Pirate Plug Request

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: "Jason Schlafstein" > Hey Scott –
>
> Huge fan since the Wrestleline and Rantsylvania days
>
> I'm the Artistic Director of a theater company in Washington DC – Flying V (Mighty Ducks reference intended). We do a lot of offbeat and original plays inspired by Genre Fiction, Comic Books, Wrestling, and other subjects I think BoDers would be into. Next up is our biggest show yet, a Pirate play called The Pirate Laureate of Port Town. We're doing a Kickstarter to try and raise the $6,000 we need to put it up and pay our artists, and we have a fun video that explains everything on there. If you wouldn't mind putting up a plug for any leftover Paul Burchill fans, I'd really appreciate it. Every dollar helps.
>
> http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1643767658/the-pirate-laureate-of-port-town-by-zachary-ferneb
>
> Also thought you might like to know we started a "CANADIAN VIOLENCE clap*clap*clapclapclap" chant during the last Storm/Bennet match at the Baltimore ROH tapings. All credit to you.
>
> – Jason

Questions

I've got a few questions, that over the course of my 30 years of fandom, I've never understood.  Let's pick your brain…

My brain hurts enough after two days of trying to get Cyanogenmod running on my tablet.  Go easy on me.
1) What was the point of John Studd winning the '89 Rumble?  Was he in line for a push that didn't work out, or was this just intended to show that "anyone" could win?
He was in line for a big push, but then went and let them down by developing a crippling disease that killed him. 
2) I know that before the '93 King of the Ring PPV, there was an annual, one night tournament called the King of the Ring held in Providence, RI each year since the mid '80's.  What was the purpose of this when the results were never mentioned, the card wasn't promoted on TV nationally and no one was referred to as the King as a result of the event?
Nothing really, it was just a local event that was there to boost business for that town.  
3) Was there ever any discussion that you are aware of revolving anyone other than Flair being revealed as the Black Scorpion?  I know had originally wanted "The Angel of Death" guy from the indys, but once that didn't pan out, I always wondered why not go with Pillman (huge turn), Windham (so-so surprise) or Luger (meh, but would make sense). 

They wanted it to be a variety of people, including Dave Sheldon, Al Perez, and a few others, and the only one foolish enough to take the job was Flair in the end.  This is why you always come up with the endgame FIRST when you book this sort of thing.  
Thanks in advance for your time…have enjoyed your work for many, many years.  Hope you still enjoy covering wrestling as much and I still enjoy your writing about it.

Blog question

I'm watching the Top 50 Superstars documentary [asinine list, but I love wrestling documentaries].


Anyway, they're talking about Eddie, and in my opinion he has the greatest organic ascension to the top. It was over time that he got hotter, and hotter, and it
was all through his own doing, and he topped it off by having a 5 star match for the title.

So, the question is, your favorite organic rise to the top? The guy who earned it completely, AND had a great match to solidify it once and for all.

Why, HHH, of course.  No one ever laid down for him!

Mailbag question: Ruining the surprise?

Scott,


Long time reader, first time emailer.  One thing that really grinds my gears is when the WWE will announce a returning superstar, before their entrance music.  The old "Please welcome back blah blah blah blah…."  To me, that defeats the purpose of entrance music entirely and really robs the crowd of a great shocking moment.  Tonight was a perfect example with The New Age Outlaws and Flair returning and presenting Slammy's, but it seems to happen all the time even with guys who haven't been gone that long.  Are they just afraid the crowd won't react "properly"?  I realize their audience has a large demographic of kids… but yeesh.
Yeah, I've long been a fan of the surprise run-in return, rather than WWE's ratings-focused "We'll surprise you but make sure we build it up BEFORE the commercial break" approach.  The worst was Eric Bischoff's debut in 2002, where they spoiled their own surprise before the break when it should have been one of the biggest moments in wrestling history.  People still remember Warrior running down at Wrestlemania 8 even after the shitty match.  
The irony here is that they're obsessed with swerving and surprising us for the sake of it, but they spoil their own surprises by putting pictures of title changes on WWE.com in advance and announcing big returns in advance so they don't risk losing the ratings.  It's a weird contradiction in philosophy.

4* Review Site Re-Plugged

So we haven't plugged this site in a very long time and it's still up and running strong and has been re-updated as of yesterday and revised to include all of the new content running through December 31, 2012. For the curious, I update the site ever six months (usually at the end of June and at the end of the year). Swing by, check it out and sign the guestbook, if you like. Thanks for the plug.

I've used the site more than a few times myself.  Keep up the good work!

Trainers


Is there a specific trainer or school that you have noticed has produced better workers? Or does it nor matter?

Well, clearly the Jim Cornette/Danny Davis version of OVW had a pretty good track record, producing Cena and Batista and a few other guys you might have heard about.  Davis in general seems to have an awesome track record in recent history.

Snake Roberts books Georgia Championship Wrestling

So I'm re-watching the Jake the Snake DVD (because sometimes the holiday season just isn't depressing enough as is) and there's a segment where the Brisco's hire Jake to book Georgia. How did this come about? Was Jake any good at it? Does anything stand out specifically? Was Jake really going to take over for Pat Patterson in the WWF? 

Jake was apparently quite talented when he wasn't stoned out of his mind.  In fact, when he made his comeback to the WWF in 1996, part of his deal was booking Shotgun Saturday Night, so yeah, they were definitely grooming him for bigger things there.  I don't know any specifics of his time in Georgia as far as booking the shows because that was well before my time, but he was supposed to be pretty good.

WrestleCrap.com Relaunches

Hi Scott-

Hope all is well with you!
Just a heads up that our relaunch has, err, relaunched.  Here's the press release:
WrestleCrap.com, The World's Longest-Running Pro Wrestling Comedy Site, Relaunches Indianapolis, IN –Following months of preparation, WrestleCrap.com has relaunched, offering visitors more laughs at the often goofy world of pro wrestling than ever before.  The site was started on April 1, 2000, and now, fueled by additional columnists, features, and a completely new look, the site is posed to continue its reign as the longest running episodic…oh come now, do you think we'd steal that line from Vince? "I've not been this excited since November 22, 1990" says WrestleCrap founder RD Reynolds. "That was the night I was in the Hartford Civic Center to watch a giant egg open at a pro wrestling show.  Why, exactly, I was excited to see a giant egg open at a pro wrestling show I do not know.  I do hope that people enjoy our new site more than what came out of the egg.  Because that really sucked." Feel free to join the fun at…http://www.wrestlecrap.com/ Contact:

RD Reynolds

TNA Completely Overhauls PPV Structure

Source

TNA IMPACT WRESTLING today announced a new worldwide Pay-Per-View
programming initiative for 2013. The 52 annual episodes of IMPACT
WRESTLING on SpikeTV will lead to four, live epic Pay-Per-View events
commencing with “Genesis” on January 13th, “Lockdown” on March 10th,
“Slammiversary” on June 9 and “Bound For Glory” on October 13th.

In addition, seven Pay-Per-View specials that will be branded as “TNA
Wrestling: One Night Only,” series will debut in April 2013 and
continue throughout the year during the additional months. The
3-hour taped Pay-Per-View specials will premiere on the first Friday of
each month. The first two “One Night Only” specials will be “Joker’s
Wild Tag Team Tournament” and “X-travaganza” which will feature the
X-Division.

“The Pay-Per-View industry has changed so much in the last decade,” says
TNA President Dixie Carter. “The traditional pay-per-view wrestling
model needed to evolve and we believe this strategy will positively
impact not only the Pay-Per-View events but the weekly television
programming as well.”

Given how lame some of their B level shows are, I can’t say I’m complaining.

Thoughts about this?

