Earl Hebner’s Slow Count

I think one of the most underrated irritating things from the Attitude Era is Earl Hebner telegraphing the finish of a match by making the three count roughly twice as slow as his usual cadence. I realize he was doing this for dramatic effect, but God it rubs me the wrong way.

I seem to remember some discussion of the slow count at the time, but the Network has gotten me all lathered up about it again. Say this for the current crop of refs – I don't know any of them, which is good because it means none of them are drawing attention away from where it should be.

Unless you're Tommy Young, no referee should be the focus of the match.  Anyone who gets knocked unconscious for 10 minutes by a clothesline doesn't warrant a name anyway.  And yes, I HATED that slow count shit as well.  

That being said, Charles Robinson is still great.  

Cucch’s Book Review: “The Three Count” by Jimmy Korderas

And now for something completely different…
Wrestling is a funny sport. The majority of fans can name their favorite wrestler, their favorite match, their favorite manager, their favorite promotion. Most fans can describe where they were when a seminal wrestling event of their childhood occurred. Some can even describe the sights, smells and sounds, all of the sensations they felt in that moment. It is that experience that made me a wrestling fan, and it remains almost an infection that more current fans have suffered from. Wrestling is a quasi sport that, in the mass media, few understand. The mass media enjoys spirited competition from those on a baseball diamond or a basketball court or a football field, spending oodles of dollars on these sports, these institutions, that most of use (me included) hold dear. Yet, to a man, they all deride pro wrestling. Its not real. The performers are nothing but glorified carnies. They know how to fall. Give me a break. Wrestlers are great athletes who, in addition to putting their wares to work every night of the year, often in Podunk towns, subject their body, WILLINGLY, to rigors that would make NFL Lineman blush. Yet, while the NFL has seen a breakthrough in insurance coverage, a $786 Million Dollar settlement that was basically hush money to keep the weak and infirmed NFL alumni quiet, the world of pro wrestling has done nothing of the sort.

That is a side rant, something on my mind. But it is not without basis.

Most wrestling books describe wrestler A wrestling wrestler B, they kick the shit out of eachother all over the country, blood and years are shed, they make money, yet spend too much until said wrestler is broke and living a poor nomadic existence like Randy “The Ram” Robinson, the Mickey Rourke character from “The Wrestler.”

That is the template for most wrestling books. This is different. Jimmy Korderas was never a wrestler. He did not train with a Ron Hutchinson or Jim Cornette. He never main evented a WrestleMania, per se. No, Jimmy Korderas was a WWF referee.

Korderas was a huge wrestling fan back in the late 1970’s and early 80’s from the Greek portion of Toronto, Ontario. He got his start taking pictures of wrestlers at Maple Leaf Gardens from his ringside seat (next to the elevated ramp way WCW would later make famous). Twenty one year old Jimmy stood outside MLG and sold his prints, until an agent of WWF Canada confronted him and told him what he was doing was illegal. The man told him he could sell his pics a block away, and Jimmy complied. Soon, this man brought him to the altar, to the man who ran WWF Canada, the man who portrayed himself as the President of the WWF in the mid to late 80’s until the mid 90’s: Jack Tunney. Tunney, who oversaw all WWF events in Canada, liked this kid, so he put him on the payroll. Korderas’ first acts as a WWF employee were to drive talents from place to place in  Canada. He loved it, and he was soon embarking on a long and prosperous run.

Korderas was basically a ring crew guy, the bottom rung of the ladder, transporting the stage and ring between various Canadian locales. He eventually graduated to driving Jack Tunney and Billy Red Lyons to events. Korderas was then, in 1987, taught how to be a referee. He had some tough learning curves (as the book shows) but he more or less was a duck to water.

Korderas continued as a ref, and became just about as decorated as a ref can. He was there for the February 5, 1988 match with Andre and Hogan. He was there in 1990 for the Ultimate Challenge. Korderas has a unique viewpoint on everything from Mania 3 to Mania 24.

Jim Korderas retired shortly after this book was published. He was someone who was central to most of the whims of WWF. Yet, he is hardly recognized. We remember Tommy Young, Earl or Dave Hebner, Joey Marella. Jim Korderas was THERE, through good and bad, and deserves recognition as a man who has greatly contributed to the game.

In short order, Korderas’ book is excellent. Read it, and kayfabe with it.

The Only Review of WWE’s Falls Count Anywhere DVD That You’ll Ever Need

WWE has been on a kick as of late with their releases. Trying to cover every nitch they can possibly think of. From plenty of Top [insert number] lists, to best-ofs for everything ranging from high-flying to b-series PPVs. This one right here I feel is one of their better ideas, because I love a good hardcore match. Don’t get me wrong, CZW and similar trash aren’t my bag, but there’s nothing better than a war in the ring. When both wrestlers need no restrictions so they can make sure things end in blood.

SGT Slaughter vs. Pat Patterson
– Alley Fight – MSG – May 4, 1981


It’s so mind-blowing to see these early shows
compared to the HD era. I am interested to see how this match ends in a fall if
there’s no ref. So far,
about 90 percent of the match is whipping each other with a belt, and it
doesn’t even get interesting until Slaughter hits one of the bloodier blade
jobs I’ve ever seen. After this, Patterson hits Slaughter with his cowboy boot,
and smashes his face into the top of the turnbuckle. I know this may
have been something back then, but man alive this was boring as hell. It was a
lot of hitting with a belt, then a shoe, and I was waiting for a swatch
of Pat’s jeans to be used. The ref just awards the match to Patterson out of
the blue. 
Patterson is just given the match at 14:13 | **

Midnight Express vs. Ms. Lively & Jimmy
Valliant – Atlanta Street Fight – Starrcade 1985 – November 28, 1985

You know, it’d be nice if they gave us a little
history here. I mean, all of a sudden, there’s Ron Garvin in drag. Match isn’t
much and doesn’t last long. There’s a lot of powder thrown, and of
course, belts. 
Garvin pins Eaton after an uppercut at 6:36 | **

Barry Windham & Arn Anderson vs. DOOM – WCW
Tag-Team Championship – Street Fight – Starrcade 1990 – December 16, 1990

A shame this match wasn’t longer, because it’s
pretty damn great. Some of that classic early 90s WCW tornado tag-team brawling
that ended up building ECW. They’re
all over the place, blood flowing, weapons left and right, and both teams
keeping up with each other for every measure and beat. If it had gone
longer, we’d have a classic.
Both teams fight to a no-contest at 7:19 | ***

Cactus Jack vs. Sting [C] – Falls Count Anywhere –
Beach Blast – June 20, 1992

This during a time when they didn’t have much for
Sting, so they wanted to feed him a string of bad-guys to keep him strong.
Naturally, Mick went out there and did his absolute best to make it work
and WCW did their absolute best to cut the nuts off of it by making it
non-title. Regardless, this match is awesome, and not only one of Mick’s
best, one of the best of the early 90s. He made Sting look like a million bucks
by bringing the insanity and Sting not only keeping up but bringing it
himself. Great stuff. Too bad we didn’t get to see the promo where Mick
head-butts a wooden crate, sending his skull through it and crashing to
the concrete. 
Sting hits Mick with a flying clothesline for the
pin at 11:24 | ****1/4

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Crush – Falls Count
Anywhere – WMX – March 20, 1994

Bryan Adams has almost gone through as many
transformations as Ed Leslie. Crush goes to blind Macho with a fist full of
powder, but he slaps Crush’s hands, causing him to blind himself. I
think it would have been cooler had Macho been blinded, then recalled the time
his sensei had him serve tea with a blind-fold, and then made the blind
come-back, causing Crush to say metai. The match is fine, and more than acceptable
for a mid-card match at WM. But for Macho’s last WWE match? No. 
Macho ties up Crush’s feet, making it so he can’t
make it back to the ring at 9:49 | **1/2

The Road Warriors vs. Sting & Booker T –
Uncensored – March 24, 1996

Oh why oh why is this match on here? I’m not even
kidding when I say I fell asleep twice during this match. This bout should have been 50-60 percent shorter,
easy. They went a full half an hour in some of the most boring wrestling I’ve
ever seen. If this was 10 minutes, and filled with actual brawling;
tables, chairs, other non-domestic objects, then we’d probably have something.
But at this point, we have washed up Road Warriors who even in their
prime couldn’t work a great match that was 10 minutes long, along with a bored
Sting. I can’t believe this was on the same card as the Doomsday Cage
Match. This is the kind of PPV you’d ground your child over. 
Booker pins Hawk after Stevie Ray hits him with a
chair at 29:34 | *

