Hell No…what the Hell next?

Scott,


Since they are getting the biggest reactions on the show, where would you go next with these guys?  Usually when the mismatched partner thing is done, it's building to a main event program, with guys who are already at the top of the card.  This one seems unique in that they are both squarely in the upper mid-card, and we've already seen them fight the world champions, and we've seen them fight each other.  To me, the logical thing is to build them up big over the next 6 months(since neither of them will be in the top 3 matches of Mania anyway) as the biggest face tag team in a long time.  They are one angle away from being huge fan favorites(one saves the other from something horrible(AJ, an attack, fire, etc…) and they then appreciate other with the crowd going nuts as they say "We're the tag team champions."  Also, how great has D-Bry's run been that he got himself, a catchphrase, a GM, an actor acting as a therapist, and a stale mid-card act over?

D-Bry is pretty great.  And yeah, the story progression is a pretty easy one here.  Their fussin and feudin with each other leads them to lose the tag belts to Rhodes Scholars, they go their own way and discover that it's tough getting into fights without backup, something bad happens to Bryan and Kane makes the save, they win the belts back and declare "we are the tag team champions".  Of course then the problem with wrestling in general sets in, as you can't just have them ride off into the sunset and they have to drop the belts again and do other stuff.  

October Countdown: WWE Hell In A Cell 2010

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Hell In A Cell 2010 (Wrapping it up for another month with this one.  Any suggestions for November, given that I’ve already done the Survivor Series countdown?  WCW’s November shows and November 2 Remember I guess?  Anyway, this was only from last year, so I’ve got nothing to add to it.) Live from Dallas, TX Your hosts are Michael Cole, Matt Striker and Jerry Lawler US title, submissions count anywhere: Daniel Bryan v. The Miz v. John Morrison I don’t get the thinking behind the stip, given that only one guy has a submission finish. The faces wisely double-team Miz and get rid of him, then do some mat wrestling in the ring. Bryan gets a kneebar and Morrison gets to the ropes, but it’s actually the one time I’ve ever seen the ropes not being out of bounds in a falls-count-anywhere match. Generally even if it’s falls-count-anywhere, putting your feet on the ropes magically breaks the count because the ropes transcend the normal laws of physics and rules of wrestling. Witness the awesome power of momentum, forcing whomever is whipped into the ropes to continue running until stopped by a boot to the face. The guys trade some submission moves, including Bryan busting out Cattle Mutilation to the delight of wrestling nerd Striker. “That’s called WHAT?!” declares Jerry Lawler, as apparently he’s given up on being nice to Striker at this point. Morrison breaks up a heel hook attempt by Bryan, then dumps Miz and hits him with a corkscrew plancha. They fight into the crowd, where Miz tries a wristlock (made more devastating by being on the floor), but Morrison punches him in the face to break. They fight up the stairs, with Bryan following, but Miz punts him back down to the floor again. Miz continues to fight off both faces, dropping Morrison on the railing and then whipping Bryan into a barricade. Morrison comes back with a springboard knee off the barricade onto Bryan, but Miz runs an equipment trunk into him. Bryan gets put on the rolling trunk and run into the ramp for a nice bump, and Miz hits Morrison with the Skull Crushing Finale on the floor. That would seem to end Morrison’s night, leaving Bryan and Miz to clothesline each other at the entranceway. Morrison returns from the dead and climbs the lighting wall, however, and comes off the set with a flying bodypress onto both guys. That’s quite the bump for an opening match. Morrison goes with a Texas Cloverleaf on Miz, but Alex Riley comes out to break it up. Bryan gets rid of him in turn, and finishes Miz with the LeBell lock at 13:33. Pretty great little brawl to open the show, although the submission stip ended up meaning not much to the match. ***3/4 Logically you’d go with Morrison v. Riley from there, but I don’t think that ended up happening. RAW World title, HELL IN A CELL: Randy Orton v. Sheamus Now see, this match demonstrates the main problem with these theme PPVs. OK, two main problems. First problem is that the entire concept is a total bait-and-switch in the first place, as the legacy behind the stipulation promises ZOMG BLOOD AND CRAZY BUMPS and the PG WWE isn’t willing to deliver that any longer. Second problem is these guys really don’t have any particular issue that needs to be resolved. Yeah, they did a shitty DQ finish at Summerslam, but then Orton won the title clean at Night of Champions! Sheamus can’t even bitch about losing in a multi-man match, because he was the guy who lost the final fall. The progression is just all mixed up here. You’re supposed to do the crazy multi-man match first where Sheamus steals the final pin, then Orton gets a singles match for revenge but Sheamus loses by DQ, THEN you do Orton finally challenging for the belt in the Cell. Anyway, they slug it out to start, and Orton gets a clothesline out of the corner, but Sheamus gives him the rope burn. What a cad. Orton clotheslines him out of the ring, but that goes nowhere. Back in, we get a Garvin stomp for two, but Sheamus slingshots in with a clothesline for two and pounds away. To the floor and Sheamus tosses the stairs at Orton to no avail, allowing Orton to come back and run Sheamus into the cage a few times. Stairs to the head put Sheamus down, but he fights back in the ring and stomps a mudhole in the corner. He works the ribs and gets two. Sheamus exposes a turnbuckle, but can’t go anywhere with that and puts Orton down with an axehandle instead. Back to the floor, where Sheamus suplexes him onto the stairs and pounds the ribs. Striker is on this weird run about how injuring the mid-section neutralizes the RKO somehow. The real tragedy of this PG era is that they can’t even do a good internal bleeding gimmick any more. No one could bite down on a condom full of fake blood like Ken Shamrock used to. Of course these days it’s real blood coming from his mouth because he’s getting punched in the face at will, but that’s just me rambling a bit because this match is pretty dull. Cole and Striker are having the most inane conversation about nothing, as even the announcers are running out of stuff to highlight here. Orton finally comes back with the powerslam and a belly to belly suplex for two. Backbreaker and Orton goes for the RKO, but Sheamus hits him with a knee to the gut to break. Sheamus gets the stairs, but Orton powerslams him onto them for two. Orton necksnaps him and follows with a DDT off the apron, but now he’s choosing to sell the ribs again. Sheamus sends him into the post and they head back in, where Sheamus gives him his backbreaker on top of the stairs. How does that hurt any more than usual? He’s landing on the knee either way. Brogue kick gets two. He gets a chair and finally we get some real violence, as Sheamus pounds him down for two. Orton won’t stay down, so Sheamus winds up again, misses, and the RKO puts Sheamus on the floor. Orton apparently hears voices, but miss the punt, and Sheamus gets another Brogue kick on the floor. As a reminder, all moves hurt more on the floor. Back in, that gets two. Sheamus has some good emotions here showing his frustration like a heel would. He goes to finish on the stairs, but Orton counters out and finishes with the RKO onto the stairs, at 22:54. The cell gimmick barely factored in here at all and it was very slow and dull overall. Sheamus v. Orton is not exactly a feud for the ages that needed to be settled in the cage. **3/4 Orton as a babyface = NO BUYS. Literally, actually. It’s really the same trap they always fall into, where someone gets really over as a heel and they suddenly feel like they HAVE to turn them so as to not have people daring to cheer for the heel. Because god forbid. Meanwhile, Nexus interrupts an interview with the NXT chicks, and Wade Barrett promises that Cena will join them. Impromptu match: Jack Swagger v. Edge Alberto Del Rio is my new hero. Anyone with their own personal ring announcer is OK in my books. This guy is MONEY. Anyway, he cuts a promo looking for a fight, and Edge answers, then Swagger answers THAT. And the anonymous GM makes the match official while Del Rio retreats. Everything after Del Rio’s promo is weak sauce. So Swagger beats on Edge to start and whips him into the corner, then takes him down with a gutbuster for two. A bodyscissors burns up some time, but Edge fights out, only to clothesline himself on the ropes. He fights back with a bulldog for two, and the Edge-O-Matic for two. Swagger rolls into the anklelock on the kickout, but Edge makes the ropes. Swagger bails and gets the anklelock on the floor, where it hurts more, but Edge reverses him into the stairs. Back in, Edge goes up, but Swagger hits him with a pop-up superplex. Hey, if you’re gonna rip off 90% of someone’s moveset, you could do a lot worse than Kurt Angle. Swagger is big enough to swipe a bunch of Brock Lesnar’s moveset as well, which would give the world a pretty awesome super-wrestler. Edge tries the spear, but Swagger counters into the doctor bomb for two. Edge misses an enzuigiri and Swagger moves in with the anklelock, but Edge makes the ropes. Spear finishes at 11:30. Man, winning the World title was just not a good career move for Swagger, no? Nothing going on here. ** Wade Barrett v. John Cena Barrett goes with the headlock to start, but Cena powers out and gets a takedown for two. They trade wristlocks and Cena gets a hiptoss for two as the crowd finally starts to wake up. Barrett pounds him down, but Cena goes for the FU while Nexus runs out. Cena stops to gawk at them, but Barrett tosses him and yells at his team for disobeying orders. Back in, Barrett gets two. He slugs Cena down for two. Thank god Barrett can at least throw a worked punch convincingly, an artform that 99% of new hires (and many old hires) can’t grasp. Barrett goes up with a nice flying elbow for two. Cena fights back, but misses a charge, and Barrett gets a neckbreaker for two. This prompts a surreal duelling “Let’s go Cena/Let’s go Barrett” chant. Wait, so if you give a new guy a solid push and don’t neuter him with a stupid gimmick, they might GET OVER? Lemme write this down for future reference. Barrett with a surfboard, but Cena comes back with the usual, prompting Nexus to surround the ring. Big Show and the locker room run out and get rid of Nexus (I bet they were all “Oh shit, it’s Chris Masters, now we’re FUCKED!”), and Cena puts Barrett in the STF. Barrett powers out and comes back with a pumphandle slam for two. He goes for the Wasteland, but Cena reverses to a gutwrench suplex for two. Barrett reverses the FU into a butterfly suplex for two. Bossman slam gets two. There’s a move that’s waiting for someone to resurrect it as a finish. Barrett goes up, but misses a second flying elbow. Why this was a good thing: Because he already hit it earlier in the match, so it doesn’t just make him look like a punk. We KNOW he can hit it, and that’s a small but important distinction. They fight to the top and Cena headbutts him back to the mat, then follows with the guillotine legdrop for two. Cena goes for the FU, but Barrett reverses to the Wasteland for two. Barrett is unsure what to do next in a nice touch, but that allows Cena to get the FU for two. Both guys are out and Cena recovers with the STF, but a “fan” runs in to distract the ref, allowing another “fan” to clock Cena and Barrett to get the pin at 17:50, and Cena is Nexus. The shocked crowd reaction is great stuff, the kind of legitimate drama you don’t often get out of WWE’s overplayed stips and silly comedy angles. Lots to like here, although they couldn’t follow this up with anything as good. ***1/2 Divas title: Michelle McUndertaker v. Natalya Natalya tries some mat wrestling, but they head out and Nat gets caught with a clothesline. Back in, McCool gets a bodyscissors, but Natalya fights out with a clothesline for two. She stupidly goes after Layla, however, then gets a rollup on McCool while the ref deals with Layla. McCool comes back with a belly to belly suplex for two. Nat with a sharpshooter, but Michelle reverses to a heel hook. Nat reverses back again, but Layla throws in a shoe for the DQ at 4:45. Yes, shoe-throwing is actually a finish now. * Smackdown World title, HELL IN A CELL: Kane v. Undertaker I have to wonder how the reconciliation conversation between Undertaker and Paul Bearer would have gone. I mean, I’m a pretty easy-going guy, but I have to think that someone trying to bury me alive in concrete would be the breaking point for any relationship. Did they go out for a beer and just kind of dance around the subject of attempted murder? Is there any accepted social norms for bringing up the topic? Taker attacks to start and gets the first chairshot, and they head back in for a corner clothesline and Snake Eyes. Legdrop gets two. Kane gets the chair and puts Taker down while Striker actually makes a serious attempt at relating the backstory of this “family”. Just read the novel, it’s much more entertaining. They slowly fight out of the ring and Kane sends UT into the stairs, working on the leg, then back in for more of that. Striker once again goes on his stupid thing about how working on one body part somehow eliminates every major move that someone does. By that logic, he shouldn’t be able to do even simple moves like bodyslams or clotheslines, and he should just forfeit the match right now. Taker comes back with the guillotine legdrop, but Kane dropkicks the knee (because that’s how high he can get for a dropkick) and we get the epic “laying on the mat in a leg hold” spot, ala Dusty Rhodes. They slug it out from their knees and then stand up for more punches, before Taker goes Old School. Kane brings him down on the top rope to counter and follows with a superplex. The aerial exhibition continues as Kane goes up with the flying clothesline, but Taker catches him with the gogoplata. Kane slides out of the ring to escape, which is good because I think we all need a break from the torrid pace here. Back in, they give each other the big boot, allowing more rest. They both sit up and Taker gets a DDT for two. Chokeslam gets two, thus disproving Striker’s hypothesis. Kane gets his own chokeslam for two. Kane pounds away in the corner, and Taker gets the Last Ride for two. They trade tombstone counters and Kane gets the move for two. Kane is upset about this and takes out the referee, so now the cell is opened for the crack medical team (and Paul Bearer) to enter. Kane goes after him, which prompts a comeback from Undertaker and a chokeslam. He goes to finish, but of course Bearer turns on him by, uh, shining a flashlight in his face. As nefarious plans go, I’ve seen better. Taker is so shocked by how shitty this match is that he just stands there while Kane hits him with the urn and pins him at 22:38 after a chokeslam. Cole declares this “the ultimate act of treason”, but really Kane is his son, so anything other than that would be much more treasonous. This match was of course fucking awful, and I’ve still got Bragging Rights to review next and I’m not looking forward to the finale of the trilogy of suck. 1/2* The Pulse A real mixed bag PPV, with the first few matches being quite good and then a major quality dropoff after the shockingly entertaining Barrett-Cena match. Barrett v. Cena is worth checking out, but the rest is pretty skippable and I would not recommend anyone in their right mind pay money for Kane v Undertaker in 2010, so we’ll go with a mild recommendation to avoid.

