“PPV is dead… except for this one last time”

Hi Keith,


When a boxing match, an industry declared dead 20 years ago, makes more PPV money with the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight than in the history of earth, how bad is it going to look to investors that were told the PPV market was dead anyway to justify crappy Network numbers? How long until looking bad becomes looking incompetent?

Someone needed to remind Vince you can't hardsell a subscription service, and the hardsell was his family's entire business model.

 Unrelated note, wasn't cowboy hat Macho King awesome? Him screwing over Warrior just to be a jerk at Rumble 91 was what hooked me on wrestling.

"Free month of May" sure feels like a hard sell to me.  As others have noted, if this is the route they're going they should just do the "first month is free for new subs" model like Netflix and be done with it.  Although WM did 250K buys this year, which is pretty much free money at this point.  All they have to do is fire another 10% of their workforce and they'll be profitable for years!  

People are talking about 4 million buys for the Pacquio/Mayweather fight, though, which sounds ludicrous.  Still, even 2 million at $100 a pop is crazy money and shows that the right attraction will still draw.  

Last great WWE period?

Hi Scott,

As a community we air our displeasure of the current product yet the merch still sells and tickets for RAW keep on selling showing that it must appeal to someone if not us vocal online percentage.

Has there every been a year where everyone thought WWE/WWF was a great product? I can think of 2000 being a fine period for all and there being far more hits than misses in regards to quality PPVs and TV programming. That was 14 years ago so has there been a great wrestling year since where everyone was happy?

Thanks.

​Well ratings are way down lately and RAW hasn't even been selling out (or in the case of the Slammys, even coming close) so I wouldn't say it's appealing to many people right now.  
2000 was definitely was the last universally defined great year, although most people seem to like 2005 as well (what with the rise of Cena and Batista and a general feeling of something new and different).  I pretty much stopped watching and switched to WWE 24/7 at that point so it's tough for me to gauge reactions other than that.  ​

Thanks and Last Shameless Plug

Hi Scott,
Thanks for the re-post of my wrestling figures on your blog, it is much appreciated. I hope I'm not pushing my luck, but I was hoping for one last post with links to each auction. Many thanks to you and your readers!
Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart the Hart Foundation w/ title belts: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238585238?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   Terry Funk w/ Branding Iron and Hat: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238588618?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649  Hillbilly Jim w/ Hat: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238604779?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   Jake “The Snake” Roberts w/ Python Damien: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238608233?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   “Hot Rod” Rowdy Roddy Piper w/ Kilt: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238630267?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   Outback Jack w/ Hat: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301237839308?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   Koko B. Ware w/ Frankie the Parrot: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301237845462?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   Cowboy Bob Orton w/ Cowboy Hat: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238637423?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid British Bulldogs: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238643106?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   Captain Lou Albano & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238647193?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   Kamala w/ Moon Belly: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238780325?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   Special Delivery Jones w/ Red Shirt: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238635423?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649   B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell Killer Bees: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/301238575376?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Lightning Round: Last Great Matches 2

Kane

Randy Savage

Booker T

Scott Steiner

Jake Roberts

Vader

​Kane:  Not a singles match, but the MITB he won was pretty good.  
Savage:  DDP in 97.  He was way too broken down after that.
Booker:  He had some good ones as a part of BookDust.
Steiner:  The Nitro finale against Booker?  
Jake:  Gotta go back pretty far for something great.  Probably This Tuesday In Texas.
Vader:  Shawn at Summerslam 96. ​

Lightning Round: Last Great Matches

Their greatest match was long ago, and since this is wrestling, we can’t say we’ve definitely seen their last match. But what was the last great (or at least very good) match for these wrestlers: Ric Flair The cage match against HHH at the Taboo Tuesday show.  Or Cyber Sunday?  Whatever. Kurt Angle He’s probably had others since, but the last one I can remember is the Samoa Joe series in TNA.  Shawn Michaels Well considering his retirement match against Undertaker was damn near *****, that would be the obvious choice.  Steve Austin His retirement match against Rock.  Bret Hart I’m tempted to say Montreal, but he had a good one with Flair at Souled Out after that.  Hulk Hogan He’s never had a good one. 

Last one, I swear

Sorry to flood the inbox with another "inside baseba- er hockey" question, but IYH "It's Time". You list the real names of everyone after their ring name. Was this something that was edited in, a rib on your part, or just a stab at something new?

Bonus! In the line of Paul questions, do you think you'll do a rant on something that's not a contemporary WWE/TNA show or something off the network in the near future? Maybe a big NJPW perchance?

DAMMIT – Last one. Colosseum Video releases on the Network… think it'll happen?

​1)  It was something that Meltzer has always done and I thought I'd try it.  Everyone HATED it.  
2)  I get enough Paul questions as it is, thanks.  And I watch NJ for fun, not for work.  
3)  It fucking better.  ​

Last Warrior Article For A While

Hey Scott, longtime reader (you answered a question of mine about Punk potentially ending the streak last Mania)/BOD lurker, but I posted some Warrior memories on my usually baseball-centric blog, if you'd be willing to plug:

Thanks for letting me bother you again, and keep up the good work.


