RF Video Shoot Interview with Matt Morgan

This was released in January 2014

The interview was conducted by Brett Lauderdale

It runs for three hours and thirty-eight minutes long

The interview starts with Morgan being asked about Andre the Giant being his favorite wrestler. Morgan said he got hooked when he saw Ken Patera and Big John Studd try to cut his hair. He also talked about how his dad and brother were huge fans and followed suit.

He talks about his college basketball career. He started off at Monmouth and even got to play in the NCAA Tourmanent in 1996. Morgan also was a starter as a freshman. He also said he was invited to play in the McDonald’s All-American team as a high school senior.

Morgan then transferred to Chaminade University in Hawaii and started to train as a wrestler. He saw an ad on TV one day for the local promotion, Pro Wrestling Hawaii, and decided that he wanted to train. He then called the promoter, “Bonecrusher” Jeff Nunez, and had his first day of training in the middle of Waikiki Beach, with tourists all over the place. He said that it cost $500. After 15 minutes, Nunez told him that was it and to call him tomorrow but he was gone as the guy was a scammer who would train people for a day then leave and go to another island and do the same thing.

After that he moved back home and got a job back home in Connecticut at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Stamford, CT. Morgan said that he also got tryouts for the NBA and the NFL. Morgan said best case scenario in the NBA would be the “white guy at the end of the bench. Morgan said he stayed at Enterprise as he did an internship there and thought he could get promoted quickly at the Stamford branch. He said while there he met Tom Prichard and the Mean Street Posse and would talk to them. He also said that he met Vince McMahon’s driver and trainer as Titan Towers was just four doors down. This was right when the “Attitude Era” was taking off.

Morgan then said he met a go-fer for “RAW Magazine” who told him to work out at the gym on Friday nights at Titan Towers because that is when Vince worked out. After six months, he still had not met Vince but did run into Stephanie, Jim Ross, and his wife, who Morgan said was a sweetheart of a person. One day, he bumped into Vince and approached him briefly as he did not want to interrupt his workout, as Vince asked him about his height and weight then asked Morgan he owed it to himself and his family to tryout for the NBA before committing to wrestling. Morgan had a tryout with the Indiana Pacers coming up but said he didnt care about that as much and was a wrestling fan long before basketball. Vince also told him to get in contact with Tom Prichard if he was serious too.

On auditioning for “Tough Enough,” Morgan was waiting for the WWE to contact him and he eventually talked to Prichard and asked if he should go to a wrestling school such as Killer Kowalski’s. Prichard then told him to wait as they had something coming up (Tough Enough). He missed the deadline for the first season but the MTV producers saw his video and he got to audition for season 2.

He talks about wrestling at a higher weight at first and how he was nowhere near ready to be in the ring as he did not have the cardio. He then talks about the training and how the trainers wanted to test him as he was a big guy. Morgan said he did not get preferential treatment due to his size. He talks about his injury where he snapped his ankle and said it happened mostly due to the fact that he was overweight.

Morgan said the trainers were cool, even Bob Holly. He said that the Big Show would pull him aside off camera and give him pointers. He said that the show pushed you through a lot of tests and put your body to the limit. He never thought that his career would be over or anything like that after the injury.

He is asked about the other contestants. He said that Kenny King was picking up things quicker than anyone. He likes Jake and Hawk, saying that Jake was cool but not picking up on the training. He talks about how they were told at first that one man and one woman would win but it ended up being two females. He also said that Kenny King should have won one of the spots.

Morgan was offered a Developmental contract to report to OVW after the show in 2002. He said he was ecstatic when he got the call from John Laurinaitis then a congratulatory call from Prichard after that.

Danny Davis was the head trainer when he started. He talks about how he probably had the least experience out of everyone down there at the time. When asked if he was signed based off of potential, Morgan said yes but so is everyone else and just because you were a star on the independent scene doesnt mean you immediately bypass the Developmental system as you have to go through the WWE style of training before making it to television. He names Nova as an example as he worked for ten years and had to do the same drills as he did in OVW, noting how if you ask Nova today he would say that those drills helped him.

He is asked about the other guys with him in OVW at the time. Morgan said he was with John Cena, Batista, Shelton Benjamin, Sean O’Haire, Mark Jindrak, Lance Cade, Nick Dinsmore, Rob Conway, and Rene Dupree among others. Morgan said the locker room atmosphere was like family.

Morgan talks about being called up, saying that he was not ready at the time as he only had several months of training. He was told that he would be paired up with guys who were experienced and puts over the veterans for making the 2003 Survivor Series Team Angle vs. Team Lesnar match great.

On his team with Nathan Jones, Morgan said that they were going to remain a team but he ended up quitting. Morgan said that Jones was very quiet and during practice in OVW would just sit down and look at everyone. He also said that Jones was not prepared for the “mental ribbing” of the locker room. Morgan then talks about that and how he played sports his whole life and that kind of stuff is typically used as a weird way of getting to know you and a camaraderie builder then tells a story as a freshman at Monmouth when the whole team tied him down naked on the goalpost before the women’s lacrosse team came out to practice. He then goes back to Jones and recalls telling him that they were just messing with him and discusses how Jones spent time in solitary confinement while in Australia and struggled to adapt on dealing with people. He then recalls the day he quit when he came up to Morgan as he was warming up and shook his hand, saying he quit as he had a tear in his eye. Morgan heard that he told the office that night he was not going to wrestle and quit as Angle and Lesnar attempted to get him to stay.