Hell in a Cell 2012

Hell
in a Cell 2012
Date:
October 28, 2012
Location:
Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators:
Michael Cole, Jim Ross, John Bradshaw Layfield
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The
main event here is Ryback vs. Punk and there’s one thing I love about
it: I have no idea who is going to win. They really could go either
way and as a big supporter of Rybac, I’d love to see it. The main
event is in need of a major change, so why not Ryback? The main
issue for him though is that the fans are going to have the Goldberg
chants going on high tonight. The Sheamus vs. Big Show match should
be good too. Let’s get to it.

On
the preshow, here’s Cena to address the AJ/Vickie/Cena story.
Apparently Vickie has evidence of the inappropriate relationship
which she’ll show tomorrow on Raw. Tonight, Cena is answering
questions from social media. The first questions is about him
passing a torch to Ryback. Cena says no but he never had any fire to
pass. A TOUT asks what advice Cena would give Ryback for the Cell
tonight. Cena says that brute strength alone isn’t going to do it.
A
Tweet asks if Cena could beat Ryback. Cena asks the fans who aren’t
really clear on an answer. He does however say if Ryback wins the
title, he’d love the first shot. Another TOUT is about what was
Cena’s toughest match. Of course he says it’s the one against Rock.
Cena wants another shot of course. This isn’t going anywhere is it?
Another TOUT asks if Punk is the best in the world but Cena won’t say
yes. Another TOUT is from Dolph Ziggler asks if Cena will tell the
truth. Cena says the people should cheer Dolph because he used TOUT.
If Dolph is here, why not just come out here and fight?
Here’s
Dolph…..or make that Vickie. She says the fans are more confident
in her than in Cena because Cena got his hand caught in the cookie
jar. Ziggler finally charges and gets knocked right back to the
floor. This was free on Youtube and I feel like I deserve a refund
after sitting through it.
Now
on to the actual show.
The
opening video is about the two world title matches, just as it should
be.
Alberto
Del Rio vs. Randy Orton
That’s
quite the opener. Orton immediately jumps Del Rio and we’re out on
the floor very quickly. Alberto goes face first into the announce
table and back inside we get the Orton Stomp. Orton stomps away in
the corner until the referee pulls him off. Alberto throws him to
the apron and rams the arm into the bar connecting the buckle to the
post. Back in and Del Rio hooks a kind of armbar followed by
something close to the armbreaker over the top rope.
Orton’s
shoulder goes into the post and Randy is in big trouble. Alberto
hooks a different kind of armbar to keep control. It’s nice to see
the holds used being mixed up as watching the same stuff over and
over again gets old in a hurry. Orton jumps over Del Rio out of the
corner and grabs a rollup for two. Del Rio hits a DDT on the arm for
two and puts on yet another kind of armbar, followed by another
armbreaker over the rope. This time though Orton shoves Del Rio off
and out to the floor. Basic storytelling and psychology there but it
worked just as well.
Orton
sets for the powerslam back inside but Del Rio hangs onto the ropes.
More good psychology there as you can only have Orton or anyone use
the same moves so many times before someone sees it coming. Del Rio
tries the armbreaker but Orton makes the rope almost immediately.
The backbreaker from Randy looks to set up the Elevated DDT but Del
Rio counters into another shot on the arm. Alberto tries the RKO but
gets countered into the Elevated DDT.
Randy
tries the mat pounding but hurts his bad arm again. Nice touch there
again. Del Rio hits the Backstabber for two but the armbreaker is
countered into the powerslam for two. They go to the corner but
Orton gets shoved off. He hangs on by the ropes but Del Rio hits a
double stomp to Orton’s chest for two. This has been way better than
I was expecting.
Just
as I say that, Del Rio goes up and I think is supposed to jump into
the RKO, but instead he just lands next to Orton and they’re
completely out of sync now. The RKO is countered as Orton is sent
into the corner where Ricardo rams the arm into the post. There’s
the armbreaker but Orton somehow hangs on and rolls on top of Del Rio
for two. Del Rio tries the running enziguri in the corner but Orton
ducks and catches Del Rio in the RKO as he comes down for the pin at
13:06. That didn’t have the impact they were looking for I don’t
think.
Rating:
B-. This was higher until the
jump off the top which looked horrible. Either way, this was a very
nice surprise with some solid psychology and storytelling the whole
way through. Orton isn’t great all the time but if you get him the
right kind of opponent, which is usually a guy who isn’t a giant, he
can have some solid matches and this was one of those. If the botch
hadn’t happened, it would have been an excellent opener. With it,
the match is just quite good.
We
recap the AJ/Vickie/Cena stuff and Vickie says she’s got the pictures
to prove the affair happened. Vickie turns around and runs into
Heyman. Paul wants the match canceled but Vickie will have none of
it. Heyman snaps at the theory that Ryback scares Punk and goes off
on Vickie for a bit. Vickie continues to do nothing for me at all.
Tag
Titles: HELL NO vs. Rhodes Scholars
The
Scholars won this shot in a long tournament. In case it’s not clear,
HELL NO is defending. The Scholars say that there’s one thing for
sure: at the end of the night they’ll be able to say “WE ARE THE
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!” Funny stuff. Bryan vs. Sandow (in dark gray
trunks, just like Cody) starts things off and Bryan hits a running
knee to Damien’s ribs. Off to Kane for a low dropkick before it’s
off to Cody for the same move for two.
Cody
gets caught in the champions’ corner and it’s back to Bryan for some
rapid fire kicks in the corner. Kane comes in again and throws Cody
around again until Damien gets in a chop block to take Kane’s knee
out. More leg work keeps Kane down but Sandow jumps into an
uppercut. There’s the tag to Bryan who moonsaults over Sandow in the
corner and hits a running clothesline to take Damien down. There are
the NO Kicks and the Scholars are both sent to the floor. Bryan hits
a BIG suicide dive to take them both out.
As
they head back in, Cody grabs Bryan’s leg and Sandow knocks Daniel
into the barricade. Back in and a running knee gets two for Rhodes
as we enter the tag team formula mode. Bryan plays Ricky Morton for
a bit as Cody comes in to work on the arm a bit. Bryan punches his
way out of the corner but a knee to Bryan’s ribs takes him right back
down. Off to Sandow again who pounds on the ribs for two.
Sandow’s
windup elbow gets two (I’m not even going to try to spell the real
name) and it’s off to a chinlock. Kane: “COME ON GOAT FACE LET’S
GO!” That actually works as Bryan almost gets the NO Lock before
hooking a drop toehold to send Sandow into the middle buckle. A
double tag brings in Cody to face the fresh Kane and the Big Fried
Freak takes over. The sidewalk slam gets two and the top rope
clothesline kills Cody. Kane signals for the chokeslam but Bryan
tags himself in and hits a Swan Dive, but Kane breaks up the cover.
Sandow
pulls Kane to the floor and gets punched in the face. Bryan
backdrops Cody to the floor onto Kane and misses the running knee,
taking out Kane by mistake. The champs get into a shoving match and
a pair of baseball slides take out Kane. Back in and Cody hits Cross
Rhodes on Bryan but Kane makes the save. Kane is losing it and
destroys everyone in sight drawing a lame DQ at 13:30 for beating on
Sandow in the corner.
Rating:
C+. This was getting good at
the end before the lame DQ. They did set up another match later on
which is fine, but with all of the teams they’ve got built up, do
they really want to go another month with the same guys? Still
though, entertaining enough match here and the champs fighting is
almost always entertaining.
Sandow
gets a chokeslam post match.
Miz