PG Era Rant: The Last Raw, 3-31-14

When
last we left our heroes, they were reaching a crescendo. Everything
is peaking at just the right time. There’s one show to go before
WrestleMania; just three more hours before we know all of where we
stand. Some will be the warmup, some will main event, but all will
give their last to make a last impression. Enough talk. Let’s get
to it.
Live
from Washington, DC – my town!
Your
hosts have not changed since I began this gig and they’re not about
to now.

Pre-Show
notes:
  1. Your
    special guest tonight is Bad News Barrett.
  2. There
    will be a Piper’s Pit tonight.
  3. Your
    main event is Randy Orton against Batista.
  4. The
    SmackDown tapings feature We The People against Los Matadores.
  5. In
    a WWE App match, Kane will face a Shield member… but which one?
  6. Bray
    Wyatt has a match tonight.
  7. Barrett’s
    past with Cena is being used to analyze Cena/Wyatt; that’s a very
    good thing.
  8. Wait
    a moment – Brad Maddox is crashing the Pre-Show; he’s announcing
    entrant #27. Himself. Seriously.
  9. There
    will be a press conference at 11AM tomorrow in New York. It will be
    on the WWE Network.
And
first out of the gate is the Undertaker. For the record, I kinda
miss when they’d avoid showing Undertaker entering from the back in
order to make it look like he just appeared. It added to his
mystique. Taker has a little trouble getting into the ring – it
looks like he tripped over his trenchcoat, but he caught himself. We
look back at last week’s segment with coffin-fu by Taker to spook out
and beat down Brock Lesnar. Taker looks at the sign as he soaks up
the chants. He notes that 21 men have tried, and they’ve all been
set down. He doesn’t say he’s better than his victims, but he just
goes further than anyone else at WrestleMania; hence, the Streak. He
knows Brock Lesnar is planning on how to break the Streak. He
should, however, be thinking about what will happen when he goes to
the deep water where he can’t stand. Will Brock take Taker down to
the bottom with him, or will he turn around and swim to shore? Every
opponent has made the decision: they tried to swim, and they all
failed. Taker knows how dangerous Brock is. He knows that many
think Taker’s time will come and that the Streak must end some day.
(Crowd: NO.) There are many more who believe in three things that
cannot be beaten: death, taxes, and the Streak. This Sunday, Brock
will Rest In…
…wait,
here’s Brock. Paul Heyman doesn’t mean to disrespect by interrupting
– his client does, but not him. Brock has taken the position that
this isn’t a match Brock has to win; it’s one the Undertaker must not
lose. He may beat on Brock until Hell freezes over (Crowd: CM PUNK),
but all it takes is one moment and three seconds to end it all. It
will be the biggest WrestleMania moment since Hogan beat Andre when
Brock ends the Streak. That’s not a prediction, Heyman says; it’s a
spoiler. Heyman drops the mic and they walk off.
Or,
rather, they start to. Brock stops, turns around, and he’s on his
way to the ring.
Undertaker
discards his robe and is ready for battle – but Brock stops at the
end of the ramp and looks at Taker and the sign. And just like that,
he backs up. Not until WrestleMania, he says with a point. Crowd
isn’t happy with that… and Brock decides to go to the ring anyway!
He hesitates… and with a smile, backs away again. And then he
approaches again. This time, he rounds the steps. He begins to
circle the ring… then just keeps right on circling and leaves
again. But Heyman slides a chair in and Brock tries an ambush. It
doesn’t work, but Brock reverses a whip and levels Taker with a
lariat. From there, it’s an F-5 to the Taker. Even Heyman is
surprised. JBL is on hyperdrive saying if this happens Sunday, the
Streak’s over. Brock wipes his brow and throws the sweat on Taker as
he goes to leave. This is 100% what it had to be. Brock with the
war cry as he jogs in place. Heyman: “Now he knows!”
Hey,
WrestleMania is this Sunday on the WWE Network, but it’s Mania Week
on WWE Network before then. Press conference tomorrow at 11AM! Live
programs all week! Legends Roundtable! Hall of Fame Ceremony on
Saturday! Pre-show will be on at 5PM, with the tag title match
opening during the show!
Remember
that thing from moments ago? Here it is again. The announcers talk
about what this means for Sunday.
Big
E Langston v. Alberto Del Rio.

This is non-title. Both men, as a reminder, are in the Andre match.
Del Rio with kicks and headbutts to start, but a long criss-cross
leads to a Langston tackle for one. Langston with a corner-to-corner
tackle for two. Langston with a press slam for two. Another charge
by Langston, but Del Rio sidesteps Langston into the post and works
the arm. Del Rio stomps Langston’s arm on the steps as we go to
break.
Langston/Del
Rio, part two.

