On This Day: WCW Saturday Night – August 24, 1996

I have a full edition of
WCW Saturday Night this week, and it’s going to be one of the most trying
recaps I’ve done since I started this project nearly 2 years ago. The video
quality of this show appears to have been recorded over a VHS tape that had
been used to record daily episodes of Another World for mom, before eventually
being deemed as unwatchable, and THEN passed down to little Jimmy (shout out
Ron-Truth!) to record his wrestling programs. Only after it was gnawed on by a
pitbull. This is worse than any episode of WCW Prime.

Making matters even
better, we are joined in progress featuring a match between …
ROUGH & READY vs. THE RENEGADE and MIKE WINNER
Winner is sporting a
killer pornstache. Has Winner been given clearance from the workers Union to
work with outside interests? And how do Chris Kanyon and Mark Starr feel about
this? NICK PATRICK is refereeing
this one – perhaps HE’S the evil influence that caused Mike Winner to scab. Or
perhaps this is all a red herring to distract us from the fact that the
Renegade sure seemed chummy with Joe Gomez, Jim Powers, and Alex Wright a few
weeks back on Nitro
, posing for gay calendar ads. Thankfully, Dusty Rhodes
decides that this match isn’t really worth our time by pointing out there is
nothing at stake in this match, and the outcome isn’t in question (he’s team
Rough and Ready). So he does as WCW is wont to do, and talks about the nWo. A
double spike piledriver finishes Winner at 4:23
of what aired. Dusty sums up the match: “The bottom line on this, is that
Nick Patrick is on the take.”
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wastes his time to talk to these losers. Enos
vows revenge on Colonel Parker, and “uhhhhh … DO I HAVE TO SAY IT?!?” Yes, he
successfully forgot Sista Sherri’s name. Gene quickly ends this disaster.
Meanwhile, TONY SCHIAVONE decides to get the hard
answers from NICK PATRICK concerning
his recent actions where the nWo are concerned. Patrick says he’s been a WCW
employee for 8 years, and wonders why his integrity is suddenly being
questioned now? Tony says he thinks Hogan gave up at the Clash, and Patrick
admits that’s the real controversy. Patrick is sick to death of Gene Okerlund’s
accusations, and thinks that WCW needs to keep a close eye on HIM since he’s an
outsider himself. All valid points.
“HARDWORK” BOBBY WALKER vs. “LORD” STEVEN REGAL
(with Jeeves)
Walker is now using “Not
Eye of the Tiger”. He remains directionless as Sting has not embraced the STANG
gimmick just yet. Walker dances around with his fast feet, and Regal
hilariously tries to keep up before just walking away in disgust. They lock up,
which only serves to get Walker lectured from the superior Brit. Fans chant
USA, in a nice twist, it’s a completely appropriate time. Regal applies the
headscissors to Walker, but he uses his athleticism to stand on his head and
kip up straight from the mat. Regal responds by not giving a shit, and threatens
to beat up the fans with his massive fists instead of paying any kind of
attention to this match. He’d do well as an announcer. Thumb to the eye sets up
a European uppercut. Walker dodges a charge, and hits a slingshot headscissors
takeover which causes this well-worn VHS tape to lose all audio and most of the
picture. Through the fog, I make out a missed corner senton from Walker, and
Regal scoring the pin off that at 3:38.
The post-match interview is completely muted thanks to father time and his
miserable EP dub. *
“SQUIRE” DAVID TAYLOR (with Jeeves) vs. LEX LUGER
(for the WCW world television title)
This is Luger’s first TV
title defense in forever. He fought Riggs on the July 29th edition
of Prime, and I couldn’t tell you whether or not that match was for the belt.
The last certain documented match I have is from the July
15th Nitro
, and I would be willing to bet we can count his title
defenses on one hand since he took the belt from the MIA Johnny B Badd back in
the early spring. Dave Taylor would be an excellent place to start anew. The
volume of European uppercuts on a per-show basis would rise at a previously
uncharted rate. I’m giddy just thinking about this. And lo and behold, my man
Taylor takes the lead with a European uppercut, but then he succumbs to his
biggest weakness … the lack of a follow up move. Luger rallies with a
clothesline, but Taylor kicks him in the face and heads up. OMG! HERE IT COMES!
SWANDIVE … NO – Luger moves, and Racks Taylor at 2:46. To hell with you, Lex Luger. DUD
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
New promo! Hogan’s
wearing an old school Hogan ballcap, which he symbolically rips off to show off
his new Hollywood do-rag. He’s found a Hogan foam finger, and spray-paints over
the WCW belt on that. Hogan promises not just 4 guys at Wargames, but 5. And to
close, he rips off the Right Guard commercial, by holding up the spray paint
and stating “anything less would be uncivilized”.
Oh hi – our announcers
are TONY SCHIAVONE and DUSTY RHODES. You’ll be pleased to know
they are alive and well. Dusty talks about the time he had his leg broken
inside War Games, and he had to be air lifted out of the arena. Don’t be
shocked, Dusty’s favorite topic is Dusty.
BULL NAKANO (with Sonny Onoo) vs. MADUSA
I don’t know why they
decided to book the entire women’s division to compete in this one match, but
let’s see if they are able to make it work. Sonny trips up Madusa, and Nakano
beats her down with the nunchucks while the referee feeds it to Sonny. Nakano
