The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT–12.25.13

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 12.25.13 (NXT REWIND!) Merry Xmas to all! If anyone wants to get me a great present, Hulu Plus gift cards are always appreciated as we obviously can’t buy them in Canada. Taped from Orlando, FL Hosted by Renee Young So this is a year-in-review show, with one new match thrown in like an unreleased track on a greatest hits CD. I remember back in the day when Superstars would be a year-in-review show! We start with a look at the new Performance Center, and then clips of the guys who graduated from NXT to the main roster. Fandango! The Shield! The Wyatts! Big E! Cesaro! Sandow! Big E Langston hits us with some comments on how much he loves the NXT audience. Flashback: Adrian Neville & Oliver Grey beat the Wyatts to become the first NXT tag team champions. Whatever happened to Grey, anyway? Flashback: Paige beats Emma to win the Women’s title tournament. I’m still mystified why they employ 75% of the dead weight in the Divas division and leave these two to rot in NXT. Paige promises to be the ANTI-DIVA and go after AJ, very soon now. Bo Dallas butts in and talks about the importance of bo-lieving in yourself, setting up the clips of him winning the title from Big E. Future Stars of NXT now, with Aiden English, Mojo Rawley, Alexander Rusev, Sasha Banks, Corey Graves, Sami Zayn, and a quick soundbite to show their deal for each one. Current stars on NXT, featuring appearances from Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, John Cena, Damien Sandow, Big Show, Sheamus, RVD, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, AJ Lee, Ric Flair, and HBK. William Regal has a great introspective promo about costing himself chances at being World champion, and why he needs to beat Cesaro tonight. Flashback: Sami Zayn has a MOTYC against Cesaro, which was a hell of a way for me to begin reviewing this show. Sami Zayn is so inspired by this flashback that he challenges Kruger to a 2/3 falls match next week. Given that Kruger is getting repackaged into ROCK GOD Alex Rose, I’m guessing it won’t go well for Kruger. William Regal v. Antonio Cesaro We have a TON of time left in the show, as the review stuff only ate up 30 minutes, so they’re going long here. They fight over a wristlock and the crowd pays their respects to Regal. We take a break and return with Cesaro trying a flying headscissors and getting slammed. They continue their chess match over the wristlock and we get a classic bridge from Regal, into a straitjacket hold that’s pretty awesome. The crowd informs that this is wrestling. And yet they don’t train guys to do this stuff. They have an INCREDIBLE battle over a cravat, as Cesaro literally lifts Regal over his head in a suplex to escape. Regal gets revenge with some cheapshots in the corner behind the ref’s back, but Cesaro clips him and starts dismantling the knee. We take another break and learn that Big Show will be the New Year’s Baby on RAW. That just makes me love this show all the more. Back with Cesaro pulling Regal’s knee brace off and pounding on it with a horse collar hold (aka the Brock Lock) until Regal makes the ropes. Regal sneaks in with a rollup and backslide for two, and throws forearms to make the comeback. And then Cesaro just DESTROYS him with his own forearms, to the delight of the crowd. And this sets up the GIANT SWING, leaving Regal a mess and Cesaro talking EURO-TRASH. Neutralizer is countered by Regal and he targets the biceps to neutralize the awesome Swiss power of Cesaro, and he’s all fired up now. Sadly, the knee betrays him, and Cesaro throws headbutts in desperation, so Regal knees him in the head and tries the butterfly suplex. Cesaro powers out of that and bridges him for two, but Regal hangs on and it’s the Regal Stretch. Cesaro can’t power out, but he makes the ropes, and then he just unleashes a perfect dropkick out of nowhere. Now he’s good and pissed off, pops the shoulders back into place like a real man, and crushes Regal’s head with a double stomp. How do you even work that?!? He jumped on the man’s HEAD! Regal selling like he’s a ravaged wreck is tremendous. And then it’s the NEUTRALIZER to finish, but Cesaro is too sad to complete it because Regal is so pathetic and old. The Swiss do have hearts! But then he just puts him out of his misery anyway at 28:00. But in the end, they shake hands because they’re both real men, and holy shit this was the greatest thing I’ve seen in months. ****1/4 And what a story, with Regal pulling out everything he had left, but Cesaro just having too much for him. Both guys come out looking great. The Pulse The year in review was a helpful guide for newbies, and then Regal v. Cesaro was the best old school old lion v. young buck match I’ve seen in years. Find it on YouTube!

PG WEEK: Then and Now

PG Week rolls on here on the Blogodoom.  This is new feature that is based on the old Rant Crew that Scott did back in the day.  Basically, if something is bugging me, I will spend time blowing off steam about it.  It will be heavy-handed (probably), it will be controversial (possibly), it will stir discussion (hopefully), and it will get the idea off my chest (with any luck).  I don’t expect you to agree with me.  I doubt you will, in fact.  But I do expect that you’ll at least have an opinion on the topic and we can beat it into the ground.  WARNING: This is a long one and is based on my experiences on other messageboards.  Everything expressed here is my perspective and may not match what you know.

Most of the time, this will be in the form of Then and Now, where I look at something that’s been making headlines (in or out of the ring) today and compare it to moments throughout history.  This time, the infamous cartoon of AJ, Lita, and Punk caught my attention.  You already know where I stand… but there’s a darker side to it all, in my opinion.  Hit the link to read on.


Then and Now #1: Love Who We Say

How many of you remember SummerSlam in 1991?  I’m willing to bet some of you weren’t born then, so I’ll explain: the big event of that show, bigger than any match, was the storyline wedding of Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth.  They were already married in real life, but their character arc — spanning at least three years of separation, reconciliation, highs, lows, and everything in between — would peak at this moment.  To this day, it’s the only wedding on a wrestling Pay-Per-View, and it’s one of the very few weddings to go off without a catch.  There was no interruption, no double cross, no last-second objection.  To the WWF fan, this was their William and Kate, their Charles and Diana, their fairytale come true.

And sure, the reception would be crashed by Jake the Snake Roberts, who traumatized the characters for life and became Public Enemy #1 in just about everyone’s minds — not least of which is because Savage, in a forced retirement, could not retaliate —  but for those few hours, everything seemed right.

*****

It’s easy to forget sometimes that the people we see on TV are actors playing characters.  The spirit of kayfabe that runs through wrestling means we tend to conflate their on-screen role with their off-screen personality.  Unlike in television or the movies, wrestlers are actors defined by their greatest role.  Mark Callaway will never not be the Undertaker; Philip Brooks might as well change his name to CM Punk; Michael Hickenbottom couldn’t stop being Shawn Michaels if he tried.  It isn’t just because these are their most successful roles, either; while Vin Diesel isn’t Riddick, Dwayne Johnson is the Rock.


This can lead to complications down the line.  Because so often, what happens to the character isn’t what the person would do, fans can be confused as to where one ends and the other begins.  Of course, so can the wrestler himself; Ric Flair never stopped being Ric Flair even when he couldn’t afford it.  But the consequences can be devastating.  In the 1980s, it was a bigger deal that Jim Duggan was in the same car with Iron Sheik than it was that he was on drugs and booze and speeding down the highway.


Nowhere can this be more damaging than in matters of the heart.  It’s hard enough staying in love with someone through the perils of the road; now imagine doing it when everyone wants you to break up.  Not for your sake, but for theirs.


*****

WrestleMania 21 had come and gone, but the reception afterward was a bit of a fiasco for the WWE.  Rhyno had had a meltdown and broken an expensive vase in the lobby.  Meanwhile, Matt Hardy was desperately trying to hold together the remnants of his relationship and making a public scene over it.  The next day, the WWE had no choice but to release both men.  Rhyno took the time off, gathered himself personally, and went to TNA, where he had another chapter and became their champion.

Matt Hardy, however, had other ideas.  Throughout April of 2005, while sitting out the 90 days required between company transfers, he launched a social media campaign.  In the days before Facebook and in the early days of YouTube, it was MySpace that everyone paid attention to.  And Matt Hardy was telling the full story.

Well, his side of the full story, anyway.

*****

Sometimes the need to push two people together is somewhat benign, especially when everyone recognizes it’s the two characters getting pushed that way.  Take 2011-12 and the Zack Ryder romance arc.  In late 2011, Ryder was the rising star babyface in large part due to his own internet show.  Fans began to want to see more, and more, and more of him, to the point where it became clear: the character meant nothing, they identified with the PERSON.


And this was a problem, because his character never changed.  He was a Long Island club rat on-screen, and even after the webcasts made clear he was just a wrestling fan made good, he STAYED a club rat.  This led to some serious disconnect; if you’ve ever met the person Zack Ryder pretends to be on screen, you know they’re not known for their people skills, but Ryder himself was by all accounts a great guy and a man of the fans.


At first, there were no issues; Ryder continued his club rat persona, it was played off as tongue-in-cheek, with heel announcer Michael Cole verbally rolling his eyes at the idea of taking it seriously.  Meanwhile, the wrestler was rewarded with a United States title reign, long overdue, when he beat Dolph Ziggler in December in Baltimore to much rejoicing.  In fact, the next night in Philadelphia, he was placed in elite company — alongside CM Punk and Daniel Bryan as the hot Internet darlings.


And then came the next week, and a match that changed everything.

*****

Miss Elizabeth Hulette died on May 1, 2003, in a home she shared with Lex Luger.  An autopsy confirmed that she had OD’d, an acute toxicity of painkillers and vodka.  Her marriage to Randy Savage had long since failed, and a second marriage only lasted a couple of years.  She and Luger were co-destructive, a bad pairing.  Luger himself had had a domestic disturbance with Elizabeth just two weeks prior; he would be arrested after her death despite the death being ruled accidental.

Savage at the time was out of wrestling, but not retired entirely; he was doing minor voiceover work, still endorsing the Slim Jims, and had just appeared in the first installment of Sam Raimi’s hugely successful Spider-Man trilogy.  It goes without saying the two were separated and had lived their separate lives.  In fact, when in 2010, Savage married a longtime girlfriend from his baseball days, it seemed he’d found true love.

It wouldn’t last.  Less than a year later, Randy Savage was dead from a heart attack.  Tributes flowed in from all corners of the wrestling community as they lost a true icon of their industry.  Raw and SmackDown were stopped for a 5-minute video segment honoring Savage.  CM Punk adopted Savage’s color scheme as part of his regular appearance, modifying it to his Chicago roots as necessary, and even performed Savage’s top-rope elbow with theatrics as a setup move.  Fans everywhere mourned the loss of their hero.

But a lasting refrain was: “He and Elizabeth are together again.”

*****

Zack Ryder and Eve had just won a mixed tag match.  There was seemingly no reason for their teaming; just the spirit of competition.  However, in the excitement of victory, Ryder gave Eve a big hug.  Eve, noticeably caught off-guard, tried to remain professional, but the damage was done.  Ryder was smitten, and the fans pounced.


If you were to step into kayfabe at this time, you’d understand Eve’s apprehension.  After all, Ryder had advanced on her out of nowhere and was clearly a determined man.  He had just spent months harassing and needling every authority figure he could to get a US Title shot, and when it failed, to get another that succeeded.  He didn’t exactly take no for an answer… and now, Eve, had to be thinking, he was coming after her.


At first, she played coy.  Soon, she figured that one date wouldn’t hurt, but it became a disaster when Kane was going after the duo.  Ryder, unable to change a flat and not attempting to defend himself, became Kane’s whipping boy, destroyed from pillar to post.  Eve began to feel sympathy for Ryder, but it wasn’t clear if it was love yet.  At least, not to the viewer.  The fan at home knew better.


Where Ryder couldn’t protect her, though, John Cena could.  Cena, after all, was Kane’s target — attacking Ryder and Eve was just a way to make Cena so mad he would do something he’d regret.  And thus it was, right around Valentine’s Day as it turned out, that Kane was ready to capture and threaten Eve when Cena, not the wheelchair-bound Ryder, came to her rescue.  She gave him a thank-you kiss.  And Zack Ryder saw it.


Understand that at no point did Eve declare love or even emotion for Ryder.  Understand also that both Eve and Cena had been under extreme emotional duress at the time and were engaging in one of Hollywood’s oldest cliches, the rescue kiss.  Now understand how little of it mattered to the audience.  They had adopted Ryder as their avatar, and to see the woman he was pursuing with another man was a slap in the face.  It was the dark side that Kane wanted Cena to show, even though Eve never was dating anyone.  Eve had cheated on Zack Ryder without ever dating him, because the fans wanted them to be dating.

*****

Hardy’s videos and blog postings began to take a surreal turn.  He wouldn’t refer to either Lita or Edge by name — real or stage — just FGF and FBF (former girlfriend and former best friend).  He began talking about a rebirth as a new man, a vengeful spirit he called the Angelic Diablo, and referred to the scar from his knee surgery as the symbol of his betrayal.  Things went from expression of grief to need for counseling when Hardy pulled out a cardboard cut-out of Lita and ran over it with his truck, dressed it in other women’s clothing, and shot at it with a prop gun.  It was beginning to look like maybe Lita got out at the right time.

However, the WWE faithful only saw Lita, whom they had been told was eternally loyal to Matt Hardy, as having cavorted with Edge and broken his heart.  Screams for vengeance filled arenas, fueled by Hardy’s sudden firing and Lita’s rival Trish fanning the flames.  The WWE had little choice but to try to divert the trouble, having Lita join Edge and betray her on-screen husband Kane.  It did nothing to stop the tide.

The WWE, realizing that they may as well make money off the situation, made the proper short-term business decision and revoked Matt’s termination.  He returned — almost exactly 90 days after his firing, no less — and became involved in an on-screen rivalry with Edge, putting all the events in WWE canon.  Edge won — largely because, as Mr. Money in the Bank, he had to, and also because Matt needed to show he’d play ball to be allowed back.  And to all the world, it looked like Matt was avenging what had been done to him.

*****

AJ Lee’s rise in 2012 was bizarre, to say the least.  An NXT runner-up, she soon appeared alongside winner Kaitlyn, but it became clear there was something about her.  Her relationship with Daniel Bryan was a rocky one (to say the least); she was playing CM Punk and Kane for jealousy; and her mental stability seemed affected by the treatment Bryan gave her.  However, the more she showed unstable behavior and the more she bounced from man to man, the more the crowd took to her.