Morgan stays on the subject of ribbing in the locker room and how it is not the end of the world if someone pulls a rib on you as it is a way to see if you are mentally prepared and stresses the importance of trying to have a good time on the road and keep everyone laughing when times are bad. He then tells a story of Cena pulling a rib on him during the European tour when he had the sound guy turn up the microphone so he would sound like “Alvin & The Chipmunks” when he cuts his promo on the crowd while he was doing his stuttering gimmick. Morgan also said that he made a point to no-sell the rib and kept cutting the promo as the crowd went nuts.

He talks about getting sent back to OVW in 2004. Morgan said after Lesnar and Nathan Jones quit, they had nothing to do for him. Morgan then talks about how he would have learned more on the road working house show matches with veterans, who he described as leading him through the matches. At the same time, Morgan said that he would get more ring time in OVW but the demotion did mess with him mentally a bit.

He got called back up to the main roster in 2005 and given the stuttering gimmick. Morgan confirmed that Vince came up with the idea. He also said that Vince apparently had the gimmick for a few years and was waiting to use it on someone. At first, Morgan was told that he could accept the gimmick or wait for another one to come along while waiting in OVW. Morgan then went to Vince’s office, who explained the gimmick with an analogy of a hot chick who ends up having a deep voice when she speaks, making everyone turn their heads, as the stuttering character would have that be his only flaw and would get set off when exploited. He then took the gimmick at the advice of others by saying no matter how stupid it sounded, you dont say no to an opportunity.

On the first “One Night Stand” PPV, Morgan said that he was sitting in the box with the other guys as waitresses were bringing them drinks and guys, JBL in particular, were getting drunk and screaming at Heyman’s guys. He also tells a story about how Snitsky was dared to take the shoe off of the waitress and stick her toes in his mouth and he did. When asked about the incident between JBL and the Blue Meanie, Morgan said he had no idea that happened until the next day. He recalls seeing Meanie busted open backstage but thought it was just part of the match but found out the next day at TV that it was a legitimate fight.

Morgan got released from the WWE on July 5th, 2005. He was with Carlito, who was feuding with the Big Show but Carlito got drafted to RAW and Morgan was still on Smackdown and was left with nothing to do. Morgan then talks about the stuttering gimmick and how it was on him why the gimmick did not get over as he was the one with the opportunity. John Laurinaitis told him to go to Japan and work over there and improve then they could bring him back. Morgan said that despite getting upset over being released, he got a chance to ditch the stuttering gimmick and create a character that was more like himself elsewhere.

He is now asked about his comments about being a “functioning addict” during his second WWE run. Morgan said he was addicted to painkillers and that few people knew he was an addict. He said he was always able to get them from doctors and wouldnt really abuse them in the locker room but rather behind closed doors. Morgan said he was “doctor shopping” and was getting tons of Percocets. He would go through 60 pills in about two days.

Morgan said once on tour in Japan he started to ask around for pills and that was the only time they saw him struggling. He then goes into his addiction and how he would get a rush from taking the pills and would take 40-60 milligrams every four hours for about five years of either Percocet or Vicodin.

On a tour of Italy on the Independent scene, Morgan said he was going through withdrawals and having cold sweats so he ended up knocking on guys doors asking for pills and came to a realization that he could not get through withdrawals for another night so he called his wife and asked her to set him up with the scariest, crappiest detox center she could find so it would scare the shit out of him because he thought the next point for him was jail as he felt he could have done something like write fake scripts or anything else to get his fix. He went to the Center For Drug Free Living in Orlando, FL which he said was in a shitty part of town. He was there for three weeks and detoxed off of pills and went on Suboxone. Morgan said he felt pathetic and weak at first as he could not beat a pill. He talks about listening to a story of a guy there who was a former Harvard English professor who ended up losing everything and was living underneath a bridge. Morgan also talks about how he wanted to get clean and if you go to detox and are not serious about that then it will never work. He said he learned a lot of tools to stay clean through the outpatient treator he had when he got released. He said that he found a different route to drive home so he wouldnt drive by pharmacies and switched gyms as to not get triggered. He said he stayed out of wrestling because if that was what it took to stay clean he had to do it as he did not want to return and have to deal with injuries without pills.

Morgan got into TNA as he worked a few indy shows and felt better as his cardio and blood pressure were much improved due to not being on pills. He then got a chance to be Jim Cornette’s bodyguard in TNA. He met Dixie Carter and asked if he could do PR and speak about addiction and did some stuff with D.A.R.E. Morgan talks about being proud of overcoming his addiction.

He talks about some of the workers in TNA. Regarding Abyss, Morgan said that he is an underrated big man and excellent at putting together matches and could be an agent when he retires. He talks about Beer Money and how both of them are extremely charismatic. Morgan said that Roode and Dolph Ziggler are the best bump-and-feed heels in the business today. He said that Bubba Ray Dudley was a total dick in the WWE but was helpful and a lot easier to deal with in TNA.

