Wrestlemania Countdown: 19

(2012 Scott Sez:  I actually sat down and watched the DVD this week, but then noticed that my re-rant almost exactly the same as the original rant, so it seemed like a pointless endeavour to redo it.  So we’ll make do with the 2012 observations instead.  I will say right now, I liked it WAY more on this viewing than I originally did.)  The SmarK Rant for Wrestlemania XIX – Live from Seattle, WA. – Your hosts are JR, King, Cole & Tazz.RAW tag title match: Sean Morley & Lance Storm v. The Unlikely Duo of Kane & Rob Van Dam. (Random story:  Sean “Val Venis” Morley provided the comp tickets for me at the infamous RAW where Shane McMahon bribed my friend with $100 to shut up.  Or at some guy claiming to be giving tickets away on his behalf did.  Either way, the lesson is to always hang around outside TV tapings, just in case.)  Kane dumps Storm to start and RVD hits Morley with a spinkick, and the champs bail. Kane sends RVD onto the champs, and we take a break. Back again, as Morley whips RVD into the corner for two. We hit the chinlock. The open-air nature of the stadium makes a pretty neat visual, that’s for sure. Morley gets the MAIN EVENT SLEEPER, which Rob reverses. Morley counters with a Blue Thunder Bomb and goes up with an elbow so telegraphed that it should have been sent Western Union, which allows Kane to get the hot tag. Sideslam on Storm gets two. Kane goes up with the flying lariat, and that gets two. Kane clotheslines both of them in the corner and Rob monkey-flips Morley, leaving Kane to chokeslam Storm. Frog splash appears in the cards, but Morley sends him down with one of those sick bumps. The Dudleyz sneak in and hit Storm with 3D , but then Bubba changes his mind and drops an elbow on RVD to give Storm the pin at 5:57. The guy gets to job to an elbowdrop? What is this, the Survivor Series? *1/2  (Rating sounds about right, although I didn’t watch this one again on the DVD extras.  The Unlikely Duo Of Kane And RVD would of course win the tag titles right away and hold them for quite a while, thus making them the Likely Duo.)  Opening PPV match, Cruiserweight title: Matt Hardy v. Rey Mysterio. Rey hits Matt with a pescado to start, and gets a headscissors out of the corner. Rey has his Daredevil thing going tonight. (Start of a great tradition for Rey.)  Shannon interjects himself with a cheapshot to give Matt the advantage, and he gets two back in the ring. Side Effect gets two. Shannon adds some choking, but Matt misses a charge. He comes back with a Twist of Fate, which Rey reverses to a rollup for two. Another Side Effect gets two. Matt goes to a surfboard, but Rey fights out and they slug it out. Matt misses a charge and Rey springboards in with a butt splash, and a crossbody gets two. Flying headscissors and tornado DDT get two. Rey does a weak trip to set up the 619, but Shannon trips him up and the Twist of Fate gets two. They head up and Matt tries a Splash Mountain from the top, but Rey reverses to a rana for two. Rey goes for Moore and dropkicks Matt into the 619, but Matt ducks the West Coast Pop and rolls him up for the pin at 5:36. Weak finish, and giving them 5 minutes on a 4-hour PPV? Pretty disappointing match. *  (I respectfully disagree with 2003 Scott here, as I was right into this one watching it again and thought that Matt was doing a hell of a job keeping up with Mysterio.  I’d boost it to ***1/4 in fact, as the length didn’t feel particularly short to me on second viewing.)  A-Train & Big Show v. Undertaker. Apparently they’re STILL hedging their bets with Nathan Jones, as they chicken out and shoot an injury angle on Heat to take him out of the match. Why even bother? I mean, seriously, this is becoming a running gag almost. (Oh no, Nathan’s movie career was a running joke.  This was merely amusing.)  A-Train establishes his heeldom by ADJUSTING UNDERTAKER’S MIRROR before the match. That BASTARD. Taker chokeslams him for two to start. Show & Train bail and regroup before Show gives it a try and slugs it out with Taker. Train tries next and overpowers UT, but gets hiptossed. Old School Ropewalk of DOOM, but A-Train hits him with the Mehshugganator and Show sends him into the post. Back in, Train guillotines him for two. Taker starts fighting back on Show, but walks into a chokeslam, which he reverses to a Herb Kunze armbar in a counter-wrestling sequence so laughable that it must have been booked by Jerry Seinfeld. He then fights off Train with a cross-armlock. Funny thing is that Tito Ortiz is sitting at ringside and probably laughing his head off. (It was actually fine.)  Then, to really showcase the submission wrestling, Show goes to the abdominal stretch. A-Train adds his own version as I wonder why this is getting more time than the opener. Then, the fickle hand of irony interjects herself as UT reverses the move. Taker walks into a lariat that gets two. Train uses the WWE Main Event Theory of Volume to add some power to his punches, but Taker fights back with a DDT for two. He makes his own comeback and hits both heels with corner clotheslines, and gets the flying clothesline on Show. Train gets a high kick to put him down again as the match keeps going and going. Show chokeslams him, but Nathan Jones earns his payoff by running down and spinkicking Show on the floor, as Taker hits Train with the tombstone for the pin at 9:44. Bad match, but not so insanely bad that it would have become perversely enjoyable, as it would have been with Jones in there to really bring it down. 1/2*  (Nah, again I’d go higher, about **.  The stuff with the abdominal stretches was pretty dull, but it was a solid big man match otherwise and not embarrassing at all.  Plus it was the start of a change in Undertaker’s offense to the more MMA-based style he uses now.)  Women’s title: Victoria v. Trish v. Jazz. Jazz dumps Victoria and dropkicks Trish for two to start. She bridges on a neck submission, but Trish takes her down and pounds away. Victoria pulls Trish out and heads in and tosses Jazz, and they all brawl outside. Back in, Victoria gets a legdrop for two. Jazz pulls her out and legdrops Trish for two. Jazz & Victoria decide to double-team Trish with a sort of double-backbreaker, but Jazz turns on Victoria, only to get powerslammed for two. Victoria works her over in the corner, but Trish gets a rolling reverse for two. Trish’s cameltoe is getting pretty evident. Jazz attacks her from behind to set up a Michinoku Driver for two. The heels slug it out in the corner, but it’s the old Double Noggin Knocker as Trish makes the comeback. Well, they’re up to 70s Memphis standards, at least. Trish rolls up Jazz for two. Victory Roll for two. Kawada Kick gets two. Victoria cuts in and goes after Trish, heading up but getting caught with a handstand rana. Trish chops her out of the ring, but Jazz catches her with a half-crab. She turns it into the STF, but Stevie dumps Jazz. Trish rolls up Victoria (with a handful of tights…woo woo!) for two. Jazz gets the flying hammerlock, but releases it early and gets superkicked by Victoria. Victoria’s moonsault misses and Stevie hits himself inadvertently with a chair, but Victoria comes back with a try at the Widow’s Peak. Trish escapes and kicks her down for the pin and the title at 7:17. No worse than any other women’s match these days. **  (Much, much better than any other one THESE days.  This was actually a hell of a match thanks to three great workers in there, and the pop for Trish winning the belt was tremendous.  Compared to now, we were pretty spoiled in the Trish/Lita/Molly Holly days.)  – Meanwhile, Rock abuses the Coach and says nothing. – Smackdown tag titles: Team Angle v. Rhyno & Benoit v. Los Guerreros. Big brawl to start until Chavo starts with Haas and gets a backdrop and a backdrop suplex. He dropkicks Haas down, who tags in Benoit. The Guerreros work him over in their corner and Eddie slugs away, but Benoit unloads the chops. Rhyno comes in and powerslams Eddie for two. Benjamin gives it a go and slugs him down, and a reverse elbow gets two. They work Rhyno over in the corner and get a double dropkick for two. Rhyno chops Haas and Benoit comes in with more of his own. Snap suplex gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Rhyno gets caught in Angle corner, however, and gets worked over until spearing Benjamin in the corner for two. Eddie tags himself in and dropkicks Rhyno out of a test of strength, then hits Benoit with a backdrop suplex when he comes in. He goes up, but Benoit follows him up with a superplex, for two. Benoit faceplants Eddie into a crossface in a sweet combo, but Haas saves. Eddie comes back with a brainbuster for two. Haas saves again. Chavo comes in and cleans house on Team Angle and Rhyno, but Benoit hits him with the rolling germans. Chavo manages a blind tag to Benjamin, however, and he superkicks Benoit for two. Eddie comes in and collides with Benoit for the double KO. Benjamin legdrops the fallen Benoit for two, but Eddie saves by frog splashing the both of them. Chavo tags himself in, but walks into an overhead suplex. Rhyno comes in and gores Haas and Chavo, but Eddie yanks him out and Shelton steals the pin on Chavo at 8:47. Really short and disappointing, without any heat or buildup to the finish. **1/4  (Boy, I’m just being unnecessarily harsh on this show.  This was fun and hard-hitting, random nature of the Benoit/Rhyno team aside, and I had totally forgotten who even won so I was into the finish, too.  Team Angle was pretty great for their time.  ***1/4)  Shawn Michaels v. Chris Jericho. They’ve finally fixed the lighting so that the ring is highlighted and the stadium is darkened. Shawn works a headlock to start and gets nowhere. They do a bit of that and Shawn showboats, and they go back to the headlock again. They do a stalemate sequence and back to the headlock, and Shawn gets two off it. Jericho overpowers him and they criss-cross and slug it out. Shawn tosses him and follows with a baseball slide after a highspot tease, and back in we go. Back in, Jericho rolls through a bodypress for two. He hammers away on the mat and starts with the CANADIAN VIOLENCE and choking in the corner. Shawn counters a bulldog by sending him into the corner, and gets a figure-four for no discernible reason (has he even kicked him in the leg yet?), which Jericho reverses. Jericho stays on the leg with a kneecrusher, but Jericho reverses him into the post and tosses him. Shawn pulls himself back in and headscissors Jericho out, and then follows with a pescado. Jericho puts him in the Walls on the floor, however. Back in, Jericho dropkicks him off the apron and gets a backdrop suplex. The psychology is pretty cut and dried here. Delayed suplex gets two. Jericho works on the neck and gets a pretty nasty backbreaker, and the Arrogant Cover~! gets two. We hit the chinlock and Jericho goes to the eyes to keep Shawn down. A backdrop is reversed to a DDT by Shawn, however. Shawn slugs away, but walks into a forearm from Jericho. He kips up and mocks Shawn, but so does Shawn. Another one and Shawn atomic drops Jericho to set up a backdrop. To the top, and the moonsault press gets two. They do a pinfall reversal sequence and Jericho tries the Walls, but Shawn reverses out of it. They fight for a german suplex, but Jericho turns it into a northern lights suplex for two. Shawn bridges out and they fight for a backslide, but Jericho gets a lariat. Bulldog and Lionsault get two. Jericho starts chopping, but puts his head down and gets caught by Shawn. A rana is blocked with the Walls, however. Shawn makes the ropes. Another try is reversed to a cradle for two. Double-arm backbreaker from Jericho and he goes up with a flying reverse elbow and cues up the band. Fozzy? Well, anyway, a superkick (and a nice one, too) gets two for Jericho. Shawn comes out of the corner with a messed up crossbody and hammers away, then catapults Jericho into the post for two after teasing his own Walls of Jericho. Jericho hits him in the back again as Shawn suddenly remembers to sell it again, and they head up for a superplex that Shawn counters to put both guys down. Shawn gets two. Shawn goes back up, but Jericho crotches him and follows him up. Shawn sends him back down and gets the flying elbow for two. Sweet Chin Music is ducked by Jericho and we get another Walls, and that should have been the finish. However, Shawn eventually makes the ropes, prompting a tantrum from Jericho. Shawn superkicks him again for two. Jericho sends Shawn into the corner, but Shawn escapes a suplex and gets the pin off a rollup at 22:34. The finish was a letdown and it’s totally counterproductive to put Shawn over ANYONE at this point, but Shawn adjusted his style and put forth a much more solid, non-garbagy effort than he did with HHH. The spotty “Now I’m hurt, now I’m not” selling of the back injury hurt it a lot, though. **** Jericho, class act all the way, kicks Shawn in the balls after the loss.  (Yeah, this was AWESOME.  Obviously Shawn was in the for long haul, and this was the New Version of Shawn, post-recovery, who wrestled a much more solid and safer style than Old Version Shawn.  Watching this today, I’ve got no issues with Shawn going over, and I’m sure Jericho didn’t either.  And the kick to the nuts was great, too, although you’d think this would have escalated the feud further and never really went anywhere after this.   Still, this was a tremendous, classic match.  ****1/2!)  – Limp Dick performs their shitty new song and wastes 6 minutes of my life, and then the chicks come out and do a silly catfighting bit that ends with Coach getting his pants pulled off in a visual I did not need to see in this lifetime. Thank god for fast forward.  (Yeah, watching this on DVD, I was astonished at how much time the catfight girls got on the show, with tons of backstage skits that meant nothing.  Who even REMEMBERS that commercial today?)  RAW World title: HHH v. Booker T. They fight over a lockup to start and Booker slugs him down and chops away in the corner. He runs into an elbow, but armdrags HHH off the top to send HHH out of the ring. They brawl and HHH hits the post as a result. Back in, HHH overpowers him, but Booker gets a clothesline for two. High kicks follow, but HHH dumps him. Booker hits the post and the steps, and HHH starts stomping. HHH knees him down and gets two. MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER gets two. Corner clothesline gets two. He starts choking and they slug it out, until Booker gets a DDT. They slug it out and Booker gets a spinkick and sideslam, but doesn’t cover. Forearm gets two. MAIN EVENT SLEEPER and high knee get two. HHH walks into a spinebuster for two. This match is pretty heatless. Booker walks into an elbow, but dropkicks HHH coming off the top and gets two. Axe kick misses and Booker crotches himself on the top, allowing Flair to get his licks in and send him into the stairs. Back in, HHH goes to an Indian deathlock, which is just so not the right move to be doing to wake up the crowd. Booker makes the ropes, and HHH stays on the leg in the corner. Pedigree is reversed by Booker, and a rollup gets two. HHH kicks out the leg again, but runs into an elbow. Axe kick gets two, but Booker’s leg won’t let him cover in time for a proper pin. Booker goes up and gets caught by HHH, but fights him off and gets the Harlem Hangover for two. That should have been the finish. Both guys are out, and HHH, manly man, recovers first and Pedigrees him for the pin at 18:47. Remember: You can block the move, but once it hits, it doesn’t matter if you lay on the mat for a minute before HHH gets around to pinning you, it’s OVER. (Still true today, unless you’re the Undertaker.)  That was just insanely long and slow, especially for that weak-ass finish. And people thought I was just being cynical when I said that HHH putting Booker over on RAW was a bad sign. I guess “Booker’s type of people” just aren’t meant for the main event after all. **1/2  (Yeah, this one pretty much destroyed Booker as a main event guy for quite a while, until the King Booker run redeemed him again.  He really, REALLY should have gone over here, because HHH could have always got his precious title back in time for Goldberg to destroy him in the summer, but with HHH it was always “I have to keep the title so we can build for the NEXT guy to get it.”  Thankfully by Wrestlemania 21 there were no next guys left and he had to put someone over.  I’d go up ***1/4 for the match removed from the anger at the finish, actually.)  Nursing Home Street Fight: Vince McMahon v. Hulk Hogan. Yes, it’s the match we all know is the REAL main event.  (If someone can explain in two sentences or less what this feud was actually about, I will give them $100 in fake money.  Because I didn’t understand in the least why they hated each other at the time, and the video package still doesn’t refresh my memory today.)  Hulk slugs away to start and they do a silly little parody of ground-and-pound before Vince comes out of the corner with a clothesline and kicks him down. He starts working on the arm with a hammerlock and wraps the arm around the pole a few times. They go into a test of strength, as Vince shows his guns off, apparently playing the role of Ultimate Warrior as we warp back to 1990. I mean, seriously, it’s two senior citizens holding hands during a fight, what the fuck? They head out and Hogan hits the post, allowing Vince to grab a chair and miss. Hogan sends him into the post, drawing blood, and adds a chairshot. Back in, Hogan uses the power of his punches to send McMahon FLYING out of the ring, and he works him over with a chair. Still a sportsman, I see. Even Hugo Savinovich takes one for the team. I think he’s actually the youngest and best worker in the match. Vince goes low to stop the tide of Hulkamania and chairs Hulk down. Okay, we’ve established the chair’s effectiveness as a weapon, let’s move on. Vince gets a ladder. I take it back, go back to the chairs. They continue brawling and Vince sets up the ladder between the tables and comes off with a legdrop onto Hogan, through the Spanish table. To be more accurate, it’s a buttdrop onto the table with Hogan in the general vicinity. Back in, Vince gets two. He heads out and finds the lead pipe that always seems to be hidden under the ring, and then peaks over the ring with a deranged look that draws howls of laughter from the group watching the show with me. Hogan goes low, however. I’m just disappointed that we haven’t seen a backrake yet. However, my disappointment for stupidity is quickly made up by Roddy Piper doing a waddle-in, looking about 300 pounds, and turning on Hogan for no particular reason. (He’s looking so much better these days.  You hate to say things like “Cancer might have been a blessing in disguise” but maybe it motivated him to get back into shape again when he was getting healthy.)  Isn’t this the guy who was on TNA busting on the WWE for killing Owen Hart a few weeks ago and basically promising never to so much as speak to Vince ever again? (Yeah, how many times have we heard that song and dance?) I guess money talks and hypocrites walk when offered enough of it. (Piper ended up walking again a couple of months after this, so perhaps it wasn’t enough after all.)  Vince gets two, thus rendering the run-in pointless. The ref won’t let Vince use the pipe, so Vince punks him out and the Evil French Ref takes his place. (Oh yeah, evil French ref Sylvain Grenier, how could I have forgotten about him?) Vince pipes Hogan down and drops a leg for two. It’s Hulk-up time, however. He apparently just now realizes that he’s bleeding. He fights off the Evil French Ref and tosses him, and it’s big boot and three legdrops (my god, are you trying to KILL the man?!?) for the pin at 20:45. Way way way way way way too long and so ridiculously overbooked that Vince Russo was probably taking notes, but for comedic value and entertaining the marks it wasn’t as terribly offensive as it might have been. **1/2 (Bingo.  Almost the exact same thing I wrote again.)  Besides, if Vince had gone over we would have had to endure the return of the Hulk Machine with Michael Cole baffled as to his identity. (BOW DOWN TO THE MOTHERFUCKING KING!) Vince’s middle finger while laying bloodied and beaten almost makes the whole match. Oh, and Shane shows up and does nothing.  (This was no Vince v. Shane, although once again Vince takes a beating for the team when the chips are down.)  The Rock v. Steve Austin. I believe Rock’s tattoo is getting bigger. They slug it out to start, won by Austin, and Rock evades the stunner by bailing. Brawl outside and Rock gets dropped on the railing a few times. Into the stairs for good measure. Back in, Austin chokes away and gets a backdrop suplex for two. He comes out of the corner with a lariat and chokes him out on the ropes, but Rock clips the knee to take over. He heads outside, but Rock follows him and hits that shit again. He keeps stomping the knee and they head back in for more of the same. Austin fights back, but puts his head down and gets smacked down. Back to the knee and Rock goes for the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Austin makes the ropes. Rock keeps wrapping the knee around the post, and then decides to try on the Stone Cold vest. Looks good on him, too. Austin fights back with a clothesline and it’s a double KO. Thesz Press! Thesz Press! Thesz Press! Austin puts a little extra FU on the FU Elbow and it gets two. Rock recovers with the kip up, but walks into Austin Bottom. That gets two. Stunner is blocked with a middle finger from Rock, and KICK ROCK STUNNER gets two. Rock slugs away, but the spit punch is countered with KICK WHAM STUNNER, and it gets two. Rock goes low, but misses the People’s Elbow. Another stunner try is blocked with the spinebuster, and this time the People’s Elbow hits. It gets two. Rock Bottom gets two. Another one gets two. A third one gets the pin at 17:53. Rock carried this thing on his back, although as a match it was finisher-rest-finisher-rest-finisher for the last 10 minutes or so with absolutely no transition between the moves. Nowhere near WM X-7 on the Rock-Austin scale, but it was still a great effort by Rock. ***1/2  (I redid this one for one of the Rock’s DVD sets and it’s definitely in the **** range, a hard-hitting heavyweight title fight between two aging stars.)  Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Brock Lesnar. Apparently Kurt has found a doctor willing to cut his rehab time from a year to 6 weeks. (Boy, in retrospect he really should have taken the spinal fusion surgery and sat out for a year for his own good.  Maybe he could have salvaged some of his sanity while he had a chance.)  If you’re gonna play dice with your life, might as well go all the way and fly to the Philippines for a faith healing instead. Brock works the arm, and Angle takes him down with a fireman’s carry. They work off a headlock and Brock takes him down and they reverse until going to the mat again with a headlock. Good stuff. Brock overpowers him, but Angle shoots for the leg and they reverse off that for a bit until Brock takes him down. Back to the armdrag for Brock. Chain-wrestling at a WM main event, who’d have thunk? Angle pounds on him to escape, but gets elbowed and Brock works him over in the corner. Brock charges and meets elbow, but recovers with a powerslam for two. German suplex from Angle, but Brock no-sells and clotheslines him. Angle takes a powder and catches Brock coming in. You’d think people would stop falling for that after 100 years of it. (Hey, people have been doing “Peekaboo” for thousands of years and my daughter still falls for it.  It’s awesome to have a fresh audience for your material.)  Brock presses him, but runs into a boot, and Angle suplexes him into the turnbuckles in a sick spot. Back in, Angle gets a backdrop suplex for two. Snap suplex gets two. Angle goes to the chinlock and that goes on for a while, but Brock eventually powers out and rams Kurt’s back into the turnbuckles to break free. Angle gets an overhead suplex, however, to keep the advantage, and a knee to the back sends Brock flying. Back in, Brock gets a nasty spinebuster and they slug it out until Angle goes to the eyes. Brock makes the comeback with a clothesline and a kick to the face, and he pounds away in the corner. Blind charge hits elbow, but Brock gets his overhead suplex from one side, and then back to the other side. That’s really scary to see considering Angle’s neck. It gets two. Angle comes back with the rolling germans (and they wonder why the necks are falling to pieces) and the Angle Slam, but Brock escapes and reverses to the F5, which Kurt in turn reverses to the anklelock. Brock makes the ropes, but Angle pulls him back in and forces Brock to fight him off instead. Angle turns it into a half-crab to counter that strategy, but Brock makes the ropes again. Angle keeps laying in the knees, but charges one time too many and gets dumped as a result. Back in, Angle misses a charge and Brock hammers on him, but Angle gives him an absolutely sick german suplex for two. 300 pound guys should not be able to take those bumps. Angle Slam gets two. Another one is countered to a cradle for two. F5 gets two. Angle feigns injury, and grabs the anklelock while crawling to his feet. He turns it into a heel hook to really sink it in, but Brock drags Angle and makes the ropes. Kurt tries it again, but Brock shoves him off. F5 is countered to a cradle by Angle for two. Angle Slam is countered to another F5, but Brock opts to go up instead. Brock tries his legendary Shooting Star Press, but doesn’t get enough rotation and lands on his HEAD, knocking himself silly. That was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen, and not in a good way. I’m assuming that was supposed to be the finish, but Brock’s miscue ruined it. Angle improvises and gets two as the ref freaks out, but Brock gets another F5 to win the title at 21:07. Probably Brock’s best match to date, as Angle pulled out all the sick bumps in he thought may have been his last match. ****1/4 The botched finish was a bit of a black eye on things, however, and it just goes to show why you don’t bust out dangerous new moves in the biggest match of your career. I just hope Brock didn’t break his neck, because he was dazed and confused long after the end of the match.  (Thankfully  he was fine, but that was so close to being an in-ring tragedy.  This another one where I was ooing and aahing along with the crowd because I hadn’t seen it in almost a decade.  ****1/2)  The Bottom Line: I can’t say as I thought it was the amazing, blowaway show that others seem to, and there was no real show-stealing MOTYC here, but Michaels-Jericho and Brock-Angle are both worth going out of your way to see. (You are CRAZY good sir.  Three ****+ matches, nothing terrible overall, this is absolutely a blow-away show and one of the best Wrestlemanias ever.  It did a shit buyrate because of the confusing Hogan-Vince thing on top, but it’s a tremendous and underappreciated show.) Rock-Austin was good but nothing more than building up a heel for Goldberg next month, and HHH-Booker was irritating for more reasons than I have time to list here. Maybe in the next book. Moderate thumbs up, but it could have been so much better with better booking and pacing.  (Thumbs WAY up.  Strongly recommended.) 

