Steroid Trials

Scott,


Is the whole Zahorian 'Steroid Trial' thing overstated?  It's been said that Hogan and Warrior were out of favor because they were obvious 'roid guys carrying the company banner.  Yet we had Hogan & Sid headlining Wrestlemania and a returning Ultimate Warrior facing the WWF Champion (Savage) at SummerSlam '92 (and, supposedly, slated to win the title & go heel if I remember your previous words correctly).  Flair, Hart, and Yokozuna took it away from the 'muscle man' image a bit, but the undercard was still littered with them, they went out and signed Lex Luger, brought back Hogan for Wrestlemania IX, etc.

So my question is: was the impact of the Steroid Trials overstated or was it just a convenient excuse for pushing Hogan's act and Warrior's unpredictable nature out of the title picture?  The whole "no obvious steroid guys as champion" thing just doesn't seem like a reality.

Oh no, it was definitely eating Vince alive from the moment it started.  There was very real fear on his part that he was going to end up in prison and it's absolutely the reasoning behind the main event talent purges in late 92.  You'll notice that Hogan was a skinny shadow of himself in 93 without the gas, as were quite a few other guys like Savage.  Panicked Vince gets RESULTS.

Pro Wrestling X PC game (Kickstarter fund)

http://t.co/id3S264j


Worth checking out. A Kickstarter fund for a wrestling game for the PC that Lance Storm's helping with, and one of the main guys from No Mercy has pledged on.

Apparently they want to make it very customisable and base it around No Mercy.

At first impressions, it doesn't look great from the video. But they said some of the money will be used to re-do artwork and animation, so that's fair.

Looks interesting!

I don't know about their chances of hitting 75K with only a couple of days left, but I heartily endorse anyone trying to revive the No Mercy engine, so I'll be happy to throw a couple of bucks their way.  

WWF Championship Wrestling 6/2/84

June 2, 1984
Your hosts are Gene Okerlund and Vince McMahon
This week’s show includes Greg Valentine vs. Chief Jay Strongbow and David Schultz vs. SD Jones. Plus, David Wolff is the guest on Piper’s Pit and Paul Orndorff and Sgt. Slaughter will be in action.

Greg “The Hammer” Valentine w/Capt. Lou Albano vs. Chief Jay Strongbow

The Hammer attacks Strongbow before the bell. He beats on him in the corner before tossing him through the ropes. Valentine brings him back in and destroys him so more. He chokes him out and goes to work on the leg. Strongbow pushes Valentine through the ropes with his feet. He comes back in and Strongbow locks him in a sleeper. Albano jumps on the apron and Valentine escapes and sends Strongbow back to the floor. The Chief grabs Valentine out of the ring and the two brawl until Valentine slides back in the ring before the ten count, getting the win (4:14). After the match, Valentine puts the Chief in the figure-four leglock.
Thoughts: Match wasn’t much and there was no reason to protect Strongbow in defeat. The guy was in his mid 50’s and they were grooming Valentine for the IC belt so he should have won cleanly.
WWF Update with Vince McMahon. This week’s focus is on Capt. Lou Albano. Vince mentions him managing the tag champions 14 times and closes by showing him the music videos for Cyndi Lauper.
“Dr. D” David Schultz vs. SD Jones
Schultz starts by faking a handshake, which upsets Jones. He works the arm but Schultz grabs the ropes. Lots more stalling from Schultz as he is basically running away from Jones. SD lands a headbutt, turnbuckle smash and a few punches, which is 75% of his offense. SD falls for another handshake attempt but regains control. He lands a few more shots, even mo-selling a turnbuckle smash. Schultz goes outside after getting knocked down but comes back in and gets a slam then drops the elbow from the second rope for the win (6:04).
Thoughts: I have no idea why Schultz was playing the role of chicken-shit heel for SD Jones, a guy who was losing on TV every week. This match was very dull.
Gene Okerlund is standing in what is best known as the event center. He plugs upcoming house shows as Paul Orndorff wanders on the set. Okerlund mentions his upcoming match with Ivan Putski, as Orndorff says Putski is not a big deal and tells a Polish joke about odor eaters after calling him a “Polack.” 1980’s WWF racism really is something to behold. Roddy Piper comes in and Gene asks him about Rocky Johnson. Piper says that he has no brains and was trying to make a name for himself by going on Piper’s Pit. Slaughter gets interviewed about an upcoming boot camp match with the Iron Sheik. He talks about how this was like fighting behind the barracks in the Marines and talks about his specially made boots. I liked this segment as the interviews strayed from the regular format and they did a fine job in promoting the matches.
Another plug of the new WWF magazine.
Billy Travis vs. Paul Orndorff
Orndorff does his routine with the jacket. Travis catches Orndorff with an armdrag. Orndorff then backs Travis in the corner. He stomps him and gets in a kneelift. Orndorff pisses off the crowd then tosses Travis to the floor. The crowd just fucking hates Orndorff. Travis comes back inside and gets absolutely drilled with a back elbow smash. Backbreaker by Orndorff and he stomps away. He literally wipes the mat with the ace of Travis then kills him with a clothesline before finishing with a piledriver (5:49). After the match, Orndorff smiles and shrugs his shoulders. He was such a great heel.
Thoughts: For a squash match that lasted almost six minutes, this was quite entertaining. Travis took a beating, esepcailly with an ultra stiff elbow smash. Orndorff is really becoming a star, getting as much of a heel reaction than guys like Piper and Sheik.
Piper’s Pit with David Wolff. He says that he is the manager of Cyndi Lauper. Piper then asks why she needs two managers. He says that Albano is a liar and not the manager of Lauper. Wolff then states that he will bring Cyndi Lauper on the show. Piper then sticks up for Albano and yells at Wolff as the segment ends. Good stuff, although Wolff looks like a complete dick, making it tough to cheer for him. He was also the real-life boyfriend of Cyndi Lauper at this time.
We are shown clips of a match between the Masked Superstar and Hulk Hogan that took place at the Kiel Auditorium in February. Howard Finkel was the ring announcer here and hearing him is so much better than Joe McHugh. Anyway, they show the last few minutes of this match, with the Superstar getting caught hiding a foreign object in his mask. Hogan gets it and threatens to take off the mask but the Superstar escapes.
Okerlund is back in the studio plugging a house show in Cape Cod. Jimmy Snuka comes out and Okerlund, like a moron, asks him if the Cape reminds him of the Fiji Islands. Snuka babbles on for a few minutes, saying nothing of note.
Lanny Kean vs. Sgt. Slaughter w/Terry Daniels
Before entering the ring, Sarge and Daniels pass out American Flags to all of the kids. Sarge with a forearm to the chest of Kean then beats him up for a bit. He gets a backbreaker and hits a clothesline from the second rope as Kean was charging towards him. Sarge then locks on the Cobra Clutch for the win (1:23). After the match, the ring fills with the children and their flags as Vince talks about the Cobra Corps.
Thoughts: This whole match was designed to put over the Cobra Corps and market Slaughter to the kids. It worked perfectly for its time.   
Next week’s featured bout is Terry Daniels vs. Iron Sheik
Final Thoughts: This show was alright. The matches weren’t much but it did advance the main angles and feature the top stars of the company. The interview segments with Okerlund was a nice addition too.

What the World Was Watching: King of the Ring 1997

by Logan Scisco

As more evidence
that the Undertaker was playing second fiddle to other superstars during his
title reign, the Steve Austin-Shawn Michaels match got top billing heading into
this show and it appears on the cover of the video cassette box.
Vince McMahon and
Jim Ross are in the booth and they are live from Providence, Rhode Island
.

