The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–07.25.94

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.25.94 I’ve got six Clashes left, and the only one I’ve actually seen before is the infamous “reviving elbow” one, so that’ll take me a little while to catch up. Just in case you were checking every day and waiting. Taped from Bushkill, PA Your hosts are Jim Ross & Randy Savage Nikolai Volkoff v. Tatanka At stake here is a $10,000 bet that Tatanka made with Dibiase, although apparently the result leaked on Reddit so he’ll only make like $5 on it. Volkoff chokes him out in the corner and on the ropes and on a plane and in a train, Sam I Am. And then we switch to the stomping, before Tatanka mounts a comeback with a dropkick to put Volkoff on the floor. Back in, Volkoff retains control with, yes, you guessed it, more stomping. Tatanka comes back with chops and finishes with a small package at 6:13. WEAK SAUCE. ½* Randy Savage demands that Dibiase pay out the 10 grand, and Tatanka throws out a challenge to Lex Luger, who comes out and does not deny any involvement with Dibiase. The Headshrinkers v. Barry Hardy & some other geek Samu hits the guy with a DDT from the middle rope and the Shrinkers double-team him in the corner as the announcers continue talking up a Heavenly Bodies feud that never materialized. Despite being babyface champions for a couple of months now, the Shrinkers are still totally acting like heels. Fatu finishes with the flying splash at 3:48. Jim Neidhart v. Jim Powers I have no idea how Powers even can move with that physique. Neidhart throws him around the ring while Owen rants to the camera, and a backdrop suplex gets two. Powerslam and a camel clutch that looks like it was supposed to be a dragon sleeper of some kind finishes at 3:00. Why bother giving Neidhart squashes? He was just there as Owen’s heavy anyway. Alundra Blayze joins us to discuss her open challenge, and she’s finished with Luna Vachon. I didn’t even know she had started with her. She’s more concerned with Bull Nakano next week, but Luna storms out and claims responsibility for bringing her in to challenge. Meanwhile, a mobster has a stereotypical Italian restaurant owner whacked because he really wants to watch RAW. Apparently the Tatanka v. Volkoff and Headshrinkers matches didn’t cover the spectrum of offending ALL the minorities watching and they wanted to cover their bases. Yokozuna v. Adam Bomb This is fresh off Bomb’s babyface turn, and what better way to launch a new career than by getting squashed by Yokozuna? Bomb manages to overpower Yoko and put him on the floor, and we take a break. I will take the opportunity to once again note that “Adam Bomb” is a great cheesy gimmick name and was kind of wasted of Bryan Clark. Back with Yoko beating him down to take over and going to the Vulcan nerve pinch, but Bomb fights out of it and dodges a corner splash. Bomb comes back with a DDT and goes up with the flying clothesline, but Kwang trips him up and Bomb gets distracted and counted out at 10:25. There are some shit finishes tonight. Match was a lot better than I would have guessed going in, though. ** I don’t recall if I ever had the honor of sitting through Kwang v. Adam Bomb at a house show around this time, but it seems like something that would have happened to me. Duke Droese v. Dwayne Gill They’re STILL going on about how inappropriate it is to use garbage cans and what a bad person Lawler is for doing so. Droese gets a press slam and suplex, and a powerslam. The TRASH COMPACTOR finishes at 2:30. Next week: Alundra Blayze v. Bull Nakano and Shawn Michaels v Razor Ramon! That can’t possibly suck.

Theme Song Lightning Round

Scott, Thought this would be some fun discussion for you and the blog. Which theme song you liked best for each wrestler:

Austin Clearly the classic is the best.  When you hear the glass, it’s your ass.  Eddie Guerrero I’m partial to the “Lie/Cheat/Steal” theme myself, but they were all pretty close. Rey Mysterio The one that goes “Booyaka” took me a while, but I think it’s the best one now.  The energy just matches him so well.  Randy Orton Has he had anything other than “Voices”?  I honestly don’t remember.  HHH OUR TIME. Trish Stratus The classic one.  I’m not a fan of whatever she’s been using in her various comeback appearances.  CM Punk I HATE that screamo bullshit, so Cult of Personality is the only choice for me.  The Rock Really, he’s had a million different mixes of the same basic thing, but the one he was using by 2000 is the best combination of factors for me.  Once they nailed down the “If you SMELLLLL” at the beginning, the rest was easy.  Christian The operatic one with the curtain of pyro.  Edge Hasn’t he really only had two?   “You Think You Know Me” and “Metallingus”?  Given I was a fan of the band, I’ll go with the latter. 

Rehabilitating Dolph Ziggler

No matter how much WWE books Dolph Ziggler to look like a midcard loser, he seems to stay over with the fans — which makes me think he'd be a good pick to help fill the void of main-event babyfaces WWE could have with Daniel Bryan's uncertain future. (And we still don't know how Roman Reigns will respond to being a top singles star.) So between now and let's say Night of Champions, how would you book Ziggler and/or tweak his character to get him back to the main-event level?

​It doesn't matter what you do with his character.  He was doing just fine as the guy with the briefcase who cashed in on ADR last year.  The problem is that he doesn't know when to shut his big fat mouth, and if he can get THAT problem under control, he should be on track to be something again.  But it doesn't seem terribly likely.  ​

Waiting for the Trade = Spider-man

Waiting for the Trade

By Bill Miller

 Spider-man/Lizard: No Turning Back

by Dan Slott & Giuseppe Camuncoli

Collects Amazing Spider-man 688-691 plus Untold Tales
of Spider-man #9

Why I bought this: The Lizard is one of my two favorite Silver Age Spidey foes so I had wanted
to read this since it came out around the time of the Spidey reboot film. At
Free Comic Book Day this year one of my local shops ran a buy one, get one free
sale on all trades making it an ideal time to finally pick this up.


The Plot: Spider-man
captures Lizard and takes him to Horizon labs in an attempt to cure him but
Morbius’s presence there soon leads to events spinning out of control as the
Spidey mythos takes a rare foray into the horror genre.