Wrestlemania Countdown: 19

(2012 Scott Sez:  I actually sat down and watched the DVD this week, but then noticed that my re-rant almost exactly the same as the original rant, so it seemed like a pointless endeavour to redo it.  So we’ll make do with the 2012 observations instead.  I will say right now, I liked it WAY more on this viewing than I originally did.)  The SmarK Rant for Wrestlemania XIX – Live from Seattle, WA. – Your hosts are JR, King, Cole & Tazz.RAW tag title match: Sean Morley & Lance Storm v. The Unlikely Duo of Kane & Rob Van Dam. (Random story:  Sean “Val Venis” Morley provided the comp tickets for me at the infamous RAW where Shane McMahon bribed my friend with $100 to shut up.  Or at some guy claiming to be giving tickets away on his behalf did.  Either way, the lesson is to always hang around outside TV tapings, just in case.)  Kane dumps Storm to start and RVD hits Morley with a spinkick, and the champs bail. Kane sends RVD onto the champs, and we take a break. Back again, as Morley whips RVD into the corner for two. We hit the chinlock. The open-air nature of the stadium makes a pretty neat visual, that’s for sure. Morley gets the MAIN EVENT SLEEPER, which Rob reverses. Morley counters with a Blue Thunder Bomb and goes up with an elbow so telegraphed that it should have been sent Western Union, which allows Kane to get the hot tag. Sideslam on Storm gets two. Kane goes up with the flying lariat, and that gets two. Kane clotheslines both of them in the corner and Rob monkey-flips Morley, leaving Kane to chokeslam Storm. Frog splash appears in the cards, but Morley sends him down with one of those sick bumps. The Dudleyz sneak in and hit Storm with 3D , but then Bubba changes his mind and drops an elbow on RVD to give Storm the pin at 5:57. The guy gets to job to an elbowdrop? What is this, the Survivor Series? *1/2  (Rating sounds about right, although I didn’t watch this one again on the DVD extras.  The Unlikely Duo Of Kane And RVD would of course win the tag titles right away and hold them for quite a while, thus making them the Likely Duo.)  Opening PPV match, Cruiserweight title: Matt Hardy v. Rey Mysterio. Rey hits Matt with a pescado to start, and gets a headscissors out of the corner. Rey has his Daredevil thing going tonight. (Start of a great tradition for Rey.)  Shannon interjects himself with a cheapshot to give Matt the advantage, and he gets two back in the ring. Side Effect gets two. Shannon adds some choking, but Matt misses a charge. He comes back with a Twist of Fate, which Rey reverses to a rollup for two. Another Side Effect gets two. Matt goes to a surfboard, but Rey fights out and they slug it out. Matt misses a charge and Rey springboards in with a butt splash, and a crossbody gets two. Flying headscissors and tornado DDT get two. Rey does a weak trip to set up the 619, but Shannon trips him up and the Twist of Fate gets two. They head up and Matt tries a Splash Mountain from the top, but Rey reverses to a rana for two. Rey goes for Moore and dropkicks Matt into the 619, but Matt ducks the West Coast Pop and rolls him up for the pin at 5:36. Weak finish, and giving them 5 minutes on a 4-hour PPV? Pretty disappointing match. *  (I respectfully disagree with 2003 Scott here, as I was right into this one watching it again and thought that Matt was doing a hell of a job keeping up with Mysterio.  I’d boost it to ***1/4 in fact, as the length didn’t feel particularly short to me on second viewing.)  A-Train & Big Show v. Undertaker. Apparently they’re STILL hedging their bets with Nathan Jones, as they chicken out and shoot an injury angle on Heat to take him out of the match. Why even bother? I mean, seriously, this is becoming a running gag almost. (Oh no, Nathan’s movie career was a running joke.  This was merely amusing.)  A-Train establishes his heeldom by ADJUSTING UNDERTAKER’S MIRROR before the match. That BASTARD. Taker chokeslams him for two to start. Show & Train bail and regroup before Show gives it a try and slugs it out with Taker. Train tries next and overpowers UT, but gets hiptossed. Old School Ropewalk of DOOM, but A-Train hits him with the Mehshugganator and Show sends him into the post. Back in, Train guillotines him for two. Taker starts fighting back on Show, but walks into a chokeslam, which he reverses to a Herb Kunze armbar in a counter-wrestling sequence so laughable that it must have been booked by Jerry Seinfeld. He then fights off Train with a cross-armlock. Funny thing is that Tito Ortiz is sitting at ringside and probably laughing his head off. (It was actually fine.)  Then, to really showcase the submission wrestling, Show goes to the abdominal stretch. A-Train adds his own version as I wonder why this is getting more time than the opener. Then, the fickle hand of irony interjects herself as UT reverses the move. Taker walks into a lariat that gets two. Train uses the WWE Main Event Theory of Volume to add some power to his punches, but Taker fights back with a DDT for two. He makes his own comeback and hits both heels with corner clotheslines, and gets the flying clothesline on Show. Train gets a high kick to put him down again as the match keeps going and going. Show chokeslams him, but Nathan Jones earns his payoff by running down and spinkicking Show on the floor, as Taker hits Train with the tombstone for the pin at 9:44. Bad match, but not so insanely bad that it would have become perversely enjoyable, as it would have been with Jones in there to really bring it down. 1/2*  (Nah, again I’d go higher, about **.  The stuff with the abdominal stretches was pretty dull, but it was a solid big man match otherwise and not embarrassing at all.  Plus it was the start of a change in Undertaker’s offense to the more MMA-based style he uses now.)  Women’s title: Victoria v. Trish v. Jazz. Jazz dumps Victoria and dropkicks Trish for two to start. She bridges on a neck submission, but Trish takes her down and pounds away. Victoria pulls Trish out and heads in and tosses Jazz, and they all brawl outside. Back in, Victoria gets a legdrop for two. Jazz pulls her out and legdrops Trish for two. Jazz & Victoria decide to double-team Trish with a sort of double-backbreaker, but Jazz turns on Victoria, only to get powerslammed for two. Victoria works her over in the corner, but Trish gets a rolling reverse for two. Trish’s cameltoe is getting pretty evident. Jazz attacks her from behind to set up a Michinoku Driver for two. The heels slug it out in the corner, but it’s the old Double Noggin Knocker as Trish makes the comeback. Well, they’re up to 70s Memphis standards, at least. Trish rolls up Jazz for two. Victory Roll for two. Kawada Kick gets two. Victoria cuts in and goes after Trish, heading up but getting caught with a handstand rana. Trish chops her out of the ring, but Jazz catches her with a half-crab. She turns it into the STF, but Stevie dumps Jazz. Trish rolls up Victoria (with a handful of tights…woo woo!) for two. Jazz gets the flying hammerlock, but releases it early and gets superkicked by Victoria. Victoria’s moonsault misses and Stevie hits himself inadvertently with a chair, but Victoria comes back with a try at the Widow’s Peak. Trish escapes and kicks her down for the pin and the title at 7:17. No worse than any other women’s match these days. **  (Much, much better than any other one THESE days.  This was actually a hell of a match thanks to three great workers in there, and the pop for Trish winning the belt was tremendous.  Compared to now, we were pretty spoiled in the Trish/Lita/Molly Holly days.)  – Meanwhile, Rock abuses the Coach and says nothing. – Smackdown tag titles: Team Angle v. Rhyno & Benoit v. Los Guerreros. Big brawl to start until Chavo starts with Haas and gets a backdrop and a backdrop suplex. He dropkicks Haas down, who tags in Benoit. The Guerreros work him over in their corner and Eddie slugs away, but Benoit unloads the chops. Rhyno comes in and powerslams Eddie for two. Benjamin gives it a go and slugs him down, and a reverse elbow gets two. They work Rhyno over in the corner and get a double dropkick for two. Rhyno chops Haas and Benoit comes in with more of his own. Snap suplex gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Rhyno gets caught in Angle corner, however, and gets worked over until spearing Benjamin in the corner for two. Eddie tags himself in and dropkicks Rhyno out of a test of strength, then hits Benoit with a backdrop suplex when he comes in. He goes up, but Benoit follows him up with a superplex, for two. Benoit faceplants Eddie into a crossface in a sweet combo, but Haas saves. Eddie comes back with a brainbuster for two. Haas saves again. Chavo comes in and cleans house on Team Angle and Rhyno, but Benoit hits him with the rolling germans. Chavo manages a blind tag to Benjamin, however, and he superkicks Benoit for two. Eddie comes in and collides with Benoit for the double KO. Benjamin legdrops the fallen Benoit for two, but Eddie saves by frog splashing the both of them. Chavo tags himself in, but walks into an overhead suplex. Rhyno comes in and gores Haas and Chavo, but Eddie yanks him out and Shelton steals the pin on Chavo at 8:47. Really short and disappointing, without any heat or buildup to the finish. **1/4  (Boy, I’m just being unnecessarily harsh on this show.  This was fun and hard-hitting, random nature of the Benoit/Rhyno team aside, and I had totally forgotten who even won so I was into the finish, too.  Team Angle was pretty great for their time.  ***1/4)  Shawn Michaels v. Chris Jericho. They’ve finally fixed the lighting so that the ring is highlighted and the stadium is darkened. Shawn works a headlock to start and gets nowhere. They do a bit of that and Shawn showboats, and they go back to the headlock again. They do a stalemate sequence and back to the headlock, and Shawn gets two off it. Jericho overpowers him and they criss-cross and slug it out. Shawn tosses him and follows with a baseball slide after a highspot tease, and back in we go. Back in, Jericho rolls through a bodypress for two. He hammers away on the mat and starts with the CANADIAN VIOLENCE and choking in the corner. Shawn counters a bulldog by sending him into the corner, and gets a figure-four for no discernible reason (has he even kicked him in the leg yet?), which Jericho reverses. Jericho stays on the leg with a kneecrusher, but Jericho reverses him into the post and tosses him. Shawn pulls himself back in and headscissors Jericho out, and then follows with a pescado. Jericho puts him in the Walls on the floor, however. Back in, Jericho dropkicks him off the apron and gets a backdrop suplex. The psychology is pretty cut and dried here. Delayed suplex gets two. Jericho works on the neck and gets a pretty nasty backbreaker, and the Arrogant Cover~! gets two. We hit the chinlock and Jericho goes to the eyes to keep Shawn down. A backdrop is reversed to a DDT by Shawn, however. Shawn slugs away, but walks into a forearm from Jericho. He kips up and mocks Shawn, but so does Shawn. Another one and Shawn atomic drops Jericho to set up a backdrop. To the top, and the moonsault press gets two. They do a pinfall reversal sequence and Jericho tries the Walls, but Shawn reverses out of it. They fight for a german suplex, but Jericho turns it into a northern lights suplex for two. Shawn bridges out and they fight for a backslide, but Jericho gets a lariat. Bulldog and Lionsault get two. Jericho starts chopping, but puts his head down and gets caught by Shawn. A rana is blocked with the Walls, however. Shawn makes the ropes. Another try is reversed to a cradle for two. Double-arm backbreaker from Jericho and he goes up with a flying reverse elbow and cues up the band. Fozzy? Well, anyway, a superkick (and a nice one, too) gets two for Jericho. Shawn comes out of the corner with a messed up crossbody and hammers away, then catapults Jericho into the post for two after teasing his own Walls of Jericho. Jericho hits him in the back again as Shawn suddenly remembers to sell it again, and they head up for a superplex that Shawn counters to put both guys down. Shawn gets two. Shawn goes back up, but Jericho crotches him and follows him up. Shawn sends him back down and gets the flying elbow for two. Sweet Chin Music is ducked by Jericho and we get another Walls, and that should have been the finish. However, Shawn eventually makes the ropes, prompting a tantrum from Jericho. Shawn superkicks him again for two. Jericho sends Shawn into the corner, but Shawn escapes a suplex and gets the pin off a rollup at 22:34. The finish was a letdown and it’s totally counterproductive to put Shawn over ANYONE at this point, but Shawn adjusted his style and put forth a much more solid, non-garbagy effort than he did with HHH. The spotty “Now I’m hurt, now I’m not” selling of the back injury hurt it a lot, though. **** Jericho, class act all the way, kicks Shawn in the balls after the loss.  (Yeah, this was AWESOME.  Obviously Shawn was in the for long haul, and this was the New Version of Shawn, post-recovery, who wrestled a much more solid and safer style than Old Version Shawn.  Watching this today, I’ve got no issues with Shawn going over, and I’m sure Jericho didn’t either.  And the kick to the nuts was great, too, although you’d think this would have escalated the feud further and never really went anywhere after this.   Still, this was a tremendous, classic match.  ****1/2!)  – Limp Dick performs their shitty new song and wastes 6 minutes of my life, and then the chicks come out and do a silly catfighting bit that ends with Coach getting his pants pulled off in a visual I did not need to see in this lifetime. Thank god for fast forward.  (Yeah, watching this on DVD, I was astonished at how much time the catfight girls got on the show, with tons of backstage skits that meant nothing.  Who even REMEMBERS that commercial today?)  RAW World title: HHH v. Booker T. They fight over a lockup to start and Booker slugs him down and chops away in the corner. He runs into an elbow, but armdrags HHH off the top to send HHH out of the ring. They brawl and HHH hits the post as a result. Back in, HHH overpowers him, but Booker gets a clothesline for two. High kicks follow, but HHH dumps him. Booker hits the post and the steps, and HHH starts stomping. HHH knees him down and gets two. MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER gets two. Corner clothesline gets two. He starts choking and they slug it out, until Booker gets a DDT. They slug it out and Booker gets a spinkick and sideslam, but doesn’t cover. Forearm gets two. MAIN EVENT SLEEPER and high knee get two. HHH walks into a spinebuster for two. This match is pretty heatless. Booker walks into an elbow, but dropkicks HHH coming off the top and gets two. Axe kick misses and Booker crotches himself on the top, allowing Flair to get his licks in and send him into the stairs. Back in, HHH goes to an Indian deathlock, which is just so not the right move to be doing to wake up the crowd. Booker makes the ropes, and HHH stays on the leg in the corner. Pedigree is reversed by Booker, and a rollup gets two. HHH kicks out the leg again, but runs into an elbow. Axe kick gets two, but Booker’s leg won’t let him cover in time for a proper pin. Booker goes up and gets caught by HHH, but fights him off and gets the Harlem Hangover for two. That should have been the finish. Both guys are out, and HHH, manly man, recovers first and Pedigrees him for the pin at 18:47. Remember: You can block the move, but once it hits, it doesn’t matter if you lay on the mat for a minute before HHH gets around to pinning you, it’s OVER. (Still true today, unless you’re the Undertaker.)  That was just insanely long and slow, especially for that weak-ass finish. And people thought I was just being cynical when I said that HHH putting Booker over on RAW was a bad sign. I guess “Booker’s type of people” just aren’t meant for the main event after all. **1/2  (Yeah, this one pretty much destroyed Booker as a main event guy for quite a while, until the King Booker run redeemed him again.  He really, REALLY should have gone over here, because HHH could have always got his precious title back in time for Goldberg to destroy him in the summer, but with HHH it was always “I have to keep the title so we can build for the NEXT guy to get it.”  Thankfully by Wrestlemania 21 there were no next guys left and he had to put someone over.  I’d go up ***1/4 for the match removed from the anger at the finish, actually.)  Nursing Home Street Fight: Vince McMahon v. Hulk Hogan. Yes, it’s the match we all know is the REAL main event.  (If someone can explain in two sentences or less what this feud was actually about, I will give them $100 in fake money.  Because I didn’t understand in the least why they hated each other at the time, and the video package still doesn’t refresh my memory today.)  Hulk slugs away to start and they do a silly little parody of ground-and-pound before Vince comes out of the corner with a clothesline and kicks him down. He starts working on the arm with a hammerlock and wraps the arm around the pole a few times. They go into a test of strength, as Vince shows his guns off, apparently playing the role of Ultimate Warrior as we warp back to 1990. I mean, seriously, it’s two senior citizens holding hands during a fight, what the fuck? They head out and Hogan hits the post, allowing Vince to grab a chair and miss. Hogan sends him into the post, drawing blood, and adds a chairshot. Back in, Hogan uses the power of his punches to send McMahon FLYING out of the ring, and he works him over with a chair. Still a sportsman, I see. Even Hugo Savinovich takes one for the team. I think he’s actually the youngest and best worker in the match. Vince goes low to stop the tide of Hulkamania and chairs Hulk down. Okay, we’ve established the chair’s effectiveness as a weapon, let’s move on. Vince gets a ladder. I take it back, go back to the chairs. They continue brawling and Vince sets up the ladder between the tables and comes off with a legdrop onto Hogan, through the Spanish table. To be more accurate, it’s a buttdrop onto the table with Hogan in the general vicinity. Back in, Vince gets two. He heads out and finds the lead pipe that always seems to be hidden under the ring, and then peaks over the ring with a deranged look that draws howls of laughter from the group watching the show with me. Hogan goes low, however. I’m just disappointed that we haven’t seen a backrake yet. However, my disappointment for stupidity is quickly made up by Roddy Piper doing a waddle-in, looking about 300 pounds, and turning on Hogan for no particular reason. (He’s looking so much better these days.  You hate to say things like “Cancer might have been a blessing in disguise” but maybe it motivated him to get back into shape again when he was getting healthy.)  Isn’t this the guy who was on TNA busting on the WWE for killing Owen Hart a few weeks ago and basically promising never to so much as speak to Vince ever again? (Yeah, how many times have we heard that song and dance?) I guess money talks and hypocrites walk when offered enough of it. (Piper ended up walking again a couple of months after this, so perhaps it wasn’t enough after all.)  Vince gets two, thus rendering the run-in pointless. The ref won’t let Vince use the pipe, so Vince punks him out and the Evil French Ref takes his place. (Oh yeah, evil French ref Sylvain Grenier, how could I have forgotten about him?) Vince pipes Hogan down and drops a leg for two. It’s Hulk-up time, however. He apparently just now realizes that he’s bleeding. He fights off the Evil French Ref and tosses him, and it’s big boot and three legdrops (my god, are you trying to KILL the man?!?) for the pin at 20:45. Way way way way way way too long and so ridiculously overbooked that Vince Russo was probably taking notes, but for comedic value and entertaining the marks it wasn’t as terribly offensive as it might have been. **1/2 (Bingo.  Almost the exact same thing I wrote again.)  Besides, if Vince had gone over we would have had to endure the return of the Hulk Machine with Michael Cole baffled as to his identity. (BOW DOWN TO THE MOTHERFUCKING KING!) Vince’s middle finger while laying bloodied and beaten almost makes the whole match. Oh, and Shane shows up and does nothing.  (This was no Vince v. Shane, although once again Vince takes a beating for the team when the chips are down.)  The Rock v. Steve Austin. I believe Rock’s tattoo is getting bigger. They slug it out to start, won by Austin, and Rock evades the stunner by bailing. Brawl outside and Rock gets dropped on the railing a few times. Into the stairs for good measure. Back in, Austin chokes away and gets a backdrop suplex for two. He comes out of the corner with a lariat and chokes him out on the ropes, but Rock clips the knee to take over. He heads outside, but Rock follows him and hits that shit again. He keeps stomping the knee and they head back in for more of the same. Austin fights back, but puts his head down and gets smacked down. Back to the knee and Rock goes for the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Austin makes the ropes. Rock keeps wrapping the knee around the post, and then decides to try on the Stone Cold vest. Looks good on him, too. Austin fights back with a clothesline and it’s a double KO. Thesz Press! Thesz Press! Thesz Press! Austin puts a little extra FU on the FU Elbow and it gets two. Rock recovers with the kip up, but walks into Austin Bottom. That gets two. Stunner is blocked with a middle finger from Rock, and KICK ROCK STUNNER gets two. Rock slugs away, but the spit punch is countered with KICK WHAM STUNNER, and it gets two. Rock goes low, but misses the People’s Elbow. Another stunner try is blocked with the spinebuster, and this time the People’s Elbow hits. It gets two. Rock Bottom gets two. Another one gets two. A third one gets the pin at 17:53. Rock carried this thing on his back, although as a match it was finisher-rest-finisher-rest-finisher for the last 10 minutes or so with absolutely no transition between the moves. Nowhere near WM X-7 on the Rock-Austin scale, but it was still a great effort by Rock. ***1/2  (I redid this one for one of the Rock’s DVD sets and it’s definitely in the **** range, a hard-hitting heavyweight title fight between two aging stars.)  Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Brock Lesnar. Apparently Kurt has found a doctor willing to cut his rehab time from a year to 6 weeks. (Boy, in retrospect he really should have taken the spinal fusion surgery and sat out for a year for his own good.  Maybe he could have salvaged some of his sanity while he had a chance.)  If you’re gonna play dice with your life, might as well go all the way and fly to the Philippines for a faith healing instead. Brock works the arm, and Angle takes him down with a fireman’s carry. They work off a headlock and Brock takes him down and they reverse until going to the mat again with a headlock. Good stuff. Brock overpowers him, but Angle shoots for the leg and they reverse off that for a bit until Brock takes him down. Back to the armdrag for Brock. Chain-wrestling at a WM main event, who’d have thunk? Angle pounds on him to escape, but gets elbowed and Brock works him over in the corner. Brock charges and meets elbow, but recovers with a powerslam for two. German suplex from Angle, but Brock no-sells and clotheslines him. Angle takes a powder and catches Brock coming in. You’d think people would stop falling for that after 100 years of it. (Hey, people have been doing “Peekaboo” for thousands of years and my daughter still falls for it.  It’s awesome to have a fresh audience for your material.)  Brock presses him, but runs into a boot, and Angle suplexes him into the turnbuckles in a sick spot. Back in, Angle gets a backdrop suplex for two. Snap suplex gets two. Angle goes to the chinlock and that goes on for a while, but Brock eventually powers out and rams Kurt’s back into the turnbuckles to break free. Angle gets an overhead suplex, however, to keep the advantage, and a knee to the back sends Brock flying. Back in, Brock gets a nasty spinebuster and they slug it out until Angle goes to the eyes. Brock makes the comeback with a clothesline and a kick to the face, and he pounds away in the corner. Blind charge hits elbow, but Brock gets his overhead suplex from one side, and then back to the other side. That’s really scary to see considering Angle’s neck. It gets two. Angle comes back with the rolling germans (and they wonder why the necks are falling to pieces) and the Angle Slam, but Brock escapes and reverses to the F5, which Kurt in turn reverses to the anklelock. Brock makes the ropes, but Angle pulls him back in and forces Brock to fight him off instead. Angle turns it into a half-crab to counter that strategy, but Brock makes the ropes again. Angle keeps laying in the knees, but charges one time too many and gets dumped as a result. Back in, Angle misses a charge and Brock hammers on him, but Angle gives him an absolutely sick german suplex for two. 300 pound guys should not be able to take those bumps. Angle Slam gets two. Another one is countered to a cradle for two. F5 gets two. Angle feigns injury, and grabs the anklelock while crawling to his feet. He turns it into a heel hook to really sink it in, but Brock drags Angle and makes the ropes. Kurt tries it again, but Brock shoves him off. F5 is countered to a cradle by Angle for two. Angle Slam is countered to another F5, but Brock opts to go up instead. Brock tries his legendary Shooting Star Press, but doesn’t get enough rotation and lands on his HEAD, knocking himself silly. That was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen, and not in a good way. I’m assuming that was supposed to be the finish, but Brock’s miscue ruined it. Angle improvises and gets two as the ref freaks out, but Brock gets another F5 to win the title at 21:07. Probably Brock’s best match to date, as Angle pulled out all the sick bumps in he thought may have been his last match. ****1/4 The botched finish was a bit of a black eye on things, however, and it just goes to show why you don’t bust out dangerous new moves in the biggest match of your career. I just hope Brock didn’t break his neck, because he was dazed and confused long after the end of the match.  (Thankfully  he was fine, but that was so close to being an in-ring tragedy.  This another one where I was ooing and aahing along with the crowd because I hadn’t seen it in almost a decade.  ****1/2)  The Bottom Line: I can’t say as I thought it was the amazing, blowaway show that others seem to, and there was no real show-stealing MOTYC here, but Michaels-Jericho and Brock-Angle are both worth going out of your way to see. (You are CRAZY good sir.  Three ****+ matches, nothing terrible overall, this is absolutely a blow-away show and one of the best Wrestlemanias ever.  It did a shit buyrate because of the confusing Hogan-Vince thing on top, but it’s a tremendous and underappreciated show.) Rock-Austin was good but nothing more than building up a heel for Goldberg next month, and HHH-Booker was irritating for more reasons than I have time to list here. Maybe in the next book. Moderate thumbs up, but it could have been so much better with better booking and pacing.  (Thumbs WAY up.  Strongly recommended.) 