NXT – January 9, 2013

NXT
Date:
January 9, 2013
Location:
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators:
William Regal, Tom Phillips
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The
main story tonight is Seth Rollins of the Shield defending the title
against Big E. Langston, the unstoppable monster that seemed to scare
the Shield away last week. That’s the kind of basic yet logical
storytelling you don’t get on the main shows anymore. It should be
interesting to see where they go with this, especially with Langston
playing a heel on Raw now. Let’s get to it.

The
opening video recaps the title match. It’s No DQ tonight apparently.
Yoshi
Tatsu/Percy Watson vs. Wyatt Family
We
get to hear Bray cut one of his awesome promos, talking about how
he’ll bite the head off a snake just to taste its poisons. He tells
his family to make him proud and the visual of the three of them
together is pretty awesome looking. The Family is Erick Rowan and
Luke Harper in case you’ve forgotten. Wyatt sits down in his rocking
chair on the stage and we’re ready go to.
Yoshi
and Harper start but Luke beats him down very quickly and brings in
Rowan. Off to Watson who fires off some clotheslines and a dropkick
to knock Erick to a knee. That’s about the extent of his luck though
as Erick chokes away and Harper cheats a bit as well. Back to Harper
who pounds away on Watson’s back and tags in Rowan for a neck crank.

Percy
finally fights out and tags out to Tatsu for the comeback. Yoshi
fires off kicks and chops to Harper and a Shining Wizard for two.
Harper drills Watson again but gets kicked in the head by Tatsu.
Yoshi misses a top rope spinwheel kick and a discus lariat gets the
pin for Harper at 4:12.
Rating:
C-. Just an extended squash
here but the Wyatt Family plays these characters so well that it’s
hard to not enjoy these matches. Watson and Tatsu seemed to have
some potential back in the day but now they’re the jobbiest jobbers
that ever lived. Ok maybe that’s a bit extreme but they’re lucky to
even get spots like these.
Emma
vs. Paige
Emma
is Australian and dances a lot. Paige gets a HUGE pop, easily the
loudest I’ve heard for a Diva in years. A Paige chant starts things
up and Emma gets thrown down by the hair. Emma comes back with a low
dropkick for a delayed two as Regal sings Paige’s praises. The
dropkick might have hurt Paige’s knee and thankfully Emma works it
over a bit. Back to the dancing as Regal continues to be confused by
it. Off to a half crab which makes sense as Emma is a Lance Storm
student. Paige kicks away and hits the Paige Turner out of nowhere
for the pin at 2:42. Her popularity continues to impress me.
Epico/Primo
vs. Michael McGillicutty/Bo Dallas
Set
it up last week, pay it off this week. Michael saved Bo last week
from a double beatdown in case you’re new around here. McGillicutty
and Primo start things off and it’s a quick standoff. The fans want
Rosa who is absent tonight. Michael easily takes it to the mat and
cranks on a headlock. Primo fights out and tags in Epico who
immediately gets put in a headlock of his own. Back to Primo and he
gets headlocked down as well. Primo fights up and is almost
immediately puts in a third headlock. Well you can’t say they’re
inconsistent.
Regal
says that Bo and Michael could become “one of the greatest tag
teams of all time.” I know I ask for less realism in wrestling but
that’s a stretch even for me. We take a break and come back with
Dallas holding Epico in a chinlock. Dallas pounds away in the corner
but Epico finally escapes and gets Bo in trouble in the corner.
Primo hits a running crotch attack to Dallas in a 619 position for
two before it’s off to Epico for a chinlock.
Dallas
fights out but gets rammed right back into the heel corner for more
of the beating he’s taking. The cousins hit a Russian
legsweep/spinning leg sweep (Saturn’s half of Total Elimination) for
no cover before it’s back to Epico for more stomping. Primo
accidentally dropkicks his cousin and there’s the hot tag to
McGillicutty. A lariat and Saito Suplex put Primo down as everything
breaks down. In the confusion, Primo hits a Backstabber on
McGillicutty for the pin at 9:48 shown of 13:18.
Rating:
C-. Again not a great match but
it certainly wasn’t that bad. McGillicutty continues to be a guy
that should be getting bigger spots than he’s in at the moment, but
as long as his name is Michael McGillicutty, that’s simply not going
to happen. I don’t get the need to have him pinned here, especially
given how much Regal puts him over on commentary.
NXT
Title: Seth Rollins vs. Big E. Langston
No
DQ and Rollins is defending. Rollins doesn’t have music yet. After
the big match intros we’re ready to go. Langston grabs a kick and
shoves Rollins down to start, freaking Seth out. The champion grabs
a front facelock and gets shoved into the corner for some shoulder
blocks. Langston misses a charge into the corner and hits the post,
but immediately comes back with a gorilla press to send Rollins to
the floor.
Langston
goes after him but here are Reigns and Ambrose for the triple
beatdown. Big E. gets sent into the steps as we take a break. Back
with both guys in the ring again with Rollins firing off kicks to the
ribs. Rollins hooks a triangle choke but Langston fights up and hits
an electric chair drop to escape. The crowd is ENTIRELY behind
Langston here as he fires off clotheslines. A double clothesline
takes down Ambrose and Reigns but they run in again to break up the
Big Ending.
Some
guys from the locker room come out to try to stop the non-champions
of the Shield but are quickly dispatched. Eventually about 15 guys
come out and FINALLY clear them out, leaving it one on one. Rollins
hits the standing Sliced Bread for two and the kickout scares him to
death. He loads it up again, but Langston catches him on his
shoulder and the Big Ending gives Langston the title at 6:38 shown of
10:08.
Rating:
C+. The match itself wasn’t
much, but the run-ins were handled perfectly, making this feel like a
huge moment and a nearly Attitude Era style main event. I also
really like the idea of not having Langston beat up the Shield on his
own as it keeps things a bit more realistic given how strong Shield
has been pushed. Not a great match, but really good booking of a
title change.
The
locker room comes to the ring to celebrate with Langston.
Overall
Rating:
B-. This is one of
those shows where the earlier stuff wasn’t that great, but at the end
of the day it doesn’t really matter. This was all about Langston
winning the title and they pulled that part off quite well. I’m
pretty sure this was the last episode in this batch of tapings, so
starting next week we should be able to see where things are headed.
Good show this week, as usual.
Results
Wyatt
Family b. Yoshi Tatsu/Percy Watson – Discus Lariat to Tatsu
Paige
b. Emma – Paige Turner
Primo/Epico
b. Michael McGillicutty/Bo Dallas – Backstabber to McGillicutty
Big
E. Langston b. Seth Rollins – Big Ending
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

LoW Roundtable Re-Rant: Factions

Obviously the topic of this show is about the factions, stables, regimes, cliques, factgimes, alliances, corporations, unions, armies and cartels that made wrestling great for so many years.

Enjoy.

Legends of Wrestling: Factions

Hosted by Gene Okerlund and the panel is: Tazz, Jim Ross, Mick Foley and….Ric Flair (this should be fun). Okerlund quickly teases Mick for his attire today.

JR defines a faction as three or more individuals that hang around long enough to get credibility and crowd identity.

Flair calls the Horsemen a faction and says within that there were two groups of Horsemen that really defined that (Funny thing is everyone considers the Flair/Blanchard/AA/Windham version the best of the bunch but when they speak of that second group you are never sure if it’s Ole or Luger since both men have an equal share of detractors. I remember more of the Flair/Blanchard/AA/Luger group and everyone was making more money by then so I would put that group second.) Mick jumps in with the mandatory Paul Roma quip and Flair says, no, neither he nor Sid Vicious were Horseman. Fair enough (Everyone wants to forget them anyway).