It soon became clear, or at least WWE brass soon had an idea, why.  While the other Divas had Maxim Magazine looks, AJ seemed like a girl next door.  The other Divas wore fashion designs outside the ring; she dressed in plaid and sneakers.  Other girls had enhancements to their face and chest; AJ was still petite all over.  The others were supermodels; she was barely 5’2.  The female fans, especially the young ones, had adopted her as a fan surrogate.

*****

Back in 1996, World Championship Wrestling had signed both Savage and Elizabeth, in hopes of reigniting their careers.  However, the plans were never for Elizabeth to be with Savage for long; she soon migrated to the side of Ric Flair, with whom Savage had had a long-standing rivalry.  Coincidentally, this was not the first time Flair would claim Elizabeth for his own; in the WWF, a storyline ran that Flair had been Elizabeth’s ex before she married Savage.  None of the implications worked out, and soon Elizabeth was paired with the NWO.  It was there, in 1999, that she’d begin her relationship with Lex Luger.

But 1996 saw a more interesting turn of events.  Kevin Sullivan wanted to work with a hot hand, so he had himself against up-and-comer Chris Benoit in a midcard storyline.  The idea behind the story was that Woman, who was Sullivan’s real-life wife, had a thing for Benoit that she first developed at Flair’s side while Benoit was a Horseman.  In order to sell the story more, Sullivan encouraged his wife to spend time in public with the young man.  Naturally, the fans ate it up; given their idolizing of all things Horsemen and knowledge of Sullivan’s backstage power, having the young star pull the ultimate fast one was a thing of beauty.  Then, when it became clear that life was imitating art, the stage was set.  The bitter, resentful Sullivan now had reason to curtail Benoit’s career; Benoit was an underdog who followed his heart.

*****

AJ Lee was now General Manager of Raw, and as such every man was trying to win favor with her.  But the ones the fans reacted most to — particularly the female fans — was Cena’s attempts to get on her good side.  It was no secret that Cena’s fanbase disproportionately skewed female, and to put their chosen avatar with their chosen hero was a dream come true.


It all started innocently enough; AJ insisted on speaking to her top draw (WWE Champion CM Punk’s protests notwithstanding) over a business dinner.  Of course, no one was fooled, and Cena and AJ’s denials only fueled the fire.  Finally, in an effort to quiet the doubters, Cena just planted a kiss on AJ, hoping to give them something else to talk about.


The women in the crowd cheered, and their cheers only doubled when AJ returned the kiss with a more passionate one of her own… that Cena clearly accepted.  Their dream couple had come together.

*****

Chris Benoit’s deteriorating mental health led to the worst-case tragedy possible.  June 25, 2007 brought sadness — Benoit, Nancy “Woman” Daus, and their son Daniel, all dead.  No news had been brought out as to the cause of death, leaving the door open for everything from a botched burglary to carbon monoxide poisoning.  But those who knew the wrestlers knew better.

Vince McMahon cancelled all live events for the Raw to take place that evening — unusual, since the last two wrestlers to die on his watch were given a memorial show with fans.  Wrestlers were allowed to give comments on Chris and Nancy, but some, such as William Regal and JBL, were abrupt and only focused on his in-ring skill.  Jerry Lawler’s final thoughts didn’t even concern Benoit; he merely talked about how we was going to tell his family he loved them.

During the broadcast, the reason became clear.  Fayette County police had reported they were treating the event as a family annihilation, and they believed he did it.  A news conference was scheduled for the next day, in which everything would be laid out.  Police departments don’t speculate in public; if they say something, they have probable cause to believe.

Wrestling fans were heartbroken.  Disaster had hit home, and one of their cult favorites could no longer be seen in a positive light.  His last act had, at the time, snuffed out everything he was.  In their grief, they searched for some way, any way, that they could not be cheering a monster.  Desperation sank in: they blamed Nancy, they blamed Kevin Sullivan, they blamed anyone they could think of.  But when it became clear that the man they cheered had taken the relationship they cheered and destroyed it and the people in it, there was only one thing left to do.

Well, for some.  Others simply pretended it never happened.  A new meme sprung up on various forums: “I choose to remember.”  It wasn’t enough to admit that we, the fans, were wrong about what we wanted; an Orwellian re-writing of a history of violence — reports that domestic disputes arose before, and that the wrestlers knew of Benoit’s short fuse and sadistic ways were summarily tossed aside as immaterial.  We made him a hero; we helped him rescue the woman; there’s no way we backed the wrong horse.

*****

If you’ve seen my last few Raw Recaps, you’ve read me referring to AJ Lee as a Homewrecker.  In the strictest sense, this may be an overreaction.  No reports have come up as to the timeline of Punk and Lita’s breakup and Punk and AJ’s hookup.  However, compared to when Lita was in AJ’s position with regards to Edge, the reaction has been surprisingly muted.


Part of it, of course, that Lita left Matt.  Although Matt’s brother Jeff Hardy would later claim Matt was controlling of Lita, at the time we had no idea.  It was only hindsight that revealed Lita was not right for her longtime beau — be it Matt’s unstable home videos, his death threats to Edge, or even his similar meltdown when he broke up with Ashley Massaro (who subsequently dated Paul London for a short time).  Although time has caused many to shrug it off and forgive, a select few still hold it against Amy.


But more to the point, while the male fanbase is every bit as upset at April Marquez as they were at Amy Dumas, the female reaction has been nonexistent.  Total Divas has shown that AJ, still through her heel status an audience insertion, had no chance at John Cena.  However, CM Punk was a strong second choice, and the guys approved of him more than of John.  To the men, it was the two strong-willed pipe-bombing wrestling lifers, “indy darlings” coming together to join forces and take over the WWE; to the women, it was the closest they’d get to Punk himself.

*****

We don’t know the private lives of the wrestlers, much as we want to.  What we see on TV is simply what their fictional characters do.  And yes, we can demand certain things happen — seeing Ryder with Eve or AJ with Cena is certainly harmless in the short run.  But at some point, we have to remember that wrestlers are people too.  They have lives, they have flaws; they have dark secrets, they have emotions.  It’s not our place to say how they act, so long as they behave while in the public eye.

To be fair, most fans live up to the social contract.  Usually, we can separate one from the other.  We know that Stephanie McMahon really does have some faith in Daniel Bryan despite the Authority’s protests; after all, otherwise they’d never have John Cena keep his name afloat in the main event.  We know that Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger are not xenophobic bigots (even if they had to tell Glenn Beck that).  We know Goldust isn’t the quasi-sexual weirdo he portrayed in 1996, nor is he that today.

So why is this the hardest one to shake?  Why do we believe that love between wrestlers is meant to be, and that two specific wrestlers — Savage and Liz, Matt and Lita, Benoit and Nancy — are perfect?  And when they’re not, why do we the fans seem to take longer to accept it than the princples of the relationship themselves?

Love should be the last thing we try to “book” as a wrestling community.  Instead, it’s often the last thing we let happen on its own.

Thanks for letting me compose this piece.  I promise that tomorrow I’ll be back with more of the people in underwear pretending to hurt each other escapism we all love as I review SmackDown En Ciudad Mexico.  PG Week rolls on.

Allow me to say, by the way, that I love having you as an audience, because you’ve actually helped me get better as a writer as we get more comfortable with each other.  I think I’m better for having a crowd that doesn’t just post open smacktalk like some forums would.  Your constructive criticism is awesome.  You are awesome.

Impact Wrestling – December 26, 2013

Impact
Wrestling
Date:
December 26, 2013
Location:
Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Taz
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We
close out the year tonight with the fallout from last week’s Final
Resolution which saw Magnus (in theory) join up with Dixie as the new
corporate champion. This should mean the imminent return of AJ
Styles and the unification match for the two titles. It should also
be interesting to see if TNA starts having more matches during the
show or sticks with around three plus a lot of talking. Let’s get to
it.

After
the usual recap of last week’s events, here’s Spud in the ring to get
things going. He gives a very elaborate introduction for someone
very important to all of us: Dixie Carter. She talks about how great
the last seven days have been and talks about how Santa didn’t
deliver the title to Jeff Hardy like the fans wanted him to. That
doesn’t matter though because the right man wanted. The fans sound
like they want AJ.
Dixie
has a major announcement that she’s been hyping up all week on social
media but Jeff Hardy cuts her off. Jeff has some complaints to make
but Dixie cuts him off. The fans aren’t interested in what Jeff has
to say so he threatens Spud for what he did to Jeff last week. Spud
goes all pompous Brit on Jeff and orders him out of the ring. Spud
is sent into the corner but EC3 runs out to jump Hardy, knocking him
to the floor. Dixie loads up the announcement but here’s Sting to
interrupt as well.
Carter
and Spud roll to the floor like proper cowardly heels should and
Sting grabs the mic. He’s tired of entitled pipsqueaks getting
everything they want, so Sting isn’t leaving until both he and the
fans get what they want: Sting beating the tar out of Ethan Carter.
The Icon wants Carter/Spud vs. Sting/Hardy but Dixie says no way.
Dixie says she’ll give Sting a tag match but doesn’t say who is in
it. Her music comes on but she wants to make her announcement. The
music keeps going as we take a break.
Back
with Dixie trying to make the announcement again but this time Gunner
interrupts. Gunner wants his title shot right now but Dixie turns
him down because Magnus is in England. Gunner grabs the mic from
Dixie and says to let Magnus know that the cash-in is coming sooner
rather than later. Dixie tries for I think the fourth time to make
the announcement but here’s James Storm to interrupt this time.
James thinks Gunner owes him something but Gunner disagrees.
Storm
talks about Gunner costing him the match against Bobby Roode when
Storm asked him to. Gunner says he did it for Storm’s own good
because Storm was in a bar fight the night before. Storm says that
may be true but he wants to know who told Roode about the bar fight.
James thinks Gunner is the stooge and wants a match for that case
tonight. Dixie says ok because Gunner interrupted her. She’s not
ready for the announcement though so everyone has to wait for later.
Gunner
vs. James Storm
For
the Feast or Fired case. They shove each other to start until Gunner
sends Storm into the corner but walks into a headlock takeover.
Gunner shoves him into the corner again but Storm hits a quick
enziguri from the apron. A running forearm gets two on Gunner and a
facebuster gets the same. Gunner gets in a knee lift to the ribs and
puts on a quickly broken chinlock as the announcers talk about the
announcement. Storm comes back with a tackle/spear to send both guys
out to the floor…..for a VERY fast double countout at 4:58.
Rating:
D. This was all about extending
the feud which is the right idea. I’d assume we’re headed for a
gimmick match at Genesis to blow this off so the ending makes sense.
That doesn’t mean it was executed well at all though as the ten count
took maybe five seconds and we didn’t see any of the count until the
end.
They
fight to the back as referees fail to pull them apart.
Brooke
is annoyed at Bully Ray for annoying her since he doesn’t seem to
want her anymore. That’s fine with her as she’ll just go air all his
dirty secrets in the ring. Bully says her name but that’s it.
Magnus
talks about all the bad characters he’s been given over the years
which counts as paying dues. He talks about being called the future,
meaning he’s not ready yet “because some people weren’t ready to
hang it up yet, BROTHER”. This felt like part of a shoot
interview.
Here’s
Brooke to demand answers from Bully. She understands that he’s mad
at her for throwing the hammer, but she’s not accepting full blame
for everything. Here’s Ray in a hoodie and sunglasses as Brooke
insists that this can be fixed. It’s neither of their faults that
Aces and 8’s ended but Ray turns his back on her. Brooke yells at
him for not respecting her and reminds him that Ray said throw the
hammer. Ray was supposed to be her ticket to the big time but now
he’s that weird high school kid that has no friends.
Brooke
says she’s no one’s property and that she’s done but Ray grabs her
arm. Ray says she’s done when he’s done with her but he doesn’t
blame her for anything. After all, she’s not the smartest girl in
the world but she was there for certain uses. She wasn’t even that
good at those things thought and sometimes he would close his eyes
and think of Brooke #1.
He
could piledrive her right now but instead he’s going to use her to
spread his word. She knows how evil he can be, so she can let
everyone know what’s in store for them. Ray takes off the glasses
and says it’s going to be a lot worse as ominous music plays. He’s
done with her.
Joseph
Park is scared to have a Monster’s Ball match.
Magnus
thinks being in the Main Event Mafia was the way the Mafia kept him
on a leash.
Ethan
tries to get out of the tag match but Dixie says she has them
covered.
We
recap Park’s revelation that he’s Abyss.
Park
is scared but Young says believe in himself. Eric says hit the music
and it’s the old Abyss song. He gives Park Janice to make him feel
better.
Joseph
Park vs. Bad Influence
Monster’s
Ball, meaning anything goes with weapons at ringside. Park has
Janice while the team grabs a kendo stick and crutch. Bad Influence
surrounds Park but he swings Janice…and drops it, allowing the
heels to score with shots to the ribs and back. Park gets taken down
and Kaz hits a backsplash before more weapons are thrown inside. Kaz
throws in a trash can which hits Park in the head but there’s no
blood yet. Daniels stomps on Park in the corner and chokes him with
a cord.
Kaz
loads up a chair shot but Daniels stops him to prevent blood. Park
comes back with his usual basic offense and picks up a kendo stick.
Kaz gets in a cheap shot with a trashcan lid though and Bad Influence
takes over again. They head outside and send Park into the steps but
have to stop and check for blood again. Back inside and Park
backdrops Daniels over the top before splashing a trashcan lid into
Kaz.
There’s
a Boston crab on Kaz’s damaged ribs but Daniels comes back in with a
crutch to break the hold. Eric Young finally comes out for some
moral support but Park says he needs help. Young loads up some right
hands to Park’s head but Bad Influence makes the save. Kaz tries a
kendo stick shot but Park shoves him out of the way to take the shot
to the forehead. We’ve got blood, kendo stick shots, Shock Treatment
to Kaz, Black Hole Slam to Daniels for the pin at 10:24.
Rating:
D. WAY too long for the end
result. This is the same idea they’ve been using for months now and
the fact that it’s taking Eric Young to get us there makes it all the
more annoying. The stuff with not letting Park get hit in the head
was smart so the match wasn’t a total loss. Just too long.
Jeff
Hardy is on the phone with his wife. He’s had a plan for a few weeks
and it goes down tonight.
Magnus
talks about the BFG Series being proof he could hang with anyone.
The loss to AJ was what changed him because he never wants to feel
that again. The win over Sting at BFG was the biggest win of his
career.
ODB
vs. Lei’D Tapa
Before
the match Gail tells Madison to stay out of her business. ODB can’t
slam her so she chops at Tapa instead. Tapa sends ODB into the
corner and slowly pounds away before kicking ODB in the face. ODB
avoids a middle rope seated senton (which would have missed if she
hadn’t moved) but still can’t drop Tapa with shoulder blocks. Gail
throws the title belt into the ring and pulls ODB’s hair to distract
her, allowing Tapa to hit the TKO for the pin at 4:16.
Rating:
D. They treated this as the
female version of the Colossal Jostle but even that match looked
great by comparison. I have no idea who TNA thinks cares about
either of these girls but the fans here didn’t seem interested in
them at all. Madison at least has some appeal to her while ODB is
just loud and unpleasant.
Gail
says that was a lesson for Madison.
Sabin
and Velvet have a nice moment in the back. Chris has an X Title
match next week and he blames Velvet for losing the title in the
first place. She doesn’t think she can help him so he says he’ll
find a girl that can.
Magnus
talks about having Dixie in his corner and how their partnership will
last for years.
Ethan
Carter III/Rockstar Spud vs. Sting/Jeff Hardy
Before
the match Dixie makes her announcement: next week there’s a
coronation. Oh and this will be a tag match, but it’s a tag team
handicap match.
Ethan
Carter III/Rockstar Spud/Bro Mans vs. Sting/Jeff Hardy
Carter
and Spud want nothing to do with Sting so they both tag out with
Jesse eventually getting the start. Sting hiptosses him down but
Zema Ion grabs Sting’s leg to get an advantage. Carter comes in but
Sting gets up so it’s off to Robbie before any contact is made. Jeff
comes in with a middle rope splash for two and a backdrop to send
Robbie out to the floor. Carter accidentally tackles Godderz to the
floor, setting up a dive (with Sting as a springboard) to take out
all four heels at once.
The
four of them pull Jeff down and stomp away for their first advantage
as we take a break. Back with Godderz getting two off a knee to the
ribs. A powerslam gets the same and it’s back to Robbie who gets two
off a clothesline. Jesse comes back in for a half crab and Sting is
suckered in, allowing a four man beatdown on Hardy. Carter mocks
Sting with a Stinger Splash but Jeff comes back with a jawbreaker.
Sting comes in and cleans house, even with Spud on his back in an
impressive feat. Sting keeps beating everyone up but Carter grabs a
rollup for the clean pin at 13:30. Taz said he had tights but I
didn’t see them.
Rating:
D+. This was another dull match
in a string of them tonight. It’s not like Sting and Hardy got
screwed over, or at least it didn’t come off like they did. The
match made the tag champions look like jobbers which is a step
backward for them after how much better they’ve looked lately.
Boring match here and I don’t know what it accomplished.
Post
match Hardy gets on the mic and thanks Sting for getting him into the
business. Last week he was the better man but lost because of the
politics. The fans chant for Hardy but he says the fight’s all gone.
This was his last match in TNA and he’s leaving until the sun shines
on this dark kingdom. Hardy says he loves the Creatures, takes off
his shirt, and leaves.
Overall
Rating:
D. Well they’re back to
boring already. Save for the decent promo work from Magnus, there
was nothing to see here. We’re still just waiting for AJ to come
back which will probably be at the coronation next week. That
doesn’t make this week any better though as we had four dull or short
matches which makes for a LONG two hour show.
Results
James
Storm vs. Gunner went to a double countout
Joseph
Park b. Bad Influence – Black Hole Slam to Daniels
Lei’D
Tapa b. ODB – TKO
Bro
Mans/Rockstar Spud/Ethan Carter III b. Sting/Jeff Hardy – Rollup to
Sting
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Which Shoot Interview Should be Reviewed Next

