http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/08/20/the-smark-rant-for-awa-championship-wrestling-on-espn-classic-08-17-11/ I’m drawn to this show like a car wreck. It’s like when you’re walking down the street and see people beating up a ginger kid, and you’re like “Man, I should help that poor freak” but then you stop and take a video for Youtube instead because it’s hilarious. But you feel bad about it afterwards. Like that.
Is there any other instance of a ‘Montreal-type’ situation taking place or nearly taking place? In Japan maybe? We hear about the standoffs, refusals to job, and general bickering about match results, but was there ever another instance in a wrestling promotion in which that kind of outcome either came about or nearly occured? Thanks
Uh, to say the least, YES. That’s why everyone came to warn Bret about getting screwed, because this kind of shit happened ALL THE TIME back in the day. I don’t have a list handy because it would take forever, but Montreal was mainly notable for being the first time it happened on live TV in the so-called “modern era”, when wrestling was supposed to be out of the smoky bingo halls and run by a more sophisticated group of aristocrats instead of the skeevy promoters who would do that sort of thing in the past. That used to be why the NWA would favor guys like Lou Thesz, who could take care of themselves if some two-bit promoter decided he wanted to do an unauthorized title change in his territory. I mean, would you want to go in there and try to shoot on Terry Funk?
Uh oh, another “How to retroactively save WM9” post. You know, Superman learned many times not to try to go back and change the past, because it just never works out. But what the heck, let’s check it out.
Thought this might be a good blog discussion, although this may have been covered before. I recently watched WM9, and although I don’t hate the show as much as others, every time I watch it I always think what they could’ve done to make it a better show. With a few tweaks here and there, it could’ve been up there with other great WM’s. So of course, I had to think about it and come up with a plan like others probably do. And for this card to happen, it really would involve only two little things to make it work:
Convincing Ric Flair to stick around for a couple more months, and Marty Jannetty not pulling a Marty Jannetty the night before the Royal Rumble and showing up in the condition he was reportedly in for his match with HBK (I know, that one is a bit of a stretch and probably makes the following even more pointless than it already is) So here’s what I wish they would’ve done. First, the matches left the same: -Steiners vs Headshrinkers – keep it the same, nice little power tag match -Crush vs Doink – I’m one of the few who actually liked the “fake Doink” thing they did there, it would’ve been fine if they hadn’t repeated it for six months afterwards -Hogan & Beefcake vs Money Inc. – If they wanted to bring Hogan back, this match was fine (just chop like 5-10 minutes off.) Plus the Beefcake angle on Raw to set it up was cool. Hell, give Hogan the tag titles for all I care, maybe that would’ve made him satisfied (that’s a huge reach, I know) -Undertaker vs Giant Gonzales – Undertaker was going through his “fighting giants, monsters & freaks” thing no matter what, so no need to change it. Just get rid of the dumb chloroform thing; that chops like 10 minutes off right there. Maybe Mr. Hughes debuts as Whippleman’s manager, causes a big DQ, and Kamala comes down to even the odds and make his peace with the guy that stuffed him in a casket? Yeah that’s dumb, too. Here’s the matches I would change: -IC title: HBK vs Marty Jannetty – set it up as Marty’s last chance, give them as much time as the Tatanka match, let them go all out and HBK just gets by with a pin. Then maybe over the next few weeks Jannetty (realizing he’ll never get another shot and perhaps HBK’s just better than him) does the whole “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” thing, and joins back up with HBK as a part-time heel Rockers? Can you imagine a heel Rockers vs Steiners match? -Tatanka vs Bam Bam Bigelow – these two feuded after WM anyway, right? Have it start here. Play up Tatanka’s undefeated streak. Throughout the match Bigelow gets more frustrated that he can’t put Tatanka down so he snaps and gets himself DQ’d and beats the ever-loving hell out of him. -Owen Hart/Tito Santana vs Razor Ramon – gotta keep Razor on here, but instead of Backlund I was thinking Owen. They did a little thing during the buildup to the Rumble where Razor took out Owen to get to Bret, so settle it here. I remember reading though that Owen may have been hurt during this time; if so stick Tito in there to keep his WM streak going. Razor wins though no matter who it is. -Mr. Perfect vs Ric Flair – do the career match from Raw here. Save Luger for post WM shows. Heenan’s upset that Perfect retired his meal ticket, so he brings in Luger to deal with it. -Earthquake vs Yokozuna – have the Natural Disasters be the ones to dump Yoko from the Rumble; Yoko wins in a squash. Or if they’re really determined to put Yoko over as a monster, have him face both Earthquake and Typhoon, I don’t care. Promote it as the heaviest match of all time or something. -World title: Bret Hart vs Randy Savage – give Bret a big win over someone that can really put him over as the star of the future. What do you think? If you really want to get wacky, post WM you can have Bret and Savage be “rivals who respect each other” but they’re both leery as Hogan’s around and they know it’s only a matter of time until he sticks his nose in the world title picture. And then Yokozuna can be the monster that all three of them have to deal with? Love to know everyone’s else’s thoughts.
