Cucch’s Book Review Special Edition: All of Scott Keith’s Books.

Methinks I better tread lightly here…

Let’s dispense with all the pleasantries and ball slurping right out of the gate. Obviously, as a writer on this site, I am a longtime fan of the grand poobah of this blog. I have been reading Scott’s rants since way back in the WrestleManiacs years, starting with his WCW Thunder rants many moons ago. I was a loyal CRZ guy at the time I discovered Scott’s, uh, unique outlook on one of my favorite pastime. I believe it was a line referring to Van Hammer’s “Leather Jacket of Extreme Discomfort” or someone using “The comfy cushions of death~!” that really dialed me into his writings, and since early 1998, I have been a loyal and devout Keith follower. Much of my early writing styles attempted to ape Scott’s style, until I realized a few things: That there is only one Scott Keith, that I was not a very good imitation of Scott, and I needed to find my own voice. While I still do keep some elements of Scott’s writings in mine, its amazing going around the interwebs, reading a review by some new cat on the block, and within about 100 words, know that the author is clearly trying to imitate Scott. Usually poorly.

With that said, obviously I have read all the man’s books. I bought “Buzz on…” the day it came out. Same goes for “Tonight in this Very Ring” and “One Ring Circus.” However, where I live is not blessed with a good amount of book stores to peruse through (and I have shitty credit, so Amazon was out of the question…plus at the times of their releases, my money was going towards some more mind altering substances)…so I only just read “Dungeon of Death” about a year ago, and just today received, from Amazon, at a cost of four cents plus $4.99 shipping, “Wrestling’s Made Men.” I devoured it in about two hours (trust me…after slogging through that shit that is Dusty Rhodes book…this was a fucking cakewalk) and loved it.

Which got me to thinking: I generally like all of Scott’s books, and the last few all generally follow a simple formula: describe what is wrong with the WWE, elaborate on the problems, throw in some match reviews, voila. So reviewing one of them is basically like reviewing all of them, so I figured I’d do something different here: quickly run down each book, discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of them all, and give a somewhat objective ranking of each work of Scott. So let’s do this.

Scott’s first book was “The Buzz on Wrestling”, which was a popular book series around the turn of the decade roughly akin to the “(Whatever Subject)…for Dummies” series. It was meant to be a quick tutorial for the uninitiated to the mat wars at a time when wrestling was at its zenith popularity wise. It is a quick and concise history of the modern era of wrestling that has sections dedicated to certain wrestlers and promotions in an attempt to give the less astute fan an idea of what was REALLY going on with said performers or promotions at the time, and in that sense, it is a success. Whenever I would have a friend or co-worker ask me questions about wrestling and how they could gain some more knowledge, I always referred them to this book, because it is easy and quick to read, and is filled with some great knowledge that alot of us smarter fans had already discerned from Scott’s online writing.

However, reading it today is very much reading the portrait of the artist as a young man. That is what is going to make this review interesting hopefully. It more or less really gets going around Hogan and the AWA and reaches the year 2000. Don’t get me wrong, its a good book, one I will still pick up as I am rushing towards the bathroom and in need of something quick and easy to read. (I can recount most of the book offhand without even glancing at it…even the typo’s, like Dynamite Kid’s style and drug use causing him “dearky.”), but it was really just scratching the surface of what was to come. It had some snark to it, but not nearly what was to come. It did not feature any match reviews, which were to come. Which leads us to…

“Tonight in this Very Ring” was what I considered the genesis of the more modern, scathing Scott we have come to know and loathe. I mean love. Consider “Buzz” the end of the Netcop years, and this book as the genesis of the smark rants. It is basically dedicated to the years 2000-2001, and reading it now is very much a trip, having experienced that wonderful WWF period live and in living color, if you will. The snark is turned up. The match reviews are there. And so is a phrase Scott rues to this day, in print: “HHH is God.” To be fair, in 2000, HHH really WAS Godlike, as he and Rock, with Austin sidelined, drew obscene amounts of money together, and it also didn’t hurt that the mid card had been revamped with additions like Benoit, Guerrero, Jericho, Malenko, et al. In short, it was, for this fan, one of the best years of wrestling I have experienced. Add in the fact that Russo had left for greener pastures in Turner Land, phew, buddy, it was a fun year, especially for PPV’s.

Well, except for King of the Ring 2000, the one PPV I had the privilege of attending live that year. That PPV was a steaming pile.

Anyway, “Tonight…” began a killer run for Scott, as he was well ahead of the curve on what precisely was going wrong with the WWF product even as it reached its pinnacle. He foresaw the growing HHH problem. This book introduced many to the term “Glass Ceiling.” It featured the Scott we all know and love (phew…got it right that time) right as he was reaching the peak of his powers. Without a doubt one of Mr. Keith’s better offerings. But the best was yet to come, with…

“Wrestling’s One Ring Circus.” This is, in my mind, without a shadow of a doubt, Scott’s best work to date in print form. It details a very tumultuous time period in the history of WWF/E, 2002-03. HHH becoming the egomaniac we all deride to this day. Austin walking out. WWF losing its name.  It takes the blueprint Scott laid out with “Tonight…” and turns the volume up to 11. Scott was a very jaded viewer at this point…as were many of us…and it is reflected in this book. It also seems to mark where modern Smark Scott shows up for good, filled to the brim with sources deep within the industry, as evidenced by the remarkable chapter on the walk out and demise of Stone Cold Steve Austin, which, if you have never read, in my mind is the definitive chapter on what he was experiencing at the time. A total slam dunk ***** classic chapter that may or may not be Scott’s definitive MOTY. Unreal stuff. Those last two words actually accurately describe the whole book, as it is just spot on from beginning to end, showing uncanny prognostication powers that I remain in awe of. Still a book I very much read to this day when I have time.

A quick life experience side note here: After this book is where I very much fell into the vices that basically destroyed my life for the better part of a decade. 2003-2011 were very dark times for me, so while I read Scott’s sporadic online contributions…and they were beginning to become very sporadic, reflecting his distaste for the product…his books became afterthoughts. It was only this afternoon I received, and read, “Wrestling’s Made Men.”

My thoughts on this chapter of Scott’s book writing is that it is a very good book, his second best. But in light of some events over the last few years, the two star players of the tome, Eddie and Benoit, make it almost tragic to read in retrospect. If I had read it when it initially came out, that Chris…in a druggie haze, no doubt…would have screamed “RIGHT ON!!! BENOIT!! EDDIE!! FUCK THE WORLD (Wrestling Entertainment)!” Reading it today though more or less made me feel a little melancholy, because I can recall experiencing the same joy as Scott relays in the book when Benoit won the Rumble in 04, when Eddie won the title at No Way Out in the Cow Palace, Mania 20…honestly, that was the pinnacle of my fandom, and its all been downhill ever since. It was a fun read because, honestly, I was so messed up at that point I was not seeing Raw week to week, let alone Smackdown. And to be honest again, reading this book, I am glad I wasn’t! There were some horribly illogical things going on with the WWE product at that time. Nathan Jones. Heidenreich. Mordecai. Kenzo Suzuki. Luther Reigns. HHH. The babyface push of Randy Orton. Ugh. Just…so…bad. Yet the book also describes WWE starting to finally push new guys towards the top, in the form of the (soon returning) Batista and John Cena, which at the time was a fresh idea that Scott was skeptical about. Wonder how he feels about that now, what with Cena being pushed and pushed and PUSHED down fan’s gullets (he was remarkably prescient on how Cena would go down well with younger fans) to the point of nausea. All in all, almost as brilliant as his prior book, but the main body of work showed an author who was growing weary of the product, on the verge of total wrestling breakdown…and Scott seemingly did, as did many of us fans as well. WWE had hit a corner here where Johnny Ace had taken over as head of talent relations (lowercase for a reason) and Steph and Trips were gaining more and more power. Honestly, the highlight of the book is Scott and friends attending Backlash 2004 and the Raw the following night, and their interactions with Shane O Mac.

“…Made Men” ends with a very somber afterword, as in between finishing the book and its publish date, the wrestling world lost Eddy Guerrero. Any fan worth their salt knows how great Eddy was in the ring, and what a spectacular fuck up he was outside of it. If I had to compare my life, my experiences, to a wrestler, its Eddy. Total perfectionist fighting the odds and a huge family influence trying to find his way to the top. In that process, he finds every pratfall known to man in an effort to remain at the top while slowly and surely descending into every abyss he attempts to jump. It is almost sort of ironic that Eddy’s death closes out “Made Men” with little mention of Chris Benoit. The afterword by Scott is written in February of 2006. 18 months later, the landscape of wrestling would change, and it would involve the very man Scott worshiped at the altar of.

