A little bit of a departure for me from the normal wrestling biographies. This book is a response from a long time industry insider who took umbrage to WWE’s 2010 list of top 50 “Superstars of All Time.” To the shock of EVERYONE, he derides WWE’s list as, GASP, promotional propaganda!!! Those are fighting words friends. So does the book live up to the author’s advance billing? Read on!!!
Larry Matysik is a uniquely positioned individual to write on the sport we love so much, professional wrestling. Larry is an insider who can offer many unreal insights to the denizens who follow our favorite pastime. For those who are not aware, Matysik was an announcer for Sam Muschnick’s St. Louis territory in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and was also an announcer for KLPR’s “Wrestling at the Chase” emanating from the same municipality. Once Muschnick retired in the early 80’s, Matysik carried the torch and tried to carry the St. Louis territory into the mid 80’s, but, as we all know, Vince McMahon happened. Larry’s territory was one of the first absorbed, and Matysik ended up working for the man himself, Vinnie McMahon, who he refers to as VKM (as per Mr. McMahon’s preference) throughout the book.
In 2010, the WWE put out a list, and subsequent DVD, on the 50 greatest “Sports Entertainers” in history. Mr. Matysik took umbrage to the list, to say the least, and for a couple of years formulated his version of the history of wrestling; the best 50 who have ever done it. For those not familiar with the WWE list, well, let me list it for you.
50. Killer Kowalski
48. “Ravishing” Rick Rude
47. Bob Backlund
46. Dory Funk Jr.
45. Jeff Hardy
44. Nick Bockwinkel
42. Sgt. Slaughter
41. Jack Brisco
40. Big Show
39. Jake “The Snake” Roberts
38. “Superstar” Billy Graham
37. Junkyard Dog
36. Gorilla Monsoon
35. “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers
34. Kurt Angle
33. Mick Foley
32. Jimmy Snuka
31. Iron Sheik
30. Pat Patterson
29. Randy Orton
28. “Classy” Freddie Blassie
27. Fabulous Moolah
26. Ted DiBiase
25. Chris Jericho
24. Bruno Sammartino (!!!)
23. Hulk Hogan (!!!!!!!!!!!)
22. Terry Funk (!)
21. Lou Thesz (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
20. Jerry Lawler (WTF!)
T-17. Dusty Rhodes
T-17. Ric Flair (!!?!?!?!?!)
16. John Cena
15. Curt Hennig
14. Macho Man Randy Savage
13. Gorgeous George
12. Triple H
11. Eddie Guerrero
10. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
9. Rey Mysterio (!>**!^!%!??)
8. Andre the Giant
7. Ricky Steamboat
6. Harley Race
5. The Rock
4. Bret Hart
3. Stone Cold Steve Austin
1. Shawn Michaels
Well then. Can anyone, in good conscious, say that is a good list that is totally representative of the entire history of the genre of wrestling? I hope not. That list looks like a hunk of shit to this fan. Shawn Michaels at the top of the list is like listing Mama’s Family the greatest sitcom of all time, Party of Five the greatest drama of all time, Gangs of New York the greatest movie of all time. It is straight up, unadulterated hogwash perpetuated by the WWE propaganda machine. It smacks of bad politics, bad ideas, bad feelings, and is just plain BAD.
Well, Matysik decided to try and write an objective list of the top 50 of all time. Now, before we get to that, I want to state this: there is really no clear cut list of guidelines to follow when deeming the top 50 wrestlers of all time. For example, baseball has always had its counting stats: average, home runs, runs batted in, et al. Most sports have them. Matysik spends almost 100 pages explaining his criteria. Money drawn, working ability, toughness, charisma, mic skills, all of those wonderful factors. And he does just a fantastic job at it. What makes a book like this so great is that there are just SO many working arguments AGAINST what the author might state as his opinion, yet just as many to bolster his point. Listen, I HATE HATE HATE going to the WWE website (and many others) and subjecting myself to the whims of either the author or the company telling me why so and so deserves this spot while so and so other deserves to be left out. Its all completely subjective. That said, I WILL recommend this book for these reasons: 1. The Author is a total insider, Sam Muschnick’s (did you know Irv is his nephew?) right hand man. 2. He did his homework here. I am not going to list all 50. I figure I will list half. Here is Matysik’s top 25:
25. Randy Savage
24. Andre The Giant
23. Edouard Carpentier
22. Dick The Bruiser
21. Bret Hart
20. The Rock
19. Jack Brisco
18. Nick Bockwinkel
17. “Wild Bill” Longson
16. Johnny Valentine
15. Shawn Michaels
13(T). Terry and Dory (Jr.) Funk
12. Harley Race
11. Verne Gagne
10. Frank Gotch
9. Gene Kiniski
8. Buddy Rogers
7. Jim Londos
6. Stone Cold Steve Austin
5. Bruno Sammartino
4. Hulk Hogan
3. Ed “Strangler” Lewis
2. Ric Flair
1. Lou Thesz
Doesn’t that list seem a little more palatable to true fans of the industry? I mean, WWE had Hogan and Flair (TNA fodder) in the 20’s. That is straight horseshit. Flair and Hogan are the two main catalysts of wrestling in the 80’s. Strangler Lewis is the man who bridged the gap between pure shoot and work. Austin was the biggest draw ever in a single year. Londos is right there, the Golden Greek. Buddy Rogers was Flair before Flair. Bruno goes without saying, especially since WWE now acknowledges him again. Harley is universally loved, Gotch turned over the 1900’s and is generally considered one of the best, if last, pure shooting wrestlers of all time. We all know Verne’s amateur and pro credentials (He falls because the author realizes he owned the promotion). The Funks….amazing. And the author gives detailed explanations of his picks, both from a fans perspective and from an insider perspective.
Now, while I have listed the best of the author’s breed, I have left out a section he writes. Matysik actually writes about those he left off his list. Wrestlers like Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Edge, Rey Mysterio, Sting, and others. The first 100 pages basically deal with this subject, and, to be honest, I do not agree. I feel a guy like Chris Jericho should be on this list. Not to ruin anything for the reader, Randy Orton is ranked at 50. I feel Jericho should have been 50, what with all his championship reigns, being in WWE at the peak of their powers, and being, lets be honest, a better wrestler and (allegedly) a better human being.
Eddie Guerrero is also left off the list, and I am dismayed by that. I am sorry, Eddy was one of the greatest performers the industry has ever seen, PLUS he DREW from 2002-2005. That is a solid period of time, as he was probably, outside of Austin or Rock, the best draw the company had simply because of the Latin American demographic. To put Orton on this list and not Eddie (Eddy) seems almost sacrilegious.
Make no mistake about it though, if you are a wrestling fan, a TRUE fan, read Larry Matysik’s “Top 50 Professional Wrestlers of All Time.” If you don’t, you are doing yourself a disservice. Is Matysik always correct, always spot on? HELL NO. But that is the beauty of lists like this….they are completely subjective, completely there for feedback or criticism. But you know what else? Books like this one educate you. You want to read about Joe Stetcher, Thesz, Strangler Lewis, and many others of his age? How about Fritz Von Erich, Killer Kowalski? There are detailed four to five page bios on everyone here, so this book gets my highest recommendation, especially to those not well versed in the rich history of our richest sport.
You know what's sad/funny is that I got about halfway through that list and I was thinking "Man, if this guy thinks these PICTURES look gay, he should see the VIDEOS they used to put out." and then we got to the end of the list and I laughed even harder as a result.
Just think — Skinner used to be half of a cheesecake babyface team.
This is the first in a series of reminders that El Dandy is objectively and undoubtedly the Greatest Professional Wrestler of all time. No other individual performer comes close his level of real jam up and extremely underrated performances, innovation and working attitude.
– El Dandy was one of the first wrestlers to study the tapes from japanese UWF promotion and incorporate it's shootstyle into the regular lucha libre, roughly 15 years before Bryan Danielson, Davey Richards and other assorted goons received lots of attention for using sloppy ankle locks and weak looking "MMA" elbow smashes
– El Dandy is the greatest single match worker of all time excelling at a variety of styles including long, technical masterpieces working with matwrestling skills several leagues ahead of anyone else at the time, or right now, epic bloodfeuding payoff brawls as well as a mixture of all the above.
– El Dandy is the greatest multiman match worker of all time, always knowing exactly when to work high end, fast paced exchanges or focused technical wizardry in order not to draw the focus away from other wrestlers.
– El Dandy had the greatest most durable workrate of all time carrying sloppy wrestlers like Black Warrior and Antifaz del Norte to great matches and having an epic feud with Negro Navarro many, many years after reaching his peak, starting with his series of great performances during the 80s and still going after having a very good showing in 2011's Torneo De Maestros and good matches against El Solar, Fuerza Guerrera and others in 2012.
– El Dandy was the most selfless wrestler of all time sacrificing himself to jobber duty without hesitation in order to not take the spotlight away from lesser talent such as Chris Jericho, Lance Storm etc., even willing to put over the useless David Flair.
– El Dandy was involved in the greatest feud and angle of all time when El Hijo del Santo turned heel in 1996, producing several of the greatest matches ever including their epic mask vs. hair match, where Dandy was still selfless enough not to shove himself down the fans' throat as the babyface of the match when many of them decided to side with Santo.
El Dandy far surpasses the likes of Ric Flair, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kurt Angle and Rob van Dam.
What follows is a list of video clips that should convince anyone who has the gall to dismiss El Dandy's abilities otherwise.
So can we finally say that HHH is actually the greatest of all time simply because he brought peace to the middle east AKA he got Bruno in the Hall of Fame? Sure Bret probably won't agree with that statement but how many other guys in the business have gotten themselves into this position of power? He's only a step or two away from really running the company and if he can get Bruno back on board then what else can he do if given full control? Say what we want about Flair, Hogan, Shawn, Bret and others but it seems like no one else had the foresight to think about the WWE post Vince except HHH. For that I say bring on the HHH regime. Let's see if he can really keep the ship sailing after the old captain is thrown overboard.
Yeah, well, Sin Cara and the failed tag division revamp are both squarely on his head, so let's not go awarding any Booker of the Year honors just yet.
The post about the end game for the Hart Foundation/Austin angle got me thinking. Was Bret/Austin II the greatest blow-off match that never happened? It was a great angle but it never fully concluded satisfactorily. Austin got transitioned into the Owen feud, Bret was caught up HBK and then we all know what happened in Montreal so we never really got a definitive end. This is a question/discussion point for you and the other BODers; great angles that never got a proper end for one reason or another. Another one that comes to mind is Flair jumping to WWF before dropping the belt to Luger. Any others?
I'd say Austin-Hart was right up there as far as best laid plans falling apart, yeah. There's an endless list of DISAPPOINTING blowoffs (Goldberg v. Nash, Horsemen v. nWo, Vince McMahon v. The Government of the United States) but for a case where a storyline had built for a year and then was never mentioned again, I can't think of a better example than that one.
The Flair-Luger thing wasn't really a blowoff because Luger wasn't chasing the title in the first place and barely cared about it for most of 1991. I think a better one would be Midnight Express v. Midnight Express, where it built to a loser-leaves-town match at ChiTown Rumble and then Dennis Condrey quit the promotion, kind of negating the entire point. Another good one that people might not remember from the same era is Fantastics v. Sheepherders, which was obviously supposed to be the US tag title match at Starrcade 88 before Vince signed the Sheepherders away something like the day before they were scheduled to be in the finals of the tournament for the belts. That had been an entertaining undercard feud, back when the Herders were scary heels.
Those of you who follow my work, you’ll more than likely remember this piece. To those who haven’t read this one, it’s one of my favorites and probably the most popular article I’ve ever written.