I got a couple of questions that I don’t think his DVD really goes into
1.) I know Pillman created the "Loose Cannon" persona to basically
trick Eric Bischoff into firing him, but what exactly was Bischoff’s
reason/plan for trying to work the wrestlers/employees in WCW with
this? Was he hoping that Pillman would work out this character in ECW,
then bring him back as anti-authority figure/rebel like Stone Cold
Steve Austin, maybe to battle the NWO? Was this supposed to be knock at
the WWE/Vince McMahon, since Pillman used to be Austin’s tag team
partner? Even if that was the plan, I still don’t see the reason to try
to work his employees.
2.) I know ECW was the rebel "anything can happen" organization, but
surely they must have been hoping they would have gotten alot more out
of Pillman besides a few promos/skits. Like maybe an actual wrestling
match? Did they have any plans for him, even short-term ones?
The question of what exactly anyone, Pillman included, was hoping to get out of the Loose Cannon deal is a tough one. I know Pillman was planning to go back to WCW after his “fake” firing, but the accident left him in a really bad bargaining position and he pretty much had to take the guaranteed WWF money instead. By the time he was in ECW he was so deep into the work that lots of people commented on how he was losing track of the whole reason why he was doing it. So no, ECW had no plans for him aside from screwing with the big two, and I don’t even think Bischoff had plans for him if he was to return.
Hey Scott, it’s me again and I’m here to ask for your help. After finding myself still stewing over the Vickie Guerrero fat jokes on RAW, I decided to write an email to as many of the groups involved in the "be a STAR" anti-bullying campaign as I could find. I’m hoping that anybody else who is sickened by WWE’s behavior might want to do the same and that if enough of us express our outrage over the blatant hypocrisy of the campaign, something will be done. If needed, I can supply a list of email addresses affiliated with the various organizations. Maybe it’s pointless, but at least I tried. I’d really appreciate it if you could run this on your blog sometime. Here’s my letter:
I am writing to bring to your attention the recent activities on WWE television in which a performer named Vickie Guerrero is constantly subjected to dehumanizing and degrading "jokes" about her weight. In reality, Mrs. Guerrero (the widow of former WWE performer Eddie Guerrero, who died at the age of 38 while on tour with WWE) has actually lost upwards of 50 pounds and presents a healthy body type, but since she does not fall within WWE’s narrow definition of what a woman should look like, she is the butt of demeaning and crude attempts at "humor" from other WWE performers who are supposed to be role models for the children who watch these programs. A quick search for "Vickie Guerrero fat jokes" on YouTube will provide all the evidence you need, and if possible, you should try to find clips from this past Monday night’s WWE RAW program, in which Mrs. Guerrero was again taunted regarding her weight by announcer Jerry Lawler. Ironically, this segment
aired prior to a video package promoting WWE’s involvement with the "Be A STAR" campaign.
The hypocrisy is astounding. Personally, I am disgusted and appalled that your groups would be associated with WWE on such a venture. I applaud you for your efforts in dealing with such a widespread and important issue, but if you are truly serious about the anti-bullying campaign, I urge you to look into this matter and re-evaluate your relationship with WWE. Millions of children view WWE programming and they are learning that it is acceptable to tease and bully a person due to their weight issues. That is completely wrong and runs counter to your admirable campaign.
If you need any more information regarding this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your time and your prompt attention to this matter.
Apparently GLAAD is already giving WWE heat about this, as they should. I totally agree that it’s hypocritical and disgusting for WWE to be preaching against bullying and then mocking and tormenting people like Vickie and Jim Ross.
