Strong Style Saturday Thread – January 18, 2020

Look, we all know that everyone is just waiting for Sunday to watch football.  But let’s pay some respect to Saturday first, OK?

DATELINE:  It’s STIPULATIONS A GOGO at Royal Rumble, with Roman v. King Corbin now being a falls count anywhere match, and Daniel Bryan v. The Fiend now a strap match.  Meanwhile no one seems to care about the Rumble matches, but I guess that’s not important on the ROYAL RUMBLE PPV.

DATELINE:  Kalisto is the latest geek to sign a five-year contract with WWE.  Really headed off an intense bidding war there, guys.  Better get Fandango locked up long-term while you’re at it, too.

In the latest from KanaChanTV today, Asuka tours Japan and I dunno what’s going on but by god she’s adorable and I’m still astonished that they look at her and think “Let’s make her a mist-spewing heel”

Smackdown – January 17, 2020

Date: January 17, 2020
Location: Greensboro Coliseum Greensboro, North Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves

We’re nine days away from the Royal Rumble and everything is pretty much set. We still have some time to set things up though and that includes a tables match between Roman Reigns and Robert Roode, with the winner getting to pick the stipulation for Reigns vs. King Corbin at the Rumble. That’s the brilliant “stipulation begets stipulation” booking, which makes so much sense. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – January 17, 2020

WWE Friday Night Party Thread, Episode 16 — GRAND RETURNS AT THE PALACE OF WISDOM

We made it!

Tonight, Friday Night SmackDown comes to you LIVE from Greensboro, North Carolina!  In the heart of Flair country, everyone has the same question: they’re not really gonna put Bobby Roode over Roman Reigns, are they?

That’s right, tonight’s main event sees the returning Roode taking on the “Big Dog” in a tables match!  On paper, this contest heavily favors Roman as he looks to (sigh) build momentum for the Royal Rumble, but a tables match is infamously no-DQ.  Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, and the Usos could all be factors in the outcome.  On top of that, this match has Rumble implications!  The winning side can name the stipulation for Reigns vs Corbin at the Rumble undercard!  (If dog food’s involved, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

The next big story tonight comes from the return, after an 8-year absence, of John Morrison to in-ring action!  While Morrison looks like he’s still capable of going, given that he’s remained in game shape and didn’t appear to lose a step in either Lucha Underground or Impact, the WWE is another level up.  This is especially true when his first match back puts him against a 300-pound powerhouse in Big E!  While everyone knows that The Miz isn’t above sticking himself in this match to run interference, will it be enough to give the Shaman of Sexy a big W over Big E in his big comeback?

One of the more intriguing developments is Lacey Evans going after Bayley.  Most people were skeptical that the inexperienced Evans could hold her own as a character facing Bayley, especially since their alignments seemed to be flipped from the two wrestlers’ more comfortable situations.  But Bayley has been very much a hateable champion, and with Sasha Banks by her side stirring the pot, the people seem to be behind the US Marine!  Evans has made it her mission to take Bayley’s gold away from her, but tonight it’s the Boss standing in her way.  Evans is probably the underdog here, but will she have enough to prove she’s worthy of a championship match?

…okay, enough WWE shilling.  I’m getting way too comfortable imitating their website.

I want to thank the people who read my Friday Indie Spotlight (both of you).  It’s a nice thing to put up on a Friday afternoon that you can knock off during lunchtime, and really, my Thursday nights are open now that Beyond’s Uncharted Territory is on hiatus.  I imagine when it starts up again I’ll be reviewing that, but int he meantime, I’ll do some IWTV watching and post a show I’m interested in.  It’ll be a first-time watch usually, although indulge me if I want to recap CRAB or Prime Time Pro, two promotions I work with in the DC area.

Hey, along those lines, I’ll be at a PTPW show tomorrow in Northeast.  Tickets are sold out, but the show is available on IWTV, so check your listings.

Bulls/Sixers and Blazers/Mavericks are the NBA on ESPN doubleheader.  ESPN2 is showing Dayton/Saint Louis out of the A-10, while at 10:30 ET they’re doing a look at McGregor/Diaz 2 to warm you up for UFC 246.  FS1 has a Big Ten doubleheader — Wisconsin/Michigan State and Michigan/Iowa.  CBSSN has college hockey (!!) on with North Dakota/Miami Ohio.  ESPNU has Furman/Wofford out of the SoCon, followed by more college hockey with Michigan State/Wisconsin.  For you NHL fans, the NHL Network is showing Penguins/Red Wings.

All right, we went over the rules in the locker room.  Pay attention and obey my commands at all times.  I want a good, clean comment thread.  Touch gloves, and let’s enjoy the weekend!  LET’S GET IT ON!