Nation of Domination vs. Ahmed Johnson vs. LOD – Chicago Street Fight –
Wrestlemania 13
March 23rd, 1997
Man, the original NOD was so weird. Ahmed should
have pulled a Dusty and worn the make-up too. Animal executes about the worst
piledriver I’ve ever seen to Faarooq, who later makes up for it by taking
a body slam through a table, immediately earning props from me. Anyone who took
a straight table spot before the current tables gets props, because those
sharp, metal monitors always got popped in the air and came crashing down. D-Lo
lays in some shots before he was even D-Lo. He’s looking a bit more like the
original Otunga. They really went out there and had a great brawl. This was definitely
a match that helped WM13 from being called the worst. 
Crush gets the original 3D, the Doomsday Device,
and then a 2×4 shot for the pin at 10:45 | ***1/2


Stone Cold vs. Bret Hart – Street Fight – RAW – April, 1997
I was frothing at the mouth for this when it was
live. At the age of 14, Stone Cold was a God to me, and I viewed Bret as a
whiny little bitch. This is one of those deals that was not so much a
match as it is an extended segment. It’s still great, and led to Bret Hart –
Evil Leader In A Wheel Chair, which was awesome. Stone Cold slaps on the
Sharpshooter and refuses to let go for quite a while. Eventually he’s wheeled
back, and we get Owen in all his greatness. “WATCH HIS KNEE YOU
IDIOT!” Of course, Stone Cold is driving the ambulance in one of
the greatest moments in wrestling history. I remember jumping off the sofa and
losing my mind with how overjoyed I was at all of this. You really need to see the
entire night’s worth of clips to appreciate this in full, with that said, the
deal gets *****

DISC 2

Cactus Jack vs. HHH – Street Fight – Raw –
September 22, 1997

Raw in 1997 really did have a lot of great moments
and this is no exception, and arguably the best one. This isn’t just the match,
this is also the awesome promo that first introduced Cactus Jack into the WWE
after a 2-year hiatus. Not only is the promo great, but HHH seals the deal by
reacting exactly as he should have; terrified. It’s a great brawl that you’d
see thousands of times more, with a lot less talented people. It also has one
of the sickest finishes I’ve ever seen to a match.
Cactus Jack piledrives HHH through the table for
the win at 8:47 | ****

Taz [C] vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – Falls Count Anywhere
Death Match – FTW Heavyweight Championship – ECW’s Heat Wave – August 2, 1998

The story here is that Bam Bam had been screwed
over by the Triple Threat and needed help in getting revenge. He begged Taz for
weeks, but Taz kept telling him to fuck off, until the day he came he told him
that he wouldn’t be his partner, but his savior. Naturally, Bammer turned on
him, and we were off and running. This was the return bout after their match
from Living Dangerously where they fell through the ring. With this bout, it
has its moments, as Bam Bam and Taz have chemistry while in the ring.
Unfortunately, most of the match doesn’t take place in the ring. It’s
interesting to note that Taz almost kills himself as he foolishly T-Bone
Tazplexes Bam Bam into the audience from the entrance ramp, and while doing
that he cracks his head on the guardrail. Divine intervention kept him from any
serious injury though. Also, because Paul loved a good idea, he had them fall
through the ramp this time.
Bam Bam taps out to the Tazmission at 13:21 | ***

Hardcore Holly vs. Al Snow – WWE Hardcore Title –
St. Valentine Day’s Massacre – February 14, 1999

This match isn’t much, honestly, but I think it’s
worth seeing at least once. They go all over the place, and even have a few
cool spots, like the busting of tile on faces. It’s pretty cool to see
the guys do battle down into the Mississippi River, as well as use the various
things they find by the water bank.
Holly wraps Al into a roll of fence and gets the
pin at 10:45 | **1/2


The Rock vs. Triple H – Strap Match – Fully Loaded
– July 25, 1999

This isn’t a touch all corners style of match,
it’s more of a dog collar sort of match. They’re stuck, and it’s go time.
Honestly, the only thing that really stuck out for me was The Rock doing the camera spot,
which I always dig, and the fact it took Hunter and two other folk to put The
Rock down. 
Triple H hits the Pedigree for the pin at 19:04 |
***1/4


Test vs. Shane McMahon – For The Right To Date
Stephanie – SummerSlam – August 22, 1999

I did a list of the greatest matches that kicked
ass that had no right to, and this was number 1, baby. Test was unproven, and
well, he was never proven, to be honest, but at this point we really knew
nothing. And Shane McMahon? He’s the freaking son of Vince, no wrestler’s son
has ever been shit, well, except Erik Watts and David Flair [back in 1999, that
is]. Fantastic match that has everything from living room set-ups, mailboxes,
and framed pictures being shattered over heads. Love it. We get a shot of
Steph, pre-boob job, and it reminds me of what she said about them on Howard
Stern. She said they looked like “melted packs of butter”. Man, I can’t think
of a less-sexy way to describe boobies. Yikes. Anyway, it’s one hell of a match
where they both gave their all, and thankfully this led to Steph being drugged
and legally married to Hunter.
Test hits the pump-handle slam, then a flying
elbow for the pin & the peak of his career at 12:04 | ***1/2


Big Show [C] vs. Kane – WWE Championship Match –
Raw – December 20, 1999

During a very short time when they were making
sure to justify Big Show’s contract. I gotta be honest, I was not looking
forward to this match. However, these two went all out and delivered one hell
of a hardcore match. They went all over the place and used quite a variety of
weapons, great stuff. The angle here was that if Kane lost, Tori had to spend a
weekend with X-Pac. Perhaps it’s just me, but I feel like my girlfriend
spending a weekend with X-Pac is akin to her being thrown into the needle pit
from Saw 2. Great finish too.
Big Show powerbombs Kane through the announce
table and gets the pin at 6:47. Hopefully Tori had a Silkwood shower put in her
apartment | ***1/2

Hardcore Holly [C] vs. The Headbangers – WWE
Hardcore Championship – Smackdown – March 16, 2000

This was when Crash was defending the strap 24/7.
At first, it was a really funny concept until it wore out its welcome. This
takes place at Fun Time USA, and we go through slides, test-your-strength
machines, and a ball pit. It’s very entertaining, and serves its purpose.
Crash escapes the onslaught after about 4 minutes
| no rating


Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon – Street Fight –
Raw – October 29, 2001

Review: Ugh, this match is terrible. A lot of
people like their bout from WMX7, and I don’t even like that one. This is just
slow, and a bad-example of a hardcore match that involves a lot of run-ins.
Angle hits Vince with a chair thankfully giving
Shane the pin and ending this at 11:07 | 1/2*

Ric Flair vs. Vince McMahon – Street Fight – Royal
Rumble – January 20, 2002

Man alive. Vince is absolutely huge. This match
reminds me of one thing I truly miss, Lawler being a heel announcer and kissing
Vince’s ass to no end. It’s fantastic. The match itself is pretty much what you
expect. I read Flair’s book, and he says that he wasn’t nearly at the level of
confidence that he should have been, thanks to WCW. So, if he had, we might
have had a better match. There’s a cool spot where Flair hits Vince with the
monitor, then demands they play it back so he can watch it. Very cool. I’d also
like to say that Vince is one of the very few who does the Figure 4 right, as
he puts the pressure on the injured leg.
Vince taps to the Figure-Four at 14:54 | ***

DISC 3


Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H – Unsanctioned Street
Fight – Summerslam – August 25, 2002

I think it’s great they call it unsanctioned, but
if they’re gonna do that, can’t they at least not use an official ref? This match is one of my all-time favorites,
and it gets better every time I see it. They were just having one of those
nights where everything was executed perfectly. Absolutely text book on how to
have a match, I believe. It’s also one of those bouts where they have 5
stars about 3 quarters of the way through the match. 
Shawn gets a bridge pin at 27:20 | *****

Kevin Nash vs. Triple H [C] – Street Fight for the
World Heavyweight Championship – Insurrextion – June 7, 2003

