The SmarK RAW Rant–10.21.13

The SmarK RAW Rant – 10.21.13 Live from Memphis, TN. Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL COOHHH and Steph join us to start, using their secret weapon of icky PDAs to get even more heel heat. HHH talks about respect, but Big Show interrupts complaining about how HHH treats him with DISDAIN. Steph tells him to shut up and kills his satellite feed. By the way, Big Show is now suing for unpaid money and slander, so apparently the ironclad contract that wasn’t so ironclad is once again ironclad. Or something. Daniel Bryan v. Dean Ambrose They trade wristlocks and Bryan throws chops and kicks in the corner, then takes him down with a hammerlock for two. Dropkick gets two. Bryan goes back to working the arm, but misses a dropkick and Dean takes over with an elbow for two. Snap suplex gets two. Bryan takes him down and goes up, but Ambrose rolls to the floor to escape and we take a break. Back with Bryan hooking Ambrose in the surfboard, but Ambrose goes to the eyes to break. Bryan goes up again and this time Ambrose brings him down with a butterfly suplex that gets two. Bryan with a backslide for two and they collide for a double KO. Bryan comes back with the corner dropkick and a top rope rana for two. Ambrose counters a DDT with a spinebuster and gets two. Bryan dumps him and follows with the suicide dive, and back in for a missile dropkick. Kicks set up the Yes Lock to finish at 17:45. Good basic back and forth match. ***1/2 CM Punk joins us to recap all the horrible things he’s going to do to Paul Heyman at the PPV. Meanwhile, Shawn Michaels shows up in HHH’s office, pointing out that HHH and Steph have CHANGED, MAN. Randy Orton v. Dolph Ziggler They fight for a lockup while the fans start a surprisingly impassioned “Let’s Go Ziggler/Let’s Go Orton” chant. To the floor and Orton sends him into the railing and beats on him, which gets two. Dolph fights back on the floor, but gets sent into the post and Orton takes over again. Ziggler fights back again and gets a clothesline for two, but Orton hits the backbreaker for two. Chinlock follows, but Ziggler fights ou again and drops the elbow for two. He counters the draping DDT and hits the fameasser for two. Orton throws him with a suplex to set up the draping DDT, but Ziggler counters the RKO with a dropkick for two. Another try finishes at 7:45, however. These two always have good chemistry. ***1/4 Meanwhile, Paul Heyman doesn’t seem particularly worried about Punk, or maybe he’s REALLY coked up tonight. I feel like I can’t do this promo proper justice but it was tremendous and involved volcanoes exploding and villagers running in fear and stuff. Big E shows up off his babyface turn and wants a match with Axel. Curtis Axel v. Big E Langston The Heyman guys immediately jump E and the beatdown proceeds. Punk makes the save and it’s a tag match instead. They still have Teddy Long under contract and Vickie is the one making it a tag match? THAT’S HIS WHOLE JOB! Curtis Axel & Ryback v. CM Punk & Big E Langston Joined in progress with the faces double-teaming Axel, but Ryback takes over on Punk as JBL actually references Paul Heyman shaving Jerry Lawler’s head in 1987. Axel with the chinlock and Ryback splashes Punk for two. Punk with a small package for two, but Ryback boots him down for two. Punk comes back with a high kick and makes the hot tag to Big E. That’s a good role for him. They should team him up with R-Truth and they can be E.R. The Big Ending finishes Axel at 6:32. ** The Usos v. The Shield So the winner here is YET ANOHER #1 contender to the tag titles. An Uso misses a charge and gets worked over by the Shield. He gets beat up for a while and we take a break. Back and Jimmy Uso is still getting beat up. Man this is thrilling. Finally it’s the hot tag off an enzuigiri, but Jimmy walks into a Reigns clothesline. Jimmy comes back with a samoan drop and superkick, but goes up and hits knee on a flying splash. Meanwhile Dean Ambrose brawls with the Rhodes at the announce table, and everyone is counted out at 15:00. And per WWE rules, since everyone is equally a loser, everyone gets a title shot. ** Main Event Contract Signing Gosh, I love my verbal debates and contract signings. HHH continues to make friends by pointing out that if Jericho, Edge, or RVD had been the “face of the WWE” then everyone would be working for Ted Turner. Bryan challenges HHH to get in the ring to back it up, but HHH points out that Bryan isn’t a star like Undertaker or Brock Lesnar, so he wouldn’t waste his time fighting him. Shawn’s all “What happened to you, man?” HHH and Shawn have yet another confrontation while Orton and Bryan get to stand there like geeks, and then Big Show drives a semi-trailer into the arena for some reason and this apparently upsets HHH. The Pulse Good to see HHH branching out from merely burying the current talent, and getting into the much more lucrative field of burying anyone he ever had a petty gripe with as well. Really, nothing on this episode even needed to exist, but the Bryan-Ambrose match was good, so there’s that.

What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw – January 12, 1998

by Logan Scisco

D-Generation X
tells Owen Hart not to mess with their business and Triple H says that Shawn
Michaels will have a message about the Undertaker’s family later tonight.
Jim Ross, Michael
Cole, and Kevin Kelly are in the booth and they are broadcasting from Penn
State University.  This is the fifth
anniversary of RAW being on the USA Network.