The Mega-Powers breakup

As a follow-up to my question about the separate Hogan/Savage house show tours, I once read something that Charlie Reneke – so yes, consider the source – opined that the actual Mega-Powers break-up at The Main Event had a bit of flopsweat stink to it, because
they had to hotshot the whole angle in one night because they blew so many chances to gradually build up dissension between them, with Hogan as the unequivocal babyface.  This has some holes, as they definitely did tease problems (Savage dilly-dallying in
making the save when Hogan was being double-teamed by the Towers), but there were some definite missteps in building it up, particularly in keeping Hogan the virtuous one (see the Royal Rumble).  What say you?  Is there a point to be made there?

Similarly, have you yet conceded that Hogan should have won at WM5, because you don't do a fuck finish at your biggest show for the express purpose of building up a smaller show?

On the first subject, Hogan-Savage was one of the biggest drawing matches ever, so it’s hard to second guess the way they built it.  
On the second, I just think that Savage had such nuclear heat that you could have drawn with him at house shows for months as heel champion getting chased by Brutus or whoever, and also done Hogan on top against another heel at the other set of shows.  And then the Summerslam blowoff where Hogan wins once and for all. 


Hey Scott-

Thinking back to the glory days off early 2000s wrestling, wrestlers all had a fun shtick that helped even the midcarders get over: Edge and Christians five second pose, Kurt Angles three "I"s, Godfathers Ho Train, Too Cools Dancing, Kai En Tai's "Indeed", etc. Why has this seemingly stopped, or when a wrestler does get a shtick over (Rusev day comes to mind) it's seemingly punished? Those were great ways to differentiate the midcard and get the audience hyped and playing along, and they don't really seem to bother anymore.

Because now the mentality is that it's only the writers or Brock Lesnar who are allowed to organically come up with stuff, from what I can tell.  And New Day to a certain extent.  

Less Likely Rumble Winners

It looks pretty obvious that Roman Reigns is going to win the Men’s Royal Rumble.  The women’s may be a little more open with Charlotte Flair, Shayna Baszler, or Ronda Rousey (?) seeming like realistic options.

Who would you actually like to see win the Rumble this year that makes sense but isn’t the obvious choice?  Personally, I think Ricochet or Kevin Owens would both be great choices – especially if they faced Brock, still allowing Fiend vs. Roman to happen.  For the women, maybe Sasha Banks as a logical way to get to the rumored Bayley vs. Sasha match.

Who winning would make it most worth your while when you sit down for a five hour PPV next Sunday?

I can't say that I have any particular emotional investment in anyone on the men's side.  The only person who I think was due to win for a while was Braun Strowman, but they've completely shit the bed with him at this point and it would be a waste.  Might as well be Roman, I guess.

For the women, if they're debuting Shayna on the main roster at the Rumble, then clearly she needs to bulldoze through the field after coming in at #20 or so and win the thing.  I'm just worried that Vince won't get her deal and won't like her look.  But the thing is also, people are saying "Oh, we need Becky v. Shayna at WM to pay off the Becky storyline", but we already had Becky v. Shayna v. Bayley at Survivor Series and it mostly sucked.  

So I dunno, I'm not seeing much out of this show.  

Royal Rumble question

Hi Scott,


In the wake of the Houston Astros forever tarnishing the pristine sanctity of America's pastime by stealing the 2017 World Series like the Hart Foundation stole the tag team titles from the British Bulldogs, isn't it time for Vincent K. McMahon and the WWE to claim the moral high ground and move the Royal Rumble away from the Astros' home stadium?  I hear Jeddah and Riyadh are nice this time of year.  Or at least move it to a competitor's stadium like the Oakland Coliseum.


If it stays in Houston, over/under on the number of creative members of the WWE Universe who bring a "The Astros stole my other sign" sign to the show?


Have a good weekend!

Wait, what's wrong with the Astros?  They took out the Yankees last year and that makes them good people in my book.  

Friday Indie Spotlight Time: ACTION Wrestling Streets of Rage

Independent Wrestling is where the fun is. And so, I propose a new thing for this blog: each Friday, I’ll post a review of a show from IWTV. It may be a very recent show, or it may be one from the archives. I might choose it because of the big names, or because there’s lots of people I’ve met on it, or maybe because I’m on it. But hey, it’s wrestling. And this is a wrestling blog.

My goal is to get people noticed who I feel you should want to see. Maybe you’re just a WWE fan; that’s fine! These are people who would fit in very well in NXT or the main roster. Maybe you’re interested in checking out a local show; great! These are some names that should draw you to spend money on a ticket. Maybe you’re wondering if you should get an IWTV subscription; yes! Especially since they’ve merged with Smart Mark Video and the archives are LOADED. However you see it, consider me your gateway to great wrestlers you’ve never heard of.

With that out of the way, let’s get to today’s choice.

Read moreFriday Indie Spotlight Time: ACTION Wrestling Streets of Rage

Daily News Update – January 17, 2020


DATELINE:  The NWA announced that Marty Scurll will be appearing at the January 26 tapings.

DATELINE:  Impact will be reviving the TNA brand for “one night only” at WrestleCon.   Is there really nostalgia for it?

DATELINE:  Taz signs a multi-year deal to do announcing for AEW.  Apparently they couldn’t get the rights to the second “z” for him, though.

