Meltzer and WM3

No, this is not about the never-ending debate about the attendance (for the record, I agree with those who say that the “official” number is phony – there's no way there's 13000 on the floor, it's got to be about 5000 max – but Dave's 78000 figure is too low).

I remember from the Observer recaps long ago that Meltzer kept predicting WM3 was going to flop, possibly licking his chops while doing so.  I even recall that he kept doing it even as the tickets were moving briskly and it was clear it was going to draw a
big crowd.  To your knowledge, has he publicly taken shit over that from readers, or has he offered a mea culpa about his questionable prognostication skills there?

No, and I've been emailing him every week since 1987 and he STILL won't answer me for some reason!

Blood & Guts or Nothing

So you have the huge Blood & Guts match, 3 1/2 weeks before what's supposed to be their biggest PPV of the year, where your World title match definitely feels like Omega vs. random filler challenger and not the big main event. Why not hold the Inner Circle return a week or two more and have some random mix and match tag matches the next two weeks between the groups and have it main event the PPV? At least then we wouldn't have 5 commercial breaks during the match, where they promise to show all the action in the picture in picture, but then the picture in picture is only on for half the break

Dunno, perhaps the TNT network execs really, REALLY wanted it on TV. Wouldn't surprise me.  They could always do a Stadium Stampede rematch at the PPV, assuming Jericho can be medically cleared by Mike Lindell beforehand.  

Mike Reviews – ECW Hostile City Showdown (20/04/1996)

Hello You!

Back with another classic ECW review, as I’ve been meaning to watch this one again for a while and now seemed like as good a time as any.

1996 was a hot year for ECW from a creative perspective, with Taz’s “Path of Rage” and Raven’s feud with The Sandman being notable highlights. Most of the year was spent trying to finally get the company on to pay per view, with things like the Mass Transit incident delaying it until 1997. The product had a good mix of brawls, character work and wrestling still though, and when I first became aware of the company in 1999 I had a lot of fun going back to hoover up some of the better shows from the companies 96 prime.

Going into this show, Raven was the ECW World Champ and was still embroiled in multiple issues with the likes of Tommy Dreamer and Shane Douglas. Dreamer had recently stolen Raven’s girlfriend Beulah away from him, so Raven had in-turn shacked up with Kimona Wanalaya, although he made it clear more than once that he was still in love with Beulah and didn’t have much time for Kimona outside of a purely physical relationship. As a result that relationship fizzled and Kimona actually ended up with Douglas, as this was before Douglas had taken on Francine as his valet.

Douglas had been kind of a tweener since coming back to ECW following a failed stint in the WWF, in that he was still as disgusting and despicable human being, but he also was feuding with guys like Raven and occasionally even helping out Dreamer from time to time, even though it was mostly for selfish reasons. It was very much “shades of grey, bro”, but in 96 that concept hadn’t been beaten into the ground yet, and because Raven was such a clear villain and Dreamer was a clear face, it worked having Douglas in the middle pulling the strings.

Elsewhere, Taz had gone heel at the end of 1995 due to the fans welcoming Sabu back to the promotion, and he was tearing through everyone in a vicious manner on route to an eventual collision with his former tag team partner. Sabu was a bit busy feuding with Rob Van Dam at the time though, so his eventual blow off with Taz would have to wait.

Going into Hostile City Showdown, the two main matches were scheduled to be Rob Van Dam facing off with Sabu and Raven defending his World Title against Douglas, with Tommy Dreamer taking on Raven’s hired thug “Bulldozer” Brian Lee in the under card. It was a pretty stacked show and there was good interest for it as a result, especially as Douglas had been teasing that he would reveal the identity of a supposed secret lover of Beulah.

Will the big matches deliver? Let’s watch on and find out!

