The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–07.22.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.22.96 Season six of Sons of Anarchy finally wrapped up this weekend in our household, and MAN did that finale suck. Someone should have told Kurt Sutter that just because FX offers you a two-hour slot for the finale, you don’t have to take a 40 minute episode and stretch it out by having everyone make dramatic pauses in between lines. And quite the downer for the season to end on, as well. I found most of it pretty rambling and low-stakes once the whole Lee Toric thing was dealt with and I’d call it the second-worst season after the Belfast one. Especially with every episode being overly long like they were. But hey, we’ve got one season left, so hopefully it wraps up nicely. Live from Seattle, WA. This is actually shot like a full arena setup, even with only a 7000 seat capacity for this taping, which gives the show a much bigger feel than it’s been having lately. Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler WWF tag titles: The Smoking Gunns vs. Shawn Michaels & Ahmed Johnson It’s Shawn’s birthday, so Sunny brings a cake with her to celebrate. She likely gave him another birthday present in the locker room beforehand as well, if you know what I mean. By which I mean a nice watch. The Gunns attack on the floor to start, before Shawn can even get his pyro, so Sunny tries to throw the cake in his face and suffers the fickle hand of irony when Ahmed dumps it on her instead. I’m sure he probably dumped another load of something onto her in the locker room, if you know what I mean. By which I mean he had sex with her. So this doesn’t happen, although Gorilla announces after the break that it will be delayed until later in the show…OR ELSE. Marc Mero vs. The Goon The next great uber-jobber gimmick debuts, as apparently Bill Irwin REALLY needed the cash. The Goon attacks with some hipchecks in the corner and an elbow. The touches with the character are kind of funny, actually, like the faux-Devils jersey and skate-shaped boots, but man what a stupid idea overall. Goon with a clothesline and high knee in the corner as Goon takes a ridiculous amount of the offense here and Jake Roberts calls in for an interview while Lawler mocks him on commentary. Mero finally comes back with a dropkick and a rollup for two. Meanwhile, Steve Austin on commentary gets an epic burial of Lex Luger and the time they “painted a school bus red white and blue so someone could go around kissing babies”, and he suggests giving HIM a bus so he could go town to town and whip everyone’s ass. Meanwhile, Goon goes to the chinlock, but Mero comes back with a sloppy headscissors that they manage to mess up, but Goon cuts him off AGAIN and dumps him to the floor. Goon charges and slips on the remains of the cake, and Mero hits him with the somersault plancha and finishes with a slingshot legdrop at 7:15. This was a DISASTER. -* Meltzer details a story about then-wrestler Scott D’Amore doing the same gimmick and making the mistake of telling the WWF about it, only to see them never call him back and then debut the exact same gimmick two weeks later. Meanwhile, Clarence Mason presses Gorilla Monsoon to allow a mysterious former convict to compete in the WWF again. Mankind vs. Freddie Joe Floyd And here’s Tracy Smothers, the next in the line of goofy jobbers. Mankind with the usual dismantling of Floyd, but he misses a charge and Floyd makes the comeback with the enzuigiri and a flying elbow for two. Rollup gets two. Floyd goes up again and Mankind brings him down with the Mandible Claw at 3:49 to finish. Energetic little squash. ** Goldust vs. Barry Horowitz Brian Pillman is on commentary and promises to say the “seven words” at some point. Well Russo wasn’t booking quite yet, otherwise he might have. Goldust finishes quickly with the Curtain Call at 2:10. Pillman is quite excited for the prospect of a three-way with Marlena and Sable before Vince quickly cuts him off and moves on. Vader announces that he’s getting a title shot at Summerslam, and he’s the bully who’s gonna steal Shawn’s lunch money, and by lunch money he’s metaphorically referring to the WWF title. WWF tag titles: The Smoking Gunns vs. Shawn Michaels & Ahmed Johnson Take two. Shawn slugs Billy down to start and clotheslines him to the floor, and Ahmed comes in to work on the arm as we take a break. Back with Bart getting a cheapshot on Ahmed to take over, but Shawn comes in and runs wild on Billy until Bart clotheslines him on the top rope to slow him down again. Press slam onto the top rope follows. Shawn bumping around the ring as face-in-peril is the role he was born to play. The Gunns beat on him outside and Billy gets two in the ring, and we get the classic cutting the ring in half heel tactics from the Gunns. And it ALWAYS WORKS. The fans in the front row are just enraged as we take a break. Back with the wide shot of the arena, where you can see it’s scaled to just the one side like a low-level concert bowl setup. Why ruin the illusion? Billy with the corner clothesline for two and he goes to the chinlock, but Shawn fights out and noggins are knocked. HOT tag Ahmed, as the asskicking babyface half of the tag team is a role that Ahmed was born to play as well, and he cleans house in impressive fashion until FAAROOQ debuts in his gladiator gear and attacks Ahmed on the floor for the DQ at 16:00. I have no idea who thought that look would be a good idea. ***1/2 Also, why would Ron Simmons let himself balloon to 300 pounds like that just before getting a big contract and push? The Pulse Big crowd and hot main event make this is a much easier show to sit through than recent weeks.

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–07.15.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.15.96 Back to RAW, because why not? Taped from Green Bay, WI, thankfully for the last show from this cycle. Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler Intercontinental title: Ahmed Johnson vs. Bart Gunn Pretty long stall to start and Ahmed controls with hiptosses until Bart cheats to take over. Bart goes to work on the arm and man isn’t that thrilling. Ahmed fights out of the hammerlock and misses a charge, which gives Bart two. Aaaaaaaaand…Bart goes back to working on the arm again. Ahmed gets a powerslam for two and we take a break, returning with Bart back in control with a flying bulldog for two. However, Ahmed has had enough and finishes with the spinebuster and Pearl River Plunge at 13:40 just like that. Frankly I’m shocked they had enough “highlights” to put together a replay at the end. It was literally all Bart lying on the mat working on an armbar for 10 minutes. * Marc Mero vs. TL Hopper Yes, it’s the RAW debut of Tony Anthony, the wrestling plumber. Astonishingly, they actually have footage of Hopper going over Duke Droese, which must be the only win the poor guy ever had on record. As noted many times by smart-ass online fans at the time, a plumber would be making WAY more than a low-level WWF guy at the time would be making, so why would he care about being a wrestler? They trade headlocks and Hopper beats Mero down off a cheapshot and works him over to a dead silent crowd. Meanwhile Lawler and Vince make butt crack jokes like it’s the funniest thing ever. I know this character was never intended to get over, but this has to be an epic low even by 1996 RAW standards. We take a break and return with Hopper hitting a legdrop for two, but he misses a splash and Mero comes back with a flying headscissors and the KO punch for the pin at 10:25. This RAW crowd might be one of the worst ever. Nothing as a match, but Hopper was at least trying to do his best with a shitty gimmick. Pun intended. *1/2 And now, a special look at Undertaker, as they need to stretch this show out for another 5:00 to make up for the Ultimate Warrior bits edited out. WWF World title: Shawn Michaels vs. Billy Gunn Vince offers condolences to Bret Hart on the death of his nephew Matt, who died about the worst way that a human being can: Flesh eating bacteria. I would not wish that shit on my worst enemy. So obviously Bret had a lot of heavy stuff on his mind at this point. They trade headlocks to start as Billy really starts to develop the cocky heel persona that would get him over a year later, but Shawn dumps him and gets a sunset flip for two. Billy runs away from a superkick and Shawn chases Sunny around the ring, pretending to be a sex-craved pervert. Yeah, pretending, that’s the ticket. Shawn comes off the top rope and gets caught coming down, but Shawn takes Billy down and posts him. Slingshot clothesline and Shawn slugs away on the mat, but Billy clotheslines him to the floor to take over. We take a break and return with Shawn fighting out of a chinlock, but Billy elbows him down for two. Billy works the back while Vince tries to take another break but has to argue with Sunny and Lawler for a minute instead, and then we take our second break as Billy hits a bulldog. Back with Shawn making the comeback with his usual stuff and a flying elbow to set up the superkick. And indeed, that finishes at 15:24. The crowd at least got a little bit excited for Shawn at the end. **1/4 Meanwhile, they insert a new pre-taped segment in the back, with Camp Cornette attacking Shawn before Sid drives in to make the save. This was actually supposed to make us buy a PPV. The Pulse Yes indeed, this was the go-home show for International Incident, which I believe set the new record low for PPV buys or close to it. Thankfully, more interesting things happen next week.

Monday Nitro – January 10, 2000

Monday Nitro #222
Date: January 10, 2000
Location: Marine
Midland Arena, Buffalo, New York
Attendance: 8,990
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall

How can this already be
the last Nitro before Souled Out? With all the nonsense that goes on
around here these days, it’s very hard to keep up with the time
frame. It doesn’t help that they keep changing things around as
Russo continues to lose influence. Oddly enough that loss has power
has coincided with my headaches subsiding after these shows. Let’s
get to it.