Opening Non-Title
Four Corner Contest:  The New Age Outlaws (WWF Tag Team Champions) defeat The Godwinns, The Headbangers, and
Sniper & Recon when Billy Gunn pins Phineas after hitting him with a
foreign object at 4:12:
The Outlaws wear Florida Gators shirts to get under the
crowd’s skin, since Florida defeated Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.  This is not under elimination rules, so the
first team that gets a fall wins.  In a
nice spot, all of the teams pound away on the Outlaws when they get into the
ring, so the tag team champions bail.  I
never understand why teams bother to tag out in these matches since tagging in
another team prohibits you from registering a pin or a submission to win.  The crowd really gets on the Outlaws case,
working up a large “We are Penn State!” chant and going wild for the attacks by
other teams on them.  The ending makes
zero sense as the other two teams see Gunn hit Phineas with a foreign object,
but sit on the apron and let the referee count the fall.  Finish aside, I’ll give this a point because
of the crowd.  Rating:  *¾ (1 for 1)
A video package
hypes the Legion of Doom, who will face the New Age Outlaws for the tag team
titles at the Royal Rumble.  The Legion
of Doom have not been on television since the Outlaws attacked them a month ago
and shaved Hawk’s mohawk and powerbombed Animal through a table.
Steve Austin shows
up to the arena in his pickup truck as the crowd goes crazy.
The Godwinns are
shown being tended to in the back by WWF officials because Austin attacked them
during the commercial break.
Cole interviews
Austin, who complains that he won the Royal Rumble last year “fair and square”
and didn’t get credit for it.  He has an
awesome line in this interview by saying that Vince McMahon might own the ring,
but if a wrestler dares get into it he is going to make sure they get tossed
out of it.  Austin takes a pen from Cole
and draws a target on his chest to let everyone in the locker room know how to
find him.  Great short interview. 
2
for 2
Austin hyping MTV
Celebrity Death Match on a house show is shown.
DX arrives at the
arena in their limo, but a WWF production truck is blocking the car entrance,
so they have to get out and walk around it.
Handicap
Match:  Kurrgan (w/The Jackyl) defeats
Lance Diamond & Joey Cicero at 2:26:
At this time, Diamond was a rising star in the ECWA and
was engaged in a lengthy feud with Cheetah Master.  He won the ECWA’s Super 8 Torurnament in 1998
as well.  Kurrgan has to defeat both men to
win this handicap match, which he accomplishes with ease.  Kurrgan finishes Diamond off with the
Paralyzer and pins Cicero after a suplex. 
After the match, Kurrgan tears apart a Penn State football helmet for
some cheap heat.  This was a good squash
and it effectively disguised Kurrgan’s weaknesses.  If this was the 1980s Kurrgan would have had
a token feud with Hulk Hogan.  The Jackyl’s
commentary also made it tolerable.  3 for 3
Backstage, Owen
Hart is shown attacking Triple H in DX’s limo, but Shawn Michaels and Chyna
jump in and the limo drives off.
Vader beats “Marvelous”
Marc Mero (w/Goldust) by disqualification at 3:10:
Before the match, Mero gets on the house mic to introduce
Sable, but the mic is not working and Mero doesn’t know it, so he talks in
silence until Sable’s music hits. 
However, instead of Sable coming out it is the Artist Formerly Known as
Goldust dressed like Sable.  Ross loses
his mind about all of this.  In the
middle of the match, Sable predictably comes out and kicks Goldust in the
thigh.  Mero gets her to leave, but this
lets Vader recover from a low blow. 
However, after he hits a Vader Bomb, Goldust hits him in the back of the
head with a coconut and that draws the disqualification.  There was not a lot of in-ring action in this
one, but the extracurriculars made it entertaining.  Rating:  *¾ (4 for 4)
The announcers
hype the house show circuit.
DX returns to the
arena in their limo, but where’s Owen?
Bam Bam Bigelow
pushing Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble is the 1-800-COLLECT Slam of
the Week.
Vader is shown in
pain in his locker room, a victim of Steve Austin’s rampage
.
Ken Shamrock
& Mark Henry wrestle The Rock & D-Lo Brown (w/Kama Mustafa) to a no
contest at 3:08:
The storyline behind this is that Mark Henry suffered an
attack at the hands of the Nation of Domination on Shotgun Saturday Night two
weeks ago and Ken Shamrock made the save before too much damage could be
done.  Henry is wearing a “Rocky sucks”
t-shirt and the Rock pledges to rip it off of him before the end of the match.  Shamrock wrestles the entire match, which
gives away where this is going, and sure enough, one Shamrock puts the Rock in
an ankle lock, Henry turns on Shamrock and helps the Nation destroy him in the
middle of the ring.  The Rock plants
Shamrock with a Rock Bottom and Henry does the three count and then rips off
the “Rocky Sucks” t-shirt to reveal a Nation of Domination t-shirt.  Great pacing to this match while it lasted
and Henry’s beatdown on Shamrock looked devastating.  Rating:  ** (5 for 5)
Call 815-734-1161
to get all three “Faces of Foley” t-shirts for $49.99 (plus $9 shipping).  If you only want one of them they will cost
you $25 each (plus $8 shipping and handling)!
The announcers
recap Mark Henry’s heel turn.  Backstage,
the Nation of Domination is interviewed by Cole and the Rock tells Faarooq that
he recruited Henry for him and just wants him to be grateful.
Since we are in
hour two, Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler are in charge of the announcing
duties.
DX comes out and
Triple H says that Owen Hart got dumped into a sewer and then makes lewd
comments toward sorority girls on Penn State’s campus.  Shawn Michaels warns Mike Tyson to stay out
of his business at the Royal Rumble. 
Before Michaels can talk about Kane, Owen appears on the Titantron with
his face scratched and bloody and he says that he is going to make DX’s life
hell.  Triple H dares Owen to come out
and Owen does, but WWF officials intercede before he can get to the ring.  This segment was going somewhere, but when
Owen got involved it fell apart.  That’s
not an indictment of him, but this would have been better served having
Michaels get to his bit about Kane.  5 for 6
Skull &
8-Ball beat The Rock N’ Roll Express (w/Jim Cornette) by disqualification at
2:30:
This is the next step in the NWA angle its sort of
surreal seeing Cornette working in tandem with the Rock N’ Roll Express.  The Express get the Rockers old theme music,
which does not fit at all.  The crowd
doesn’t care because this is the Northeast, so it comes off like the Smokey
Mountain tag team title match that was held at the 1993 Survivor Series.  Skull & 8-Ball use their power to
dominate the action and Cornette tries to run in and nail 8-Ball with his
tennis racket, but gets caught by the referee and that produces a
disqualification.  Cornette eats a right
hand for Skull, but the Express do a small beatdown on the members of the
Disciples of Apocalypse before Chainz makes the save. This was largely
forgettable.  5 for 7
Call
1-900-737-4WWF to hear about the rumors that Hulk Hogan will be in the Royal
Rumble.  I never recall hearing this
rumor around this time.
Cactus Jack is
shown walking around the grounds of Beaver Stadium and he recaps his death
match battles with Terry Funk in Japan. 
He says that Funk’s idea to call himself Chainsaw Charlie might be
silly, but it was his choice to take on that gimmick and they just want to
brutalize the New Age Outlaws.
Mankind wrestles
The Artist Formerly Known as Goldust (w/Luna Vachon) to a no contest at 25
seconds:
For this match, Goldust comes out to Dude Love’s music
and is dressed like Dude Love.  Mankind
quickly puts Goldust in the Mandible Claw, but Steve Austin runs out and gives
both men Stunners before giving a “hell yeah” into Jim Ross’s microphone.
Vince McMahon
appears on the Titantron and is booed. 
McMahon says that Mike Tyson has been invited to the Royal Rumble and
will be on Raw next week where he anticipates a special announcement will be
made.
Sunny comes out in
cheerleader garb to do guest ring announcer duties.
Savio Vega &
Jesus beat Taka Michinoku & Scott Taylor when Jesus pins Taylor after a
reverse superplex at 4:36:
Lawler makes an awkward quip about how he is not afraid to
admit that he likes younger women except when he has to drop them off at
school.  Ross is not sure how to play
that so he just goes along with calling the match.  After watching a good chunk of Michinoku’s
matches from this period, I have to come to the conclusion that he has one of
the best bumps off of a powerbomb that I have ever seen.  The light heavyweights go to the air one too
many times near the end of this encounter, as Savio catches Michinoku’s
moonsault attempt on the floor and slams him and Taylor gets crotched and
finished with a reverse superplex.  That
ending sequence was awesome and this is why tag team wrestling can easily fill
TV time.  Rating:  **½ (6 for 8)
We get another
flashback to Bam Bam Bigelow pushed Lawrence Taylor at the 1995 Royal Rumble.
The Twix Rewind
segment is Shawn Michaels winning the 1995 Royal Rumble.
DX comes back out
to be interviewed by Cole.  Michaels
introduces Kane as the next member of DX, but the Undertaker comes out instead
and tells Michaels to leave his family out of their feud.  This is the segment where the Undertaker
chokes Michaels out of nowhere, which is a clip Botchamania uses a lot.  The Undertaker then goes to chokeslam Chyna,
but before he can do that all members of DX beat him down.  The light go out and Kane’s music hits and
the crowd goes crazy as Kane gets in the ring and makes the save.  After the Undertaker recovers, Kane and the
Undertaker exchange their unique “one knee, hand to the air” salute.  Have I mentioned that the booking of this
whole Kane-Undertaker issue is awesome? 
7 for 9
Call
1-900-RUMBLE-98 to register yourself in the Steve Austin pickup truck
contest!  It’ll cost you $1.99 or you can
send a postcard to Devon, Pennsylvania.
The drawing for
the Royal Rumble is next, but since there is very little time left it is
doubtful whether any drawing will take place. 
Chaos unfolds when Ken Shamrock comes in and attacks Mark Henry and
Goldust and Vader start going at it.  The
Honky Tonk Man comes out, signaling that he will be in the Royal Rumble match.  Steve Austin’s music hits and everyone wants
a piece of him, but Austin comes out from the crowd and gives Phineas Godwinn a
Stone Cold Stunner and then tries to leave. 
As most of the superstars brawl in the ring, the Rock, Savio Vega, and
D-Lo Brown attack him to play us out. 
Not really a great take home segment, but it was important to show
Austin with some vulnerability heading into the pay-per-view. 
7
for 10
The Final Report Card:  Since we are in the Russo era, we are not
going to get long main event matches, but entertaining segments and wild
behavior makes up for that.  Goldust’s
antics continue to get wilder and the Rock is really coming into his own on the
microphone and in the ring.  The winner
of the Royal Rumble is pretty clear since they really have not given any other
participant much billing, but the casket match for the WWF title has some
intriguing scenarios now that Kane’s loyalties appear to be with his brother
against D-Generation X.
Monday Night War Rating:  3.4 (vs. 4.6 for Nitro)

Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

QOTD 42: Upvote my ass.

Hola Otters, apologies for yesterday’s QOTD having only a tangential relationship with reality. Speaking of reality, I made the unfortunate choice of taking a gander at CNN’s comments section today, and found myself wholly disappointed in the kinds of drivel people will write on pretty much any article.

Thus:


Do you fear for humanity since the dawn of the internet’s – reply first, read later, age? How do you get your news? Where do you go to fact check?

I do fear for the kinds of people we’re going to be in the future – eager to believe we are right no matter what, eager to say the edgy thing to get the most up votes or spark the most outcry. It really bums me out that we have taken this wonderful ability to communicate with people across the world, and essentially made it a platform to argue with one-another without much in the way of research or quality arguments.

Take for example how most people get their news these days.

<Something Happens>
<Reporter gets information on the thing that happened>
<Reporter condenses information into an article>
<Article is posted>
<Article is shared on twitter or facebook>
<Few people read the whole article>

By the time the information because publicly available and part of our psyches, it’s been diluted almost half a dozen times. There is no primary source anymore. People don’t read the text of a speech by President Obama, they’ll listen to what other people have to say about the speech, then listen to what people had to say about what the other people had to say, about the speech. While it’s not hard to seek out the primary source and make your own assumptions,  it’s far easier to read (some of) what someone wrote about it, and then take that take-away as fact.

I dunno, it just bugged me. The article that bummed me out can be found here: Police: Slain Nevada teachers’ heroism bought time for students to flee

——————————————————————–

Blog Otter Award: We’re going extra textual for this one and awarding the award to Andy PG, who I believe wrote his Raw Review on a speak and spell following technical difficulties. We appreciate the effort, sir!

1. One of the most important things I ever learned was that ‘snopes.com’ exists. It debunks rumors, and focuses on internet memes that people share like Herpes.  If you ever find something too good to be true, give the subject and “Snopes” a google and you’ll find yourself relieved, and with ammunition for debunking whatever crazy ass post a friend of your made. 
2. Bonus points for Migraine remedies.

BoD Daily Update

Chris Jericho Responds via Twitter to RAW’s Closing Segment

http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/96-wwe/33642-jericho-reaction-to-raws-closing-segment

AJ Styles vs. Bully Ray Again on Impact this Thursday

The rematch was ordered by Dixie Carter

http://www.impactwrestling.com/news/item/5076-Huge-News-Dixie-Carter-orders-the-AJ-vs-Bully-rematch-for-Thursday-on-IMPACT

New Jay Briscoe Promo

http://www.rohwrestling.com/news/jay-briscoe-starving

Luke Harper Getting Praise for his Work?

After the Wyatt Family’s tag match against Kofi & Miz last night on RAW, Luke Harper was getting praise from those backstage.

Credit Mike Johnson, PWInsider.com


Fan Column About his Experience at the “Bound for Glory” PPV

The column includes pictures from the event.

http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/100-tna/33638-wrestling-column-my-night-at-tna-bound-for-glory


The PG Era Rant: RAW, 10-21-13

So a quick word.  Why is this going up the morning after and not at my usual right after the show?  Well, on Saturday night, I tripped while holding my laptop and it caused a cable to come loose.  I figured, no problem, it’s a quick turnaround, so I sent it to Best Buy’s Geek Squad to get fixed.  Well, everyone else felt the same way, and it’s still there in the queue to get repaired.  However, I am nothing if not resourceful, so I figured I could connect to the PlayStation Network and post from there.  Unfortunately, the “New Post” screen couldn’t load.  Option C was to email the rant to Scott, but for reasons I can’t fathom, PSN has a character limit on each text box.  The end result was that I took notes on index cards, transcribed them to text blurbs I saved on Yahoo Notepad, and pasted them all together here.  This should not be a problem next week, because if my computer’s still in the shop, I will probably be suffering from withdrawal symptoms anyway.  On with the show…

When last we left our heroes, they were the tag team champions.  The Rhodes Brothers knocked off Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns with help from the Big Show, who despite being broke and/or fired can still travel the country.  With HHH promising to be more evil, what does he have in mind coming forward for Hell in a Cell on Sunday?

The pre-match commercial features the Contract Signing and words on both the Rhodeses and Big Show from HHH.

– The PG-Era Rant for Monday Night Raw, October 21, 2013.

– Live from Memphis.

– Your hosts are Cole, JBL, and some guy from Memphis.

– We review the main event from last week.

– And as promised, here are HHH and Stephanie.  We first flash back to show the KO Punch Brad Maddox took, and he sold it LIKE A BOSS.  Anyway, he’s not here tonight.  Stephanie opens by going over the four known matches for Hell in a Cell: AJ/Brie, Cena/ADR, Punk/Ryback, and of course Bryan/Orton with HBK as the special referee.  HHH is not worried about this, as he (much like the fans) respects and trusts Shawn Michaels.  He’s a trusting guy, don’t ya know.  Big Show appears from an undisclosed location to rebut that statement.  Show says HHH treats everyone poorly, but HHH would like to let us know it’s just Show.  (Sidenote: during this time, we see Stephanie jump out of the ring and yell at production, demanding answers.)  HHH says there will be no free ride anymore.  Show reveals he’s suing HHH for slander and unlawful termination, and wonders if HHH got up on the wrong side of the bed.  “Then again, given who you sleep with, I guess every side’s the wrong side.”  Chris Jericho, somewhere, approves.  Stephanie and Show yell at each other to shut up before the feed is cut off.  HHH says that’s the last we’ve seen of Show and introduces Dean Ambrose for our first match… except Daniel Bryan comes out first instead.  C’mon, Hunter, you know the champ always enters last!  Bryan does laps around the ring leading a YES chant as HHH fumes.  This doesn’t bode well in the future.