 As always spoilers after the

Chapter 1 – Spidey is
battling Lizard in the sewers and is horrified that Lizard ate the scores of
people that accompanied him down there at the end of the “Shed” storyline. We
flashback to earlier in the day where MJ has opened a new nightclub and Peter
manages to find a moment alone with her to talk about his guilt over letting
Silver Sable die in the “Ends of the Earth” arc. They are interrupted by a call
from Carlie Cooper who tells Peter that Morbius has dug up Billy Connors grave
and stolen the body. Spidey breaks into Horizon Labs where Morbius is indeed
dissecting the body. Morbius says the autopsy has allowed him to find a
permanent cure for the Lizard. Back in the sewers Lizard has the advantage in
the fight when Morbius emerges and injects Lizard with his cure via a harpoon.
However it does not work as Lizard explains Connors is gone forever due to the
guilt he feels after Lizard killed Billy. They electrocute Lizard and he indeed
reverts to human form but in the cliffhanger we see the Lizard’s personality is
still in control.

Chapter 2 – The Horizon staff
confirm there is no Lizard DNA left in Connors’ system. Lizard fakes being
Connors remembering Billy’s death for the first time and asks for some time
alone (in Morbius’s lab) to mourn his son. He then steals Morbius’s blood
supply and empties it into the air vents which causes Morbius to go berserk
with bloodlust and bite one of the Horizon girls. Spidey and Morbius fight to
the outside. Interlude as Madame Web v2.0 (Julia Carpenter: the former Spider
Woman v2.0 from Secret Wars) gets a
prophecy of extreme danger facing Peter. Back at Horizon, Lizard cons Max Model
into thinking he wants to reciprocate by designing a cure for Morbius but in
fact tries to recreate his Lizard serum. When he injects himself he regenerates
Curt’s missing arm while remaining completely human, ironically achieving the
success Connors wanted when he injected himself with the Lizard serum the first
time. Lizard then ambushes Max and injects him with the serum which turns Max
into a lizard-man.

Chapter 3 – To keep up his
ruse Lizard cuts off Connors arm and feeds it to Max, then finds another lab to
work in. Meanwhile Spidey’s fight with Morbius is interrupted by Madame Web who
warns him something is about to happen at Horizon’s lab that will lead to “ruin
and despair.” Cut to the Kingpin who has an inside man at Horizon who he has
tasked with stealing spider-sense jammers. At first Kingpin’s mole attempts to
hack the computer system but then he stumbles across a paper file that has just
what he was looking for so he steals it and in his haste leaves the computer
virus uploading in a scene reminiscent of Jurassic
. Lizard meanwhile is infecting more employees with lizard DNA and then
locking them in their labs as each serum works on everyone but him thanks to
Morbius’s cure. Spidey defeats Morbius and hands him to the cops and then
rushes off to Horizon. Lizard gets help from Uatu (not the Watcher, another Horizon
employee who wants to be a monster hunter) and realizes he needs superhuman DNA
to override the Morbius cure. Connors bumps into Carlie Cooper in an attempt to
retrieve it and she notices the wrong arm is missing. Just then the computer
virus activates and unseals all the doors thus freeing the horde of lizard-men
that Connors has created. Spidey arrives just in time, while Connors gets his
hands on Mutant Growth Hormone but then pauses to debate if he wants to return to
his Lizard form having spent the past two chapters experiencing human food,
music and videogames for the first time.

Chapter 4 – The lizard-men
are suddenly tame and a Horizon employee notes that lizards and men are not
natural enemies (implying thus that it has always been Connors that caused the
Lizard to be evil—a concept Paul Jenkins explored a few years ago as well in a
very good trade). Ironically the Lizard decides he wants to remain human
because he can experience more sensations in a human body but when Spidey and
Cooper make it clear they intend to imprison him he injects himself with MGH
and reverts to his true form (in fact we’re told he’s stronger than ever). We
get the big fight scene but when Lizard looks into the crowd of Horizon employees
he starts to hallucinate all the women and children are Martha and Billy. This
gives Spidey the opportunity to inject the harpoon cure directly into his brain!
It knocks him out but does not turn him human. However in the first epilogue we
see Lizard imprisoned in the Raft and learn Connors’ personality is now
dominant in the Lizard body but he is not telling anyone because he feels he
deserves to be punished after what Lizard did to Billy. Meanwhile Kingpin and
Hobgoblin have the spider-sense jammer and this causes Julia’s apocalyptic
vision to return. At the center of that vision is a man named Devil Spider who
we (but not Julia) learn is secretly the original Hobgoblin. 

Bonus Chapter – In his early
days Spider-man met Bat Boy a young teen who was shunned as being freak and
became homeless. Spidey decided to take Bat Boy to Connors for a potential cure
but during the initial consultation Bat Boy causes a lab accident that turns
Connors into the Lizard. Spidey and Bat Boy fight Lizard into the sewers.
Lizard is about to kill Peter until Bat Boy calls out for his father causing
Lizard to think of Billy and Connors to seize control of the body long enough
for Peter to force the cure down his throat and Connors returns to human form.
The story ends with Connors again working to cure Bat Boy and Peter destroying
his film of the fight to protect Connors’ identity.

Critical Thoughts: Yea this is all good and then some. I like the Lizard and this may
well be the best Lizard story ever told. (Certainly in the top two with the
aforementioned Jenkins story the other big contender as Lizard’s Silver Age
stuff is more fun in a traditional comics-for-8-year-olds way than having
psychological character depth.) Fortunately this is just what the character
needed after his prior appearance in the abhorrent “Shed” storyline following
up on the consequences of that story in a very real way while also abandoning
that woefully misguided direction and bringing Lizard back to his roots.

I also really liked
Spider-man’s portrayal here of being worn down from the epic events of “Ends of
the Earth” and just fed up with the constant string of horrors he sometimes
sees so that after Morbius butchers Billy’s body and then bites a one of
Peter’s coworkers he is just done making excuses for Morbius (who in fairness
is often portrayed as anti-hero rather than a villain) and Connors (who is
traditionally show as not responsible for Lizard’s actions.) The resulting
fight scenes with Spidey and Morbius is really good, and really all the fight
scenes work.

