“Kevin Owens’ first match in WWE”

Did it bother anyone but me how at the Chamber, the announcers kept mentioning how it was "Owens' first match in WWE"? Given how much NXT is promoted throughout WWE, how is the casual fan supposed to understand what that means and where NXT fits in?

Is there a better way to phrase that Raw and Smackdown (and Superstars and Main Event and PPVs) are the "Major Leagues"? It all comes across as incredibly messy and confusing. 

Especially since there are six WWE brand marks are all on the NXT championship.


​I would tend to think of it as NXT being WWE-affiliated, in the same way that a minor-league baseball team is affiliated with the major league club.  So you might get drafted and play as a part of the Blue Jays organization, but it's not until you get to the big leagues that you play your first game as a Blue Jay.  ​

Wrestlemania XXXI Thread: First Hour (7-8 p.m. EST)

All right we survived the pre-game so now it’s time for the real show. Very quickly here are my predictions since no one asked!

— The Bella Twins over A.J./Paige since the Bellas appear to win every week.

— Daniel Bryan wins I-C Ladder Match by outlasting Dolph Ziggler after 20 minutes

— Seth Rollins over Randy Orton because Seth really needs this win.

— Undertaker over Bray Wyatt to start a new streak, don’t think he’ll get to 21 this time.

— John Cena over Rusev for the U.S. Title although I don’t expect this Cena title reign to last long. Rusev is the right guy for that belt.

— Sting over HHH because HHH always won the real life battle here. No need for him to win the worked match right…Right???!?!

— Roman Reigns over Brock Lesnar when Paul Heyman turns on his monster for the new,youngrt monster (or at least the WWE hopes).

Enjoy Wrestlemania!

First title win at wrestlemania.

Hey Scott,
There have been several wrestlers whose first world title win has been at wrestlemania but it hasn't happen in awhile.
Savage at 4; warrior at 6; Yokozuna at 9; michaels at 12; Austin at 14; Benoit at 20; cena and Batista at 21; and Rey at 22.
If reigns wins, this will be the first time in 9 years a persons first world title was at wrestlemania.
One cannot even say it is because of the two title system because all of the recent wm title changes like Bryan and cena and Sheamus already a world title for 2-3 reigns already.

Thoughts?

​It just goes to show how incredibly stale all the characters over the past few years have been, with everyone already multiple time World champions by the time they get to Wrestlemania.  That's one thing that worries me a lot about moving the belt from invisible champion to Reigns — you can bet they're going to start going back to the follow-the-bouncing-ball title changes when business drops and they need a ratings crutch.  ​
Also, Meltzer had an awesomely bittersweet piece in the new Observer talking about the fate of Daniel Bryan this year, and it's just tremendous as you can really tell how sad he was personally when the promotion gave up on Bryan and then the fanbase also gave up on him the night after Fastlane.  HHH may have talked about how the book is never finished or whatever nonsense on Austin's podcast, but in Bryan's case the book is really closed now on his time as a main event guy, and it's gonna go down as such a huge waste, all for Vince's failed Reigns experiment.  

Long Time Reader, First Time Emailer

Scott,

Reader since pre-Rantsylvania days, multiple-time book owner (even e-book owner), longtime lurker, and occasional poster Sirplss here with a question/plug request.

Question for you and the blog – with the actual WWE product at a creative low point, and your interest in said product waning for years now, do you still find enjoyment in wrestling at all?  Do you enjoy the wrestling-related discussions on the blog?  How much of the daily content do you read?

Also, if you wouldn't mind the plug, I appear weekly on a wrestling podcast (we only get around 1k listens, but every little bit of traffic counts) here – https://soundcloud.com/cedtalks

Thanks a lot, and thanks for the incredible amount of entertainment over the past 17 years.

Joe


PS.  Will obviously return the favor on the plug on the podcast 🙂

​Hi Joe.
I still do follow the product via YouTube's pretty great "Top 10 RAW / Smackdown moments" videos because it's only a couple of minutes and catches up anything notable, plus WWE posts individual RAW segments to YouTube pretty quick, and the "This Week in WWE" show on the Network is also a great way to follow without having to actually pay serious attention.  
I actually have a job during the day and so can't follow the daily threads and would probably lose my mind attempting to do so anyway.  I do absolutely follow the discussions on the questions I post or retro TV show recaps.  As for wrestling in general, I love recapping Nitro.  Love it.  I wish I could have watched it live in 1995/6 because it's just the bee's knees and makes me happy to be a fan because it feels so fresh and interesting.  I know that changes fairly soon into 1997, but there's still a whole year on the Network for me to watch.  ​I also love going back and watching the old Primetimes up on the Network with ridiculous Iron Mike Sharpe double countouts against tag wrestlers over two commercial breaks, because the announcers actually TALKED ABOUT THE MATCH and didn't make you feel like an idiot for watching it.  And people who know me IRL, if you will, and know I'm a wrestling guy often like to chat about wrestling stuff, and I'm always happy to talk about it even though I hate the current product.  If they ever fucking came to Saskatoon again (four years and counting now) I'd probably go and I'd probably have a fun time because I love wrestling and house shows are fun.  
So there you go. 

Pillman’s First ECW appearance


Hi Scott, I just saw this bit for the first time on the Network and it
was pretty intense. I kind of feel like if Dean Ambrose really wants
to portray a loose cannon character he oughta watch some of Pillman's
work around this time. He had almost everybody fooled at the time.

http://youtu.be/gM7U6YZPXFo

Mark

Everybody including himself, unfortunately.  Although I don't know that Dean Ambrose should be threatening to whip out his Johnson and piss all over the arena if he wants long term job security.  

Ring of Honor First Anniversary Show February 8th, 2003

February 8, 2003

From the Elks Lodge in Queens, NY

Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Levy

The show starts with a zoom-in shot of a cake that reads “RoH 1st Anniversary” then shows a video highlight package of all the show.

Paul London lets us know that he is walking home with the gold tonight and will give 1,000%!

