The Weekly Playlist – June Classics

Several months ago, I had made an attempt at a monthly post that featured the best PPV matches during a given month, where I would have you guys vote on your favorite match and then count them down, posting a video of the matches at the same time. It drew some interest, and you guys appeared to enjoy watching the clips. So I’m kinda sorta bringing that back. We’re not voting on anything this time, but I am going to create a topic every week, and include links to matches from the Network. This week’s theme is classic matches from the month of June.

There is no particular order to these matches. These are just a sample of some of my favorite matches that occurred at events like King of the Ring or The Great American Bash or from TV. I have included links to the match on the WWE Network. For you people without the Network, I have included a link for you as well, but the quality of the clip may vary. If you have a theme you want to suggest, please do so, and I will attempt to dig up what clips I can. To the playlist!
From Beach Blast ’92, Sting vs. Cactus Jack in a Falls Count Anywhere Match:
From King of the Ring ’93, Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect:
From Great American Bash ’98, Chris Benoit vs. Booker T for the WCW Television title:
http://network.wwe.com/video/v31348145 – because it contains Mr. Benoit, a milestone is not available for this match, so please FF to about 8 minutes in.
From King of the Ring ’94, The 1-2-3 Kid vs. Owen Hart:
From King of the Ring ’97, Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin:
And, finally, from King of the Ring 2001, Shane McMahon vs. Kurt Angle in a Falls Count Anywhere Match:

QOTD 52: Basic Cable Classics

Time to talk about movies again! Well, a specific type of movie – the basic cable classic. Movies that are infinitely watchable that you’ve seen countless times on networks like TBS, AMC, TNT, USA, and even Bravo, occasionally.

What are your ‘Basic Cable Classics’? Movies you can watch over and over again? Bonus points if you found them on basic cable.

To qualify as a basic cable classic, in my humble opinion, you (typically) need a couple of things:

1) Process – the movie shows you something cool / interesting while telling a great story – normally through narration. “The Shawkshank Redemption” shows you the inner workings of prison life in a cool way, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” shows you the process of how to properly play hookey, and “Dawn of The Dead” (the remake), gives you several slice of life segments inside a shopping mall while trying to avoid evil zombie folk. “Goodfellas” and “Casino” do the same thing.

This makes these movies easy to watch and enjoy because even if you come in half way through, there’s enough interesting stuff going on.

2) Ensemble – memorable characters are super important, even if they’re not super fleshed out. We remember Brooks and the Warden from the Shawshank redemption, despite them both being relatively two dimensional. Same with Dawn of the Dead – there’s the big angry black guy, the douchey dude with the boat, the guy with the weird ass mustache, the old guy, and the blonde bad ass dude.The Dark Knight had Harvey Dent, Jim Gordon, Alfred, The Joker, and fuckin’ Batman.

Memorable doesn’t always mean ‘good’ but you can point to any number of characters in a basic cable classic with fondness – Charlie Sheen from “Day off”, Joe Peschi from “Goodfellas” and “Casino”, that guy from Star Trek: TNG in “Dawn of The Dead”

3) Watch-ability – Typically basic cable classics focus on entertainment FIRST. While classic and great movies can be slow and a little self-important – to great affect, I don’t think anyone is carving four hours out of their Thursday night to watch “The Tree of Life” or a Goddard film. Goodfellas is an amazing movie, but it’s primary focus is entertaining the audience, versus telling some nuanced and symbolic story.

Thus here are some of my favorite ‘basic cable classics’:

The Dark Knight, The Shawshank Redemption, Dawn of The Dead, Casino, Goodfellas, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, Limitless, Lethal Weapon 4, The 40 Year old Virgin, X2: X-men United, Iron Man.

WWE Classics On Demand: History of ECW 3/10/1998

Taped from Waltham, MA

Airdate: March 10, 1998

Hosted by Joey Styles

Joey introduces us to the History of ECW in the WWE Studios
by pointing out what incredible venues ECW held its shows. He states that this
was the last ECW show at the IBEW Hall before it became a Buddhist temple.

Jenna Jameson opens the show by teasing us…with a little
head!  She then holds up the Styrofoam
head for the camera! Psyche!

Al Snow (w/ Head) is then featured in a short promo where The
FBI is shown in the ring getting pelted by the Styrofoam heads. Welcome to
finally being over, Al Snow!

Wrestlepalooza airs on May 3 only on PPV from Marietta, GA.
ECW invades WCW? Tune in to find out!

The opener then airs featuring the Triple Threat who holds
all the gold!

Joey Styles welcomes us to the show at the IBEW Hall. He
then promotes the upcoming PPV where Al Snow is the #1 contender for the ECW
World Heavy weight Title. Joey then zings us with the ultimate subtitle for
Wrestlepalooza: “Night of the Living Head”. I chuckle at that one. Joey then
makes fun of “Stagger” Lee Marshall and WCW since he’s behind him in the
announcing pecking order by his own admission. The tag team titles will be on the
line tonight as Lance Storm and Chris Candido face the FBI. The champions must
co-exist or face the wrath of Paul E who will have pink slips ready!

