Mike Reviews – “The Summer of 96” – Final Part – ECW Heatwave 1996 (13th July 1996)

Bonjourrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr ya cheese eatin’ surrender monkeys!

Next week we’ve got a Stinker Review on the docket, but first we must close out our journey to the Summer of 1996 with a trip to our old friends from Philly. ECW was on a pretty decent hot streak at the time, although they couldn’t get on pay per view despite Paul Heyman’s many attempts. I used to have the Laserlight Digital cut of this show and I liked it so much I eventually shelled out for the RF Video version just so I could watch it with the real music left intact.

The big stories during this time period were Raven’s feud with The Sandman, which involved Raven quite literally stealing Sandman’s family from him in a super dark storyline that hit all kinds of nerves but never really had much in the way of a satisfying payoff due to Raven needing to divert course to feud with Terry Funk when 1997 came around.

Elsewhere, Taz was in the middle of his “Path of Rage”, where he’d destroy absolutely everyone on route to a big match with his nemesis Sabu. Shane Douglas was trying to connive his way to the ECW TV Title whilst also trying to avoid getting killed by the angry Pitbull’s. D-Von Dudley was trying to wrest control of The Dudley Family from his brother Big Dick.

And in the tag division Da Gangsta’s, The Eliminators, The Samoan Gangsta Party and The Bruise Brothers all hated one another and were feuding amongst themselves in various combinations, with it all building to a Four Way Dance on a future show for the tag belts themselves.

So yeah, lots going on and this show was sure to continue it. It also has genuinely one of the all-time greatest ECW matches on it, so let’s quit our jibber-jabber and watch some chuffing wrestling!

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Mike Reviews – “The Summer of 96” – Part Two – WCW Bash at the Beach 1996

Hello You

The Summer of 96 reviews continue, as we look at WCW’s most memorable effort of that Summer in the form of Bash at the Beach 1996. If I were Scott I’d now make a joke that the show was so memorable because it had Joe Gomez on it, but sadly Scott has beaten me to that veritable goldmine so I’ll have to just persevere with posting obscure references to British comedy shows.

Anyway, the real reason this show is so well known is because it featured a gigantic SWERVE in the Main Event that helped turn WCW around from being in a distant second place to the WWF all the way to being the top dog in American Wrestling.

Kevin Nash and Scott Hall decided to leave the WWF and take up Eric Bischoff’s offer of some cushy WCW deals. Rather than just bring them in like they were new guys though, Bischoff instead decided that no one would buy that because Nash and Hall had been such prominent members of the WWF’s upper-card for the past couple of years.

Thus, rather than ignoring all of that WWF backstory, WCW decided to just acknowledge that these two guys were big stars in the WWF and now they’d come to WCW to try and have their run of the place. This allowed WCW to present Nash and Hall almost as an invading force, which combined with the fact they started kicking some monumental arse got them instantly over as a dangerous Heel threat.

Bash at the Beach was to be their first official in-ring match in WCW since returning, and they had an ace up their sleeve in the form of a mystery third man that they promised they would reveal at the show itself. As a result of the (frankly excellent) storytelling going on each week on Nitro, WCW had a lot of interest going into The Bash. The question was, would they deliver a mystery third man worth talking about?

Let’s watch on and find out!

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Mike Reviews – AEW Double or Nothing 2021 (30th May 2021) – Part One

Good Day one and all!

I have had a request or two over the years to review some AEW, but I’ve never done it mainly because AEW has traditionally been a show/company that I’ve enjoyed just for me and writing about it would almost make it feel like work in a strange way.

However, I decided I’d try this at least once on the off chance I have something interesting to say about it. If I don’t then I’ll go back to just watching the product as a fan, but if this goes well and people like it then I might review some more AEW down the line, but it’s not going to be a regular occurrence or anything like that.

I’m going to be splitting this over 2-3 weeks here in my Wednesday slot, as I felt that with Andy PG, Thomas Hall and Scott Keith reviewing the show at the time it happened it would have been reaching overkill for me to review it too. Hopefully this way there’s been sufficient time for everything to breathe and it isn’t too much AEW to chew on.

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Mike Reviews – “The Summer of 96” – Part One – WWF King of the Ring

Hello You!

Over the next three weeks all the reviews are going to have a theme, in that all of the events I will be reviewing will have all taken part in the summer of 1996. We’ll be journeying to the WWF, stopping off in WCW and then finishing our trip by paying a visit to ECW.