We open with a recap of
Terry Funk getting beaten up over and over by the NWO. Suddenly Ric
Flair is the smartest man in wrestling.
Terry Funk, Larry
Zbyszko, Arn Anderson and Paul Orndorff arrive. This is really their
big solution to Goldberg’s injury? A lineup of wrestlers who were
veterans eight years earlier?
Tag Team Titles:
Dean Malenko/Perry Saturn vs. Kidman/Konnan vs. David Flair/Crowbar
Flair
and Crowbar are defending. Falls count anywhere, likely due to this
being close to ECW territory. The Animals and Revolution start
brawling before the champions get out here so David and Crowbar are
late to the fight. With Shane sitting in on commentary and demanding
to only be referred to as the Franchise, Crowbar lays Kidman out with
a sitout gordbuster.
It’s time to get the
weapons and they might as well start piping in the ECW chants
already. Flair and Crowbar take over with their weapons as the
Revolution destroys Rey in the aisle. In the insanity, Douglas and
Malenko put Mysterio on a table so Saturn can channel his inner New
Jack for a splash from the balcony. Saturn is broken in half (though
nowhere near as badly as Rey) so David comes over and pins him to
retain.
Rating:
E.
I think you know what that stands for. Let’s see: no wrestling in
sight, a bunch of weapons, falls count anywhere, a huge dive out of
the balcony through someone on a table. As usual, WCW has no idea
what it’s trying to be so it just rips off another promotion’s ideas
step for step.
Tony tells us that
Terry Funk is booking the show on the fly tonight so they have no
idea what the matches will be. I actually kind of like the idea as
they often make matches throughout the night so why not just admit
that you’re doing it?
Recap of Harlem Heat
splitting. That would be the 2000 split in case you’re confused with
all the other splits they’ve had over the years.
The NWO gives Scott
Steiner some women of questionable character for a birthday present.
We look back at the
ending to the opener. Mysterio leaves in an ambulance, along with
the Animals.
Steiner goes into a
room with three of the women, promising the rest will have a turn
later.
Here’s
Oklahoma to continue his anti-woman crusade. Oh geez can we go back
to the New Jack imitations? He insults women and wants them all to
stay in the kitchen where they belong, except for an open challenge
right now.
Oklahoma vs. Asya
Well
who else was it going to be? She shoves him down and knocks off his
hat so Oklahoma nails her from behind, knocking it out to the floor.
Asya slams him down and here’s Madusa, with blue hair, as Oklahoma
nails Asya with a bottle of barbecue sauce. Madusa takes a broom to
the head and Oklahoma takes the belt.
Juventud Guerrera,
Psychosis, Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, Lenny Lane, La Parka.
There’s no reason I’m listing these names off. They just happened to
come to my mind.
Here
are Funk, Zbyszko, Anderson and Orndorff with something to say. Funk
says Nash’s powerbomb on Thunder is nowhere near enough and he pulled
these three men off the unemployment line to help him fight this
battle. They’re the Old Age Outlaws (egads) but they’re more than
young enough to take care of the NWO.
Arn talks about wanting
to get some revenge the old fashioned way, Zbyszko bores the crowd by
talking about tradition and Orndorff talks about the talent from the
Power Plant that he helped train. Why the Power Plant guys aren’t in
this spot isn’t exactly clear. It’s also not clear why this story
continues as the crowd is eerily silent.
Cue the NWO to make the
obvious old jokes. Nash is looking forward to being the Commissioner
on Sunday but Funk says he’s still in charge tonight. Like for
instance, tonight Jarrett, in a Tennessee Titans jersey for some
cheap heat, is going to be in three matches: a regular match, a
Bunkhouse Brawl and a cage match. The title won’t be on the line or
anything, but I guess that’s out of respect for Benoit. Speaking of
Benoit, he’ll be refereeing all three matches, which will be against
some of Funk’s close friends.
As for the rest of the
NWO, Hart will defend against Nash and if they don’t fight, both guys
are suspended for a year. Hart and Nash don’t mind the threat and
say they’ll take the year off. You know, because they don’t care
about wrestling. Steiner swears a lot, but since he isn’t cleared to
wrestle, Funk is going to wash his mouth out with soap.
Let’s stop and take a
look at this for a bit. Here’s what we have in this story:
NWO
Bret Hart – Debuted
in the WWF in 1985, fifteen year veteran on the national stage
Kevin Nash – Debuted
in WCW in 1990, ten year veteran on the national stage
Scott Steiner –
Debuted in WCW in 1989, eleven year veteran on the national stage
Jeff Jarrett –
Debuted in the WWF in 1993, seven year veteran on the national stage
Now let’s look at the
old guys.
Old Age Outlaws
Terry Funk – 54,
debuted in 1965, lost the NWA World Title twenty five years ago
Arn Anderson – 41,
debuted in 1982, retired as a regular wrestled three years ago
Paul Orndorff – 50,
debuted in 1976, retired as a regular wrestler four years ago, hit
his peak thirteen years ago
Larry Zbyszko – 48,
debuted in 1973, retired as a regular wrestler five years ago, hit
his peak twenty years ago
So we have Terry Funk
as the only active wrestler, with Larry Zbyszko probably being the
healthiest as he retired from active competition in 1994 and has
wrestled three matches since. Anderson and Orndorff can’t wrestle
and Zbyszko didn’t, so we’re left with Terry Funk, who first retired
in 1983, fighting the entire NWO. This is their main event storyline
with Benoit as the young guy fighting the midcard champion instead of
fighting for the World Title.
How is this supposed to
appeal to younger fans? I get how the older generation would appeal
to older fans or really big time fans, but even they can only hang
with this for so long. The younger fans though see these old guys
hogging the spots that the younger guys should be having.
Orndorff mentioned
training eight people at the Power Plant. Why not bring them up?
You have one of the best talkers of all time in Arn Anderson and two
very good talkers in Funk and Orndorff. What WCW needed was a fresh
batch of main event talent. You might even say they need a
revolution to take over that part of the card.
Instead,
guys like Benoit, Malenko, Saturn and Douglas are busy chasing
Janitor Jim Duggan around and trying to make him denounce America
because they view themselves as a sovereign nation and hate this
country while Oklahoma is chasing the Cruiserweight Title and a
freakshow tag team like David Flair and Crowbar holding the Tag Team
Titles because David is nuts after something about his dad sleeping
with Kimberly. Booker T. on the other hand is busy splitting up with
Stevie Ray again.
There
is no one to cheer for right now and the best solution is to bring in
people who used to be over and have them give the rub
to….themselves. Yeah Benoit is around and they mentioned him, but
you don’t see them working together or helping each other out because
the solution is to just have them talk about tradition, much like
Vince McMahon did in the early days of his war against Steve Austin.
That’s WCW’s big solution to get people to cheer: act like one of the
greatest heel characters of all time against the cool heels. It’s
like they’re taking every possible bad idea and running with it.
Post break, Funk tells
Arn to go find someone.
Arn looks into a limo
but finds Kimberly instead of whomever he was looking for.
Video on Page vs.
Bagwell.
Gene calls out Page and
Bagwell but the control room can be heard telling him that they need
a bit more because the intro didn’t go long enough. Is that some
massive rib that I just don’t get? That stuff only started when
Russo arrived and I have no idea how it’s supposed to be interesting
or how the production team could possibly be that inept. Anyway,
Gene asks them to be civil for five minutes and we have a countdown
clock on the screen.
They talk a lot of
trash and Buff insists he and Kimberly are just friends. Apparently
Buff and Kimberly have great sexual chemistry (Buff’s words) but Page
has been hearing that Buff has been telling the boys that Kimberly
has a sexy birthmark. That’s for Page’s eyes only, but Buff says
everyone has seen it. That earns him a right hand to the jaw so Buff
pulls out a police baton that he just happened to have with him. So
much for the countdown clock.
Nash and Bret insist
that they won’t sit down. I’m sure there won’t be a swerve
whatsoever.
Arn finds another car.
Jeff Jarrett vs. ???
Benoit
is guest referee and this is a Bunkhouse Brawl because this show
can’t remember the match order Funk made fifteen minutes ago. The
mystery opponent is…..George Steele, age 61 and with five
nationally televised matches since 1988. Steele brings weapons to
the ring and swings away to keep Jeff from getting in. George stops
to eat a turnbuckle but gets guitared in the head. Not that it
matters as Arn Anderson comes in and plants Jeff with a spinebuster
to give George the pin. As in a single spinebuster is enough to pin
the United States Champion. Benoit served no purpose here.
After a break, Jarrett
tells Nash to throw Hart off the team.
Here’s
Stevie Ray to tell Gene to leave so he can do the interview himself.
He talks about the history of the team and how Booker won the TV
Title because that’s all WCW wanted him to have (huh?). Stevie wants
to fight his brother one on one on Sunday because the show is already
named after Booker. This brings out Booker and Midnight with Booker
saying he’ll never fight his brother. That earns him a slap to the
face and Booker agrees to the match.
Arn goes to another
car. I’m assuming these are Jarrett’s opponents.
Jeff Jarrett vs. ???
It’s
Tito Santana, a spry 46 here and just six and a half years from
wrestling on a major national stage, in El Matador gear. This is a
Dungeon Match, meaning it’s pin, submission or your opponent leaving
the ring. Jeff beats up Orndorff on the way to the ring and mocks
the Buffalo Bills.
Tito takes over to
start with a nice dropkick and the flying forearm before going after
the knee. Jeff kicks him away and Tito has to try three times to
jump over the top rope to the apron. I love Santana but this is just
pitiful. Benoit and Jarrett argue before Jeff nails Santana with the
Stroke, only to stop to argue with one of the Bills. The distraction
lets Orndorff hit the piledriver (great looking one too) to give Tito
the pin.
Here’s
Tank Abbott to call out Doug Dillinger. ARE YOU SERIOUS??? It’s bad
enough that we have to put up with this goon who Russo loves for no
apparent reason but now we get the big showdown with the head of
security? Abbott tells Dillinger to take a shot, Doug does, Tank
drops him and Jerry Flynn comes out for the save.
I’m sure you already
know the story of what’s going to happen to the World Title situation
in the next few days. Tank Abbott was Russo’s big idea to get the
World Title, straight off a feud with Doug Dillinger and Jerry Flynn.
Putting Rick Steiner over Ric Flair back in 1988 looks BRILLIANT
now.
Jimmy Snuka arrives.
To save some space in the match, 56 here and other than a one off
appearance at Survivor Series 1996, last appeared with a major
national promotion (ECW was still regional during his run) in 1991.
The youngest opponent for Jarrett tonight is a 46 year old who hadn’t
wrestled in the WWF or WCW since 1993. The Revolution, the Filthy
Animals, Booker, and any other young and talented wrestler aren’t
important enough for this story.
Benoit is out cold in
the back.
Jeff Jarrett vs.
Jimmy Snuka
In
a cage. Jeff hammers away to start and sends Snuka into the cage a
few times. Cue referee Benoit but Jarrett shoves him away from the
cage door. That earns Jarrett some chops and a whip into the cage
but Jeff sends him into the buckle. Jeff goes outside and gets the
guitar but Zbyszko and Orndorff come in to clean house. Snuka and
Benoit go up to the top of the cage for a Superfly Splash and swan
dive, giving Jimmy the pin.
Rating:
N/A.
This was a segment disguised as a match and yeah the dives looked
cool, but Jeff’s concussion wasn’t so great. This would knock him
out of the US Title match on Sunday, but at least we got three WWF
legends out there in their old territory so Russo could relive his
childhood. Having the US Champion lose three times in one night to
three guys who won’t be there next week while getting beaten up by a
bunch of guys who can’t/won’t wrestle a match is just the price you
pay for Russo’s entertainment.
WCW World Title:
Kevin Nash vs. Bret Hart
Bret
is defending, but first of all we have to cut to the back where Funk
actually does wash Steiner’s mouth out with soap. How Zbyszko and
Orndorff managed to restrain Steiner isn’t clear. I’m so glad we got
to see this segment. It just made the entire show. Bret is in an
NWO shirt, tennis shoes and jean shorts. And he’s known for five
moves? Dang who knew Cena stole so much from Bret?
Nash
goes after him to start and drives knees in the corner but Bret comes
back with right hands. This is already one of the longest matches
Nash has had in weeks. A lot of choking ensues until Bret gets in a
kick to the leg. Snake Eyes stops him again for two but a low blow
puts Nash down again. Bret misses the middle rope elbow and both
guys are down. The side slam plants Bret and Nash bails to the floor
for a chair. Cue Arn with a steel pipe and a referee shirt to nail
Nash in the back, which I think means a no contest.
Rating:
D+.
And that’s it for Bret as his concussions were so severe that he
wouldn’t wrestle another match for over ten years. In true Bret
fashion though, he carried Nash to a watchable match and worked at
the leg a bit before the non-finish. This actually wasn’t terrible
and was by far the longest main event in a few weeks.
Post match here’s Sid
(remember him?) as the cage is lowered. Bret is planted with a
chokeslam and powerbomb so Arn can do a fast three count. Funk comes
out with a flaming branding iron to burn Nash right on the singlet to
end the show.
Overall
Rating:
F.
This show comes down to how do you like your bad booking. You can
have total insane booking that makes absolutely no sense and goes so
far off the rails that you forget you’re watching a wrestling show,
or you can have the booking that appeals to the over 50 audience
without a good payoff and the US Champion getting pinned three times
in an hour and a half.
This
show didn’t make me want to see Souled Out, as the majority of this
episode was to build up two stories for Sunday, one of which will
comprise three matches. The fact that it’s going to be two out of
three falls wasn’t mentioned, but why should a little detail like
that get in the way of seeing the US Champion lose three falls in a
night? This company is in a creative free fall at the moment, but
they seem to think they’re going the right way and everyone else is
crazy.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

WWE Monday Night RAW – 6/1/2015

With
Elimination Chamber behind us and Money in the Bank on the horizon,
Monday Night RAW sees Technically Champion Seth Rollins chasing after
Pseudo Champion Dean Ambrose for a belt that will soon find its way to
Kofi Kingston.

Just making sure you’re awake.

In
other news, Kevin Owens has come into his own, beating John Cena —
which, hopefully, still means something in two weeks when WWE puts that
steak back on the grill at Money in the Bank.
In any case, things seem to be getting interesting heading into the summer…let’s see what goes down…
We start with a slow-motion montage of the Ambrose/Rollins Dusty Finish.
We are LIVE(!!!) from San Antonio, Texas for WWE Monday Night RAW!!!
JBL, Cole and Booker are the guys at the talking table.
The
New Day starts us off! Just kidding. Triple H, Steph, Rollins, Kane and
J&J all head to the ring with sour faces and no World Title. Steph
introduces Rollins as champion but Rollins just folds his arms and
pouts. Steph says that Ambrose has the belt and that doesn’t mean
anything because all he can do is steal stuff and commit assault. Steph
says maybe they should fine or fire Ambrose. 
Triple
H says they won’t have to do that. Ambrose is crazy but not stupid. He
says that he gave Ambrose until tonight to bring back the belt. So, he
calls out Ambrose. He says he would be willing to discuss things.
Nothing happens. The crowd chants their “Justin Bieber” chant. Triple H
tells the crowd to shut up and says he’s waiting — then, it’s angry
Triple Hulk as he growls for Ambrose to get out to the ring.
Roman
Reigns answers instead. He comes to ring with a smug smirk on his face.
He says the Authority doesn’t seem happy to see him — but San Antonio
is. He says that Ambrose isn’t here and won’t be back — unless he’s
granted a rematch. Specifically, a ladder match. Steph says that they
don’t negotiate as the mics go all funky and start feeding back. Reigns
says that he saw Ambrose pin Rollins. Rollins loses his shit and says
Ambrose didn’t beat him. Reigns says Ambrose beat him and so did Reigns.
Reigns says that Rollins was cool when he was in The Shield but not now
that he works for Mom and Dad and the world’s smallest security team.
Rollins
has had it and says that Ambrose will get his rematch. Triple H gets in
the way of things but Rollins isn’t having it. He says he doesn’t need
anyone but himself. He trashes Kane and Security and the rest of The
Authority. Rollins storms off by himself.
Steph
turns to Reigns and tells him that he’s smug as hell. Triple H gets
between Reigns and Steph the Insane Wife. He says that Reigns is the man
going to Money in the Bank, something that he should be familiar with,
since Rollins used it to smash his hopes at WrestleMania. He says that,
after tonight, Reigns may not BE in Money in the Bank. If he loses, he’s
out. Triple H says he will find Reigns an opponent and they will be
here in a few.
With that, the segment concludes. Actually, very nicely done. Reigns was great on the mic tonight.
When we come back from break, Roman Reigns’ opponent is King Barrett. Oh, yeah. Triple H is soooo “mad”.
MATCH #1: Roman Reigns vs. King Barrett
Some
grappling to start, then a side headlock by Barrett that almost
culminates in a Samoan Drop. Barrett escapes but Roman kicks Barrett in
the jaw, then splashes him in the corner. Roman kicks at the chest of
Barrett who ends up on the bottom rope. Roman goes for the Missile
Dropkick outside but Barrett rolls out of the way. Roman presses his
attack and rolls Barrett back in the ring — then clotheslines him back
out again. Reigns goes after him and Barrett fights back. Barrett kicks
the steel steps at Reigns which Reigns sells like he broke his knee.
Barrett gets back into the ring and we’re going right back to break
after just five minutes. During commercial break, Barrett did something
awful to Reigns and has him in a headlock. Reigns comes back and tries a
splash but misses. Barrett kicks him in the stomach and gets a two
count. Another long headlock spot. Reigns breaks again and finally hits
the Samoan Drop. Both men are down, but get to their feet. Boo/Yay punch
exchange ends with Reigns hitting a Running Clothesline. Barrett takes
two more of those and Reigns puts him in a corner and just wails away.
Barrett fights back but Reigns just belts him in the mouth. Reigns gets a
near fall after a cross body off an Irish Whip. Barrett tries for
Wasteland. Reigns escapes and runs at Barrett who catches him for Winds
of Change for two. Barrett sets up for the Bullhammer but Reigns moves
and rolls Barrett up, then picks him up and Powerbombs him with one arm.
Two count. Reigns sets up for the Spear but Barrett rolls out of the
ring again. Reigns chases and Barrett rakes Reigns’ eyes, then goes for
the Bullhammer. Another miss and it’s the Spear for the win at 14:07.
WINNER: Roman Reigns via Spear
RATING:
**3/4. Better than expected but not much velocity to it and needlessly
long at near 15 minutes. Why is Reigns taking so long to beat a guy who jobs left and right? In any case, I don’t know what they’re gonna do with King Costume Shop next…but maybe it’s time to forget KOTR ever happened.
Cole puts us through a recap of Cena/Owens. Apparently, THE CHAMP IS HERE. Which one? STAY TUNED!!!
Roman
Reigns wanders around, all triumphant, backstage. He bumps into Triple H
and Steph — who tell him that was only his FIRST opponent. He’s gonna
face Mark Henry next. They wish him luck.
Byron
interviews Nikki who is like, just, like, sooooo proud of herself!
Paige interrupts and says that there was a Divas Battle Royal awhile
back but she never got to face Nikki because Naomi beat her up. Now
she’s back and she wants her title shot. Nikki accepts all heel-like, I
guess. I have no idea what the Bellas are besides models who wrestle.
Anyhow, that match is tonight.
Ryback
is out to the ring to talk to the fans. He says that he’s proud to be
the Intercontinental Champion. And that’s pretty much it. The Miz is out
to face him next.
When
we come back, Miz and Ryback are ready to throw down…and here comes
the Big Show to crash the show into the mountain. Show cocks his fist,
ready to strike Ryback…but slugs Miz instead and I can’t believe I
actually approve of that. Not so fast, though: Show grabs a mic and says
that he wants to be the one to face Ryback for the title. Show says
Ryback ain’t “The Big Guy”. He says Ryback has nothing on him. They go
nose to nose. Instead of attacking, Show leaves after what I’m sure was
both a face turn and a heel turn in the space of 48 seconds. Anyhow,
nobody in the arena cares. And nothing happening with the title, I
guess.
TONIGHT: Hey! We still have a Divas Title Match…so, y’know, there’s that…
NEXT: Kevin Owens is here.
When
we get back, Owens is here. He says he does what he claims he is going
to do. He beat Zayn, won the NXT Title and he also beat John Cena. He
delivers on his promises. Owens says he spoke to his kid about Cena. His
kid wanted to know how Cena was after Owens beat him. He says he
doesn’t blame his son for liking Cena because WWE has been portrayed as a
real-life superhero. All Cena’s done is talk and spew catchphrases
while Owens traveled and fought. He says he beat Super Cena last night.
He says that he’s gonna show that a real role model doesn’t rely on
bright colors and catchphrases. Real role models deliver on promises
like he does. 
Cena’s
music hits as Owens does that weird grimace thing. Crowd doesn’t sound
as enthused as they have been. Cena calls him a jackass, then tells
Owens to be humble. Careful, John! Owens’ son is watching! Cena says all
he’s heard about in the past 24 hours is Elimination Chamber. Cena says
he admits that he got beat. He says that Owens doesn’t deserve a shot
at the United States Championship or the NXT Title. He says that Owens
is concerned about being a real role model when he should be concerned
about being a real MAN. Cena says Owens’ son likes him because he
delivers and beats people. Otherwise, his son would be wearing “an Adam
Rose t-shirt and be worshipping the Funkydactyls while wishing he could
play in the XFL.” Sheesh, the XFL is long gone, Adam Rose is booked if
he’s lucky and Naomi’s already been buried by Paige. Cena’s
assholishness knows no bounds, it seems. He says that everyone likes him
because he doesn’t give up — then points out a young fan with Cena
gear waving a sign that reads “I AM BEATING CANCER”. Cena tells that kid
not to give up. He challenges Owens to a fight but Owens won’t have it
and leaves.
It’s
irritating that Cena did his usual, “I’m still better than you” thing
— and it got obnoxious with the “I’m still a real man”, “that kid has
cancer and doesn’t give up” pandering…but I like that we’re showing
Owens being a human being, albeit sooner than I would have liked, but
ok. On the one hand, it’s brilliant that Owens is human and Cena picked
him apart like a roasted chicken…but on the other, this is the guy
that wasn’t afraid of Cena and manhandled him the last couple of weeks
and seeing him chicken out, looking visibly afraid is really a step down
for me. It’s a bit of a sharp left turn. Still, good promo.
STILL TO COME:
  • Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry
  • Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

The New Day is out here for more fucking talking. Look, I have a gripe. According to my DVR, we’re an hour and twenty minutes into this thing and we’ve had one match.
Anyhow, Woods says San Antonio should be pleased to have champs in
their presence. He gets cheap heat for calling Tim Duncan “old” and
saying he should “retire”. He says that The New Day is hot and they’re
on fire. New Day Rocks/Sucks. Out is Ziggler with Lana.

