Cucch’s Book Review: “World Wrestling Insanity” by James Guttman.

I cannot wait to see HHH’s page on the WWE Network…

For the better part of a decade and a half, most long time wrestling fans have maligned the product WWE serves them every week with a snide and scorn that most restaurant critics would have dishing out. When remembering the long since lost days of gladiators like Austin and Rock, Hogan and Savage, Flair and Steamboat, they tend to get a wistful, wet look in their eye, their lips purse and start trembling. Eventually, that melancholy subsides and a reddened, almost purple pallor takes over their faces. Its the look many smarks are used to. It is a look in this day in age that very much tells what type of fan you are dealing with. For instance, take these two very different conversations I have had in the past week.

The first was with a girl I haven’t talked to since Elementary School…we are talking since 1992 for this old bastard. We have since reconnected because she had never seen any seasons of 24, and me and a friend of mine who are CONSTANTLY talking about it on facebook piqued her interest. Long story short, I mentioned I wrote some shit on 24 and she should check them out…which she did. She then asked why it was on a wrestling website. I explained to her that I happen to be a wrestling junkie and review books on this site. She replied something to the effect of “I love wrestling! Haven’t watched in a long time though. I loved the storylines (yes, she actually used that term) and I loved HHH and Stephanie.

Well, I mention this to the other person she knows talking up the relative merits of Jack Bauer, and this kid happens to be a fan who tuned out in 2003. I mentioned the line and his response went to the effect of this: “Ugh. Doesn’t she know that is the problem?”

That friend stopped watching WWE in early 2003. He immediately went into the military…

Now, I don’t want to present things so purely black and white here. I am not saying that this girl was or is an authority on pro wrestling. She isn’t, wasn’t and will likely never be. Neither is my friend who made that latter statement…and no, WWE did not drive him to join the Armed Forces. I just liked the idea that the product WWE was foisting upon us in 03 was so bad that it COULD force a person to enlist. But what remains is that both of these people, who tuned out a decade ago, remembered Steph and Hunter. And that one of them remembers them as a good thing, while the other condemns them as all the WWE’s problems, speaks to a huge issue that many of us on the Internet have been saying and debating for years. HHH is a problem. Stephanie is a problem.

“World Wrestling Insanity” by James Guttman, is a valuable tool to explain and chronicle those problems. I was never a fan of Guttman in the past, especially his Raw Reviews. When Scott checked out around the same time as my aforementioned friend, I searched far and wide for show reviews, because I TOO had ceased giving two pints of panther piss about what was going on. All I knew was it was shit TV where HHH was going to win at all costs. That’s it. Just two years prior, 2001, WWE was on absolute cloud nine as a wrestling company, trampling its opposition, providing quality wrestling and intriguing angles (fuck storylines), and just absolutely setting the industry, and mass media, on its ear. It was a great time to be a fan.

It ended right after Mania 17. I pinpoint WWE’s creative death right when HHH tore his quad in the infamously awesome Two Man Power Trip/Jericho/Benoit match on Raw. Right then and there, the then WWF as we knew it died.

I don’t think any of us were quite prepared for what was to come.

James Guttman’s book basically describes the descent into the depths of depravity WWE experienced from the time Triple H married Stephanie McMahon…for reals. He does make sure to mention, and rightfully so, that before marrying the Genetic Jackhammer’s Billion Dollar Demon Seed, that HHH was already an established player on WWF cards, a legitimate money drawing main eventer. HHH’s heel run in 2000 was one of the most awe inspiring things this fan has ever seen…especially seeing no one, NONE of us, saw it coming. In the year 2000, HHH forever solidified his place in the industry as the hottest heel since the heyday of Ric Flair and the Horsemen. HHH was, as Scott said that year (and has since regretted), GOD. Everything he touched turned to ****. He wrestled out of his mind that year. The Fully Loaded match with Jericho…my word man, that remains a thing of beauty to me. But the issue here, as Guttman raises, isn’t whether HHH was or was not a star before marrying Bouncy McGee. Its about what he became AFTER marrying Stephchicles. He became the only star booked strongly…not just strongly, superhumanly. HHH went from main eventer to all knowing Master of the Universe following his McMarriage. Most of the text of the book is devoted to this, and Guttman, for the most part, is just spot on.

As far as HHH (or as I called him, Quad H during that point…I was dismayed Scott didn’t pick up on that one; he instead referred to the newly returning 50 pound of lean muscle mass article as HHHH), the feuds Guttman breaks down are as follows: Kane, Shawn Michaels, Scott Steiner, Booker T, Kevin Nash, Goldberg, Chris Benoit, Shelton Benjamin (sort of), Eugene, Randy Orton and Batista. And my word man…what a slaughterhouse. And I am not talking Sullivan’s Slaughterhouse from 1989-90 WCW with Sullivan wearing a pure white apron with nary a stain on it. No, HHH SLAUGHTERED his competition with the power of several thousand atomic noogies. Kane? Kate Vick. IC Title. Lost Mask. Guttman wirtes with a fervor and passion on this one that is just electric to read. None of the shit made sense, probably the least sensical of  Quad H’s feuds. Maybe. We all know the background. If not, read the book. NEXT.

Shawn Michaels, a man who had won the WWF title in 1996, the year after Hunter had DEBUTED there. They become best buds, HBK, through the sheer power of pleasing Vince or someone backstages’ priapism, gets kliq buddy Hunter some shine. HBK has Karma shut a casket lid on his upper high asshole (well I am sure it had been stretched by that point), retires and it leads to HHH’s big push, of which, as I said earlier, HHH EARNED. So HBK returns, more or less, for a one shot deal against best bud Hunter at SSlam 2002, where HBK walks away, after a just fucking incredible match, with his hand raised. Michaels decided the power of Christ compelled him to one more run, one that saw Michaels win the first ever Elimination Chamber match over five other superstars (notice the small “s”), each of whom could have used an HBRub. Or a HHRub. Yeah, we know that ain’t happening. So WWE can’t create new stars, so how about bringing in…

THE BIG BAD BOOTY DADDY! I might be in the minority here…but I HATED this Scott Steiner persona, both in WCW’s waning days as a heel and as an inexpiable babyface in WWE. Arm wrestling contests. Push up contests. A match I saw live and in person at Royal Rumble 2003 that was so bad that I gave the following match, Benoit-Angle, the vaunted ********** rating, on the five star scale. NEXT!

The next HHH fodder…I mean opponent, was this big bald Jewish guy you may or may not have heard of. In 1998, while HHHis Excellency was arising to his eventual throne as the King of Kings (I am going to be hung for heresy once this review is over…I am just relaying the author’s views…which coincide with my own…PLEASE DON’T KILL ME). Every fan knows how fucked the Goldberg-HHH angle was, and Guttman just details it. So let us just move on, shall we?

Chris Benoit. Eat it. Digest it. You will actually see and hear of his likeness on the WWE Network. Get over it. As a sidenote, I was right there with Scott…dude was my boy, and, for a time, the only fucking reason I watched WWE. Benoit wins the Rumble from slot 1, challenges Raw champ HHH for his title the next night…and for the next few weeks, in the build to Mania 20, is considered an afterthought to HHH and HBK, even though the two butt buddies had been feuding on and off since June of 2002. Think about that: HHH and HBK had a two year feud in a company that made its biggest mark with shock television and 2 minute microwavable insta-feuds. Were they trying to reeducate the audience? Absolutely. Just so long as they enjoyed the five minute Cruiserweight match with more athleticism than Ben Johnson after several swigs of water as opposed to Shawn and Hunter hitting *ONE MOVE* and selling it for six minutes. Gag. Nauseating. Give me the tainted water, please. Anyway, most hardcore fans feared Shawn or Hunter walking away from, at that point, the biggest Mania ever, with the Gold, but fans were treated to a transcendent event where Benoit, clearly the crowd favorite (is this sounding currently familiar to anyone?) tapped Trips clean in the middle, resulting in a scene that most hardcore fans simultaneously love, cherish and, unfortunately, revile to this day: Eddie and Benoit embracing, both champions, with Chris bloodily clutching his young adoring son Daniel lovingly, as well as Nancy. UGH. I need a chaser to this…

(Watching Jimmy Snuka kill Don Muraco off the cage in 83 on WWE Network). Phew, better. That Snuka, pure class…

It all brings us to Mania 21. Now, HHH buried some folks, but Guttman hits the nail right on Austin’s Symbolic Ritual Cruci…nailing.  Right on the hand…I mean head. HHH, who had the power and intelligence to elevate anyone, ANYONE, had over three years to do it. Who did he put over? In the long run, NO ONE. I will not attempt to run with the Orton angle here, as Randy overcame to become one half of the worst Mania main event ever (as we know it right now).