throws Madusa around by the hair for awhile, before hitting the Leaning Tower
for 2. Nakano bites Madusa’s head, and gives her a vertical suplex for 2.
Nakano manages to somehow apply a standing bow and arrow while keeping a
Sharpshooter locked, but Madusa won’t tap because apparently her joints are
made of the iPhone6, and can’t be broken. Outside the ring, Nakano whips Madusa
into the ringsteps, and heads back in to finish. Madusa tries a sunset flip,
but Nakano just Banzai’s her for 2. Nakano heads up, but Madusa whips her off
the top with a standing headscissors. Thankfully, Nakano is finally able to
finish with a powerbomb and gets the pin with her feet on the ropes at 4:07. **
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND welcomes in the Japanese contingency. Gene asks
for Sonny’s thoughts on the nWo. Sonny: “Nippon Wrestling Organization?” Gene
asks about his deep pockets, Sonny figures he might buy California next. He
wants all the belts, but says he’ll start with the Women’s Title (women’s
title?!?). Nakano says something, which Sonny translates is that Bull
understands she submits to Japanese men and should be at home cooking. Gene: “Have
you ever sampled her, uhh, home cooking?” Fantastic segue, Gene-o.
THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with Sonny Onoo) vs. MR. JL
I had no idea JL was
still kicking around at this point. He nails Dragon with a rana and kicks him
to the floor. Back in, JL goes to finish with a Vertabreaker (whoa!!!), but
Dragon slips aside … and it’s noticed at this point that NICK PATRICK is the referee as Sonny trips up JL right in front of
him. Dragon goes up to finish but he gets a foot to the throat on his way down.
Dragon retaliates with a spinning heel kick sending JL to the floor, and a
swinging baseball slide sets up a plancha. Back in, a super rana gets 2! JL
hits a German suplex with a bridge, but that only gets 2. He misses a dive, and
Dragon ties him up with La Majistral. Dragon suplex finishes at 4:33. ** You know, if DDP wasn’t such
an obvious candidate, I’d be fully on board with the Ultimate Dragon as the nWo’s
4th man theory.
Meanwhile, back inside
the Dungeon of Doom, JIMMY HART is
being introduced to HUGH MORRUS by KEVIN SULLIVAN. I’m sorry, we’re supposed
to believe he doesn’t know the man he’s been managing for a year? Then,
Sullivan lines up the FACES OF FEAR,
and declares this the most dominant group in the history of all things. Gotta
admire his ambition.
HIGH VOLTAGE, JIM POWERS, and JOE GOMEZ vs. THE
DUNGEON OF DOOM (with Jimmy Hart)
Sullivan, Fear, and Bubba
are your Dungeon members tonight. NICK
PATRICK
is your referee here. RON
THE LEPRECHAUN
runs around ringside, bites Jimmy Hart in the ass, and
rushes to the back. I think Braun and I are just about finished. The announcers
talk up his match from WCW Main Event last week. Meanwhile, Barbarian is moving
around the ring with the speed of a luchadore, and pretty much taking care of
business all by himself. Kaos takes a pretty nasty powerbomb from Barbarian,
and Bubba finishes with the Bossman slam at 3:21. * Barbarian had been a quiet star for the last couple of
months now.
KONNAN vs. MARK STARR
Folks, it’s a historic
day in WCW history. After months of operating alone, Konnan has embraced the
double N! I remain exceptionally frustrated by Men Not At Work, who apparently
do NOT understand that team work triumphs over personal gain. Of course, their
combined 0-192 record this year as singles wrestlers back me up, and there WAS
that time Men At Work got a win and I was happy, and then Konnan does some
ridiculous(ly stupid) headscissors thing for the pin at 1:33. DUD
DEAN MALENKO vs. RIC FLAIR (with Woman and
Elizabeth, and NOT Debra McMichael even though Dave Penzer announces her) (for
the WCW United States title)
Now THIS is a fighting
champion! He’s defended his title more frequently in the 6 weeks he’s held this
belt than Luger has in 6 months, take note Flexy Lex. Deano starts with a
series of takedowns that have Flair running around lost – but Ric eventually
finds his bearings and styles as only he can. Malenko dropkicks Flair, which
sends him to the floor to kill a little time. They trade hammerlocks which Ric
loses, and he finds himself locked in a headlock with nowhere to go. Malenko
breaks and backdrops Flair, who begs for mercy … and pokes Dean in the eye!
That starts a series of deliberate knife edges, but Malenko punches out and
Flair flops. A dropkick misses when Flair hooks the ropes, and Flair goes for
the figure four, but Malenko hooks the leg and packages Flair for 2. Dean slaps
on an abdominal stretch, and turns that into a backslide for 2. Flair tosses
Malenko to the floor, and goes for a piledriver on the cement(!), but Dean is
able to backdrop him – thankfully sparing his neck. Back in, Flair goes up …
ooh Ric, you fool. The inevitable happens, and then Malenko goes for a
springboard dropkick but he misses by a half inch and lands on his knee. Still,
he shakes it off and nails a missile dropkick off the top. A backdrop sets up
the Cloverleaf, but Woman is quick to claw his eyes while the referee is
checking on Ric – and Naitch kicks him to the floor. CHRIS BENOIT rushes down while Woman keeps the referees eyes
elsewhere, and he snap suplexes Malenko on the floor. Malenko is rolled in, and
Flair puts his feet on the ropes cuz that’s how he rolls, and the champ retains
at 7:30. *** That was fun.
And apparently that’s it,
cuz after a replay, Tony sends us off the air. Well that’s rude and abrupt! I
didn’t even get to say goodbye to Gene!