Flair and Shawn are in each other guy’s respective
corners. As the match starts Shawn ends up chasing Ric, so Ric blades. The focus
is soon back on Triple H and Kevin Nash as they battle to the top of the ramp
and tease the powerbomb spot from the Judgment Day PPV a month earlier. Back to the ring and they trade
momentum and blade jobs for a while. Honestly, not a bad match. There were
weapons, blood, and no slow spots. That’s all I ask. 
Triple H hits Nash with the sledgehammer when he
was trying to Jack-Knife Ric Flair at 16:33 | ***1/2



Mickie James vs. Melina [C] – Street Fight for the
Women’s Championship – RAW – March 5, 2007

Any time I falter on thinking Mickie James is the
hottest of all time in wrestling, I need only see her. The match attempts to
start in the ring, but Melina runs to the back with Mickie giving chase.
They do battle in the Diva’s lockeroom, giving us a few innovative spots such
as Kelly Kelly using hairspray to thwart off an interfering Victoria and
Melina whipping a towel off of Candice Michelle.
Match ends when Mickie
seriously screws up a huricanrana, landing on her head and neck, allowing
Melina to grab the pin at 4:27 | **

Triple H vs. Umaga – Street Fight – Cyber Sunday –
October 28, 2007

They start off in the aisle, soon battling up to
the entrance. They quickly add a star to the match by crashing through a wall.
Anytime you want a star from me, crash through a wall. Triple H
eventually breaks out trash-can, and as always I wonder if those are specially
made for wrestling, or there are trash-cans that soft. Great table spot where
Triple H is laid out on the third table in a row, with Umaga running along the
other two and finally splashing Hunter through the last one. One of my
favorite matches, as well as one of the reasons why 2007 was the year I
returned to being a smark. 
Triple H hits Umaga with a sledge-hammer shot
& Pedigree for the pin at 17:21 | ****1/4



John Cena vs. Umaga – Street Fight – Raw –
June 16, 2008

Gotta love the ‘he’s too big’ body slam spot.
Something you don’t nearly see enough of. This match is really average, and
there isn’t much to speak of except for the sweet moment when Cena goes
to give Umaga the FU, but just can’t keep him up, so they both fall with Umaga
squishing John’s head. Neat visual. 
Cena of course eventually does hit the FU,
grabbing the pin at around 8 minutes | **1/2



DX vs. Legacy – Submissions Count Anywhere –
Breaking Point – September 13, 2009

I’m sorry, but DX at this point were about as
uncool as you could get. The bit with Shawn and Montreal is pretty funny
though. For those wondering, when you venture into the crowd in Canda,
it’s not security, it’s Securitie. Eventually they’re brawling by the merch
stands, while a crowd gathers and starts a soccer chant. I’m still unsure
why Cody has the Triforce on his boots. Pretty sweet submission moment where
Cody is threaded through a chair that’s stood up, with Triple H applying a
Boston Crab and Shawn a Camel Clutch. Brutal. Later, after Shawn takes a
10-foot dive from the seating section, Triple H and Legacy do battle in the
back, with DiBiase taking a spine-buster through a concessions table.
They eventually out-number Triple H, leaving him for dead, and then focus their
remaining energy on the weakened Michaels. It’s a pretty great match
that made Legacy look strong as hell, far better than the Hell in a Cell match
a month later. They made sure to go everywhere and really use the ‘submissions
anywhere’ rule. Good stuff. It also made sure to fulfill the rule of If Shawn
Wrestles In Montreal He MUST Submit. 
Shawn Michaels taps out while in the Figure 4 and
Million Dollar Dream at  | ****



Rey Mysterio vs. Batista – Street Fight – Smackdown – December 11,
2009

A fan really let’s Dave have it by holding up a
BAD-tista sign. Snaps. Soon, Batista is whipping Rey with some camera chords,
causing Stryker to say “those are wire and hardened plastic….rubber,
I’m sorry”. Who the hell was in his headphones saying “PLASTIC?! YOU
WANT ME TO SEX YOUR WIFE AND BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE?! IT’S RUBBER!”?
A group of Rey Mysterio fans have their own signs in the form of 6, 1, 9. At
the moment, the guy with the 1 isn’t paying attention. Rey has only had 2 moments so
far where the momentum has been on his side, but they’ve both been in pretty
spectacular fashion. His second run ends ridiculously. You guys ever see
that In Living Color skit where Jim Carrey is a karate instructor? He wants his
students to try and stab him, so he instructs them on the way to come at
someone with a knife? That’s exactly what Rey did, as he ran at Batista with
the chair in the air, only to catch a spear. Not a bad match, but really
just a Main Event Squash. 
Batista levels Rey with a chair shot about 7
minutes in |  **1/2



Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes – Street Fight –
Smackdown – November 4, 2011

Too bad Cody doesn’t have the bags anymore,
because someone has to cut out the holes, and they would have finally had
something for Ryder to do. This match is showing how much better Cody was in
this gimmick as opposed to Angry Heel #216, as he throws his bag handlers in
Randy Orton’s path. Speaking of Mr. Apex, am I the only one who thinks
he has tanning bulbs in his car? The best part about this match is that it
hasn’t been the Randy Orton Show. Cody Rhodes has been more than capable
of holding his own, and has had Randy’s number on many occasions. Great stuff.
Randy hits the RKO and the pin at the 15 minute
mark | ***3/4

Blu-ray Exclusives

Boiler Room Brawl
Mankind vs. Santa Claus
Raw – December 20, 1999

Street Fight
Triple H vs. Sheamus
Extreme Rules – April 25, 2010

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
Extreme Rules – May 1, 2011

Street Fight
Randy Orton vs. Kane
SmackDown – July 22, 2011

Showcase Showdown: Falls Count Anywhere, Street
Fights, Last Man Standing, all of those types of matches are my favorite. So
when I heard they were going to release a set like this I figured it’d
be an easy lock for an all-time favorite, along with Jericho’s set, and the
Hell in a Cell release. The first disc leaves a little to be desired, as these
types of matches weren’t very common before the late 90s. Once the second disc
hits the set starts to really earn its money, while the third solidifies this
as purchase worthy. There’s honestly a million more matches out there
that fit this description, should they go for a second volume; Mick’s match
against Van Hammer at the Clash, [although now it’s on the new Mick set, so good deal] the long awaited to DVD Jericho vs
Triple H – LMS, Regal vs Finaly – parking lot brawl from Nitro, Jericho &
Shawn’s brutal unsanctioned match, and hell, for historical sake, the
FCA match between Khali & Cena, as it’s Khali’s only decent match. Ever.
Bottom line, great set. 
4 & 1/4 Head-Butts out of 5

For all your Caliber needs, follow the yellow brick road, baby…
Str8 Gangster, No ChaserComic Book Films You Didn’t Know Were Comic Book Films, 12 Reasons Why Die Hard Is The Best Christmas Film, Man Movie Encyclopedia entries, wrestling related articles, movie reviews, and Top 4 lists. Just recently an old enemy of the website who’s fat, rocks a Freddy Mercury mustache and has a chain-mail tanktop kidnapped it’s daughter and forced him to over-throw a government he’d set up years ago. Let’s party!
WCW In 2000Fresh off 7 title changes in 22 days, baby.

The Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol.1 – My book. Average rating of 5 stars, endorsed by Scott Keith & Maddox, also enjoyed by some of your fellow BoD’ers.
[email protected] – for requests, mailbag, or what have you.

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I have a question for those who dig my work; would you have any interest in a wrestling-related Caliber e-book? It would have all of my wrestling related articles; recap of Warrior vs Hogan, as well as Steiner vs Triple H. All of my wrestling DVD reviews, which is quite a few, PPVs, as well as random articles like the Evolution of the Ladder Match, favorite memories of wrestling as a kid, and Top 5 lists.