Guttman then goes into diatribes about the Diva Search, Tough Enough, Heidenreich, Snitsky, all that gulag of great shit WWE was offering at that point. Those are the better parts of the book and, as anyone who follows my shit here knows, I do not ruin those. Read them yourselves. But do yourself a service: Read World Wrestling Insanity. You may avoid some of those dudes who chased Kane in the 99 Rumble. Me? I am beyond redemption.

Until the next time, I will enjoy my rubber room…

WWF Championship Wrestling November 23rd, 1985

November 23, 1985

Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon

In action tonight are Paul Orndorff, Don Muraco, and Terry Funk. Also in action are Hillbilly Jim & Cousin Junior and the Dream Team. Plus a women’s battle royal and “Piper’s Pit” with guest King Tonga

A.J. Petruzzi & Mr. X vs. Cousin Junior & Hillbilly Jim

Vince goes nuts over Cousin Junior’s jig. Match starts with Junior fucking up a spot when he fell down after a leapfrog over Mr. X. Jim tags and slaps Petruzzi in a headlock. The hillbillies use quick tags to neutralize Petruzzi then Jim makes him submit to the bearhug (3:23).

Thoughts: The match was awful and the crowd didnt care until the finish, which was rare with the Hillbillies but the act was really starting to get old. Uncle Elmer was not present for the match.

WWF Update with Lord Alfred Hayes, who shows us a clip of the Rolls Royce winner from the Wrestling Classic PPV. He said that he is going to “tool around” in the car. The winner wasn’t much of a talker.

Mike Saxon vs. Don Muraco

This match is joined in progress. Muraco picks up Saxon and rams him off of the turnbuckle before sending him outside. Muraco got really big since the last TV taping, with the announcer’s even commenting about his weight. The fans boo him as he destroys Saxon and Muraco puts him out of his misery with the tombstone (2:12) shown.

Thoughts: Muraco could still go at this point but he was really getting big and starting to slow down and shortly after this, deteriorated rapidly.

Gene Okerlund is plugging the December 7th Boston Garden show. Piper comes out and cuts a promo on his opponent, Bruno Sammartino, and proceeds to rag on him and the city of Boston. Piper called himself the “legend killer” at one point too. Good stuff by Roddy.

The Dream Team w/ Johnny Valiant vs. Sal Gee & Rick Hunter

Hunter kicks Valentine off of a lockup but that just pisses off the Hammer and he takes him down. Tag to Brutus and he goes to work on the arm. Hunter makes the tag to Gee after a minute but he gets destroyed. Brutus slams him then they hit a double elbow smash before Valentine submits him to the figure four (2:52). Valentine keeps the hold on after the bell for an extra minute or so.

Thoughts: The Dream Team were looking pretty good at this point but with Windham leaving the company, they were without a feud at the moment. Luckily, the WWF was building up the tag ranks at the time.

Okerlund is with Randy Savage, who talks about his match in Boston against Ricky Steamboat. Savage was fucking hilarious at the beginning, asking Okerlund if he referred to Steamboat as the “Steamer.” He then cuts a promo on Steamboat that he is the best and not to be discouraged when he loses and to keep his confidence up and has a better chance crawling through the eye of a sewing needle than beating him as “St. Elmo’s Fire” plays in the background. Great interview by Savage. I tried to find it on YouTube for you guys to see but I was unsuccessful.

The Menace vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff

Orndorff comes out wearing a cast to mock Bob Orton. He starts smashing it against the turnbuckle when he enters the ring. He starts by working the arm of the Menace then takes him to the mat. The Menace rakes the eyes but fails on a slam attempt and Orndorff hits a back suplex. Orndorff then whips him against the ropes and decks the Menace on the back of the head with his cast for the win (2:06). After the match, Orndorff hits the cast against the turnbuckle some more. 

Thoughts: Orndorff was pretty funny in mocking Orton with the cast. Even as a face, Orndorff wrestled exactly like he did as a heel. The crowd dug him though.

Piper’s Pit with guest King Tonga. This took place immediately after the Orndorff bout, with Piper yelling at Orndorff for cheating and for mocking Orton. They go split-screen, with Orndorff in the ring, as Orndorff tells Piper that his arm as just as broke as Orton’s, driving the heels nuts. Piper wants Orndorff to prove that his arm is broke as Orndorff invites him as his “girlfriend to come down to the ring but Piper says people come to them as Orndorff heads in their direction but they abruptly end the interview and flee backstage with Orndorff screaming how he wants both Piper and Orton anytime, any place. Good segment to keep the feud going, which was starting to get a bit stale.

Terry Funk w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Gary Starr

Starr dodges an attack, which makes Funk even angrier. He kills Starr with chops agaisnt the ropes for a minute. Starr hooks the ropes to dodge an attack then makes Funk chase him but he gets destroyed by several headbutts then puts him away with a vertical suplex (2:18). After the match, Funk drags Starr back into the ring and holds him down so Hart can brand him.

Thoughts: Funk squash matches were always awesome because they were different and he would always let his opponent do something in the match.

We now get a clip of “Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling” cartoon with JYD creating his own “jiving” robot as Andre the Giant looks on.

Womens Battle Royal
Donna Christiantello, Judy Martin, Jeanne Kirkland, Linda Gonzalez, The Spider Lady, Fabulous Moolah, Wendi Richter

I think it was Leilani Kai as the Spider Lady here. Lots of fugly chicks in this match. Martin and Moolah double-team Richter to start. Not much going on but the action looks competent at least. Christiantello is eliminated first after being dropkicked over the top rope by Kirkland. The Spider Lady eliminates Gonzalez with a monkey flip then she gets tossed by Kirkland. The heels (Moolah & Martin) end up being pushed into each other but regain control shortly after that. Moolah tosses Kirkland but ends up being accidentally dropkicked by Martin. Richter tries to toss Moolah but Martin comes over and dumps them both and the bell rings, but they say that Richter landed on the apron, which was clearly not the case at all. Richter fucked up badly there. Martin stomps here as the kids in the crowd start a chant for Wendi. Moolah holds Wendi as Martin charges but Wendi ends up sending her over the ropes with a backdrop for the win (5:28).

Thoughts: The match fell apart when Richter botched her spot and clearly landed on the floor. The crowd didn’t buy that at all, except for a few kids in the crowd. This was Wendi’s last TV match that she wrestled in too. Overall though, the match was going along fine until the screw-up near the end.

Okerlund is with Steamboat, who calls Savage a fine athlete and thinks that Savage has Elizabeth out there to distract his opponents. He leaves and Bruno comes out and says that he hates Piper and does not care if he makes fun of him but will destroy him after Piper called him a “stupid wop.” Bruno closes by speaking in Italian.

Next week, King Kong Bundy will be here. Also, Ricky Steamboat & King Tonga, British Bulldogs, Corporal Kirchner and Randy Savage plus the debut of Hercules Hernandez.

Final Thoughts: A fun show. The Piper/Orndorff segment was good and we had some decent interviews too. Funk continues to shine as a heel and Muraco and the Dream Team looked good in the ring as well. They are also starting to build up feuds for 1986, which will be nice to see develop. The WWF had an impressive roster at this time, that’s for sure.

The Postgame: Randy Orton, sympathetic figure?

Thousands of words have been written in recent months from any corner of the internet about a WWE star whose run on top has been submarined by bad writing, bad booking and a perceived lack of faith from within the company almost entirely based on what we see on-screen.

I’m going to write some more of those words today, but as you probably figured out from the headline, they won’t be about Daniel Bryan.

It’s hard to make a strong case that one should feel bad for Randy Orton. He was born into the business and earmarked for success before he even hit the main roster. He’s never really drawn significant money but has maintained a lofty spot near the top, if not at it, for 10 years now. He was dreadfully boring in the ring in his first turn as a main event heel even if his character was mildly interesting. He was dull as dishwater- albeit very over with most live crowds- as a top babyface from 2010 to 2013 even if his ringwork was generally proficient in this period. Not only that, but if they followed their own drug testing rules to a tee, he’d have been long ago unemployed. (Allegedly, along with many other backstage miscreant behavior he’s been accused of.)

It’s not the kind of career Daniel Bryan, CM Punk or most other wrestlers would ever have been afforded the opportunity to have, or more accurately have continue past….any number of points, really. And that’s only if we stick to what we know (never drawn money) and leave out what we think we know (the backstage misbehavior) and what we perceive (i.e., any opinion of him as a performer).