The female supporting cast is
also portrayed well. MJ has a real nice moment relating to Peter after Sable’s
death and we see her do what she always did best during the marriage: keep him
grounded in reality by helping him realize he should not always feel guilt and
responsibility for every thing wrong that happens in his world. Carlie Cooper
also remains an effective supporting character giving Spider-man a connection
to the police force that he’d lacked since the death of Jean DeWolf. Even
Madame Web v2.0 is given a moment or two with her daughter to show how she’s
adjusting to her new powers. I’m still not thrilled with the decision to make
Carpenter the new Madame Web but Slott at least does a little more for her this
time out.

The biggest highlights are the
middle chapters with Lizard in Connors body as the scenes are narrated by the
Lizard persona and I don’t think we’ve really been privy to the Lizard’s
thoughts before. If we have it was certainly not to this extent and not in such
an intriguing situation. The art is also top notch making the Lizard as Connors
stuff feel really creepy throughout.

Grade A.  The more of Slott’s stuff I read the more I
am convinced that we are in the midst of an all-time great Spider-man run that
will be remembered as legendary years from now.

Thunder – January 7, 1999

January 7, 1999
Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia
Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
a new year but somehow it feels like we’re still in 1997. Hogan is
World Champion again and he has the full NWO behind him including Lex
Luger and the Outsiders. This is the first show after the Fingerpoke
of Doom, which is kind of uncharted territory. So many people
remember the Fingerpoke of Doom, but after that you barely hear any
TV talked about until Russo came in. Let’s get to it.