talks about how Kofi brings mediocrity and mediocrity brings the end
of civilization, so Kofi brings the end of the world. It ties into a
show coming up about people who are preparing for doomsday if that
clears up anything.
Intercontinental
Title: The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston
The
inflatable AWESOME from the Mania match with Cena is back. Kofi is
defending and this is a rematch from a few weeks ago on Main Event.
Both guys try and miss their finishers less than thirty seconds in,
sending Miz to the floor to regroup. How much regrouping do you need
after half a minute? Kofi jumps over the steps on the floor but Miz
kicks his head off to take over. That gets two back in the ring and
things slow down a bit.
Off
to a chinlock for awhile followed by a clothesline to put Kofi down.
There’s a top rope double ax for two and Miz punts him in the ribs.
Miz’s corner clothesline is blocked by a hard clothesline from the
champ and both guys are down. Kofi chops Miz down and hits the Boom
Drop for two. Miz runs from Trouble in Paradise but gets caught by
the spinning top rope cross body for two.
The
SOS is countered into half of the Reality Check but they seem to miss
on something before the neckbreaker. SOS gets two and Miz hits a
kind of Stunner to the leg. Miz bends the leg around the ropes and
takes off the leg pad and boot from Kofi’s left leg. Kofi gets to
the second rope but Miz slams him off and puts on a half crab.
Kofi
crawls to the ropes but Miz pulls it right back to the center. The
champ counters into a cradle for two but Miz gets the same off a
short DDT. Miz loads up the Finale but Kofi counters into a kind of
victory roll for two. The kick misses for Kofi but the Finale can’t
hit again. Miz gets kicked to the floor and as he comes back in,
Kofi kicks him into oblivion for the pin to retain at 10:44.
Rating:
C+. Another good and lengthy
match here as this show is already better than anything WWE has
thrown at us in weeks. This gets Miz out of the title picture and
hopefully pushes him back up the card. Kofi is fine in this role and
can be put with almost anyone to get a good match. Solid stuff here
and a fine match.
Kofi
says Miz has brought out the wildcat in him and that he’s proud to be
the champion.
HELL
NO argues again. Kane thinks Bryan almost lost because he was
thinking about vegan candy. Bryan yells at Kane for bringing up
Halloween when he’s always wearing a mask. Kane says that Bryan has
been wearing a mask since he was born on Old McDonald’s Farm….AND
HE SINGS THE SONG. Bryan: “YOU ARE IMPOSSIBLE!” Kane: “No. I
AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!” I love these two.
US
Title: Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel
Since
we only had three announced matches left and it’s ten after 9, they
had to add another match or two. Antonio says something in what
sounds like German or Swiss before the match. Cesaro is defending
and they’ve traded wins on Raw lately to set this up. Cesaro takes
it to the mat as soon as the bell rings before cranking on the arm a
bit. Gabriel counters a hip toss and monkey flips Cesaro down.
Justin
goes up top but the champ knocks him off to the floor. Back in and a
legdrop gets two for Cesaro and he pounds away with some rough
looking shots to the head. An uppercut to the back of Gabriel’s head
gets two and it’s off to a chinlock with a knee in the back of
Justin. Cesaro puts him face down on the top rope and hits a running
knee to the ribs. A double stomp gets another two on Gabriel and
it’s back to the arm. The crowd is pretty dead for this so far.
Gabriel
comes back and takes Cesaro down for a quick top rope Lionsault for
two. Cesaro takes Justin’s head off with a clothesline for two. The
champ pounds away in the corner but Gabriel comes out with a spinning
DDT for two. Gabriel tries the 450 but rolls through when Cesaro
moves. Cesaro goes to the floor so Justin hits a dropkick through
the ropes for two. He heads back in but dives into the uppercut to
knock Gabriel silly. Back in and the Neutralizer retains the title
at 7:35.
Rating:
C. I know there wasn’t much
here, but having Cesaro run through the entire lower card is a fine
way to keep him on TV without having him face guys he’s not ready to
beat yet. It’s also a good way to make him look like more than he
really is, which is something Cesaro needs. Imagine that: using
jobbers to the stars to push someone higher up the card. It’s so
crazy that it just might work.
Breast
cancer is bad.
Video
on Ryback and how unstoppable he is.
Heyman
sucks up to Vickie in the back because apparently the Cell has been
canceled. Vickie doesn’t seem to understand what he’s talking about.
The match is still on.
Prime
Time Players vs. Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara
Sin
Cara and Darren start things off with Young slapping him around on
the mat. Cara headscissors him down and there’s the tag to Rey.
Cara has what looks like a Mysterio mask on the back of his own mask.
The main event for Main Event this coming week is these four teaming
with Del Rio and Orton respectively. Yep the card is already falling
down. Off to Titus for some power to take over on Mysterio. A
double elbow by the Players take Rey down and Young comes in for some
near falls.
Off
to a quick reverse chinlock by Young but Titus charges into a boot in
the corner to let the masked guys make a tag. Back to Cara who
speeds things up and hits a top rope cross body on Titus. Cara’s
spinning armdrag out of the corner is caught by Titus and he rams
Cara into the corner. Back to Darren to pounds away a bit more
before hitting the belly to back suplex onto the apron for two.
Back
to Titus who suplexes Young onto Sin for two. JR says the Players
are trying to get a big payday for a win on a major PPV. What
exactly would be a minor PPV? Titus yells at Cara in the corner and
tells him to speak English, which will probably be a fine for O’Neal.
Titus puts on a kind of abdominal stretch before slamming him down
for two. Back to Young for a backbreaker which gets two. Titus gets
in a three point stance but charges into the post.
Cara
hits a kind of standing Sliced Bread #2 and makes the hot tag to Rey.
Mysterio speeds things up and hits a tilt-a-whirl DDT on Darren for
two. JR: “Keeping up with Rey is like trying to pour smoke through
a keyhole.” JBL: “Who would want to do that?” Cara dives on
Titus on the floor as Rey counters the gutbuster from Young into the
619 and top rope splash for the pin at 12:50.
Rating:
C-. This wasn’t a bad match at
all but it ran too long and overstayed its welcome. These guys are a
good undercard feud for the tag division (imagine THAT say six months
ago) and putting them on here was as decent enough of an idea as you
were going to get. Either one of these teams could get a title shot,
and that’s kind of cool to think about.
Cara
may have hurt his neck but he gets up on his own power. Apparently
on that standing Sliced Bread he landed on the top of his head.
WWE
is promoting a Rolling Stones PPV concert.
We
recap Big Show vs. Sheamus. The idea is that Sheamus can’t Brogue
Kick Show but he wants to fight no matter what.
Smackdown
World Title: Big Show vs. sheamus
Sheamus
is defending. Show throws him around to start and Sheamus tries to
brawl with him. That results in the champion being knocked down into
the corner and Show is in command. Ziggler is watching with the case
in the back. Sheamus knocks Show to the floor and as the challenger
gets back in, Sheamus fires away with all he’s got. It does a bit of
damage but Show shrugs it off and knocks Sheamus to the floor again.
We
head to the floor with Show throwing Sheamus into the barricade.
Back in and Show keeps pounding on Sheamus very slowly. He steps on
Sheamus’ head and knocks the champ to the floor before sending him
over the announce table. This has been almost all Show so far and
Sheamus is looking like a ragdoll. Back in and Show hits the Eye of
the Hurricane for two. I think he used to call that the Final Cut.
Sheamus tries to fight back with some punches to the ribs but Show