About a year ago I sent you a link to my wrestling review blog/websitewww.marcelusive.com; you suggested to add some more personality to it. I have added a ton more reviews and a few random writings now. How do you think it looks now? If it is worthy, how about a cheap pop on the Blog of Doom? Thanks! Marc A. Florio
I think we’ve established by now that I will literally plug anything.
Hey Scott, Im thrilled at the prospect of u reviewing WWE programming again. Question for u regarding Cena. How is he not blamed for slumping PPv buys and Raw ratings slipping. I read on this week’s Observer that the segment featuring Cena’s match actually LOST viewers. Im just curious.
Because he sells assloads of merchandise and draws at house shows just as much as anyone else they could possibly push to the top would. I don’t think anyone could argue that Cena isn’t the biggest draw of the modern (post-Austin) era, so he’s gonna get some slack when it comes to dropping buyrates and ratings. Besides, buyrates are in the toilet because of fundamental problems with their business, not the people who they push on top.
I find reading the archived Observers from the early 90s endlessly fascinating, partially because I’m finding all these crazy details I never realized before, and partly because of all the hindsight involved. For instance, the initial Hogan v. Flair main event of Bash at the Beach 94 was not as set-in-stone as you’d think. Even into June, the main event was presumed to be Hogan & Sting v. Flair & Curt Hennig, but Hennig was still locked into his WWF deal until September so they would have had to do some legal wrangling. Before that, it was going to be Hogan & Sting v. Flair & Rick Rude, but Rude refused to job for Hogan, and THAT led to him getting fired after the neck injury in Japan. Meltzer was very skeptical about the injury back then, although obviously Rude never wrestled again. With those possibilities shot down, we were left with Hogan v. Flair. Huh. Here’s his thoughts in 1994 on how to best use Hogan:
“Many would argue that just as Vince McMahon didn’t get the most out of the late 1991 Hogan-Flair series because Flair wasn’t cast as an outsider who wasn’t part of the WWF, that Hogan’s best role to draw money would be as an outsider who isn’t part of WCW rather than a new fixture talked about incessantly on every weekly television show.”
Give that man a cigar.
http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/96-wwe/21757-report-that-ufc-new-tv-deal-is-complete This could have HUGE ramifications for the business, as Zuffa now have major network backing and presumably better sense with what to do with that exposure than Strikeforce or EliteXC did. Thankfully this won’t affect us here in Canada as UFC has a separate deal to air their stuff on Sportsnet, but I’m looking forward to seeing what they would pull out for a live show on FOX.
http://www.avclub.com/articles/wwe-monday-night-rawpost-summer-slam-edition,60462/ Another great review from the AV Club, as I can feel his pain about trying to explain the CM Punk angle without dragging a chalkboard into the room like Doc Brown. I even get a shout-out in the first comment!
http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/08/15/the-view-from-down-here-%E2%80%93-book-review-%E2%80%98dungeon-of-death-chris-benoit-and-the-hart-family-curse%E2%80%99-by-scott-keith/ I’ve given up hope of ever making royalties off Dungeon of Death, but IP writer Steven Gepp offered up a very nice review of my last book.
http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/08/16/the-smark-raw-rant-august-15-2011/ Trusting Kevin Nash to get you over in a feud is not a very wise move. Hopefully the combination of perspective and Just For Men that has brought Big Kev back to WWE will change his mentality. But I’m not holding my breath.
I was just thinking the other day about goofy/strange (but consistent) spots, and I was curious what your favorites were. As an example of what I’m thinking of, the old "you can’t headbutt a Samoan" was always a favorite of mine, and damn if almost every single opponent didn’t give it a go anyway. I think my favorite of that spot has to be anyone trying to give the Headshrinkers the double noggin’ knocker. More recently, Santino’s Cobra always cracks me up, and to his credit he has gotten it over – the crowd always pops huge and for some reason I’m always surprised if someone kicks out of it. Any favorites of yours that never seem to get old?
The Iron Claw! The Garvin Stomp! Lex Luger no-selling Ric Flair’s chops and then flexing his pecs at him, which FLAIR SELLS! Basically anything that falls so far out of the bounds of reality that your brain explodes if you think about it too long, and yet gets over, I love. I also love snarking on it, but it’s a complex relationship I have with our so-called sport.