MATCH #2: Dolph Ziggler (w/ Lana) vs. Kofi Kingston (w/ Big E & Xavier Woods)
Whoa, a match. We’re having these tonight?
Ziggler and Kofi lock up as the crowd chants for Lana who stands on the
entrance ramp because that’s suddenly what she does as a valet. Ziggler
hits a dropkick after some running around and it’s a Ziggler Splash in
the corner. Kofi misses one of his own. Ziggler tries another splash but
Kofi boots him in the face. Kofi applies a headlock but Ziggler breaks
and hits another Ziggler splash and elbow drop. Two count. (DANIELLE: Where’s Lana? ME: Top of the ramp. DANIELLE: What, are her heels so high, she can’t get to the ring?) Ziggler hits a nice DDT that should win the match but Kofi kicks out…only to have Ziggler win the match on a roll-up at 3:15.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler
RATING: 1/2 a *, if that. 

Post-match, E and Woods run in for a mudhole stomp on Ziggler. Prime Time Players show up and save the day. We go to break.

When we come back, HOLD ON A MINUTE, PLAYA! It’s a six-man tag match…

MATCH #3: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. Dolph Ziggler & The Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young) (non-title)
When
we come back from break, Titus drops Darren Young on top of Woods,
which gets a two count. Young stomps at Kofi and hits an armbar. Woods
escapes and tags in E. E attacks and ends up with a Belly to Belly on a
distraction by Woods, who tags in to stomp at Young. All three guys get
the mudhole stomp spot but the ref doesn’t DQ anyone for Wrestling Too
Hard, so this continues. E tosses Kofi at Young and Kofi hits a dropkcik
on the way in. Kofi kicks Young and it’s a two count. Kofi hits a
dropkick and it’s a tag to Woods who hits a flying fist drop. Woods puts
Young in a Cobra Clutch of sorts but Young breaks because DiBiase did
that better years ago. Tag to E who hits Snake Eyes with Young on the
buckle. Near fall. E tags in, attacks Ziggler, knocking him off the mat,
then misses a Warrior Splash on Young. Hot tag to Titus who is all over
Xavier Woods. He turns and clotheslines E out of the ring, then hits a
backbreaker and toss on Kofi. HUGE Powerslam to Woods nearly gets a fall
but Kofi saves the pin. Young hits the neckbreaker on him and they
leave the ring. Woods rolls up Titus for two. Titus gets up and Ziggler
hits a Superkick on Woods before Titus finishes with the Pump-Handle
Slam to finish it at 5:34.
WINNERS: Ziggler and PTP
RATING: *1/2. Not wholly necessary abut not bad either. Better than the last match.

TONIGHT: The Divas Title match

NEXT: Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry. Winner goes to MITB.

EARLIER TONIGHT: Roman Reigns confronted The Authority.

AT MITB: Dean Ambrose faces Seth Rollins.

MATCH #4: Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry
Lemme
just axe a quesshun: why doesn’t Triple H just say, “Fuck you, Roman.
You’re out of MITB for helping Ambrose”? I mean, that would make a
shit-ton more sense to me than putting him through a bunch of mid-card
crap. Henry just stomps at Reigns in the corner, then clutches at
Reigns’ left eye, which seems to be hurt. He puts Reigns in the corner
and just shoulder-rams him. Big clothesline and an Irish Whip into the
corner. Henry misses a splash. Reigns hits a clothesline and lariats.
Reigns knocks him down with a running clothesline and then tries the
Samoan Drop, hitting it on the second try. Henry rolls out of the ring.
Reigns chases but Henry rams him into the ringpost. Reigns comes back
with a Superman Punch and Henry is down. Reigns crawls to the ring and
wins via countout at 3:45. Yay?
WINNER: Roman Reigns via countout
RATING: 1/2 a *. I almost wanna see Kane face Reigns instead of this. Almost.

Post-match, Henry is suddenly conscious and attacks Reigns, hitting the WSS before leaving the ring. 

TONIGHT: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

Roman
Reigns wanders by Triple H and Steph in the hallway. They congratulate
him again. Reigns asks them if he should keep his vest on to fight
again. Triple H tells him yes…and to Follow the Buzzards. *SUDDEN ANGRY TRIPLE H CUT*

Then,
it’s The New Mega-Powers, New Day and Big Show doing Sonic Shake
ads…for three minutes. I mean, why not just hire one of these teams or
guys to do the ads instead of putting us through Superstars acting like
they’re fucking up? 

MATCH #5: Paige (challenger) vs. Nikki Bella (champion) for the WWE Divas Championship
Nikki
and Paige exchange grapples and shoves. Nikki hits a Fireman’s Carry
Takedown and armbar. Paige forearms out of the hold but Nikki
immediately hits a belly to belly suplex, then acts like Dolph Ziggler,
doing push-ups. Snap Suplex by Nikki. Two count. Chinlock spot by Nikki.
Paige breaks but Nikki puts Paige into a leglock. Paige grabs the
ropes, then hits Nikki in the boobs with a Superkick. Nikki rolls out of
the ring, then starts doing crunches because that’s what Nikki always
does during matches. Nikki gets back in the ring. Paige catches her
with a knee and it’s a two count. Paige sets up for the PTO but Nikki
kicks out and hits an ALBAMMA SLAMMA for two. Paige comes back with a
Superkick and gets two. Paige screams in frustration and Nikki goes for
the Rack Attack. Paige fights out, then hits a Ram-Paige off the second
buckle. Nikki rolls out of the ring…and, fucking hell, Brie rolls out
from under the ring to take Nikki’s place. It’s the Twin Magic spot for
the win at 5:43 because the ref is too fucking stupid to realize that
Nikki suddenly lacked giant plastic boobs or an ass? You’d think he’d notice that…welp…’least Parallax is happy. :-/
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Nikki Bella
RATING:
*1/4. Nikki’s…what? A face? Heel? Paige is…what? Face? Heel? Anyone
know or care? Guess we’re waiting until Total Divas comes back in July
for Nikki to drop the title since that’s the only time Creative seems to
give a damn about the Divas Division. It’s beyond ridiculous that she’s
still carrying it.

EARLIER TONIGHT: Roman Reigns beat Wade Barrett and Mark Henry.

STILL TO COME: Roman Reigns faces Bray Wyatt.

MATCH #6: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
Sheamus
locks in an armbar but Orton counters with a Side Headlock. Sheamus
forces the break at the ropes. Sheamus rolls him up quickly for a
one-count. Orton returns the favor. Sheamus rolls out of the ring.
Sheamus puts on another side headlock. Orton breaks with an Irish Whip.
Shoulder tackle by Sheamus. Orton comes back with an elbow on the second
whip.  The two men exchange punches. Orton starts hitting uppercuts.
Sheamus hits a kneelift and an Irish Whip. Orton kicks Sheamus in the
jaw and clotheslines him from the ring. Orton chases and the fight
continues. Orton tries a side suplex into the crowd but Sheamus blocks
it. The fight goes to the announce table where Orton hits the Side
Suplex there. Clothesline by Orton and he gets back in the ring to
celebrate. When we come back from break, Sheamus slams Orton to the mat
for a two count. Sheamus stomps Orton in the corner. Orton kicks at him
but Sheamus clotheslines him. Sheamus hits a second buckle Kneedrop for
two. Sheamus hits a side headlock but Orton counters with a Side Suplex.
Sheamus rolls outside the ring ropes. Orton goes for the Vintage DDT
but Sheamus counters and drops his neck on the ropes. Sheamus runs back
inside but Orton clotheslines him and hits the Powerslam In Stride.
Orton goes for the Rope DDT but Sheamus counters and gets back in the
ring. Orton counters Sheamus’s grapple and hits a T-Bone Suplex, then
the Rope DDT. He sets up for the RKO but Sheamus counters and hits a
partial Brogue Kick, connecting with his knee. Orton rolls out of the
ring. Sheamus follows and it’s a brawl. Orton tosses Sheamus into the
timekeeper’s pit. Sheamus gets up and nails Orton with a chair for the
DQ at 12:57.
WINNER: Randy Orton via DQ
RATING:
**1/4. Not terrible. I actually like these two together. They’re two of
the toughest guys in WWE and that makes for some great matches.
Unfortunately, this one falls short. It was made even more frustrating
with a DQ spot after we’d invested over ten minutes in this.

Post-match,
Sheamus nails Orton with a Brogue, then tosses Orton into the crowd
barrier. Orton gets back up to collect himself and Sheamus hits another
Brogue, then celebrates.

Byron Saxton has Rusev
backstage. Rusev is wearing a medical boot and is on crutches. Rusev
says he has nothing. He doesn’t have a Championship or career or Lana.
He says he’s a broken man with a broken ankle and spirit. He is the one
who is ca-dushed this time. He knows, however, what he wants and desires
and he will get back everything he had.

TONIGHT: Roman Reigns takes on Bray Wyatt.

ON SMACKDOWN: Kevin Owens is issuing an NXT Championship Open Challenge.

Bo Dallas comes to the ring and says, “I wanted to help you, Neville…now I just wanna hurt you…”

MATCH #7: Bo Dallas vs. Neville
This
match again? For what it’s worth, I like Bo becoming something other
than what he props himself up as.  He just stomps and clubs Neville in
two corners, then celebrates. He tosses Neville from the ring, then goes
outside to follow up, hitting a running clothesline. Bo yells in his
face, telling him how much he wants to “help” Neville. He rolls Neville
back in the ring and gets a one-count. Euro Headlock by Dallas that goes
on for about half the match, as he screams for Neville to quit. Neville
finally breaks and tackles Dallas, hitting his set of quick kicks.
After flippy-floppying all over the ring, he kicks Dallas to the mat and
hits the Red Arrow for the win at 3:09.
WINNER: Neville via Red Arrow.
RATING: *. Ok, fine. Great. This is pretty much a slightly more condensed version of what was seen last night. So what?

NEXT: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt

Roman Reigns is in the ring, clutching his rib cage, waiting for Bray Wyatt.

MATCH #8: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
It’s
a brawl to start this off with both mean taking shots at one another.
Wyatt knocks him down, then props him up and punches at his throat. Bray
whips Reigns into a corner but Reigns comes back with an uppercut.
Reigns punches him in the back of the neck and gets a one count.
Suddenly, Seth Rollins, Kane and J&J appear at the entrance
ramp…soooo, I guess Rollins really does need The Authority?
Bray and Reigns go back and forth. Bray tackles Reigns for two. Bray
knocks Reigns out of the ring and we go to break. When we come back,
Wyatt tosses Reigns outside the ring ropes. Bray follows and kicks at
Reigns. Bray trips Reigns and Reigns hits the mat. Bray rolls him in the
ring and nearly gets a fall. Bray hits a Corner Clothesline, but misses
the second one as Reigns comes roaring out of the corner with a
clothesline. Reigns gets up and Bray misses another Corner Clothesline,
careening into the ringpost. Reigns hits a DDT, then gets up and hits
some huge clotheslines in the corner. He sends Bray out of the ring.
Reigns goes outside and hits the Sitting Dropkick as Wyatt flies into
the crowd barrier. Reigns rolls him back into the ring but Wyatt goes on
the attack, stomping at him. Wyatt hits a running clothesline and a
Reverse Senton for two. Bray looks up at the new MITB case and then
slaps at Reigns who smiles. Reigns slaps him back. Wyatt charges and
Reigns hits the Samoan Drop. Reigns calls for the Superman Punch but
misses and hits the Standing Spinebuster, nearly getting a fall. Wyatt
does the Spider Walk, then goes for  Sister Abigail. Reigns ducks it and
rolls Bray up for two. Reigns hits a Superman Punch…and, suddenly,
The Authority comes running down to ruin things. Reigns gets up and
attacks Joey Mercury, then turns and looks at Kane. Bray gets up and
attacks but Reigns sends Bray into Kane, knocking him down, then hits a
Spear on Bray to finish this at 12:13.
WINNER: Roman Reigns via Spear
RATING:
**3/4. Remember when Bray was over as fuck, battling John Cena for his
soul at WrestleMania? Yeah, those were good times. How the mighty have
fallen…and was there a reason why The Authority didn’t just rush down
and beat on Bray Wyatt to cause a DQ? Sigh…

Post-match,
The Authority surrounds the ring to pick at what’s left of Reigns…but
Ambrose’s music hits. Rollins tells Security to get ready and waits for
Ambrose to hit the ring…except he’s under the Announce Table as Cole
pretends he had no fucking idea Ambrose was there the entire goddamn time.
Him and Reigns clean house. Rollins attacks Ambrose but Ambrose tosses
the belt at him. Rollins catches it and looks at it. Ambrose uses that
distraction to hit Dirty Deeds, then grabs the title again. He and
Reigns book it for the crowd again as Triple H and Steph come out to the
ring to join Rollins who is livid.

OVERALL:
Enjoyable end. Show was fair with a lot of filler and matches that I
didn’t care about. I’ll go **. Better luck next week.

And, of course, the Best of Monday Night Open Mic:





Er…that’s it.

Monday Night Open Mic

Howdy Blog O’Doomers!

I hope this first day of June was fruitful to all! For the most part I enjoyed the Network Special last night even though things were pretty dull after Owens-Cena. Still Owens-Cena was so good it was going to be hard for anything else to happen that would compare to that.

Obviously that wasn’t Cena’s first great match and it wasn’t his first clean job but he truly made a star last night. He’s elevated guys many times before but they had already established themselves. C.M. Punk had a dominating run as World Champion on Smackdown and an Undertaker program before his historic MitB match with Cena. Bryan also had a dominating run on Smackdown and several high-quality matches for the WWE Title with Punk before Cena gave him the final rub at Summerslam 2013 before Orton/HHH sucked the life out of it.