Thus, it’s a difficult exercise to even imagine Orton as any sort of sympathy case. In the long view, he’s certainly not one.

But in the here and now, it’s hard to imagine a champion getting any shorter shrift heading into Wrestlemania.

In the beginning, Orton as the flunky avatar for what the Authority wanted to be the ideal WWE champion was a great hook: it was a nifty twist on the old corporate heel champion bit that’s been done so many times. But something strange happened that made the perplexing booking that ensued so much worse: he was terrific in the role. As this piece is more a dissection of everything that’s been wrong with how Orton has been booked in the last seven months, and less an paean to Orton, I’ll direct you to the Masked Man’s excellent Grantland piece from two months ago if such an ode is your thing.

From vacillating between dominant corporate champ and the Authority’s underachieving whipping boy to cleanly jobbing to almost the entire Elimination Chamber lineup leading up to that show, his on-screen portrayal has been uneven at best, and not meritocratic in the least based on his actual work in recent months.

But in the so-called “Reality Era” of WWE that we now not only view but actively participate in, that’s never the whole story, is it?

The tumult surrounding the Wrestlemania build is, of course, well-documented: crowds are becoming more agitated every week that Daniel Bryan is kept out of the main event. CM Punk quit. A very audible fart in church would be received better than Batista’s return and instant placement into Wrestlemania’s main event has been.

Caught in the middle of this, quietly continuing to do the best he can with what he’s been given, is Randy Orton. If you can’t get past his background, maybe this is another example to you of Orton being handed something he doesn’t deserve. And maybe you’re right. But let’s say an audible is called for, say, Batista or even Lesnar as the corporate “face of the WWE” to face underdog Bryan at Wrestlemania, a cool-sounding idea that many floated. The part-time star usurping the spot of the guy who’s been here every week, doing as he’s asked and having good matches pretty much every time out.

Sounds familiar.

Aren’t these the circumstances that made CM Punk quit?

Maybe he should be closer to the midcard than the main event in the first place, but we can’t blame Randy Orton for Daniel Bryan not being in the WWE title match. We can’t blame him for Batista’s return, or how poorly he’s been received since. Nothing in life takes place in a vacuum, though, and Randy Orton has long ago used up whatever goodwill would have engendered a sympathetic reaction to how shoddily he’s been booked since Summerslam.

I guess if there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s that even an asshole with a spot he never earned in the first place can be unfairly jerked around in professional wrestling. Even if it’s all the way to the bank.

WWE Network Update Day 2

AKA "The Topic That Is Destroying Daniel Bryan In Ad Revenue".
PS3 is working fine as of this afternoon, live stream loads (Bret v. Shawn DVD currently on there), PPV archives load and now there's little bookmarks on the timeline for most of them, complete with SPOILERS for the finishes.  Timeskipping is a total writeoff, don't even bother yet.  You can skip to the specific points in the timeline in theory, but it immediately stops playing.  Video quality for pre-2000 stuff is hit-or-miss, as you'd expect, since most of it was mastered from VHS-quality tapes.  Clearly none of the full shows were redone for the DVD era like the individual matches were, but it's not like I haven't watched a million VHS dubs in my lifetime.  Also I'm now watching on a 42" plasma instead of my old 27" tube TV like back in the day, so that would also influence the quality.
iPad works perfectly as well, easy to navigate, looks FANTASTIC because of the smaller screen size.  Everything loads for me right as well as of this writing.  iPhone works as long as I'm on Wifi, since going back to 3G reveals my Canadian locale to the world and thus geoblocks me.  
The website, however, is a no go.  Live stream not currently loading, archives not currently loading.  The website is literally my last option for viewing, though, so this isn't a big deal to me.  
I really kind of like the random nature of the live stream, just tuning in and having the sitdown interview with Goldust on the Main Event or whatever.  
So far so good today.  

5 stars for Shield vs. Wyatts?

1. Was the Shield-Wyatts match from Elimination Chamber a five-star match?
2. Was it the best 6-man tag match of all time? (Or at least in your memory?)

1.  Nope, I had it at ****1/2.  Their debut match at TLC 2012 was better, for one.  
2.  Hells no.  I can think of half a dozen Michinoku Pro six-mans that were better, including the one at Barely Legal, but it was certainly still a great match.  

QOTD 105: The Hidden Highlights*

In honor of the WWE Network, lets talk about some of our favorite moments that have been lost in the shuffle / aren’t spectacular, but appreciated anyway. I always think the key to a good match is the ability to make it ‘feel’ real to people who know its fake. Like when a table doesn’t break on an Elbow drop, or Shawn took that Moonsault on his knees during Wrestlemania a few years back (though I disliked that match – maybe I should rewatch it!)

Thus, two questions today:

Question 1: What are your favorite little moments from Wrestling history – little bumps or sequences or matches that delivered something memorable, not because of greatness, but because of creativity – that you can access on WWE Network.

Question 2: If you don’t have WWE Network, how long have you been in Al Qaeda? 

My current plan is to seek out:

1) All of the WCW ‘water’ bumps as soon as I can, though I guess most happened on Nitro if resident actual professional writer Mr. Ferrari is to be believed.

2) All the crazy Shane O’ Mac bumps I can find, including rewatching that KOTR match with him and Kurt Angle.

3) This is where I need your help: Shoot moments or botched finishes or silly things that have happened in matches that I’ve never seen!

*I know this is the name of a former 411mania column. 

The SmarK RAW Rant–02.24.14

The SmarK RAW Rant – 02.24.14 Live from Green Bay, WI Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler Hulk Hogan returns to start, much like 2002 when he got his gigantic reaction and then fizzled out quickly. So he takes three tries to get “WWE Network” out properly, and it’s the TURNING POINT of his career, which is apparently that he’s hosting Wrestlemania XXX. So yeah, this was a thing that happened. Batista v. Alberto Del Rio The crowd immediately starts with “Boo-tista” chants, which is awesome. So Big Dave attacks to start, but gets caught with a cheapshot from ADR before clotheslining him to the floor. Del Rio trips him up on the apron and sends him into the stairs as we get a weird commentary track as they hang a lampshade on the whole Bryan-Batista controversy a month after everyone else in the country already figured it out. Like, is this their plan to make it seem it was their idea all along? We take a break and return with Del Rio in control and Batista sucking wind. For a guy with an MMA gym logo on his ass he’s not particularly well conditioned. They slug it out and Batista gets a half-assed powerslam for two. Del Rio goes for the arm again, but misses a blind charge and Batista makes the comeback. And then we get the best finish of all finishes, the IDIOT BABYFACE DISTRACTION finish, as Orton’s music hits and Del Rio rolls him up for the pin at 10:38. *1/2 Which then gives us an ELECTRIC showdown between Orton and Batista, as Orton is all “Man, these people are booing the shit out of you!” and Batista is all “Woo, WWE Universe, freedom of expression, DEAL WITH IT!” Thank god Wrestlemania is free this year is all I can say, because then I enjoy the psychological experiment of 70,000 people shitting all over the “main event” without feeling ripped off because I dropped $70 to watch it. Sheamus v. Christian I’m saddened because I really wanted Christ-Mus to be a thing. Sheamus pounds away in the corner and gets a short clothesline for two, and puts him on the floor with a clothesline. The twitter scroll makes me sad that there are actually real people who sit there tweeting encouragement to John Cena in his battle with Bray Wyatt. Christian comes back with a knee to the gut in an awkward sequence while the announcers go off on some inane course. And we take a break. Back with Sheamus in control and hooking the Cloverleaf, but Christian makes the ropes. Sheamus reverses the Killswitch into White Noise, but Christian rolls him up for two. Sheamus with a powerslam for two. Christian dodges the Brogue Kick, but comes off the top and lands on another Brogue Kick at 14:37. This was fine. **1/2 John Cena joins us to pimp the Network and declare his admiration of Bray Wyatt’s bold move in screwing him over. The Wyatts come out, and when Bray smiles on the way out you can totally see how he’s Bo Dallas’s brother. Anyway, Bray introduces himself as the eater of worlds and reaper of death, and Cena is all “Them’s fighting words!” and it’s on. The beatdown quickly follows and Cena “injures” his knee, making him easy pickings. This feud is just so weird, basically shoehorning it into Wrestlemania when everyone actually wants to see more Shield-Wyatts instead. Kane v. Daniel Bryan Kane goes for the arm right away, but Bryan throws kicks in the corner as it’s getting increasingly unlikely that Kane is actually a sleeper agent or anything else that would make the storyline make sense. Bryan clips the knee and goes to a half-crab as the announcers have suddenly decided that everyone wants to see Bryan v. HHH at Wrestlemania. I don’t feel like I was surveyed on that one. Kane goes back to working on the arm, and sends him into the stairs as we take a break. Back with Bryan throwing kicks for two, and he goes up with a missile dropkick and head kick for two. He walks into a chokeslam, however, and Kane gets two. Another try, but Bryan wraps him up in the Yes-Lock, and Kane powers out. Bryan ducks away, hits the flying knee, and gets the pin at 17:10. *** So Bryan calls out HHH, and lets us know that we want Daniel Bryan v. HHH. You know, I was just thinking that HHH really deserves a Wrestlemania payday in addition to his payday as part owner of the company. It’s what’s best for business. Summer Rae v. Emma Odd choice for inclusion. Summer is DISGUSTED with Emma’s dancing and takes her down, but Emma gets a sunset flip for two. Summer with a spinkick for two, and she chokes away on the ropes. Emma quickly takes her down and finishes with the Emma-Lock at 3:30. Dull stuff. * Putting her with Santino makes her look like such a loser, though. Roman Reigns v. Bray Wyatt Slugfest to start and Bray bails, as the crowd seems to be burned out tonight. Bray pounds him in the corner and follows with a short clothesline for two, and we hit the chinlock. We take a break and return with Bray slugging away in the corner while the fans chant for other guys. Roman comes back with a corner clothesline to wake up the crowd, and follows with the apron dropkick and backdrop suplex for two. Superman Punch time, but the Wyatts appear at ringside, as does Seth Rollins to take them out. A brawl follows and Dean Ambrose makes the save, then runs in for the DQ at 12:43. I wouldn’t be putting Reigns in long matches like this yet. ** Brock Lesnar joins us for the main event interview, and he’s got an open contract for Wrestlemania, and wants a title shot there. But HHH and Stephanie won’t let him have it. So to recap, the Authority is holding Daniel Bryan back from winning the title, and holding Brock Lesnar back from winning the title. They literally do not want ANYONE holding that damn title, apparently. So Brock will be skipping the show this year, rather than taking a “consolation prize”. However, Undertaker answers the open contract challenge, and he’s got the Ministry of Darkness goatee again. Maybe he’ll brainwash JBL again too. So he signs the open contract (by stabbing Brock through the hand) and then chokeslams him through the table for good measure. So that’s a yes to the match, I’m thinking. The Pulse I found this to be kind of a dull show when we were basically promised a big mind-blowing Wrestlemania lead-in. Hogan in particular was used in just about the laziest way possible. It might also be because they’re building up to a show I don’t want to see featuring a bunch of matches with guys I’m not interested in. But hey, that’s why the Network is there now, right?