Chris Benoit murdered his wife and child on the weekend of June 25, 2007. Chris Benoit was the lord and savior of the internet wrestling fanbase, a man most championed by Scott Keith himself. I can remember how I felt once I learned the grim reality of the situation: I felt like my balls had been stretched out and Benoit had thrown his hardest chop right down the middle of my sack. How could the man we had been led to believe was the ideal wrestler, salt of the earth, just a great guy who provided us hours upon hours of amazing wrestling, be this cruel and sadistic madman? I remained in mourning for many years, refusing to analyze the hard facts, just because it hurt too much. It was only within the last two years, when I really got clean, that I figured I would determine if I was being irrational in defending the man because of the concussive nature of his line of work, which leads us to “Dungeon of Death.”

In my opinion, “Dungeon of Death” is Scott’s lesser work. We all know Scott was a HUGE Benoit guy, to the point of obsession (just for the record, so was I), so I was expecting huge things from a Canadian who experienced more or less the entirety of Benoit’s career. It was a slam dunk for Mr. Keith to really, really, REALLY fashion a name for himself in the literary world. Who better than SCOTT KEITH to write the definitive story on Benoit and his ascension and demise?  Well, I read the book about ten months ago, and was totally underwhelmed. I got a section that described Benoit’s career in about 70 pages, and then the book moved into this morbid death march of wrestlers who lost their lives due to drug abuse…quick little snippets that never really scratched the surface, much like Scott’s description of Benoit’s career. I was expecting so much more, but was left totally deflated by it, and consider it Scott’s worst work. Muschnick’s book on Benoit was better. As was Randazzo’s. And those two can be described as a skeptic and the other as a total outsider who did damned good homework. Was Scott too emotionally scarred to write the definitive Benoit tome? (Ring of Hell is it, by the way, for all the guff I gave the author.) I do not know. All I know is that Scott’s Benoit book left me with more questions and skepticism than any of the ones that have been produced to this date.

So then. We all frequent this site, so we are all Keith-ists to a degree. Here is where I have his books ranked:

1. One Ring Circus
2. Wrestling’s Made Men
3. Tonight in this Very Ring
4. Buzz on Pro Wrestling
5. Dungeon of Death

This post was meant as less review and more of a discussion starter. How far off base am I? Delusional? What are your favorite Scott Keith books and why? Have at it.

And yes, Missy Hyatt is coming. I just received the book via mail today, and not even 30 pages in and she is giving Tommy Rich road head. Its next…

Smackdown – January 3, 2014

Smackdown
Date:
January 3, 2014
Location:
Verizon Center, Washington D.C.
Commentators:
Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re
coming up on the Rumble and there are two major stories coming out of
Monday: the return of Brock Lesnar and Daniel Bryan joining the
Wyatts. The main reaction seems to be that Bryan joining is a slap
in the fans’ face and I’m not sure where this idea is coming from.
The first thing I thought when he agreed to join was that it was a
plan by Bryan to infiltrate the Family and take them apart from the
inside. I can’t imagine this doesn’t end with anything other than
Bryan doing something to cost the Wyatts big, setting up a showdown
between Bray and Daniel, perhaps in the Rumble? Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of the end of Raw with Bryan turning his back on
the fans and joining the Family.
Here’s
the Shield in the ring to open the show. Ambrose says they’ve heard
all the stories about the Shield crumbling from within and that some
egos (with an arm around Reigns) are out of control. All of those
rumors are dead wrong and if CM Punk thinks he can take down the
Shield he’s in for a surprise. Reigns thinks the weak link in the
team is obvious (with a look over at Ambrose): there isn’t a weak
link. Rollins says the setbacks are temporary because the Shield
will come together and dominate WWE.
Shield
vs. Usos
Ambrose
is the odd man out and sits in on commentary. Reigns gets things
going with Jimmy and headbutts him in the corner. Jimmy gets taken
down to the mat and stomped by Roman before it’s off to Seth who
walks into a clothesline. Off to Jey for the first time and a back
elbow to the jaw for two. The Usos get two more off a double elbow
drop as Ambrose talks about taking over the WWE and closing down
every bar and saloon from Dallas to Singapore. I miss wrestlers
implying that they associate with each other off television.
Jimmy
gets two off a backdrop before it’s back to Jey for an armdrag into
an armbar. An uppercut stops Seth’s comeback and a clothesline puts
him on the floor. The Usos hit stereo kicks to Reigns’ ribs to send
him outside before backdropping Rollins on top of him. We take a
break and come back with Jey holding Rollins in a chickenwing before
Seth takes him into the corner for a tag to Reigns.
Roman
takes Jey down with an elbow to the jaw as Shield takes over. Seth
comes back in off the top with a right hand to the ribs. The
announcers actually talk about unifying the midcard titles, meaning
it might be a real possibility at the moment. Cole asks Ambrose if
he’d like to face Langston. Ambrose, partially in song no less, says
no and asks Cole to stop bullying him and “BE A STAR.” Can we
just get Punk and Ambrose to do commentary on random matches? I’d
buy the Network for that alone.
Off
to a cobra clutch by Rollins before Reigns comes back in to bend
Jey’s arm around the rope. Ambrose keeps spinning around in his
chair at commentary. Reigns misses a charge and falls out to the
floor. Seth can’t make a diving save so Jey makes the hot tag off to
Jimmy. Everything breaks down and Rollins gets Samoan dropped but
rolls to the floor before the Umaga attack can connect. Reigns is
sent outside as well but Ambrose runs in for the DQ at 9:03 shown of
12:03.
Rating:
C+. These teams are reaching
the point where they could have good matches in their sleep. The
Usos are becoming the Kofi Kingstons of the tag division as you’re
guaranteed a good match but they’re never going to go anywhere beyond
where they are now. Hopefully they can break that mold and
eventually get the titles that they’re long overdue to win.
Before
Shield can get far in their triple team, CM Punk comes out for the
save.
Throughout
the night we’re going to get New Year’s Resolutions from Superstars.
Up first are the Prime Time Players who want to use their talents to
do more good and…..get a macaroni recipe?
Vickie,
six man tag, etc.
Fandango
vs. R-Truth
Xavier
gets in on commentary as Fandango pounds Truth into the corner.
Truth does his backflip to the middle of the ring and hiptosses
Fandango down. Woods brags about getting a PHD and being the only
man in history to be a doctor and work for WWE. JBL: “What about
Dr. Jerry Graham and Dr. Tom Pritchard?”
Woods
sums up the connection between he and Truth: they’re friends and
Truth got him into wrestling. Works for me. Fandango comes back
with a quick spinwheel kick to the jaw for two and we hit the reverse
chinlock. Truth fires off right hands but runs into a boot. Woods
calls out the Funkadactyls and gets on the table (wearing JBL’s hat)
to dance. The distraction lets Truth hit Little Jimmy for the pin at
2:52. Have we reached the point where the distraction is someone’s
official set up move? Also shouldn’t that be considered a heel move?
Dancing
ensues.
Video
on Tribute to the Troops.
Big
E. Langston talks about Brock destroying his friend on Monday and
says he wouldn’t want to be Brock Lesnar right now. Curtis Axel
comes in and says he’s sorry for what happened to Mark but he’ll be
laughing all the way to the bank after beating Langston tonight. Big
E. says no one will be laughing after the match.
Video
on Bryan joining the Wyatts on Monday.
Tag
Titles: Goldust/Cody Rhodes vs. Wyatt Family
Cody
and Goldust are defending but there’s no Bray and/or Bryan. Goldust
and Harper get things going with Luke driving him into the corner.
The crowd is very quiet tonight for some reason. Harper is taken
into the corner and a double suplex gets a one count for Luke. Back
to Goldust who gets fingers in his eyes before it’s off to Rowan.
The monsters make some quick tags to take over on Goldust but he
comes back with right hands in the corner.
Rowan
is knocked to the apron but Luke clotheslines Goldust down and puts
on a chinlock. Goldust fights up and gets a quick two off a sunset
flip. The hot tag (kind of as the crowd is still barely responding
at all) brings in Cody for a knee lift and the Disaster Kick to send
Harper to the floor. Cody follows him out but gets sent into the
barricade and steps as we take a break.
Back
with Rowan firing off more right hands put Cody down as we look at
the empty rocking chair. Back to Harper for a running elbow in the
corner to knock Cody down again. There’s the Gator Roll followed by
another chinlock but Harper lets go of the hold to knock Goldust off
the apron.
Rowan
comes back in but gets sent to the floor, only to have Harper knock
Goldust down again. A BIG sitout powerbomb gets two on Cody as
Goldust makes the save. Everything breaks down and Harper kicks Cody
in the face to knock him silly. Cody breaks up what looks like a
belly to back superplex and hits the moonsault to a standing Harper.
Goldust makes a blind tag and grabs an O’Connor roll for the pin on
Rowan at 12:25.
Rating:
B. I’m more and more impressed
by Goldust and Cody every time they go out there. There’s that
natural chemistry that you get with brothers that you just can’t
teach and it’s taking these guys to another level. The Wyatts get
better in the ring with every match they have as well with Rowan more
than holding up his end of the team.
Miz’s
resolution is to be awesome.
Nikki
Bella vs. Aksana
This
is fallout from Aksana pinning Nikki on Monday in the ten Diva tag.
They shove each other to start until Nikki hiptosses her down and
drives shoulders in the corner. Aksana rolls outside and grabs
Nikki’s arm to slam it into the post. The announcers are comparing
Aksana to Hannibal Lecter for some reason as she gets two off a side
slam. Off to an arm lock on Nikki but she fights back with
clotheslines and dropkicks. Aksana comes back with a kick to the
ribs and forearms in the corner, only to get Racked. Nikki drops to
her knees (that move HAS to be a rib somehow) into a backbreaker for
the pin at 4:00.
Rating:
D. The girls both look good in
tight outfits but they have no business in the ring. If nothing else
this makes Brie look that much better as she’s miles ahead of Nikki
as far as wrestling skills go. Aksana is there as eye candy, which
makes me wonder why they had get the pin on Monday.
We
get the video package on Orton’s career from Raw.
Big
E. Langston vs. Curtis Axel
Non-title.
Axel gets in some right hands to start but gets his head taken off
by a clothesline. Big E. charges into a boot in the corner but
knocks Axel out of the air with a shoulder block for two. Curtis
comes back with some right hands and knee drops before hooking an
armbar. Langston pops up and hits a quick belly to belly followed by
the Warrior Splash. Axel escapes the Big Ending and snaps Langston’s
throat across the top rope but walks into the Big Ending for the pin
at 3:55.
Rating:
D+. This was just a step above
a squash for Langston and there’s nothing wrong with that. He needs
to keep racking up wins like this to make him feel like an
unstoppable force before someone knocks him off for the title so Big
E. can move to the main event. It worked for Warrior and it can work
for Langston.
The
Raw ReBound looks at Lesnar destroying Mark Henry.
We
get a sitdown interview with Heyman who says Brock is back because
there’s one WWE Champion. Brock wants to be the one and only
champion and it doesn’t matter who comes out of the Rumble with the
title. Heyman says Brock is looking to do something Old School next
week, meaning he’ll be on Raw.
Time
for Bad News Barrett with his nifty rising podium. The bad news
tonight: no one is going to keep their new year’s resolutions so this
time next year, everyone will be just as fat, unhealthy and
unproductive as they are now.
CM
Punk/Usos vs. Shield
Ambrose
and Punk get us going with CM being driven into the corner, only to
have Punk whip him over to the other Shield members. Off to Rollins
who grabs a hammerlock but Punk counters into a headlock so he can
loudly shout spots in Rollins’ ear. A neckbreaker puts Seth down for
two and it’s off to Jey for a running headbutt. He puts Seth in a
Boston crab as the now legal Jimmy drops a leg on the back of Seth’s
head.
A
leg lariat puts Seth down and it’s back to Jey for a superkick to the
chest. Ambrose is sent to the floor but Reigns blocks a big dive
from Jey as we take a break. Back with Reigns driving a headbutt
into Jimmy’s chest and getting two off the Superman Punch. Rollins
comes in with a backsplash for two and we hit the neck crank. Seth
goes up but gets crotched down, only to have Ambrose come in to break
up the hot tag attempt.
Jimmy
breaks a chinlock with a jawbreaker and elbows his way out of a belly
to back superplex attempt. Reigns comes in with Jimmy still on the
top and gets taken down by a top rope cross body. Rollins knocks Jey
off the apron but can’t stop the tag to Punk. CM comes in with a
springboard clothesline and the running knee in the corner. Ambrose
distracts Punk from dropping the Macho Elbow and Rollins crotches him
on the top.
Punk
rolls through a crossbody to put Rollins in the Anaconda Vice but
Reigns makes the save. Another Superman Punch puts Jey down and we
get down to the legal Punk vs. Rollins. Seth crawls over and tags in
Dean who hits a butterfly superplex on Punk for two. Punk comes back
with a GTS attempt but drops him before Reigns can launch the spear.
A double superkick drops Roman and Seth gets backdropped to the
floor. The twins hit stereo dives and the GTS ends Ambrose at 12:42.
Rating:
B-. Good stuff here as you
would expect, even with Ambrose taking the fall again. I’m assuming
they’re building up to Reigns calling Ambrose out for all of the
losses but get the title off of him if that’s where they’re going.
If nothing else Shield hasn’t turned into a joke and they’re
potentially splitting while still having awesome matches.
A
video from Bray Wyatt talking about Bryan needing the Family to be
his home ends the show.
Overall
Rating:
C. They focused on the
tag stuff again tonight but the taping schedule messed a few things
up. It’s annoying that we have to wait for Monday for anything on
Bryan but it’s better to do it on a big Raw than on a regular
Smackdown anyway. This is another show that you didn’t need to see
but it was a fine enough way to spend two hours.
Results
Usos
b. Shield via DQ when Dean Ambrose interfered
R-Truth
b. Fandango – Little Jimmy
Goldust/Cody
Rhodes b. Wyatt Family – O’Connor roll to Rowan
Nikki
Bella b. Aksana – Torture rack backbreaker
Big
E. Langston b. Curtis Axel – Big Ending
CM
Punk/Usos b. Shield – GTS to Ambrose
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