Wrestlemania Countdown: 19

(2012 Scott Sez:  I actually sat down and watched the DVD this week, but then noticed that my re-rant almost exactly the same as the original rant, so it seemed like a pointless endeavour to redo it.  So we’ll make do with the 2012 observations instead.  I will say right now, I liked it WAY more on this viewing than I originally did.)  The SmarK Rant for Wrestlemania XIX – Live from Seattle, WA. – Your hosts are JR, King, Cole & Tazz.RAW tag title match: Sean Morley & Lance Storm v. The Unlikely Duo of Kane & Rob Van Dam. (Random story:  Sean “Val Venis” Morley provided the comp tickets for me at the infamous RAW where Shane McMahon bribed my friend with $100 to shut up.  Or at some guy claiming to be giving tickets away on his behalf did.  Either way, the lesson is to always hang around outside TV tapings, just in case.)  Kane dumps Storm to start and RVD hits Morley with a spinkick, and the champs bail. Kane sends RVD onto the champs, and we take a break. Back again, as Morley whips RVD into the corner for two. We hit the chinlock. The open-air nature of the stadium makes a pretty neat visual, that’s for sure. Morley gets the MAIN EVENT SLEEPER, which Rob reverses. Morley counters with a Blue Thunder Bomb and goes up with an elbow so telegraphed that it should have been sent Western Union, which allows Kane to get the hot tag. Sideslam on Storm gets two. Kane goes up with the flying lariat, and that gets two. Kane clotheslines both of them in the corner and Rob monkey-flips Morley, leaving Kane to chokeslam Storm. Frog splash appears in the cards, but Morley sends him down with one of those sick bumps. The Dudleyz sneak in and hit Storm with 3D , but then Bubba changes his mind and drops an elbow on RVD to give Storm the pin at 5:57. The guy gets to job to an elbowdrop? What is this, the Survivor Series? *1/2  (Rating sounds about right, although I didn’t watch this one again on the DVD extras.  The Unlikely Duo Of Kane And RVD would of course win the tag titles right away and hold them for quite a while, thus making them the Likely Duo.)  Opening PPV match, Cruiserweight title: Matt Hardy v. Rey Mysterio. Rey hits Matt with a pescado to start, and gets a headscissors out of the corner. Rey has his Daredevil thing going tonight. (Start of a great tradition for Rey.)  Shannon interjects himself with a cheapshot to give Matt the advantage, and he gets two back in the ring. Side Effect gets two. Shannon adds some choking, but Matt misses a charge. He comes back with a Twist of Fate, which Rey reverses to a rollup for two. Another Side Effect gets two. Matt goes to a surfboard, but Rey fights out and they slug it out. Matt misses a charge and Rey springboards in with a butt splash, and a crossbody gets two. Flying headscissors and tornado DDT get two. Rey does a weak trip to set up the 619, but Shannon trips him up and the Twist of Fate gets two. They head up and Matt tries a Splash Mountain from the top, but Rey reverses to a rana for two. Rey goes for Moore and dropkicks Matt into the 619, but Matt ducks the West Coast Pop and rolls him up for the pin at 5:36. Weak finish, and giving them 5 minutes on a 4-hour PPV? Pretty disappointing match. *  (I respectfully disagree with 2003 Scott here, as I was right into this one watching it again and thought that Matt was doing a hell of a job keeping up with Mysterio.  I’d boost it to ***1/4 in fact, as the length didn’t feel particularly short to me on second viewing.)  A-Train & Big Show v. Undertaker. Apparently they’re STILL hedging their bets with Nathan Jones, as they chicken out and shoot an injury angle on Heat to take him out of the match. Why even bother? I mean, seriously, this is becoming a running gag almost. (Oh no, Nathan’s movie career was a running joke.  This was merely amusing.)  A-Train establishes his heeldom by ADJUSTING UNDERTAKER’S MIRROR before the match. That BASTARD. Taker chokeslams him for two to start. Show & Train bail and regroup before Show gives it a try and slugs it out with Taker. Train tries next and overpowers UT, but gets hiptossed. Old School Ropewalk of DOOM, but A-Train hits him with the Mehshugganator and Show sends him into the post. Back in, Train guillotines him for two. Taker starts fighting back on Show, but walks into a chokeslam, which he reverses to a Herb Kunze armbar in a counter-wrestling sequence so laughable that it must have been booked by Jerry Seinfeld. He then fights off Train with a cross-armlock. Funny thing is that Tito Ortiz is sitting at ringside and probably laughing his head off. (It was actually fine.)  Then, to really showcase the submission wrestling, Show goes to the abdominal stretch. A-Train adds his own version as I wonder why this is getting more time than the opener. Then, the fickle hand of irony interjects herself as UT reverses the move. Taker walks into a lariat that gets two. Train uses the WWE Main Event Theory of Volume to add some power to his punches, but Taker fights back with a DDT for two. He makes his own comeback and hits both heels with corner clotheslines, and gets the flying clothesline on Show. Train gets a high kick to put him down again as the match keeps going and going. Show chokeslams him, but Nathan Jones earns his payoff by running down and spinkicking Show on the floor, as Taker hits Train with the tombstone for the pin at 9:44. Bad match, but not so insanely bad that it would have become perversely enjoyable, as it would have been with Jones in there to really bring it down. 1/2*  (Nah, again I’d go higher, about **.  The stuff with the abdominal stretches was pretty dull, but it was a solid big man match otherwise and not embarrassing at all.  Plus it was the start of a change in Undertaker’s offense to the more MMA-based style he uses now.)  Women’s title: Victoria v. Trish v. Jazz. Jazz dumps Victoria and dropkicks Trish for two to start. She bridges on a neck submission, but Trish takes her down and pounds away. Victoria pulls Trish out and heads in and tosses Jazz, and they all brawl outside. Back in, Victoria gets a legdrop for two. Jazz pulls her out and legdrops Trish for two. Jazz & Victoria decide to double-team Trish with a sort of double-backbreaker, but Jazz turns on Victoria, only to get powerslammed for two. Victoria works her over in the corner, but Trish gets a rolling reverse for two. Trish’s cameltoe is getting pretty evident. Jazz attacks her from behind to set up a Michinoku Driver for two. The heels slug it out in the corner, but it’s the old Double Noggin Knocker as Trish makes the comeback. Well, they’re up to 70s Memphis standards, at least. Trish rolls up Jazz for two. Victory Roll for two. Kawada Kick gets two. Victoria cuts in and goes after Trish, heading up but getting caught with a handstand rana. Trish chops her out of the ring, but Jazz catches her with a half-crab. She turns it into the STF, but Stevie dumps Jazz. Trish rolls up Victoria (with a handful of tights…woo woo!) for two. Jazz gets the flying hammerlock, but releases it early and gets superkicked by Victoria. Victoria’s moonsault misses and Stevie hits himself inadvertently with a chair, but Victoria comes back with a try at the Widow’s Peak. Trish escapes and kicks her down for the pin and the title at 7:17. No worse than any other women’s match these days. **  (Much, much better than any other one THESE days.  This was actually a hell of a match thanks to three great workers in there, and the pop for Trish winning the belt was tremendous.  Compared to now, we were pretty spoiled in the Trish/Lita/Molly Holly days.)  – Meanwhile, Rock abuses the Coach and says nothing. – Smackdown tag titles: Team Angle v. Rhyno & Benoit v. Los Guerreros. Big brawl to start until Chavo starts with Haas and gets a backdrop and a backdrop suplex. He dropkicks Haas down, who tags in Benoit. The Guerreros work him over in their corner and Eddie slugs away, but Benoit unloads the chops. Rhyno comes in and powerslams Eddie for two. Benjamin gives it a go and slugs him down, and a reverse elbow gets two. They work Rhyno over in the corner and get a double dropkick for two. Rhyno chops Haas and Benoit comes in with more of his own. Snap suplex gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Rhyno gets caught in Angle corner, however, and gets worked over until spearing Benjamin in the corner for two. Eddie tags himself in and dropkicks Rhyno out of a test of strength, then hits Benoit with a backdrop suplex when he comes in. He goes up, but Benoit follows him up with a superplex, for two. Benoit faceplants Eddie into a crossface in a sweet combo, but Haas saves. Eddie comes back with a brainbuster for two. Haas saves again. Chavo comes in and cleans house on Team Angle and Rhyno, but Benoit hits him with the rolling germans. Chavo manages a blind tag to Benjamin, however, and he superkicks Benoit for two. Eddie comes in and collides with Benoit for the double KO. Benjamin legdrops the fallen Benoit for two, but Eddie saves by frog splashing the both of them. Chavo tags himself in, but walks into an overhead suplex. Rhyno comes in and gores Haas and Chavo, but Eddie yanks him out and Shelton steals the pin on Chavo at 8:47. Really short and disappointing, without any heat or buildup to the finish. **1/4  (Boy, I’m just being unnecessarily harsh on this show.  This was fun and hard-hitting, random nature of the Benoit/Rhyno team aside, and I had totally forgotten who even won so I was into the finish, too.  Team Angle was pretty great for their time.  ***1/4)  Shawn Michaels v. Chris Jericho. They’ve finally fixed the lighting so that the ring is highlighted and the stadium is darkened. Shawn works a headlock to start and gets nowhere. They do a bit of that and Shawn showboats, and they go back to the headlock again. They do a stalemate sequence and back to the headlock, and Shawn gets two off it. Jericho overpowers him and they criss-cross and slug it out. Shawn tosses him and follows with a baseball slide after a highspot tease, and back in we go. Back in, Jericho rolls through a bodypress for two. He hammers away on the mat and starts with the CANADIAN VIOLENCE and choking in the corner. Shawn counters a bulldog by sending him into the corner, and gets a figure-four for no discernible reason (has he even kicked him in the leg yet?), which Jericho reverses. Jericho stays on the leg with a kneecrusher, but Jericho reverses him into the post and tosses him. Shawn pulls himself back in and headscissors Jericho out, and then follows with a pescado. Jericho puts him in the Walls on the floor, however. Back in, Jericho dropkicks him off the apron and gets a backdrop suplex. The psychology is pretty cut and dried here. Delayed suplex gets two. Jericho works on the neck and gets a pretty nasty backbreaker, and the Arrogant Cover~! gets two. We hit the chinlock and Jericho goes to the eyes to keep Shawn down. A backdrop is reversed to a DDT by Shawn, however. Shawn slugs away, but walks into a forearm from Jericho. He kips up and mocks Shawn, but so does Shawn. Another one and Shawn atomic drops Jericho to set up a backdrop. To the top, and the moonsault press gets two. They do a pinfall reversal sequence and Jericho tries the Walls, but Shawn reverses out of it. They fight for a german suplex, but Jericho turns it into a northern lights suplex for two. Shawn bridges out and they fight for a backslide, but Jericho gets a lariat. Bulldog and Lionsault get two. Jericho starts chopping, but puts his head down and gets caught by Shawn. A rana is blocked with the Walls, however. Shawn makes the ropes. Another try is reversed to a cradle for two. Double-arm backbreaker from Jericho and he goes up with a flying reverse elbow and cues up the band. Fozzy? Well, anyway, a superkick (and a nice one, too) gets two for Jericho. Shawn comes out of the corner with a messed up crossbody and hammers away, then catapults Jericho into the post for two after teasing his own Walls of Jericho. Jericho hits him in the back again as Shawn suddenly remembers to sell it again, and they head up for a superplex that Shawn counters to put both guys down. Shawn gets two. Shawn goes back up, but Jericho crotches him and follows him up. Shawn sends him back down and gets the flying elbow for two. Sweet Chin Music is ducked by Jericho and we get another Walls, and that should have been the finish. However, Shawn eventually makes the ropes, prompting a tantrum from Jericho. Shawn superkicks him again for two. Jericho sends Shawn into the corner, but Shawn escapes a suplex and gets the pin off a rollup at 22:34. The finish was a letdown and it’s totally counterproductive to put Shawn over ANYONE at this point, but Shawn adjusted his style and put forth a much more solid, non-garbagy effort than he did with HHH. The spotty “Now I’m hurt, now I’m not” selling of the back injury hurt it a lot, though. **** Jericho, class act all the way, kicks Shawn in the balls after the loss.  (Yeah, this was AWESOME.  Obviously Shawn was in the for long haul, and this was the New Version of Shawn, post-recovery, who wrestled a much more solid and safer style than Old Version Shawn.  Watching this today, I’ve got no issues with Shawn going over, and I’m sure Jericho didn’t either.  And the kick to the nuts was great, too, although you’d think this would have escalated the feud further and never really went anywhere after this.   Still, this was a tremendous, classic match.  ****1/2!)  – Limp Dick performs their shitty new song and wastes 6 minutes of my life, and then the chicks come out and do a silly catfighting bit that ends with Coach getting his pants pulled off in a visual I did not need to see in this lifetime. Thank god for fast forward.  (Yeah, watching this on DVD, I was astonished at how much time the catfight girls got on the show, with tons of backstage skits that meant nothing.  Who even REMEMBERS that commercial today?)  RAW World title: HHH v. Booker T. They fight over a lockup to start and Booker slugs him down and chops away in the corner. He runs into an elbow, but armdrags HHH off the top to send HHH out of the ring. They brawl and HHH hits the post as a result. Back in, HHH overpowers him, but Booker gets a clothesline for two. High kicks follow, but HHH dumps him. Booker hits the post and the steps, and HHH starts stomping. HHH knees him down and gets two. MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER gets two. Corner clothesline gets two. He starts choking and they slug it out, until Booker gets a DDT. They slug it out and Booker gets a spinkick and sideslam, but doesn’t cover. Forearm gets two. MAIN EVENT SLEEPER and high knee get two. HHH walks into a spinebuster for two. This match is pretty heatless. Booker walks into an elbow, but dropkicks HHH coming off the top and gets two. Axe kick misses and Booker crotches himself on the top, allowing Flair to get his licks in and send him into the stairs. Back in, HHH goes to an Indian deathlock, which is just so not the right move to be doing to wake up the crowd. Booker makes the ropes, and HHH stays on the leg in the corner. Pedigree is reversed by Booker, and a rollup gets two. HHH kicks out the leg again, but runs into an elbow. Axe kick gets two, but Booker’s leg won’t let him cover in time for a proper pin. Booker goes up and gets caught by HHH, but fights him off and gets the Harlem Hangover for two. That should have been the finish. Both guys are out, and HHH, manly man, recovers first and Pedigrees him for the pin at 18:47. Remember: You can block the move, but once it hits, it doesn’t matter if you lay on the mat for a minute before HHH gets around to pinning you, it’s OVER. (Still true today, unless you’re the Undertaker.)  That was just insanely long and slow, especially for that weak-ass finish. And people thought I was just being cynical when I said that HHH putting Booker over on RAW was a bad sign. I guess “Booker’s type of people” just aren’t meant for the main event after all. **1/2  (Yeah, this one pretty much destroyed Booker as a main event guy for quite a while, until the King Booker run redeemed him again.  He really, REALLY should have gone over here, because HHH could have always got his precious title back in time for Goldberg to destroy him in the summer, but with HHH it was always “I have to keep the title so we can build for the NEXT guy to get it.”  Thankfully by Wrestlemania 21 there were no next guys left and he had to put someone over.  I’d go up ***1/4 for the match removed from the anger at the finish, actually.)  Nursing Home Street Fight: Vince McMahon v. Hulk Hogan. Yes, it’s the match we all know is the REAL main event.  (If someone can explain in two sentences or less what this feud was actually about, I will give them $100 in fake money.  Because I didn’t understand in the least why they hated each other at the time, and the video package still doesn’t refresh my memory today.)  Hulk slugs away to start and they do a silly little parody of ground-and-pound before Vince comes out of the corner with a clothesline and kicks him down. He starts working on the arm with a hammerlock and wraps the arm around the pole a few times. They go into a test of strength, as Vince shows his guns off, apparently playing the role of Ultimate Warrior as we warp back to 1990. I mean, seriously, it’s two senior citizens holding hands during a fight, what the fuck? They head out and Hogan hits the post, allowing Vince to grab a chair and miss. Hogan sends him into the post, drawing blood, and adds a chairshot. Back in, Hogan uses the power of his punches to send McMahon FLYING out of the ring, and he works him over with a chair. Still a sportsman, I see. Even Hugo Savinovich takes one for the team. I think he’s actually the youngest and best worker in the match. Vince goes low to stop the tide of Hulkamania and chairs Hulk down. Okay, we’ve established the chair’s effectiveness as a weapon, let’s move on. Vince gets a ladder. I take it back, go back to the chairs. They continue brawling and Vince sets up the ladder between the tables and comes off with a legdrop onto Hogan, through the Spanish table. To be more accurate, it’s a buttdrop onto the table with Hogan in the general vicinity. Back in, Vince gets two. He heads out and finds the lead pipe that always seems to be hidden under the ring, and then peaks over the ring with a deranged look that draws howls of laughter from the group watching the show with me. Hogan goes low, however. I’m just disappointed that we haven’t seen a backrake yet. However, my disappointment for stupidity is quickly made up by Roddy Piper doing a waddle-in, looking about 300 pounds, and turning on Hogan for no particular reason. (He’s looking so much better these days.  You hate to say things like “Cancer might have been a blessing in disguise” but maybe it motivated him to get back into shape again when he was getting healthy.)  Isn’t this the guy who was on TNA busting on the WWE for killing Owen Hart a few weeks ago and basically promising never to so much as speak to Vince ever again? (Yeah, how many times have we heard that song and dance?) I guess money talks and hypocrites walk when offered enough of it. (Piper ended up walking again a couple of months after this, so perhaps it wasn’t enough after all.)  Vince gets two, thus rendering the run-in pointless. The ref won’t let Vince use the pipe, so Vince punks him out and the Evil French Ref takes his place. (Oh yeah, evil French ref Sylvain Grenier, how could I have forgotten about him?) Vince pipes Hogan down and drops a leg for two. It’s Hulk-up time, however. He apparently just now realizes that he’s bleeding. He fights off the Evil French Ref and tosses him, and it’s big boot and three legdrops (my god, are you trying to KILL the man?!?) for the pin at 20:45. Way way way way way way too long and so ridiculously overbooked that Vince Russo was probably taking notes, but for comedic value and entertaining the marks it wasn’t as terribly offensive as it might have been. **1/2 (Bingo.  Almost the exact same thing I wrote again.)  Besides, if Vince had gone over we would have had to endure the return of the Hulk Machine with Michael Cole baffled as to his identity. (BOW DOWN TO THE MOTHERFUCKING KING!) Vince’s middle finger while laying bloodied and beaten almost makes the whole match. Oh, and Shane shows up and does nothing.  (This was no Vince v. Shane, although once again Vince takes a beating for the team when the chips are down.)  The Rock v. Steve Austin. I believe Rock’s tattoo is getting bigger. They slug it out to start, won by Austin, and Rock evades the stunner by bailing. Brawl outside and Rock gets dropped on the railing a few times. Into the stairs for good measure. Back in, Austin chokes away and gets a backdrop suplex for two. He comes out of the corner with a lariat and chokes him out on the ropes, but Rock clips the knee to take over. He heads outside, but Rock follows him and hits that shit again. He keeps stomping the knee and they head back in for more of the same. Austin fights back, but puts his head down and gets smacked down. Back to the knee and Rock goes for the Scorpion King Deathlock, but Austin makes the ropes. Rock keeps wrapping the knee around the post, and then decides to try on the Stone Cold vest. Looks good on him, too. Austin fights back with a clothesline and it’s a double KO. Thesz Press! Thesz Press! Thesz Press! Austin puts a little extra FU on the FU Elbow and it gets two. Rock recovers with the kip up, but walks into Austin Bottom. That gets two. Stunner is blocked with a middle finger from Rock, and KICK ROCK STUNNER gets two. Rock slugs away, but the spit punch is countered with KICK WHAM STUNNER, and it gets two. Rock goes low, but misses the People’s Elbow. Another stunner try is blocked with the spinebuster, and this time the People’s Elbow hits. It gets two. Rock Bottom gets two. Another one gets two. A third one gets the pin at 17:53. Rock carried this thing on his back, although as a match it was finisher-rest-finisher-rest-finisher for the last 10 minutes or so with absolutely no transition between the moves. Nowhere near WM X-7 on the Rock-Austin scale, but it was still a great effort by Rock. ***1/2  (I redid this one for one of the Rock’s DVD sets and it’s definitely in the **** range, a hard-hitting heavyweight title fight between two aging stars.)  Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Brock Lesnar. Apparently Kurt has found a doctor willing to cut his rehab time from a year to 6 weeks. (Boy, in retrospect he really should have taken the spinal fusion surgery and sat out for a year for his own good.  Maybe he could have salvaged some of his sanity while he had a chance.)  If you’re gonna play dice with your life, might as well go all the way and fly to the Philippines for a faith healing instead. Brock works the arm, and Angle takes him down with a fireman’s carry. They work off a headlock and Brock takes him down and they reverse until going to the mat again with a headlock. Good stuff. Brock overpowers him, but Angle shoots for the leg and they reverse off that for a bit until Brock takes him down. Back to the armdrag for Brock. Chain-wrestling at a WM main event, who’d have thunk? Angle pounds on him to escape, but gets elbowed and Brock works him over in the corner. Brock charges and meets elbow, but recovers with a powerslam for two. German suplex from Angle, but Brock no-sells and clotheslines him. Angle takes a powder and catches Brock coming in. You’d think people would stop falling for that after 100 years of it. (Hey, people have been doing “Peekaboo” for thousands of years and my daughter still falls for it.  It’s awesome to have a fresh audience for your material.)  Brock presses him, but runs into a boot, and Angle suplexes him into the turnbuckles in a sick spot. Back in, Angle gets a backdrop suplex for two. Snap suplex gets two. Angle goes to the chinlock and that goes on for a while, but Brock eventually powers out and rams Kurt’s back into the turnbuckles to break free. Angle gets an overhead suplex, however, to keep the advantage, and a knee to the back sends Brock flying. Back in, Brock gets a nasty spinebuster and they slug it out until Angle goes to the eyes. Brock makes the comeback with a clothesline and a kick to the face, and he pounds away in the corner. Blind charge hits elbow, but Brock gets his overhead suplex from one side, and then back to the other side. That’s really scary to see considering Angle’s neck. It gets two. Angle comes back with the rolling germans (and they wonder why the necks are falling to pieces) and the Angle Slam, but Brock escapes and reverses to the F5, which Kurt in turn reverses to the anklelock. Brock makes the ropes, but Angle pulls him back in and forces Brock to fight him off instead. Angle turns it into a half-crab to counter that strategy, but Brock makes the ropes again. Angle keeps laying in the knees, but charges one time too many and gets dumped as a result. Back in, Angle misses a charge and Brock hammers on him, but Angle gives him an absolutely sick german suplex for two. 300 pound guys should not be able to take those bumps. Angle Slam gets two. Another one is countered to a cradle for two. F5 gets two. Angle feigns injury, and grabs the anklelock while crawling to his feet. He turns it into a heel hook to really sink it in, but Brock drags Angle and makes the ropes. Kurt tries it again, but Brock shoves him off. F5 is countered to a cradle by Angle for two. Angle Slam is countered to another F5, but Brock opts to go up instead. Brock tries his legendary Shooting Star Press, but doesn’t get enough rotation and lands on his HEAD, knocking himself silly. That was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen, and not in a good way. I’m assuming that was supposed to be the finish, but Brock’s miscue ruined it. Angle improvises and gets two as the ref freaks out, but Brock gets another F5 to win the title at 21:07. Probably Brock’s best match to date, as Angle pulled out all the sick bumps in he thought may have been his last match. ****1/4 The botched finish was a bit of a black eye on things, however, and it just goes to show why you don’t bust out dangerous new moves in the biggest match of your career. I just hope Brock didn’t break his neck, because he was dazed and confused long after the end of the match.  (Thankfully  he was fine, but that was so close to being an in-ring tragedy.  This another one where I was ooing and aahing along with the crowd because I hadn’t seen it in almost a decade.  ****1/2)  The Bottom Line: I can’t say as I thought it was the amazing, blowaway show that others seem to, and there was no real show-stealing MOTYC here, but Michaels-Jericho and Brock-Angle are both worth going out of your way to see. (You are CRAZY good sir.  Three ****+ matches, nothing terrible overall, this is absolutely a blow-away show and one of the best Wrestlemanias ever.  It did a shit buyrate because of the confusing Hogan-Vince thing on top, but it’s a tremendous and underappreciated show.) Rock-Austin was good but nothing more than building up a heel for Goldberg next month, and HHH-Booker was irritating for more reasons than I have time to list here. Maybe in the next book. Moderate thumbs up, but it could have been so much better with better booking and pacing.  (Thumbs WAY up.  Strongly recommended.) 