See you for Worldwide.

Hogan Spin

Specifically citing this quick interview (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/wrestling/os-hulkster-back-on-track-looking-for-one-more-match-20140822,0,7466942.post ) where he has a chance to put some caveats on his “one last match” rhetoric, is the Hulkster the single most legendary spin artist of all time or has he ACTUALLY learned something from age and suffering?

Oh sure, and Andre was totally 900 pounds when Hulk slammed him in front of 200,000 people too, brother.  

QOTD #61 – Then vs. Now

Today’s Question: In this month’s 35th anniversary issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, they ask several people what’s the best and worst thing about the business today as compared to 1979. Assuming everyone here wasnt a fan in 1979, we’ll say 1989 and ask the same question:

a) How is the business better than 25 years ago?
b) What is the worst thing about the wrestling business compared to 25 years ago?

Well seeing as though very few bloggers responded to yesterday’s (my bad….I suppose) no need to really recap there….see you tomorrow.

MeekinOnMovies On…The Golf Club

It is almost impossible to remember how tragic a place this world is when one is playing golf. ~Robert Lynd
Game: The Golf Club
Developer: HB Studios
Price: 39.99
Did I Pay For it: No.

Golf is a game of mitigated triumph; a nice drive then a pitch that slices so hard it ends up in the thousand acre wood. Playing the round of your life, only to six putt on the final hole and end up with a score akin to a high powered NFL offense. Phrases like ‘beginners luck’ qualify the good play of newbies, and wind and lie and balance dull the sting of defeat. 
So, the last thing a golf videogame needs is a frustrating interface and long loading times – both which serve to rub salt in the wounds of a bad round and break the flow of good one. 
The current king of digital golf is Tiger Woods PGA tour. A franchise more omnipresent than spectacularly good. It’s a quality game of golf, sure – but between strange in-air spin, fade, and draw controls, EA’s classic far-too-long loading times, and a lack of any personality have rendered the franchise stale and lacking in a true identity. Lets face it, if the biggest feature of a new release is the option to play as a kid Tiger Woods, something has gone terribly wrong.

The Golf Club, a new, indie, golf game on Xbox One, PS4, and PC solves quite a few of those problems. Save for some first-week server jitters and several annoying bugs, The Golf Club may very well put a dent in the windshield of Tiger Woods’ interactive golf dominance – all for a discounted price of 39.99. 
It’s reasonable to think the cheaper price point would result in a lack of polish, and in some areas that’s true. While the graphics are about as pretty as you can expect, golfer customization is bare bones, with several clothing options, but no way to modify the face or hair or girth of your character – which is fine considering you’ll be staring at his backside most of the game. Obviously the developers couldn’t afford Jim Nantz, and instead went with a sardonic, low-key caddy type figure who comments on your shots, sounding like a happier Norm Macdonald. There’s also no licensed golfers or courses present in the game, but thanks to the insanely powerful course creation tool, you’ll be playing on a proper approximation of Pebble Beach in no time.

You’ll also occasionally see graphical glitches, and to my chagrin, aiming a driver shot at a club house results in the ball sailing though like it’s a mirage or hologram, to the point where you could quite possibly end up swinging from inside of the hollowed out geography of a structure.

But those are small caveats as long as the on-the-course stuff feels right, and boy does it ever. Organic is a word that gets thrown around a lot for lots of games, and it fits here, too. Swinging, putting, slicing, lofting, all feel *right* after a touch of a learning curve. Right stick swings, left stick aims, hold a button to adjust loft and fade, one to change clubs, another to change shots, and a shot preview button that gives you a general idea of where the ball would land on a solid thwack. 

Explaining this to a non golfer is complicated as you can see above, but put this game in the hands of anyone whose poured 6.50 in a Golden Tee machine or played any Tiger Woods game, and they will find the lack of clutter and straightforward approach refreshing. There’s no putt previews, or tapping a button furiously to ‘power boost’ your drive, and the game is tuned juuuustttttt well enough where after about 10 hours with the game I’m coming in at -3 on familiar courses. 

Which is encouraging considering online tournaments and tours are a major component of The Golf Club’s package. If every tournament had a leaderboard of 16 or 17 under pars, not only would the game become something…broken, it’d prevent many players from any serious attempt at tackling (and winning) a tournament. Right now, high scores on courses range from the -6 to -9 under range, which is still inflated, but not outrageously so. 

Part of this is due to the complete lack of golfer stats. There’s nothing worse than playing a game online, only to get schooled by folks who simply have more time to pour hours into the game and grind XP, to the point where they’re hitting 400 yard drives and sinking 50 foot putts with ease thanks to their 99 ovr golfer. Here, everyone is on an even playing field, permanently.  

The mechanics are great, but the pace is the real showcase. You can play a lot of Golf Club in a relatively short amount of time. Playing an 18 hole round, followed by a 9 hole course, clocked in at a brisk 38 minutes.  You’re in and out of holes quickly, with no loading, easily skippable hole introductions and leaderboard updates, and zero unwanted downtime from shot-to-shot. It’s wonderful.

But yeah, about those bugs. For starters, if connected online and disconnected while playing Adhoc with a buddy as a ‘guest’ under your XBLA gamertag, and you’re kicked from the net and bounced back to the main menu, resuming that tournament eliminates your friend and makes it a one-man show. Additionally, the game hardlocked twice, and on one very special night, prevented the second player’s controller from registering any input at all. These are only an issue when playing couch co-op, and I would imagine patches, updates, and server tweaks will render several of these problems moot in the near future.

Regardless, like a punch shot on a steep decline, when it works, it fucking rolls. In and out of a round and a half in under an hour? A round that felt challenging and fair, briskly paced but calming and serene thanks the musical score you half expect Enya to pop up on? And a feeling of confidence in my growing skill to keep me coming back for more even after this review is posted? Sign me up. 

If you like Golf games at all, give this a shot. If you’re the kind of person who finds ‘real’ golf games boring, and finds Hot Shots Golf a little too silly, this could be the perfect game for you. It’s simulation of golf, but the stuff that gets in the way – namely the pretension the ‘majesty’, are happily gone in favor of pure golfing bliss. Is it the best golf game of all time? No. That honor goes to Kirby’s dream course or Lee Carvallo’s putting challenge. But it is the most refreshing game of links in quite some time. It’s intuitive and smart, and if you play it, and like a foursome with that a-hole who made you get up at 6am to get to the course early, there’s no going back to how it was. 