WWE network

Hey Scott

Love your website keep up the good work.

As far as the network the streaming channel works great but the video on demand content is very aggravating. Either it doesn't play, buffers a lot, or the rating just plays and then poof back to the catalog. Also when I can play it I can't fast forward it just loops back to the place I left off its like I have to watch the whole show in its entirety

I've also been having issues with both streaming and archives since I finally got online, which I assume is from opening day issues.  It's really not a dealbreaker for me because I know they've got the proper infrastructure behind them (even if they're throwing them under the bus in press releases) and they should be able to figure it out.  But definitely there's some big room for improvement thus far.  

A Solution to Watching WWE Network Overseas?

Hi Scott,

Guess what? We're able to unblock WWE with the DNS. There's still some streaming issues but that seems more to be from the WWE side.

For more info, please read here:

If its working for you, feel free to pimp away. 🙂


Unblock-US is also working for me at the moment, but I'm happy to throw some business your way!  

BoD Daily Update

John Cena’s Injury a Work

According to Wade Keller of, he has confirmed through multiple sources that Cena’s injury last night was a complete work and used further the feud between Cena and Bray Wyatt. The single leg takedown was planned to look the way it did.

Credit Wade Keller,

WWE Network Schedule for Today

Kayfabe Commentaries Releases “Wrestling’s Most Crappy Gimmicks”

The PG Era Rant: Raw, 2/24/14

last we left our heroes, they were on the WWE Network. Heck, odds
are some of you never left the heroes today. I know I’ll be going
straight to the Network when the show’s over.
PG Era Rant for WWE Raw, February 24, 2014.
from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Or is it Milwaukee? Where’s R-Truth when
you need him?
FIRST, it’s a Raw Pre-Show!
panel is Josh Mathews, Booker T, Alex Riley, and Ric Flair.

first big story is that Hulk Hogan is back and will host WrestleMania
30. But first, he’s in the house tonight, and on the post-game show
(which I am not
reviewing, thank you very much) they will interview him.
T is distracted by Kofi Kingston coming out for Superstars, but the
panelists talk about who they’re most looking for. Booker cites
Hogan, but Flair cites Cena. Riley talks about the ending of the
Elimination Chamber and wants to know what’ll happen next. Kofi’s
opponent is Damien Sandow, by the way. You’re welcome.
cut to Superstars, where Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton are calling
the action. Kofi with some kicks on Sandow, and he leaps on Sandow
in the corner with the ten punches only for Sandow to escape. Sandow
ducks a high-risk move and gets two. He repeatedly headbutts Kofi…
back to the panel as Booker analyzes what we just saw.
Mathews says it’s time to discuss the six-man tag team match from
last night as Bray Wyatt pinned Roman Reigns of all people. Riley is
interested in what Seth Rollins is thinking right now, because the
Shield is falling apart and he’s the one who put it together. Booker
says the Wyatts were the better team last night, because Roman Reigns
has become the leader of the group and he needs people to fall behind
him. Flair agrees, and thinks Reigns is ready to go solo.
in the ring, Kingston steals the win from Sandow with a small
package. No way to rate this.
interviews Kofi on the stage. He asks Kofi about WrestleMania and
how big the win was. Kofi says all wins are big. He plays up the
great crowd, and says he now has momentum.
jokes that Kofi is in Booker’s Fave Five. Flair: “If he wants to
be The Guy, he’s gotta buy himself a Lear Jet, cuz it’s a long way to
WrestleMania.” Booker says that the win – and attention from
Lawler – will help his cause.
panel recaps Alberto Del Rio’s match against Batista, talking about
Del Rio’s fake injury and how it wasn’t enough for him to take over
on Batista. There will be a future rematch at Del Rio’s request,
which Flair thinks is career suicide. Booker T is a Randy Orton fan,
but he knows Batista is on a huge roll. Even so, Booker is picking
Orton to win that match. Riley says Del Rio could win tonight.
Brothers Rhodes are making their way for a match.
WWE.COM question: what was the Match of the Night? Usos/Outlaws,
Wyatts/Shield, or Chamber? Each panelist picks a different match.
Matadores are on their way to the ring.
back as 3MB is coming to the ring, and we discuss that Brock Lesnar
may be in the house. We look back at the Brock/Show match – what
little there was of it – at the Royal Rumble, complete with 100
chair shots. Josh asks who should be worried. Flair: “The entire
building.” Riley says that if he can do that to Show, he can do
anything to anyone. Booker says the locker room is afraid.
Maddox is with Renee Young. Renee asks about Brock Lesnar rumors.
But before Maddox can talk to Renee, Sheamus and Christian are
arguing about their recent rivalry. Maddox interrupts their argument
and puts them in a match on Raw. Sheamus issues an idle threat.
live look-in ad talks about the results of the Elimination Chamber
and the return of Hulk Hogan.
T is looking forward to the match, but Riley reminds us that
Christian pinned Sheamus inside the Chamber. Flair reminds us that
Christian has been in ladder matches, so he isn’t afraid. Booker
claims Christian is starting over, so he needs the match more than
Sheamus. The Superstars match appears to be Cody, Dustin, Fernando,
and Diego against Jinder, McIntyre, Ryback, and Axel.
brings up the Chamber match itself, with emphasis on all the outside
interference by the Wyatts and Kane. The editing implies Kane cost
Bryan the title. Riley says that Bryan was absolutely about to win,
but Booker T disagrees and says that we’ll never know. He called
Orton winning, you know. Flair wants Riley to just start a Yes chant
and get it overwith. Riley notes that Orton drew the last number,
but Booker writes it off as luck. Flair points out that those five
matches means he knows the people in it and that helped him retain.
Booker and Riley argue about the Orton/Bryan thing. Booker says it’s
time for Bryan to take a back seat, because Orton and Batista is set
for Mania.
turns the attention to Cena being attacked by the Wyatts. The
question: what does Bray have against Cena? Josh seems to say Wyatt
cost Cena the title. Flair says that when the Wyatts arrive, hide
from them. Booker says the Wyatts just want to hurt someone. Riley
says that the ‘down with the machine’ message goes straight to Cena,
who is the biggest beneficiary of the Machine.
Raw announcers are on their way to the desk. Did Booker T do a 3
Minute Warning reference?
RAW hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler.
question: what do you look forward to most? Booker: how John Cena
and others are going to make their statement. Flair: “In this
business, you’re only as good as your last night.”
are ready to begin as a YES chant starts up.
we open the main show with the return of Hulk Hogan! Pardon me while
I mark out.
minute later*
I’m back. The announcers are giving Hogan a standing ovation. Hogan
milks it for all it’s worth because that’s how Hogan rolls. LONG
Hogan does the usual Hogan promo to say that tonight is a turning
point of his career, because he is home (brothers). He says he was
part of something special back in the day, that being WrestleMania I.
He says history was made then, and it’s being made today with the
launch of the “WWE Universe”. You mean Network, Hulk. He covers
for his slip. And the Hulkamaniacs were part of the launch. He
feels like a proud father because of the Network. He can watch
Sammartino matches, Michaels matches, Austin matches, Rock matches…
but most importantly, then, now, and forever are on the Network, and
the future of the Network is WrestleMania 30. He makes it official:
he’s hosting Mania. Whatcha gonna do when WrestleMania runs wild on
you? I find it interesting that Hogan opens his Raw and Rock, in the
same role, closed it. Also, Hogan didn’t make fun of the people in
the main event or spoil any major results.
speaks about the WWE Network launch and that the one-week trial is
underway. And every PPV ever will be on it. Lawler shows us that
you can see every PPV and how to find any PPV ever (while Hogan
entertains the crowd with poses). JBL is showing us the Network on
the laptop. He says you can search by wrestler, even. Such as JBL.
The announcers are giddy about this. I love it.
Daniel Bryan faces Kane. Also, is Brock Lesnar here? Plus, Batista
rematches against Alberto Del Rio next.
Alberto Del Rio
v. Batista.
Crowd is really not
behind Batista. They’re not necessarily for Del Rio yet. Cole does
acknowledge the reaction, saying “Like him or not…” I think
the crowd is on “not”. Batista attacks right off the bell,
stomping away in the corner and getting a Hammer Throw. Short
clothesline by Boo-Tista and Del Rio bails, but Batista catches him
and throws him into the barricade. He sends Del Rio into the apron
and throws him back in, but Del Rio catches him and attacks as the
crowd chants “Si”. Suplex try is blocked and reversed by
Batista, who then clotheslines Del Rio to the floor. Del Rio sweeps
out Batista while on the apron, then throws Batista into the steps as
we go to break.
Rio/Batista, part two.
Del Rio
has floored Batista as the crowd keeps up “Si” chants. He stomps
away on Batista, then mocks his posing to scattered cheers. Del Rio
charges but flies through the ropes as he usually does. Del Rio
returns and hangs Batista up on the top rope before going up, but
Batista punches him and throws rights before following up. Superplex
by Batista leads to a Double KO. Crowd counts along with the ref.
Del Rio is up first, and a slugfest breaks out with the crowd on Del
Rio’s side. Del Rio ends it with a gut superkick but runs into
clotheslines. Powerslam by Batista gets two. Del Rio with the
Armstabber out of nowhere and he’s ready to finish with the low
superkick, but he misses and has to adjust to stomp Batista. Was
that a botch? Del Rio is ready for another something, but a blind
charge misses and Batista gets a spinebuster. And here comes Randy
Orton to a cheer? Del Rio uses the distraction to roll Batista up
for the pin at 9:33. Orton insincerely apologizes before beginning
his promo. **