Del Rio with a top wristlock. Langston fights out and fires off a
suplex. Blind charge hits elbow, and Del Rio does a cross between
the cross armbreaker and the Tarantula. To the top, but Langston
catches him into a backbreaker. Langston to the comeback with
clotheslines and a Greco-Roman suplex. Ultimate Splash eats the
knees. Low superkick misses, and Langston with a flapjack for two.
Big Ending, but Del Rio counters to the Backstabber for two. Del Rio
says it’s Si Time, but Langston with a back drop and Ultimate Splash
for two. Straps come down, but Del Rio with the armbreaker and cross
armbar, but Langston powers to prevent the latter. Del Rio pounds
the arm until the armbar is hooked. Langston back for the powerbomb
counter, which connects for two with Del Rio grabbing the rope.
Langston drags Del Rio in and puts him up top, but Del Rio is ready
and gets a guillotine stomp. Low superkick connects for the pin at
10:28. **1/4
Tonight,
Kane will face a Shield member. But which one? Go to the App to
find out! Also, Randy Orton will face Batista in the main event
tonight. Plus, HHH is going to host a Farewell to Yes tonight. But
up next, Bray Wyatt and his Family.
The
announcers talk about the Wyatt/Cena match and show us what happened
last week. This takes us to the Family as Harper whistles us in.
Wyatt addresses us about how the world wants change. It’s too easy
to love the garden and ignore the landfills. You can’t whisper at
people and expect them to believe you, so you must make them
understand. “Do I have your attention now, kids?” Sister
Abigail said Bray was a leader who would burn the world to the ground
and leave ashes behind. “She said that I would change the world.”
The fans will cry for Cena. In time, though, they will forget him,
and he’ll have nothing. They’ll see Cena the same way Bray does: as
a monster. “He’s got the whole world in his hands…” (The
crowd sings along? Whoa.)
Switching
gears (without the clutch), we look back at Total Divas where Natalya
and Summer Rae get in a huge argument. Apparently, calling someone a
stripper is a bad idea. This leads to our next match, as someone in
WWE decided that, hey, why don’t we tie it into the main show?
That’s after the break.
SmackDown
will be at WrestleMania Axxess. Tommy gets the night off.
(Cole
said that SmackDown is brought to you by Domino’s. ON RAW. Gregg,
you have too much material.)
Summer
Rae v. Natalya.

Vickie Guerrero is on commentary. Catfight to start, as Natalya
beats the tar out of Summer. Summer throws Natalya into the corner
and kicks the back of the head before doing a plie and getting a
clothesline for two. To the chinlock, as JBL hits on Vickie. Cole:
“Get a room.” Natalya tries to elbow out, but Summer pulls the
hair. Legdrop misses, and Natalya runs over Summer (literally) and
gets a dropkick and suplex. Another suplex follows, but Summer slaps
Natalya. Natalya with a discus lariat and a slap of her own, causing
Summer to charge right into the Sharpshooter. Summer fights out and
bails, but Natalya grabs her by the hair. Summer with a kick to the
head… for the pin at 2:20? Well, that was abrupt. 1/4*
For
the record, the Divas’ Title match is sudden death.
The
Authority are on their way to the ring to do Farewell to Yes, next.
Thanks
to Eminem for allowing “Legacy” to be the theme for Cena/Wyatt.
Here
comes the Authority now. Buy the Network now so you can get all of
WrestleMania week. Stephanie says they’re good people, so that’s why
tonight they can say Farewell to the Yes Movement before Bryan is
destroyed. HHH says the fans won’t care because there is no loyalty.
They just want to be a part of something without putting forth any
effort. They go for flavors of the day and move on. Just as a
point: Fandango-ing, what happened to that? Yes, the McMahons are
doing it. HHH even corrects Stephanie about not letting the A’s
breathe. It was a big deal… until it wasn’t. And the worst part
is that Johnny Curtis is a solid talent. B+/A- player. Crowd asks
for CM Punk. Stephanie asks who wants to see Daniel Bryan, leading a
YES chant. “Hunter, you’re right; even I can get them to chant
YES! You just want to be a part of something!” Chant all you
want, but Daniel Bryan’s not here tonight. It’s what’s Best For
Business. Bryan’s in New Orleans already. See, the YES movement
isn’t real. People want to believe that Daniel Bryan is the next big
thing, but he isn’t. It doesn’t matter how much people love him, it
doesn’t make it so. It’s like people who say HHH has all the power
because he’s married to Stephanie. And sure, HHH has great taste in
wives, but the reason he has the power is his dominance in the ring.
It’s why he’s at the top and he’s staying there. It didn’t matter
who got thrown in his way (crowd: BORING), and it didn’t matter who
would try to end the Reign of Terror, because HHH just kept winning.
And
now, a video about how easy it is to get the crowd on someone’s side,
using Booker T, Scott Steiner, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, Goldberg,
Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle… and all of them losing to
HHH and fading away. Stephanie’s narration talks about how everyone
has been dismantled, turning “false idols… into rubble”.
Basically, HHH is the buzzkill who cannot and will not be stopped,
and WrestleMania, he will end the next sacrifice (as we see the Epic
Beating clips).
Stephanie
looooooves watching HHH in the ring. HHH makes it clear: all those
guys were great, heck, even Hall of Fame caliber, but they were just
players and he’s the Game. He still is, more than ever. Since the
crowd has cried so much about it, he’ll beat Daniel Bryan AND win the
title just to spite them. He will walk out both COO and WWE
Champion.
But
wait a minute – here’s hometown boy Batista! He’s wearing a
Georgetown Ewing jersey to get the crowd on his side. Bill Simmons
would have something to say about that, I’m sure. Crowd is torn.
Batista loves what HHH is doing – the Farewell is cute. But
Batista wasn’t in that video because, well, HHH hasn’t beaten
Batista. HHH has heard it before – because Batista has nothing
else to say. “Nice shirt: get that in the gift shop when you were
picking up new glasses from last week?” Both men are saying the
other should be focusing on their next match. Batista figured out
last week that HHH is the brains and Stephanie’s the brawn.
Stephanie’s smile is great.
But
before we go any further, Randy Orton. Orton cuts Stephanie off from
slapping Batista and asks her to wait so he can get a good look.
Actually, don’t touch Big Dave; Orton wants to beat him down tonight.
Batista finds that hilarious. Orton respects the Authority and
knows that the triple threat is Best For Business. Orton’s not happy
about it, but he’ll live with it. He also knows HHH will beat Daniel
Bryan, and he’d be honored to defend against HHH and Batista. But he
has to ask: please reconsider it.
HHH
says that no amount of sucking up will get him out of this. Orton’s
reign is about to end on Sunday. Unless, of course, he can become
the Viper again. Because the reality is that if Orton IS the Viper,
HHH isn’t sure he can win. But Orton needs to find the Viper soon,
considering the Batista match later tonight, and as of now, the match
is no-DQ. And we end the segment there. Orton and Batista do a
staredown.
Later
tonight, Piper’s Pit. Plus, which Shield member is Kane’s opponent?
Vote now!
Sidenote:
now THIS is the Triple H promo we need. It’s not about breaking
kayfabe, but about establishing that HHH has been a powerful force
within the ring and that he believes it won’t change. Now the next
thing we need is Orton winning tonight – he’s the one with the
least amount of momentum, which is bizarre because he’s he champ
entering WrestleMania. Still, keeping Daniel Bryan off of TV for two
straight weeks? That’s a gutsy thing to do, even if it does make the
beating HHH gave him look strong.
The
WWE WrestleMania Pre-Show is two hours on the WWE Network!
The
Usos and Los Matadores v. We The People and Rybaxel.