In the world of wrestling, we fans appear to be very patient. We’ve
sat through some of the most atrocious, inane, insulting story lines and
matches in history. We do this simply because when wrestling is good, you’re hard-pressed to find much else that’s better. Plus, some of the ridiculous
stuff is actually fun to watch, even if you are being insulted by the
people who think you’d actually enjoy this. That being said, there’s at least 2 types of
A] The kind of crap that’s executed by people whom you’ve never even
had a vested interest in and thus you know is going to be horrible, and
B] The type of crap that’s executed by people you thought you could
trust. Wrestlers and companies that take something you’re banking on
being good, and make it the exact opposite.
Well, in today’s tale, we’re going to go over an event that’s a bit
of a mix of both. Something that you knew was probably going to suck,
but in a way you trusted those participating and hoped that they could
pull out something good, because hell, they’d done it before. Which
event in question am I referring to, you ask?
1998′s Return of the Ultimate Warrior!
Oh 1998. It was a good year for WCW, it’d reached the highest
records it’d ever held, as far as buy-rates, media-coverage, merchandise
sales, and house-show attendance. So, I suppose when you’re riding
high, why not try to ride higher, ay? Also, when you have a world
champion who’s on fire and one of the biggest draws in wrestling, you
should find a way to make sure he’s second banana to an aging glory-hog
who hadn’t had a decent match in at least 4 years. Enter the Warrior.
Enter the Warrior on a million dollars a year to work 3 days a month.
As you probably know, the Ultimate Warrior was a huge superstar back
in the hay-days of the WWE. His energetic entrances and smash-mouth
wrestling style allowed the WWE’s boom period to last longer than it probably would have. But of course, he was
a huge flake and couldn’t be trusted with the ball for longer than 2
minutes. So, despite the fact he’d been cancer to every promotion he’d
worked in [major, I’m not counting the regionals when he worked with
Stinger], Eric Bischoff, under the sound advice of Hogan, brought the
Warrior in for a cool 1 million dollars. Because as you know, the
Warrior is someone Hogan hasn’t beat, and well, that just can’t stand
for long. So, he was paid 1 million dollars to work about 3 dates a
month. Where’s people like Eddie Guerreo and Rey Mysterio were making
probably a quarter or less of that, and putting on MOTY. While Warrior was making a cool million, and competed in 2 of the worst main events of all time. It’s how WCW
worked. Let’s blow a lot of money for a quick pop, and make sure Hogan
has something to do in order to stay ahead of WCW’s only home-grown
talent, Bill Goldberg.
Of course, it did pay off, sort of. People who’d grown up with
wrestling and seen the Warrior were interested to see if he still had
it. Plus, to their credit, the Warrior/Hogan match from Wrestlemania 6
is considered one of Hogan’s greater showdowns. So, on August 17th, as
Hogan was in the ring rambling about how he’d beat every giant and every
‘warrior, there just wasn’t anything left for him to do. Which is to
say, the oldest form of introducing a big name. So, the lights start
flashing on and off, Tony apologizes to us
for what appears to be ‘technical difficulties’, and bam! The Warrior
appears at the entrance. As he walks to the ring, you can literally see
Hogan’s bottom jaw quivering. Once he hits the ring, he begins what
would soon to be his trademark [besides vanishing in a cloud of smoke. Yes, I’m serious]
; long-winded, inane, pointless interviews that would constantly throw
the show’s whole time-format off. Coming up, as a treat to you, the transcription of Warrior’s debut. Unfortunately, it’s no longer on youtube. A travesty.
Warrior: You need to open your eyes and ears, take
control of the limited ability you have to understand the words I am
about to say. For years, I have watched while this industry, with you as
it’s figurehead, try to recreate what is simply unrecreatable. I have
heard, listened to all the innuendos and speculation that something
ULTIMATE or WARRIOR may soon re-appear. Welcome to the reappearance!
Those things, Hogan, which are irreplaceable, whether they be people,
places, or things, are never forgotten. You are witnessing that RIGHT
NOW! History tells us, Hogan…[the crowd starts to chant ‘Hogan sucks!’ the Warrior signals for them to hault] Let’s talk about something he doesn’t know.
History tells us, Hogan, that a man’s legacy is built from the
premise that within his life, the moments lived, once lived, become a
piece of his history. Somehow, you have conveniently, even eloquently
misplaced pieces of your history. In the one time, epical battle between
us, Hogan, you were the quintessential influence of what was good,
great, and heroic. But different than you may remember, and albeit you
may have beaten myths, legends, giants, and other great men, you NEVER,
NEVER beat a warrior. AND, CERTAINLY, NOT THE ULTIMATE ONE! As the
victor of that one time battle, I defeated what was, until then,
undefeatable. I conquered what was then unconquerable. I dominated what
was, until then, indomitable. On that day, you were great. I WAS
ULTIMATE! Let me introduce myself…to those two fools that stand behind
you. Let’s see, this …dude [the Disciple]…must be your barber [I’ll give it to him, a some what clever remark]. And who are you, little man? Who are you?
Eric Bischoff: You know who I am. My name is Eric Bischoff and I run this company and who invited you?
Warrior: Different than you wanna make people believe, I never received an invitation. I showed up on my own accord [wouldn’t
it be funny if he seriously meant his Honda Accord? Like the Warrior is
just bombing around in a beat up Honda Accord, wearing the face paint
and jacket. And the hood has his little symbol painted on it. Plus,
there’s a bumper sticker that reads “My Child Is An Honor Student At
Warrior University” and “I Don’t Break For Queer’n!”]. And let me
tell you, Mr. Eric Bischoff, if you stick your nose in my business, you
will only very quickly prepare for your own demise. Furthermore, when I
get done with my business here, I’m gonna be sending you a bill. I
suggest you pay it. I have…waited…patiently. The WARRIORS have waited
all too patiently. Now…NOW…the virtue of justice unties my hands so that
I can continue to fulfill a destiny set in motion on that memorable day
years ago. A destiny at the next level. A destiny beckoning the next
superhero. There really is no sadder sight than when a grown man fears
the challenges in his life so much that he rationalizes adolescent
behavior to the point where he carries out heinous and self-indulgent
actions. Your evilness, an evilness you embodied and portray, is
intolerable. I am the one that has the power to destroy you. In sorts,
Hogan, the truth is inexhaustible. I come here, not to beat you up
tonight, Hogan. Beating you means nothing anymore, everybody already
has. [so, that’s why you wanna pay money to see us fight, right? Because it means nothing. Makes sense to me!]
No no no no no no no no no, that’s too easy. Because you felt guilty
for being who you were. Your mind became weak, and Hulkamania became
boring. I come here, Hogan, to tell you—NEXT WEEK—I intend to launch a
revolution not even you can control. I ask you to find the courage—check
it out. Next week. Same Warrior time. Same Warrior place. Same Warrior
Tony Schiavone: He has vanished! Ladies and
gentlemen, in one of the most mind-boggling and incredible displays that
we’ve ever witnessed on this program, the Warrior has literally
vaporized before our very eyes.
Bobby Heenan: Never seen anything like this in my life.
Tony Schiavone: There’s never been anything like this in our sport!
Seriously. Schiavone had to scream about as if this truly was the
most amazing thing he’d ever seen. Funny thing, he’s such an
idiot that he probably believed that all of this was real. Poor Heenan.
At least his quote could be taken as “I’ve never seen anything like this
in my life, because it’s so stupid, who would believe it?”
Eric Bishoff said he brought Warrior in because at the time, WCW was
really rolling strong. Plus, there’d always been a strong interest in
established characters. And he was not, despite rumor, brought in just
to lose to Hogan. So, since everyone knew Warrior from their childhood,
they tuned in to see if he still had it. He also mentioned how once he
got talking, he just went into business for himself, and that he [Eric] and
Hogan didn’t want to look at each other, because the crowd would see
that they had no idea what was going on. Hogan stated that they’d self
destructed, and Vince must be laughing.
I, personally, was some what interested, I’ll admit. I was a Warrior
fan growing up, so I was interested in seeing what they’d do. Plus, I
knew someone was bound to screw up and say Ultimate Warrior, instead of
the OK’d ‘Warrior’. As we all know at this point, but for those few of
you who don’t, Jim Hellwig plays the Ultimate Warrior. That name however
is trademarked by the WWE, so he is unable to use it anywhere else.
It’s how they do business. Well, the Warrior, being ever so smart as he
is, changed his legal name to Warrior. I also believe his last name is
Warrior. So, he’s Mr. Warrior Warrior. He receives bills in the mail to a
Mr. Warrior. When he speaks to lawyers they call him Mr. Warrior. When
he’s kickin’ back poolside with some friends, they just call him
It’s perhaps the most insane thing I’ve ever heard.
But, it worked. It was a huge ratings draw; almost 7 million people watched that train wreck.
JR says he was brought in for the same reason the ‘E brought him in
back in 96’. To re-create the magic that happened back in the late 80’s,
So, seriously. This was how the Warrior made his debut. He was given
about 7 minutes to make this happen, but went about 20 and the ENTIRE
show’s format was thrown out the window. So, now he was now a guy who
wasn’t just screaming short little promos, but blathering on and on and
talking about how beating Hogan doesn’t mean anything, and he’s already
done it. So he does things like this [ranting &
raving] until a cloud of smoke comes and he can disappear. How amazing,
46 minutes of fog with the lights being turned out gives a guy enough
time to disappear, well, at least Schiavone was impressed. Hell, Warrior
could tell Tony about his amazing power to grow from about a foot tall
to 6 feet in only 40 years time and Tony’s head would explode like Scanners.
The announcement he would have next week, the one that no one could
handle, was the nWo spelt backwards. The oWn. One Warrior Nation.
But there were 2 people in his group, not one. The second being the Disciple, with whom The
Warrior kidnapped in a cloud of smoke then appeared in the rafters,
grappling a blow-up doll of some sorts dressed like The Disciple. It’s
even funnier if you think about how this was all booked. It truly means
that there were people, people smart enough to survive on their own who
not only thought the idea, but said aloud to a group of others “we
should have the Ultimate Warrior disappear and reappear in a cloud of
smoke! Oh, and the smoke makes people pass out! The fans will think he’s
a roided-up homosexual genie and buy-rates will go through the ROOF!”
And the people in the room agreed! These people are allowed to drive
cars, raise children, and buy guns! Doesn’t that scare anyone out there?
Anyways, I’m Richard Dawson, so let’s get back to the feud.
Well, naturally, the Warrior, who covers up the fact he’s really
crazy with fake crazy, plays the ‘ultimate’ mind games on Hulk Hogan, as
to get inside his head before their big match. But, before we get to
the final showdown, naturally we need to get these two in the ring, but
not in the big pay-off way you’d expect.
Enter, War Games.
It was to be the first 3-man team WarGames ever, featuring DDP, Hogan, Bret,
Piper, Sting, Warrior, Stevie Ray, Luger, and Kevin Nash. Once almost
everyone, sans the Warrior was in the ring, Hogan used a flap-jack.
Which I believe Hogan just grabbed a sun-glasses bag, and laid
out everyone except Stevie. Did they pin anyone? No. Because then smoke filled the ring, and who should appear? The Warrior, flying a
Stealth Bomber with ‘Hogan is a dork!’ spray-painted on the side. He
shot everyone, then launched a missile, but jumped out of the jet in
time to catch the missile, body slam it, then cover it for the pin.
Schiavone claimed this to be the greatest moment in the history of the
sport. ……actually, no, I’m sorry, that isn’t what happened. Something
even more stupid, and even more unbelievable happened. Smoke filled the
ring, Warrior appeared, Hogan tried to grab him but was only able to snag his jacket. Smoke filled the ring again, this time Warrior was gone, but then appeared from
the dressing room. Yes, they brought back the Renegade for this stupid
little scene. He later killed himself over what people say was
depression from breaking up with his girlfriend. I think it was because
of his involvement with this stupid angle. Anyways, Warrior hits the
ring, Hogan, with the assist from the Disciple, gets out of the cage and
locks it. So, now the Warrior is stuck in there. But, wait….wasn’t he
just in the cage and teleported to the outside? Perhaps a Masterlock padlock is just THAT GOOD. So he instead just screams and barks, and manages to
kick a hole in the cage and escape, followed by Hogan & Warrior doing battle all the way to the back. So far, WCW has paid Warrior a cool mill, and they got 45 seconds of action from him, in which he managed to tear both of his biceps & twist his ankle. Oh, and DDP pinned Stevie in order to earn a shot at Goldberg.