On his Bound for Glory match against Kurt Angle, Morgan said it was the longest match of his career and had to get into shape and lost 15lbs during training. He recalls Angle ripping into him for going through the motions at times before the match and to act like a 7-foot tall giant.

When asked if he helped Angle with his addiction, he claims that he had helped 38 wrestlers get sober throughout his career. Morgan said he wanted to do it after getting sober himself. Morgan said he referred several guys to his addiction specialists and felt that he owed it to his friends in the business, no matter how big of a name, that if he saw them in trouble he had to help them. He also talks about the WWE Wellness Policy and how the facilities they send guys to are the best on the planet.

He loved working with Ric Flair and said that he would always give out advice to guys. When asked about outside of the ring, Morgan says the stories of him being crazy outside are true but at that time in TNA Morgan was not into that scene and recalls having a beer or two with him after their match at a hotel bar while watching the NBA playoffs, saying they were both huge LeBron James fans.

Morgan is asked about bigger names coming into TNA and phoning it in as he said they would roll their eyes when that happened and how some of the vocal guys in the locker room, like Samoa Joe, would sometimes speak up to those guys.

On working with Jeff Hardy, Morgan talks about how they both turned a month before the match and talks about how they had him as a face going up against Hardy, who was a heel, saying it was an uphill battle.

When asked about Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff showing up to TNA, Morgan said he was happy to see that. On the rest of the locker room, Morgan said he is sure than some guys were unhappy and goes on how wrestling is a business filled with paranoia. He recalls Bischoff taking notes of everyone’s matches at the monitor and wanting to improve the product. He also recalls Hogan sitting them all done and asking them who they were so they could get to know their character’s better.

He said that it was Hogan’s plan for his match against Sting was to pass out in the Scorpion Death Lock instead of tapping out and they were going to work a long program after that.

Morgan puts over Hogan for being a great person and how he has a big heart. He said that Hogan gave him and his wife his suite for a New Years Eve party once. He also likes Bischoff for being up front with him.

On whether or not Bischoff lost touch, Morgan said that Bischoff is a big fan of Austin Aries and attributes his run as the champion to that so he thinks Bischoff does not what the fans like today.

He is asked if Scott Steiner is crazy as Morgan starts to laugh then tells a story during a promo where Tyson Tomko pulled up in a truck as Steiner just yelled out “Hey Ned, get my bag” for some reason.

Morgan thought that Crimson was picking up wrestling quickly but still figuring out who he was and did not get enough time to do that.

On leaving TNA, Morgan said that his leave was a 100% work as it was Bischoff’s way of keeping him fresh. He then said when he returned they never did anything with him though. He got paired with Joey Ryan and puts over his charisma and character. At this time Morgan felt frustrated as their pairing did not make sense. He also revealed that they were supposed to have a six-month long storyline and become the champions but that was switched as Hogan did not want Morgan as a comedy character.

Morgan expresses his frustration at the end of his run where they kept him off of TV to bring him back in a storyline then they brought him back and did nothing with him. He went to Dixie Carter and told her that he wanted to leave. He also said that the company was slashing its budget and thought they could save money by releasing him as his wife was pregnant with their first child and thought about being around for his kid and leaving wrestling. He is asked about Dixie and says that she has a grass-roots belief on getting to know the fans and some people do not think that is a good way to do business.

He liked going on the road as you could find out who was over as he talks about some of the guys, without mentioning names, would constantly hang out with the “marks” and buy them beers so they would get cheered at the Impact Zone.

When asked why TNA struggled to draw on the road, Morgan said it was easy to figure out as it was the marketing. He talks about how he and James Storm would play a game when they would work out at the gym closest to the arena and see fans, who would ask them why they were there and would have to tell the fans that they had a show that night. He said no one knew that they had shows because they did a poor job at promoting.

On steroids in wrestling, Morgan said he did early on in his career. He then said that Jim Ross came down to OVW and saw Morgan, telling him that he didnt look like an athlete anymore and to stop whatever he was doing and after that he never took them again. He then talks about how while wrestlers shouldnt look like roided-out action figures or anything but should look like they are able to kick someone’s ass. He then talks about how today you can look at the guys and see that they are not on the juice, something you could tell before.

He is then asked about American Gladiators as Morgan said he got the job as they were looking for a wrestler to fill a role on the show.

Morgan closes by talking about how proud he is to be a father and says that anyone watching who is struggling with addiction can hit him up on Twitter and from there he can communicate with them through direct message where he can guide you on how to receive help.

Final Thoughts: I thought Morgan was an interesting subject and I became a fan of his by the end. However, the interviewer was fucking terrible here and it made for a subpar shoot. This Lauderdale guy is clueless. From cutting off the wrestlers (He did the same in the Tracy Smothers shoot) to asking ill-timed and overall poor follow-up questions he made this dull when it should have been an interesting interview, especially with an engaging guy like Morgan. He essentially asks token questions that are designed to get the subject talking for minutes on end and instead of steering the interview along he just cuts them off as they get going.

His story about getting clean was interesting. They had a lot to work with there. But stuff like Tough Enough and his TNA career was largely glossed over and they had 3.5 hours worth of material on this DVD.

Bottom line, Morgan is an interesting guy who was willing to talk but the interviewer was unable to utilize that and it made for a stagnant interview, especially the final hour, where I was ready to tap out myself. I cannot recommend this interview but I am happy about Morgan overcoming his addiction and the fact he wants to help others is admirable.