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The SmarK Rant for Lucha Underground S01E26 – “The Best in the Business”

The SmarK Rant for Lucha Underground S01E26

“The Best in the Business”

Dario Cueto is chilling in his office, but Johnny Mundo and Alberto El Patron burst in and they’re both after a title shot at Prince Puma.  Dario agrees that they both deserve a title shot, but not yet.  Mundo thinks they deserve it over “Fernandez” because they’re both better than Hernandez, and they’re the BEST IN THE BUSINESS.  So Dario, always looking for the ratings bump, books Mundo v. Alberto tonight, with the winner facing Hernandez next week to determine the TRUE #1 contender.

Taped from the Aztec Temple

Your hosts are Matt Striker & Vampiro

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Smackdown – May 7, 2021

Date: May 7, 2021
Location: Yuengling Center, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee

It’s time for a special show with a Throwback edition of Smackdown. I’m not sure what that is going to entail but we are going to be seeing at least the old logo. I can’t imagine we’ll be seeing the big fist just due to logistics, but a few cameos should be in order as well. Let’s get to it.

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Mouth of the Hulk

Something that’s always bothered me but I’ve just brushed off for years is face Jimmy Hart being paired with Hogan. I get that they were real life friends, but them together on TV was corny and never seemed right. I found face Hart to be so miserable.

What’s the scoop on this from your knowledge and how did it come off for you at the time, especially as an old school Bret Hart guy?

I thought it made Hogan look stupid and gullible for suddenly trusting this guy who had been trying to destroy him for years, especially since he hadn’t done anything to prove trustworthy as a babyface.  Oh no, Money Inc screwed you over?  Too bad so sad.  

Friday Night Get-Down: May 7, 2021


TONIGHT!  SmackDown THROWS IT BACK!  “Rise Up” has already been confirmed for the theme song, and we’re all just waiting for a giant holographic fist!

SUNDAY!  We all wish Princess a happy Mother’s Day!  (Crap, who was supposed to get her flowers?)

Congratulations to Wheeler Yuta on winning the IWTV Independent Heavyweight Championship at Beyond over Lee Moriarty in what viewers described as a 45-minute classic.  As soon as IWTV uploads the full show, you’re dang right I’ll try to review it.

Condolences currently being sent to my friend and CRAB Wrestling compatriot Mikey Banker, who lost his father last night.

But first — your Moment of Zen:

All right, gentlemen, we went over the rules in the back.  I want you to obey the mod’s instructions at all times.  I expect a good, clean thread.  Now, touch gloves, go to your keyboards, and come out posting!



My Apologies if this question has been asked before.

I’m watching the Brian Pillman “Dark Side of the Ring”, and I’m wondering why WWE allows their footage to be used on this series when most of the episodes do not exactly paint them in a positive light. 


As I understand it, they’re not really “using” the footage.  You’ll notice that it’s typically done like filming a TV screen that’s showing their footage, which would count as a transformative work and fall under “fair use”.  The A&E documentaries are actual licensed footage by contrast.  WWE licenses their stuff all the time and it’s a big reason why they buy up all the libraries. 
As a counter, AEW are apparently being super big dicks about people on YouTube using their stuff in any manner, and sending out copyright claims denying fair use as a reason. Maffew in particular is getting worked over by them on the regular.  

What the World Was Watching: WWF Prime Time Wrestling – February 5, 1990

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan host tonight’s show.

The Bushwhackers squash from the January 29 Wrestling Challenge episode airs.  Heenan wonders whether fans need shots after the Bushwhackers lick them.  He likens the spectacle to “a petting zoo on the road.”

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Joshi Spotlight: Debbie Malenko

Debbie Malenko Sakie Hasewara | Tops, Women's wrestling, Women

Debbie Malenko with her regular partner, Sakie Hasegawa.