Just in case CM Punk wins the title again and, I dunno, Steve Austin returns and gives him a stunner or something and everyone goes crazy and crashes the blog, I’m taking the blog offline tonight from the start the show until shortly after. There will be a recap posted (I’m assuming) by either Tommy Hall or Michael Bradley and once that’s up, we should be good to go again.
Joel Geraghty Hey Scott, remember me? You used to post my TNA Impact recaps and got me in at InsidePulse. Well, now I’m over at 411 doing a series of Clash of the Champions recaps, starting with the first one in March of 1988. Would you be so kind as to give me a plug on your blog?
People don’t like 411 round here much, but I’m always happy to assist.
I was wondering if there have ever been an occasion when winning a championship was actually detrimental for a wrestler or tag-team? In that, the wrestler’s career would have been better off in the long-term if he, or she, did not win a title when he, or she, did.
The only examples I think come close are Tommy Rich and Ronnie Garvin. Neither guy was believable as champion during his respective reign and was unable to keep any momentum after he lost the gold.
One could argue that winning the gold did Jack Swagger no favors. However, his career is still ongoing. So things might turn around for the All-American American.
Are there any others that fit this bill?
Oh, what a great question! Ron Garvin actually should have won the title much earlier. There was a while there on the old NWA shows on 24/7 where I was hoping I could change history by willing it and have him beat Flair at the Bash instead of Dusty Rhodes, because he was pretty awesome at times. By 87, though, he was getting overshadowed by his brother (well, stepson, but let’s keep this simple) and he just had no momentum going when he won the title. Jimmy Garvin was no great shakes as a worker, to say the least, but that Precious storyline was begging for him to give Flair his comeuppance, and it just never happened. Here’s a controversial pick for you: The Road Warriors should not have won the NWA tag titles in 1988. They didn’t need them, and there was no way to change them because the Warriors didn’t do jobs. It actually made them weaker because before then they were “above” the titles, and now they were just another tag team. David Flair winning the US title in 1998. 99? Whatever, it sucked. It also ruined any future career he might have, because the whole thing was a sort of broad satire of promoters pushing their idiot kids to undeserved titles (during Flair’s “crazy WCW president” phase), and now no one would ever be able to take David seriously following that. Once you’re booked as the buffoon, it’s hard to go back. Ask Matt Borne and Nick Dinsmore. I can think of some other good examples, but I’ll let others play.
Hey Scott, Did you know the Undertaker (and Crush) appeared in a bollywood movie back in the mid-90s? From watching this clip it is obviously not the real Undertaker but based on the comments it sounds like it’s Brian Lee during his fake Undertaker gimmick. Can you tell if it is him or an actor? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_4Hhd0RGFE&feature=related I’m wondering how this random casting came about.
It’s absolutely Brian Lee, because his hair is totally different from Mark Callaway’s and it’s easy to tell them apart. And of course Lee and Brian Adams were good friends so it’s not terribly surprising that they’d be hanging out and doing a movie together. Why the fuck they did that movie in India, I don’t know. 1994 was a weird time for the WWF, that’s all I can say about it.
Hey Scott, Colin from the Blog here. So I’m just sitting back and watching an old Nitro from 2000 (I know, I’m a glutton for punishment) and once again here comes Judy fuckin’ Bagwell on my television (or rather, computer) screen. What gives man? Was this all some big rib on Buff by Nash and the boys backstage? IIRC Buff was infamous for being a "momma’s boy" or whatever, and isn’t that why he was fired from the WWF in 2001 when the Invasion started, because he had his mother call him in sick or something along those lines? You were a stalwart of the IWC at the time so I figured you’d be the best person to ask about this one. It just seems like it was all a big rib on Buff. I wonder if he noticed.
Yeah, you’ve got it right. The whole thing with Judy Bagwell was basically a huge rib on Buff (and one on the fans, really), and “his mama called in sick to WWE” really did happen as well. That’s what WCW does to you, I guess.
http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2011/08/13/the-smarkdown-rant-august-12-2011/ Worst commentary team in history? I don’t think there’s much question about it.
