The SmarK Rant for WWF Wrestling Challenge – 01.17.87

The SmarK Rant for WWF Wrestling Challenge – 01.17.87

I find it continually fascinating that this show, which should fall into the wheelhouse of everyone reading, just doesn’t do very well in engagement or views, but WWF Superstars in 1993 knocks it out of the park every time.  Do I need more Finnish recipe jokes here?

Taped from Hershey, PA

Your hosts are Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan

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NXT UK – July 22, 2021

Date: July 22, 2021
Location: BT Studios, London, England
Commentators: Andy Shepherd, Nigel McGuinness

This was supposed to be the big showdown between Walter and Ilja Dragunov but the injury bug struck, meaning the match has been postponed. Instead, we have to settle for Subculture challenging Pretty Deadly for the Tag Team Titles. I’d call it a downgrade but they can probably make it work. Let’s get to it.

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AEW Talent Raid

Hey Scott- 

Are you shocked by the fact that more hasn't been done by the WWE to poach talent from AEW? I know everybody on the main roster are all on relatively new contracts, but I'm surprised Ben Carter is basically the only new guy with potential that they've swiped up. Kilynn King for one would be a perfect get to slow down AEW building their women's roster. 

Also, who are the WWE going to go after when their contracts are coming to a close? MJF obviously, probably Wardlow. I feel like the “war” between the two companies will really come to a head when the WWE are bringing in AEW guys. 

Who are they gonna go after, Jazz Hands Omega?  Like any of those geeks ever drew 1.13 million viewers and a 0.44 in the demo, AMIRITE?
(checks notes)
I stand corrected. 
Anyway, yeah, I think Wardlow ends up there, and I know MJF really wants to end up there as well and I think they'll both do well. 

Is NXT worth all the money being spent?

Hi Scott,

Piggybacking the Vince hates NXT email, I wonder how much of the hate is due to how much red ink NXT creates?  I’m sure it’s pretty bad even with the USA deal considering how many people they have signed that don’t even appear on tv. 

Then you have AEW using Dark as their developmental system with much lower cost and commitment.  A development system where talent actually gets to work with established talent on the main roster and in front of crowds.  Which you would think identifies promising talent reasonably well. 

Do you think as part of the current cost cutting, does WWE adopt how AEW handles development?  Or is it one of those things where NXT is reasonably safe because it is HHH’s baby?

As I understand it, NXT is very cheap to produce and the talent makes peanuts, so the money that USA pays for it is more than enough to cover them. 

Impact, Indies, and Insanity: July 22, 2021

IMPACT!  Havok and Rosemary give Fire ‘n’ Flava their Contractually Obligated Rematch(tm)!  David Finlay VI and Juice Robinson are back in town and taking on Ace Austin and Madman Fulton!  Six-person tag action sees Brian Myers, Sam Beale, and Tenille Dashwood face Matt Cardona, Jake Something, and Chelsea Green!  Ultimate X Fallout puts Chris Bey against Rohit Raju!  Petey Williams and Trey Miguel team up for a showcase match on the pre-show!  And what are Jay White and Mickie James doing in the Impact Zone?

(Two different things, clearly, but for some reason the idea of Mickie James in Bullet Club isn’t at all horrible now that I think about it.  If only New Japan had a women’s division.  Bullet Club in STARDOM maybe?)

One big even this INDIES weekend, and we cover it after the jump!

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Did losing the Wed. Night Wars make Vince hate NXT?

Hey Scott — I don't mean to sound histrionic or anything, but the assumption going around now that Vince clearly doesn't care for NXT is kinda hard to argue when you look at all the evidence. Do you think at least part of the reason why was because they “lost” the Wednesday Night War? It feels to me like that would be something that would stick in Vince's craw.

He went from not really caring about it all that much to suddenly shoving it onto network TV (and having some of his fingerprints start showing up all over it) as soon as Dynamite was announced, and then after losing most of the ratings “battles” it suddenly gets pulled to a different night. A competition addict like Vince HAS to see that as a loss. Now Vince has no faith in NXT to make real starts and in his mind has to build them all over again from the ground up when he gets them. Thoughts?