WWE Smackdown Thread

Dream Matches

FIgured this might be fun fodder for blog discussion. I’m a big proponent of having Cena/Undertaker headline this year’s show. I suppose it’s possible it’s being saved for next year, or it will never happen as Vince sees them both as equal draws to the show (which isn’t really wrong, Hogan/Andre was a money idea but Hogan drew far more just by himself at that point than Andre ever could so there wasn’t much “waste” aspect to it). Either way, it doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen this year. This got me thinking about some of the biggest missed opportunities of all time, specifically for Wrestlemania: Hogan/Flair in 1992 (obviously the most famous) Hogan/Austin in 2002-2003. HBK/Rock in 2003-2010 Can you think of any other “dream matches” that really should have headlined the show at some point? Ones that by all rights should have happened, not stuff like Punk/HBK which could have happened if Punk had ascended the card sooner than he did.

Hall & Nash v. Rock & Austin in 2002, maybe?  Doesn’t feel like there would be a big enough tag team to challenge the Outsiders other than that, unless you went with Outsiders v. Brothers of Destruction.  Brock Lesnar v. Austin was really a thing that should have happened, although the timing wasn’t right for Wrestlemania.  And on another note…

Hey here’s a question for the Doomers…..What is the last, legit “Dream Match” left in North American wrestling? And not what you would just like to see, but what could legitimately happen with two guys physically fit enough to square off with proper build up? Is Sting vs Undertaker all that remains? Possibly, and yes, it gets my vote I would pay to see it. Is Austin vs Punk even a reality? I would pay. Goldberg vs Taker or Cena? HBK vs Sting? Undertaker vs Great Muta?

Yeah, Sting’s kind of the magic bullet for dream matches, although part of the problem now is that no one is big enough of a personality to warrant a “dream match”.  I’d say something like Samoa Joe coming to WWE for a series of matches with Punk and Bryan would be awesome if everyone is motivated.  Plus Joe would be one of the few allowed on Punk’s bus. 

WWF Championship Wrestling August 17th, 1985

August 17, 1985
Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon
Tonight, the Junkyard Dog & Ricky Steamboat team up. Also, the Dream Team and Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo will be in action. Plus, Terry Funk and Don Muraco in singles action.