Schiavone: And The Warrior, cannot get to Hogan!
Fall Brawl [the ppv that hosted War Games] was also famous
for another reason. The British Bulldog was in a match and took a
powerslam that had him land on the Warrior’s stupid trapdoor. The
result was a spinal infection that nearly crippled him and had him in
the hospital for 6 months. Of course during this time, WCW sent
their get wall card written on a pink-slip. So, at this point the Dog
got all roided up, addicted to pain-killers, and came back way earlier
than he should have. This, all because the Warrior wanted to make people
believe heroes again. A price I’m sure Bulldog would pay all over again.
Later on a following Nitro, Hogan was in a dressing room, looking for Leslie [The Disciple]. It was probably gimmick change time and he had a good one that crossed an astronaut and a lawn-mower.
They walk in, Hogan says “Where are you man, you idiot!” and Bischoff
looks around with some Waldo esq interest, they banter for a minute
about having just seen him, when Hogan slams on the table in
frustration….then, then it happens. Warrior appears in the mirror!
Tony clearly says “fuck”, marking the only time in his 20 some odd year
career as an announcer he ever said anything interesting or cool. Zonka
says “he’s in the wall!” clearly stating he can see him, Heenan says
“he’s in the mirror” clearly stating he can see him. Hogan screams “ok
brother, I get it, I get the game, I got the number” clearly stating
that he can see him. The crowd pops, clearly stating that they can see
him. Bischoff sits there and says “what? Hogan, what? Why are you so
excited? What?” clearly stating that he’s bat-shit crazy. This goes on
for a minute or so. Bischoff clearly stares RIGHT at the mirror and just
goes on “Who you talking to?” to which Hogan says “The Warrior! Look!”
and Bischoff says “LOOK AT WHAT?! LOOK AT WHAT?!” Hell, even watching
this 10 years later makes me wonder if I’m even seeing the things I do.
The Warrior eventually disappears, yet Hogan is still screaming at the
mirror, and claiming he can see him. The adults who allowed this to be filmed, and shown on national TV were then allowed to drive cars, spend money, and raise children.
I…..I just don’t know who the hell is supposed to be crazy here. I could sure tell you who’s stupid though.
And speaking of stupid, this was all to lead to Warrior fulfilling
his destiny. What’s his destiny you ask? To beat Hogan? Nope. He already
said he wasn’t here to do that, as he already had. To start a
revolution called the oWn? Nope. Already did that. Nope,
his destiny is to beat Hogan. So this all leads to Halloween Havoc ’98, where soon logs would roll, and fireballs would fly. Because I suffer for my art, I’ll give the one and only match review in which I do play-by-play.
Match: Hulk Hogan vs. The Warrior Place: WCW’s Halloween Havoc – October 25th, 1998 Duration: 12:37 Company: World Championship Wrestling DVD: Nill Buyrate: 0.78
‘The return match the whole world has been waiting a whole decade for, is out our doorsteps!’ utters Schiavone.
A decade is 10 years. Half a second later, the ring announcers tells us this match is 8 years in the making.
Hogan’s music starts as the Jimi Hendrix tune, Voodoo Child [Chille?
Chillie?], but then a quarter of the way through it, it just stops and
goes into the original nWo music. More Warrior head-games I’m sure. I’m also sure he was behind Regal’s musical rib during that match in Europe. As he makes his
way to the ring, we get a recap from last week’s Nitro where Hogan hits
his nephew with a chair, and Tony tells us it’s something that’s as
vicious as anything we’ve seen in pro-wrestling. It’s true, when I first saw the act I wondered how WCW was allowed to air Terry Funk vs Mick Foley – King of the Deathmatch.
It’s Warrior Time, baby! Wow, he’s breathing like he ran to the arena. Wouldn’t surprise me, to be honest.
WCW: Warrior, we’ve arranged a car to take you to the arena. Warrior: A car? What is a car, more than a vessel to
take you to places, where’s I, I am the same! Hop on my back and I’ll
piggy-back you to the arena!
At this point he rushes off to the sound of him going “wooooosh”.
They talk about how great their respective builds are, and how that makes them two of the greatest of all time. Sure.
Warrior starts the match with a punch. They circle, collar and elbow
tie up leads to Hogan kneeing the Warrior in the mid-section, then
dropping about twenty fore-arms to the back. Twists the arm 3 times.
Then Warrior twists the arm and Hogan sells it like Warrior ripped his
arm off and beat him in an arm-wrestling contest with it. After this
Hogan drops out of the ring, and walks around to calm down. Back in.
Warrior wants a test of strength. So after he begs him for a test of
strength, they collar and elbow. To the corner, Hogan rocks a bunch of
forearms, a bunch of clumsy mish-mash and Hogan gets a choke or
something like it, then drops the boots a couple of times. He grabs
Warrior’s arm and bends it up above the turnbuckle, then drags him out
for a test of strength. Stomps the mid-section of the Warrior a couple
more times. They’re basically intentionally recreating their famous
test-of-strength from WM6. Warrior mounts the comeback, Hogan kicks him
and sends him back to his knees. Hogan laughs like a villain. Warrior
back up. Arm twist again. Warrior reverses it. Hogan whips him, then
Hogan runs the ropes with a criss-cross. Hogan stops and body-slams him. Warrior gets right back up from this
bomb-shell and does the same. Then sends him outside with a clumsy
clothesline and Hogan acts like death is at his door. Warrior follows.
Face smash to the guard-rail. Hogan rakes the eyes. Smashes Warrior’s
face on the rail. Warrior smashes Hogan’s face on the rail. Warrior then
smashes Hogan’s face on the turnbuckle pole. Back in. Warrior goes for a
clothesline, Hogan ducks it, comes back with one of his own, Warrior
drops, Hogan hits the ref. Then drops a knee on him, whoops. Hogan slugs
Warrior, and ties him up in the ropes. Pulls him out and calls for some
help. Here comes the Giant. Hogan holds Warrior, Giant comes in, rocks
the boot, hits Hogan. Warrior follows with a clothesline and out goes
Giant. He hits the rest of the nWo, and they scoured. Goes for a pin,
but there isn’t a ref. He goes to wake him up, only to get a Hogan
forearm to the back for his efforts. Then he puts Warrior’s arm over his
head, as if to back-suplex him, but then just sits there for like, 2
seconds. As if both dudes were so winded from this crap that they
couldn’t even execute the most simplest of moves. But that couldn’t be.
Hogan rocks the impossible-plex and goes for the pin. Warrior manages to
kick-out. Hogan then drives the knees into Warrior’s back. He picks him
up, and kinda punches him, then chokes him. Backs off. Hogan takes the
belt off and starts to whip Warrior. Who flails around the ring like
he’s being electrocuted and accidentally kicks the ref. It’s damn funny
to see. He chokes Warrior. The ref pulls him off. Hogan fish-hooks him.
Back in the middle, a body slam. Hogan misses an elbow. Goes for it
again, Warrior rolls out of the way, Hogan gets back up only to find the
Warrior isn’t the Warrior anymore! But a log of sheer rolling
destruction. The Log comes at Hogan at a break-neck speed, and instead
of stepping to the left, or the right, the Log takes out Hogan’s feet.
Sorta. Hogan stumbles. Tony saves the day by calling it a rolling block.
Flair and Steamboat get the itch. Back up. Warrior clubs Hogan, sending
him to the ground. Tries the splash, misses it. Hogan picks him back
up, they trade blows, and Hogan stumbles and falls. Warrior takes off
Hogan’s belt, and it’s odd-looking. He whips Hogan. Warrior makes a fist
out of the belt and slugs Hogan. Back up, Hogan pulls out a baggie with
like a hundred things in it. He throws paper at the Warrior, who
deflects it, thank God. The flash paper then lights up in Hogan’s hand.
Warrior slugs Hogan, then goes to the corner to investigate. He stomps
out Hogan’s little scheme and takes him back to the middle of the ring.
At this point, you can audibly hear Warrior say to Hogan “you’re fucking
it up”. Yup. That botched fireball really did it. Warrior goes up, hits
Hogan with a double ax-handle, but only gets one fist. Tries it again,
but just ends up patting Hogan on the head. Hogan low-blows Warrior,
hits a weak clothesline, and rocks the leg-drop. Here comes Horace. With
no stitches. Hogan misses the second leg-drop. Warrior hulks-up. Hogan
can’t stop it. Three clotheslines and Hogan’s down. Bischoff comes over
and gets the ref in a head-lock. Horace is slower than all-hell and
Bischoff holds the ref for about 10 times longer than expected. Horace
is ready to give Hogan the receipt. But instead hits Warrior with the
WEAKEST…I repeat….the WEAKEST chair shot to the center of Warrior’s
back. I mean, the center of his back. Tony screams that Warrior got
blasted in the back of the head. Might as well have, because Warrior
sells it like he got blasted with a shot-gun. We get the 1….we get the
2….we get the 3. My goodness. Well, at least the ridiculousness is
over…..oh no wait. They douse Warrior in lighter-fluid, and attempt to
murder him in the middle of the ring. No such luck. Office heads come in
and muck the plan up.
Bish’ says he agrees with the critics, in that it’s one of the worst
matches ever. That Hulk is one of the most entertaining, and charismatic
performers he’s ever seen, but when it comes to wrestling he has a
certain style. If you compliment it, then things can happen.
However, Warrior couldn’t compliment a damn thing. Hogan takes blame for
the fireball idea. Stating that Warrior’s character was so off the
wall, that he needed to do something like this. The idea was for Warrior
to make a blind come back. Well, the lighter wouldn’t work at first,
then when it did, it burnt off his eye brows, and a good portion of his
Mean Gene states that the timing was so off, he was surprised they didn’t just re-start the match.
So Warrior, after a near death experience, comes back on Nitro to deliver this;
WCW’s Monday Nitro – 10.26.1998 Warrior: Last night, Hogan, you had the opportunity to
face the challenge, like a man! And you failed! Last night, Hogan, you
had the opportunity to set a fire, with but one match, what will now
haunt you forever! You see, Hogan, there’s a difference between beating
someone up, and genuinely having beat a man. And the whole world of
warriors knows, I beat the hell out of you last night! And the bullshit
pin-fall, doesn’t change it! You, have opened a door, to the Warrior’s
hell! And I, am it’s gatekeeper! The time is near, same Warrior time,
same Warrior place, same Warrior channel!
To which Hogan then comes down, and looks to enter. But Horace won’t
let him get in. They don’t want him to get in. None of us do. Horace
goes in, and takes a couple of Warrior’s HUGE swinging punches.
Seriously, he could paint a house in 2 minutes with how wide he swings
his punches. The Giant misses with a clothesline and a big boot, then
he’s sent out. Hogan comes in, gets a couple punches, Warrior ducks it
and hits Hogan in the shin with a flying shoulder block.
Tenay: That’s way you jump-start a revolution in pro-wrestling!
Is it, Mike? By getting beat, coming out and saying there’s a
difference in beating someone up, and beating someone, and saying you
beat the hell outta someone, and the fact they beat you doesn’t change
that they beat….so, wait, where was I? That’s right, stay outta my booze, boy.
After that, they had a match about a week later that was Warrior
& Sting vs. Hogan & Bret. Warrior did absolutely nothing but
stand there with his stupid jacket on, and that was it. After this, he
vanished like so many unfortunate smoky-haze-induced Nitros. Some say it
was contract disputes or something, but what’s to dispute? He got a
million dollars to do this. Yes, they paid a man 1 million dollars for
Hogan says despite all this, they wanted to do something long-term.
