. This actually gets the crowd going, and Scott takes Rick down with a fireman’s carry. Rick responds with a side headlock, but Scott goes behind to control on the mat. They do some mat-wrestling, and Scott gets a side suplex, but Rick gets a Steinerline. Scott suckers Rick into checking on him, and cradles for two. Scott gets a full-nelson, but Rick reverses to a german suplex and goes up. Scott follows and superplexes him, but Rick tags out to Booty to end the awesome. So we get Booty v. Pittman again and Pittman works on the arm, into the cross- armlock. Booty tags Steiner to escape the hold (which isn’t actually legal), and Rick suplexes Pittman for the pin at 8:21. Oh man, that stuff with the Steiners fighting in the middle was shaping up to be one of the best matches of the year given some time and a proper match. (Sadly the eventual Steiners clash was junk, as Scott was too far gone to have a great match and Rick didn’t give a shit anyway.)  The rest was junk, so it evened out. **3/4 I briefly considered giving it another 1/4* in celebration of Kimberly leaving her bra in the dressing room, but then we’ve already seen her naked anyway. – Lord Steven Regal & Squire Dave Taylor v. Hacksaw Duggan & VK Wallstreet. Amazingly, it’s another combination of archenemies facing regular tag team partners. Oddly enough, Mike Rotundo was playing a Wallstreet spoof of Vince McMahon 4 years before the WWF went public. Duggan and Regal start and we get a posedown-slash-stallfest. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess who does what. Regal gets a cheapshot, but Duggan hiptosses him. Clotheslines send Regal running to the corner, and tags abound. Taylor and Regal work over Wallstreet’s arm, but he fights back with forearms. Duggan and Wallstreet can’t get the teamwork going, however, and Regal takes advantage with a beatdown on Duggan in the corner. Duggan & Regal collide, but Wallstreet won’t take the tag. Duggan makes his own comeback, including nailing his own partner, and uses the ATHLETIC TAPE OF DOOM on Taylor for the pin at 3:49. Short and bad. 1/4* – Dirty Dick Slater & Earl Robert Eaton v. Alex Wright & Disco Inferno. Disco ducks away from Slater to start, in order to save the hair. Dancing follows. Slater chops away, prompting Disco to tag out. Eaton slugs away on Wright, but he fires back and gets a hiptoss and bad headscissors. Leg lariat gets two. Slater comes in with a neckbreaker, but Wright escapes a piledriver and Disco cleans house. Was that supposed to be the hot tag? It’s breaking loose in Tulsa and Wright dumps Eaton, but Slater nails Disco with his boot and gets the pin at 2:56. Yeah, okay. DUD – DDP & Barbarian v. Meng & Hugh Morrus. This show gets better and better. Speaking of Hugh, I was watching bits and pieces of Confidential, and listening to him yelling at kids about how they’ll never make it in the WWE was kinda surreal. I mean, this is HUGH FREAKIN MORRUS telling someone that THEY don’t have what it takes to make it. All they need now is HHH to come out and tell the kids that they don’t know how to work. (Well, he is running developmental now, so that’s probably closer to reality than we’d like.)  DDP grabs a headlock on Morrus to start, but gets dumped. Hugh follows with a pescado and misses by a mile. Back in, Page gets a lariat for two and brings the Barbarian in. This leads to the showdown of the Faces of Fear, as Meng starts pounding with chops. Barbarian overpowers him in turn and elbows away, but neither guy sells anything. Barbarian finally gets a back kick to drop Meng, and he presses Page onto him. Meng comes back with a headbutt and Morrus comes in and goes up right away. Flying elbow gets one. He changes his mind and goes up again, but DDP crotches him and Barbarian gets a belly-to-belly superplex for two. That looked pretty bad. Meng comes back in for some double-teaming and Morrus heads up for the moonsault, which gets two. It’s BONZO GONZO and DDP eats a superkick from Meng while Barbarian hits Morrus with the KICK OF FEAR, and since DDP is in the ropes, Barbarian’s pin counts and they win at 5:16. Who booked this shit? They tried, but the universal suck force bound them together too tightly. 