Dave Barbie & Tiger Chung Lee vs. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo w/Capt. Lou Albano
The announcers talk up Albano as being the favorite for the “Manager of the Year” award. Lee and Rotundo work a decent sequence that ends with Rotundo working the arm. The champs work on the arm of Lee until he escapes and tags. Barbie slams Rotundo then drops an elbow. Rotundo fights back and tags Windham, who hits a dropkick then puts him away with the bulldog (3:14).
Thoughts: Decent enough showing for the champs. Lee was back on TV for the first time in 1985 here.
WWF Update with Lord Alfred Hayes. For the third consecutive week, the focus is on Corporal Kirchner. We get a new vignette, this time Kirchner swimming in a swamp holding a knife in his mouth. Holy shit was he terrible at promos. They sure did spend a lot of time hyping his debut.
Terry Funk vs. Paul Roma
Funk backs Roma against the rope before tossing him through the ropes. He suplexes him back in but gets kicked over the top rope after applying a spinning toe hold. Roma fires away but Funk takes him down with a shoulder block. Roma hits a really sloppy small package but Funk hits him with a back suplex. Roma holds the rope to avoid a neckbreaker then hits a pair of slams as the crowd goes wild. Roma bounces off of the ropes but Funk catches him with a sleeper for the win, despite the crowd starting a Roma chant (3:00). After the match, Funk brands Roma before smacking and kicking him around.
Thoughts: Good stuff. Funk made Roma look really good, even getting the crowd believing that Roma had a chance to win. Funk was always good about letting the job guys get in some offense. He was awesome during this run.
Gene Okerlund is with Hulk Hogan. He said that he trained with Andre the Giant in order to prepare for King Kong Bundy. One of the wackier Hogan promo’s I have ever seen and by the way he looked, it wouldn’t have surprised me to learn that he took some “gimmicks” before filming the segment.
Mike Donnatelli vs. Tito Santana
Santana works the arm of Donnatelli as Capt. Lou Albano joins the booth and talks about the “Manager of the Year” award. Freddie Blassie comes out and argues with him before hitting him over the head. Albano gets pissed and rants and raves on commentary as Donnatelli stalls outside of the ring. Back inside, Santana takes him down with a side headlock. Shortly after that, he hits him with a flying forearm before getting the win with the figure four leg lock (3:23). After the match, we get a replay of Blassie attacking Albano.
Thoughts: This match was more of a backdrop for the “Manager of the Year” angle than anything else, which is odd seeing as the IC Champ was wrestling in the match. Tito’s second IC Title run didn’t really click for some reason.
Freddie Miller is with Uncle Elmer, who will be taking part of a six-man tag in Boston. Elmer is confused and thinks that Boston is in Mississippi. He cuts a horrendous promo, babbling like an idiot the entire time. Uncle Elmer might have been the worst all-around wrestler in WWF history.
Gary Starr & “Leaping” Lanny Poffo vs. The Dream Team w/Jimmy Hart & Johnny Valiant
The camera pans to a lot anti-Beefcake signs in the crowd. They all lack wit and that includes the guy with the “Brutus Beefjerky” sign. Anyway, Beefcake works over Poffo in the corner. Poffo fights back with a pair of dropkicks, including one to Valentine. He tags Starr, who immediately gets destroyed by Beefcake. Valentine tags and drops a few elbows before applying the figure four leg lock for the win (2:09).
Thoughts: Dominate showing by the Dream Team. They are getting a big push now as a team instead of two singles wrestlers who occasionally team up.
Piper’s Pit with Andre the Giant. The segment starts with the chair empty as Piepr accusing Andre of not having the guts to come out. He then rips apart a magazine piece by piece that features Andre. As he rants on and on, Andre comes out, causing Piper to change his tone. The segment ends with Piper throwing an Andre T-shirt against the wall before running away. Piper was pretty funny here.
Don Muraco w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Sal Gee
Muraco works over the back of Gee as the announcers talk about his feud with Ricky Steamboat. Muraco takes his anger out on Gee as the fans yell “beach bum” at him. After some more stomps and kicks, Muraco puts him away with the Tombstone Piledriver (2:12).
Thoughts: Not much to this match at all. They put over the Muraco/Steamboat feud on commentary.
Randy Savage gives us a PSA about staying in shape. He tells us to go to the gym so we do not stay a skinny wimp. This was great stuff by Savage.
Moondog Spot & Steve Lombardi vs. Junkyard Dog & Ricky Steamboat
Steamboat hits Lombardi with a flurry of offense. He then slingshots in with a Thesz Press. JYD tags and the crowd loves him. He headbutts Spot a few times before getting caught in the wrong corner. Lombardi is now the legal man and JYD headbutts him after tagging Steamboat, who gets the win with a flying body press (2:33).
Thoughts: This was fine. JYD was super over in 1985 too. I mean the crowd when nuts during his matches .
Freddie Miller is with the Dream Team, plugging their match at the Boston Garden. They are teaming with Johnny Valiant to go against Uncle Elmer & Ivan Putski & Pedro Morales (Holy shit is that an awful team or what). Valentine  runs down Morales for being washed up and says that Elmer is nothing but a pig farmer. Then, Valiant comes out, looking and sounding obliterated. They finish a song mocking Elmer before leaving. Lively stuff.
In action next week are Randy Savage, Spider Lady, Pedro Morales, Killer Bees, and the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. Also, Vince tells us that Randy Savage will introduce his new manager on the show.
Final Thoughts: This show was okay, with the major focus on the “Manager of the Year” angle and some of the secondary feuds. They still hyped the debut of Corporal Kirchner, which ended up as a dud. The Funk/Roma match was really fun for a TV squash and you had some entertaining promos.

A+ Match of the Day

Howdy BOD’ers!

Sorry for taking a couple of days off. I’m going to do Royal Rumbles from here on in until we get done with all of them. By my count we have done 1990, 2003, 1994, 1997 so far.

So today we’ll head to Madison Square Garden for Royal Rumble 2008 so let’s go to…Michael Buffer?

New wrestling game

Hi Scott, I saw that you wrote about wrestling games in the past, so you may be interested in my project too! It's called Ringmaster, and is a promoter simulation with beautiful artwork and unique gameplay modes, built from the ground-up for iPhone and iPad. I'm looking to raise funds before January 13, so any help in spreading the word would be appreciated!

BoD Daily Update

Undertaker Update

As of now, the plans are still for the Undertaker to wrestle Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, with a detailed plan in place that will lead to the match starting at the Royal Rumble. However, there is talk that Lesnar’s style is too physical for the Undertaker, who is really hurting right now. Because of that, there is talk that Sheamus might be his opponent at Mania and Undertaker himself as suggested Daniel Bryan as a possible opponent. There is also another concern about a Lesnar vs. Undertaker match as for the past several years, the Undertaker, in private, has secretly worked out and practiced his WrestleMania matches with his opponents and there is a question as to whether or not Lesnar would be willing to put in that much effort preparing for the match.

Credit Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter

Kurt Angle Update

Angle’s contract with TNA is set to expire this Summer.

http://leeinks.weei.com/sports/2014/01/02/pro-wrestler-kurt-angle-keeps-life-moving-in-right-direction#.UsXQcueqBhk.email

Ultimate Warrior Having Involvement at WrestleMania?

It is expected that the Ultimate Warrior will be involved at WrestleMania in some aspect, most likely by getting selected for the Hall of Fame.

Credit Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter

American Wolves Update

The Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) will not be offered a contract from the WWE. They were originally going to be at NXT on a short-term deal but HHH made the decision to not bring them back after their first television taping. Apparently, despite several people going to bat for the Wolves, HHH felt that the company already had numerous smaller guys that could go in the ring and are looking more towards trying to find bigger guys who could possibly headline WrestleMania five years down the road. There also was a story from their first match, when Richards landed on his head after a miscommunication on the behalf of Viktor of the Asencion, that the ref told them to go to the finish, under the orders from HHH, and that they waited a while before ending the match, presumably angering HHH.