Such as storylines, merchandise, and all the fun-stuff that comes with
pro-wrestling. However, Warrior was asking for some Hogan type money.
Sure, Hulk doesn’t say that, but it’s basically what he means. Plus,
people knew his reputation for not delivering. So, they told him to turn
into a puff of smoke and vanish up his own ass. Well, those weren’t
the exact words, but it would have been cool if they were.
In the end, 1 million dollars brought us two of the worst matches in
history. Some of the most inane promos and back stage vignettes, a major
nail in WCW’s coffin, as well as the passing of Davey Boy Smith. Money
well spent, guys.
I’ve got a WWE DVD review coming up, but after that you guys decide, do you want me to review Money In The Bank 2012, or Spring Stampede 1999? Choice is yours, so, spend a couple days before you cast your vote. Till then, you can find me at the following….
Str8 Gangster, No Chaser
– Recently updated with a MME entry, American Ninja. I’ve also got
other wrestling articles, horror, movie reviews, Top 4 articles, you
name it. This website was asked for a prediction regarding any other
websites out there, and it only had one word, “Pain”. WCW In 2000 – Recently updated with a Nitro, which is the worst one thus far. Easy. Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol.1
– Endorsements from Scott Keith & Maddox, constant 5 star ratings
on amazon, and loved by fellow BoD’ers. The only book dedicated to
action movies that you can use to enhance your sports performance. Just
ask Lance Armstrong, baby! No comment on whether the book gave him
Although WWE's mutilated this year's event with the constant changes to the elimination match, it's nice to look back at some of the better teams from years past. Kinda surprised myself with who I picked as #1
I have to strenuously disagree with your choice at #1, if only because Team Savage was the most awesome collection of midcard firepower ever assembled, all with the goal of destroying Honky Tonk Man. Team DX from 2006 would be #2 for me, but just barely. And no love for 88's Megapowers team or 87's Hogan team? Say what you will about the captain, but those were some serious displays of star power.
Wow I haven’t done a rant in forever. Time to jump back on that horse so here we go.
The panel is Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Hayes, Mick Foley and Eric Bischoff
Right away Ross goes to Mick for his favorite rivalries and Mick lists a few like Dynamite Kid-Tiger Mask and Jerry Lawler-Terry Funk but his favorite is the 1983 rivalry between Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco. He says it was the rivalry that made him want to be a wrestler. Hayes asks him why and Foley says when he saw Snuka do a hands free plancha on Muraco for the first time (and I would assume that was pretty groundbreaking shit for American television in 1983) and it made him want to buy tickets to a wrestling match. Foley said the feud hooked him and the promos that Snuka cut hooked him more.
(They show a Snuka promo with McMahon and I must admit it’s pretty damn good and Snuka losing control at the end was great. A great promo can stand the test of time.)
Foley continues on and talks about his infamous trip to MSG to watch the Snuka-Muraco steel cage match. The story he tells of hitchhiking from Courtland, N.Y. is always a good tale.
(They show clips from the steel cage match. I only remember seeing the full version of the match on a Coliseum video. It wasn’t very long but it was intense and the ending was terrific with Muraco tumbling through the door. And Monsoon’s call of the leap from the top of the cage is special.)
Foley talked about being talked into the building by the intense promos between Muraco and Snuka. They go into Snuka’s ECW ran and Mick tells a story about refereeing a Snuka match and they talk about Snuka’s prolific past without going into any details (*cough* murder *cough*). Bischoff talks about his experiences with Snuka and Muraco during their short stint in the AWA. Mick tells a funny story about Snuka relayed from the Rock (involving impressions and cocaine).
Wow a third of the show on Jimmy Snuka. Not what I was expecting. You know who his daught..nah I’m not going there.
We get into tag teams and Michael Hayes talks about how the great great tag teams could actually overshadow the top singles. He mentions the Rock & Roll Express vs. Midnight Express as his favorite rivalry. Oddly they only focus on the Condrey/Eaton pairing of the Midnights. And I guess that makes sense because when Lane came in both teams weren’t feuding as viciously.
JR talks about how Jerry Jarrett got hosed by Bill Watts on a trade and let Cornette, Eaton and Condrey go to Mid-South. Ross says the rivalry even overshadowed anything Junkyard Dog did in Mid-South, which is a heck of an accomplishment.
Hayes says Robert Gibson is one of the reasons he got in the business (He breaks kayfabe for a second and calls him Reuben). There’s some drug usage innuendo in there. Hayes explains how Robert Gibson wanted to get in the business following his brother Ricky Gibson, who was an early high flyer. Robert Gibson was a decent mid-carder in Memphis and Morton, the son of referee Paul Morton, was floundering. Hayes gives credit to Jimmy Hart for putting them together but Lawler quickly disagrees and takes credit himself.
Lawler says Hart has nothing to do with it but Hayes and Bischoff says Hart always takes credit for it. (I’m not giving due to how funny this little bit was). But Lawler talks about how he and Jarrett would take turns making the card and they would switch off each six months. Lawler says Jarrett, using the same formula of taking floundering mid-carders and pairing them, created the Fabulous Ones (Steve Keirn and Stan Lane) and paired them with Jackie Fargo.
Lawler said during his six-month booking stretch he wanted to one-up Jarrett and says he brought Morton and Gibson in. He bought a ton of bandanas from Wal-Mart and made their uniforms and both guys thought Lawler was fucking with them but it became gold and in many ways kicked off the tag team era.
Hayes says the Midnight Express were created much the same way as Bobby Eaton was widely known as a solid performer that lacked verbal skills and Condrey was floundering as a mid-carder. JR says that’s where Cornette came in and his in-ring persona was much like his real life persona as he was easy to dislike. Hayes, however, gives Cornette credit for absorbing everything he learned in his early career and using it as a manager. Hayes says it was a bad trade for Memphis but Lawler disagrees and says in reality Memphis had so much talent it was counter productive to have the Fabs and the R&R Express on the same card. They also crack on Jimmy Hart some more (a running gag with this panel).
Ross talks about both teams coming to Crockett and making magic.
(Clips of the Midnight Express winning the NWA tag titles from the Rock & Roll Express thanks to evil heels shenanigans. Classic stuff.)
Ross talks about why there aren’t any great tag teams and he says because there is a lack of quality depth. Bischoff attributes that to a lack of territories and the demand to produce television around the few talented guys.
Foley said the top tags also knew they weren’t going to get broken up three months later to do something for television. Oooo great point. Now Mick says every good tag is made of megastars that are already branded and forced together just to break up. He says that being in a tag team in the WWE is considered a put down and guys aren’t looking at the upside of being successful in a tag role.
Moving on Ross’ favorite rivalry is Dusty and Flair. Ross says the rivalry was natural and Hayes mentions the ego was the connection. Ross says they had rivalries in who had the nicer mink coat and the bigger car. Rhodes loved the Boston Celtics and Flair loved the Lakers. Ross said the best part of their rivalry were the Saturday night promos where they could just talk people in the building.
(And the show the clip of the infamous “Hard Times” promo which is widely considered the best promo piece ever and a must see for any fan of wrestling nostalgia. And his perm is just amazing.)
Bischoff said that when he got to WCW he didn’t know much of the history of the Dusty-Flair feud. He made the mistake of trying to get the two to come together through drinks at an Atlanta hotel but he said the competitive nature of the two was so far beyond wrestling. Bischoff said the secret with the two was channeling that emotion and providing a microphone and even now both men could give you one or two promos during a time period that were memorable. Ross mentions Flair’s promo to Carlito about his lack of passion as one of those cases.
Mick spends more time talking about Flair and his own experiences with Flair. Lawler says no one has been better at talking fans in the arena than Flair and Rhodes. Hayes talks about Dusty absorbing the information and teachings he received in Florida and he brought it to the Carolinas. Naturally they go so far off track to the point of where Hayes talks about he and the Freebirds ruining Jim Crockett’s bachelor party and almost getting their ass kicked by Wahoo McDaniel and Harley Race. Mick then tells a Buddy Roberts story.
Back to Dusty-Flair and their egos. Lawler says an ego is important in the business but those two had it and then some. Bischoff said both were tremendous backstage politicians. The competition for them went to the being in control of the locker room and it was intense. Hayes said that despite the animosity and competition for Crockett’s attention, Flair and Dusty could still make it happen from bell to bell. And that wraps it up.
The Bottom Line: Well this was one of the earlier shows and you can tell because they were horribly off topic most of the time. Things would get better with the focus of the panel but the discussion is always fun.
I was looking at a WWE.com article discussing guys that weren't supposed to make it and they featured Mikey Whipwreck (he made it?) and their justification was, at one time, he beat Steve Austin. That took me back and it got me thinking to when I saw that match on DVD and how I thought to myself, "Wow, how far did Austin go in one year?"
This got me thinking, one of the necessary evils of wrestling is that you have guys who might start out on the job squad and, later in their career, are fighting main eventers. Daniel Bryan is a clear example of this where he started out jobing to everyone on NXT (back when they were being sold as green-as-grass rookies) and now beats Kane. HBK used to have trouble with Virgil (and would job constantly as a Rocker) and, later on, could polish off, well, everyone. In 1995, HHH used to get annihilated by the Undertaker (It was basically a joke to see the two of them in the ring), and in his last match, he all but beat him. This always struck me as destroying the credibility of the business 'cause as an outsider, this would make no sense. Wrestler A used to have trouble fighting Wrestler B. Now he's beating Wrestler C who used to (and possibly still does) squash Wrestler B. That never happens in fighting. Sure, in UFC, you have upsets but people basically know Kimbo Slice is losing to Rashad Evans. Once you've lost to someone, I know what your limits are as a fighter. That's life.
Like I said, it's a necessary evil because of the nature of wrestling and star-making, but I always found it funny that one guy could go from struggling against a 200-lb nobody to squashing someone that used to be a 400-lb super-monster and it's hardly remarked on.
So here is my question: Have you ever had this feeling? If so, in what match (or name a couple of examples) has this situation been most apparent to you?
It doesn't bug me so much because a lot of times you can see guys growing as wrestlers and learning new things. Wrestlers are essentially literary characters come to life, so if they were stuck in the same role for years on end without ever growing or learning, then they'd be static and/or John Cena. Shawn Michaels used to get tuned in by Virgil as a tag wrestler, but he became a single and learned to how to beat big guys and also learned to be resilient.
And I don't think your analogy works well for UFC, either. Just because Dos Santos knocked out Velasquez in a minute the first time doesn't mean Cain isn't gonna knock his head off the second time. People train and grow. In a way it makes wrestling MORE realistic that someone like Daniel Bryan would become more confident and figure out how to beat Kane.