Just like last week, I will ask a question and the person who is the first to guess correctly, will get to choose the shoot interview that I will recap next week. I will send you a word document of the shoots that I have in my collection (the ones that have not been reviewed on the blog) and you email me back the one you want to see reviewed.

Here is the question:

What was the first “Timeline” shoot that I reviewed for the blog?

NXT – December 25, 2013

NXTDate:
December 25, 2013
Location:
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Host:
Renee Young
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
Christmas time in NXT and since this is a sane promotion, tonight is
a year in review show, plus Cesaro vs. Regal. This should be
entertaining as usual given how good NXT has been over the last year.
It’s always fun to see where guys on the main roster got started and
several guys on the main shows today were in NXT earlier this year.
Let’s get to it.

Welcome
Home.
The
arena is empty and Renee Young is our host.
First
up: a look at the opening of the WWE Performance Center.
We
get packages on all the people that have gone from NXT to the main
rosters: the Wyatts, Shield, Fandango, Xavier Woods, Damien Sandow,
Antonio Cesaro and Big E. Langston. Ignore that Cesaro, Fandango and
I beliee Sandow were in WWE before they came to NXT.
Langston
talks about the previous year has been a whirlwind and he couldn’t
have done it without the maniacal five count fans. This is just the
beginning.
Cesaro
says that William Regal is the only technical wrestler he’s ever
respected. Regal’s evilness was an inspiration for Cesaro and he
wouldn’t have a job here without William. However, Regal knew this
day was coming: the day when one of them had to go. The younger,
stronger and better man gets to stay, and that’s Cesaro.
Video
on the first NXT Tag Title match with British Ambition beating the
Wyatts.
Video
on Emma vs. Paige for the first Women’s Title.
Paige,
who towers over interviewer Devon Taylor, thinks Emma is just a
dancer. However, she now has Paige’s respect because Emma has shown
she can move in the ring. Paige insists she’s a wrestler and
promises to come for the Divas, including AJ.
Bo
Dallas knows we want to hear about his rise to the title but we need
to hear how important it is to Bo-Lieve. We get a clip of him
beating Langston to prove the power of the Bo-Lievers.
The
Wyatts talk about how they stand for a cause. Their crusades began
in a place called NXT and whether it’s there or up in WWE, their
message is simple: down with the machine.
Here’s
a package on the future of NXT: Aiden English, Mojo Rawley, Bayley,
Tyler Breeze, Alexander Rusev, Sasha Banks, Corey Graves and of
course Sami Zayn.
Video
on all of the WWE stars who have made cameos here in NXT.
William
Regal has been considering his legacy. He’s a vicious fighter and a
unique entertainer but he never became World Heavyweight Champion.
That’s his fault though because he has a tendency to get in trouble.
He’s always been a world class technical wrestler, and that’s where
Antonio Cesaro comes in. Cesaro is ten times the wrestler that Regal
has ever been and Cesaro wants to prove it. The only chance Regal
has tonight is a miracle and that’s not coming to someone like
himself. Regal is going to give this every bit of evil he has and
hopes that’s enough. This was an old school wrestling promo and it
was awesome.
Young
is about to introduce the match of the year but Shield hijacks the
signal to talk about how dominant of a year they’ve had. They’ve
destroyed everyone from Undertaker to Rock to Undertaker to John
Cena, but that was after they built NXT. All those guys that are
coming up through NXT need to be worried because Shield is waiting on
them in WWE.
Back
to Young who introduces the only match that could have been match of
the year in NXT: Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro 2/3 falls. Cesaro
going into beast mode to get the wind is still amazing and makes me
even sadder every time I see him jobbing to Los Matadores.
Sami
talks about what an honor it is to be part of the match of the year
but now his focus is on becoming NXT Champion. There’s a roadblock
in his way named Leo Kruger and this talk about 2/3 falls has gotten
him thinking. Next week: Kruger vs. Zayn 2/3 falls. Even on a
review show they set up something for next week. Can this show do
anything wrong?
Antonio
Cesaro vs. William Regal
The
Fink is doing entrances, which gives me an answer to the question I
just asked. The disgusted yet also terrified look on Regal’s face is
perfect. Cesaro cranks on the arm to start and Regal can’t counter.
Antonio takes him to the mat but Regal nips up to draw a gasp from
the crowd. Cesaro stays on the hold and takes Regal down again but
there’s another nip up. “You still got it!”
Regal
takes Cesaro down to his knees but still can’t get away from the
wrist control as we take a break. Back with Cesaro still on the arm
and jumping onto a standing Regal’s shoulders (basically putting
himself in a fireman’s carry) to apply even more pressure. Regal
flips him down into an armbar but Cesaro nips up just like Regal did
earlier. William takes him down by the other arm but Cesaro powers
up into a test of strength.
Cesaro
easily powers Regal down but the Englishman counters into a cross arm
choke. He leans backwards to put Cesaro over his knees while still
choking, only to be flipped forward to escape. Back to the test of
strength before Regal counters a front facelock into a dragon
sleeper. Cesaro flips him forward in a kind of reverse suplex for
two but Regal gets him down into the corner and does his “distract
the referee while kicking the opponent in the face” spot.
Antonio
chop blocks Regal down and rams the bad knee into the apron a few
times as we take another break. Back with Cesaro holding a leg lock
but Regal keeps fighting back with kicks to the head. Cesaro keeps
control by cranking on the knee even more and taking off Regal’s knee
brace. The knee is bent around Cesaro’s neck in an old Brock Lock
but Regal counters into a rollup and backslide for two each. Cesaro
hits a series of ten uppercuts to knock Regal silly, setting up the
Cesaro Swing.
After
some trash talk Antonio loads up the Neutralizer but Regal backdrops
his way out. He drops a knee on Cesaro’s arm to take away the
Neutralizer. Regal goes after the arm with everything he’s got and
hits an overhead suplex for two. The knee is too damaged for the
knee trembler though and Cesaro comes back with a headbutt. Regal is
fine with that and headbutts Cesaro right back before loading up a
double underhook suplex. Cesaro backdrops Regal but can’t break the
grip.
Regal
takes him to the mat again and tries the Regal Stretch but Cesaro
makes the rope. A forearm from the good arm lays Regal out and a
double stomp to the back of the head has the referee checking him.
Cesaro looks down at Regal before picking up his limp body. He sets
up the Neutralizer but thinks twice about it and lets Regal fall back
to the mat. Regal tries to pull himself up so Cesaro puts on the
Neutralizer. He looks down at Regal’s unconscious body and looks
disgusted after pinning Regal at 16:00 shown of 24:00.
Rating:
A. I loved this for a lot of
reasons. First of all, the technical stuff at the beginning was
excellent with two old school craftsmen doing their jobs as well as
anyone can. It’s wrestling in its purest form and when you have guys
who can work that style it’s as entertaining as you can get. Then
there’s the excellent storytelling with Regal trying every trick he
knew but not being able to stop Cesaro’s raw power. The ending with
Cesaro not wanting to hurt Regal anymore but giving in to his natural
instincts of winning at any cost was great stuff. I loved this match
and continue to wait for Cesaro to be taken seriously in WWE.
Regal
is taken out by referees but Cesaro goes after him and extends a
hand. Regal stares him down and shakes hands as we go off the air.
Overall
Rating:
A+. An amazing match
and clips of all kinds of awesome stuff from the undisputed best
wrestling show going today make this the best hour of wrestling I’ve
seen in a long time. Even when they’re talking about a match that
happened months ago they tie in a match next week to give us a reason
to keep watching. This show can do no wrong at this point and
somehow keeps getting better.
Results
Antonio
Cesaro b. William Regal – Neutralizer
Remember to head over to my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and check out my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

A+ Match of the Day

Happy Boxing Day Blog O’Doomers!

Thought about Mr. T-Roddy Piper from Wrestlemania 2 but said, ‘nah, let’s stick with wrestling.’ And I picked this match to honor the soon-to-be returning Batista. Hopefully he channels the awesome that he brought in 2010, I don’t see why he wouldn’t since he remains pretty funny and witty. But if not, let him be the ass-kicking machine he’s always been.

I decided to pluck this match from 2008 since it was “the first time”, like we couldn’t see the millions of Levithan vs. Prototype matches from OVW? Anyway, Summerslam 2008, Batista vs. John Cena in a battle of true-blue A+ players. Enjoy!

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1999 WWE as told by Sean Morley

This runs at just under one hour and forty-five minutes long.

I am referring to Morley by his character, Val Venis, as he has the same first name as the interviewer, thus making it easier.