Chad Collyer vs. EZ Money vs. Colt Cabana vs. Michael Shane

The announcers speculate as to what group Shane will align himself with as he has dropped Bio-Hazard as an associate. Collyer and Money work an alright sequence that ends with a standoff. Cabana and Shane are in as Cabana hits a quebrada then they have a reversal sequence that ends with a standoff. Cabana works the arm then they tag out as Money puts Collyer in the pendulum swing. They trade chinlocks then Shane grabs Money’s leg and that allows Collyer to take him down with a clothesline. Shane tags and beats on Money. He gets two off of a flapjack then cheapshots Cabana. Shane puts Money in a STF then tags Collyer, who applies a chinlock. Collyer eats boot on a charge then Money takes him down with a back elbow smash. Shane sticks out his arm but his arm away then tags himself in so he can continue to beat on Money. Shane gets stopped with an enziguiri as both men are down with the crowd chanting for Cabana. Money comes back with a severely botched handspring back elbow smash as the crowd shits all over Money. Shane sets up Money for a superplex but Money takes him off with a front suplex then Money finally makes the tag as Cabana runs wild on Collyer. Cabana hits Collyer with a few innovative moves then the match breaks down and eventually leading to a dive sequence capped off with Shane taking everyone out with a somersault plancha. In the ring, Cabana and Collyer slug it out until Collyer kills him with a German suplex for a nearfall. Shane flies off of the top but Cabana catches him with an Ace Crusher then Collyer covers for two. Money redeems himself after that handspring fuck-up when he takes out Collyer and Cabana with the Money Clip (springboard somersault clothesline) that looked tremendous. Shane tries a reverse rollup then hits Money with a clothesline but misses the Picture Perfect Elbow drop then Collyer stops the Colt 45 attempt and puts Shane in the Texas Cloverleaf but he reaches the ropes. Money then sneaks up from behind to hit Collyer with the Cha-Ching (Orange Crush) for the win ( 15:18) **3/4.

Thoughts: Solid match. All four guys looked okay but you could tell that once again, Shane was not giving 100% in the ring. At least more effort than his match against Punk. Collyer is a good hand but bland as could be as Cabana was alright in the ring. Money looks like the biggest star of the group


We get an RoH Flashback from “All-Star Extravaganza.” when Tommy Dreamer confronted Michael Shane.

AJ Styles says that his objective is to get the RoH Title away from the Prophecy

Fast Eddie & Don Juan & Hotstuff Hernandez w/ Rudy Boy Gonzalez vs. Carnage Crew & Masada

This is the same Hernandez who was in TNA for several years. Masada and Eddie trade some moves to start. Juan dances a bit as the TWA guys beat the shit out of Masada as Hernandez looks very impressive with his power moves. Loc tags and suplexes Juan then Masada comes back in and targets the back. Northern Lights Suplex gets two. Juan gets chopped against the ropes then tags DeVito who keeps up the assault. The Carnage Crew put Juan in a double Boston Crab as Masada comes off the top with a leg drop. DeVito misses a moonsault then Juan makes the tag to Hernandez. He destroys everyone with strikes and tosses Masada as the match breaks down. Eddie flies out with a quebrada but Loc whacks him with a hubcap in midair for the DQ (5:41) *. After the match, the Carnage Crew hits Eddie with a top rope spike piledriver and they beat on him. Rudy Boy comes in and gets hit with a chair on the back but “YMCA” is playing as the original Christopher St. Connection (Buff E & Mase) come out then hit the Carnage Crew with streamers but Mase’s does not go off. The CSC then use a variety of homoerotic moves on the Carnage Crew.

Thoughts: This was a nothing match as the Carnage Crew are only entertaining in garbage brawls. Hernandez stood out a lot here as he was massive compared to everyone else on the roster. His pwoer moves looked okay. The other two TWA guys are fairly useless and Masada looks like a cross between Matt Hardy and Chris Hero but doesnt really impress all that much himself. Oddly enough, Masada was also trained by Rudy Boy and Shawn Michaels.


RoH Flashback of the Briscoe brothers facing off at “Honor Invades Boston.”

Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Briscoe

Levy talks about how Mark has not been the same since his friend died in a car accident and no longer cares about the Prophecy and talks about how the Briscoe’s are no longer feuding and that this will be their last match. They start off the match trading holds on the mat. Mark puts Jay in a cross armbreaker but Jay escapes and hits a bunch of crossfaces then Jay boots Mark in the face and is now out on the mat as everyone is concerned that he was knocked out but he turned out to be playing possum and takes Jay down then stays on the attack. Jay comes back with a leg lariat and a snap suplex that gets two. Dropkick gets two. Mark manages to reverse a Jaydriller with a Hurricarana then hits a corner clothesline. Jay comes back with a Mafia kick but runs into an overhead toss that gets two. Mark puts Jay in a single leg crab then chops away. He hits a gutwrench suplex then follows with a knee drop that gets two. Northern Lights Suplex gets two. Mark slaps Jay around but ends up getting backdropped then they both spill outside when Jay hits a clothesline. They start chopping each other then Mark hits a springboard somersault senton as Jay is busted open. Mark then flies out from the top rope to the floor with a moonsault. Back inside, Jay super kicks Mark as he was in midair then hits him with a vicious backbreaker then a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. Mark comes back with a shining wizard then follows with a springboard Ace Crusher that only gets two. Mark places Jay up top and tries another Ace Crusher but Jay ends up hitting Mark with the move. They trade chops then Jay comes back with a Mafia Kick that used the 360 sell for, with the crowd chanting “holy shit.” Jay hits a sitout powerbomb then climbs up top and hits a senton for two. Mark catches Jay with an overhead toss then hits his brother with his own finisher, the Jaydriller, but still can’t put him away. Mark heads up top but misses a moonsault then Jay hits him with rolling Jaydrillers for the win (16:40) ***1/2. After the match, they shake hands and hug.

Thoughts: Really good match although it paled in comparison to their match at “Honor Invades Boston.” Once Mark joined the Prophecy, he became an afterthought quickly and the story of the friend dying bringing them together almost certainly feels like they are going to make up and possibly team up together. They could have had more mileage out of their feud too but the Prophecy was booked terribly with guys coming in and out frequently between tours and they were rarely all on the same show together.