– Daniel Bryan v. Dean Ambrose.  This is a follow-on from the six-man main event on SmackDown as it appears linear booking is making a comeback.  Both men try to work the arm to start, with Bryan earning the takedown.  Ambrose comes back with a kick and chops, but Bryan kicks away at the knees.  A whip-in knee gets one before Bryan goes back to the arm.  He works a funky submission into a pinning predicament for two before doing a standard hammerlock.  Dropkick gets two.  Bryan kicks the arm and does his over-the-shoulder arm smash.  More work on the arm follows, but a dropkick misses and Ambrose gets the Power Drive Elbow for one.  Ambrose with stomps to the gut and a short-arm clotheslines for one before he fires punches at Bryan’s temple.  Suplex gets two.  Something happens while I’m looking down to write notes and Bryan takes over with kicks in the corner.  Ram Jam try, but Ambrose rolls to the outside.  Bryan with a baseball slide, but his apron knee misses and Ambrose clotheslines him as we go to break.  We return with a sleeper on Bryan, who elbows out before being caught with a knee.  Bryan seems to call a spot here, so Ambrose ties him up and gets a dropkick for two.  Maffew, check the tape.  During an armhold by Ambrose, Lawler turns JBL’s “Bryan is a bad face of the company” argument on its head by pointing out Ambrose’s well-worn mug.  Ambrose gets a back suplex for two and goes to the leg-scissors.  Bryan reverses beautifully into a bow-and-arrow with chinlock, and Ambrose is forced to rake the eyes to break it.  Ambrose kicks Bryan’s head, but Bryan’s able to fight back and goes up.  Ambrose catches him with a butterfly superplex for two before going to the sleeper again.  Rude Awakening try is turned to a backslide by Bryan for two.  Bodies collide for a double KO.  Bryan starts his comeback here, getting a cross-corner dropkick and Frankensteiner for two.  A charge misses, but Ambrose gets a spinebuster for two.  Bryan sends Ambrose packing and follows with the Flying Goat.  A missile dropkick leads to a kip-up and the YES Kicks, but the final one misses (again).  Ambrose tries to cradle but gets caught in the Yes Lock for the tapout at 16:21.  Great opener, but I question the sanity of jobbing Ambrose.  ***1/2

– CM Punk is here to remind us he has a match on Sunday.  He said the Cell defines legacies, and his will be defined by how badly Paul Heyman is hurt.  He knows Heyman is counting on Ryback to bail him out, but Punk is the devil who will do anything to get the job done.  No, Heyman will not be pinned or submitted quickly, because Punk wants to make Heyman hurt.  So Ryback will be asleep, Heyman cornered, and the pain brought.  Three men enter, one man leaves!

– HHH and Stephanie are backstage with Vickie Guerrero to put her in charge tonight.  Stephanie is on the phone with security, telling them to do a better job.  They enter the office… and Shawn’s there!  Shawn compliments Hunter’s power look and says he’s heard what HHH has been saying about Daniel Bryan.  Michaels notes that everything Big Show is doing, DX used to do.  Stephanie: “Things have changed around here.”  Shawn: “I noticed.”  The tone in his voice really sells that line — disappointment at HHH’s new outlook on life.

– Santino Marella v. Heath Slater.  THE GREAT KHALI HAS AN ELVIS WIG.  YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID.  We open with a karate dance-off and some judo chops by Santino, then a Cobra threat as Slater bails.  Slater interrupts Santino’s power walk with a knee, then works Santino’s midsection over in the corner, getting two.  A waistlock follows as commentary notes Santino’s Elvis outfit is complete with Blue Suede Shoes.  A blind charge misses as Marella begins his comeback and unveils the Cobra.  And yes, the Cobra has an Elvis wig, why do you ask?  Slater cuts off an attack and goes up, but dives right into the Cobra for the pin at 3:27.  Eh, it’s a comedy match.  *1/4  Post-match, Santino and Lawler do some Elvis dancing to pop the Memphis crowd.

– Here’s Taker/Punk highlights as done in WWE 2K14, as it appears Paul Heyman is also an NPC alongside Heenan and Elizabeth.

– Question: why would the Authority allow the opening segment to be replayed if Big Show had no right to hijack the satellite feed?

– Dolph Ziggler v. Randy Orton.  They start with a LONG lockup, and Orton bails as the crowd chants for both men.  Orton pounds on Ziggler and dumps him, throwing him into the barricades.  Back in, it gets two.  Draping DDT try off the apron is stopped when Ziggler sends Orton into a wall.  The attack on the outside ends when Orton sends Ziggler into the post.  Back in, Orton works the arm.  Ziggler escapes with a flurry into the 10-punch countalong, getting a clothesline for two.  Orton with his back-to-backbreaker for two, and he works an armbar into a chinlock.  Ziggler with a jawbreaker to break, then a jumping lariat, neckbreaker, and elbow for two.  Rocker Dropper misses, Draping DDT is escaped, Rocker Dropper gets two.  Stinger Splash by Ziggler is caught into a T-Bone Suplex.  Draping DDT (and Orton’s beautifully evil smile) sets up an RKO try, but he takes too long and gets dropkicked for two.  ZigZag is blocked, and the RKO connects to win at 7:48.  **1/4

– After a replay of the Cena video from last week, the announce team debates a pertinent point: John Cena’s arm will be the target of Del Rio’s finisher.  Is Cena coming back too soon?

– AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka v. Bella Twins.  Remember what I said earlier about linear booking?  Here you go.  Snuka with Brie to start — thankfully Brie has extra designs on her boots so I can tell them apart — and a set of throws leads to a hammerlock with hairpull for Snuka.  Bellas come back with a double dropkick, getting Nikki one.  Leaping snapmare follows, but Snuka dumps Nikki.  She lifts her back in by the hair and suplexes her for two before getting a cravate.  Nikkis stomps out, but Snuka pulls the hair to maintain control.  Slams follow.  A hairpull throw, and AJ covers for two.  AJ with a sleeper, but she gets thrown into the corner only to block a charge with a dropkick.  She stomps a mudhole in Nikki, but a blind charge misses and Brie gets the hot tag.  Dropkicks abound, including one from the second rope for two.  AJ stops it with a spinning back kick, but Brie gets the Maple Leaf crab, with Snuka saving.  Snuka takes the running knee from Brie, but the facejam ends anyway at 5:05.  Snuka carries AJ out of the ring.  *

– Later tonight, the de facto #1 Contenders the Usos face the former champions Rollins and Reigns to figure out which one gets first dibs at the PPV against the Rhodeses.

– Renee Young interviews Paul Heyman about Sunday (as we see Big E Langston’s actions on SmackDown).  Heyman goes into some rather histrionic hyperbole about volcanoes regarding Punk that I don’t quite follow, but all the emotion was just for show.  Heyman is in control of everything, and Punk will not be able to lay a hand on Heyman because Ryback will destroy him.  Big E shows up and looks menacing, and when Axel calls him a rookie, Langston lays down the challenge.  Heyman restrains Axel as we end that segment.

– A look at Shawn’s training of a young Daniel Bryan.

– Erick Rowan and Luke Harper v. The Miz and Kofi Kingston.  That reminds me, why are they surprised Big Show can hijack the feed into the arena when Bray Wyatt manages to do it before every appearance?  Rowan shoves Miz around to start, but he’s low bridged out.  Miz baseball slides Rowan, but Wyatt distracts him and Rowan lands a Northern Lariat.  Harper in, and the Family do T&A’s old corner double-team for two.  Harper sends Miz into the ropes with a Vader bump, then a catapult guillotine for two.  Rowan lands an elbow and cradle backbreaker for two.  Harper back in with a boot, elbow, and rolling front chancery.  He transitions to a headlock, then cuts off a comeback try with a headbutt and sitout slam for two.  Miz gets a jawbreaker and the hot tag to Kofi, who has his dropkick caught but still manages to keep momentum with a crossbody for one before Rowan saves.  He’s dumped, and a rollup in the ring gets two.  Rowan is nailed with Trouble in Paradise, but Harper with a Clothesline from Hell for the pin at 4:52.  I can safely say Harper’s the talented one, even before knowing his indy background.  *1/2  The Family disposes of Kofi and pounds Miz into a gooey paste for trying to save him.  Miz is forced Clockwork Orange style to look at Wyatt while he lectures.  Wyatt says he “knows” Miz and asks if Miz believes in God, Heaven, or Hell.  Not that it matters, because Wyatt will take Miz to the gates of Hell.  Is Wyatt healthy?  Because I’m getting a PPV impromptu match vibe here.