The King's Recap: WWF Smackdown 4.19.2001

WWF SMACKDOWN
Thursday, April 19th, 2001

Taped (4/17) from the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, TN

List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Triple H (4/16/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Smackdown comes on the air with clips from the IC Title rematch on Raw and the subsequent events. Michael Cole then welcomes us to the show along with Tazz and announces tonight Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho will face the Dudleys in a tables match. And maybe some other stuff as well. Maybe they’ll even remember they have a pay-per-view in 10 days and actually book something for it.

~ Things kick off with Commissioner William Regal making his way to the ring. Regal gets on the mic and demands the Undertaker and Kane come out and face him in the ring. The brothers quickly answer and Regal chasises them for interfering in Steve Austin and Triple H’s business, warning them it will not be tolerated. Regal suggests Taker and Kane stay away from Austin and Triple H feeling they will do the same to them. Regal then tells Kane he looks ready for action and orders him to defend his Hardcore Title right now then proceeds to bring out Kane’s opponent which turns out to be…

  • WWF Hardcore Title: Kane © (w/The Undertaker) vs. Rhyno (w/Edge & Christian)

Rhyno rushes the ring with his pals but Kane works him over him while Taker takes care of E&C and the brothers clear the ring. Takes and Kane go out after their foes and Taker works over E&C then tosses them over the barricade and chases them in the crowd. Rhyno rams Kane into the ringsteps and tees off on him before tossing him back in the ring. Rhyno goes for a whip but Kane reverses it and hits a boot then climbs to the top rope and connects with the flying clothesline. Kane plants Rhyno with the chokeslam when Steve Austin and Triple H run in the ring brandishing chairs and nail Kane in the back before beating him down with them, especially targeting the arm. Triple H tells Rhyno to cover Kane and Rhyno does so for the 1..2..3 to win his first Hardcore Title. (2:31) Oddly enough they’re playing Triple H’s music even though Rhyno was the one who won the title. Taker rushes back to the ring and chases Austin and Triple H away but is far too late for Kane. NR

~ Back from break we get a replay of Austin and Triple H vicioulsy attacking Kane, followed by footage of Kane painfully making his way to the back while holding his arm.

  • The Right To Censor vs. The Acolytes & Kaientai

The RTC is on a massive losing streak and they’re hoping to turn things around here. Steven Richards starts off against Sho Funkai who tries to intimidate Richards with a sumo stance but Richards doesn’t go for it and attacks Funaki in mid-pose. Richards whips Funaki but Funaki comes back with a headscissors. Funaki tags Taka Michinoku in and trips Richards with a drop toehold then goes into a camel clutch and holds Richards while Taka dropkicks the face. Richards drives Taka into his corner where the RTC triple-team him before Val Venis tags in to take over. Val whips Taka into a and chagres but Taka sidesteps him only to eat an elbow in return. Val climbs to the top rope and misses a corkscrew crossbody but comes back with a clothesline. Val whips Taka and hits a spinebuster then goes into a submission hold but Bradshaw breaks it up. Goodfather tags in and beats Taka down then throws him across the ring and hits a suplex. Goodfather covers but Faarooq makes the save and Val comes in without a tag and stomps Taka. Bull Buchanan tags in and helps Goodfather whip Taka and hit a double elbow. Buchanan clotheslines Taka and sets him on the top rope then goes up but Bradshaw throws him off to the mat. Buchanan knocks Bradshaw off the apron and everyone pours in the ring while Taka is still perched on the top rope. Goodafther tosses Funaki over the ropes while Faarooq clotheslines Buchanan over as well. Bradshaw powerbombs Richards while Buchanan comes over and tries to whip him but Bradshaw reverses and Faaoorq helps him hit a double spinebuster. Taka follows up a kneedrop from the top rope and that gets the pin to continue the RTC’s woes. (4:21) The Acolytes celebrate with Kaientai while the RTC are shocked that they lost again. What you’d expect. *

~ Cole and Tazz now hype Saturday’s XFL Championship game between the San Francisco Demons and the L.A. Xtreme and we even get a special video look at Xtreme quarterback Tommy Maddox’s journey through the XFL season. That’s this Saturday on NBC!

~ Backstage Undertaker is promising Kane they’ll get even as he asks some backstage guys where Commissioner Regal’s office is. Once they point the way the brothers head off but not before Taker tells the guys to call 911 as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Grandmaster Sexay admires his reflection in Eddie Guerrero’s European Title belt when Eddie comes up and tells Sexay to keep his hands off his property. Sexay tells Eddie to chill while calling him dawg but Eddie takes offesne to being called a dog and Sexay tries to tell him not to be so hot, calling him tamale. Eddie takes offense to that as well and Sexay decides to show him his hip hop moves in the ring. Eddie takes that as a challenge so he grabs his title belt and storms off.

~ Elsewhere backstage a WCW1 limo arrives in the parking lot meaning Shane McMahon is here tonight.

~ Still elsewhere William Regal is enjoy his tea when The Undertaker and Kane barge into his office and angrily clear off his desk. Taker grabs Regal by his coat and accuses him of setting them up earlier then demands he give them Austin and Triple H, and after that Edge, Christian and Rhyno as well. Regal claims he’s not inclined to grant such a request so Kane responds by setting Regal’s trashcan on fire and that convinces Regal to grant Taker and Kane a tag team title match with Edge and Christian tonight. Taker feels that isn’t enough and Regal is at a loss of what he wants until Kane sets a nearby plant on fire. Regal finally caves in and tells Taker and Kane if they win the titles they can have Austin and Triple H. Taker and Kane seem satisfied and start to depart when Regal mentions their tag title match is no disqualification. The brothers walk off but not before Kane sets Regal’s desk on fire on his way out as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Undertaker forcing Regal to give him and Kane a tag title match. Cole reminds us of Taker and Kane win the titles they’ll they their shot at Austin and Triple H.

  • WWF European Title: Eddie Guerrero © vs. Grandmaster Sexay

Sexay leads the crowd in a cheer and busts a move that allows Eddie to attack him from behind. Eddie whips Sexay and hits an elbow then whips him again but Sexay slides under him and hits a neckbreaker. Sexay goes for a whip, Eddie reverses him into a corner and charges at him but eats a boot. Sexay hops onto the middle rope and leaps off, Eddie ducks him but Sexay comes back with a DDT for a two count. Eddie bails out to the floor but Sexay hits a baseball slide then brawls with Eddie up the ramp before bulldoging him onto it. Sexay throws Eddie back in the ring and climbs to the top rope and goes for a flying crossbody but misses it. Eddie hits a double stomp to the chest followed by shoulderblocks in a corner. Eddie whips Sexay into the opposite corner but Sexay stops himself then tosses Eddie his head onto the turnbuckles. Sexay hits an euzuigiri then whips Eddie and hits a backdrop and dances a big before hitting a right hand. Sexay goes for a whip, Eddie reverses him into a corner and Sexay lifts himself over Eddie then grabs Eddie with a waistlock. Eddie switches into his own waistlock when Sexay elbows him away and goes for a Figure Four but Eddie kicks him into the ringpost and rolls him up for a two count. Eddie hits a back suplex then climbs to the top rope looking for the Frogsplash but Sexay cuts him off then goes up and hits a superplex. Instead of covering Eddie, Sexay climbs to the top rope himself but Eddie grabs the referee’s ankle and causes him to bump the ropes, straddling Sexay on the buckle. Sexay falls to the mat and Eddie rolls him up with his own feet on the ropes for the win. (4:38) Eddie did his best but this match still had no heat.

~ Backstage Vince McMahon, Steve Austin and Triple H demand an explanation from William Regal about the match he set up and Regal assures them they can use the no-DQ stipulation to their advantage. Vince decides to add some entertainment and asks the other three to see what happens to Shane later then departs while the others continue their discussion as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Lillian Garcia interviews Edge and Christian about their tag title defense later as well as Rhyno’s controversial Hardcore title win. Edge responds by saying controversy rules and there’s a huge problem in their match tonight but it’s The Undertaker and Kane’s, not theirs. Edge says he and Christian are the big game hunters and any bets placed on them will pay big dividends. Christian adds they’ve been up against big obstacles before but have always walks out still tag team champs. Christian says they have a plan that reeks of awesomeness before the three of them depart.

~ Out in the arena Vince McMahon hits the ring because we just have to get our McMahon promo time in. Vince gets on the mic and talks about how Shane McMahon came back to the WWF some time ago and attacked him in the ring then stole WCW from under his nose and kicked a trash can in his face. Vince then suggest Shane is stalking him after appearing on Raw and pulling up in his limo tonight. Vince claims he never wanted WCW in the first place then feels Shane has something important to say so he dares Shane to come out and confront him face-to-face. Shane does make his way out and grabs a mic and apologizes to Vince … for not beating him up a long time ago after Wrestlemania. Shane says things are getting hot in WCW just like the issues in his personal life after his speech on Raw, which Linda and her attorneys found in very interesting. Shane tells Vince to have a nice day and starts to head out but Vince stops him and tries to explain himself, claiming what he said on Monday wasn’t about divorce, it was about the sanctity of marriage. Vince brings up the conversation Shane had with The Big Show and even shows it on the OvalTron before reminding him that Shows’s working for the WWF.