Da Hit Squad cut a promo on top of some building as they reflect on the first year of RoH and that tonight they are going to give us the biggest scramble match of all-time and in 2003, will sacrifice their tears and bodies because without the fans, they are nothing. They are a low-rate copy of every ECW team I can think of at the moment.

RoH flashback of the insane martial arts sequence between Low Ki and Amazing Red at “Road to the Title.”

Homicide warns Corino to bring his crew as he has his people out here tonight.

Steve Corino w/ Simply Luscious & Samoa Joe vs. Homicide

This is billed as a grudge match so the Code of Honor does not apply. Joe and Homicide are in each other’s faces then Corino grabs the mic and welcomes the two newest members of his stable: Michael Shane and CW Anderson. Homicide then cuts a promo and finishes it by whacking Corino in the face with a microphone and the match begins with both guys brawling. Homicide gets two with a Mafia Kick and a T-Bone Suplex. Homicide puts Corino in a STF then hits a clothesline for two. Corino breaks up a side headlock with a back suplex then uses a crossface as Levy compares Corino’s group to the Kliq. Ha. Homicide fights back and beats on Corino in the corner. Corino blocks a top rope hurricarana attempt then bulldogs Homicide for two. Homicide climbs up top as Joe yells at a few fans then takes Corino down with an Ace Crusher for two. Homicide gets a few more nearfalls as Levy hypes up the Zero One promotion. The ref goes down during an inverted DDT by Homicide then jumps off his back for a shining wizard and that gets two. Corino gets tossed to the floor the Homicide walks past Joe with a chair and whacks Corino as it is against the Code of Honor to commit outside interference Homicide misses a somersault plancha and lands right on the chair and he sells that like he is out cold. The rest of Corino’s stable rolls Homicide into the ring but Corino can only get two on the pin attempt as the fans chant for Homicide. Corino tries the Old School Expulsion and that cannot put Homicide away. Northern Lights Bomb gets two as Corino is increasingly frustrated. He puts on the Cobra Sleeper and Homicide reaches the ropes but Corino drags him into the middle of the ring and that puts Homicide away as his arm dropped to the mat three times (12:09) **.

Thoughts: These two never really seemed on the same page and the match suffered as a result. However, this was designed to lead into the melee that would developed when it ended.

After the match is where the fun begins. Corino’ group had been taunting the fans all match long, especially at the end. After Corino won, he attempted to put Homicide in the Cobra Sleeper and the fans were jawing at the other guys then they hop the guardrail and go into the ring as a riot erupts. This was obviously staged as the locker room empties. The CSC are otu brawling and it looks ridiculous. Rob Feinstein comes out and pulls Shane off of someone and he yells”fuck you” to Feinstein, who is worried that might get banned from the building. In a funny moment, Devito walks by and says “I love this shit.” Da Hit Squad and Homicide start flipping out on Feinstein as Homicide goes after him but is stopped by security then he threatens to slap the shit out of Feinstein. After that, they show an “RoH Exclusive” replay of the brawl from another camera angle and we even get to see Gabe flip out and yell. But wait, there is more. We get a third camera angle shown as they have spent nearly a half-hour on this segment. This might have been a big deal when it happened (I honestly forget as I stopped following wrestling at this time) but in 2014, this does not hold up well at all. And to make things worse, showing three different replays of it made it unbearable to watch. They dragged this out big time.

Christopher Daniels is backstage and pissed at Steve Corino for stealing Simply Luscious and Samoa Joe from the Prophecy and now wants to take away their belts. He then tells Corino to take the first step and he will see that the Prophecy are ready.

RoH flashback of Low Ki winning the title at “Crowning a Champion.”

The Outkast Killaz and Dunn & Marcos are in the ring but CW Anderson interrupts and gives them the option to walk away so they can still have a career then he beats the shit out of them by himself.
He cuts a promo and we can barely hear him as this segment is dying then CM Punk comes in and runs down CW as the crowd starts chanting for Punk and this leads to an impromptu match.

CW Anderson vs. CM Punk


Punk works a headlock as the announcers play up how Anderson was “fired” from RoH for taking dates in Japan, which is why he is part of Corino’s crew. Punk grounds Anderson and mainly focuses on the leg. Anderson comes back with a Rocker Dropper then works an armbar but Punk uses a cradle to get two. Anderson catches Punk with a TKO then hammers away. Punk fights back but Anderson cuts him off on the top rope and hits a superplex for two. Punk hits a blockbuster then they have a chop exchange from the mat as a few in the crowd continue to yell “boring.” They trade suplexes then Punk catches Anderson with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Shining Wizard gets two. Anderson nails a charging Punk with a super kick the goes for the spinebuster but Punk counters that with a sunset flip and gets the win (9:42) *3/4.

Thoughts: Below average match. Very slow beginning of the match and the confrontation to set this up fell flat. Punk was not impressive at all when he first appeared in RoH but they seemed intent on giving him a push. His mic skills were there but his pandering to indy fan promos were quite awful to be honest.




RoH Flashback of the Shane vs. London streetfight from “Unscripted.”

Bryan Danielson vs. Samoa Joe


Match starts with a battle over a test of strength and Joe wins that. They take it to the mat after that as Danielson works an Indian Death Lock while wrenching back Joe’s neck. Danielson targets the leg but Joe quickly counters with a Boston Crab after booting Danielson in the back. They get up and exchange chops and slaps then Joe hits a delayed vertical suplex for two. Danielson gets right up and boots Joe in the chest and hits a few chops but gets caught and slammed down with an uranage that got two. Damn. Joe kills Danielson will kicks and chops as the crowd is digging Joe. He then puts Danielson in a bow and arrow lock. Joe powerbombs Danielson then puts him in a STF was Danielson was just able to reach the ropes. Joe hits Danielson with a bunch of strikes but Danielson takes him down with a pair of enziguiris as both men are down. Danielson is up first and gives Joe everything he has as the crowd goes nuts. Snap suplex gets two. Joe catches him with a German suplex that got two then facewashes Bryan in the corner. Joe then heads up top but Danielson cuts him off and hits a superplex. Danielson heads up top and hits a diving headbutt that gets two. Once again, they trade strikes as Danielson knocks him down and gets two. Joe takes him down with a drop toehold then hits all sorts of knee strikes. Joe takes Danielson down with a knee smash then flattens him with a powerbomb. He picks him up for another powerbomb but Danielson turns that into a small package and gets the win (15:12) ***1/4.