The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 09.22.97

The SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 09.22.97

Live from MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.  JR narrates a cool history of the company’s big matches and moments in the arena to start the show.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon, Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

And now, the business changes forever.  Not to oversell it or anything.

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for WWF Monday Night RAW – 09.22.97

Indies and Insanity: January 16, 2020

For those watching sports tonight, we got Celtics/Bucks followed by Nuggets/Warriors on TNT.  ESPN gives us Cincinnati/Memphis of the AAC, then Stanford/Oregon for Pac-12 women.  ESPN2 has a gymnastics meet on, followed by Colorado/Arizona State from the Pac-12 and Santa Clara/Gonzaga of the WCC.  ESPNU gives us the deep cuts: Charleston Southern/Campbell of the Big South, then Eastern Kentucky/Belmont of the OVC.  CBSSN is showing Old Dominion against Western Kentucky from Conference USA.  If hockey’s your thing, the NHL Game of the Week on NBCSN is Lightning/Wild.

After the jump, wrestling!  Independent style!

Read moreIndies and Insanity: January 16, 2020

NXT UK – January 15, 2020

Date: January 16, 2020
Location: Empress Ballroom, Blackpool, England
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Nigel McGuinness

It’s time for another NXT tradition as we look at the two matches taped before Sunday’s Takeover. In other words, this show is going to be a lot of fallout from Takeover, but in this case we also might get some major hype for When Worlds Collide. Both of those sound good so we could be in for a fun show. Let’s get to it.

Read moreNXT UK – January 15, 2020


Hey Scott,

Just a quick question. If there was ever a wrestling segment, promo or interview that you wish had outtakes to watch, what would it be? 

Personally, I don’t know if the outtakes have ever been shown for it but I would love to see the outtakes for when Steve Austin and Kurt Angle are singing to Vince McMahon.

Vince could barely keep it together while those skits were happening, I can only imagine what was left on the cutting room floor.  The crazy thing is that they probably have hours and hours of that stuff that they could package on the Network or YouTube, and they just don't.  Look at the stuff they found in Verne's archives, for example!  They could have content for years just doing that stuff.

Anyway, my choice would be Mick Foley visiting Vince in the hospital.  There had to be dozens of takes there.  

Nash/Mox comparisons

Hi Scott,

Is it fair to compare Jon Moxley's current run to Kevin Nash's when he jumped to WCW in 1996? Its probably not a perfect comparison by any means but I can see some similarities.

Guy gets over with a cool heel run, the WWE smooth off his rough edges (in Nash's case becoming smiling babyface Diesel in '95 and in Moxley's becoming wacky idiot Dean Ambrose) killing off a lot of their momentum in the process before moving to another company that allows them to find their edge again.

What say you?

Does that mean when the Revival and Luke Harper and all the other disgruntled guys show up on AEW they're gonna form the nWo? Everything old really is new again.  Hopefully Vince didn't let THAT trademark slide.  

Daily News Update – January 16, 2020

All kinds of stuff coming out of the Wednesday Wars last night!

DATELINE:  Kacy Catanzaro returned in the women’s battle royale on NXT.  However, it was Bianca Belair who won to set up the title match for the next Takeover.

DATELINE:   The new AEW TV show will indeed be Dark moving to TNT and getting better production.  Expect WWE to immediately move 205 Live to whatever night they pick while HHH declares that it was their plan all along to have it there.

DATELINE;  The Jericho Booze Cruise show next week features Hangman & Kenny challenging for the tag titles, plus PAC v. Moxley in a #1 contender match, as they load up the show.  Also, THEY’RE ON A BOAT.

And in honor of Rocky Johnson’s passing, WWE posted a clip from Championship Wrestling, where we see a young Dwayne in the audience watching this dad wrestle.  RIP to the original Rock.

Monday Night Raw – August 15, 2005

Monday Night Raw
Date: August 15, 2005
Location: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Jonathan Coachman

It’s the go home show for Summerslam and that means we need one final push to get everywhere we need to go. This includes a dream match between Kurt Angle and Hulk Hogan, which wasn’t much of a dream when they did it in 2002 but maybe it’s better three years later. Let’s get to it.

Read moreMonday Night Raw – August 15, 2005

NXT – January 15, 2020

Date: January 15, 2020
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix

We’re coming up on Worlds Collide, which is actually looking like a pretty good show in lieu of a traditional Takeover. I’m not sure what to expect from this one, but we will be getting the rest of the first round of the Dusty Classic, plus probably the start of the build to the next Takeover. Let’s get to it.

Read moreNXT – January 15, 2020

Dynamite – January 15, 2020

Date: January 15, 2020
Location: Watsco Center, Miami, Florida
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone

It’s the first half of Bash At The Beach, with the second half coming next week from a boat (yes a boat). The big story this week is the fallout from last week with Jon Moxley turning down Chris Jericho’s offer of a spot in the Inner Circle with a champagne bottle. That all but guarantees a title match at Revolution so it’s time to built things up. Let’s get to it.

Read moreDynamite – January 15, 2020