– Curtis Axel v. Big E Langston.  Sadly, no replay of their NXT match as Ryback attacks before the bell and the double-team is on.  The crowd knows the next move and chants for CM Punk.  While Langston does get the occasional offense, the double-team continues on the outside.  Even Heyman adds a kendo stick shot, though it’s no-sold.  Finally, after Ryback bowls Langston over, Punk makes the save and Vickie Guerrero makes the inevitable.  HOLLA!  (takes drink)

– CM Punk and Big E Langston v. The Dangerous Alliance.  And to think I thought Langston was going to be a Paul Heyman Guy.  Joined in progress as Langston traps Axel in the corner, allowing Punk the Flip Flop and Fly off the second rope.  A double hiptoss gets one.  Punk with a Battering Ram, but he puts his head down and Axel blocks it.  Ryback in now, lifting Punk up for the corner-to-corner slam and Hammer Throw.  Legdrop gets one.  A slam follows, and Axel in with an axhandle for one.  He HITS THE CHINLOCK as this “face of the WWE” commentary at ringside is getting really annoying.  Axel stops a comeback but eats Punk’s crossbody for two (mirroring Kofi’s earlier).  Axel gets a clothesline and steps on Punk’s face.  Ryback continues the punishment with a big splash for two.  He keeps clubbing away, but a suplex try is reversed to a small package by Punk for two.  Ryback floors Punk for two and works the midsection.  Punk elbows out, but Ryback gets a knee and tries a slam.  Punk fights out with a high kick, hot tag Langston.  He flapjacks Axel and adds the Ultimate Splash.  THE STRAPS ARE DOWN (hey, it’s Memphis, why not?), but Ryback stops it and it’s BONZO GONZO!  Big Ending ends Axel at 6:37 shown.  If they plan to use Axel just to protect Ryback, get the belt off of him now.  **  Punk chases Heyman away through the crowd and celebrates with fans, remembering not to punch any of them this time.

– R-Truth does a crazy sales job of WWE Shop.  Mildly entertaining, which is more than it had a right to be.

– Meanwhile, your Main Event main event is Goldust v. Seth Rollins.

– Tons of Funk v. We the People.  Yes, again.  We review SmackDown and Los Matadores antagonizing Zeb Colter as the word “buttgore” gets used more often than it ever should.  El Torito has a promo (yes, really) in the picture-in-picture and make out the words “This Sunday”, so keep that in mind.  Swagger starts but misses a blind charge, allowing Tensai to take over in the corner and get a monkey flip.  Cesaro stops it with a dropkick for two.  Swagger gets a foot DDT and hamstring kick as Tensai is gaijin-in-peril.  Back suplex follows.  Vaderbomb and leapfrog stomp get two.  Cesaro applies a sleeper as I try to block Colter and JBL tag-teaming my eardrums on commentary.  Colter’s really only fun in small doses.  Tensai flips out Cesaro to break and gets the hot tag, allowing Brodus clotheslines.  Swagger is blocked, but Cesaro gets the giant swing.  Only 4.5 rotations, so no OF DOOM.  Patriot Lock finishes Clay at 3:34.  SWAGGER WINS A MATCH!  Ahem.  Total squash.  1/2*  Post-match, Colter unveils a bullwhip and gives the pledge.

– Your pre-show match is Axel/Langston for the Intercontinental Title.  Good.

– Cena career retrospective.  As long as those happen, Kurt Angle will have a place in WWE Lore.  This is followed by showing Alberto Del Rio attack Josh Mathews on SmackDown.

– On SmackDown, MizTV will feature Randy Orton.

– #1 Contendership Match: Shield v. Usos.  Cody Rhodes and Goldust are on commentary now, and I have to say I’m not liking their mashup.  Although, really, if anyone deserves to have “smoke and mirrors” as their theme, it’s Goldust.  It fits his gimmick better than it does Cody’s.  Jimmy and Rollins start, and Jimmy gets some quick rollups as JBL berates Cody for giving neutral answers to Cole’s questions.  Rollins does somthing (can’t even read my own handwriting — this is why I type this up) and gets dumped, with Jimmy flying out to follow.  Back in, it gets two.  Jimmy is quickly isolated, allowing Reigns in with a back elbow for two.  Elbowdrop misses, and Jey enters with a leapfrog forearm.  Snapmare and low clothesline get one.  Jimmy returns and works the arm, but Reigns corners him only to have Jimmy fight out.  He airballs a dive, however, getting Rollins two.  Rollins stomps away, and Reigns adds a Hotshot for two.  Reigns adds a front chancery as Cody says he and Goldust are among the best brother teams ever, claiming to be “better than the Briscoes”.  Jack and Jerry or Jay and Mark?  Jimmy headbutts Reigns from the apron (since the only thing that can hurt a Samoan skull is another Samoan skull), but Reigns sends Jimmy FLYING into the announcer table as we go to break.  We return as Rollins cuts off a tag attempt and the Shield wishbone Jimmy.  Reigns with a suplex for two.  I need to present the following from commentary, because it amused me: Cody mentions that tag teams can’t have dysfunction in them.  JBL points out Dustin is dressed in a gold body suit and face paint.  Dustin: “Yeah?  So?”  Cole agrees with him.  Meanwhile, there’s a chinlock on Jimmy, along with a knee to stop a tag.  Samoan Drop is blocked into a DDT, but Rollins clotheslines Jimmy to keep control.  He stomps away, but Jimmy gives him the HBK Bump… only Reigns is tagged in.  Jimmy gives Reigns the Dragon Whip and it’s a hot tag to Jey, who gets a crossbody for two.  Throat thrusts follow on both men as Rollins is dumped.  Shoulderblock to Reigns, but the hip check is met by a big lariat and Jimmy saves.  Jey and Reigns get a Double KO, and as they get up, Jey with a thrust kick, but the Superfly Splash hits the knees.  Meanwhile, on the outside, Dean Ambrose says one too many things to Cody, and the Rhodeses attack Ambrose.  Rollins jumps into the pile, the Usos follow, and the whole match is abandoned at 14:14.  ***  Shield triple-team Goldust, but the faces clean house and have an uneasy alliance.

– During the break, the inevitable triple threat match is made.