The SmarK Rant for WWE Vintage Collection – August 12 2011 When I subscribed to the Score to get Smackdown and RAW again, I didn’t even realize this show was included. Well you know I’m gonna be all over THIS. Hosted by Mean Gene. This week: Summer spectaculars! This would be stuff from Summerslam and Bash at the Beach, etc. Intercontinental title: Honky Tonk Man v. Brutus Beefcake This is from Philly in June of 1988, and I reviewed a Boston show from the same month on WWE 24/7 years back, so it’ll probably be the exact same match. Beefcake pounds away with elbows to start and the dreaded WINDMILL PUNCH OF DEATH, operating under the principle that winding up the punch gives it more force. Isaac Newton would love wrestling. Honky gets a cheapshot and chokes Brutus out on the ropes, but irony strikes as Brutus sends him into the turnbuckles 10 times and follows with an atomic drop. Honky bails for some advice from “Peggy Sue”, but gets beat up on the apron as a result. Honky’s bumping is so spectacular that it almost overcomes how shitty Brutus was at this point. Brutus pummels him in the corner, and that gets two. Honky tries a kneelift, but Brutus moves out of the way and Honky takes a nice flat back bump off that. I’m gonna say it: Honky was a really underrated worker. And I’m not just saying that because he cut a promo on my voice mail. He goes to a chinlock and we take a break. Back with Honky turning that into a full blown sleeper, but Brutus fights out and makes the comeback. High knee and he signals for the sleeper, but Honky is clearly still conscious and not at all stunned. That’s why he wasn’t IC title material. Honky bails to the apron and Beefcake stupidly pus the sleeper on him, but Honky uses BRASS KNUCKLES~! and knocks Beefcake out cold for the pin at 9:33. Brutus was like Lex Luger to Honky’s Ric Flair here. *** The Un-Americans (Lance Storm, Test and Christian) v. Booker T, Goldust & Undertaker. From RAW, August 19 2002. Booker gets a flapjack on Christian for two, and cleans house on the heels before getting caught in the corner. Test with the corner clothesline, but Booker catches him with an elbow to block a charge. Test comes back with a chinlock, but Booker fights out for the hot tag to Goldust. He sets up Christian for Shattered Dreams, but it’s BONZO GONZO and Test lays him out with the big boot. Undertaker and Test fight it out in the chaos, setting up Test getting squashed at Summerslam 2002, and Taker chokeslams Lance Storm for good measure. Christian gets two on Goldust, but Booker hits Storm with an axe kick. Goldust fights off the heels, but Christian hits him with the tag belt for the pin at 5:23. Not much of note here. ** US title,30 Minute Iron Man match: Rick Rude v. Dustin Rhodes From Beach Blast 93, during the really boring period for WCW where the US title was held up seemingly forever. There’s only 30 minutes left in this show, so this is JIP about 3 minutes in with Dustin getting a backdrop on Rude and tossing him into the corner. Dustin with a chinlock and some hip swivels (“Looks like a big fat Texas steer in heat” notes Jesse Ventura). He tries to swivel again, but Rude clotheslines him instead and goes up with a flying axehandle, then shows him the proper way to swivel. Rude starts working on the back and gets a bearhug (really? We’re only about 6 minutes into this thing!) but Rhodes elbows out of that. Rude goes to a camel clutch now,and we take a break. Back with Rude getting the Rude Awakening for the first fall at 6:37 aired. Rude quickly goes up with a flying clothesline for two. Rude keeps trying pins, and we’re suddenly at 15 minutes gone. The magic of editing, I guess. Rude goes to another chinlock, but Dustin fights out, only to run into Rude’s knee in the corner. Rude tries a piledriver, but Dustin reverses to the tombstone for two. Dustin does his patented bodypress whiff and lands on the floor, and we take another break. Back with Rhodes reversing a suplex attempt for two. Rude hammers him into the corner and lays some quality badmouth on him (was there any better smack-talker in the ring than Rude?) before dropping him with a kneelift. Rude, Jesse notes, always has time to pose. And we’re back to the chinlock as Tony is actually insightful and points out that he might be “putting it in the deep freeze” a bit early. Dustin fights back, but walks into a sleeper. Sweet Jiminy Christmas is this a boring match. And so we take another break. Back with 4 minutes left and Rude slugging away in the corner, but Dustin has had ENOUGH. He spits on Rude and fires back, but tumbles out of the ring, allowing Rude to blow a snot rocket on him. That’s the farmer’s handkerchief, according to Jesse. Back in, Dustin gets a fluke bulldog for the pin to even it up with 3 minutes left. Dustin presses things with an elbow off the top for two. Dustin with a piledriver for two. He slugs away on the mat and drops the elbow for two. None of these are particularly convincing near-falls. With time running out, he gets three clotheslines for two and follows with a sleeper, but Rude escapes with a jawbreaker and goes up. He’s too slow, and time expires at 30:00 (20:00 aired) with a draw and still no US champion. This was duller than dull and just didn’t work with only the 2 falls. Dustin was getting better as a worker at this point, but nowhere near what he’d be later. ** That was a very eclectic mix of stuff, and I kind of like that about it. I shall continue watching!