Match 1: ECW World Tag
Team Championship match: Chris Candido and Lance Storm (champions) versus The
FBI (Tracy Smothers and Little Guido w/ Tommy Rich)

Candido threatens the sound engineer on his way to the ring
to give him his own entrance music. Unfortunately due to copyright restrictions
WWE overdubs all the entrance music during these history lessons thus making
this pointless. Storm and Candido get in each other’s faces before the bell. Candido
continues being a dick by having the ring announcer correct himself and introduce
HIM first. Smothers and Candido start. A running forearm by Smothers puts
Candido on the canvas. Candido forcibly tags Storm in. After an Irish whip to
the corner Storm flies and hits Smothers with a back elbow. Knee to the back by
Little Guido helps Smothers take Storm down with a leg lariat. Little Guido
tags in and Storm eats boot. Stomps to the midsection and an eye rake maintain
control for the “Italians.” Little Guido must be taking his wrestling advice
from Tommy Rich to heart with that old school trick. Attempted press slam by
Storm gets reversed into a sunset flip. However, Storm reverses that in similar
fashion to Davey Boy Smith’s pin of Bret Hart at Summerslam 1992. In this case
it only gets a near fall. Armdrag into an armbar has Storm in control. Candido
tags in and double-axehandles Little Guido from the top rope. Little Guido
reverses momentum and hits Candido with a huracanrana. Smothers tags in. While Little
Guido’s pace of the match is very quick Smothers’ pace is very methodical. He
even jaws with the fans who take exception to his newly found “Italian”
heritage. Candido chops Smothers in the corner and the crowd obliges Candido
with a Flair “Woo!” Smothers fights fire with fire and receives the same
response. Whip to the corner and Smothers leaps over the top rope. Candido
follows and receives a kick to the face. Crowd chants “Make my pizza!” Candido
rolls out of the ring. Smothers tries to double-axehandle him from the apron
but eats the steel railing instead. I wonder if the crowd will supply him with
ragu to go with that.

Storm comes in and gets an open shot on Smothers with a kick
to the gut. Then he dropkicks Smothers coming off the ropes. Generally Storm
got serious elevation on his dropkicks. Smothers whips Storm off a side
headlock and Rich pulls the top rope down with his cane to send him to the
floor. Rich then crotches Storm on the steel railing. Little Guido works him
over, throws him back in, and tags in. The FBI double-teams Storm with the “Paisan
elbow” according to Joey. Smothers tags back in and taunts the crowd. Storm
reverses a whip to the corner but misses a blind charge. Spinning heel kick by
Storm enables him to tag in Candido. After a series of running leaps Candido
catches Smothers with a powerbomb. Storm sees Little Guido entering the ring
and hits him with a high cross-body from the top. Candido and Storm argue which
allows Smothers to schoolboy Candido. Storm makes the quick save.

Double leapfrog and a flapjack by Storm and Candido put
Smothers on the mat. Candido tags in. Smothers blocks a suplex and slams him.
He mounts the top turnbuckle but gets caught. Candido super-huracanranas
Smothers. To the top again he misses the diving headbutt but comes back with an
enziguri to Smothers. In retaliation a back fist and thrust kick by Smothers put
Candido down. Once again he ascends the top turnbuckle and hits Candido with
the “jaw-jacker.” Springboard clothesline by Storm. Now all four men are in the
ring. Storm suplexes Smothers. Candido misses a blind charge. Little Guido
tries to hit him with a tornado-DDT but receives a swinging neckbreaker
instead. Both Storm and Smothers are on the top rope. Storm appears ready to
give Smothers an electric chair but Candido comes off the top rope with the
Doomsday Device! Again they bicker but a sidekick into a German suplex gets the
pin for Candido. The champs retain!

Workrate fans rejoice! All four men had their working boots
on for this match. The story of the tag champs who can’t get along continues.
***1/2

Backstage Styles emphasizes how critical getting 100% effort
from the tag team champions is; otherwise, their jobs will be in jeopardy.  On March 21 ECW returns to the “hallowed
halls’ of the ECW Arena. Go to www.ecwwrestling .com for the live audio during
that show.

At the Living Dangerously show in order to throw Sandman off
his game RVD masqueraded as Sabu. On the rampway RVD and Sabu delivered a
double legdrop through a table! Scorpio also received double-teaming during his
match with RVD although it’s not shown.

Match 2: “Mr. Monday
Night” Rob Van Dam (RVD) and Sabu (w/ Fonzie) versus 2 Cold Scorpio and Sandman

Scorpio addresses the crowd by hyping Sandman as the only
man he can trust. Sandman makes his customary entrance through the crowd with a
beer and cigarette. He tosses Scorpio a cold one. Scorpio toasts the crowd with
some backwash to their delight. Hardcore fans indeed. Sandman’s entrance
without Metallica just seems so wrong.