Thoughts: I liked their match at “Revenge on the Prophecy” better than this one. Sure, they hit hard here but I hated the psychology as they would hit each other hard then hit a big move that would immediately lead to a comeback.


Alison Danger welcomes Xavier, who comes out and says he is here to scout his competition in the #1 Contender’s match after insulting the fans. The audio quality sucked here and this went on for too long as Xavier is weak on the mic.

#1 Contender’s Match
Paul London vs. AJ Styles vs. Low Ki

Everyone goes after each other to start. London and Ki block each other’s diving attacks. AJ and Ki start brawling outside of the ring untilLondon takes them out with a frog splash. London gets two with an Oklahoma roll on Ki but gets chopped hard afterwards. London skins the cat but AJ catches his legs then Ki kicks him and AJ drops London, who splats on the mat. London’s fucking crazy taking that bump. AJ beats on Ki but stalls and that allows London to hit him from behind with a missile dropkick. AJ comes back with a rana then London hits AJ with rolling Northern Lights Suplexes. Ki breaks up a fallaway slam bridging pin attempt then beats on London. AJ tries the Phenomenon but Ki drops down and boots him in the face and gets two. Ki puts the Dragon Clutch on London then AJ hits Ki with the Phenomenon from that position. Crazy move but it did not look that smooth. AJ hits a gutbuster/backbreaker combo before hitting a T-Bone Suplex that got two in an awesome sequence. AJ is unbelievably crisp and fast. AJ stretches out London while Ki hits him with the Krush Combo. Ki then puts AJ in the Dragon Clutch then London cranks back his neck as his legs are still tied up with AJ’s. The crowd applauds as all three men are down. Ki hits AJ with a springboard quick then the Krush Rush but London makes the save on the pin attempt. Ki and London trade strikes then in midair, London counters the Krush Rush with a DDT in an awesome spot but that only gets two. London and AJ are trading forearm smashes as AJ is crouched on the top rope and that leads to a contrived but visually impressive spot when Ki counters a top rope Styles Clash with a rana and London powerbombs AJ in midair. Ki broke up that pin attempt with a basement dropkick as the crowd is going crazy. Ki kills everyone with kicks then everyone trades nearfalls as they are all hurting. Ki hits London with the Tidal Krush as he was on the top rope then drills AJ with a Shining Wizard for two. Ki heads up top and brawls with London then AJ climbs up and this ends with a Super Ki Krusher on AJ but London flies off with a Shooting Star Press and covers AJ for the win (19:12) ***3/4. The crowd chants “match of the year” afterwards.

Thoughts: Certainly not a MOTYC but a very good match regardless. AJ took a shit-kicking here and the finish was insane. This match picked up a lot at the end too. Unfortunately for Ki, he would spend the rest of the year in RoH feuding with Special K as he plummeted down the card.


After the match, Xavier takes off his clothes to reveal his wrestling gear then informs London (while interrupted by several “what” chants) that he will be facing London now.

RoH Championship Match
Paul London vs. Xavier (Champion) w/ Allison Danger

Xavier attacks London from behind as he was distracted by Danger. London fights back and catches Xavier with a pair of armdrags then a spin kick. Danger trips up London then Xavier hits him with an overhead suplex. Alexis Laree runs out and has a catfight with Danger until Xavier pulls Danger away. Back inside, London slams Xavier off of the top rope. Xavier comes back and drops London on his head with a German Suplex then takes control of the match. London blocks a Cobra Clutch suplex then hits a neckbreaker as both men are down. London covers and gets two then charges at Xavier but gets tossed over the top rope and crashes through the timekeeper’s table. Xavier goes outside and they trade chops until Xavier whips London into the guardrail. Xavier busts open London by sending him into the ringpost. Back inside, Xavier uses an arrogant cover on London then gets kicked in the face. He cuts off a comeback by London with an European Uppercut then chokes out London in the corner. He hits the Cobra Clutch suplex but London manages to kick out. On top, London lands on Xavier after a back suplex then London hits a pair of dropkicks. He hits a springboard forearm smash then slams him near the ropes. London heads up top but Xavier rolls out and heads up the aisle so London flies out anyway and takes him out with a flying body press that looked very impressive. Back inside, London hits a double springboard moonsault but Xavier grabs the ropes. Danger accidentally trips up Xavier then London takes him outside and files out with a diving attack that nearly killed Danger. London sidesteps a charging Xavier who accidentally spears Danger into the guardrail. London hits Xavier with a moonsault off of the guardrail then rolls Xavier back inside as Xavier begs for mercy. London fires away and gets a few nearfalls. He heads up top and Xavier meets him but London shoves off Xavier and the crowd goes nuts as London sets up for the SSP and hits it but Danger drags Xavier outside just in time. Laree comes back and bets on Danger in the ring as London and Xavier brawl outside. Back in, Xavier hits London with the Kiss Your X Goodbye then sets up for the 450 splash and hits London who manages to kick out as the crowd goes nuts. Xavier tries the X Breaker but London counters with a small package and that triggers a pinfall reversal sequence that ends with Xavier grabbing a handful of tights on a reverse rollup attempt for the win (19:35) ***3/4.

Thoughts: I really liked this match and even thought it was better than the one they had at “Final Battle.” London’s selling was superb, especially when you add the fact that he would take crazy bumps, but Xavier held up on his end here as these two had fantastic chemistry together. The fans bought all of the nearfalls and when London was setting up for the SSP, the place was going to explode if that was the finish.


RoH Flashback of Eddie Guerrero getting the win at “Night of Appreciation” as the locker room congratulates him.