JANUARY

Shawn Michaels announces his retirement on January 12th at the advice of doctors after undergoing surgery to repair herniated discs. Sean asks Val how the locker room reacted to his retirement. Val said he was disappointed, as he wanted to work with him, but did not pay attention to everyone’s reaction. When asked, he said the injury was legit. He did state that some were happy and others didn’t care all that much.
At the Royal Rumble, Rock defeated Mankind in a “I Quit” match. Parts of the match were filmed for the documentary “Beyond the Mat.” Val said that he saw pieces of the documentary and thought it was decent, although he never saw the whole thing. He then adds that the locker room consensus was mixed towards the film. When asked about the chair shots, Val said back then, he thought you shouldn’t be in the business if you couldn’t take one but looking back now, he realizes that it is stupid. He then compares it to the UFC and how fighters constantly get punched in the chin. In regards to Mick Foley putting his body on the line, he said he was concerned for him and that was what led to his early retirement.
Val is asked about Vince McMahon winning the Royal Rumble. He said it was fun to watch, especially when it came to bumping. He didn’t care that Vince put himself over, saying that the crowd responded well and Vince knows what the crowd wants to see.
On January 26th, Mankind defeats The Rock for the Heavyweight Championship in an empty arena match in the Tucson Convention Center that aired on MTV during halftime of Super Bowl XXXIII. Val is asked about the popularity that the WWF was seeing at the time. Val said that they rode on the wave of popularity caused by the Rock and Steve Austin.
Val is asked who came up with his feud against Ken Shamrock, when he learned that his sister starred in one of Val’s films. “Saving Ryan’s Privates.” Val said that it was Vince Russo’s idea. When asked what it was like pairing with Ryan Shamrock, he said that it was entertaining. He is asked about the rumor of a proposed incest angle that was nixed by Ken. Val never heard about that and said that he would be turned off by that as well.
FEBRUARY
On February 5th, Bob Backlund announces that he will run for the Connecticut First District Congressional Seat. When asked if he thought Bob was crazy, he said that anyone that would work out nonstop for two hours every night in his hotel room. In regards to Backlund as a politician, Val said that he would be the same as any other, if Republican he would give money to the military industrial complex and if a Democrat, he would give it to friends running safety net projects then talks about how we are all getting plundered.
Val is asked about the WWE acquiring the Big Show. He calls him a great athlete and said he was fun to work.
At the “In Your House: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” PPV, Val defeated Ken Shamrock for the Intercontinental Title. When asked if he felt that it was an important achievement, Val said yes and lists the guys who have held the title before him and how the best workers in the company were in contention for the belt. He said he found out he was winning by Pat Patterson, four hours before the show. Val then said all of the writers were kept on their toes and storylines were changed at the drop of the dime. Val said that the belts changing hands too frequently does devalue the belt a little bit.
MARCH
Jim Ross returns to TV after a three month absence due to his Bells Palsy. Val said that he rarely ever dealt with JR but felt that he was a huge asset to the company and that he and Lawler were a great commentary team. He said that they were cordial but also never had anything in common as JR liked football and he was into politics. When asked about any animosity between JR and Michael Cole, Val said that he believes that Cole thinks he is better than JR, which Val disagrees with.
Val lost the IC Title to Road Dogg on the March 15th episode of RAW. He said it was disappointing, especially since there was no follow up storyline. He said that he was told then he was dropping the belt and they did not have a follow up plan. He liked the Road Dogg and had no problem at all dropping the belt to him.
He is now asked about Jerry Lawler getting arrested on March 16th at the Memphis Airport after running over the foot of the airport officer who gave him a ticket. Val said that he vaguely remembers this but does not recall Lawler ever having a temper. Val then says that he should of backed up and drove over the officer’s other foot because he gets paid through tax dollars, which Val calls “the theft of our money.”
Val is asked about WrestleMania and the week leading up to the event. He said it is nonstop appearances all week long and that you can feel the buildup too. He said that he keeps himself in check by stopping and taking a deep breath. He wrestled in a four-way match and Val said when you get more than one opponent in the ring, the match becomes a little more difficult. He is then asked if the match is booked more closely during WrestleMania and Val said that several people are involved and it is hard to screw up as you are in the zone and you have been rehearsing everything the whole time.
Next, he is asked about HHH and Chyna attacking X-Pac then aligning with the corporation. Val said that he is good friends with X-Pac then jokes that he has “burnt a lot of brain cells with him” in the past. He says they have a lot of good memories together.
When it comes to the boxing match between Butterbean and Bart Gunn, Val said that it is tough for a wrestler to box, when he has been wrestling his whole life. He recalls that Butterbean was respectful and nice but in the locker room after he won, Butterbean thought that he would get a full-time job in the WWF as a result.

APRIL




On April 20th, Rick Rude died of a heart attack. Val said he has lost a lot of friends due to prescription drugs abuse and that in the minds of those that abuse them, they never see that they can die from that. When asked if it is noticeable in the locker room, Val said sometimes it is but other guys can abuse everything and somehow manage to stay alive. Val then talks about how the WWE is currently doing everything within their power to prevent the abuse from happening and talks about how prescription drugs are the most abused drug in high schools.

The Rock turned face on the April 26th edition of RAW after Shane McMahon fired him from the corporation. When asked about the qualities that made the Rock such an effective face, Val said that the Rock is one of the best ever on the mic and also puts over his intelligence and wit.

MAY

On May 10th episode of RAW, Commissioner Shawn Michaels awards Debra the Women’s Title after losing an Evening Gown match to Sable, who quit the company shortly after this happened. Val said Sable was a good champion during her brief run. When asked why she was so despised, Val said he heard the stories of her attitude problem but that he always got along with her and used to travel with her and Marc Mero.

Val is asked about going back to England. He said that he wrestled there before going to the WWE and said that he heard the eruption from fans while at the airport when heading to the baggage claim. Val is asked if anything happened during the flight but he said the ribbing usually occurs on the plane ride back. He also said that when he travels overseas, he would travel but at this time, he was partying hard and would go out to the bars with A-Train and Test.

They now talk about the death of Owen Hart that occured at the “Over the Edge” PPV. Val said that he was the next match and behind the Gorilla position warming up. Bruce Prichard was near him then got up and yelled for the EMT’s and that someone fell. He didnt know that it was Owen until after a minute. Jeff Jarrett was doing a pre-match promo and had no idea that Owen fell. Val said that they wheeled Owen backstage and the EMT’s were doing heart compressions and his eyes were open but said you could tell that there was nobody home. After that, he headed out for his match and said he went out and looked at how high up he was and thought to himself that there was no way he was going to survive that. Val said that he started to calm himself down with deep breaths. Jeff then came out and did not know what had happened and after the match, they went backstage and found out that Owen had passed away and Val said that Jarrett broke down. Val said that he was pretty much the only person who knew that he was not going to survive, because he was covered by the time he was wheeled past everyone else. Val said that believed that Owen would have wanted the show to go on and puts over Owen for being a good guy. He tells a story while in St. Louis, several wrestlers were waiting to check into the Marriott. A bunch of kids come over for autographs and Val signs them. Then, a guy with a stack of photos asks Val to sign them for him and he said no, because he knew the guy was just going to go sell them. When Val gets to his room, he gets a call from that guy who said he better come down and sign his pictures, liked he promised. Val hung up and the guy called again and said that he better sign his pictures and that he is a big guy and won’t be able to get buy him. So, Val goes down to the lobby and sees Owen and Jarrett sitting on stools at the bar and Owen tells Val that the guy went around the corner. Val went looking for him but was unsuccessful so he went back to his room and it took him an hour and a half to calm down. Six months later, Val was in Canada and just about to film “Off the Record” when Edge asks him about the guy in St. Louis and tells him that Owen was pretending to be the guy on the phone. Apparently, Owen called Edge and told him to tell this to Val right before he went on the air. Val said he was seething

Next, is the RAW tribute show to Owen. He said that they day felt slow and that everyone was quiet and still in shock. He then said that a sheet was passed around for guys to sign up if they felt like working that night. Val is then asked about the problems between Owen and Steve Austin but said he never heard Steve speak about Owen after his death.

JUNE




Val is asked about the lawsuit filed by Sable. He said that being a Libertarian, he is against frivolous lawsuits and said that it was frivolous.

He said that he never had a problem losing to Chyna. He thought that it was something different. He was sure that there were some objections from guys losing against women but said if done right, can be entertaining and make sense.

They bring up Martha Hart’s wrongful death lawsuit. Val said that it was not a frivolous lawsuit but that people die daily in accidents and that the company that made the harness should be sued if it was faulty.

AUGUST




The WWE files for an initial offering of public stock, changing the name from “Titan Sports” to “World Wrestling Federation Enertainment.” Val said there was initial excitement but it dropped down to $9.00 and guys were getting worried. Val confirmed that there was a meeting with talent and that they were told they could buy IPO’s at a discounted price. Val said it took him a few years to break even but points out that Bradshaw sold after a few days when the prices rose from $17 to $34. He puts Bradshaw over for knowing the stock market.

Chris Jericho made his debut on the August 9th edition of RAW. Val said that he didnt know Jericho that well before his debut. He said that the locker room was accepting of him. Val also said that before the WWE, he had a tryout match with WCW and said that the locker room environment was bad and clickish before stating that Jericho told him that if he had an offer for the WWE, that he should go there. Val puts over the WWE locker room for being much better.

Val talks about Jesse Ventura appearing as a special guest referee at SummerSlam. Val said that he is against Jesse for attempting to unionize, because he is anti-union.

On August 24th, the first “Smackdown” taping is held. When asked, Val said that his did not mean an extra paycheck, as they would have been working a show besides another TV taping.

Val is asked about Shawn Michaels appearing on the August 26th edition of “Byte This” when he badmouthed Steve Austin for not putting over HHH at SummerSlam, leading to Shawn Michaels getting sent home by Vince. Val that said it is all up to Vince whether or not he should have been sent home.

SEPTEMBER




He is asked about the skit in which Venis saw Big Show in the bathroom stall and joked about him being called the Big Show. Val said that Bruce Prichard came up with the idea for that.

Val is asked if there was too much of Vince during 1999. Val said that he believed that Vince wanted to be part of the biggest era of pro wrestling ever and thought it was entertaining to see him in the ring. He said that if Ted Turner had that same passion, he would probably still be in business today.

Val is asked about the Kennel from Hell match between Al Snow and the Big Boss Man. He tells a story about during the storyline when Boss Man stole Al’s dog Pepper. Al was backstage doing a pretape with Russo and heard Al say “it’s Val’s” and when asked, they both said it was nothing. Several hours later, he heard the promo on-air while cooling down backstage and saw a phone number flash on the screen and didn’t think nothing of it at all. A minute later, his cell phone rings and someone called him stating that he found Pepper. Val just thought that it was someone messing with him but the phone rings again and it was a little girl talking to him and he looked around and the whole locker room starting to laugh. He powered his phone off and was driving home with Test and A-Train. He then said that in the car, he would pick up the phone and tell the people that called they won $10,000 due to being the 1,000th person to call Pepper and would turn the phone over to A-Train, who would ask them questions. Val said he changed his number the next day.

OCTOBER




On October 3rd, Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara jumped ship to WCW. He believes that Vince took them leaving personally, stating that he believed that Vince put a lot of stock into Russo. He then puts over Russo for being able to fit the entire card into meaningful storylines. He said that Vince made sure that Russo did not push the envelope too far. Val is then asked how much of the success should be applied to Ferrara and Russo in terms of how hot the company was at that time. Val thinks 40%, stating that the Rock and Austin were so hot at that time. Val also claims that at one point, Crash Holly was a bigger star than Goldberg, due to Russo’s writing. That is one of the most laughable claims I have ever heard.

Next, he is asked about Droz getting paralyzed in a match with D’Lo Brown. Val said that D’Lo broke down backstage after the match. He also said that it was hard to say who was at fault and that the locker room did not blame D’Lo for the incident.

He talks about Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young. He tells a story about Mae when before she went out to give Eric Bischoff a Bronco Buster, she was backstage with him and called his name. Shen then showed him a bunch of sardines that she had stuffed in her pants as a rib on Bischoff.

Jeff Jarrett returns to WCW a day before wrestling on a WWE PPV. Val said that Vince didnt show his anger but that Jarrett did burn his bridges with the WWE.

On October 21st, Mick Foley’s “Have a Nice Day” autobiography is released. Val said that he read bits and pieces of it and is not into “storybooks,” just books about politics. He puts over Foley for being a talented writer and says he gets along with him but doesnt like the fact that he is a democrat.

NOVEMBER




Val is asked about Kurt Angle, who made his debut at the Survivor Series. He said that Angle was open to learning pro wrestling and had the attitude and commitment to make it to the top. He also said he could work the crowd and would get blown away while watching him perform. However, some of his psychology would bother him, bringing up an example of after getting frog-splashed by Eddie Guerrero, shortly after that he put him in an ankle lock and how that is the stuff that would drive him nuts if he were an agent.

DECEMBER 




On December 2nd, Smackdown was changed from TV-14 to TV-PG. Val said that Vince was worried about losing the advertisers due to the Parents Television Council. He said that he hated being in the Right to Censor, stating that he hated the uniform. He also said that when Russo left, there was no one behind the character and if he had an idea, they told him they were not going in that envelope-pushing direction.

Val is asked if she saw he chemistry between Stephanie and HHH at this time. He said he did not but there were a lot of rumors going around at the time.

Final Thoughts: This is the worst of the WWE Timeline installments. Val, who was a questionable choice to begin with due to not being involved in the main storylines, offered little insight into this year. He told a few good stories but seemed to be more interested into discussing his political beliefs rather than the subject at hand. He came across as an asshole when talking about the parking attendant that got his foot run over by Lawler. He also either didn’t know or just didn’t care to discuss much of the gossip and rumors at this time. I wonder if he was trying to get re-hired by the way he came across at times. Don’t waste your money on this DVD.