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–03.13.95

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 03.13.95 Be sure to check out my latest Sporting News column, covering my picks for who Brock Lesnar’s Wrestlemania opponent might be. Spoiler: Probably Roman Reigns. Share on the social medias if you enjoy! Live from Stockton, CA Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jim Cornette The Blu Twins v. The Headshrinkers This was advertised as Blus v. Kid & Holly in the opening, but Vince notes that Bob got stuck in a traffic jam and thus they’re a no-show. Meltzer at the time notes that both guys were in fact there, so who knows what wacky reasoning was behind this. My wife notes that the Blu’s hair is gorgeous, and I harsh her buzz by noting that they both started shaving their heads a year after this and they’ve been bald ever since. Well, love hurts sometimes. Sionne quickly gets double-teamed on the outside by the Blus and they beat on him for a bit, as we take a break. Back with Jacob holding a chinlock until Sionne escapes, but they use TWIN MAGIC to retain control as Cornette blames the absence of Afa and Albano on the Headshrinkers’ struggles. In fact, the managers were specifically cut loose for this taping to save money. Apparently they also cut the guy in charge of good finishes, because after Sionne makes the hot tag, they immediately fight to the back for the double countout at 10:00. It’s the fucking Headshrinkers, why bother? * Meanwhile, LT will have a bunch of football players in his corner. Some dork named Steve McMichael cuts a promo noting he’ll be here next week to confront Kama. Whoever heard of this guy? Bam Bam offers his response, as Kama has quietly joined the Million Dollar Team to somehow take his career down another notch. Meanwhile, Ernie Ladd offers his analysis of the Bam Bam v. LT match, sounding like Morgan Freeman narrating a movie. They should have put him on the broadcast team! Every episode would sound like The Shawshank Redemption. A quick check reveals that sadly Ladd died in 2007, which I didn’t even realize. Jeff Jarrett v. Barry Horowitz Barry gets PROMO TIME before the match, and of course this was leading somewhere eventually. Barry with a backslide for two, and a small package for two as well. JJ bails and trips him up to take over, then works the back, but Horowitz goes to the armbar and hangs on through a slam. Finally Jarrett makes the ropes to escape the onslaught, but Barry uses a spinkick on him…and hurts his knee in the process. Jarrett quickly finishes with the figure-four at 4:30. See, give the guy some promo time before the match, tell a little story in the match, and suddenly you’ve at least got SOMETHING more interesting than the usual repetitive “get your shit in and get out under 3:00” squash to fill time. Meanwhile, Bret Hart notes that Jerry Lawler is the disease, and his FISTS are the cure. Obamacare, AM I RIGHT? Wrestlemania Report with Todd. The Gunns v. Owen & Partner match is announced here, and highlights of the MOM heel turn are shown, as they destroy the Gunns following a title match and then turn on Oscar to write him out of the WWF as well. Also, the Allied Powers form for the first time for some reason to face the Blu Twins for some reason. How did this show not do a million buys?!? Bret Hart v. Jerry Lawler Lawler has Bull Nakano in his corner, which was supposed to be leading towards a Blayze v. Nakano title match at Wrestlemania, and THAT didn’t happen for some reason. A quick check reveals that “for some reason” was that Bull got fired for cocaine possession and dropped the title to Blayze the day after the show instead. OK then. Bret of course pummels Lawler from the start and hangs him in the corner for further beating all over the ring, as we see Mr. Backlund in the crowd and Hakushi watching from the aisle as we take a break. Back with Lawler doing his southern heel cheating to take over, but they head to the floor and Bull grabs Bret’s leg for the countout at 8:30. Just the usual super-easy goofy Bret v. Lawler match. *1/2 And as usual Bret beats the hell out of Lawler after the match to get his heat back. I really wish they hadn’t done the double countout earlier in the show because it really highlights how bad the finishes were. Next week: Razor Ramon v HOG and Smoking Gunns defend against the Heavenly Bodies! Jeff Jarrett joins us again, offering Barry Horowitz a title shot next week, but Mr. Backlund lays out Barry and signs the contract instead. That’s quite the loaded show next time!

Simpsons Thread (Season 7)

Come on in with your quotes. Episode list inside.

8/24 2:00 AM ET – “Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt. 2″
8/24 2:30 AM ET – “Radioactive Man”
8/24 3:00 AM ET – “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily”
8/24 3:30 AM ET – “Bart Sells His Soul”
8/24 4:00 AM ET – “Lisa the Vegetarian”
8/24 4:30 AM ET – “Treehouse of Horror VI”
8/24 5:00 AM ET – “King-Size Homer”
8/24 5:30 AM ET – “Mother Simpson”
8/24 6:00 AM ET – “Sideshow Bob’s Last Gleaming”
8/24 6:30 AM ET – “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular”
8/24 7:00 AM ET – “Marge Be Not Proud”
8/24 7:30 AM ET – “Team Homer”
8/24 8:00 AM ET – “Two Bad Neighbors”
8/24 8:30 AM ET – “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield”
8/24 9:00 AM ET – “Bart the Fink”
8/24 9:30 AM ET – “Lisa the Iconoclast”
8/24 10:00 AM ET – “Homer the Smithers”
8/24 10:30 AM ET – “The Day the Violence Died”
8/24 11:00 AM ET – “A Fish Called Selma”
8/24 11:30 AM ET – “Bart on the Road”
8/24 12:00 PM ET – “22 Short Films About Springfield”
8/24 12:30 PM ET – “Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in “The Curse of the Flying Hellfish””
8/24 1:00 PM ET – “Much Apu About Nothing”
8/24 1:30 PM ET – “Summer of 4 Ft. 2″
8/24 2:00 PM ET – “Homerpalooza”

Analyzing the upcoming Lesnar/Cena double turn at Night of Champions

Here’s that meltdown that I’ve been promising y’all!