Vince then invites Show to the ring for a public conversation and Show comes out and shake Shane’s hand. Vince accuses Show of trying to impress Shane when Shane sees him just as the world does, the single biggest dissapopintment in the WWF. Vince feels Shane is trying to recruit Show to WCW behind the scenes and congradulates him on his accquisition. However Vince tells Show once he gets to WCW he’s going to get some of the pep talks Shane used to give him and shows a clip from Smackdown last year of Shane calling Show an pathetic, pea-brained, unmotivated slob. Vince then shows a still of Shane breaking a cement block over Show’s head at Judgment Day last May, followed by a series of clips of Shane making fun of Show over the past year as well. Vince tells Show he may have squandered his oppertunites but still has the potential to be WWF Champion before asking him to decide his path, whether he remains in the WWF or goes with Shane to WCW. Show grabs Vince by the throat but then turns and grabs Shane by the throat and proceeds to chokeslam him. Vince stands over Shane and tells him he will face Big Show at Backlash, in a Last Man Standing match. Vince and Show leave Shane laying in the ring and hey, we finally have a match booked for the pay-per-view.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Vince asking Show to make a decision and Show answering with a chokeslam.

~ Out in the arena The Dudleys make thier way to the ring for the tables match followed by Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho, who are teaming up for the first time. However before the match starts William Regal comes out to the stage along with Kurt Angle. Regal gets on the mic and mentions that Backlash is just 10 days away then tells Jericho he won’t be getting off that easy because the two will wrestle each other again, this time in a match under ‘Duchess of Queensbury’ rules which he will explain in due course. Regal then tells Benoit he will fight Angle on the card as well, in a 30-minute ultimate submission match where the most submissions wins. So we got three matches booked for Backlash, all in the span of five minutes. Anyway Regal then demands the tables match start just as the Dudleys attack Benoit and Jericho from behind.

  • The Dudley Boyz vs. Chris Benoit & Chris JerichoTables Match

Bubba Ray tosses Benoit through the ropes and goes after him on the floor while Jerricho tees off on D’Von in a corner. Jericho goes for a whip, D’Von reverses him into a corner and eats a boot but catches Jericho with a powerslam as Angle looks on. D’Von whips Jericho and hits the jumping elbow then whips him again but Jericho comes back with a forearm followed by a dropkick. D’Von rolls out to the apron when Jericho connects with the springboard dropkick but Bubba comes in and plants Jericho with a Samoan Drop. Benoit comes in and hammers away on Bubba then Benoit goes for a whip, Bubba reverses him into a corner and eats a double boot but nails Benoit with the Bubbabomb. Benoit fights back with chops and goes for a whip but Bubba reverses him into a corner and slams him. Bubba then sets Benoit up as D’Von climbs to the top rope and hits the “Wassup” headbutt as Angle continues to observe. The Dudleys go out and grab a table when Jericho goes for a baseball slide but the Dudleys raise the table up and ram it into Jericho’s face. The Dudleys set the table up in the ring then go for a double flapjack on Benoit through the table but Jericho moves it just in time. Jericho nails D’Von with a spinning heelkick but eats a right hand from Bubba. Bubba places Jericho onto the table as D’Von climbs to the top rope but Benoit cuts him off. Bubba clubs Benoit in the back but Jericho knocks Bubba through the ropes. Benoit and Jericho then go to superplex D’Von through the table but Bubba moves it to prevent that as well. Bubba clotheslines Jericho over the ropes when Benoit grabs him with a waistlock, Bubba fights out of it and goes for the Bubbabomb but Benoit counters into a German suplex. Benoit holds on for a second German then goes to put Bubba through the table with a third German suplex but D’Von moves it to save Bubba. Jericho climbs to the top rope and connects with a missle dropkick on D’Von. The Chrises set the table up and Benoit places D’Von on it while Jericho goes for a Liondsault but Bubba trips him from the floor. Benoit climbs to the top rope looking for the diving headbutt through the table when Angle runs down and shoves Benoit off the top through the table, which somehow gets the Dudleys the victory. (4:31) Entertaining match there but can someone explain how Angle putting Benoit through the table means the Dudleys win? **½

~ Back from break we get a music video about the Undertaker and Kane set to Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song”.

~ Backstage Vince wishes Edge & Christian luck in their match but something tells him they won’t need it. Vince then joins Steve Austin and Triple H in looking at highlights of them beating down the Hardys on Raw. I guess this is suppsoed to make us think the Hardys are still in the main storyline but we know better.

~ Elsewhere Johnathan Coachman interviews Molly Holly on her chances of winning the Women’s title tonight. Molly feels her chances are fair and she may not be as big is Chyna but is still going to do her best.

~ Chyna is then shown heading to the ring for her aforementioned title defense as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the Gaylord Entertainment Center and also find Jevon Kearse of the Tennessee Titans in the crowd tonight.

~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews the Undertaker and Kane (who has his left elbow taped up), asking if they’re ready for their title shot. Taker chastises Kevin for asking the dumbest questions sometimes then asks why Steve Austin and Triple H feel beating up women and commentators makes them such bad dudes. Taker says once he and Kane finish Edge and Christian they’re going to show them who the real bad guys are, and while E&C are 7-time Tag Team champions they’re going to lose the titles for the seventh time. Taker finishes by saying E&C will make a name for themselves because he and Kane are going to make them famous.

  • WWF Women’s Title: Chyna © vs. Molly Holly

Molly grabs Chyna with a waistlock to start, Chyna counters into a hammerlock, Molly reverses it and Molly goes into a headlock but Chyna shoves her into the roeps and hits a shoulderblock. Molly locks up with Chyna and applies an arm wreinger but Chyna reverses into her own armwringer. Molly flips out of it and goes into an armbar but Chyna throws her to the mat and hits a press slam. Chyna charges at Molly in a corner but Molly sidesteps her and hits a bulldog for a two count. Molly climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying crossbody but that only gets two as well. Molly comes off the ropes but runs into a clothesline and Chyna powerbombs Molly for the pin. (2:15) And Chyna’s burial of the Women’s division continues. *

~ Backstage we find Kurt Angle telling someone off camera not to come out until he says it’s time because they’re going to teach Chris Benoit about the three I’s as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Cole and Tazz again shill the XFL Championship game this Saturday night. They really want is to watch it, dont they?

~ Kurt Angle comes out to the ring as Tony Chimel announces this as a five-minute submission exhibition. Angle gets on the mic and says how he’s been beating opponents his whole life which he calls his ‘thang’ and pinning opponents is great but leaves him a little empty since he just pins them to the mat. Angle says there’s no better feeling than humilitaing his opponent by making them submit to his Olympic wrath. Angle says he wanted the ultimate submisison match promising 30 minutes of torture for Chris Benoit at Backlash because he’s going to make Benoit squeal over and over. Angle feels the fans don’t get what he’s saying so he’s recruited a trio of local wrestlers and brings them out for a submission demonstration. Angle says he will give each of them the chance to make him submit and hopes Benoit is watching his future. The first guy moves in but Angle takes him down with a headlock/armbar combo and forces him to tap. The second guy charges but Angle trips him and hits a front facelock slam that gets a submission. The third guy grabs Angle with a waistlock but Angle hits a Fireman’s carry and forces a tapout with an armbar. The thrid guy tries agan but Angle throws him over his shoulder and slaps on a jujigatame for the submission. Angle hits the second guy with a belly-to-belly throw and forces him to quit with a Dragon sleeper. Angle helps the guy up but kicks him in the back of the knee and locks in the Anklelock for a tapout. The other two guys are hesitant to lockup again so Angle offer to be in the mount position for them. The third guy moves in with a waistlock but Angle rolls forward into the Anklelock for another tapout. Angle drops to the mat again but has his back to the ramp and I bet you’re thinking “I wonder if Benoit is going to come out, replace the scrub when Angle isn’t looking and slap on the Crossface.” Well, that’s exactly what happens as Benoit slips in the ring and tosses the remaining guy over the ropes behind Angle’s back then slaps on the Crossface and Angle is the one who’s forced to tap out. Benoit refuses to let go at first but eventually does and leaves Angle laying in the ring.

~ Edge, Christian and Rhyno are all shown heading to the ring as are The Undertaker and Kane which means main event time is next. We then see Steve Austin and Triple H getting up and heading somewhere as we go to commercial.

  • WWF World Tag Team Titles: Edge & Christian © (w/Rhyno) vs. The Undertaker & KaneNo-DQ Match

We opened the show with these five guys and it looks like we’re going to close with these same guys. Edge, Christian and Rhyno triple-team Kane while Taker rides to the ring on his motorcycle. Taker heads in and manages to clear Edge and Rhyno out then goes out after Edge leaving Christian and Kane. Kane plants Christian with a sidewalk slam and hits a clothesline then Christian goes after Kane’s bad arm but Kane swats him away and pounds him down in a corner. Christian slips out of the corner and gets in his own shots then goes for the count-along punches but Kane shoves him off and decks Edge off the apron. Kane manages to hit a one-arm powerslam then brings Edge in the ring and hits him with a big boot. Kane goes for the ropes and Rhyno nails him from behind to distract him as Christian moves in but Kane backdrops Christian over the ropes where Taker meets him with a right hand on the floor. In the ring Kane grabs Edge by the throat for a chokeslam but Rhyno comes in and Gores Kane. Edge lays the boots to Kane and kicks at the bad arm. Kane kicks him away and crawls to his corner but Edge cuts off the tag, even thought it’s no-DQ and Taker should just be able to come in whenever he wants. Edge applies an armwringer on the bad arm and Kane tries to fight back but Edge hits an amrbar slam. Taker breaks up the pin but is ordered out of the ring by Earl Hebner, again even though the match is no-DQ. Christian comes in without a tag and tees off on Kane’s bad arm then locks in a short-arm scissors. Kane manages to roll over and get to his feet with Christian on his arm and suplex him. Kane crawls over to his corner and makes the tag to Taker but Edge distracts Hebner who misses it. Making me ask why they’re doing the false tag spot in a no-DQ match?

Hebner orders Taker out of the ring while E&C pull Kane to their corner and Edge lays the boots to him. Both men exchange punches and Edge goes for a whip but Kane slings Edge into a corner and hits a suplex. Christian comes in but Kane clotheslines him down then crawls to his corner and makes the hot tag to Taker. Taker takes it to both E&C and whips Christian hitting a backdrop then nails Edge with a big boot. Taker works over E&C in opposite corners before clohteslining Edge over the ropes. Taker grabs Christian by the throat when Rhyno comes in with a chair and whacks Taker in the back. Christian crawls over and covers Taker but only gets a two count. Rhyno starts to work over Taker when Kane grabs him for a chokeslam but Rhyno kicks the bad arm and clotheslines him over the ropes. Kane lands on his feet on the floor as Rhyno goes out after him but Kane boots him down on the ramp. E&C double-team Taker in the ring while Kane chokeslams Rhyno on the ramp. Steve Austin and Triple H run out and beat Kane down on the floor as E&C continue to assault Taker. E&c bring a pair of chairs in the ring and go for the ConChairto but Taker ducks the shot. Taker pops Edge then plants Christian with the Last Ride and gets the three for the belts! (8:14) Taker and Kane get their first tag titles as a duo as well as a match with Austin and Triple H. Okay main event but got overbooked toward the finish and it would mark the end of E&C’s last tag title run together. **

Austin and Triple H prevent a celebration by rushing the ring and double-teaming Taker. Kane comes in swinging a chair with his good arm and manages to clear Austin and Triple H from the ring and we have a staredown to finish the show. Hmm, Austin is World Champ, Triple H is Intercontinential Champ and Taker and Kane are Tag Team Champs. I wonder if there’s any type of match to take advantage of this fact.

Conclusion: Unusual but mediocre show as the WWF scrambled to put together Backlash, which was only 10 days away. The matches weren’t anything noteworthy other than the opener and main event, both of which, oddly enough, had the same cast of characters and featured title changes. Plus there was too much talking to build up the three matches suddenly made for the supercard so far. But that’s what happens when you squander three weeks with very little happening and are left with only three shows (four if you include Heat, which you’ll have to) to build the pay-per-view, kind of like the 2011 NBA preseason. So unless you want see Taker and Kane win the belts or Rhyno capture his first WWF gold, go ahead and skip this one.

For more reviews visit my archive at: http://kingsrecaps.wordpress.com

The King's Recap: WWF Smackdown 4.19.2001

WWF SMACKDOWN
Thursday, April 19th, 2001

Taped (4/17) from the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, TN

List of WWF Champions at the time:
WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin (4/01/2001)
WWF Intercontinental Champion: Triple H (4/16/2001)
WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (4/01/2001)
WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero (4/01/2001)
WWF Hardcore Champion: Kane (4/01/2001)
WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna (4/01/2001)
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)

~ Smackdown comes on the air with clips from the IC Title rematch on Raw and the subsequent events. Michael Cole then welcomes us to the show along with Tazz and announces tonight Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho will face the Dudleys in a tables match. And maybe some other stuff as well. Maybe they’ll even remember they have a pay-per-view in 10 days and actually book something for it.

~ Things kick off with Commissioner William Regal making his way to the ring. Regal gets on the mic and demands the Undertaker and Kane come out and face him in the ring. The brothers quickly answer and Regal chasises them for interfering in Steve Austin and Triple H’s business, warning them it will not be tolerated. Regal suggests Taker and Kane stay away from Austin and Triple H feeling they will do the same to them. Regal then tells Kane he looks ready for action and orders him to defend his Hardcore Title right now then proceeds to bring out Kane’s opponent which turns out to be…

  • WWF Hardcore Title: Kane © (w/The Undertaker) vs. Rhyno (w/Edge & Christian)

Rhyno rushes the ring with his pals but Kane works him over him while Taker takes care of E&C and the brothers clear the ring. Takes and Kane go out after their foes and Taker works over E&C then tosses them over the barricade and chases them in the crowd. Rhyno rams Kane into the ringsteps and tees off on him before tossing him back in the ring. Rhyno goes for a whip but Kane reverses it and hits a boot then climbs to the top rope and connects with the flying clothesline. Kane plants Rhyno with the chokeslam when Steve Austin and Triple H run in the ring brandishing chairs and nail Kane in the back before beating him down with them, especially targeting the arm. Triple H tells Rhyno to cover Kane and Rhyno does so for the 1..2..3 to win his first Hardcore Title. (2:31) Oddly enough they’re playing Triple H’s music even though Rhyno was the one who won the title. Taker rushes back to the ring and chases Austin and Triple H away but is far too late for Kane. NR

~ Back from break we get a replay of Austin and Triple H vicioulsy attacking Kane, followed by footage of Kane painfully making his way to the back while holding his arm.

  • The Right To Censor vs. The Acolytes & Kaientai

The RTC is on a massive losing streak and they’re hoping to turn things around here. Steven Richards starts off against Sho Funkai who tries to intimidate Richards with a sumo stance but Richards doesn’t go for it and attacks Funaki in mid-pose. Richards whips Funaki but Funaki comes back with a headscissors. Funaki tags Taka Michinoku in and trips Richards with a drop toehold then goes into a camel clutch and holds Richards while Taka dropkicks the face. Richards drives Taka into his corner where the RTC triple-team him before Val Venis tags in to take over. Val whips Taka into a and chagres but Taka sidesteps him only to eat an elbow in return. Val climbs to the top rope and misses a corkscrew crossbody but comes back with a clothesline. Val whips Taka and hits a spinebuster then goes into a submission hold but Bradshaw breaks it up. Goodfather tags in and beats Taka down then throws him across the ring and hits a suplex. Goodfather covers but Faarooq makes the save and Val comes in without a tag and stomps Taka. Bull Buchanan tags in and helps Goodfather whip Taka and hit a double elbow. Buchanan clotheslines Taka and sets him on the top rope then goes up but Bradshaw throws him off to the mat. Buchanan knocks Bradshaw off the apron and everyone pours in the ring while Taka is still perched on the top rope. Goodafther tosses Funaki over the ropes while Faarooq clotheslines Buchanan over as well. Bradshaw powerbombs Richards while Buchanan comes over and tries to whip him but Bradshaw reverses and Faaoorq helps him hit a double spinebuster. Taka follows up a kneedrop from the top rope and that gets the pin to continue the RTC’s woes. (4:21) The Acolytes celebrate with Kaientai while the RTC are shocked that they lost again. What you’d expect. *

~ Cole and Tazz now hype Saturday’s XFL Championship game between the San Francisco Demons and the L.A. Xtreme and we even get a special video look at Xtreme quarterback Tommy Maddox’s journey through the XFL season. That’s this Saturday on NBC!

~ Backstage Undertaker is promising Kane they’ll get even as he asks some backstage guys where Commissioner Regal’s office is. Once they point the way the brothers head off but not before Taker tells the guys to call 911 as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Grandmaster Sexay admires his reflection in Eddie Guerrero’s European Title belt when Eddie comes up and tells Sexay to keep his hands off his property. Sexay tells Eddie to chill while calling him dawg but Eddie takes offesne to being called a dog and Sexay tries to tell him not to be so hot, calling him tamale. Eddie takes offense to that as well and Sexay decides to show him his hip hop moves in the ring. Eddie takes that as a challenge so he grabs his title belt and storms off.

~ Elsewhere backstage a WCW1 limo arrives in the parking lot meaning Shane McMahon is here tonight.

~ Still elsewhere William Regal is enjoy his tea when The Undertaker and Kane barge into his office and angrily clear off his desk. Taker grabs Regal by his coat and accuses him of setting them up earlier then demands he give them Austin and Triple H, and after that Edge, Christian and Rhyno as well. Regal claims he’s not inclined to grant such a request so Kane responds by setting Regal’s trashcan on fire and that convinces Regal to grant Taker and Kane a tag team title match with Edge and Christian tonight. Taker feels that isn’t enough and Regal is at a loss of what he wants until Kane sets a nearby plant on fire. Regal finally caves in and tells Taker and Kane if they win the titles they can have Austin and Triple H. Taker and Kane seem satisfied and start to depart when Regal mentions their tag title match is no disqualification. The brothers walk off but not before Kane sets Regal’s desk on fire on his way out as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Undertaker forcing Regal to give him and Kane a tag title match. Cole reminds us of Taker and Kane win the titles they’ll they their shot at Austin and Triple H.

  • WWF European Title: Eddie Guerrero © vs. Grandmaster Sexay

Sexay leads the crowd in a cheer and busts a move that allows Eddie to attack him from behind. Eddie whips Sexay and hits an elbow then whips him again but Sexay slides under him and hits a neckbreaker. Sexay goes for a whip, Eddie reverses him into a corner and charges at him but eats a boot. Sexay hops onto the middle rope and leaps off, Eddie ducks him but Sexay comes back with a DDT for a two count. Eddie bails out to the floor but Sexay hits a baseball slide then brawls with Eddie up the ramp before bulldoging him onto it. Sexay throws Eddie back in the ring and climbs to the top rope and goes for a flying crossbody but misses it. Eddie hits a double stomp to the chest followed by shoulderblocks in a corner. Eddie whips Sexay into the opposite corner but Sexay stops himself then tosses Eddie his head onto the turnbuckles. Sexay hits an euzuigiri then whips Eddie and hits a backdrop and dances a big before hitting a right hand. Sexay goes for a whip, Eddie reverses him into a corner and Sexay lifts himself over Eddie then grabs Eddie with a waistlock. Eddie switches into his own waistlock when Sexay elbows him away and goes for a Figure Four but Eddie kicks him into the ringpost and rolls him up for a two count. Eddie hits a back suplex then climbs to the top rope looking for the Frogsplash but Sexay cuts him off then goes up and hits a superplex. Instead of covering Eddie, Sexay climbs to the top rope himself but Eddie grabs the referee’s ankle and causes him to bump the ropes, straddling Sexay on the buckle. Sexay falls to the mat and Eddie rolls him up with his own feet on the ropes for the win. (4:38) Eddie did his best but this match still had no heat.

~ Backstage Vince McMahon, Steve Austin and Triple H demand an explanation from William Regal about the match he set up and Regal assures them they can use the no-DQ stipulation to their advantage. Vince decides to add some entertainment and asks the other three to see what happens to Shane later then departs while the others continue their discussion as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Lillian Garcia interviews Edge and Christian about their tag title defense later as well as Rhyno’s controversial Hardcore title win. Edge responds by saying controversy rules and there’s a huge problem in their match tonight but it’s The Undertaker and Kane’s, not theirs. Edge says he and Christian are the big game hunters and any bets placed on them will pay big dividends. Christian adds they’ve been up against big obstacles before but have always walks out still tag team champs. Christian says they have a plan that reeks of awesomeness before the three of them depart.