Scramble Match
Da Hit Squad & Mikey Whipwreck & SAT’s & Divine Storm w/ Trinity vs. Special K (Deranged & Izzy & Dixie & Brian XL & Jody Fleisch & Angeldust & Slim J) w/ Slugga & Yeyo & Hydro

Whipwreck is the trainer for most of the guys on the face side, who are wearing face paint. Everyone trades off with Brian XL and Jose  working an awful sequence together. Brian XL is one of the worst wrestlers RoH had at the beginning. Funny moment as Deranged teases a test of strength with Mack then ends up ticking his belly as Mack laughs like he is the Pillsbury Dough Boy. The action is fairly slow here and remains sloppy. Mack sends Deranged in the corner with an overhead suplex as the announcers talk about how Special K are spoiled ravers living off of their parents every chance they get. Flesich dances around then Maff slaps him around. Whipwreck tags and cleans house as Special K retreats outside then Whipwreck gets surrounded by Special K who run out and hit everyone with dives in a terrible looking spot. Fleisch was still inside and hits Maff with a somersault plancha then Whipwreck takes everyone out with a senton. The face team beats the shit out of Angel Dust as this match is dragging badly. Everyone takes turns hitting Angel Dust with baseball slides as he was in the tree of woe. Lots of standing around as action is not picking up then Mikey turns on his guys and hits them all with stunners then hits Storm with the Whippersnapper. Trinity comes in then Slugger comes in but gets slapped as Slugger hits her with the Body Bag then takes her out and carries her to the back as Whipwreck follows. Special K hits Storm with the baseball slide spot from earlier as this match is just a complete clusterfuck and the crowd seems disinterested. Da Hit Squad toss around a few of the Special K guys as some of the others are brawling outside. They have a trainwreck spot as everyone is down on the mat but the crowd is not impressed. This thing needed to wrap up 5 minutes ago but here it is, still going on as no one cares. Now everyone winds up on the floor outside in another wreck spot as Angel Dust tries to fight off Da Hit Squad in the ring. Everyone now trades off in the ring with Brian XL and Jose working yet another terrible sequence together. Fleisch hits Joel with the 720 DDT but Jose breaks it up then hits Fleisch with rolling piledrivers capped off with a facecrusher but that only gets two. More nearfalls are traded off as guys are kicking out of high impact stuff here. Angel Dust knees Mafia in the ribs after a springboard 450 splash then the SAT’s take Dust off the top with the Spanish Fly but Brian XL and Fleisch make the save. After a few minutes, Mafia hits Deranged with a Super Burning Hammer for the win (33:47) *1/2.

Thoughts: Holy shit was this excruciating. Who in their right mind books a 33 minute long spotfest at the end of a show. Was this the best they could do to send the crowd home happy after London lost? The crowd was done with this halfway through and no one stood out as it was a major waste of time. This was Divine’s last appearance in RoH as he would soon be run out of wrestling after roughing up his girlfriend, Trinity. He sucks both as a wrestler and as a human being.


RoH Flashback from “Revenge on the Prophecy” of the Styles/Ki vs. Xavier/Daniels tag match.

Daniels is with Danger backstage and tells Corino that he was thrilled how he won the NWA Title and became the top Gaijin in the Zero One promotion and supportive in general of him so if he wants a war, he should fire the first shot.

London and Styles are backstage as Styles suggests they become tag team partners so they can go for the gold.

Punk cuts a promo about respecting people as Cabana interrupts when his name is said as Punk tells him to shut up and that he is lucky to be sleeping on his hotel room floor. He then repeats the beginning of the promo and that he is proud to be in RoH but that someone coming to RoH does not fit the bill of RoH and that is Raven. Punk goes on about how he is straight edge and says that Raven is against his beliefs and that he is a weak individual who is unable to control his own demons then challenges Raven to a match at the “Expect the Unexpected” show in Cambridge, MA and how he will figure out how straight edge means he is better than you then tells Cabana to hurry up or he will have to sleep in his car.

Raven is sitting down cutting a promo about how Punk reminded him of himself when he was younger and old guys hated his arrogance. He then says that his condition is better and that Punk will have to knock him as he has been hit with every weapon there is from cheese graters to chairs. He finishes by saying Punk might not have the balls to walk on the dark side and finishes by welcoming Punk to his Clockwork Orange House of Fun.

Backstage, Feinstein is presented a cake and gets it smashed in his face. He closes by offering the cake to the others.

Final Thoughts: At over four hours long, it drags at points but there were a few good matches and they set up new feuds, especially with intriguing promos from Raven and Punk, who showed a lot of arrogance here. The shitty main event and the never ending replay segment of the “riot” took up roughly an hour of the show. Luckily, just about everything else was solid, making this a good show overall.

QOTD #19: First Concert

Off topic Wednesdays!
Today’s Question:
What was the first concert
you ever attended?
Answers tomorrow.  If
you want to start talking all about music and skip the rest of this piece, then
scroll to the bottom or hit the “comments” button at the top. Otherwise, stick
around.