This was different. Not everyone watches NXT, not everyone has the Network so there were a lot of people who really didn’t know who Kevin Owens was before he crashed the U.S. open challenge a couple weeks ago. So this match wasn’t just about Cena laying down, it was about getting Owens over as a wrestling talent and a threat on the main roster. So on June 1 the more casual viewers know who Owens is, they know he is a bad ass worker and they know he’s a threat to any top spot on the main roster. They also know that the NXT champion must be a big deal if the guy holding the strap just beat John Cena. Might have been Cena’s best work as a professional in his 9-10 years as a top guy.

Anyway for TV tonight

RAW

NCAA Softball National Championship (Florida vs. Michigan)

Brewers-Cardinals on ESPN

New Bachelorette…New American Ninja Warrior…

Enjoy, keep it clean.

Monday Nitro – January 3, 2000

Monday Nitro #221
Date: January 3, 2000
Location: BiLo Center,
Greenville, South Carolina
Commentators: Mike
Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s a new year and in
the best present WCW could give us, the show is back to two hours
instead of the usual three. The big story this week is the rest of
the Tag Team Title tournament with all the random and wacky teams and
the rest of the field being filled out by regular teams who were
“randomly” paired together. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of
last week. Why must I be forced to think of that mess again?
A
jet landed at the airport today. I’d assume a lot of those land
every day but for some reason this is supposed to be interesting.
Tag Team Title
Tournament Quarterfinals: Harris Brothers vs. Buzzkill/Mike Rotundo
Sullivan
makes Leia Meow jump on a trampoline for obvious reasons. Rotundo
goes after let’s say Ron to start and eats a powerslam and
clothesline for his efforts. Off to Buzzkill for a forearm, but Ron
comes back with a big old side slam. It’s big enough that it almost
knocks Buzzkill’s hair off. Don comes in to hammer away as Standards
and Practices come out and get rid of Leia, drawing the Varsity Club
out to the floor. The H Bomb ends Buzzkill in a short match.
We
look back at the monster truck stuff last week which has damaged
Sid’s neck.
A motorcade is leaving
the airport.
There’s going to be a
new commissioner tonight.
Nash thinks Tom Zenk is
getting the job.
Bret arrives and gets
beaten down by Sid, wearing a neck brace.
Diamond Dallas Page is
ready for his match against Buff Bagwell but Curt Hennig comes up and
tells him the Powers That Be want him in the ring tonight. PG-13 is
in the ring right now and that’s fine with Page.
Tag Team Title
Tournament Quarterfinals: PG-13 vs. Scott Steiner/Kevin Nash
Steiner
is Hall’s official replacement because there are a lot of people
named Scott in this company. PG-13 is in the ring doing their rap,
so here’s Page to lay them both out with Diamond Cutters. Here’s the
NWO with Nash dropping an elbow on Wolfie and pulling the tights for
the pin. It’s going to be one of those kind of shows, but at least
it’s two hours.
Here’s the NWO to
complain about now getting any respect and having to be attacked by
Sid. Jarrett: “Slappy New Year!” Jeff isn’t worried about
Triple Threat Theater with Benoit and doesn’t have much to say about
it. Nash warns the new commissioner that the NWO is going to keep
breaking the rules as they always have. Steiner jokes about his
retirement and thinks all his fans are Wall Street types. This
actually wasn’t that bad.
The motorcade arrives.
Tag Team Title
Tournament Quarterfinals: David Flair/Crowbar vs. Lash
Leroux/Midnight
Lash
does a cross sign at Daffney in a funny bit. The bad night continues
for Lash as Midnight appearing in the ring freaks him out even more.
David and Lash get things going with Stevie Ray sitting in on
commentary. Flair is easily knocked around the ring because he’s
just not that good. It’s off to Crowbar who eats a drop toehold to
send him to the floor, only to have him slide back inside where he
accidentally baseball slides David.
Stevie tells Lash to
tag Midnight in and gets what he deserves, thereby lowering Lash’s
sucka levels for the rest of the match. Midnight throws Lash onto
Crowbar and nails a nice dropkick, only to have Stevie pull Midnight
out to the floor. Cue Disco, Tony Marinara and Disco as we now have
more people interfering than in the match. Booker yells at his
brother and takes a Slapjack to the head as Leroux hits Whiplash on
Crowbar. As the referee yells at Harlem Heat, Vito and Johnny come
in and lay out Lash, giving Crowbar the pin.
Rating:
D-.
Here’s a spoiler for the rest of the show: this match, which ran
5:15, is the longest match on the entire show. Also, in a match just
over five minutes long, six people interfered, giving us three
stories (Mafia vs. Lash, Harlem Heat splitting, the match itself) in
one match. I know we get on Russo for overbooking but come on man.
Calm down for like a minute please.
Lash yells at Disco in
the back but Disco says he has to deal with the Family, who come in
and attack Lash as Disco has to look on.
Here’s
Luger Luger, still dressed as Sting and yes, this is really WCW’s
best idea to fight Raw. Luger talks about Sting being afraid of him
and wants the no name wrestler to come out here and face him.
Total Package vs.
Tank Abbott
Stalling by Luger leads
into the mace from Liz for the DQ in less than a minute. But
remember, Luger is a veteran and therefore still a draw.
Jerry Flynn comes out
and beats up Abbott with less than no one caring.
The NWO takes their
ball bats to the limo.
Rob
Garner of the WCW front office comes out to talk about the “writers”
“swerving” WCW and how Sting and Goldberg are currently out of
commission. Therefore, let’s bring in someone new to help fight the
NWO. That brings us to the new commissioner: Terry Funk. Yes, the
big solution to the NWO is to bring in a guy who first retired about
sixteen years earlier.
Now
don’t get me wrong: Terry Funk is awesome and one of the best
wrestlers and performers of all time, but this is not the right move
in this spot. This needed to be someone young who could be a future
for WCW, not another legend who shows up, basically in the same role
as Piper.
Anyway,
Funk says he loves wrestling and wants to get rid of these fat hogs
at the trough. To do this, he needs an enforcer, and who better than
Arn Anderson? Anderson gives his usual great speech about putting
the heart back in wrestling, but the WE WANT FLAIR chants almost
drown him out. Cue the NWO so Hart can offer Funk a spot on the
team. Terry shrugs it off and makes some new stipulations for Hart
vs. Goldberg. Wait didn’t they officially cancel that last week? It
wouldn’t be the first time they lied about a match they had coming up
so why not do it here too?
The
match will have Arn as guest referee and the title can change hands
on a DQ. As for tonight, it’s Jeff defending the US Title against
Sid in a powerbomb match. Oh and Nash and Steiner will indeed get
screwed in their matches tonight. Nash threatens David Flair and
we’re done here.
Tag Team Title
Tournament Quarterfinals: Buff Bagwell/Chris Kanyon vs. Norman
Smiley/Asya
Buff
and Kanyon argue over how awesome this town is because Kanyon thinks
it’s not Hollywood. Kanyon offers him some champagne so Buff, the
hero that he is, breaks the bottle over Kanyon’s head. That’s a
great way to advance in a title tournament Buff. Norman is dressed
as a mascot of the local baseball team, complete with a three foot
long tail, which is shaken in Buff’s general direction.
Buff doesn’t take
kindly to Norman mocking his strut and nails him with a clothesline,
only to have Asya knee him in the back. We get the spanking dance
from Norman before it’s off to Asya, who is quickly suplexed down by
Bagwell. Everything breaks down and Asya hits Buff low, only to have
Norman accidentally hit her with the mascot head. A Blockbuster
sends Buff on his own (presumably) to the semifinals.
Rating:
D-.
Comedy ladies and gentlemen! This is what you get when you have no
reason for these teams to be fighting and you just throw them
together and have no chemistry or time to go anywhere. It doesn’t
help that neither team even tried to do more than comedy spots to get
to the ending. Couple that with Kanyon not even being in the match
and what were you expecting here?
The Revolution comes in
to beat up Buff, drawing down Duggan for a failed save attempt. The
Filthy Animals come out for the real save.
The old guys and the
NWO look for David.
Funk and Anderson find
Daffney in the boiler room.
Tag Team Title
Tournament Semifinals: Kevin Nash/Scott Steiner vs. Harris Brothers
You
know, in a decent company, this could be a watchable power match.
Again Steiner sits in on commentary and lets Nash do the match
himself. The twins double team Nash until he gets a ball bat. They
obviously run away from the combined force of the bat and the hair,
only to have the Varsity Club come in and chair them down. Sullivan
throws Don back in and Nash pins him in less than a minute and a
half.
Jarrett kidnaps
Daffney.
Tag Team Title
Tournament Semifinals: Buff Bagwell/Chris Kanyon vs. David
Flair/Crowbar
Kanyon comes out for no
logical reason, only to get jumped by Bam Bam Bigelow and slammed off
the stage. This brings out Vampiro, who is apparently going to be
Buff’s partner whether Bagwell likes it or not. Vampiro starts with
some spinning kicks to put Crowbar down but Buff tags himself in.
Cue Anderson and Funk to talk to David because he’s not doing
anything important right now.
Vampiro superplexes
Crowbar down and Buff tells Vampiro to stay in for the finish.
There’s a Ligerbomb to Crowbar but Vampiro stops to argue with
Anderson because it’s the least logical thing possible right now.
Funk punches Vampiro in the face and Buff adds a Blockbuster to his
partner, again for no apparent reason, allowing David to get the pin
to go to the finals.
Rating:
F.
This was a circus with the partners basically saying screw the tag
belts because we want to do stupid stuff instead. I’ve completely
lost track of what’s going on with Bagwell (feuding with Page I
believe), Vampiro (feuding with no one that I know of) and almost
everyone else in this company. The sad part: I really don’t care
what they’re doing either.
The NWO drags Daffney
out so Steiner can call her ugly.
Flair and Crowbar can’t
find Daffney.
US Title: Jeff
Jarrett vs. Sid Vicious
Powerbomb
match and Sid is in a neck brace. He shoves Jeff away to start and
kicks away, only to have Jarrett go right for the neck. A backdrop
puts the big guy on the floor and Jeff rams him into the barricade.
Back in and a high cross body gets two for Jeff but Sid powers out
and nails a big boot, followed by the chokeslam. The champ shoves
the referee down of course and Sid hits the powerbomb, only to have
Bret come in with the ball bat for the DQ.
Standard beatdown and
spray painting follows.
Tag Team Titles:
Kevin Nash/Scott Steiner vs. David Flair/Crowbar
Steiner
and Nash clean house to start and I have no idea who to cheer for
here. There’s no referee to start and Steiner sits in on commentary
to say the opponents suck. Nash slams Crowbar off the top and pokes
him in the eye as this has been completely one sided so far. A
double noggin knocker puts Flair and Crowbar down again but here come
Terry Funk and Arn Anderson in a referee shirt. Crowbar gets
jackknifed as security and Funk yell at Steiner. The distraction
lets Crowbar hit Nash with a crowbar, giving David the pin and the
titles.
Rating:
F.
It’s the slip on the banana peel ending as this was just a beating
until the wacky ending. In other words, Russo probably thought it
was great and the wrestlers loved it too as they didn’t have to do
much. This wasn’t a match and that really shouldn’t surprise me at
this point.
Post
match Jeff Jarrett drags Daffney to the ring as David hits Anderson
with the crowbar. The new champs stumble away and the NWO swarms
Funk. Bret and Jeff kidnap Anderson and throw him in the trunk of a
car to end the show. The new champs were complete afterthoughts
here.
Overall
Rating:
F.
So tonight we had seven tournament matches. Those matches combined
to run less than nineteen minutes, for an average of about two
minutes and forty seconds each. If you take away the marathon match
that ran over five minutes, you’re looking at six matches taking less
than fifteen minutes combined. There were two other matches on this
show: Tank Abbott in a match with literally no wrestling and a two
minute powerbomb match which ended in a DQ. They’ve taken the
wrestling out of this show and now I’m really not sure what Nitro is
supposed to be. At least it’s shorter now I guess.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–07.15.96