Spinkick by RVD puts Scorpio outside the ring. Meanwhile
Sabu canes Sandman. Scorpio whips RVD into the steel railing but gets backdropped
onto the concrete. Sabu force-feeds Sandman a steel chair. They brawl outside
the ring, and then Sabu brains Sandman with the chair. Back in the ring Scorpio
clothelines RVD off the ropes. RVD avoids the backdrop, spinkicks Scorpio sending
him to the outside, and then sails onto him with a plancha. Sabu and Sandman
take their turn inside the ring. Sabu whips Sandman off the ropes into a
slingshot sidekick. Sabu then gives Sandman the slingshot somersault legdrop.
He mounts the top turnbuckle but gets crotched. Sandman executes a
dangerous-looking “FrankenSander” followed by a springboard legdrop. At the
same time RVD and Scorpio fight outside the ring Sandman tosses Sabu onto them
and then flies with a plancha onto RVD.

Back from commercial as soon as Sabu attempts his
triple-jump dive Scorpio nails him with a clothesline and an over-the-shoulder
powerslam on a table. Scorpio heads to the top but gets caught with a
super-huracanrana. Sabu then tries his triple jump but falls outside the ring!
Holy cow! His adrenaline must be flowing because he tries again and hits
Sandman on the outside. Subsequently he also creams himself into the steel
railing. He’ll need more than a Tylenol after this match. The crowd in unison
chants “ECW!”

In the ring RVD gives Scorpio a standing moonsault. Sandman
comes in but gets a leaping kick from RVD for his troubles. Arabian facebuster
by Sabu keeps Sandman down. Scorpio breaks up the pin with a somersault
legdrop. Upon attempting a cover himself he sees RVD leaping off the ropes and
avoids the 5-star frog splash. Sabu gets the raw end of the deal instead. Scorpio
catches himself on the apron but receives a spinning heel kick by RVD to the
floor. RVD and Sabu double-team Sandman with Total Elimination. After another standing
moonsault by RVD, Sabu heads to the top. Atomic Arabian facebuster finishes off
Sandman.

Despite the glaring error by Sabu these guys also worked quickly
and supplied lots of action to a hot crowd. ***

World Television Champion Bam Bam Bigelow touts his victory
in his hometown at Living Dangerously and calls himself the “Taz-killer.”

Fonzie then screams that next week will by “all Sabu.” He’s
so amped up that some of his promo is unintelligible. RVD mugs for the camera
and shows tremendous conceit. He’s so full of himself that he belittles Sabu unintentionally
when challenging Bam Bam Bigelow for his title.

Joey tries to recover from his bad joke earlier that
apparently no one in the studio liked.

New Jack cuts a promo looking freshly released from prison.
He calls himself an original Gangsta.

Francine makes the “popping the cork” noise in reference to Sunny
being the mystery partner at Living Dangerously.

ECW World Heavyweight Champion “The Franchise” Shane Douglas
appearing quite bothered cuts a promo on Al Snow.

Francine touts Shane’s and her bedroom skills.

Shane then complains about the “stinkin’” Styrofoam heads. I
get the feeling that it bothers him although he profusely denies it.

Francine confuses Shane’s cry for “Head.”

Shane flashes the belt then the Triple Threat hand gesture.
“It’s my belt. It’s my company. And you, Al Snow, are just another pretender to
the throne.”  He finishes his promo by
putting his belly-to-belly suplex finisher over.

Joey closes the show out teasing a “major announcement” when
ECW emanates from the Elks Lodge in Queens, New York.

Overall I initially would not introduce ECW to a new
wrestling fan due to its violent and adult content, but I find ECW to be
extremely entertaining. Joey usually interrupts the show somewhere in the
middle with either tidbits of explanation or insider information. In this case
there was no interruption. Both matches supplied tremendous amounts of action with
minimal rest. Also, they did a good job of promoting their next PPV by selling Al
Snow as a serious contender to the World title. We’ll see what next week has in
store for us.
Be sure to visit http://www.rockstargary.com to check out more info on me!

Classics No More

Hey Keith I feel like I just emailed you a few months ago about WWEClassics.com changing. The new online service is WWEGreatestMatches.com. The name sucks but the premise is solid. They have (in their opinion which I agree 88% on the top 100 matches), full episodes, monthly videos and original content. The thing that bums me is that they are now selling episodes of Raw from 1993 for $1.99. Should I be mad or is this more of a standard premise among along services. I’m very mixed on this. I think the old WWEClassics.com offered too much and maybe I was spoiled (god forbid WWE gave fans somethign worth their money). What do you think? Do you blame WWE for trying to make additional revenue?

It’s one of those weird “addition by subtraction” type of marketing deals, I guess, where the actual pricing structure that was in place before stays, but now you don’t get the individual episodes included for your yearly subscription fee.  Since I never used the service for the individual matches, this would hold no appeal to me.  Really, they’re just biding their time until they can launch their WWE Network anyway, so it appears they no serious interest in making full use of their library any time soon.  Such is life.