This week we’re starting off with the WWF and their King of the Ring event from June 1996. I went with KOTR over the other two pay per view events the WWF put on that summer because it’s probably the overall best of the three and we also get to see Stone Cold Steve Austin taking a step to becoming the biggest star in the entire industry, which should give us an interesting angle to view the show from if nothing else.

I’ll be watching the Silver Vision Tagged Classics version of the show over the WWE Network cut, mainly because I think the Silver Vision version doesn’t dub out “Don’t Go Messin’ Wit A Country Boy”, and if I’m going to suffer through a Godwinn’s match then I at least want to enjoy the only part of their act that I actually liked.

This show was originally supposed to be a real coming out party for Triple H, as he’d win the tournament and no doubt go on to get a sizeable push for the rest of the summer as a result. However, The Curtain Call incident at MSG put a stop to that, as Triple H was the only one of the four that Vince McMahon could actually punish for it, so poor Tri saw his reign as King snuffed out before it could even start. And thus, the wrestling world never heard of Triple H ever again…

Aside from the tournament itself, we’ve got a wacky storyline in the Main Event where Davey Boy Smith’s is challenging Shawn Michaels, Goldust is defending the IC Title against an enraged Ahmed Johnson and Mankind is having his first ever pay per view encounter with The Undertaker. So yeah, there’s a lot on the docket, so let’s stop chatting wham and watch some chuffing wrestling!

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Mike Reviews – NJPW Nexess VI – Part Three (Matches 7-9)

Konnichiwa!

It’s time to close out this New Japan review, as we watch the final three matches from the Nexess VI show at the Tokyo Dome from May 2005.

This week we’ve got Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shinsuke Nakamura, Jushin Liger, Masahiro Chono and Mistuharu Misawa all involved in some matches, so hopefully we get a good mixture of match quality and star power.

The event has been pretty so-so thus far, and hasn’t really felt “Dome Worthy”, so I’m hoping we at least get a strong closing stretch at the very least.

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Mike Reviews – Pro Wrestling NOAH Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial Show (31st May 2021)

Konnichiwa!

Back with another NOAH review, because YOU demanded it! (Well, a few people did at least)

Mistuharu Misawa formed NOAH in 2000 after taking the majority of the All Japan Pro Wrestling roster and setting up a brand new company. In an absolute tragedy he passed away during a match in June 2009, so this is an event to honour his memory by the company he founded.

I’m a big Misawa fan, even to the point that I reached maximum nerd level in my younger days by being able to recreate spots of his move for move on the Virtual Pro Wrestling 2 video game. One of my fondest memories from attending a wrestling show was seeing him wrestle at the Coventry Sky Dome in 2008.

This is up on FITE right now and has English commentary, so if you’re curious about the product and fancy giving it a try, there’s really no better time. It’s a step up from having to buy tapes either online or from Extreme Central UK in Manchester like I had to do back in the day that’s for sure!

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Mike Reviews – NJPW Nexess VI – Part Two (Matches 4-6)

Konnichiwa!

More from New Japan’s Tokyo Dome Show from May 2005!

Last week, Toru Yano and Togi Makabe took on Osamu Nishimura and Yutaka Yoshie in a bland opener, Minoru Suzuki massacred poor Alexander Otsuka in a fun Shoot-Style collision and we closed off with Hirooki Goto getting a heart-warming big win in a very good Junior Heavyweight tag team bout.

This week we cover matches 4 to 6, featuring the likes of Tiger Mask IV, Yuji Nagata and Keiji Muto in action, so if you like those guys then stay tuned!

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Mike Reviews – WWF Judgment Day 2000

Hello You!

This week we’re looking at what I like to call a “Heels Over Show”, which is basically a show where the heels win most of the matches because it’s what the current storylines of the day call for so sufficient heat can be built for the eventual blow off. Normally you get a mixture of Heel and Face wins, but occasionally a show comes along where everything just aligns that you need to have a heavy dose of heel victories in order to keep things cooking.

Of course if your company is on a hot streak, like the WWF was in 2000, then you can have a few Heels Over Shows now and then because the fan base will have faith that the Faces will eventually rally and will thus put up with a depressing evening or two now and then in order to get the satisfaction down the road. However, if your company is cold then Heels Over Shows can sometimes be absolute poison to a fan base who is already starting to get a bit tired of things, especially if the Faces are a bunch of chumps who the fans don’t believe in. This is a trap WCW fell into and it ended up contributing to their eventual demise.

Coming in to this show, the WWF had just blown the roof off the joint at Backlash by having Rock finally dethrone Super Heel WWF Champ Triple H. It was time for Triple H to finally look at the lights after solidly dominating the top of the card for as long as he had been, but he was due his rematch and the WWF decided to up the ante by making it a 60 Minute Iron Man match.