open with a recap of Flair vs. Bischoff which earned Ric control of
the company ten days earlier. You would think this would be a
montage of what happened Monday, not ten days ago. There is a clip
from Monday, though it’s about what Flair did on his first night in
power. This eats up nearly five minutes.
announcers talk about Bischoff a bit before we talk about the World
Title situation from Monday. Tony: “Words cannot describe what
happened on Monday.” You mean when Nash laid down to give Hogan
the title and the NWO reunited? That’s something you can’t describe?
We see the ending segment again, plus some bonus footage from after
the show went off the air. Goldberg wanted to fight Nash but I
believe the Atlanta Falcons got in the ring instead. Nash didn’t
come out so this really doesn’t mean much.
brings out Flair for a chat. He asks Ric about what happened on
Monday and Flair is very serious. Flair talks about the tradition in
this building and wrestling Harley Race here eighteen years ago.
They were two men fighting to be the World Heavyweight Champion.
That brings him to Hogan and Nash. Flair has spent his entire career
walking behind Hulk Hogan and ten years from now, they’re going to
look at their kids and have to explain what they’ve done.
lays down and demands that Gene count him. He demands to know why
Nash gave the World Title to Hulk Hogan. Flair shook his hand on
Nitro and gave him the match so this is all on the President. He
lists off every member of the new NWO and singles out Luger for
having no leadership.
for Bischoff, he spent hours sitting there silently before erupting
at the end. Bischoff will be in a meeting with Harvey Schiller, Ted
Turner and Flair to figure out what to do about Hogan and Nash this
coming Monday. Flair lists off a bunch of legends and says they all
used to be World Champions. Hogan and Nash are not taking away what
that title means.
see the clip of Jericho talking to referee Scott Dickinson on Nitro.
Miller vs. Perry Saturn
rematch. Miller holds him off with kicks to the air before taking
Saturn into the corner. A superkick puts Saturn down as the fans are
trying to care about this show at all. Saturn tries a sunset flip,
gets punched in the face, and then pulls Miller down after some
posing anyway. Miller gets caught by a head and arms suplex for two
but a Sonny distraction lets Cat get in another kick. Falcon’s Arrow
gets two on Miller but Jericho pulls the referee to the floor. Tony:
“The world has turned upside down.” Miller rolls Saturn up and
Dickinson runs in, counts a one, and gives Miller the match.
D. Saturn is now feuding with a
referee. How long ago was he at war with Raven in a hot feud? Four
months? This was a waste of time and I can’t blame Saturn for
wanting to get out of the company as fast as he could. Do Jericho
and Saturn even have an issue? Jericho started stuff with Miller
after Starrcade and now he’s feuding with Saturn because…..WCW?
NWO camps arrive with Hogan in a Red and Black shirt with a flannel
shirt over it, complete with a red
and black Harley-Davidson toboggan.
Giant is the biggest star in Black and White and asks Hogan what’s
up with this. Hogan says give him five minutes and they’ll have a
meeting. Hogan looks like an idiot. We follow the Red and Black
into their dressing room….and that’s all for this shot.
look at Luger turning heel. Thankfully Tony brings up Scott Steiner
recruiting him, so there is at least a backstory for it, even though
it could have just been part of the NWO merger.
Title: Kidman vs. Psychosis
is defending. They stall to start until Psychosis cranks on a
wristlock into a hammerlock. Kidman rolls him out to the floor and
hits a nice plancha as we go to a break. Back with….an ad for the
Nitro Girls calendar. Now we’re back with both guys down on the
floor. Apparently Psychosis hit a big top rope backsplash to the
floor to get them in that position. Not that we get to see it or
anything, but Tenay seemed to think it was rather spiffy.
in and the BK Bomb gets two on Psychosis before he tries a powerbomb
of his own. You know what that means, but Juventud Guerrera runs in
for the DQ before we get the Shooting Star. No rating due to the
commercial but we didn’t get to see many of the high spots anyway.
Mysterio comes out for the save but here’s the Red and Black. The
cruiserweights get destroyed but Mysterio is allowed to leave. Nash
talks about the match of the century on Monday where Hogan took the
title. Hogan says Flair can’t handle the fact that tradition has
been taken to a new level. He promises to take back the wrestling
business and rips on Goldberg for having police and Atlanta Falcons
protecting him. On Monday, we’ll see what backup is all about.
the Black and White who aren’t looking very pleased. You can see
Psychosis being taken out as they hit the ring. Giant wants to know
why Hogan didn’t come talk to him but Hollywood says it was just bad
timing. Hogan loves all the Black and White guys but thinks there’s
a problem. It was Giant that got suckered in by the Macho Man (who
hasn’t been seen since the night after Starrcade) and it’s time to
trim some fat around here.
Red and Black are all cool, but Giant is jumping in Hogan’s face.
There’s only room for one giant in the NWO, and Kevin Nash has never
dropped the ball. Giant says he’s the giant, because his name says
he is. Hogan respects that and declares love for the Black and
White. Since this is business, how about Nash vs. Giant on Monday
for the giant spot on the team? Giant agrees.
Week in WCW Motorsports. There are too many jokes to pick from.
for the WCW/NWO Thunder game for Playstation.
go to Raven’s house where his family and Kanyon are trying to get him
to go back to therapy. He’s sitting there in ring gear and all of
the women say the same things over and over. Raven says he doesn’t
want to go back and everyone talks over each other. Raven finally
walks off. His sister is being played by ECW’s Chastity.
Flynn vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
guy has music. Twenty six seconds and Greetings From Asbury Park
ends Jerry.
wants to know where Konnan was on Monday. That’s a fair question
brings out Curt Hennig and Barry Windham for a chat. They talk about
Ric sending his son to a slaughter, even though Ric’s career is
already over. Hennig says not only will it be a handicap match, but
Flair will have a handicapped kid.
Guerrera is trying to leave but Gene flags him down because Gene is
an annoying man. Juvy rants about someone getting to Eddie before
switching to Spanish. Gene: “You don’t have to talk to me in
Mexican. You can talk to me in English.” Juvy looks terrified and