throws him over the top to the floor.
As
Sheamus comes back in, he hits the slingshot shoulder but charges
right into a superkick for two. Show knocks him down again with
Sheamus only being able to get in some punches before charging into a
bearhug. Show gets on his knee instead of picking Sheamus up,
allowing Sheamus to hit some forearms. A slam doesn’t work at all
and the Vader Bomb Elbow gets two for Show. He calls for the
chokeslam but Sheamus counters into a DDT but the kickout sends
Sheamus out to the floor.
Sheamus
tries the ten forearms in the corner but Show shoves him off. The
chokeslam hits but it only gets two. Show is getting ticked off now
but he can’t hook the Colossal Clutch. Sheamus avoids an elbow and
tries the Cloverleaf of all things but Show kicks him off. They head
to the floor and Sheamus drives Show into the post a few times. Back
in and Sheamus goes after the knee before hitting some ax handles to
take Show down.
Sheamus
hits White Noise and does it with EASE. That looked better than a
lot of the AA’s Cena hits on Show. That only gets two and Sheamus
charges into the WMD…..for two. Show tries another punch but
Sheamus kicks Show’s head off…..FOR TWO. This is getting AWESOME.
Sheamus gets WAY fires up but the Brogue Kick charges into the WMD
for the pin and the title at 21:37.
Rating:
B+. This was exactly what it
was supposed to be: a heavyweight slugfest with Sheamus pounding away
with everything he had but it just wasn’t enough. I would initially
say that Show winning the title was a bad thing but the way they were
going with the feud it was probably the best idea. This was a great
match though and WAY better than I was expecting. The kickouts were
great and the match worked really well. I can’t believe I’m saying
this, but match of the night so far.
Eve
tries to talk to Booker but Booker goes to check on Sheamus. Teddy
says Eve is going to lose when Ryder comes up dressed as a witch. Oh
ok he’s Eve. Teddy says that’s one letter off.
Vince
is here and Punk asks him to cancel the match. Vince asks if Punk is
afraid of Ryback but Punk says no and leaves.
Divas
Title: Layla vs. Eve Torres vs. Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn
was attacked at Night of Champions and Layla had to defend against
Eve instead of Kaitlyn. Eve won the title and was accused of
attacking Kaitlyn, setting up this. The challengers double team Eve,
argue a bit, and then double team Eve again. Eve and Kaitlyn finally
start fighting and we get a pinfall reversal sequence. Eve comes
back in and knocks Layla to the floor so she can beat on Kaitlyn a
bit.
Eve
works over Kaitlyn’s leg with a long hold until Layla finally gets
back in. A hard kick to Eve’s face slows her down and Layla pounds
away in the corner. A cross body gets two for Layla but Eve throws
her into the splits. Eve gets thrown into the splits as well and
Kaitlyn gives us a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER!!! Kaitlyn puts Layla in a
Fujiwara Armbar but Eve makes the save. The crowd dies as the match
starts to drag. Kaitlyn hits Stratusfaction on Eve to send her to
the floor and powerslams Eve down. Eve hits a middle rope Swanton to
break up the pin and covers Layla to retain the title at 6:39.
Rating:
C-. The girls are getting
better and they have an actual story anymore, but the fans still
don’t care. This is MILES better than they were having a few months
ago, but at the same time it’s still nothing to write home about.
Kaitlyn appears to be the future but I’m still not sold on her at
all. Decent match that ran too long.
Big
Show brags about getting the title back and dares anyone to try to
take it from him. That sounds like a match for Ryback once he’s done
with Punk.
Sheamus
is getting looked at.
We
recap Punk vs. Ryback. Punk and Cena were feuding, then Cena got
hurt and Ryback was the next best thing they could come up with.
It’s in the Cell because the calendar says it needs to be.
The
Cell is lowered. Cole says the Cell was introduced 15 years ago. My
goodness do I feel old.
Raw
World Title: Ryback vs. CM Punk
I
honestly don’t know who is going to win here and I love that feeling.
The Goldberg chants start before the music hits. Ryback has a red
singlet tonight. Not much of a pop for him though. The big match
intros inform us that this match will indeed be taking place inside
the Cell. You know, in case you’re REALLY FREAKING STUPID. The fans
get fired up for the Feed Me More chant at least.
Punk
immediately heads to the floor and we’re in the big Cell where
there’s almost no room at ringside. Punk gets back in and
immediately runs to the floor again. After almost a minute and a
half Ryback gets his hands on Punk and chokes him in the air. Ryback
kicks him in the chest and Punk is in trouble early. Punk gets a
boot up in the corner but a tornado DDT is easily countered.
Punk
is sent back to the floor where he tries to get out of the door.
Ryback throws him into the Cell wall and then does it again. The
Goldberg chants start up and Punk hides under the ring. Heyman
distracts Ryback, allowing Punk to spray him with a fire extinguisher
and knock Ryback into the cage. The champ finds a chair but Ryback
knocks it into Punk’s head. Back in and Ryback hits a Warrior
gorilla press drop.
Ryback
misses a charge into the corner and Punk hits a springboard
clothesline to take him down. A top rope double ax only kind of hits
so Punk hits a second to stagger Ryback. A third attempt is caught
in midair but Punk hits a leg lariat to take Ryback down again. Punk
sends him to the floor and hits the suicide dive but Ryback is
slammed into the cage instead of being knocked down. Ryback easily
breaks up a neckbreaker on the floor but his spear hits the steps.
Back
in and Punk puts on a chinlock. We’re over eight minutes into this
and it’s been pretty good stuff so far. Another Ryback charge hits
the post and Punk smiles. Heyman: “HE’S STILL ALIVE!” Punk hits
the running knee in the corner and a clothesline to set up the Macho
Elbow for no cover. Punk brings in a kendo stick and mocks the FEED
ME MORE chant.
Ryback
Hulks Up and takes the stick out of Punk’s hands. Ryback is all
fired up now and Heyman is panicking. The fans are getting into the
chant now and there’s the Meathook (clothesline). Ryback loads up
Shell Shock….and the referee hits Ryback low and fast counts a Punk
rollup for the pin to retain at 11:45.
Rating:
B-. This is one of those what
the heck was that endings but it was a good match until we got there.
I don’t like the screwjob ending and I wanted Ryback to win, but
this sets up another match down the line I guess. I don’t recognize
the referee but I’m sure we’ll find out who he was later on. The
fans went silent after the pin which is a good thing….I think?
Ryback
gets up and murders the referee as Heyman pulls Punk through the
door. Ryback catches up to him though and throws Punk at the Cell,
but Punk climbs up to escape. Ryback follows him and hits the Shell
Shock on top of the Cell.
Ryback
poses on top of the Cell to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
B+. This was a really
good show actually and the ending has me wondering where they’ll go
next. There wasn’t a really bad match on the show but a few of them
were pretty slow. The Show title win was a nice surprise and the
ending visual of the Shell Shock was good, but it wasn’t a classic
show. For what it was, this was solid, but it’s another show that
leads to another one instead of something conclusive, which is an
annoying habit WWE has.
Results
Randy
Orton b. Alberto Del Rio – RKO
Rhodes
Scholars b. HELL NO via DQ when Kane would not stop attacking Sandow
Kofi
Kingston b. The Miz – Trouble in Paradise
Antonio
Cesaro b. Justin Gabriel – Neutralizer
Rey
Mysterio/Sin Cara b. Prime Time Players – Top rope splash to Young
Big
Show b. Sheamus – WMD
Eve
Torres b. Kaitlyn and Layla – Eve pinned Layla after a powerslam
from Kaitlyn
CM
Punk b. Ryback – Rollup after a low blow from the referee
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Hell In A Cell Thread: Part One