In 2014, WWE has been all about turning conventional wisdom on its ear.  The WWE Network has fundamentally changed the company’s business model.  The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak is over.  John Cena was destroyed in a manner never before seen.  And the WWE World Title is now in the hands of a part-timer, who it seems is destined to defend the title only two or three times in the seven plus months interim until Wrestlemania.

Unless, of course, the WWE turns one more piece of conventional wisdom on its ear.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m calling my shot.  At Night of Champions, John Cena will regain the WWE World Championship by becoming a Paul Heyman Guy.

In other words, John Cena will finally become a heel.  He and Paul Heyman will do whatever is necessary to take Brock Lesnar’s title and destroy him afterwards, keeping Lesnar out of the WWE until his surprise return at the Royal Rumble to finish up his contract strong.

There are so many signs pointing to this that, were it not for the past decade of experience, you would all say that it was inevitable:

  • Brock Lesnar has only three or four more wrestling dates left on his contract.  Night of Champions was obviously not part of the original plan.  With WWE in cost-cutting mode, it is difficult to imagine that Vince is offering him another seven digits to wrestle this one show.
  • John Cena promised “to show a side of himself that he’s not proud of” at Summerslam.  Lesnar’s assault was so merciless that he never got the chance.  It stands to reason that his character would be even more desperate at this juncture.
  • Last Monday night on RAW, Paul Heyman lavished John Cena with praise, and said that he wants to make him a Paul Heyman guy.
  • If Brock Lesnar retains at NoC, there is no compelling use for him to until Wrestlemania, possibly not even then if Daniel Bryan is unable to return.
  • If Brock Lesnar loses the title cleanly to Cena at NoC, there is compelling use for him period.
  • A John Cena heel turn is the last huge trump card available to WWE, and if WWE loses a large clump of original six month subscribers, this may be the only way to get them back. 

On September 20th, there is no way that the IWC’s wet dream does not come true.  Paul Heyman will walk to the ring with Brock Lesnar, and he will walk away from the ring with his newest guy, John Cena.

I guarantee it.

Thunder – April 1, 1999

Thunder
Date:
April 1, 1999
Location:
Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia
Commentators:
Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
closing in on Spring Stampede and the card is starting to come into
focus. It’s pretty clear that Hogan will be involved in the title
match but nothing has been made official yet. This is a live episode
of Thunder, meaning the levels of suck shouldn’t be as high. Granted
they’ve surprised me before. Let’s get to it.