You can purchase the interview for $15 by clicking on the link below


The Kevin Kelly Show Episode 19 – Featuring Matt Hardy

On Episode 19 of The Kevin Kelly Show, Kevin is joined by the Icon, Matt Hardy! Matt discusses his early days in the business, his thoughts on the state of TNA and ROH and how they could work together towards success, what the best year of his career was, life as a married man, his thoughts on Adam Cole, the chances of him returning to WWE and much more, including a classic Hardy road story.
Kevin & JR then look at the fallout from Night of Champions 2014 and the future of WWE before running through the week’s trending topics.
The show wraps with a spirited game of This or That in which Kevin builds his own wrestling promotion through a series of choices, Kevin ranking the Top Five most influential tag teams in wrestling history and a vintage KK bar fight story!
So please join us for another great episode of the Kevin Kelly Show!

Matt Sydal Returns to PPV Tonight

After what seems like a decade on the shelf, the former Evan Bourne returns to television tonight, teaming with CIMA against Masato Yoshino and one of the only men with a true case to win WOTY this year, that being Ricochet. It’ll be interesting to see how much he still has left in the tank. The card also has a main event that’ll serve as the climax to a great storyline arc, a tag title match that will steal the show, and breakout high flyer Flamita defending against perennial o.g. Dragon Kid. Dragon Gate’s big pay-per-views always deliver big time, both from a match quality standpoint as well as top-of-the-line presentation.

Click HERE to Order: http://www.ustream.tv/dragongate

QOTD 109: Trey Parker & Matt Stone Appreciation Thread (with bonus South Park: The Stick of Truth thoughts!)

If Kurt Vonnegut is the  “Satirist with a Whoopee Cushion”,  “South Park” packs a flaming bag of dog doo instead. Through 247 episodes and counting, Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s creation became something of a socio-economic court jester, using Kyle, Stan, Cartman, Kenny, and a supporting cast of dozens to call out society’s hypocrisy and extreme polarization, all the while being foul mouthed and ribald and touching and scatalogical and subversive and popular and instantly quotable all at the same time.

What are your thoughts on South Park? What’s your favorite episode? Can you point to a moment when you realized the show was about a little more than just four foul mouthed kids and actually had a point of view / something to say? Have you seen Orgazmo, Baseketball (the last great “Zucker” movie), Cannibal the Musical, or The Book of Mormon? 

The beauty of “South Park” has always been in its quasi-authenticity.
When “South Park” takes on a topic it generally arrives at a decently
rational opinion – a comedy nirvana that comes from understanding both
sides of a story and the million little nuances in between. For 17 years
they’ve tackled the popular notions with scrutiny (“Free Willzyx”), the
ridiculed with empathy (“Trapped in The Closet”) and the controversial
with levity (“Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants”).  “The Woodland Critter
Christmas” episode so delicately and perfectly eviscerated the “Special
Holiday Episode” trope that the 2nd act twist is one of my favorite
moments in television history.

Not among the favorite things in history are any of the times “South Park” dipped its toes into the interactive media space – the N64 FPS being something of a cult-classic, and “Chef’s Love Shack” trying to do the ‘Mario party’ thing, poorly, cart racers, tower defense games, and a beat em’ up, all of which have been received lukewarmly.  The problem with these titles is two-fold. For one they’re taking the look and feel and style of South Park, but none of the creative pungency that makes it so sublime. Like throwing on an Under Armor shirt and trying out for the Broncos, it looked the part but didn’t have anything beyond the surface level.

The second problem is I don’t get the sense Trey Parker and Matt Stone are very big gamers. They’ve tackled videogame related topics in “South Park” before, and have done so admirably, but generally those episodes have treated games as a sort of macguffin to arrive at a larger point – The “Chinpokomon” episode generally speaking to how fads can be good and bad, and it’s best not to get too riled up about them. Similarly, “Towlie” featured the ubiquitous Okama Gamesphere as an object of desire for the characters – but had little to say about gaming in general. The “World of Warcraft” episode is rightfully lauded, but ultimately closed with a lasting image of our South Park heroes sacrificing their lives and well being for a MMO. Even in promotion for “South Park: The Stick of Truth”, appearing on stage at E3, they deftly parodied the corporate shtick Microsoft had going on without saying too much about about actual gaming or their passion for games.

Thus I was worried “South Park: The Stick of Truth” would be missing the special sauce that makes “South Park” so…special. I was worried it would be content to look the part, toss in a few “Respect my Authoritah!”s, “Mmmkayyyy”s, “Gingers don’t have souls,”, “Don’t forget to bring a towel”s, and generally go through the motions of what “South Park” is to the masses, as opposed to what “South Park” means to the folks who really pay attention.

And so far, holy cow this game is awesome.

  • The combat feels VERY Super Mario RPG – very active and timing-focused despite being turn based.
  • The
    “South Park Heart” is here and accounted for, the music makes some
    moments sweet, others epic, and all hilarious because it’s 8 year old
    kids playing pretend. The joy of South Park is how they’re able to take
    the “Feel” of an action movie, or spy movie, or war movie, and turn it
    into an episode or some other ridiculous thing – that’s here and
    accounted for.