– Caliber Winfield

The SmarK Rant for WWE Falls Count Anywhere (DVD)

The SmarK Rant for WWE Falls Count Anywhere (DVD) No Blu-Ray from E-One this time, sadly. Once again I would like to pimp my new line of Kindle books as I attempt to milk every revenue stream available to me, specifically my latest entry:  Scott’s Blog of Doom Presents:  Monday Night RAW Season One.  Only $2.99 for my review of every episode of RAW from January 93 – February 94.  Plus if you’re a cheaper sort of person, like myself, there’s always Scott’s Blog of Doom Presents:  The Worst of Wrestling, which gives you a dozen reviews of horrendous PPVs that you might not even know existed (like the WWE/Girls Gone Wild abomination) for only 99 cents!  You can’t even get a cup of coffee for that price, and I’m giving you hours of reading entertainment. So onto the DVD, and this is quite the mish-mash of concepts, as this one covers street fights, hardcore matches, and falls count anywhere matches in one big catch-all DVD.  The setlist sort of reminds me of the sort of compilation tape you’d see on a tape trading list in the 90s.  On a more shallow note, THANK YOU to the DVD division for finally being honest in putting “running time 7 hours” on the back instead of the generic “9 hours” they’ve been using for years now despite each disc only going a little over two hours on most releases. Hosted by Mick Foley, who is looking MUCH thinner than he was at the Royal Rumble. Disc One Sgt. Slaughter v. Pat Patterson, Alley Fight. From May 1981 in MSG, of course.  Patterson attacks to start, dressed all butch in jeans and cowboy boots, and chokes Slaughter down in the corner.  Sarge was the heel at this point, by the way.  Sarge tries to escape to the table, but Pat stomps him with the cowboy boots and then just lays into him with his belt.  Normally Pat disrobing would be a disturbing sign, but in this case it’s pretty cool.  Pat strangles him on the ropes, but Slaughter pulls him over the top to the floor to break it up.  Back in, Pat just puts the boots to Sarge and chokes him down again, but Slaughter finally gets the belt away from him and clotheslines him with it.  Sarge returns the strangling and pulls Pat’s shirt off, then chokes him out with that, too.  Pat tosses him to break, but Slaughter goes up top, only to miss a flying stomp.  Pat fights back and slams him into a middle rope kneedrop, then hits another one and drops a knee on his neck, showing where his target is, I suppose.  Sarge recovers with a kick to the face and throws some nasty boots to the head before chucking him out to the floor.  Great bump from Pat there.  Back in, Sarge hammers away, but Pat reverses with a catapult into the post, and it’s a GUSHER, boy!  Oh, SNAP, no wonder this match was such a legend.  Pat just goes nuts on the cut, but Sarge goes low to stop him.  You can see the crazy gash in his head when they do a close up, and it looks like he went about 3 inches too deep with the blade.  He pulls out a pair of brass knuckles and puts Patterson down, but that doesn’t draw blood.  Slaughter is just bleeding like a pig here and generating enough for both anyway.  Patterson recovers and hits Sarge in the face with his cowboy boot, but Sarge keeps getting up.  Pat sends him into the post again and then clobbers him with the boot, and he’s out on the floor and unlikely to get up.  He tries to get in, but Pat just keeps hitting in the face with his boot, until the Grand Wizard throws in the towel at 14:25.  This was like hardcore IWA death match level stuff for 1981.  What a fight!  **** Street Fight:  The Midnight Express v. Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively From Starrcade 85, and I’ve never seen this one, so YAY.  It was annoying because I got all the buildup on the weekly WCW shows on 24/7, and then I wanted to see the show but it was never on there.  Lively would of course be Ron Garvin dressed in very unbecoming drag.  The Midnights are rocking the classy coats and tails, while the babyfaces are dressed in street clothes.  Or streetwalking in the case of Garvin.  Condrey is cut open almost immediately, as Valiant tosses him around the floor and works on him with various foreign objects.  Back in for a sleeper, but Condrey gets his own object out of the jacket and puts Valiant down, followed by the BABY POWDER OF DOOM from Eaton.  And now of course Valiant is bleeding, too.  They use their belts to whip the faces as Valiant does his goofy selling, and they double-team Garvin.  Valiant keeps getting thrown out as the Express beats the shit out of Garvin, but he makes the comeback when they try to finish Valiant.  Garvin hits Eaton with Hands of Stone coming off the top rope, and pins him at 6:34 for the win.  This was definitely more of the messy, southern rasslin’ type of street fight rather than the more polished WWF style, as everyone kind of just fought aimlessly.  ** WCW World tag team titles:  Doom v. Barry Windham & Arn Anderson From Starrcade 90, and this one is in need of a redo so here’s a fresh version.  Doom look incredibly uncomfortable wearing street clothes for some reason.  It breaks loose right away, with Anderson whipping Simmons on the ramp, but Ron gets the belt and hits him right back.  Arn ups the ante by bashing a chair into his knee, while Barry is already bleeding thanks to a shot to the post.  Barry Windham’s militant lesbian haircut is not a good look for him, to say the least.  Back in the ring, Windham misses a kneedrop on Simmons, but DESTROYS him with a weightlifting belt to the face.  Or as Rob Riggle would say, IN THE FACE.  Reed gets color, as the kids say, while Simmons hits Windham with a spinebuster for two.  Reed misses his cue on a top rope move, so he just beats the shit out of Windham instead.  Windham comes back with the superplex on Simmons for two, but Reed hits Arn with the flying shoulderblock for two.  Windham breaks it up with a DDT, so Simmons puts Arn down again with a chairshot in the face for two.  Finally the Horsemen team up and dump Reed, but they can’t double-team Simmons because Reed saves.  Reed pins Windham with a small package while Simmons pins Arn after a clothesline, and it’s a double pin at 7:11, so no one wins.  Crazy brawl, to say the least.  ***1/2  Now I could be remembering wrong, but I THINK that this was originally supposed to be Flair & Anderson going over for the belts before it was changed at the last minute due to Flair being needed as the Black Scorpion. Falls Count Anywhere on the Gulf Coast:  Sting v. Cactus Jack. From WCW Beach Blast 92.  Sadly, both of the entrance themes are overdubbed with the later versions.  Sting is the WCW champ, but this is non-title because Cactus didn’t care about the title at this point in the character’s development.  Slugfest on the ramp to start, and Sting backslides for two.  Backdrop on the ramp and facebuster get two.  Sting charges and gets tied up in the ropes.  He rolls out of the ring, but Jack follows with the big elbow for two.  Neckbreaker gets two.  Jack does his usual sick bump, hitting a sunset flip off the apron and nearly breaking his ankle on the railing on the way down.  It gets two.  The bash each other on the railing, but Jack goes low.  Sting dumps over the railing, and suplexes him on the concrete for two.  Cactus takes another sick bump back to ringside and into the ring we go.  Cactus hits a lariat to catch a breather, and pounds on him.  Cactus…goes to the mat?!  Yup, he hooks a bodyscissors, but Sting fights out.  Cactus clothesline puts both on the floor, and Sting fights back.  Jack calmly grabs a chair and bashes his head in.  Jesse ponders why Sting would possibly be stupid enough to even sign this match, and I have to concur.  Sting suplexes Cactus on his head, on the concrete, for two.  Oh my god, Foley is insane, there’s no other explanation.  They do a pinfall reversal sequence (!) on the floor, giving both a couple of two counts.  Jack hotshots Sting on the railing in ANOTHER sick bump (this one for Sting), but Sting blocks a piledriver attempt.  Cactus goes to the top but misses an elbowdrop to the floor.  They head to the rampway and Sting fights back, DESTROYING Cactus with a chair of his own.  Jack escapes the deathlock, however, and gets the double-arm DDT for two.  Sting lariats him and uses his last bit of energy to hit a flying clothesline off the top rope, to the ramp, for the pin at 11:22.  Mick Foley called it his best match in the book, but I can’t agree given the higher quality stuff he did in the WWF.  ****1/2  Stil, a SICK, SICK must-see brawl. Falls Count Anywhere:  Randy Savage v. Crush From Wrestlemania X, of course.  This is more accurately described as a Last Man Standing match.  Savage attacks at the entrance and gets dropped on the railing for his efforts, and Crush gets the first pin at 0:42.  Macho is able to make it back into the ring within the arbitrary 60 seconds, so the match continues.  Crush pounds away and hangs Savage in the Tree of Woe, but gets a handful of salt from Fuji.  