I think it’s a solid theory.  

Dark Side of the Ring Fan Made Episode

Hi Scott,

My name is Justin Thorne and I am a LONG time reader of yours (How did I get this old?) that started at SummerSlam 2002. I don't follow current wrestling, but I definitely check the blog for  RAW Rants/Observer Recaps as I've been grinding through 1993-1997. That probably sounds masochistic, but it's to satisfy the inner wrestling historian in me, as I'm sure you understand. I also drop in to read rants of modern PPVs that are happening to see what's going on in the product and see if I want to get back in. (Spoiler: I haven't.)

In 2017, I asked if you'd share an episode of my web-series, The Following Announcement, which you DID, which was really incredible and I was super thankful for. You've definitely been an inspiration to look critically on television throughout the years and influenced me to try to create my own. I've decided to ask for another opportunity for a share, or even just your view/review, as my show, still at it 4 years later, just made an episode based on the Dark Side of the Ring format. I think it's among the best work we've done and if it doesn't hook you in 60 seconds, well, something something, two words for you, yadda.

Thanks, I'll be around no matter what. I post as Justin Michaels sometimes but I'm much more lurker than worker.

Justin Thorne

PS Definitely watched DS9 a few years back with your reviews as a companion piece, killer stuff. 

No worries, best of luck!  

Vince’s biggest talent blunder

Notwithstanding the Karrion Kross blunder that buried the entire NXT roster, which individual talent did Vince McMahon bungle or miss out on the most?
To be clear, Karrion sucks and I don’t give a shit about Vince bungling him, I just think it’s sad that NXT got buried like that.  
I think Moxley is the answer for modern history.  

YES! YES!…..Wait a minute..

Now that Punk and Bryan has allegedly signed and after the insane pop they will both receive, can you stop and think who are they going to feud with on first arrival? Cody is the logical answer but it seems like all new signings go against him and after the initial win they will get, he goes over and just moves on. Kenny is tied up with Hangman, Jericho and MJF same deal. 

Moxley maybe? The options aren't that long

Punk vs MJF for the promo segments alone.  Who cares if they even have a match?   And I’d slot Daniel Bryan Danielson as Omega’s rebound feud after he drops the belts to Hangman. 

Monday Night Raw – February 19, 2007

Monday Night Raw
Date: February 19, 2007
Location: Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, California
Attendance: 8,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re done with No Way Out and that means we have less than six weeks to go before Wrestlemania XXIII. The main events are set but we still need a bit more of the card to come together. That means we could be in for something good tonight, which will likely not include another appearance from Donald Trump. Let’s get to it.

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Dynamite – July 21, 2021

Date: July 21, 2021
Location: Curtis Culwell Center, Garland, Texas
Commentators: Excalibur, Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross

It’s another special show this week with Fyter Fest Night Two, headlined by the IWGP United States Title Texas Deathmatch between Jon Moxley and Lance Archer. The recent shows have been pretty good as of late and I’m curious to see how well they can keep it up. Odds are they will, as they tend to do. Let’s get to it.

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The S.T.F’n Wednesday Night Thread (7/21/21)


Are you tired of WWE trying to endlessly milk your nostalgia for every penny to distract you from the fact that their current product is hit or miss at best?!

Do you like headline stories with NO relevant information?!

Then welcome to the Blog Of Doom. I’m PMH, one letter stands for Paul, the others don’t. CM Punk may be headed to AEW, and tonight, Dynamite has night 2 of the Fyter Fest! Britt Baker and The Mox will defend their titles, and Chris Jericho will get hit with a chair numerous times! (Don’t tell Mick Foley)

I think I accidentally stole my “get to it” line from Tommy Hall. Doomers, I need a new go-home line… winner gets an authentic near mint Marvel No Prize.


CM Punk — a “legend?”

Obviously Punk's return to the ring would be a big story, and he's had an impressive career. But Twitter's trending topics right now refers to him as “WWE legend CM Punk.” A bit strong, no?