Monday Nitro – August 3, 1998

Monday
Nitro #148
Date:
August 3, 1998
Location:
Denver Coliseum, Denver, Colorado
Attendance:
7,697
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
the go home show for Road Wild and up to this point there are only a
few matches announced. One of the matches that hasn’t been
officially announced yet is the main event, which presents even more
problems for the mess that WCW is in at the moment. The Leno match
will draw money, but you need a lot more than five days to promote a
match like that. On top of that, we still don’t have a match for
Goldberg and the potential battle royal between the NWO camps has
only been mentioned. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of Goldberg’s HUGE 20 second speech and run-in to
close out the show last week, only to see him get chokeslammed by
Giant.
Opening
sequence.
Nitro
Girls.
Heenan
is on commentary to start things off for some reason. Apparently
Larry is in a meeting with Time Warner executives.
We
get a clip from the Tonight Show on Wednesday with Hogan and Bischoff
taking over. Page and security chased them off a few seconds later
and Leno/Page vs. Hogan/Bischoff is official for the PPV. Publicity
on NBC is a great thing, but having it announced a week or so earlier
would have helped a lot.
Here’s
DDP with something to say. He had to twist Leno’s arm a little bit
but Jay will be in the ring in Strugis. There won’t be anything left
of Scum Hogan and Sleazy E after Road Wild because Leno will clean
house with Bischoff.
Barbarian
vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Apparently
Barbarian came out here for a match with an unnamed opponent but
Jimmy Hart issues a challenge. Page starts with a swinging
neckbreaker and a hiptoss but Barbarian slips away from the Diamond
Cutter. Jimmy distracts the referee and Barbarian gets in a low blow
to take over. Page comes back from some choking in the corner with
rights and lefts, only to have Barbarian pound him down again. A
clothesline drops Barbie but he shoves the Cutter away again. He
blocks it a third time but Page finally pulls him down for the pin.
Rating:
D+. The match was nothing to
see but the ending was a nice idea for a change. I kind of like
someone just shoving Page off instead of going down, especially when
it’s someone you would expect to get pinned in a few seconds. This
actually wasn’t a glorified squash, much to my surprise.
More
fake Hogan on the Tonight Show.
Larry
has taken Heenan’s place and talks about the meeting with Time
Warner. Short version: nothing has changed at all.
We
look at every major match last week as this seems to be another recap
heavy show.
Travis
Tritt Road Wild promo.
Another
Tonight Show clip with Hogan and Bischoff coming out to yell at Leno
for his jokes.
And
now…..NWO Nightcap. You get the idea here: band, stupid jokes,
Leno impressions, threat to Kevin Eubanks, Monica Lewinsky jokes, Jay
Leno jokes, Monica Lewinsky and Jay Leno jokes. The guest is Hogan
of course and we look at more Tonight Show clips of Hogan and
Bischoff storming the set to yell at Leno. Kevin Eubanks came to his
rescue but the NWO took over the show anyway.
Hogan
calls that the shove that changed history and threatens Page a bit.
NBC wants Hogan and Bischoff to take over the Tonight Show after Road
Wild. We get even more trash talk as this just keeps going. They
kept it short this week and only ate up 13 minutes. Remember that
when you see who isn’t on the show tonight.
We
look at Hogan shoving Leno again before we go to break.
To
keep the trend going, here’s a video on Bret Hart.
Tokyo
Magnum vs. Psychosis
This
is supposed to be Psychosis vs. Disco Inferno but he swaps out for
Tokyo instead. Psychosis is cool with that and stomps on Magnum in
the corner but Scott Norton comes in to beat them both up after about
15 seconds.
Norton
issues an open challenge to anyone in WCW for a fight later this
evening. Hugh Morrus comes out to answer the challenge and gets
powerbombed about four seconds later.
Another
video from last week with Bret talking about his respect for Sting
and refusing to fight him later in the night. The promo confirmed
that Bret is officially not part of the NWO.
Hour
#2 begins as I feel sorry for the crowd for the second week in a row.
Nitro
Girls in gold.
Nitro
Party Pack winner. They showed what the Party Pack for once and it
appears to be a bunch of plates and napkins with the Nitro logo.
That would certainly make me want to film a big party let me tell
you.
Time
for more Goldberg talking. Goldberg says Saturday is payback time
for the Giant because the champ is going to enter the NWO battle
royal. He’ll fight anyone to get to Giant, including Sting. That
brings out Sting himself for a showdown but Giant and the Black and
White show up on the stage. Goldberg runs through the goons and
chases Giant off as Bret Hart walks out. Some papers have fallen
from the ceiling, saying “Goldberg, you’re next!”
Back
from a break with Sting in the back, looking over an unconscious Lex
Luger. Sting leaves as soon as medics show up.
Brian
Adams vs. Jim Duggan
Duggan
slugs away and hits some bad looking clotheslines to send Adams to
the floor. Back in and an ax handle to the chest puts Adams down
again but he forearms Duggan in the head. We hit the chinlock on
Duggan before he makes his comeback and crotches Adams on the ropes.
Vincent comes in with the board and the distraction lets Adams
piledrive Duggan down for the pin.
Rating:
D-. When Brian Adams is the better worker you have in a match, you’re
not having the most interesting outing in the world. Was Jim Duggan
really popular enough to warrant getting this many TV appearances?
At least he’s only jobbing and not out there taking away anyone’s
heat.
Bret
Hart comes out of the trainer’s room. He denies having anything to
do with Luger being attacked before offering his services to Sting as
a replacement partner in Luger’s place tonight.
Gene
is on a motorcycle and talks about riding to Sturgis.
Video
on Raven, talking about a lack of joy.
Here’s
the Flock to say Sick Boy vs. Kanyon isn’t happening tonight because
Kanyon is nowhere to be fine. Raven suggests that Kanyon has joined
the Flock. If that’s the case, Saturn is in big trouble on Sunday.
Raven breaks Lodi’s fingers for fun until Saturn makes the save. He
helps Lodi up but Lodi shoves him away, earning a Death Valley
Driver.
Bret
Hart is caught in the back with Scott Hall.
More
of Hogan shoving Leno.
More
Nitro Girls.
There’s
even MORE talking as we’re halfway through the show. This time it’s
JJ Dillon who asks to speak to Dean Malenko. Dean says the loss last
week was last week and he’s not going to cry about it. Jericho was
the better man last week and if he was here, Dean would tell him to
his face. Now a good heel would be out there immediately to make
Dean say that to his face.
Thankfully
for us, Jericho is an awesome heel so here he is to gloat in person.
Jericho goes on a rant about how he was unstoppable last week and
says Malenko will never get to face him again. Dean says that’s not
entirely true. JoJo says that since Jericho has a history of
cheating, there will be a guest referee. Jericho somehow doesn’t see
it coming and says he doesn’t care. The referee of course: Dean
Malenko.
Eddie
Guerrero vs. Juventud Guerrera
The
announcers talk about Sting leaving the building at some point in the
last half hour and Heenan sounds BOMBED. Juvy offers a handshake to
start but gets slapped in the face instead. Guerrera doesn’t take
kindly to that and dropkicks Eddie in the chest. Jericho vs.
Guerrera for the Cruiserweight Title is official for Road Wild due to
Eddie costing Juvy a title shot over the weekend. That took WCW
about 10 seconds to explain and also gives us a reason for this
match. Why is that so hard for modern wrestling companies to do?
Juvy
blocks a superplex attempt and hits a top rope spinwheel kick to send
Eddie outside. A suicide dive sends Eddie into the barricade. The
drunk Heenan gets in a good line about David Letterman betting
against Leno at the PPV. Back in and Juvy’s charge in the corner
sends him into the buckle but he counters a powerbomb into a DDT for
two. Guerrera’s straps come down but Eddie counters the Juvy Driver
into a shoulder breaker, setting up the Frog Splash for the win.
Rating:
C. It was nice to see an actual
wrestling match on this show but the booking makes me shake my head.
Who in the world thought that Eddie, who isn’t even on the PPV this
weekend, needed a clean win over a guy getting a title shot? That’s
modern WWE style booking and it’s just stupid. Tenay pointing out
that Guerrera’s momentum is all gone now doesn’t help.
MORE
Tonight Show stuff.
Gene
is on his motorcycle again.
TV
Title: Stevie Ray vs. Lizmark Jr.
Lizmark
comes out to what I believe became Norman Smiley’s music. This week
Stevie has a notarized statement making him the official TV Champion.
Gene sees nothing official on it but Stevie insists. In some comedy
you couldn’t make up if you tried, Tony says you can’t fool WCW
commentators.
Total
squash here with Stevie knocking Lizmark around like the
cruiserweight jobber he is. A kick to the chest sends Lizmark into
the barricade and a World’s Strongest Slam puts him down again.
Stevie loads up the Slap Jack but here’s Chavo with a fake notary
stamp. Chavo thinks he can make his own marriage license now and
Stevie chases him off for the countout. The fans spent most of the
match shouting about how much this match sucked and how bored they
were, which is a completely acceptable feeling at this point in the
show.
Travis
Tritt ad.
Hour
#3 begins.
Curt
Hennig vs. Konnan
There’s
a new Wolfpack shirt with a red wolf’s head on the front. I wanted
one of those so bad when I was a kid. Hennig tries to jump Konnan to
start but Konnan hiptosses him and clotheslines Hennig to the floor.
Scott Norton distracts the referee so Hennig can get in a cheap shot
to take over but Konnan hits another hard clothesline to take over
again. A basement dropkick and an X Factor set up the Tequila
Sunrise but a Norton distraction breaks it up. Hennig chokes Konnan
with his singlet straps and the PerfectPlex gets the pin. Another
short match.
Nash
comes out to chase off the Black and White post match.
More
Tonight Show stuff.
Chris
Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Non-title.
Jericho gets in a cheap shot to start but Rey comes back with a
springboard missile dropkick to send him outside. A flipping seated
senton takes Jericho down again and we take a break. Back with
Mysterio hitting what looked like a moonsault press for two. Jericho
catches a springboard cross body and puts Mysterio down with a
shoulder breaker. Mysterio rolls to the floor and gets dropkicked
into the barricade.
Back
in and Rey suplexes Jericho down in the closest thing you’ll ever see
to a power display from Mysterio. Chris comes right back with a
bizarre looking submission hold which can best be described as an
Octopus Hold but from his back. Rey makes the rope but gets
clotheslined down yet again. Jericho launches him into the corner
but Rey lands on the middle ropes and headscissors Jericho down for
two. A springboard split legged moonsault gets the same but Jericho
hits a quick bulldog to get a breather.
Jericho
tries his springboard cross body to the apron but crashes to the
floor instead. Rey hurricanranas Jericho back inside but gets caught
in a butterfly backbreaker. Mysterio gets back up again and tries a
springboard move, only to have Jericho pull the referee in the way.
Rey can’t stop his momentum and hits something like a seated senton
on Mark Curtis. Jericho powerbombs Rey down and loads up the
Liontamer but Rey counters into a rollup. There’s no referee but
Dean Malenko runs out to count the pin.
Rating:
B. I really liked this match
even though it was a different style than I was expecting. It’s an
impressive feat when you can have two guys work a match the opposite
way than they usually would and still get something this
entertaining. The ending ties things in to Saturday’s match and gave
us an entertaining match at the same time. You can’t ask for more
than that.
Same
Tonight Show package for I think the third time tonight.
Nitro
Girls.
We
look back at Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner talking about Buff’s
injuries last week and JJ Dillon making the battle of the Steiners
for Road Wild.
Here’s
Scott Steiner with something to say. He talks about having black and
white blood in his veins but something has changed his thinking. On
Monday he got a phone call from his mom, telling him that the blood
in his body is the same as his brother’s. Scott takes off the NWO
shirt and says he quits. He asks Rick to come out here for an
apology and the announcers think this is a nice moment. Instead
here’s Buff Bagwell in a Rick Steiner costume and acting like a dog.
But I thought you couldn’t fool WCW announcers. Anyway Scott makes
fun of Rick until the real Rick comes out and WACKS Scott with a
chair.
Tonight
Show clip, literally for the tenth time tonight.
Road
Wild ad.
Nitro
Girls again.
Tony
promises a bonus Travis Tritt concert if you buy the show, meaning
the PPV will be longer than usual.
The
Black and White corner Kimberly before she can get out of the ring
and say she looks good for trailer trash. Kimberly slaps Eric and
here’s DDP for the save but the numbers are too much for him. A long
beatdown ensues with Bischoff talking trash and making sexual jokes
about Kimberly. The Goldberg chants get no response as this just
keeps going. A chokeslam leaves Page laying.
The
announcers go into serious mode to talk about what we just saw before
directly transitioning into plugging Travis Tritt’s new CD.
We
look at Goldberg’s challenge for the battle royal again and him
calling out Sting.
Tag
Titles: Scott Hall/The Giant vs. Sting/Bret Hart
Hall
and Giant are defending. For some reason Sting comes from the
rafters to his old music with the white paint. Hart and Hall get us
started in a Royal Rumble 1993 rematch. Feeling out process to start
with Bret not really wanting to go after Hall. Eventually Bret
cranks on the arm a bit before offering a tag to Sting but Sting’s
arm doesn’t move from the ropes.
Sting
tags himself in and hits a running clothesline and the bulldog but
Hall bails to avoid the Scorpion. Back in and Hall scores with a
clothesline to bring in Giant. A Russian legsweep drops Sting to
give Hall a two count and a fallaway slam gets the same. Bret
finally extends an arm for a tag as Sting shoves Hall into the
corner, but the impact knocks Bret to the floor. Sting fights both
champions off and ducks a bat shot from Hart which hits Hall, giving
Sting the pin and the titles.
Rating:
D. The match was your usual
junk with no time to go anywhere for the most part. This would be
another annoying example of two guys who don’t get along teaming
together to win the titles even though it’s the same story almost
every time. At least Hall and Giant lose the titles as they never
quite fit as champions.
Bret
takes the tag belts and leaves Sting to get destroyed. Goldberg
comes out to end the show and there are no new champions due to the
bat shot, even though the referee didn’t see it.
Overall
Rating:
D-. Literally the only
reason this isn’t a failure is Jericho vs. Mysterio. This was
another awful show and a good example of WCW’s biggest booking
problem over the year: they kept putting the entire company on one
match instead of spreading things around. If you don’t like the Leno
match, there is no reason for you to buy the PPV at all. The battle
royal was mentioned in the Goldberg promo and a one off line from
Tony and that’s all.
It’s
a stretch to call Road Wild a two match show but other than that
there’s nothing there. The other problem: just like last month it’s
for nothing but bragging rights. Hogan’s career doesn’t change at
all either way and he still has showdowns with Page and Goldberg
coming up, at least in theory. This was a horrible show as this all
talk and almost no wrestling style gets harder and harder to sit
through every week.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

1996 Dark Matches

Hey Scott,

2 Quick questions:

1) I'm listening to the SCSA podcasts and he talks about doing a bunch of jobs to HBK and Hitman when he started out. This, of course, blew my mind and have been searching, non-stop for these matches, but haven't been able to find, EVEN ON YOU-TUBE, any of these (I'm assuming) apocalpytically good 1995-Earlier 1996 Pre-Neck Injury Ringmaster matches. Any thoughts on this?

2) As part of my Austin-HBK-Hart crusade, I was looking at some old IYH entries on Wikipedia and was shocked to find some amazing main event-level matches that were taking place in dark matches. To Wit:

IYH 7     UT/Mankind-  (Within weeks of their feud starting)

IYH 10    Sid/Vader

IYH 11     HBK/Goldust (THIS IS A WORLD TITLE MATCH)

IYH 12     HBK/Mankind- (Because of course you would follow their life-changing match 2 months earlier, with a dark match on one of the least-talked-about PPV in history).

What was going on here? More importantly, Where are these matches and why isn't anyone talking about them?

1)  Had Bret been around past 1997 he would have returned those jobs tenfold, so I don't think anyone was sweating it.  Also, Bret tended to completely phone it in on house shows, so I wouldn't think you were missing anything mindblowing. 
2)  My assumption would be that they were just trying to pop a bigger gate since those IYH shows drew abysmally (much like everything else for WWE in 1996).  Plus if you were a fan going to a PPV show and only getting two hours, you'd feel ripped off.  