Opening
video.
The
annoucers do their welcome and tell us that Sting has a message for
us this coming Monday.
Gene
brings out Raven and Saturn who will face Benoit/Malenko at the PPV.
Raven questions Gene for saying he and Saturn broke up. Apparently
they fought with each other for years, even back at summer camp over
a girl named Beaulah. Saturn: “THAT WAS TOMMY!” Saturn thinks
they deserve a title shot for helping Mysterio/Kidman win the titles.
Nothing was said here.
We
recap Disco vs. Konnan’s battle of the music videos.
Erik
Watts vs. Norman Smiley
Norman
is a good guy now. The announcers talk about how controversial the
Big Wiggle has been and go into their usual pronunciation argument in
a Smiley match. Watts does a dance of his own and gets nailed by a
clothesline. They trade headlocks until Erik drop toeholds Norman
into the ropes. Back up and Norman hits the swinging slam but gets
shoved out of the corner for two. A nice belly to belly plants
Norman and a buckle bomb has him in big trouble. Erik doesn’t cover
though and gets pulled into the Norman’s Conquest for the submission.
Rating:
D. I’ve always felt sorry for
Watts. He was laughed at back in 1992 for being in a position he
didn’t ask for and only held because of his dad. He was ok here but
nothing more than a generic tall villain. At the end of the day, the
guy just wasn’t very good and shouldn’t have been on national TV.
Bad match but not laughably bad.
Chris
Jericho cites the Silent Brian McNee (a deaf mute Canadian wrestler
from the early 80s) clause, which states that he should be able to
replace an injured Curt Hennig in the US Title tournament. JJ Dillon
wants to see the rule book.
Mike
Enos/Bobby Duncum Jr. vs. Raven/Perry
Saturn
Saturn
quickly takes Bobby down to start so it’s off to Enos. Mike takes a
beating as well and the bizarre combo starts some fast tagging.
Raven kicks Enos into a superkick from Saturn but Enos pops back up
and nails Raven again. Duncum comes back in but Saturn punches him
into a sunset flip for two. A big boot knocks Raven down and Enos
chokes him with a bullrope.
Saturn
has to break up a superplex attempt, allowing Raven to make the hot
tag. Belly to belly suplexes abound and everything breaks down.
Saturn uses a very nice takedown to hook the Rings of Saturn on Bobby
but Enos makes a save. Mike nails Saturn with a chair on the floor
but it doesn’t have much of
an effect. Back in and the hot tag brings in Raven to clean house as
everything breaks down again. Duncum accidentally knocks Enos into
the Evenflow for the pin out of nowhere.
Rating:
C+. This was shockingly good
for a six minute match on Thunder. They barely stopped moving the
entire time with everyone getting to show off a bit. Raven and
Saturn work well together and this was the best Duncum has looked
since he debuted. This was a very nice surprise.
Benoit
and Malenko come in to destroy Raven and Saturn post match. The bell
keeps ringing even after they’ve left the ring.
JJ
and Flair are in the back when Jericho comes in and asks about the
tournament again. Jericho gets his request after a lot of sucking
up. He leaves and Flair thinks Jericho wanted to be like him.
Chris
Adams vs. Chris Jericho
Tony:
“Still to come, Bobby Heenan will read the movie copy. That’ll be
in segment 10 and then, later on, Mike Tenay will plug the Hotline
again.” Feeling out process to start with Jericho running him over
off a shoulder block. The Canadian wins a top wristlock and stuns
Adams with a hot shot.
We
hit the chinlock for a bit before Adams comes back with a swinging
neckbreaker. The announcers argue over a point system as Adams spins
out of a Liontamer and enziguris Jericho to the floor. There’s the
superkick on the floor and Adams gets two off a high cross body. A
catapult sends Jericho into the corner and a belly to back gives
Adams another near fall. Jericho quickly takes him down into the
Liontamer for the submission.
Rating:
C-. This took awhile to get
going but Adams’ comeback had some energy to it and the match wasn’t
bad after it started rolling. Jericho wasn’t long for WCW but it was
nice to see him having some effort here. Adams continues to have a
nice role as a jobber making people look good.
Ed
Leslie comes in to talk to Flair about a new contract. He
doesn’t have much of a plan after wrestling is over. Flair brings up
his friendship with Hogan and Ed says they’re very close. The boss
makes a match tonight between Hogan and Leslie and if Ed wins, he
gets a three more extension for double the pay. If
he loses, he’s gone.
Meng/Jerry
Flynn vs. Barbarian/Hugh Morrus
Flynn
gets double teamed in the back and laid out with a piledriver on the
concrete. Meng goes back to help his partner before coming to the
ring to start a handicap match. Barbarian and Morrus are easily
knocked to the floor but they get their act together and pound Meng
down. The announcers get a note about the Hogan vs. Leslie match
tonight. Again, would letting them see the videos in the back be
such a problem? I never got Bischoff’s fascination with keeping them
in the dark.
Anyway,
Meng fights both of them off again until we get down to Morrus
starting the regular tagging portion. Meng
kicks his head off with ease and it’s off to Barbarian for the big
showdown. We take a break and come back with Meng being sent into
the barricade. They head
back inside with the team in control and Morrus dropping an elbow for
two.
A
side slam gets the same for Barbarian and it’s back to Morrus as this
slows WAY down. Meng finally nails a cross body for two on Barbarian
but Morrus makes a save. Morrus backdrops Meng into a nice powerbomb
from Barbarian as Flynn makes his big heroic return. He breaks up No
Laughing Matter and Meng’s Tongan Deathgrip gets the pin on
Barbarian.
Rating:
D. I for one feel much better
about the health and safety of our lord and master Jerry Flynn.
Thankfully they keep this stuff on Thunder instead of PPV or Nitro
but it doesn’t make Thunder any easier to sit through. The match
wasn’t terrible, but it was a very long thirteen minutes to sit
through.
Post
match Morrus gets the Deathgrip as well.
Now
we get a video on Meng. That’s some interesting timing.
Gene
brings out Hollywood Hogan for a chat. Hogan
is fine with jumping through every hoop Flair sets up for him because
Flair is the prize at the end of the tunnel. Gene thinks Flair is
scared of Hogan but the title match is official. Cue
Ric to tell a fat boy to shut up. Flair
calls himself the leader, the boss, and the World Champion. Tonight
it’s going to be Hogan vs. Ed Leslie. This would be the third time
this match has been announced and the fans are SILENT for Leslie
coming out and promising to take Hogan down. Flair
yells at some more fans and
Hogan says tonight is strictly business.
Chavo
Guerrero Jr./Kaz Hayashi vs. Dean Malenko/Chris Benoit
Dean
cranks on Kaz’s arm to start but gets caught in a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker. Tony goes into a bizarre heel style speech, threatening
to throw Tenay off Nitro if he keeps disagreeing with Flair’s
decisions. Off to Benoit
vs. Chavo as Tenay threatens to get friends of his own to save his
job. Chavo spins out of a powerbomb from Benoit and takes him down
with a headscissors. Back
to Malenko who gets suplexed as Tony makes fun of Zbyszko. Kaz comes
back in and gets caught in a tiger bomb, setting up the Cloverleaf
for the submission.
Rating:
C-. The match wasn’t terrible
but what in the world was with the commentary? Tony just started
going insane and then they spent the second half of the match ripping
on Larry Zbyszko for whatever reason. The wrestling wasn’t terrible
but it was little more than a squash, albeit a short one.
Raven
and Saturn come out and destroy the Horsemen post match, including
putting Benoit through a table.
Hogan
talks to the NWO and tells Steiner to take care of Booker T. Stevie
says his brother is off limits and the audio is pretty bad here. The
Black and White gets in an argument over who is the leader so Hogan
makes a battle royal for Monday for the leadership spot. Again.
This takes way longer than
it should have.
Horace
vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Page
quickly sends him into the corner and scores with a belly to back
suplex. We hit the wristlock on Horace but he nails Page with a
right hand to take over. He misses the splash and walks into a
clothesline to send him outside. Page nails a plancha and they fight
by the barricade as we take a break. Back with them slugging it out
in the aisle. Horace sends him into the barricade to take over and
chokes on the ropes back inside. A
backbreaker gets two on Page but he sends Horace face first into the
buckle. Page crotches him against the post and floats around
Horace’s shoulders into the Diamond Cutter for the pin.
Rating:
D+. Pretty dull match here as
Page seems to have forgotten his heel turn. Horace was fine for a
punching bag to put Page over and the Diamond Cutter looked fine, but
Page wrestling like he always has was strange after what happened on
Monday. Not much to see here but that’s to be expected in a
glorified squash.
Ed
Leslie vs. Hollywood Hogan
Leslie
takes him into the corner to start but gets clotheslined for his
efforts. Hogan hammers away
and loads up the weightlifting belt but gets poked in the eyes. Now
it’s Leslie whipping him until they head to the floor where Hogan
takes over with right hands. They slug it out on the floor followed
by a slugout in the ring with Leslie choking away. A clothesline
gets two for Hogan but Leslie suplexes him down for the same. Hogan
comes back with the big boot but Flair comes out and trips him up.
The Apocalypse doesn’t even put Hogan on the mat so Flair comes in
for the DQ.
Rating:
D-. As dull as this was, it was
still light years better than their messes in 1994. Granted it could
be because that match was the main event of the biggest show of the
year and this was a six minute Thunder main event. That
being said, six minutes of punching and really basic wrestling isn’t
enough to get me interested.
Post
match Hogan beats up Flair and drops the leg before counting three.
The Horsemen run in but Hogan beats up all four of them with ease.
There wasn’t even miscommunication or anything where one Horsemen
accidentally hit another. Hogan just punched them all down.
The
announcers talk about Sting’s announcement to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D+. This was one of the
easier episodes to sit through but it follows the PPV formula of
falling apart near the end of the show. The Sting announcement is
somewhat intriguing, even though WCW has a pretty horrible track
record on stuff like that. The wrestling wasn’t too bad and it made
the show much easier to sit through, though almost nothing here meant
anything.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