So we’re almost done the big event of this summer for DC, Flashpoint, and I had previously mentioned that the main series was kind of ludicrous, but awesome. Well, we’re at issue 4 of 5 now, and it’s become less awesome and more glacially paced as I’m wondering how #5 is supposed to both wrap up the series and set up the New 52, considering NOTHING HAS HAPPENED in the past two issues. The whole thing is looking kind of pointless right now, with some of the tie-ins being amazing (BATMAN!) and some being putrid (CANTERBURY CRICKET! GREEN ARROW!) and most just being confusing as to why they exist. Like really, I’m enjoying The Outsider well enough, but who is he supposed to be and why do we need a 3 issue series about him? It feels like they’re gonna have to cram a lot into the last week of crossover stuff (like, we don’t even know what Zoom did to change the past yet), which just reinforces the whole “making it up as they go along” feel thus far. It’s still a fun series, but it just feels like an Elseworlds story that’s getting way out of hand and ultimately doesn’t mean anything. But definitely get Knight of Vengeance, it’s crazy good.
Hey Scott, I’ve got a question about Sting. Sting has said multiple times that the reason he hasn’t signed with WWE is because he’s concerned about what the company would do to his legacy after seeing how they used the other WCW employees who jumped over. And he feels like WWE would destroy the legacy and prestige. A fair concern, the Invasion did destroy more than a couple careers. But I don’t buy it. If Sting is so concerned with his Legacy, why the hell is he working for TNA? And beyond that, why the hell did he agree to a gimmick change that involves him impersonating Jim Carrey if he played the Joker. It’s not as if he took the role seriously and is testing himself by taking a crappy gimmick and doing his best with it, since it’s pretty clear that he’s dicking around and putting in as much work as Ben Kingsley did in BloodRayne. So my question to you is this? If Sting doesn’t care about his legacy (which I don’t think he does) why not sign with WWE? Stubbornness? Loyalty to Dixie? Money? Heat with Vince? I just doesn’t make any sense.
Given how many chances he’s had to work with the WWE and how many times he’s turned them down, it would have to be stubbornness at this point. Although I only saw the one episode of Impact featuring his Joker thing, so I can’t really comment on that too much. I’ve always heard there was some issue with his born-again beliefs, but if Shawn could deal with it, you think Sting could as well.
Hey Scott, I have a little blurb promoting our new issue of Wrestling Press magazine, would you mind posting it again? Thanks, and all the best, Greg —————————- Brock Lesnar on Vince McMahon and WWE
Brock Lesnar, the only man to ever hold championship gold in both WWE & the UFC, has been speaking to TWP Magazine about his time in WWE and how it helped him as a world class MMA fighter. Here are some highlights: On Vince McMahon and WWE: “These guys, they just don’t have another life. When they go home, they really can’t get out of tune with their on-stage persona. There’s really no time. I think the biggest thing is there’s really no downtime for the human body to recover, and more importantly, for their mind to recover where you’re constantly on the road, and in a program where you can’t get outside to take an outside look at what’s going on — guys resort to all kinds of extracurricular activities.” On what being with WWE has done for his career: ”I’m not stupid — without the WWE, the WWE made me a household name and increased my value tenfold before I even pursued the UFC. Could I be where I am today without the WWE? Probably not. Could I be drawing the same numbers that I’m drawing? Probably not. I brought a lot of fans over, a lot of crossover fans that I brought, just from the general public and WWE fans, I believe.” Other interviews featured in this free edition of The Wrestling Press include Al Snow as he talks about his job for Impact Wrestling. Also featured are articles on CM Punk and what’s next for him, we look at the Top 25 managers of all time, Is nostalgia for the past dooming wrestling’s future?, We look at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Impact Wrestling and a whole lot more. To read the full interview go to http://thewrestlingpress.com/?p=5282
The SmarK Rant for AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN Classic
Taped from somewhere in Minnesota, I think. The ring announce is Donna Gagne, so that’s what you’re getting into here.