Mick’s history in Factions started with Skandar Akbar’s Devastation Inc., which he described as a revolving faction because they had rotating members and were used to give a new guy instant credibility. Flair quickly disagrees and says DI was a ‘stable’ (Oh lord). Foley mentions he was also in Robert Fuller’s Stud Stable.

Tazz says the major faction in ECW was The Triple Threat. They were over and people hated them and they were the guys to get the group over the best. He mentions the bWo as a comedy Faction and Flair quickly shits on Douglas by saying he works at Wal-Mart (after last night’s debacle I’m hoping he didn’t quit his day job — the original rant was done the day after Douglas’ reunion show in Philly, hence that reference) Tazz acknowledges that Douglas hasn’t always been nice to Flair.

Okerlund talks about the “Faction fueds” and mentions the Survivor Series and War Games. Ross wonders why the WWE hasn’t started using the War Games concept (you and I both, buddy). He talks about the heels always winning the coin toss. Ross says it was a great way to blow off a storyline and there was great TV leading up to it.

(Clip of Road Warrior Hawk cutting a pre-War Games promo. I loved his promos back in the day.)

And the cast of characters talk about the Match Beyond. We’ve got Michael Hayes, Triple H and Dusty (of course, it was his idea or at least he takes credit for it). Dusty goes into describing the psychology of the match, which as Scott put it, when the heels had the advantage it was gloom and doom for the faces but the minute the sides were even the faces dominated so the heat segments were all two minutes followed by awesome comebacks. Dusty talks about how Arn Anderson’s ability to work the match from beginning to end was a major reason for the success. Paul Ellering adds in some comments of his own.

Ross says the WWE is missing the boat by not having a strong faction and says that all the successful factions could spin out a star.

Foley talks about when The Rock joined the Nation and that gave him the platform to refine his skills and take off into the stratosphere. They follow with a clip of Rock running down the nWo at No Way Out 2002 for no other reason than it’s still very funny. Back to the Horsemen, Flair said the genius behind the group was there were four guys that could wrestle and talk and celebrated excess. Ross says it was the natural chemistry that separated them from the pack. That chemistry was consistent in and out of the ring. The more short-term factions were ones that were only together for TV.

Tazz asks Flair who are the REAL four Horsemen and Flair says the Windham group was the best. Ole was great but he drifted off for a while. Flair talks about that group as being ultra-competitive among each other and quietly challenged each other to have the best match.

Mick says the most memorable faction in his mind was the nWo. Mick said they forced the WWE to get better and to change their ways. Mick talked about a backstage meeting where Vince admitted that his ideas might not be cutting it in 1997 and encouraged guys to inject more of their own personalities like Steve Austin did. Mick said eventually the group outlived its usefulness but for a few moments it was magic. Mick said the fans miss those interview segments when a group like the Horseman would speak about their matches for 6-7 minutes and could get fans excited about three different programs. That’s a great point.

Flair said the nWo was created in Japan and Bischoff took credit for. In his words it was compiled of average and slightly above-average talent and they were put over everyone on the roster every night. Flair said the Horsemen never won anything but that didn’t change their direction (actually they won War Games 1991). His point was the Horseman made their progress through interviews and talking points but the nWo had to beat everyone to stay credible and eventually it destroyed the company (on re-watch that’s a very interesting point as the Horsemen did take far more lumps over the course of their run.)

Tazz’s favorite faction was The Varsity Club. Interesting. He wasn’t sure how Kevin fit in with these great college athletes but it worked and of course it begat the Steiner Brothers so new stars were made (watching about 1/3 of the 1988 NWA Worldwide shows on YouTube before they were removed gave me a new appreciation for the Varsity Club, they were hilarious.)

(There’s a clip of a strange but funny interview between Magnum T.A. and Rick Steiner)

Ross talks about the vignette of Steiner going on his first date but they DON’T MENTION WHO IT’S WITH (It was with a young lady named ‘Woman’, also known as Nancy Sullivan and later Nancy Benoit).

Ross goes back into the Horsemen and talks about how they did have to wrestle a lot of different people and adjust their style. He talks about Arn and Tully having a great series with the Midnight Express in matches that will never be seen (and FUCK YOU Crockett! because one of those matches should have headlined the undercard of a 1988 PPV.)

But Ross loves the original DX and of course Triple H spun out of that group and became a mega star. In it’s origin Shawn Michaels was the star of the group and eventually guys like the New Aged Outlaws became stars because they were able to show their personality.

(Clip of DX doing their parody of The Nation in 1998. Funny stuff.)

Flair talks about Evolution and said if he were 35 they would still be together. Flair said he couldn’t afford to eat with Hunter or party like Batista and Orton liked to. Flair said the key to the success of those factions was when they dispersed they were just as successful individually. Flair said if the Horseman were in WWF it would have been even greater. He said he ran the Horseman on his budget. In the WWF he would have had Vince’s budget and better production.

Ross goes to the Brood, which of course spawned Edge and Christian. They weren’t main eventers together but they got a ton of TV time. Mick said that Gangrel was supposed to be the star of the Brood but he couldn’t talk and when Edge got the change to grab the stick during one of the Gangrel’s bumbling sessions he took over the reins and eventually became the star.

Okerlund says one of the worst factions he can remember were the West Texas Rednecks (which I totally disagree with because Perfect somehow made it work.)

Mick talks about the various forms of The Dungeon of Doom and that it was basically a group of Hogan’s friends like Ed Leslie and John Tenta all banded against him. Mick says the worst faction he was part of was “The Union” which was a very very very short-lived grouping of him, Shamrock, Test, Big Show and Vince McMahon (the clip of them walking to the ring, with Test wearing a FUBU jersey is fucking hilarious). Mick jokingly says that his contract specifically states that The Union was a WWE properly.

Tazz says his worst group was “The Cabinet” with JBL and Orlando Jordan and Amy Weber. He said it just didn’t work.

Flair says the nWo was the worst faction and the worst thing that happened to the business (WHAT?!?!?! Give me a fucking break. I’m pretty sure the nWo had quite a positive effect on the business’ bottom line for a while.) Flair still blames the nWo for the destruction of the business due to the selfish nature of the participants, which I can agree with, but I can’t blame the nWo for the end of the business but rather a poorly run company that didn’t respond well when the WWF regained its footing. The goal of the business is to provide an entertaining product and make money for the company and the workers, the nWo did that pretty well for a couple of years.

Ross has three – The No-Limit Soldiers (Ouch), Tazz and Foley can’t help but laugh as Ross rips this group. The Oddities, which spun from the Howard Stern stuff but Tazz says the Oddities was at least entertaining (man John Tenta is taking a beating on this show) and JR’s final group was The Spirit Squad. Foley liked them (I liked them too in a campy way) but Ross said they were comedians. Flair says they were too young and immature but they wanted to be there and tried their hardest. Foley wonders why they were disbanded so quickly. Ross just said they weren’t at the level of the guys they were booked to wrestle with (well no shit, they were booked with DX and Flair). But Flair said they wanted to learn and get better and got cut off a little early (Ironically it was supposed to be a vehicle for Kenny to emerge as a big star but it turned out Nicky was the guy who took the ball and ran with it as Dolph Ziggler). Probably the highlight discussion of this episode so far.

(Clips of a DX/Flair vs. Spirit Squad match on RAW)

Flair relays a story about Horseman shenanigans from The Crockett Cup. Typical stuff, if you’ve heard one Horseman story you’ve pretty much heard them all.

Ross has a story of he and Flair drinking prior to a flight to Charleston, West Virginia and the flight attendant in first class is flirting with them (mostly Flair since Ross is drunk) but near the end Ross and the attendant exchange information and she ends up becoming Ross’ wife (I love the idea of a drunken Ross throwing that Oklahoma game on some sexy stewardess.)