Meanwhile, Big Show had gone babyface post WrestleMania and was doing a decent stab at being a fun loving Giant. However, former manager Shane McMahon had taken umbrage with this, setting up a match between them. The Dudley Boyz had started doing a gimmick early in the year where they had put women through tables, which had got them hugely over with the misogynistic Attitude Era crowd. However, Heel valet Tori had currently eluded them thus far, so they were looking to rectify that here.

The other big match on the under card is Chris Benoit defending his Intercontinental Title against Chris Jericho. The two had traded the belt post-Mania and this was another chapter in that feud. Aside from that we’ve got a mostly thrown together six man tag opener and an all Heel triple threat match for the European Title.

So yeah, if seeing bad guys get their day in the sun is something you like the sound of, settle in and enjoy the show!

I’m still on my physical media kick at the moment due to being a bit sour on the WWE Network, so I’m watching the official Silver Vision release of the show that was released over here in the UK back in 2000 (Main Event aside, which I’ve reviewed before and am just pasting in) so if there are any particular differences between my review and what’s up there then that’s why.

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Mike Reviews – NJPW Nexess VI – Part One (Matches 1-3)

Konnichiwa!

I’ve recently picked up some New Japan shows from their “dark period” in the 00’s, and this Tokyo Dome event was one of them, so I’ll be chopping it up and reviewing it over the next few weeks in my regular Wednesday slot here on the Blog of DOOM. I’ll probably separate it into three parts as the show has nine matches, but I’ll be flexible with that and amend it if and when I need to.

New Japan Pro Wrestling was pretty much on its arse from about 2002 to 2006 until Hiroshi Tanahashi won the top belt and rescued them from disintegration.  The issues were myriad, with Antonio Inoki’s scattershot stop-start booking being the biggest, along with a fascination of signing up guys from MMA and pushing them over all the regular roster members, whether they could actually work or not.

Even though this was a pretty miserable period for the company I’ve always been kind of fascinated by it, and because 2003ish was when I first really became aware of New Japan this era holds the slimmest slice of nostalgia for me as well. At the very least we should get a few good matches here if the line-up is anything to go by, so let’s watch the first three matches!

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Mike Reviews – WCW Capital Combat: Return of RoboCop (19/05/1990)

Hello You!

I haven’t watched this one in a while and I’ve always enjoyed it, so I decided to make it the show I review this week. I’m actually watching the UK version of the Turner Home Entertainment official VHS result for this one as opposed to the WWE Network version.

The main reasons I’m watching this version of the show are that it’s shorter, it doesn’t dub out some of the music (meaning we get “The Chase” for the Midnight Express’ entrance) and (at the time of writing this) the WWE has done a pretty lousy job with the move over to Peacock so, even though we still get the full version of the Network over here in the UK, the whole situation has left me with a bit of a sour taste so I’ve been on a bit of a physical media kick as a result.

Plus, I finally got a replacement remote for my VCR, so reviewing just became a lot more convenient as I don’t have to keep getting up to pause/rewind the tape on the actual VCR itself. There’s also that additional nostalgia factor of sitting down and watching a tape on a real VCR that takes me back to watching my wrestling tapes as a kid that I kind of like. I obviously won’t be swearing off The Network forever or anything, but right now I’m enjoying a bit of a blast from the past.

This show took place in the May of 1990, with current top babyface Sting out on the shelf with a knee injury due to a botched spot where he tried to climb a cage to get at The Horsemen. As a result of not really having any challengers for World Champ Ric Flair, Lex Luger was turned back babyface to feud with him. Of course this presented some additional issues for WCW, because Flair had given Sting his word that he’d be getting the belt from him once he was healthy, which meant Luger wouldn’t be getting it in this feud. Luger had failed multiple times in the past to defeat Flair for the Title though, so yet another failure wasn’t exactly going to do wonders for his “choker” image.

For this show they did at least give Luger a bit of an out by having him sell a leg injury, with the story being that he shouldn’t really be competing in the match but he was going to do it anyway because he was so gosh darn brave. You’d think that a stoppage finish where Luger’s leg went out and the referee ended it rather than Luger having to quit himself would be the most likely ending to the match seeing as it would be a way for him to lose without looking weak due to the match being in a cage, but WCW had other ideas (Oh my DID they!).

WCW had also been saddled with having to bring in RoboCop onto the show as RoboCop 2 was due to hit cinemas. Thus they had to pretend that RoboCop was an actual real super cop and not just some dude in a costume, which was overly silly even for something like wrestling. They couldn’t even get Peter Weller in to do it either, so it really is just a random bloke in the costume!