The SmarK DVD Rant for Mid-South Wrestling’s Greatest Matches I didn’t even KNOW that Micah Watts sold DVDs of the UWF footage, but it’s right there at universalwrestling.com, and you knew I was gonna be all over that once I found it. It’s all divided into 2-episode discs for $20 a pop, but there’s also this sampler disc available for the same price, and I figured I’d give it a look. The disc presentation isn’t particularly impressive (the case lists such luminaries as “Rick Flair” and “Kerry Von Erik”) but I’ve seen worse, to be honest. Video quality is tremendous, pretty crisp and looking like it was recorded yesterday off 24/7. Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. The Black Ninja(Kendo Nagasaki) From May 1983. Duggan attacks right away, but Ted Dibiase immediately runs in and clobbers him with the LOADED GLOVE OF DEATH. OK then. Afa, Sika & Ernie Ladd v. Junkyard Dog, Andre the Giant & Dusty Rhodes From 1982. That’s some impressive star power in there. Dusty wallops on Sika and runs him into JYD’s head, and then Andre rams the Samoan heads together and he’s so powerful that even they have to sell it. Afa tries a headlock on Andre, but runs into his ass and bumps off it. Finally Big Cat comes in and Andre takes him down with a headlock before a double team from the Samoans turns the tide. They try to hold him in the corner, but Andre casually walks to his own corner with the heels dragging behind him in a funny spot, and it’s back to Dusty. He switches off with JYD as they double-team Ladd, and then Andre levels Afa with a big boot for two. The Samoans double-team Andre with a slam while Ladd distracts the ref, but that only gets two. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and Andre goes AIRBORNE with a flying splash on Ladd for the pin at 6:35. Yeah, if Andre the Giant is flying off the top at you, you’re jobbing, just accept it. **1/2 MIDGET MADNESS: Little Tokyo & Ivan the Terrible v. Lone Eagle & Cowboy Lang It’s a midget match. You know my feelings already. Ted Dibiase & Steve Williams v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Private Terry Daniels January 1985 now. Daniels was one of Sgt. Slaughter’s cadets, and a pretty good worker I seem to recall. Don’t think he ever became anyone notable, as he just kind of disappeared after Slaughter dropped out of the limelight in the 80s. The babyfaces clean house after some cheating from Dibiase, and Duggan hits them both with clotheslines to send them scurrying again. Back in, Duggan pounds away on Dibiase in the corner, and Daniels comes in and then gets killed by Doc. Daniels gets the heat, but Duggan hits Dibiase with a shot from the apron because he just hates him so much. Doc keeps beating on Daniels and it’s BONZO GONZO, and Duggan running wild in a tag match is pretty awesome. Dibiase loads up the glove and knocks out the Private, however, giving Williams the win at 5:17. Fun match. ** One Man Gang v. Junkyard Dog From September 82. Gang has long greasy hair and beard here, very early in his career. Dog quickly dominates and drops a fist for two. Clothesline and the powerslam look to finish, but Akbar runs in for the DQ at 1:00. That powerslam was pretty impressive. Steve Williams & Rob Ricksteiner v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Butch Reed From November 85. This is the only teaming of the two Hacksaws that I’ve ever seen. Rob Ricksteiner is of course the real name of the guy you’d expect it to be. He was just a puppy-faced gremlin at this point, almost literally just out of university. Reed overpowers him to start, and Duggan comes in with a clothesline before Doc tags in. They slug it out and a cheapshot from Ricksteiner puts the heat on Duggan, but Doc misses a splash and it’s hot tag Reed. A double shoulderblock finishes Ricksteiner at 2:50. *1/2 Buddy Landell v. Kerry Von Erich From May 1985. Kerry’s name is actually spelled wrong on the original graphic here, so that’s probably where the error on the DVD case came from. Kerry chases Buddy out of the ring and hits him with a nice dropkick, then starts working on the arm. Buddy gets a cheapshot, but Kerry beats on him in the corner and hits the discus punch for two. Blind charge misses and Landell takes over with the corkscrew elbow for two, but Kerry dropkicks him again. Man, why did he stop doing that…oh yeah. The IRON CLAW finishes at 4:00. Fun little match! ** Mid South TV Title: Terry Taylor v. Jake Roberts The title is represented by a gold medal in this case. They trade armdrags and Jake gets a cheap elbow in the corner, but makes the classic heel error of pointing to his head to indicate intelligence, and Taylor dumps him out of the ring. Back in, Taylor goes to work on the arm as this is already the most decompressed match on the entire DVD thus far. Jake tries to slam out of the armbar, but Taylor holds on by cranking on it to keep Jake from doing the move. Jake finally escapes with a jawbreaker, using Taylor’s own hammerlock for leverage against him. That’s pretty great. Jake with a gutbuster and knees to the ribs to take over. Taylor makes the comeback with a kneedrop for two, but he runs into the short clothesline. Taylor escapes the DDT and hits the flying forearm to retain at 6:47, and then Jake DESTROYS him with a DDT on a chair to get some revenge. Like he absolutely planted Taylor on that thing. *** Mid South tag titles: The Midnight Express v. The Rock N Roll Express Those are some busted tag belts. The length of Eaton’s mullet would place this around 1984, since there’s no date here. Eaton gets double-teamed in the corner, but beats on Robert to escape. The RNR go to work on Eaton’s leg, however, and Eaton reverses a toehold on Gibson into a small package for two. Over to Condrey, and he quickly gets trapped in the babyface corner as well. The Midnights regroup and Ricky grabs a headlock on Eaton and gets a powerslam off a long criss-cross, but Condrey gets a cheapshot to take over. And it’s time for the portion of the match we all know and love, as the Midnights double-team Morton until Gibson gets all pissed off and comes in for the brawl. Ricky rolls up Eaton in the chaos, but a conspicuously ugly woman runs in and breaks up the pin at 5:48, drawing a DQ before revealing herself to be Jim Cornette. Usual affair from them. **1/2 NWA World title: Ric Flair v. Ted Dibiase Dick Murdoch is offended that Dibiase is getting an undeserved title shot, so he launches a sneak attack on him and just BLOODIES him after a shot to the post. Oh shit, is this THAT match? AWESOME. So if I’m remembering right, there’s some backstory to this match, because Butch Reed was supposed to be challenging and Dick Murdoch injured him to take him out of contention. So then Murdoch thought he’d get the shot, but top heel Ted Dibiase got it instead. It’s been 30 years since this went down so I’m probably off on the details there. Flair is more than happy to take the forfeit win, and we take a break. Back with Bill Watts in the dressing room, who reports that Dibiase is getting his gruesomely scarred face wrapped up in bandages, and he’s still gonna challenge for the belt. So if there’s children watching, parents might want to change the channel. So back to the ring we go, and Flair just kicks the shit out of Dibiase right away, throwing chops in the corner until Dibiase comes back with a backdrop. Fistdrop and Flair backs off, so Dibiase stomps a mudhole, but Flair clips him and goes to work. The bandage gets dislodged and Dibiase is a MESS. Backdrop suplex gets two and Jim Ross is having a heart attack. Now this is the match where you want to have JR on commentary. Flair pounds him in the corner and now Dr. Death comes out because even he is concerned for Dibiase’s well-being. Dibiase comes back and we get the Flair Flip, and a suplex back into the ring gets two. Dibiase wraps him up with an abdominal stretch into a rollup for two, but he’s so weak he can’t even hold the pinfall. Flair tries a piledriver and Dibiase backdrops out and throws down in the corner. Flair Flop, but the ref wants to check the cut. But Watts said they wouldn’t stop it for blood loss! Flair clotheslines him and goes up, but Dibiase slams him off. Powerslam gets two and again Dibiase can’t cover to completion. Dibiase tries a figure-four, but Flair is in the ropes, and he kicks Dibiase right over the top to break. And Dibiase is out due to blood loss, so he gets counted out at 7:20. And then Dick Murdoch returns and kicks Dibiase’s ass AGAIN, including a brainbuster on the concrete! This was quite the finish to the DVD. ***1/2 The Pulse Kind of an oddly sequenced DVD, with a lot of Jim Duggan and tons of short TV matches, but I like how it built up to the three title matches to end it. This is definitely a fun, if brief, introduction to what Mid-South was about, and hopefully it’ll get more exposure on DVD releases now that WWE owns the library and can take full advantage of it. Check it out at www.universalwrestling.com while it’s still around.
Hey, just thought I’d pitch you a question you can answer when the blog is slow.
Who would you place as the Top 3 greatest talkers of all time? While we’re at it, what’s the greatest promo ever?
Ric Flair, The Rock, and a whole lot of other people way down tied for third. The more Terry Funk promos from Memphis that I look up, though, the higher up the list he climbs. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned the greatest promo ever a few times, but it’s easily Archie “The Stomper” Goldie in Stampede, cutting his revenge promo on Bad News Allen after the brutal attack that put his son out of wrestling. Even now you want to buy a ticket for the show and watch him beat Bad News into a bloody pulp. Sadly the ultra-violent blowoff pretty much resulted in the early demise of the promotion, but no guts no glory.
The SmarK DVD Rant for the 50 Greatest Finishing Moves In WWE HISTORY! Man, they’re really phoning these ones in now as far as concepts go. This is also my least favorite DVD format, the “documentary and then bonus matches” format. I much prefer all three discs being matches, with the bits of talking heads spaced in between as needed. Disc One This is the actual countdown, with the usual assortment of guys commenting on each move and various clips. Nothing to review here other than noting that there’s no attempt made to give actual histories of the moves or insight other than “Wow, Vader was a big huge guy doing a splash off the ropes, that’s AWESOME!”, so we’ll skip it and I’ll just give the master list: 50. JBL – Clothesline 49. Vader – Vader Bomb 48. Dusty Rhodes – Bionic Elbow 47. Million Dollar Man – Million Dollar Dream 46. Kerry Von Erich – Iron Claw 45. Ravishing Rick Rude – Rude Awakening 44. Lex Luger – Torture Rack 43. Dudley Boyz – 3-D 42. Bam Bam Bigelow – Moonsault 41. DDP – Diamond Cutter 40. Mankind – Mandible Claw / Socko 39. Honky Tonk Man – Shake Rattle and Roll 38. Yokozuna – Bonzai Drop 37. Flash Funk – 450 Splash 36. Sting – Scorpion Lock 35. Lita – Moonsault 34. Kevin Nash – Jack-knife 33. Jerry The King Lawler – Piledriver 32. RVD – Five-Star Frog Splash 31. Big Show – Chokeslam 30. CM Punk – GTS 29. Brock Lesnar – F-5 28. Bob Backlund – Chicken Wing 27. Batista – Batista Bomb 26. Mr. Perfect – Perfect Plex 25. Kurt Angle – Ankle Lock 24. Chris Jericho – Lion Tamer / Walls of Jericho 23. Edge – Spear 22. Iron Sheik – Camel Clutch 21. John Cena – Attitude Adjustment 20. Scott Hall – Razors Edge 19. Goldberg – Jackhammer 18. Rey Mysterio – 6-1-9 17. Road Warriors – Doomsday Device 16. Bruno Sammartino – Bearhug 15. Sgt. Slaughter – Cobra Clutch 14. Jeff Hardy – Swanton Bomb 13. Eddie Guerrero – Frog Splash 12. Macho Man Randy Savage – Elbow off Top Rope 11. Randy Orton – RKO 10. Bret Hitman Hart – Sharpshooter 9. Jimmy Superfly Snuka – Superfly Splash 8. Nature Boy Ric Flair – Figure Four Leg Lock 7. Hulk Hogan – Leg Drop 6. Shawn Michaels – Sweet Chin Music 5. Jake The Snake Roberts – DDT 4. The Rock – Rock Bottom / Peoples Elbow 3. Triple H – Pedigree 2. Undertaker – Tombstone Piledriver 1. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Stunner Disc TwoSgt. Slaughter demonstrates the cobra clutch on some poor geek, who actually turns out to be Dirty White Boy Tony Anthony years later (aka TL Hopper!), from Mid-Atlantic Wrestling December 10 1981. Also note Private Jim Nelson in the background, who grew up to become Boris Zukhov. The demonstration of course does not go particularly well for young Mr. Anthony. Ravishing Rick Rude v. Jake Roberts From MSG, 10/24/88, as this is a “DDT v. Rude Awakening” match, with the winner being the guy who can hit his finisher. They trade armdrags, but Rude takes over with a cheapshot and ties Jake up in the ropes, allowing him to go put the moves on Cheryl Roberts. This feud was actually conceived in order for Jake’s wife to keep an eye on him on the road. That ended up destroying their marriage and sending Jake back into drug addiction, so, you know, not quite the desired result. Jake escapes while announcer Rod Trongard notes that Jake didn’t get to where he is by winning some kind of drawing contest, you know! Yes, it’s my favorite commentary team in history: Rod Trongard, Superstar Graham, and Lord Alfred Hayes. I’d say kill me now but they’re likely doing the play by play in hell too. Graham is one of the greatest and craziest promo guys in history, so why is he so BORING on commentary? Rude goes to a lengthy chinlock, but Jake escapes by raking the back, so Rude decides to go for the Awakening. Jake bites the fingers to escape, so Rude slowly works the back and Jake bails to the outside again. Jake finally comes back and slams Rude on the floor, and back in for the gutbuster and kneelift. Who would be stupid enough to put their head down in a match where a DDT ends the match? Did Rude just HAVE to hit that backdrop? Rude goes to escape, but Jake yanks his tights down to stop him (and it’s now blurred in PG WWE) and tries the DDT. Rude escapes again and dodges a kneelift, then goes up with a fistdrop and some more soft words for Cheryl. She slaps him, he’s distracted, and it’s KICK WHAM DDT at 12:17. As usual, a REALLY boring match between them, especially since they’d been doing this program for more than 6 months at this point. ** Intercontinental title: Mr. Perfect v. Texas Tornado This was a dark match from January 1991 which was probably on a Coliseum video previously. Perfect clotheslines Kerry to the floor, and they brawl out there, resulting in a discus punch for Perfect. Back in, Tornado tosses Perfect over the top again and goes to work on the arm. He goes to a Boston crab and then whips Perfect into the corner for a melodramatic bump to set up the IRON CLAW. Perfect quickly escapes that and gets a sleeper to kill some time. Kerry breaks out and tries the discus punch, but Perfect CATCHES it and slugs him down instead. That’s why he’s PERFECT! Kerry charges and hits the post, so Perfect undoes a turnbuckle before Kerry hits him with another discus punch. Vary the offense, Von Erich. Another one on the floor, but this time he hits the post. Ha! Back in, Perfect runs him into the STEEL turnbuckle and gets two. And now we’re gonna see a Perfectplex, but it only gets two. Kerry comes back with the iron claw as this thing gets entertaining despite itself, but now the ref is bumped. Discus punch, no ref, but it finally gets two. Two more discus punches and it’s a DQ at 8:00 for no adequately explored reason. Even the announcers have no idea what the hell happened. **1/4 WWF World title: Bret Hart v. Bob Backlund From WWF Superstars, July 1994. This was the start of the Mr. Bob Backlund character after a couple of years of the squeaky clean babyface comeback for Bob. Backlund quickly gets a bodyscissors into a rollup for two, and then a bridge for two. Bret is a tad flustered and Bob takes him down again for two, which has Bret complaining to the ref. They take it to the mat again and Bret starts working on the arm with a top wristlock, which Bob is unable to roll out of. Bret holds onto the arm until Bob suplexes out, but Bret hangs onto the wrist and turns it into a hammerlock instead. Bret SHOOTS THE HALF and Vince isn’t even on commentary to call it! Bret keeps on the arm and goes back to the wristlock. The wide shots are kind of embarrassing because it looks like it was shot in a high school gym compared to where they are now. The 90s were not a good time for this promotion. Backlund finally escapes with a forearm to the face and follows with a piledriver, which gets two. We take a break and return with Bret countering another piledriver into a backdrop. They fight over the abdominal stretch and Bob takes him down again, and out to the floor. Back in, Bret gets reversed into the corner and JR notes that Backlund can’t make any mistakes at this point. That would be foreshadowing. Backlund gets a slam for two and now we get a BODY VICE from Bob, but Bret quickly escapes and gets the backslide for two. They do a bridge sequence, with Backlund escaping pinfalls TWICE like that, and into a backslide for two. Lawler posits that Backlund needs a finisher of some sort. Bret whips him into the corner and hits the backbreaker for two. Sharpshooter is blocked, so Bret elbows him and then trips and falls out of the ring. Backlund quickly throws him back in and gets two, and follows with a backdrop suplex. Bret tries his own, but Backlund cradles for two. Backlund thinks he’s won, so Bret small packages him to retain at 14:30 shown here (about 17:00 with commercials I’d guess). Bob, his dreams shattered, gets offered one handshake too many by Bret, and snaps for the first time and applies the CROSSFACE CHICKENWING for the first time as well. This was AWESOME. Watching Backlund slowly get more pissed off with Bret’s kind of jerky “respect” and then unloading on him was tremendous. **** for the old school wrestling clinic and angle afterwards. WCW World tag title match: The Outsiders v. The Giant and Lex Luger. From Superbrawl VII. See, Luger had a “broken arm” and thus couldn’t get medical clearance to wrestle, so Giant is forced to go it alone. Can you SMELL the screwjob, or do I have to spell it out for you? Hall gets tossed around by Giant to start. Ditto for Nash. Syxx finally comes in and blasts Giant with the Cruiserweight belt, to give Nash a two-count. Nash runs through his usual lazy offense. Wow, he’s 7 feet tall AND he can stick his leg in the air like a dog taking a piss? What an athlete! Hall and Syxx take cheapshots from the outside. Giant fights back, but ANOTHER shot from the Cruiserweight title allows Nash to powerbomb Giant. Okay, that looked cool, I’ll give ‘em that. Lex Luger of course then comes to ring and tags himself in, racking Nash for the submission at 8:52 to win the tag titles. BUT, and this is the important part, Giant then chokeslams Hall and has the referee specifically count that as the official pin for good measure. Tony then makes absolutely sure to specifically point out that Giant (the legal competitor) pinning Scott Hall eliminates any chance of Eric Bischoff returning the titles to the Outsiders on a technicality the next night on Nitro. So what happens the next night on Nitro? Eric Bischoff returns the titles to the Outsiders on a technicality. WAS ANYBODY ACTUALLY WATCHING THEIR OWN SHOW??? What am I thinking, of course not. ¾* Mankind v. Jerry Lawler. From King of the Ring 97, a weird choice to be sure. I get that they need to pick matches where the guys use their famous finishers, but REALLY? Mick cuts a weird pre-match promo, lamenting the absence of his Uncle Paul (Bearer). He goes on a weird tangent about naked people, and finishes with a “Bang Bang”. Lawler of course has a mike and insults everyone in the front row. Brawl outside to start. Lawler runs away and stalls. Back in, the King plays “Phantom Foreign Object” to control. He tosses Mick as JR runs down Lawler’s career highlights. Lawler finds another foreign object (never seen, of course) and works on the ear with it. Thrilling stuff, no? Back outside for some brawling of the weak variety. Mankind takes a sick bump headfirst into the stairs, and another one into the railing. Good lord. No wonder he can’t remember where he lives. Lawler piledrives him on the floor. OH MY GOD, CALL AN AMBU…oh, wait, sorry, we’re not in Memphis. Mick fights to the apron, and Lawler…DROPKICKS HIM?!? JR is caught off guard by that one. Piledriver gets two. Mick fights back, driving a knee into Lawler’s face. Lawler sort-of gets a neckbreaker, and drops a fist. Piledriver is reversed, and the Mandible Claw finishes at 10:23. It’s Jerry Lawler, you were expecting something good? * Rob Van Dam v. 2 Cold Scorpio Do you think maybe someone might be on some sort of illegal substance in this match? There’s like 5 strikes and $5000 in Wellness fines between them here. From Living Dangerously 98, a rant bad enough that I should redo the match here. Scorpio was fresh off getting fired from the WWF as Flash Funk, which by the way was an awesome wrestling name. Entrance music gets butchered here, as usual. Very slow start with some stalling on both ends and Scorpio dropkicks RVD to the floor, where he gets some advice from Fonzie. That advice? “Don’t use the synthetic stuff because you’ll get suspended, but the real stuff is only a fine. And for the love of god don’t get busted holding anything while you’re World champion.” Sadly he did not listen that advice. Back in and they do the test of strength and trade monkey-flips, and Scorpio puts Rob on the floor again in a show of poor sportsmanship. They fight on the floor and Scorp drops him on the railing, triggering a quick brawl. I thought pot was supposed to mellow you out? Back in, RVD with a slingshot legdrop for two. The classy crowd chants “this match sucks” and I recall they are correct. Editing was always the kiss of death for Paul Heyman, as he could go out and give his guys their self-indulgent 20 minute matches in the bingo hall and then edit them down for TV, but once they got to PPV he had no sense of proper pacing. They trade spinkicks and Rob goes up with a spinkick from the top, which gets two. Rob with a legdrop for two and the crowd turning on the match is more interesting than the match itself. Scorpio fires back with a release powerbomb as Rob is suddenly selling like he’s dead, and Scorp slingshots in with a splash for one. Backdrop suplex and he goes up with, guess what, another splash for two. Back up for a moonsault that gets two. They battle on the top and Scorpio goes down, but the frog splash hits knee. Scorpio goes up yet again with another somersault move, this time a legdrop for two. This is classic ECW “action” in that it’s spot-rest-spot with nothing in between. Hit a highspot, lay around to sell, next highspot, repeat. RVD comes back with the split-leg moonsault for two. They slug it out and somehow mess that up, winding up on the floor. To the ramp, where Rob gets the VanDaminator, but Scorp piledrives him twice. Back to the ring, and Scorpio accidentally splashes the ref. Rob misses a 450 splash and Scorpio goes up and gets his own, but now Sabu runs in with the Arabian facebuster and puts Rob on top for two. Sandman chases him off and Scorpio hits Rob with a spinkick, but Rob counters with a rollup for the pin at 22:15. They gave this over TWENTY MINUTES?!? Dull and sloppy. *1/2 And the finish wasn’t even a finisher! WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Hulk Hogan v. Sting v. DDP From Spring Stampede 99. Randy Savage is the special ref here to really add to the star power and make the inclusion of DDP all the more puzzling at the time. Unless they were gonna…nah, that’d be silly. Big slugfest to start and Hogan & Flair hit the floor while Sting quickly gets DDP in the Scorpion Deathlock, but he makes the ropes. DDP grabs a headlock and gets a neckbreaker for two, but Sting clotheslines him and then adds another one off the top. Stinger splash gets two. Everyone heads back in and Sting slams Flair off the top, then brawls out with DDP. Flair chops away on Hulk in the corner, but Hulk fires back with the belt and backdrops him. Hulk with the corner clothesline for the Flair Flop, and he no-sells the chops. Big boot and legdrop get two. Flair clips him while Sting & DDP brawl outside again, and gets the figure-four. DDP comes back in to break it up and he clotheslines Flair out, and everyone brawls outside again. DDP uses a ringpost figure-four on Hogan, and Hulk gets escorted out by the trainers. So back in the ring, Sting pounds away on Flair in the corner as they do an abbreviated version of their usual thing, leading to DDP clotheslining Sting for two. Elbow gets two. Flair heads back in, so DDP clotheslines him for two as well. Sting comes back with a Stinger splash and bulldogs DDP to escape a Diamond Cutter, but DDP gets a tombstone for two. Sting comes back with a superplex on Flair for two. Flair with a backdrop suplex for two. This thing is really dragging at this point. Flair with a sleeper, which sets up DDP for a sleeper of his own, a spot that always gets a big pop but which I hate nonetheless. DDP and Flair double-team Sting, but he fights back with a double clothesline on them and slugs them down. Stinger splash and Scorpion deathlock for Flair, but DDP breaks it up. Sting hits him with the Deathdrop for two, but Flair saves and abuses Sting’s groinal area. Figure-four follows, but Sting makes the ropes. Savage at this point decides to take matters into his own hands and drops the big elbow on Flair to break it up. DDP is the last man standing, and it’s Diamond Cutter for Flair and we have one of the most unlikely World champions ever at 