– Main Event Contract Signing.  Orton is introduced as the “Face of the WWE”.  During Bryan’s entrance, it occurs to me that this Dusty/Flair homage of an angle basically HAD to end in a cage match, didn’t it?  HHH says Shawn Michaels needs no introduction, “but I’ll give one anyway”.  At least he’s honest.  HBK hams it up in the ring and gets a chant as the dust settles.  Orton gets to speak first.  He’s impressed with how Bryan keeps getting back up after being knocked down, but that ends on Sunday.  Orton says he’s faced Undertaker, Sheamus, and Cena inside the Cell, so he knows about it in a way Bryan can’t possibly comprehend.  Bryan’s first Cell match will be his last.  Orton signs, and it’s Bryan’s turn.  Bryan expects the threats from Orton, but wants to remind everyone that he would be champion entering this match if not for HHH and the Authority.  Big Show gets a free pass?  He can’t wait to smash in Orton’s face and has two words for ya… no, not THOSE two words.  His are: thank you.  Thank you for making Bryan up his game, for showing his true colors as the Viper, and for proving that HHH and Stephanie are spoiled brats who will do anything to get only what they want.  Bryan signs, but HHH wants the last word.  He compares Bryan to Chris Jericho, Edge, and Rob Van Dam — people who were great, sure, but not franchise player great.  He states that WCW would have won the Monday Night Wars with them on top.  Bottom line, Bryan’s not ready for the Cell, and HHH knows it.  Bryan then quixotically challenges HHH to step into the ring, which allows HHH to say Bryan’s not good enough for a HHH comeback match.  Stars fight other stars, and no star would lower himself to fighting Bryan (which is news to John Cena and CM Punk if you ask me).  HHH then says Shawn should not have wasted his time training Bryan, which gets an objection from Shawn himself.  He knows Bryan is good enough, but he has another issue: whatever happened to the DX-ified Hunter?  The one who broke all the rules and didn’t care what The Man thought of him?  Anyway, HBK isn’t the referee to do what HHH wants, or for that matter what Bryan wants.  He’s there to ensure there will be a new champ.  Orton’s none too happy with that pronouncement, as he still smells a rat.  HHH assures Orton (while glaring right at Shawn) that Shawn will do the right thing.  Shawn agrees: he’ll do what right for “the business I love” and the one the fans love.  Shawn, however, is curious: what does HHH have against Bryan anyway?  Is it his small size or his epic beard?  Can’t be, Shawn figures, since both of those apply to Shawn himself right now.  He figures it’s because Bryan has proven HHH’s assessment was woefully inaccurate.  Orton finally ends the DX commentary and tells Bryan point-blank: Bryan cannot possibly win on Sunday.  Then, everyone gets distracted by the Tron, as we see a big rig barelling through backstage.  Big Show is clearly driving it (JBL: “You know any other 7-foot truck drivers?”).  He parks the rig in the entranceway and climbs out (with some difficulty as he parked a little too close to the barricade).  Show motions to Orton to turn around… and Orton does, getting smacked with Bryan’s running knee.  YES chants take us out.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This was totally a hard sell for the Hell in a Cell PPV, and more power to them.  I like that they added matches during the night, as the card was looking a tad bit threadbare entering the show with only four matches.  Two more were added, but with one bumped to the Pre-Show, there’s bound to be a lot of surprises throughout the night.  I’ll try my best to figure out what goes where.

The Big Show hangs over the main event like a giant cloud, and I’m worried they’ll have him be the determining factor in the outcome.  Worried mostly because Bryan deserves a chance to be champion, but also worried because HHH will ignore the “no-DQ” precedent that is Hell in a Cell and overturn that decision.  I’m also a little pessimistic about Shawn’s appearance as referee — if he turns on Bryan and goes heel, it will infuriate me.  Basically, HHH always seems to hold all the cards, and that gets tiring after a while.  It needs to stop here, or at least needs to be proven once and for all that the system HHH has can be beaten.  Otherwise, why even watch when you know the bad guy’s going to render anything you like null and void?

HOW I’D BOOK IT:

Okay, I did this last time, let’s do it again.

0] Big E Langston defeats Curtis Axel to become the new Intercontinental Champion.
1] Los Matadores defeat We The People when Swagger gets pinned.  Cesaro threatens to swing El Torito, but that gets cut off.
2] Brie Bella defeats AJ Lee to win the Divas’ Title.
3] Cody Rhoes and Goldust retain the WWE Tag Team Titles when Cody pins Jey.  However, a Shield beatdown after the match sets up a possible Survivor Series team.
4] Ryback and Paul Heyman beat CM Punk when Punk gets so obsessed with murdering Heyman that Ryback recovers from GTS and gets the pin.
5] Either Bray Wyatt or, if Wyatt isn’t ready, Luke Harper defeates the Miz.
6] John Cena barely defeats Alberto Del Rio to win the World Title; however, after the match, Del Rio keeps attacking Cena’s injured arm, which means…
7] Damien Sandow cashes in on John Cena and becomes the new World Heavyweight Champion.
8] The main event gets its own paragraph.

What I would do here is have Bryan win the WWE Title.  It doesn’t even have to be clean: my ideal finish is a callback to the first ever Cell match, with Big Show ripping the door off of its hinges to stop Orton from winning.  You could even have the Shield hiding under the ring before it begins to justify his run-in.  However, look at the sides: Orton and the Shield are on one side; on the other are Bryan, Cody, Goldust, Jimmy, and Jey.  It’s 4 on 5.  With Survivor Series coming up, the heels need someone to join them.  We know that HHH not arresting Big Show is a plot hole, since they mentioned it 100 times tonight.  We also know a lot of the story those two have is off-camera and “take our word for it”.  There’s the matter of Show still being able to afford tickets everywhere.  And finally, Show and HHH are both Attitude Era guys who represent the old guard refusing to relinquish their spot.

If it happens, you heard it here first.

STATS:

MATCH TIME: 61:58 over eight matches
BEST MATCH: Bryan/Ambrose
WORST MATCH: The WTP/TOF squash
NIGHT MVP: Big E Langston

FINAL SCORE: 5.5.  It’s hard to rate a hard-sell Raw in terms of entertainment and excitement, but it did what it was supposed to do, so I’ll go with a neutral score this time.  Do try to check out the wrestling, which was just fine, but hard sells rarely interest me personally.

That’s all I have to say.  I apologize for the 12-hour or so delay this is on, and ask you to tune in again Friday as Tommy Hall wraps up the big push with a SmackDown.  I’ll do my PG PostGame on Hell in a Cell on Sunday and be back for more Raw.  In the meantime, reporting from my PS3, this is Andy PG, signing off.

The Coliseum Video Rant: Andre The Giant

The Coliseum Video Rant – Andre The Giant I’ve decided that I kinda like the single-show format for these, so that’s what I’m gonna go with from now on. Saves me having to come up with goofy subtitles, too. I think the point of this tape is pretty self-evident.