That allows Savage enough time to escape and kick it back in Crush’s face, and he drops the big elbow, pushes him to the floor, and gets the pin at 4:25.  Fuji is forced to dump a pitcher on water on his man to revive him, but he beats the count back in.  Savage chokes away on the ropes, but charges and gets backdropped to the floor in a great bump. They brawl on the floor and Savage clotheslines him into the crowd, but walks into a superkick.  Savage blocks a piledriver attempt and they fight into the backstage area, where Savage runs him into scaffolding and pins him at 8:00.  And then in a smart move, he trusses Crush up (although his knot-tying could use work, as Crush falls down before Savage even leaves for the ring) and makes it back to the ring for the win at 9:36.  Would have been better without the “beat the count” gimmick, but this was still fun and featured a creative finish.  **3/4 Chicago Street Fight:  The Road Warriors v. Sting & Booker T. From Uncensored 96.  How you have aChicago streetfight inTupelois a mystery unsolved to this day.  They brawl outside to start and head into the ring for a slugfest, but Sting runs into Animal’s boot.  Animal pounds away in the corner while Hawk backdrops Booker on the floor, and back in the ring it’s another donnybrook.  Booker hits Animal with the ax kick for two, while Hawk & Sting fight outside.  Animal powerslams Booker and drops an elbow for two.  Sting comes back in, but Animal necksnaps him on the top rope and posts him.  Sting returns the favor as the split screen is helpfully labeled “Chicago Street Fight” in case we’ve forgotten what we’re watching.  In the ring, Sting hits Animal with a fistdrop, but gets clotheslined for two.  Elbow misses and Sting bulldogs him, but Hawk chokes Sting down.  Everyone brawls outside and Booker covers Animal for two on the floor.  Back in, Booker gets caught with a shot coming down, and Animal dropkicks him for two.  Sting retreats to the back, while Booker gets a lazy cross-armbreaker on Hawk in the ring.  Sting chairs Animal over by the back, and heads to the ring for a chairshot on Hawk.  But then Animal gets it and uses it in incredibly weak fashion, getting two on Booker.  Booker comes back with a sidekick on Animal and Sting piledrives Hawk, and of course he no-sells that.  Since when does Sting ever use a piledriver?  Hawk powerbombs Sting and goes to the chinlock, then tosses him and it’s more dull brawling outside.  This match has ZERO flow.  It’s all “two guys do stuff in the ring while the other two brawl, switch off, repeat.”  Hawk hits them with some wussy chairshots and tries a powerbomb on Sting, but it’s reversed.  Animal clubs on Sting with the forearms, but Booker breaks it up, and it’s more dull brawling.  Back in with Sting and Hawk, as Sting hits him with a shot off the top that Hawk doesn’t sell, but misses the Stinger splash.  Hawk drops a fist and Animal goes up, but Booker crotches him, so Hawk covers Sting for two.  Booker hits Animal with a flying clothesline for two.  Once again the mystery of falls count anywhere matches arises, as you can pin somewhere anywhere in the arena, except when he has his foot on the ropes.  Sting gets a headbutt low on Animal, and Hawk hits Booker with a backdrop suplex.  Booker comes back with a weak sideslam on Hawk, but misses an elbow, and they do a sloppy collision in the corner.  Sting goes up and misses a splash on Animal.  Hawk goes up and gets dropkicked by Booker coming down.  Animal chokes away in the corner, but Booker goes low, and they fight outside again.  Oh, joy.  Meanwhile, Hawk hits Sting with a move I can only jokingly call a gutwrench suplex for two.  Sting and Booker finally get organized and double-team Hawk with a clothesline, then Sting suplexes him on the top rope while Animal suplexes Booker.  Sooooooo slow and boring.  Hawk & Sting brawl outside again while Booker crotches himself on the top rope, and they switch off for no reason in particular, with Animal taking on Sting outside and Hawk beating on Booker inside.  Booker comes back with a spinkick on Hawk for two.  Hawk boots him down for two.  Back to the floor as Sting goes up on Animal, but gets caught with a powerslam.  Animal works the count, but Sting comes back with a clothesline and both guys are out.  The boredom of this match is crushing my soul.  Hawk and Booker head back into the ring, but Hawk misses a fistdrop and Booker misses an elbow.  He comes back with a sidekick, however, and both guys are out.  On the floor, Animal goes nuts with a chair (as nuts as anyone can go in this snoozefest) and the Warriors double-team Booker, but Sting heads to the back again and returns with BROOMS.  Now I’m scared.  The Warriors choke them down, but Booker comes back with his own choking on Animal, but he gets tossed by Animal and decides to leave.  In the ring, Hawk gets two on Sting.  We follow Animal and Booker to the back, where Luger is posing in front of a mirror in a bizarre moment, but Animal interrupts and gets beat up by Luger and Stevie Ray as a result.  Some things you just don’t mess with.  Back in the ring, Hawk dumps Sting and they brawl, but now Booker T returns as Sting misses his charge into the railing.  Booker sends Hawk into the stairs and brings him back in, getting a sideslam and going up with the Harlem Hangover, but misses it.  Stevie Ray runs out and adds a chairshot for good measure, and Booker FINALLY pins Hawk to end it at 29:35.  Not a terrible brawl, but ridiculously long and dull.  It did foreshadow Booker’s single career, however, as he managed to outwork both of the washed-up Road Warriors and held his own with the unmotivated Sting.  ** Chicago Street Fight:  Faarooq, Crush & Savio Vega v. Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom From Wrestlemania 13, and this is another one where I’m not generally happy with the original version so here’s a redo.  Pier-six to start and PG-13 get mauled as a result.  Ahmed does an ill-advised flip dive over the railing and into the crowd on Crush, and then launches himself back over again.  In the ring, Hawk chases everyone off with a 2×4, while Animal blows a piledriver on Faarooq outside on the announce table.  Truly the artform of piledriving someone on the announce table was in its infancy in 1997.  Garbage cans are exchanged, and Savio sends Hawk into the roadsign, but ends up with a can on his head.  I think we’ve all been there.  The table finally gets broken when Ahmed slams Faarooq through it.  The fire extinguisher gets used judiciously as this is a just a crazy, southern style unfocused brawl, which is sometimes good.  Poor D-Lo gets kicked in the nuts by Ahmed.  He hits Faarooq with the spinebuster, but D-Lo makes the save, so the LOD hit Crush with the Doomsday Device and pin him at 8:37.  Entertaining but messy.  ***1/4 Street Fight:  Steve Austin v. Bret Hart From RAW, April 1997.  I remember this vividly.  The newly reunited Hart Foundation assaults Austin before Bret can get into the ring, but Shawn Michaels makes the save and chases them off.  Bret beats on Austin by himself and hits a piledriver, but tries to Pillmanize the ankle and misses.  Austin uses the chair to destroy Bret’s knee (thus setting up his real life knee surgery).  And I mean DESTROY it.  After pounding the knee for a few minutes, he puts Bret in the Sharpshooter until a gaggle of referees finally pull him off for some reason.  After the non-match, Gorilla Monsoon kicks Austin out of the building, and the EMTs load Bret onto the stretcher while his loving brothers Owen and Bulldog assist him.  We take a break and Bret is getting loaded into the ambulance while the brothers verbally abuse the help (“Watch his knee, you IDIOT!”).  And then the legendary moment, as the driver is revealed to be STEVE AUSTIN, and he continues the assault on the helpless Bret until they’re finally separated again.  I guess it loses something because Russo did it again so many times after, but this was truly one of the most influential segments from the period of RAW. Disc Two Street Fight:  Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Cactus Jack From the famous MSG RAW in September 97, and of course you have to have this one there.  This marked the first time Foley brought the Cactus Jack character into the WWF, in order to settle his feud with HHH once and for all.  Until 2000.  The smarky crowd goes crazy for Cactus and his overdubbed theme, and he immediately blasts HHH with a garbage can and neckbreaker on the floor for two.  Into the ring for a Cactus clothesline back to the floor, but Chyna hits Jack with a cheapshot and clotheslines him over the railing.  They brawl back into the locker room, where Hunter gets a slam for two, but he celebrates too early and Jack gives him the fire extinguisher to the face.  Back into the ring and Hunter gets bumped out AGAIN, but Jack follows with an elbow off the middle rope and lands on the garbage can to flatten it.  