says they go way back, and they’ve shared laughs, but that loss was
hilarious. He also finds it funny how the WWE Universe hates
Batista. Orton thinks Batista’s sorry he returned. This starts, for
no reason, a CM Punk chant. Batista (winded) says Orton is very
wrong. He tells everyone that he loves this business (no one seems
to buy it). He also loves the voice the fans have, but he has a
voice too, and if the fans boo him, he’ll boo back. “It’s called
being real.” Orton doesn’t know what real is. But that’s not
relevant right now; what is relevant is that he will beat up someone
he used to consider his friend, but who is now a “whining,
sniveling, kiss-ass suck-up”. Batista calls himself the next
champion, and deal with it. That was weird. I’m kinda curious where
they’re going with this.
next, Antonio Cesaro faces Big E Langston.
Big E Langston
v. Antonio Cesaro.
I’m using
full names because I’m a rebel. Last night, Langston beat Jack
Swagger. Cesaro has Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. Langston with a
headlock as a huge We The People chant begins. After a long leapfrog
sequence, Langston floors Cesaro, who bails. Swagger offers advice,
and back in, Cesaro gets a waistlock takedown. Langston throws
Cesaro and punches away, but Cesaro with knee strikes and a European
Uppercut. Cesaro with more knee strikes, but he runs into an
overhead suplex. Langston gets a second one and spears Cesaro into
the corner. Another shoulder ram and he covers, getting two.
Langston with the arm, but Cesaro punches out and gets an uppercut.
Clotheslines go nowhere, but Cesaro with a big boot. Swagger taunts
Langston as Cesaro works the back and goes to a neck crank as we get
a USA chant. For whom? Langston fights out, but a blind charge eats
elbow. Cesaro dives into Langston’s arms, and Langston with a series
of rib breakers. It gets two. Langston with the arm again as JBL
and Cole ask what “E” stands for in “Big E”. Cesaro with a
series of headbutts and a headlock. Cole reveals E’s real name:
Ettore. JBL: “Like in Winnie the Pooh?” Cesaro holds the
headlock, but Langston breaks it only to get caught in mid-air in a
leapfrog to a throw for two as we go to break.
part two.
We return with Cesaro
holding what looks like a cobra clutch. Langston punches out, and a
slugfest breaks out, won by Cesaro until he runs into a press slam.
Blind charge eats the post, though, and Cesaro rolls him up for two.
Cesaro with a running jump stomp for two. Cesaro with more uppercuts
in the corner, and the ref forces a break, only to allow Cesaro a
running strike for two. He switches to the sleeper as Cole puts over
Langston’s resiliency. Langston elbows out, but Cesaro stuns him
only to get caught. Cesaro slides out and gets an Orton-esque
powerslam for two. Swagger and Colter offer coaching, and Cesaro
goes for the Karelin Suplex, connecting for two. Back to the
chinlock, switching to the sleeper. A slugfest breaks out, which
Langston wins, but Cesaro reverses a whip and goes back to the
sleeper. Langston beals him off the shoulder, but runs into an
elbow. He recovers with clotheslines and a Greco-Roman throw.
Ultimate Splash follows, for two. The straps are down, boys! He’s
ready for the Big Ending, but Cesaro avoids it and lands the Catapult
Uppercut for two. Swagger is incredulous. Crowd wants the swing,
and so does Cesaro. Langston fights out of it before it starts and
catches a charging Cesaro in an STO for two. That was a nasty
landing on the STO. Crowd rallies behind We The People as Cesaro
low-bridges out Langston. Langston catches Swagger trying to run
interference, and Langston’s back in. But he runs into the GIANT
SWING OF DOOM (8 rotations, though the impatient crowd reaches 10).
And then out of nowhere, Swagger races in and applies the Patriot
Lock for the DQ at 15:44. ***1/4
Colter and Cesaro are furious. Swagger tries to explain, but as he
does, Langston attacks Swagger. Cesaro cuts it off and gets the
Neutralizer, with a nasty landing. Swagger looks a little jealous.
He’s desperately trying to explain, but Colter doesn’t want to hear
go back to last night and look at the Chamber main event, focusing on
Cena having Orton beaten (maybe) when the Wyatt Family materialized
inside the Chamber and wiped the floor with him. So tonight, John
Cena will issue a rebuttal.
Cena is out next as it’s already 9:00 and that first hour felt like
an Action Zone show. Wait, why’s Cena running the ropes? He doesn’t
have a match. But first, Cena is happy to see Hogan back. And the
fans will remember tonight because Raw #1083 is when the Network
began. So the future is NOW! He mentions that he’s been challenging
all the young guns to step up by going through him. He knows that a
lot of people are uncomfortable with that, but he wants the respect
of being the gatekeeper to the future. He knows he’s made himself a
target, which segues to Bray Wyatt. Wyatt has caused trouble, and he
knew they were coming for him… but at the Chamber? Isn’t the
Chamber locked shut? But no, Bray got in and cost him his
championship match. Cena asks if Wyatt wants to make another bold
move, because Cena is ready for a fight.
now the rebuttal: “Green Bay, we’re here.” They redid that
specifically for tonight. Interesting. Here comes the Family. Bray
takes a seat and a mic. He says the world has an infection: the
human race. It makes sense that Cena’s in the middle of these
troubling times. What’s the world without a hero? He says Cena’s
the knight in shining armor. But Cena is hollow, with empty
promises. He says he’ll save the people, keep them safe, and that
everything will be all right when he’s there. But he been lyin to
you, man! The world is awful, cold, and lonely. Cena stands for
illusions, but Bray believes in the real. So is the future through
Cena? Bray likes that and agrees. Bray then properly introduces
himself to Cena. “We are the reapers who bring death to this era
of lies”.
Cena introduces himself too, and he says that as long as even one of
them starts it, they won’t be able to finish it. “So if you make
that move… it’s go time, Jack.” Cena’s surrounded (sort of) and
begging them to come in as we get a standoff. The Family charges,
and after a flurry by Cena, the numbers are too much. Bray pulls
back the Family after a brief message sent as the crowd wants Bryan
to make a save. Bray taunts Cena, who pulls himself up…. and
charges? Bad idea, as the Family pounds him back down. After
another flurry, Bray calls them off and taunts again. Cena pulls
himself up again, and this time the Family leaves, message sent.
Except Rowan. Cena knocks him out of the ring, and Bray catches Cena
with a back elbow as he returns. Bray poses over Cena’s body as we
blink out. I’m getting a “Superman II” vibe from that segment,
and that’s a very good thing, as you know.
ago, you saw what happened. Cena was taken out on a stretcher.
Christian v.
Christian is limping
to the ring as we look back at the Raw Pre-Show set-up for this
match. Sheamus pushes Christian into the corner and breaks. Another
lockup try, and Sheamus throws Christian out of the ring. Christian
slowly returns, ducking a lockup and slapping Sheamus. This just
ticks him off. Sheamus goes to town in the corner, adding a
clothesline for two. Sheamus with knees to the back and an armlock.
Christian slaps out of it, but Sheamus clotheslines Christian out of
the ring. Christian catches Sheamus, but an attempt to do the splits
on the post backfires and Christian is loopy. Back in, kneedrops by
Sheamus and he hooks the nose. Christian catches Sheamus and drops
him on the top rope. Missile dropkick gets one. Sheamus fires off
forearms, but Christian with a knee to the gut and Sheamus is in
trouble. Christian hooks the nose on Sheamus, but can’t send him
into the buckle. Sheamus fights out of it and backdrops Christian
out of the ring, following with the Battering Ram as we go to break.
part two.
Sheamus is on the top
rope but gets caught and sent to the outside. He sends Sheamus into
the steps, and back in, he gets two. Christian fires away on Sheamus
and says he should be champion, then stomps away in the corner. He
tries to pull Sheamus out, and after some struggle, gets a falling
headbutt. Christian works the ribs with a back bearhug (!?), driving
