The SmarK DVD Rant for The Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection

The SmarK DVD Rant for Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection One of my faithful readers bought this for me a while ago, and I figured it was an interesting counterpoint to the Randy Savage documentary, in that Savage didn’t live long enough to come crawling back to Vince and thus got a begrudging DVD set and Hall of Fame induction. Plus the guy has been waiting very patiently for me to find 7 hours to do this one, and since I was working Easter weekend while the others in the family went out of town for festivities, I figured tonight was perfect. Well, plus Furious 7 was sold out tonight anyway. So anyway, whereas Warrior gave them the narrative of the guy changing his ways and worldview and coming back home, and so now he gets a friggin’ STATUE and yearly award named after him. Yeah, he was always one of my favorite guys growing up, but Randy Savage ate steroids and shit money for the company year in and year out, and always did business when asked. Warrior was such a nutjob that they dedicated an entire DVD to talking about what a cancer on the sport he was, and now suddenly he’s a saint? Come on, man. And he’s getting ANOTHER set later this month! I think this set was available on Netflix a while back, by the way, although I haven’t looked for it in a while. Hosted by WARRIOR. This is a “show and tell” set, with Warrior introducing matches and telling his story. His introduction basically says that this DVD set is to set things right again after the previous hatchet job. Disc One Warrior talks about studying to be a chiropractor and getting into bodybuilding, but getting lured into wrestling by some of the guys at the gym. They started out as the Freedom Fighters: Jim Justice and Flash Borden. If you ever read Meltzer’s old Observers from that time, his burials of them are legendary. And the footage is hilarious here, as both guys were doing ALL of the steroids and were greener than grass. The Blade Runners v. Harry Jackson & Sean O’Reilly From the UWF in 1986. Whatever terrible music they were using is clearly overdubbed here. So at this point they were Sting and Rock, as Jim’s hair was starting to regrow and Eddie Gilbert was managing them. They do a quick Road Warriors style squash and flex a lot. A lot a lot. Rock presses one of the geeks and Sting finishes him with a splash at 1:00. These guys made the Ascension look like the stars of the future. DUD Warrior talks about all the money he was losing in the UWF, so he moves to World Class and reinvents himself as the Dingo Warrior. The Dingo Warrior v. Chris Adams From World Class, later in 1986. The Warrior look is starting to take shape now, with the tassels and facepaint added and the steroids toned down a lot. Percy Pringle stops by to cut a promo on Adams and really up the depressing death factor of the match. Adams goes to attack him and gets whacked with the cane as a result, and Warrior presses Adams onto the top rope to take over. Warrior chokes him out and Adams fights out of it and hits the superkick, putting Warrior onto the floor. Back in, Adams grazes him with another superkick and adds a piledriver, but he goes up and gets caught in a shitty powerslam. Dingo drops an elbow for the surprise pin at 4:55, which was a pretty big upset considering Adams was World champion and all. Warrior was just terrible here, sloppy as hell, but he looked like a superstar. ½* Warrior talks about getting the call from WWF, and he was on his way. Ultimate Warrior v. Barry Horowitz From Wrestling Challenge, in 1987. Warrior quickly finishes with the press slam at 1:33. Ultimate Warrior v. Steve Lombardi From Superstars, November 1987. Another quick squash as Warrior beats Lombardi all over the ring and does an inset promo as well. I actually remember going to a house show in Vancouver around this time and getting this match. Press slam and splash finishes at 2:00. Warrior talks about practice, practice, practice as his philosophy. And then a gross story about sucking the pus out of a staph infection in his leg because he was worried about losing his push. He talks about working with Harley Race and how Race saw what the business was becoming but wasn’t bitter or angry about it. Ultimate Warrior v. Harley Race From Boston, March 1988. Warrior was starting to become a really big deal by this point, although the yellow and green color scheme here makes him look like Billy Jack Haynes’ slightly less crazy cousin. Warrior overpowers Race and dumps him. Race takes a funny bump, as Warrior punches him on the apron and Race kind of slides down the stairs in slow motion. Back in, we get the usual Race spot where he “accidentally” headbutts Warrior low to take over. Warrior shakes it off and chops away on the ropes until Race goes over the top. Back in, Race hits a piledriver to take over again and then tosses Warrior out and suplexes him back in. Warrior lands on his feet, rolls Race up, and gets the pin at 4:50. Not much to this one. *1/2 Warrior talks about upgrading the look and feel of the character, going more over the top with the superhero styling and altering his body shape to be more chiseled and cut. He had a lot of fun doing the weasel suit matches with Bobby Heenan. Ultimate Warrior v. Bobby Heenan From July 1988 in the Los Angeles Arena. And is that Dave Meltzer in the aisle when Bobby Heenan runs away to start? We get an astonishingly long stall to start, as Heenan runs away for the first 3:00 before Warrior hides behind a post and catches him. Back in, Warrior takes Heenan and runs him into three of the corners, but Bobby finds a foreign object and uses it to gain the advantage. Finally Warrior just grabs it away from him, ragdolls him all over the ring, and finishes with a sleeper at 7:25. Poor Bobby gets stuffed into a weasel suit and doesn’t deal with it very well, sadly. Just a goofy comedy match, but that’s fine. * Warrior moves onto the IC title win over Honky Tonk Man, and thought it was a really cool time. Intercontinental title: Honky Tonk Man v. Ultimate Warrior From Summerslam, of course. You know the drill here. Still one of the all time greatest payoffs to a storyline ever, as Honky escaped every challenger for 18 months and then stupidly puts his title on the line with an open contract and gets destroyed once and for all. Say what you will about Honky, but when it came time to do business, he put Warrior over like the biggest killer in history. Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Honky Tonk Man From Philly, December 1988. That is one empty arena, although the results show attendance of 5,000 so it’s an OK crowd. Warrior attacks Jimmy Hart and hauls him back to the dressing room right away, and takes over on Honky with a bearhug before throwing him around the ring. Jimmy Hart emerges from exile and nails Warrior with the megaphone on the floor, and Honky adds a guitar to the back for good measure. Honky continues cheating outrageously in the ring and choking away on the ropes with any object handy. Honky chokes him down with tape, but Warrior makes the comeback, blocks Jimmy Hart’s attempt to throw powder, and tosses Honky into Jimmy for the pin at 7:10 to retain. Honky had to go to crazy lengths to get any kind of believable heat on Warrior. ½* Warrior talks about his relationship with Randy Savage and how much coffee that Macho used to drink. I am so not surprised. Warrior absolutely loved his intensity and gonzo demeanour. I am so not surprised by that either. Title v. title: Randy Savage v. Ultimate Warrior From Boston, February 1989. So yeah, this was just after The Main Event and Randy Savage was a massively hated heel, suddenly on fire as champion and the biggest star in the industry again. Warrior wins a slugfest and puts Savage out with a shoulderblock, then chases him out and presses him back into the ring again. Savage keeps running and tries a flying bodypress, but Warrior catches him and drops him with a powerslam that looks exactly as bad as the one he did to Chris Adams at the beginning of this disc. Warrior keeps beating on Savage in the corner, but misses a charge and gets put on the floor. The heat for this match is just crazy, with the crowd booing everything Savage does and cheering everything Warrior does. Back in, Savage necks him on the top rope for two and chokes away for two. Macho goes to a chinlock and drops an elbow for two. I’m no fan of Rod Trongard to say the least, but he’s selling this like the biggest match in history, which I appreciate. Warrior fights out of a chinlock, but runs into a clothesline and Savage gets two. Double axehandle gets two, and Warrior makes the comeback with a suplex for two. This brings Rick Rude down to the ring for some posing, and Warrior gets an atomic drop for two. Savage rolls him up with a handful of tights for two. Warrior gets the splash, but hits knees and Savage gets two. Rude continues posing while Warrior makes the full comeback and lays Savage out with clotheslines. Now Warrior finally goes after Rude, and Savage hits him with a cheapshot from behind and wins by countout at 10:35. Rude and Savage do their own Megapower handshake (with the crowd chucking garbage at them) and Warrior comes back and destroys both guys afterwards. Too bad they never went anywhere with that Rude-Savage deal. This was a hell of a match, by the way. ***1/2 Warrior never had a problem dropping the title to Rude. “This too shall pass” was always his motto. He didn’t need the belt or really care about it. Intercontinental title: Ravishing Rick Rude v. Ultimate Warrior. From Summerslam 89. So of course Rude screwed Warrior out of the belt at Wrestlemania V, in what was Warrior’s first good PPV match, well, ever, so they had a lot to live up to here. Warrior was already starting to feud with Andre and Rude was programmed with Roddy Piper, so it was obvious that this feud was over one way or another after tonight. This matchup was kind of like the Batista-Undertaker of its time, as they just had freakish chemistry against each other for whatever reason. Rude tries slugging away to start, and gets nowhere. Warrior clotheslines him to the floor, but Rude comes back in with a sunset flip, which Warrior blocks by punching him. Gorilla press follows, and Warrior opts to dump Rude on the floor for a nice bump. They brawl outside and Warrior hits him with the belt, triggering a classic rant by Jesse Ventura about whether it’s legal to shoot someone outside the ring and how Tony is even stupider than Gorilla Monsoon. But tell us what how you really feel, Jesse. Warrior brings him in, then changes his mind and tosses him again. Back in, Warrior goes up with a double axehandle for two. He whips Rude into opposite turnbuckles and slams him for two. Suplex gets two. Warrior gets an inverted atomic drop, giving Rude a chance to do his tailbone sell, and Warrior drops him on his ass for good measure. Back to the top for LUCHA WARRIOR~!, but Rude brings him down the hard way to take over. Rude starts working on the back and a suplex gets two, then he goes to the rear chinlock. He stomps the back and goes for the Rude Awakening, but Warrior powers out of it, so Rude goes with a rare sleeper instead. Criss-cross and the ref is bumped, but Heenan manages to shake Rude out of it first. Warrior hulks up and powerslams Rude after the three clotheslines, and of course there’s no ref. Piledriver, and that gets two. Running powerslam sets up the big splash, but Rude gets the knees up to block. Rude gets his own piledriver, almost a powerbomb, for two. To the top for the fistdrop, and that gets two, but now Roddy Piper joins us. Another piledriver gets two and Rude gets all distracted by Piper, who moons him in response. And that was six years before Braveheart! Warrior suplexes the distracted Rude, and it’s shoulderblock, gorilla press, big splash and we have a new champion at 16:03. The reaction for this was GIGANTIC and anyone who wouldn’t have taken a shot with Warrior as World champion after seeing this is nuts. Even more than Warrior! And this one of the few times, I might add, where Rude got what was coming to him and did a clean job. Definitely one of the best matches of Warrior’s career. ***1/2 Warrior talks about how great all the jobbers that put him over were. He wasn’t trying to be disrespectful when he was doing stuff like pinning guys with one foot or leaving the belt on, he was just asserting dominance. Ultimate Warrior v. Bob Bradley From Superstars, September 1989. This would be an example of the previous notes, as Warrior leaves the belt on, beats on Bradley all over the ring area before taking the belt off. Press slam and splash finish at 2:32 as Warrior strikes a Comic Book Guy-as-Lorne Greene pose while making the pin. Ultimate Warrior v. Brian Costello From Superstars, December 1989. Another example of jobber abuse, as Warrior chases the poor guy all over the ring and finishes with the press slam and splash at 1:33, complete with barbarian pose this time. Brother Love presents Andre the Giant, from July 1989. He dislikes Ultimate Warrior, you see. Warrior talks about his brief feud with Andre and how it was set up to get Warrior to the next level in preparation for the World title run. Warrior has an entirely different view on the feud than Bobby Heenan did on the previous Warrior DVD. Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Andre the Giant From MSG, August 1989. Heenan gets thrown out of the arena before he even does anything. That seems a bit unfair. Andre decides to mock the rope shaking, so Warrior hits him with three clotheslines and splashes him to retain at 0:30. Andre protests that the timekeeper never even rang the bell, but it falls on deaf ears. Nothing to it as a match, of course, but I’m glad they put one of these on a DVD for historical sake. Intercontinental title: Ultimate Warrior v. Andre the Giant From SNME, November 1989. This is pretty legendarily bad. You can actually re-enact this classic in the Warrior DLC for WWE 2K15 if you’d like. Andre chokes him out on the ropes and they actually edit the match to cut to the crowd! Are you fucking kidding me? Warrior comes back and misses a clothesline, landing on the floor. Back in, Andre works on a surfboard hold, but Warrior fights out and clotheslines him to the floor, and we take a break. Back with Andre finally crawling back into the ring, but Warrior goes to a bearhug until Andre escapes with a headbutt. Andre goes back to the corner and just totally ignores Warrior’s attempts at offense and then goes to his own bearhug, as he obviously wants no further part of this match. Warrior fights back and Andre cuts him off again, but Warrior ties him in the ropes and Bobby Heenan runs in for the DQ at 7:46. A giant mess, one of the worst matches in SNME history, as Andre wasn’t selling anything properly and Warrior had no idea what to do with him out there. -** Disc Two Onto the World champion era now. Warrior was in Stamford doing some stuff when Vince presented him with the idea of doing the Wrestlemania match with Hogan. Ultimate Warrior v. Mr. Perfect From MSG, March 1990. Non-title match, apparently. Hennig tries to interrupt Warrior’s entrance and ends up taking a stunt bump over the top as a result. Perfect tries to match strength and goes flying again, and Warrior drags him around the ring by the hair and ragdolls him. Random note: Who seriously thought that a commentary team of Gorilla Monsoon, Hillbilly Jim and Lord Alfred Hayes was something that should happen? Perfect gets a cheapshot and blocks the splash with the knees to take over. He gets some heat on Warrior on the ropes, but Warrior slingshots in with a sunset flip for two. Perfect goes back to working Warrior over with a lengthy rear chinlock. Warrior fights out and hits his clotheslines before finishing with the press slam and splash at 10:03. They couldn’t have been phoning this one in any more without actually paying two other guys to wrestle the match for them. * Warrior talks about the Hogan match and annoying Vince by running to the ring instead of riding the cart. WWF World title v. Intercontinental title: Hulk Hogan v. Ultimate Warrior The heat for this is UNREAL, with the crowd divided 50/50. Staredown to start and they do the shoving match, and then the lockup, which Warrior wins to start. Another lockup, and Hogan wins that one. The crowd is popping for everything. Warrior wants a test of strength, so they do that, and Warrior gets the advantage, but Hulk fights up from one knee and powers him down again. Warrior fights it off, so Hogan legsweeps him and drops an elbow for one. They do the CRISS-CROSS OF DOOM and Hogan slams him, but Warrior no-sells it. So they try it again, and this time Warrior slams him, and Hogan stays down. Clothesline to the floor, and Hogan whines to Hebner about hurting his knee. Hulk Hogan: Bumping Maniac. The selling is Oscar-worthy material. Warrior smartly goes right after the knee, as Hogan bravely fights off the fake pain and they head back in. Warrior goes for the knee, but Hogan rakes the face to hold him off, and they choke each other as the knee injury disappears for good. Hogan slugs Warrior from behind and clotheslines him in the corner, then hammers away on him. Hogan drops a pair of elbows for two. Front facelock, as Warrior is now blown up and Hogan has to carry the match. Let me repeat that: HOGAN has to CARRY a match. He gets the small package for two and hits the chinlock. He hammers on Warrior while down there, and then slugs away in the corner and chops him down. Axe Bomber gets two. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Back to the chinlock, as Warrior is sucking wind. Hogan works on the back and gets a backdrop suplex for two. Back to the chinlock, as we wait patiently for Warrior to join us back in the world of oxygen-breathing mammals again. Warrior fights out with elbows and they clothesline each other and both guys are out. Warrior is the first up, as he shakes the ropes to recharge his batteries, and Hogan is FLUMMOXED. Warrior slugs away on him and gets the THREE CLOTHESLINES OF DEATH and some chops in the corner, and Hogan is begging for mercy. Suplex gets two. Guess he’s feeling better. And now it’s bearhug time. But man, once you’re not watching it live with a coliseum full of people on closed-circuit TV, the drama is reduced a lot. Ref is bumped on another criss-cross, and Warrior goes AERIAL, baby, hitting Hogan with a double axehandle. He misses a shoulderblock, however, and Hogan faceplants him, but there’s no ref. Warrior recovers with a backdrop suplex, and the ref is still out. Man, criss-crosses are a hazard to referees everywhere. The ref finally recovers and Warrior gets two. Hogan gets a rollup for two. Hogan slugs away and elbows him out of the ring, and they brawl outside. I was getting visions of a double-countout at this point in 1990, but it just ends with Hogan hitting the post as they head back into the ring. Warrior hits him with a clothesline and botches the gorilla slam (I mean, how do you screw that up?) and the big splash gets two, as it’s Hulk Up Time. Punch punch punch, big boot…but the legdrop misses, and Warrior splashes him for the pin and both titles at 22:46. I can actually appreciate Hogan’s efforts in carrying, and really the rest spots don’t hurt it that much compared to the awesome drama of Pat Patterson’s intricately booked spots here. And after all these years it’s still one of my personal favorite matches of all-time, regardless of the star rating. ***1/2 Warrior thought it was neat to see how far he could push himself on the road while touring with the title. Here’s a randomly nerdy note: The clips between the matches are all done 16×9 instead of the original 4×3, but the ones backstage at WM6 look like they opened up the frame on the sides instead of their usual cropping. I don’t think that would be the case because they wouldn’t be shooting film, obviously, and they definitely didn’t compose for widescreen until 2009. WWF World title: Ultimate Warrior v. Ted Dibiase From the Tokyo Dome, April 1990. Now where is THIS show on the Network? I’ve never seen the whole thing and I’d love to because it’s such an oddity, mixing New Japan and All Japan guys. Attendance was 53,000, but with exchange rate it was closer to 70,000. This was on a previous Coliseum video but I forget if I’ve reviewed it before. Warrior puts Dibiase on the floor and throws him around the ring to start, but Dibiase takes over with a cheapshot and gets a clothesline for two. The crowd is of course completely behind Dibiase, cheering along with every punch. Dibiase with a snapmare and fistdrop, and a suplex gets two. Piledriver gets two. Warrior comes back with the press slam and splash to finish at 6:10. Whole lot of nothing here. *1/2 WWF World title: Ultimate Warrior v. Rick Rude From SNME, July 1990. I didn’t like this match on my first review, so we’ll see how it holds up. Rude attacks and Warrior whips him around the ring and clotheslines him to the floor, then sends him back in for a clothesline that Rude sells like death. Warrior to the top with a flying axehandle, but the splash misses and Rude grabs the belt and nails Warrior with it to take over. Back in, Rude goes up and gets caught and Warrior tries a corner clothesline, but misses that. Rude takes over again, but Warrior blocks a slam attempt and Rude tries a sleeper instead. We get the weird deal where the ref checks Warrior’s leg and he fights out at two, so Rude drops elbows on Warrior’s neck and tries the Rude Awakening. Warrior blocks it and fights back, but Rude gets it on a second try and gets two. Warrior makes the comeback with the shoulderblock and splash, but Bobby Heenan breaks up the count and Warrior beats on him outside. Rude saves his manager and Warrior presses him onto the floor, then beats up Heenan in the ring and wins by countout at 9:43. This was supposed to make us want to see the cage match at Summerslam? No wonder his title reign was such a flop. Good, fast-paced match that I enjoyed way more here. *** WWF World title: Ultimate Warrior v. Ted Dibiase. From The Main Event #4, November 1990. Warrior was tanking badly as champion by November and a title change was imminent, while Dibiase was a non-factor by this point and was reduced to feuding with his own hired help by Wrestlemania VII, so that shows you how well this one was destined to do. Warrior powers Dibiase into the corner to start, but he slugs back, so Warrior dumps him with a clothesline. Back in, Warrior clotheslines him off the top and slugs away in the corner. Blind charge hits knee, however, and Dibiase takes over with the middle rope elbow. Piledriver gets two. Another is reversed and Warrior shoulderblocks him down, but gets dumped. We take a break and return with Dibiase dropping a fist for two. He grabs a side headlock, and clotheslines Warrior down. Warrior comes back with a backslide for two, but Dibiase suplexes him for two. Another is reversed to a sunset flip for two by Warrior, and Dibiase tosses him. Back in, Warrior reverses a suplex and starts no-selling, and they collide for the double KO. Warrior recovers and comes back with some rope-shaking, and the clotheslines and shoulderblocks follow, so Virgil runs in for the DQ at 9:50. Pretty energetic effort from Dibiase here. *** WWF World title: Ultimate Warrior v. Sgt. Slaughter No talking head from Warrior about the whole Iraq angle? You’d think he would be ALL OVER that shit. This is from a Superstars taping in January 1991, not the Royal Rumble match. I guess they didn’t want the Warrior loss on the set, because they’re weird like that. Slaughter pounds away in the corner to start, but Warrior chases him out of the ring and slingshots him back in. Slaughter takes his trademark bump to the floor and Warrior chops away in the corner, but he misses a blind charge and hits the floor himself. It’s like rain on your wedding day. A free ride when you’ve already paid. Back in, Slaughter pounds away in the corner, but Warrior comes back with a backdrop that nearly misses completely due to Slaughter not being able to flip over for it. Warrior catapults him into the post, but Slaughter gets a neckbreaker for two and a backbreaker for two. Slaughter drops elbows on the back, clearly blown up at this point, and gets two. Slaughter with the camel clutch, but Warrior is in the ropes and makes the comeback. Shoulderblock and splash finish at 9:22 to retain. Kind of a dull mess that mostly seemed like a walkthrough for their PPV match. ** Disc Three OK, Warrior finally talks about the Slaughter deal here. He liked the retirement match angle and didn’t give it much more concern. Cage match: Ultimate Warrior v. Randy Savage From MSG, March 1991. Warrior goes crazy and beats on Savage all over the floor and then sends him into the cage and beats on him some more. Finally Savage sends him into the cage in desperation, and that puts him down. They collide off a clothesline and Savage gets two, but Warrior fights back until Savage runs him into the cage again. Savage pounds on him and goes up with the big elbow, but Warrior tosses him off at two and makes the comeback. Big splash hits knee, however, and Savage climbs out of the cage, only to be foiled by Warrior grabbing a handful of hair. That’s a dubious gameplan at this point in Savage’s career. Sherri decides to run in and help, so Warrior drops Savage and goes after her instead, giving Savage the win at 10:35. Well Warrior owed him a bunch of jobs anyway. This was pretty cookie cutter for them, but totally fine. **1/4 And then Warrior puts an epic beatdown on Savage in the cage until the Nasty Boys run in and make the save, trying to calm him down. Finally Sherri gets back in the ring, hits Warrior with the scepter, and gets Savage the hell out of there. And then Warrior beats the hell out of HER, too. What a maniac. Brother Love interviews the Ultimate Warrior, March 1991. Brother Love thinks that Warrior is just a has been, so Warrior puts an end to the Brother Love Show and destroys his set, then grabs the fleeing Love and chases him to the ring, beating him to a pulp and sending him into (nearly) permanent retirement as a character. Poor Bruce just got MURDERED with clotheslines here. And with that, the Funeral Parlor replaced Brother Love. After three years it was time to kill off the character anyway. Retirement match: Randy Savage v. Ultimate Warrior From Wrestlemania VII, of course. Hey, isn’t that the lovely Elizabeth at ringside? More importantly, who’s her date? Man, that guy is about to get cock-blocked in the worst way. Warrior’s entrance is pretty reserved as compared to his usual, which was kind of the point. Savage goes with the cheapshot to start and pounds away, but Warrior puts him down with a shoulderblock and follows with a clothesline. Warrior chokes him down and gets an atomic drop from both ways, then tosses Savage into Sherri before slugging Savage down again. Macho gets tied in the ropes, but gets free and puts Warrior down with the hooking clothesline, then goes up with the flying bodypress, but Warrior catches him and sets him down to really egg him on. Oooo, BURN. Savage gets frustrated and tosses a chair in for the distraction, then blindsides Warrior, but Warrior calmly pounds him down and stomps a mudhole in the corner. Blind charge misses, however, and Warrior hits the floor, giving Sherri a chance to torment him. Savage follows with a flying axehandle to the floor, and sends Warrior into the post. Another shot from Sherri and they head back in for a Savage kneedrop that gets two. Warrior gets a backslide for two and Gorilla informs us “we’ve just been informed that this is the largest audience in the history of pay-per-view”. Really? In the middle of the show they got those numbers? Warrior tries the flying shoulderblock, but Savage moves and gets two. That was a weak spot, actually. Savage goes to a sleeper, but Warrior fights out of it and they criss-cross into the double-clothesline. Warrior reverses a slam into the small package, but the ref is distracted by Sherri and it only gets two. Ref is bumped and Sherri gets more directly involved, but hits Savage with her shoe by mistake. Warrior goes after her, allowing Savage to get a rollup for two. Warrior slugs him down, but Savage sends him into the turnbuckles and it’s looking bad for Warrior. Slam gets two and Savage drops the big elbow, then gets really dramatic and drops FOUR MORE of them. You’d think that would do it, but it only gets two. Warrior powers up and makes the comeback with the three clotheslines and gorilla press, but the big splash only gets two. Maybe he should have done FIVE of them like Savage did. Warrior appeals to the gods for help, or maybe just the photographer in the rafters, who knows with this guy. No answer is forthcoming so he decides to walk out of the match and think it over, but Savage makes the decision for him and attacks. Savage tries to drop an axehandle onto the Warrior’s throat ala Ricky Steamboat, but he misses and splatters himself on the railing. And Warrior apparently has his message (perhaps God had voice mail and was just on another call at the time) because he heads back in and spears Savage out of the ring. Back in, second verse same as the first. One last shoulderblock and Savage is retired (with a bazillion more World titles yet to come) at 20:45. Still awesome, although the occasional goofed up spot and slightly anti-climactic ending leave it well short of perfection. ****1/2 And of course, Machiavellian Sherri attacks her former meal ticket afterwards like Lady Macbeth, leaving Elizabeth to make the unlikely save, finally getting physically involved on behalf of Savage after years of being the distraction and nothing more. And so they are reunited again and would have been the happy ending to Savage’s career, had it actually been the ending. The retirement proved to be pretty inconvenient because suddenly Savage was the #2 babyface in the promotion again and could have easily carried the belt. Anyway, I think I have dust in my eye, let’s move on… Warrior talks about his program with Undertaker and how people were going nuts for Undertaker, which worried Mark Callaway because he was supposed to be the heel. The Funeral Parlor with Ultimate Warrior, as Warrior insists that he’s not scared of Undertaker or the creepy Warrior casket with his paint on it, which prompts Undertaker to pop out of another casket and attack Warrior. And then he locks Warrior in the Warrior-themed casket and seals the lid, and that’s…pretty squicky. Especially considering Warrior was dead shortly before this was released. I think I might have deleted this segment from the DVD if I was them. They’ve delayed DVD releases before for far stupider reasons. Anyway, we get the awesome braintrust of Rene Goulet, Tony Garea and Jack Lanza trying to open the casket with a crowbar and chisel and failing spectacularly. Were I trapped in an airtight container with two minutes to live, that would not be the team of experts I would want rescuing me. Anyway, they finally break in and Warrior is unconscious after trying to claw his way out. Hebner tries to give him CPR and Warrior revives. OK, this is very, very wrong to watch for so many reasons and definitely should have been taken off. The Undertaker v. Ultimate Warrior From Toronto, June 1991. Warrior clotheslines Taker to the floor, but gets necksnapped from the apron. Taker casually grabs him in a smother hold and that goes on forfuckingever. Taker misses an elbow but doesn’t sell anyway, and Warrior makes the comeback while Taker sits up after every clothesline and then catches Warrior with the tombstone for two. Undertaker gets frustrated and grabs the urn for the DQ at 7:50. Undertaker was such a unique and bizarre character for the time. And then we get ANOTHER uncomfortable bit, as Taker seals Warrior into a body bag until he fights out and sends Taker back to the dressing room. DUD They should have left this one off because it SUCKED. Warrior talks about the big return at WM8 and how fun it was. Kind of skipped over a pretty important piece of the story there, no? Macho Man and Warrior have an interview showdown leading up to their Summerslam match…which isn’t on this set. Admittedly three Macho Man v. Warrior matches on this DVD might be enough, but that match was one of the best they ever had! Anyway, Ric Flair comes to the ring and gets the line of the DVD set (“I’ve been beating up guys in face paint since you were in diapers! I specialize in it!”) Savage charges in and gets beat up by Perfect and Flair, and Warrior saves…but he gets a Gollum-like look in his eyes when he sees the belt on the mat and that triggers a fight between them. Warrior talks about how he was going to get the title back again, but, you know, stuff happened. Warrior doesn’t know where the Survivor Series thing was supposed to go because he left and didn’t care what happened after that. WWF World tag team titles: Money Inc. v. Randy Savage & Ultimate Warrior Big brawl to start and the, ahem, Ultimate Maniacs clean house and toss the champions twice. This gives Bobby a chance to work in a lame telestrator joke, and we’re back with Savage getting two on Dibiase. Necksnap and it’s over to the Warrior as the canned crowd noise is REALLY obnoxious here, like something from the early 80s. I mean, the crowd isn’t even MOVING and yet the sound is off the charts. Warrior suplexes Dibiase for two, but misses a shoulderblock and lands on the mat. IRS comes in with a sleeper to take advantage, which gives us a chance to hear from Razor Ramon and Ric Flair backstage, as they hype Survivor Series. So they’re using the tag champions to warm up the babyfaces for another team. That’s swell. Dibiase comes in and gets the Million Dollar Dream, but Savage breaks it up with a knee to the back. Warrior and Dibiase clothesline each other, but it’s hot tag Savage. And now at least the crowd is excited to see him for real. Clotheslines for Money Inc and he drops the big elbow on IRS, but Dibiase breaks it up and we’re BONZO GONZO. Warrior dumps Dibiase with a clothesline and IRS goes out from an atomic drop, and they’ve had enough tonight and walk out at 6:10. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Ramon and Flair and Perfect beat the crap out of the Maniacs on the way back to the dressing room. They might as well have put this together from a store bought kit. ** So Warrior leaves again at that point and goes off to run a gym and his other business ventures. Years later, Vince tries to woo him again and Warrior gets a funny line about that (“So he sent me a contract that was the basic normal contract and I told him to F off or whatever I said at the time, and it’s always funny when I tell Vince to F off…”) but obviously they worked out the details. Ultimate Warrior v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley From Wrestlemania XII, as we jump ahead 4 years. You have to wonder if HHH would have as much of an inferiority complex as he ended up having if this hadn’t gone down the way it did. The story is pretty famous, as Hunter went to Warrior before the match and laid out all kinds of ideas and potential spots and Warrior completely shot him down and said they’d do a one minute squash, done deal. And Hunter carried a LOT of bitterness over that for a lot of years. And as promised, Hunter attacks and hits the Pedigree, but Warrior pops right up and squashes the shit out of him with the usual at 1:30. Warrior claims that he didn’t care about getting the title back, which conflicts with what most others said at that point about how he was whining and wanting Vince to promise him the belt back around the time of his departure. From RAW April 1996, Warrior returns and tells Goldust that he doesn’t give a shit about what Goldust is into. From RAW June 1996, the infamous baseball cap promo where Jerry Lawler presents Warrior with a framed picture and breaks it over his head, then bitches about it on the first Warrior DVD because you couldn’t see the picture breaking properly with the cap in the way or some stupid shit. This feud was a huge waste of both guys. Ultimate Warrior v. Jerry Lawler From King of the Ring 96, a show we’ve all been trying to forget aside from one notable promo. I guess there’s not really much else you can choose from for his 1996 comeback. Lawler insults most of the front row on his way to the ring and attacks Warrior on the floor, then chokes him out with wrist tape. Piledriver is no-sold and Warrior comes back to finish Lawler with the usual at 3:35. DUD I feel like they should have just stopped at 1992. And now we’re off to WCW, as Warrior talks about Hogan talking him into making a deal to come there, and how the first night was electric and then they just had no ideas for him to follow up. Well, aside from Hogan getting his win back after 8 years, but then it’s not like they cared about anything else. From Nitro, August 1998, Hulk Hogan cuts his usual promo about how he’s the greatest and no one can beat him, and that brings Warrior back from Parts Unknown to challenge him. Hogan’s “I thought you were dead!” is a nice touch. The crowd goes crazy for Warrior but this promo is WAAAAAY too long and he loses the crowd the longer it goes. And then it goes LONGER as Warrior’s words get bigger and bigger. Dude, this DVD is only three hours long, wrap it up already. I’ve seen New Japan PPV shows that were shorter than this promo. This makes the Authority look efficient and selfless with their RAW segments by comparison. Warrior talks about how the only idea they had for him was to pin him, pay him, and had he known what a shitshow it would be, he never would have bothered. From Nitro, October 1998, another Warrior promo, this one addressing the loss at Halloween Havoc. Unlike John Cena, he is quite angry at losing a big match and wants revenge. Sadly, he wouldn’t get it, because this was the end of his WCW run. The nWo comes out to confront him, but he beats them up by himself and that was that. Warrior wraps things up, and notes that his full story is yet to come. One week after this DVD was released, he was dead of a heart attack at 54. The Pulse Well obviously this was worlds better than the Self Destruction DVD, although in this case they probably should have put the two Savage matches onto the first two DVDs in this set and just scrapped the third disc all together, because this one goes off a cliff after the retirement match. Still, it was an enjoyable watch and I didn’t regret sitting through it, so I’d call it recommended.