Tazz tells a story about hearing stories about Flair and his antics in hotel lobbies.

Okerlund wants top three factions:

Foley: Varsity Club and he clowns on Rotunda going from Varsity Club captain to “Sailor” captain Mikey. Ross says you didn’t want to screw with the Varsity Club because Steiner, Rotunda and Dr. Death could hurt you. Foley also mentions Hot Stuff & Hyatt International and of course the Horsemen.

Flair says Horsemen, Freebirds and Evolution. He goes into the Freebirds and just says they were one of the greatest, more entertaining groups ever. Foley mentions the WWE World Class DVD and the far better independent one and says how it gave him such an appreciation for Buddy Roberts. Flair said Roberts had a great head for the business.

(Clip of a Freebirds promo in WCCW).

Tazz said the Freebirds were innovators. Flair says he believes Michael Hayes and Cher were an item for a while. Flair says the entrance music branded Dallas as the territory that came up with the entrance music first (thank god Hayes wasn’t part of this panel, he and Flair would have just argued over which Faction was better.)

Tazz’s list is Freebirds, The Original DX and the Horsemen. Tazz admits to Flair he wanted to be a Horseman but they would never have a Horseman from Brooklyn.

JR’s list is Horsemen and the 1997 Hart Foundation, he talks about the atmosphere at the Canadian Stampede and how it such a incredible event.

(Clips of the 10-man tag from that card with Austin having an amazing performance, one of the best in his career in my opinion. He fed more off that crowd than the Harts.)

JR’s final one is the original DX and he liked them because of the end result with Triple H becoming the big star and then later making stars out of the New Age Outlaws when that wasn’t the original plan.

And they pretty much close after that.

The Bottom Line: I’d go out of my way for any of these because they are all very good in their own way but this one is on the lower scale of the roundtables.

10 Dream Matches that Actually Happened

http://www.wwe.com/classics/classic-lists/10-dream-matches-that-actually-happened


Interesting list. I'd buy it if it were a DVD, especially that Flair/Angle match (which I remember as being very good).

They need to format it Cracked-style and call it "10 Impossible Dream Matches (That Actually Happened!)" for maximum effect, but yeah WWE.com has been pumping out some nerd-riffic lists recently and I'm liking it.  God bless WCW Saturday Night for producing random weirdness and great matches over the years.

Question for the Blog – SCSA Title Reign

Hi Scott,


Quick question for the blog:

Recently, Kevin Sullivan posted an entry on his blog rewriting the history of the WWE Championship (http://kevinsullivanbooks.com/2012/11/26/rewriting-history-wwe-championship/). He has Steve Austin winning the title against Shawn Michaels at WM 14 on 3/29/98 and not losing the title until 2/25/01 against the Rock at No Way Out. My question is, would a near 3 year title reign have worked during the Attitude Era & Monday Night Wars? It seems to me that given the number of PPV's as well as the need to win the ratings war, a title reign of that length would be impossible. Your thoughts?

Thanks for your time!

CPZ

Not to mention that Austin was injured several times and the poor guy needed time off so as not to kill himself in the ring.  3 years of Austin as champion would have been immensely boring and there probably would have been a backlash against him from the fans.  Austin worked as the top guy precisely because he WAS beatable and didn't always come out of the big match on top.  He was a regular guy.  

Clash of the Champions #35 – August 21, 1997

Standard warming about how old this is applies.
Clash
of the
Champions 35
Date: August 21,
1997
Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville,
Tennessee
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Dusty
Rhodes
Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Clash of the Champions more or less was WCW’s
Saturday Night’s Main Event. They started it up to go head to head
with Wrestlemania 4 and actually put a solid dent in it. The show
went on for 9 years but by the end no one cared at all. The show was
just worthless as there was already two hours of television a week so
in essence we were just getting an extra Nitro two weeks a year,
which is why this is the final one.

As for current
storylines, this is at the height of the NWO’s power but Sting is
looming. I think you know the story there. The main event is Luger
and DDP vs. Savage and Hall. See what I mean about how this just
isn’t that interesting of a show? Let’s get to it.

The
opening video just runs down the card. Other than the stupid tag team
main event this sounds pretty decent.

We get a clip of Dillon
saying that Sting has until Thursday to make his demands as Sting had
ripped up two contracts with match offers in them. Sting came through
the crowd and got in the ring and the fans chanted Hogan. Sting
pointed to the fans who were chanting it. This angle was freaking
sweet as hell. And then Hogan and his ego just had to kill it
dead.

US Title: Jeff
Jarrett vs. Steve
McMichael

Jarrett used to be a Horsemen and stole
McMichael’s wife Debra so Mongo wants to get the title to get some
revenge or something. This was the epitome of a feud that no one
wanted to see but would never die. Mongo is a Horsemen here meaning
we get to hear the sweetest theme music of all time. Jarrett was
neither interesting nor good at this time whereas Mongo never was
either of those things so we’ll give it to…damn who do we give
this one to?

Actually let’s just hope this ends fast. We
take a break and come back with Jarrett throwing Mongo into the steps
(His name was Steve Mongo McMichael in case you were wondering).
Debra chokes him and I still couldn’t care less. The WCW midcard
just completely sucked and while we were having Owen vs. Austin
followed by Rock vs. Austin in WWF at this point for the IC belt,
this just doesn’t hold up. Jarrett puts on a sleeper as a great
visual representation for this match.

Mongo gets his own and
Debra gets up on the apron. For no apparent reason Eddie Guerrero
runs out with a belt and goes up top but hits Jarrett by mistake.
Mongo covers for the title with ease. Debra tries to get him back and
fails at it.

Rating: D+. At least it was short. These
two feuded forever and no one cared ever. It just wasn’t
interesting at all but they thought they could just slap the Horsemen
name on it and get a good reaction from it through the south. There
wasn’t much here though so the time was good if nothing else. Mongo
held it for less than a month before Hennig turned heel and took
it.

Alex Wright comes out and speaks in English and Gene warns
him to speak in English which was stupid as hell. It’s as simple of
a promo as you could ask for. He has Ultimo Dragon tonight.

Gene
is with the guys from a show called Dinner and a Movie. In essence
they showed a movie and made food with a play on words of the movie
title. It was an ok idea but why are these guys on a wrestling show?
There’s your problem with WCW right there: too much corporate
interference.

Stevie Richards vs.
Raven

Raven “didn’t have a contract” at this
point and insisted on wrestling only in No DQ matches. This is a
grudge match or something as Richards was tired of Raven pushing him
around. Richards had allegedly had a career ending neck injury but
miraculously healed and showed up in WCW a few weeks later. They
point out Raven’s ankle issue as he has a thing on his shoe to
balance out the fact that his right leg is shorter than his left.

The Raven drop toehold hits to the chair as this is just a
squash match so far. He throws in a bulldog onto the chair for good
measure. Richards comes back with some decent stuff but at the end of
the day he remembers he’s Steven Richards and the other guy is
Raven and the best DDT other than Jake Roberts (who trained Raven)
ends it.

Rating: C+. It was a squash and a quick one at
that so we’ll just call it a bit above average for the DDT, which
is the coolest move in history. Richards would be gone in like two
weeks or so.

We get a cool video about Ultimo Dragon,
explaining a bit of his history and his name. WCW hit the ball so far
out of the park with this division that it’s insane. The name was
called Ultimate Dragon but that was incorrect, as it was supposed to
be Ultimo Dragon: Final Dragon, as in the final student of Bruce Lee,
who he emulated in the ring. That’s the kind of thing that you just
never get in WWE and it’s why the cruiserweights worked so well.