Hosted by Lord Alfred Hayes, who relates a story about meeting 17 year old Andre in Europe in the 60s. Andre the Giant v. Moondog Rex From the Spectrum, and shot on what appears to be 16MM film rather than videotape. Andre takes Rex down with a headlock and whips him around the ring like a child, then finishes with a big boot and splash at 1:50. Clearly Andre was not paid by the hour. Andre beating the shit out of dudes is always great. 1 for 1. Battle Royale! This is from Jersey and the Murdoch/Adonis team would place this around late 84. We’ve got Slaughter, Adonis, Murdoch, Studd, Andre, Pat Patterson, Hulk Hogan, Paul Orndorff, Tiger Chung Lee, Iron Sheik, Mil Mascaras, Tito Santana, Jimmy Snuka and a few others that flew by too fast. There’s some giant star power in this one. Usual messy schmoz and after a couple of dead weights are tossed, Sheik eliminates Slaughter to trigger a brawl between them. Murdoch tosses Snuka off-camera and an annoyed Andre starts tossing guys, although the camera misses most of them. Three heels team up and get rid of Hogan, triggering a pretty good Hogan-Studd brawl that would appear to foreshadow the next show. Finally it’s a weird final four, with Andre, Murdoch, Adonis and generic Russian Alexis Smirnoff. The three heels team up on Andre, but he gets annoyed again and everyone goes flying to give Andre the win after a trademark Adonis corner flip at 11:05. Eh, it’s a battle royale. 1 for 2. Andre the Giant v. Giant Goliath & Black Gordman These two goofs are not as fearsome as their names would indicate. No idea where or when it’s from, but it looks old. There’s a false front row set up to sell the gimmick that Andre throws his opponents into the front row too often, and thus no one is allowed to sit there. So I guess someone’s constantly getting thrown into 75% of the seats in arenas that TNA runs, and that’s why no one is allowed to sit in THOSE seats. Makes sense. To demonstrate this, Andre throws one of the poor geeks in the front row, before they actually manage the miracle of taking him down! Andre even sells a couple of punches and one of the dweebs gets a foreign object and works Andre over with that, but Andre manhandles them like they’re toys and sits on them for the pin at 6:52. 1 for 3. Andre the Giant v. Jack Evans, Johnny Rodz & Joe Butcher Nova As Alfred notes, this is a bit more of a fair fight. Andre does some of the same spots as he did with the other two jobbers before, and fights off several dogpile attempts, and again Andre piles all three guys up and pins them at 3:20. I liked this one a bit more because the 3-on-1 deal was more of a spectacle and it was much more to the point. 2 for 4. Boxing Match: Andre the Giant v. Gorilla Monsoon This is from the famous Puerto Rico show where a rainstorm pounded the ring all show. Terrible “match” with Andre finishing him with a KO at 5:00. 2 for 5. Andre the Giant & Jimmy Snuka v. The Wild Samoans Snuka quickly gets caught in the Samoan corner and he’s so baffled by Afa trying to explain if and how they’re related that he gets beat on without any defense. And that shit just goes ON and ON. Finally even Andre is bored of waiting around and Snuka takes the hint and makes the hot tag. The crowd goes APESHIT and Andre destroys the Samoans and headbutts the shit out of poor Sika, allowing Snuka to climb onto Andre’s shoulders and finish with the Superfly splash at 9:00. The heat segment was dull as dishwater but the finish was MOLTEN. 3 for 6. The Masked Superstar v. Andre The Giant This was Bill Eadie’s last MSG appearance before making his return as Demolition Ax a couple of years later, and I believe this is from the undercard of one of the MTV shows. Andre overpowers him and tosses him around the ring, but Superstar manages to take him down and put him in the cobra clutch. Andre pulls at the mask to force a break, and sits on him to finish at 7:00. Meh. 3 for 7. Big John Studd & Ken Patera v. SD Jones & Andre the Giant From WWF TV in early 85. Jones does OK against Patera for a bit, but gets caught in the corner and whipped like the proverbial government mule. Patera dumps Jones and Andre just decides to come in and exact some vigilante justice, but the heels manage to double-team him until the ref calls for the DQ at 4:00. And with Andre down, they CUT HIS HAIR and Vince declares that they’re RAPING HIS DIGNITY. Fans are so pissed off that they’re throwing trash into the ring and everything. Classic stuff. 4 for 8. Andre appears on TNT with Vince to discuss his impending Wrestlemania match with Studd. And they throw to… Andre the Giant v. Ken Patera From MSG, as Andre’s revenge tour begins. Andre quite thoroughly beats on Patera and steps on him, then takes him to the floor and whips him into the railing to boot. This prompts Bobby to come in and attack Andre with brass knuckles, drawing the DQ. Andre calmly continues kicking both of their asses and lays an EPIC beating on Bobby. Heenan’s sell of Andre slapping him around should be taught in classrooms. Not exciting, but it was total destruction by Andre from start to finish as the heels got everything that was coming to them. I can’t imagine fans not getting their money’s worth out of this one. 5 for 9. Bodyslam Challenge: Andre the Giant v. Big John Studd From Wrestlemania, of course, with Studd putting up $15,000 against Andre’s career. We’ve covered this one enough, it’s terrible, we all know it. Andre of course slams Studd and throws the gimmicked money bag into the crowd. 5 for 10. The Pulse At .500 it’s right at the cutoff for a recommendation, although way too much time is taken up by the two handicap matches. It’s Andre, you know what you’re getting anyway. Next time: Best of the WWF Volume 2!

Cucch’s Book Review: “Cross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness”

In keeping up with the current WWE product, and possibly one of its best human interest angles in a long time…

Dusty Rhodes was a larger than life wrestling icon. Some may deride his actual wrestling ability, but there is no doubting his star power and certainly no doubting his legendary abilities on the mic. In the 70’s and 80’s, you would be hard pressed to find a bigger star in the professional wrestling industry than Dusty Rhodes. And he would tell you himself. So one could imagine the pressure the fruit of his loins would feel following his father into his chosen field.

But while you may imagine it, you are not truly able to imagine it. You never went through it. You may think you imagine what its like, but until you have experienced it, you really have no clue what is actually going on. Dustin Rhodes “Cross Rhodes” is a interesting window into what was actually going on in the real life of two men who portrayed imaginary, larger than life figures on television during boon periods of professional wrestling. And both took very similar, yet very different paths that lead to varying degrees of success for each performer.

Make no mistake, as much as I am talking about big Dusty, this is very much DUSTIN Rhodes biography, very much his life story. I will actually get to Dusty’s in a couple of weeks, but for now, let us stick to Dustin’s book.

First off, let us dispense of the negatives. The book is extremely short…225 pages, in very large print, in a very small paperback. Those 225 pages also contain a whole heaping helping of black and white pictures. So there is not exactly a whole ton of material to digest here…it is just the facts Dustin Runnells is willing to share with us.

Also, a good chunk of this book is devoted to the personal life and demons of Dustin Rhodes. Those expecting an in depth breakdown of his wrestling career are sure to be disappointed, as there are huge chunks of it either ignored or described in a paragraph or two, plus Dustin’s memory isn’t exactly as spot on as some of us smarks are. The reason will soon become evident.

It was never easy for Dustin Runnells to grow up in the shadow of a larger than life living legend (not Chris Jericho). While Dusty was his father, and he was not a bad one, he was a vacant one. While young Dustin was growing up, Dusty was on the road 350 days a year, trying to become the biggest wrestling star in the world, trying to become the embodiment of what his gimmick was: The American Dream. But while Dusty Rhodes was trying to live and become The American Dream, his young son was experiencing the American nightmare. He saw his dad maybe a week a year. Things didn’t improve when Dustin’s mom divorced the American Splotch…I mean dream. It meant Dustin would see his dad even less. And even though it seems young Dustin was relatively well adjusted after the divorce, starring at his Texas High School as a football standout, young Dustin had a dream. He loved the chosen industry his father was so huge in. He had no illusions of a career in football, even though he was very good. University scholarship good. He was set to attend the University of Louisville, but before he could get there, he made a crucial life decision: he wanted to follow in Dad’s footsteps. Dusty was totally against it, but one day after Dustin’s High School Graduation, the elder Rhodes pulled his son aside, smartened him up to the industry, and sent Dustin to Skandor Akbar. Thus began Dustin Runnells 25 year run in the wrestling industry.

Dustin was trained in the old school way with old school mentalities…kayfabe and hard bumps to weed the weak reeds out from those who truly wanted it. Dustin survived, and was soon off to WCW as one half of a tag team with Kendall Windham. As a quick aside, Dustin truly was a natural, as his eventual WCW gimmick would portray him, and a lot of that has to do with Barry Windham taking to the kid and showing him the ropes. While Kendall, who was good but ridiculously skinny, would find some success in the industry, it paled in comparison to the game big bro and Dustin were bringing every night.  Even after the tag team with Kendall floundered and wasted away, Dustin came off scott free because he WAS a natural. There is a quick few paragraphs in the book about Dustin coming to the WWF in late 1990 to tag with his old man to square off against Ted DiBiase and Virgil. As a ten year old kid, I fucking LOVED that angle, and hated that it shot its wad at Rumble 91, but, hey, shit happens. By that point, the WWF was honing in on the LONG overdue DiBiase-Virgil storyline, so the Rhodes gracefully lost and bowed out of the Federation.