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 07.15.96 Overwhelming sentiment seems to be that I should continue on with Nitro since they were getting incredibly hot and I’ve never seen these shows before anyway. So we’ll plow through until the end of the archived material in December 1996! Live from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Tony & Larry Let us take you back to a magical time called two weeks ago, when Hulk Hogan betrayed WCW and kicked off the hottest period in wrestling history. Fire & Ice v. The Steiner Brothers Norton throws Scott around to start while the announcers discuss the friction between Fire & Ice. Their name is LITERALLY “Fire and Ice”. This is somehow coming as a shock to them? You might as well call a team “Oil and Water”. Which begs the question: Why was WCW in 1990 so retarded that they never teamed up Curtis “Big Cat” Hughes with the Junkyard Dog? They could have been The Big Lazy Black Guys! Norton chokes away, but misses a blind charge and takes an overhead suplex. Rick throws Ice Train around with a suplex for two and an inverted DDT for two. Tony and Larry are just all over this “New World Order” catchphrase, and now they think more people might be joining. Norton comes in and takes over on Scott with a middle rope clothesline, but lands on a foot and it’s back to Rick. And surprise surprise they go right back to beating the hell out of each other and throwing suplexes. Powerslam gets two. Fire & Ice double-team Rick , but Train is so useless that he manages to splash his own partner and Rick throws another suplex for the pin on Ice Train at 10:00. They had a million matches and it was all big dudes throwing down. **1/2 Glacier is now coming at an indeterminate time again instead of the previously promised July 1996. Perhaps they need better time management at their ninja training center. Meanwhile, Fire & Ice split up despite the best efforts of Teddy Long. Holla playa, no more tag matches for them. Dean Malenko v. Billy Kidman This would obviously be a much more competitive match years later. At this point, Malenko clobbers him and puts him on the floor, but is unable to successfully execute a powerbomb on Kidman. Somehow I’m not surprised. Kidman comes back in with a missile dropkick for two, but Malenko takes him down with an anklelock and goes to work on the leg. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. Here’s the balls on WCW at this point: Tony openly brags that Sting, Giant, Flair and Savage are all absent from the show tonight, and they still beat RAW by a bazillion viewers. Give or take. Malenko chokes away and goes to a headscissors, then hits him with a whiplash slam, which Kidman reverses to a jackknife pin for two. Kidman with a bulldog out of the corner for two and goes up, but the Shooting Star Press misses and Dean kills him dead with a brainbuster and this time he CAN powerbomb Kidman. Butterfly bomb into a Texas Cloverleaf finishes for shizzle at 5:13. Remind me not to upset Dean Malenko, because he just destroyed him like the computer AI in No Mercy on Hard with a Special. ***1/4 Meanwhile, Kevin Greene is also pissed about HOLLYWOOD Hulk Hogan turning on his fans. They wasted no time in trying to ditch the “Hulk” name and replacing it with “Hollywood” so they could cut Marvel out of the deal. In fact when Hogan was originally signed they attempted to have him introduced as Hurricane Hogan for the same reason. Interesting because at the time Marvel was a pretty low point and Turner could have bought and sold the entire comics industry 100 times over. Now of course Marvel makes more off one movie than WCW ever did in their entire run, and more than WWE has ever made in a single year either, for that matter. In fact I wouldn’t be shocked if Disney bought WWE one day and added them to their IP empire. WCW tag titles: Harlem Heat v. Rough & Ready That would be Mike Enos and Dick Slater in the most generic tag team name ever. Every time I hear them I think of “Shake & Bake” from Talladega Nights. Kind of a major downgrade from Jimmy Golden for Slater. And they couldn’t spring for the $50 it would cost to get Wayne Bloom? Stevie Ray overpowers both Rough as well as Ready, but Slater tosses Booker and beats on him on the floor while a young Dean Ambrose takes notes at home, I assume. Thankfully we get clarification thanks to the embroidery on their chaps: Slater is “Rough” and Enos is “Ready”. Thank god, that one was gonna keep me up nights trying to figure it out. The Heat beats on Enos in the corner while Sherri and Parker argue over who is actually managing who here, but Sherri gets involved and kisses Dick Slater, allowing Booker to roll him up to retain at 7:38. I have no idea what the deal with the Parker-Sherri stuff was supposed to be. Did that even have a payoff? Because I remember Parker accidentally costing them the tag titles to the Outsiders in October but I don’t even remember where they went with the whole thing. ½* Meanwhile, Kevin Greene is also really upset with Mongo, and he’s literally the only person in the building who still cares about that feud with the New World Order about to overshadow everything ever. Madusa v. Malia Hosaka This is pretty random. Hosaka puts her down with a spinkick and chokes away, then goes to a chinlock. Neckbreaker and she goes up, but misses whatever as we’re under a minute to Hour #2 so you know someone is screaming at them to go home NOW. And of course Madusa finishes quickly with the german suplex at 4:08. This was no good. * HOUR #2! Hosted by Eric & Bobby. Anyone see that picture of Bobby from the convention with Ted Dibiase and Roddy Piper that was posted recently? Man that was sad. Meanwhile, Hall and Nash hang “NWO” letters over the WCW sign on the roof. You could tell this was gonna explode into the stratosphere soon. Arn Anderson v. Meng Meng puts him down with the Tongan Martial Arts and pounds away while there’s literally a fireworks show going on in the background. That’s pretty hard to compete with, even for Hour #2 of Nitro. Arn takes him down and goes after the leg. Meng comes back with those devastating back leg front kicks, and Barbarian joins us as we take a break. Back with Arn choking away and stuff while the crowd chants for Razor and Diesel. Meng with a suplex for two and he chops away, then Barbarian sneaks in for a double-team with Jimmy taking the ref, and Meng gets the pin at 10:50. Holy crap was that terrible. Just a boring, sloppy match with no heat segment or climax, and the crowd was literally distracted by the Outsiders AND a fireworks show at the same time. -* Eddie Guerrero v. Chris Benoit Benoit fires away with chops in the corner and grabs a chinlock, but Eddie reverses out of a powerbomb and hits him with a dive to the floor. Springboard senton back in and Eddie follows with a backbreaker. Benoit puts him down with a backdrop suplex and follows with a rare press slam before going to a camel clutch. Powerbomb with MUSTARD gets two. Backbreaker and Benoit works the back while Heenan questions why someone from WCW doesn’t go up and rip down the nWo banner if they’re not afraid of the Outsiders. Fine question, Bobby, and the cowardice from WCW would only get more pronounced. Benoit goes up, but Eddie catches him with a superplex. Bischoff notes that the question for WCW is “When, and whom, and where, and how many”. That’s more accurately about four questions, Eric. Eddie comes back and tries a rana, but they tumble to the floor as Dean Malenko runs down and sends Benoit into the post. Guerrero wins by countout at 9:40 off that. Bischoff notes that Benoit’s brains are scrambled from that one. Um…yeah. Usual great TV match from these two. ***1/4 Glacier is coming, OK? So just lay off him. He’s got shit to do. Ninja shit. And errands to run. Ninja errands. What are you, his mother? WCW TV title: Lex Luger v. Big Bubba I had literally forgotten that Luger was still TV champion. He’s gotta drop it to Regal pretty soon, right? Lex uses the power of grunts to dominate, but Bubba goes to the eyes with a cheapshot to take over. Luger’s doctor said he’s not supposed to get anything in his eye! Bubba continues pounding away while the Outsiders join us via limo and we take a break. Back with Bubba biting in the corner, but Luger comes back with the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DOOM and the Outsiders run in for the DQ at 9:34. We get our first ever nWo beatdown finish as Hollywood Hogan debuts the black outfit, and then they offer membership to Bubba before turning on him and tossing him out as well. Hulk finally does his post-turn interview, and he reiterates that the fans can stick it. And also Macho Man’s divorce was his own fault because he couldn’t “rise to the occasion”. And then the crowd starts PELTING the ring with garbage as Hulk promises that there’s more members to come. He promises to take the WCW title from the Giant at Hog Wild and make it into the nWo belt, which is of course exactly what happened. There was no “cool heel” heat for this, this was a crowd that was PISSED at Hogan. Talk about a money promo, as he basically talked himself into another World title reign just with this one. The Pulse A much more even show than last week, and man was that Hogan promo at the end something to behold for sheer hatred coming from the crowd. But I mean, it was no DX riding a tank or anything.

WWE Monday Night RAW – 5/25/2015

I hope everyone had a nice, safe Memorial Day and is hunkering down
with their post-BBQ drink of choice to wind down the long weekend.

RAW
has been pretty good and we’re on the cusp of Elimination Chamber
which, honestly, I can’t wait for. I will never understand why they put
Fastlane on instead of this one. EC has been WWE’s post-Rumble Sgt.
Pepper and I’m glad they booked it, despite the fact that it seems, for
all intents and purposes, to be last-second and desperate.

Let’s go, shall we?

We
start with the a nice video package paying homage to the soldiers who
died in the name of the United States — narrated by President Ronald
Reagan (who, I swear, Vince thinks is still in power) and interspersed
with various WWE superstars reciting the words to Reagan’s speech.

Cody’s wife asks us to stand in remembrance of the soldiers who passed with ten-bells salute.

We are LIVE(!!!) from Long Island, New York for Monday Night RAW!!!

Just
in case you aren’t fully fatigued by long opening segments involving
The Authority, here’s another one. Triple H, Steph, Seth Rollins,
J&J Security and Kane all come out to start us off. Rollins
sarcastically asks the crowd to cheer Ambrose, then calls him a common
“thug” which is strange since CNN and MSNBC fell all over themselves to
tell us that white people couldn’t say that word anymore. Rollins says
that Ambrose extorted his way into a Championship match. Rollins says
that The Authority can punish him by taking away the match or firing
him. Triple H and Steph aren’t enthused by the idea. Triple H says that a
verbal arrangement is locked away. But, wouldn’t ya’ know it: there
needs to be a contract signing. In fact, he has the contract and invites Ambrose out to the ring so that he can sign it.

Ambrose’s
music hits and he says that he’s been dreaming of punching Rollins
instead of sheep. He says that he will be the new face of WWE and that
there will be changes: J&J will go barefoot like “respectable
hobbits”. Kane will stop wearing a suit and will wear a collar like an
obedient lapdog which is an image I really don’t want in my head, thank
you very much. Rollins will always be Justin Bieber. The crowd hits that
chant right away. Rollins isn’t happy. He calls Ambrose a cockroach and
says that he thinks being called Justin Bieber is a compliment: Bieber
is rich and has chicks and he’s “the most successful artist of his
generation”. Well…one out of two ain’t bad. Rollins dares Ambrose to
come down.

Ambrose says that he’d rather be a cockroach
then somebody’s “human centipede”. Ambrose makes his way to the ring —
and Roman Reigns interrupts. Ambrose and Reigns bump fists. Steph says
that she finds their friendship cute. Dean has until the end of the
night to sign the contract — in the meantime, we have to sit through
Ambrose & Reigns vs. Rollins & Kane variation #73.

(We’re
back to long promos again, are we? Look, you could have just had
Ambrose lead this thing off, had the Authority attempt to jump him, THEN
set up the main event all in the space of five minutes. But, no, it’s
Ambrose fantasizing about Kane in a dog collar and Rollins being Justin
Bieber — again — and this goes on and on and on and on…wrestling
fans aren’t morons. We know what the situation is and what Ambrose needs
to do. There’s no need for this crap. We already had the needless
“party” last week. It’s time to use what intensity these two have to
really make this thing pop before EC…but, no, 15 minutes of talking
leading to another tag team abortion starring Kane is what we’re given instead.)

We go to break.

MATCH #1: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins & Kane vs. Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns
Ambrose
and Kane start up with Ambrose beating him from corner to corner after a
sitting dropkick and press. Reigns tags in and he tosses Kane’s head
into a turnbuckle. He suplexes Kane and tags Ambrose but Kane puts
Ambrose into his own corner and it’s a tag to Rollins. Rollins hits a
suplex for two. Rollins puts Ambrose in a headlock but Ambrose breaks
and tags Reigns and the two faces hit a double clothesline on Rollins.
Samoan Drop by Reigns as JBL wants to talk about how Nassau Coliseum is
closing its doors and how sad that is — even though they have some of
the deadest crowds ever. Reigns goes outside and sets up for the Missile
Dropkick on Rollins but J&J work their magic and Rollins slide
kicks Reigns on the distraction. Kane tosses Reigns back in for the
headlock by Rollins as Booker actually calls HHH an “Indian Giver”.
At this point, I’m convinced Booker’s doing this Kayfabe to introduce a
new segment where he apologizes for the shit he said last week. Reigns
escapes the hold and tags in Ambrose who beats up Rollins and hits a
Bulldog. He clotheslines Rollins out of the ring and hits a Flying
Lunatic. Kane comes to help out but Reigns uppercuts him. Ambrose and
Reigns stand tall in the middle of the ring.

After a
break, Rollins is back in control, hitting a shortarm clothesline on
Ambrose. Ambrose comes back with a huge clothesline and makes the hot
tag to Reigns. Kane is in on the other side. Reigns hits a clothesline
and big boot, then a series of clotheslines in the corner. J&J tries
to get involved but Reigns takes Mercury’s head off and issues a
Superman Punch to Jamie Noble. Kane attacks Reigns and goes for the
Chokeslam. Reigns escapes and hits a Superman Punch to Kane, tagging in
Ambrose. He hits a crossbody on Kane but Rollins interrupts the pin.
Rollins tags in and hits a Springboard Knee to Ambrose’s head. Rollins
goes for a kick to the head. Series of counters and Ambrose hits a
Backslide to win this thing at 12:29.
WINNERS: Ambrose & Reigns
RATING:
**. The last three minutes of this match were worth watching.
Otherwise, you’ve seen this before and it was nothing to write home
about and really cold and boring for the most part.

Post-match,
JBL goes off the handle, saying what a disaster it’s gonna be if
Ambrose wins the title at EC while Michael Cole goes insane, acting like
Ambrose pinning Rollins is something never before seen.

Kevin Connolly tweeted about RAW in Nassau. Also, him and the rest of the cast of “Entourage” is here.

Ambrose
is backstage with Renee Young. He tells her that, by the end of the
night, he will “have a signed contract”, which isn’t quite the way to
say that, but whatever. I mean, I have no idea why since the match is
already fucking booked, having been announced at the beginning of the show…

J&J
show up to tease him by faking like they have said “contract”. Noble
says, “Slap me on the head and call me ‘Sally'”, and states that they
don’t really have the contract. So Ambrose calls him “Sally” and
slaps him in the head and it’s a brawl. Oops, Ambrose belts the
cameraman which comes off as supremely awkward.

JBL and
Sotto Cole briefly argue about it while Booker adds whatever the hell
comes out of his mouth, which isn’t much and doesn’t matter because the
camera only shows JBL and Cole.

AT ELIMINATION CHAMBER: It’s Eric Owens and John Cena.

Rusev’s
out here and he’s Bulgarian again all of the sudden with Bulgarian
trunks and flag…so…we’re all supposed to…hate Bulgaria now, I
guess? He has a match…NEXT.

Oh, wait: the cast of
Entourage is here. Adrian Grenier gets out of the limo and gets about
the same reaction as Erick Rowan. All of the sudden, their theme music
kinda begins to play and fades out a little as if the Gorilla Room can’t
quite commit to this whole thing.


Anyhow, back to Rusev: we get clips of Rusev telling Lana to leave, followed by Lana leaving and then making out Ziggler later.


MATCH #2: Rusev vs. R-Truth
Truth gets a couple licks in
until Rusev hits Kick, Stomp, Accolade. Booker, during the Accolade:
“C’mon, Truth! You gotta do something here!” Yeah. Truth submits at
1:00, that’s what he does. How he’s even in the Chamber match for the IC
Title is beyond me.
WINNER: Rusev via Accolade
RATING: n/a – squash

Post-match, Rusev wants to talk, baby, please…and we go to a commercial.

When
we come back, Rusev is still calling out Lana, who finally shows up
(with a slightly altered version of Rusev’s theme) and actually says,
“You told me to come…I came.” Rusev says he knows Lana cares about him
despite his losses to John Cena. He says Lana is a woman and “all women
do things to make men pay attention.” Lana says she’s done everything
for him and says that they can still “crush America” which makes no
sense whatsoever being that Bulgaria is a member of NATO and an ally of the United States
for crying outloud. The begging goes on. Lana and Rusev hug and the
crowd boos. He wants Lana to say “three words”: “I…was wrong”. Lana is
pissed and walks out of the ring. Lana says that Rusev is wrong. He
quit. Rusev says he owns her and that she’s to get back into the ring.
Lana tells him that he’s a liar and a quitter. She leaves and gets to
the ramp. Ziggler’s music hits. The two make out on the ramp and Rusev’s
furious.

(On the one hand, I’m glad to see that
Rusev and Lana are evolving as characters, but it’s a bit weird what
they’re doing with Rusev: portraying him as this vulnerable loser who
has gotten away from Russia after losing his pride, yet aligning him
with an ally of the U.S., while he still hates the U.S. and praises
Russia and having him still scream at Lana like a misogynist pig. Pick a
lane. And why Truth? The dude’s in the EC match. Why not Zack Ryder or
Heath Slater? I know he isn’t gonna win the thing, but can we at least pretend like he’s worthy of being in it?)

Ambrose
is backstage. Seth and HHH show up. Ambrose wants his contract and
he’ll get it — even if he has to obtain it “the fun way”. HHH says that
Ambrose isn’t gonna have anymore fun tonight. He brings in two “police
officers” for the silly Arrest Spot despite the fact that a) the
cameraman waffled on the accusation, b) Seth Rollins ordered the dude to confess in front of the fucking “cops” and c) this show features guys who regularly take out timekeepers and announcers “by accident” during matches. They leave the arena in a police van after Rollins, Kane and J&J taunt Ambrose while he’s cuffed.

MATCH #3: King Barrett vs. Ryback
Ryback
hits a press and slams Barrett’s head against the mat, then a Warrior
Splash and Powerslam. He goes for the Meathook but Barrett rolls out of
the ring. Ryback chases and Barrett just slaps him in the chest hard. He
goes after the ribs and then gets back in the ring. Ryback gets back
into the ring and Barrett puts him up on the top turnbuckle, kicking at
Ryback’s ribs. Barrett hits a flying elbow from the second buckle and
gets a two count. He knees Ryback in the back. Ryback comes back with
shoulders in the corner. He tries to go second buckle but Barrett tosses
him to the mat and hits Winds of Change for two. Barrett sets up the
Bullhammer but Ryback can’t get to his feet. Barrett taunts him and
slaps at him as he’s down. Barrett gets up and hits the Spinebuster and
Shell Shock to win it at 3:51.
WINNER: Ryback via Shell Shock
RATTING:
*1/2. Ryback continues to look strong while Barrett’s just become A Guy
Walking Around in a Costume from Party City. I don’t care about either
guy. Barrett became dead to me the moment he was told to drop the “Bad
News” gimmick.