On the Pre-Show, these four teams will face off for the WWE Tag
Titles. Ryback and one of the Usos start. Ryback backs Uso into the
corner and offers a clean break. A second lockup, and Ryback shoves
Jey (I assume it’s Jey) before catching him with an Oklahoma Slam
try. Jey slides out the back twice and gets a series of big chops.
Ryback stops it with a shot to the gut, but he runs into an armdrag
or two. Jimmy tags in, and it’s a double superkick for one. Ryback
fights out and brings Axel in, but Jimmy runs him over. Jimmy chops
Axel down and launches him into Primo, who does a slingshot elbow.
Epico with a senton and he works the arm. Epico gets a dropkick and
armdrag (“OLE!”) before working the arm. Jey back in, and he
chops away on Axel. He slides out of a whip with another chop, and
Primo gets a headlock. Epico with a dropkick for two. Jimmy in now
– the Usos are wearing shirts so it’s impossible to tell which is
which, so I’m guessing – but Axel with an uppercut and Cesaro keeps
it up. Jimmy with a running forearm to Cesaro, but he stops armwork
with a knee to the gut and uppercut. Swagger in, and he pounds away
and gets a Hammer Throw. Jimmy fights out of it and gets Hurricane
Maivia on Swagger as the heel corner gets emptied. Epico back in,
and he dives onto Cesaro as Jimmy dives onto Ryback. Jey to the top
now, and he gets a crossbody on Swagger for two. Swagger dumps Jey
and tackles him off the apron. He follows as we go to break.
Eight
man tag, part two.

Jey gets a roll-up for two on Cesaro, who lands a dropkick for two
twice. They go to the chinlock as the crowd is divided between We
The People and the Usos. Jey with an uppercut to stop a charge, but
he’s caught into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Karelin Suplex
by Cesaro gets two. Swagger in, and he throws Cesaro into Jey before
Cesaro throws Jey back into the tackle for two. Takedown, and Ryback
goes to the chinlock. Ryback cuts off a hot tag and gets a slingshot
suplex try, but Jey reverses to a bulldog. Axel stops the hot tag
and clears the face corner of the Matadors, but it’s hot tag Jimmy.
Everyone goes flying, and Jimmy gets a flying back elbow, low kick,
and Samoan Drop. Rikishi hip check follows, Ryback saves. He taunts
Jimmy only to get superkicked. Axel with a cradle and the tights for
two. Swagger tags himself in and gets a big boot on Jimmy for two,
Epico saves. Cesaro almost swings Epico, but Primo stops it to the
crowd’s dismay. Primo with a quebrada, leaving Jimmy and Swagger
alone. Vaderbomb almost eats boot, but Swagger catches it… only
for Jimmy to get the Dragon Kick. Epico up top, but he dives right
into the Patriot Lock. Jimmy back in, but Swagger gets the high
spinebuster. The matadors pull the switch, so it’s Primo who cradles
Swagger for the pin at 13:54. Whew. ***1/4
We the People are furious.
Later
tonight, it’s Orton and Batista, no disqualification.
Fandango
and Damien Sandow v. Cody Rhodes and Goldust.