  • There’s also a tree-house you can climb up that overlooks South Park – there’s no objective or anything, but when you do it music swells and you feel suitably epic.
  • You can hit anyone with your weapon on the over world, this leads to some funny reactions and some cool bonuses.
  • The
    story is really good so far – there’s a WONDERFUL “audio log” parody
    during the second ‘act’ of the game. If you’ve ever played Dead Space or
    Bioshock this is a dead on.
  • I’m
    curious if the game is going to arrive at a larger, satiric point other
    than the Game of Thrones / LOTR parody stuff. It’s early going.
  • It
    LOOKS like max level is 15, and I’m about 6 now, so I’m not sure how
    long the game is – I only played four(ish) hours – I was stuck playing Thief on Xbox One (A GREAT game). 

  • Butters steals the show, as always. with things like “You’re my best friend! No one is going to make fun of you now!” popping up his Facebook wall.
  • Character customization is nuts.
  • Exploring virtual South Park is great, and the call backs to other episodes are numerous. I’m sure I missed a few.

Tomorrow: South Park: The Stick of Truth review


By Gawd, a wrestling QOTD!

Send suggestions to: [email protected]

This was sent in by Matt Hayden…

General consensus seems to be that Roman Reigns is definitely gonna get the rocket push. We all know that timing is often everything with these things, and pushing a guy too fast, or waiting too long, can mess with his heat or even cause the push to fail. 

My question is: if you were booking the Reigns ascension to the top, what’s the general gameplan and timeline you’d follow? How soon do you do the Shield split? Does he feud with Ambrose first? Do you give him a long run and a variety of feuds with the IC/US belt? When do you plan on having him regularly wrestle in main events, and, ultimately, capture the world title? Given that it seems Reigns may get to showcase himself in the Rumble, I thought now would be a good time to ask the BoD how they’d proceed with the Reigns push from here.

My only stipulation is that my question assumes the push WILL happen, so answers like, “I wouldn’t push him at all, I’d strap the rocket to Ambrose instead!” don’t cut it.

Exclusive Hour Long Matt Morgan Interview

A site I write for has recently gotten Matt Morgan to sit down for an exclusive hour long interview.  It’s completely free and only requires you to sign up for our newsletter, which only comes out once a week and includes breaking news updates.

Morgan talks about where his career is headed, the major events in WWE this year, John Cena, TNA and much more.  Again, it’s free and brand new.


Hope you enjoy it.