Backstage, HHH tells Steph that Ambrose is in Booking right now and there’s just no way he’ll
come back! Then the case of Entourage shows up. Each guy gets a really
weird close-up and says things like, “So happy to be here” and “Jeremy
Piven would have been here but he’s not” and “Dude, I grew up here”.
Turtle mentions getting his ass kicked by Ronda Rousey which was “fake”,
unlike when Steph actually got her ass kicked by her at WrestleMania.
The cast of Entourage leaves. Am I the only person in the world who
didn’t care for that show outside of Ari?

MATCH #4: Stardust vs. Neville
Some
quick counters and Neville hits a forearm. Stardust comes back,
twisting Neville’s injured knee against the ropes. Star hits a beautiful
Delayed Reverse Suplex, getting a one count, then puts Neville in a
Half Crab. Bo Dallas makes his way down to the ring. Stardust tries a
Side Suplex but Neville counters it, escaping to the corner. Stardust
climbs on him and the two exchange punches. Neville knocks Star to his
feet and hits a nice DDT. He whacks at his own knee to “cure it” like
Bruce Wayne’s spine in The Dark Knight Rises and hits the Red Arrow for
the win at 3:17.
WINNER: Neville via Red Arrow
RATING: 1/2 a *. Man…I like Neville. He deserves so much better than matches with Stardust and a feud with Bo Dallas.

Post-match,
Bo has a mic. He tells Neville to get up and face him and says that all
he has to do is BO-lieve. Then he kicks at Neville’s knee and leaves,
doing a victory lap.

Oh, look, the Divas are all
friends and nobody’s an enemy because it’s the Cast of Entourage! Like,
OMG! Summer can’t wait for the movie! Then they meet Zack Ryder and he’s
got this thing he’s gotta speak with The Cast of Entourage about!

Lana and Ziggler speak, inaudibly, with one another.

We get a plug for Money in the Bank.

MATCH #5: Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus
This
match again. And, once again, Cole can’t help but reference the “Kiss
Me Arse” match. Sheamus levels Ziggler in the corner and hits a lariat.
He chokes Ziggler with a knee and then puts him in a headlock. Ziggler
breaks it but takes an elbow to the face. Sheamus tosses him out of the
ring and goes after Ziggler but Ziggler tosses his head against the
table and gets back in the ring. Sheamus immediately attacks Ziggler’s
knee and goes for a Side Suplex. Ziggler counters and hits a dropkick
and clotheslines Sheamus out of the ring but Ziggler goes over as well.
Both men get up but Sheamus gets the advantage and hits a backbreaker as
Lana makes her way out from the back to the entrance ramp. We go to
break.

When we come back, Lana looks on as Ziggler is
on the attack. Sheamus catches him for the Spinning Backbreaker for a
two count. Sheamus picks him up and Ziggler fights back again, only to
take a knee to the gut. Ziggler gets back up again and fights, hitting a
chinbreaker. Ziggler hits some forearms, knocking Sheamus down. Ziggler
tries the DDT but Sheamus counters and dumps him outside. Ziggler
immediately gets up and hits a Crossbody off the top rope plus a
Fame-Asser for a close fall. A few counters later and Sheamus flies into
the ringpost. Superkick by Ziggler gets a two count. Out comes Rusev,
who smirks at Lana. Ziggler sees him running down and hits a Superkick
as he tries to enter the ring. Sheamus hits a Brogue and wins on the
distraction at 10:18.
WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick
RATING: **. We’ve seen this already and it’s pretty much the same thing each time.

Post-match,
Sheamus leaves Rusev to pick Ziggler’s bones. Rusev beats Ziggler up
and it’s an Accolade while Rusev yells at Lana to “KISS HIM NOW”. He
finally lets go and leaves as Lana just glares.

NEXT: Cena’s gonna challenge someone.

Cena joins us for his usual spiel where he indulges in the crowd loving/hating him. The crowd does the Cena chant. He praises the
positive fans while the rest chant for Zack Ryder. He acknowledges the
fans that hate him and says that fans like them hope he gets knocked
down. But he always gets back up. He says he met Kevin Owens last week.
Owens destroyed him as well as The Internet and Sami Zayn. Cena says
that, at Elimination Chamber, it will be “Let’s Go Cena/Fight, Owens,
Fight” — then he shits all over it, saying that “Fight Owens Fight
doesn’t mean Win Owens Win”, so fuck the crowd. Also, hey, Long Island!
Cena loves you. So, the challenge starts now and it’s…

THE FUCKING CAST OF ENTOURAGE.

They
all stand on the entrance ramp and the arena boos them. Cena introduces
them. More heat. Cena wants to know which guy will face him. Connelly
has the mic and says they’re here to introduce a superstar who will take
him up on the challenge:

Zack Ryder.

Hooray. Nobody fucking cares. Also, the CAST OF ENTOURAGE is at ringside.

MATCH #6: John Cena (champion) vs. Zack Ryder (challenger) for the WWE United States Championship
Crowd
is surprisingly hot for Ryder as Cena hits a suplex and a headlock,
followed by another suplex. Cena squashes Ryder in the corner and tries
to follow up but Ryder gets his knees up and hits a Missile Dropkick.
Broski Boot misses and Cena hits Moves 1 through 3. 5KS by Cena but
Kevin Dillon actually enters the ring to distract Cena. Ryder
rolls Cena up on the distraction but only gets two. Ryder hits a nice
Kill Switch and gets two. Broski Boot also gets two. Rough Ryder by
Ryder gets two. THE CAST OF ENTOURAGE is going insane. Ryder misses the
450 Splash. Cena hits the AA and retains at 4:06 as the announcers
praise Zack Ryder for jobbing in THIS HISTORIC ARENA. They even declare
Ryder and Cena “friends” despite the fact that Cena let Kane eat Ryder
alive and practically fucked Ryder’s girlfriend after Kane slaughtered
him week after week.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: John Cena via AA
RATING: **. Quick match and far better than expected — but that isn’t saying much. It’s painfully obvious Ryder doesn’t have much to challenge Cena with and this felt more like a glorified squash than a real “championship match”.

Cena
gives Ryder the rub and THE CAST OF ENTOURAGE joins in the celebration.
They leave the ring — right as Owens gets in the ring to jump Cena and
hit the Pop-Up Powerbomb. He steps on the U.S. Title again and raises
the NXT Title.

Backstage, Steph praises Kevin
Owens. HHH agrees. Rollins says that Owens is awesome — but he’s still
the present and future of the WWE. Renee Young shows up (OUT OF
NOWHERE!) and shoves a mic in Steph’s face to ask about Ambrose, which
is weird since I was able to hear Steph talking without the mic
five seconds ago. She says that it’s unlikely Ambrose will ever come
back tonight. Rollins tells Renee that this is all Ambrose’s fault and
brought this on himself.

EARLIER TONIGHT: Ambrose was arrested. Not that I’m an editor or anything…but shouldn’t this have been shown before the HHH/Steph/Rollins segment?

 The Bella Twins are here — and they’re on commentary so, yes, tonight can get worse.

ON SMACKDOWN: Ryback takes on Rusev.

LAST MONDAY: Tamina and Naomi jumped Paige.

AT ELIMINATION CHAMBER: Nikki Bella faces Naomi and Paige for the WWE Divas Title.

MATCH #7: Paige vs. Tamina
Paige
slaps Tamina, then kicks her in the stomach and hits some quick knees
until Tamina sends her outside. Once back in the ring, Tamina puts Paige
in a chinlock, then tosses her to the mat. Another chinlock and Paige
fights out. Tamina fights back with punches of her own but Paige kicks
her in the face. Quick roll-up from Paige gets two as Tamina nearly runs
over Naomi on an Irish Whip. Paige hits a dropkick and Superkick and
Tamina bails from the ring. Paige hits a flipping splash to Tamina and
rolls her back in the ring. Tamina attacks Paige as she re-enters the
ring but the ref pulls her off. Naomi distracts Paige and then slaps her
which the ref should have seen as he was practically facing that
direction, but whatever. Tamina hits the Samoan Drop to beat Paige at
3:36. Tamina. Who isn’t even IN the EC Match. Beat Paige. Who is in the match.
WINNER: Tamina via Samoan Drop
RATING:
1/2 a *, if that. Nothing here. And I owe Phrederic an apology…Tamina
sucks. And it was just made ten times worse with Nikki and Brie doing the “LIKE OMG” bit on commentary. And it was made even worse than that with Paige jobbing to Tamina fucking Snuka. I don’t care if it wasn’t clean. Even with interference, that’s just fucking low.

Post-match, Nikki holds up the Divas Title as Naomi jaws at her.

We
get a look at The Rock getting his feet and hands put into cement at
Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Cole talks up “San Andreas” even though it’s a
critical flop.

The New Day enters the ring and starts yacking about injustice and how they’re being cheated. Big E mocks THIS HISTORIC ARENA and the Islanders.
New. Day Sucks over and over until Kane shows up, because reasons, and
says that “fair” is their match at EC, unlike tonight when they pretty
much face every single stable. Also, Kane isn’t wearing a shirt, meaning
that he’s been walking around for the past three hours backstage,
shirtless. What, is he farming corn back there?

MATCH #8: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (w/ Natalya), The Primetime Players (Titus O’Neil & Damien Young), Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) (w/ El Torito), The Ascension (Viktor & Konnor) and Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) in a 10-on-3 Handicap Tag Team Match (non-title)
We
join the match after a break. Xavier has Kalisto in a Cobra Clutch but
Kalisto breaks only for Woods to knock him to the mat. Woods taunts
everyone on the other side of the ring and, fuck it. This match is over
because everyone decided to wrestle a whole lot and all at once. Mark it
at 0:51, if you care.
WINNERS: The New Day, presumably by DQ
RATING: DUD. WTF was the point of this? Why was Kane even punishing The New Day? Aren’t they all heels? And why did everyone beat the hell out of everyone but The New Day if they were all there to punish them?

Post-match,
everyone hits a spot until it’s a giant pile of muscles and tights on
the floor outside. Lucha Dragons get on the top rope for a high spot,
killing everyone below. The New Day avoids this and gets in the ring to
celebrate…whatever that was as they’re announced the “winners” by DQ.
Then Kidd comes into the ring with Cesaro. Dropkick off the Spin and,
mercifully, this ends.

Cole plugs Daniel Bryan’s new YES YES YES special.

ON THE ELIMINATION CHAMBER KICK-OFF SHOW: MizTV hosts Daniel Bryan.

EARLIER TONIGHT: Ambrose attacked J&J Security, accidentally hit a camera guy that got in the way and was arrested for it.

ALSO: Surprise! Seth Rollins was the dude who shoved the camera guy because an alternate video stream of the incident was caught by WWE’s own YouTube channel. What is this, Poirot?


Triple
H, Steph, Seth Rollins, J&J, and Kane walk to the ring to give us
the other moldy piece of bread for this shit sandwich. Rollins says that
what happened on the Sherlock App doesn’t matter because Ambrose is a
lunatic. Steph says that RAW is a show they “work hard to produce” which
is ironic, considering tonight. Steph says that the cameraman is “a
father with triplets”, then says that they can’t “talk about Ambrose
because there’s an ongoing investigation” even though we just saw Rollins shove the father with triplets into Ambrose. I just can’t…oh, then, Reigns shows up and he goes
right after every member of The Authority until THENUMBERSGAME. It’s a
mudhole stomp until Reigns throws Rollins and J&J away from him like
he’s Vigo in Ghostbusters II. For some reason, they taunt him with the
contract which they brought to the ring despite not needing it.

Then,
a police van shows up backstage and it’s Ambrose driving the thing with
a police jacket and nightstick. Cole speculates that “Ambrose was
cleared of the charges after the YouTube video surfaced” because that’s
how the law works. One could ask how Ambrose got a hold of a
police truck, but I gave up on this episode about a year ago. Or, so it
feels like it’s been a year. Anyhow, Ambrose gets in the ring and beats
Kane senseless, then goes after Rollins but loses the nightstick.
Rollins grabs it but Reigns takes it back. Ambrose and Reigns take
Rollins out of the ring. Kane gets back in to help out, beating on
Reigns while J&J try to ambush Ambrose. Reigns fights Kane off and
hits a Spear on J&J. Kane tosses Reigns from the ring but Reigns
does a stupid Ambrose-style “Rebound” and comes back with a Superman
Punch to Kane.

HHH, Steph and Rollins are at the top
of the ramp, looking unhappy. Ambrose finds the contract and signs it
and we end the show with Ambrose and Reigns standing tall.

OVERALL: Holy
shit, this was a mess. Not a total loss but, compared to the last few
eps, this was like watching Smackdown and Main Event back to back. It
was full of generic lazily-booked matches and a terrible, nonsensical
sub-plot. Let me get this straight: the main event at EC was already booked
— but only “verbally”, so HHH comes up with a scheme where Ambrose has
to “sign a contract if he can get to it” instead of…oh, I dunno, JUST
NIXING THE MATCH ALTOGETHER? Lana and Rusev were the only interesting
thing on this show and even that’s dying a slow death.

Before we go…the Best of Monday Night Open Mic:

Er…that’s it.