~ Out in the arena Vince McMahon hits the ring because we just have to get our McMahon promo time in. Vince gets on the mic and talks about how Shane McMahon came back to the WWF some time ago and attacked him in the ring then stole WCW from under his nose and kicked a trash can in his face. Vince then suggest Shane is stalking him after appearing on Raw and pulling up in his limo tonight. Vince claims he never wanted WCW in the first place then feels Shane has something important to say so he dares Shane to come out and confront him face-to-face. Shane does make his way out and grabs a mic and apologizes to Vince … for not beating him up a long time ago after Wrestlemania. Shane says things are getting hot in WCW just like the issues in his personal life after his speech on Raw, which Linda and her attorneys found in very interesting. Shane tells Vince to have a nice day and starts to head out but Vince stops him and tries to explain himself, claiming what he said on Monday wasn’t about divorce, it was about the sanctity of marriage. Vince brings up the conversation Shane had with The Big Show and even shows it on the OvalTron before reminding him that Shows’s working for the WWF.

Vince then invites Show to the ring for a public conversation and Show comes out and shake Shane’s hand. Vince accuses Show of trying to impress Shane when Shane sees him just as the world does, the single biggest dissapopintment in the WWF. Vince feels Shane is trying to recruit Show to WCW behind the scenes and congradulates him on his accquisition. However Vince tells Show once he gets to WCW he’s going to get some of the pep talks Shane used to give him and shows a clip from Smackdown last year of Shane calling Show an pathetic, pea-brained, unmotivated slob. Vince then shows a still of Shane breaking a cement block over Show’s head at Judgment Day last May, followed by a series of clips of Shane making fun of Show over the past year as well. Vince tells Show he may have squandered his oppertunites but still has the potential to be WWF Champion before asking him to decide his path, whether he remains in the WWF or goes with Shane to WCW. Show grabs Vince by the throat but then turns and grabs Shane by the throat and proceeds to chokeslam him. Vince stands over Shane and tells him he will face Big Show at Backlash, in a Last Man Standing match. Vince and Show leave Shane laying in the ring and hey, we finally have a match booked for the pay-per-view.

~ Back from break we get a replay of Vince asking Show to make a decision and Show answering with a chokeslam.

~ Out in the arena The Dudleys make thier way to the ring for the tables match followed by Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho, who are teaming up for the first time. However before the match starts William Regal comes out to the stage along with Kurt Angle. Regal gets on the mic and mentions that Backlash is just 10 days away then tells Jericho he won’t be getting off that easy because the two will wrestle each other again, this time in a match under ‘Duchess of Queensbury’ rules which he will explain in due course. Regal then tells Benoit he will fight Angle on the card as well, in a 30-minute ultimate submission match where the most submissions wins. So we got three matches booked for Backlash, all in the span of five minutes. Anyway Regal then demands the tables match start just as the Dudleys attack Benoit and Jericho from behind.

  • The Dudley Boyz vs. Chris Benoit & Chris JerichoTables Match

Bubba Ray tosses Benoit through the ropes and goes after him on the floor while Jerricho tees off on D’Von in a corner. Jericho goes for a whip, D’Von reverses him into a corner and eats a boot but catches Jericho with a powerslam as Angle looks on. D’Von whips Jericho and hits the jumping elbow then whips him again but Jericho comes back with a forearm followed by a dropkick. D’Von rolls out to the apron when Jericho connects with the springboard dropkick but Bubba comes in and plants Jericho with a Samoan Drop. Benoit comes in and hammers away on Bubba then Benoit goes for a whip, Bubba reverses him into a corner and eats a double boot but nails Benoit with the Bubbabomb. Benoit fights back with chops and goes for a whip but Bubba reverses him into a corner and slams him. Bubba then sets Benoit up as D’Von climbs to the top rope and hits the “Wassup” headbutt as Angle continues to observe. The Dudleys go out and grab a table when Jericho goes for a baseball slide but the Dudleys raise the table up and ram it into Jericho’s face. The Dudleys set the table up in the ring then go for a double flapjack on Benoit through the table but Jericho moves it just in time. Jericho nails D’Von with a spinning heelkick but eats a right hand from Bubba. Bubba places Jericho onto the table as D’Von climbs to the top rope but Benoit cuts him off. Bubba clubs Benoit in the back but Jericho knocks Bubba through the ropes. Benoit and Jericho then go to superplex D’Von through the table but Bubba moves it to prevent that as well. Bubba clotheslines Jericho over the ropes when Benoit grabs him with a waistlock, Bubba fights out of it and goes for the Bubbabomb but Benoit counters into a German suplex. Benoit holds on for a second German then goes to put Bubba through the table with a third German suplex but D’Von moves it to save Bubba. Jericho climbs to the top rope and connects with a missle dropkick on D’Von. The Chrises set the table up and Benoit places D’Von on it while Jericho goes for a Liondsault but Bubba trips him from the floor. Benoit climbs to the top rope looking for the diving headbutt through the table when Angle runs down and shoves Benoit off the top through the table, which somehow gets the Dudleys the victory. (4:31) Entertaining match there but can someone explain how Angle putting Benoit through the table means the Dudleys win? **½

~ Back from break we get a music video about the Undertaker and Kane set to Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song”.

~ Backstage Vince wishes Edge & Christian luck in their match but something tells him they won’t need it. Vince then joins Steve Austin and Triple H in looking at highlights of them beating down the Hardys on Raw. I guess this is suppsoed to make us think the Hardys are still in the main storyline but we know better.

~ Elsewhere Johnathan Coachman interviews Molly Holly on her chances of winning the Women’s title tonight. Molly feels her chances are fair and she may not be as big is Chyna but is still going to do her best.

~ Chyna is then shown heading to the ring for her aforementioned title defense as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the Gaylord Entertainment Center and also find Jevon Kearse of the Tennessee Titans in the crowd tonight.

~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews the Undertaker and Kane (who has his left elbow taped up), asking if they’re ready for their title shot. Taker chastises Kevin for asking the dumbest questions sometimes then asks why Steve Austin and Triple H feel beating up women and commentators makes them such bad dudes. Taker says once he and Kane finish Edge and Christian they’re going to show them who the real bad guys are, and while E&C are 7-time Tag Team champions they’re going to lose the titles for the seventh time. Taker finishes by saying E&C will make a name for themselves because he and Kane are going to make them famous.

  • WWF Women’s Title: Chyna © vs. Molly Holly

Molly grabs Chyna with a waistlock to start, Chyna counters into a hammerlock, Molly reverses it and Molly goes into a headlock but Chyna shoves her into the roeps and hits a shoulderblock. Molly locks up with Chyna and applies an arm wreinger but Chyna reverses into her own armwringer. Molly flips out of it and goes into an armbar but Chyna throws her to the mat and hits a press slam. Chyna charges at Molly in a corner but Molly sidesteps her and hits a bulldog for a two count. Molly climbs to the top rope and connects with a flying crossbody but that only gets two as well. Molly comes off the ropes but runs into a clothesline and Chyna powerbombs Molly for the pin. (2:15) And Chyna’s burial of the Women’s division continues. *

~ Backstage we find Kurt Angle telling someone off camera not to come out until he says it’s time because they’re going to teach Chris Benoit about the three I’s as we go to commercial.

~ Back from break Cole and Tazz again shill the XFL Championship game this Saturday night. They really want is to watch it, dont they?

~ Kurt Angle comes out to the ring as Tony Chimel announces this as a five-minute submission exhibition. Angle gets on the mic and says how he’s been beating opponents his whole life which he calls his ‘thang’ and pinning opponents is great but leaves him a little empty since he just pins them to the mat. Angle says there’s no better feeling than humilitaing his opponent by making them submit to his Olympic wrath. Angle says he wanted the ultimate submisison match promising 30 minutes of torture for Chris Benoit at Backlash because he’s going to make Benoit squeal over and over. Angle feels the fans don’t get what he’s saying so he’s recruited a trio of local wrestlers and brings them out for a submission demonstration. Angle says he will give each of them the chance to make him submit and hopes Benoit is watching his future. The first guy moves in but Angle takes him down with a headlock/armbar combo and forces him to tap. The second guy charges but Angle trips him and hits a front facelock slam that gets a submission. The third guy grabs Angle with a waistlock but Angle hits a Fireman’s carry and forces a tapout with an armbar. The thrid guy tries agan but Angle throws him over his shoulder and slaps on a jujigatame for the submission. Angle hits the second guy with a belly-to-belly throw and forces him to quit with a Dragon sleeper. Angle helps the guy up but kicks him in the back of the knee and locks in the Anklelock for a tapout. The other two guys are hesitant to lockup again so Angle offer to be in the mount position for them. The third guy moves in with a waistlock but Angle rolls forward into the Anklelock for another tapout. Angle drops to the mat again but has his back to the ramp and I bet you’re thinking “I wonder if Benoit is going to come out, replace the scrub when Angle isn’t looking and slap on the Crossface.” Well, that’s exactly what happens as Benoit slips in the ring and tosses the remaining guy over the ropes behind Angle’s back then slaps on the Crossface and Angle is the one who’s forced to tap out. Benoit refuses to let go at first but eventually does and leaves Angle laying in the ring.

~ Edge, Christian and Rhyno are all shown heading to the ring as are The Undertaker and Kane which means main event time is next. We then see Steve Austin and Triple H getting up and heading somewhere as we go to commercial.

  • WWF World Tag Team Titles: Edge & Christian © (w/Rhyno) vs. The Undertaker & KaneNo-DQ Match

We opened the show with these five guys and it looks like we’re going to close with these same guys. Edge, Christian and Rhyno triple-team Kane while Taker rides to the ring on his motorcycle. Taker heads in and manages to clear Edge and Rhyno out then goes out after Edge leaving Christian and Kane. Kane plants Christian with a sidewalk slam and hits a clothesline then Christian goes after Kane’s bad arm but Kane swats him away and pounds him down in a corner. Christian slips out of the corner and gets in his own shots then goes for the count-along punches but Kane shoves him off and decks Edge off the apron. Kane manages to hit a one-arm powerslam then brings Edge in the ring and hits him with a big boot. Kane goes for the ropes and Rhyno nails him from behind to distract him as Christian moves in but Kane backdrops Christian over the ropes where Taker meets him with a right hand on the floor. In the ring Kane grabs Edge by the throat for a chokeslam but Rhyno comes in and Gores Kane. Edge lays the boots to Kane and kicks at the bad arm. Kane kicks him away and crawls to his corner but Edge cuts off the tag, even thought it’s no-DQ and Taker should just be able to come in whenever he wants. Edge applies an armwringer on the bad arm and Kane tries to fight back but Edge hits an amrbar slam. Taker breaks up the pin but is ordered out of the ring by Earl Hebner, again even though the match is no-DQ. Christian comes in without a tag and tees off on Kane’s bad arm then locks in a short-arm scissors. Kane manages to roll over and get to his feet with Christian on his arm and suplex him. Kane crawls over to his corner and makes the tag to Taker but Edge distracts Hebner who misses it. Making me ask why they’re doing the false tag spot in a no-DQ match?

Hebner orders Taker out of the ring while E&C pull Kane to their corner and Edge lays the boots to him. Both men exchange punches and Edge goes for a whip but Kane slings Edge into a corner and hits a suplex. Christian comes in but Kane clotheslines him down then crawls to his corner and makes the hot tag to Taker. Taker takes it to both E&C and whips Christian hitting a backdrop then nails Edge with a big boot. Taker works over E&C in opposite corners before clohteslining Edge over the ropes. Taker grabs Christian by the throat when Rhyno comes in with a chair and whacks Taker in the back. Christian crawls over and covers Taker but only gets a two count. Rhyno starts to work over Taker when Kane grabs him for a chokeslam but Rhyno kicks the bad arm and clotheslines him over the ropes. Kane lands on his feet on the floor as Rhyno goes out after him but Kane boots him down on the ramp. E&C double-team Taker in the ring while Kane chokeslams Rhyno on the ramp. Steve Austin and Triple H run out and beat Kane down on the floor as E&C continue to assault Taker. E&c bring a pair of chairs in the ring and go for the ConChairto but Taker ducks the shot. Taker pops Edge then plants Christian with the Last Ride and gets the three for the belts! (8:14) Taker and Kane get their first tag titles as a duo as well as a match with Austin and Triple H. Okay main event but got overbooked toward the finish and it would mark the end of E&C’s last tag title run together. **

Austin and Triple H prevent a celebration by rushing the ring and double-teaming Taker. Kane comes in swinging a chair with his good arm and manages to clear Austin and Triple H from the ring and we have a staredown to finish the show. Hmm, Austin is World Champ, Triple H is Intercontinential Champ and Taker and Kane are Tag Team Champs. I wonder if there’s any type of match to take advantage of this fact.

Conclusion: Unusual but mediocre show as the WWF scrambled to put together Backlash, which was only 10 days away. The matches weren’t anything noteworthy other than the opener and main event, both of which, oddly enough, had the same cast of characters and featured title changes. Plus there was too much talking to build up the three matches suddenly made for the supercard so far. But that’s what happens when you squander three weeks with very little happening and are left with only three shows (four if you include Heat, which you’ll have to) to build the pay-per-view, kind of like the 2011 NBA preseason. So unless you want see Taker and Kane win the belts or Rhyno capture his first WWF gold, go ahead and skip this one.

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Monday Nitro – October 28, 1996

Monday Nitro #59
Date: October 28, 1996
Location: America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Attendance: 6,300
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Mike Tenay, Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re FINALLY done with Halloween Havoc and the big reveal: Roddy Piper is back. Hogan and he literally talked until the show went off the air last night and neither really said anything. Tonight we begin the road to World War 3 which wasn’t a world title match for Hogan because he took that show off I guess. Hogan vs. Piper wouldn’t happen until Starrcade where the ending was pretty stupid. Oh and the Outsiders are tag champions now. Let’s get to it.

Larry is in a sport coat and a Superman t-shirt. He and Tony talk about Piper arriving last night. The still of Hogan’s face is GREAT.

TV Title: Steven Regal vs. Juventud Guerrera

Sting, in white facepaint, is watching from the rafters. Oh here we go. Some NWO fans come in with signs and the fans all react. Juvy and Regal hit the mat and wait for things to calm down. Syxx pops up in the crowd with a mic. The match basically stops and Syxx says he’ll be Cruiserweight Champion. Now the match gets going again as Syxx gives Sting a recruitment speech. Juvy snaps off a rana and a dropkick. He loads up the 450 but Regal moves. The Stretch ends this quickly. Too short to rate, especially with the match just stopping for about 45 seconds for Syxx.

Tony is about to interview Regal but talks about Sting first. Sting gets up and walks away.

We get some stills from Luger vs. Anderson last night.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Mike Enos

I don’t like Enos’ chances. Enos slaps him almost immediately and they go to the floor. Page sends him into the barricade to take over. Back in a Batista Bomb gets two. Top rope clothesline hits an we’ve got Outsiders. Page points at them so Enos can take over. Enos points at them and maintains control. I guess he’s better at time management than Page is. Enos points at them again and hits a powerslam again. He loads up a Bulldog powerslam but takes too long, letting Page hook the ropes and counter into a Diamond Cutter. The Outsiders seem pleased as Page gets the pin.

Rating: D. Eh it’s just a three minute match so how bad can it be? This would start the angle that made Page a star which I’ve been mentioning for months. See? I’m not crazy. Enos had signaled that the running powerslam was his finisher, which is impressive since I didn’t know he had one. You learn something new every day.

Stills of Dean winning the Cruiserweight Title last night from Rey.

Dean Malenko vs. Jim Powers

There’s a player from the Suns in an NWO shirt. Psicosis comes out to watch the match. Powers controls to start with headlocks but Malenko uses the technical stuff to get us to even. They go to the mat and Powers grabs an armbar. Dean is a heel here if you’re not familiar with this period. Off to a chinlock as Nick Patrick has a sore neck and argues with Teddy for awhile. Powers makes a brief comeback with an atomic drop and clothesline for two. A right hand gets two. Knee lift puts Dean down and a powerslam gets no count because Patrick is arguing with Teddy. Dean rolls Powers up for the pin.

Rating: D+. Nothing to see here other than to continue the Patrick is a bad referee and is feuding with Teddy Long storyline. I don’t remember what Patrick has against Long but I guess we’ll get to it soon enough. Powers is fine at what he’s doing which is just easily jobbing to people, but he’s pretty boring. Granted that’s his job so it’s hard to complain.

Still of the Dungeon vs. Horsemen last night. The Horsemen won but Benoit and Mongo got laid out. Sullivan and Woman had words but we don’t know why yet.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Ricky Morton

Memphis explodes! Jarrett controls early but Ricky works on the arm. Morton hits a spinning crossbody out of the corner for two. Jarrett suplexes him down and Tony plugs World War 3’s ticket info. Top rope cross body is rolled through for two but Jeff hooks a neckbreaker to keep control. Figure Four is rolled up for two. A knee crusher sets up the Figure Four and it’s over.

Rating: C-. Again not bad but just there to get Jarrett on TV. He was so painfully uninteresting at this point and I don’t think anyone cared about him at all. They basically did the same thing with Hennig like a year later and it actually worked. Jarrett didn’t get over as a serious guy until he ditched the country music, but that was years away.

Giant, with the US Title which isn’t his, says he had Jarrett last night but Flair saved him. He runs down the Horsemen, saying that Jarrett will be chokeslamed soon. Jarrett says bring it on. He says it after Giant leaves but he does say it. Jarrett also becomes the probably 58th person to say WCW has to unite to face the NWO.

Amazing French Canadians vs. High Voltage

High Voltage starts off fast and beats up every French Canadian in sight. Rage vs. Oulette start us off. We launch fireworks to remind the fans that the show is two hours long, because the wrestling match going on doesn’t tell them that the show is still going. Savage isn’t here tonight. The foreigners take over and hit the Rougeau Bomb onto Kaos and then load up the Quebecers’ Cannonball finisher before the Nasties run in for the DQ. Too short to rate but it was just there to give the Nasties two teams to beat up.

The Nasties yell about Hogan and swear revenge. They don’t belong to WCW, just like Sting and Piper. They’ll always be Nasty though.

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Jimmy Graffiti

Graffiti jumps him and hits an electric chair drop for two. Rey comes back with a springboard moonsault for two. A rana takes Graffiti to the floor but Rey is sent into the railing. Graffiti gets up on the apron and hits a flip dive to crush the more famous one. Chinlock by Graffiti but Rey casually gets up, speeds things up and hits West Coast Pop for the pin.

Rating: D+. All of these matches have pretty much been interchangeable tonight. Nothing has lasted more than about 4 minutes and nothing has been really interesting. Everything has been focused on what happened last night and it’s really slowing things down. The matches haven’t been bad, but they’re all coming and going with nothing really happening at all.

Lee Marshall is in Grand Rapids, Michigan to hype up the show.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit

Please give them more than four minutes. We have like 40 left in the show not counting commercials so it’s not like they don’t have time. Benoit is all taped up from the beating last night. After a break we’re ready to go. Mongo and Debra come out just a few seconds into it, apparently to watch out for the Dungeon. We get an inset interview from Jimmy Hart and Kevin Sullivan who say there’s something about Woman which is going to be revealed soon.

Eddie is banged up too so the match consists of them both trying to get going but every time they do something physical they have to stop and lay on the mat for a long time. Benoit goes after Eddie’s bad ribs. Back in and Eddie is in agony. Benoit hooks on a seated abdominal stretch but since he’s hurt, Eddie fires off an armdrag which really injures Benoit.

Back to that stretch after some more slowly moving around. I don’t remember what caused Eddie’s injuries but I think it was a match with DDP. Wikipedia says I’m right so there you are. Eddie wakes up and pounds away in the corner but he has to pause again. He hits something that looks like a flying headbutt and both guys are down. Woman offers a distraction and Mongo pops Eddie in the ribs with the briefcase so Benoit can steal the pin.

Rating: C. This is a hard one to grade. As far as a match, it’s dull due to having to go very slowly. However, it would have been REALLY stupid to have them go out there and fly all over the place after we saw at least Benoit get mauled last night. I’ll go with right in the middle because the match made sense, but it was still kind of boring.

Nick Patrick and his attorney have an “interview”, which means the attorney is rude and spins things. It’s Jericho’s fault apparently. Jericho comes out and calls BS, saying Patrick is NWO. The attorney suggests Jericho needs anger counseling. Teddy comes out and blasts the attorney so the attorney threatens a slander lawsuit. This just goes on and on for like 4 minutes.

Booker T vs. Lex Luger

This would be a very different match a few years later. There’s no Stevie or Colonel Parker with Booker. There must be a LONG segment planned to close the show because we have well over 20 minutes not counting commercials, so it was probably about 9:30 when this match started. Colonel Parker has a quick promo, saying his gaffe last night (came in with the cane, Hall stole it and clocked Stevie with it for the titles) is all just blown out of proportion.

Lex takes over to start with pure power and sends him to the floor. Booker takes over back in and Sherri yells at the basketball player outside, saying he can help Booker win. Booker gets knocked to the floor again and things slow down one more time. Lex pounds him down in the corner and is acting more aggressive than usual. Lex hits a forearm and we take a break.