Big Dust was given the book almost as soon as he entered back into WCW. As detailed in another much derided book review, Dust entered as the rake and all the suit and tie wearing corporate big wigs were the leaves. Dustin entered into a feud over the US title with another up and comer you may or may not have heard of: “Stunning” Steve Austin. That feud put both guys on the map, as Dustin, for all the shit Scott Keith put him through at the time, was already a good, smooth worker, and Austin was right there with him. These two had crazy chemistry as well, but WCW was a total shit show by that point, so the two were separated into different feuds (I remind you, I am reviewing the BOOK, not the US title scene at that juncture). Austin got fired for an injury. Rhodes got fired because he bladed in a match where he was told to blade by the Turner officials yet told not to blade by Eric Bischoff. Figure that one out for me, and I will buy you a pimped out value meal from McDonalds.

So Dustin is out of his job with WCW…but he has started dating this smoking hot chick who portrayed Alexandra York on screen. Make no mistake about it, Terri was fucking HOT. She remains so to this day, in my eyes. Always loved her perpetually erect nipples. ANYWAY, Dustin started dating her, and his old man did NOT approve of the union. One day, Dusty and Dustin were supposed to meet up and play a round of golf. Teri was violently ill, so Dustin met his father at a grocery store and had to cancel the golf game to take care of his ailing wife. Dusty walked away, and the two did not speak for five years. Reading the book, it was not as if Big Dust was some uncaring asshole or Goldie was some unappreciative son. It was just something that happened between family members that caused an unimaginable chasm between father and son. All over an ill woman. Go figure.

So Dustin is estranged from his old man, and Vince McMahon calls. He has this character for the then previously always face Dustin: Goldust. Dustin accepts. Goldust is born. It was no doubt a rib, considering wrestling’s past with the Goldust trio meshed with DUSTy Rhodes. Supposedly, Dusty Rhodes hated the character with a passion. Allegedly. But Dustin grabbed that gimmick and made it his to take. Dustin Rhodes BECAME Goldust, and, let me tell you folks, as a young 15-16 year old buck, that gimmick WORKED. Dustin put his heart and soul into that shit, especially seeing it was the first time in his career he was playing a heel. He has lots of kind words for Scott Hall (being facetious here…Hall and the Clique HATED working with him…it is in the book) but, man, I can tell you first hand, in 1996, there was nothing quite like Goldust. Just an awesome gimmick. I know, I know I am interjecting my own opinion here, but can you deny the charisma, the awesomeness that character brought to a very stale 1996 WWF scene? To this day, on my semi-smart phone, the first music track I have on there is the Goldust theme. I am truly a loser like that.

Anyway…back to the review…

Goldust was probably the pinnacle of Dustin’s career…yet he was in the basement of life. Dustin was imbibing crazy amounts of alcohol and mixing it with crazy ass amounts of painkillers. By the time he became “The Artist Formerly Known as” Goldust, he had LITERALLY BECOME “The Artist Formerly Known” as Dustin Runnels. He was a mess, and, as a recovering addict, it takes a mess to know a mess, and Dustin was a MESS. Dustin, post 1999, kicked around a few promotions: WWE, TNA, WCW, everywhere. But it was not until he found his true home, a lil promotion called AA, when he truly became a man. He found it midway through the aughts, and has since become a better man who does not need his painkillers to sustain a day in this painful world.

All in all, Dustin Runnells book is a good read. As I mentioned earlier, it is a short and supremely easy read. But the messages he conveys are POWERFUL, none the less. I, personally, have been down to some of the depths this poor son of a bitch this guy has been down, and my father was not the larger than life character Dusty Rhodes is. While my father remains larger than life to me, Dustin Rhodes continues to confound continuity and the on screen WWE product, and bring quality programming that I am relegated to watch every week on Monday.

If only Goldust would stop touching himself. Seriously. Its kinda creepy. Ask the Rock at King of the Ring 2002.

Grut at NYCC

Just wanted to update you about the wrestling stuff from New York Comic-Con. It wasn’t too much and the big WWE panel with Kane happened the day of my brother’s wedding so I wasn’t able to attend, but I took some pictures of wrestling dolls and figured maybe that’d do. Things I missed: The Sheamus signing at the Mattel booth. The Sunday WWE Studios See No Evil presentation with Kane. I did not take my picture with Greg Valentine, Tito Santana, Brutus Beefcake or some other guy who was there. I tried to take their photo but a woman came jumping into the way to prevent lookie-lous like me from getting a free snap. She earned her money. I did not talk to Sgt. Slaughter who had his own booth on the main floor. All of them, except for the woman, looked like hell. I guess Sarge seemed to be in pretty good shape. Is he hard up for money? I thought he was working for WWE. Why is he doing cons like this? I understand Hulk and Brooke Hogan were there. I did not see either of them. Things I did not miss: I snapped a picture of a kid wearing a Macho Man outfit. I took pictures of the wrestling stuff at the Mattel Booth. Here’s a taste. I saw a kid in a FIGHT STEEN FIGHT shirt. That was about the end of the wrestling stuff. That’s all the wrestling stuff from New York Comic-Con this year! Next year it’ll be even better maybe!

Monday Night Open Mic

Howdy Blog O’Doomers!

We are less than a week from…whatever PPV there in this month (Hell in the Cell?) and it’s time to take this puppy home with something good. There’s no baseball and the Monday Night Football game sucks so if this is a strong showing of RAW maybe they can gain a little momentum.

Otherwise the same rules apply, enjoy the show and come out swinging but definitely keep it clean!

QOTD 41: Pink Hats

Lets talk about Pink Hats, sorta. As someone who finally, and proudly, took off their Boston Red Sox Pink Hat in time for the post-season – having watched every episode of Ken Burn’s ‘Baseball’, and watched full games, and listened often to the “baseball reporters” show on my local radio station, I feel confident enough in my knowledge of the game where I’m comfortable saying I’m not a band-wagoner or a Pink Hat.

Can you point to a season, event, or moment where a game, sport, or activity ‘clicked’ and it became so much more than you once thought it was?


For me, Extreme Warfare Revenge brought me to wrestling in a way I never knew was possible. I had vague understandings of how wrestler’s ‘worked’ and what the ‘IWC’ was, but that freakin’ game essentially gave me a database of every single wrestler on the planet, accurate descriptions, a photo, and what kind of style they worked. It was nuts. Couple that with finding out people actually *reviewed* wrestling matches based on their artistic merits, and I was off to the proverbial races, stumbling across Scotsmantality, and then this here blog…I think within months of each other. The details are foggy.


Actually for most things I consider myself knowledgeable about, I’ve always learned through a video-game. I picked up the basics of football scheme, strategy, and timing from Madden, NBA 2K taught me all kinds of fundamentals, and Tiger Woods taught me I should never, ever, be a golfer.

———————————————–

Blog Otter Award: Jobber for thread jacking and going to the PPV yesterday. A short video of him is below.

Chris Hero

What the hell is the deal with him, exactly? 
He's just this guy, you know?
Basically HHH doesn't think very much of him or his physique, and creative has nothing for him on the big stage, so there he is on NXT and that's probably where he's gonna stay.  I'm the last person to advocate better living through chemistry for these guys, but that's probably the only way he's gonna win a job at this point.