More Andre match pimping. Sandow and Cody start, with Cody getting
a wristlock. Sandow back Cody in, but Sandow with headbutts. Blind
charge eats boot, but Sandow bails before the moonsault can begin.
Fandango in, and Cody gets a very high hiptoss. Fandango kicks away
and Hammer Throws Cody across the ring. Sandow in, and he headbutts
down Cody. He stomps away and kicks Cody out of the ring. Cody gets
thrown into the apron, and back in, Sandow gets two. Fandango in,
and he gets a suplex for two. Cody gets cornered and punched down,
and Sandow kicks Cody in the gut and gets a cravat. Kneedrop gets
two. To the chinlock, but Cody elbows out and gets right hands.
Sandow stops a tag attempt, but Cody prevents a figure-four try. Hot
tag Goldust, and Sandow eats clotheslines and a kneeling uppercut.
Spinebuster by Goldust and Fandango gets caught. Twisting bodypress
by Goldust takes out both men, and Sandow eats powerslam for two,
Fandango saves. Cody in with a springboard dropkick and triangle
dive onto Fandango. Goldust stops a rollup by Sandow, and the Final
Cut ends it at 4:08. Hey, remember when the Rhodes Brothers had
heat? 3/4*
The
Shield will be up next.
The
announcers talk about the Kane/Shield issue and show us the events of
two weeks prior. It was a four-way for the tag belts, but Ambrose
jumped in and attacked McIntyre (overlooked), and in the chaos,
everyone beat up the Shield, including the New Age Outlaws. So
that’s why, at WrestleMania, there will be a six-man tag, with Kane
and the Outlaws facing the Shield. And along those lines, one of the
Shield members will face Kane tonight… but which one? Vote on the
App!
We
go backstage to the undisclosed location, where Rollins says he
almost feels bad for what Kane’s going to go through. It doesn’t
matter who wins the vote; Kane will be in trouble. And if the
Outlaws want to join in, they will get beaten down too. Ambrose
points out the Shield never disrespected Kane, but they disrespected
them. They’ll teach Kane and the Outlaws a lesson about attitude.
Reigns makes it clear: the Shield is not to be messed with. Believe
it.
“We’re
here.” The Family is on their way to the ring, as Bray has a match
next.
Tomorrow
night, WWE Main Event will feature Sheamus against the Miz.
Bray
Wyatt v. R-Truth.

Xavier Woods and the Family are at ringside. Wyatt throws Truth
down and runs him over, getting a running kick. Bray with a headbutt
and uppercut in the corner, and he rakes the eyes. Truth kicks back,
but it doesn’t last long as Bray fights him down. Truth backflips
out of the corner and gets a high kick for one. Stinger Splash by
Truth, but Bray gets his flying forearm. Falling headbutt by Bray,
and he pounds away on Truth’s head. Bray fells Truth with another
headbutt and chokes him against the middle rope. Bray drops his
weight on Truth and fish-hooks his mouth. Truth tries to fight out,
but Bray dumps him right in front of Rowan and Harper. Nothing
happens, and Truth comes back in only to get kicked down. Bray with
a Northern Lariat and mounted forearms to the back of Truth’s head.
Bray picks Truth up and gets a swinging gutbuster. Bray with an
uppercut and headbutt as he pounds down Truth, adding an avalanche
and inverted look. Sister Abigail’s Kiss ends it at 4:36. Very
prolonged squash. 1/2*
Woods comes in, but he gets run over by Harper. Bray orders the
ring cleared and shouts about how this is the end. Follow the
buzzards and all that.
But
wait, there’s a fourth man behind everyone. And he has Rowan’s mask
on. He looks at all three, as Bray is confused. He’s even dressed
like the others. It’s John Cena, who takes advantage of the
confusion to clear the ring. Bray leaves before he can get AA’d.
Crowd is 100% behind what Cena did. Bray curls up on the ramp –
for the first time, someone took it to him. But the smile indicates
he’s recovered quickly. A staredown ensues.
Later
tonight, Piper’s Pit. Plus, Kane will face a Shield member… and
odds are you’ve already voted or you won’t. Also, Orton will face
Batista in a no-DQ non-title main event.
Sidenote:
I couldn’t have noticed that Cena got a huge face pop when everyone
realized who was behind the mask. It’s not a difficult formula: we
want our heroes to dig deep down and overcome, not through being
Superman, but through being clever. Cena’s opponent is mental, not
physical, so he has to get mental. That was a great segment.
The
rewind is the announcement of the all-in Divas match. This leads to:
Lumberjill
Match: AJ Lee v. Naomi.

