Monday Night Raw – June 24, 2019

Monday Night Raw
Date: June 24, 2019
Location: Angel of the Winds Arena, Everett, Washington
Commentators: Michael Cole, Renee Young, Corey Graves

It’s the night after Stomping Grounds and given how things are looking at the moment, I’m not sure how much that’s going to change the direction we’re going. Extreme Rules is in less than three weeks and there is a strong chance that we’re looking either at rematches or matches that are so similar you won’t notice much of a difference. Let’s get to it.

Read moreMonday Night Raw – June 24, 2019

Monday Night Open Mic

Howdy Blog O’Doomers!

I hope you all had a great weekend and either enjoyed yourself or got more things accomplished.

A PPV-like event happened last night. The most notable thing is that Ricochet won the U.S. title and gave us a glimmer of hope until the main event matches began and we realized that we’ll be stuck in Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans hell a little longer until the WWE realized their goal of having a PPV held at an empty arena.

On the good side, RAW is featuring A.J. Styles vs. Ricochet, which shouldn’t suck. And who knows who’ll show up on the Wild Card side besides the people that normally do like Roman Reigns and Shane McMahon and The New Day….maybe they will pull Finn Balor from exile.

Meanwhile I’ll probably watch some DVR’d stuff. My husband was cracking up over Holey Moley so I’ll check that out and catch on the first two episodes of Press Your Luck. There is Game 1 of the CWS tonight between Michigan and Vanderbilt. A new episode of the Bachelorette and the NBA Awards are at 9 p.m.

And for your viewing pleasure, the old Midnights/Horsemen program popped up in a thread which led me to find the compilation of promos that set up their historic match. Arn’s diss of Stan Lane isn’t very PC but damn it was funny.

Keep it clean!

Can You Really Blame Vince for Giving Up?


A lot of people seem to think that Vince McMahon has lost his touch, that he doesn't have it anymore, or that he simply isn't motivated to put out a good product because of his TV contracts and the Saudi blood money. While those things might all be partially true, isn't it possible that this is simply a case of Vince falling out of love with his own product? And really, can you blame him?

Vince was never a "rasslin" guy, we all know this. But Vince did, once upon a time, genuinely love his vision of "sports entertainment." Hogan/Andre, Macho Man and Elizabeth, The Ultimate Warrior, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin raising hell, The Rock electrifying his millions (and millions) of fans, etc. Larger-than-life superheroes, good vs. evil, unforgettable characters and promos, true WrestleMania moments (not corporate branding bullshit). 

Now put yourself in Vince McMahon's shoes: over the past 3 years, these are the so-called "superstars" that were supposed to carry the company into the future: Finn Balor, AKA the Lucky Charms mascot; Nakamura, a broken-down Japanese wrestler who doesn't speak English; Bayley, a woman who took her entire gimmick from a 1993 Lisa Frank notebook; AJ Styles, a 42-year old slack-jawed yokel who thinks the Earth is flat… I could go on and on. At a certain point, don't you think Vince is looking around this locker room of hopeless geeks and PS4 players and wondering "what the fuck happened to this place?!" Shit, if I'm him, and this is the best the wrestling business has to offer in 2019, I'm throwing my hands up and trying to start a football league too. At least then I might find athletes who look like grown men.

Not to mention the crowds. You'd have an easier time finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow (maybe Finn can help!) than finding genuine testosterone in a WWE audience today. The wrestling fanbase has become the Comic Con crowd. Excited kids and adrenaline-fueled men salivating to see a fight have been replaced by castrated Incels in 6XL Bayley t-shirts throwing beach balls around and chanting "You Deserve It" at their favorite spot monkeys, while Dave Meltzer is giving ****** to fucking Adam Cole vs. El Torito midget matches. What in the actual fuck? 

I'm surprised Vince even bothers showing up to work anymore. Imagine if your business depended on somehow getting the average American TV viewer to give a shit about Seth Rollins? I'd just call it a day and sell the company to Disney.

A good effort, but you repeated the midget spot.  For maximum troll effectiveness you need a different card to play for Balor.  Might I suggest his Irish upbringing?  

The Day The Prestige Died

How impressive is it that with Championships being as unimportant as they are that WWE managed to book two World Title matches in one night where 100% of the audience KNEW the challengers had no chance of winning?  Jinder Mahal in 2017 felt like a more compelling challenger than either Corbin or Ziggler do now.

On that note, can you pinpoint the exact moment where titles in WWE quit being worth much of anything?  Having two WWE Champions in 2011 a whopping eight days after CM Punk won the title stands out to me, but I’m sure it goes back even farther than that.

I'd say HHH getting the World title awarded to him in 2002 was a pretty strong start for that trend.  

More EVE stuff

Hey Scott, piggy backing on Phred's email, a couple more notes about EVE's upcoming WrestleQueendom show: 

1) They're currently offering a 25% discount code on their service with the code "EVEGetsHairy" 

Look, if there’s no inter gender matches with either Joey Janela and/or Ryan, I just don’t see how people are going to buy into this!  Stephanie isn’t even involved!