Yesterday, I asked you a serious brain teaser. Who was the
best wrestler to never hold any championship gold in the big three? Because of
the rapid world of title changes we live in now where everyone on the main
roster of WWE gets a taste of a championship, it really narrowed it down. In
fact, the majority of you voted for this guy:
Of course, I am kidding. Zach was conspicuously absent, due
to your overwhelming obsession with:
In all seriousness, let’s get down.
a_wrestling_god: Bray Wyatt. Probably not much longer.
Barring injury, end of year seems to be a reasonable
timeframe. Harper and Rowan are likely weeks away from wearing the tag-team
titles themselves.
parallax1978: I got it! There is one and only one true
answer to this… El Dandy! He is a true professional and a jam up guy and
deserved some gold!
El Dandy has been wrestling in the Cruiserweight division
here, please.
Petrock: Extreme loophole here: AJ Styles.
Yeah, I should have called off the Big 4.
Biscuit!: Legit answer: Bob Orton.
BooBoo1782: The way the question is worded does bias the
conversation heavily toward Jake, but there’s another name that we ought to
consider: Koko B. Ware. Yes, I know we balk at him as a Hall of Famer (and with
good reason), but he was somewhat ahead of his time as a worker, since his WWF
run was really at a point where high-flyers were guys you used to pop the crowd
in opening matches and didn’t do much else with. If you transposed his career
to a few years later, High Energy probably would have gotten a tag title run at
some point, and he could have been a bigger star in a cruiserweight division
had it existed at the time.
Koko B Ware was an attraction in his time, who has
diminished his stock by being considered an unworthy HOFer, rightfully so.
Also, he’s kind of a dick outside of the ring. However, looking at his overall
body of work, and the dreadful Piledriver, he’s probably worth a token mention
so good call.
WiffleBat: Bad News never won anything of note in a
major company, unless you want to be pedantic about the NWA Florida Bahamian
championship.
Rusty Shackleford:
Hmmm… come to think of it, Jerry Lawler
has got to be up there too. Held a ton of titles but never in the big three if
I recall correctly?
Despite his 35 runs as AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion
(which I am NOT making up), he has in fact never held a WWE title, due to his
arrival in the company well into his 40s and settling into the color role. It’s
sad to see him wasting away at this point as a puppet laughing at El Torito
when he was a vicious, cold blooded heel in his younger day. Long live the
King.
Chris Hirsch: Ernest the Cat Miller.
He was actually on tap for the US Title in mid-1999 when
they ran with David Flair instead. Which is really unfortunate, the Cat would
have been an amazing Honky Tonk Man style antagonist.
Darren: Bruiser Brody. Without question. Top 10
all-time. One of the drawbacks to Vince owning everything: 25 years after his
death, probably 75% of the WWE Universe has never seen him wrestle.
Great choice, and death aside he probably would have
remained title free due to his age. A lot of the hardcore brawling style that
became vogue in the late 90’s can be traced back to him, even if he’s never
given credit for it or acknowledged.
Sweet Lee: The best person I managed to think of that
wrestled for at least 2 of the 3 (counting the NWA as the predecessor to WCW)
is Buddy Roberts. Held the NWA Six-Man – but it was the “Texas
Version” which would be a regional title.
Dirty_Dave_Delaney:
The Alpha Male Monty Brown. One of the
few home grown talents in TNA who had really good charisma, over with the
crowd, was passable in the ring and always seemed to be improving his work. So
of course TNA completely dropped the ball on him by jobbing him to Jeff Jarrett
and then making him do a completely nonsensical heel turn by siding with
Jarrett. Then he had a cup of coffee with WWE being part of the New Breed on
the new ECW before leaving for personal reasons. Such a shame as he could have
been a star in WWE and worse was a star in TNA who never capitalised on it
because TNA!
Amen! Brown had JUST received a title shot after going over
Page AND Nash, before losing to champion Jarrett. Then he aligns with him? This
was nWo levels of stupid. I love this choice because he also fits the criteria
of having held no gold in TNA as well, when it was clear he was hot on its
tracks before they deflated all his heat in about 10 seconds with that stupid
heel turn.
Jobber123: Sin Cara/mistico. I’ve always been a big fan
and I was even touting him back in the live journal days as a guy to check out
based on his cmll work especially from 2006. I was fucking stoked when the wwe
signed him and not suprised at all when they put him right on the main roster.
Then he just didn’t look right in the ring and didn’t get over. I can’t believe
he busted out that badly. And he didn’t even get a tag title reign or anything
like that. He’s my vote just for being a guy I followed who shit the bed.
Jason Clark: This is actually pretty hard if you think of
guys who wrestled during the last 20 years. No title whatsoever, with the
number of titles (HC, European, TV title, etc) in the mid-90’s and the hot-shot
title changes over the era, does not contain many good workers. It might
ACTUALLY be a luchador like Hector Garza…or perhaps Super Crazy…or even La
Parka. I can’t really think of anyone else, perhaps someone extremely handsome,
who fits the bill.
Super Crazy held the TV title, so you can exclude him.
Although, Vince Russo is pretty sure all 3 wrestlers you just named are the
same person.
Ryan Norcross: Poor Van Hammer the only thing close to a
title was the Jesse Ventura Arm Wrestling Contest winner.
There was that one time he barged into Ric Flair’s office
and DEMANDED a title shot because he was against peace, unlike that old hippy
Far Out Van Hammer. He was awarded a TV title shot. Which he lost. Then they
called him Private Stash and he didn’t like it and that was the end of Van
Hammer.
Mister_E_SeesTheLineInTheSand:
I guess that I’ll throw Gangrel out there
too.
How he managed to be active in 1999 when every belt changed
hands about 18 times a piece throughout the year and STILL didn’t capture one
is incredible. Congratulations to Gangrel!
Mitch, The Godfather:
JTG. Kept a job for that long and
couldn’t get anything. For shame.
I think everyone’s getting tired and we’re long past the
point of seriousness.
BeardMoney: Hillbilly Jim. Since no one has figured it
out yet, I’ll just say it: Hillbilly Jim is absolutely the greatest
professional wrestling star ever to be eluded by WWF, WCW, and ECW gold. So far
that is–the guy’s still in pretty good shape, wouldn’t be surprised to see him
come back one of these days. I know I’d be willing to bet the farm on him!
That was going to be my go-to at the end of the day had
nobody else named it – but I’ll let you take this one and let it ride.
Surprising that he didn’t get mentioned in the thread sooner seeing as how he’s
on Legends House these days and back with a little bit of spotlight.
Extant1979: With the way the question was worded, the
beginning and end of this conversation is Jake Roberts. Shocked he didn’t at
least manage an IC Title run. If Honky Tonk Man doesn’t do his year-plus reign,
Jake probably would have rated something.
This was overwhelmingly the most popular choice of the day.
Jake was certainly the easiest, and best choice, as the highest profile star
never to win a belt. Had his drinking not derailed him in 1996, he probably
would have been given a token IC title run, which really would have left the
rest of the blog scratching their heads – despite some good picks above.
I can’t disagree with the choice of Jake – but since we
spent the day talking about him, I’m going to throw back to one of my favorites
when I was in my last days of high school: Blitzkrieg.
Blitzkrieg appeared during the end of the Cruiserweight
golden age, when the title was being fought for by Juvi, Kidman, and Rey
Mysterio Jr. While a little bit sloppy in the ring, the guy stood out because
he had absolutely no fear, and put the rest of the division to shame with his
car-crash style. He clearly didn’t have a long shelf-life due to his recklessness,
but he was something to watch in the short time we had him, and probably
deserved a run with the Cruiserweight title.
Relive his only pay-per-view appearance with me. Have a
great day, I’ll see you tomorrow.