Free for All:  The Headbangers defeat “The Real Double J”
Jesse James & Bart Gunn when Thrasher pins Gunn after a powerbomb-flying
leg drop combination at 5:42 shown:
The Headbangers were still trying to make a mark on the
company at this point.  They had received
a few title matches with Owen Hart and the British Bulldog, but had never
broken through.  However, you could
really call them the fourth most established time on the roster at this point
behind Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin, Owen and the Bulldog, and the Legion of Doom.  James and Gunn have nothing going on for them
in the midcard, so they are thrown as a sacrificial lamb to the Headbangers in
this opener.  The Headbangers work a dry
heat segment on James and finish Bart off quickly when he comes in after the
hot tag.  Rating:  *
Now onto the show…
Opening King of
the Ring Semi-Final Contest:  Hunter
Hearst Helmsley (w/Chyna) defeats Ahmed Johnson with a Pedigree at 7:42:
Ahmed has really been off his career track since winning
the Intercontinental championship at last year’s King of the Ring and Ross and
McMahon hype him as the odds-on-favorite, which is the sweet kiss of death in
wrestling circles.  For those that
followed the RAW reviews leading up to this match, these two faced each other
in the first round, which Ahmed won, but Helmsley was reinstated into the
tournament on a legal technicality and qualified after beating Crush.  The crowd is solidly behind Ahmed and he
completely dominates the match.  However,
Chyna distracts Ahmed and Helmsley hits a knee lift and a Pedigree, his only
offensive moves of the match, and advances to the finals.  This was a huge let down for the crowd, who
really enhanced the match prior to the finish. 
Rating:  *½
The Honky Tonk Man
and Sunny hype the Superstar line.
-Todd Pettengill
interviews Jerry “the King” Lawler and Lawler denies that he cheated to beat
Goldust to get to the semi-finals. 
Lawler calls him an idiot and walks towards the ring insulting the
crowd.
King of the Ring
Semi-Final Match:  Mankind beats Jerry
“the King” Lawler with the Mandible Claw at 10:22:
You could easily make the case that Mankind has the
easiest semi-final draw in the history of the King of the Ring tournament to
this point.  Mankind gets on the house
mic and tells the crowd that Paul Bearer has forgotten about him, but he isn’t
going to let that stop him from becoming the King of the Ring.  Mankind even works a “bang, bang” into his
promo to pay tribute to his past as Cactus Jack.  Lawler wrestles this one like he is in the
Memphis Coliseum by stalling and using the phantom object trick.  Lawler also utilizes an interesting strategy
in going after Mankind’s severed ear. 
Mankind takes a few risky bumps by plowing head-first into the ring
steps and then having Lawler toss his head back into the guardrail.  Lawler then piledrives Mankind on the floor,
which would’ve made Mankind a dead man in Memphis, and even pulls out a
dropkick.  However, Mankind kicks out of
a piledriver and after a tepid comeback catches Lawler with the Mandible Claw
when Lawler tries a sunset flip to advance. 
This match was better than I remember it being and Lawler really brought
his working boots for this one.  I’d
actually argue that Mankind was the one that hurt the match by not
matching some of Lawler’s intensity.  Lawler’s
King of the Ring record goes to 0-4 after this match.  Rating:  **
Ken Shamrock is
shown playing around in the AOL chat room
.
-Pettengill
interviews Brian Pillman if he feels responsible for tonight’s match between
Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels and Pillman says of course.  Pillman says that he also came to the show to
see Michaels beat up Austin, but Austin sneaks behind him and beats him up in
the men’s restroom.  We conveniently get
a camera shot of Austin giving Pillman a swirlie.
Goldust
(w/Marlena) defeats Crush (w/The Nation of Domination) with a DDT at 9:58:
Savio Vega is absent from ringside, which was probably a
request from Crush considering the tensions between the two lately.  Providence has some really dedicated fans who
yell “jailbird!” at Crush, something the WWF hasn’t encouraged since the later
half of 1996.  These two haven’t had good
matches in the past and this is no exception with Crush working a reverse
chinlock for nearly three minutes.  After
that he transitions to a nerve hold.  The
Nation tries to make some moves on Marlena to distract Goldust from a rally,
but Goldust floats over a gorilla press attempt and gets a victory.  Crush hasn’t won a match in what feels like a
century and you can tell that he isn’t very motivated.  This gives Goldust some momentum heading into
his match with the British Bulldog tomorrow night on RAW for the European
championship.  Rating:  DUD
Sable comes out
with a King of the Ring inflatable chair. 
Call 915-734-1161 to get your version for $59.99 (plus $11 shipping
& handling).  I really want to know
how many people bought these overpriced things. 
Howard Finkel sits in the chair, nearly falling out of it, and Sable
gives him a massage
.
Dok Hendrix
interviews Sid & The Legion of Doom about their match with the Hart
Foundation tonight.  Hawk promises that
they will serve a cold dish of revenge. 
Animal asks Sid if he’ll be there for a tag and Sid says not to worry
about him because he’s the ruler of the world.
Pettengill
interviews the Hart Foundation (Jim Neidhart, The British Bulldog, and Owen
Hart) about the six man tag tonight and the Bulldog says that his team will win.  Owen says that the LOD’s Halloween costumes
aren’t going to cut it tonight.  Neidhart
says he’s crazier than Sid
.
The Hart
Foundation (The British Bulldog, Owen Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) defeat
Sid & The Legion of Doom when Owen pins Sid after a flying sunset flip at 13:37:
This is Sid’s return to pay-per-view since WrestleMania
XIII and this is Jim Neidhart’s first WWF pay-per-view since the 1994 Survivor
Series.  Sid is massively over and he’s
well suited to compete in a match like this where he doesn’t need to do a lot
and the other side can carry the workrate. 
The tepid reaction that the LOD are getting shows that their return has
not been very successful and they are living on borrowed time in the tag
division.  Everyone works in their
favorite spots in this contest, with Hawk no selling a piledriver from the
Bulldog, Owen slingshotting Neidhart off the apron for a shoulder block on
Animal, and Owen and Neidhart pulling some additional double teams from their
New Foundation days.  Sid eventually gets
the red hot tag and becomes a one man juggernaut, but when he goes to powerslam
the Bulldog, Owen surprises him with a flying sunset flip and scores a
surprising pin.  This was much better
than you’d expect and kudos to whoever laid this match out.  Rating:  ***
Steve Austin’s victory
speech at last year’s King of the Ring is shown
.
Pettengill
interviews Mankind, who appears to be nursing a neck injury from his match with
Jerry Lawler earlier in the evening. 
Mankind says he can’t wait to be king.
1997 King of the
Ring Finals:  Hunter Hearst Helmsley
(w/Chyna) defeats Mankind with a Pedigree at 19:27:
So the weakest King of the Ring tournament of all-time
closes with this match.  Ross won’t shut
up describing Helmsley as a “thinking man’s wrestler” and “cerebral.”  “Thinking man’s wrestler” must mean boring
because the first seven minutes of this match go nowhere and the crowd is dead.  That’s not surprising when you consider that
the crowd wanted Ahmed Johnson to destroy Helmsley in the semi-finals and they
are still lukewarm to the Mankind face turn. 
A large “boring” chant breaks out at the ten minute mark, as well as a
small chant for Sabu.  Things finally
pick up a few minutes later as Helmsley takes a back drop on the cement and
Mankind hits the Cactus elbow off the apron. 
Chyna interjects herself after a double arm DDT, a Mandible Claw, and
pulls Hunter out of the way of a Mankind dive from the apron to save Helmsley
and the crowd is all over her for that.  However,
she’s not tossed from ringside despite doing all of that in front of the
referee.  Helmsley Pedigrees a maskless
Mankind through the American announce table and Chyna blasts Mankind with a
septer, which makes Randy Savage’s blast on the Ultimate Warrior from the 1991
Royal Rumble look like a child hitting another with a plush toy, but it takes
another Pedigree to put Mankind away.  The first half of this match was horrid, but
things got much better after that point and make you forget the first half of
the match.  The match did a good job
putting over Mankind’s face turn and generated significant sympathy heat for
him.  It also sowed the seeds for the Helmsley-Mankind
feud that would dominate the summer of 1997. 
Rating:  **½
After the match,
Helmsley receives his royal garb for winning the tournament from Pettengill and
he blasts Mankind several times with the crown
.
A video package
hypes tonight’s Shawn Michaels-Steve Austin match
.
Bret Hart and
Brian Pillman come out with the Hart Foundation for the six man tag team match
and he puts over the skills of the Foundation. 
Bret announces that the Hart Foundation is challenging any five WWF
superstars to a match at the Canadian Stampede pay-per-view and Bret says he
will return at that pay-per-view.  Bret
wants to do color commentary, but WWF officials force him to leave.
Hendrix interviews
Steve Austin, who says that Shawn Michaels knows he’s the captain of the tag
team and puts over the tag team championships.
-Hendrix interviews
Shawn Michaels, who says he really doesn’t want to face Austin since they are
champions.  He seems a little annoyed
that some people think their upcoming match might be a classic
.
WWF Tag Team
Champions Collide:  “Stone Cold” Steve
Austin and “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels wrestle to a double
disqualification at 22:34:
The WWF billed this as the first time that sitting tag
team champions faced each other on pay-per-view, which is really tortured logic
to sell a match that really doesn’t need it. 
The opening of the contest is disrupted by a Special Olympian falling
over the guardrail, but to Michaels credit he helps the guy out.  This one starts with a prolonged feeling out
period and one of the more interesting spots in the beginning is Austin
countering a Michaels Thesz press with an inverted atomic drop.  The crowd is equally divided between the two
men and the breakdown is as you would expect with the female crowd backing
Michaels and Austin being supported by the men. 
After a series of momentum changes, we get a ref bump and Austin hits
the Stunner.  Austin gets fed up with
that and gives a Stunner to the referee after he brings him to his feet, but
eats a Sweet Chin Music shortly after that. 
A second referee runs down, but he checks on the first referee instead
of counting the fall, so Michaels nails him with Sweet Chin Music in
frustration.  Out of this we get a double
disqualification after referee Earl Hebner runs out and simulates the moves
that both guys have done to the referees. 
WWF officials prevent the two from continuing their struggle, but they
continue to argue after the match.  The
crowd works up an audible “Austin” chant, which isn’t bad for a guy whose King
of the Ring tournament victory in 1996 was greeted with crickets.  This was a great match with a hot crowd and
is an underrated technical match from this period.  A clean winner would have been nice, but
Michaels wasn’t jobbing to people during this time and the WWF wasn’t going to
feed Austin to Michaels with the momentum he was building with the crowds.  Rating:  ****
Pettengill
interviews Faarooq and the Nation of Domination and Faarooq says he will make
history tonight and become the first black WWF champion.
Hendrix interviews
WWF Champion The Undertaker and Paul Bearer. 
Hendrix tells the Undertaker that his fans will always love him, but
Bearer hijacks the interview before the Undertaker can speak and tells the
Undertaker that he’ll do what he says tonight
.
WWF Championship
Match:  The Undertaker (Champion w/Paul
Bearer) pins Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) after a Tombstone at 13:44
The WWF did what they could with the storyline for this
match, but it is really tough to play a controversial race angle when the title
is being held by a guy with a dead man gimmick. 
This would Faarooq’s only appearance in the main event as a singles
competitor in the WWF.  Bearer plays an
interesting role in this match as he critiques every little thing that the
Undertaker does.  The Undertaker has an
interesting take on the rope walk spot by launching himself into the Nation
when he is attempting to give Faarooq the move. 
Like Chyna helping Hunter Hearst Helmsley tonight, the Nation keeps
interfering to keep Faarooq in control of the match.  During the match, Crush takes issue with
Savio Vega interfering in the match and Faarooq has to try to play
peacemaker.  This distraction allows the
Undertaker to surprising Faarooq with a Tombstone and retain.  After the match, the Undertaker chokeslams
Savio and Crush.  This was good for a RAW
match, but it wasn’t really pay-per-view caliber.  Still, it was a better match than the one they
had on RAW in March.  Rating: 
**
After the match,
Bearer tells the Undertaker to give Faarooq three chokeslams.  The Undertaker doesn’t want to do it, but he
is forced to comply.  All the while
Bearer wears the WWF championship belt over his shoulder and acts like he’s hot
stuff.  Ahmed Johnson runs down and confronts
the Undertaker about his relationship with Bearer and when the Undertaker tries
to attack him, Ahmed gives him a Pearl River Plunge.  This confrontation makes me wish that Ahmed would not have gotten hurt so that we could’ve had an
Undertaker-Ahmed match at the next pay-per-view.
The Final Report Card:  The first half of the card doesn’t offer
much, but the second half puts out a surprising six man tag that you can appreciate
if you have followed the careers of the Hart Foundations crew, a nice match between
Michaels and Austin, and a King of the Ring final that cemented Mick Foley’s
face turn.  The main event shouldn’t have
been the main event, but this is during a time when the WWF champion closed the
show more times than not.  A lot of
reviewers don’t care for this show, but I didn’t find it to be tedious or
inoffensive.  The Providence crowd was
hot and made even the most mundane matches interesting.
Attendance: 
9,312
Buyrate: 
0.50
Show Evaluation:  Thumbs Up

Story: 24 hours in Diamond Dallas Page’s ‘Accountability Crib’ with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts

———- Forwarded message — > Hi,
>
> I spent a day with Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Diamond Dallas Page at the "Accountability Crib" outside Atlanta.
>
> http://www.newsday.com/sports/pro-wrestling/24-hours-in-diamond-dallas-page-s-accountability-crib-with-jake-the-snake-roberts-1.4289421
>
> Hope you can link.
>
> Thanks much!
>
> Josh
>

History of ECW 6/5/1998

Taped from New Orleans, LA
Airdate: June 5, 1998
Hosted by Joey Styles
For those of you who are waiting for my review of Slamboree ’93 I am awaiting delivery of the tape in the mail. I should have it out prior to my review of the next episode of Worldwide. On to the show…

From the WWE Studios Joey welcomes us to another installment of the History of ECW. This week’s episode emanates from the Joe Brown Center in N’awlins, Loooooooosiana! We will see a six-man tag match between the Dudley Boyz and Little Spike Dudley, Tommy Dreamer, and Sandman. Also RVD defends the ECW World Television title against Lance Storm. But first let’s have yet another dance-off between the FBI and the bWo. Joey “dances” us to…