AJ is cradling the title. All the Divas are lumberjills. Naomi
works the arm to start, but AJ goes under and yanks Naomi’s hair.
Naomi recovers with a dropkick and AJ bails… for about two seconds
before getting thrown back in. She tries again to escape but can’t,
and Naomi gets a cradle for one. Naomi slides to the apron and gets
knocked down… and the lumberjills just let her recover rather than
throw her back in. AJ does it herself, which is a mistake because
Natalya manhandles her. Naomi kicks away, but AJ falls out of a slam
and gets elbowed. AJ recovers with a spin kick for two. AJ sends
Naomi into the corner and kicks away, then it’s a tornado into a
guillotine. Vickie is leading Naomi chants. I can hear her. AJ
stops a comeback with a knee and Rude Awakening for two. “The
title is mine forever – FOREVER!” And Naomi knocks AJ over.
Running dropkick and kip-up leads to a full nelson bomb for two.
Naomi tries the split-leg, but AJ bails and crawls behind Tamina. So
the lumberjills just attack Tamina too and all heck breaks loose.
They roll AJ back in, and the Rear View ends it at 4:03.
Sledgehammer of Plot time here. *
Tomorrow,
it’s the WrestleMania press conference! Hulk Hogan, Mr. McMahon, the
Authority, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Batista, and Randy Orton in
attendance.
John
Cena has something to say coming up next.
Thanks
to Kid Rock for “Celebrate”, the theme song of WrestleMania.
Hate to say it, but it is catchy.
Renee
Young interviews John Cena. Young says we can expect anything and
everything. Cena: “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
Bray continues his propaganda, saying he’ll turn Cena into a
monster. But be careful what you wish for, because when a man is
cornered, he’s dangerous. Bray has forced Cena to fight, so you’ll
see all Hell break loose on Sunday. John Cena will BE the monster.
Being a monster for a day to save a lifetime… he may be afraid, but
the best part is the moment you can face fear. Every single career
begins and ends, but his won’t end on Sunday at Bray’s hands. Run to
New Orleans if you have to, watch it on the WWE Network, anything –
see Bray Wyatt, ruler of worlds, getting the change he wants. It’ll
happen when Cena stuffs his foot in Bray’s ass. Hoo boy.
We
go up to the pre-show panel to review the show so far, specifically
what Cena just did. Riley says Cena’s gained the advantage. Booker
loves that Cena’s fighting fire with fire. Barrett has Bad News,
though: it’s still 3 on 1, and that’s still Cena’s downfall. Bad
News Barrett gets chants during the look-in.
We
look back at the Taker/Brock thing from earlier.
Meanwhile,
let’s find out who won the vote:
Kane
v. Roman Reigns (80%!!).