Back with Booker holding a chinlock. Wow a match getting over ten minutes. I don’t know how to handle this. Booker takes over and hits some of his basic stuff as Eric seems to drool over the idea of Piper being WCW. The Hangover misses and Lex calls for the Rack, but Sting pops up in the crowd and stares Luger down. Lex jumps into the crowd and runs after Sting for the countout loss.

Rating: D+. This was an elongated version of what we had going on earlier. Nothing to see here but they had a lot of time so they let them go for awhile. The problem is Booker wasn’t ready to do this yet so the match was pretty boring. It’s not that bad but it was again there just for the ending.

Eric talks about Piper calling WCW and asking for five minutes to confront Hogan. Here’s the whole segment from last night which basically says that Piper is as big a star as Hogan and Hogan is terrified. They talk forever and Hogan keeps backpedaling. Why Giant didn’t destroy him is still beyond me. This goes on for about ten minutes. The line of “If they didn’t hate me so much do you think they would have loved you so much” is pretty dead on though. They cut off the ending due to time.

Here’s the NWO to offer a rebuttal to last night because they didn’t talk enough there. Hogan gets a spotlight and says he told you so. As for Savage, he respects him due to carrying the burden of WCW. Hogan implies sex with Liz I think. After about two or three minutes he addresses Piper. He lies about what we just saw (classic heel move) and says Piper is scared. DiBiase says Hollywood is going to entertain us now so Hogan poses to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. I really wasn’t feeling this one. Everything here was kind of a big recap show for Halloween Havoc. Nothing at all was advanced in the main event as the whole ending was just a quick thing from Hogan which goes nowhere. I still don’t get why they went with Hogan vs. Piper in 1996 and then in 1997, but it made them a fortune so it’s really hard to question them. It doesn’t pick up for about three weeks though.

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Monday Nitro – October 28, 1996

Monday Nitro #59
Date: October 28, 1996
Location: America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Attendance: 6,300
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Mike Tenay, Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re FINALLY done with Halloween Havoc and the big reveal: Roddy Piper is back. Hogan and he literally talked until the show went off the air last night and neither really said anything. Tonight we begin the road to World War 3 which wasn’t a world title match for Hogan because he took that show off I guess. Hogan vs. Piper wouldn’t happen until Starrcade where the ending was pretty stupid. Oh and the Outsiders are tag champions now. Let’s get to it.

Larry is in a sport coat and a Superman t-shirt. He and Tony talk about Piper arriving last night. The still of Hogan’s face is GREAT.

TV Title: Steven Regal vs. Juventud Guerrera

Sting, in white facepaint, is watching from the rafters. Oh here we go. Some NWO fans come in with signs and the fans all react. Juvy and Regal hit the mat and wait for things to calm down. Syxx pops up in the crowd with a mic. The match basically stops and Syxx says he’ll be Cruiserweight Champion. Now the match gets going again as Syxx gives Sting a recruitment speech. Juvy snaps off a rana and a dropkick. He loads up the 450 but Regal moves. The Stretch ends this quickly. Too short to rate, especially with the match just stopping for about 45 seconds for Syxx.

Tony is about to interview Regal but talks about Sting first. Sting gets up and walks away.

We get some stills from Luger vs. Anderson last night.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Mike Enos

I don’t like Enos’ chances. Enos slaps him almost immediately and they go to the floor. Page sends him into the barricade to take over. Back in a Batista Bomb gets two. Top rope clothesline hits an we’ve got Outsiders. Page points at them so Enos can take over. Enos points at them and maintains control. I guess he’s better at time management than Page is. Enos points at them again and hits a powerslam again. He loads up a Bulldog powerslam but takes too long, letting Page hook the ropes and counter into a Diamond Cutter. The Outsiders seem pleased as Page gets the pin.

Rating: D. Eh it’s just a three minute match so how bad can it be? This would start the angle that made Page a star which I’ve been mentioning for months. See? I’m not crazy. Enos had signaled that the running powerslam was his finisher, which is impressive since I didn’t know he had one. You learn something new every day.

Stills of Dean winning the Cruiserweight Title last night from Rey.

Dean Malenko vs. Jim Powers

There’s a player from the Suns in an NWO shirt. Psicosis comes out to watch the match. Powers controls to start with headlocks but Malenko uses the technical stuff to get us to even. They go to the mat and Powers grabs an armbar. Dean is a heel here if you’re not familiar with this period. Off to a chinlock as Nick Patrick has a sore neck and argues with Teddy for awhile. Powers makes a brief comeback with an atomic drop and clothesline for two. A right hand gets two. Knee lift puts Dean down and a powerslam gets no count because Patrick is arguing with Teddy. Dean rolls Powers up for the pin.

Rating: D+. Nothing to see here other than to continue the Patrick is a bad referee and is feuding with Teddy Long storyline. I don’t remember what Patrick has against Long but I guess we’ll get to it soon enough. Powers is fine at what he’s doing which is just easily jobbing to people, but he’s pretty boring. Granted that’s his job so it’s hard to complain.

Still of the Dungeon vs. Horsemen last night. The Horsemen won but Benoit and Mongo got laid out. Sullivan and Woman had words but we don’t know why yet.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Ricky Morton

Memphis explodes! Jarrett controls early but Ricky works on the arm. Morton hits a spinning crossbody out of the corner for two. Jarrett suplexes him down and Tony plugs World War 3’s ticket info. Top rope cross body is rolled through for two but Jeff hooks a neckbreaker to keep control. Figure Four is rolled up for two. A knee crusher sets up the Figure Four and it’s over.

Rating: C-. Again not bad but just there to get Jarrett on TV. He was so painfully uninteresting at this point and I don’t think anyone cared about him at all. They basically did the same thing with Hennig like a year later and it actually worked. Jarrett didn’t get over as a serious guy until he ditched the country music, but that was years away.

Giant, with the US Title which isn’t his, says he had Jarrett last night but Flair saved him. He runs down the Horsemen, saying that Jarrett will be chokeslamed soon. Jarrett says bring it on. He says it after Giant leaves but he does say it. Jarrett also becomes the probably 58th person to say WCW has to unite to face the NWO.

Amazing French Canadians vs. High Voltage

High Voltage starts off fast and beats up every French Canadian in sight. Rage vs. Oulette start us off. We launch fireworks to remind the fans that the show is two hours long, because the wrestling match going on doesn’t tell them that the show is still going. Savage isn’t here tonight. The foreigners take over and hit the Rougeau Bomb onto Kaos and then load up the Quebecers’ Cannonball finisher before the Nasties run in for the DQ. Too short to rate but it was just there to give the Nasties two teams to beat up.

The Nasties yell about Hogan and swear revenge. They don’t belong to WCW, just like Sting and Piper. They’ll always be Nasty though.

Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Jimmy Graffiti

Graffiti jumps him and hits an electric chair drop for two. Rey comes back with a springboard moonsault for two. A rana takes Graffiti to the floor but Rey is sent into the railing. Graffiti gets up on the apron and hits a flip dive to crush the more famous one. Chinlock by Graffiti but Rey casually gets up, speeds things up and hits West Coast Pop for the pin.

Rating: D+. All of these matches have pretty much been interchangeable tonight. Nothing has lasted more than about 4 minutes and nothing has been really interesting. Everything has been focused on what happened last night and it’s really slowing things down. The matches haven’t been bad, but they’re all coming and going with nothing really happening at all.

Lee Marshall is in Grand Rapids, Michigan to hype up the show.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit

Please give them more than four minutes. We have like 40 left in the show not counting commercials so it’s not like they don’t have time. Benoit is all taped up from the beating last night. After a break we’re ready to go. Mongo and Debra come out just a few seconds into it, apparently to watch out for the Dungeon. We get an inset interview from Jimmy Hart and Kevin Sullivan who say there’s something about Woman which is going to be revealed soon.

Eddie is banged up too so the match consists of them both trying to get going but every time they do something physical they have to stop and lay on the mat for a long time. Benoit goes after Eddie’s bad ribs. Back in and Eddie is in agony. Benoit hooks on a seated abdominal stretch but since he’s hurt, Eddie fires off an armdrag which really injures Benoit.

Back to that stretch after some more slowly moving around. I don’t remember what caused Eddie’s injuries but I think it was a match with DDP. Wikipedia says I’m right so there you are. Eddie wakes up and pounds away in the corner but he has to pause again. He hits something that looks like a flying headbutt and both guys are down. Woman offers a distraction and Mongo pops Eddie in the ribs with the briefcase so Benoit can steal the pin.

Rating: C. This is a hard one to grade. As far as a match, it’s dull due to having to go very slowly. However, it would have been REALLY stupid to have them go out there and fly all over the place after we saw at least Benoit get mauled last night. I’ll go with right in the middle because the match made sense, but it was still kind of boring.

Nick Patrick and his attorney have an “interview”, which means the attorney is rude and spins things. It’s Jericho’s fault apparently. Jericho comes out and calls BS, saying Patrick is NWO. The attorney suggests Jericho needs anger counseling. Teddy comes out and blasts the attorney so the attorney threatens a slander lawsuit. This just goes on and on for like 4 minutes.

Booker T vs. Lex Luger

This would be a very different match a few years later. There’s no Stevie or Colonel Parker with Booker. There must be a LONG segment planned to close the show because we have well over 20 minutes not counting commercials, so it was probably about 9:30 when this match started. Colonel Parker has a quick promo, saying his gaffe last night (came in with the cane, Hall stole it and clocked Stevie with it for the titles) is all just blown out of proportion.

Lex takes over to start with pure power and sends him to the floor. Booker takes over back in and Sherri yells at the basketball player outside, saying he can help Booker win. Booker gets knocked to the floor again and things slow down one more time. Lex pounds him down in the corner and is acting more aggressive than usual. Lex hits a forearm and we take a break.

Back with Booker holding a chinlock. Wow a match getting over ten minutes. I don’t know how to handle this. Booker takes over and hits some of his basic stuff as Eric seems to drool over the idea of Piper being WCW. The Hangover misses and Lex calls for the Rack, but Sting pops up in the crowd and stares Luger down. Lex jumps into the crowd and runs after Sting for the countout loss.

Rating: D+. This was an elongated version of what we had going on earlier. Nothing to see here but they had a lot of time so they let them go for awhile. The problem is Booker wasn’t ready to do this yet so the match was pretty boring. It’s not that bad but it was again there just for the ending.

Eric talks about Piper calling WCW and asking for five minutes to confront Hogan. Here’s the whole segment from last night which basically says that Piper is as big a star as Hogan and Hogan is terrified. They talk forever and Hogan keeps backpedaling. Why Giant didn’t destroy him is still beyond me. This goes on for about ten minutes. The line of “If they didn’t hate me so much do you think they would have loved you so much” is pretty dead on though. They cut off the ending due to time.

Here’s the NWO to offer a rebuttal to last night because they didn’t talk enough there. Hogan gets a spotlight and says he told you so. As for Savage, he respects him due to carrying the burden of WCW. Hogan implies sex with Liz I think. After about two or three minutes he addresses Piper. He lies about what we just saw (classic heel move) and says Piper is scared. DiBiase says Hollywood is going to entertain us now so Hogan poses to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. I really wasn’t feeling this one. Everything here was kind of a big recap show for Halloween Havoc. Nothing at all was advanced in the main event as the whole ending was just a quick thing from Hogan which goes nowhere. I still don’t get why they went with Hogan vs. Piper in 1996 and then in 1997, but it made them a fortune so it’s really hard to question them. It doesn’t pick up for about three weeks though.

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NXT – March 21, 2012

NXT
Date: March 21, 2012
Location: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Commentators: William Regal, Josh Matthews

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Back to NXT Land with another episode. I barely remember anything about last week’s show and that can’t be a good sign. I believe Kaitlyn and Bateman finally hooked up, much to Maxine’s dismay. I’ve basically given up on the idea of Regal doing anything to change the show around, putting the GM change into the column that most of this show would fall under: totally pointless. Let’s get to it.

The opening video that they’ve added the last few weeks is actually pretty good.

Striker is in the ring to open the show and talks about how Regal has made four matches with McGillicutty vs. Kidd capping it off.

Curt Hawkins vs. Justin Gabriel

Justin chops him into the corner to start but misses what looked to be a springboard clothesline. Hawkins takes over after the crash, getting two off a slam. Off to a chinlock which implies this is going to be a very short match. Justin comes back with a jumping back kick off the middle rope, setting up a quick 450 for the pin at 2:23. Not a bad match and not quite a squash, but if Hawkins is going to be one of the top heels on this show he really needs to be fixed up a lot.

Bateman and Kaitlyn hold hands are in the back and are all happy. Tamina comes up to talk about how termites mate for life. She wants to find her termite. Bateman and Kaitlyn leave so Young and Titus come up to hit on her. They make fun of the Usos and Darren starts to ask her out. The Usos come up and Tamina isn’t happy with them I don’t think. So JTG is just gone I’m guessing? I can’t complain about that. There’s a singles match later and the Usos leave her with the two of them.

Darren Young vs. Jimmy Uso

Jey sits in on commentary. Jimmy starts off with chops in the corner and knocks Young to the floor. Back inside and they slug it out and Jimmy is sent to the floor. Jey really isn’t that great on commentary. We take a break with Jimmy on the floor and come back with Young pounding away from a mounted position. Jimmy manages to send him into the corner but he charges into two boots. Regal talks about his brother being in the biology department at Oxford University. Apparently he’s in a jar and has two heads.

Off to a chinlock by Young as the fans are behind the Usos. The fans always seem to react to them, unlike the tag champions where no one seems to care. That being said, I’d be stunned if the Usos get a title run in the next four months. Jimmy makes his comeback and takes Young down out of the corner. Jey gets off commentary to lead cheers. Jimmy comes back with a Samoan drop and some dancing, followed by the Umaga hip attack in the corner for two. He goes up but Darren gets in some forearms and rams Jimmy shoulder first into the post. The double knee gutbuster gets the pin at 6:25.

Rating: C. This was ok, but as usual the problem with Young is how boring he is. The No Days Off sounds like something a face would call himself. Wouldn’t a heel be about finding a shortcut to winning instead of working hard? Either way, nothing significant to see here other than the Usos losing again to people far less interesting than them.

Titus brags to Tamina in the back.

Josh Matthews gets a message on his phone that his car has been stolen and goes to look into it.

We cut to the back where Curtis and Maxine talk about how they faked the message in an effort to get Matthews off commentary, so that Maxine can get on commentary with Regal and talk her way off this show. Insert your THIS IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF A CAMERA line here. Curtis pulls out a chloroform soaked rag (Maxine: WHY DO YOU HAVE CHLOROFORM??? Curtis: Why don’t I have chloroform?) and knocks out…..Striker. They throw him in a crate and Maxine seems ok with it. Fox comes up after Maxine leaves and is disgusted by Curtis in a totally pointless scene.

Here’s Maxine coming out for commentary. She comes out with a box of gifts: oils and lotions etc.

Percy Watson vs. Tyler Reks

Maxine is flirting with Regal and probably will be for the rest of the show. Watson tries to get the crowd clapping and it works for about three seconds. Maxine is massaging Regal’s feet as Watson takes over and sends Reks to the floor. Reks yells at Watson as Watson dives over the top to take out Reks. We take a break to tell you to check out WWE’s new website which you have to be on if you’re watching this show in America, and come back with Reks in control.

Regal talks about I think his brother being a professional doughnut stealer. Reks works over the arm and Regal compliments Maxine on her foot massaging abilities. Watson comes back by ramming Reks into the corner. Maxine is rubbing Regal’s scalp as Watson hits a dropkick. Heisman gets two. A top rope cross body is rolled through for two for Reks. Persecution ends this at 6:24.

Rating: D+. I wasn’t into this one and again it’s the lack of any reason to care about Watson or Reks. Reks is a boring heel and Watson is a face that we have no real reason to care about. Both guys are ok in the ring but there’s nothing that makes me want to care about them. I wonder if they’re hoping that it’s just because they’re on NXT and the fans (all 15 of them) would be familiar with them and care about them. I’ve never missed an episode and it isn’t working for me.

Matthews is back on commentary.

Raw ReBound thankfully doesn’t recap the whole closing segment of Raw. I couldn’t sit through that again.

Curtis opens the crate in the back but Striker is gone. Maxine comes up and says let him out but Curtis won’t let her open it. Maxine: “You killed him didn’t you?” He opens the crate and there’s a note saying “we know what you did, we have Striker, we’ll come to you with demands.” Bateman and Kaitlyn pop up and Maxine accuses them of having something to do with it. They leave and Maxine knocks him into the crate. So we have someone using chloroform and an apparent kidnapping. Do the words CALL THE COPS mean anything around here?

We recap McGillicutty vs. Kidd which is being treated like a huge match. It wasn’t that great of a match in the first place but for NXT, this is a well built feud. McGillicutty beat him, Kidd wanted a rematch, McGillicutty said no, they yelled at each other and McGillicutty said yes.

Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd

Kidd starts off with two dropkicks and headscissors McGillicutty to the floor. He hits a slow motion rana to send McGillicutty into the barricade and we take a break. Back in the ring with McGillicutty ducking his head so Kidd can break the momentum with a kick. Kidd misses a charge though and crashes into the ropes and out to the floor. McGillicutty rams him into the table which gets two in the ring.

Off to a chinlock as Regal says these two will be huge stars over the next twenty years. Kidd grabs a quick rollup for two but a clothesline takes him right back down. McGillicutty shouts that Kidd isn’t a Hart and it’s off to a chinlock again. Kidd comes back with some kicks and a dropkick to the side of the head for two. A dropkick to the ribs puts McGillicutty into 619 position but on the bottom rope.

Kidd hits a slingshot legdrop to the back of McGillicutty’s head for two. Michael comes back with a Saito Suplex for two and Kidd is in trouble. Kidd tries an O’Connor Roll but it gets reversed for two. McGillicutty reverses the reversal into a rollup for two. Kidd takes Snake Eyes into the corner but avoids the McGillicutter. Sharpshooter is countered as Kidd is kicked to the apron but he comes back in with a slingshot reverse victory roll (best way I can describe it) for the pin at 8:17.

Rating: B-. Good match and I get that they’re going for a big showdown here, but at the same time it wasn’t able to reach the level they were going for. A big part of that is due to McGillicutty not being all that great, and the build to the rematch being pretty rushed. Also, the first match wasn’t anything incredible so I don’t think people were really begging for a rematch.

McGillicutty says Kidd is going to regret that and he’ll go after Kidd where it hurts the most: his heart.

Overall Rating: C+. This was a more interesting show than usual and I think a lot of that is due to the focus being off Bateman. He had more or less been the star of the show for awhile and that wasn’t doing anything for anyone. An actual story with Striker being kidnapped is interesting at least, although it’ll probably wind up being disappointed. That and some pretty good matches made this a good show.

Results
Justin Gabriel b. Curt Hawkins – 450 Splash
Darren Young b. Jimmy Uso – Double Knee Gutbuster
Percy Watson b. Tyler Reks – Persecution
Tyson Kidd b. Michael McGillicutty – Slingshot Rollup

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NXT – March 21, 2012

NXT
Date: March 21, 2012
Location: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Commentators: William Regal, Josh Matthews

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Back to NXT Land with another episode. I barely remember anything about last week’s show and that can’t be a good sign. I believe Kaitlyn and Bateman finally hooked up, much to Maxine’s dismay. I’ve basically given up on the idea of Regal doing anything to change the show around, putting the GM change into the column that most of this show would fall under: totally pointless. Let’s get to it.

The opening video that they’ve added the last few weeks is actually pretty good.

Striker is in the ring to open the show and talks about how Regal has made four matches with McGillicutty vs. Kidd capping it off.

Curt Hawkins vs. Justin Gabriel

Justin chops him into the corner to start but misses what looked to be a springboard clothesline. Hawkins takes over after the crash, getting two off a slam. Off to a chinlock which implies this is going to be a very short match. Justin comes back with a jumping back kick off the middle rope, setting up a quick 450 for the pin at 2:23. Not a bad match and not quite a squash, but if Hawkins is going to be one of the top heels on this show he really needs to be fixed up a lot.

Bateman and Kaitlyn hold hands are in the back and are all happy. Tamina comes up to talk about how termites mate for life. She wants to find her termite. Bateman and Kaitlyn leave so Young and Titus come up to hit on her. They make fun of the Usos and Darren starts to ask her out. The Usos come up and Tamina isn’t happy with them I don’t think. So JTG is just gone I’m guessing? I can’t complain about that. There’s a singles match later and the Usos leave her with the two of them.

Darren Young vs. Jimmy Uso

Jey sits in on commentary. Jimmy starts off with chops in the corner and knocks Young to the floor. Back inside and they slug it out and Jimmy is sent to the floor. Jey really isn’t that great on commentary. We take a break with Jimmy on the floor and come back with Young pounding away from a mounted position. Jimmy manages to send him into the corner but he charges into two boots. Regal talks about his brother being in the biology department at Oxford University. Apparently he’s in a jar and has two heads.