Tommy Rich gets on the microphone and asks the sound engineer to hit the music. Tracy Smothers tumbles to the center of the ring and “dances.” It’s Blue Meanie’s turn, but as he struts and shakes the music goes in and out. Suddenly Taz’s music hits and Joey groans. While carrying the FTW belt Taz enters the ring. Smothers advances but gets nailed. Guido’s attempt is also unsuccessful as he gets belly-to-belly Taz-plexed! Taz then delivers a high cradle Taz-plex to Smothers. Nova interferes, but receives a German Taz-plex. Naively Blue Meanie encourages Taz to dance with him but receives a T-bone Taz-plex for his troubles. Rich tries his best to attack, but Taz comes off the ropes and kicks him in the knee. He then cinches in the Tazmission to the crowd’s delight. Taz grabs the microphone and hits his catchphrase.
Bigelow enters the ring, but Guido gets between him and Taz. Unceremoniously Guido gets pressed and tossed into the steel railing. Taz and BBB brawl. As the crowd chants “ECW” they fight at ringside then into the stands. Security breaks things up.
The opening credits roll.
As a trumpet plays some classic Bourbon Street jazz Joey welcomes us to another edition of ECW. He hypes the previously mentioned six-man tag match and then the TV title match.
Match 1 for the ECW World Television title: RVD (champion w/ Fonzie) versus Lance Storm
Before the match starts highlights of last week’s “dysfunctional” tag match are shown. We are joined in progress as RVD and Storm are in the midst of a rope sequence culminated by Storm’s counter of a leapfrog with an inverted atomic drop. RVD retaliates with a spinkick. RVD tries a somersault leg drop, but Storm dodges. A leg sweep segues into a dropkick by Storm.
Storm cross-corner whips RVD and tries to monkey-flip him; however, RVD counters by putting Storm on the top rope. Storm then gets a sidekick to the temple. He tries to cross-corner whip RVD again, but it gets reversed. Somersault monkey-flip gets executed by RVD, but Storm lands on his feet. Another rope sequence gets interrupted when Fonzie grabs Storm’s boot. When Storm takes the bait RVD knees him in the back to send him out of the ring. RVD then gives Storm a somersault tope!
Next RVD suplexes Storm onto the steel railing. As Fonzie holds Storm in place RVD gives Storm the corkscrew guillotine legdrop from the apron! Back in the ring Rolling Thunder gets a 2 count. Within a split second RVD gives Storm a spinning dropkick, kips up, and then delivers a corkscrew legdrop. After taunting his challenger with kicks he comes off the ropes and gets hit with an elbow in the mush.
RVD tries a spinkick but misses. Storm comes back with an awesome leg lariat. They trade some punches until Storm cross-corner whips RVD and splashes him. After an elbow he dropkicks RVD in the corner. RVD reverses a cross-corner whip, but Storm leaps to the top rope and delivers the back elbow for a 2 count. Afterwards he gives RVD a tiger bomb for another 2 count.
Storm then gives RVD another cross-corner whip and charges with a handspring clothesline. Impressive! Next he follows with a springboard clothesline for a 2 count. Storm sets up for another springboard maneuver, but Sabu yanks him down from the apron to the concrete floor. RVD then baseball slides him. Sabu sets up a table and gives Storm the triple jump splash through it!
After Sabu tosses Storm back in RVD slams him to set up the split-legged moonsault. He hits it and gets the pin! Afterwards Sabu puts Storm in the camel clutch. Fonzie holds the chair in his face so that RVD can give him the Van Daminator! But before RVD can execute it, Chris Candido crotches him on the top rope. He then delivers a missile dropkick to Sabu.
Subsequently Candido knocks RVD off the top rope to the apron, and Storm baseball-slides him to the floor. As Joey announces a World Tag Team title match next week at the ECW Arena between these two teams Storm and Candido execute double pescadoes onto their upcoming challengers. ***1/2
We return from commercial to see Candido and Storm shake hands at least for now. What happens after the big title match next week? Who knows?
Joey hypes the Hardcore Hotline.
We then see highlights from “A Matter of Respect ‘98” of Kronus delivering the 450 splash to “Dastardly” Danny Doring and then pinning him. Suddenly Ulf Herman nails a springboard clothesline on Kronus. Herman and The Equalizer beat down Kronus until Jack Victory makes the save and attacks both men. Lance Wright snivels in the corner while watching his men get beat up. As if someone said free shit in the ring New Jack brings his trash can of goodies to the ring. He then nails Lance Wright with the trash can lid. Next he grabs his guitar and attempts to waffle Lance with it until Victory nails him! He proceeds to wallop New Jack with the guitar and its remnants until it practically disintegrates.
Joey hypes the return of Jack Victory after a 7-8 year hiatus. He then drops New Jack’s real name (Jerome Young) as a “bona fide criminal.”
Get your copy of “A Matter of Respect ‘98” by calling 1-800-854-5831!
Highlights of the 3-D that severely injured Sandman’s neck are shown. Then we see the end of the match between Tommy Dreamer and the Sandman versus the Dudley Boyz from Wrestlepalooza.
Match 2: The Dudley Boyz (w/ Joel Gertner) versus Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, and Little Spike Dudley (w/ Beulah)
Joel Gertner refers to New Orleans as the “transvestite capital of the world” and “The Big Sleazy.” Sign Guy holds up his “Big Sleazy” sign. Gertner then introduces Sign Guy Dudley who holds up a “You Are Trash” sign. Next he introduces Big Dick Dudley as “Tom Byron’s favorite professional wrestler.” Whoa! Wait a minute! I just spat cola all over my TV screen. Let me clean it off so I can see what I’m watching again…ok, back to our main event. Joey mentions Byron as Traci Lord’s favorite male companion in her movies and then disses Val Venis. Gertner then concludes his introductions with the former three-time ECW World Tag Team champion Dudley Boyz.
Our Hardcore History moment details Bubba Ray Dudley’s debut as Mongo the bodyguard of Bill Alfonso.
We return from commercial in the midst of Sandman’s entrance. He is perched up above the entrance in the crowd with his Singapore cane and customary cold one. Tommy Dreamer also brings a cold one to the ring while Little Spike Dudley brings a ladder. In a precursor to HHH’s spit take at the end of his entrance Dreamer spews a huge quantity of beer in Bubba’s face. I’ll refrain from the somewhat obligatory Beulah joke since she and Tommy are married in real life. Heaven knows that I do not want Tommy Dreamer beating down my door for insulting Beulah online.
While Sandman hoists his cane, drinks his beer, and smokes his cigarette Dreamer and Spike do a body shot of beer off Beulah’s chest.
We take a quick break back to the WWE Studios where Joey hypes the match and lets us know it’s joined in progress.
Back in the arena Dreamer delivers a hangman’s neckbreaker from the top rope to D-Von Dudley.  Bubba tags in. The crowd chants for Spike, so he enters the match. Immediately he ducks a clothesline and delivers a series of forearms to Bubba. He then gives him the 10-punch count, stops at 9, and tries to give him a huracanrana. Instead Bubba catches and powerbombs him easily.
After Spike gets back in the ring Bubba methodically beats him up. He then whips Spike off the ropes and gives him a back body drop. He continues the punishment then gives him a body slam. He comes off the ropes but misses a splash. Spike retaliates with a dropkick and an armdrag. As Bubba staggers around the ring he gets nailed by both Sandman and Dreamer then bulldogged by Spike.
Big Dick tags in and enters over the top rope. Sandman tags in. They tie-up and Big Dick takes Sandman to the corner. He then poses with his 25” pythons. Loudly he kicks Sandman in the midsection then tries to chokeslam him.  Sandman escapes and clotheslines Big Dick out of the ring. However, Big Dick lands on his feet, grabs Sandman, and pulls him to the outside. As he goes to work on Sandman Bubba nails Spike with a chair.
Back In the ring Sandman gives Big Dick the “FrankenSander” according to Joey. Sandman tries to whip Big Dick off the ropes but gets reversed into a powerslam for a 2 count. After Bubba ensures that Spike is busted open Dreamer grabs Bubba and tosses him into the front row. With both Dudley Boyz in the front row Spike dives from the top rope onto them!
After Dreamer stunguns Bubba he gives him a slingshot splash for a 2 count. Dreamer misses a clothesline , but Bubba doesn’t miss the belly-to-back suplex. Spike and D-Von take their turn in the ring, and Spike gives D-Von the Acid Drop for a 2 count.  Sandman and Big Dick are in the ring. Sandman gives Big Dick a vicious shot with his Singapore cane. When Sandman tries to nail him again Big Dick gives him the chokeslam.
Surprisingly Big Dick heads to the top rope but gets caught and placed in the tree of woe. Bubba and Sandman exchange blows until Dreamer gives Bubba a chair shot. Sandman and Dreamer then set Bubba up for the tree of woe as we take a break.
When we return all four Dudleys including Sign Guy are tied to the tree of woe and get dropkicks in the face from Dreamer, Sandman, Spike, and Beulah. The crowd celebrates with an “ECW” chant. Referee Jeff Jones who isn’t assigned to this match enters the ring. He then challenges Jim Molineaux to a fight. As Molineaux holds Jones in a front facelock Gertner tries to interfere. Instantly Beulah grabs Gertner in a front facelock and both deliver stereo DDTs.
All three Dudley Boyz receive chair shots.  After Dreamer sets up a ladder in the ring he bulldogs D-Von on it. OUCH! Dreamer then walks the second rope but misses the elbow. Sandman then picks up the ladder and throws it squarely at Bubba. He slams Bubba, places the ladder on top of him, and mounts the top rope. He then gives Bubba a senton on the ladder!
Meanwhile Sign Guy and Big Dick have handcuffed Dreamer to the top rope. Sandman dives onto Big Dick outside the ring. But inside the ring Spike sets up the ladder, climbs, and falls directly into a Bubba Cutter although it only gets a 2 count. Sign Guy and Big Dick then handcuff Sandman to the steel railing. Bubba tries to finish Spike with a powerbomb, but Spike escapes and goes low on Bubba. Spike then delivers the Acid Drop to Bubba on the ladder. D-Von and Sign Guy save the pinfall.
Sign Guy waffles the referee with his sign. Bubba picks up the ladder and drops it on Spike. As D-Von winds up to give Dreamer a chair shot Beulah steps between them. It appears that chivalry isn’t dead when Bubba stops D-Von from punching Beulah until they give her the Dudley Death Drop instead!
In an effort to save the day New Jack with another bucket’o’plundah hits the ring. He proceeds to use said plundah on the Dudley Boyz. As soon as New Jack preps his guitar Jack Victory hammers him with a right hand. As the Dudley Boyz hold New Jack, Victory lambastes him with the guitar! Chaos reigns supreme as Dreamer, Sandman, Spike, New Jack, and Beulah are all laid out. All the heels raise their arms while Sign Guy holds up a Victory sign to close out the show! **
Back in the WWE Studios Joey mentions that Jack Victory was a flag bearer for the Sheepherders back in the ‘80s. He then references Johnny Ace in the same role with supporting video, asks whatever happened to him, and video of John Laurinaitis is shown. He then details Beulah’s retirement after receiving that maneuver as well as her life story. In fact, according to Joey, Tommy Dreamer and Beulah’s twins starred in the Sopranos as Janice and Bobby’s daughter.  Next week the fallout from the maneuver that retired Beulah will take place!
Overall this show had several highlights. The continuation of the monster push that Taz received at this time could not have been hotter. The TV title match between RVD and Storm was fantastic, yet it also built to a tag title match next week. In addition the six-man match was a violent mess, but since that was its intention I cannot discredit it. Do you find it peculiar that ECW would end a show taking place in the South with the heels prevailing similar to the nWo days of WCW? Stay tuned for the next episode of the History of ECW!

 Be sure to visit http://www.rockstargary.com to check out more info on me!

Blog Questions

Hi, Mr. Keith. I haven't watched wrestling in years, and yet I still

keep up with your blog because of how entertaining your writing is.

I have two unrelated questions:

1) I understand that Sting's in-ring absence throughout 1997 made
perfect sense storyline-wise (and it obviously worked out wonderfully
till Hogan buried him), but was he also injured during this time? Was
this a rare case where WCW found a clever way to keep a top injured
talent in the spotlight? It just seems impossible to imagine that a
wrestling promotion would book one of its top healthy stars to not
work matches for a year just to build up a new version of his
character.

2) In terms of storyline logic, what is the point of even having
matches if WWE's titles don't matter? Why should I care about the
result of a random weekly pairing of, say, Orton vs. Barrett if
winning a title wouldn't really affect the character anyway? What does
the end goal of each character become after the titles have been
reduced to almost nothing? At least with the UFC, you can usually rest
assured that a fight genuinely matters insofar as a guy winning will
generally move him closer to a title shot whereas a guy losing can
mean he disappears from contention for a long time or gets cut. Even
though WWE doesn't represent a real sport, it wouldn't hurt to model
this kind of logic where wins and losses really impact a guy's career.