Tryout #2: Matt Bolin

WWE RAW – August 19, 2013 I want to let everyone know that I am open to feedback as to what you look for when you read these things. I am not much of a play by play reviewer. I prefer to discuss the story being told in the ring when I recap matches; however, I have a feeling that most of what we see tonight will require something closer to a play by play format given the nature of WWE TV and there is not much more you can do with promo segments besides calling what you see. A few years ago, I decided to follow the trend of not rating matches below ***. In these cases, I will highlight the things I found positive about matches that might have been just below that mark but I also want to say that I can be stricter at times than the general consensus. (Point of reference: I’d probably give Punk and Cena’s RAW match earlier this year closer to ***-***1/2 as opposed to the MOTYC status most people seem to place upon it). Keep in mind we watch to ultimately have fun, and I do still generally enjoy the show. – Live from Anaheim, CA which was the home for Wrestlemania XII – We start with a recap from SummerSlam two main events. My thoughts on the show last night echo that of what else has been said elsewhere. CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar right now is easily the WWE’s Match of the Year as that was a fun car wreck to watch live; however, the results of the main event have almost made it an afterthought for discussion. John Cena and Daniel Bryan delivered a strong main event that injected some nice pieces of puro vibe throughout them. The Spider Superplex into the diving headbutt might be the spot of the year, and I loved Cena’s Hansen lariat. The match nearly went south when Cena almost dropped Bryan on his head, but both guys recovered and delivered a strong finishing stretch. The HHH/Orton heel turn has been telegraphed for awhile, and Daniel Bryan is honestly more believable right now as the little guy chasing for his glory atop the mountain more so than work horse WWE champion who has to get creative against bigger, stronger opponents. – Cena opens RAW to display his disgust about the post-main event shenanigans. The Anaheim crowd decides to have none of it and continues to boo him out of the building. Cena puts over Daniel Bryan for being the better man that night and then announces that he has torn his tricep and will be leaving for surgery and will be gone for four to six months. He honestly has needed this time off for a couple of years. The crowd responds to Cena leaving with a vocal “YES” chant. Cena introduces Daniel Bryan on his way out of the ring. The crowd shows Bryan some love, but Stephanie reigns on his parade before he can say the first word. Stephanie explains that HHH is the COO of the company and what he did was best for business. She wants to lower Bryan’s expectations and let him know that he’s not “face of the company” material. Bryan references HHH’s D-X days, stating that Hunter was a rebel and going corporate has changed him. He then brings back the Attitude Era trend of calling Stephanie a prostitute and slaps the microphone out of her hand a few times. Stephanie finally has security escort Bryan out of the arena.
This was the right way to handle the first segment after last night in front of a lively smart wrestling fan crowd. Stephanie has never been great on television and really zapped some of the energy, but the crowd really gave it to her and kept this segment going. In a more Mark-friendly city, this segment would have been a lot less than what we got here. – Did You Know? WWE likes to brag about their social media accomplishments through random metrics! – Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes: No television entrance for either guy as this is billed as a rematch from last night. Sandow pounces early as both guys work a frantic pace early and rush through the opening sequence, which suggests this will not get much television time. Cody takes advantage and drops Sandow with a front suplex. Rhodes continues his onslaught with a clothesline to the floor and a snap suplex on the padded floor. Sandow fights back out of a hammerlock and shoves Rhodes out of the ring. Sandow drops a knee to the face and then drags Cody from the top rope with an overhead wrist toss (I have not been a nerd about wrestling moves in quite awhile). Back from commercial, Cody fights out of a rear chin lock to have his momentum derailed by a kitchen sink knee to Rhodes’s gut. Sandow hits the Elbow of Disdain. Cody returns to the offensive with a crisp moonsault that nearly overshoots Sandow for an awkward landing. Quick offensive flurry leads to a Cross-Rhodes attempt that gets countered. Cody shortly after hits a Disaster kick for a nearfall. Finally, Rhodes wins with a sunset flip counter into a victory roll for the victory.
Considering these two are in the middle of a program, this seemed like a thrown together t.v. match booking-wise. Crowd was apathetic towards both guys and cared more about Cody not having his mustache anymore, and the match had no real heat segments or structure to tell even a brief engaging story. Overall the intent of this match was clear: quick, inoffensive T.V. match to continue this feud. – RAW G.M. Brad Maddox announces that he will punish Dolph Ziggler by placing him in a handicap match with The Shield for his negative comments in regards to HHH after last night. The lesson here kids: do not talk negatively about your job on Social Media. – Paul Heyman decides to hold a wounded victory lap promo to remind the crowd that C.M. Punk was defeated by Brock Lesnar. Heyman commends Punk for his effort. Heyman wants to end his family feud. Heyman tells Punk that he will accept him back into the fold if Punk apologizes to him. Heyman admits that he still loves Punk and wants to take Punk to the main event of WrestleMania. – Meanwhile the Bellas and Funkadactyls remind the audience that they have a reality tv series on E. Naomi and Cameron will be in a tag match tonight. – The Funkadactyls vs. Layla & A.J. – The heels pounce early. AJ works over Naomi and ends Naomi’s attempt at a comeback with a nice spinning high leg kick. AJ’s offense consists of chin locks and hair pulls. Naomi finally counters with an enziguri and gets a pick roll up of Layla for the victory. That ended up being what you would have expected and leads to I guess a perfect time for a B.A. star ad! – Dolph Ziggler vs. The Shield – The Shield are held to tag rules for this three on one contest to give Ziggler a glimmer of hope. I love wrestling logic! Dolph outwrestles Ambrose early with his collegiate background but loses the size game and gets backed into the corner and tags in Seth Rollins. The numbers game takes its toll after Roman Reigns decks Ziggler with a lariat. Ziggler fights off the numbers games and keeps things one on one for awhile. Hits a Rocker Dropper, sends one to the floor, and attempts a corner splash on Reigns only to be speared in mid-air. The SHIELD triple powerbombs Ziggler post-match. Entertaining handicap match that told a decent story and gave the crowd a small glimmer of hope that Ziggler might beat the odds. – Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara – Another WWE message for the children courtesy of Alberto Del Rio’s eyes, stay out of bars and bar fights, kids! Seriously, his face looks ugly. Del Rio attacks early but Sin Cara counters with an arm drag. Tope Suicida to the outside leads to both guys colliding heads. Sin Cara singals to the referee immediately and stops the match. That looked like it could be bad. Del Rio frustratingly gets some cheap heel heat by attacking Sin Cara which has the referee go off on him. Del Rio cuts a promo about being the best World Heavyweight Champion of all time. Ricardo Rodriguez makes his return and says he’s grateful to not have to represent Del Rio anymore. He now represents Rob Van Dam. RVD attacks, looks for the five star frog splash, but Del Rio escapes to safer ground. – Team Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) vs. Prime Time Players – Zeb Colter continues to cut generic negative Conservative stereotype promo. Dirty Dutch is great and at times very believable in his role. Darren Young gets a small offensive flurry before tagging in Titus. JBL quickly puts over Titus O’Neill as a future WWE Champion. Titus answers to that compliment by claiming the baby face in peril role. That is kind of random considering Titus has the size and strength in the tag team. Painful looking spot with a vader bomb and double stomp spot on Titus. O’Neill finally escapes the heat segment with a NOT QUITE MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER! Hot tag to Darren Young. Northern Lights suplex gets a near fall. Ring clears of the teammates. Gut Check gets the three count to earn Primetime Players the victory.