Sting: The Ultimate Collection Content Revealed


Bringing the Game Up a Level

The Blade Runners vs. Bret Wayne Sawyer and Sean O’Reilly
UWF Power Pro Wrestling • April 1986

Sting & Rick Steiner vs. Mike Rotundo & Ron Simmons
NWA Southern Pro Wrestling • May 19, 1987

NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Ric Flair vs. Sting
NWA Pro Wrestling • January 2, 1988

On the Map

Sting vs. Stan Lane
Main Event • October 2, 1988

Sting vs. Butch Reed
Main Event • March 26, 1989


NWA World Television Championship Match
Sting vs. Mike Rotundo
WCW World Championship Wrestling • April 1, 1989

Sting vs. Ron Simmons
WCW Power Hour • August 18, 1989

NWA World Television Championship
Sting vs. Great Muta
WCW Power Hour • September 1, 1989

Bleach Blonde Rivalry

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Ric Flair vs. Sting
Great American Bash • July 7, 1990

Sting vs. Dutch Mantel
Main Event • September 2, 1990

Face of WCW

 Sting vs. Nikita Koloff
Clash of the Champions XIV • June 14, 1991

Sting & The Great Muta vs. The Steiner Brothers
WCW/New Japan Supershow II • January 4 1992

Vader Rivalry

Bounty Match
Sting vs. Van Vader
WCW WorldWide • February 9, 1992

Sting, Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes vs. The
Dangerous Alliance (Rick Rude, Larry Zbyszko, Arn Anderson & Bobby
WCW World Championship Wrestling • February 22, 1992

Sting vs. Diamond Dallas Page 
WCW Saturday Night • June 13, 1992

Sting vs. Barry Windham
WCW Saturday Night • February 6, 1993

Face Paint

Sting vs. Stunning Steve Austin
WCW Pro Wrestling • January 8, 1994

Viewers Choice Match
Sting vs. Ric Flair
WCW Nitro • November 6, 1995

Sting vs. Arn Anderson
WCW Nitro • July 8, 1996

Sting & “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. The Nasty Boys
WCW Saturday Night • July 27, 1996

The Crow

Sting Becomes Free Agent 
WCW Nitro • October 21, 1996

WCW World Championship Match
Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting
Starrcade • December 28, 1997

Scorpion Death Lock

Sting & Lex Luger vs. Hulk Hogan & “Macho Man” Randy Savage
WCW Nitro • February 16, 1998

Sting vs. Kevin Nash
WCW Nitro • April 6, 1998

Sting vs. Scott Steiner
WCW Thunder • April 22 1998


Sting & Kevin Nash vs. Harlem Heat 
WCW Nitro • June 15, 1998

Sting & The Warrior vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart & Hollywood Hogan
WCW Nitro • October 12, 1998

Sting vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart
WCW Nitro • October 19, 1998


Sting vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
WCW Nitro • June 7, 1999

WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Booker T vs. Sting
WCW Nitro • July 31, 2000

Best 2 out of 3 Falls Match Sting vs. Jeff Jarrett
WCW Thunder • September 13, 2000

Sting, Booker T & Goldberg vs. Jeff Jarrett & KroniK
WCW Thunder • October 25, 2000

Sting vs. Ric Flair
WCW Nitro • March 26, 2001

Blu-Ray exclusives to be announced.

I really like this set as there’s a lot of rare stuff instead of all the usual stuff you would expect on a set like this.


Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuiness – The Complete Collection (Disc 1)

Because we’re all missing Daniel Bryan, I decided to watch and review this DVD. 

A lot of these matches were contested under “Pure Rules”. Here are
the rules:
1. Each wrestler has three
rope breaks to stop either a submission hold or pinfall.
2. There are no
closed-fists, only slaps and elbows are allowed to the face area. If a wrestler is seen using one, he will be warned. If a wrestler
is caught again, a rope-break will be taken away. The wrestler will lose the
match via disqualification if he is caught and has no rope-breaks.
3.There is a 20-count on
the floor instead of a 10-count

ROH World & ROH Pure
Championship Match: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Weekend of Champions
Night 2, 4.29.06

They trade some holds, with neither man gaining a clear advantage.
Danielson grounds McGuinness with a side headlock. McGuinness fights back to
his feet, but Danielson stays in control. McGuinness delivers closed fist.
Sinclair does not see him use a closed fist. He, however, catches Danielson
retaliating, so he takes away a rope break from Danielson. Funny spot.
McGuinness is relentlessly going after Danielson’s arm, locking in a few
different submission holds. He smashes some elbows into Dragon’s head, forcing
Danielson to use another rope break. Dragon tries to fight back, but McGuinness
goes after the arm. Dragon fights back and goes for the Surfboard, but Nigel
fights it off. He decides just to stomp McGuinness’s knees into the mat.
McGuinness comes back by going to work on Danielson’s arm once more. He then
sends him packing to the floor. He tries to suplex Danielson back into the
ring, but Danielson reverses it with a release German Suplex. Danielson hits a
big lariat and then a running forearm in the corner. He hits a suplex and then
a diving headbutt for a two-count. He locks on the Crossface Chicken Wing,
forcing McGuinness uses his second rope break. Both exchange some hard slaps.
McGuinness then delivers the headstand mule kick. McGuinness hits the Tower of
London. Danielson uses his final rope break. Nigel goes for another Tower of London,
but Danielson reverses it with the Cattle Mutilation! McGuinness places his
foot on the bottom rope, using his third rope break.

They skirmish on the apron and McGuinness suplexes Danielson to
the floor! McGuinness tosses Danielson into the guardrail and then uses the
table as a weapon.  Danielson makes it just back into the ring before the
count of 20. McGuinness hits the Jawbreaker Lariat for a two-count, but
Danielson him rolls over into the Cattle Mutilation. McGuinness makes it to the
ropes, but that can’t save him. He slides to the floor to break the hold.
Danielson hits a suicide dive. Back on their feet, McGuinness charges, but
Danielson tosses him over the barricade. Danielson follows him out with the
springboard dive, but McGuinness gets a chair up in his face. McGuinness is
able to get back in the ring before the count and wins the match at
28:30. This awesome match had clever storytelling, hard-hitting moves, and
spot-on timing. The strategic game planning that encircled around the
“Pure Rules” appended some realism/psychology into this too.

ROH World Championship: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness,
Generation Now, 7.29.06

This begins with
Danielson attacking Nigel’s leg. Nigel attempts to fight back, but Danielson
proceeds to work over the leg. Nigel fights back and goes to work on the arm.
Danielson recaptures the control and locks in the surfboard. Nigel fights back
and locks in an armbar that Danielson escapes with a bridge. Dragons slaps
Nigel in the face. He sends Nigel into the corner, but Nigel hits the headstand
into a kick move. He goes for the Tower of London, but Dragon reverses into a
cross face chicken wing. Nigel escapes. Danielson hits a suplex and heads up
top. He hits a missile dropkick. Nigel falls to the floor. Dragon then proceeds
to deliver a dive onto Nigel. Back in, Danielson hits a stiff European uppercut
off the second rope. He goes for Cattle Mutilation, but Nigel fights it off.
Nigel goes for another headstand, but Dragon kicks him in the face. Danielson
hits a suplex. He goes up top for the diving headbutt, but Nigel counters with
a knee right into his grill.

They go back and
forth with European uppercuts, ending with Nigel hitting a gigantic lariat for
a near fall. Nigel hits the Tower of London for another near fall. He puts in
his Arm Submission, but Danielson makes it to the ropes. Nigel takes a play out
of Danielson’s playbook and uses repeatedly elbows Dragon in the face. Dragon
reverses it and then shows Nigel how it is done. He locks in the cross-face
chicken wing. Nigel breaks out and they start trading stiff headbutts on their
feet. Danielson runs after Nigel and he tosses him over the ropes. Back in,
Nigel nails the rebound clothesline for a near fall. Danielson gets crotched on
the top rope and Nigel hits a demoralizing clothesline from the top rope.
Danielson goes to the floor where he crawls under the ring. He comes out the
other side and rolls Nigel up for the win at 24:25. This was just another
scientifically sound display from these two. It would have been a classic
if they weren’t both heels or if the crowd believed Nigel had a chance to win,
though. *** 1/2

Unification Match: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Unified,

This is
the rubber unification match, and it is contested under Pure Rules. Nigel
McGuiness receives a huge pop from the hometown crowd. Before the bell rings, a
“Fuck ‘em up Nigel, fuck em up” chant breaks out. They lock up ferociously
while the crowd starts a  “Let’s Go Nigel/Let’s Go Dragon””. Danielson
slaps the taste out of Nigel’s mouth. They go back and forth with some chain
wrestling and then McGuinness slaps Dragon in the face, triggering a “You Got
Bitch Slapped” chant to break out. McGuinness attacks the arm, but Bryan fights
him off with a dropkick. Danielson goes after the Nigel’s arm and finds
creative ways to twist and turn it. He hits a butterfly suplex and locks in a
cross armbreaker. This makes McGuiness to use his first rope break. McGuinness
fights back by hitting his trademark “Kick to the Back/Elbow in the corner”
move. Danielson rallies back with a step-up enziguiri. He goes for the
surfboard to the crowds’ delight, but he just stomps on McGuinness’ legs
instead because he did not want to do a crowd-pleasing move. Brilliant.
Danielson deliver a superplex from the top-rope. Danielson goes back up and
hits the diving headbutt for a two-count. He then locks in Cattle Mutilation,
forcing McGuinness to use his second rope break. McGuinness rallies and then
hits the Tower of London. Danielson has to use the ropes to break up the pin
fall. His first one. Adding insult to injury, McGuinness locks in Cattle
Mutilation, triggering Danielson to use his second rope break. Outside,
Danielson reclaims control, tossing McGuinness into the ringside table.
Danielson holds McGuinness down with the table, looking for a count out
victory. McGuinness makes it back into the ring, though. They start exchanging
forearms and McGuinness deliver a huge Lariat for only two. McGuinness tries
the headstand in the corner, but Danielson dropkicks him and hits a roaring
forearm for a two count. Danielson locks in the Crossface Chicken Wing. He
wrestles him down to the mat with a body scissors. McGuinness makes it to the ropes,
but uses his last rope break.

Danielson delivers a
release German Suplex. He tries to hit the diving headbutt from the top rope,
but McGuinness counters it with a boot to the face. With both men on their
feet, they exchange some super stiff slaps to the face. Danielson wins the
mini-exchange and hits a flying forearm in the corner. McGuinness fights back
and places Danielson on the top rope. He goes to the second rope, and he turns
Bryan inside and out with a lariat. This forces Dragon to use his final rope
break. McGuinness goes up. Danielson decides to join him, but he is sent back
down from a headbutt. Danielson brushes it off and hits a dropkick. He goes up
top and locks in a  Crossface Chicken Wing on the top-rope. Awesome spot.
McGuinness battles out and hits the Tower of London, but it only gets two!
 Outside, they both try to smash each other’s head into the ring post.
Danielson pulls McGuinness’s arms into it several of times, causing his head to
smash against the ring post super hard. This spot was utterly gruesome, busting
McGuinness open the hard way. Danielson dropkicks McGuinness, sending him to
tumble over the barricade. Danielson goes back in and springboard dives onto
McGuinness. Awesome spot that creates a “Holy Shit” chant. At the count of 19,
Nigel makes it back into the ring. He hulks up and screams “COME ON, COME ON!”,
sending the crowd into a frenzy. Nigel creeps closer to Dragon, who pulls a Ric
Flair move by begging him not to attack him.

Both start viciously
headbutting each other. Danielson headbutts McGuinness into the middle of the
ropes, allowing him to launch back with a Jawbreaker Lariat! Nigel slowly rolls
over to pin Danielson. At the count of about two and about half, Dragon rolls
Nigel over and locks in Cattle Mutilation. Nigel gets to the ropes, but it
doesn’t matter because he is out of rope breaks. He fights out of the hold.
Dragon tries to lock it back in, but Nigel reverses it into a pin attempt. At
the count of two, Dragon kicks out and then elbows the hell out of Nigel’s
already wounded head! After repeated shots, Nigel is out conscious, so the
referee puts an end to this one at 26:23. 

This was an exquisite display
of fine art. Bryan did a good job of enacting a narcissistic heel
and dictating the pace based on crowd’s reactions. The portrayal of the
night, however, went to none other than Nigel McGuiness, who tremendously
played an empathetic babyface. Without question, the hulking
up/fighting spirit spot where Nigel cries “COME ON”, with pain and
intensity in his voice, is one of the most genuine and compassionate moments in
pro-wrestling history that I have ever seen. It made everyone in the crowd to
rally him on as loudly as possible. This was smartly wrestled match, too. They built and structured this entity
immaculately. In the midst of every transitional period, the strikes became
stiffer, the moves became more forceful, the intensity escalated, the urgency
and desperation continued to augment, and their total hatred for one
another amplified off the charts. This just kept building and layering until it
reached the frenetic summit. Incidentally, they played off their previous
bouts and the crowds’ expectations.They revolved this into an
entirely different direction just when the crowd thought they knew what
was coming next. On top of all of that, there were a lot of awesome
striking exchanges straight out of AJPW in the 1990s, a finishing sequence for
the ages, and a shrewdly booked finish that made Nigel still look like a
warrior, even in defeat. 2006’s MOTY and easily a top 5 match in ROH’s history.

MATCH #4: 2/3 Falls for
the ROH Championship: Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Epic Encounter II,

Nigel is aggressive in the early going, forcing Danielson to backs
off. They begin chain wrestling. Danielson puts on a headlock and threatens to
keep the hold on for the entire 60 minutes. He segues it into a headscissors
and then a chinlock. Nigel makes the comeback and targets Dragon’s shoulder.
Danielson fights back with a dropkick and hits a dive to the floor. Back, he
hits a missile dropkick. He uses the Thesz Press and locks in a crossface.
Nigel fights back with a lariat and then the headstand mule kick. Suddenly,
Danielson picks up a pin-fall with a small package. Danielson keeps stalling
the action after this. Nigel tries to fight back, Danielson goes right back to
the side headlock. Danielson dives to the floor, but Nigel gets a chair up.
Back in, Danielson hits Nigel with his own Tower of London finisher. Danielson
goes for the diving headbutt, but Nigel gets his knees up and puts on Cattle
Mutilation. Danielson reaches the ropes. 

Nigel goes for the Tower of London,
but Danielson counters it and puts in Cattle Mutilation. Nigel escapes and hits
the Tower of London for three.  It is now one to one. Nigel hits a big
lariat for two and puts on his New Arm Submission. There is only five minutes
left. Nigel tries everything to pick up a pin-fall, but time keeps ticking.
Danielson starts cranking Nigel in the face with elbows. With 30 seconds to go,
Nigel reverses the elbow and starts hitting his own. The bell rings, signifying
that the match is out on. 60:00 draw. Wow, what were they thinking?  This
had an excessive amount of stalling and downtime. There were, also, too many times
where the crowd was completely silent. This was also affected by
the fact that everyone knew it was going the distance. They just structured and
laid this out in an erroneous manner, which
was unfortunate because these two were thoroughly
capable of putting on a compelling 60-minute match. ** ½

Number One Contender
Match: Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson, Domination, 6.9.07

The crowd is going insane before this even stars.
Both wrestlers shake hands and then begin mat wrestling. They chain-wrestle to
a few stalemates, as neither wrestler can gain the advantage. Nigel starts to
work over Dragon’s arm and shoulder. The battle lingers outside of the ring.
Danielson tips the timekeeper’s table onto Nigel’s head. Nigel comes back with
a rebound lariat sending Danielson over the guardrail into the crowd. Danielson
hits Nigel with a sick looking suplex on the guardrail. Back in, Danielson goes
to work on Nigels’ back by delivering a series of hard-hitting knees into it.
Nigel fights his way back up. Danielson greets him with a sequence of strikes
to the face, but Nigel drills him with a hard-hitting lariat. Nigel delivers a
smashing Superkick and lariat for a two-count. Nigel goes for the Tower of
London, but Danielson counters it. They have a breathtaking sequence of
reversals that concludes with Nigel delivering a powerbomb that only gets two.
Nigel locks in half Boston Crab, but Danielson makes it to the ropes. 