The Top 55 Matches.. of the first half.. of 2014 (# 25-16)

A couple Shield matches, a couple Ricochet matches, and a 450 that might be the single most impressive ‘what a maneuver’ I’ve ever seen. #25 was #1 in terms of pure fun. #21 was the last great, completely unleashed KENTA match that we’ll get for a long while. Meltzer dropped a ‘MOTYC’ on #19 because he had friends over, and they thought it was the best match they’d ever seen… and #17 could be MOTY if not for the finish. The crowd’s so worried about the health and safety of blonde dude dying for his art that the finish comes off flat. Gotta stick that landing. But there ya go..


Top 55 Matches (25 thru 16)

The Top 55 Matches.. of the first half.. of 2014 (# 35-26)

Getting closer to the really, really good shit. There’s never been more PPV’s available on the big screen than the year 2014 has provided so far, and as a result there’s never been more top level, high profile matches so easily accessible… and we haven’t even hit the Top 25 yet.

The Top 55 Matches of the First Half of 2014: #35-26

The Top 55 Matches.. of the first half.. of 2014 (# 45-36)

We move now to #45-36. Bryan/HHH is still a **** match, much like the
others surrounding it, including the slightly superior deathmatch (also
****), though it’s good to see a few people’s blood circulating over it.
Only one more BJW match on the list, so that will ease some tension.
Besides, the only thing people love more than lists… is getting snarky
about shit, so it’s a win-win.

 Top 55.. ’45 through 36′

The Top 55 Matches.. of the first half.. of 2014 (# 55-46)

Just one man’s beer-driven, clowdy-minded memoirs of what
was really good so far this year. Might have forgot one or two, but
don’t we
all. Some may prefer a more truncated version, but I only have enough
time to one-take-Jake this shit and post it. So without further ado,
numbers 55 thru 46..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0xEhHFbKk0

Hogan’s First Title Reign

Scott, 

After the success of the first three Wrestlemanias with Hulk Hogan on top, do you think it was time to take the belt off Hulk in the run-up to WM4?  I know it gave us a (for the time) shocking moment with Andre's title win and subsequent "sale" of the belt to Dibiase as well as the ascent of Randy Savage to the top of the company.  However, the poster for WM4 still had Hulk/Andre on it and the product never shifted from Hogan even when Savage went to the top.  Nor should it have.  So my question is: was it worth taking the belt off Hogan in 1987 or should they have just let Hogan carry the belt in perpetuity, ala Bruno and Backlund before him?  
It didn't hurt anything to and it gave them an interesting enough angle to do something different at WM4.  But would a 5-6 year Hogan reign have been worth doing instead?  You could still get to Hogan vs. Savage at WM5 easily enough.  The MegaPowers still team up (WWF and IC champs) against Dibiase & Andre.  Savage gets jealous and wants his shot at the title.  Heel turn and you're in the same wheelhouse.  Plus, when Warrior beats him at WM6, it's even bigger because he's dethroning Hulk after a 5-6 year reign.  These were not the days of hot-shotting a title switch for a PPV boost.  Champs reigning for years on end was the norm and Hulkamania was not showing any signs of slowing down back then.  Hogan remained the focal point either way, so do you think, objectively, there was a need for Hogan to lose the belt in '87?  (I do recognize that we all have Randy Savage biases and might answer "yes" just for the sake of Randy being champ in '88).    
What are your thoughts?

Well they kind of HAD to get the title off Hogan so he could film No Holds Barred.  Certainly they could have kept running with him on top for another couple of years.  

Cucch’s Book Review: Missy Hyatt: First Lady Of Wrestling.

Seeing that cover alone made me want to just purely despise this book…I was surprised, to say the least.

I became a pro wrestling fan in winter of 1989. I remember watching the Viewer’s Choice PPV teasers, and the trailer for Survivor Series 89 made an impression on me. I loved watching all the pre taped promos from Roddy’s Rowdies, Rude’s Brood, the Hulkamaniacs, the Million Dollar Team…the shit just seemed so surreal and so COOL to this 9 year old. In particular, a hulking black menace with a lazy eye named Zeus really caught this youngster’s attention. I had no clue, back then, of what a good worker was, who was a good hand and who was clearly an actor posing as a wrestler…all I knew then was that Zeus was SCARY AS FUCK, no more no less. And if Hulk Hogan’s offense could not slow him down, then by God, who could stop the man? All of that concern was set to rest a month later, when the WWF broadcast, on PPV, No Holds Barred: The Movie, The Match. Hulk vanquished his large lazy eyed black foe (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Deebo from Friday…) with three crushing bodyslams and a thunderous leg drop.

From that point until now, I was hooked. Of all things, it was Zeus that hooked me on pro wrestling. Sad to say.

Now some of you are probably wondering (hell, most): “What the fuck does this little rant have to do about Missy Hyatt?” Fair enough. I appreciate that you allowed me to indulge myself in that opening paragraph. Well, here it is. Most people my age, who discovered the phenomena known as Pro Wrestling around the same time, list a few seminal events that set off their perpetual slavish devotion to the pseudo sport we have come to know, love, hate, revile, and mock. Zeus was mine. About a month after the No Holds Barred Tag Match, we were treated to the epic criss cross of death between Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior at the Royal Rumble 1990, from Orlando, Florida. Right around those two events, the NWA, by then more or less WCW, was advertising a Clash of the Champions event, to be broadcast on TBS. I had no idea who the players in the main event were, besides Ric Flair and Sting. Even fans with the most rudimentary understanding of the mat wars were familiar with those two. As an added caveat, the Horsemen’s match with Gary Hart’s J-Tex group would be contested inside a steel cage. After being mesmerized (did not take me much back then) by the “spectacle” that was the No Holds Barred match (which, in hindsight, is just Randy Savage carrying three dudes on his back) was likewise a cage match. I was all in.