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Mike Reviews – Transatlantic Wrestling Challenge – Episode 1

Alright Squirrels!

Transatlantic Wrestling Challenge was something put together by NWA: Hammerlock back in 2000, with the idea being that it’s 8 wrestlers from Britain and 8 from America in a big tournament. I wasn’t actually able to watch it back in the day as it was shown on ITV 2 and this was prior to Freeview and whatnot, so if you were like my family didn’t have satellite or cable telly, then you were stuffed.

Someone has uploaded it to YouTube though, so I’ll review an episode of it this week and if ya’ll enjoy it then I might return to it at some point. There are only six episodes I think. If you want to watch along with me then you can do by clicking right HERE.

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Mike Reviews – ECW Hostile City Showdown (20/04/1996)

Hello You!

Back with another classic ECW review, as I’ve been meaning to watch this one again for a while and now seemed like as good a time as any.

1996 was a hot year for ECW from a creative perspective, with Taz’s “Path of Rage” and Raven’s feud with The Sandman being notable highlights. Most of the year was spent trying to finally get the company on to pay per view, with things like the Mass Transit incident delaying it until 1997. The product had a good mix of brawls, character work and wrestling still though, and when I first became aware of the company in 1999 I had a lot of fun going back to hoover up some of the better shows from the companies 96 prime.

Going into this show, Raven was the ECW World Champ and was still embroiled in multiple issues with the likes of Tommy Dreamer and Shane Douglas. Dreamer had recently stolen Raven’s girlfriend Beulah away from him, so Raven had in-turn shacked up with Kimona Wanalaya, although he made it clear more than once that he was still in love with Beulah and didn’t have much time for Kimona outside of a purely physical relationship. As a result that relationship fizzled and Kimona actually ended up with Douglas, as this was before Douglas had taken on Francine as his valet.

Douglas had been kind of a tweener since coming back to ECW following a failed stint in the WWF, in that he was still as disgusting and despicable human being, but he also was feuding with guys like Raven and occasionally even helping out Dreamer from time to time, even though it was mostly for selfish reasons. It was very much “shades of grey, bro”, but in 96 that concept hadn’t been beaten into the ground yet, and because Raven was such a clear villain and Dreamer was a clear face, it worked having Douglas in the middle pulling the strings.

Elsewhere, Taz had gone heel at the end of 1995 due to the fans welcoming Sabu back to the promotion, and he was tearing through everyone in a vicious manner on route to an eventual collision with his former tag team partner. Sabu was a bit busy feuding with Rob Van Dam at the time though, so his eventual blow off with Taz would have to wait.

Going into Hostile City Showdown, the two main matches were scheduled to be Rob Van Dam facing off with Sabu and Raven defending his World Title against Douglas, with Tommy Dreamer taking on Raven’s hired thug “Bulldozer” Brian Lee in the under card. It was a pretty stacked show and there was good interest for it as a result, especially as Douglas had been teasing that he would reveal the identity of a supposed secret lover of Beulah.

Will the big matches deliver? Let’s watch on and find out!

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Mike Reviews – On The Mat (17th March 1981)

Greetings Friends!

This week we’re going back to On The Mat, an NWA affiliated show from New Zealand that was mostly built around “Maniac” Mark Lewin. I enjoyed it well enough last time and the episodes are only half an hour long, so it’s not like it’s going to eat into too much of my time.

If you’d like to watch along you can do so by clicking right HERE

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Mike Reviews – WWF UK Rampage 1991 (24/04/1991)

Hello You!

I was digging around in DVD collection and found this show, and decided that I fancied watching it again as I hadn’t seen it in a while, hence it’s the show I’m reviewing this week. I actually have it as part of the Silver Vision Video “Tagged Classics” series, where Silver Vision (The UK distributer of WWF/E videos for many years) would pack in two shows together in one box. The good thing about these is that they usually don’t bother doing any dubbing or whatnot, so you usually get the original music and they never bothered editing out the Attitude Era “scratch” logo either back when WWE had to do that.

This event took place on the usual spring European tour that the WWF used to do, with it essentially being a televised house show that they showed on Sky Movies over here as a special. There’s nothing mind blowing on the under card from a star power perspective, but we’ve got a WrestleMania VII rematch in the Main Event as Hulk Hogan defends the WWF Title against Sgt Slaughter, which is kind of a big deal.

The WWF was pretty hot in the UK at the time and they would of course run Wembley Stadium for Summer Slam the following year, so hopefully that means the crowd is jazzed for some wrestling action. I had a look at the card on CageMatch and apparently William Regal worked a dark match opener, although it didn’t lead to him getting a deal and he ended up in WCW by 1993.