Credit Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter

WWE.com Posts Photo Gallery Featuring Every Diva Who Has Ever Worked For the WWE

http://www.wwe.com/inside/wwe-divas/every-diva-ever-photos

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT–01.01.2014

The SmarK Rant for WWE NXT – 01.01.2014 Welcome to 2014! And what better way than with the best wrestling show on TV? Taped from Orlando, FL Your hosts are…hold on a sec. TYLER BREEZE HAS JUST ENTERED THE BUILDING. Your hosts are Tom Phillips, William Regal and Alex Riley. Alexander Rusev v. Kofi Kingston Rusev quickly stomps him down in the corner and throws knees, and Regal declares that he was beaten last week “by a man 10 times the man I’ve ever been.” But…but…where’s the poopy jokes where he laughs off the loss and calls his opponent a geek? Rusev with a backbreaker for two, but Kofi fights back with chops and a dropkick to set up the boomdrop. Springboard bodypress gets two. Rusev runs him back into the corner, but Kofi goes up, only to get slammed off after yelling at Lana. And Rusev finishes him with the camel clutch at 3:48! Oh man, they must have HUGE hope for Rusev. **1/2 Meanwhile, Sylvester Lefort is auditioning people to replace Scott Dawson, but Mason Ryan isn’t interested in being purchased. Emma v. Natalya Winner of this is the #1 contender to the NXT title. (Note: At this point my internet connection breaks for the better part of the day, and it’s now 12 hours later) The ladies trade headlocks as the crowd is torn on who they like, and Emma rolls Nattie up for two. Natalya doesn’t appreciate Emma’s sense of humor and pounds her in the corner with knees, but gets caught in the Dilemma as a result. She escapes and hits a clothesline for two, and into the abdominal stretch as Regal gets the line of the show by reminding the announcers that Nattie might have learned from her “Uncle Smith”. Now that’s some dry humor. Nattie gets a wacky submission hold and the Sharpshooter, but Emma escapes and taps her clean with the Emma-Lock at 4:40. Nattie is a good sport, however, and even dances with her. Emma’s yet another one who should have been on the main roster weeks ago. **1/2 The SING-OFF! Aiden English gives us some Italian opera, and then Colin Casady (in a suit, no less) knocks it out of the PARK with “Danny Boy”, complete with “You tried to sing and sounded like you coughed / You are S-A-W-F-T, sawft!” Gotta give the win to Colin there. Aiden, despite clearly getting owned there, demands another round. So Colin beats him again with an ode to how much Aiden sucks, prompting a sneak attack. Artists sure are touchy. This was actually pulled off brilliantly, because if Colin hadn’t been awesome the crowd would have turned on it and cheered English, but both guys pulled it off perfectly. Tyler Breeze v. Mason Ryan I notice Mason is getting bigger again, although still not to the ridiculous levels he used to be. Breeze attacks while Sylvester Lefort joins us at ringside, but Ryan casually shrugs Breeze off and goes to beat on Lefort. Back in, Ryan stupidly walks into the leg lariat and gets pinned at 1:23. It’s time to move Breeze up to the next level, which it looks like they’re doing by programming him with Adrian Neville. DUD TYLER BREEZE HAS LEFT THE BUILDING. 2/3 Falls: Sami Zayn v. Leo Kruger Kruger attacks and tosses Sami to start, and back in for two. They fight on the floor and Kruger gets two. Back to the floor for another beating from Kruger, which gets two. Kruger charges and Zayn catches him with an exploder into the corner, followed by the running kicking for the first fall at 3:00. Back with the guys fighting on the top, which results in Zayn taking a crazy bump to the floor. Kruger works on the now-injured arm, but Zayn makes the comeback with clotheslines and a powerbomb for two. He goes up, but Kruger brings him down with a draping neckbreaker for two. Sami keeps fighting and goes up again, and this time fights off a superplex attempt before missing a crossbody. Kruger pounces with a top armbar and Zayn is forced to make the ropes. Kruger pounds away and hits a spinebuster, but Zayn counters the lariat into a Downward Spiral and Koji Klutch to finish in two straight falls at 12:52. If the rumors about Kruger getting repackaged into debauched rock god Alex Rose are true, that’s probably it for the Leo Kruger character. Which is fine because it was a dull gimmick anyway. *** The Pulse God I love this show. Young stars going over established sports entertainers clean by submission? Singing competitions where both guys are good and it’s not just a giant rib on everyone involved? Keep it coming, NXT!

Benoit is back, with a warning


It's certainly less trouble than editing out all his appearances and muting the commentary.  Between that and the music rights, it would make Monday Night Wars era shows a nightmare to present for airing.  Plus yeah, if anyone feels that watching Benoit engage in sports entertaining will warp their fragile minds, they can skip it.  

Impact Wrestling – January 2, 2014

Impact
Wrestling
Date:
January 2, 2014
Location:
Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Tazz
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The
main story tonight is the coronation of Magnus as the new world
champion, which screams AJ Styles return. It’s clear that they’re
setting up a unification match in the near future which should be
interesting, even if the result has been spoiled by the latest news
with Styles. Other than that we could see more of whatever Bully Ray
was talking about last week when he promised to be more evil than
ever. Let’s get to it.

Aries
vs. Sabin for the X Title tonight.
Here’s
Angle to open things up. He talks about 2013 being the worst year of
his career which is why he declined the Hall of Fame induction.
Angle promises to make up for it in 2014 but here’s Bobby Roode to
interrupt. Bobby thinks Angle is going to announce his retirement
because he knows he can’t beat Bobby Roode. If that’s the case,
Roode wants Angle to admit that Roode is the better man face to face.

Kurt
says he’s here to make it clear that he’ll dominate 2014. That’s why
he wants one more match with Bobby, which sends Roode into fits of
shouting WHAT. He turns Angle down because he has nothing left to
prove to either Angle or the fans. Roode finally agrees to the match
at Genesis, but if Angle loses, he can never go into the Hall of
Fame. Angle agrees as long as the match can be in a steel cage.
Roode shouts a lot more and says it’s on. They brawl again until
referees and Spud come out to break it up. Spud gets shoved down so
he says both guys can find a partner for a tag match tonight.
Dixie
says she’s spent eleven years trying to find the perfect champion and
she’ll find it tonight. She walks through a door and is given a note
saying See You Tonight.
After
a break, Spud is tasked with finding out who sent the note.
Gail
Kim vs. Madison Rayne
This
is part of the Open Challenge. Madison poses on the middle rope but
dives off with a cross body to get us going. Gail gets stomped down
in the corner but comes back with some mounted right hands. Madison
armdrags her down but Tapa pulls Rayne out to the floor. Back in and
Gail puts on a surfboard with a dragon sleeper to bend Madison in
some very impressive directions.
Gail
lets go of the hold and it’s a double clothesline to put both girls
down. Eat Defeat is countered into a backslide for two before
Madison goes to the middle rope, only to be slammed face first into
the mat. Another Eat Defeat attempt is countered into a side roll by
Madison for the pin at 5:08.
Rating:
C-. The match was fine from a
technical standpoint but there’s no emotion or interest in this
division anymore. It’s just insert challenger here facing off with
whoever the champion is that month with no significant story at all.
Madison is a nice breath of air but it’s nothing that’s going to make
things better long term.
Chris
Sabin shushes Velvet Sky and threatens to leave her if she doesn’t do
what he says tonight.
Angle
gets Gunner to be his partner tonight when Storm comes up to say
that’s interesting.
X-Division
title: Chris Sabin vs. Austin Aries
Aries
is defending. Sabin hides in the corner to start until Aries takes
over with a running dropkick. The Last Chancery has Sabin in early
trouble but Aries lets go of the hold. Chris goes to the floor to
yell at Velvet who says it’s not her match. Back in and Aries gets
two off an elbow before busting out a stump puller of all things. A
slingshot splash and Lionsault get two each for Aries but Sabin comes
back with a belly to back suplex.
Aries
gets caught in the Tree of Woe but does a situp to grab Sabin by the
face and pull him down with a Diamond Cutter. Nice counter. Sabin
bails to the floor and gets taken down with a double ax handle. Back
in and Sabin tells Velvet to get on the apron as a distraction,
allowing Chris to low blow Aries and grab a small package for the pin
and the title at 5:45.
Rating:
C+. This was fun while it
lasted but it makes Aries’ title reign seem completely worthless.
TNA is usually better about not changing titles back and forth at the
drop of a hat so hopefully this doesn’t become a trend. I could
however go for more of Velvet Sky in tight blue dresses.
Spud
keeps looking for information about the note when he gets a call. No
one is on the phone and Spud says he’s gotten four calls from that
number. It’s a 678 area code, which Google says is the area code for
Gainesville, Georgia.
Samuel
Shaw vs. Norv Fernum
Shaw
is in dress pants and a long sleeve shirt with black gloves. He
escorts Christy to the floor and looks almost bored. A powerslam and
Orton backbreaker have Fernum in trouble and a standing choke
(imagine the start of a Rock Bottom but Shaw clasps his hands and
chokes) gets the win for Shaw at 1:38.
James
storm is going to show Angle why he made a mistake in picking Gunner.
He opens a door and sees someone he’s been looking for.
Post
break and of course Storm was talking to Roode. Storm says he hates
Roode but needs to be his partner tonight to send a message. Roode
says that’s not his problem and he doesn’t need Storm, just like
always. Storm says he’ll be out there tonight one way or another.
Video
on Magnus getting to the title.
James
Storm/Bobby Roode vs. Gunner/Kurt Angle
Storm
and Angle get things going with Kurt elbowing James in the face. Off
to Roode vs. Gunner with Gunner going face first into the buckle.
That seems to just make Gunner mad as he comes back with a slingshot
suplex for two on Roode. Bobby comes back with a spinebuster but
Storm tags himself in for some two counts and right hands to the
head.
Beer
Money hits the double suplex for a flashback as the old team starts
getting their game together. Kurt has enough of standing on the
apron and comes in to clean house with rolling Germans on Roode.
There’s an overhead belly to belly on Storm followed by the ankle
lock until Roode makes the save. Gunner picks Roode up in the Gun
Rack but Storm Last Calls Gunner, allowing Roode to hit the Death
Valley Driver for the pin at 6:40.
Rating:
C+. Beer Money continues to
have chemistry but I’m hoping this is a one off thing. Storm has
been ready for a singles run for years now but they keep putting him
into tag teams because that’s what he’s done before. The Gunner team
was a step back for him and Beer Money would be an even bigger one.
Both singles matches should rock though.
Spud
accuses Sting of sending the note but Sting blows him off.
Here’s
EC3 to brag about getting rid of Jeff Hardy. Even though Jeff is
gone to write songs about the Creatures, EC3 tells Christy to
introduce Jeff for a match. Naturally there’s no Jeff so Carter
“wins” by forfeit. Carter counts to ten (“One, two, EC3”)
but here’s Sting to interrupt. Sting calls Carter a dog who can’t do
anything without his Aunt Dixie there to save him. Carter is just
Dixie’s lap dog but Sting wants him to get off the leash and prove
he’s a man. Ethan bails so Sting calls him a lap dog again. The
fans agree with Sting’s nickname so Carter agrees to fight Sting at
Genesis.
Joseph
Park doesn’t remember turning into Abyss so it can’t be real. Eric
Young has put him in a match with Bully Ray because Abyss wrestled
Ray two years ago this week. Eric leaves and Ray comes up to say
Park will be all alone tonight, just like Ray is now. Ray threatens
to set Park on fire.
Joseph
Park vs. Bully Ray
Ray
stands in the corner in a hoodie, jeans and sunglasses. He looks up
at Park and kicks him low for the DQ at 57 seconds. That was the
only move of the match.
Post
match Ray pulls out a bottle of lighter fluid and covers Park before
pulling out a lighter. Mr. Anderson runs out for the save but Ray
sprays him with fluid as well. There’s the lighter again but Ray
turns it off and walks away.
It’s
time for the coronation with Spud and Ethan in the ring in front of a
throne, ferns and the Union Jack. Spud calls this bigger than the
royal wedding and says Dixieland is a place where dreams come true.
Ethan, the Master of Ceremonies, brags about how awesome he is and
talks about how Magnus rules the world. He finally brings out Dixie
who is booed out of the building. She talks about being on a plane
to England and seeing a magazine article on AJ Styles. Then she saw
a piece on Magnus who was a huge star in the United Kingdom and was
all that (her words).
Here’s
the champion in a nice suit with the title over his shoulder.
Magnus: “This is your champion speaking. Please return your women
to their full and upright positions.” Before Magnus goes anywhere
he has to thank Dixie for everything she’s done for him over the
years. Magnus knows that the fans expected Roode, Angle or even
Hardy here but he proved everyone wrong. It wasn’t him that turned
his back on the fans but rather the fans who turned on him. He’ll be
world champion for a VERY long time but here’s Gunner with the
briefcase as we go to our last break.
Back
with Gunner saying he’s cashing in right now. Dixie says this isn’t
happening but Gunner cleans house anyway. Magnus is the only one
left standing but Spud gets in a cheap shot to take him down. Magnus
loads up a belt shot but AJ Styles runs in through the crowd for the
showdown. They hold up their belts and AJ lays his on the mat like a
line in the sand. Magnus bails with Dixie and AJ says come get your
intellectual property.
AJ
isn’t here because Dixie wants him here but rather because Dixie
screwed the people. He needed to come back here because Magnus is a
farce. Magnus will never be a world champion until he beats THE
world champion. If Magnus wants to be what he says he is, he’ll have
to accept the challenge. The fans chant YOU’RE A PUPPET, taking away
a lot of the intensity they’re going for here.
If
Magnus doesn’t accept, he’ll always doubt himself as the champion.
However, if AJ walks out those doors again, his offer goes with him.
Magnus agrees to fight next week (instead of at Genesis for some
reason) and tells Dixie if he doesn’t fight, he’s leaving too. Dixie
says over her dead body but Magnus says give AJ a one night only
contract. They shake hands and the match is official.
Overall
Rating:
B-. This wasn’t a
perfect show tonight but they did a good job with what they had. The
Bully Ray stuff has me intrigued and the AJ return can get them on to
something new. Tonight was about the storytelling instead of the
matches and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’re headed towards
Genesis which has a stacked card that should be one of their better
PPV shows in awhile. Good effort tonight, though I have very little
faith that they can keep it up.
Results
Madison
Rayne b. Gail Kim – Side roll
Chris
Sabin b. Austin Aries – Small package
James
Storm/Bobby Roode b. Kurt Angle/Gunner – Last Call to Gunner
Joseph
Park b. Bully Ray via DQ when Ray kicked Park low
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Cucch’s Book Review: “Dusty: Reflections of Wrestling’s American Dream.”