Holy cow. Reigns comes out alone. I know I should make this its
own paragraph, but they just advertised UFC FightPass on USA Network
with Brock Lesnar. No kidding. Lockup, and Reigns pounds Kane down
in the corner, but runs into a big boot. Kane punches away in the
corner, staggering Reigns with a back elbow for one. Avalanche by
Kane into a sidewalk slam. Kane wants a quick chokeslam, but Reigns
yanks the hand off of his throat and fires back. Leaping clothesline
follows, then an avalanche of his own into some upperuts and a
howling kick. Drive-by dropkick follows. Superpunch is set up, but
here come the Outlaws. Ambrose and Rollins cut them off and brawl in
the aisle. Meanwhile, Kane is back up, but Reigns gets the
Superpunch anyway. Ambrose and Rollins surround Kane and it’s a
3-on-1 for the DQ at 3:08. Triplebomb is teased, but the Outlaws
have to be dispatched. They try again, but the Outlaws pull Kane to
safety. Match was just backdrop, but Reigns’ landslide win is the
real story. *1/4
Piper’s
Pit is next. The guest? Who cares?
Hulk
Hogan will be on SmackDown.
Piper’s
Pit is ready to begin. He says that 29 years ago today, he was
honored to be in the main event of the very first Mania. (And he
didn’t get pinned, just so you know.) But there was one guy who
played a big role in WrestleMania and making it what it is. That man
was Andre the Giant. Crowd is respectfully applauding this segment.
This Sunday, Andre’s match will take place – a 30-man battle royal.
One of those 30 men will have a WrestleMania moment, and will get a
chance to link his name to Andre – “one of the biggest names in
the history of professional wrestling”. So who’s the favorite?
Piper tries to tell us, but Miz interrupts. “Really? Miz? What
are you doing? I’m talking here.”
The
two exchange some reallys. Miz says, hey, you were bringing the
favorite out, right? Here he is. See, unlike Piper or Andre, Miz
has won a Mania main event. So those 29 other guys don’t compare to
Miz, just like Piper’s Pit is nothing next to MizTV…
…wait,
here comes Sheamus. Piper’s not happy at being interrupted again.
Sheamus says Miz is being stupid. As for TV shows, Miz isn’t fit to
hold Roddy’s kilt. But with regards to the match, Sheamus sees the
trophy and a pint in his future, and a Brogue Kick in Miz’s.
Next:
Titus O’Neil. He whistles the event down and says if anybody
deserves to win, it’s him. He spells out the winner: T-I-T-U-S.
After he wins, it will go down as…
Piper’s
getting sick of this and tells everyone to back off, but no luck as
Dolph Ziggler is out next. Dolph hates to steal the spotlight –
not really – but that’s what he’ll do on Sunday. Not only will he
eliminate everyone, he’ll etch his name into the history books.
Roddy
wants his turn, and he’s sick of the interruptions. He goes to Miz
first and begins the brawl. Everyone pairs off as Piper bails out,
and a bunch of participants jump into the ring. We got Sin Cara,
3MB, Zack Ryder, Kofi Kingston, Darren Young… then Rey Mysterio
gets his own entrance, attacking Dolph first, then Sin Cara. He goes
to the top and nails Cara with a rana and 619. Sheamus gets the
Brogue Kick on Drew. Miz knocks Sheamus out… and here’s Big Show.
Everyone goes to Big Show, but he sends them all flying. Chokeslam
to Darren Young, lariat to Titus, boot to Jinder, big chop to Kofi,
mat slam and KO Punch to Slater, double chokeslam to Ryder and Dolph,
and it’s Show and Rey the only ones standing. Rey begs off, then as
Show leaves, Rey 619s his legs. He goes up top, but he’s caught and
press slammed onto the rest of the people. Piper confirms that Show
was his favorite all along. We all knew this was happening and it
did as much as it had to.
Up
next, the no-DQ main event: Randy Orton faces Batista.
Main
event, no DQ, non-title: Randy Orton v. Batista.

The announcers note this match is to weaken both men so that HHH can
win the title on Sunday. Before the match even begins, HHH and
Stephanie appear to watch. HHH and Batista argue a little as the
Authority goes to commentary. (Fun bit as Lawler wants Stephanie to
be on his side and gets HHH instead.) Orton kicks away and clubs
Batista to start, sending him into the post. Orton sends Batista
into the apron, then the barricade, but Batista clotheslines Orton.
Batista sends Orton into the barricade as Orton falls into some
cables. Back in, Orton catches Batista on the way in and stomps
away. Batista rolls back outside, so Orton follows. Batista cuts
off another attack and punches away, but Orton reverses Batista into
the timekeeper area. Orton clotheslines Batista into the
timekeeper’s area and poses. HHH: “That’s what I’m talking about
Randy!” Batista re-emerges with a steel chair, which he slams into
Orton’s back. Batista nails the post on a swing, allowing Orton to
throw Batista into the Raw table. Orton yells at the cameraman to
move before suplexing Batista onto the barricade. Orton with a chair
to Batista, and he poses with the chair to cheers. Back in, Batista
cuts Orton off with a kick and clotheslines him back out of the ring.
Orton curses in pain and pulls himself up, so Batista sends him into
the table headfirst. HHH encourages Batista to show him the Animal,
and Batista complies by sending Orton into the apron. Batista with
another chair, but Orton finds a kendo stick and whacks Batista over
and over. Cole: “Who needs spring training?” Batista reverses
Orton into the steel steps. Back in, Orton stops momentum only to
run into a spinebuster. Thumbs down, but the Batista Bomb is
reversed to Orton’s back-to-backbreaker. Stephanie laughs off Bryan,
saying he’s too small. Batista crawls to the apron, getting caught
with the Draping DDT.
And
out of nowhere, Daniel Bryan emerges from the crowd and attacks HHH.
Orton races after Bryan and gets the worst of it. Stephanie screams
for Orton to help, and Orton pulls Bryan off and throws him into the
steps. Stephanie checks on HHH as Orton keeps working on Bryan,
throwing him into the ring. Hey, no DQ. Orton re-enters and gets
speared by Batista instantly. Batista picks Bryan up, but gets
roundhoused and the Knee Plus connects. Bryan completes it by diving
onto HHH and sending him into the timekeeper’s area, with the
beatdown continuing. Bryan bowls HHH over the steps and kendos the
heck out of him. Dropkick to Orton to send him out of the ring, and
HHH rolls up the rampway. Let’s stop the match at 8:00 or so. Bryan
begins a huge YES chant as Stephanie screams about it ending at
WrestleMania. No rating, as the match was just backdrop. HHH has to
be restrained by Stephanie. Massive YESing as we go off the air.
FINAL
THOUGHTS:
Gotta
be honest, as much as I like Daniel Bryan and hate HHH, this is not
the ending I would’ve thought of. You’ve already sold Bryan as being
beaten down for one show and 99% of the next. I’d have kept it up.
There’s two reasons for this: one, Randy Orton needs something
resembling momentum and can’t buy it; and two, HHH as the Cerebral
Assassin standing over two exhausted foes would make him an even
larger favorite with Bryan almost hanging on by a thread.
I
also would’ve saved Bryan for the dark match if he’s in the building.
Tell your story while giving the fans what they want. But then
again, I’m not Billionaire Vince.
This
was a total hype show, of course, but it worked. Apart from the
finish – and even I have to admit it was a white-hot one –
everything went the way it was supposed to. The people who needed
momentum – Los Matadores, Naomi, Summer Rae, Bray Wyatt, John Cena
– got it in spades. I’m satisfied.
Now,
as we’re one show away from a Pay-Per-View, this is normally where
I’d tell you what I’d do. However, this time, I’m going to do a new
post later in the week showing what I’d do at WrestleMania. That
way, all the “you’re an idiot” can be saved to one post.
FINAL
STATS:
MATCH
TIME: 50:37 or so over eight matches
BEST
MATCH: Eight-man tag
WORST
MATCH: Summer/Natalya
NIGHT
MVP: Daniel Bryan
FINAL
RATING: 8. This did what it had to do: set up every single
WrestleMania match and make you want to see it. Nothing more need be
said.
See
you with my WrestleMania Book later in the week. Tommy! Scott!
Brian! Everyone! Let’s have fun.
“We’re
here.”