In the corner, Nigel goes for his trademark
headstand followed by a kick move, but Danielson runs at him and dropkicks him
in the face. Danielson hits a super back suplex for a two-count. He goes for
the Chicken Wing, but Nigel fights out of it. Nigel hits the Tower of London.
Both men are selling the effects of the match. They hit each other with some
brutal headbutts, with one of them busting Danielson open! Danielson tries to
clothesline Nigel, but Nigel ducks it and takes his head off with a lariat!
Nigel goes for the Jawbreaker Lariat, but Bryan blocks it. He follows it up
with a Dragon Suplex that only gets two! Dragon tries to segue it into Cattle
Mutilation, but McGuinness rolls Danielson onto his shoulders for a close two
count. Dragon rolls through and elbows him to oblivion. He puts in Cattle
Mutilation and they call for the bell, even though Nigel did not tap out @
24:31. Prazak said the ref called for the bell because Nigel passed

Finally, a match with realistic mat and chain wrestling that also didn’t feel
meaningless. There have been too many matches with laughably contrived chain
wrestling; the kind where it is excessively recognizable that they are working
together, and it usually has no bearings on the later courses of
the match. Both wrestlers had to work hard for each hold and maneuver they
locked in because the opposing wrestler was trying to defend or counter it. The
mat and chain stuff was comparable to some of classical technical matches seen
Britain in the 80s. There was no give to anything they did, either. The intensity was off the charts while every move, strike, or bump was done at full force. This had some
awesome back-and-forth, counter-for-counter exchanges, although this had too much gas in
the tank and the crowd was too into it for it to end so suddenly. Given five
more minutes and a good finish, this is their best match ever. **** ½

Nigel McGuinness &
KENTA vs. Bryan Danielson & Takeshi Morishima, Respect is Earned, 5.12.07

Danielson and KENTA start off by going back and forth for a few
minutes. Both tag in their partner. It breaks down with everyone hopping in the
ring. Todd Sinclair reestablishes order. Danielson and McGuinness are the legal
men. In the corner, Danielson and Morishima beat on Nigel. McGuinness makes a
comeback and makes the hot-tag to KENTA. He unburdens on Danielson and gets a
near fall with a missile dropkick. Danielson recuperates and tags to Morishima,
who hits a missile dropkick on KENTA. Morishima delivers a Boss Man Slam, but
KENTA comes back with a powerslam. Morishima hits McGuinness with a missile
dropkick. McGuinness no-sells it and hits a lariat for a two count. Morishima
fights back and hits a Back Drop Driver on McGuinness. KENTA breaks up the pin attempt.
Morishima goes back to the top rope. KENTA grabs his leg, which allows
McGuinness to hit the Tower of London. Danielson and KENTA are the legal men
and both try to hit their trademark moves and finishers. The fight goes to the
floor. McGuinness goes up top and hits a big dive onto Morrishima, leaving
Danielson and KENTA in the ring. Nigel goes in the ring and the referee does
not even kick him out for not being in legally. 

KENTA hits the GTS Danielson, but Morishima breaks it up. Nigel is
getting his injured arm taped up by the trainers. McGuinness hits a reckless
lariat on Morishima with his injured arm. KENTA nails a top-rope Falcon Arrow
on Danielson for two. Danielson locks in Cattle Mutilation on KENTA. KENTA
fights out and goes for Go 2 Sleep, but Danielson reverses it and puts on
Cattle Mutilation again. McGuinness tries to break it up, but Morishima stops
him from doing so. KENTA taps out at 24:50. This was a very good outing that had a lot of back and forth action and
striking exchanges. I was not a fan of the referee allowing the not legal wrestlers
into the ring. The whole point of establishing rules is so the heels can break
them in order to get heat. Anyways, this was ROH’s first PPV main event ever, so this was them giving
the new viewers a taste of what these four can do rather than the whole
enchilada. In terms of what the mainstream companies were doing at this time,
this entire PPV was a huge breath of fresh air. *** ½

Thumbs Way Up For Disc One

WWF VHS Collection For Sale

———- Forwarded message ———-

Hey Scott, CulturebUlly from the blog. I have found a super old set of WWF VHS from my collection days. I'm not really an Ebay kind of dude so I'd appreciate if I could maybe plug these on the site? The list is as follows, all VHS original packaging and in good – great condition:

Royal Rumble 1994 Royal Rumble 1995 Royal Rumble 1997 King Of The Ring 1993 Summerslam 1992 Summerslam 1993 Summerslam 1996 WWF 1994 Year In Review WWF 1995 Year In Review Best of Raw 2 Best of Raw 4 Best of Raw 5 Best Of Raw 7 WWF One Night Only (1997 UK PPV) US Rampage 1992 Smack ‘Em What ‘Em WWF Hottest Matches UK Fan Favourites The British Bulldogs The Undertaker… He Buries Them Alive! Superstars Entrances Music Videos Wrestling’s Greatest Champions (Savage/Liz cover) Beyond The Mat UFC 23 And… um… Bodyslam the movie, with Dirk Bendict, Tanya Roberts and Lou Albano
Please e-mail any interest to [email protected] … I've got no real price plan and am willing to get rid of them one by one if need be. I am based in the UK but am happy to ship anywhere. Thanks!

Help with a collection

John Petuka is out to collect all of the greatest promos in the wrestling world, and needs the help of the loving embrace that is the BoD Spotlight.

I don’t know why it sticks out in my mind, but the pre-match promo for Punk vs Jericho at WM had me excited for the match. It probably helped that I don’t watch Raw, so I just got the best of. Also, the Bully Ray ‘History of Aces & Eights’ videos on youtube are absolutely fantastic. Brilliant stuff. Anyway, here’s his email & list of what he has so far…

“Because I’m a nerd, I’m trying to compile the best wrestling promos (or
pre-match videos) known to man.  Some of them tell a magnificent story
while others just get you pumped for the match.  Feel free to contribute
to this list as I want it to be as thorough as possible…

“Do I have everybody’s attention now?”
The awesome MitB video.  It picks up on the drama and humor when Punk tells Vince to apologize around 1:40 into it.  

“Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon”
Twilight’s music sounded so good here, they used more of their music
for one of their Rock-Cena promos earlier this year, I believe.  Another
great video.  Classic Vince moment at 2:10 as you see his evil
reflection on Bret Hart’s sunglasses.

“Running Up That Hill”
great and dramatic summary of Shawn Michaels’ last feud against
Undertaker at WM 26.  It’s such a well-crafted story and this video
matches it.

“Steve Austin Survivor Series 1996”
were probably about 4 or 5 of these leading up to Survivor Series and
it was essentially Stone Cold finding his voice.  He had been developing
his character throughout the summer and fall, but these promos were a
stroke of genius.  Why doesn’t WWE do anything like this anymore?

“Flair vs HBK – 2003”
Just a nice and forgotten mix of their mini-feud in 2003.  It takes a cool and dramatic turn around 1:30 in.

“Flair vs HBK – 2008
Old Yeller.  If you don’t feel like listening to the Leave the Memories Alone part, skip to about 2:20.  

“The Rock, Pre-Rock Bottom 1998”
and forgotten, this is just a smooth telling of the Rock’s transition
into heeldom after teasing a big time face turn in late 1998.  1:15,
things get interesting and you get a pretty badass beat.  The Rock’s a
millionaire; he’s the WWF champ.

“Stone Cold-Rock: My Way”
Not forgotten at all–the one everyone remembers. WM17 pre-match promo.

“HHH-HBK: Fight”
2002.  So many good memories.  Already excited about HBK’s comeback,
this just made ya crazy with anticipation before the match.  Includes
the “Fight” song that was on the Anthology CD around 2:50.

“I’m damn sick and tired”
I believe this is before Fully Loaded 1998.  It’s a nice mix of where the Austin-McMahon feud and title picture at the time.

“Survivor Series 1997 – Hitman vs HBK”
A little chaotic but symbolic of their feud.

“2000 PPV intro compilation”
Okay, this is kind of cheating, but look at how cool WWE was in 2000.  20 minutes of pre-event promo packages.