Is he really too sweet to be sour daddy, if you will? Read on…

Dusty Rhodes has an undeniable legacy in the annals of professional wrestling. He is a man who took a thimbleful of athletic skill and look, mixed it with a metric shit ton of charisma, and created one of the most legendary characters wrestling has ever seen. Virgil Riley Runnels Jr. created the monster that became, arguably, one of the biggest babyface draws in the history of North American wrestling, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. That fact alone should have made this book a slam dunk, a no brainer, for any wrestling fan…any fans collection would be incomplete without the complete story of one of wrestling’s most legendary figures, a man who truly transcended the sport. It should also serve as Dusty’s coda of sorts, as Dusty is not only a man among boys when it comes to his on screen exploits, but behind the scenes as well, and not necessarily in a good way. WWE announcers like to say John Cena is “the most polarizing figure in the history of WWE” simply because they book him like shit, like some unbeatable Superman in an era where people are not looking for it. Well, where Cena is booked to fail, Big Dust booked HIMSELF to the moon, to the detriment of several, and for that he remains probably the single most polarizing figure in the history of modern wrestling. So one would think he would take a step back, show some humility, and explain exactly where he was coming from during his years atop the wrestling landscape.

You could not be more wrong in your assessment or assumption.

Dusty Rhodes autobiography, for this assessors worth, has to be one of the worst written, most egotistical pieces of trash I have ever read. I read the book about a year ago, when I was still very much in a rhesus monkey recovering state, and hated it. I recently read, and reviewed, his son’s book, and thought to myself, “Well, maybe I gave one of the biggest draws in the history of the business the short end.” So I bought it…repeat, BOUGHT it, with my hard earned cash at the bookstore down the street from my now former employer. I bought it three weeks ago, along with David Shoemaker’s new book and Gary Michael Capetta’s book. I rifled through Shoemaker’s book, which is basically Scott’s “Buzz on Wrestling” on crack, and through Capetta’s book, in 3 days each. Both great books, both reviews to be forthcoming. But Dusty’s book stuck in my craw. A lot of people are wont to deride Bret Hart’s book as thoroughly egotistical…listen, I get that. He overstates his place in the landscape of wrestling. But he always knocks himself down a few pegs at the right opportunity, and it is well written without the aid of a ghostwriter. Dusty’s tome is…just…wow. Firstly, it is not particularly well written. Which is amazing seeing that Dusty ranks as one of the top stick men of all time. Sure, not the most educated, but Dusty, on screen, always made his point, always crystallized what each angle he was involved in boiled down to. Here, in his book…you read a passage and you need to read it back five or six times to make sure you read it correctly. But that is hardly the only gripe you get here. No sir. Dusty also has a very high opinion of himself. While that is common in most wrestling books, most of the authors realize their mortality or limitations or…just…something. Dusty, not him. In his mind, he was the biggest babyface ever (he may not be far off in that assessment). He is always harping on separate eras of wrestling, which he calls “Yellow Finger” and “Pre Yellow Finger.” Basically, Yellow Finger refers to Hogan’s WWF run in the 80’s and the foam fingers WWF marketed for him as merchandising. Dusty maintains he was Yellow Finger before Yellow Finger…which is true…and the whole first half of the book is Dusty explaining how huge he was, who he may or may not have partied with, and why he is God’s gift to the industry. Now, normally, I come to expect that in most wrestling books, as most wrestlers have a very high opinion of themselves, and their contributions to the history of the game. But this is an instance where it reaches critical mass, as Dusty unapologetically rambles on and on and ON about his legacy and how it is criminally underrated. And to an extent it is, but to any fan worth their salt, it isn’t. Its false bravado just for the sake of false bravado, whereas Dusty needs no reason for false bravado. He is a legend, realized as such, and the fact that he feels compelled to share his dick size throughout the book is actually quite sad.

The good portions of the book usually revolve around Dusty’s exploits with Dick Murdoch as the Outlaws, and his marriage to his second wife, Michelle. Those portions are quite good. The wrestling portions are downright delusional though. Testimonial after testimonial from former wrestlers/managers/acquaintances only serve to blow Dusty’s Hindenberg size ego to ridiculous levels, and make for a tough reading experience. Dusty basically glosses over the glory years of Crockett in order to make sure the reader knows that Crockett folding and selling to Turner was not his fault at all, no sir, it was the corporate higher ups. Dusty passes more bucks than Donald Trump to the folks at Neilsen. Its actually quite pathetic. The polka dot years in WWF? Four pages. His last WWF angle with his son and Ted DiBiase (an awesome angle, by the way)? Four pages. His altercations with Bianca Jagger and the denizens who inhabited Studio 54 in the 70’s and 80’s? Dozens of pages. While he does recover towards the end of the book in describing Cody’s progress, the previous 200 pages render that point moot.