The Sporting News: Who is likely to challenge Brock Lesnar at WM?

In my newest Sporting News column, I examine the odds of various people challenging the Beast should, say, an airplane fall on Roman Reigns and manage to penetrate his flak jacket.  

Raw Format Question


Reading the 94 / 95 rants, one thing becomes obvious, and that's that Raw used to be structured like SNME, with the main event going on first more often than not (Diesel / JJ being an exception this past recap).

Two questions:

1. When did they switch to the main-event-last format?  I seem to recall it happening more in the Nitro era, as the Owenzugiri angle closed an episode.

2. Was the reasoning much like SNME, in that people would turn off the show the later they went so they needed to get all their stuff in ASAP?

​1. The Russo era in late 96 was when I really recall it becoming a thing, because that's when the new format of the 20 minute interview to open the show became in vogue, which would then set up a main event that the show built towards.  Say what you will about Russo, but he tended to put together shows that were more in the traditional format of wrestling booking with minor things to open, leading to bigger things at the end.  
2.  Yeah, following from #1, the previous format was the same one set out by the SNME formula, where it seems like Vince got heavily influenced by the TV side of things and front-loaded the shows.  Especially once Nitro started cutting into the ratings, it became really important to hook viewers and get them to stay for the duration of the show, and that is one aspect where I don't think Russo gets the credit he might actually deserve.  The Wars really did change the format of wrestling completely.   ​

BoD Daily Update

Hall of Fame Panel Discussion Next Monday on RAW


Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and Shawn Michaels will all be appearing on RAW to discuss the Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena match at Night of Champions

http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/96-wwe/38609-notes-on-mondays-raw

Backstage News on Roman Reigns Push


Right now within the company, the plan is for Reigns to win the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania and for him not to challenge for the belt before hand as they feel a loss would be counterproductive and prefer that he slowly rises to the top.

Credit Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter






Spike TV Not Going to Re-Sign TNA?


Sources inside of the TV industry Spike is not going to re-sign Impact to a new deal, no matter what. Wednesday’s Impact rating did poorly as well.

Credit Figure Four Weekly Newsletter






RF Video Announces 25% Off Sale on All Shoot Interviews


The sale runs through Monday

http://www.rfvideo.com/







Simpsons Marathon Thread

For the scheduled episodes for the day, click below:


Season 6 starts here at 1:30 PM ET through 1:30 AM ET 8/24.

Bart of Darkness
Lisa’s Rival
Another Simpson’s Clip Show
Itchy & Scratchy Land
Sideshow Bob Roberts
Treehouse of Horror V
Bart’s Girlfriend
Lisa on Ice
Homer Badman
Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy
Fear of Flying
Homer the Great
And Maggie Makes Three
Bart’s Comet
Homie the Clown
Bart vs. Australia
Homer vs. Patty & Selma
A Star is Burns
Lisa’s Wedding
Two Dozen and One Greyhounds
The PTA Disbands
Round Springfield
The Springfield Connection
Lemon of Troy
Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt. 1

WM 11 Bret/Backlund

Reading the 95 Raw rants, Why did Vince stick with the Bret/Backlund 4 months after the Survivor Series 3-day Bob reign.  Why not blow off the year long Owen angle and give Bret a definitive win over his brother to avenge WM X or do a Bret/Bulldog vs. Owen/Bob match which at plays off the SS match?  Wasting Bret is partly why WM 11 is so forgettable.
​Vince was just really in love with the Backlund character and seemed to think that character still had legs, even though the 8-second loss clearly destroyed any sense of threat that Bob had built up.  I think in his mind it was the best use of Bret and somehow a guy on Bret's level was "needed" to blow off the Bob character for good.  I mean, the storyline is fine, in the sense that Backlund makes people submit to the chickenwing for months and here's Bret to force him to say "I quit" and teach him a lesson and stuff, but the Backlund deal was such a dead issue after November and obviously running him as the main event for months afterwards to empty arenas showed that Vince wasn't willing to acknowledge it.  In that last rant I did, fans were back to mocking him with "Opie" chants instead of being scared of him like they used to be.  That should have been when they called an audible and did something different with Bret, like the Owen match or the tag match.    ​

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Title that totally isn’t a “belt”

Scott,

Thumbs up or thumbs down on the design of the WWE title? I know it's basically the previous title with the new logo slapped on it, but after a couple of days of seeing photos of it, I'm loving it. The logo is sharp and the belt just looks like something you'd want to have, which is what a title should be. I kind of wish it had a nameplate, but the personalized side plates are kind of a cool touch. Your thoughts?