That and they never took them seriously. The shot of the
J-Crown (8 titles from around the world which were defended on WCW
television and included a WWF light heavyweight title that was active
for 20 years but only in Japan, meaning that a WWF Title was defended
on WCW television multiple times in 1996 and 1997) titles being piled
up is just awesome.

TV Title: Ultimo
Dragon vs. Alex
Wright

When Dragon won the title a few weeks prior,
it was the match where no one talked about the match whatsoever other
than the final three count as the whole match was nothing but talking
about the NWO. At the end they more or less said hey we have a new
champion! Now back to what we were talking about. It was just
ridiculous how that was all they talked about.

Wright was a
guy that they tried so hard to push but it just never played out like
they wanted it to. He was this young hotshot that was somewhat over
as a face so of course they turned him heel and no one cared after
that. Dragon really was underrated in the ring. In WWE they just
threw him into the cruiserweight division and let him die off because
that division sucked so hard it was pathetic. These two feuded for
the better part of a year and I don’t think anyone ever cared.

There was no focus at all on the title or anything as it was
always about the NWO. Dragon gets the Asai moonsault that he invented
and does better than anyone else. The commentary is all about them as
well which is NICE. We hit a very nice ending sequence as they fight
over pins but Wright hits a SWEET German suplex for the pin and the
title.

Rating: B-. This was a good match but just
boring as hell. The problem was that while these two had good
matches, it’s Ultimo Dragon vs. Alex Wright. There’s just no heat
at all and it’s not a great matchup while being a good match if
that makes sense.

Cruiserweight Title:
Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris
Jericho

Eddie is challenging here and is freshly
full heel. Eddie’s cowardly heel stuff of running on his knees
always made me chuckle. How much commentary do you really need on a
Guerrero vs. Jericho cruiserweight match? The Canadian goes for that
running springboard dropkick to the guy on the apron that he uses a
lot but slips and botches it badly.

I guess once a year is
understandable. In a quick ending, they hit another fast series of
pinfalls but Jericho actually keeps Eddie down and gets the pin.
Eddie jumps him after the match.

Rating: C-. WAY too
short here but we just had to have Mongo and Jarrett earlier instead
of on Nitro right? The ending sequence was fun as always and these
two just flowed together pretty well. They needed more time though
and that’s why the grade is low.

Silver
King/Villano 4/Villano
5/
Psicosis vs. Super
Calo/Juventud Guerrera/Hector
Garza/Lismark Jr.

More
or less the idea here is go out there and do a bunch of flips like
you do every night without ever getting pushed more than a tiny bit
against each other. This is Lucha rules, meaning if someone goes to
the floor then they don’t have to make a tag for someone else to
come in. I used to hate Mike Tenay but he’s worth his weight in
gold here.

There’s no real point to saying who is in as
they move in and out so fast that it’s hard to keep up with them.
We hit the big pile on with everyone hitting their big over the top
rope until Psicosis hits the guillotine legdrop off the top onto
Super Calo for the pin.

Rating: B-. It was just over
the top and ridiculous which is what these guys did best. This was
very fun and it worked well as it always did. These guys were well
paid to go out there and just get the crowd going and that’s what
they always did.

The cooking guys join the NWO. Tonight is
their one year anniversary but Hogan isn’t here tonight because
he’s in Canada doing a Hollywood movie. That’s WCW for you. We go
to a commercial and come back to DDP Diamond Cutting one of the movie
guys.

Konnan/Syxx vs.
Ric Flair/Curt
Hennig

Hennig was kind of an associate Horseman at
the time but soon he would join the NWO and injure Flair. If there
was ever a guy tailor made to be in the Horsemen, it’s Hennig. Syxx
(X-Pac) more or less beats up Flair but we’ll ignore the pop he’s
getting for doing it. That doesn’t exist. Flair gets his knee
knocked out as Hennig hits the Fisherman’s Suplex on Konnan to get
the win. This was a five minute train wreck.

Rating:
C-. This was just insane and it felt like it was about two minutes
long instead of the five that it actually was. Hennig denies being a
Horsemen but also denies not being a Horsemen while only saying one
thing. He actually does this which is impressive.

He would go
heel soon enough in another dumb move because he was perfect for the
Horsemen. He had the look, he could talk, he was over, he had the
attitude and he was great in the ring. Naturally he was thrown into
the NWO and forgotten about.

WCW Tag
Titles: Lex Luger/DDP
vs. Randy Savage/Scott
Hall

About ten guys come out for the NWO and they
have their party for it being their birthday. Apparently Nash is
letting Savage defend his half of the tag titles for no apparent
reason. Yeah of course we just throw two guys together that have
never teamed together before (according to the ring announcer) and
give them a tag title shot.

In WWF they would have won the
titles. People keep popping the balloons that the NWO dropped so it
sounds like people keep shooting guns or something and it’s really
annoying. And for no apparent reason everyone other than Nash leaves.
It’s exactly what you would expect from a match where the titles
simply weren’t going to change hands.

The faces dominate
early on but then the heels take over to set up the hot tag. Luger
gets Hall in the rack but takes an accidental Diamond Cutter and gets
pinned. What else is there to say here?

Rating: C+.
It’s ok and that’s about it. What more do you want here? They had
an ok match that no one cared about on a show that not a lot of
people actually watched. Are you looking for something huge here?

We
come back and Bischoff talks forever and then the lights begin to
flicker. They go off and we see Sting in the rafters with a vulture.
The famous speech in a child’s voice follows and the lights go out
again and the bird is on the top rope. The NWO is terrified and Nash
pulls the belt back to swing it at him as we go off the air. Think
about how stupid this was for the live audience for a
minute.

Overall Rating: C-. You could see
that this was about the name of the show and nothing more. Yeah there
were four title matches but that happened at almost every Nitro. Yes
two titles changed hands but who cares? It’s just not an
interesting show as Nitro was lighting the world on fire on Mondays
on a weekly basis. Ten years earlier this was an awesome idea but
here it just didn’t hold up at all. Not bad, but only watch if you
like this time in WCW. Otherwise it’s nothing of note at all.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Monday Nitro – August 18, 1997

Monday
Nitro #101
Date: August 18, 1997
Location:
Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham, Alabama
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re about a month
away from Fall Brawl and the final traditional WarGames match with
WCW vs. the NWO. On top of that, we’ve got Sting vs. Hogan looming
which would be huge financially, but not so great critically. I’m
talking about the future so much because there isn’t much to talk
about in the next few weeks other than the final Clash of the
Champions a few days after this. Let’s get to it.