So is this book pure shit? Yes. Does Dusty come off as worse than he did before writing it? HELL YES. But it is worth reading, as most fans are not going to believe the level of egotism and condescension experienced here. I give the book my full negative review, call it the Kennel in a Cell review, but at the same time, track it down and judge for yourself. It is a very interesting character study in self delusion.

TNA Impact Thread

Tonight, we have the coronation of new TNA World Heavyweight Champion Magnus. Also, Kurt Angle makes an announcement about his future and Gail Kim issues another open challenge. Announced matches for tonight include:

Austin Aries vs. Chris Sabin for the X Division Title
Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park
Plus, the debut of Samuel Shaw

Undertaker v. Bryan, Cena v. Punk @ WM 30

Is it just me or do those seem like the $$$ matches for the show?  Evil Daniel Bryan with Bray Wyatt v. Undertaker and Cena vs. Punk for the WWE World title. Orton main eventing in the WWE World title match against anyone will be shitted on.  Orton can easily drop the title to Cena, Punk wins the Rumble.  This is the closest thing WWE has to Rock-Austin.   Orton can face Batista in a lower card match since that match is easy enough to build without being for the title.  I know WWE seems set on Lesnar v. Taker but that too seems like a match that won’t be interesting in its build and won’t bring in ratings.  Put Lesnar up against an up and coming star instead that eliminates him in the Rumble (Sheamus, Big E, Ryback…).  Triple H also needs a match which would be the perfect opportunity for them to elevate a new star with Vince McMahon handpicking his opponent…  My ideal WM card:
 
WWE World Title Match
CM Punk v. John Cena
 
Daniel Bryan w/Bray Wyatt v. Undertaker
 
Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon v. Dolph Ziggler w/Vince McMahon
 
Sheamus v. Brock Lesnar
 
WWE Tag Team Title Match
Real Americans w/Zeb Coulter v. Big Show & Rey Mysterio w/Hulk Hogan
 
Randy Orton v. Batista
 
US Title Triple Threat
Roman Reigns v. Dean Ambrose v. Seth Rollins
 
Cody Rhodes v. Goldust
 
 

I don’t mind this lineup, actually.  Really like the tag title match and having Hulk seconding Rey and Show.   Kudos.   

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1987 WWE As Told By the Honky Tonk Man

Poster “Randie” selected this shoot to be reviewed

This was released in 2009. It is an hour and fifty minutes long.

JANUARY

Honky is asked about all of the vignettes that featured him at various Elvis-centric locations. He said that they filmed a bunch of stuff at the gates of Graceland. It was a freezing cold day in January and he was wearing his knit Elvis jumpsuit, freezing his ass off. He had to stand around and wait for a long time between takes. He said that it was horrible and if you look back at the videos, it was a dark, cloudy day with no leaves on the tree and the grass was dead. He said that the vignettes were thought up by Vince and thinks that vignettes in general are a perfect way to build up a character, as they show a wrestler outside of the ring.

January is the month when Honky first became a full-fledged heel. He was wrestling guys like S.D. Jones, George Steele, and Koko B Ware at the house shows. He is asked if he realized at first that he was going to get a big push. Honky said that he was unsure whether or not if he was going to get pushed at that time but did state that the vignettes helped him and promised to Jimmy Hart that if he got a chance to get pushed, he would make it work.

Honky is now asked if they knew at the beginning of the month that they would go with Andre vs. Hogan at WrestleMania. He said that you could tell they were going that way through the television shows. He believes that the feud started right around Survivor Series. Honky is asked if there was a fear that Andre wouldnt show up due to a bad back and Honky said no, because he had been wearing a back brace for a year prior. He doesnt know about any behind the scene struggles but thinks if there were any, it was over money.

Sean asks Honky about January 10th, when Crockett ran at the Philadelphia Civic Center and the WWF ran at the Spectrum, with the WWF outdrawing the NWA by a few thousand. Honky almost remembers that they tried to book Baltimore the same night as them but could not find an available arena. Honky also said that they didnt pay much attention to that but were happy that the NWA sold well because if they were thriving, it could give them another place to go. Honky then talks about how those guys usually left to join the WWF, and not the other way around. He then says that the NWA’s problem was that their television was not as strong and they lacked the merchandise and games that the WWF had made popular. They also lacked the personal appearance machine that Vince had created and the main thing, the WWF had made their performers household names.

Next, is Jim Neidhart is arrested for allegedly assaulting a stewardess. Honky remembers the incident and said it was a big deal at the time. At one point they thought Neidhart would be gone for good. Honky then puts over how Vince took care of his people, as he put up money to take him out of jail and for his lawyers. However, Vince took the money back from his paychecks and Neidhart got pissed over that and during a TV taping, started to break furniture.

Honky is now asked about Howard Finkel. He said that he was the hardest working guy in the company, doing several jobs at once, and put Finkel over for never having to read off of cards and always knowing everything about the wrestlers. Honky also said that he was a great finder of talent and believes that it was Howard who brought in Jimmy Hart, Elizabeth, and Randy Savage into the WWF after watching tapes of the Memphis territory.

Sean asks Honky about the tour schedule. They were running at least  three separate shows a night. On January 19th, the “A” show was headlined by Hogan vs. Kamala at MSG, the “B” show was headlined by Steamboat vs. Savage at the Atlanta Civic Center and the “C” show, headlined by Tito Santana vs. Butch Reed in a Steel Cage match in Lincoln, NE. When asked who arranged the travel, Honky said it was Vince and Pat Patterson. There was a guy named Ed Cohen who booked the buildings, who oddly enough discovered Honky while looking at a building in Calgary and saw Honky, putting in a good word to Vince. On Jan 19th, Honky worked against Pedro Morales at the “C” show. Honky said Pedro was extremely bitter at this point in his career and tells a story of how Billy Jack Haynes almost fought him in the locker room, when Pedro told Billy he wasn’t going to make it in wrestling. Honky does a pretty funny impression of Pedro. He said the “C” show payday was about $300 but said they were a good way to test guys that were just starting with the company.

Andre’s heel turn was completed at the January 26th TV tapings. Honky thought that the angle turned out better than he thought because Andre was extremely over as a babyface. He gives Andre a lot of credit for being able to be a great heel and said that Hogan also did a fine job making himself turn out as the good guy. Honky said that he couldnt believe how big WrestleMania III turned out to be. Honky then puts over Heenan as a great mouthpiece, especially since Andre wasnt very good at cutting heel promos.

Honky is asked about the Dynamite Kid’s back injury. He didnt work much with him but was told that he needed help getting off of the airplane and could barely use one of his feet and it finally reached a point in which he simply could not perform anymore. When asked about the WWF advertising the Bulldogs as champs after they lost the belts, Honky said that the TV tapings were three weeks in advance so all of the promos and everything else was done then too.

Outback Jack also debuted at the January 26th tapings. Honky said he was found by Jim Troy, who was the International guy at the time. Honky said they saw him and he looked like a guy that had never been in a gym before and said that his being Australian rubbed the English guys the wrong way then said that he eventually rubbed everyone the wrong way. Honky said that everyone gave him a rough time, as he believed that he was just as big as Hulk Hogan when he started. Honky then rags on Troy, saying this was the only person he had ever found. Sean asks Honky what to do after all of the vignettes and effort put into a guy who cant work at all. He said that you can put him in a position to get someone else over.

Honky is asked about the retirement angle with Piper. He said it was a good way to sell tickets as he went off to make movies. He is then asked about Adrian Adonis and Honky said that he had his problems outside of the ring. He then said during the “Flower Shop” segment, they used real flowers that were fresh-cut and brought in from a florist daily.

At the January 27th “Challenge” taping, Honky hits Jake Roberts over the head with a guitar on the “Snake Pit” segment. Honky said he was happy to have a run with Jake at the time, as he was almost a main event guy and thought it would be a great opportunity. He said that Vince and Pat came up with the angles then. Honky says the guitar was heavy but gimmicked. He said that Jake did not go to rehab due to the guitar shot and said that it bothers him because Jake said it, people think it was true. Honky disputes the fact that Jake said this is what led to his drug use because he abused cocaine, not painkillers. He said that they are friends still though. Jake wound up in rehab a few weeks after WrestleMania and Honky ended up wrestling Bruno Sammartino in the Northeast and Crusher in the AWA cities and he would job, to make the crowd happy and because it was non-title. Jake went back to rehab shortly after returning.