Anyway, that’s enough chatter, let’s get a brew on the go and sit down to some chuffing wrestling!

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Mike Reviews – NOAH The Glory (29/04/2021)

Konichiwa!

I’ve really gone off the boil with New Japan recently, ever since the shenanigans with Ibushi and the briefcase in all honesty, but NOAH has done a nice job of stepping in to scratch my Puro itch instead. This card intrigued me enough to slap down the cash to purchase it on FITE and, seeing as I’ve got a rare day off scheduled, I decided I’d sit down with a nice cuppa and maybe a cheeky biccie to watch the show.

If you’d like some info on the backstory then there’s an article below that you can click on which goes into detail on the three Title matches. I’ll also try and relay anything that the commentary team throws my way too.

https://lastwordonsports.com/prowrestling/2021/04/28/preview-pro-wrestling-noah-presents-noah-the-glory-04-29-21/

Anyway, enough chatter, let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!

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Mike Reviews – Eastern Championship Wrestling (17/08/1993)

Hey to the hey ya’ll!

This week we’re going to go way back to 1993, when ECW was yet to become “Extreme” and was still essentially a Tri-State territory called Eastern Championship Wrestling. It wasn’t until 1994 that they finally changed the name following the whole NWA World Title tournament thing.

I picked this episode mainly because it’s got Eddie Gilbert in all his wacky pomp, and indeed it wasn’t long after this that he got punted from the company and Paul Heyman got control of the pencil. I’ve always really liked Gilbert, so I’m welcome for any excuse to watch something involving him.

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Mike Reviews – California Championship Wrestling (3rd August 1986)

Wow, I think even the SEGA Saturn had a more successful launch over here in the West than the European Super League did!

Brother brocore suggested this one in the comments a couple of weeks back so I decided to give it a go. I’m not sure on the exact date of this show, and I’m not sure the uploader even is either, with 3rd of August being a guess on their part. Dave Newman has already had a bash at reviewing a show from this company, and you can read what he thought of a show from June 1986 by clicking right HERE

I’m not entirely sure on the backstory of CCW, but this features Rocky Johnson and Jimmy Snuka, so it at least has some star power if nothing else.

Anyway, let’s watch some chuffing wrestling

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Mike Reviews – WWF Backlash 1999 + Sunday Night HeAT (25/04/1999)

Hello You!

I reviewed WCW’s April 99 offering last week, so I decided I’d take a glance at what the WWF was doing at the same time, and as an additional bonus I’ll also be watching the Sunday Night HeAT preview show prior to the pay per view portion of the event.

WrestleMania XV had been a bit of a bust for the WWF, as last minute changes to the match card destroyed a chunk of interesting storylines and most of the bouts failed to deliver. It was crash TV of the Attitude Era at its absolute worst.

Thankfully the Main Event between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin was at least a good match, and fans were suitably interested in seeing the two rematch with one another. To set that up The Rock and Shane McMahon teamed up to steal Stone Cold’s “Smoking Skull” Title belt, and then Rock upped the ante even further by flinging Austin into a river!

As for the under card, The Undertaker had been making unwanted advances to Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie, so Vince had enlisted the help of Ken Shamrock to try and take Undertaker down. Meanwhile, Triple H had turned on D-X to go Corporate, setting up a match with former stablemate X-Pac.

The other major match of the under card was Big Show Vs Mankind, with Mankind looking for payback on Show after the big man sent him to the hospital at Mania. Big Show had just started working as a babyface though, so they would do battle in a Boiler Room Brawl so as to ensure that Big Show wouldn’t get booed by the fans.

These top matches, combined with what looked to be a solid selection of bouts elsewhere on the card, suggested that Backlash would be one of the WWF’s better pay per view offerings of 99, but would they stick the landing?

Let’s read on and find out!

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Mike Reviews – Southwest Championship Wrestling – August 1983

Hello You!

Chael Sonnen’s Coke Dealer suggested giving this a go in the comments section last week, so I had a search over on YouTube and picked a show at random. You can watch along with me if you like by clicking HERE.

Southwest Championship Wrestling was based out of San Antonio and run by Joe Blanchard (The father of Tully and grandfather of Tessa). Southwest was apparently the first ever promotion to get a slot on the USA Network, but Vince McMahon ended up bring an end to that by flashing his nickers at USA and getting Southwest dropped for All American Wrestling.

I have no idea what to expect here, so let’s watch some chuffing wrestling and find out!

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