The SmarK DVD Rant for Bret Hart: The Dungeon Collection

Here’s something to hold you over while I review RAW tonight… The SmarK DVD Rant for Bret Hart: The Dungeon Collection Hosted by Bret Hart, duh. Disc One Bret Hart v. Dynamite Kid From Stampede Wrestling, December 1978. As usual with Stampede, we’re joined in progress well into the match, about 20 minutes in. Bret is up one fall to none at this point and he chokes Kid out in the corner, until Kid clobbers him from behind. I would be remiss in not pointing out that Dynamite managed to find the ugliest possible combination of tights in every appearance in Stampede I’ve ever seen. Kid tosses Bret and threatens to walk out on the match, but returns and starts going after Bret’s leg, slamming him into the ropes in a neat spot and then stomping him down in the corner. Kid wrenches on Bret’s leg with a toehold that looks legitimately painful, since he was kind of a dick that way, but Bret gets a quick comeback before Kid beats on him in the corner again. Half crab, with Kid looking eerily like Brian Pillman, and the ref actually pulls Kid off Bret when they’re in the ropes. That’s some shoddy refereeing! Kid viciously stays on the leg and goes to the bow and arrow, which was crazy for 1978, but Bret falls out of it. Kid misses a dropkick and Bret comes back and goes after Kid’s leg, and a sunset flip gets two. Kid does a slick reversal of an armdrag into a headlock by yanking on the hair, but Bret flips out of it. Kid gets a butterfly suplex, but Bret reverses a wristlock and drops an elbow on him. They slug it out and Kid cheats to win that, but Bret comes back with an atomic drop, so Kid suplexes Bret over the top in a crazy bump by both guys, and it’s a DQ at 13:40 shown. Not quite the state-of-the-art stuff Dynamite was doing at the time, but it was a solid effort. *** Bret Hart v. Buzz Sawyer From Georgia, September 1979! This was not a particularly successful period in Bret’s career, as he notes in the introduction. I still find it crazy that WWE owns all this footage and can just pull video like this out of their vault like it’s nothing. This is pretty rough video quality, like it was taped off a satellite feed onto a VCR. Buzz, in his pre-beard/pre-bald days, takes Bret down by the arm and they work for the armbar. Buzz with a hiptoss but Bret gets his own and Buzz goes back to the arm again. Gordon Solie thinks Buzz is ahead on takedowns, which shows that he could have been an MMA judge had he lived. Sawyer gets an awkward dropkick and goes back to the arm, as this is certainly not a version of Buzz Sawyer I’m used to seeing. Bret reverses to a chinlock, but gets taken back into an armbar again. Bret’s vocal fans at ringside grow impatient with his efforts here. So Bret goes with a headlock to ramp up the excitement, but Sawyer sweeps the leg and now goes with a kneebar. They collide and both try dropkicks and get nothing, but Bret reverses a slam attempt into a cradle for one. Bret with a rollup for two, and Buzz gets his own for two. Buzz goes to a facelock and the time limit expires at 10:00. Nothing exciting, but just a good mat wrestling match for the time. *** Stampede North American title: Leo Burke v. Bret Hart Back to Stampede, January 1983. Joined in progress as usual at about 10:00. The charm of Ed Whalen: “I’ve been gone a week and Leo Burke has turned into an idiot.” He had just turned heel on Bret, you see. Burke drops knees in the corner as Whalen explains that Burke turned to the dark side because inflation was killing his bank account and bad guys make more money. And what more explanation do you need? Burke gets a neckbreaker and goes up, but Bret slams him off and makes the comeback. Burke reverses into a sleeper and the crowd is FREAKING OUT, but Bret makes the ropes. He comes back again, but the ref is bumped and Burke drops a knee on the poor guy for good measure. Burke pulls out brass knuckles, but Bret blocks it and piledrives him for the apparent pin and title at 5:22. BUT WAIT! Evil ref Ron Hayter reverses the decision and calls it a DQ, so Bret is foiled here. He would eventually prevail. *1/2 Bret Hart v. Dynamite Kid We’re into the WWF era now, September 1985, as Bret and Dynamite decided to let it all hang out with the video cameras rolling. Bret relates here how other guys were riveted by the match and came to him talking about how great they were, which is exactly the kind of thing that I’m sure people on the blog enjoy mocking Bret for. Watching their original match from 78 and then this one is crazy, because Bret has the same physique and Dynamite is now gigantic. Bret bails and complains about hairpulling, and Kid catapults him into the corner and to the floor. Kid leaps to the top and threatens to do something awesome, but Bret moves away quickly. Back in, Bret gets a cheapshot, but Kid hits him with an atomic drop and follows with the snap suplex for two. They trade trade hammerlocks and Kid leverages him to the floor to escape. Bret thinks it over and goes to the arm, and Kid immediately outwrestles him again, so Bret cheats and takes over. The middle rope elbow and legdrop follow and Bret tosses Kid and slams him on the floor, with no mats. Watching Kid bump leaves no mystery as to why he’s currently in a wheelchair. Back in, Bret gets two, but Kid gets a sunset flip for two. Bret stomps him down again, but Kid reverses to a backslide for two. Kid flips out of a backbreaker and hits his own, but Bret ties him up in the ropes. Sadly, Bret misses his charge and clotheslines himself, allowing Kid to make the comeback. Clothesline and headbutt, and Bret takes the turnbuckle bump for two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Flying knee gets two, and he NAILED that fucker. What a dick. Kid tries a rollup and Bret reverses him to the floor, but Kid comes back in with a rolling reverse for the pin at 12:35. WOW. This was way down the undercard and the crowd was going crazy for it, and no wonder. **** WWF Tag titles: The Hart Foundation v. The Islanders From Philly, March 1987. Back in the slower-moving 80s, the Hart Foundation’s title win over the Bulldogs was still fresh and still giving them nuclear heat. Big stall to start and Haku puts Neidhart down with chops . They do the test of strength and Haku dropkicks out of that, then sends Anvil reeling with a headbutt. So it’s over to Bret, and he gets kicked in the face right off the bat and put down with an atomic drop. As a note, in the mind of Dick Graham, Haku = “Tama” and Tama = “Afa”. Resnick, meanwhile, feels that Tama = “Haku” and Haku = “Tama”. Tama chops Bret down and out and the champs go for advice from Jimmy Hart, and it’s back to Anvil again. Tama showboats and tags Haku in, and the Islanders pinball Neidhart in the corner and double-team the arm. Tama is actually one step ahead of Bret and evades the cheapshot from the apron, but Anvil just clobbers him from behind anyway. That’s why they’re the tag champs! Bret drops a leg as I stop and ponder: I know that, in kayfabe, the purpose of wrist tape is for grip during holds, but what’s the purpose (either real or kayfabe) for the Islanders to have ANKLE tape? I never got that. Tama gets choked in the corner and Anvil drops him on the top rope, which allows Bret to choke him out from the apron. He’s having a grand old time doing it, which is a nice bit of facial expression. Haku has had ENOUGH and fights off the champs, so they toss Tama to the floor and the Islanders regroup. Back in, Anvil with a standing dropkick that gets two for Bret, but Tama gets a sunset flip. Bret makes the tag on the way down, however, and Anvil beats Tama down for two. Quality tag team stuff here. Anvil goes to a chinlock and Tama elbows out, so Anvil puts him back to the floor again as Tama is a bump machine tonight. Back in, Bret with a backbreaker for two. Neidhart comes in and collides with Tama. Tama goes for a slam and Bret dropkicks them over, but Tama rolls through for two. Big pop for that spot. Bret goes with biting in the corner, eschewing subtlety altogether, but he runs into a knee and it’s hot tag Haku. He fires away on the champs and there’s a malfunction at the junction, but Danny Davis makes a nuisance of himself while Tama gets the flying bodypress. Davis turns them over and Bret gets the pin to retain at 18:20. Classic Hart Foundation! ***3/4 Bret Hart v. Andre The Giant This a rarity if there ever was one, their only meeting. From Milan in April 1989, as Andre apparently personally requested this match with Bret as a sign of respect. Hey, it’s his DVD, he can put himself over if he wants. When you get a DVD, you can set the record straight. This looks like it was ripped off YouTube or something, and maybe it was. Kind of gives these soulless WWE DVD compilations some personality, like our own tape trading library. Andre tries the butt splash in the corner and misses, allowing Bret to get some shots in, but Andre casually smacks him down and sits on him. Bret dropkicks him into the ropes for the standard Andre spot, and the video quality suddenly undergoes a dramatic improvement. Andre escapes and chokes Bret down, then goes to a bearhug. He slugs away in the corner, but Bret makes the comeback and goes after the back, until Andre headbutts him down again. Andre misses a big boot and Bret clotheslines him into the corner, but Andre shrugs him off and drops an elbow for the pin at 6:28. Probably the best you were getting out of Andre at that point. ½* Bret Hart v. Mr. Perfect From Toronto, April 1989. They fight for the lockup to start and Bret grabs a headlock, then hiptosses him into the corner. Another go around turns into a criss-cross and Bret takes him down again. Bret with a crossbody for two, and he gets a sunset flip for two and takes him down with the headlock again. Perfect tries the chops, but Bret takes him down with a crucifix for two. Perfect bails and complains about the grease in Bret’s hair, but really what’s the ref gonna do? Recommend a good conditioner? Back to the lockup and Perfect uses a cheapshot to gain the advantage, but Bret catches a kick and takes him down. Hennig slams him, but Bret mule kicks him from the mat and then rams his head into the mat and clotheslines him into the mat. You can tell Curt is feeling the love tonight because he’s bumping like crazy for everything now. Perfect stalls for a while and they start with the lockup again, allowing Perfect to hit him with another cheapshot, and he follows with a kneelift and boots Bret out of the ring. He keeps knocking Bret off the apron and then Bret gets to take his favorite bump into the railing. Always a classic. Back in, Bret gets whipped into the corner for the turnbuckle bump, and that gets two for Perfect. They head out to the ramp and Perfect rams him into it, then goes to a spinning toehold, but Bret kicks him into the corner. Ah, it’s dueling turnbuckle bumps. The shoulder is hurt, so Bret runs it into the corner again and follows with a hammerlock slam before grabbing an armbar on the mat. He pounds on the arm in the corner and puts him down with a headbutt, but another crucifix attempt is blocked with a samoan drop. He follows with a falling headbutt to Bret’s midsection, further knocking the wind out of him, and then punts him in the ribs. They fight for the abdominal stretch and Perfect hiptosses out of it, then follows with a rollup for two. Bret shoves him out of the ring on the kickout and follows with a beautiful pescado, and they head back in. Vertical suplex gets two for Bret. Backbreaker and middle rope elbow get two, but the bell rings for the draw at 20:00. Well shucks. This was like a template for their 1991 match, with Hennig bumping all over the place and Bret refining his babyface act. And for the time, it was EXCELLENT. **** Bret wants five more minutes, but Perfect notes that he couldn’t beat him in 20:00, so 5:00 more won’t help. Then he turns around and jumps Bret and beats the hell out of him, but goes up and gets crotched by Bret. Bret makes the comeback and elbows Perfect out of the ring, and this time he goes back to the dressing room for real. Hell of a deal, but Bret’s singles push got stalled and aborted soon after. Disc Two The Hart Foundation v. The Twin Towers This is a dark match from a TV taping in Duluth, MN, May 1989. And wouldn’t you know, the music police strike again, as JIVE SOUL BRO is edited out. I continue to not get them. Anyway, the commentary places this on a “Fan Favorites” Coliseum video which I’ve probably reviewed in the past, but I don’t remember it. Bossman manages to overpower Neidhart to start, but he’s crazy enough to throw a dropkick in retaliation. The Harts work on Bossman’s arm, but Bret gets caught trying a bodypress and it’s over to Akeem. Bret quickly drops an elbow on him for two, and Anvil trips him up because babyface Hart Foundation are still dicks. Bret tries a sunset flip on Akeem and gets sat upon, which according to the intro nearly paralyzed him and was only dumb luck that his spine didn’t break. So Bret, having nearly died from a transition move, is naturally the face-in-peril and gets beat up for a while. The Towers do a unique double avalanche and Bossman goes to the bearhug and then boots him down. So it’s Akeem’s turn for the bearhug, and then Bossman goes to the chinlock. Lord Alfred randomly talks about how Bossman is only 24 and has the potential to be the greatest wrestler of all time. Really? He was actually 26 at that point according to Wikipedia, but still, REALLY? Anyway, hot tag Anvil and the Harts hit Akeem with a double dropkick and a slingshot splash from Bret that gets two. Bossman gets tossed…man, and they brawl outside for the countout at 12:06. Apparently the Towers win for some reason. This might be the gravest injustice that Earl Hebner has ever committed against Bret Hart. Hayes is still unsure what the decision might be, even during the announcement. ** Bret Hart v. Tiger Mask (Mitsuhara Misawa) This is from the famous WWF/SWS “Wrestling Summit” supershow at the Tokyo Dome in April 1990. Seeing this today you’re probably like “Holy shit, Bret Hart v. Mitsuhara Misawa?!” but this wasn’t really one of either one’s better matches and obviously neither guy was a star on the level they’d get to later. Bret is oddly dismissive of Misawa on the intro, just kind of noting that this was put together at the last minute and he was just hoping he could have a good match like he did with the first Tiger Mask, with no mention of what Misawa became later or his death or anything else. He basically does not enjoying working in Japan for a variety of reasons. Anyway, Tiger works the arm on the mat and Bret bails, then runs into a knee back in the ring. Tiger stays with a wristlock and works the arm for a while on the mat, but Bret goes to a chinlock and then grinds a side headlock. Dropkick misses and Mask gives him a weak catapult into the corner, and then it finally picks up a bit with Bret getting sent to the floor and Tiger following with a dive. Back in, he grabs a cross-armbreaker, but it was basically meaningless at that point and Bret easily gets to the ropes. Criss-cross and Bret has a crippling knee injury, but recovers in time to clothesline Tiger and heel on the fans a bit. Backbreaker gets two and Bret gets more aggressive now, throwing forearms until Tiger backslides him for two. Bret tosses him and they head back in for the Russian legsweep, which gets two. Bret hits the chinlock again and has a lengthy on-camera discussion with him before cutting off a comeback with a nasty looking atomic drop. Snap suplex gets two. And it’s back to the chinlock as this is clearly building to a 20 minute draw. Bret with the abdominal stretch as this thing has just totally run out of steam. Tiger comes back with a flying bodypress for two, and Bret takes the turnbuckle bump for two. They slug it out and as predicted, it’s a draw at 20:00. Couple of fun moments with Bret antagonizing the Japanese crowd, but otherwise this was a colossal bore. *1/2 Intercontinental title: Bret Hart v. Ric Flair Bret of course relates a story about Flair coming to him while Flair was World champion one night and telling him what a great worker he was. Oh, Bret. Also, Flair has no psychology and did the same moves over and over. Oh, Bret. I think Bret and Shane Douglas are the only people left taking the hardline anti-Flair stance in 2013, and even Shane has probably softened his stance. Anyway, Bret doesn’t think this is a very good match, but thankfully he was able to turn things up a notch and push Flair to something better. Oh, Bret. So this is from a TV taping in New Haven, November 1991. And in a rare fuckup for Finkel, he introduces Mr. Perfect as “Financial Consultant” instead of “Executive Consultant” before correcting himself. Bret works the headlock to start as Sean Mooney declares that as far as he’s concerned, the WWF title is the ONLY title in wrestling! And they wonder why Flair and Hogan didn’t draw. Flair gets into a dispute with Hebner, which is interesting to me because this was 1991 and they were still putting forth the storyline of DAVE Hebner being the referee when in fact Earl had basically taken over full-time since the Andre deal. When exactly did they stop lying and just admit it was Earl? Even the Apter mags were taking them to task about it, so you know it was getting silly. Flair takes over with a cheapshot and thrusts his pelvis at the women seductively, but Bret comes back with clotheslines until Flair cuts him off with an atomic drop in the corner. Flair tries a few cheap pinfalls in the corner but gets foiled by Hebner and Bret fires back. Flair catches him with a sleeper, which Bret quickly escapes to trigger a Flair Flop, but Flair goes for the leg and gets the figure-four. Bret fights into a reversal, so Flair cheats again and drags Bret to the apron, which allows Bret to suplex him back into the ring and make the comeback. Bret PULLS DOWN THE STRAPS and they slug it out, which ends with a Flair Flip and a fight up the aisle. Back in, Flair begs off and Bret repeatedly attacks him in a funny sequence, and Bret looks to finish with the Sharpshooter. Perfect distracts Bret long enough to get him to break, so he tries again and once again gets distracted by Perfect. Bret with a rollup for two and Flair grabs a headlock to setup the standard reversal sequence that must have hurt Bret deep down to participate in. Poor guy, having to be led through a match by washed up old Flair. They fight on the floor, and back in just in time for Flair to beat the count at 19:20. Kind of a weak finish, obviously. They never really got into high gear, but Flair looked like he was having fun with it, and it probably would have been WAY better if Bret had just let Flair do the Flair match instead of having to prove a point or something. *** Bret Hart v. Undertaker From MSG, January 1992, and this might be Taker’s last MSG appearance before turning babyface. Bret relays a story about how Undertaker came to him and was so glad to be wrestling Bret because then everyone could see that he could be a great wrestler and not just a movie monster. Taker attacks after the glasses are delivered, and he chokes away in the corner. Bret comes back with a pair of clotheslines and a dropkick that puts Taker on the floor, and Bret follows with a dive that nearly overshoots and breaks his neck. Taker shrugs him off and resumes the beating back in the ring. Bret tries a sunset flip that fails, so he pounds away in the corner instead until Taker whips him into the corner. Ropewalk gets two. Taker goes with the SMOTHER OF DOOM, but Bret eventually fights out with a suplex that gets two. Taker no-sells again and the ref gets bumped, so Bret gets the Sharpshooter to no avail. Bret dumbly lets go, and Taker waffles him with the urn and pins him at 12:22. Pretty standard Undertaker match for the time. *1/2 Bret Hart v. Bam Bam Bigelow From Milan, April 1993. Bret must have really loved Bigelow because there was already a 93 match from Spain on the first Bret DVD set, and he didn’t even have a story in the intro about how Bigelow came to him looking for bounty hunting advice or anything like that. After some stalling, Bret tries a headlock and gets nowhere with it. Bigelow pounds away, but misses an elbow, and Bret goes to the armbar. Bammer bails and Bret tries a dive, but Bigelow catches him and runs him into the post. Bigelow milks the count while Bret recovers, and then goes out and runs his back into the post all over again. That’s pretty awesome. Back in, Bigelow pounds on the back with a series of headbutts and tosses him again. Back in, a delayed suplex gets two. Bearhug into a backdrop suplex gets two. Bigelow goes to a body vice, but Bret escapes with a suplex and both guys are out. Bret revives first and tries a bodypress, but Bigelow dumps him down and follows with the butterfly backbreaker. To the top, but the flying headbutt misses and Bret comes back. Legsweep gets two. Middle rope clothesline gets two. Bulldog sets up the Sharpshooter, but Bigelow blocks it and grabs another bearhug. Bret tries another suplex to escape, but Bigelow falls on top for two this time. Blind charge misses and Bret finishes with the victory roll at 20:41. This was basically the same match as King of the Ring, down to the finish, so I’m not really sure what the point of inclusion was. I mean, it was fine, but what’s so interesting about it? *** Disc Three WWF title: Bret Hart v. Diesel From King of the Ring 94, our first PPV match of the set. Obviously this was the least of the Bret-Diesel series. Jim Neidhart re-debuts here in Bret’s corner before turning heel later in the night, and of course Art Donovan on commentary has no idea who he is, with Randy Savage of all people having to tell Art that Neidhart used to play for the Raiders. Diesel attacks in the corner to start, but misses a boot and Bret goes to work on the leg early and gets a rollup for two. Meanwhile, Gorilla and Donovan have the greatest conversation in wrestling commentary history: Art: “These two are like David and Goliath!” Gorilla: “Well, we know how that story ended.” Art: “Yeah, he hit him with a rock.” They should have just had these two do every PPV ever. Donovan was like a living parody of every parody crazy announcer in pop culture history. Anyway, back to the silly wrestling stuff, as Bret gets a figure-four and goes back to the leg. Trying to decipher Art Donovan’s rambling is FAR more interesting than this. Diesel shoves Bret to the floor, but that goes badly when Bret wraps the leg around the post a few times. Shawn comes CHARGING from off-camera with a clothesline to save his big buddy, drawing more heat as a manager than either guy in the ring. Here’s Shawn Michaels, multiple time Intercontinental champion and totally credible badass by that point in his career, and he just chooses to play an awesome cowardly weasel manager because he wants to get Diesel over. Who says he was selfish? Back in the ring, Diesel sends Bret to the outside again and into the post, and I feel it’s the proper time to discuss Nash’s trainwreck of a hairdo, as it combines a pompadour with a mullet. It’s like party in the back, 50s karaoke night in the front. Diesel works on the back with a backbreaker and sideslam for two. He goes to a backbreaker submission, and Art Donovan is concerned. “He’s gonna break that guy’s back!” And now you know where the name of the move comes from, courtesy Art Donovan. Shawn continues interfering freely and enraging the front row, and Bret takes the turnbuckle bump for two. Short clothesline gets two. Another backbreaker gets two as Nash seems to have exhausted his moveset. Diesel goes to the body vice while Shawn removes the turnbuckle pad, but Bret wriggles into a sleeper, trying to get a good match out of this trainwreck against all odds. Bret, you’re fighting against Art Donovan on commentary and Shawn Michaels clowning for 3 at ringside, just accept the crazy and go with it. And right on cue, the ref is bumped, but Bret sends Diesel into the steel first. They slug it out with Diesel flailing around like a drunk barfighter. Bret gets three clotheslines to put him down for two, setting up the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Bulldog sets up the Sharpshooter, but once again everyone gets involved and Bret gets a middle rope clothesline for two instead. Bret wants a backslide and turns it into a small package for two because Bret wants a fucking **** match and doesn’t give a shit if he has to wrestle Kevin Nash to do it. Diesel tries Snake Eyes and settles for the big boot as this thing gets over to the shock of everyone involved. Bret rolls into the Sharpshooter, but they’re in the ropes, so Bret dropkicks him to the floor. This of course lets Shawn come in and clobber Bret with the IC title, and Diesel gets two off that. He goes to finish with the poochiebomb, but Anvil runs in for the DQ at 22:45. OK, Bret, you earned that one, wacky commentary and cartoonish Nash selling aside. **** Bret Hart v. Owen Hart This is a no-holds-barred match from RAW, March 1995. Kind of an odd choice. It’s not like there’s any shortage of Bret-Owen matches out there on DVD already. I think the magnificent Bret-Kid match from 94 would have been the better choice, but it’s Bret’s DVD so whatevs. Bret chokes him out on the ropes and busts out a DVD, and they fight on the floor and back into the dressing room. Bret adds a slam on the floor and they head back in, where Owen takes over following a cheapshot. Enzuigiri gets two and they’re back to the floor, where Bret meets the railing, and we apparently skip over a commercial break and return with Bret in the Tree of Woe. Owen undoes a turnbuckle and Bret hoists him by his own petard and makes the comeback. This of course means FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, including a rare piledriver for two. Sharpshooter, but Owen goes to the eyes and then runs Bret into the exposed turnbuckle for two. He goes up and misses a missile dropkick, and Bret catapults him into the steel and finishes with the Sharpshooter at 9:15. Terrific, fast-paced match. ***1/2 Bret Hart v. Jean Pierre LaFitte From In Your House III. The fact that Bret got stuck in every shitty feud they could think up for him (like here, for instance, where the pirate dude stole his jacket, which Bret calls his lamest feud motivation ever on the intro) but still emerged as WWF champion I think shows how great he was. Bret dives on LaFitte and pounds away in the ring, but gets hammered down. Bret takes him down and grabs an arm, and a crucifix gets two. Back to the armbar, but LaFitte clotheslines him and does some choking. Bret rollup gets two, and Lafitte goes back to the pounding. Bret tries a charge, but hits the post, and Lafitte sends him back there for good measure. We get the Bret Hart Running Turnbuckle Bump and Lafitte gets two. Bret dumps him, but that backfires as Lafitte yanks him out and sends him into the stairs. Vince writes off Bret at that point. Geez, give the guy a LITTLE credit. Bret fights back, but a spinebuster gets two. Lafitte goes to the chinlock. Bret fights up and goes down, and Lafitte drops a leg for two. Bret comes back with a sunset flip for two, but a clothesline puts him down again. Sideslam and Lafitte goes up with a legdrop for two. Back up, but the swanton misses. Bret comes back with an atomic drop and Sharpshooter, but Lafitte powers him out of the ring. He follows with a somersault plancha, but splats on the floor and Bret returns that trip into the stairs. Back in, legsweep gets two. Small package gets two. Backbreaker and elbow, but he hits boot coming down. You don’t usually see someone block that. Bret tries another crucifix, but Lafitte has learned and counters to a Regal Roll for two. Bret blocks a slam for two and pounds away, but charges and hits knee, giving Lafitte two. Bret tries a bulldog, but gets sent into the corner for two. He fights back, but charges and crotches himself. Lafitte goes up and misses again, and they clothesline each other. Bret, however, takes advantage on the ground and hooks the Sharpshooter to finish at 16:34. ****1/4 This had all sorts of cool stuff that you didn’t see in 1995, with great psychology and both guys adjusting to each others’ strategy and mistakes. Probably should have made Carl Ouelette into a star, but it didn’t. Bret Hart v. Steve Austin From South Africa, September 1996. No idea where this originally aired. Austin lays the badmouth on him and starts with a headlock, and they trade armbars on the mat and do the kind of mat wrestling you don’t expect to see from Austin anymore. Austin offers a sportsmanlike handshake, but Bret refuses, so Austin asks for a test of strength instead and cheapshots him. Bret had it coming for not shaking hands like a man. Bret takes him down with another armbar, but Austin gets the Thesz Press, which Bret counters to set up a pinfall reversal sequence. Bret tries the Sharpshooter, so Austin bails to escape and takes some time to recover. Back in, Austin goes low to take over and chokes him out, then whips him around the ring. Elbow gets two. Austin pulls him to the apron and drops elbows out there, and back in for a chinlock. Bret fights out, but misses a charge and splats on the floor. Austin decides to piledrive him on the concrete, but Bret escapes and they head back into the ring. Bret tries a sleeper, but Austin reverses to a jawbreaker. Bret keeps coming with the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Bret rolls him up for two and dumps him to the floor, then follows with a dive and back into the ring. Bret goes into turnbuckle for two and they fight to the top, where Bret blocks a superplex and drops a top rope elbow. Sharpshooter, but Austin pokes him in the eye. They fight over a backslide and Bret cradles for the pin at 19:58. And they had an even BETTER match at Survivor Series! **** WWF World title: Bret Hart v. The Patriot From Ground Zero in 1997, the show where Shawn Michaels stole Bret’s thunder once and for all. Well, aside from Montreal. Bret attacks and beats on Patriot in the corner, as Vince notes “What started as mere dislike has turned into loathing.” Now there’s a Wrestlemania tagline! Patriot comes back with a dropkick and clothesline to put Bret on the floor, as Vince openly calls him Del Wilkes in a weird bit. Why bother with the mask, then? Back in, Patriot controls with armdrags for a few boring minutes, but Bret goes to work on the leg for in response, which is slightly less boring because he’s moving. This sets up the ringpost figure-four, and a legsweep for two. Breaking news: The Headbangers are on the Superstar Line! Bulldog comes out to cheerlead as Patriot comes back with clotheslines, but Bulldog trips him up and Bret gets a rollup for two. Patriot gets his own rollup for two, and UNCLE SLAM gets two. Vader comes out for a brawl with Bret while Patriot fights Bulldog, but everyone quickly gets removed from the area. Back in, Patriot comes back as Vince notes that the crowd is “whipped up into a frenzy”. The standards for a frenzy must have been really low in 1997. The Patriot Missile shoulderblock gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Bret catches him with a stungun (IRONY! Because he hates Steve Austin so much, you see) and drops the middle rope elbow for two. The ref is bumped, however, and Patriot get another Uncle Slam for two after a delay. Collision and both guys are out, but Bret recovers with a small package for two, reversed by Patriot for two. Patriot get cheeky and applies a Sharpshooter, but the idea of Bret submitting to his own hold to lose that title is PREPOSTEROUS. Bret thankfully reverses to his own version, and Patriot submits at 19:20, because Canada is awesome. Bet tells everyone to kiss his ass afterwards, because Canada is also classy. First half of the match was the most boring 10 minutes of my life, but the rest was pretty good. ***1/4 US Title: Bret Hart v. Booker T Oh man, now we’re into Bret’s unmotivated WCW run. He talks about his legendary groin pull, the likes of which you wouldn’t believe, and how he wanted to do a run with Booker and WCW killed it. This is from Nitro, January of 99. Booker throws knees in the corner to start and Bret bails, and back in for a test of strength that Booker wins easily. Bret gets a cheapshot and busts out his DDT to take over, then chokes away in the corner. To the floor, where we randomly cut to a stock crowd shot and mute the commentary. WTF? Were they talking about Benoit there or something? Back in, Booker slugs back and puts Bret down with a sidekick for two. Bret goes low and works on the leg, setting up the figure-four. Booker reverses as we take a break, and return with Bret putting it back on him. Booker fights out and suplexes him for the comeback. To the top, but the Hangover misses and Bret grabs the US title for some reason. Booker kicks it back in his face and they fight to the floor again, and it’s ANOTHER clumsy edit to the crowd with muted commentary. Finally they head back in, Bret whacks him with the belt, and that’s all she wrote at 12:12. Just a typical Nitro match, leading to nothing. **3/4 Bret Hart v. Sting From WCW Mayhem 99, the semi-finals in the retarded Russo-booked WCW World title tournament. I tried watching this show again on 24/7 a few years ago and it nearly melted my eyeballs out like at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sting’s music is overdubbed here – was he using “Seek and Destroy” at this point? Because Metallica is EXPENSIVE so I wouldn’t even blame them in that case. Sting is decidedly off the gas at this point. Bret wallops Sting to start and they fight to the floor, and back in for an atomic drop from Bret. Sting comes back and quickly walks into a clothesline, and Bret follows with a suplex. Sting goes low because they’re in BIZARROWORLD and I guess he might as well be a heel. Why fight it? Elbowdrop gets two. Sting goes to the chinlock and drops another elbow for two. They head to the floor and Sting splashes the table by mistake, but recovers and sends Bret back into the ring again. Blind charge hits boot and yes, the ref is bumped six minutes in. This brings out Lex Luger, who turns on Sting for no adequately explored reason, and Bret saves for no adequately explored reason and puts Luger in the Sharpshooter, because, you know, Crash TV or something. So the ref disqualifies Sting, but Bret is like “Who booked this shit?” and wants the match to continue. So we carry on and Bret gets the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, but lands on Sting’s boot coming off the top. Sting gets the Deathlock, but Bret reverses to the Sharpshooter and Sting taps at 10:05 to send Bret to the finals against [censored]. ** Oh come on, WWE legal is censoring my reviews now AS I’M TYPING? The Pulse This is certainly a more eclectic set than most of them, more of a “rarities” than a “best of.” But that’s OK, you can only watch Bret v. Bulldog at Summerslam so many times and this was a nice change of pace. Plus it’s got two classic Hart Foundation matches and I could literally watch a whole DVD set of them. There’s nothing classic on here, but it’s a fun set for looking back at Bret’s career. Thumbs up.