First up, predictions for the show, and specifically the main event tonight.  There seems to be some buzz about it, although I don't think it'll affect the buyrate.  

My bold prediction:  I think they're in panic mode and that means WWE CHAMPION RYBACK.  
Bryan Alvarez had a really cool scenario if they want to screwjob the shit out of it:  Cena or someone else beats up Punk before the match even starts, and Ziggler cashes in on him and wins the WWE title.  Then Ryback can beat Ziggler in the Cell and supposedly walk out as champion.  Next night on RAW, the title gets taken away from Ziggler because his briefcase was only good for the Smackdown belt, so we end with Punk still champion, Ziggler still carrying the briefcase, and Ryback still undefeated.  If it was me I'd just beat Ryback by doing the Warrior-Rude finish and be done with it, but then I'm not exactly a Ryback booster.  
Apparently there's other matches tonight too.  

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

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

Ring of Hell

Greetings Scott,         I recently read a report that Liam Neeson shot down a rumor he was to play a role in the upcoming film “Crossface” which is a bio-pic of Chris Benoit.  It is a film based on the book Ring of Hell, which is absolutely the most damning book on pro wrestling ever written.  While a biography of Benoit, it explores every facet of pro wrestling from the basics of how matches are put together, to the culture of ribbing, to the history of every promotion Benoit worked for, complete with mini-bios of key figures, like Stu and Dynamite.  The author, Matthew Randazzo V, does not hide his contempt for wrestling, referring to it a a “slapstick farce” and “usually laughingly bad tv.”  It also contains enough hilarious/disturbing gossip to fit right in with the infamous “Sleazy Wrestling Rumors” thread on deathvalleydriver, even confirming a few of them.  My favorite new one claims that during a match (no date, place or show is given) between Taz and Kevin Sullivan, a routine suplex from the Taskmaster gave Taz an “earthshattering” orgasm.