Raven reads us a poem
about ugly people to start things off.
Harlem Heat vs.
Vicious and Delicious
Buff and Ray start
things off with Buff running his mouth of course. A hiptoss shuts
him up for a bit but he comes back with a hiptoss of his own and some
posing. Ray still tries to shut him up, this time with a slam and a
tag off to his brother. Norton comes in as well to pound down
Booker, only to get kicked in the face a few times. Back to Ray who
gets grabbed by Buff to give the NWO a quick advantage. A few elbows
are dropped before one from the top by Buff misses. Everything
breaks down after the hot tag to Ray and Vincent comes in for the
fast DQ.
Rating: D+.
Nothing to see here as the Heat were out of the NWO’s league here and
Vincent continues to be nothing of note. The match was short too but
given that this is Nitro, I almost have to take the shorter ones just
to have something to rate. The Heat weren’t long for WCW though as
it would soon be Booker getting the big singles push.
Booker clears the ring
anyway.
Barbarian vs. Mortis
This feud isn’t exactly
lighting the world on fire but it’s nice to see a story getting to
run its course. During Mortis’ entrance, we hear about Jericho
winning the Cruiserweight Title on Saturday Night. Mortis kicks away
to start and pounds Barbarian down into the corner. Barbie misses a
charge into the post and Mortis hits a Fameasser off the middle rope
for two. The guy not in a mask comes back with a powerslam and
pounds Mortis down in the corner. Mortis goes up again but dives
into a powerslam for another two count. The Kick of Fear ends Mortis
a few seconds later. Wow Barbarian gets a clean win on Nitro.
That’s different.
Post match Wrath comes
in to take Barbarian out but Meng puts him in the Tongan Death Grip
to knock Wrath out.
Here’s the NWO for
their weekly chat. Bischoff is looking forward to the party on
Thursday because Larry Z and Giant can’t come near him. Apparently
Giant was arrested last week. Eric wants his own show for the NWO
and says he’ll see us Thursday. Just hyping the Clash here.
Flair and Hennig have
their weekly promo: “You’re a Horseman!” “No I’m not, but
we’ll win our tag match against the NWO anyway.” More Clash
hyping.
Stevie Richards vs.
Scotty Riggs
Richards charges to the
ring like a maniac. Riggs grabs the wrist to start before nearly
botching a monkey flip. A dropkick puts Richards on the floor but he
rams Scotty’s shoulder into the post to take over. Back in and a
sitout spinebuster gets two for Stevie but Scotty comes back with
some clotheslines. Richards loses his half shirt and gets caught in
a side slam for two. Raven jumps the railing as Stevie hits the
Stevie Kick for the pin.
Rating: D.
I guess this was to set up future stuff but that didn’t make this any
easier to get through. Riggs is just not that good and Richards is a
comedy character which doesn’t make for an interesting or good match
at all. Not much to see here but that would be the case for a lot of
Nitro matches.
Raven lays out Richards
with the Even Flow.
Eddie, Debra and
Jarrett make fun of the fans and tell Wright that he has to win the
TV Title if he wants to hang out with them.
The NWO says this
Thursday is going to be their birthday.
Chris Benoit/Steve
McMichael vs. Jeff Jarrett/Eddie Guerrero
Benoit and Guerrero
start things off with Chris taking over with a gorgeous suplex to
send Eddie crawling to Jeff. Jarrett won’t come in to face Mongo who
he faces for the US Title on Thursday. Mongo goes after Eddie
instead but Jeff sneaks in with a dropkick to the back of McMichael’s
knee. The heels start working over said knee with some Horsemen
style tactics. A Benoit distraction lets Mongo hit a three point
stance charge to take out Guerrero and make a hot tag. Everything
breaks down and Eddie has to break up the Crossface on Jeff. Mongo
blasts Jeff with the US Title to give Benoit the pin.
Rating: C+.
Short but very hot match here. I was hoping for more selling from
Mongo of the knee, but they didn’t work on it that long so it’s not
terrible I guess. As usual, the less Jeff Jarrett is involved in a
Jeff Jarrett match, the more exciting that match becomes. He would
be gone in about two months thank goodness.
We recap Sting’s
segment with JJ last week.
The Outsiders say
they’re ready for Page and Luger tonight. I believe that was the
main event of the Clash as well.
Ric Flair vs. Syxx
Road Wild rematch.
They have a pose off to start until Flair is backdropped and sent
into the corner. It’s a Flair match. Did you expect things to start
well for him? He chops Syxx down and takes over with a headlock
followed by another after an escape. Flair pounds on the head and
clotheslines Syxx down before going after the knee. Syxx comes back
with an enziguri to set up the Bronco Buster, drawing huge heat from
the southern crowd.
Some chops don’t get
Flair that far as Syxx punches him right back down. A guillotine
legdrop gets two and there’s the Flair Flip out to the floor. Back
in and a second Bronco Buster misses and you can almost feel the
crowd laughing as Syxx crotches himself. They punch each other down
and it’s Flair up to backdrop Syxx down again. There’s the knee to
the head and it’s time to go to school. That also means it’s time
for Vincent, Bagwell and Norton to run in for the DQ.
Rating: C.
These two fought each other quite a bit and we got some decent
matches out of them most of the time. The respect angle was fine,
especially when you have a punk like Waltman and a pretty big jerk in
Flair out there talking about it. Not much to see here but it was
designed to set up the Clash again, which is fine.
Hennig makes the save
post match.
JJ and Nick Patrick are
with Gene and Dillon says that Nick did nothing wrong at the PPV.
Patrick questions Randy Anderson’s officiating, drawing him out for
the always fascinating referee argument.
TV Title: Ultimo
Dragon vs. La Parka
Dragon is defending of
course. Things start fast with Parka getting flipped over and
backdropped. Dragon does his headstand in the corner and fires away
with the kicks to take the challenger down again. A dropkick sends
La Parka to the floor and there’s a big dive by the champion to take
him out again.
Sonny Onoo (La Parka’s
manager apparently) kicks Dragon down and Parka sends Dragon into the
steps. A powerbomb gets two for Parka so he puts Dragon in the Tree
of Woe for a kick to the chest. Now let’s stand around for a bit!
Dragon comes back, hits the super rana, Sonny’s interference fails,
and the Dragon Sleeper retains the belt.
Rating: D+.
Just a quick title match here with no doubt as to who was going to
win. Dragon was pretty good at what he did but as usual, the lack of
mic skills held him down. If we can’t connect with these characters,
the matches have to be amazing for them to get over. Dragon was
good, but not that good. He would lose the title soon enough anyway.
Curt Hennig vs. The
Giant
Hennig slaps him in the
face for some reason and is tossed into the corner accordingly. An
attempted whip out of the corner fails completely for Hennig so Curt
bails to the floor. Giant hits some of those LOUD chops to Curt’s
chest and suplexes him down. He calls for the chokeslam and here’s
Eric to say that Giant is violating the restraining order. Doug
Dillinger (WCW security) won’t do anything about it so Giant goes
after Eric, losing via countout in the process. Short and basically
a squash until the ending.
Dillinger still won’t
do anything so Larry Z comes out to corner Eric. Bischoff runs into
the crowd and escapes as cops hold Giant back.
We recap the Sting
segment from last week again.
JJ is in the ring with
another offer for Sting which I’m sure will work this time.
Apparently he doesn’t have a new contract for Sting tonight. Stupid
me, thinking the rolled up paper in his hand that has been a contract
the last two weeks is a contract again here. JJ says he needs
answers from Sting soon or they may have to go their separate ways.
Geez even the WCW on screen bosses are stupid. Sting has until the
Clash to tell JJ what he wants.
Here’s Sting in the
crowd and the fans go nuts. The fans chant Hogan and Sting points at
them again. Even TONY FREAKING SCHIAVONE is saying how obvious this
is. Sting takes a sign out of the crowd that says Hulk vs. Sting.
And JJ STILL doesn’t get it. Apparently HOLDING UP A SIGN THAT SAYS
THE MATCH ON IT isn’t telling him what Sting wants.
The NWO is having a
birthday party on Thursday.
Tag Titles:
Outsiders vs. Diamond Dallas Page/Lex Luger
The announcers point
out that the Steiners are being passed over AGAIN here. I’m sure
another #1 contenders match is coming up soon too. Hall and Luger
start things off as we go past ten o’clock which was a different
thing back then. Luger slaps Hall in the face and shoves him into
the corner to get things going. He beats on both Outsiders in the
NWO corner and Hall tags Nash.
The big man wants Page
so they both stand in opposite corners for a bit. The high powered
offense begins from Nash until Page takes him down with a swinging
neckbreaker for two. Page fires off his shoulder blocks but Nash
clotheslines him right back down. DDP escapes Snake Eyes and gets
two off a Russian legsweep. Back to Hall for a clothesline and the
fallaway slam for two.
Off to the abdominal
stretch for a bit until Page hip tosses out of it. Nash breaks up
the tag attempt to Luger and it’s time for corner elbows. The
Outsiders change without a tag and the referee yells at them. Hall
makes an overblown tag and now Snake Eyes hits for no cover. They
change again sans tag and Anderson is fine with it now.
Off to a sleeper by
Hall and Page is in trouble. His arm drops twice before Page comes
back with a belly to back suplex to put both guys down. Nash breaks
up the tag AGAIN and clotheslines Page down. Page busts out a
headscissors of all things and finally tags in Luger. Not that it
matters as the NWO runs in about five seconds later for the DQ.
Rating: B-.
I was digging this until the obvious ending. We knew the titles
weren’t changing hands here and the NWO would run in, but it was cool
to see WCW guys hanging in there this long. They played the formula
here and as usual, it worked as well as anything else was going to.
Good stuff.
Flair and the Giant run
in and a brawl ends the show.
Overall Rating: B-.
Pretty good show here as they set up the Clash quite well. There’s
some stuff on there I’d like to see (including a main event of
Page/Luger vs. Hall/Savage which I listed wrong earlier). The Sting
stuff would really come to a new level on Thursday which it’s needed
to do for months now. Solid episode here as WCW is kind of on a
roll.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com