We take a break and return with Hunter abusing him with a mop and tossing him, but Jack goes low and this a sunset flip off the apron for two.  And yet again Chyna gets involved, hitting him with a chairshot, but Hunter shoves them together and into the stairs.  Chyna is thus taken out of the match, and they fight up the ramp.  Hunter retrieves a variety of weapons but can’t finish him, so he brings out a table instead.  Jack counters with a low blow, piledrives him through the table, and gets the pin at 8:47.  This was the craziest shit anyone had ever seen on RAW up until that point, and amazingly they would TOP themselves, in the same building with the same match, two and a half years later.  **** FTW Title:  Taz v. Bam Bam Bigelow This is from Heatwave 98, and it’s an ECW Death Match, so I guess we know who’s winning.  Yeah, I’m a bad person, I’ll live with it.  Taz throws Bigelow around to start and they immediately fight onto the ramp, where Taz tries a dive into the crowd and gets caught by Bigelow.  Bigelow pounds him with a chair as they fight into the crowd for more sloppy brawling.  It’s the usual magic power where guys have the ability to lead each other around the arena by merely pushing on the other guy’s head, and after some walking they head into the ring, where Bigelow puts Taz through a table.  Taz hulks up and suplexes Bigelow through it himself, and they go out to the ramp again, where Taz suplexes him through the ramp.  They crawl out and Taz finishes with the Tazzmission at 13:40.  This match still bores me.  ** Hardcore title:  Bob Holly v. Al Snow From St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1999.  This is for the vacant title, what with Road Dogg injured and all.  Bob was not yet Hardcore, but this was the match that made him so.  Snow puts him down with a chair to start, but they fight into the crowd as Michael Cole notes that Bob was Intercontinental champion for “a cup of coffee”.  If by a cup of coffee he means never, then he’s totally correct.  Holly hits him with a fire extinguisher spray and they go backstage, where Snow hits him with a pay phone and quips “Reach out and touch somebody”.  With a cool dry wit like that, he could be an action hero!  Bob comes back with an empty beer cooler and they move into the loading dock, where Snow uses a variety of cleaning implements for two.  Then it’s another pleasant walk to the street outside, where Snow sends Holly into a retaining wall.  And down to the Mississippi river, where Snow headbutts Holly into a wheelbarrow before they fight to the river bank.  They go into the water and Holly uses a SHARP STICK OF DOOM for two.  Man, remember when this crap seemed edgy?  Holly beats him down and wraps him up in a length  of fence for the pin and his first Hardcore title of millions at 10:45.  Lots of walking in between a few cartoonish weapons.  *1/2 Strap match:  The Rock v. HHH. From Fully Loaded 99, a totally forgotten show.  No lame “touch all corners” here, it’s just a falls count anywhere match with the guys attached to each other.  They brawl onto the floor and Rock does the camera spot.  Rock gets rammed into the Spanish announce table.  Back in the ring and Helmsley retains control.  Back outside the ring and HHH gets whipped into the steps, and they fight into the crowd.  They end up near the barricades and Rock drops HHH on the steel railing to gain the advantage, but HHH whips him into the entranceway.  JR claims that the supposed year-long punishment of HHH for MSG was just a creation of Dave Meltzer and the internet.  Yeah, right.  Helmsley gets some good shots with the strap near the entrance, but gets suplexed on the concrete for two.  Rock takes a nice bump into the barricade for two.  Rocky’s doing a better job of selling tonight.  They drag each other back into the ring and HHH whips him again, cueing the comeback for the Rock.  But no, it’s the KNEE TO THE HEAD OF DOOM to put Rock down again as Chyna wanders out.  She distracts the ref as Rock hits Rock Bottom.  No ref. HHH with the low blow to come back, and he climbs to the top and hangs Rocky from there.  Nasty.  Mike Ciota checks Rock, but he wakes up at two and slams HHH off the top.  Rock comeback, as he uses the strap to pull HHH around the ring and hits the Samoan drop for two.  HHH tosses Rock out of the ring and pulls the strap off.  They brawl on the floor and HHH grabs a chair, but gets whipped by Rocky before he can use it.  Nasty shots. Back in the ring and Rocky with the DDT for two.  Billy Gunn runs in and nails Rock with the club, but it only gets two.  Rock escapes the Pedigree with the Great Equalizer and hits the People’s Elbow.  It gets two, and Gunn yanks Rock out.  Rock hits Rock Bottom on Mr. Ass, but HHH nails him from behind and hits the Pedigree for the pin at 19:05.  And it only took three people.  Screwy booking aside, it was a good match for both guys.  ***1/2 “Love Her or Leave Her”:  Test v. Shane McMahon. From Summerslam 99.  The Mean Street Posse (with various casts and bandages) make their way to ringside, where a couch and champagne is awaiting them.  Test totally destroys Shane to start, then tosses him into the arms of the Posse.  Test gets laid out by them as a result, with the crowd chanting “Posse Sucks!”. They start handing Shane a variety of weapons, the funniest of which is a framed portrait of themselves.  It gets shattered over Test’s head, of course.  Back in the ring and Shane actually goes for a corkscrew senton off the top!  It misses, and Test powerbombs Shane, but the ref is distracted by Rodney.  Ref bump follows, which makes no sense in a no-DQ match.  The Posse lays out Test on the Spanish announce table…and Shane hits a flying elbow off the top rope, through the table!  WHOA!  Shane is the McMAN!  Back in the ring, but it only gets two for Shane.  Pete accidentally nails Shane with a sign, giving Test a two count.  Crowd is going NUTS.  Rodney hits Test with the cast, which I thought was the end, but it gets two.  Finally, after all that interference, the Stooges make their return, taking out the punks (BIG pop for that), leaving Shane and Test mano-a-mano.  And from there, it’s Meltdown and flying elbow for the Test pin, which was TOTALLY the right booking and got a HUGE pop from the crowd, and the group of people watching the show at our gathering tonight, including a few non-fans. When you can make people who haven’t been following pop for the finish, it’s something good.  Stephanie and Test have a celebration, as Test makes his first big PPV shot COUNT.  ***1/2 WWF title:  Big Show v. Kane From RAW, December 1999.  They actually change the graphic to say “WWE champion” after the fact.  Big Show is thin enough here that he can wear the belt around his waist.  If Kane doesn’t win the title, then Tori has to spend the holidays with X-Pac.  Kane dumps Show and follows with a dive to start, then escapes a slam attempt on the floor and sends him into the post.  Show grabs a chair in frustration and pounds him with it, drawing a DQ at 2:18.  However, HHH announces that it’s no-DQ, and we continue.  They continue brawling outside, and this time it’s a countout at 3:10, but Steph and HHH make it a falls count anywhere match and we’re on again.  Kane backdrops Show over the railing and hits him with a clothesline off it for two.  Show with a backdrop suplex as HHH and Steph have the most awkward cuddle ever over on the stage.  Bet Chyna was thrilled to watch that.  Show whips Kane into the stairs, but he comes back and gets distracted by the New Age Outlaws at ringside.  Show powerbombs him through the announce table to finish at 6:47.  Really fun match with two big guys taking crazy bumps all around the ringside area.  ***  HHH would get his belt back a couple of weeks after this and stay in the main event for good this time. Hardcore title:  Crash Holly v. The Headbangers From Smackdown in March of 2000.  This takes place at FUN TIME USA.  Crash tries to escape down a crazy slide (with the brave cameraman following), but the Bangers double-team him at the bottom and send him into the strength-tester (complete with sound effect) for two.  Crash escapes into the ball pit and the Bangers send the ref in first, but Crash ambushes them and makes his escape to retain the title.  You have to love the goofy concept. Street Fight: Shane McMahon v. Vince McMahon. From RAW, October 29 2001.  