1/2* – Big Bubba & Stevie Ray v. Scott Norton & Ice Train. Kill me now. It’s like someone wanted to book Fire & Ice v. Harlem Heat, but decided to replace Booker T to ensure the worst match humanly possible. Why? Who would be cruel and inhuman enough to book such a match? Norton pounds on Stevie, but charges and hits boot. Stevie clotheslines him and brings Bubba in, as Norton does an astounding amount of selling for an astoundingly bad run of offense. Spinebuster gets two. Norton gives Bubba the worst faceplant ever seen on TV, and Juice Train gets a buttsplash for two. Clothesline and both guys are out, as even Tony is riffing on the excessive number of clotheslines in the match. When TONY SCHIAVONE thinks you’re lame, you’ve got trouble. Norton comes back in and hammers on Stevie, but Bubba collides with his own partner and Norton pins him at 3:28. And thank god it’s over. DUD – Eddy Guerrero & Arn Anderson v. Ric Flair & Randy Savage. If there’s any justice they’ll give this a decent amount of time. Arn attacks Savage while waiting for Flair to make his entrance, and Flair adds some punishment on his own partner until Eddy (still a babyface) makes the save. Flair chops away, but Eddy wants to bring it! Liz & Nancy quietly make their way to ringside. Eddy backdrops Flair and dropkicks him a couple of times, but Flair goes to the eye, and then nails Savage for fun. I guess that was a tag. Arn comes in and beats on Savage, with Flair’s blessing, but Macho fights back. Arn keeps pounding in the corner, but eats boot. He gets the spinebuster for two, however. Flair tags back in, beats on his own partner some more, but Eddy pokes him in the eye and chops away. This is wild. Another dropkick sets up a tornado DDT, and Savage comes in and goes after Flair again, while Arn turns on his own partner and DDTs him. Flair gets the pin on Eddy at 4:05. Oh man, that match was amazingly fun stuff and it’s tragic that they cut it off at 4 minutes. ** Liz and the Horsemen give Savage some more abuse on the floor afterwards. – We review the winners and set up the next round of matches (determined by another “random” drawing, with one team getting a bye due to the double countout. Mean Gene and some Hooters girl select a team at random for the bye – Fire & Ice. The rest of the matches are drawn from there. – WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Brad Armstrong. Tony talking about the “lengthy double-elimination tournament” for the belt (in reality: One match between Shinjiro Ohtani and Chris Benoit) is slightly bizarre given that even in 1996 it was easy to look this stuff up on the ‘net. Also Dean is apparently a youngster. They do some mat-wrestling to start and Brad gets an enzuigiri. They fight over a hiptoss and neither gets it, but Brad armdrags him and Dean bails. Back in, Dean dropkicks the knee and wraps it around the post, going to work on it. He uses an Indian deathlock and gets a backdrop suplex. Brad reverses a fireman’s carry into a sunset flip for two, but Dean goes back to the knee and keeps him down. Stump- puller (now there’s a move you don’t see everyday) and Dean goes back to the knee. He grabs a kneebar, but Brad makes the ropes. Pump splash hits foot, and Brad makes the comeback. Charge hits boot, but he gets a powerslam and goes up for a missile dropkick. He puts Malenko into a Texas Cloverleaf, but Dean makes the ropes. Brad gets dumped, but goes up again until he gets caught by Dean and hit with an Atomic Gutbuster for the pin at 8:25. Crowd didn’t care about any of this, and you can thank Rey Mysterio Jr. for completely salvaging this division from the scrap heap. (Yeah, for all the talk about Eric believed in the lucha style and wanted to revolutionize the business with it and stuff, they were ready to jettison the whole thing before Rey Rey set the division on fire.)  