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection – Kofi Kingston

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection:  Kofi Kingston

This was released in September but at the time I got two
copies of the Randy Orton DVD instead of one Orton and one Kofi, so I guess someone
finally figured it out and sent it to me. 
Whatever, I love reviewing these because they’re SHORT and filled with
stuff from a time period when I wasn’t watching so it’s mostly all new to

title:  Chris Jericho v. Kofi Kingston
From Night of Champions 2008.  At this point, I’d never even seen this Kofi guy
wrestle.  Jericho hides out in the ropes
and grabs a headlock, then boots him down and tosses him. Kofi catches himself,
however, and comes back for the criss-cross, but Jericho bails.  Kofi follows with a pescado, and back in for
a crossbody that gets two.  Kofi slugs
away in the corner, but Jericho dumps him. 
Back in, Jericho stomps the back and they fight over a suplex on the apron,
but Jericho wins that for two. 
Backbreaker submission, but Kofi knees out of it, so Jericho dropkicks
him.  He chokes away on the ropes and
into the abdominal stretch, and somewhat amazingly for this boring match, the
crowd is still hanging with Kingston. Jericho chokes him on the ropes again and
they fight for a superplex while the crowd starts the “boring”
chant.  Kofi falls on top for two and
makes the comeback, headbutting Jericho down, but he misses a splash and
Jericho goes for the Walls.  Kofi rolls
him up for two.  Clothesline and legdrop
gets two.  Rana gets two.  Jericho puts him down again with a
clothesline and the Lionsault follows. 
Walls of Jericho follows, but Shawn comes out of the crowd and distracts
Jericho long enough for Kingston to spinkick him and win the title at
11:01.  Really?  Bob Charlie from Super Punch Out gets the
belt?  (2012 Scott sez:  Of course I became a much bigger fan of Kofi
in later years.  And yet four years later
and he’s still no higher than IC champion.) 
Not a really auspicious PPV debut for him but people seem to
like the guy.  ** 

RAW World tag
titles:  Ted Dibiase & Cody Rhodes v.
CM Punk & Kofi Kingston

From RAW, October 2008, a couple of nights after Punk lost
the World title to Jericho in that Scramble match deal.  Legacy was still hanging out with Manu the Samoan
at this point, which was a storyline that went NOWHERE.  Funny to see Punk as the plucky young
babyface at this point, especially since Kofi is basically still playing the
exact same character four years later.  Really,
Dibiase was the one who was the can’t-miss star out of the bunch and now he’s
basically screwed.  Punk and Kofi
double-team Cody in the corner to start, but Dibiase gets a jawbreaker on Punk
and hammers him in the corner.  Punk
comes back with dropkicks and the challengers clean house, allowing Kofi to
backdrop Punk onto the heels as we take a break.  Back with Cody hitting a legsweep on Punk and
reversing out of the GTS, but Punk manages a tag to Kofi.  He’s running wild, but runs a bit TOO wild
and gets yanked to the floor by Dibiase to allow the champs to take over again.
This is pre-Orton for Legacy, by the way, so this match has zero heat.  Cole tries to get over “The Dynamic Duo” for
Punk and Kingston because they’re both comic nerds but that went nowhere, much
like the team itself.  Kofi gets the heat
and the heels cut off the ring, but Kofi rolls up Dibiase for two.  Cody works the arm to finally pull the crowd
into it, and Kofi makes the hot tag.  Punk
uses the backfist-kick combo he never does anymore and lays out Manu with the
high kick to get rid of him.  GTS on
Dibiase wins the tag titles at 8:59.  I
remember none of this even though I was casually watching here and there at the
time.  I think they lost them to Miz
& Morrison if I’m not mistaken.  
Match was fine.  **1/2

Money in the Bank:  CM Punk v. MVP v. Shelton Benjamin v. Mark
Henry v. Kane v. Finlay v. Kofi Kingston v. Christian

From Wrestlemania 25. 
Henry and Kane clear the ring to start, but a ladder from Christian
& Shelton puts them down.  Kofi does
a nice acrobatic evasion of the ladder and dropkicks them down, and we get the
first climb from Kane and Henry. 
Everyone gangs up on them to bring them down and then we get a
mass-climb, which leads to the big men knocking the ladders over.  Finlay manages to get rid of Henry and hits a
suicide dive onto Kane outside, and we get a series of highspots from
there.  This concludes with Shelton
diving off the top of a 15-foot ladder with a plancha, which is pretty
awesome.  Mark Henry actually teases a
dive, but Finlay thankfully brings him down and then launches Hornswoggle off
Henry’s back onto everyone else.  Why
would 6 guys do down off that?  That
doesn’t even make SENSE!  Kofi gets a
good monkey-bar style attack on Finlay using the ladder, but dives and runs
into a stepladder.  Finlay climbs again
and Kofi kicks him down, but Henry pushes him off the ladder.  He just sucks the fun out of everything he
touches.  Another tremendous Kofi spot
sees Henry holding the ladder upright, which allows Kofi to climb up for the
briefcase before Henry drops him again. 
Kofi’s like the new Shelton Benjamin here.  Speaking of which, we get the mandated
contrived ladder spot, as a ladder gets wedged between the rungs of another
one, and MVP & Shelton work off that. 
Punk takes them out and climbs, but Christian follows and they tease a
GTS off the ladder, which turns into a blown Unprettier instead.  Well the thought was there, but they just
couldn’t pull it off without breaking a neck. 
MVP climbs and Shelton does his usual crazy jungle gym climb to save,
then they badly fuck up a powerbomb spot. 
Shelton recovers and powerbombs MVP out of the ring in another
scary-looking spot.  Shelton slugs it out
with Finlay on top of the ladder, but Christian pulls them down.  He and Shelton fight there and the ladder
goes down, but Christian holds on and pulls himself up again.  Punk saves, but gets hung up.  Kane finally returns from Purgatory and
climbs up to chokeslam Christian off, but Punk boots him down and repeats as
MITB winner at 14:23.  Kind of a big heel
reaction for Punk, as I think the fans wanted someone new to win.  As did I, I was hoping for MVP.  Pretty fun opener, although Kane and Henry
sucked the life out of it every time they were in and there were too many blown
spots.  ***1/4

Randy Orton v. Kofi

From TLC 2009, just after Kofi had “come out” as African
instead of Jamaican.  I totally forget
where this fell in regards to their MSG brawl, but Michael Cole doesn’t even
mention it so I’m thinking it comes later. 
Orton goes for the arm and hits a powerslam for two.  They fight out of the ring, leading to a
great spot where Kofi tries the springboard dive and Orton counters with a dropkick
from the floor.  Say what you will about
Orton, but he’s got impeccable timing. 
Maybe that’s why he gets so mad when others screw up their spots.  Back in, that gets two.  Kofi fights back with the move that would
become the SOS, despite injured ribs, and hits a suicide dive on Orton.  Back in, a flying bodypress gets two, but the
ribs are still hurt.  He slugs Orton down
and hits the springboard forearm out of the corner, but walks into Orton’s
backbreaker.  Kofi has taken a LOT of the
offense in this match thus far.  Orton
sets up for the RKO, but Kofi dropkicks him to block and hits the boomdrop.  The Trouble in Paradise hits, but Orton is in
the ropes and bails to escape.  Kofi
quickly goes to get him back into the ring and Orton appears to be dead weight,
but he was just faking and hits the draping DDT on the way back into the ring.  Orton sets up for the punt, but Kofi blocks
with his arm, so now Orton goes after THAT with a single-arm DDT.  Another RKO attempt, but Kofi ducks and tries
the kick again, and Orton ducks THAT and finishes at 13:25.  Not much heat for this one, but I liked the
gutsy performance from Kofi back when he gave a shit about that sort of
thing.  ***1/2  The announcers treat this like Kofi’s big
ascension to the main event, but it wasn’t. 

title:  Dolph Ziggler v. Kofi Kingston

From Smackdown, January 2011.  I remember this, as they built and built Kofi
until fans were BEGGING for him to beat Dolph. 
Kofi is all fired up and pounds on Dolph in the corner, as Cole is at
his heel worst on commentary.  Kofi goes
up and misses the bodypress as we get this exchange:  (Cole) “Kofi’s been after this title since the
summer, maybe he should just give up and try something else.”  (Striker) “Well what do you want him to do?”
(Cole)  “I dunno, maybe win a match for
once?”   What a douche.  Dolph pounds away, but misses a blind charge
and Kofi puts him down with a dropkick. 
Ziggler counters the SOS and rolls him up for two, but Kofi gets a
clothesline and boomdrop.  The kick
misses and Dolph gets the sleeper, but Kofi quickly escapes with a
jawbreaker.  Kofi with the SOS for
two.  They head up and Kofi blocks a
superplex and follows with the crossbody to win the title at 5:31.  Well that was certainly right to the point.  **1/2  Dolph
quickly lays him out with the Zig Zag, so Vickie grants him an immediate
rematch as assistant GM.  The heel
announcers point out that Kofi should have told the ref he wasn’t ready and
just left.  Very true.  Dolph pounds him down, but Kofi hits the
Trouble in Paradise to finish a second time, and that’s it for Dolph’s IC title

The Pulse

Not exactly a must-buy, but again for $7 on Amazon what’s to
lose?  It’s stuff that’s not generally on
the other DVD releases and a low-profile guy like Kofi gets a DVD of his own to
shine.   Thumbs up.  