The book also portrays several prominent figures in wrestling history in a negative light, from Vince (portrayed as a ‘roided up, megalomaniacal, out of touch old man who asked Carlito to “spic it up” when he spoke in character) to Antonio Inoki.  Even those who get compliments aren’t safe.  While praising Bret Hart for becoming a star in the size prejudiced American market with a safe but exciting style that didn’t force him to swell up on steroids and frequently quoting his book for insight into the business, he is also portrayed as delusional.  Randazzo claims Stu’s strict adherence to Kayfabe warped Bret’s sense of reality and fiction and mocks him for the Dino Bravo match where he shattered his sternum and could hardly breathe, yet refused to be pinned because the story called for him to win and is firmly with Vince regarding Montreal. The book can only be bought cheap but used at Amazon (I’m guessing a new edition is coming as the movie starts to shoot) and I am unaware if it is an e-book.  I would recommend it to you and your readers, for a dark look at the industry. My point is, I would like your opinion on the books thesis.  Randazzo claims that even if the post-mortem diagnosis of Benoit was true and he could not be held responsible for the murders, Benoit is still culpable.  It was Chris Benoit and Chris Benoit alone, who chose to wrestle the self destructive Dynamite Kid style his entire career.  It was Benoit who took repeated blows to the head match after match, no matter how many concussions he received and no matter how pulverized his spine became.  Instead of adapting Bret’s safer technical style that didn’t call for huge amounts of steroids to execute, he continued to cripple himself despite seeing what that style did to Dynamite and what copious amounts of painkillers, alcohol and steroids did to Dynamite, Pillman and Eddy. Instead of retiring to an agent or trainers job in 2001 after his neck surgery, he continued to wrestle despite financial security and a hall of fame legacy, and continued to cause the damage that killed his family.  An uncomfortable, yet compelling argument.  As someone with insider knowledge and sources, who has been following wrestling for his fourth decade, what do you think of this? I know you aren’t a Benoit apologist, but this theory is the most damning of all I heard about why Benoit committed the killings. I’m not trying to get a rise out of you, I want your opinion as a wrestling historian and published author on this very case. Thanks for your time.

I know this is probably going to come as a surprise, but yes, I agree with that general sentiment.  For years leading up to his death I said over and over in my rants that Benoit needed to stop doing the diving headbutt and crazy neck bumps in general, and really he has no claim to ignorance given how well he knew Dynamite Kid and emulated him in every other way.  Yeah, the physical damage might not have made him LEGALLY responsible if it went to a full trial, but the drugs and years of physical damage were absolutely his fault.  No one forced him to use the steroids or wrestle a high-impact style even after neck surgery and even after safer career options were available to him.  Hell, he could have retired in 2005 and probably ran the training program in FCW for the rest of his life if he had wanted to.  So yeah, although I can’t speak to the other aspects of the book because I haven’t read it, the circumstances behind Benoit’s downfall were almost entirely on himself. 

Ring of Hell

Greetings Scott,         I recently read a report that Liam Neeson shot down a rumor he was to play a role in the upcoming film “Crossface” which is a bio-pic of Chris Benoit.  It is a film based on the book Ring of Hell, which is absolutely the most damning book on pro wrestling ever written.  While a biography of Benoit, it explores every facet of pro wrestling from the basics of how matches are put together, to the culture of ribbing, to the history of every promotion Benoit worked for, complete with mini-bios of key figures, like Stu and Dynamite.  The author, Matthew Randazzo V, does not hide his contempt for wrestling, referring to it a a “slapstick farce” and “usually laughingly bad tv.”  It also contains enough hilarious/disturbing gossip to fit right in with the infamous “Sleazy Wrestling Rumors” thread on deathvalleydriver, even confirming a few of them.  My favorite new one claims that during a match (no date, place or show is given) between Taz and Kevin Sullivan, a routine suplex from the Taskmaster gave Taz an “earthshattering” orgasm.

The book also portrays several prominent figures in wrestling history in a negative light, from Vince (portrayed as a ‘roided up, megalomaniacal, out of touch old man who asked Carlito to “spic it up” when he spoke in character) to Antonio Inoki.  Even those who get compliments aren’t safe.  While praising Bret Hart for becoming a star in the size prejudiced American market with a safe but exciting style that didn’t force him to swell up on steroids and frequently quoting his book for insight into the business, he is also portrayed as delusional.  Randazzo claims Stu’s strict adherence to Kayfabe warped Bret’s sense of reality and fiction and mocks him for the Dino Bravo match where he shattered his sternum and could hardly breathe, yet refused to be pinned because the story called for him to win and is firmly with Vince regarding Montreal. The book can only be bought cheap but used at Amazon (I’m guessing a new edition is coming as the movie starts to shoot) and I am unaware if it is an e-book.  I would recommend it to you and your readers, for a dark look at the industry. My point is, I would like your opinion on the books thesis.  Randazzo claims that even if the post-mortem diagnosis of Benoit was true and he could not be held responsible for the murders, Benoit is still culpable.  It was Chris Benoit and Chris Benoit alone, who chose to wrestle the self destructive Dynamite Kid style his entire career.  It was Benoit who took repeated blows to the head match after match, no matter how many concussions he received and no matter how pulverized his spine became.  Instead of adapting Bret’s safer technical style that didn’t call for huge amounts of steroids to execute, he continued to cripple himself despite seeing what that style did to Dynamite and what copious amounts of painkillers, alcohol and steroids did to Dynamite, Pillman and Eddy. Instead of retiring to an agent or trainers job in 2001 after his neck surgery, he continued to wrestle despite financial security and a hall of fame legacy, and continued to cause the damage that killed his family.  An uncomfortable, yet compelling argument.  As someone with insider knowledge and sources, who has been following wrestling for his fourth decade, what do you think of this? I know you aren’t a Benoit apologist, but this theory is the most damning of all I heard about why Benoit committed the killings. I’m not trying to get a rise out of you, I want your opinion as a wrestling historian and published author on this very case. Thanks for your time.

I know this is probably going to come as a surprise, but yes, I agree with that general sentiment.  For years leading up to his death I said over and over in my rants that Benoit needed to stop doing the diving headbutt and crazy neck bumps in general, and really he has no claim to ignorance given how well he knew Dynamite Kid and emulated him in every other way.  Yeah, the physical damage might not have made him LEGALLY responsible if it went to a full trial, but the drugs and years of physical damage were absolutely his fault.  No one forced him to use the steroids or wrestle a high-impact style even after neck surgery and even after safer career options were available to him.  Hell, he could have retired in 2005 and probably ran the training program in FCW for the rest of his life if he had wanted to.  So yeah, although I can’t speak to the other aspects of the book because I haven’t read it, the circumstances behind Benoit’s downfall were almost entirely on himself. 

Ring of Hell

Greetings Scott,         I recently read a report that Liam Neeson shot down a rumor he was to play a role in the upcoming film “Crossface” which is a bio-pic of Chris Benoit.  It is a film based on the book Ring of Hell, which is absolutely the most damning book on pro wrestling ever written.  While a biography of Benoit, it explores every facet of pro wrestling from the basics of how matches are put together, to the culture of ribbing, to the history of every promotion Benoit worked for, complete with mini-bios of key figures, like Stu and Dynamite.  The author, Matthew Randazzo V, does not hide his contempt for wrestling, referring to it a a “slapstick farce” and “usually laughingly bad tv.”  It also contains enough hilarious/disturbing gossip to fit right in with the infamous “Sleazy Wrestling Rumors” thread on deathvalleydriver, even confirming a few of them.  My favorite new one claims that during a match (no date, place or show is given) between Taz and Kevin Sullivan, a routine suplex from the Taskmaster gave Taz an “earthshattering” orgasm.