PG WEEK: Retro PPV Rant for Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a
good retro rant! So, now the question: what’s my favorite retro
(non-WrestleMania) PPV? Well, it’s one that has a format that
desperately needs to come back. And it’s one they could do now,
because with the Network in place, they can afford to experiment on
major shows the way they used to. Ladies and gentlemen, I speak of:

Survivor Series 1990.
And now, through the glory that is
YouTube, I give you a full-on recap of that show. All wrestler ages
are as of the day of the show, and they and match times are from
Wikipedia. Why include wrestler ages? Because I want to. It’s kind
of fun to see who was in their prime, who hadn’t gotten there, and
who was past it.
Live from… hey, cool, this version
has the Countdown to Survivor Series attached! Let’s do that too!
Live from the Control Center of the
World Wrestling Federation.
Your host is Sean Mooney (31).
Mooney goes over the rules: it’s five
eight-man elimination tag team matches. In this case, the hook at
the end is that if you win, you earn a ticket to the main event of
the evening, known as the GRAND FINALE MATCH OF SURVIVAL. Win there,
and… you’re awesome, I dunno, Vince hadn’t thought this far ahead.
There will be five matches tonight, as
Mooney runs down the card. In addition to those and the GFMOS, we
are told that the giant turkey egg that Vince bought sometime in 1990
is going to hatch (probably) during the show.
The nice thing about this Countdown
show is that it reviews some of the major points along the way. And
we start by looking at The Warriors (Ultimate Warrior, Texas Tornado,
Legion of Doom) against the Perfect Team (Mr. Perfect, Demolition
Trio).
We see clips of the LOD squashing the
Orient Express as Mr. Fuji waves on to the locker room for some
reason. That reason being to call Demolition out. This leads to a
massive beating by all six men on the LOD. It should be noted that
this was during the Masked Demolition phase, when Demolition would
attempt the switcheroo on the referee. It didn’t last, largely
because Ax was near the end of his career, and largely because Ax and
Crush (the two who would switch out) are nowhere near similar in body
size.
Clips follow of Texas Tornado against
Smash in a non-title match, as Tornado was Intercontinental Champion
at the time. Mr. Perfect saunters to the ring, and Tornado
intercepts him and holds both off until Ax and Crush make it a
4-on-1. LOD and Warrior make the save. The great part about this is
Heenan acting like he’s going to do something about it on commentary,
then constantly changing his mind when one of the faces runs in. As
if he was ever going to DO anything.
First, comments from the Perfect Team,
as Perfect is confident because he has Demolition with him. Ax
promises it’ll short and ugly. Crush quotes 80s movies lore to build
up the Warriors, but says they’re not perfect. Smash asks for
Perfect to leave the LOD to Demolition. Perfect follows by saying
it’ll be a perfect night.
Over to the Warriors now, as Ultimate
Warrior says he’s found the gameplan for his opponents: NOTHING.
Tornado talks about how they’re the four most powerful men in the
sport. Animal says his team is focused on Survivor Series. Hawk
promises to make the Perfect Team very unperfect. “Good for us,
bad for you; what a rush!” Warrior paces around his teammates the
whole time because he’s Warrior.
Our next look-in is with the Alliance
(Nikolai Volkoff, Tito Santana, and the Bushwackers) against the
Mercenaries (Sgt. Slaughter, Boris Zhukov, and the Orient Express).
We see highlights from Saturday Night’s Main Event as Slaughter beats
Koko B. Ware with the ATOMIC NOOGIE OF DEATH before waving the Iraqi
flag… and Volkoff is in the interview area with the US flag,
leading to a wave-off.
Canned interview time, first with the
Alliance. Butch is excited to go into battle, especially since
they’ll be fighting under the US flag. Luke calls it a proud moment.
(Aren’t they from New Zealand? For real?) Volkoff speaks directly
to Slaughter, saying only his team will survive. Santana sums up
that they will make sure the American flag will fly high at the end
of the night.
Zhukov and Tanaka get the floor next,
and each one says they serve “another flag” but trust their
leader. Slaughter summarizes: as mercenaries, they all serve
different flags, but they will be united in battle to destroy the
Alliance. And Slaughter says the best thing is you’ll get to order
it! Destroy! And that’s an order.
Mooney reminds us to order now. Man,
where’s my phone…
It’s time to look at the Dream Team
(Dusty Rhodes, Koko Ware, and the Hart Foundation) against the
Million Dollar Team (Ted DiBiase, ???, Honky Tonk Man, and Greg
Valentine). This all started when DiBiase bought Sapphire’s loyalty
from Dusty Rhodes’ side. It got really bad when Rhodes was blowing
off his feud with Randy Savage. DiBiase and Virgil tried to buy
Dustin Rhodes’ ringside seat, but had to settle for sitting next to
him. Naturally, during the course of the match, a fight broke out at
ringside, and DiBiase and Virgil got the better of that. Dusty
abandoned the match to protect Dustin, giving Savage the win. But as
it turns out, Dusty lives on loyalty, and he proved it when he saved
the Hart Foundation during a title defense against Rhythm’n’Blues
(Honky and Valentine’s team name) on a Superstars episode.
The Million Dollar Team speaks first –
still without their mystery partner. Honky Tonk Man promises this is
their last song. DiBiase says that money talks and the rest takes a
walk. He’s paid all his teammates very well (including the surprise
partner). He says Dusty Rhodes will be humiliated on the show. Greg
Valentine calls the name “Dream Team” appropriate, since they’re
dreaming if they think they can win.
Bret Hart leads off for the Dream Team,
and says the opposition isn’t tough enough. Koko says it’s put up or
shut up time. Neidhart says they don’t care who the mystery partner
is. Rhodes says his team is loaded, with guns cocked, and their
opponents are in for a good butt-kickin. Yeah baby!
Now, before we get to Hulk Hogan, we
have one OTHER match to talk about. It’s the Vipers (Jake Roberts,
Jimmy Snuka, Shawn Michaels, and Marty Jannetty) against the
Visionaries (Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules, and Paul Roma). This
all began on the Brother Love Show, when Roberts was being
interviewed by Brother Love while Rick Martel was attempting to
clandestinely spray the snake with his cologne. Every time Roberts
turned around, Martel backed off, but Jake had had enough and dove
after Martel, who sprayed Roberts square in his left eye. (Side
note: this attack was so bad even Martel showed remorse at the time,
and Big Boss Man raced in from gorilla position to check on Jake.
Yes, this is kayfabe, I know.) Anyway, Roberts’ next appearance on
the Brother Love Show came with mocking from Brother Love, and
Roberts promised “an eye for an eye”. Martel came out to accept
the challenge, by which we mean mock Roberts’ blindness. Roberts was
so furious he attacked the first person he could get his hands on.
Fortunately, it was Brother Love.
Mooney informs us that Roberts is not
100%.
The Vipers speak first. Shawn is ready
to strike at the Visionaries, and says they’ll go down. Marty says
the team has a gameplan, and that it comes down to winning, which
they will do. Roberts says it’s hell for the Visionaries because
they must attempt to do the impossible and beat the Vipers, whose
confidence is at an all-time high. Snuka says nothing.
Martel speaks for his team and calls
the Vipers “the blind leading the blind”. Warlord says the
Visionaries will squash the Vipers. Roma says the team all came
together because they are the greatest athletes. Hercules says that
if the young girls are crying and you have nothing to be thankful
for, don’t blame them because only the strong survive, which they
clearly are.
And now, the last match: the
Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Big Boss Man, Tugboat, and Jim Duggan)
against the Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Haku, and
Barbarian). Haku, although this isn’t mentioned in the show, is
replacing the fired Rick Rude. This is essentially Hogan and friends
against Quake and friends, as the captains have the main issue ever
since Quake crushed Hogan’s ribs on the Brother Love Show. However,
there is a side issue: Big Boss Man has made a vendetta against the
Heenan Family, since Heenan has relentlessly dissed Boss Man’ mama.
The Natural Disasters are first. Quake
calls his team the biggest, strongest, and meanest, and promises they
will all go to the Grand Finale. Bravo gets even more specific,
saying they’ll eliminate the teammates first (Duggan, Tugboat, Boss
Man), and when Hogan’s 1-on-4, Hulkamania will die. SURVIVE!
SURVIVE!
The Hulkamaniacs talk. Duggan is
excited, and the hair is on end. He promises a long night for the
Disasters. Tugboat says they’ll unleash the full power of
Hulkamania. Boss Man says it’s about heart, soul, and justice, and
they will win. Hogan says he’s been outnumbered forever, but now the
sides are even, and so the Natural Disasters will look like a
disaster. Whatcha gonna do?
Mooney recaps the card quickly and
promises the Grand Finale and the turkey egg hatching. We begin in 3
minutes! Quick! Call your cable operator!
…okay, I called mine; they assured me
the event was 20 years ago and I’m a little late. Guess I’ll have to
settle for the YouTube airing.
The PG Era Rant for Survivor Series
1990.
From Hartford, CT. Original airdate:
Thanksgiving, November 22, 1990.
Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon (53) and
Rowdy Roddy Piper (36), as Piper informs us this is the first ever
WWF Pay-Per-View shown on the Armed Forces Network so that the troops
in Desert Shield can partake. He promises to charge Saddam Hussein
double the price. Man, $60 for a WWF show! What a jerk!
MATCH ONE: Mr. Perfect (32), Ax (42),
Smash (31), and Crush (26) vs. Ultimate Warrior (31), Hawk (33),
Animal (30), and Texas Tornado (30).
Okay, just so you know and can’t unsee
it: the face team is one giant inside joke. Of COURSE they’re the
Warriors; it’s Ultimate Warrior, Modern Day Warrior, and Road
Warriors. Now that that’s out of the way, the Warriors get time
backstage to cut a promo before their match. Hawk isn’t sure what to
think other than he’ll take it to the opponents. Animal promises the
team won’t quit. Tornado says it’s time to show what they can do.
And then Warrior… this deserves transcription, and transcription
deserves Capslock of course…
“WANTING NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING
CLOSE TO PERFECTNESS, I’VE ASKED ALL THE SKELETONS THAT HAVE ALREADY
MADE THE SACRIFICE TO FOLLOW ME AND THESE THREE WARRIORS, THE LEGION
OF DOOM AND THE TEXAS TORNADO, INTO THIS BATTLE! WHETHER TO WALK
FURTHER THAN ALL THE REST OR TO STAY BEHIND AND MAKE THE SACRIFICE,
it makes no difference mr perfect and demolition, FOR AS THE ULTIMATE
WARRIOR I SURROUND US IN THIS FORCE FIELD, AND WE HAVE BECOME ONE.
WE HAVE FORMED A BOND LIKE NO OTHER, AND NO ONE CAN BREAK WHAT WE
HAVE CREATED. THERE IS NO POISON, NO CREATION, AND NO MEDICINE TO
CURE WHAT WE HAVE! YOU, MR. PERFECT AND DEMOLITION, WILL NOT
SURVIVE!”
As always, his promos are poetry. By
which I mean Allen Ginsburg.
Piper is so intense on commentary that
Gorilla begins to question if Piper’s going to last the night.
Everyone mills about to start, faking in and out as to who’s
starting. Finally, Animal ends the tension and attacks Smash, going
ground-and-pound before that was a thing. He clubs Smash in the back
and throws him into the corner as all four faces get shots in. He
ducks down, though, and Smash smacks his head. Smash with a suplex
for two. He calls for a boot, and Perfect and Crush oblige. Perfect
in next, and he works over Animal in the ropes. Smash returns,
working the ribs, but a whip is reversed and Animal gets a powerslam.
Perfect races in, and he gets two atomic drops from the LOD, ducks a
claw from Tornado, and is clotheslined by Warrior before being
dumped. Tornado punches away on Smash but gets pulled into the wrong
corner and Ax takes over. Tornado throws him into a neutral corner
and gets the Iron Claw on him, and this allows Warrior to get two
shoulder tackles and the Ultimate Splash to eliminate Ax at 3:23.
The heels race in en masse and each get slammed by Warrior in turn
before Crush runs over Warrior. He stomps Warrior down and punches
away before bringing in Smash. Smash slams Warrior, and Crush
returns with a flying kneedrop. It gets two. Crush works over
Warrior in the corner, but a blind charge eats the boot and everyone
tags out. It’s Hawk and Perfect now, and Perfect’s punches are
blocked as Hawk throws him into the corner. Botch alert: Perfect
forgets the momentum swing spot and tries to reverse Hawk’s corner
whip, so when Hawk doesn’t comply, Perfect stumbles into the opposite
corner. They repeat the spot, and this time, Hawk charges and eats
the post. Smash in now, and he teases Animal before pounding away on
Hawk and switching off with Crush. Crush clubs down Hawk and slams
him. Perfect back in, and he works over Hawk in a neutral corner
with left hands. Smash returns, but Hawk fires away. Smash with a
drop toe hold to keep control, but Hawk with a flying tackle to gain
control, followed by a fistdrop. The announcers say he needs to tag,
but Hawk stays in, clotheslining Smash and getting the diving lariat.
Crush saves, Animal goes after him, and they won’t leave on the
ref’s instructions. Smash shoves the ref and Hawk kicks at him, and
that earns all four men a DQ at 7:36. Kind of a cheap way to thin
the herd, if you ask me, especially since Ax’s health issues meant
they never had a real blowoff. Both teams argue the ruling but to no
avail. So it’s Warrior/Tornado against Perfect, and everyone
regroups. Warrior uses the Vulcan Mind Meld to convince Tornado to
let him start, but Perfect demands Tornado, so Warrior emphatically
tags out. Perfect jumps Tornado (Piper: “Smart on Perfect’s
part!”), but it backfires when Tornado reverses into a Discus Punch
(Piper: Not so smart on
Perfect’s part.”). Tornado throws him across the ring, and Perfect
goes to converse with Heenan. Warrior declares the huddle time over
with a noggin-knocker and tosses Heenan into the front row because
that’s how he rolls. Gorilla: “It’s open season on weasels!”
Perfect uses the melee to remove a turnbuckle pad, but Tornado
catches him only to spear the post just as Hawk did. Perfect with
right hands and a kneelift, but he appears to be limping a little.