escapes while talking about the Wolfpack.
Inferno vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
NWO shirt for Disco anymore. Pepe has a neck brace after what
happened to him on Monday. Disco doesn’t know what to make of it so
he grabs a wristlock instead. A shoulder puts Disco down and it’s
time to dance. Some clotheslines put Inferno down again as they’re
barely past the first month of wrestling school so far. Disco bails
to the floor and Pepe rides Chavo around the ring a bit.
in and Chavo fires off some chops as we hear about the Tag Team
Titles being vacated due to Rick Steiner’s injury. Flair has
announced a tournament, but Tony is cut off by Norman Smiley coming
out to do the Big Wiggle with Pepe included. Chavo goes to save the
horse and gets caught by the Chartbuster for the pin.
D. The match didn’t have time
to do anything as it was more about continuing Chavo vs. Smiley
rather than anything with Disco. I’m glad Smiley has a feud now but
couldn’t they do more for him than have something about dancing with
a wooden horse? Well in theory they could, but it might take
something away from 87 NWO segments a show.
Team Title Tournament First Round: Fit Finlay/Dave Taylor vs. Super
Calo/Lizmark Jr.
and Calo get things going as Tony talks about seeing Jimmy Snuka and
Paul Orndorff winning the World Tag Team Titles back in the 70s. A
headlock annoys Calo so Finlay sends him flying with a shoulder
instead. Taylor gets in a
kick from the apron and Finlay scores with a clothesline. Lizmark
and Taylor come in with the masked man nailing a dropkick and
stopping for what looked like a dance. Finlay comes back in to clean
house and then hand it back to Taylor. Lizmark misses a moonsault
press and a floatover butterfly suplex sends Finlay and Taylor to the
next round.
D+. The match wasn’t horrible
but these matches not even getting to five minutes is getting very
annoying. I get that it’s a special kind of show, but usually you
get a long match to fill in some of the time. This is the fifth
match of the night and the only one that got more than five minutes
had a commercial in it. It doesn’t help that it’s not even anything
interesting, though paying some attention to the tag division is a
nice idea.
that the match matters as the NWO comes in to clean house. Hall says
tradition bites and there’s no tag wrestling around here because the
Outsiders were undefeated. The tournament isn’t going to happen.
T. vs. La Parka
Parka dances a bit but gets forearmed for his efforts. Booker easily
sends him outside but gets caught in a chase, allowing La Parka to
hit some chops in the corner. Time to dance! La Parka fires off
some right hands in the corner as Tony says there’s no way Booker is
getting a World Title shot anytime soon. Booker easily comes back
with the ax kick for two and the whip spinebuster. Tony is of course
talking about some meeting with human resources. La Parka
clotheslines Booker out to the floor and brings the chair in, only to
have Booker kick it into his face for the pin.
C-. The match probably wasn’t
that good but after this show I’ll take anything. La Parka wasn’t
the best in the world but he was having a decent match here and
actually trying. Booker continues to look like someone capable of
getting a rocket push at the drop of a hat, but like Tony said, that
simply wasn’t in the cards at this point.
to Raven’s house with him sitting by the pool and Kanyon cleaning. A
man with blond hair named Jim shows up and throws Kanyon in.
Apparently the man is related to the family and gets into a chat with
them as Raven goes inside. You might know Jim better by his ring
name: the Sandman.
see Konnan beating Chris Jericho for the TV Title back in November.
Jericho vs. Konnan
cut to the back to see La Parka laid out with the NWO circle of spray
paint around him. Konnan (still
in a Konnan Red and Black shirt)
does the catchphrases and finally gets jumped while he talks forever.
Why did no one ever figure that out before? Konnan
fights back with a shoulder but walks into a spinwheel kick. Another
clothesline puts Jericho on the floor and it’s right back inside for
a chinlock.
goes nowhere so a release hot shot puts Konnan down instead. Back up
and Konnan spins around into a bulldog for two followed by the
rolling lariat. Scott Dickinson is bumped and Jericho pulls out a
foreign object for two but Saturn pulls Dickinson out. Back in and
Konnan gets in a cheap shot and Saturn counts a fast three because
why not.
D+. This show is rapidly
killing me as this referee nonsense is such a waste of Saturn’s
skills. They tried to throw in something about them coming from the
same wrestling school but at the end of the day, it’s Saturn feuding
with a referee and Jericho by proxy. Why am I supposed to be
and Tenay brag about doing commentary in the Thunder game. Heenan:
“Why wasn’t I invited?” Tony: “You’re very obnoxious.”
Benoit vs. Barry Windham
Tony gave human resources a very bad report on Eric Bischoff’s
commentary Monday. They
fight against the ropes to start as Tony lists off a bunch of people
Bischoff has treated horribly over the years. Benoit and Windham
fight to the floor as the announcers still ignore them.
in and Benoit backdrops Barry and chops away in the corner. Windham
nails a quick low blow to take over but gets caught in the release
German. Back to the floor with Benoit being rammed into the
barricade but coming back with a clothesline inside. The
referee goes down again as Benoit hits another German but Hennig
comes in. He gets caught in the Crossface but Barry is back up to
kick Benoit in the head for the pin.
D. Think back to all the
battles and matches Benoit has had. Think back to the wars with
Kevin Sullivan. Now imagine a single kick to the back of the head
being enough to pin him. It’s just a way to cap this awful show with
another stupid moment that doesn’t make sense or please any fan.
comes out for the save to end the show.
F. This looks to be the
start of a really bad time for WCW. We had terrible matches (none of
which seemed like anyone was even trying save for maybe Booker T. vs.
La Parka) and WAY too much NWO stuff. I see no reason whatsoever for
the LWO to have to be destroyed. Did we really need to prove that
the guys who just destroyed GOLDBERG could beat people up? It’s
clear that there was no thought put into this save for the main event
angles and that’s not a good thing. The main event was just there
and the announcers spent half the time talking about Tony and human
resources. REALLY bad sign here.
Remember to check out my website at and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:

Best NXT creation ever?

Based on what I saw on NXT Takeover last night, I believe that
Charlotte has to be the greatest wrestler that the NXT developmental
program has ever developed completely from scratch.  Does anybody
else, male or female, even come close?

​Dolph Ziggler.  He's still the best they've created from scratch by a mile.
I mean, Charlotte is freakishly gifted and could very well go on to be the greatest woman wrestler ever and stuff, but if you watch her week to week she's still very green and clearly Natalya was the driving force in getting such a great match out of her.  ​Watching her against someone like Alexa Bliss, for example, shows that she can't carry anyone yet.  But for the level she's at, she's amazing and absolutely deserved to get the title.  

Smackdown – May 30, 2014

Date: May 30,
Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s the
final show before Payback and every major match is firmly set up for
Sunday. The main story coming off Raw is Daniel Bryan having to
surrender the title on Sunday or have his wife Brie Bella get fired.
If nothing else we should get a solid conflicted promo tonight, which
should be good coming from someone like Bryan. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Shield
to get things going. Rollins says what doesn’t kill you makes you
stronger, so after Monday, they’ve never been stronger. We get a
clip from the end of Raw and Evolution beating Shield down thanks to
the sledgehammer, including a TripleBomb to put Reigns through a
table. Ambrose says they don’t care how many times they get beaten
down because they’ll keep fighting. The question is how crazy is
Evolution willing to get because this is going to get really ugly.
Seth says he’ll pin Randy Orton and a stretcher will take him to the
back. Then they’ll eliminate Batista, and it’ll be HHH against all
three of them.
We see a list
of great Intercontinental Champions.
Cesaro vs.
Kofi Kingston
A hard
shoulder puts Kofi down early so he tries an armdrag. Cesaro doesn’t
move and instead lifts Kofi up off the mat by the arm into a
backbreaker. A gorilla press puts Kofi down again but he avoids a
charge in the corner and hits a springboard right hand to the head.
Kingston gets two off a kick to the head (JBL: “How do you not
notice those fluorescent feet coming at you?) and goes up for cross
body, only to dive into an uppercut for the pin at 2:57.
Neutralizes him post match.
Barrett says
he’ll beat Sheamus tonight to prove a point to RVD. The
International Title is more prestegious than the US Title.
Paige vs.
Tamina Snuka
Alicia comes out almost immediately and takes pictures with fans.
Paige loses her focus, allowing Tamina to headbutt her down to take
over. Fox takes the title belt for another distraction, so Tamina
kicks Paige’s head off for two. Paige gets all ticked off and fires
elbows in the corner, followed by fast clotheslines and knees to the
face. The Paige Turner sets up the Scorpion Cross Lock (PTO: Paige’s
Tap Out) for the submission at 3:22.
C-. Now this is more like it
from Paige. Instead of getting beaten up for most of the match and
then making a big comeback at the end, Paige beat the tar out of
Snuka for most of the match before making her tap out with ease.
That’s the kind of win she’s been needing to show that she isn’t just
a fluke.
says Cesaro not shaking his hand is like feeding a Gremlin after
midnight. He doesn’t know much about geography or continents, but he
knows when the US Champion’s foot connects with the Intercontinental
Champion’s face, it’s going to knock Barrett’s teeth down his throat.
Dallas vs. Xavier Woods
starts with an armdrag and heads to the floor to celebrate. Woods
grabs him but gets sent out to the floor as it’s all Bo so far. Back
in and a knee drop sets up a cravate on Woods but he comes back with
a clothesline and a dropkick. The Honor Roll (flipping clothesline)
gets two for Woods but Bo dropkicks him out of the air, setting up
the Bodog for the pin at 2:47. JBL:
“It’s not 3-0. It’s 3-Bo!”
does the big celebration and congratulates Woods on such a hard
fought effort.
look at the Wyatt/Cena/Lawler segment from Raw.
on Torito having his tail ripped off on Monday. This made me smile.
Torito vs. Jinder Mahal
has Brutus Beefcake style hedge clippers. He looks for his tail
after the bell before focusing on the match. A dropkick to the leg
sends Mahal into the corner and we get a chase scene. There’s a bit
of cotton where the tail is growing back. An atomic drop hurts
Torito really badly due to the wound but he’s able to come back with
a sunset bomb, setting up the Bullsault (why not?) for the pin at
little guys have a showdown post match and Hornswoggle runs from the
see a list of great US Champions to set up the champion vs. champion
match next. The Intercontinental Title list really did blow this one
vs. Bad News Barrett
and Heyman is on commentary
and has now stretched the
Streak to a twenty five year accomplishment. Cole asks Heyman which
title means more and gets this great response: “Whichever is next
held by a Paul Heyman Guy.” Barrett
hammers away in the corner to start before taking over with a running
clothesline. Bad News comes back with that cool spot where he sets
himself up for a superplex but jumps down and spins into a snap
suplex for two.
ten forearms are broken up and Barrett knocks him to the floor for a
running elbow off the apron. Back in and a running clothesline drops
Barrett, followed by the rolling fireman’s carry. Barrett gets
knocked to the floor and Sheamus takes him down with a shoulder from
the apron. Sheamus takes too much time though and gets whipped into
the steps as we take a break.
with Sheamus fighting out of a chinlock and nailing his running ax
handles followed by the running knee lift. Sheamus charges into an
elbow in the corner though and a loud low superkick gets two. An
Irish Curse gets Sheamus out of trouble and the ten forearms to the
chest have Barrett in trouble. White Noise is escaped though and
Winds of Change get another close call. Wasteland is countered and a
Brogue Kick gets the pin at 7:12 shown of 10:42.
C+. Good brawl here but again a
champion, who has been on fire recently, has to get pinned. On top
of that, Sheamus’ head injury from Friday was only mentioned on
commentary and didn’t change anything in the match. Barrett looked
good here but I don’t see the need to have him lose here. Do a
double countout or something like that instead of a clean pin, but
fixing that is a long lost cause in WWE.
goes after Heyman post match but Paul talks his way to safety.
Usos are banged up from their match on Main Event where they lost to
the Wyatt Family. Tonight it’s Jimmy vs. Bray Wyatt in a last man
standing match. They give a solid, fired up promo about throwing the
rulebook out the window tonight.
look at Titus O’Neil beating up Big E. a month ago.
E. vs. Titus O’Neil
to them for remembering an issue between these two. Big
E. comes out with the American flag due to what happened with Rusev
on Monday. The match for Sunday is official. Also before the match
we get the usual from Lana, this time running down the American flag
and saying Russia has the true red white and blue flag. Rusev comes
out for his Russian speech and Titus uses the distraction to jump Big
E. That lasts a few seconds before Big E. comes back with a belly to
belly suplex and the running body attack. The Warrior Splash sets up
the Big Ending for the pin at 1:11.
E. waves the flag like a Real American.
Rose vs. Jack Swagger
doesn’t make the pay per view? Colter is on commentary and Swagger
gets a jobber entrance while we look at what happened between these
two on Monday. Colter wants Rose deported and the party people
arrested for impersonating human beings. Rose
runs around with the lollipop in his mouth to start and offers it to
Swagger. Jack charges but is easily sidestepped before Rose jumps
into Swagger’s arms. Swagger has no idea what to think and bails to
the floor where Rose quickly follows. Back in and Jack tries a
monkey flip but Rose dives forward to pull Jack’s legs forward for a
pin at 2:18.
Raw ReBound covers the Bryan/Stephanie segment from Raw.
Wyatt vs. Jimmy Uso
man standing. Bray hammers
on Jimmy in the corner to start before running him over with a
shoulder block. A dropkick puts Jimmy on the floor and a big dive
takes him down again but Bray is quickly back up. Back
from a break with Bray
hitting a running splash in the corner but Jimmy fires off some right
hands. Bray plants him with
his suplex slam and hammers away, only to walk into a Samoan drop.
doesn’t keep Bray down either but he gets low bridged out to the
floor. Jimmy tries a
running dive off the barricade but Wyatt ducks underneath, only to
walk into a huge superkick for seven. Back
in and Bray hits that running cross body, followed by the Spider Walk
out of the corner. Jimmy
headbutts out of a superplex and nails the Superfly Splash for a
count of eight but Bray is mad.
throws Jimmy out to the floor but the Uso catches him with a jumping
enziguri. The running Umaga attack against the barricade has Bray in
big trouble but he uses the steps to get up at nine. The Family
takes out Jey but Jimmy nails Wyatt with another superkick, only to
have another Umaga attack hit the steps. Sister Abigail on the floor
is good for the win at 12:03 as Bray hangs upside down from the apron
and counts along.
Rating: B.
This was WAY better than I was expecting as Bray was actually tested
a bit. I don’t think anyone in their right mind expected Jimmy to
win here but they made something out of it and that’s the best thing
you can do in a match where the ending is fairly obvious. This was a
very nice surprise and a good sign for the Usos’ futures.
C+. This was a pretty
standard go home show with a solid main event. Almost every match
got some build and that’s really all you can ask for out of this kind
of show. There’s nothing on here worth going out of your way to
watch, though the main event was solid stuff. Other than that
though, there are too many short matches here to really work for me.
Cesaro b.
Kofi Kingston – Uppercut
Paige b.
Tamina Snuka – Scorpion Cross Lock
Bo Dallas b.
Xavier Woods – Bodog
El Torito b.
Jinder Mahal – Bullsault
Sheamus b.
Bad News Barrett – Brogue Kick
Big E. b.
Titus O’Neil – Big Ending
Adam Rose b.
Jack Swagger – Bridging cradle
Bray Wyatt b.
Jimmy Uso – Uso couldn’t answer a ten count after Sister Abigail on
the floor

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Recap: Legends’ House – Episode 7

This week, on Legends’ House,  the guys play “How well do you know your roommates?”, and then, apparently, Shawn Michaels drops by.

Previously, on Legends’ House, they LARPed and complained about smelly food some more.

Daytime.  Gene voiceovers that they “hit some little joint, downtown Palm Springs”.  Just when I think this could be a genuinely good episode, I realize he’s talking about a restaurant.  He says that he was looking forward to getting out of the house because “some guys get on your nerves”.  And, because the editing team thinks that we are also a bunch of dopes, they make a point to focus on Jimmy Hart again.   Gene complains how Jimmy talks a lot, and then the guys order breakfast.  Jimmy really is a fucking weirdo, though, as he orders Minestrone soup and a wedge of lettuce.  For breakfast.  I’ve never even heard of someone ordering a wedge of lettuce.  They clink their glasses together and toast “to breakfast”.  That’s creative.  Gene goes on to say that they usually don’t get together as a full group of 8.  Meanwhile, ALL they’ve been doing is getting together as a fucking group of 8.  I need a beer.  Gene steals my thunder by saying, essentially, “I thought something was going to happen, but it didn’t.  Nothing happened.”  That’s the God Damn truth.  He’s referring to breakfast, my vision is a bit wider.  And that’s all for breakfast.