The book also portrays several prominent figures in wrestling history in a negative light, from Vince (portrayed as a ‘roided up, megalomaniacal, out of touch old man who asked Carlito to “spic it up” when he spoke in character) to Antonio Inoki.  Even those who get compliments aren’t safe.  While praising Bret Hart for becoming a star in the size prejudiced American market with a safe but exciting style that didn’t force him to swell up on steroids and frequently quoting his book for insight into the business, he is also portrayed as delusional.  Randazzo claims Stu’s strict adherence to Kayfabe warped Bret’s sense of reality and fiction and mocks him for the Dino Bravo match where he shattered his sternum and could hardly breathe, yet refused to be pinned because the story called for him to win and is firmly with Vince regarding Montreal. The book can only be bought cheap but used at Amazon (I’m guessing a new edition is coming as the movie starts to shoot) and I am unaware if it is an e-book.  I would recommend it to you and your readers, for a dark look at the industry. My point is, I would like your opinion on the books thesis.  Randazzo claims that even if the post-mortem diagnosis of Benoit was true and he could not be held responsible for the murders, Benoit is still culpable.  It was Chris Benoit and Chris Benoit alone, who chose to wrestle the self destructive Dynamite Kid style his entire career.  It was Benoit who took repeated blows to the head match after match, no matter how many concussions he received and no matter how pulverized his spine became.  Instead of adapting Bret’s safer technical style that didn’t call for huge amounts of steroids to execute, he continued to cripple himself despite seeing what that style did to Dynamite and what copious amounts of painkillers, alcohol and steroids did to Dynamite, Pillman and Eddy. Instead of retiring to an agent or trainers job in 2001 after his neck surgery, he continued to wrestle despite financial security and a hall of fame legacy, and continued to cause the damage that killed his family.  An uncomfortable, yet compelling argument.  As someone with insider knowledge and sources, who has been following wrestling for his fourth decade, what do you think of this? I know you aren’t a Benoit apologist, but this theory is the most damning of all I heard about why Benoit committed the killings. I’m not trying to get a rise out of you, I want your opinion as a wrestling historian and published author on this very case. Thanks for your time.

I know this is probably going to come as a surprise, but yes, I agree with that general sentiment.  For years leading up to his death I said over and over in my rants that Benoit needed to stop doing the diving headbutt and crazy neck bumps in general, and really he has no claim to ignorance given how well he knew Dynamite Kid and emulated him in every other way.  Yeah, the physical damage might not have made him LEGALLY responsible if it went to a full trial, but the drugs and years of physical damage were absolutely his fault.  No one forced him to use the steroids or wrestle a high-impact style even after neck surgery and even after safer career options were available to him.  Hell, he could have retired in 2005 and probably ran the training program in FCW for the rest of his life if he had wanted to.  So yeah, although I can’t speak to the other aspects of the book because I haven’t read it, the circumstances behind Benoit’s downfall were almost entirely on himself. 

Ring of Hell

Greetings Scott,         I recently read a report that Liam Neeson shot down a rumor he was to play a role in the upcoming film “Crossface” which is a bio-pic of Chris Benoit.  It is a film based on the book Ring of Hell, which is absolutely the most damning book on pro wrestling ever written.  While a biography of Benoit, it explores every facet of pro wrestling from the basics of how matches are put together, to the culture of ribbing, to the history of every promotion Benoit worked for, complete with mini-bios of key figures, like Stu and Dynamite.  The author, Matthew Randazzo V, does not hide his contempt for wrestling, referring to it a a “slapstick farce” and “usually laughingly bad tv.”  It also contains enough hilarious/disturbing gossip to fit right in with the infamous “Sleazy Wrestling Rumors” thread on deathvalleydriver, even confirming a few of them.  My favorite new one claims that during a match (no date, place or show is given) between Taz and Kevin Sullivan, a routine suplex from the Taskmaster gave Taz an “earthshattering” orgasm.

The book also portrays several prominent figures in wrestling history in a negative light, from Vince (portrayed as a ‘roided up, megalomaniacal, out of touch old man who asked Carlito to “spic it up” when he spoke in character) to Antonio Inoki.  Even those who get compliments aren’t safe.  While praising Bret Hart for becoming a star in the size prejudiced American market with a safe but exciting style that didn’t force him to swell up on steroids and frequently quoting his book for insight into the business, he is also portrayed as delusional.  Randazzo claims Stu’s strict adherence to Kayfabe warped Bret’s sense of reality and fiction and mocks him for the Dino Bravo match where he shattered his sternum and could hardly breathe, yet refused to be pinned because the story called for him to win and is firmly with Vince regarding Montreal. The book can only be bought cheap but used at Amazon (I’m guessing a new edition is coming as the movie starts to shoot) and I am unaware if it is an e-book.  I would recommend it to you and your readers, for a dark look at the industry. My point is, I would like your opinion on the books thesis.  Randazzo claims that even if the post-mortem diagnosis of Benoit was true and he could not be held responsible for the murders, Benoit is still culpable.  It was Chris Benoit and Chris Benoit alone, who chose to wrestle the self destructive Dynamite Kid style his entire career.  It was Benoit who took repeated blows to the head match after match, no matter how many concussions he received and no matter how pulverized his spine became.  Instead of adapting Bret’s safer technical style that didn’t call for huge amounts of steroids to execute, he continued to cripple himself despite seeing what that style did to Dynamite and what copious amounts of painkillers, alcohol and steroids did to Dynamite, Pillman and Eddy. Instead of retiring to an agent or trainers job in 2001 after his neck surgery, he continued to wrestle despite financial security and a hall of fame legacy, and continued to cause the damage that killed his family.  An uncomfortable, yet compelling argument.  As someone with insider knowledge and sources, who has been following wrestling for his fourth decade, what do you think of this? I know you aren’t a Benoit apologist, but this theory is the most damning of all I heard about why Benoit committed the killings. I’m not trying to get a rise out of you, I want your opinion as a wrestling historian and published author on this very case. Thanks for your time.

I know this is probably going to come as a surprise, but yes, I agree with that general sentiment.  For years leading up to his death I said over and over in my rants that Benoit needed to stop doing the diving headbutt and crazy neck bumps in general, and really he has no claim to ignorance given how well he knew Dynamite Kid and emulated him in every other way.  Yeah, the physical damage might not have made him LEGALLY responsible if it went to a full trial, but the drugs and years of physical damage were absolutely his fault.  No one forced him to use the steroids or wrestle a high-impact style even after neck surgery and even after safer career options were available to him.  Hell, he could have retired in 2005 and probably ran the training program in FCW for the rest of his life if he had wanted to.  So yeah, although I can’t speak to the other aspects of the book because I haven’t read it, the circumstances behind Benoit’s downfall were almost entirely on himself. 

Ring of Hell

Greetings Scott,         I recently read a report that Liam Neeson shot down a rumor he was to play a role in the upcoming film “Crossface” which is a bio-pic of Chris Benoit.  It is a film based on the book Ring of Hell, which is absolutely the most damning book on pro wrestling ever written.  While a biography of Benoit, it explores every facet of pro wrestling from the basics of how matches are put together, to the culture of ribbing, to the history of every promotion Benoit worked for, complete with mini-bios of key figures, like Stu and Dynamite.  The author, Matthew Randazzo V, does not hide his contempt for wrestling, referring to it a a “slapstick farce” and “usually laughingly bad tv.”  It also contains enough hilarious/disturbing gossip to fit right in with the infamous “Sleazy Wrestling Rumors” thread on deathvalleydriver, even confirming a few of them.  My favorite new one claims that during a match (no date, place or show is given) between Taz and Kevin Sullivan, a routine suplex from the Taskmaster gave Taz an “earthshattering” orgasm.