1.  Sting was definitely not injured.  Basically his contract was structured like Hogan's where he only had to work a certain amount of dates per year, and WCW burned through them all by September.  So instead of wrestling matches, they paid him to sit in the rafters and brood.
2.  Really, the only goals worth anything now are Undertaker's streak and the quest to be a main eventer / Hall of Famer.  Possibly pointing at a sign, too.  

The SmarK RAW Rant–12.03.12

The SmarK RAW Rant – 12.03.12 Live from Greensboro, NC Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler Daniel Bryan & Kane v. The Primetime Players Kane fights them off by himself and dumps Titus with a clothesline, as The Shield looks on. Bryan fires away with kicks on Young, and it’s over to Kane for a low dropkick that gets two. The champs work Young over in their corner for a rather dull segment, but Kane gets caught in the heel corner for a bit. Meanwhile, the Shield move towards the ring as we take a break. Back with Titus holding a chinlock on Kane, but Bryan comes in as goatface-in-peril as the whole thing is just a backdrop for the Shield slowly advancing on the ring anyway. Bryan rolls upYoung in the confusion for the pin at 11:30, and the bad guys storm the ring for the beatdown on Kane, and then Bryan. One would presume this would turn Bryan into a babyface once and for all. I approve of a good heel beatdown, but I wish the pointless match would have been much shorter. *1/2 Meanwhile, Cena and Sheamus do a cutesy-poo segment backstage where they bond over stupid jokes and set up the tag match tonight. AJ Lee v. Tamina Snuka What, they’re blowing off this main event feud on TV? Tamina throws AJ around and gets two, and goes to a backbreaker submission for a bit. AJ fights back, but runs into an elbow as Jerry Lawler actually gets the first reference to Jimmy Snuka. Tamina headbutts her down and goes for the splash, but AJ rolls her up for the pin at 3:25. A rollup finish in a women’s match? That’s unpossible! ½* CM Punk is out to complain about injustices levied against him yet again, and wonders why he has to defend against Ryback again after beating him twice. He’s the only reason we have to tune in for these dismal three hour RAWs! I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. He dares everyone to change the channel and leave the arena, but Miz interrupts. He wants Punk to be on his MizTV segment and take a lie detector test to prove he’s not working with the Shield. And then once the point has been made, this drags for another five minutes. So they had a 20 minute promo to set up ANOHER promo later in the show? This babyface Miz thing is not working at all. Big Show & Dolph Ziggler v. John Cena & Sheamus The Zig Show? The Big Show-Offs? Sheamus and Ziggler trade headlocks and the faces double-team him as Cena gets two. Over to Show, who no-sells the shoulerblock and pounds away in the corner. Cena comes back with a slam attempt, but Show falls back on him for two and Ziggler drops the elbows for two. Hot tag to Sheamus and he goes up, but lands in a spear as we take a break. Back with this match dragging on, and Ziggler goes to a chinlock. Sheamus with the backbreaker and it’s back to Cena for the Five Moves of Doom, but Show breaks up the FU. Cena is like “HA HA, NOTHING GETS TO ME” and they finish with stereo finishers at 13:30 anyway. ** Damien Sandow calls a plant out of the audience for his intellectual tests, but the guy gets tripped up on English poetry and Sandow dismisses him. That is a hilarious gimmick. Santino comes out to quiz him on seashells, and we’re on with a match after the break. Damien Sandow v. Santino Santino powerwalks into a rollup for two, but Sandow puts him down with knees and hits the ELBOW OF DISDAIN for two. Santino cradles for two and makes the comeback, but Sandow flees the cobra. Santino goes up and misses the headbutt, and Sandow finishes with the Terminus at 2:30. Just a squash. Meanwhile, Ziggler asks Vickie for another match with Cena at the PPV, and then we get a CLIFFHANGER as Brad Maddox is in her office. Is this really something people are gonna stay through a commercial break for? So Maddox asks for a job, and she gives him another match to try for a contract. Kane is already taken, so I’m guessing it’s Ryback again. Sin Cara v. Alberto Del Rio Sin Cara works the arm to start, but Del Rio pounds him in the corner to take over. Cara with the ropewalk wristlock for two, and he pounds the arm with kicks for two. Del Rio with a suplex and chinlock, but he puts his head down and gets dropkicked in a spot you don’t see all the time. Del Rio bails and Sin Cara follows with a rana off the apron and into the railing, and we take yet another break. Back with Del Rio on the floor, but he counters a Cara springboard attempt and shoves him to the floor again. He chucks him into the railing and gets two back in the ring. German suplex gets two. ADR misses a charge and Sin Cara gets the tornado DDT and makes the comeback. To the top for a crossbdy that gets two. Flipping DDT and he goes up again, but the senton misses and Del Rio counters La Mistica into the armbar at 12:20. Man, they gave this one some time and it delivered. ***1/4 Vince McMahon returns and bullies Vickie again, this time into making Cena v. Ziggler into a ladder match for the briefcase. Well, duh. Also, for some reason Vince wants Paul Heyman to get punished with a match against Ryback if Punk is found to be lying in what is apparently our main event tonight. I can only hope that the “lie detector” is like the old one from the 80s with the loud buzzing when someone tells a lie. Just because this show isn’t laughable enough as it is. Brad Maddox v. Randy Orton I don’t like his chances of getting a contract here. Orton clubs him to the floor, quickly hits the draping DDT, and finishes with the RKO at 1:11. And then the SHIELD attacks Orton out of nowhere in a great shock moment. Finally something to liven up this show. Meanwhile, Dolph is not terribly happy with Vickie. Perhaps he should man up and cash in his damn briefcase, then, so as to remove the element of chance from the match. Neither is Paul Heyman. US title: Antonio Cesaro v. Kofi Kingston v. Wade Barrett v. R-Truth This was supposed to be a tag match, but Teddy Long comes out to spice things up and makes it a four-way for the US title thanks to a Twitter poll. Cesaro beats on Kofi, and Wade gives Kofi a pumphandle slam for two. Kofi baseball slides Cesaro and Truth sends Wade out of the ring and we get the Truth-Kofi pairing. The heels get back in for an ugly collision spot, and Kofi hits Barrett with a dive. He tries a running dive on Cesaro, but lands on the UPPERCUT OF DOOM instead. And we take a break. Back with Cesaro doing a giant swing into a half crab, but Truth breaks it up. Cesaro slugs it out with Barrett, but Kofi hits Cesaro with a high cross for two. Barrett with the Bossman slam on Kofi for two. Truth with the axe kick on Barrett for two. They fight to the top, but Cesaro breaks it up, and Kofi brings him down with an armdrag. This sets up the tower of doom, which gives Kofi two. Cesaro reverses the SOS into an Angle slam for two. Truth gets rid of Cesaro, allowing Kofi to make the comeback on Barrett with the boomdrop. Cesaro breaks up the wacky kick, but Truth breaks up the Neutralizer. Kofi kicks Barrett down, but Cesaro hits the NEUTRALIZER on Kofi to retain at 13:30. GREAT match. This is the kind of thing that should have been saved for the PPV. ***1/2 Main Event Lie Detector Test: The Miz somehow gets even more intolerable as a babyface, subjecting Punk to a lie detector. And Punk cuts his nuts off, no-selling all his stupid pandering lines and basically acting like he was bored to be out there. What exactly is Miz’s motivation here anyway? Why does he give a shit about Punk’s potential alliance with the Shield or any of it? Thankfully the Shield storms in and gives us a screwjob finish to the lie detector, so the Sherriff’s Department wins by DQ or something. Miz takes a beating before Hell No saves, and then Ryback cleans house once and for all. See now THIS is something that could have set up a main event at Survivor Series. The Pulse This show felt 15 hours long, although the random Shield attacks were fun and the four-way was a definite highlight. The rest, with the artificially inserted commercial breaks and blatant filler matches, was just another show in the three-hour era. God I hope the rumors of cutting back to two hours come true soon.

Jovan Belcher murder/suicide

Hey Scott,

 
Long time reader yada yada, keep up the great work, because I don't really watch wrestling anymore, I just follow it on your blog.
 
Anyway…
Wondering if you heard the story out of Kansas City, that Jovan Belcher, one of the Chiefs players, killed his girlfriend, then drove to the stadium and shot himself dead, IN FRONT OF his coach and General Manager, at the stadium (!) And they played their game the next day.
 
A tragic situation of course, but I obviously couldn't help thinking of the parallels to the Benoit story, and here it's even worse that he did it at the stadium in view of the coach and they still played the next day.
 
Does this give Vince any vindication for the Benoit, or even the Owen decision? Will Vince ever bring this up and say "See, I did exactly what the NFL did"?
 
Any other thoughts on the incident would be appreciated too.
 
Thanks

I don't think there's any fault or shame in continuing on with the game when the person in question is a murderer.  It's horrible and a tragedy, but I think both Benoit and Belcher kind of gave up their right to be mourned respectfully.  The best way to deal with something terrible like either incident, in my opinion, is to simply get on with living.  Now, the Owen deal was totally different, because that was actually Vince's direct fault and the entrance was one of the things that the PPV was promoted around.  I'm pretty sure Benoit was permanently fucked up before he even made it to WWE.  
I will say that if concussions are found to be a major factor here, things are probably gonna change fast and furious in the NFL, something you can't say for WWE.  

LoW Roundtable Re-Rant: Bad Asses

Legends of Wrestling Roundtable: Bad Asses

Your panel is Jim Ross, Michael Hayes, Mick Foley, Tazz and Pat Patterson

Ross explains the two categories of Bad Asses, either the guys you just didn’t want to mess with at a bar or the guys with a strong amateur fighting background that could put you to sleep. And of course there are guys, and they mention Mad Dog Vachon, as guys who combined both.

Patterson said he’s never seen a guy tougher than Vachon in or out of the ring. Hayes said people that messed with him did so because he was just 5-foot-8, which allows Tazz to chime in on behalf of short people. Foley talks about how the old school wrestlers were much tougher and were chose based on their real fighting ability and were almost pushed to fight out in the streets to prove it. Ross said the flip side was if you lost a bar fight, you were generally pushed out of the territory. Hayes said that the local bar people who thought they were hot shit didn’t have the same mentality as the wrestlers, who would do anything to win a fight even if it meant gauging an eye out.

Speaking of which Patterson brings up Haku, whose bad assed-ness is legendary among fans and workers (there are a million YouTube snippets of guys talking about him. Even the tough guys like “Dr. D” David Schultz didn’t want to get on his bad side. Tama has a hilarious story about Haku beating up Brutus Beefcake and Hogan having to come in and beg him to stop). Patterson also said that Kurt Angle could put a hurting on someone if necessary (Well he was a fucking Olympic gold medal wrestler). Tazz says that a bad ass can also be a guy that can take a beating and mentions Foley, who sadly isn’t on the list. Tazz talks about Gpysy Joe as says he was one of the toughest wrestlers he ever knew. Hayes then mentions how big of a stooge he is which brings laughter.

Back to Haku and Ross says that the Samoan guys in general are all extremely tough going from Afa and Sika forward. Ross said back when the fans were rabid and brought weapons to the cards in those houses in the deep south territories the Samoans still had no fear. Patterson said the Samoans were great guys but once they got into a fight good luck at pulling them off. Foley said the Samoans guys all had legendary stories including the Barbarian and Foley said the only guy he feared was his wife. They talk about Peter Maivia too and Patterson said he was nothing compared to his wife. He relayed a story of the couple getting arrested in San Francisco and within no time the station was surrounded by Samoans that stayed there until the couple was released without incident.

Foley talks about Mr. Saito throwing policemen around and Ross makes a crack of how many cigarettes and Ken Patera used to smoke while in jail cells. Tazz tells the story about the McDonald’s incident. Foley amends it to say that he heard Patera and Saito were nice at first but the worker denied them service and overplayed his hand so Patera allegedly threw a rock thru the window and the fracas begin with Patera and Saito generally beating the fuck out of the cops for a while under order was restored and both guys spent a year and a half in the slammer.