Waiting for the Trade – Avengers

Waiting for the Trade

 

by Bill Miller

 

Marvel Adventures
Avengers: Vol. 2 – Mischief.

by Tom Bedard and
Shannon Gallant.

collects Marvel Adventures
the Avengers #5-8.

 
Why I Bought This: This
was a cheap pick-up (under $5) as part of my post-Avengers movie feeding frenzy. Specifically Juggernaut is on the
cover, and I figured: even if it is a simplified story, at this price, he’s
always good for a fun fight scene.

The Plot: Loki
discovers the existence of the Avengers and decides to test them by creating new
super villains for them to face. For this universe the Avengers are Captain America, Storm,
Hulk, Spider-man, Giant-Girl (Wasp, only with growth powers instead of her
normal shrinking/flying/laser stings), Iron Man and Wolverine.

 

Chapter 1 – The Avengers are fighting Loki, who keeps them
at bay with a force field and notices that mortals with super power are similar
to “gods” like himself. He wonders why they all choose to be heroes, then
teleports away to see what happens if he were to empower a criminal. The
Avengers split up to search NYC for Loki. Loki finds a crook with a crowbar
breaking into an apartment building and makes him the Wrecker, explaining to
Wrecker he can use his power to do anything he wishes. Wrecker decides to rob a
mini-mart that he was never able successfully shoplift from as a teen. Spidey
finds him and they fight with Wrecker winning easily. He’s about to smash
Spidey with his magic crowbar when Cap arrives to block with his shield. Wrecker
is able to throw around most of the Avengers with relative ease until Banner
gets bumped, turns into Hulk and then punches Wrecker across the city. From the
shadows Loki vows to empower a more ambitious criminal next time.

Chapter 2 – Hulk goes wandering out alone into the desert,
falls asleep and turns back into Banner. Banner comes across a science lab
where four team members are just about to space launch into a cosmic ray storm.
The effects cause them to crash back into the desert and they emerge as the
U-Foes: Vector (low level telekinetic), Vapor (can transform into any gas),
X-Ray (a radioactive version of the Human Torch) and Ironclad (a metal version
of the Thing). They cause Hulk to emerge and they fight. The fight is pretty
even for a few pages until X-Ray figures out how to drain Hulk’s gamma
radiation and turn him back into Banner. Fortunately Spidey and Iron Man arrive
at the moment. The U-Foes get them on the defensive until Giant-Girl arrives
and steps on them all.

Chapter 3 – The Avengers are responding to a monsoon in South America by helping to evacuate a native village.
Also present in the village is corrupt archeologist Cain Marko. Loki, disguised
in human form, leads him to the Temple
of Cyttorak where Marko transforms
into Juggernaut. He encounters Storm, Wolverine and Giant-Girl first. Their
attacks all bounce him off him and he buries the two ersatz X-men under the temple,
forcing Giant Girl to call off the fight to try to dig them out. Next up Spidey
and Iron Man, who don’t fare much better. Hulk arrives and they trade punches
as Giant Girl completes her rescue. She fastball specials Wolvie into the fray
but he still can’t hurt Juggernaut. He is about to finish Wolvie off when the
children of the village form a human shield to protect him. This gives
Juggernaut pause and Storm is about to talk him into going peacefully on his
way when Hulk recovers and attacks again. They topple over a cliff and the
current separates them allowing Juggernaut to escape.

Chapter 4 – Loki meets up with Juggernaut and together they
free Wrecker and the U-Foes from jail. Loki unites them all for revenge on the
Avengers putting them in a flying middle school to assault the mansion. This
tactic indeed confuses the heroes, who are concerned there may be children
inside (there aren’t) so when the school starts to fall from the Giant-Girl overexerts
to catch it, leaving her open to a radiation blast in the eyes. Wrecker takes
down Iron Man and stalemates Cap, while Juggernaut takes out Wolverine. Iron
Man recovers and uses his tech to neutralize Vapor and X-ray, while Vector has
Spidey on the defensive. Cap manages to defeat both Wrecker and Vector and even
takes a shot a Loki with a shield throw but Loki snatches the shield out of the
air. However Cap’s success annoys Loki and causes him to magically dispatch his
own underlings for being unworthy of him. He also uses magic to transform Hulk
and Iron Man into inanimate objects so Cap runs away. Loki is surprised by this
after observing Cap the last few issues, but being a villain he follows him to
the communications room to gloat, saying his motive is he is jealous of the
hero worship the Avengers receive from the public when they should be
worshipping him. Cap lured Loki there to air the villain’s monologue on
television thus make him look like a petty bully to the world and for them to
admire Cap more for standing up to Loki even without his shield. Loki says he
should kill Cap for outmaneuvering him but admits that more than anyone he
appreciates a good trick, concedes victory to Cap and teleports away, restoring
the heroes from the magic whammy in the process.

 

Critical Thoughts:
The Juggernaut fight I bought this for was pretty flat to be honest. The
Wrecker chapter is at best by the numbers, although the mini-mart joke is worth
a chuckle. I enjoyed the U-Foes fight as they do have nice collection of
formidable and somewhat unique powers between them, although it ends rather
abruptly. The finale, however, is a lot of fun, particularly the interaction
between Cap and Loki.

I suppose I could complain that Giant Girl should probably
be either blind or brain dead from taking a radiation blast to the face but
since Loki magically heals everyone in the end anyway what difference does it
make?

Other than that I would say Spider-man seems to be awfully
ineffective in this series, which is weird considering this is targeted for a
younger audience and he’s Marvel’s most popular character.
Grade C-. While
the cover story did not deliver what I wanted, that finale makes up for a lot.
I imagine the younger target audience would be happy with this just for the
number of Hulk fights in this story.

LoW Roundtable: Most Important Moments

I don’t think I need to define what a most important moments show is about.

Okerlund is your moderator and the panel is Foley, Ric Flair, Tazz and JR

Foley’s biggest moment involves Snuka (no shit) and it’s the two leaps off the cage. The one against Bob Backlund that missed is rarely seen so the footage of it is pretty cool. Okerlund questions why that moment and Foley said that back in those days with limited TV and coverage it was just something that stuck out. Flair said that Snuka has jumped off the cage and landed on him 300 times thorough the Mid-Atlantic. Flair said it hurt. Very dismissive there.

Flair’s moment is the day that McMahon announced that the business to sports entertainment to avoid paying taxes. He said it changed the way wrestlers were perceived. Tazz questions things and Flair says Tazz wasn’t old enough to remember and Tazz reminds Flair that he’s 40. Flair says it was a positive but he couldn’t wrap himself around it at the time.