Tornado wins a slugfest, but Perfect goes to the eyes and slams him
headfirst into the exposed buckle (which Piper only now notices).
Perfectplex ends Tornado’s night at 11:02, and it’s one-on-one.
Warrior charges in with a Stinger Splash, but it airballs into the
exposed buckle. Perfectplex gets two, much to Heenan’s amazement.
Perfect slugs away and stays on Warrior, adding knee smashes and a
standing dropkick for two. Heenan is arguing with the outside ref
over the count. Perfect pulls Warrior to his knees and chops him
back down. A big clothesline off of a whip gets two, with Warrior
throwing Perfect off him and onto the ref (totally accidental).
Perfect rakes the eyes of Warrior with his kneepad, choking him on
the bottom rope. Warrior finally blocks a roundhouse right and gets
one of his own as he pumps up. Perfect goes flying on punches,
clothesline combos, and a shoulder tackle and Ultimate Splash end the
match at 14:20. Piper (trying to keep track of results): “I LOST
MY PENCIL! SOMEONE GET ME A PENCIL!” Warrior beats up Heenan in
accordance with Main Event Face Rules of 1990. **1/4
Kind of a cheap cop-out in the middle, but the Perfect/Warrior bit
makes me want to see them do a 10-minute match. Not sure why Tornado
got so little.
We
go backstage to Sean Mooney, who’s with the Million Dollar Team and
Jimmy Hart, who is ready to survive. Mooney notes the mystery
partner is still not there, but DiBiase assures us he’ll be there.
He promises a very big surprise. Koko is another bird that’ll be
stuffed on Thanksgiving, while the Hart Foundation will visit
Heartbreak Hotel. And Dusty Rhodes, the common man, will be begging
the rich man for mercy he won’t receive.
MATCH
TWO: Dusty Rhodes (45), Koko B. Ware (33), Bret Hart (33), and Jim
Neidhart (35) vs. Ted DiBiase (36), Honky Tonk Man (37), Greg
Valentine (39), and…
Either
you know who the mystery partner is or you don’t, but if you somehow
don’t, let Ted DiBiase school you:
“Like
I’ve said a million times before: Everybody’s got a price for the
Million Dollar Man. So without further ado, let me introduce to you
right now my mystery partner: led to the ring by his manager, Brother
Love, weighing in at 320 pounds, from Death Valley, I give you THE
UNDERTAKER.”
Yes,
if it isn’t the greatest mystery partner payoff in wrestling history,
it’s definitely in the top three. The only ones that come close are
Ricky Steamboat as Dustin Rhodes’s partner against Anderson and
Zbyszko in 1992 and Hulk Hogan as the third man in 1996. And
honestly, Steamboat’s only there because it led to a five-star tag
match. It’s this or Hogan, folks. It should be noted that
Undertaker is only 25 at this point, meaning that as a 26 year old he
was already WWF Champion (he’d win the belt exactly one year in).
And yeah, Paul Bearer wasn’t always his manager, though to be fair,
he was introduced shortly after and was by his side by Taker’s first
Mania match. And while most complete unknowns would draw either
indifference or residual heat, the crowd is watching this giant of a
man very nervously. Gorilla: “There’s only supposed to be 4
members on a team; this guy makes 4½, maybe 5!” Bret volunteers
to figure this guy out first, but he gets clubbed down before running
into a chokeslam. Neidhart tries his luck and runs into a scoop
slam. Koko is in next, but Taker just sidesteps him and Koko splats
into the ropes. One Tombstone later and Koko’s out at 1:39. Bret
returns and tries punching down Taker, who just calmly tags in
Valentine. Piper is openly cheering for Bret, which is no surprise.
So Dusty comes in to duel with Valentine. Valentine forces Dusty
into the corner but loses a chopfest and gets elbowed down. Neidhart
in, and he attacks the arm, clubbing away at it. Bret keeps working
the arm and sends Valentine into the corner. A blind charge hits the
knee, however, and in comes Honky to kick away at the gut. Honky
gets elbowed after stalling too much, but catches Bret with a knee.
He stops to taunt, so Bret tags Neidhart in behind his back. Honky,
as a result, runs into an Anvil powerslam and is sent packing at
4:16. DiBiase races in and attacks Anvil in the corner, but a whip
is reversed and Anvil clotheslines DiBiase down. A big slam, and
Dusty enters. DiBiase races to a neutral corner and eats ten elbows
in countalong. Dusty with a dropkick (!!) and he brings Neidhart
back in. A double back elbow gets two. Suplex gets two. Anvil
flattens DiBiase with a shoulderblock, but Virgil trips Neidhart and
DiBiase clotheslines him for the pin at 5:49. Bret races in and
punches away, adding a headbutt. DiBiase begs off (from a tag team
wrestler?) and gets sent into the corner. Then into Dusty’s elbow,
and there’s the tag. Dusty does flip, flop, and fly on DiBiase, who
recovers by raking the eyes. A clothesline from DiBiase and Taker is
brought in. He gets a leaping stomp on Dusty, adding a roundhouse
right. Bret comes in, and he gets sent into Valentine’s boot as they
tag. Taker chokes Bret for a count of four, Valentine adds elbows,
and DiBiase comes in only to get hit with some right hands. An
inverted atomic drop allows Dusty to get in, and they double-team him
with chops. Dusty elbows DiBiase into… the wrong corner, and Taker
tags himself in. He smashes down Dusty and adds a big knee to the
gut. He goes up, takes two steps across the top rope, and drops an
axhandle for the pin at 8:26. Dusty is dumped right by Brother Love
as Bret attacks Undertaker. Meanwhile, Brother Love adds some cheap
shots on the outside, which just wakes Dusty up and gets him to
corner the Brother. Undertaker sees this and attacks Dusty, fighting
him halfway down the aisle… and, because he was still legal,
getting counted out at 9:17. He kinda had to be, since it’s his
debut and all. Meanwhile, back in the ring, Valentine has Bret down
and out and goes for the figure-four, but Bret reverses to a cradle
to pin him at 9:57, leaving us with DiBiase vs. Bret. Piper is going
nuts on commentary, putting Bret over hard. Bret meets a frustrated
DiBiase and atomic drops him to the outside, following with a
slingshot plancha. DiBiase rakes the eyes on the outside, but Bret
throws DiBiase off into the post, then into the steps. Back in the
ring (Piper: “A six count! Get in the ring!”), and Bret has
Sharpshooter position, but that move doesn’t exist yet, so he just
stomps the gut. At least, it doesn’t exist in his arsenal yet.
DiBiase and Bret fight in the corner now, with Bret landing European
uppercuts but being sent across the ring chest-first by a Hammer
Throw. DiBiase gets two. DiBiase backs Bret into the corner and
works him over, adding chops, but he puts his head down and gets hit
with a backslide for two. Bret with a headlock, and on the
criss-cross, Bret trips and tweaks his knee… actually, no, he faked
it and gets a cradle for two. Virgil protests on the apron, so Bret
goes to take care of him and gets caught. DiBiase’s running knee
hits Virgil, however, and Bret with a schoolboy for two. Bret
follows with a backbreaker, then a second rope elbowdrop. That also
gets two. Crowd is into it. Piper’s going nuts. Bret ducks a
clothesline and gets a crossbody, but DiBiase rolls through and hangs
on for the win to advance at 13:54. Bret mouths a bad word, but he
gets the loser’s ovation in the ring. And well deserved, as this was
a fantastically booked Survivor Series match that made Bret Hart a
future star while allowing DiBiase to retain his heat. It introduced
a new monster heel and kept him strong, and everyone played their
notes perfectly. ****
Gene
Okerlund (just shy of 48) interviews the Vipers in the shower room
(for Damien’s sake). Roberts speaks for his team of survivors.
Shawn survived having his knee snapped by Power and Glory. Marty,
the tag specialist survived on his own. Snuka has the scars of time
written on his face, and of course he’s a survivor. And Roberts?
Well, his eye tells the whole story. They’re not lambs to the
slaughter; and don’t think you’re picking cherries, because Damien
will fall out of the tree.
MATCH
THREE: Rick Martel (34), The Warlord (28), Hercules (34), and Paul
Roma (30) vs. Jake Roberts (35), Jimmy Snuka (47), Shawn Michaels
(25), and Marty Jannetty (30)
Yeah,
Snuka was old even then. Piper (about Warlord): “On the hoof, 330
[pounds], baby! No fat. Except in the bean.” Gorilla: “The
bean?” Piper: “Between the ears, we got about, oh, 90-95% fat.”
Roberts is still “blind” in his left eye. Snuka was the
original Phenom, with Undertaker inheriting the moniker after beating
Snuka at WrestleMania VII. Marty and Warlord start. Marty ducks
Warlord and does sticking and moving, slapping Warlord on the back,
which just angers him. Warlord throws Marty around, but Marty runs
circles and goes for dropkicks that are brushed aside. Marty keeps
moving away from Warlord’s stomps then slides every which way, taking
out Roma and Martel as he does. The Rockers with a dropkick/sunset
flip combo for two. Warlord corners Shawn in the wrong corner and
tags in Martel, but Shawn sends him into a neutral turnbuckle. Shawn
reverses and armdrag and lands a dropkick and monkey flip before
bringing Jake in. Martel races to tag in Roma and leaves. Roma
works Jake’s back, and a high leapfrog just leaves him open. Jake
holds the arm and brings Snuka in, who headbutts Roma but gets his
eyes raked. It’s no-sold, so Roma brings Hercules in. Hercules
bowls over Snuka but runs into a Fiji Chop, making him bring in
Warlord. A standoff leads to Snuka running the ropes only to get
slammed. Snuka with a dropkick as he recovers, and he brings Marty
back in. Warlord goes CLUBBERIN on Marty and adds a bearhug, but
Marty escapes and lands a second-rope standing elbow. Warlord
catches the second try into a powerslam, though, and pins Marty at
5:03. Shawn enters and punches away, seemingly getting caught but
adjusting and getting a rana before bringing Jake in. Jake with the
short punches, but out of the corner a clothesline does nothing.
Warlord eats boot on a blind charge, and Jake gets the short
clothesline. Shawn gets two off of it, but gets kicked out out of
the ring. Roma enters and jumps Shawn. He kicks away at the
external occipetal protuberance, and then the head. Warlord in, and
he gives Shawn a HYOOGE back body drop (Piper acts like an airline
pilot to call it). It gets two for Hercules. Hercules adds a nasty
clothesline, which Shawn spins to sell. Martel in, and he drops a
knee for two. Martel clubs away in the corner and gets a rib breaker
for two. Roma enters next, and he clubs away on Shawn and throws him
into the corner for the flip corner bump Shawn does. Martel gets two
off of it. Martel goes on offense, but he too hits the post on a
charge, and it’s hot tag Snuka. He corners Martel and stomps and
kicks away. A back bodry drop by Snuka and Martel’s in trouble. A
flying coco butt gets two. Martel whips Snuka, who gets a reverse
bodypress, but Martel rolls through (with the tights) to eliminate
him at 9:28. In comes Jake, who corners Martel, but his dive to get
him allows Martel to tag in Hercules and everyone calls time. Shawn
fires up the crowd in the corner as Hercules and Jake jockey for
position. Hercules rams shoulders to the gut, but he puts his head
down and gets hit with a kneelift. DDT try, but Hercules escapes.
Jake is frustrated while Slick calls a huddle. Martel has an idea,
and the idea is to get on Jake’s blind side and nail him with a
clothesline from the apron. They get on his good side, but the plan
works anyway. Piper nearly curses Martel out. Gorilla points out it
WAS his good side. Roma in, and he clubs away on Jake, adding
stomps. Bodyslam sets up a flying fistdrop, but Jake rolls away.
Roma’s too busy going “Ow! My hand!” that he doesn’t stop the tag
to Shawn. Shawn with a leaping back elbow on Roma, then a suplex off
of a duck-down by Roma. Second-rope Heartbreak elbow gets two.
Atomic drop to Roma, who tags Hercules, which means when Shawn levels
him on the rebound, Hercules comes in and drops an elbow on Shawn.
Hercules pounds away on Shawn, giving him a lariat. Hercules with a
military press slam and he casually tags Martel in. Martel punches
down Shawn, then Hercules comes back and punches Shawn into the
corner. He knows it’s the end, so he sets Shawn up, tags Roma, and
it’s the PowerPlex (a superplex by Hercules into a big splash off the
top rope by Roma – someone NEEDS to make that a tag finisher) to
eliminate Shawn at 15:40. So it’s 4 on 1 now, and things look REAL
bad, but the crowd encourages Jake on. Jake calls them all on, and
Hercules tags in. Hercules kicks Jake during a test of strength,
then brings in Warlord. Warlord clubs away, throws Jake across the
ring, and locks in a bearhug. Jake fights out and knocks Roma off
the apron, and while Roma protests to the ref, Jake nails the DDT on
Warlord. Martel sees the ref is distracted and goes for his cologne,
but Jake avoids another eye shot and unleashes Damian. Jake and
Damian chase Martel out of the building, which is bad because Martel
isn’t the legal man and Jake is. Jake is counted out at 17:42, and
all four opponents advance. **3/4
I know this was effectively a squash and all, but at the same time,
the Rockers kept things interesting, Roma and Martel’s athleticism
(and arrogant attitude) played very well as heels, and the story of
Martel avoiding Jake carried the match. Don’t let the clean sweep
fool you – this is still a fun match.
The
Royal Rumble is on January 19, 1991. Don’t miss it. I admit that
message would’ve meant more back then.
Piper’s
so tired he needs a towel.
We
go backstage to the Hulkamaniacs. Hogan says each Hulkamaniac serves
a purpose on the team towards survival in this time of chaos. Duggan
and his 2×4 is a weapon. Tugboat is as strong as a battleship. And
things can get out of hand, but Boss Man will enforce the rules.
Boss Man says he’s survived all his life, and tonight, he’ll get his
hands on Heenan. Tugboat agrees he’s like a battleship – loaded
and ready. Duggan says it’s time for excitement. The blood’s
pumping hard. Oh, and he has yellow ribbons on his 2×4. As Hogan
explains, it’s for the troops in the Middle East (in 1990, yellow
ribbons became a symbol for supporting the troops), and when the
match is over, they volunteer to go serve in Desert Shield. I kinda
wish President Bush called Vince’s bluff on that one.
MATCH
FOUR: Earthquake (27), Dino Bravo (42), Haku (31), and Barbarian (32)
vs. Hulk Hogan (37), Big Boss Man (27), Tugboat (34), and Jim Duggan
(36)
Piper:
“Well, first off, this ain’t no beauty contest. We can say that
right now.” Piper, who has been slanting toward the faces all