his knees into the back. Cole provides a medical update on Cena
while the crowd is bored by this match. Sheamus fights out of it,
but Christian kicks away and goes to an abdominal stretch. Sheamus
fights out of it, landing elbows and uppercuts. He puts his head
down, though, and Christian takes over with a kick and over-the-top
uppercut. He goes to the top, but the bodypress misses as Sheamus
ducks. Sheamus catches Christian and gives him a kneelift and Polish
Hammers. Christian slides out the back and tosses Sheamus, but
Sheamus avoids a charge and kneelifts Christian. Ten of Clubs time,
and Sheamus catapults back in with a shoulder tackle for two.
Sheamus tries for the Cloverleaf, but Christian punches out of it and
goes up, only to get caught and put in the Cloverleaf for real.
Christian makes the ropes. He bails, and Sheamus chases, allowing
Christian to ambush him in the ring. Christian claps up the crowd,
looking for the Killswitch, but Sheamus goes for White Noise, but
Christian with a roll-up for two. Pump slam by Sheamus gets two.
Both men struggle to their feet as the crowd gets behind Sheamus, who
signals for the Brogue Kick. It misses, and Christian gets a
pendulum kick. He goes up and dives… RIGHT INTO A BROGUE KICK for
the pin at 15:46. Great finish to a boring match. Christian just
has nothing left in the tank anymore. *1/4
announcers talk about how to get the one-week trial of the WWE
Network, mentioning the Raw Pre-Show, then earlier tonight before we
went on the air, Daniel Bryan ran into the Authority. See, Renee
Young was talking to HHH about the WWE Network when Daniel Bryan
storms in and is FURIOUS. He wants to fight HHH at WrestleMania.
HHH refuses the fight because Bryan’s not an A+ player. Bryan will
get a match, don’t worry. Daniel says he’s won every time… but
Stephanie offers Kane as a sacrifice. Bryan does not seem satisfied.
Okay, Bryan/HHH needs to happen at Mania 30.
yeah, Daniel Bryan will face Kane tonight.
History Month looks back at Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson.
Seth Rollins asks where Dean Ambrose disappeared to, but Ambrose is
sick of explaining himself. If they don’t trust him, fine. Ambrose
waks out. Rollins wants to believe him, but doesn’t know if he
can… and the Wyatts arrive. Reigns is ready to settle it and
challengers Bray Wyatt one-on-one, no backup. Bray accepts, and as
the Shield leave, Bray laughs.
you see the Raw Pre-Show? They cut to the panel, where Alex Riley is
nowhere to be found, but Booker, Josh, and Flair are still around.
Booker praises the Christian/Sheamus match, but he says he’s ready
for Reigns/Bray. Flair, on the other hand, wants to know how Cena
is, and then he wants to see Kane/Bryan. Flair leads a YES chant.
As a reminder, they’ll all be on a post-game show later tonight.
this segues into Daniel Bryan.
Sidenote: my
minions are informing me that CM Punk is being pitched a sweetheart
deal to return next week in Chicago and set up a match with Triple H
at WrestleMania. A match that would mean that Bryan would not be
allowed to face the champ OR the Authority at Mania. So as much fun
as Punk is in the ring, you’ll forgive me if I tell him to stay away.
I also know that the fans will forgive Punk instantly and not hold
it against him, even though he’d essentially be taking Daniel Bryan’s
match from him by whining about it.
Daniel Bryan v.
Bryan charges and kicks
away in the corner. Kane grabs the injured arm and uppercuts Bryan,
working the arm and throwing it into the buckle. He sends him across
the ring shoulder first, but Bryan sends Kane into the buckles with a
drop toe hold. Bryan with more kicks to the hamstrings, wrapping it
around the ropes and landing a dropkick. Bryan keeps working the leg
as the crowd chants for him. He goes to the Celtic Knot as Cole
brings up a good point: if Daniel Bryan’s not good enough, HHH should
be able to beat him. JBL’s reply: he’s not a wrestler anymore.
Bryan clips Kane repeatedly, then goes to a single-leg crab. Kane
makes the ropes. The announcers are arguing over HHH’s motives as
Kane drapes Bryan’s arm over the ropes, then slams him into the post
arm-first. Kane stomps the arm back in, then wraps his arm around
the middle rope. Kane gets a boot choke and lifts Bryan up, dropping
him on the arm. It gets two. Lawler wants to talk about the match
going on as Kane gets a hammerlock and chinlock. Bryan elbows out,
but Kane throws him to the floor. Kane follows, so Bryan slides in
and dropkicks Kane through the ropes. Tope suicida try is cut off by
an uppercut, and Bryan goes shoulder-first into the steps as we go to
part two.
Bryan is kicking away
at Kane’s leg, but Kane gets a big boot for two. Kane rips off the
tape on Bryan’s shoulder, wrapping it around the bottom rope and
getting an avalanche for two. Kane with an armbar, but Bryan punches
out of it only to get a straight right. Bryan with the video game
comeback, but he lands on his bad arm. Crowd goes YES to rally
Bryan, and it leads to the YES Kicks, but the roundhouse misses.
Kane with a side slam for two. Kane goes outside and to the top, but
Bryan intercepts and kicks the leg away. He follows Kane up, landing
a Frankensteiner for two. Bryan with coast-to-coast dropkicks on
Kane, but the third one runs into a throat thrust by Kane. Kane
charges but gets low-bridged, and Bryan follows with the Tope
Suicida, sending both men into the barricade. Bryan adds a dropkick
into the barricade, and back in, Bryan goes up with a missile
dropkick (again landing on the bad arm). Bryan somehow kips up, and
the roundhouse YES Kick gets two. Bryan back up, and it’s a Ram Jam
(with the Mania sign being framed nicely), but Kane catches him with
the goozle and chokeslam for a very close two. Crowd is into this
one, starting a YES to celebrate. JBL argues it’s a three. Kane
grabs Bryan, but Bryan gets the Yes Lock instead… but Kane blocks
it and chokes Bryan. He goes for another chokeslam, but Bryan blocks
it and goes back to the Yes Lock try. Kane shoves Bryan aside, but
Bryan returns with the Buraiku for the pin at 15:40. Man, they’re
bringing the workrate tonight. ***1/2
Cole says this proves that Bryan should get a Mania payday. The
fact that this match happened, in full, on Raw, means Bryan/HHH has
to be endgame.
has the mic now, and he recaps what happened earlier today. He calls
HHH a coward – no, he screams it. He says HHH hid behind
Stephanie’s skirt after being challenged. Bryan says that ever since
HHH became the COO, he’s ignored the crowd, and he demands the crowd
become too loud to ignore. This leads to a YES chant. Bryan: “ARE
YOU LISTENING?” Bryan demands HHH at WrestleMania as the crowd
chants behind him. This is so making the video package. Bryan
officially lays down the challenge. The Yes Movement is behind him.
Cole is claiming this is too much for HHH to ignore.
tonight, it’s Roman Reigns against Bray Wyatt. Also, Brock Lesnar IS
in the building! But next, Summer Rae is in action.
will appear on SmackDown, and he’s going to say what he thinks. Get
your popcorn ready.
knows nothing of entitlement. He will achieve greatness by any means
necessary.” He is the most interesting Bulgarian in the world.
Summer Rae v.
This is Emma’s major
league debut, bubbles and all. And she’s trying to swat the bubbles.
JBL hates Emma. The two dance to start, but Summer pushes Emma
down, and Emma returns in kind. Summer with a guillotine roll and
catfighting, then she poses. Summer throws Emma into the buckle, but
a blind charge misses and Emma returns with a cradle for one. Summer
with a spinning standing kick for two. Summer throws Emma down and
stomps the back. She chokes Emma on the middle rope (“Isn’t she
cute, Santino!?” “Yes she is, okay!?”) and drapes her knee
over Emma’s throat for two. (“You’re not gonna help her?” “I’d
be disqualified!”) Summer with another two-count, and she goes for
a cobra clutch. Crowd gets behind Emma, which is a good sign.
Summer keeps Emma grounded, though, and holds the lock in for some
time. Santino fires up the crowd, and Emma escapes, catches the
kick, and gets an Indian Deathlock Bridge for the submission at 3:30.
She jumps into Santino’s arms… and knocks him over. Decent debut
for Emma, but too much Summer Rae cobra clutch stuff. Needs more
offense from Emma. 1/2*