On the bright side, at least Linda and Stephanie aren’t at ringside. Brawl outside to start, and vince uses a vicious cardboard sign on Shane’s back, then sends him to the stairs. Vince posts him and tosses some plunder into the ring, but gets hit with a lowblow. Shane drops elbow as JR tries to connect the 67,000 people in Houston for Wrestlemania with Shane & Vince wrestling there. Of course, if you’re gonna bring up THAT match, then you have to also bring up the storyline behind it, which would basically render this entire storyline completely non-sensical because everyone is acting exactly the opposite of their character only six months ago. Shane goes up, but hits a shooting star press on a garbage can. Vince uses a kendo stick for evil purposes. Or is that his cane? Vince dumps him and preps the table, but Shane lays him out with the ALUMINUM TRASHCAN LID OF HORROR and goes up for the Macho Mac elbow off the top. It misses by a good foot, but the announcers act like Vince should be dead anyway. Back in, Shane sets up the Shane Terminator, but Vince uses the garbage can to block it. TnT run in to beat up on Vince, but UT & Kane follow to chase them away, and Regal attacks UT, and Rock attacks Regal, and Austin attacks the Rock, and Angle chases him off, and Jericho is last out before Angle uses a chair to turn on the WWF and join the Alliance. Shane pins Vince as an afterthought at 11:07. Match was a contender for worst of the year, but the segment was all about building to the turn anyway. DUD Street Fight:  Ric Flair v. Vince McMahon. From Royal Rumble 2002.  The Flair family is at ringside, and Reid is BADASS. When did this kid grow two feet? Screw Scott Steiner, sign HIM. We already saw him taking Bischoff down on Nitro, so we know he’s got the goods on the mat. Vince overpowers Flair to start and does some posing. Nice to see George Zahorian is keeping himself busy. I’ve gotta think that going to prison was the best thing to happen to old Dr. George – I mean, talk about your seller’s market! I wonder how many prison bitches you can buy for a month’s worth of HGH? Vince applies the dreaded SIDE-HEADLOCK OF DOOM to show off his arms. And he wonders why the legitimate media treats him like a joke. He overpowers Flair again, this time adding a strut. Flair takes him down and starts pounding him in the corner, but Vince goes low. Diesel elbow and Vince adds some chops, but Flair gives it back with extra mayo on top. Vince goes to the eyes and hits one of those weird stiff-arm clotheslines that Scott Steiner does now that he can’t move his arm anymore. Flair Flop and Flair Flip put Flair on the apron, where Vince knocks him down. The ALUMINIUM SIGN OF GROTESQUE DISMEMBERMENT triggers a MANLY Flair bladejob, and Vince adds a garbagecan for good measure. Vince posts him and introduces him to the stairs, then steals a camera from Beth Flair and takes a picture of the bloodied Flair. I’m curious if Vinnie Mac actually shows up on film, but I guess if he really WAS the agent of Satan we wouldn’t get the honor of seeing him on videotape every show. Or maybe I’m thinking of vampires. Same thing. Back in, Vince works the leg in a manner even HE should be ashamed of, as he can’t even get his legs extended into the air for the kneedrops to Flair’s knee. He grabs a toehold, then goes back to the knee. He goes to the figure-four (and sets a good example by actually putting it on the CORRECT leg – straight leg is the injured one), but Flair reverses. Vince bails and grabs his phallic lead pipe, but Flair gives him a solid shot to the Hogan to stop that. He dishes the chops like a waiter at Dusty Rhodes’ dinner party, and they brawl outside, where Flair smacks Vince in the face with a monitor to bust him open. Back in, Flair drags him out again and bites the cut in front of Beth. What a romantic. Back in for real, and Vince is all HOLD THE MAYO! Flair keeps on the cut before switching up the psychology and canning him again. I think I should make it an official policy to add * for every time Vince gets hit in the nuts. Flair puts him down with the lead pipe, and before Vince can live up to my expectations by jumping up and doing a hulking-up act, Flair puts him in the figure-four and puts him out of his misery at 14:54. For those who don’t think Flair is still God, STFU. Keep your Outsiders, I like REAL wrestling. He not only provides entertaining matches, but tons of material for me. *** Disc Three Unsanctioned Street Fight:  Shawn Michaels v. HHH From Summerslam 2002, of course, a match I haven’t seen in 10 years.  Funny to think of a time when this was a fresh matchup that wasn’t played out in the least.  So let’s give it another look.  Shawn is in jeans and cowboy boots, and HHH of course shows up to a street fight in his wrestling gear.  Shawn tackles and him hammers away to start, tosses HHH, and then hits him with a dive and sends him into the post.  Shawn grabs a trash can, but gets dropped on the railing as a result.  He skins the cat back into the ring, however, and puts HHH down with the can and goes up with the flying axehandle.  Superkick misses and HHH gets a backbreaker, which obviously is an awesome bit of psychology.  HHH goes to work on it and drops elbows on him for two, after a crotchchop.  Chair to the back gets two.  Shawn gets a rollup for two as a hope spot, but HHH DDTs him on the chair for two.  HHH keeps it slow and works him over, then grabs his trusty sledgehammer, but Shawn fights back again, showing what an incredibly smart worker he became during his layoff.  He’s not sure if he can do anything, so he relies on his timing to build up to babyface hope spots and SELL SELL SELL.  HHH gets the abdominal stretch while Shawn bleeds (fake blood), and HHH holds the ropes because it’s UNSANCTIONED.  Earl Hebner is so morally outraged that he forces a break anyway and gives HHH a good talking to in the corner, and that allows Shawn time to recover and start his comeback.    HHH puts him on top and Shawn fights him off, but Hebner gets used as a weapon and Shawn goes down, suffering another chair to the back as a result.  Backbreaker onto an chair, a horrifying spot that’s actually totally safe due to some impressive sleight of hand, gets two.  Another sideslam onto the chair gets two and HHH makes him work to kick out.  He goes to finish with the Pedigree, but Shawn goes low and makes the pained comeback attempt with the exhausted selling we would come to know and love years later.  HHH swings with the chair again, but Shawn superkicks it back into his face, and NOW we’ve got some color because HHH loves to bleed.   He’s likely as sad as anyone about the current state of things.  Shawn makes the proper comeback and puts HHH down with a chair to the face, and I’m in awe at how the “new” Shawn came fully formed out of the gate.  They head to the floor and now Shawn gets his revenge, whipping HHH with the belt and putting him onto the stairs.  He smashes his face in with a ladder and catapults him into it, and HHH is WEARING THE CRIMSON MASK!  Back in, that gets two.  Shawn tries to bring the ladder in, but HHH baseball slides it back at him to take over again.  Back in, he goes up, but Shawn brings him in with a superplex for two.  Crucifix into a sunset flip gets two, but HHH puts him down with the high knee for two, also doing some great selling.  HHH finally grabs the stairs to end things, but Shawn trips him into them and puts him on the floor again.  And since this is Shawn’s Greatest Hits, he retrieves a table.  It’s kind of a roundabout TLC match.  He splashes HHH through the table, from the top rope to the floor, in a crazy spot for a guy who thought he was going right back into retirement after this.  Back in the ring, Shawn sets up the ladder and pulls out the flying elbow, and he debuts the stomping routine for the superkick.  HH catches it and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE to freak out the crowd, but Shawn rolls him up for the pin at 27:11.  HHH lays him out with the sledgehammer immediately, because he’s a SORE LOSER.  I’m gonna catch hell for this, I’m sure, but this was clearly ***** to me on second viewing.  Like, no question.  I had some issues with the match back then, obviously, but I’m over it.  The very definition of leaving it all on the table, and then amazingly Shawn had another EIGHT YEARS after this! RAW World title, Street Fight:  HHH v. Kevin Nash This is from the UK Insurrection PPV in June 2003, as we really pull out the obscurities.  Nash pounds away and clotheslines him to the floor, prompting a brawl between Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair, and Flair is BLEEDING.  In the ring, Flair and HHH double-team Nash and get nowhere, and everyone is aimlessly slugging it out.  They head up to the ramp for more slow brawling, and back into the ring where Nash hits the big boot and elbow for two.  HHH clips him and works on the leg, as Shawn and Flair have vanished.  “This thing has gone downhill in a hurry!” notes Jerry Lawler, and I can’t disagree.  HHH bumps out of the ring, trying unsuccessfully to single-handedly carry Nash to anything decent.  Back in, Nash trips HHH into the stairs and hits the sideslam for two.  JR is going way over the top overselling this boring “brawl”.  And of course, a ref bump.  Diesel hits his two most effective moves (the big boot and hair flip) but HHH goes low as Flair returns to hopefully save the match.  Nash beats him up, but HHH puts him down with the chair for two.  And now Shawn returns from the void and gets rid of Flair, but HHH Pedigrees him.  