He’s not even a WWE Hall of Famer and has he even HAD a Wrestlemania Moment?  Pshaw!  Fooferaw!  
Of course he’s a legend.  He lives rent free in the minds of thousands of chanting idiot fans.  

What the World Was Watching: The Wrestling Summit (Special Column)

As noted in prior columns, this show was a joint effort by the WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and All Japan Pro Wrestling.  The WWF was looking to expand its global presence while New Japan and All Japan felt threatened by Akira Maeda’s shoot-like Universal Wrestling Federation, which drew a 50,000 person crowd to the Tokyo Dome for a big show in November 1989.  To counter them, New Japan and All Japan worked together on a supershow at the Tokyo Dome on February 10.  Then, they built on that effort by partnering with the WWF for another big card in Tokyo on April 13 that was named The Wrestling Summit.  According, the show drew a crowd of 53,742.

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Jumbo Tsuruta & John Tenta vs. The Road Warriors (and other Dream Matches!)

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time, we’ve got something weird- apparently when John Tenta was just starting out in wrestling, he was in ALL JAPAN of all places, teaming up with the Ace and weighing only 300-ish lbs., and fighting the legendary Road Warriors!

Also I found more of that bizarre Land of Giants team, as they take on… The Undertakers? Yes- it’s a pair of obese twins with a name the WWF actually bought off of them. Then wen see a “Battle of the Kings” as King Mabel decides to take out Ken Shamrock shortly after his King of the Ring victory- a shockingly good attempt at putting a guy over from MABEL of all people! And then, in a fantastically-terrible bout, come see the legendary POWER UTI, villain of Mick Foley’s first book and national hero of Nigeria, take on the worst wrestler in AEW- Doc “Super Festus” Gallows! And then we cap things off with WCW’s Wrath & Mortis vs. The Faces of Fear in a shockingly-good Hoss Brawl!

JUMBO TSURUTA & JOHN TENTA vs. THE ROAD WARRIORS (Hawk & Animal, w/ Paul Ellering):
(All Japan, 1987.6.8)
* Haha, oh Jesus- look at this! Baby John Tenta, fresh out of sumo and having lost a LOT of weight, is in the early stage of his pro wrestling career in All Japan as the Ace’s tag team partner, and they’re going up against the early form of the Road Warriors, in full black spike-vests and ’80s facepaint! Tenta, in his navy-blue singlet with a Canadian flag on it, is almost unrecognizable, being barely 300 lbs. and scarcely larger than Jumbo- he’s all straight lines! Even at 24 he’s lost almost all the hair on top of his head, though.

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Mike Reviews – ROH Retribution: Round Robin Challenge 2 (26th April 2003) – Part One

ROH Wednesday’s Continue!

Last week we concluded our review of The Epic Encounter (Check the archives if you haven’t read that one and are feeling generous to this humble scribe) and now we move on to the next show in the form of Round Robin Challenge 2.

The first Round Robin Challenge had one of the best matches in the early history of ROH with Bryan Danielson and Low Ki going at it. This time we’ve got Christopher Daniels, Paul London and The Amazing Red competing. They’ll all wrestle each other once, and the person with the best record overall will win the challenge.

We’ll split this one into two parts as per usual

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Bruno 1986/Road Warriors 1987


How disappointing is it looking back that Bruno never faced Dory Funk/Harley Race/Terry Funk during his 1985-87 return, particularly Terry?
Also, could a Road Warriors heel turn on the Rock 'n Roll Express during the post Great American Bash '87 time period helped keep the company from their slump that occurred at the worst time?  Ricky Morton selling for evil Road Warriors?  

Bruno was working a super limited program during his comeback but yeah, that would have been awesome.  
Man, the Rock N Roll Express flushed SO MUCH money down the toilet when they bailed on Crockett after the Turner sale.  They could have had national exposure and incredible matches with the Road Warriors and Midnight Express but instead they disappeared and came back as a relic in 1990.