I am a huge fan of the southern tag wrestling formula, and this served its purpose. It does not get much play, but the WWE has one of its deepest tag team divisions in ages. The tag team division just does not get the treatment that it did years ago. I guess this also marks the beginning of Darren Young’s push. – Renee Young interviews The Big Show about tag teaming with Mark Henry to win the tag team championships from The SHIELD. Brad Maddox punishes Show for negative HHH comments with a three on one match against the SHIELD with all three members allowed in the ring at the same time. – Zack Ryder gets actual air time on RAW to advertise for WWE’s Footlocker campaign. FAAAAAAHN DAAAAAHHHHNN GOOOOO crashes the party and decides he wants to dance in the shoes. – Another video recap of last night’s main event. Meanwhile, Ryback continues his anti-B.A. star campaign by bullying some poor jobber. – Big Show vs. The SHIELD – Show takes care of all three members and lets Roman Reigns discover the receiving end of a spear. The crowd popped big for that one. Ambrose tries to regroup by going for a sleeper. Show falls backwards to kill that attempt. Show then stands on Rollins’s back. Show continues to fight them off, but the numbers game gets the better of Show as Reigns returns with a spear of his own. Seth Rollins hits a flying knee to Show’s head off the top rope. Triple Powerbomb is enough to keep Big Show down. The SHIELD continues to be one of the better booked aspects of the WWE right now. For another short t.v. handicap match, Show’s size did a great job of teasing the great equalizer. – Did You Know? The WWE still prints a Magazine! – It’s CM Punk promo time! Punk sells last night’s match on the way to the ring. Punk starts talking about last night, but then gets annoyed by an obnoxious fan in the crowd. The crowd pops huge for Punk putting the guy in his place. I love that Punk is going for being in a shoot foul mood. Punk admits that he is not cleared to fight tonight, but he is in his gear because that is all he knows. Punk then invites Heyman face to face to receive his apology. Heyman comes to the ramp with Curtis Axel at his side. He apologizes for not injuring Heyman further than he did last night. This feud really has brought the best out of Punk, and Heyman is the ultimate shill guy. Heyman tells Axel to prepare for a fight and then also acknowledges the guy in the crowd (plant?) as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial, Punk strikes Axel with knees early. Punk’s injuries get the better of him as Axel begins to work him over. Axel sends Punk into the barricade and strikes away at a downed Punk. Punk finally backdrops Curtis Axel into the time keeper’s chair, fakes going after Heyman, and then turns around and dives back at Axel. Punk gives Axel the ring bell to the midsection, looks for the Go To Sleep but Axel counters and chops at Punk’s knee. Axel works over Punk’s knee. Axel looks to Pilmanize Punk’s knee with the chair as Heyman screams to break his leg. Punk gets out of the way and fights off Axel with the steel chair before tossing him twice into the steel steps and using the Steps in place of his knee for an emphatic Go to Sleep. Heyman glares at Punk as the segment ends. These two continue to be the only highlight of RAW not involving Daniel Bryan. – We get our ‘x’ reminder that Randy Orton’s coronation as WWE Champion will be tonight. – Bray Wyatt vs. R-Truth – Is it me or does Truth’s hairline suggest that he needs to change his hair style away from the dreads? Truth strikes away early but Wyatt quickly takes advantage and screams to the crowd to “Witness the new face of Fear!” Bray continues to sell the gimmick. Bray finished Truth for the win. Standard Squash stuff here to put over the Wyatts. – We get the first promo video for Primo and Epico’s repackaging as Los Matadores. – 3MB (Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal) vs. The Usos – Heath Slater decides to do a couple of leaping air guitar taunts in the early going. Quick tags by the members of 3MB work over Jimmy Uso. Mahal provides most of the offense and hits a small flurry of knee drops. Enizguri by Jimmy Uso allows for the hot tag to Jey Uso. Flying Shoulder Tackle by Jey Uso followed by a butt bump to Mahal in the corner gets a near fall broken up by Heath Slater. Side kick takes out Jinder as Jey tags Jimmy while performing a tope to the remaining 3MB members on the floor. Jimmy Uso performs a top rope splash finishes off Mahal for the victory. I am amused by Heath Slater and 3MB for about thirty seconds. After that, their matches feel like an eternity. This match was no exception to that rule. – The Miz vs. Wade Barrett – Barrett kicks Miz to start and works over a headlock. Barrett continues with a shoulder block and allows Miz to get a brief exchange of his own before Barrett takes back over with a boot for a two count. Miz sold that awkwardly. After Miz lands awkwardly on his neck, Barrett begins to work it over and then knees Miz in the head a couple of times before booting him out of the ring. Back in the ring, Barrett gets two and then works over a chin lock. Comeback segment for Miz allows for a modified sunset flip for a two count. Miz begins a comeback with a running crossbody and a clothesline. He drapes Barrett’s leg over the second rope and works over the hamstring. A quick exchange of both guys leads to a figure four. Fandango ends the match with a leg drop off the top rope to give Miz a DQ victory.
These two had a good TV match on the RAW after Wrestlemania. At times, you could see glimpses of that chemistry. All in all this was too short to really mean much and featured too many chinlocks for a match this length. – Brad Maddox informs Stephanie McMahon that Daniel Bryan has returned to the building. – Main Event McMahon Family Celebration Time! The Shield represents your security/bouncers for the evening by guarding the ring as the other WWE Superstars stand on the ramp. Vince McMahon makes his first TV appearance of the night. Vince commends HHH for doing the right thing and seeing the light. Crowd gives it to HHH with “You Sold Out” chants. At least this crowd is awake. They have not had much to cheer about with this show. HHH explains his actions as trying to preserve the WWE long term. He is about continuing the McMahon family legacy. Hunter says he is a fan of Daniel Bryan. He did not like doing what he had to do. He calls him “a very good little technician” and he “deserved to win.” HHH says he has a hard time picturing Daniel Bryan as the face of the WWE and WWE Champion. Hunter says that this crowd deserves A plus. What do you call most of this show tonight, Hunter? I think I will go with about a D plus. WE DESERVE BETTER!
Hunter admits burying his hatred of Orton to do what’s right for business. He still has no love loss for Randy Orton. HHH introduces Randy Orton as the “coal that has now become the diamond.” Stephanie and Orton embrace, which is rather creepy given the history within the realm of the WWE history. Orton says he warned everyone they would not see it coming. He admits to owing all of his success to HHH and then orders the crowd to show him some respect. HHH offers Daniel Bryan to come meet him face to face and have a good cry. HHH gets the crowd to start a “Yes” chant and play his music. The Shield attack Bryan as he tries to enter the ring. Bryan fights off, but the numbers game takes its toll. Bryan destroys Rollins with a head kick and then stalks his way back to the ring. Reigns performs his third spear of the evening as The Shield all attack Bryan. HHH stops The Shield from doing the triple power bomb and begs him into the ring and references “fighting spirit.” As soon as Bryan makes the ring, he eats an RKO from Bryan as the McMahon family stands victorious atop of Daniel Bryan. Remember kids. B.A. Star! – Final Thoughts: I honestly cannot say that I blame Scott for finally throwing in the towel. This show feels even longer when writing about it. I think it is easy to see that WWE Creative is a little lossed when it comes to piecing together a strong show right now that does not involve CM Punk/Paul Heyman or Daniel Bryan. Most RAW’s could afford to lose the third hour. Tonight’s show would not have missed ninety minutes worth of it. The crowd had to find ways to entertain itself throughout the night, and this RAW lacked the one decent work rate 20 minute match in the second hour that normally helps. The Shield stuff was fun for Roman Reigns trifecta of spears, and the McMahon/Daniel Bryan stuff began its build to where we figure it will go: Daniel Byan’s chase for glory. John Cena deserves the time away and has for a solid two years to recover, but the WWE is hurting for top level talent right now once you get passed CM Punk and Daniel Bryan as the top two active babyfaces (that is awkward in itself) and Randy Orton as the newly established top heel. I guess Vince needs to find a scapegoat for when Monday Night Football returns and RAW’s ratings begins to drop further.