night, openly admits he’ll stay neutral in this match because he’s
not a fan of any of the wrestlers. This kinda makes sense, since I
couldn’t see Piper ever
being a Hogan cheerleader. Boss Man is already sweating heavily just
getting to the ring. Piper: “What are they yelling? I can’t
understand them.” Gorilla: “Hogan.” Piper: “Hogan.”
(pause) “That may be the dumbest question I’ve ever asked.”
Duggan and Haku start. It’s a full-on slugfest, which Haku wins, but
a bodypress try is ducked. Duggan clotheslines Haku all over the
place, adding a back elbow and standing clothesline. An elbowdrop
misses, and Bravo comes in. He adds an inverted atomic drop on
Duggan and tags Barbarian. The Faces of Fear work over Duggan, but
Boss Man tags himself in. He punches away and knocks down Haku, who
reverses a whip and gets a dropkick. But Boss Man reverses and gets
the Scrapbuster to send Haku packing at 3:15. Barbarian quickly in,
but he eats a boot and elbowsmash. Heenan jumps on the apron and
pays for it, but Barbarian can’t take advantage until he reverses a
hiptoss to a suplex. Barbarian knocks Boss Man down and goes up, but
the ropewalk elbow misses. Duggan in, and he gives Barbarian a huge
back body drop. Barbarian tags Bravo in, and he clubs away, bringing
in Quake for a double clothesline. Earthquake corners Duggan and
squashes him until Duggan escapes and tries a slam, but yeah, no.
Duggan recovers and staggers Quake with shoulder blocks, but Jimmy
Hart lowers the top rope and Duggan spills out. Duggan chases Hart
and grabs his 2×4 for justice, but Hart races into the ring and
Duggan beats up Quake with it for the DQ at 6:12. Duggan regrets his
actions, but leaves, and Hogan enters and attacks Quake. The heels
race in and are slammed, and that leaves Quake. Despite Piper’s
protests, he succeeds in slamming Quake. Piper: “All right, that’s
the first time I’ve been wrong since ’54.” Hogan with the corner
Axe Bomber, and he goes for ten punches. Piper questions why he
didn’t try to pin Quake after the slam. Case in point: Quake pulls
Hogan off the corner and powerslams him. Bravo in with a running
elbowdrop or two, and he tells his team what to do, but that allows
Hogan to small package Bravo and pin him at 7:59. Hogan wisely tags
Boss Man in to face Quake. Quake reverses a whip but misses the
charge, and Boss Man goes up (!), only to be caught by Quake (!!!).
Hogan pushes the pile over, getting two for Boss Man. Quake no-sells
some shoulderblocks, and Barbarian kicks Boss Man in the back,
allowing Quake to get a slam and series of elbows for the pin at
9:08. Hogan races in and attacks Quake, getting the big boot and
lariat. He knocks over Barbarian and sends Quake into Tugboat’s
boot. Another Axe Bomber and Hogan tries another slam, but Quake
clubs out of it. Hogan tries again, and Quake falls on top for two.
Piper is surprised Hogan would make that mistake. Quake tries a
traditional big splash but misses, and Hogan brings in Tugboat for
the first time in the match. Piper notes they were saving Tugboat
for a situation like this, and Tugboat indeed comes in and attacks
Quake. He staggers Quake to the ropes, and Hogan pulls Quake out of
the ring. Everyone follows, and Quake shoves Hogan into the post.
Anyway, during the melee, the legal men (Quake and Tugboat) are
counted out at 11:33, leaving Hogan against Barbarian. Barbarian
takes advantage of Hogan’s bad back and clubs him down, throwing him
in. He slams his fist into Hogan’s back repeatedly and dumps him to
the outside. Hogan returns and gets stomped. Barbarian gets a
piledriver… almost, as Hogan’s head slid out as the announcers
note. It gets two anyway. Hogan buys some time with a double
clothesline, but Barbarian naturally is up first. Barbarian with the
Kick of Fear to Hogan and he goes up top, landing his diving
clothesline finisher for… well, two. Hulk up, yadda yadda yadda
Legdrop, it’s over at 14:49. Decent power match. *3/4
Hogan gets the honor of beating up Heenan, as per the rule cited
earlier.
We
cut to the interview stage, where Okerlund will interview Randy
Savage (just turned 38). Gorilla says it’s an intermission, but we
see the interview anyway. Savage is on the sedan carried by four
jobbers. Okerlund and Savage discuss a recent Brother Love show,
where Warrior was accosted by Queen Sherri asking for a title shot.
Warrior refused to answer, so Sherri slapped Warrior, hoping to get
him mad enough to attack her and open the door for Savage to
counter-attack. As it turns out, Warrior kept his cool (Savage: “The
Ultimate Chicken!”). This would lead to Savage smashing Warrior
with a scepter at Royal Rumble to get the belt on Sgt. Slaughter.
This in turn would lead to the retirement match, the greatest
career-on-the-line match in WWF history (although I’m willing to hear
arguments for Shawn/Taker II). Anyway, Savage calls himself the
greatest superstar ever, the past and future, and the man who owns
the WWF Title that Warrior has. Savage says he may retire as
champion after beating Warrior, since he’ll have nothing left to
prove. He promises that everyone will realize his greatness when he
meets Warrior.
MATCH
FIVE: Nikolai Volkoff (43), Tito Santana (37), Luke Williams (43),
and Butch Miller (46) vs. Sgt. Slaughter (42), Boris Zhukov (30),
Akio Sato (37), and Pat Tanaka (29)
Not
exactly a cavalcade of star power here, eh? Mean Gene catches up
with Slaughter, who cuts a promo taunting the troops over
Thanksgiving dinner being K-rations for them. He then promises he’ll
show what an Iraqi soldier is made of in the ring. The heels are all
wearing facepaint in sarge’s camo pattern. Piper is absolutely ANGRY
at Sgt. Slaughter. Butch punches away at Zhukov’s gut to start, and
the Bushwackers get a double clothesline. Tito enters, and it’s a
quick Flying Jalapeno to dispose of him at 48 seconds. Sato attacks
Santana early, adding a low jumping kick. Sato with Booker T’s arm
wrench kick and Tanaka’s in, but miscommunication disposes of Sato.
Butch runs over Tanaka, and he and Luke get the Battering Ram on Sato
to pin him at 1:46. Tanaka chops down Butch, but a Santino headbutt
misses and Santana lands another Flying Jalapeno to end his night at
2:13. Slaughter’s already 1-on-4, and Volkoff demands a chance to
punch him down. Volkoff with a whip and big boot, then a leaping
boot, but a second big kick is caught and Slaughter bowls him over.
Slaughter with elbowdrops as everyone chants USA for the Lithuanian,
Mexican, and two New Zealanders. A kneeling elbowsmash by Slaughter
keeps Volkoff down, and Sarge slowly wears down Volkoff. A series of
chops to the gut Big Show style stagger Volkoff, then Slaughter sends
Volkoff into the turnbuckle battering ram style. Sarge works a slow
pace on Volkoff, getting a dropkick (who knew) and spitting on him.
A snapmare and elbowdrop end Nikolai’s night at 5:25. Butch enters,
and the Bushwackers double-team Sarge with a double slam and double
clothesline. It gets ONE. Luke with a back elbow, but he goes up
top and hits the knees coming off. A gutbuster ends Luke at 6:30.
Butch charges in, but he gets Hammer Thrown and clotheslined down for
the pin at 6:53. So it’s Slaughter/Santana now, and Slaughter loses
count to celebrate allowing Santana to get him from behind. Back
body drop on Sarge, and a top rope forearm gets two. Santana with
repeated gut kicks, but Sarge blocks a monkey flip and Santana lands
hard. A swinging neckbreaker by Sarge gets two. Sarge with a rib
breaker for two. Tito fires off with rights from a kneeling
position, but gets cut off and Sarge gets a suplex for two. Sarge
tries to work the arm, but Tito escapes only to get bumped into the
ref. Fortunately, there’s two refs in these matches. Santana with
another Flying Jalapeno, but General Adnan slams the Iraqi flagpole
into Santana’s back. Referee #2 saw it and tells Referee #1, so when
Sarge applies the Camel Clutch, it’s all for naught because he’s been
disqualified at 10:52. Well, that was a downer of a match. 1/2*
I understand you need to keep Slaughter from losing cleanly AND
build him up AND make sure he doesn’t cross with Hogan or Warrior,
but is this the best you could do?
Sean
Mooney interviews the heel side in the finale. Martel brags about
surviving intact, living up to his “vision”. It’s about unity
and teamwork, and now that they have DiBiase’s resources, they are
destined to win. DiBiase has promised the Visionaries a hefty bonus
to them to make sure they survive. Tito Santana may be great, but
he’s in the right place at the wrong time. As for Hogan and
Warrior… well, heck, they just fought at WrestleMania VI, do you
really think they can be a team? And that’s why DiBiase’s team will
win.
Tomorrow
night, Warrior vs DiBiase for the WWF Title on Friday Night’s Main
Event!
Oh
geez, do I have to review this next bit? Oh, all right. Okerlund is
next to the big egg and speculates as to what could be in there. A
rabbit? Balloons? The Playmate of the Month? IF ONLY. No, what’s
in there instead is… the Gobbledy Gooker. The crowd boos it
heavily as they realize what a letdown THAT is. Then, in ten minutes
no human being will ever get back, he and Okerlund dance in the ring.
This happened. People paid money to see it. Fun fact: the Gobbledy
Gooker is the uncle of the Swagger Soaring Eagle. Piper offers to
make him the Survivor Series’ official mascot. Man, he’s taking this
show harder than I thought!
Sean
Mooney interviews the face side and asks if they’re worried about
being outnumbered. Hogan points out that the crowd’s on their side,
so really, the opponents are outnumbered. Hogan puts over Warrior’s
intensity and meteoric rise, then puts over Santana’s experience as
an original superstar in the WWF, there since Day 1. So officially,
WWF history begins in 1983. Santana gives a generic pumped up promo
promising to survive. Warrior continues the theme that the crowd is
on their side. “YOU, Power and Glory, are a reminder that we feed
off such things.” That’s a good line. Warrior tries to name each
wrestler’s fanbase (Hulkamania, Warrior Wildness), but realizes
Santana’s never had a nickname for his fanbase and makes one up
(Arriba-derci). Hogan finishes up with his catchphrase as everyone’s
ready to go.
GRAND
FINALE MATCH OF SURVIVAL: Rick Martel, Warlord, Hercules, Paul Roma,
and Ted DiBiase vs. Hulk Hogan, Tito Santana, and Ultimate Warrior
This
is basically the closest that half the people in this match will get
to calling themselves main eventers. I think Santana’s here as a
lifetime achievement award. To be fair, Martel may be for the same
reason, though he was a former AWA Champion. The other Visionaries
are just filler. And to prove my point, Hogan slugs Warlord after a
cheap shot on Santana, and Tito recovers with the Flying Jalapeno to
eliminate Warlord in 28 seconds. Roma races in and attacks Tito,
getting a powerslam and bringing in DiBiase. DiBiase with a kneedrop
and suplex on Santana for two. Santana ducks a clothesline and gets
one of his own. He follows with a corner whip and back body drop.
Flying Jalapeno airballs, though, and DiBiase gets the Stun Gun to
pin Tito at 1:51. Hogan in, and he can’t be bought. Hogan with
rights in the corner, and a running boot in the opposite corner.
Hogan puts his head down, and DiBiase kicks him and knocks him down,
handing him off to Hercules. Hercules pounds Hogan’s back, adding a
standing lariat and bringing in Roma. Roma with a single axhandle
off the top rope for two. Roma clubs Hogan’s back some before Martel
comes in and continues working the back. Axhandles to the kidney
area keep Martel in control before bringing Hercules back in.
Hercules with a dozen or so right hands, backing Hogan into a corner.
One final right hand drops Hogan to one knee. Hercules then slams
Hogan’s head into the buckle over and over before bringing DiBiase
in. DiBiase with an axhandle off the second rope for two. DiBiase
does his fistdrops on Hogan, getting two for that. Hercules back in
with right hands to Hogan and he puts him in the corner. It’s
PowerPlex time, and Roma’s splash gets two. Roma thinks it’s three
and gloats, but he turns straight into an Axe Bomber and is pinned by
Hogan at 5:57. Martel races in and keeps the advantage on Hogan, but
puts his head down and Hogan kicks him. Hot tag Warrior, who kicks
Martel in the gut eleventy million times. Hammer throw and back drop
follow, and Warrior clears the corner. This gives Martel only a
temporary advantage, as Warrior slams Martel and facejams him. Hogan
back in, and it’s the punches and big boot. Hogan clotheslines
Martel out of the ring, and Martel says nuts to this and leaves at
7:17. DiBiase is understandably upset by this, and now it’s Hogan
and Warrior, working together, against DiBiase and Hercules. Hogan
overpowers DiBiase, getting a corner clothesline as DiBiase begs off.
Alley Oop corner bomb by Hogan, and DiBiase eats the usual and is
gone at 8:30. Hercules doesn’t stand a chance, and he gets slammed
by Hogan and tackled and splashed by Warrior to end the night at
9:07. Hogan counts along with the ref for fun. Hogan and Warrior
survive. *1/4
Eh, this was a harmless house show style main event used to show the
Hogan/Warrior issue is dead and buried.
FINAL
THOUGHTS:
Maybe
it’s nostalgia running wild here, but the concept of the Grand Finale
Match of Survival isn’t the worst in the world. It just needs a
reward at the end. Perhaps a title match at TLC or something would
be the order of the day, and if the Champ wins it, he gets the night
off. The final match added a nice wrinkle and allowed different
people to say they’ve main evented. As for the matches themselves,
they ranged from a waste of time to an underrated classic.
Still,
this is a must-watch in parts, if only for the historical impact of
seeing Undertaker’s debut. DiBiase and Bret have a fantastic
mini-match that carries their match, and Warrior and Hogan cutting
two promos on the night is always fun in a throwback way. Plus, the
seeds were sown for Warrior/Savage, and Hogan and DiBiase may have
FINALLY gotten their finish.
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 80:44 in only six matches (thirty-eight decisions, 29% of them
being countout or DQ)
BEST
MATCH: Dream Team vs Million Dollar Team
WORST
MATCH: Alliance vs Mercenaries
NIGHT
MVP: Hulk Hogan (with four pinfalls)
FINAL
SCORE: Well, I love it, but objectively, it’s about a 6.5. The
Dusty/DiBiase tag match is must-watch for just about every reason,
but the Gobbledy Gooker and the Slaughter match bring it down.
Still, definitely worth finding on YouTube like I did.
See
you tomorrow as PG Week continues with a few thousand words on then
and now in off-screen scandal.