Hogan/Bret follow-up

Hey Scott,

  You've had some stellar, top notch questions come in the last couple of weeks that have never, and I mean ever, been talked about on the blog, or in a simple Google search, brother. That made me think of my own questions/wrestling mysteries still left unanswered:

1. I was watching Survivor Series 97 the other day, and I seem to remember the look on Bret's face, like he wasn't expecting the bell. I'm assuming this was storyline mixed with a little real life?
2. I was watching Wrestlemania 3 the other day, and the announcers said the attendance was 93,173, but I seem to remember someone saying it wasn't?
3. I was watching Survivor Series 88, and I seem to remember the look on Randy's face, I'm assuming this was storyline mixed with a little real life?
4. I was watching Starrcade 89 the other day, and I seem to remember the look on Ric Flair's face, how would you rebook Starrcade 89?
5. I was watching Phantom Menace the other day. I seem to remember the look on Anakin's face. I've been wondering, what are midichlorians?

I will show myself out.

Please do.  Don’t forget to take a complimentary pamphlet about the rant archives on the way out.  

What the World Was Watching: WCW Main Event – July 16, 1995

Eric Bischoff and Dusty Rhodes are doing commentary for today’s Bash at the Beach pre-show broadcast that is originating live from Huntington Beach, California.  The camera shot of fans on the beach surrounding the ring makes for a great visual.

Read moreWhat the World Was Watching: WCW Main Event – July 16, 1995

WWE Random Name Generator

You've joked in the past about the WWE Random Name Generator giving new wrestlers their goofy ass new names. I understand it (make their own copyright), but thankfully they've lightened up on that & let guys use their old gimmicks.

Are there any of these re-brand names you can think of that actually doomed the wrestler, in a "they will never get over with this name regardless of how good" way? Or is there always a case of a wrestler can get any name over?
I tell ya, Kerwin White was a kiss of death right from the get go.  A lot of them are really, really bad now, though.  Especially the new guys in that NXT tournament.  WOOF.  One of them actually had to change his name to Dexter something, right?  Or Eric Bugenhagen is now named after boogers.  I suppose you can overcome it, but I don't trust them to be allowed to do so anymore.

Wear A Raincoat

So Fyter Fest is this weekend, and Moxley/Janela is really interesting to me.

How brutal do you think they'll be allowed to go, knowing that it's the first fully free AEW show for the general public being played in front of a crowd that's mostly there for a gaming convention?

Keep in mind that Renee Young reported that Mox was watching Necrobutcher tapes a few weeks ago.
I'm hoping they go the fun brawl route, but especially with Janela you never know.  I think they are aware that it's not much of a "wrestling" crowd there, though, and it won't be anything too insane. 

Fwd: Pro-Wrestling: EVE Plug

Hey Scott,

It'd be super cool to get a plug for EVE's WrestleQueendom II show that's coming up June 30th at 16:00 BST (that's 8:00 PST, work it out from there). It's just 10 bucks a month for their subscription service and they produce some absolutely great wrestling if you're looking for a real alternative to the humdrum of WWE.

If you're unaware of what they're about, they're an all-woman British wrestling promotion that has been the launching ground for a shit-ton of top-notch female wrestlers. EVE has helped the careers of Paige, Nikki Cross, Toni Storm, Piper Niven, and basically the entirety of the women on NXT: UK.

Thanks for the plug and I hope to see some of us here for that show.

I don't think I can make it, but there you go.  People might like a link, tho.  

The SmarK Rant for WWE Stomping Grounds 2019–06.23.19

The SmarK Rant for WWE Stomping Grounds 2019 -06.23.19

Live from Tacoma, WA in the “cavernous” Tacomadome. It would be less cavernous if they had a full crowd, I bet.

Your hosts are Michael Cole and his merry band of idiots, who were REALLY annoying tonight.  Corey Graves just needs to learn when to SHUT UP already.

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for WWE Stomping Grounds 2019–06.23.19

I think we should talk about Women’s Wrestling

We live in a world where a WrestleMania that had 2 heavyweight title bouts and Brock Lesnar, a legitimate All-World athlete, yet it featured a novice pro wrestler who was barely a year into their training and the 4th wheel of NXT’s women’s division. For someone in my age group, who grew up on the WWF product as it was, the Women’s Brand of Professional wrestling has come a long way since April 2, 2006.

Read moreI think we should talk about Women’s Wrestling

Stomping Grounds 2019

Stomping Grounds 2019
Date: June 23, 2019
Location: Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, Washington
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips, Renee Young

It’s the show that no one was asking for, featuring a bunch of rematches from the show that fans didn’t want to watch in the first place. The big question here is who will be the guest referee in the Universal Title match with Baron Corbin challenging Seth Rollins. I’m not sure what to expect here, though everything outside of the main events doesn’t look too bad actually. Let’s get to it.