Hogan’s return made serious headlines everywhere, as you may have
heard. And here’s footage of him from earlier tonight.
next, the Outlaws face the Usos in what appears to be a non-title
WWE Rewind is about last night and the Outlaws retaining the tag
titles… but they spotlight that Gunn had a handful of tights.
New Age Outlaws
v. Usos.
No entrances. Outlaws
beg off as the match begins, and Dogg asks for a mic. See, they
forgot to do their spiel. The Usos actually leave the ring to let
them do it. As a reminder, the bell did ring. And Dogg turns around
into a superkick. Jey goes up top for the big splash as Jimmy dives
on Gunn. Suck it as the Usos win at 1:14. Gentlemen, your homework
for tonight is to go on the WWE Network and watch the Hart Foundation
against the Bolsheviks. Because they didn’t.
WWE Network info. Dude, you already have my money. Jerry Lawler
shows us that old episodes of TV are available as he shows us how to
load a show on an iPad. You can get it on the Kindle Fire or laptop,
too. Again, JBL searches for himself.
Reigns is on his way to the ring, through the crowd, alone. As
Roman Reigns v.
Bray Wyatt.
Bray also arrives
alone. We get a flashback of the Wyatts attacking Cena, as word is
Cena may not be 100% legitimately. Who knows? Cena has been sent to
a medical facility. Roman hasn’t moved since Bray arrived. Now Bray
hasn’t moved since the bell. Bray opens with an uppercut, but Reigns
returns fire and Bray bails out. Back in, a lockup lasts a while,
with Reigns winning but Bray fighting back with a headbutt. Uppercut
by Bray, and another headbutt, but he charges right into a Reigns
tackle and elbowdrop for one. Reigns punches the gut and slaps Bray
in the ear, causing Bray to leave again. Bray returns, kicking away
on Reigns and headbutting him again, but Reigns fights back only to
be caught in the throat. Big boot follows, and Bray rakes Reigns’
eyes on the top strand. Bray with more headbutts in the corner, and
a short clothesline follows, getting one. Crowd yells Husky Harris
as Bray goes to the chinlock. This match is going nowhere. Reigns
fights out of it, but Bray goes to the knee and knocks Reigns over.
Big stomp and Reigns eats turnbuckle. Bray works him over, but
Reigns reverses and sends Bray into the buckle and out of the ring.
Reigns with a clothesline on the outside as we go to break.
For the record,
I don’t think Cena’s hurt. He was being taken to the hospital with
an ice pack on his knee. If they were really worried about his knee,
they’d have had a splint on it. He’ll recover.
part two.
Bray has a headlock
as the crowd is chanting for Cole. Bray slams Reigns down and gets
the running senton as the crowd switches to Lawler. It gets two.
During the break, the two men sent each other into everything that
moves. Bray with a falling headbutt and a headlock/punches combo.
Bray chokes Reigns in the ropes, but Reigns quickly punches out of
it. Bray recovers with a suplex for two. Bray back to an anaconda
headlock as the crowd wants Randy Savage. Are you sure these guys
had a great match last night? Reigns punches out, adding a headbutt
but running into Bray’s back elbow for two. Crowd wants Undertaker
now as Bray slams Reigns into the buckle and punches away. Bray with
an avalanche, but a second one misses. Reigns stops a blind charge
and shoves Bray away with his feet, adding a leaping clothesline as
he builds momentum. Avalanche clothesline and Reigns pounds away,
then the drive-by dropkick. Reigns with a Nodowa Otoshi for two. He
preps the Superpunch, but the transmission is interrupted and the
Family is present, despite promises otherwise. Reigns is not amused,
but Rollins dives onto both men. So there. Bray rolls Reigns up for
two. Reigns charges into the post as Harper and Rowan attack
Rollins. So where’s Ambrose? Wait, there he is to the rescue. All
heck breaks loose as Reigns hangs Bray up and gets the Superpunch.
Reigns knocks down Harper, but Ambrose jumps in and attacks Bray for
the DQ at 13:56. Everyone’s in the ring now as the fight continues.
If Cena’s hurt, this is the match they need to make. The Shield get
the face reaction. It should be noted, though, that the one one one
portion had very little heat, but when everyone showed up the crowd
got into it. *1/4
Lesnar is backstage as Paul Heyman preps him. He wants Brock to act
like a gentleman, so no vicious attacking. And they’re on their way.
Paul will host next week’s show.
Lesnar and Paul Heyman make their grand entrance as we will main
event this workrate-heavy show with… a promo. Yay. There’s a
table in the ring. For some reason. It looks like they want a
contract signing. Paul Heyman claims Brock Lesnar is the obvious #1
Contender and therefore he should be main eventing WrestleMania.
Heyman says tonight is about history, given the Network stuff, but
Brock Lesnar isn’t here to celebrate. See, it’s apparent to everyone
that Orton and Batista should not main event Mania, but instead
should fight early and the winner gets Brock. Heyman has told this
to the Authority, but HHH says that Brock will make history in a
different way: an open contract. He can name any opponent he wants.
But that’s a consolation prize. See, that’s how they work you in the
WWE. They can have anything they want, except what they want. Brock
is the most dominant athlete in the NCAA wrestling, in the WWE in his
first go-around, in the UFC, and he’s conquered everything. Now, he
wants to conquer the WWE one more time so he can be the only champion
when WrestleMania ends. So why can’t it be done? Because the
Authority won’t let it happen. “And that’s how they get you!”
The crowd knows what’s coming and chants for Undertaker. Heyman says
they won’t play their game with Lesnar, so the open contract is
worthless. Lesnar wants to make history at WrestleMania, so they
reject the open contract. Lesnar will not be at WrestleMania unless
he gets what he wants, and they WILL give him what he wants. They go
to leave…
there’s the gong. The crowd is ready. The TitanTron lights up. The
ramp is in flames. There’s a chill in the air… the funeral march
sounds… and here he is! He’s working the Ministry of Darkness
look, with the evil goatee. Undertaker slowly walks to the ring.
Brock looks a little perplexed. The crowd, which has been silent for
most of his entrance, pops for the lights being lifted. Brock looks
on in confusion as the Undertaker stares him down. Crowd pops for
the staredown. LOUD Undertaker chant. Heyman looks to the sign, as
does Taker. Brock only stares forward. Brock nods. He asks for the
contract from Heyman, as it appears Brock found someone to make
history with. He quickly signs it, then all but DARES Taker to sign
it as well, shoving the pen in his chest. Crowd gives a great
OOOOOOOOOOH at that. Heyman asks for Undertaker to sign it if he
wants. But Taker STABS Brock with the pen, then chokeslams him
through the table. Crowd goes BONKERS at this, chanting something
I’m not going to repeat in a PG column. Cole: “I’ll take that as a
yes.” Lesnar is immobile as Taker glares at Heyman. Taker walks
away, point made.
thought the Pay-Per-View was last night. I just got to see a PPV
quality Raw for free.
about tonight was well done. Matches were given time. Emma’s debut
was very well-handled. The crowd was hot for Bryan/Kane,
Cesaro/Langston, and Del Rio/Batista. The Usos got back in the title
every year we complain about the booking and about what it means for
WrestleMania, and every year the WWE kicks it into overdrive.
They’ve done it again.
clear they needed a home run because all eyes were on them with the
WWE Network and Hogan’s return, and holy cow did they ever deliver.
Cena/Bray (or Wyatts/Shield, who knows), Bryan/HHH, and Taker/Brock
look like winners. Orton/Batista may be bombed on, but it won’t main
event if they’re smart. Plus, there were good matches tonight, the
right stories have momentum, and… seriously, what’s not to love?
TIME: 75:23 over seven matches, but 70:39 of them were in five
MATCH: Bryan/Kane
MATCH: Emma/Summer
MVP: The fans.
RATING: 9. This is the best Raw I’ve recapped thus far, and I’m
ready for WrestleMania.
Keith, envy this Raw and find the three hours on the Network! Tommy
Hall, give me some NXT Arrival and SmackDown! I’ll see you for Raw
in Chicago! We’re on our way to WrestleMania, BROTHERS!