Next the fellas talk about Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen and their great history of beating the hell random folks in bars. Tazz said his character was booked to be a bad ass in ECW and because of it he basically wrestled and went straight back to the hotel to avoid confrontation (I’ve met Tazz a few times and he seems like an extremely nice guy so I understand his point. You never know what you could get into). Hayes said Brody was a bad ass in the ring and you knew you were going to get potatoed a few times if you were booked on a card with him.

They show clips of Bruiser Brody kicking the crap out of Abdullah the Butcher from World Class. (His death is still one of the most disgusting things in history. Not just wrestling history but human history. I can’t believe the guy that killed him just continued to wrestle and book without incident. Even worse workers that knew Brody and were cool with him still worked under this guy. Invader #1 can burn in hell. It was Invader #1 right? If not all apologies to Invader #1).

Ross says there are three levels of bad asses, the guys that work and go home, the ones that go to the bars and hope for trouble and the amateur studs that want to be left alone and will respect you if you respect them. Foley has a story about Angle from when he fought Tazz at the Royal Rumble and he goes to Foley and said “hey, what do I do if Tazz tries to test me?” and they all start laughing. Foley explains to Angle that he seriously doubts that would happen and Tazz is just thankful Angle didn’t have a flashback from the Olympics or something. Foley said that Angle was still new and innocent to the business and even though he could obviously handle himself he wasn’t sure what was proper protocol if such a situation came about. They talk about the Lesnar-Angle Ironman while Tazz talks about their competitiveness between the two when the three of them rode together.

Back to Brody, Hayes says that the bottom line was when you wrestled Brody bitching about him being stiff was a pointless exercise. Hayes says that one night when World Class and Joe Blanchard’s southwest wrestling indy ran in San Antonio the same night Brody suggested they meet Blanchard’s group at a location and kick their ass. Now of course Buzz Sawyer and The Road Warriors are with the Mid-Atlantic group working with Blanchard that night and Hayes is like…”ummmm, maybe that’s not the best idea and convinces them to go drinking instead.”(Hayes was definitely not a bad ass and proud to admit it in this discussion but imagine Sawyer and the Warriors randomly running into Brody and like Terry Gordy, that shit would get ugly).

Ross talks about Harley Race and how he was brought up on beating people up legitimately. When asked who was tougher between Race and Brody, Ross says it’s like choosing to die by a handgun or a rifle (great line). Foley talks about the legend of Race’s left hand and Harley’s quote that “if I hit anyone with my left and they don’t go down, I will walk around them to see what’s holding them up.” Foley said Harley’s way of talking was bad ass in itself and relays a story about how he intimidated a physician in Maryland to make sure Foley’s injury during a match was handled by the commission.They show clips of a Race interview and yeah he definitely sounds like he will fuck you up bad.

Time for a match review.

Haku vs. Harley Race

Royal Rumble 1989 from The Summit in Houston, Texas

Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura

Nothing like killing two bad asses with one stone. This is the battle for the King crown from the first PPV Royal Rumble.

Race attacks Haku by tipping over his chair and sending him into the post. Into the ring we go and Race with a knee lift, a clothesline and a suplex for two. Race’s left-handed clothesline looks pretty bad here. Back to the floor and Haku sends Race into the post and drops him with a reverse knife edge. Back in the ring and Race with a headbutt low and an inverted atomic drop. Two elbow drops from Race get two but Haku is back with a reverse thrust kick and he roughs Race up in the corner. He gives Race a corner whip that sends him over the top rope. Race back up and Haku clothesline him back in the ring. Haku with some stiff shots and a headbutt. He pounds away but Race retaliates with a few headbutts and both guys start no selling them. Race with another clothesline and a piledriver but that only gets two. Wow. They knock heads, slowly, and Race oversells another tumble to the floor.

Haku suplexes Race back in the ring and gets two but misses a big elbow drop. Race with one of those left hands and a delayed vertical suplex for two. Race sends Haku to the floor and goes for a piledriver but Haku backdrops him to escape. Haku bangs Race head on the mat and then rams his back into the side of the ring. Race rallies and gets his piledriver on the floor but it was a little weak. Back in the ring, reverse neckbreaker from Race gets two. Race continues laying in the shots and his clothesline looks much better. Knee drop gets a two count. Slugfest that Haku wins and he beats up on Race in the corner for a bit. Scoop slam and he climbs to the top but misses the diving head butt. Race goes to the middle rope and he misses the swan dive headbutt. Both men back up and Race with a knee lift but he misses a rope move and Haku his sweet Tonga chin music for the pin.

(Haku def. Harley Race, pinfall, **3/4, a little slow but a good match and probably Harley’s last good one before he retired.)

*********

Tazz said that perception is reality and one of the things about Brody and Race is they looked the part. Tazz brings up Vader and says that even before he knew him he looked like a bad ass. They promise to get to Vader after a break but they don’t (probably because Shawn Michael made him cry after a match one time). Patterson talks about the Samoans again and says that every time he beat up Peter Maivia at the Cow Palace the Samoans would jump on him. One time Sika got hit over the head with a Billy club and basically no sold it.

Ross goes to Stu Hart and talks about Hart putting a hold on him and he was happy it was waist up because he was pissing on himself after a few minutes. Ross does a funny impression of Stu warning him before applying the hold. They talk about how Stu is always tries to grab guys when he talks to them and Patterson always had to keep himself away (yep even Patterson isn’t letting just any man grab him). Ross says he was arguably the baddest mofo in Canada and they go into the dungeon and Stu torturing the guys. They mention how much Stu enjoyed fucking up Superstar Billy Graham and they go through the great lineage of guys that came through the dungeon (WWE DVD idea! Best of the Dungeon! I know they did the Hart Foundation thing but the best of the dungeon graduates gives many more options. Unless they already have released one, in which case nevermind!).

Patterson randomly mentions some of the tough guys getting beat up in the bars because they started drinking and it’s hard to beat up someone when you’re drunk. Tazz asks about Angelo Mosca and asked Patterson if he was a bad as he looked. Patterson said he never saw it but he would never mess with him. Out of the ring Patterson said Mosca was a big teddy bear.

Foley mentions Exotic Adrian Street and they crack on his gimmick for a bit before Ross mentions that he’s actually married to his valet, Miss Linda. Ross talks about the great tough guys that come from England like Billy Robinson, William Regal and Hooker Heath. Foley shares a story of Street, or tries too, before going off track and talking about Downtown Bruno going through dirty clothes to get a pair of underwear. He gets back on track when talking about Street showing him the different levels of pain and he experienced a “10”. They talk about Fit Finlay and Regal both idolizing Street and Hayes adds that Miss Linda was tough as hell too.

Foley shares a story about a fight breaking out in Alabama and Miss Linda was the first wrestler in the ring. Foley is upset that the many times he talked to Street (and I believe he still has a wrestling school in northwest Florida) that he didn’t ask him to teach him some of those defense techniques. Ross mentions Luther Lindsey being a tough guy and Patterson talks about how difficult it was to escape his stretch holds.

Match Review Time

Billy Robinson vs. Abdullah The Butcher

From All Japan Pro Wrestling on Dec. 9, 1976

Announcers is a guy speaking in Japanese

Abby isn’t mentioned in the show but I don’t think there are people lining up to meet him in a dark alley either, unless they ordered take out from his Ribs and Chinese food joint in Atlanta. Right away Abby jumps on Robinson and takes the match to the floor where he roughs him up in a variety of ways, mostly dumping him on a ring table or sending him into the post. He doesn’t let Robinson get in the ring, hitting him with a headbutt every time he tries to enter. Back to the floor and Abby continues to send him into furniture. Finally Robinson is in the ring where Abby headbutts him…and sends him right back out of the ring. I love the fact that Abby has carved out like a 50-year career with maybe two or three wrestling moves of note. Robinson crawls back in the ring and Abby headbutts him again to send him out. Robinson tries to fight back, or at least defend himself, and he lands a couple of forearms. Abby drops him again with a headbutt. Robinson goes downstairs a few times and they trade forearms with Robinson getting the best of the exchange. Two drop kicks sends Abby to the floor. He grabs a chair but Robinson takes it away and hits Abby with it. He gives him a second chair shot and roughs him up on the floor. Abby tries to get back in the ring but Robinson hits a dropkick and follows him to the floor. They fight up the entrance way or rather Robinson fights and the bell rings as I’m guessing they chose to throw this one away.

(Robinson & Butcher fight to no contest. Not really worth rating as it was just a brawl to set up a longer match down the road.)

*********

Ross says the toughest guy he saw was, of course, Danny Hodge. Patterson said Hodge didn’t have the reputation but Ross said he didn’t need it. Ross shares a story of Hodge baiting a Louisiana hardware salesman into challenging his toughness. Hodge breaks a series a pliers and apples until the point of when the guy brings in the local arm wrestling champion (Hayes’ comment about did either one of them have any place to be is pretty funny). He tries to put a grip on Hodge and Hodge takes his best shot then Hodge returns the favor and turns the guy to tears. Hodge was both an Olympic wrestler and a champion boxer. Hodge has the amateur equivalent of the Heisman named after him. Patterson said Hodge still respected professional wrestling despite his shoot fighting background.

They talk about an amazing story about Hodge escaping a submerged car with some form of a broken neck and walking up the embankment to safety while holding his neck in place (huh? we have a winner folks!).

Patterson said that a lot of amateur guys tried pro wrestling but only a handful made it like Hodge, Jack Brisco, Kurt Angle, Pat O’Connor, etc.

Time for a match that I’ve never seen before.

Iron Man Match for the WWE Heavyweight Championship: Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar

Smackdown from September 18, 2003

Announcers are Michael Cole and Tazz.

This is the third in their set of classic encounters. Lesnar is the heel and Angle is something between a face and a non-heel. Angle sort of became the ultimate tweener about 2001 or so and just fought whoever was in the way. Funny thing about theme music, Kurt Angle’s music was giving to The Patriot back in 1997 and it seemed goofy for him, maybe a little overboard, but for Angle is was a perfect fit. Strange how those things work.

Lesnar jumps on Angle to start and chokes away in the corner. Corner whip from Lesnar and he follows in with a shoulder. Brock beals Angle from one corner to the another, Angle tries to rally by catching Brock coming in on a charge. Angle with a dropkick to the knee and a clothesline to take control. Angle with the belly to belly overhead suplex and Brock decides to take a breather. Brock fakes a knee injury to take control again and uses more power stuff on Angle but Angle comes back with three armdrags and Brock heads back to the floor. Brock grabs the steel steps but nothing comes from it. Lesnar doing some serious stalling right now and the crowd doesn’t appreciate it. Literally he’s wasted about four minutes here. Finally he baits Angle and gets a hangman. Brock jumps back in the ring and goes to the power stuff and the choking but Angle with another belly to belly and his clotheslines Lesnar back over the top. Lesnar grabs the knee again and does a better acting job this time. Angle follows Lesnar out and fights him on the floor. Angle sends Lesnar to the steel steps but Lesnar rallies and sends Angle into the side of the ring and a spinebuster into the post. Lesnar sends Angle into the ring and he grabs a chair. He absolutely DESTROYS Angle with the chair, giving Angle the first fall via disqualification.