17:26. That one turned out to be a horrible decision. This was really quite dull and disjointed a lot of the time and featured too much “two guys fight out and the other two guys fight in the ring” stuff to live up the pedigree that it’s somehow acquired over the years. **3/4 Disc ThreeChris Jericho & The Rock v. Steve Austin & Kurt Angle. This is from Smackdown, November 2001. Austin & Rock start and BRING IT ON, hammering each other until Austin gets the THESZ PRESS BY GAWD and an elbow for two. Rock slugs away, then goes for Angle. Samoan drop and Jericho comes in with chops and the forearm. Missile dropkick gets two, but he runs into a kneelift. Austin pounds on him and they exchange chops. Fans now go “what” after Austin’s chops instead of “whoo”, which is perversely witty in a white trash kind of way. Jericho bodyblock gets two, but Austin tosses him. Jericho comes in with an elbow off the top and the faces pinball Austin for two. Jericho keeps chopping at Angle, and blocks the Angle Slam with the Walls. Angle comes back with a german suplex, however, and Jericho is YOUR moose-hunting-Twisted-Sister wannabe-in-peril. He gets a small package on Austin for two, and blocks another THESZ PRESS BY GAWD with the Walls. Angle breaks it up and gets, to quote Michael Cole, “a wicked clothesline” for two. What, am I watching Good Will Hunting here all of a sudden? Rollup gets two for Jericho, and another one transitions into an anklelock. Call it the Moose-hunter, I guess. Angle breaks, because he IS the master of his own hold and all, unless of Kane or Undertaker are doing it, at which point he will tap like a girl. Because lord knows it’s gonna hurt more when someone taller than you is twisting your ankle. WWF Logic: I didn’t think it up, I just try to follow it best that I can. Belly to belly gets two for Angle. Austin sets up a superplex, but gets shoved away like a bag of carrots trying to get Marlon Brando’s autograph. Enzuigiri and Breakdown (note to Jericho: Learn your own move or drop it), and it’s the hot tag to the Rock. Rock on fire, Rock on fire, put it out, put it out! Forearm for Angle! DDT for Angle! Smack is laid down on Austin, and the Sharpshooter follows. Angle breaks and applies the anklelock. Jericho breaks it up and brawls with Angle as a subtle class-distinction thing happens (midcarders on the floor, main eventers on a higher level in the ring) until Angle suplexes him on the floor and heads in to help Austin. They work on Rock’s ankle and use a chair, but shove the referee for the DQ at 12:41. Great until the finish. ***1/2 The traditional Survivor Series Schmoz finishes the show, as everyone from the 10-man does their finisher to whomever’s closest, until only Austin is left standing and Vince is left grinning. Brock Lesnar & Eddy Guerrero v. Rob Van Dam & Bubba Dudley. From RAW, June 2002. Bubba has a bit of a new look, which is a good way to distance him from the Dudley Boyz. Eddy & RVD start, but Brock wants in. Then Bubba does. The heels double-team him, though, and Eddy pounds away. Bubba gets a sideslam for two, however. Brock works him over for a bit, punch punch punch. Bubba comes back with a DDT for two. Rob comes in and superkicks Brock, but walks into a backbreaker for two. Eddy gets an elbow and a suplex, but Rob superkicks him, and Bubba comes back in. He cleans house on Eddy and suplexes Brock. Bubba…gets the table, but Eddy wisely baseball slides it back into his face again. Back in, Eddy suplexes him and slingshots in with a neckbreaker for two. Brock does some clubbering, but a Bubbabomb turns the tide, hot tag RVD. He batters Eddy and monkey-flips him. Moonsault and Rolling Thunder get two. Bubba gets caught by a Brockplex, and RVD gets tosses around. He spinkicks Brock, however. When he goes up, Heyman pushes him off and Eddy frog-splashes him for the pin at 8:59. Bit of a mess, but Eddy held it together good enough. **1/2 Jeff Hardy & Shawn Michaels v. Christian & Chris Jericho. From RAW, February 2003. Big brawl to start and Jericho gets dumped, but blocks Jeff Hardy’s railrunner with a powerslam. Jericho & Christian pound on Shawn outside and introduce him to the steps, then handcuff him to the bottom rope. I bet Jeff is jealous. I’d check what the hankies say about it, but the joke is dead. Jericho taunts Shawn with the key while the heels pound on Jeff. Jeff makes his own comeback (heel turn? What heel turn?), but gets pounded down again. The heels go after Shawn and work him over with his own belt (again, Jeff is jealous), and then head back to Jeff again. That goes again for a while and Jericho keeps waving the key at Shawn, but gets superkicked and loses the key. Shawn unlocks himself as the match grinds to a halt, and gets the hot tag. He unloads his 1996 offense on Christian, but walks into an elbow. He dumps Christian and assists Jeff with a dive, then superkicks a chair into Jericho’s face. Hardy finishes Jericho with the swanton at 7:18. Match was a total carwreck, but at least it got the crowd going. *1/2 The Rock v. Goldberg. Being that this is the WWE braintrust, the first thing they do is change Goldberg’s music, having not learned the lesson taught by WCW in 1999. It sounds like something off the original Terminator soundtrack, actually. They pay a guy X million dollars a year because he was a big star in WCW, but don’t want him to be associated with WCW any longer. Figure that one out. Clearly ignoring JR’s exhortations over the years that this ain’t ballet, Goldberg does leg stretches in the corner to warm up. Rock is clearly the crowd favorite here, thanks to being more entertaining, a better worker, and a WWE product. Very long stall session to start and Goldberg overpowers Rock with the LOCKUP OF DEATH. You know, just because Hulk Hogan got that over 15 YEARS AGO doesn’t mean we still need it today. Another one and Rock bails. Back in, they exchange shots and Goldberg overpowers him again and dumps him. Rock takes a long count to waste more time. WCW was at least smart enough to limit Goldberg to 5 minutes or less. More stalling as Rock waits around outside, and then he catches him with a necksnap and a lariat. Crowd eats that up. Rock slugs away, but gets hit with Goldberg’s version of the Rock Bottom. That’s the first wrestling move from Goldberg in this match. Rock sells it FOREVER and Goldberg tries a spear, but misses and lands on the floor. Yeah, take an indestructible superman character and make him SELL, great plan. Rock gets the Scorpion King Deathlock and holds it for a long time, thus making Goldberg look even weaker, but he makes the ropes. Lawler correctly points out that he took the coward’s way out. There’s no excuse for silly mistakes like that – Goldberg should have powered out. Rock goes low, but Goldberg gets a fluke spear (move #2 on the match) and both guys are out. Goldberg makes the comeback and powerslams him (move #3) and gets two. Goldberg no-sells a couple of clotheslines, but Rock hits him with a spinebuster and kips up, thus turning himself babyface by making Goldberg look like a chump. Rock Bottom gets two. I love Rock like the son I never intend to have, but this is so manipulative on his part that he’s going to kill Goldberg out of the chute. Goldberg clotheslines him to cut off the spit-punch (drawing boos), but Rock hits him with a People’s Elbow for two. That spot is just BEGGING for Goldberg to pop up and spear him. Both guys crawl around as the match drags on, and Goldberg spears him. The crowd now totally turns on Goldberg, chanting “Goldberg sucks” while Rock slowly climbs to his feet and gets speared again. Jackhammer (move #4) finishes at 13:04. The only way this could have been ANY worse was if Rock had gone over, and for a minute there I was thinking they might do that, too. This just totally exposed Goldberg as a shitty worker with a limited moveset who’s out there for the paycheque and nothing more. Not that it’s a huge shock, but you can forget him carrying the company over the summer now. 1/2* The Dudley Boyz v. Evolution. From RAW, July 2003. This is elimination rules. Flair starts with Bubba, who overpowers him, and they trade chops. Bubba backdrops him out of the corner, and brings in Spike. Flair actually sells a slap with a Flair Flop, but comes back with chops. Spike keeps fighting and dropkicks him into the corner, but Flair goes to the eyes. Spike works on Orton’s arm, but Randy dropkicks him to the floor, where Flair stands on his head. Okay, serious question: What’s the difference between Spike Dudley and Zach Gowen? Both are pretty much equally gifted in terms of wrestling, but Gowen is lacking a leg, and therefore he gets preferential treatment and a main event push. That’s why he has no long-term credibility. D-Von gets the hot tag and clotheslines Orton, then cleans house on the other Evolutions, and a neckbreaker gets two on Orton. Flying forearm gets two. Spike jumps on him for two. It’s a big brawl and Orton finishes Spike with RKO at 5:02. HHH comes in and pounds D-Von (damn I was hoping it was a career-ending injury), and the bonzo gonzosity continues. The Dudleyz hit Orton with a Dudley Device, and splash Flair & HHH in the corner. Bubba elbows Flair down and sets up the Whazzup Drop, but HHH breaks it up. He takes it instead, and then Orton gets 3D’d. That gets two for D-Von. HHH uses the French flag to put D-Von down and Orton pins him at 7:33. Flags can be very abrasive to the skin. So it’s Evolution v. Bubba and I’m sure there’s a joke in there about Arkansas somewhere. D-Von is prevented from getting the tables by referees, and we take a break. We return with Bubba and Flair trading chops, and Orton comes in and stomps away. Bubba comes back with a backdrop, and goes low on HHH to escape the Pedigree. Bubba Bomb on Orton, but Flair saves. Flair dumps him, so Bubba makes lemonade and puts HHH onto the table. He goes up, but Flair shoves him off and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finishes, as Orton gets the pin at 14:38. Orton gets all three pins, which is what they need to do. This thing was a mess, though. *1/2 Women’s title: Trish v. Lita. From RAW, December 2004. They tumble out of the ring right away and Trish chokes her out back in the ring and throws a chop. Lita comes back with a kick to the noseguard, and then counters the Matrix move by falling on her for two. Legsweep gets two for Lita. Lita dumps Trish and follows with a suicide dive that brings new meaning to the word by almost killing her. You never like to see someone fold in half that way. That’s just WRONG. So of course we get seven replays of it. Trish gets serious and hits her with the noseguard to take over. She slugs away and chokes her in the corner, but Lita comes back with the SLEEPER OF DEATH. Trish quickly fights out and goes to a full-nelson, but Lita fights out. Trish goes up and gets brought down with a top rope superplex, and it’s a double KO. Lita rolls over first and gets two. Trish gets the high kick for two. Trish slugs away in the corner, but Lita powerbombs her out of there and goes up for the Litasault, which results in Trish catching her, and Lita countering with a rollup for two. Lita tries a DDT, but Trish counters with a rollup for two. What is this, a wrestling match? Trish tries the bulldog, but Lita reverses to the Twist of Fate and finishes with the Litasault for the pin and title at 7:12. Best women’s match since Trish v. Victoria in 2003. Too bad they fired the entire division and Lita has no one to defend against now. ***1/4 Still, nice to see something different in the main event slot. Randy Orton v. Shawn Michaels v. Chris Jericho v. JBL From RAW, December 2008, with the winner of this getting the shot at John Cena at Royal Rumble. This was during the “Shawn Michaels is broke and has to work for JBL” storyline, as Lawler makes references to “It’s A Wonderful Life” to show how hip and cool he is. Shawn rolls up Jericho for two and backslides him for two, and we take a break. Back with Jericho slugging away on Orton, but Orton powerslams him for two. Jericho comes back with the Walls, but Orton powers out of it, so Jericho dropkicks him off the apron. Shawn comes in and chops away on Jericho, but gets sent into the corner and stomped down. They fight to the top and Shawn drops the big elbow on him, but JBL tags himself in and goes for the clothesline. Jericho counters it with the codebreaker, but Shawn breaks it up and tags himself back in. Superkick for Jericho eliminates him at 8:18. And we take another break. Back with JBL holding a sleeper on Orton and putting him down with a big boot for two. JBL lays in the beatdown in the corner and gets a short clothesline for two, but misses a charge to allow Orton to make the comeback. JBL elbows him down again for two, however, so Orton gets the dropkick and the Garvin Stomp. JBL tags Shawn back in to