(Clips of McMahon’s promo “The Cure for the Common Show” where he explains the creative process to the minions and tells the WWF Universe that its tired of having its intelligence insulted. Worth seeking out if you can.)

Tazz’s moment is when Shane McMahon walked in a WCW ring. Flair says he predicted it a year before it happened. JR says that when Vince decided to go nationals with his northeast promotion was one of the more significant moments in the landscape of the business and truly made the wrestling brand worldwide. Okerlund said the issue was forced by cable TV and Vince had no choice because eventually the regional promotions would overlap with talent. Foley asks if Vince was the first to go national or was it WCCW. Ross says it was Joe Blanchard with Southwest Championship Wrestling on the USA Network. Flair said Blanchard didn’t have a clue (so? that wasn’t Ross’ point). Ross says one of the reasons McMahon was so successful is because he outworked the other guys and the other territory owners didn’t have the background in marketing and branding.

Flair said that Harley Race told him in 1978 that if he wanted to be a big star he needed to go on cable TV. Okerlund points out that most of the significant moments mentioned were out of the ring. Flair said that the day McMahon bought WCW was the greatest day of his life outside of his retirement and takes a hilarious shot at Bob Geigel and Rufus Jones for money they owe him. He rips on WCW and Russo for their lack of organization. Foley said he was standing next to Stephanie and she was so emotional and it meant more to the McMahon family than people will ever know. Flair rips the guys who left the WWF to come to WCW originally. Says most of the them were average performers and left a great flagship company for instant gratification. Okerlund says it worked for a while but Flair said it would never last.

Foley brings up the point that the competition worked for everyone but Flair said it was hindering the WCW from developling new talent because they were pushing the same retreads and it was easy to see it was going to bite them in the ass. Foley said that a few months after the purchase he sensed the WWE product was declining and he saw things that never would have made the air otherwise being produced on the show.

Okerlund asks Foley what his thoughts were when Nitro debuted and Flair interrupts and blasts Lex Luger and Bret Hart as not being a big deal because they were to the next place after the guy from the first place didn’t want them. Foley said to the public Luger was a big deal. Ross said there was a surprise when Luger went to the WCW because Luger had went back on his word to McMahon and Ross. They ramble on a bit more and Flair brings up “Oklahoma” and said it was disgusting. He says Ross is a Hall of Famer and the other guys work for TNA (“What is TNA?” Flair asks). Flair goes on for a while longer.

(They show clips of Oklahoma and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams. I’m still a little surprised Williams agreed to go along with this given how close he and Ross were. But I remember Eric Bischoff’s point of being paid to do and not being paid to think.)

Flair goes into a story about him and Space Mountain…pretty pointless stuff. Ross tries to reel this one back in and talks about how Lou Thesz was mentioned among the shoot fighters or boxers like Jack Dempsey and Joe Louis. Ross talks about the NWA being a coup to get all the promoters together and out of it spawned a lot of successful territories. Ross says that when Vince Sr. chose Bruno Sammartino to be his guy in 1963 that was the first sign of division among the ranks.

(Old school clips of Vince Jr. interviewing Bruno. Always cool to watch to classic footage like that.)

After a break Flair has a huge stogie and appears to be more calm. Ross continues talking about the issues with the NWA and says the Starrcade match with Harley Race in 1983 was a significant moment because it was an official passing of the torch. Flair talks about how Harley was talking about not showing up because of business (he dismisses Mick’s relationship with Harley in the process of course) but Harley wasn’t one to go against his word. He got to Greensboro in bad weather and Ross explains that Greensboro was hard to get to. Harley said he was there for Flair and then extorted Crockett out of another $25,000 for showing up. Flair talks about banging a couple of broads or something and it’s funny but a little sad.

Okerlund tries to talk about the AWA and Flair keeps rambling so Okerlund jokingly offers him the moderation chair. So Flair goes back to talking about himself. Okerlund talks about his arrival in the WWF and talks about Hogan’s victory over the Iron Sheik and says it turned everything on his ear. Ross said he told Hogan to his face that he has respect for what he’s done for the business and he talks about how guys would look on the booking sheet for Hogan’s name and just pray that they were somewhere on a card he headlined because of the increased payday. Ross talks about how Hogan was the reason that the WWF was on network television and got the Saturday Night’s Main Event deal. Foley said he was at MSG when the Sheik beat Backlund but not when Hulk beat the Sheik. He said after the Hogan victory his group of friends that talked about wrestling expanded significantly.

Okerlund talks about Austin and the berth of the attitude era. Tazz says that ECW or at least the ECW’ers felt they started the attitude era. Tazz said he was the first guy to flip someone off in the audience. Tazz and Foley talk about Austin’s short time in the ECW and how fired up he was. Flair said Hogan was the biggest star in the business until Austin came along. Flair said he has no qualms about saying Hogan was a much bigger star than him. Flair said when Austin was in the WWF he did more for the business before the match, during the match and after the card than anyone ever. He connected with the crowd and even when the cameras went off he could still keep the people in the building for another hour.

Foley pinpoints one Austin moment and says the debut of Austin 3:16. Ross said he told Austin he would be the biggest hero the company have ever seen and Austin would disagree. Ross said his drive was greater than anyone could imagine and he was such an overachiever. And when Mr. McMahon went on screen, everything was magnified. He mentions the first signs of the character when McMahon and Bret had a pull apart brawl in Halifax (that is one of the most awesome, shocking moments I EVER saw on wrestling TV). Ross said it was at that moment when Vince saw that he had something.

(They show clips of this awesome bit of television that really, in my opinion, helped Vince get his swag back and prepare for the war with WCW. The Canadian crowd makes it even better because they were so jacked up. And the fact that it was an even brawl with Vince even grabbing the shirt and getting the upper hand made it that much more shocking. I can’t really describe it well but when you saw it your jaw dropped.)

Ross said the greatest antagonists are easy to dislike and he mentions Paul Heyman at being one of those guys. He says McMahon took it to another level to where people paid night after night to watch him get his. Foley said the night at MSG when Austin finally stunned him was such a great payoff and Ross points out that they made sure it happened at the world’s most famous arena. Tazz also talks about the Curtain Call that was also at MSG and Foley talks about how Triple H had to pay the price for that and in a way it helped mold him into the character he became. Flair rips on the Outsiders again saying Hall’s claim to fame was being in the ring with Shawn Michaels and a ladder while Nash’s claim to fame was his pedestrian basketball career at the University of Tennessee and being a bouncer at the Gold Club. He goes on for two minutes.

Ross talks about Shawn leaving the business with an injury and a bad attitude and returns with a changed attitude and delivers upon his return. Flair says Shawn is the best of all time. Foley talks about the announcement of JR going in the Hall of Fame was a great spontaneous moment and the RAW after Wrestlemania XXIV. Foley says he wishes he could have been at both and Flair asks why he wasn’t and says “because you’re a barbed wire specialist.” That was odd.

(Clips of Flair’s final 24 hours as an active wrestler and the RAW speech afterward.)

Go around the horn: Foley says most significant was when Steve Austin became Stone Cold. Flair says it was the day he debuted (modest until the end). Tazz says when WWE purchased WCW. JR said the backstage issues before the Austin-Michaels main event at Wrestlemania XIV from Shawn’s attitude to the beginning of the Austin era. Flair ends it with a story of his partying and having three million Marriott points.

The Bottom Line: Well I had been waiting for this one for a while. Yes Flair was horribly overbearing at times and it was uncomfortable in spots. Sift past the self-glorifying BS and there was some decent stuff there. Worth watching for several reasons.