After the 15 seconds rest, Angle is still in bad shape and Lesnar toys with the champion a little bit before hitting the F5 and evening the match at 1-1. After the 15 second rest Lesnar continues to toy with Angle and slaps on the angle lock with forces Angle to tap out take a 2-1 advantage with the falls. After a commercial break we’re back and Lesnar gives Angle a kitchen sink knee for a two count. During the break Lesnar hit an Angle slam but couldn’t get a pin. Lesnar whips Angle into the corner and follows in with a shoulder tackle. More ruff stuff in the corner, including a couple of headbutts. Brock tries another shoulder charge but Angle moves and tries to battle back. Flying forearm and three german suplexes from Angle, with him releasing on the third one. Lesnar uses leverage to send Angle to the floor, however. Lesnar sends Angle into the ring barricade and hits an F5 on the floor. Lesnar makes his way back in the ring but Angle is counted out and down 3-1.

After a commercial break we are back and Lesnar sends Angle to the floor with a back elbow. Back in the ring and Lesnar roughs up Angle in the corner before dropping a couple of elbows and getting a two count. Lesnar stays in control until Angle hits an Angle slam out of nowhere and closes the gap to 3-2 with a little more than 30 minutes remaining on the clock. Angle jumps on Lesnar right after the 15 second period and lands a leg drop. Snap suplex by Angle into a float over cover for two. Lesnar tries to rally but Angle dumps him on his head with a belly to back suplex. Angle pulls down the straps and goes for another angle slam but Lesnar counters into the F5 but Angle escapes that and slaps on the ankle lock. Lesnar rolls through and tries to send Angle into the official but Angle puts on the brakes, but Lesnar goes for the clothesline which Angle ducks and Brian Hebner takes FULL ON. Wow. Angle slam hits but there’s no ref so Brock goes low. He goes to the floor, grabs the title belt and absolutely wallops Angle with it. He awesomely tosses the ref into the position and gets his fourth fall. That was a great sequence. Commercial break.

We’re back with 25 minutes left and Angle pulls Lesnar to the floor and sends him to the steel steps. Time for a sense of urgency from the champion. He climbs to the top and hits an axe handle on Lensar to the floor (OH YEAH!). Back in the ring and Angle gets a near fall. Angle to the top again and he hits a beautiful missile drop kick for another near fall. Angle with a scoop slam and he goes for the moonsault which looks great but misses when Lesnar casually scoots out of the ring. Both men struggle to their feet, Lesnar misses a clothesline and Angle gets a rollup for two but Lesnar nails the clothesline on the second try. Ridiculous belly to belly suplex from Lesnar sends Angle across the ring and gets a near fall. Lesnar goes for a second belly to belly but Angle knocks him down and slaps on the ankle lock, Lesnar rolls through and sends Angle to the floor. Lesnar joins him on the floor and sends the champion into the steel steps. Back in the ring and Angle escapes the pinfall at two at we are down to 20 minutes. Lesnar grabs the steel steps but Angle hits a baseball slide and the move backfires on the challenge. Angle quickly rolls Brock into the ring and gets two near falls. Angle gets nasty with Lesnar in the corner, choking away. Running back elbow from Angle gets two. Commercial break.

During the break Brock hits a massive top-rope superplex and goes up 5 falls to 2 with just 14 minutes remaining. Both men on the floor and Lesnar sends Angle into the announce table. Lesnar tries to give Angle the F5 into the post but Angle escapes and gives Lesnar the move instead. Lesnar is banged up in both knees. Angle rolls Lesnar back in the ring. Texas cloverleaf from Angle and Lesnar fights to the ropes so Angle switches to the ankle lock and pulls Lesnar back to the center of the ring. Lesnar fights to the ropes again. Lesnar somehow pulls another F5 out of his ass but he can’t capitalize due to his bad knee and just gets a two count. Lesnar slowly climbs to the top but Angle springs up and meets him there with a top rope belly to belly for a three count with less than 10 minutes left. After the 15 second rest, Angle stomps a mudhole into Lesnar and walks it dry. Suplex by Angle and he pulls up his straps just to pull them down again, Angle slam attempt is thwarted and Brock hits a DDT for a super near fall. Seven minutes remaining. Slugfest and Angle wins but Lesnar with the belly to back suplex and a second one that’s even better as we approach the six minute mark. Third belly to back suplex takes us under six minutes. Lesnar goes for a fourth and Angle hits the suplex instead and a second one from the champion! Lesnar blocks another suplex attempt and tries to reverse but Angle rolls through and slaps on the ankle lock right in the center of the ring. Lesnar gets to the ropes twice but Angle pulls him off and gets the submission with four minutes left.

Angle down 5-4 with three and a half minutes left and Angle goes right back to the Angle lock but Lesnar escapes but Angle comes right back with an sort of an STF type of hold. Tazz says it’s a freestyle bow & arrow so I will defer to him. Lesnar rolls out of the ring and tries to escape so Angle slaps on the ankle lock on the outside as we are under two minutes. Lesnar escapes the ring again but Angle sends him into the steps. Back in the ring and Angle hits the triple…make that the quadruple german suplex and Lesnar hits a low blow with 30 seconds left as the crowd gets rabid but Angle with another ankle lock and the grapevine. We’re down to 10 seconds….5 seconds and Lesnar holds on as the bell rings and Lesnar wins the championship!

(Lesnar def. Angle, 5 falls to 4, ****1/4, they had to protect Lesnar for the first 35 minutes of the match and once they got past that point it was very good stuff with tons of high impact suplexes and submissions. Lesnar tried and using the heel tactics was a good way to tell the story but the fact is he didn’t have enough in his arsenal to go sixty minutes.)

********

Tazz says that one of the difficulties of the transformation for shooters to pro wrestling is because it goes against everything they are taught as amateurs from giving up the body to showing no emotion. Ross said Shelton Benjamin is one of today’s bad asses; he was a national champion as a wrestler and a sprinter (which is off the charts in terms of athleticism. I ran track in college at a Division 1 program and there aren’t too many people that could sprint and then wrestle heavyweight or much less carry the sort of weight needed to wrestle heavyweight and still competitively sprint.). Ross said if Benjamin was brought up in the territory days he’d be much more polished and hungrier than he was perceived. They talked about the amateur guys who struggled with the performance part of the business like Brad Rheingans, who was a terrific shoot wrestler and a great trainer but didn’t have the charisma to make it big. (Of course I thought Shelton had much more charisma than he was giving credit for. And it’s sad that guys like the Miz, who can’t work for shit, get pushed and guys like Benjamin, who can work and have the look, are working indys for scraps.)

Ross talks about one of the current guys on the roster (at least when this was taped) that is a bad ass, The Undertaker. Ross says he’s as mentally tough as anyone around. Foley says he guarantees there aren’t many conversations in the dressing room wondering how tough the Undertaker is. Same with Stone Cold (Debra might disagree). Ross said both guys started in World Class as low-card guys and developed that toughness, developed the ability to withstand injuries. Patterson and Tazz talk about their love for the business and how long it took for them to get to the main card and all the shit they had to go through to get there. They all agree that anyone that spends any considerable time in the business has to have a real level of toughness. Hayes also says that beyond mental and physical toughness Undertaker had to deal with a lot of shit workers.

Foley said once Undertaker got in the ring with great workers people finally saw how good he was, Hayes mentions how good Undertaker-Batista was at Wrestlemania (I had it at ****, fabulous power match). They show highlights of that match. Ross said there’s no doubt that the Undertaker is a Hall of Famer and he had good matches with guys that were limited. Ross closes with saying that one of the great things about the business is being surrounded by so many talented workers with diverse levels of toughness.

The Bottom Line: Fun discussion here and well worth seeking out. They were starting to get into a flow here with the storytelling.

The Only Review of CM Punk: Best In The World That You’ll Ever Need

CM Punk: Best in the World is one of WWE’s most anticipated releases in recent years, and it more than lives up to the hype, let me state that right now.

The documentary is great. There’s a ton of screen time for Punk, being interviewed in plenty of different locations, from his living room, to a tattoo shop, and a comic book convention. Obviously we get his whole life story, and with Punk being a damn fine story-teller, it’s very easy to feel his frustration about certain things, as well as his love, passion, and loyalty for his job, friends & family. Easily one of the E’s best documentaries, and one I know I’ll revisit a few more times down the road.

Besides the documentary, there’s about a half n hour of extras. All of which are just stories that were cut out of the documentary. My favorite is Punk’s story about cracking his skull during a match, and his sophisticated Triscuit/Gatorade/Half Baked rehab.

Now, for the bread & butter of the release

CM Punk vs. Brent Albright
– Finals for the OVW World Heavyweight Championship – OVW, March 1st, 2006

Punk controls the first half of the match, just
about as well as you’d imagine, with everything from Eddie’s in-to-the-ring plancha,
to washing his boots on Albright’s face. Eventually
Brent turns it around by catching Punk on the outside after a huricanrana
attempt and slams him into the guardrail. I love that spot. Another great one
where Albright is hanging from the Tree of Woe and Punk comes off the
top rope, knee first into Albright’s face. Later, Punk pulls a JT Smith pretty
big when he goes for his ‘off-the-top-rope’ clothesline and slips,
crashing to the ground knee first. He ends up getting strapped to a stretcher,
and is fantastic at the way he keeps shoving the trainer and yelling at him
every time he accidentally touches his knee. He’s being wheeled to the back,
but Albright comes and throws him down, whipping him with a strap. Yeah, you
can tell Heyman is the booker, because this is really awesome. Punk looks ballsy
as hell, and it really shows how bad he wants the strap. Albright of course
looks like the classic heel, as he’s salivating at the thought of taking
advantage. Dammit, now I want to see the rematch. 
Albright puts Punk in the STF for the submission
at 19:56  | ****1/4

  
Justin Credible vs. CM Punk – ECW, August 1st, 2006
This match is taking place at the same building
where the One Night Stand PPVs were held (the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York
City – Dancin’ Stevie Ferrari). Punk gets a massive reaction from the crowd,
it’s damn near on the level that RVD had during the Cena match. It’s not
a lengthy debut, but it more than does a great job of getting Punk across as
someone to watch. From his unique kicks, high-flying moves and
submissions, to powering out of one of Credible’s own submission holds. A great
debut for anyone, really. 
Punk forces Credible to tap to the Anaconda Vice
at 4:17  |  **3/4

Promo video of Punk losing his shot at the ECW
title at SummerSlam 2007, then winning a 4-way dance for a number one spot.
Punk beat-out Big Daddy V, The Boogidyman, and Miz to earn this shot. 