Everyone is on edge coming back from breakfast, and Ashley is already inside.  They’ve got a a game show set up in the house, and she instructs the guys to sit at their assigned seats.  The host comes out and tells them the plot of the game.  It’s basically “The Newlywed Game”, or, for those of you born later than I, “probably not worth watching”.  Pat says to us that he and Finkel have a real good chance of winning, since they’re good roommates.  And then he rolls his eyes for some unknown and probably non-existent reason.  The host does his patter with the guys, and when he gets around to Tony, Tony either burps or growls at him.  These people are really weird.  So anyway, to explain the dumb game – in the first round, at least, half the guys have to leave, and the other half have to answer silly (and possibly wacky) questions about them.  Then, I’m guessing here, the guys who left will then come back and try to match the silly (and possibly wacky) answers that their roomies gave.  Oh, and Ashley looks pretty hot.  Hacksaw says that he and Roddy have become good friends, but have only recently gotten to know each other, but everyone else has been friends for years, so he and Roddy are at a disadvantage.  First question to Hillbilly is “What do you think Jimmy (Hart) would say is his favorite thing to eat?”  Heh, the editing team put in a fake game show laugh track, which increased my enjoyment of this immensely.  Hillbilly’s answer is “Beans and potatoes”, which I don’t think is a euphemism.  Same question for Hacksaw, who answers “Pot Roast”.  Gene says that Tony likes “Chitlins”, and Fink says Pat likes “Toast”.  Oh, for fuck’s sake.  Pot Roast is the only slightly acceptable answer on there, and it’s just barely fucking acceptable.  Whose favorite food is toast?  Next question is, “What is your roommate’s most annoying habit?” Fink and Hacksaw say that the other guys will say “Snoring”, HBJ says “Too much energy”, and Gene also says, “Snoring, I think he might fart through his nose.”  The laugh track laughs, but I didn’t, because.  Next question is “Ugly ugly ugly.  That’s all I think of when I see my roommate’s ____.” Hacksaw was going to say testicles or butthole, but he goes with “scars”.  Gene confusingly answers “talk”.  Finkel says “messed up hair”, and Hillbilly says, “scratches that he got on his right legs.”  Or maybe he said “white legs”.  I really don’t know.  The other half come back in.  Pat knows what Finkel hates about him, Jimmy says his alarm clock (wrong), Roddy and Hacksaw really do act like newlyweds, and they get it right.  Tony’s answer is snoring, and got it right.  This is so stupid.  Can I not recap this?  Well, HBJ and Jimmy got the food thing right, as did Hacksaw and Roddy, who everyone thinks are cheating now.  Tony and Gene got it right too, and Pat fucks it up and RUINS IT.  Actually, he just got the question wrong.  Roddy gets the “ugly ugly ugly” question wrong, and taps Hacksaw on the arm and says, “Sorry, honey”, which did not trigger the laugh track, although I did giggle a little.  Tony Atlas chews tobacco, and thusly got his answer wrong.  Pat thinks the answer is his ass, which he probably thinks is the answer to every question he’s ever been asked in any situation, but sadly, is wrong.  The two Jims get their answer right, and I’m seriously done caring about this.

Ugh, I just realized there’s going to be a round two, and presumably, a round three, of this death.  This is kind of the same feeling you get when you’re watching one of those Holiday themed Raws or SmackDowns, and they do that inevitable terrible “comedy” bits, where someone eats too much food, or people throw food, or whatever.  It’s awful and way too long.  You guys get how this works, right?  I don’t have to recap all the questions and answers, right?  Tell you what, I’ll watch it, and if anything funny or interesting or surprising happens, I’ll make sure I take note.  Deal?

So, that’s the end of the game, and…ok, fine.  One of the questions is asking the guys what their roomies wear to bed, the next is whether they need a chef, assistant, or trainer, and the third is, “what would your roomie do with a thousand dollars?”.  Thankfully, the editing team zips right through this.  The fourth question is, “What would your roommate say they couldn’t live without?”  The answers are uninteresting, and the other half of the guys come back in.  Ooh, and the host says this is the deciding round, where the winning couple will win the “Mystery Prize”.  Hacksaw admits to sleeping naked, usually, and it’s gross.  Everyone accuses Jimmy of cheating, and who cares.  Roddy whispers his answer to Hacksaw, thereby ACTUALLY cheating, and I still don’t ACTUALLY care.  Roddy cheats again, and this part is worth the price of admission.  It was the “name the one thing you can’t live without” thing, and Roddy whispers to Hacksaw that he answered “Wife…wife”.  Hacksaw, being a fucking block of wood, says, “Life”.  Which, you know, is technically correct.  You can’t live without life.  And they got it wrong.  Pat thinks it’s as funny as I do, but sadly, no laugh track to confirm it.  So, the Jims win, and Roddy admits to his cheating, and it’s pretty funny.  The Jims win an afternoon of private tennis lessons at the Legends’ House.  What a shit prize.

The next day, it’s Tennis Time!  The tennis chickies are probably 40’s ish, and pretty hot in a sun damaged, 40’s ish kind of way.  Gene calls them “the most beautiful women he’s ever seen” or something, and no.  But not bad.  Anyway, the guys suck at tennis, while Gene makes perverted “funny” comments on the side.  Gene asks Fink if the ladies qualify as “cougars”.  Not to you, they don’t, Gene.   And that’s all for tennis.

They sit around for dinner, and Roddy tells the guys he tells them he has to go sign autographs in Atlanta for a day or two, and Hacksaw is scared to be alone.  That’s literally that entire segment.  Hacksaw, the next day, tells us how much he misses Roddy.  “I think he’s coming back…not tonight, darn it.”  He really delivers this like a 5 year old, and it’s really weird.  The phone rings, and Hacksaw is hoping beyond hope that it’s Roddy on the phone, but it’s a wrong number.  He looks truly sad, or as truly sad as he can muster after being told by the producers to “act sad and pathetic while Roddy’s gone”.  Hacksaw then goes up to Pat and asks if he heard the phone ring.  He figured Roddy would call him, and Pat, hilariously, says, “Jesus, are you fucking falling in love with him?”   Hacksaw then calls and leaves his umpteenth message on Roddy’s voicemail, as he swings and kicks his feet like a little girl calling her crush.  This is really, really weird.  Hacksaw points out his position on a globe, and Roddy’s position on the globe, and how if they both look at the sky at night, they could both be wishing on the same star.  He then yells at the globe to call him.  The phone rings, and Hacksaw BOUNDS toward it, but it’s another wrong number.  He smashes the phone in frustration.