Off to a chinlock by Young as the fans are behind the Usos. The fans always seem to react to them, unlike the tag champions where no one seems to care. That being said, I’d be stunned if the Usos get a title run in the next four months. Jimmy makes his comeback and takes Young down out of the corner. Jey gets off commentary to lead cheers. Jimmy comes back with a Samoan drop and some dancing, followed by the Umaga hip attack in the corner for two. He goes up but Darren gets in some forearms and rams Jimmy shoulder first into the post. The double knee gutbuster gets the pin at 6:25.

Rating: C. This was ok, but as usual the problem with Young is how boring he is. The No Days Off sounds like something a face would call himself. Wouldn’t a heel be about finding a shortcut to winning instead of working hard? Either way, nothing significant to see here other than the Usos losing again to people far less interesting than them.

Titus brags to Tamina in the back.

Josh Matthews gets a message on his phone that his car has been stolen and goes to look into it.

We cut to the back where Curtis and Maxine talk about how they faked the message in an effort to get Matthews off commentary, so that Maxine can get on commentary with Regal and talk her way off this show. Insert your THIS IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF A CAMERA line here. Curtis pulls out a chloroform soaked rag (Maxine: WHY DO YOU HAVE CHLOROFORM??? Curtis: Why don’t I have chloroform?) and knocks out…..Striker. They throw him in a crate and Maxine seems ok with it. Fox comes up after Maxine leaves and is disgusted by Curtis in a totally pointless scene.

Here’s Maxine coming out for commentary. She comes out with a box of gifts: oils and lotions etc.

Percy Watson vs. Tyler Reks

Maxine is flirting with Regal and probably will be for the rest of the show. Watson tries to get the crowd clapping and it works for about three seconds. Maxine is massaging Regal’s feet as Watson takes over and sends Reks to the floor. Reks yells at Watson as Watson dives over the top to take out Reks. We take a break to tell you to check out WWE’s new website which you have to be on if you’re watching this show in America, and come back with Reks in control.

Regal talks about I think his brother being a professional doughnut stealer. Reks works over the arm and Regal compliments Maxine on her foot massaging abilities. Watson comes back by ramming Reks into the corner. Maxine is rubbing Regal’s scalp as Watson hits a dropkick. Heisman gets two. A top rope cross body is rolled through for two for Reks. Persecution ends this at 6:24.

Rating: D+. I wasn’t into this one and again it’s the lack of any reason to care about Watson or Reks. Reks is a boring heel and Watson is a face that we have no real reason to care about. Both guys are ok in the ring but there’s nothing that makes me want to care about them. I wonder if they’re hoping that it’s just because they’re on NXT and the fans (all 15 of them) would be familiar with them and care about them. I’ve never missed an episode and it isn’t working for me.

Matthews is back on commentary.

Raw ReBound thankfully doesn’t recap the whole closing segment of Raw. I couldn’t sit through that again.

Curtis opens the crate in the back but Striker is gone. Maxine comes up and says let him out but Curtis won’t let her open it. Maxine: “You killed him didn’t you?” He opens the crate and there’s a note saying “we know what you did, we have Striker, we’ll come to you with demands.” Bateman and Kaitlyn pop up and Maxine accuses them of having something to do with it. They leave and Maxine knocks him into the crate. So we have someone using chloroform and an apparent kidnapping. Do the words CALL THE COPS mean anything around here?

We recap McGillicutty vs. Kidd which is being treated like a huge match. It wasn’t that great of a match in the first place but for NXT, this is a well built feud. McGillicutty beat him, Kidd wanted a rematch, McGillicutty said no, they yelled at each other and McGillicutty said yes.

Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd

Kidd starts off with two dropkicks and headscissors McGillicutty to the floor. He hits a slow motion rana to send McGillicutty into the barricade and we take a break. Back in the ring with McGillicutty ducking his head so Kidd can break the momentum with a kick. Kidd misses a charge though and crashes into the ropes and out to the floor. McGillicutty rams him into the table which gets two in the ring.

Off to a chinlock as Regal says these two will be huge stars over the next twenty years. Kidd grabs a quick rollup for two but a clothesline takes him right back down. McGillicutty shouts that Kidd isn’t a Hart and it’s off to a chinlock again. Kidd comes back with some kicks and a dropkick to the side of the head for two. A dropkick to the ribs puts McGillicutty into 619 position but on the bottom rope.

Kidd hits a slingshot legdrop to the back of McGillicutty’s head for two. Michael comes back with a Saito Suplex for two and Kidd is in trouble. Kidd tries an O’Connor Roll but it gets reversed for two. McGillicutty reverses the reversal into a rollup for two. Kidd takes Snake Eyes into the corner but avoids the McGillicutter. Sharpshooter is countered as Kidd is kicked to the apron but he comes back in with a slingshot reverse victory roll (best way I can describe it) for the pin at 8:17.

Rating: B-. Good match and I get that they’re going for a big showdown here, but at the same time it wasn’t able to reach the level they were going for. A big part of that is due to McGillicutty not being all that great, and the build to the rematch being pretty rushed. Also, the first match wasn’t anything incredible so I don’t think people were really begging for a rematch.

McGillicutty says Kidd is going to regret that and he’ll go after Kidd where it hurts the most: his heart.

Overall Rating: C+. This was a more interesting show than usual and I think a lot of that is due to the focus being off Bateman. He had more or less been the star of the show for awhile and that wasn’t doing anything for anyone. An actual story with Striker being kidnapped is interesting at least, although it’ll probably wind up being disappointed. That and some pretty good matches made this a good show.

Results
Justin Gabriel b. Curt Hawkins – 450 Splash
Darren Young b. Jimmy Uso – Double Knee Gutbuster
Percy Watson b. Tyler Reks – Persecution
Tyson Kidd b. Michael McGillicutty – Slingshot Rollup

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Tryout: Waiting For The Trades #1

Waiting for the Trade By Bill Miller Spider-man: Death and Dating by Marc Waid, Marc Guggenheim, Roger Stern & Dan Slott Collects Amazing Spider-man 578-583 and Annual #1.Why I bought this: It was in the discount bin of my local comic shop for $6. On the back cover was the Shocker, who is one of my favorite silver age Spidey villains. It also promised an explanation on how Harry Osborn (a favorite supporting character) returned from the dead, which aside from the marriage ending was the biggest change once they started Brand New Day. This is actually only the second Brand New Day era Spidey story I’ve purchased (although I also read the first two trades at the local library so I have a general idea of who all the players are in the new status quo). The Plot: There are basically two types of trades: those that tell a single clear concise story and those that are just a random collection of sequential issues. Generally speaking I prefer the former because if you are buying a trade from some random time period you want a complete story. However, I understand why Marvel would collect every single issue of their flagship character’s book. As this collection has four authors it should not be a surprise that it is a just random collection of sequential issues. There will be spoilers ahead including the identity of the death in the title. The initial story sees Peter trying to catch a train to go visit his aunt when the train derails trapping him underground with several passengers. Pete quickly changes into Spidey and learns a jury for a mob trial is in one of the passenger cars. The Shocker has been hired to kill the jurors and Spidey thwarts him but in the process the cave-in worsens eventually forcing Spidey and Shocker to work together to get out alive. Additionally one of the jurors ends up being the long lost father J. Jonah Jameson. Next we get the origin of Jackpot, a new red-headed female super hero introduced in Brand New Day that was designed to get the reader thinking she was possibly Mary Jane. The short version is she’s not, and she dies that same issue battling a new villain named Blindspot, who can cause temporary blindness in those he touches. This is followed with Spidey taking on the Blank, a D-list villain with a personal force field seen only once before in the early days of West Coast Avengers. Blank robs a bank while Aunt May is there, reminding Spidey of the death of his uncle and causing him to get a mad-on as he tracks the villain down. Next we get to the Harry stuff in which Harry and Pete go off to visit Harry’s ex-wife Liz Allen. While there her super-villain step brother the Molten Man decides to try to kill Harry for what he put Liz through years ago and Spidey is of course caught in the middle. This story is also a checklist of answers to questions that lingered since Brand New Day such as how Harry was resurrected and how Aunt May got her house back since pre-Brand New Day it had been destroyed and Pete, MJ and May had all been living in Avengers Tower. The answers given are for the most part simple non-answers, like “goblin serum,” but they do in a pinch. Finally we have a story from the perspective of Betty Brant as Pete tries to throw her a birthday party and she tries to hook him up in various ways for the “dating” half of the title. Ultimately, neither is successful in their goals. Critical Thoughts: Although there is no through storyline, most of this stuff is entertaining to read if you like Spider-man. Certainly none of these stories are going in the list of all-time classics, but for the most part Spidey is presented in classic form: down on his luck, occasionally funny, and taking responsibility for everyone around him from old-friends like Harry and Betty to casual acquaintances like Jackpot. For what I paid for it, I liked it. I do have some nitpicky complaints in regards to the Shocker storyline. For one I think Spidey wins the initial fight way too easily. I say this not only because I am a Shocker fan, but in general I think silver age villains should be better protected simply because Spidey will be meeting them again until the end of time. Furthermore he wins by crushing Shocker’s gauntlets but Shocker long ago (like in the 1980s) transferred his power source from the gauntlets to the suit itself. I also was at first taken aback by Shocker being a hired killer in this story. Shocker is usually portrayed as more of a safe-cracker/bank robber than a killer; however, on reflection Shocker more than most villains is motivated by profit—there have been stories where he declined teaming up with other Spidey villains for revenge because there is no profit in it, so I could see it being in character for him to take on a mob contract. Still overall I said these are nitpicks rather than criticisms, and some of my initial concerns on Shocker’s portrayed threat level were mitigated in the second half when Shocker and Spidey have to work together and seeing the inevitable double cross that follows. My biggest criticism is probably Spidey’s ongoing internal monologue in the Shocker story that if he saves Jameson Sr., Jonah will have to finally admit he’s been wrong about him. Spidey has saved Jonah himself scores of times over the years as well as saving Jonah’s son dozens of times and all of his employees at the Bugle on multiple occasions and nothing has ever changed so why would Spidey think this time would be different at this point? I’m also not sure why they killed Jackpot off in the same issue we saw her origin. She seemed to have a nice chemistry with Spidey in the scene where they share a coffee, so there could have been future stories there. At the same time if the only point of the character was to tease the Mary Jane thing then once resolved maybe they had nothing more to say. I guess I’m saying while I wouldn’t go out of my way to read more Jackpot stories, I could see keeping her around as an occasional ally like they do with Silver Sable or Cloak & Dagger so her death seemed a little abrupt in that regard. Other than that, I was glad for the answers in the Harry story but felt the telling of it was a little flat, and the remaining stories were one-issue throwaways with obscure villains that don’t require analysis. Overall Grade: C+ – The stories read fine on their own so if you can grab it cheap like I did noting wrong with picking it up, but the lack of a major through storyline and the lack of the importance of these stories prevent me from giving anything other than a mild recommendation.

Tryout: Waiting For The Trades #1

Waiting for the Trade By Bill Miller Spider-man: Death and Dating by Marc Waid, Marc Guggenheim, Roger Stern & Dan Slott Collects Amazing Spider-man 578-583 and Annual #1.Why I bought this: It was in the discount bin of my local comic shop for $6. On the back cover was the Shocker, who is one of my favorite silver age Spidey villains. It also promised an explanation on how Harry Osborn (a favorite supporting character) returned from the dead, which aside from the marriage ending was the biggest change once they started Brand New Day. This is actually only the second Brand New Day era Spidey story I’ve purchased (although I also read the first two trades at the local library so I have a general idea of who all the players are in the new status quo). The Plot: There are basically two types of trades: those that tell a single clear concise story and those that are just a random collection of sequential issues. Generally speaking I prefer the former because if you are buying a trade from some random time period you want a complete story. However, I understand why Marvel would collect every single issue of their flagship character’s book. As this collection has four authors it should not be a surprise that it is a just random collection of sequential issues. There will be spoilers ahead including the identity of the death in the title. The initial story sees Peter trying to catch a train to go visit his aunt when the train derails trapping him underground with several passengers. Pete quickly changes into Spidey and learns a jury for a mob trial is in one of the passenger cars. The Shocker has been hired to kill the jurors and Spidey thwarts him but in the process the cave-in worsens eventually forcing Spidey and Shocker to work together to get out alive. Additionally one of the jurors ends up being the long lost father J. Jonah Jameson. Next we get the origin of Jackpot, a new red-headed female super hero introduced in Brand New Day that was designed to get the reader thinking she was possibly Mary Jane. The short version is she’s not, and she dies that same issue battling a new villain named Blindspot, who can cause temporary blindness in those he touches. This is followed with Spidey taking on the Blank, a D-list villain with a personal force field seen only once before in the early days of West Coast Avengers. Blank robs a bank while Aunt May is there, reminding Spidey of the death of his uncle and causing him to get a mad-on as he tracks the villain down. Next we get to the Harry stuff in which Harry and Pete go off to visit Harry’s ex-wife Liz Allen. While there her super-villain step brother the Molten Man decides to try to kill Harry for what he put Liz through years ago and Spidey is of course caught in the middle. This story is also a checklist of answers to questions that lingered since Brand New Day such as how Harry was resurrected and how Aunt May got her house back since pre-Brand New Day it had been destroyed and Pete, MJ and May had all been living in Avengers Tower. The answers given are for the most part simple non-answers, like “goblin serum,” but they do in a pinch. Finally we have a story from the perspective of Betty Brant as Pete tries to throw her a birthday party and she tries to hook him up in various ways for the “dating” half of the title. Ultimately, neither is successful in their goals. Critical Thoughts: Although there is no through storyline, most of this stuff is entertaining to read if you like Spider-man. Certainly none of these stories are going in the list of all-time classics, but for the most part Spidey is presented in classic form: down on his luck, occasionally funny, and taking responsibility for everyone around him from old-friends like Harry and Betty to casual acquaintances like Jackpot. For what I paid for it, I liked it. I do have some nitpicky complaints in regards to the Shocker storyline. For one I think Spidey wins the initial fight way too easily. I say this not only because I am a Shocker fan, but in general I think silver age villains should be better protected simply because Spidey will be meeting them again until the end of time. Furthermore he wins by crushing Shocker’s gauntlets but Shocker long ago (like in the 1980s) transferred his power source from the gauntlets to the suit itself. I also was at first taken aback by Shocker being a hired killer in this story. Shocker is usually portrayed as more of a safe-cracker/bank robber than a killer; however, on reflection Shocker more than most villains is motivated by profit—there have been stories where he declined teaming up with other Spidey villains for revenge because there is no profit in it, so I could see it being in character for him to take on a mob contract. Still overall I said these are nitpicks rather than criticisms, and some of my initial concerns on Shocker’s portrayed threat level were mitigated in the second half when Shocker and Spidey have to work together and seeing the inevitable double cross that follows. My biggest criticism is probably Spidey’s ongoing internal monologue in the Shocker story that if he saves Jameson Sr., Jonah will have to finally admit he’s been wrong about him. Spidey has saved Jonah himself scores of times over the years as well as saving Jonah’s son dozens of times and all of his employees at the Bugle on multiple occasions and nothing has ever changed so why would Spidey think this time would be different at this point? I’m also not sure why they killed Jackpot off in the same issue we saw her origin. She seemed to have a nice chemistry with Spidey in the scene where they share a coffee, so there could have been future stories there. At the same time if the only point of the character was to tease the Mary Jane thing then once resolved maybe they had nothing more to say. I guess I’m saying while I wouldn’t go out of my way to read more Jackpot stories, I could see keeping her around as an occasional ally like they do with Silver Sable or Cloak & Dagger so her death seemed a little abrupt in that regard. Other than that, I was glad for the answers in the Harry story but felt the telling of it was a little flat, and the remaining stories were one-issue throwaways with obscure villains that don’t require analysis. Overall Grade: C+ – The stories read fine on their own so if you can grab it cheap like I did noting wrong with picking it up, but the lack of a major through storyline and the lack of the importance of these stories prevent me from giving anything other than a mild recommendation.

Flair Must Die?

Hi Scott,
Been reading you nearly half my life.  Terrifying.
I am releasing this video to help raise awareness of the need to humanely
destroy Ric Flair.
http://youtu.be/7ISF_8hRf3M
For years, wrestling fans around the world have sought to have Ric Flair
mercifully put down. But each time, he gets down on his knees, begs them
not to, then pokes them in the eye.
It is estimated that each time Ric Flair tarnishes his legacy by
performing, millions of dollars in revenue is lost, from DVDs no one will
purchase out of embarrassment, to the $43 Flair is paid per appearance by
TNA.
Wrestling fans need your support. We are their voice.

Man, Shane Douglas is really getting desperate for attention. 

Flair Must Die?

Hi Scott,
Been reading you nearly half my life.  Terrifying.
I am releasing this video to help raise awareness of the need to humanely
destroy Ric Flair.
http://youtu.be/7ISF_8hRf3M
For years, wrestling fans around the world have sought to have Ric Flair
mercifully put down. But each time, he gets down on his knees, begs them
not to, then pokes them in the eye.
It is estimated that each time Ric Flair tarnishes his legacy by
performing, millions of dollars in revenue is lost, from DVDs no one will
purchase out of embarrassment, to the $43 Flair is paid per appearance by
TNA.
Wrestling fans need your support. We are their voice.

Man, Shane Douglas is really getting desperate for attention. 

Flair Must Die?

Hi Scott,
Been reading you nearly half my life.  Terrifying.
I am releasing this video to help raise awareness of the need to humanely
destroy Ric Flair.
http://youtu.be/7ISF_8hRf3M
For years, wrestling fans around the world have sought to have Ric Flair
mercifully put down. But each time, he gets down on his knees, begs them
not to, then pokes them in the eye.
It is estimated that each time Ric Flair tarnishes his legacy by
performing, millions of dollars in revenue is lost, from DVDs no one will
purchase out of embarrassment, to the $43 Flair is paid per appearance by
TNA.
Wrestling fans need your support. We are their voice.

Man, Shane Douglas is really getting desperate for attention. 

Flair Must Die?

Hi Scott,
Been reading you nearly half my life.  Terrifying.
I am releasing this video to help raise awareness of the need to humanely
destroy Ric Flair.
http://youtu.be/7ISF_8hRf3M
For years, wrestling fans around the world have sought to have Ric Flair
mercifully put down. But each time, he gets down on his knees, begs them
not to, then pokes them in the eye.
It is estimated that each time Ric Flair tarnishes his legacy by
performing, millions of dollars in revenue is lost, from DVDs no one will
purchase out of embarrassment, to the $43 Flair is paid per appearance by
TNA.
Wrestling fans need your support. We are their voice.

Man, Shane Douglas is really getting desperate for attention. 

Flair Must Die?

Hi Scott,
Been reading you nearly half my life.  Terrifying.
I am releasing this video to help raise awareness of the need to humanely
destroy Ric Flair.
http://youtu.be/7ISF_8hRf3M
For years, wrestling fans around the world have sought to have Ric Flair
mercifully put down. But each time, he gets down on his knees, begs them
not to, then pokes them in the eye.
It is estimated that each time Ric Flair tarnishes his legacy by
performing, millions of dollars in revenue is lost, from DVDs no one will
purchase out of embarrassment, to the $43 Flair is paid per appearance by
TNA.
Wrestling fans need your support. We are their voice.

Man, Shane Douglas is really getting desperate for attention. 

Flair Must Die?

Hi Scott,
Been reading you nearly half my life.  Terrifying.
I am releasing this video to help raise awareness of the need to humanely
destroy Ric Flair.
http://youtu.be/7ISF_8hRf3M
For years, wrestling fans around the world have sought to have Ric Flair
mercifully put down. But each time, he gets down on his knees, begs them
not to, then pokes them in the eye.
It is estimated that each time Ric Flair tarnishes his legacy by
performing, millions of dollars in revenue is lost, from DVDs no one will
purchase out of embarrassment, to the $43 Flair is paid per appearance by
TNA.
Wrestling fans need your support. We are their voice.

Man, Shane Douglas is really getting desperate for attention. 

Flair Must Die?

Hi Scott,
Been reading you nearly half my life.  Terrifying.
I am releasing this video to help raise awareness of the need to humanely
destroy Ric Flair.
http://youtu.be/7ISF_8hRf3M
For years, wrestling fans around the world have sought to have Ric Flair
mercifully put down. But each time, he gets down on his knees, begs them
not to, then pokes them in the eye.
It is estimated that each time Ric Flair tarnishes his legacy by
performing, millions of dollars in revenue is lost, from DVDs no one will
purchase out of embarrassment, to the $43 Flair is paid per appearance by
TNA.
Wrestling fans need your support. We are their voice.

Man, Shane Douglas is really getting desperate for attention.