Matt Borne passes away

Doink was one of the more original, and great characters of the WWE. A shame they went the safe route with him after a while.

He was a bit before my time, but I loved using him in the RAW game for the SNES. Especially his super-move where he’d roll you into a ball and punt you out of the ring.

Matt Hardy and Stevie Richards Interview

Hey Scott,
I realize your hatred for ECW and especially every reincarnation that keeps tainting whatever legacy the original left behind…but I have a double header of EXTREME soundbytes that you and your readers might enjoy. Matt Hardy and Stevie Richards stopped by W.H.I..P. Temple Update Wednesday morning to talk everything from Vince being a "psychotic genius" to wrestlers wearing shirts in the ring "not being wrestlers."
Both interviews are at http://jjpowerhour.wordpress.com/extreme-rising/
Shane Douglas will be on Friday at 10 a.m. EST on W.H.I.P. on IHeartRadio
Thanks a bunch!

"Hatred" is a strong word.  Perhaps it's more that I didn't treat ECW and Heyman with the slavish devotion that the idiot hardcore mutant fanbase did, and there was a lot of people who e-mailed me on a constant basis who were too blinded by their own fandom to realize that I was right and they were stupid.  But I wouldn't say "hatred" as such.

Matt Goes To Jail Now

http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/96-wwe/23054-matt-hardy-jailed-after-accusation-of-breaking-terms-of-probation Did you ever think we’d get to the point where Jeff was looking like the stable and sensible one in comparison?  On the bright side, Matt once made a big show of revealing his million dollar savings account on Youtube, so now he can put it to good use until he’s tried and given an even longer sentence.  I don’t foresee any 10 day slap on the wrist for Matt, and I don’t foresee any happy ending to the story, either.  Can we trace this all back to Edge stealing his girlfriend, do you think?

Matt Goes To Jail Now

http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/96-wwe/23054-matt-hardy-jailed-after-accusation-of-breaking-terms-of-probation Did you ever think we’d get to the point where Jeff was looking like the stable and sensible one in comparison?  On the bright side, Matt once made a big show of revealing his million dollar savings account on Youtube, so now he can put it to good use until he’s tried and given an even longer sentence.  I don’t foresee any 10 day slap on the wrist for Matt, and I don’t foresee any happy ending to the story, either.  Can we trace this all back to Edge stealing his girlfriend, do you think?

Matt Goes To Jail Now

http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/96-wwe/23054-matt-hardy-jailed-after-accusation-of-breaking-terms-of-probation Did you ever think we’d get to the point where Jeff was looking like the stable and sensible one in comparison?  On the bright side, Matt once made a big show of revealing his million dollar savings account on Youtube, so now he can put it to good use until he’s tried and given an even longer sentence.  I don’t foresee any 10 day slap on the wrist for Matt, and I don’t foresee any happy ending to the story, either.  Can we trace this all back to Edge stealing his girlfriend, do you think?