Nash powerbombs HHH, but fails to flip his hair and so doesn’t get the full force of the move.  Charles Robinson runs in to count two, but Flair beats HIM up, which is a horrible tragedy not even mentioned by the announcers.  HHH hits Nash with the hammer to retain at 14:55 as JR has a heart attack.  Total overbooked nonsense, with multiple ref bumps, overdone weapons, ridiculous commentary from JR, and the corner-men being forced to carry the match.  *1/2 Women’s title, Falls Count Anywhere:  Melina v. Mickie James From RAW, March 2007.  Mickie attacks and gets two on the floor, and they head backstage right away.  They brawl into the women’s locker room and Mickie runs Melina into the wall for two.  Candace gets her towel pulled off for some blurred out boobies, and we take a break.  Back with the women rolling down the ramp, and back into the ring.  Mickie with a Perfectplex for two.  They fight to the top and Mickie has a rana blocked, nearly breaking her neck on the landing.  Melina quickly pins her to retain at 4:15.   Luckily Ashley and her SPUNKY baseball cap are there to help her out afterwards, setting up something at Wrestlemania that I couldn’t give a shit about.  OKish Diva brawl,  but nothing really happened.  *1/2 Street Fight:  Umaga v. HHH From Cyber Sunday 2007.  There are some ODD choices on this DVD, although the buyrate for this show was so low that this might as well be a rarity.  Umaga tosses HHH around by the stage and they fight through the crowd and into the ring, where Umaga misses a blind charge.  HHH slugs away and can’t put him down, so he grabs a trashcan and nails him with that for two.  Umaga comes back with a samoan drop and takes over, hammering away in the corner.  Big splash gets two.  Umaga tosses him and sends him into the stairs, and back in for two.  HHH tries to fight back, but Umaga goes to the bearhug.  Corner splash gets two.  HHH comes back with a low blow and a DDT onto a chair for two.  He tries the Pedigree, but Umaga powers him into the corner, then misses a blind charge.  He keeps coming with a spinning slam.  They fight to the floor again and brawl over to the announce tables, where Umaga splashes him from one to the other.  Back in, Umaga goes up for the flying splash, but misses, and HHH makes the comeback.  HHH grabs his trusty sledgehammer, but Umaga hits him in the gut to block.  The GOLDEN SPIKE misses, and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE to finish at 17:19.  Wasn’t really feeling the early part, but they just kept giving it time to build and it eventually worked well enough.  Umaga was getting REALLY good at this sort of thing by this point.  ***1/2 Street Fight:  Umaga v. John Cena From RAW, June 2008, and we’ve made it into the HD era now!  Speaking of Cena, where the hell was his street fight with JBL from whatever that 2005 Smackdown PPV was?  There’s some weird inclusions and glaring exclusions on this thing.  Umaga easily overwhelms Cena and tosses him as we take a break.  Back with a fight up the ramp, but Cena walks into a samoan drop.  Umaga puts him onto the ringpost and charges, but he misses and Cena makes the comeback.  Mic to the head (with a nice sound cue), but Cena walks into the spinning slam for two.  Cena fights back and walks into a clothesline, allowing Umaga to grab a chair.  Cena keeps coming with the flashback neckbreaker he no longer does, but he can’t get Umaga up for the FU.  Umaga lays him out again and grabs the stairs, but Cena gets the FU this time and finishes at 7:25.  Unlike the HHH match he just watched, this did NOT get the time to develop into anything, and was just a standard TV main event with SuperCena overcoming the odds.  **1/2 Submissions Count Anywhere:  D-Generation X v. Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase From the god-awful all-submission Breaking Point PPV in September 2009.  HHH’s pre-match spiel to Montreal is pretty funny (with Shawn making “zip it” motions while HHH tries to apologize for the screwjob and then just blames Shawn for the whole thing).  As stipulations go, this is…uh…certainly one.  Legacy gets chased out of the ring to start and HHH drops Dibiase’s knee on the announce table while Shawn brawls with Cody into the crowd.  They all end up by the concession stand for a silly spot where we get stereo figure-fours on Legacy.  More strolling through the park as they leisurely fight down the stairs through the crowd.  Back to ringside and we get a goofy spot where D-X does a combination Sharpshooter and camel clutch with Cody laying on a chair.  Was that supposed to look painful?  Legacy gets some heat with a couple of goofy submission attempts of their own, and Cody goes a-brawling with Shawn into the crowd again.  This ridiculous stipulation is totally killing the match.  Shawn takes a hilariously safe fall onto a crash pad, as in they weren’t even trying to hide it, and now HHH is ANGRY.  I kinda need this bullshit to end now because it’s getting beyond silly and into actively irritating.  And now HHH fights backstage with Cody, but succumbs to a Legacy double-team.  He fights back and puts Dibiase through the catering table, but Rhodes won’t tap to a crossface.  Dibiase breaks it up with the DRINK COOLER OF DOOM to the head, which apparently has knocked HHH clean out.  Ice can be very abrasive to the skin.  So back to the ring, as Legacy hauls the injured Shawn back and tries various submissions on him, but Shawn fights back as this match just keeps GOING long past the point of sanity.  Shawn fights back with a shitty-ass figure-four on Cody that looked like he was trying a sharpshooter but forgot how to do it mid-move, but Dibiase saves anyway.  Cody locks in a ringpost figure-four while Dibiase puts Shawn in the sleeper, and that’s enough to make him tap at 21:52.  Like really, these tough young guns can’t even get an advantage on either guy unless they’re double-teaming him and they still nearly lose regardless?  No wonder they didn’t get over.  **1/4 Street Fight:  Batista v. Rey Mysterio From Smackdown, December 2009, just after Batista’s great heel turn.  Batista whips Rey around to start and catches him with a clothesline for two.  Rey goes to the knee, but Batista quickly bails to avoid the 619, but Rey baseball slides him as we take a break.  Back with Batista beating the hell out of Rey and getting a huge clothesline as Matt Striker makes a ridiculous analogy about drinking milk.  Apparently you drink milk to build bones because it has protein, and Batista has a higher protein intake than anyone.  Uh…yeah.  Rey makes the comeback with the 619 and splash, but it only gets two.  Rey keeps coming with a chair, but Batista SPEARS him with authority and casually puts him away with the spinebuster and a Greco-Roman chair to the face at 7:50.  Batista was something else during this period, but this was a total massacre for him.  ** Street Fight:  Randy Orton v. Cody Rhodes Ah yes, the wonderful period where Orton was beating all the secondary champions but didn’t want any of the titles.  Orton grabs a headlock to start and hits the dropkick to send Cody running, and they brawl on the floor.  Orton gets sent into the stairs and Cody slugs him down and follows with a kneedrop on the floor, which gets two in the ring.  Back to the floor and Orton tosses Cody around and clotheslines him into the crowd.  Cody gets beat down out there and finally throws a bagger into the ring, and Orton hits him with an RKO as we take a break.  Back with Cody winning a brawl at the top of the ramp and trying a suplex off the stage, but Orton blocks and gets his own in the opposite direction.  Back to the ring, and Orton brings him in with a superplex that gets two.  Cody comes back with the mask to the head to put Orton down on the floor, and we take another break.  Back with Cody getting a suplex, and cutting off a comeback with the sliding punch for two.  He chokes away in the corner and clips the knee, then goes to work on it.  Figure-four, and Cody opts to hits him with the mask again instead of waiting for a submission.  Orton fights back and gets it himself, however, and makes the comeback.  RKO is escaped and countered with the disaster kick for two.  Cody tries for crossroads, but Orton reverses out into the draping DDT, and they brawl to the floor again.  Orton gives him the DDT off the railing for a unique twist, and the RKO finishes at 16:00.  Bet they’re wishing they had put Cody over now.  **** The Pulse This was really an incredibly odd, incredibly random collection of stuff that I would compare mostly to a compilation tape made by a trader in the 90s.  It’s an interesting group of oddities, but where’s the classics?  No Randy Savage v. Bad News Brown from 88?  No Shawn v. Diesel from 96? No HHH v. Cactus Jack from 2000?  No Shane v. Angle from King of the Ring?  Only one ECW entry and a shitty one at that? Still, it’s a pretty fun set, even if the third disc is a major slog, so I’m giving it a recommendation.  Just don’t go in expecting a lot of stuff that you’ve heard of before.