QOTD 128: Best Call, Last Call!

What up BODyDonnas! Today’s question comes from Joe!

“Brian (Bayless)’s exhaustive summary of WCW 1998 has just moved past Havoc.

Despite their many flaws, didn’t the WCW callers/production team just absolutely nail that main event? They made it feel like a tactical match-up, free of any silly plot shenanigans. To my mind, it’s the best-called match I’ve ever witnessed. I guess that’s why I hate WCW; for what it could have been.

That said, my other most memorable call is King of the Ring for utterly different reasons. It was so clearly ridiculously insane and JR/King just went with it.


What do you think is the best called match or matches from mainstream rasslin?



Didn’t someone post Kevin Nash on WCW Thunder Commentary once? Probably not that.

Last Action Hero Redux

One of my favorite topics — why Last Action Hero was such an underrated and fascinating trainwreck of a failure — explored by the AVClub.  I have a ridiculous love-hate relationship with this movie that I'm pretty sure I've talked about before, in that I know how ridiculous and terrible it is most of the way, but it's just such a COOL concept and I'm unable to look away.  Luckily Shane Black went on to make an more unambiguously awesome trainwreck with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, much in the same cliche-busting fourth-wall-wrecking vein.  But with Robert Downey instead of Arnold.

Last Week at Place to Be Nation

———- Forwarded message ———-

Hi Scott,
 
Some cool pieces from last week that we wanted to share.  Thanks again for your support!
 
Justin Rozzero live blogged Money in the Bank 2013
PTB Podcast chatted about No Way Out 2000 & WrestleMania XVIGrappleTalk chatted with Invicta President Shannon Knapp and MMA writer Todd Martin Todd Weber examined Hawkeye and Justice LeagueThe Hard-Traveling Fanboys look at Y: The Last Man Steve Rogers looked back at WWF New YorkBob Colling relived the Bret Hart/Jerry Lawler WWF feud The PTB Family of podcasts also had a big week as wellAnd you can catch up on all your weekly wrestling recaps !

Shawn Michaels last match

Hey Scott!

In your Wrestlemania 26 rant regarding the Michaels/Taker match, you said:

"If this was Shawn’s last match (which it’s not), he went out with
another Wrestlemania classic."

Over three years have passed, and although he's injected himself in
several matches since, he has not actually WRESTLED (err…SPORTS
ENTERTAINED?) another match.  It seems that WWE has plenty of ways to
trot out Michaels whenever it is necessary without having him
technically wrestle in a match, and that seems to be satisfying enough
to both parties.

So are you finally willing to say that Wrestlemania 26 was, indeed,
Shawn Michaels' final match?

Nope, he'll be back.  There'll be a match big enough and enough money dumped on him for one more match at some Wrestlemania.  He's still healthy and marketable and Vince is Vince, so unless his spine was fused again or something like that, I guarantee he'll wrestle again.  

Shawn’s Last Match?

In your WM26 rant, you said: "If this was Shawn's last match (which it's not), he went out with another Wrestlemania classic."
Now that 2 years have passed and Shawn has seemed adamant about staying retired and not missing it, do you still believe that we haven't seen Shawn's final match?
Also, a few weeks ago, you plugged our http://www.doomsdayattire.com website (with the Macho Man shirt) and we sold quite a lot of shirts from that plug, so just wanted to say thanks for that, we're definitely grateful.

I still believe we haven't seen his final match.  He's still good to go if need be and you just know he could be talked into one last comeback if the money or circumstances were right.  Probably involving HHH.  There's "retired" and there's RETIRED, and Shawn is still the former until he gets some sort of definitive career-ending surgery or something.