escape the punt, and Orton drops a knee on him and gets two. Orton does the interpretive dance, but Shawn blocks the RKO and makes the comeback. Flying elbow and he finishes Orton with the superkick at 19:00. So that leaves JBL v. Shawn for the title shot, but JBL orders him to lay down and get pinned. That’s pretty effective on more than one level, because we all know how Shawn feels about laying down for people. Shawn’s facials here are tremendous, and JBL clotheslines and pins him at 23:00 to get the shot. Nice touch as Shawn makes him hit the clothesline himself, instead of just getting the easy pin. Match was a whole lot of JBL clubbering on people. **1/2 Smackdown World title: Undertaker v. Batista v. CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio From Bragging Rights 2009. Punk declaring “It’s clobbering time!” on the ramp is pretty awesome. Batista chases Punk to start, and walks right into Undertaker’s punch. Punk hammers on UT in the corner, and that’s an epic fail as Taker tosses him into a Mysterio dive from the apron. Rey dropkicks Taker out of the ring, but walks into a boot. Taker goes to work on Batista with Old School, but Punk prevents a second attempt and fights on the top rope with UT. He manages a superplex and Rey springboards in for two. Batista beats on Punk and adds a powerslam, but Taker puts him down with a big boot. Rey tries diving in with a rana, but Taker counters to the Last Ride, and Batista spears UT out of that. Rey and Batista argue over who gets to cover, but Taker pops up, so Rey gets the 619 on Taker, into Batista’s spinebuster for two. Rey goes up again and gets caught by Punk with GTS for two. Batista goes after Taker and gets caught in the gogoplata, but Punk breaks that up and hits the running knee on Taker. That leads to the Last Ride for two. Taker and Batista slug it out and Batista gets chokeslammed for two. Punk goes after Taker and gets tossed, leaving UT to finish Batista, but Batista counters with the Batista bomb for two. Rey breaks it up and gets two, and there’s your heel turn for Batista. Unfortunately, Batista gets so distracted by the dark side of the Force that a chokeslam from Undertaker gets two. They clothesline each other and Punk gets two on both of them. Rey comes back in and Batista tosses him, but Undertaker finishes Batista with the tombstone at 9:56 to retain. Well that was fast-paced, to say the least. I liked all the crazy finishers for the first 8 minutes or so, but it kind of fell apart once Batista turned. Needed to go to the finish as soon as Batista nailed Rey, but it was really entertaining otherwise. ***1/4 RAW World title: Sheamus v. Edge v. Randy Orton v. Chris Jericho v. Wade Barrett v. John Cena Hey, it’s another “we have no direction so let’s stick six guys in one match” special. This is elimination, which I like better at least. Big brawl to start, as the ring gets cleared and Jericho gets two on Orton. Cena saves Orton, but it’s RKO for Jericho and he’s gone at 1:30. Bye Chris, enjoy the tour. Jericho’s incredulous reaction to getting pinned so quick is great stuff. So with Jericho gone, the next target is Wade Barrett, and everyone beats him down in a nice touch. So we’ve got Cena and Orton again, but it turns into another big brawl before the ring gets cleared again. Striker actually calls the heel side “rulebreakers”. Does Bill Apter get royalties from that? Sheamus clears out the deadwood and clotheslines Cena for two. A pair of kneelifts and an elbow out of the corner follow, and Sheamus sets up Cena for the Irish Curse. Thank god that move finally has a name. Cena fights him off and goes up, but Edge breaks things up and helps out with a double superplex on Cena. That gets two. Edge & Sheamus dispose of Barrett outside, and then drag in Orton for two. Sheamus whips Edge into Orton with a spear into the corner, but another try misses and Orton makes the comeback. Edge finally turns on Sheamus to see if we can make this thing any more boring, and Sheamus gets a backbreaker, but Edge spears him. Edge spears Orton, but Cena gets the FU to get rid of Edge at 15:08. Barrett finally gets into the match and beats on Cena, reversing the FU into a DDT for two. Cena comes back with his usual stuff, but Sheamus breaks it up. STFU for Sheamus, but he makes the ropes. And now it’s time for your Nexus run-in, resulting in Barrett eliminating Cena at 18:40 with the Wasteland slam. Nexus beats on Orton next and sends him back in, but Cena the sore loser attacks them with a chair on his way out. Orton comes back on Barrett and finishes him with the RKO at 20:36. So we’ve got Sheamus and Orton left. Sheamus lays him out with the big boot as this crowd is just crazy for Orton for some reason. Sheamus goes to finish, but the RKO finishes at 21:30 to give Orton the title again. Not enough to save the show, but it was a hot finish at least. ***1/4 The Pulse I can kinda see what they were going for with the “Lots of multi-man matches with lots of finishers” motif for the match choices, but holy GOD are there some bad selections here. And just weird stuff, like the random RAW matches from 2003, or the terrible Rock v. Goldberg match. Certainly you can’t complain that there’s too much duplicated here, though. It’s not a terrible set, as such, but there’s really nothing in the concept or matchlist to recommend it as more than an eclectic collection of rarities.
– WWE is releasing the The 50 Greatest Finishing Moves in WWE History DVD & Blu-ray on August 21st. Here is the listing for the set…
50. JBL – Clothesline
49. Vader – Vader Bomb
48. Dusty Rhodes – Bionic Elbow
47. Million Dollar Man – Million Dollar Dream
46. Kerry Von Erich – Iron Claw
45. Ravishing Rick Rude – Rude Awakening
44. Lex Luger – Torture Rack
43. Dudley Boyz – 3-D
42. Bam Bam Bigelow – Moonsault
41. DDP – Diamond Cutter
40. Mankind – Mandible Claw / Socko
39. Honky Tonk Man – Shake Rattle and Roll
38. Yokozuna – Bonzai Drop
37. Flash Funk – 450 Splash
36. Sting – Scorpion Lock
35. Lita – Moonsault
34. Kevin Nash – Jack-knife
33. Jerry The King Lawler – Piledriver
32. RVD – Five-Star Frog Splash
31. Big Show – Chokeslam
30. CM Punk – GTS
29. Brock Lesnar – F-5
28. Bob Backlund – Chicken Wing
27. Batista – Batista Bomb
26. Mr. Perfect – Perfect Plex
25. Kurt Angle – Ankle Lock
24. Chris Jericho – Lion Tamer / Walls of Jericho
23. Edge – Spear
22. Iron Sheik – Camel Clutch
21. John Cena – Attitude Adjustment
20. Scott Hall – Razors Edge
19. Goldberg – Jackhammer
18. Rey Mysterio – 6-1-9
17. Road Warriors – Doomsday Device
16. Bruno Sammartino – Bearhug
15. Sgt. Slaughter – Cobra Clutch
14. Jeff Hardy – Swanton Bomb
13. Eddie Guerrero – Frog Splash
12. Macho Man Randy Savage – Elbow off Top Rope
11. Randy Orton – RKO
10. Bret Hitman Hart – Sharpshooter
9. Jimmy Superfly Snuka – Superfly Splash
8. Nature Boy Ric Flair – Figure Four Leg Lock
7. Hulk Hogan – Leg Drop
6. Shawn Michaels – Sweet Chin Music
5. Jake The Snake Roberts – DDT
4. The Rock – Rock Bottom / Peoples Elbow
3. Triple H – Pedigree
2. Undertaker – Tombstone Piledriver
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin – Stunner
Bonus: Booker T – Spinarooni
Bonus: John Morrison – Starship Pain
Bonus: Scotty Too Hotty – The Worm
Bonus: Rikishi – Stinkface
Bonus: Shane McMahon – Coast to Coast
Bonus: Billy Kidman – Shooting Star Press
DISC TWO BONUS FEATURES:
Sgt. Slaughter Demonstrates The Cobra Clutch on Tony Anthony
World Wide Wrestling – 10th December, 1981
DDT vs. Rude Awakening Match
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude
Madison Square Garden – 24th October, 1988
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Mr. Perfect vs. Texas Tornado
Dayton, Ohio – 13th January, 1991
WWE Championship Match
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Bob Backlund
Superstars – 30th July, 1994
WCW World Tag Team Championship Match
Kevin Nash & Scott Hall vs. The Giant & Lex Luger
SuperBrawl VII – 23rd February, 1997
King of the Ring Semi-Final Match
Mankind vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
King of the Ring – 8th June, 1997
Rob Van Dam vs. 2 Cold Scorpio
Living Dangerously – 1st March, 1998
Four Corners Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Diamond Dallas Page vs. Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting
With Special Guest Referee “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Spring Stampede –11th April, 1999
Chris Jericho & The Rock vs. Kurt Angle & Stone Cold Steve Austin
SmackDown – 15th November, 2001
Rob Van Dam & Bubba Ray Dudley vs. Brock Lesnar & Eddie Guerrero
Raw – 3rd June, 2002
No Disqualification Tag Team Match
Shawn Michaels & Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho & Christian
Raw – 17th February, 2003
The Rock vs. Goldberg
Backlash – 27th April, 2003
6-Man Elimination Match
Bubba Ray, DVon & Spike Dudley vs. Evolution (Triple H, ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & Randy Orton)
Raw – 14th July, 2003
WWE Women’s Championship Match
Trish Stratus vs. Lita
Raw 6th December, 2004
Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match to become the Number One Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship
Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton vs. JBL vs. Chris Jericho
Raw – 29th December, 2008
Fatal 4-Way Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Undertaker vs. Batista vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk
Bragging Rights – 25th October, 2009
Six Pack Challenge Elimination Match for the WWE Championship
Sheamus vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Edge vs. Wade Barrett
Night of Champions – 9th September, 2010
Blu-ray Exclusive Content:
Triple H & Undertaker vs. Big Show & Edge
SmackDown – 6th February, 2009
Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy & The Great Khali vs. Edge, Dolph Ziggler & Chris Jericho
Raw – 22nd June, 2009
No Disqualification, 6-Man Tag Team Match
Mr. McMahon & D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels & Triple H) vs. Randy Orton & Legacy (Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase)
Raw – 24th August, 2009
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team Mysterio (Rey Mysterio, Big Show, Chris Masters, Kofi Kingston, & MVP) vs. Team Alberto (Alberto
Del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre, & Tyler Reks)
Survivor Series – 21st November, 2010
John Cena & Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk & R-Truth
With Special Guest Referee Bret “Hitman” Hart
Raw – 23rd May, 2011
With so many attempts at comedy week after week from the WWE (and a lot of them failing), the one constant performer who hits the mark most of the time is Santino Marella, who for my money, has been the funniest guy they've had since The Rock in his prime. From his tea party for Sheamus ("Let's see, we have green tea, we have ginger tea–oh.") to getting laughs even when encountering Kane ("Where's Punk?!" "Did you try the Pepsi machine?"), Santino seems to get the job done every time. So I was wondering about who Scott Keith had in his pantheon of comedy-act wrestlers, as well as the Commenters of Doom.
First up, if you're reading this, I've managed to figure out a fix to the e-mail posting situation, so HUZZAH!
Second, I laughed heartily at Billy Gunn's entire career, so that might count. If not, Mick Foley used to hit it out of the park when called upon to be the comedy guy, especially the classic stuff with E&C. He had the timing down and he was a likeable enough guy that people would laugh with him as opposed to at him. Big Show also has really good comic timing, even if the material hasn't always been the best. Kurt Angle, of course. Honky Tonk Man made a career out of comedy matches, although he was never really part of the era that did comedy outside of the ring.
Ratings show that the most popular non-wrestling segment in WWE history was Rock: This Is Your Life, but my personal favorite was The Alliance singing Wind Beneath My Ring to Stone Cold and Kurt Angle spoiling their fun with the old time-y Milk Truck. What do you consider the greatest non-wrestling segment in WWE to be?
You know that angle was just a ripoff of the beer truck angle from three years earlier, right? To each their own. My personal favorite is the reunion of Bret with Owen and Bulldog from 1997, where they took the standard heel team breaking up angle and completely turned it on its ear by having the heels pull together in a heartfelt moment that actually turned them into even BIGGER heels. I loved the nuance of Bret’s disgust at the fans booing him while he was trying to have a real moment with his brothers, which was made all the better because that was exactly the reaction Bret was looking for. People wanted to the Owen-Bulldog team implode for the Bulldog face turn, and instead the Hart Foundation screwed them out of it. It was just awesome.