Match didn’t really work, either. ** – Dick Slater & Robert Eaton v. Hacksaw Duggan & VK Wallstreet. Slater hammers on Wallstreet to start while Duggan takes Eaton. Duggan and Wallstreet want to go, but Duggan calls for peace…and Wallstreet turns on him and dumps him. Slater gets a legsweep on VK for two. Elbow and the Slater-Eaton team work him over in the corner, but he comes back on Eaton. Eaton bails and Duggan beats on him outside, and back in Wallstreet gets the abdominal stretch, but Duggan refuses to help out by grabbing his hand. What a wuss. Duggan tags himself back in and pounds everything that moves, and gets two on Slater. We hit the chinlock. Slater & Duggan collide and tags abound. Duggan & Wallstreet disagree and Eaton rolls up Wallstreet for the pin at 4:04. Well, at least it was short. 1/2* – The Public Enemy v. Ric Flair & Randy Savage. Liz throws out Savage’s alimony money into the crowd, so Randy charges out and attacks Flair during his entrance. Security pulls them apart to prevent anything interesting from happening, and TPE wins by forfeit. GIMME A BREAK.  (Seriously, can you imagine how awesome Benoit & Sullivan v. Savage & Flair would have been?)  – DDP & Barbarian v. Rick Steiner & The Booty Man. I can’t imagine this show getting much worse, so there’s always that on the bright side. Just call me Positively Netcop. We’re really rushing through now, so this should be short and painless. DDP pounds on Booty to start, but gets dumped. Tony actually stops to give a logical explanation for DDP’s reinstatement following his retirement match: Since Johnny B Badd left the promotion and thus the match with Booty Man wasn’t for the TV title, DDP was under no obligation to put anything up, either. Okay then. Steiner comes in and pounds Page, but gets dropped on the top rope. Barbarian uses the power of the foot on Rick, but gets caught with a backdrop suplex. Sloppy belly-to- belly gets two, but Barbarian no-sells and powerbombs Rick, for two. Booty accidentally ties up the referee’s attention, allowing the heels to work Steiner over in the corner. Barbarian gets a clothesline, but Rick hotshots him and makes the “hot” tag to Booty Man. High Knee of Death gets two. Rollup is broken up by Page, and Barbarian GETS THE PIN at 5:05?!? From an ELBOW? Geez, is Brutus suffering from that brittle bone disease like Mr. Glass or something? DUD  (Well he did have that facial problem…wait, is this where he becomes the Man With No Face?  No, it can’t be, because he’s Booty Man when Hogan turns on him at Hog Wild.  It’s hard to keep up with Leslie’s gimmick changes.)  – US title match: Konnan v. Jushin Liger. Liger is sporting the EVIL BLACK TIGHTS tonight, but the pink boots sort of ruin the effect. Konnan only has one “N” in his name at this point. Konnan takes him down with a reverse bow-and-arrow to start, but Liger escapes. They do the wristlock reversal spot and lots of RVD-ish flipping results. Liger gets a senton and Konnan bails, which allows Liger to follow with a pescado. Back in, brainbuster gets two. Liger goes into a cross-armlock, but Konnan reverses to a Regal Stretch. Liger goes to a half-crab while the crowd snoozes. They exchange palm strikes and Liger gets the Koppo kick, and they head up. Liger gets a superplex and goes back up with a flying splash that gets two. Dropkick puts Konnan out, and Liger follows with a plancha, but Konnan catches him with a kick on the way down. Back in, Liger gets a fisherman’s buster for two. Konnan gets a whiplash slam for two. Liger reverses a powerbomb into a sunset flip for two. Cradle gets two. Ligerbomb gets two. Liger goes up and lands on Konnan’s foot, which sets up Splash Mountain for the pin at 9:30. Crowd was getting into it by the end. *** – Flair and Arn Anderson are doing an interview, but Steve MacMichael interrupts and challenges them to a match for the next PPV. Kevin Greene comes out as Mongo’s partner. – Battlebowl finals: Scott Norton, Ice Train, Dick Slater, Robert Eaton, DDP, Barbarian, Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge. This is just a plain old battle royale, with the winner getting a title shot at the Giant. Let me repeat that: The winner of THIS match, with THESE guys, was supposed to get a shot at the champion on PPV. This is why WCW was in so much trouble before the nWo. Usual kick and punch stuff with absolutely no storyline to the match. Page gets booted out by Barbarian, clearly eliminated, but the ref