Now, the match, and the pre-match angle that saw the Horsemen kick Sting out of the group, remains the stuff of legend. I picked a hell of a Clash to be my first endeavor into WCW. The night progressed, Sting blew out his ACL, yadda yadda yada. We all know the story. But that event was what introduced me to WCW, and with the WWF running the Hogan-Warrior bulidup to Mania 6, you knew this nine year old was hooked and fucked for life. So I started watching everything available to me…and with WWF Superstars, Wrestling Challenge, Prime Time, as well as WCW Saturday Night and Main Event on Sundays (Captain Planet y’all), that pretty much monopolized my non-homework time.

Which brings me to Missy Hyatt…finally.

Missy was this wrestling fans’ first crush…back in the early 90’s, she was beyond gorgeous to a young boy who had yet to come of age. At the time I started watching WCW, she was involved with Jason Hervey of “The Wonder Years” fame. In 1990-91, he was very much at the pinnacle of his career, pre-Eric Bischoff, pre-“Scott Baio is 45 and Single”. Most male fans of the era cite Miss Elizabeth as their first pro-wrestling crush, and I would be hard pressed not to mention her striptease at Summer Slam 1988 as one of those coming of age moments for a generation of young, horny wrestling fans. But Missy was something else entirely. Whereas Elizabeth was, more or less, a chaste, fairly innocent figure who played Yang to hubby Macho Man’s Yin, Missy was more or less just a total tramp. With huge tits.

Missy’s book does nothing to dissipate the rumors that have surrounded her throughout the years. Written in 2001, she is remarkably candid about who she blew and worked with over the years. As a teenage fan, she was infatuated with Tommy Rich, to the point where she and an Atlanta territory fan named “Cheryl”, who I can only imagine to be the future Cheryl Roberts of future WWF fame, attended a live event together. They arrived for the event far too early and encountered the Georgian booker of the time…who remains unnamed. Missy was smitten at that point by Tommy Rich. Now, Missy, real name Melissa Hiatt, is, in case you have not noticed, a fairly attractive woman. Especially in those pre-collagen, pre-botox days. The booker made sure Missy was front row for “Wildfire’s” match. The long and short of it, according to Ms. Hyatt…she gave him road head.

Thus begins one of the most glorious and enjoyable trainwrecks of a book I have ever read.

Missy was involved (read: FUCKED) many wrestlers over the years, and she names names here. From Tommy Rich, it was Jake Roberts (who she describes as…well…odd), Road Warrior Hawk, “Hollywood” John Tatum…who was the man who got Missy into the business, and is possibly one of the worst workers of all time. Seriously, I was on a recent Global binge with ESPN Classic running marathon showings lately…and the man just flat out had NOTHING in ring. Or out of the ring. That is where Missy was supposed to come through. Early on in the dying days of the territories, Missy became John’s mouthpiece. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig. But Missy was something different, a hit with fans, and her schtick went down like a fine wine with them. But, for her, something wasn’t right. She was John Tatum’s sidepiece, but she was clearly above him. Her territory was soon turfed during the 80’s Vince McMahon takeover…and none other than Vince himself extended an offer to Missy that she clearly could not refuse.

That offer was for Missy Hyatt to take over the segment that was Piper’s Pit, in the form of Missy’s Manor. Large shows (and Kilts) to fill. Piper had just departed WWF to star in such critical hits as “They Live” and “Hell Comes to Frogtown.” So he had his plate full. “Missy’s Manor” was slated to be the replacement for Piper’s now legendary segment, but it bombed the first night out, as the Missy character was completely narcissistic and never should have been the WWF’s plan for her…Missy was all about Missy, and for her to be trot out week after week as an interviewer when the character remained the clear focus was just counter productive. Both Vince and Missy realized this, and when Vince turfed Missy’s Manor to, instead, have Missy become the head “Federette”, or ring girl, she went back to the love of her life, Eddie Gilbert, who was a partial booker in the recently bought out by JCP UWF promotion.

From there, Missy was made color commentator of the product, with legend Jim Ross as the blow by blow guy. (Resisting…urge…blow…Missy joke…done). While there, Missy was on the outs in her relationship with Gilbert, which she confirms in having a one night stand with, of all people, Dr. Tom Prichard. I cannot accurately describe that hot garbage, so let us move on. Missy did. On. And down.

More or less, this book is a total kiss and tell memoir…Missy throws a veritable promotion under the bus as men who have laid under her. Her next experiences were with a man many years her junior, Marcus Bagwell, Bill Fralic (Studd the Dud, for Mania 2 wonks), as well as some well known hockey players. But chief among these was Jason Hervey. I always thought this relationship was a work…but Missy confirms that it wasn’t. And she all but says it was more or less about the money turning her on more than anything the diminutive Hervey could offer. As I said earlier, what this book lacks in either depth or moral compass, it makes up for in the total TMZ factor. 

From there, and we are talking about page 135 out of less than 200, Missy quickly conveys her ECW experience, where, I think most of us watching the problem at that point can attest, Missy was just bombed out of her mind. Watch her eyes during her angles in ECW…nothing there but, maybe, lust. She conveys a story about how Lori Fullington, Sandman’s wife, treated her like royalty when the red light was off, but when push came to shove in ring, she just stiffed the ever loving fuck out of Missy. Sounds about right. Although this book is written in 2001, there are no mentions as to the WrestlingVixxxens website…just to Missy begging Vince McMahon for a job in 1997, being rebuffed, which led to Missy going back to school. The entire ending of the book, knowing what we know now, over a decade later, is utter horse flop. But don’t let it take away from the rest of the work: Missy Hyatt’s book is the equivalent to picking up that National Enquirer gimmick when in line waiting to check out at the Grocery Store…you know it is likely 95% bullshit, but it is 100% entertaining. That is the best way I can describe Missy’s book…only with less BS than an Enquirer article.

First Wrestling Doubts

Hey Scott,

This Rumble/Bryan/Punk saga last week has been the one time in 14 years that I considered to quit watching wrestling.


Thanks!
Much like 2006, the WWE Network will likely suffice to fill any wrestling needs I have that the current product can't fulfill.  I take great solace in that while I slog through these boring RAWs.