Real Name: Debbie Drake
Billed Height & Weight: 5’6″ 143 lbs.
Career: 1990-1993, Barely-Active since 2000-something

-So one of the few bad things during AJW’s rise in the early 1990s was the very short career of the promising Debbie Malenko, who was the sole foreigner on many AJW shows of the time period. She had formed a spunky undercard tag team with Sakie Hasegawa, and was utilizing some very unique stuff for the “GO GO GO!” joshi style (being more of an American-style technical wrestler with precision offense taught by Boris Malenko, who let her use his worked surname). Hitting big-time STFs and stuff as major offense was typically not done around this point, as AJW’s style was more “you sit on them for stretching to kill time between major periods and to take a rest”, save a few exceptions. Best of all was the duo dressing like the Steiner Brothers in distinctive multicolored amateur-wrestling singlets and even doing the “Rick Steiner barking run” and Debbie crawling under Sakie for the “Steiner Pose”. Great midcard tag stuff.

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Six-star Meltzer strikes again

Big Dave broke the scale again to give Shingo/Ospreay 6 stars at Wrestling Dontaku last week. 

The match was an easy five stars for me, but didn't reach the Okada/Omega zone of breaking the scale in my opinion.

So my question – are we on a six-star scale now? Should some older matches get retroactively bumped up to 6? Does any of this matter? 

Bonus question – Since NJPW had to cancel their big Dome shows in May due to COVID, don't you think it'd be smart for them to blow open the Forbidden Door and get more guys on AEW while Japan is shut down? 

He was raving about the match on Observer Radio, but it’s getting hard for me to keep up with the star rating inflation!  Maybe if Blood and Guts had been better. 

The SmarK Rant for WWF Superstars – 10.09.93

The SmarK Rant for WWF Superstars – 10.09.93

Taped from…I don’t even know anymore.  Time and space have no meaning in 1993 as this show just keeps meandering.  Oh wait, it’s still Grand Rapids, MI.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Randy Savage & Jerry Lawler.  Randy Savage explains the meaning of Columbus Day to him.  It has to do with 1492.

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NXT UK – May 6, 2021

Date: May 6, 2021
Location: BT Studios, London, England
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Andy Shepherd

It’s time to get rid of someone as the main event of this week’s show will feature Amir Jordan vs. Kenny Williams in a loser leaves NXT UK showdown. This presents an interesting challenge as the result should not be surprising, but neither of them are really major stars in the first place. NXT UK can probably find a way to make it work though so let’s get to it.

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Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA Super Clash ’85

Live from Chicago, IL

Airdate: September 28, 1985

Attendance: 20,347

Hosted by Larry Nelson

Can Magnum defeat Flair for the NWA World title? Will Martel retain the AWA World title against Hansen? How will the Road Warriors fare in their hometown? Does Slaughter stand up for America against Zhukov? Let’s sink our teeth into this delicious supershow!

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Impact Wrestling – April 29, 2021

Impact Wrestling
Date: April 29, 2021
Location: Skyway Studios, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: D’Lo Brown, Matt Striker

We’re done with Rebellion and Kenny Omega is the new World Champion. That could make things interesting around here, though I’m almost worried to see how Omega treats this show. Other than that, we have the rest of the fallout to deal with, which should open some interesting options. Let’s get to it.

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Thursday Night Thread: May 6, 2021

Sorry, brain’s done.  Bad day at work, no good indie matches to profile either for the video or upcoming… meh.  Just having a bad brain day.  No need for sympathy though; I should be MUCH better tomorrow.

Tonight is Impact, as the people in Nashville looked at all the times Raw had a champion who wasn’t obligated to show up and said, “Hey, let’s do that!”  Apparently the Forbidden Door just means “Kenny Omega can do whatever the hell he wants.”

At least the Mets won today.  So I got that.

Bring ye insanity.

Conrad Thompson’s contribution

I know you don’t listen to his work and have no idea how insufferable his shilling can be, but is Conrad Thompson, as flawed as people perceive his product to be, not going to go down as one of the biggest contributors to wrestling’s history somewhat akin to Meltzer because he too is capturing all this information that would likely never be recorded otherwise?

What say you sir?

I have no idea what Conrad’s role actually is, because as you noted in this email, I don’t listen to his work.