The book also portrays several prominent figures in wrestling history in a negative light, from Vince (portrayed as a ‘roided up, megalomaniacal, out of touch old man who asked Carlito to “spic it up” when he spoke in character) to Antonio Inoki.  Even those who get compliments aren’t safe.  While praising Bret Hart for becoming a star in the size prejudiced American market with a safe but exciting style that didn’t force him to swell up on steroids and frequently quoting his book for insight into the business, he is also portrayed as delusional.  Randazzo claims Stu’s strict adherence to Kayfabe warped Bret’s sense of reality and fiction and mocks him for the Dino Bravo match where he shattered his sternum and could hardly breathe, yet refused to be pinned because the story called for him to win and is firmly with Vince regarding Montreal. The book can only be bought cheap but used at Amazon (I’m guessing a new edition is coming as the movie starts to shoot) and I am unaware if it is an e-book.  I would recommend it to you and your readers, for a dark look at the industry. My point is, I would like your opinion on the books thesis.  Randazzo claims that even if the post-mortem diagnosis of Benoit was true and he could not be held responsible for the murders, Benoit is still culpable.  It was Chris Benoit and Chris Benoit alone, who chose to wrestle the self destructive Dynamite Kid style his entire career.  It was Benoit who took repeated blows to the head match after match, no matter how many concussions he received and no matter how pulverized his spine became.  Instead of adapting Bret’s safer technical style that didn’t call for huge amounts of steroids to execute, he continued to cripple himself despite seeing what that style did to Dynamite and what copious amounts of painkillers, alcohol and steroids did to Dynamite, Pillman and Eddy. Instead of retiring to an agent or trainers job in 2001 after his neck surgery, he continued to wrestle despite financial security and a hall of fame legacy, and continued to cause the damage that killed his family.  An uncomfortable, yet compelling argument.  As someone with insider knowledge and sources, who has been following wrestling for his fourth decade, what do you think of this? I know you aren’t a Benoit apologist, but this theory is the most damning of all I heard about why Benoit committed the killings. I’m not trying to get a rise out of you, I want your opinion as a wrestling historian and published author on this very case. Thanks for your time.

I know this is probably going to come as a surprise, but yes, I agree with that general sentiment.  For years leading up to his death I said over and over in my rants that Benoit needed to stop doing the diving headbutt and crazy neck bumps in general, and really he has no claim to ignorance given how well he knew Dynamite Kid and emulated him in every other way.  Yeah, the physical damage might not have made him LEGALLY responsible if it went to a full trial, but the drugs and years of physical damage were absolutely his fault.  No one forced him to use the steroids or wrestle a high-impact style even after neck surgery and even after safer career options were available to him.  Hell, he could have retired in 2005 and probably ran the training program in FCW for the rest of his life if he had wanted to.  So yeah, although I can’t speak to the other aspects of the book because I haven’t read it, the circumstances behind Benoit’s downfall were almost entirely on himself. 

Ring of Hell

Greetings Scott,         I recently read a report that Liam Neeson shot down a rumor he was to play a role in the upcoming film “Crossface” which is a bio-pic of Chris Benoit.  It is a film based on the book Ring of Hell, which is absolutely the most damning book on pro wrestling ever written.  While a biography of Benoit, it explores every facet of pro wrestling from the basics of how matches are put together, to the culture of ribbing, to the history of every promotion Benoit worked for, complete with mini-bios of key figures, like Stu and Dynamite.  The author, Matthew Randazzo V, does not hide his contempt for wrestling, referring to it a a “slapstick farce” and “usually laughingly bad tv.”  It also contains enough hilarious/disturbing gossip to fit right in with the infamous “Sleazy Wrestling Rumors” thread on deathvalleydriver, even confirming a few of them.  My favorite new one claims that during a match (no date, place or show is given) between Taz and Kevin Sullivan, a routine suplex from the Taskmaster gave Taz an “earthshattering” orgasm.

The book also portrays several prominent figures in wrestling history in a negative light, from Vince (portrayed as a ‘roided up, megalomaniacal, out of touch old man who asked Carlito to “spic it up” when he spoke in character) to Antonio Inoki.  Even those who get compliments aren’t safe.  While praising Bret Hart for becoming a star in the size prejudiced American market with a safe but exciting style that didn’t force him to swell up on steroids and frequently quoting his book for insight into the business, he is also portrayed as delusional.  Randazzo claims Stu’s strict adherence to Kayfabe warped Bret’s sense of reality and fiction and mocks him for the Dino Bravo match where he shattered his sternum and could hardly breathe, yet refused to be pinned because the story called for him to win and is firmly with Vince regarding Montreal. The book can only be bought cheap but used at Amazon (I’m guessing a new edition is coming as the movie starts to shoot) and I am unaware if it is an e-book.  I would recommend it to you and your readers, for a dark look at the industry. My point is, I would like your opinion on the books thesis.  Randazzo claims that even if the post-mortem diagnosis of Benoit was true and he could not be held responsible for the murders, Benoit is still culpable.  It was Chris Benoit and Chris Benoit alone, who chose to wrestle the self destructive Dynamite Kid style his entire career.  It was Benoit who took repeated blows to the head match after match, no matter how many concussions he received and no matter how pulverized his spine became.  Instead of adapting Bret’s safer technical style that didn’t call for huge amounts of steroids to execute, he continued to cripple himself despite seeing what that style did to Dynamite and what copious amounts of painkillers, alcohol and steroids did to Dynamite, Pillman and Eddy. Instead of retiring to an agent or trainers job in 2001 after his neck surgery, he continued to wrestle despite financial security and a hall of fame legacy, and continued to cause the damage that killed his family.  An uncomfortable, yet compelling argument.  As someone with insider knowledge and sources, who has been following wrestling for his fourth decade, what do you think of this? I know you aren’t a Benoit apologist, but this theory is the most damning of all I heard about why Benoit committed the killings. I’m not trying to get a rise out of you, I want your opinion as a wrestling historian and published author on this very case. Thanks for your time.

I know this is probably going to come as a surprise, but yes, I agree with that general sentiment.  For years leading up to his death I said over and over in my rants that Benoit needed to stop doing the diving headbutt and crazy neck bumps in general, and really he has no claim to ignorance given how well he knew Dynamite Kid and emulated him in every other way.  Yeah, the physical damage might not have made him LEGALLY responsible if it went to a full trial, but the drugs and years of physical damage were absolutely his fault.  No one forced him to use the steroids or wrestle a high-impact style even after neck surgery and even after safer career options were available to him.  Hell, he could have retired in 2005 and probably ran the training program in FCW for the rest of his life if he had wanted to.  So yeah, although I can’t speak to the other aspects of the book because I haven’t read it, the circumstances behind Benoit’s downfall were almost entirely on himself. 

Vinceosity

“Hey Scott,
This is Matt Foster, fos4545 from the blog.  Sorry I
haven’t been at the blog for a while, I just got
married and started a new school year at a new school
and the kids are kicking my ass right now.
Anyway, I have a question/statement/musing:
With all of this McMahoning going around on RAW and
the DVD, it seems like the pinnacle of Vince being all
over TV.  Raw just doesn’t seem motivated, the
characters are bland, and the writing is at best
boring, and at worst offensive.
My question is, what if this isn’t Vince’s fault?  I
think the Attitude Era worked because Vince was
tempered by creative, extroverted personalities like
Austin, Rocky, Foley, HBK, the Undertaker, and the
rest.  Even HHH was a thousand times more entertaining
when he was getting over as the best wrestler in the
world.  It was entertaining because each guy was in to
their gimmick and running with it full force.  Now the
only people that seem to do that on Raw are Edge,
Umaga, and Vince himself.  Cena was a phenom until he
became bored and watered down.  What the hell ever
happened to having a personality on this show?
I guess in all this rambling, what I’m trying to say
is that the crapability of the WWE may not be all
Vince’s fault.  I’m sure if someone came up with a
good idea, he’d run with it.  But in the meantime,
he’ll keep fucking Katie Vick’s dead body and trying
to be Stephanie’s baby daddy.
Your thoughts?”

The problem is that pretty much everything is going to be Vince’s fault, because Vince takes the blame for what goes wrong and takes the credit for what goes right. It’s been clearly established that he’s in total control at this point, for better or worse. So no matter what, you have to lay the blame on him.