misses it (even though the camera shows it all). Gotta love WCW. More kicking and punching as guys randomly switch dance partners with no rhyme or reason. They should have done a Survivor Series elimination match or something to settle this. Rocco charges Barbarian and gets backdropped out. Slater hits Eaton with his boot and eliminates him. Slater follows him out via unseen elimination, and brawls with Eaton back to the dressing room. DDP dumps Norton, leaving four men. Ice Train powerslams everyone and forms an alliance with Barbarian, then turns on him. DDP Diamond Cuts everyone, and pins Grunge, and Train. Um, WHAT? Barbarian kicks out, however. This is retarded. What is this, the AWA World title battle royale? Where’s Tom Zenk? (Still don’t know the answer to that question.)  Barbarian clotheslines Page for two. He charges and Page gets two in the corner. Page charges and Barbarian gets two. Tombstone piledriver (which looked like it nearly killed DDP) gets two. That was almost an OwenDriver. Sleeper is stopped by DDP going low, but Barbarian gets a powerbomb for two. Barbarian goes up, but misses the flying headbutt, and the Diamond Cutter ends it at 9:36. And the crowd goes apathetic. ** DDP didn’t get his promised title match until more than two years following, at Halloween Havoc ’98, and even then he had to win WarGames to earn that. – WCW World title: The Giant v. Sting. We’ve got like 10 minutes of airtime left here, so this should be quick. Those who give me that garbage about Big Show not being able to move faster and be thinner than he is now should watch his stuff from 1996, when he still sucked, but sucked in such a way that you could at least watch his matches without being embarrassed by it. This would be the point when Sting started growing his hair out, for whoever asked me a couple of weeks ago. Sting tries a bodyblock to start, but bounces off harmlessly. He keeps hammering on Giant and tries a sleeper, but gets shoved down. Seriously, Giant is MAYBE 400 pounds here. Maybe. If he got down to that size again and stayed there, I’d have no problem with him in the main events. Sting keeps bouncing off Giant, and bails. Back in, Sting tries an enzuigiri, but that gets no-sold. Giant charges and Sting tries a slam, but Giant falls on him for two. Giant elbow and he simply walks on him to set up another elbow. Back elbow puts Sting down again and Giant works him over in the corner. Headbutt low and Giant chokes away. Another elbow and we head to a bodyscissors. That’s a pretty smart move, actually. Giant uses the ropes for good measure. That goes on for a while. Giant tosses him and sends him hurling down the aisle, but Luger prevents a chokeslam through the table by holding Jimmy Hart on the table. A REAL man would sacrifice his manager for the greater good. You think Ric Flair would have blinked twice before throwing JJ Dillon out there as a diversion? (JJ knew the deal.  Take the occasional Stinger splash in exchange for 10% of the Flair gravy train.  We’d all take that deal every day of the week and twice on Sunday.)  Giant misses a dropkick and the ref is bumped by mistake, as Sting makes the comeback and gets the Stinger Splash. He keeps hitting them, and Giant keeps not selling them. Giant finally goes down as Luger has Jimmy Hart tied up, but there’s no ref. Sting makes the fatal error of going after Hart with another splash, misses, and then recovers with a flying splash for two. Ref is bumped again on the kickout, so Sting hits him with another splash and gets the Scorpion Deathlock. Luger “accidentally” hits Sting with the megaphone, chokeslam, goodbye at 10:40. Surprisingly good, given that they kept it around 10 minutes to compensate for Giant’s weaknesses. *** The Bottom Line: Well, when the nicest things I can muster up about a show are that some of the matches are “surprisingly good” and “entertaining despite all the other crap” and “they tried hard but still sucked”, you know there’s not going to be much worth watching here. Not the worst show ever, but one of the weirdest in terms of booking, and certainly not one that you’d wanna watch more than once. Strong recommendation to avoid.