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Superstar Collection: Rey Mysterio

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Rey Mysterio Kind of weird that both releases this month cover guys who already have multiple comprehensive DVD sets in the past. In the case of Shawn Michaels, he not only has multiple sets about his singles career, but multiple sets about the D-X reunion. Intercontinental title v. Mask: Chris Jericho v. Rey Mysterio This is from The Bash 2009, aka the show formerly named The Great American Bash. Jericho grabs a headlock to start but misses a charge, and Rey puts him on the floor with a headscissors. Jericho blocks a baseball slide and runs Rey into the barricade, however, and the crowd gives him a babyface reaction for it. This must have been during the Rey backlash. Jericho with a delayed suplex for two. They head up and Rey puts him down for the senton, but Jericho gets a backbreaker for two. Jericho runs him into the corner as the early going isn’t terribly exciting stuff. Seated dropkick gets two, but Rey goes to the leg and puts Jericho on the floor, then follows with a CRAZY seated senton from the top to the floor. No wonder his knees are shot. Back in, Rey with a double springboard moonsault for two, as the crowd stars to turn back for him again. Well defying the laws of physics should probably get a babyface reaction, I’d hope. Jericho blocks a springboard bodypress and slams him for two, but misses a blind charge. Rey with a moonsault press for two. Rey tries a rana and Jericho headfakes him with a powerbomb counter, then drops him into a Walls of Jericho instead. What a great touch. Rey hits him in the leg to break, then suckers Jericho onto the apron and tries the 619. That misses, and Jericho hits a clothesline that has the heel fans cheering for him again. Back up for another rana attempt from Rey, and this time Jericho does powerbomb him for two. Lionsault misses and Rey gets the West Coast Pop for two. 619 is caught by Jericho, but Rey reverses him into a DDT for two. Rey springboards right into a Codebreaker in a great spot, but that only gets two. Jericho wants a top rope rana, but Rey blocks him and hits a missile dropkick. 619 finally hits, but Jericho blocks the rana with the Walls. What a great sequence. Rey fights into a sunset flip and they do a reversal sequence off that, but Jericho unmasks him Rey has another mask underneath, however, and while Jericho is pointing at his head to indicate his intelligence, Rey hits the 619 and drops the dime for the title at 15:51. What a BRILLIANT finish. Played off the previous match, built from Rey’s repeated 619 attempts, made Jericho look like an arrogant jackass who got what he deserved. Absolutely tremendous. ****1/2 Intercontinental title: Rey Mysterio v. Dolph Ziggler From Night of Champions 2009, back when Ziggler was managed by Maria and had no heat. You know the Vickie relationship is a good one because it’s hard to remember a time when it didn’t exist. Ziggler snaps off a dropkick for two, and he works the count before going to a headlock. Rey takes him down with a headscissors and tries a rana, but Dolph powerbombs him into the turnbuckles for two. And it’s chinlock time, as Ziggler works that in dramatic Orton-like fashion. Rey takes him into the post to break and gets the senton and springboard bodypress for two, however. Dolph powerslams him for two. Rey dumps him and follows with the senton off the apron, as the crowd isn’t buying into any of this. Back in, Rey goes up Dolph brings him down and tries a tiger bomb, but Rey reverses into 619 position. Dolph escapes and tosses Rey again, however. Back in, that gets two. I think that young Dolph is having trouble pacing the offense and giving Rey hope spots. Obviously he’s way better now. Speaking of which, Dolph goes to a full nelson and then powerslams him for two. Elbowdrop gets two. Back to the full nelson to cut off Rey’s comeback, and they trade rollups for two off that. Rey with a low kick for two. Ziggler gets a jawbreaker for two, but Rey takes him into the corner and goes up. Ziggler dropkicks him on the way down and gets two. They fight to the top, where Ziggler gets a gutbuster for two. JR is being fed some really annoying lines from Vince here, mostly about how close the near-falls are. Rey finishes with the 619 and splash at 14:18. Pretty dull stuff. **1/2 Steel cage match: Batista v. Rey Mysterio From Smackdown, January 2010. I don’t get why they did the awesome heel turn for Batista and then had him lose, like, EVERY MATCH. Rey immediately tries to run away, but Batista catches up and hauls him back in. Grisham calls this “like locking a fox in a cage with a lion”. Is there an alternate commentary option where I can hear monkeys throwing shit at each other instead of having to sit through these two? Neat bit sees Rey trying the 619, realizing that there’s not enough room between the ropes and the cage, and then running up Batista’s back and almost out of the cage instead. Batista hauls him back in again, however, and chokes him out on the cage while laying the bad-mouth on him. And once again Matt Striker switches between heel commentator (“These fans can chant 619 all they want!”) and all-knowing dispenser of wrestling wisdom. I just hate his commentary so much. Batista puts him down with a big boot, but Rey fights back with a clothesline and springboard leg drop for two. Batista goes for the spinebuster, but Rey gets a weak rollup reversal for two. Batista puts him down again and then spears him, and now Striker switches back to cheering for the heel. Batista with the spinebuster and some pushups and WHY THE HELL DIDN’T THEY PUT THE WORLD TITLE ON THIS GUY?!? I guess they did for like a month in 2010, but he really deserved a much longer run with this character. Rey tries to escape, but Batista keeps pulling him in, so Rey kicks the door in his face and escapes at 6:57. And now Striker is neutral again. Good finish, but I really hate the escape rules because it makes the babyface look like a total coward. Batista just ruled it here with his facials, but it was too quick and simplistic to really tell any kind of a story. **1/2 Hair v. Straight Edge Society: CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio From Over The Limit 2010. Punk is of course in full long-haired greasy Jesus mode at this mode to set up the payoff. This was kind of a weird feud in terms of progression, as we never got the “Rey joining the Society” wackiness you’d think would make for the better storyline, and we never got the mask on the line, and in fact Punk never really got any kind of advantage on him. They slug it out to start and Punk launches him onto the floor with a backdrop. Punk misses a dive and Rey takes him into the barricade with a rana as a result. Back in, Punk blocks the 619 and tosses him into the barber chair, and how the hell do you take THAT bump safely? Meanwhile, Punk is bleeding, so the match grinds to a halt so that everyone can come in and stop the tiny trickle of blood while Punk sits there rolling his eyes at the hard camera. I don’t mind the “no blading” policy, but stopping the match to tend to any little cut is just ridiculous overkill. Sometimes real men hit each other and gush blood all over the mat in the midst of combat sports. Deal with it. A clearly pissed off Punk attacks Rey and suplexes him on the floor, then puts him in a headscissors on the mat while Lawler and Matt Striker have the most annoying discussion possible. Striker was just the WORST by the end of his tenure, and the commentary was almost unlistenable here thanks to the bickering between Striker and Lawler. Punk drops forearms on Rey while pledging Straight Edge, and that gets two. Rey with the sunset bomb for two. Rey makes the comeback with the springboard bodypress for two and throws knees at Punk’s head as now I’m wondering if he’s trying to bust him open again as a rib. Punk alley-oops him into the turnbuckles and sets up the 619, but Punk reverses into a backbreaker for two instead. Rey reverses out of the GTS, but Punk bulldogs him off the middle rope for two. High kick gets two. Rey reverses another GTS attempt into the 619, but the splash misses. Punk goes for an arrogant cover, but Rey rolls him over for the pin at 13:44. The blood stoppage obviously ground things to a halt early, but after the restart it got rolling again pretty well. ***1/4 The SES comes in for the beatdown on Rey, but Kane makes the save and chases them off, leaving Punk handcuffed to the ropes for a PAINFUL haircut. Those dull clippers on greasy hair…OUCH. The crowd chants “shave his chest” afterwards, although thankfully Punk started doing that himself later. I think this was recently released on both the Rey DVD set AND the new Punk set as well. The Pulse Again, given the limitations of these Superstar Collections (has to be 2008-2010, they have to win their matches, only 90 minutes long) this was fine, but obviously Rey’s best work was not during this period. Kind of odd that they didn’t feature Rey winning the World title from Jack Swagger as one of the matches, though. Again, it’s a good quick watch, but nothing I’d pay more than the $6 sticker price for.

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Shawn Michaels

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Shawn Michaels Yup, another 90 minute special from the WWE DVD library. But for the price, you can’t argue. Especially with the content here… Chris Jericho v. Shawn Michaels From Judgment Day 2008. I guess this is non-title. Shawn teases the leg injury to start and they go right into a pinfall reversal sequence to trade some near-falls, then fight for the backslide before reversing each others’ bodypress attempt to put Jericho on top for two. Shawn with the inverted figure-four, but Jericho makes the ropes. Jericho goes for the leg, so Shawn bitchslaps him and now it’s on. Shawn starts acting all heelish by hiding in the corner to hide, then grabs the headlock, so Jericho elbows out and stomps him in the corner. Shawn, however, grabs the arm and holds an armbar while hanging upside-down, then takes him down with a nasty armbreaker. Oh, I like these matches where it’s face v. face and it starts getting all nasty and mean because they want to win so much. THAT’S wrestling! Jericho sends Shawn into the corner with a Flair Flip and stomps him down, but can’t get a superplex. Shawn sets up on top, but Jericho tries his suplex again and Shawn blocks with a front suplex, then follows with the flying elbow…which hits the knee. OUCH. Now that’s unique! Normally you just move to escape that, not put the knees up. Jericho starts working on the ribs and gets a backdrop suplex, leading to the abdominal stretch. Gorilla is up there bitching about it now, I bet. If Jericho is haunted by a mysterious voice telling him to hook that other leg, that’s why. Gutbuster gets two. Shawn gets sent into the corners, but Shawn blocks the bulldog attempt by sending him into the ropes and comes back with chops. Flying forearm, but the kip-up hurts the ribs, so Jericho POUNCES with the Walls of Jericho. Shawn makes the ropes, however, so Jericho stomps him down and follows to the apron…where he walks into a superkick. Oh, snap! Jericho’s ramrod-stiff sell to the floor was a thing of beauty. Shawn doesn’t want the countout and drags Jericho back into the ring, where he gets two. Shawn follows with the flying elbow, but they’re BOTH hurt by it. This sets up the superkick, but Jericho collapses twice to mess up Shawn’s timing. And indeed, he was faking, as Shawn gets fed up and moves in…right into the Codebreaker. Awesome. That gets two. Shawn reverses a suplex into the crossface (what is WITH that move on WWE PPV lately?) and Jericho WANTS to tap, but ends up grabbing the ropes instead. Another try is reversed by Jericho into the suplex he originally wanted, and he drops Shawn on the top rope to set up the Lionsault, but Shawn puts up the knees…which is what Jericho wanted! He hooks the Walls, but Shawn reverses to the pin at 15:54. Now this is more like it, a masterpiece of two guys being total pricks to each other in the name of WINNING. Jericho offers a handshake and if someone turns on the other I’m adding another 1/4*. Both guys flinch, but no turn is evident. Darn. ****1/4 Of course the turn would come a little later, leading to an even better ladder match between them. Why they didn’t include that one here, I do not know, unless it’s because Shawn won here and lost there. D-Generation X v. Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase This is the semi-main event of Summerslam 2009. I had the unfortunate honor of being at the RAW in Calgary where Shawn made his “return” in a series of vignettes as a short-order cook who superkicks a little girl to pay the whole thing off. DX literally rides a tank into the arena, preceded by the military, or least guys dressed like them. HHH and Dibiase fight over a headlock in the corner and slug it out, which of course HHH wins. Cole makes an offhand remark about how HHH won the World title at Summerslam there in Los Angeles one year. I have no idea what he’d be referring to there, since he never won either version of the World title at Summerslam or even in Los Angeles at any point. Suplex and kneedrop gets two. Over to Shawn and he disrespects Cody, prompting Legacy to regroup outside. Back in, Cody tries the sneak attack and gets foiled, but Dibiase manages to get the heat on Shawn with the Flair Flip in the corner. Funny how poor Shawn is always the one who has to get the shit kicked out of him when he’s teaming with HHH. Hot tag HHH and he beats on Dibiase before giving both heels the spinebuster. Shawn comes in and it’s LUCHA DX, as HHH backdrops Shawn over the top onto Cody. However, this allows Dibiase to punt HHH right in his chief operating officers. And now HHH gets the heat for once! Dibiase with the chinlock right out of Randy Orton’s boring playbook, as HHH is unable to escape and make the tag. That segment goes on for quite a while until HHH makes his comeback and slugs it out, then tosses Dibiase to buy time. Rhodes throws his partner back in, but it’s hot tag Shawn. Dibiase cuts him off with a clothesline off the kip up, and the brawl is on. Cody TO THE TOP, but the flying elbow misses. Shawn goes up in turn, but Cody puts him down and they fight for a superplex. Cody ends up on the mat, but Shawn drops an elbow on his knees and Cody gets two. You’d think that would have hurt Cody’s knees as much as it hurt Shawn’s elbow. And indeed, Shawn snaps a figure-four on him. That’s why he’s in the Hall of Fame. Dibiase breaks that up and it’s BONZO GONZO, leading to Rhodes hitting Crossroads on Shawn for two. HHH breaks it up with a KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but Dibiase hits the Dream Street on Shawn. So Rhodes and Shawn are out in the ring, while Dibiase and HHH are out on the outside. Superkick on Cody finishes at 20:00. Mostly dull tag match with a tremendous finish. ***1/2 This would lead to a bizarre submissions-only tag match at that crappy Breaking Point show, and then a really good and unique Hell in a Cell blowoff. The end result was supposed to be making Legacy look like superstars who could hang with D-X, but then they just ran a breakup angle after the Orton deal and they never teamed again. Shawn Michaels v. Kane From RAW, March 2010. Kane pounds away in the corner and gets a dropkick for two. Suplex gets two. Chinlock and corner clothesline and Kane slugs away in the corner and follows with a sideslam for two. Kane goes up and tries a clothesline, but Shawn catches him with a crossface on the way down. That was not a pretty sequence. Kane quickly gets to the ropes, but Shawn takes him down with an anklelock now. Kane makes the ropes again, so Shawn hits him with the flying forearm and goes up with the flying elbow. He sets up to finish, but Undertaker appears after a blackout and chokeslams him. Kane gets two off that. Tombstone is reversed to the superkick to finish at 5:25. Nothing match, which ended up being Shawn’s last one on RAW. *1/2 Streak v. Career: Undertaker v. Shawn Michaels Shawn’s last match to date, from Wrestlemania 26. Shawn fires away with chops in the corner, but eats Snake Eyes and a big boot. Corner clothesline and Taker tries to go Old School, but Shawn pulls him down. A second try hits, however. Taker pounds away in the corner and sets up for the tombstone, but Shawn slips out and fights for a crossface. Taker fights that off, but nearly takes the superkick before slipping away. Shawn decides to work on the leg in the corner, but Taker slugs him down and clotheslines him to the floor. That sets up a tope attempt, but Shawn slides in and clips the knee to stop him. Taker tosses him and runs his back into the post, then drops the guillotine legdrop on the apron. Back in, Shawn takes him down with a figure-four, but that only seems to make Undertaker really, really mad. He reverses the move and Shawn releases, and they slug it out. Shawn puts him down and kips up, but it’s a chokeslam for two. Tombstone is reversed into an anklelock by Shawn, so I guess that’s why Jericho couldn’t have it. Taker kicks him in the head a few times to break, but Shawn clotheslines him to the floor and follows with a moonsault. Taker catches that and tombstones him on the floor, and you have to figure that’s not good for Shawn’s career. An EMT runs down to check on Shawn, but Taker beats him up and rolls Shawn back in for two. Last Ride, but Taker’s knee gives out and Shawn gets two. Looked bad. Shawn goes up and drops the elbow, but Taker gets his knee up to block and Shawn takes the bump on his ribs. Ouch. Taker tries Hell’s Gate and Shawn rolls it over for two. They both struggle up and Shawn superkicks him for two. Shawn cues up another one, but Taker catches it and counters to the Last Ride for two. That was a giant near-fall. A frustrated UT tosses Shawn and preps the announce table, but Shawn escapes a powerbomb and superkicks him onto it instead. And given that it’s Wrestlemania, Shawn can’t resist a moonsault from the top, which puts Taker through the table. He even hits the knee, which is either a great bit of psychology or a lucky miss. Back in, Shawn adds one more superkick…for two. This match needs Jim Ross so badly. Shawn wants another one, but Taker chokeslams him. No cover, as he opts for the tombstone instead, and that only gets two. The crowd is just going insane now. Taker’s had it and he pulls the straps down, but he stops because he doesn’t want to end Shawn’s career. Just awesome facials from Shawn, as he gives Taker’s throat-cutting gesture right back to him, and then slaps Taker. And that’s it, as Taker tombstones him extra-super-duper hard for the pin at 23:57 to end it. If this was Shawn’s last match (which it’s not), he went out with another Wrestlemania classic. However, I just don’t think it was as good as last year, because expectations were so ridiculously high. ****1/2 The Pulse Hey, for $7 what are you gonna complain about here? Nothing, that’s what. Yeah, it’s really limiting to only be able to use stuff from the HD era and nothing past 2010 apparently, but for a quick fix (even if all the matches are already featured on other DVDs) you could do worse. Recommended.