​I'm a fan.  I never liked nameplates in the first place so that's no big loss.  It's blingy without being gaudy like the spinner belt was, and it's distinctly WWE, unlike generic belts like TNA or ROH where you can't tell from a distance what title it is.  You look at the WWE title and this, clearly, is someone who is the champion of the entire WWE.  For me it's a winner.  ​

Shameless Plug Request

Hey Scott, semi-frequent blog contributor, and long time fan here. I write for a geeky pop culture blog called Cultural Compulsive Disorder, and was wondering if you'd mind plugging the Best of SummerSlam  podcast we just did. I'll be your best friend!
​You sound like my daughter.  She offers EVERYONE "best friend" status.  It loses all meaning when you tell random kids on the playground that you'll be their best friend!  You have to earn that shit through years of emotional blackmail and mixtapes!  ​

WWF Wrestling Challenge September 21st, 1986

September 21, 1986
Your hosts are Ernie Ladd, Johnny V., and Gorilla Monsoon
In action this week are the Killer Bees, Sika, The Dream Team, and Dick Slater. Plus, the “Snake Pit” with guest Paul Orndorff and our featured match, the Islanders vs. The Hart Foundation.

 The Islanders vs. The Hart Foundation
The Harts attack the Islanders before the bell. Tonga is being called “Toma” and King Tonga “Hako.” here as the Hart’s are using quick tags to isolate him. We get an insert promo from Jimmy Hart as Toma continues to get destroyed. He promises that no one will make their reputation by beating the Hart Foundation. The match breaks down as the brawl outside, where Toma tosses Brett over the guardrail and the referee rings for the bell as this match is ruled a double-disqualification (2:37).
Thoughts: Not much of a match but they did establish the Islanders as a team going forward. The following week they did change the Islanders names to “Haku and Tama.”
We get a replay of last week on “Superstars of Wrestling” when Adrian Adonis challenged Roddy Piper to a showdown, which will happen next week on Superstars.
Tony Garea vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
This was the first time that they introduced Savage like this as they usually called him Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Match starts with Savage attacking Garea from behind as Gorilla blames referee Danny Davis for allowing that to happen. Garea comes back with a crossbody but Savage blocks a sunset flip. Garea comes back with a small package but Savage sends him to the floor with a knee smash then flies off of the top with a double axe handle. We get an insert promo from Superstar Billy Graham who calls out Savage, who rolls Garea back into the ring then sets him up for the flying elbow smash for the win (2:26).
Thoughts: Graham is another old-timer calling out Savage, who has been getting challenged by Steele and Pedro Morales.
Ken Resnick is with Jake Roberts, who will be facing Ricky Steamboat soon. Roberts also is asked about the “Snake Pit” as Roberts says he has real talent and does not need to brown-nose everyone as deep down the DDT is the best and the snake will always rule. Decent promo.
Al Navarro & Tiger Chung Lee & J.J Jackson vs. The Machines
Funny moment during the ring introductions as Lord Alfred Hayes has to stop and actually asks Jackson his name. Heenan cuts an insert promo on Albano about how no one outsmarts him. The jobbers are no match for the Machines then Super Machines whip Jackson near Giant Machine, who hits him with a chop from the apron and that gets the pin (1:30).
Thoughts: Crowd did not care about the Machines and Andre looking immobile and not in the ring was killing the gimmick. Crowd did not care about the other two.
Dick Slater & “Leaping” Lanny Poffo vs. The Dream Team
Valentine chops the shit out of Poffo as Mr. Fuji cuts an insert promo on Slater, saying that he will be going away. Slater tags and unloads on Valentine. He gets two with an elbow smash and that causes Johnny V to leave the booth and head ringside. Slater gets two with a suplex then hits Beefcake with a neckbreaker. Poffo tags and hits a dropkick then fires away. Valentine breaks up a sunset flip as the match breaks down. Behind the referee’s back, Valentine yanks Poffo off of the top and clotheslines him on the top rope and that gets the pin (2:35).
Thoughts: They tried to establish Slater as a talent here but the crowd never warmed up to him and with his gimmick, could you blame them?
The Snake Pit with guests Paul Orndorff and Bobby Heenan. Roberts said that they are alike as Orndorff said when they were at the gym together, he saw that Hogan wanted to be a man, like himself. Orndorff then shows off his body and that ends the segment. Not a whole lot to this.
Sika w/ The Wizard vs. Rick Hunter
Sika chops down Hunter then chokes him out. He continues his assault then we get an insert promo from the Honky Tonk Man who talks about people entering the WWF from all over the world. Sika uses all sorts of chokes and gauges as the crowd seems really bored. Sika then finally puts him away with the Samoan Drop (3:22).
Thoughts: Dull match. Sika was not over like he was three years prior and the crowd just sat on their hands here.
Terry Gibbs & Jack Foley vs. The Killer Bees
Another WWF TV squash match for Mick Foley. The Bees work on Gibbs for a minute to start. Foley tags as Blair takes him over then the Bees hit him with a double backdrop. Brunzell takes Foley down with a jumping knee smash then the bees use quick tags to beat on Foley as Valiant makes fun of Foley then the Bees put him away with the Bee Sting (3:30).
Thoughts: Again, Foley took a bunch of bumps but the Bees were a lot more careful with him than the Bulldogs.
Resnick talks to Heenan about how big of a part that he had in Orndorff turning his back on Hogan. Heenan talks for a second then Orndorff himself comes out and declares that he will be the next Heavyweight Champion and that Hogan uses people so he nipped it in the bud then talks about how he was the one who out-performed him in the gym and that Hogan is jealous of him. Orndorff then said that he will give him another chance to prove himself to the people as he accuses Hogan of ripping of his music and taunts. Great promo by Orndorff, who was killing it here as the crazy, delusional, and jealous heel.
Next week in action will be Koko B. Ware, Harley Race, the debut of the Honkytonk Man and the featured match, which will be the British Bulldogs vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff in a non-title match.
Final Thoughts: Brief show but then again, I had the WWE 24/7 Online copy of the show, which cut out a music video of the Rougeau Brothers on water skis to the song “Bad Boy” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. What a damn shame that got cut. Lots of hype for the Hogan/Orndorff and Adonis/Piper feud and besides that, not a whole lot of note happened.