FEBRUARY




Andre beat Hogan at the battle royal on “Saturday Night’s Main Event.” Honky was eliminated first in that match. Honky says it was filmed in Detroit and the building didnt sell out and he was actually shocked that WrestleMania drew as much as it did in that market as they struggled to draw a bit in that area.

MARCH




Tom Magee makes his TV debut on March 16th. Sean asks if he was hired to be the next big thing as reported. Honky says he was groomed to be the next Hogan but was another “Outback Jack” story. He said he worked against Tom in Calgary, doing boxing matches on occasion. Honky said that he wasnt that bright and couldn’t work in the ring worth a shit. When asked why it didnt work, Honky said that he had no charisma and could not project his character, noting the Ultimate Warrior could do that. He said Magee would show up to TV, wearing a suit and walked around taking notes. Honky believed he should have been learning in the ring instead.

Honky is asked about the angle in which he and Jimmy Hart tried to get the DDT banned. Sean asks if the mail-in vote was just a way to get people on the mailing list. He confirms that the “Vote of Confidence” thing with him was all bullshit. He did say that “Cyber Sunday” was legit when he was there.

He is now asked about Jack Tunney and how someone with such a lack of charisma could be featured on TV. Honky said he looked like a legitimate authority figure though, like a school principal.

Honky is asked about the week leading up to WrestleMania. Honky said that he didnt have to do much promotion as he wasnt in a major match. He said back then, no one brought their family or guests. They treated it as just another show. The atmosphere backstage was that everyone was burned out and exhausted, from the non-stop touring. He said that he didnt have much interaction with the celebrities.

In regards to the match between Hogan and Andre, he thought it worked well. He saw the ending their live and had watched the match since and thought it was good. He also thought his match with Jake was good an puts him over as always being a professional in the ring. He then said that Jimmy Hart was petrified of the snake and was so tense at the end that his neck ended up getting hurt afterwards because Jake had to hold him still. Honky puts over Harley for being able to carry the Junkyard Dog to a good match, stating that Harley even put the whole match together.

When asked if celebrities understood wrestlers, he said that Bob Uecker and Steve Allen did, mentioning that Allen once was involved in wrestling in California. He also said that Morton Downey was good.

Honky is asked about the match between Steamboat and Savage at WrestleMania. Honky said it was a good match and thought the match going on made Savage look better because Steamboat had been known for going longer in the NWA. He then says that it wasnt out of the ordinary for him because he had seen them wrestle so many times. He then claims that what he did with Jake was almost as exciting for the fans and they did far less than those guys. When asked if people were huddled around the monitor backstage, Honky said no one did that back then, or at least the guys he hung around with, saying guys were playing cards or probably getting Andre wine. Honky said when he was at Cyber Sunday and RAW the night after and didnt watch one match. He did his job, got undressed and left the building. When asked if Savage always scripted his matches heavily, Honky said that if there was any changes or a different match style, Savage would re-script everything. Honky liked working with Steamboat, saying it was easy and he could feed his comebacks and bump for him no problem.

He is asked about the Piper vs. Adonis match. Honky said Adonis went nuts in that match and thought Piper should have lost his hair then in a rematch, have Adonis lose his. When asked about Piper getting electrocuted, Honky disputes that, claiming that he was in the building and that the dressing room lights were around the mirrors and does not know how you can break the bulb and get electrocuted touching the filament, because when the bulb broke, the filament is useless. He then asks what Piper was on if indeed he stuck his finger in the outlet. He then laughs about those stating he had electricity running through his body then says that what he was doing was practicing for a film role.

APRIL




Honky is asked about Ken Patera’s return. He said that he thought Patera did good with the vignettes. He then said that he had a match at the tapings that was so bad that he was told to go out and wrestle again.



MAY



“Superstar” Billy Graham made his comeback. Honky said that the business outgrew Billy at this point and he was deteriorated.

He was asked about Jim Barnett attempting suicide over job stress. Honky said that he heard Barnett made the attempt after learning he was about to lose his job. he was let go after the attempt.

Honky sings a song mocking the Iron Sheik and Jim Duggan getting caught together with drugs. He said that the angle was going to get Duggan pushed to the top then after the arrest, Vince gave them a meeting and said those two would never work in the WWF again. Honky said he looked over to Jimmy Hart and said that they would be back, because they got caught with a little bit of grass and some beers.

JUNE




Honky is asked if Butch Reed no-showing led to him getting the Intercontinental Title. Honky said Butch was AWOL for a while but did appear at the show before Honky won the belt. Honky said that Butch was a good worker and would have made a good champ. Honky said that Hogan saw him walk by and suggested that Honky win the belt. Honky thought that Steamboat believed he was in a good enough position to ask for a few weeks off. Honky brings up how Steamboat mentioned he didnt want to lose the belt to an “Elvis Impersonator.” Honky jokes about that , saying Jake impersonated a snake handler and that Hogan impersonated a body builder from Venice Beach, CA.

When asked about Ted DiBiase and his first-class travel arrangements, Honky said that it got him a lot of heat in the locker room.

JULY




Honky is asked about a returning David Sammartino, who had bleached-blond hair and a leaner physique. He was gone by the end of the year. Honky said that he was out of place with that look, stating that it did not fit his personality at all.

In regards to the Muraco face turn, Sean references Honky’s YouShoot and how he said once they give you the baby blue trunks, it was all over for you. Honky said that Muraco wasnt a good face and much better suited as a heel.

AUGUST




Honky now talks about the angle that turned Randy Savage into a face, when Savage got upset over Honky cutting a series of promos stating he was the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. Honky said that he started and finished the match as the heel and also said that there was no long-term investment into making Savage a face, just the one segment on “Saturday Night’s Main Event.”

SEPTEMBER




The “Piledriver” album was released. Honky said he filmed his piece of the video after a show in San Francisco at a construction site down the street from the Cow Palace then they filmed him driving the Cadillac. They finished the video in Stamford, CT. Honky said it was a difficult video to shoot and said the editing was great but there was a ton of takes and it was filmed in between their travels. He says that Jimmy Hart wrote the song and Rick Derringer and David Wolfe were involved.

Honky said the Mega Powers were formed as a result of him not wanting to drop the belt to Hogan. He said that DiBiase got the Million Dollar Belt as a result, instead of the Heavyweight Title as planned (This was the result of Honky seeing the writing on the wall when he was told that his character was going to be “repackaged” after dropping the belt and Honky did not want to end up back on the beginning of the card making no money so he asked Vince to give him a chance to let him earn some money for him and if it failed, he would do whatever). When asked about Ted’s thoughts on what happened, Honky joked that he should pray for him

OCTOBER




Nick Bockwinkel was brought in as an announcer and a road agent. Honky said that Nick took his agent job a little bit too far, telling people how to do everything. Honky thought he was fine. He then said that he was the “pecker checker” as he had to supervise the drug tests. Honky said he likes Nick as a person.

NOVEMBER




The “Survivor Series” PPV concept makes it debut. Honky said it was good to push the guys you want and to take the guys you are done with and use them to get others over.

DECEMBER




On December 26th, Honky Tonk Man vs. Randy Savage sells out Madison Square Garden. Jimmy Hart was suspended above the ring in a cage. Honky said that was Hart’s idea and puts him over for giving a lot of guys ideas, especially when it came to get his own guys over. Honky said that Hart came up with the Peggy Sue angle. He calls him innovative.

Final Thoughts: Not bad. This was the first Timeline that was released by Kayfabe Commentaries. Since this was released, Sean has done a much better job in formatting. I’d say about 65-70% of this was focused from the beginning of the year through WrestleMania, with the rest of the year barely covered at all. I know Honky has told the story of him getting and refusing to drop the IC title on several other shoot interviews so I understand why that wasnt covered but they glossed over the last quarter of the year in about ten minutes. Honky was game here and he really does have a great understanding of the business. He gets it that it is just that, a business, and that you have to stand up for yourself in order to not get completely buried. I would recommend this, it does provide insight into how hectic the schedule was, but it was actually weaker than I remembered. There are a lot worse Timelines that you could watch over this.

QOTD: Chris

This came in awhile ago from Chris.  Should generate sone discussion.

Hey man, 


My name is Chris, and I’m relatively new to the blog.  Just started posting about a month ago.  I’m only 19 so have only about a decade of wrestling knowledge under my belt.  I apologize if this has been asked before but I’d like to know what the blog thinks. 


What was the biggest “fuck up” (lacking a better term) in the history of wrestling.   I know people talk about Summer of Punk, never getting Hogan/Austin as 2 huge ones,  but are there others I’m not aware of?  Could you guys elaborate on the circumstances a tad and explain why you consider your choices “fuck ups”.  I’m trying to expand my wrestling knowledge.   Thanks.