Read moreStomping Grounds 2019

TJR Retro: WWF Raw Deal 06/26/00 Review (The Rock vs. Kurt Angle vs. Triple H)

The King of the Ring 2000 PPV saw The Rock become the new WWF Champion and Kurt Angle won the King of the Ring tournament. Edge and Christian also won back the WWF Tag Team Titles. This Raw signified a change in direction for WWE. The heel McMahon-Helmsley group had dominated TV for months, but that was about to change. I’m excited to go through the second half of 2000 again. I remember a lot of good things happening.

The synopsis for this episode on WWE Network is: “Shawn Michaels returns to introduce the new Commissioner of WWE. Plus, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, and many more in action!”

Read moreTJR Retro: WWF Raw Deal 06/26/00 Review (The Rock vs. Kurt Angle vs. Triple H)

ECW on Sci-Fi 05/19/2009 #154

Judgement Day 2009: Christian vs. Jack Swagger (ECW Title)

Uh oh, we’re in the European Title Match No-One Asked for slot on the PPV but luckily Christian gets a tremendous pop that is far bigger than the brand he’s representing.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi 05/19/2009 #154

I mean, honestly…

Hey Scott! Thanks for taking the time to answer e-mails, hope you're well. 

When I look over the schedule of the upcoming G1 Climax, I can't help but be struck by the staggering amount of great wrestling we'll be getting over that month or so. And the most astonishing part is that there's going to be great wrestling going on everywhere else in the world too.

The worldwide talent pool has become so deep and so diverse that it really does feel like The Best Time Ever to be a Wrestling Fan. Access to the art (both in a logistical and economic sense) has never been easier or more widespread. The demand for professional wrestling is so great that AEW looks ready to do gangbusters as a second major North American promotion.

So…is right now, in fact, the best time ever to be a wrestling fan? The only counterargument I can think of is that the "main" product of the largest promotion in the world is consistently terrible…and perhaps the fact that said promotion is strangling Indy wrestling in Europe…and also that they're in bed with murderous fascists…but hey, things are pretty great otherwise!

All the best!
It's pretty staggering how much content there is to watch on the WWE Network alone.  And as you note, if you get tired of their product, there's always NXT and NXT UK on there.  Or New Japan World and their staggering library of classic content.  Or hell, there's tons of free stuff on and YouTube.  It used to be the that tape traders had to trawl all over the internet for glimpses of the hot new thing.  Now I can type "Orange Cassidy" into YouTube and get a highlight reel in 10 seconds.  
However, I'd still have to vote for 96-2000 as the best time overall.  There was a sense of thrill and excitement to the Monday Night Wars that I don't think we're ever gonna see again. 


Watched Crockett Cup 86 and really enjoyed the Fantastics vs Sheepherders brawl. 

Was there ever any consideration for this version of the Sheepherders to appear in the WWE instead of the kid friendlier version?

Is size the main reason The Fantastics never had a run in the WWE. I feel cheated we never got a Hart Foundation vs Fantastics match.

Also, Bruce Pritchard was doing the ring announcing for this show. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

God, I gotta watch this show.
Yeah, Bruce started out as a ring announcer.  
Fantastics were definitely too small for Vince.  I don't think they even got a call from the WWF. 
And no, the Sheepherders were always envisioned as the wacky comedy act.  They were quite happy to collect the merch money and have easier matches night after night, from what I understand. 

Lost Matches

Hey Scott, any chance we see the Benoit tryout match vs Owen Hart match? I think it was a Raw taping in 95. There is also a Shotgun Saturday Night match with One Man Gang and Terry Funk winning the US title from Jarrett in Texas that would be cool to see.

They're not adding any more Benoit matches to the Network, or probably Owen matches for that matter.  I'm not really clear on what your second sentence is trying to say, to be honest.  

Bret Hart in 1996

When Bret Hart was gone from the WWF after dropping the Championship to Shawn Michaels at W.M. 12 for several months before coming back in the Fall of that year, was he not under contract to the company?  I seem to remember on a live episode of Raw them playing up if Hart was going to re-sign or go to WCW.  I recall when Bret said he was staying, they cut to Vince McMahon on commentary who had a "Whew!" expression.  I'm assuming this was storyline mixed with a little real life?  I couldn't see Vince giving him a live mic just to announce he was going to the competition if he wasn't already signed with him.  

Man, you need to watch Wrestling with Shadows.  It will blow your mind.  

The SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling–03.22.85

(Unfortunately the WWE Network was down on Saturday night when I went to do a rant for this morning, so we might as well carry on with Mid-South because I had already done the next episode, back when they first started adding the Watts footage to the Network in 2015.  I can only hope it’s still down on Sunday night for the PPV.) 

The SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling – 03.22.85

Taped from Shreveport, LA

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Joel Watts

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling–03.22.85