Your hosts are Lee Marshall and Eric Bischoff
This looks to be early 1990, judging by the cast of characters.
DJ Peterson v. Jimmy Magnum
Peterson was a guy who had the look and a pretty good skillset, but ended up being yet another casualty after a motorcycle accident. At least it wasn’t drugs that killed him. DJ with a takedown and he works the leg with a grapevine, but Magnum makes the ropes. Magnum gets his sad jobber offense with a slam, but misses a ridiculous elbowdrop, and Peterson finishes with a sloppy flying clothesline and Scorpion deathlock at 2:53. Kind of funny hearing Marshall yell “Ring the bell, ring the bell!” while Peterson was using that particular hold.
Tommy Jammer v. Tom “Rocky” Stone
Jammer, as all the kids know, is the master of the abdominal stretch. Stone tries to attack him, but Jammer pulls him off the ropes and starts working on the leg. Jammer was a very green kid who looked like a bodybuilder and was supposed to be the teen heartthrob in the absence of, well, everyone else. Was there even anyone under 35 left in the promotion at this point? Jammer rams Stone into the turnbuckles a few times, and finishes with the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DEATH at 2:42. Jammer, and I shit you not, is sucking wind after this squash. He kicked around the indies for another couple of years and then thankfully retired.
Yukon John Nord v. The Annihilator
Nord is of course Nord the Barbarian in his pre-Berzerker days, and Annihilator looks like a very young Ahmed Johnson. It wouldn’t be him because he didn’t debut until about three years after this, but the resemblance is uncanny. Nord throws boots and Annihilator no-sells a lot of it, but misses a charge, and that allows Nord to finish with a flying legdrop at 2:17.
The Texas Hangmen v. Tony Leoni & The Cobra
The Hangmen are going by Killer and Psycho. The Hangmen double-team Leoni (who appears to be 80 years old) and hit a double bulldog, which gets two for Killer. The Cobra manages to get a tag and gets nowhere before Psycho hits him with a cheapshot and then comes in with a neckbreaker. DDT gets two. Psycho has an elbowpad, so I’m assuming that’s Mark Canterbury. Demolition Decapitation finishes at 3:22. They could not have been more obvious about ripping off Demolition unless they were managed by “Mr. Fugee” or something.
As a bonus, we take a look at the first meeting of Larry Zbyszko and Nikita Koloff, leading up to our main event tonight. I thought they would show clips, but no, they end up showing an entire 10 minute TV match between them. Larry hits Nikita with the belt to draw a DQ here.
Larry Zbyszko v. Nikita Koloff, 2/3 Falls
Sadly, this is non-title. Koloff pounds away in the corner and hiptosses Larry before tossing him out of the ring, and they brawl outside. Koloff runs him into the shower curtain that keeps fans from rushing into the ring, but Larry comes back and chokes him out with a TV cable. Back in, Larry with more of his patented choking and they slug it out. The announcers spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the referee, who is apparently a former football player. Note to idiot announcers: No one gives a shit about the referee. Koloff pounds away in the corner and gets two, then drops an elbow for two. Larry rolls him up with a handful of tights at 4:09 to win the first fall, however.
Second fall and Koloff runs Larry into the corner and puts him down with a shoulderblock, but Larry takes him down in the corner and gets two. Finally, after 30 seconds with his feet on the ropes, the idiot ref notices that Larry is cheating and breaks it up. Oh lord. Larry with a backbreaker for two, and he goes to the chinlock. Vintage Larry Z! That goes on so long that I have a chance to go read the new Observer while I wait for Koloff to escape. It lasts more than a minute, no joke. Koloff escapes with a backslide for the second fall at 9:10, continuing the cheap finish motif for this match.
Third fall and now the announcers are discussing the career of Zbyszko’s “grandfather” Stanislaus. Did Larry even use that as part of his gimmick? Larry pounds away in the corner, but Koloff shoves him off and finishes with the Sickle at 10:48. A competent but really boring main event, as clearly neither guy gave a shit at this point. They’d both bail for WCW when the AWA folded later that year. **1/4
Yikes. This wasn’t even the kind of bad that was fun to mock. This was a company clearly circling the drain, using the World champion’s wife as the ring announcer.
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