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Randy Orton

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Randy Orton I know we just got an Orton DVD set, but this is the 90 minute cheaper version with just four matches on it. I still really like this concept, actually. WWE title, Three Stages of Hell: Randy Orton v. HHH This is from The Bash 2009, a point where I wasn’t even watching the product outside of Wrestlemania and the Backlash where Orton won the title from HHH in a six-man. So this is a regular match first up. HHH gets the high knee and pounds him in the corner, but Orton goes for the knee and ends up running himself into the post. HHH suplexes him into the ring for two. Orton blocks a Pedigree attempt by clipping the knee and works on that for a bit, but HHH hits him with the spinebuster to slow down the torrid pace. HHH bails and grabs a chair, and beats on Orton for the DQ at 5:00. HHH absolutely destroys him with the chair, setting up the fall count anywhere portion. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE on the floor evens it up at 6:18. So it’s the stretcher match for the third part, which means the first two were basically pointless. Like really, 6 minutes for two falls? Why even bother? HHH puts him on the stretcher and can’t get him across the YELLOW LINE OF DEATH, as Orton escapes and goes to the knee again. Orton boots him into the crowd, right onto the JEFF HARDY CHAIRS, and they fight over to the sound board. Like really, would you want to be sitting on Jeff’s face at a wrestling show? Who even knows where it’s been? They fight back to ringside, tearing up the poor barricade in the process, and Orton drops HHH back-first onto the STEEL railing, and whips him into the STEEL stairs. Orton brings the stairs in, but HHH gives him the drop toehold to counter and drags him to the stretcher. Orton recovers and they both fall off the stretcher. Orton gives him the draping DDT off the stretcher, to the ramp, which is a pretty nice bump actually. The punt misses and Orton has to kick the stretcher on the follow-through in order to not have that sequence look ridiculous, but he gets HHH onto the stretcher again and sloooooooooooowly pushes the stretcher up. This is like slow-climbing in a ladder match, but even MORE boring. Orton’s RKO is countered by HHH and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE on the stage. Orton is on the stretcher, but Cody Rhodes runs out and blocks the stretcher. HHH beats him up and tries again, but now Ted Dibiase comes out for the save and HHH has to beat them both up single-handedly. Finally they manage to beat him down, but HHH locates his SUPER SECRET SLEDGEHAMMER and beats them up, but Orton hits him with a cheapshot from behind and puts him on the stretcher at 21:30 to retain. Boring match, terrible finish, as it took three guys to put down the THE MIGHTY HHH. The actual work was fine, but it felt like a bunch of wankery between them and the first two stages were a complete waste of time. **3/4 WWE title: Randy Orton v. HHH v. John Cena From Night of Champions 2009, so we get another round of Orton v. HHH. Orton wisely slithers out of the ring, but the other two chase him and HHH beats on him in the corner. Orton bails and the babyfaces continue taking turns on him, but Orton bumps Cena into HHH and takes over on Cena. Cena comes back with the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, but HHH breaks up the FU. HHH stops to glare at Cena, however, and Orton hits him from behind with a clothesline for two. Dropkick gets two. Orton with the chinlock, but HHH fights out and they slug it out. Orton with the powerslam, but HHH counters the RKO into a DDT. Both guys are down in contrived manner, so Cena gives them both the top rope legdrop. That looked ridiculous. Orton takes Cena out again with a neckbreaker and he bails, and then Orton backdrops HHH out of the ring as well. Another contrived spot sees Orton trying the double draping DDT, but the faces backdrop him out and now Orton gets to play dead for 5 minutes. So now it’s HHH v. Cena and they slug it out for the boo/yay spot. Cena gets his shoulderblocks, but HHH hits him with the high knee. Cena comes back with the neckbreaker and FU, but HHH counters out and they reverse each other until HHH gets the spinebuster. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE gets two, as Orton saves. He preps the table, but HHH goes low and Orton gets tossed into the crowd. Cena puts HHH in the STF on the table, so it must be extra painful. Back in the ring, Orton and Cena slug it out, but Cena blocks the RKO. They head up and tease the Tower of Doom spot, but Cena slingshots HHH into Orton and hooks him into the STF. HHH makes the ropes, so Cena does it again, leaving himself open for the punt. That misses and Cena rolls up Orton for two. That was a good moment, with Orton realizing his chance. Orton puts Cena down and gives both guys the Garvin Stomp and kneedrops. Finally he misses one, and the babyfaces go to work on his knee, but HHH turns on Cena and puts him on the floor. HHH actually uses a Sharpshooter on Orton, which is weird until Cena also hooks the STF on him and it’s clear why he did that. Orton taps but we don’t know who to, so Legacy runs in for the beatdown. Cena tries to give Cody the FU, and Orton gets the RKO on Cena to retain at 22:22. That was clever, but man did Cena look stupid there. Hey, two matches, two fuck finishes. No wonder I wasn’t watching in 2009. *** Randy Orton v. Ted Dibiase From RAW, March 2010. This would be after Orton’s babyface turn and setup of their boring three-way at Wrestlemania. Orton gets a clothesline, but Dibiase hammers away in the corner and dropkicks him. They fight to the floor and Dibiase runs away, and we take a break. Back with Dibiase stomping him down and choking away in the corner, and a boot to the head gets two. Dibiase with a clothesline for two. They slug it out and Orton gets the powerslam and Garvin Stomp. Cody Rhodes runs out to prevent the RKO, and Dibiase rolls him up for two before Cody comes in for the DQ at 5:41. Odd choice for inclusion. *1/2 World Heavyweight title: Randy Orton v. Christian From Capital Punishment 2011. There was concern at this point about whether Orton would actually be cleared due to concussion problems. Christian attacks to start and Orton gets the Thesz Press and works on a headlock. Christian goes up and misses a dropkick, but Orton bails and Christian gets the baseball slide instead. A dive misses and Orton takes over, hammering away in the corner. Back to the floor, where Christian escapes a DDT and runs Orton into the stairs. Back in, Christian gets two. He chokes Orton out in the corner and a neckbreaker gets two. Christian with the neck vice, but Orton rolls him up for two. Christian with a spinebuster for two and Orton is selling like he’s concussed again. He manages to whip Christian into the corner and comes back with a backdrop. Christian tries the inverted DDT, but Orton hits the powerslam and a belly to belly suplex for two. Why doesn’t he ever do that move, it looked good! Christian gets a cheapshot and tries to suplex Orton from the apron, but Orton blocks with a headbutt and they go up for an Orton superplex. And again Orton’s head is compromised, but he gets two anyway. They slug it out and Orton gets the backbreaker drop for two. Christian escapes the RKO, but Orton hits the draping DDT. Christian with his own DDT for two. Spear misses, but Christian escapes the RKO and hits it on a second try for two. Orton comes back with the dropkick, but Christian goes up and lands in the RKO at 14:02. Although his feet were under the ropes, so THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE. Good chemistry from them, as usual. ***1/4 The Pulse Kind of a strange selection of stuff, but decent enough for $7 I guess.

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Superstar Collection: Sheamus

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Superstar Collection: Sheamus Maybe it’s my old age talking, but I much prefer these 90 minute bite-sized collections to the mammoth 9 hour marathon sessions that WWE pumps out on a monthly basis. Five matches, and it’s only $7 on Amazon right now, no fuss no muss. Yeah, the cheaply produced cover makes Sheamus look like he’s constipated, but it’s the content that counts. Plus this is the kind of disc that’s perfectly suited to Netflix or PPV. And there’s no documentary or anything, just a quick video intro and then the matches… RAW World title, tables match: John Cena v. Sheamus From TLC, December 13 2009. This was of course very early in Sheamus’s run as a heel, as he was basically just up from ECW and beating midcard guys. Cena had been trading the belt with Orton for the previous few months, including overcoming getting blown up (literally) to win an Iron Man match. Why was this a tables match? Good question. Cena gets a MIGHTY negative reaction for his entrance. It was kind of funny, because leading up to this I was wondering why Sheamus was getting pushed like this when he wasn’t over, and the people in WWE at the time who were talking to me about it basically said “Oh, well, HHH likes him, so he’ll probably get a pretty good push in a while.” That was about two weeks before this. Cena attacks him in the corner to start, but Sheamus takes him down and pounds away on the mat. The crowd is booing both guys, and they brawl outside and try to retrieve a table. Cena gets it first and puts Sheamus on it, but shockingly 2 minutes is enough for him to recover and Sheamus comes back in the ring. Sheamus with a powerslam and Cena bails to the apron and we get a goofy spot with Cena JUST BARELY able to hang on and not fall through his own table. Matt Striker notes the irony of that, showing what an insufferable clod he was becoming. THANK YOU CAPTAIN OBVIOUS. They fight on the floor again and Sheamus works on the back and tries a powerbomb through that darn table, but Cena fights back again with a suplex on the ramp. They brawl into the crowd and back to ringside, but Cena takes too long setting up the table and Sheamus catches him with a brogue kick (called “the Irish Curse kick” by Cole, as he cycled through four or five moves with that name before finally settling on the backbreaker for good.) Sheamus puts a table in the corner and tries to powerslam him through it, but Cena OVERCOMES THE ODDS and it’s the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. He sets up another table and puts Sheamus on top for an FU, but Sheamus fights him off and John slips on the proverbial banana peel and falls through the table at 16:23 to give Sheamus the belt. What kind of a bullshit fluke finish was that? Sheamus hung in there with Cena pretty well, but this was pretty dull stuff and it did nothing to establish Sheamus as a top guy. **1/2 RAW World title: John Cena v. Edge v. Randy Orton v. Sheamus From Fatal 4 Way 2010. Michael Cole listing off all the World titles between the competitors is supposed to sound impressive, but really all it does is emphasize how cheap and meaningless the titles have become. Cena starts with Orton and almost gets the FU, but Edge and Sheamus toss Orton and double-team Cena. They stretch it out so the crowd can do a dueling Cena chant, but Edge turns on Sheamus and rolls him up for two. Second rope clothesline gets two. He goes up again and Orton follows for a superplex attempt, but Sheamus breaks that up. The end result is Edge getting a high cross on Sheamus for two. Orton clears the ring, but Cena returns from the dead and gets suplexed back into the ring for his troubles. Orton slowly works him over, but Sheamus comes back in and takes Orton out with a clothesline. So now Orton gets to roll out and play dead for 10 minutes while Cena and Sheamus do their sequence. Sheamus with a backbreaker for two and sets up for the finish, but Edge breaks it up and then gets tossed again. Orton hits Sheamus and Cena with the hanging DDT and gets two on Sheamus, but Cena comes back with his VINTAGE CENA offense on Edge. Orton dumps him and goes after Edge, but Sheamus dumps Orton and beats on Edge himself. This match is going nowhere. Cena clears the ring now and puts Edge in the STF, but Sheamus breaks it up and gets two on Edge. Clothesline gets two. Can we just skip to the NXT run-in already? This is boring. So magically the ring gets down to two guys again, with Cena trying the FU on Edge, but Orton sneaks in with the RKO on Cena for two. Sheamus grabs the ref to stop the count, and Cole points out that there’s no DQ in a Fatal Four-Way match. Really? Sheamus with the bicycle kick on Orton for two. Everyone brawls to the floor and it’s a big trainwreck, but backstage the NXT guys attack the poor guys who have to stand there pretending to watch the match instead of showering. So with Cena alone in the ring, the NXT crew storms out and destroys everything, and Sheamus pins Cena to win the title back at 17:27. *** The whole match was just the setup for the run-in, much like the nWo days. King of the Ring finals: Sheamus v. John Morrison I don’t know who the chick doing ring announcing here is, but the less said about the job she does here, the better. Morrison gets booted to the floor and we take a break, and return with Sheamus covering for two. Sheamus works on the injured arm with a divorce court for two. Sheamus pounds away on the mat and goes to an armbar as Cole notes that the winner will be crowned the nineteenth King of the Ring. I was initially questioning that one, but Wikipedia confirms it. Meanwhile I miss a bunch of the match while doing that research, but it’s pretty dull anyway. Sheamus goes for the Razor’s Edge, but Morrison fights out and gets a tornado DDT for two. Morrison goes to finish with the Shining Wizard, but Sheamus blocks it and sends him into the corner. Morrison goes up, and Sheamus slams him onto the bad shoulder for two. Sheamus slaps on a Fujiwara armbar (called as such by CM Punk, something I never thought I’d hear on this show), and he’s really cranking on it, but Morrison uses the POWER OF PARKOUR to escape. Starship Pain misses, however, and the Brogue Kick and Razor’s Edge crowns Sheamus at 8:31. Good “Big heart in a bad situation” effort from Morrison here, but this didn’t end up doing much of anything for either guy. ***1/4 Sheamus and his kingship seemed to be setting him up for a beating from “King of Kings” HHH, but he just turned into kind of a joke. US title: Daniel Bryan v. King Sheamus From RAW, March 2011. So weird to see clean-shaven babyface Bryan now. Sheamus was doing a losing streak gimmick at this point, one of the few that actually ended up paying off for the guy doing it. Bryan evades him and kicks him to the floor, then follows with a suicide dive. Back in, missile dropkick gets two. Sheamus bails and we take a break. Back with Sheamus holding a chinlock and then throwing the forearms on the apron. Back in, that gets two. Bryan cradles him for two and backdrops him to the floor, injuring the ankle. Bryan takes him down wit the YESLOCK, but Sheamus makes the ropes. Bryan reverses the Razor’s Edge into a rollup for two and they slug it out, with Bryan kicking him down for two. Bryan goes up…and lands in a brogue kick to give Sheamus the US title at 5:45. That of course wouldn’t be the last time Bryan felt that kick. This did nothing for Sheamus, as he quietly dropped the belt to Kofi Kingston a few weeks later and then finally caught fire after a babyface turn around Summerslam. Royal Rumble 2012: Sorry, but this is clipped to Sheamus making his entrance at #22. I kind of figured they wouldn’t be able to put the entire match on a 90 minute DVD. So you get the last 20 minutes of the match and the big sequence at the end with Jericho and Sheamus, leading to Sheamus winning his first Rumble. The Pulse Oh well, still a pretty decent set of stuff for a few bucks, featuring most of Sheamus’ big title wins, although couldn’t they fit the 18 second win over Daniel Bryan on there as well? Cheap and lazy collection from WWE, but it’s a hell of a deal for the price, especially if you’re a fan of his. I think this is exactly the kind of format they can use to showcase guys like Kofi and Ziggler or Miz, who wouldn’t otherwise get a DVD set, but who newer fans might be interested in enough to drop $8 on a DVD primer. Zack Ryder just got one of these last month, in fact. Recommended.