It’s morning, and everyone is waiting for Ashley to come in, but it’s SHAWN MICHAELS.  We get some clips about how great he is and was, and he busts in with a fishing pole.  Everyone is happy to see him, and happy to go fishing.  Tony both over and undersells it by saying, “Going fishing with Shawn Michaels is going to be one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had…since I’ve been here.”  Well ok.  Gene makes a gay joke about himself and fishing, but also about Pat, and it’s all very confusing.  Shawn Michaels says for the 385th time that they’re going to go fishing, and have fun.  Got it, thank you.  Anyway, they get on the boat at some lake, and Pat doesn’t wanna bait the hook.  I always thought he was a master baiter – GET IT!?  Because…eh.  Gene invites Shawn to live with them, and Shawn declines, only moderately politely.  Tony, meanwhile, is talking to the fish, because he’s a dummy.  He then talks to Shawn about the “Chitlins Incident”, and Shawn visibly does not give a fuck.  No one is catching shit, until Howard finally hooks a branch of some kind.  Pat catches the first fish, then Duggan and Hillbilly both grab one.  Shawn says, “Sometimes people are under the impression that when you go fishing, something’s gotta happen for it to be a success.”  I swear, they are just doling out the meta references to this fucking show today.

Back at the house, the guys are gonna clean and cook the fish that they caught.  Which, unless they edited out the parts where they caught fish that were bigger than 8 inches, these ain’t them.  I am SHOCKED.  I thought this was REALITY.  Shawn says that if you’ve been in the WWE for any amount of time, you know how to survive.  He clearly has not been watching this show.  This group can’t even order delivery without going into the fetal position and asking for help.  Jimmy is talking and annoying everyone, especially Gene, who is cutting and cleaning the fish.  Now, I know again that this is completely contrived – but Jimmy really is fucking annoying.  Gene agrees, as he tells Jimmy to get the fuck out of the kitchen.  Shawn is mildly amused by the whole thing.  Heh, and then Jimmy is making his dumb potato in the oven, and his dumb sunglasses fall off into the oven.  The guys sit around eating, and talking about the business and how they deal with getting away and how the industry has changed, and of fucking course, the show completely glosses over it.  Well, you wouldn’t want to have to edit out the stupid Newlywed Game show.  Shawn leaves.  This was awful.

Place to Be Nation Friday Update

Welcome to the weekend. Here is an overview of the week that was at PTBN.

Featured Piece

The staff discussed their favorite TV season finales: The Other Five Count – Favorite TV Season Finales


Roger went to class to study some classic tag matches:  The Cowboy Goes to Class – Classic Tag Team Matches

Steve & Glenn chat TNA vs. ROH, the Von Erichs and more in the High Spot: The High Spot: Ring of Honor, TNA, Payback, and the Top Stories of the Week

The PTBN Staff created a Mount Rushmore of tag teams: Place to Be Nation’s Pro Wrestling Mount Rushmore: Tag Team Edition


Todd Gessling kicked off his FIFA World Cup previews: 2014 World Cup 

We recapped our preseason Americans Season Two predictions: The Americans Season Two – PTBN Prediction Results

Greg & Nick give their comics rundown for May 2014: Hard-Traveling Fanboys: The Rundown (May 2014)


Kevin Kelly chatted with Sean Grande and also told some road stories and played sleaze thread true or false: The Kevin Kelly Show Episode 10 – Featuring Sean Grande

Scott & Justin recapped Vengeance 2002: Place to Be Podcast Episode 314: Vengeance 2002

Chad & Parv looked back a the WCW/NJPW 1991 SuperShow: Where the Big Boys Play #62: WCW/New Japan 1991 Supershow

Steve Corino chatted with OOTP’s Brad Cook and former ECW referee Mike Kehner: The Steve Corino Show Episode 6 – OOTP’s Brad Cook and Former ECW Ref Mike Kehner

Daily Network Thread – 5/30/14

The Network live stream schedule for today:

9:00 AM ET – RAW Flashback – 7/25/94 – Tatanka vs. Nikolai Volkoff; Adam Bomb vs. Yokozuna.
10:00 AM ET – RAW Flashback – 8/1/94 – Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels; Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano for the Women’s Championship.
11:00 AM ET – WWE Payback 2013 – 6/16/13 – John Cena vs. Ryback in a 3 Stages of Hell Match for the WWE Championship; Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk.
2:00 PM ET – Beyond the Ring – Batista: I Walk Alone.
3:30 PM ET – WWE Main Event Replay – 5/27/14 – Jimmy & Jey Uso vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan.
4:30 PM ET – NXT Takeover Replay – Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd for the NXT Championship; Natalya vs. Charlotte for the Women’s Championship; Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze.
6:30 PM ET – WWE Superstars – 5/29/14 – Big E vs. Titus O’Neil; R-Truth & Xavier Woods vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel.
7:30 PM ET – Smackdown Pre-Show.
8:00 PM ET – Legends of Wrestling – 4/30/07 – Wrestling’s greatest rivalries.
9:00 PM ET – WCW Clash of the Champions – 11/15/89 – Clash IX: Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk in an I Quit Match for the World Heavyweight Championship.
11:00 PM ET – Legends of Wrestling – 4/30/07 – Wrestling’s greatest rivalries.

So what do you go with tonight? Smackdown or Clash IX? Clash is really a two match show for me with Luger vs. Pillman and Flair vs. Funk, but those two matches are pretty damn good. Smackdown will be highlighted by matches like Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Bad News Barrett. With Payback this weekend, what were your highlights from last year’s Payback? For me, it was the Jericho-Punk match, and after re-watching it because I couldn’t remember the match, Bryan/Orton vs. Rollins/Reigns. Meltzer gave Jericho-Punk ****1/2, and I would say it was pretty close to that.