 CM Punk vs. John Morrison [C] – Last Chance For
The ECW Championship – ECW, September 4th, 2007

Man, Morrison has an incredible body [yes homo].
Interesting moment where they go to commercial, but continue showing what
happened. It’s about time they started doing that. Of course the footage
isn’t much more than a sleeper, still. This is one of those matches that really
get you into the contender, because every time Punk is about to get some
real momentum on his side, Morrison will do something to stop it short. It’s
great. The false finishes near the end are fantastic, and really bump this
match up for me. They had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands this
whole match, and the place exploded when Punk won. Hell, if I was backstage and
saw that response, I’d make sure it’d take almost 5 more years to put Punk on
top. 
John Morrison eats a GTS as Punk nabs the pin at
13:54  |  ****

John Morrison vs. Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin vs.
CM Punk vs. Ken Anderson vs. MVP vs. Jericho – Wrestlemania 24, March 30th, 2008

It’s a damn shame that Shelton never came up with
a gimmick that worked. Ideally you’d put JBL’s charisma and mic skills onto
Shelton Benjamin. The first ‘holy shit’ spot of the night is Shelton on
a ladder and dumped outside via a front flip through a ladder that’s placed
between the barrier and ring. Then it switches to funny, when after a
series of brutal spots, such as CM Punk giving Mr. Kennedy a Diamond Cutter off
the ladder, and Carlito following suit on Jericho, only with a Backstabber,
MVP stands up in the ring, and looks like Steve Buscemi at the end of Reservoir
Dogs. There’s really no such thing as a bad MiTB, and this is no exception. I
actually prefer the one Punk wins at WM25, but this is a more than fine
addition. 
Punk grabs the briefcase to win his first MiTB at
17:55 |  ****

CM Punk and Kofi Kingston vs. Priceless [C] – WWE
Tag-Team Championships – Raw, October 27th, 2008

Really great start with Punk and DiBiase.
Eventually it spills outside, where it goes to commercial and again we see the
footage. I really hope this is a mainstay for future releases. This time
it’s more than a sleeper. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s a true sign of the
times of how bad current commentary is when I’m thoroughly enjoying the
match without Cole and King. Priceless is really an underrated, old-school
style tag-team. It’s too bad they don’t do more. They’ve kept the ring cut in
half perfectly every time they get the momentum. Later, Kofi starts the
reverse of that momentum by doing a kip-up, but wraps his feet around Cody’s
head and sends him flying the other way. A damn fine tag-team match, and I’m
not one for tag team wrestling. 
DiBiase goes to sleep, giving Punk the pin at
13:11 | ***1/2

  
CM Punk vs. William Regal [C] – No DQ for the
Intercontinental Championship – Raw, January 19th, 2009

This match takes place during a time when they
sold those inflated John Cena hands, except they made the mistake of not
connecting the fingers, so you’re always seeing middle fingers and such.
Oh man, FINALLY, it FINALLY happened! Punk has Regal in an arm bar, but Regal
reaches the ropes. The ref tells Punk to break it and Punk screams “I
don’t have to break it! I’m gonna break his arm!” So many times I see in
No-DQ matches where that same thing happens, and the guy lets go. Also, this
match is in full, no commercial breaks. We get an awesome heel spot
where Regal has his shin over Punk’s throat as he holds the ropes and takes his
other foot and constantly wipes it on Punk’s head. I’d also like to mention that Layla is smoking
hot here. This was a damn fine match, especially because when you think No-DQ,
you think weapons. But they didn’t do anything like that. Instead, they used
the No-DQ to work in brutality with non-stop submissions and elbows galore.
Great match.
Punk hits the GTS and nabs the pin, despite Regal
hitting him with 11 elbows while on his shoulders, at 9:56 | ***3/4

DISC 3

  
CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy [C] – TLC Match for the
World Heavyweight Championship – August 23rd, 2009

A little after the match gets started, there’s a
brutal spot where Jeff does Air Hardy, only for Punk to catch him and then drop
him back first on top of the chair. You could do serious damage if that
went wrong. Hardy soon bounces back with an awesome spot in which he whips Punk
into the stairs, Punk jumps to the top of ’em, turns around and leaps at
Jeff, only to be met by Jeff swinging a chair like a baseball bat. Later, they
both get it in a completely sick superplex in which CM Punk’s spine
lands half on the ladder, half not. Near the end, we get an incredible Swanton
Bomb from Jeff as he leaps off a 20 foot ladder. What a spot, almost
equaled by him refusing medical attention because he wants to stop CM Punk that
badly. Punk holds up his end as the look he gets on his face when Hardy gets
back into the ring is awesome. Also, the moment where the lights go out, and
Undertaker replaces Hardy, that’s easily my favorite Taker moment ever. It was
brilliant. Thankfully Punk
was soon jobbed out because he wouldn’t wear a suit.
CM Punk grabs the WHC at 21:34 | ****1/2

Promo video for the Punk v Mysterio feud. After
seeing it, I’m really glad I wasn’t watching attentively during this time. Punk’s
SES, and his whole ‘Jesus Punk’ deal was BRILLIANT and it would have pissed me
off so much that he wasn’t the lead heel. Brilliant moment where we see Gallows
and Mercury place Mysterio on Punk’s shoulders for the GTS. He should
really bring this whole thing back.

CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio – Punk’s Hair vs Rey
Joining The SES – Over The Limit, May 23rd, 2010

Shortly after it gets started there’s a great spot
where Punk slides Rey from the ring, face first into the barber’s chair that’s
placed outside of the ring. Earlier, Punk was thrown head-first into the
barrier, splitting him open. Of course, the ref has to try and stop this. You
can clearly see how annoyed Punk is with the ref trying to stop the
blood. The crowd echoes his feelings as they boo like crazy. Once done, Punk is
like a man on absolute fire as he tries to get his back, as well as get
the match flowing again. Maybe he really is the best in the world. It’s no
surprise that once the match gets started again, it never stops. Some of the
best wrestling I’ve ever seen. Punk is hilarious and fantastic here as the
disgraced heel once Mysterio starts shaving, especially his reaction to a
mirror. 
Rey puts Punk in a crucifix pin for the win at
14:19 |  ****

CM Punk vs. John Cena [C] – WWE Championship –
Money In The Bank, July 17th, 2011

A great match with one of the Top 3 crowds I’ve
ever seen. For my money though, I can’t give it the full monty, because I think
it just ran way too long, with the first half not delivering so much.
Afterwards though, it really picked up the pace. I think seeing this live
influenced people’s ratings, because that would have been awesome. There are
quite a few moments where you’d think for sure it was over. So, I can’t fault
anyone for giving it 5 stars, I just don’t see it that way. Their SummerSlam
match was the superior one, in my opinion. Then their NOC match trumped that.
If we include the angle, then this is a 5 star event. But on match merit alone,
I can’t do it. 
CM Punk puts Cena to sleep at 33:54 | ****1/4

  
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk [C] – WWE Championship –
WrestleMania, April 1st, 2012

Love the stipulation where if Punk gets DQ’ed he
loses the title. Allowing Jericho to once again prove that he’s the GOAT by
screaming “Hey, Punk,
HOW’S YOUR FATHER?!” He of course follows it up with “How’s your
sister?!” and then readies himself to be nailed
with a chair as he screams “Your sister’s a drug addict! Your father’s a
drunk!” Brilliant stuff. Jericho hits a suplex, taking Punk from the ring
to the outside. I mention it because it’s so rare that spot is ever done, and
it would hurt like crazy. Awesome that they both reverse each other’s bulldog
spots. Great moment where Punk goes for a huricanrana and Jericho turns it into
The Walls. No joke, from when Punk leaps off the rope and Jericho hits the
Codebreaker, until the end of the match is easily some of the greatest
wrestling I’ve ever seen. Absolutely brilliant. When I watched this live, I
wanted Jericho to win so badly, I was hanging on every move near the end,
praying Jericho wouldn’t tap. In the original PPV broadcast, after the match
they showed Jericho scratching his head in a ‘way to go’ sort of moment, which
I really dug, but here they cut it out. Understandable. People may say I
over-rate this, but seriously, the last quarter of that match is f’n brilliant. 
Jericho taps out to the Anaconda Vice at 22:21 |
****1/2

  
Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk [C] – WWE Championship
Match – Over The Limit, May 20th, 2010

While they’re doing the introductions, there’s a
guy holding up a sign that says ‘Yes’ on one side, and ‘Pipe Bomb’ on the
other. The second he notices he’s on
camera, he drops the sign so he can do Hogan poses. Man, wrestling fans are
weird as hell sometimes, aren’t they? The match starts off with Punk working
Bryan’s knee, and no surprise that
Bryan does a Bret Hart-level job of selling it. Soon, Bryan gets Punk in one of
the sickest submissions I’ve ever seen, having Punk in a surf-board,
then lets go of his arms, grabbed Punk’s chin
and pulled him downward until they were face to face, then followed that up by
putting him in a guillotine choke. Awesome stuff. Dragon Screw Leg Whip! Watch
out Mrs. Dusty! Another great moment where they’re both down, and as they get
up together, they start working their way to their feet by trading
blows. Going from head-butts, to forearms, and finally to kicks. Great stuff. I
know the finish isn’t what people were hoping for, but I dug it. It left things
open for another bout. Needless to say, really,
but it’s an incredible match, one that you’d never think possible five years
ago.  
CM Punk reveres the YES! Lock into a pin at 23:56 
| ****3/4

Showcase Showdown: I think it goes without saying that this is one of the WWE’s greatest releases ever. The documentary is fantastic, and the two discs that follow are packed with classic after classic. Honestly, if there’s someone who’s not that big on Punk, they need only see this DVD set. Myself, I thought Punk was cool and all, but this set really put me over the top. You see he’s extremely passionate about his work, taking great pride in it as he delivers some of the best matches & angles that the ‘E has seen in years.


Up Next: Kevin Nash & DDP vs The Rock & Roll Express? Oh, you bet cha’. All that and more when I review AWE’s Night of Legends PPV. 

Before I get to my absolutely shameless self promotion, much respect to Steve Ferrari for being my editor. In return, he gets to be the first to read my reviews, and thus he’s the coolest kid on the block.

If you’ve got a hankering for some more of the Caliber man, here’s a few places to find me:
Str8 Gangster, No Chaser – Recently updated with a new entry in the Man Movie Encyclopedia series, a classic amongst classics, American Ninja. There’s also Top 4’s, wrestling, horror, and movie reviews. The website’s psychic powers made it a foe when it fought Jason Voorhees many years ago.
WCW In 2000 – Just updated with a brand new Nitro that ended up being the worst one I’ve seen thus far. Shocking this venture isn’t getting better.
Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol.1 – Having trouble in the sack with the Mrs? Simply read this a few minutes before you hop on the good foot, and tadow! You’ll want to watch Double Impact instead of doing the deed with the wife. Endorsements from Scott Keith & Maddox, along with constant 5 star reviews on amazon tell you all you need to know. Not to mention some of your fellow BoD’ers own the book, and you don’t want to be left out, do you?
Any mail-bag questions or requests, let me know at [email protected], or in the comments section.

– Caliber Winfield

Greatest Survivor Series Teams Ever

Scott,


Although WWE's mutilated this year's event with the constant changes to the elimination match, it's nice to look back at some of the better teams from years past. Kinda surprised myself with who I picked as #1


I have to strenuously disagree with your choice at #1, if only because Team Savage was the most awesome collection of midcard firepower ever assembled, all with the goal of destroying Honky Tonk Man.  Team DX from 2006 would be #2 for me, but just barely.  And no love for 88's Megapowers team or 87's Hogan team?  Say what you will about the captain, but those were some serious displays of star power.

Anyway, fun look back regardless, so thanks!

Kurrgan/Jackal

What was the original plan with the Jackal and Kurrgan?  It seemed like there was a push in the works, and then it vanished.  Jackal was good in that cult leader role…just curious.

I don't think there was ever any specific planning behind it.  They started with the Commandant leading the Truth Commission, then phased Jackal in, then split off Sniper & Recon and went nowhere with that, and then just kind of forgot about Kurrgan before repackaging him with the Oddities.  I never got the sense of any big plan behind any of it.  Just Russo being Russo.  

 
Rob

ROH TV 12-1-12

This
week’s ROH TV has the long-awaited return of The Headbangers to TV, and a
rematch of the Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin match from Showdown in the Sun.