Monday Night Open Mic

Howdy Blog O’Doomers and Happy WWE Network Day!

My thoughts on the Network? Runs well on the Laptop, not so much on the iPad so I need to figure out what the issues are there. Otherwise it’s beautiful.

Television thoughts? A friend recommended Impractical Jokers to me about a month ago so I DVR’ed them and forgot they were in the queue. So when it came time to clean it out I watched them and it’s pretty funny. The best part is the double payoff as the guy playing the joke doesn’t know what he’s going to get ahead of time so you get the initial payoff and then the payoff of him relaying the joke. I am finished watching Appalachian Outlaws, which had a six week run on History and wow those hillbillies are fucking nuts.

Podcasts? Caught JR’s first podcast. It was decent, obviously he and Austin couldn’t break too much new ground as this was the third time they have hooked up on a podcast in like three months. They both said that Bad News Barrett should have been entrant 30 in the Royal Rumble and that would have been some amazing heat for the guy. Caught on Austin’s podcasts with Cena, which was all right, Dutch Mantel, which was great and his experience catching up with his WWE buddies when RAW came through Los Angeles, which spawned the great line “Lillian Garcia is not only beautiful but she can drink like a motherfucker”.

EC Thoughts? Won’t watch it until it comes on the Network but my prediction that Bryan will face Kane at Wrestlemania doesn’t sound so crazy now does it? Not saying it will or won’t happen but don’t act like any of you have a clue either. Hell THEY don’t even know what the fuck they are going to do for Wrestlemania so I guarantee none of you know. I mean if not for a mainstream show of support we’d still be watching Daniel Wyatt…

Speaking of Bray Wyatt while I love that they have made his strong it’s annoying because he’s only being made strong to lay down for Cena at Wrestlemania. And don’t fool yourself into think Bray isn’t laying down. Cena has done his Wrestlemania jobs. Lost to Orton at 24, Miz at 27 and Rock at 28…He’s done jobbing at Wrestlemania and he’s probably setting things up for an Undertaker match next year.

Back to Bryan, I haven’t done anything other use the logic of what I’m seeing to think that it’s Kane-Bryan at Wrestlemania. HHH isn’t even involved with them. He’s dealing with the “main event”, which he feels needs his involvement because it’s such a disaster. Why would he lay down for Bryan and make Bryan MORE over before his precious “Evolution Explodes” main event happens? Unless he’s planning on putting the title match mid card and himself with Bryan on last it makes no sense. Chew on this: There’s a better chance we saw HHH-Punk at Wrestlemania than HHH-Bryan but I still say HHH will play some designated role in the title match.

Also here’s who HHH had laid down for at WM:

Orton/Cena (in that 3-way at WM 24)
Taker 3x

I just don’t think he sees Bryan as someone worth laying down for at Wrestlemania. Hell he never jobbed to Rock or Austin or HBK at Wrestlemania. He still believes only tippy top guys should get pinfalls on him.

Austin thinks they are doing the slow burn with Bryan but need to be careful it isn’t too slow. This is where not having a strong I-C or U.S. title is killing them. The slow burn with Austin worked because he was able to chase and hold the I-C title for a bit while it was an important championship. Lose to Bret at WM 13, get a DQ win at the next PPV, disputed loss to ‘Taker at the PPV after that and his chase changed from Bret to Owen but because Owen held the I-C title and the title had prestige, they could work that program and not lose Austin’s heat plus give him the belt that made him a clear cut No. 2 guy.

Right now my suggestion is…give Bryan someone to work with that he can have a great match with that will get fans excited for him and his opponent. Cesaro could be that guy. Just giving Bryan someone he can have a ****+ match with at Wrestlemania won’t fully solve the problem but it will table the problem for a month or two.

Just my thoughts. Enjoy the show, come out swinging and try to keep it clean.

QOTD 104: Harold Ramis Appreciation Thread

A psychologist said to me, there are only two important questions you have to ask yourself. What do you really feel? And, what do you really want? If you can answer those two, you probably can leave your neuroses behind you. – Harold Ramis (1944 – 2014)

Harold Ramis died today. In case some of you hate laughter, or are young and hate laughter, Harold Ramis was kinda sorta the Judd Apatow of his time. He acted a little, wrote a little, produced a little, directed a little, and when you look back on his career, you see his hands in about a dozen or so classic movies, and a few really good ones, too, including:  Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Analyze This, Stripes, As Good as it Gets, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Back to School, Ghostbusters (I and II), Rover Dangerfield, High Fidelity Stripes, Knocked Up, Stealing Home (a person favorite of mine), and a bunch more. 

What are your favorite Harold Ramis movies, or movies with Harold Ramis in it?

I know most of us are busy fighting the WWE to get the network stuff up and running, but I figured I’d just post this in honor of perhaps the more talented comedic character actor / writer of the 80s.

In fact if you look back at that 80s era – you can almost see analogies to the now somewhat begone Apatow era – Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, and other SNL / SCTV alums popping up and Cris-crosing with eachother throughout quite a few popular movies. In fact he popped up in Knocked Up and Walk Hard as perhaps a pseudo passing of the torch

What say you, Otters? Below is a photo of the man looking like your Jewish Uncle.

Network Update

– After they took down the sign-up page for repairs, it appears to have fixed the problems and I signed up with a US address and Paypal without a hitch.  
– My Roku box isn't able to find the app, but I don't watch TV on that one much anyway.  My PS3 was able to download it after switching to the US account, and although the streaming channel portion won't play, the PPVs and archives work FLAWLESSLY.  
– Everything works perfectly on the iPad version.  
– The website works for both and looks spectacular.  Navigation is easy on both the web, IOS and PS3.  
And now I have to go to work.  FUCK.

Paste Magazine’s list of the ten things you need to watch on the WWE Network



Over at Paste Magazine is a list of the ten things you should watch first on the WWE Network, written by myself and Robert Newsome, the editor of the Atomic Elbow wrestling fanzine. It'd be awesome if you could post a link at the Blog of Doom.

Sure, and I've love to check out the Network if their billing page would ever stop crashing this morning…

BoD Daily Update RAW Preview

WWE Network Lineup This Morning

Here is the schedule this morning for the first slate of programs:

9:00am: WrestleMania Rewind
10:00am: WWE Countdown
11:00: This is NXT


TNA Tag Team Championship Change at House Show This Weekend

The American Wolves defeated the BroMans at a house show in West Virginia

Kayfabe Commentaries Announces Next Release in their “WWE Timeline Series”

The next release will be 1984 WWE as told by Roddy Piper. It will be available in April.