First, a bit of ROH news, as Jim Cornette is now officially out
of the company. Of course, he had already been removed as booker in favor of Delirious,
but after a blow-up at these TV tapings ROH has decided to put him on an
indefinite sabbatical.  This is very much
a good thing, as the guy just hasn’t kept up with the times, and his abrasive
attitude in general sure wasn’t doing the promotion any favors.
We open with the introduction of our new commentator, Caleb
Seltzer. On one hand he’s not that good (though no worse than a lot of people
that call WWE/TNA), on the other he never mentions the words “vintage” or “Twitter”
and actually sticks to just calling the matches. I’m just not happy that Nigel
McGuiness is out, his commentary was one of my favorite parts of the show.
The Headbangers vs.
The Briscoes:
The Headbangers have of course been on ROH TV before under
really cheap looking masks as the Guardians of Truth, but they quit the House of
Truth and unmasked at the last TV taping. Both teams start brawling before we
can even do the Code of Honor. We get that sorted out and it’s Mark and Mosh as
the legal men, but Thrasher attacks Mark from behind and drops him on the
guardrail. The members of each team pretty much look just like their respective
partners, so forgive me if I get them mixed up. Thrasher gets tagged in and he
tosses Mark outside and they do some more brawling on the floor, Mark gets sent
face-first into the ringpost and then gets knocked off the apron by Mosh as he
tries to get back in. He tries to get back in again, and Mosh drops him on his
face with a front suplex from the apron to the floor as Thrasher distracts the
ref. Nice bump there. Mark finally gets back in the ring and a flying
clothesline gets 2 for Mosh. He tries the running butt splash but gets caught
and Mark drops him. Thrasher gets tagged in and knocks Jay off the apron before
Mark can get the hot tag, but runs into a boot on a blind charge and the hot
tag is made. Jay pounds away and hits the Death Valley Driver for 2. He tries a
backdrop suplex but kind of blows it, Mark hits a second rope elbow anyway and
Jay covers but Mosh makes the save, Mark gets backdropped over the top for
another nice bump as Jay gets double-teamed in the ring. Mark pulls Thrasher
out and Jay gets a small package on Mosh for the 3 at 5:35. **1/2, all brawling
and very little wrestling, but action-packed and short enough to where it didn’t
wear out its welcome.
Veda Scott is in the back with Nigel McGuiness and Davey Richards.
Richards asks for a match at Final Battle with him and Eddie Edwards against
Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish. Problem is, Edwards is in Japan touring with
NOAH. McGuiness Oks the match, but tells Davey that if Edwards doesn’t show up,
well, tough shit.
Adam Page vs. QT
Marshall (w/R.D. Evans):
Only info I can find on Page is from his own
website: He’s 21 (not 20 as the graphic would tell you), from Aaron’s Creek VA,
and was trained by Justin Flash, Jason Blade, and Jimmy Valiant. He’s done time
in Evolve and various lower-level Mid-Atlantic indies, and apparently he can
also be seen eating a mess of greens in the background of an episode of NXT. At
any rate, like last week with some unknown guy, I’m betting on a squash here.
Evans joins us for commentary as they do a bit of an Irish whip battle that ends
with a spinning wheel kick from Page. He tries to go up but Marshall drops him
throat-first on the top rope. Marshall (pronounced Mar-SHALL) is somehow bleeding hardway
from the bridge of his nose, and to my shock and delight we neither get
blurring nor the wide-angle shot of doom. Scoop slam and some elbow drops from
Marshall, Page tries to come back but a tilt-a-whirl slam puts him down for 2.
He backdrops out of a suplex attempt and hits a powerslam for 2, standing
shooting star press (Nice!) gets 2, but a crossbody attempt from the top finds
nothing but Marshall’s knee. God’s Gift (that move where you put a guy in the
Razor’s Edge position but instead of dropping him on his back he drops him on
his stomach, can’t remember what it’s really called off hand) finishes it at
3:25. *1/2, which is about as good as a match that short is going to be. Page looked
good, Marshall had his best outing so far, IMO, and I would have liked to see
them go another 5 minutes. Prince Nana attacks Evans from behind and for some
reason starts tearing Evans’ clothes off before Marshall chases him away.
Marshall and Evans are still in the ring as we come back
from commercial, along with McGuiness. Evans cuts an absolutely awful promo,
tripping over his lines and just trying to force it way too hard. As bad as
Truth Martini is (I don’t think he’s that bad, but everyone else seems to hate
him) at least he sounds like he’s done this before, and I’d hate to even hear
how bad Marshall is if having Evans talk for him is considered an improvement.
McGuiness says he won’t be pushed around by a guy that has the genitals of a 4
year old, announces Evans vs. Nana for Final Battle, and tells him that if he
doesn’t like it he and Marshall can leave ROH forever. Good riddance…
Inside ROH: WGGT
vs. Titus/Whitmer in an NYC streetfight is announced for Final Battle, and
clips from the matches involving those guys from last week are shown. The Bobby
Fish/Kyle O’Reilly/Davey Richards segment from last week is also shown.
Davey Richards vs.
Michael Elgin:
Davey does a half-assed job of selling the crossface from last
week (or an hour ago, however you want to put it), but at least he makes the
attempt. Before we get started Truth Martini joins us to try to convince Elgin
to call off the match with Roderick Strong at Final Battle. Elgin refuses, of
course. The match between these guys at Showdown in the Sun is widely
considered a MOTYC, and was even given ***** by Meltzer (which is kind of
surprising considering it didn’t happen in Japan), so they’ve got a lot to live
up to here. I haven’t seen it, so I can’t give an opinion either way. Richards
gets the anklelock about 15 seconds in but Elgin quickly gets free. Both guys
throw forearms, Elgin gets dropkicked and bails, Richards misses the kick from
the apron but nails Elgin in the shoulder on the second try. He tosses Elgin into
the barricade and nails a kick to the face, Elgin responds with the same. Back
in the ring Richards gets the anklelock again, but Elgin rolls out of it and
sends Davey to the floor. That just looked silly, as it’s clear that Richards
just let go and then dove out of the ring under his own power. Richards gets
back on the apron and they fight it out there, then Elgin gets on the second
rope and suplexes Richards back in the ring from there, it gets 2. I should note
that there’s way too many shots of the crowd during this episode, it’s like an
early-90s WCW show. Another forearm battle as the fans go into the dueling chants
(with the Elgin contingent winning by quite a bit), Richards tries a handspring
elbow but gets caught in the Burning Hammer position. He gets free and tries a
crucifix, but Elgin holds on, deadlifts him right up, and DVDs him into the
corner for 2. Fans do the (bleeped) “holy shit” chant as we go to commercial,
which I think is a bit of an overreaction.
Yet another forearm battle as we come back, Elgin ends up on
the floor and Richards follows him out with a dive through the ropes. I
personally always thought that move was totally insane but not all that
impressive visually, if your foot gets snagged on the ropes you’re probably
breaking your neck. I wouldn’t try it if I was a wrestler, is what I’m saying.
Richards tosses Elgin back in and hits a missile dropkick, runs into both boots
on a blind charge, but no-sells it and hits a German suplex. Elgin no sells
that but Richards gets a rolling cross-armbreaker, Elgin just lifts him up and
launches him into the corner. That isn’t sold either, they fight it out and a
jumping enziguri attempt by Elgin leads to the anklelock AGAIN, Elgin makes the
ropes. Elgin works an O’Connor roll right into a German suplex for 2 and both
guys are down. They both get up and Elgin tries to superplex Richards but it’s
blocked, Richards misses the double stomp but gets a tombstone for 2. Both guys
go out to the apron (with the corner in between them) for more forearms, then
Richards throws the weakest looking Kawada kicks I’ve ever seen, Elgin responds
with some equally terrible knees to the face. They both do them again, and that
whole sequence is bad enough to knock * off the rating on its own. Elgin tries another
apron-to-ring suplex but takes a jumping enziguri (which seems to be the
signature move of ROH, I swear that everyone on the roster does it) and they
slug it out on the second rope. Richards throws some headbutts as Kelly
exclaims “Great camerawork”, despite the camera clearly showing that Richards
is throwing them with no force at all and putting his hand in between to block.
Richards finally gets the superplex (with Elgin obviously doing all the work)
and tries to roll it into something else, but Elgin blocks it and hits…
something, not sure if that was a botch or intentional but it didn’t look too
good. It gets 2 at any rate, and Elgin goes for the corkscrew senton but
misses. Richards hits a high knee and puts Elgin on top of another superplex
attempt, but Elgin blocks it and hits a sort of spinning fireman’s carry slam
from the top for 2. Corkscrew lands for 2 and Elgin locks in the crossface, but
Richards rolls him over for a 2 count. Elgin has had enough of this match (as
have I) and just smokes him with a high knee, lands a couple shots to the back
of the head and the turnbuckle powerbomb, and the spinning sitout powerbomb finish
this one at 14:59. Crowd chants “This is awesome!” I have to vehemently
disagree, this was no great match by any means. **, and I only go that high
because of all the nice power spots from Elgin, Richards sucked for the most
part. This was rather sloppy, quite repetitive (WAY too many forearms and ankle
locks), the selling (or lack thereof) killed it, and some parts were downright
business exposing, though the usual shit production work from ROH is as much to
blame for that as the wrestlers. It’s pretty clear that they were trying way
too hard to re-create the magic of the earlier match and this one suffered because
of it, though if that match was anything like this one (I’m guessing it wasn’t,
these guys usually kick it into a higher gear for PPVs, plus they get a lot
more time) than the people calling it a MOTYC are nuts. Take out that weak-ass sequence
from the corner, back off on all the forearms and meaningless anklelock attempts,
and actually sell things properly (Davey, I’m mostly looking at you on this
one) and it’s maybe ***+, but as it stands this was really disappointing.
Not exactly must-see TV here. Next week: Bobby Fish &
Kyle O’Reilly vs. The Bravados, Jay Lethal squashes some guy I’ve never heard
of, and Kevin Steen defends the ROH world title against Mike Bennett. 

Wrestler’s Union?

Hi Scott,


Hope all is well. I'm sure you've got this question before but do you think we'll ever see a wrestler's union? I feel sick reading stories about guys like Marty Jannetty and his bad ankles and Kamala and his amputations/diabetes. Surely they could get SOME help if there was a union or some kind of medical help after their careers are done.

I know that for a union to happen, a guy who is indispensable to the company, like John Cena, would have to lead the charge. But I don't see that company man/doofus would ever do such a thing. I remember reading that Jesse Ventura and the Killer Bees (or one of them) were working towards it in the 80s but Hogan put the kibosh on things. At least that's what Jesse says.

I think there should be inclusion for wrestlers into the screen actor's guild. They work on television in "entertainment" so why not? Don't Hollywood stuntmen have a union? If those dudes do, surely wrestlers should as well. Of course, Vince still considers wrestlers like circus performers even though the rest of his corporation has made it to the 21st century.

What do you think?


Never gonna happen.  WWE won't even admit that their contracted wrestlers are EMPLOYEES, let alone recognize a union.  I would imagine that guys like Cena and Orton are members of the SAG already because of speaking roles in actual movies, but I can't see any legitimate entertainment boards like AMPAS or even the Emmys bothering with wrestling as far as enacting change from that direction, either, since it would require Vince to subject himself to regulation.  
Basically, until someone is able to break the legal seal and get a court to rule that WWE's circus performers are employees, nothing will happen from any front.

Punk/Rock Rumble starring Ken Resnick (Question for the blog)

Its your friendly neighborhood Fuj here and I was thinking about Punk/Rock at the Rumble.


How could they conceivably job Punk to Rock on the Road to WM? (Just to say if he doesnt do the job at Survivor Series beforehand.) 

I dont see Rock showing up as the WWE champ on RAW every week, and/or defending it at the Feb PPV because of his schedule and what not.

So does that mean Punk holds the belt til WM?

Holla back pimpin,

PS- You are gonna put me over one of these days.

Yeah, that's what Bret Hart said to Shawn Michaels in 1997, too.  
Rock wouldn't be showing up as champion every week and probably not even in February, which would make it super-special when he DOES show up at Wrestlemania to defend the belt against Cena.  Two months without the WWE title being defended at every house show isn't gonna kill anyone.  Hell, they can even have Punk carry the belt around and claim to be the real unbeaten linear champion so people can get a "title match" on the shows until Undertaker finally returns to shut him up on behalf of Jerry Lawler.  It'll be fine.