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–07.08.96

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 07.08.96 I’m skipping the BATB redo because RAW is already getting added a rate where I’m falling behind anyway. I’m strongly considering just motoring through one show or the other to finish off 1996 rather than alternating, which would probably make me lean towards RAW because it’s faster. Live from Orlando, FL, at the Disney Studios outdoors. Now THIS is exactly what RAW is lacking. The arena looks and feels like nothing else they had done to that point, like something FRESH. Your hosts are Tony & Larry. Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Rey Mysterio Jr. Hearing their entrances back to back just makes you realize that they both have exactly the same song. Tony encourages us to call our non-wrestling fan friends and tell them to tune into the second hour of this wrestling program for still photos of an angle from a PPV on the previous night. Somehow I don’t think that’s realistic. In fact, my girlfriend at the time called me DURING the heel turn and quite pointedly didn’t give a shit that she was interrupting one of the most stunningly important moments of my wrestling fandom. Luckily I was taping it. And she was cheating on me anyway, so in the grand scheme of things we were both happier. Although to be fair, she was cheating on her previous boyfriend with me. Women, am I right? Rey gets a quick springboard dropkick for two, but Dean hits him with a wheelbarrow suplex for two and a backbreaker, and we take a break. Back with Dean faceplanting Rey and a powerbomb gets two. Poor Rey gets suplexed to the floor and Dean goes to a bodyscissors. Back to the floor and Dean drops him with a goddamn brainbuster on the floor. WCW was definitely starting to clue in that having Rey take a shitkicking was a ticket to money. Back in, Rey reverses a slam for two and takes Dean to the floor with a rana, then follows with a moonsault that kind of misses. Back in, Rey with a flying rana for two. Springboard moonsault gets two. They fight to the top and Dean brings him down with the exploding gutbuster for two. Overhead suplex gets two. Dean keeps pulling him up, which seems like a bad idea to me. Just a hunch. And indeed, Rey snaps off the West Coast Pop to finish and win the title at 11:45. **** Meanwhile, Glacier is coming to WCW, but no longer has a set date to do so. Apparently our world changing forever is TBA. Hugh Morrus & Big Bubba v. Lord Steven Regal & Squire Dave Taylor The Bluebloods dominate Bubba, but Hugh goes to the eyes while John Tenta attacks Bubba. Bluebloods hit a double suplex on Morrus in all the chaos and get the pin at 3:00, of which 1:30 or so was stalling. DUD Psicosis v. Eddie Guerrero Nitro debut for Psi, who has one of the most annoying names to type. They trade armdrags and reach a stalemate, but Eddie dumps him on a monkey flip. Back in, they trade headlocks and Psi dumps him, then follows with a somersault dive to the floor. Back in, Psi works on the arm with some good stuff, but Eddie reverses to a rana for two. Psi goes up and lands in an atomic drop, and Eddie misses a blind charge and hits the post into his bad arm. Psi with a top rope rana for two and they fight to the top again, where Psi gets a sunset flip for two. Back to the top, but Eddie catches him with a superplex and follows with the frog splash to finish at 8:30 for the big comeback. ***1/4 Unlike Rey, Psi kind of got slotted into the jobberweight slot after losing both his PPV and Nitro debuts. The Nasty Boys v. The Steiner Brothers Winners get the tag title shot at Hog Wild, and holy crap it must be humid out there at that point because you see the guys just dying before they even start the match. The Nasties unleash some CLUBBERING in the corner on Scott, but he fires off a butterfly bomb on Sags and damn near looks like he’s going to expire in the process. Crowd is obviously tiring of this wrestling thing at this point as well and dying off fast. Rick comes in and gets double-teamed in the corner for two, but comes back with a powerslam on Knobs. Scott gets taken down and put on the floor, and Sags hits him with a nasty chairshot as we transition to Hour #2, the hour that set the standard for all other hours! Your hosts are Eric Bischoff & Bobby Heenan Continuing on, this match still sucks. Scott with a suplex on Sags while Parker and Sherri look on, but Parker accidentally hits Sags with the cane and Scott gets the pin at 6:05. Total shit. DUD The Nasty Boys bitch at Mean Gene about getting no respect the way that Luger and Sting do, and tease joining the nWo. That proved to be an idle threat. US title: Ric Flair v. Jim Powers Thankfully Flair saved us from the Konnan era last night, making John Cena proud by bringing the US title back to America through ridiculous cheating. Flair is nice enough to give Captain Steroid some offense, but casually sidesteps a dropkick, clips the knee and finishes with the figure-four at 5:03. I know it’s Flair and that’s what he does, but giving so much shine to Anabolic Billy Kidman is a waste of everyone’s time. * Chris Benoit v. Craig Pittman Pittman gets a suplex, but that just annoys Benoit and he beats on him in the corner. Benoit hooks in the Crippler Crossface (still unnamed at this point) and Teddy Long throws in the towel at 2:39. Total squash. Sting v. Arn Anderson We get a bunch of nothing much and take a break with Arn stalling. Back with Arn choking away and using the abdominal stretch, but Sting fights out and then misses a splash. Arn with a Boston crab while the nWo limo pulls up, but Sting makes the comeback while the Outsiders join us at ringside. Sting with a flying clothesline for two while security geeks intercept Hall & Nash, and the Scorpion Deathlock finishes at 11:35. * Sting cuts a hell of a promo on Hulk Hogan afterwards, and then Randy Savage follows with a bunch of rambling nonsense. We take a break and the Outsiders promise that Hulk Hogan will join them next week. We finish with pictures of Hogan’s historic heel turn, and we’re all quite disgusted by his actions. Especially Bobby Heenan. The Pulse Super hot first hour (literally), but without a Hogan appearance to build towards and the stifling heat, the show just kind of dragged to a finish. Still, a very cool change of scenery this month.

Monday Nitro – December 27, 1999

Monday Nitro #220
Date: December 27, 1999
Location: Houston
Astrodome, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 16,640
Commentators: Bobby
Heenan, Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re finally done with
this year and it’s not a moment too soon. While Thunder was better,
last week’s Nitro may have been the worst show I’ve ever seen. The
NWO is on top again but, due to Goldberg punching a limo, they don’t
have a top opponent to deal with so things are a big complicated.
Let’s get to it.

We open with a clip
from Thunder of Goldberg clearing out the NWO.
The NWO walks through
the back until the director tells them it’s clear.
Opening sequence.
Tenay tells us about
Goldberg shredding a tendon in his arm and already undergoing
surgery.
If
that’s not enough, here’s a major update: WCW Senior Executive Vince
President Bill Busch is sick Ferrara and Russo’s direction (Tony uses
their real names here) and if Scott Hall doesn’t show up by 7pm
tonight, the Tag Team Titles are vacated. That time has come and
gone, so the Powers That Be have booked (his word) a Lethal Lottery
Tag Team Title tournament to start this week and end next week. So
the big boss is sick of the booking but is letting the bookers keep
going. Makes as much sense as anything else around here.
Apparently Scott
Steiner has had another back surgery and his career is probably over.
That sounds like a swerve.
Brian Knobbs vs. Bam
Bam Bigelow
Kanyon
is at ringside and has a wireless mic on. Bigelow goes after him to
start but Knobbs gets in a trashcan shot to take over. The
announcers ask Kanyon about a title belt he had with him on Thursday
as Bigelow and Knobbs fight into the crowd and we hit the ECW
production style. Kanyon tells the marks in the crowd to move as he
follows them, which is in no way, shape or form like the time Road
Dogg did this for Al Snow vs. Big Boss Man in a hardcore match in the
WWF. You can’t see a thing going on but apparently Knobbs pins
Bigelow. Seriously you could see their arms and that’s about it.
Sid
arrives with Benoit.
There’s a monster truck
in the back.
The
NWO has JJ Dillon in a chair and Nash throws the Tag Team Title on a
table. Bret knees JJ in the ribs and that’s it.
The
NWO looks at the monster truck, which has an NWO logo on the side.
They walk a few feet away and find Sid’s still running car.
Here’s
Sid to yell about the NWO. Sid knows that he, Goldberg and Benoit
have to watch each others’ backs with the NWO around stabbing
everyone in the back. I can barely understand what Sid is saying but
I think he wants to beat up all four members of the NWO. What
happened to Goldberg is unfortunate, but it’s time for Sid to step up
to the plate and go after the World Title. Sid promises to powerbomb
Bret through the ring at Souled Out so I guess that’s the main event.
Benoit comes out to
join Sid (with a much clearer voice) and talks about wanting to get
his hands on the Chosen One Jeff Jarrett. The last few weeks have
made Benoit lose all respect for Jeff Jarrett and at Souled Out,
Benoit will let out some of the frustration. He wants something
called Triple Threat Theater, which means a 2/3 falls match with
different rules for each fall.
Up
first is a Dungeon Rules match, meaning pinfall or submission only
with no rope breaks and if you leave the ring, you lose the match.
Second would be a Bunkhouse Brawl, or street fight. Finally, it’s
Caged Heat, which means the Cell. Jarrett is the Chosen One to be
lead to the slaughter. Cool idea actually.
We cut to the back
where the NWO has spray painted Sid’s car, complete with Bret’s
caricature of Sid on the hood. He’s not a bad artist.
ZZ Top is here.
Sid and Benoit find the
car and aren’t happy.
Tag
Team Title Tournament First Round: Buzzkill/Mike Rotundo vs. Dean
Malenko/Konnan
Buzzkill
is now a full on Road Dogg knockoff, complete with the same hook to
open his song. “It’s me, it’s me, it’s that B-U-Double Z.”
Also, WE’VE GOT WACKY TAG PARTNERS!!! Dean and Mike get things going
and hit the mat for what could be an entertaining exchange. It’s
quickly off to Konnan vs. Buzzkill with Konnan taking over, only to
have Dean deck his partner. Everyone gets in a fight as Jim Duggan
comes in to lay out Dean with the 2×4 to give Buzzkill the pin to
advance.
Jarrett and Hart pull
the power to the production truck and the feed cuts out. Ok then.
Back
with the picture a bit snowy and a white limo arriving, containing
Scott Steiner who is met by Rick Steiner with a wheelchair.
The NWO destroys
catering. Is there a point to this coming anytime soon?
Tank Abbott vs.
Shane
Shane
is in dress clothes and gets knocked out in less than a minute. He
must have tried to get $20 out of Tank for a posed picture.
Career retrospective on
Scott Steiner.
Rick
wheels Scott out to the ring to the old Steiner Brothers theme. Can
we just get to the swerve that WE NEVER SAW COMING already? A
tearful Scott tells a story of his doctor telling him that his back
will never heal and he’s going to have to retire. Scott cries about
never being able to wrestle his brother again and asks for the fans
to say a prayer for him.
Before
the Steiners can leave, here’s the NWO. Bret wants a washed up
nobody like Scott out of the ring, but to be honest, Scott was never
that good anyway. You would think Rick would come out to protect his
brother here. There are things more important than Scott Steiner,
like the fact that Bret still has his belt. Jeff pretends to cry
over Steiner’s announcement so Nash takes over the talking. A tech
guy tries to send them to a commercial so Jarrett blasts him with a
guitar.
Back
with the NWO still in the ring because that’s what this show is about
anymore. Nash isn’t cool with someone taking their bats. On top of
that, they’re not cool with Bill Busch trying to interfere, so stay
in your office and let them handle the wrestling stuff. He promises
that Nash will be here tonight to wrestle in Houston. As for
Goldberg, the game is about to become deadly. Bret thinks it’s 4-0
Hitman over Goldberg so Goldberg can consider himself stopped.
That brings Bret to
Sid, who will be destroyed even worse than his car. Jarrett rips on
the town a bit as this segment just keeps going. Benoit is on for
his Triple Threat Theater at Souled Out….and here are Sid and
Benoit in the car with ball bats. This brings in Curt Hennig of all
people to get beaten down by Benoit and Sid as the sacrificial lamb.
Sid throws him onto the hood of the car.
Hennig is put in an
ambulance after a break.
Tag Team Title
Tournament First Round: Harlem Heat vs. Midnight/Lash Leroux
What
are the odds??? Booker and Lash get things going with Leroux getting
two off a victory roll but walking into a Rock Bottom for the same.
Stevie comes in and hammers Lash with a vengeance before slamming him
down. Off to Midnight and it’s time for something resembling a
showdown. Stevie runs Midnight over with a clothesline and looks
away, leaving Midnight to nip up.
A snap suplex to Stevie
is treated like Hogan slamming Andre and Booker tags himself in.
Booker can’t bring himself to kick Midnight in the face and they do a
very light sequence with Booker not wanting to hurt her. Midnight
takes a backbreaker and Stevie is livid. He pulls out the slapjack
and nails all three people in the match with Lash falling on Booker
for the pin. That would be two matches with a weapon shot and
brawling partners.
Rating:
D-.
Another storyline disguised as a match. I’m not sure why we needed
to see yet another Harlem Heat split. More importantly than that
though, this was a clear indication that we’re going to be sitting
through wacky tag partners and screwy finishes for all eight matches
tonight because that’s all Russo knows how to book. These sort of
things can be done well with Starrcade 1991 as proof, but Russo isn’t
good enough to figure out something as simple as “let them
wrestle.”
The Scream mask guy
attacks Chavo.
The Revolution is at
the Washington Monument and Shane wants to ask an average American a
history quiz. Shane rips on the guy for not knowing that it’s the
anniversary of the Monument going up. I’m not sure what the point of
this was supposed to be.
Some
Power Plant students are in the front row. Chuck Palumbo, Elix
Skipper, Mike Sanders and Reno among others are visible.
WCW World Title:
Bret Hart vs. Jerry Flynn
Flynn
is in street clothes because it’s more realistic or something. No
announcement or teasing a World Title match and it’s given the
treatment that a TV Title match might receive. Tony announces Bill
Busch deciding that the title can change hands on a DQ at Souled Out.
Bret hammers him into the corner to start and runs the eyes across
the top rope.
They head outside with
Jerry whipping the champ into the barricade, drawing out Jarrett and
Nash. Back in and Jerry fires off kicks in the corner but eats a
DDT. Another spinning kick drops Bret but Nash distracts the
referee, allowing Jarrett to come in with a ball bat to set up the
Sharpshooter to retain the title.
Rating:
F.
Jerry Flynn in street clothes just gave Bret Hart a run for his money
in a bad match with the NWO having to save the title in an
unannounced match in the middle of the second hour of the show. This
company really doesn’t have any idea what they’re doing do they?
Flynn
gets the NWO treatment. He might have worn the street clothes so he
doesn’t have any paint on his skin. The NWO leaves but Tank Abbott
comes out and knocks Flynn out again. Your would be WCW World
Champion a month from now people.
The
Revolution is at the Library of Congress and Saturn pulls out his
copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Nash is on the phone
with Hall but theme music muffles the chat.
Tag Team Title
Tournament First Round: PG-13 vs. Rick Steiner/Berlyn
PG-13
is wearing Houston Oilers jerseys (team that recently left town) and
rap about how they don’t care if people don’t like them. Rick shakes
his head to start as Berlyn spinwheel kicks Wolfie. Tony reads out
the most beautiful announcement I’ve ever heard: Nitro returns to two
hours next week. PG-13 double teams Berlyn and stomps him in the
middle of the ring as I’m just waiting on the WACKY way someone will
advance. Rick gets the hot tag and cleans house with Steiner Lines
before planting both of them upside down on the buckles. Berlyn
walks out and a belly to belly is enough to pin Wolfie.
Rick keeps beating them
up and the decision is reversed. In other words, the newcomers are
left laying but advance on a technicality. As stupid as WCW has
become, it’s good to know that some things never change.
Saturn
comes up to Duggan and says they’re teaming together tonight against
Norman Smiley and Asya. Apparently it’s mutually beneficial if they
win. Well yeah that’s normally how a tag match works. I can’t do
this line justice, so here’s Saturn’s statement verbatim: “Besides,
brother, as optically challenged as we are, there’s no way that
jacked up hootchie or that sissy in a football uniform can blindside
us if we stand side by side.” Again, Saturn is the best part of
this show and fits in perfectly because he makes just as little sense
as the booking.
The Revolution rants
about the White House and Bill Clinton and kidnap a guy in a Clinton
mask. Somehow this is more effective than their last few weeks of
material.
Tag Team Title
Tournament First Round: Asya/Norman Smiley vs. Perry Saturn/Jim
Duggan
Duggan’s
family is at ringside as he beats up Saturn before the match starts.
Norman gets in some easy shots, including the swinging slam. The
spanking dance connects but Saturn breaks up the Big Wiggle with a
suplex. Saturn slams him down and drops the top rope elbow onto the
chest protector to hurt his own arm. Asya is tagged in and shoves
Saturn from behind, followed by a low blow and clothesline. A
superplex drops Saturn and Duggan drops a knee on his partner
(complete with counting his own pin for reasons of dumb), allowing
Norman to get the pin to advance.
Rating:
D-.
Can we go back to the part where the Powers That Be literally had the
fourth wall broken and screw up everything in sight? I’m starting to
think it might be easier to sit through than the night of the wacky
tag team partners. This was another bad match with a screwy finish
because that’s all we have here.
Duggan, the loser,
brings his family in to celebrate.
US Title: Kidman vs.
Jeff Jarrett
Kidman
is challenging and gets jumped from behind to start. A hotshot stops
Kidman’s comeback and the announcers ignore the match to talk about
Triple Threat Theater. Jeff turns around and eats a Bodog and
dropkick, only to catapult Kidman out to the floor to stop him again.
Cue Nash and Hart because you think we can go a full half hour
without the NWO? Kidman rolls through a high cross body for two but
gets caught in a quick sleeper. Say it with me: Kidman reverses into
one of his own for a few arm drops, followed by the BK Bomb for two.
That’s about it for the
NWO not being the focus of the match though as Nash low bridges
Kidman to the floor, only to have the Filthy Animals run in to lay
out Jarrett with a crutch. It’s only good for two, but it draws one
of the loudest reactions of the night. Jeff tries a powerbomb and
gets the standard counter. Heenan: “I’ve never seen anything like
that!” Kidman goes up top but takes a ball bat to the ankle,
setting up the Stroke for the pin.
Rating:
D+.
This was one of the better matches of the night, but my goodness it’s
ok to let a champion look strong instead of needing help all the
time. It’s nowhere near as bad as the Jerry Flynn mess but at least
let Jeff do his own cheating to win. Watchable match, partially due
to getting some time, but it was too bogged down as usual.
Gene
brings out Luger and Liz for a chat but Luger is dressed as Sting and
comes out to Sting’s music. Luger imitates Sting and talks about how
awesome Luger really is and how severe the beating Luger gave him
was. The lights go out and come back on to show black roses in the
ring. So yeah, this feud is CONTINUING.
Nash gives Hall
directions over the phone.
Tag Team Title
Tournament First Round: Ron Harris/Don Harris vs. Meng/Fit Finlay
I’m
not even going to bother calling this stupid. Finlay and Meng fight
so the Twins, ever so brilliant, attack them both. Just let them
beat each other up then pin the scraps. Why is that so complicated?
A double big boot puts the hardcore guys on the floor and they fight
until it’s a countout to advance the Twins. This was, again, a waste
of time.
David
Flair and Daffney call themselves Natural Born Killers. That was a
disturbing movie.
Here’s 3 Count to pick
things up. They do their dance but Vampiro comes in and cleans
house. As luck would have it, he and Evan are up next.
Tag Team Title
Tournament First Round: Evan Karagias/Vampiro vs. David Flair/Maestro
Scratch
that last team as Crowbar, who debuted last week, attacks Maestro in
the aisle and takes his place. Sure why not. Ignore the fact that
he worked at a gas station and has no wrestling license or training
as far as WCW knows. Anyway he starts with a German suplex on
Vampiro (good looking one too) before it’s off to David for a suplex
(not so good looking one) of his own.
It’s
so lame that Vampiro pops up and plants both psychos (yeah Vampiro is
the sane one here) with a double DDT. A Rock Bottom to Crowbar
allows Vampiro to make the hot tag to Evan, who is promptly knocked
off the top and down onto Crowbar. Back inside with Vampiro
“hitting” a top rope clothesline for two on David but the other 3
Count members get in to go after Vampiro. The partners implode but
Vampiro fights both of them off with ease, setting up the Nail in the
Coffin on David. No referee though as Crowbar nails Vampiro with a
crowbar, giving David the pin.
Rating:
F.
This was the sixth match of eight tournament matches tonight and
they’re now six for six in having at least one team implode. I know
I say Russo only has a few ideas in different forms, but he’s done
the same idea six times in less than three hours. Suddenly Oklahoma
makes so much more sense.
3
Count loads up the song post match but Flair and Crowbar clean house.
This brings out Lenny and Lodi as Standards and Practices, complete
with the yet to be named Miss Hancock (Stacy Keibler) in a skirt
shorter than your local vanilla midget. They promise to take Flair
and Crowbar off TV if this violence keeps up. This of course earns
them more violence.
Jarrett
is told not to worry about Hall not being here yet.
Tag
Team Title Tournament First Round: Disco Inferno/Big Vito vs. Buff
Bagwell/Chris Kanyon
The
Italians have Johnny the Bull and Tony Marinara with them. Everyone
but Disco head to the floor to start before Kanyon slides back in,
earning him some knees to the back. A Russian legsweep drops Disco
but Kanyon heads back outside to get the Italians away from the
girls. Kanyon leaves with the girls to split up ANOTHER tag team.
Buff fights back but Vito nails him with a great looking superkick to
take over again. Disco gets caught in a neckbreaker but there’s no
partner (Tony: “Chris Champion Kanyon”) to tag. Disco
accidentally hits Vito with a chain, setting up the Blockbuster for
the pin.
Rating:
D-.
They’re seven for seven in teams splitting and almost half have had a
weapon spot. I would ask if this was the best they could do, but
yes, this really is the best they can do: the same match over and
over and over. In a weird way, I’m actually hoping they manage to do
it again one more time in the last match because it would be one of
the most amazing things ever to see them do the exact same plot point
eight times in one night.
Buff gets laid out post
match.
Here’s
the NWO to say Hall isn’t here yet but his arrival is imminent. Nash
asks for a brief delay to let him get here.
Tag Team Title
Tournament First Round: The Wall/Sid Vicious vs. Outsiders
Remember
that Sid and Wall seemed to form a friendship last week. Nash gets
in on his own and does a Hogan shirt rip to start against Wall.
Kevin slugs away but Wall punches him down and scores with a belly to
back suplex. Wall hits a big boot but Bret nails him in the back
with a bat to let Nash take over. Sid chases Bret and Wall is
suddenly putting Nash in a chinlock. He no sold a ball bat shot from
the World Champion? Sid comes in and shoves the referee down before
cleaning house, only to have Bret nail Wall with the bat for the pin
to advance Nash.
Rating:
F.
He no sold a baseball bat shot. A shot from Liz put Sting out for
months but Wall is back on offense fifteen seconds later? How can
anyone actually think that’s acceptable? This was more NWO
interference dominating the entire match with no one having a chance
against the heel stable. And now I’m disappointed with the lack of
the partners fighting. I was looking forward to that.
Benoit
comes in to save Sid from a powerbomb but here comes a limping Scott
Steiner (presumably the Scott that Nash has been meaning all night.
I was hoping for Riggs) with a ball bat of his own….and of course
he’s NWO because what else would he be? As usual, there’s no value
to a scam that was set up and paid off in the span of two hours. NWO
propaganda falls from the ceiling and an NWO banner is lowered. Sid
car is brought out and Sid is put in the back. They drive him to the
back where the monster truck crushes the car to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
F.
Somehow, this is miles better than last week’s show. The wrestling
was nothing special (Kidman vs. Jarrett was decent before it fell
apart), the booking has been covered already, the ending was stupid,
and this whole show was a mess. You can tell Russo has lost some
authority though and that’s the best thing that could possibly happen
to this company.
That’s
it for WCW in 1999 and I don’t think there’s a need to explain all of
the disasters in this company over the year. Here’s the most telling
part though: the Fingerpoke of Doom is looking more and more like a
high point every day. I’ll leave you with this: I’m fairly certain
I’m right when I say this was the worst calendar year in the history
of any wrestling promotion ever.
Remember to follow me
on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of Complete Monday
Nitro Reviews Volume III at Amazon for just $3.99 at:
And check out my Amazon
author page with cheap wrestling books at:

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–07.08.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.08.96 Back from being away from the internet for three days! Unfortunately I don’t have time to catch up on Payback or even Nitro this morning, so we’ll go with RAW instead. I did read JTG’s book while I was away, along with a bunch of old Observers from 1988. The most interesting thing was the discussion of the Hogan-Andre match, which of course ended up being the most-watched wrestling match in history. However, that being said, what I didn’t realize was how disappointing that rating actually was. NBC put them on prime time with expectations of being a top 5 show for the week so they could use the Main Event as a backdoor pilot for a live weekly prime time show, and in fact the show ended up something like #25 for the week and was actually viewed as a failure. Dave felt like it was actually a blessing, because there’s no way WWF would ever be able to pull off a live two-hour show on a weekly basis anyway. Taped from Green Bay, WI Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler Gorilla Monsoon announces that Ultimate Warrior is immediately suspended for no-showing, but he’s here tonight at this show to wrestle Owen Hart. Because this show is totally not taped or anything. AWKWARD. I love how they sanctimoniously bury the Warrior for no-showing, and then make sure to cash in on his name one last time by showing his match instead of just cutting it out and using some of the other hours of shit they had taped from the past month. Like they couldn’t have subbed in something from Superstars or a King of the Ring match or something? The Ultimate Warrior v. Owen Hart Vince hopes we’re not seeing the Warrior for the very last time on RAW. Somehow I don’t think that feeling is accurate. Although according to the Observer at the time, Vince was still proceeding as though Warrior would in fact be posting his appearance bond and would be returning after the PPV and facing Bulldog at Summerslam. That seems uncharacteristically optimistic for Vince. As someone else noted on the blog, if the taping cycle hadn’t been so annoying, they could have booked Warrior to do a squash job to someone like Vader. Meanwhile, in an inset promo, Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson promise to unveil their replacement partner in a few minutes. At least Shawn does, because I seriously had no idea what Ahmed was saying. Poor Owen bumps all over the ring for Warrior while Vince and Lawler make ridiculous speculation on who the partner will be. Warrior completely destroys Owen and gives him nothing until finally Owen hits a leg lariat…and Warrior no-sells it. Finally Owen clotheslines him with the cast a few times to turn it around and we take a break. Back with Owen choking away on the ropes and a shot with the Slammmy gets two, but Warrior makes the comeback with the usual and Bulldog runs in for the DQ at 10:44. Well, this was clearly Warrior’s best match of this run, which isn’t saying much. **1/2 Camp Cornette does a 3-on-1 beatdown afterwards to write him out of the promotion. Meanwhile, the third man is on his way. No, not that one. Savio Vega v. Justin Hawk Bradshaw Brian Pillman tries to attack Savio on crutches, but gets cut off by JJ Dillon. That went nowhere. Savio pounds away in the corner and follows with a leg lariat for two. Bradshaw comes back with a bulldog for two and Vince declares it a SEE-SAW MATCHUP, his highest praise. Bradshaw uses the clobbering forearms to put Savio down for two and grabs a sleeper. Bradshaw with a big boot and elbow for two, and we hit the chinlock. To think that Bradshaw’s braying moron cowboy character would end up as a rich New York stockbroker and color commentator. Savio comes back with a splash that was supposed to miss but actually hits Bradshaw’s back, and Vince implores him to SHOOT THE HALF while Lawler makes “jokes” about debuting wrestler Who. Man, RSPW didn’t shut up about that one for about six months. Bradshaw goes back to the chinlock as this crowd-killer continues unabated. I think people in the front row are literally falling asleep. And then we get a phone interview with Mr. Perfect as we take a break. OH MY GOD JUST END THIS MATCH. Back with Bradshaw hitting a pumphandle slam for two as speculation on the third man now includes Yokozuna and Mr. Perfect. Not quite the same interest level as the PPV the night before. Savio comes back while Lawler continues his unfunny feud with Jake Roberts, and Savio finishes with a leg lariat at 14:24 off an accidental trip from Uncle Zeb. *1/2 The British Bulldog & Vader v. The Godwinns Camp Cornette overpowers Bulldog to start, but Henry comes back with a clothesline on Vader after a missed charge, and PIG splashes him for two. Bulldog comes in and it’s a bulldog on the Bulldog, which Vince thinks is the greatest thing ever. Jim Cornette, on commentary: “How much caffeine have you had today?” Vince: “It doesn’t matter!” They had such a great dynamic on commentary together. The Godwinns double-team Vader, but HOG walks into a clothesline and the heels take over with more boring offense. I should note that Cornette and Lawler going off on Hillbilly Jim about how stupid he is works fine from a heel standpoint, because it’s not based on anything real like the Jake Roberts stuff is. With Jake it’s just constant mean-spirited harping on a real problem and doesn’t build any kind of usable heat. We take a break and return with Henry still getting beat up, but he catches Vader with a bodyslam out of the corner and it’s hot tag Phineas. Poor Cornette runs over and tries to pound the mat and get the fans going, but even the canned heat is bored. It’s BONZO GONZO and Bulldog powerslams Phineas for the pin at 14:37. Yeah. ** Meanwhile, Shawn and Ahmed are STILL promising their partner will be here. Jim Cornette promises that everyone else in the WWF is booked, so they’re BLUFFING. And in fact, Shawn reveals that his partner is Sid. Boy, did THAT one backfire on him by November. The Pulse Ugh, fourth week of the taping cycle still to come. Although I should note that the week after THAT is where RAW gets picked up in Canada by TSN and thus I’m able to watch it semi-live every week.

WWE Monday Night RAW – 5/18/2015

We had a good night last night at Payback…will it roll into a good show on Monday night?

Let’s go…

We are LIVE(!!!) from Richmond, Virginia!!!

Cole, Booker, and JBL are the guys at the desk.

Triple H and Steph start us off. Steph’s rocking a red dress from my Mom’s closet while Triple H is in a Michael Mann movie.

Steph
talks up Seth Rollins beating up three guys while Triple H says that he
told everyone that Rollins would win — and that he’s the future of
WWE. Steph says that the three guys who failed at Payback can now go to
the back of the line.

Triple H gives us a surprise: the
same Intercontinental Title which, for some reason, requires a full on
unveiling, complete with drumroll and velvet podium. They talk about how
Daniel Bryan’s body couldn’t hold up but that the show must go
on…and, now, we will see a new champ crowned at Elimination Chamber.
This gets a small music video of the Elimination Chamber lowering. Steph
continues to talk.

Sheamus interrupts the segment to a
semi-pop and rambles for the first minute, then claims that he ended
Daniel Bryan’s career. We get a glimpse of Sheamus legit-injuring Daniel
Bryan by botching a move which, on top of Steph’s bragging, is just so classy. He wants a shot at the IC Title because of it.

That
brings out Ryback. He comes out and calls Sheamus “stupid”, which seems
to take more energy from him than hitting the Meathook Clothesline.
Steph interrupts and Ryback tells her to shut up and says that Daniel
Bryan got injured doing what he loved. He doesn’t like bullies, which is
ironic. He wants Sheamus.

So Triple H makes the match happen…and it’s next.

MATCH #1: Sheamus vs. Ryback
The
two trade shots and Ryback chases Sheamus around the ring. Press by
Ryback, then he he puts Sheamus in the corner. Irish Whip sees Sheamus
hitting a kneelift but Ryback comes back, ramming Sheamus’s head into
the top buckle. Ryback hits a nice powerslam in stride for a two count.
Ryback stomps at Sheamus who gets to the ropes. The ref pulls Ryback off
and Sheamus grabs him, hitting a backbreaker. Ryback rolls out of the
ring, favoring his taped up ribs. He tries to get back on the ring but
Sheamus runs at him, knocking him off the mat. After a break, both men
are down. They get up and trade punches but Sheamus hits a shoulder to
the ribs and hits six of the Ten Beats before Ryback drags him in the
ring. Sheamus tries a Brogue but Ryback counters with a nice powerbomb.
Sheamus gets to the corner. Ryback runs at him but Sheamus kicks him. He
rushes Ryback who counters with a Spinebuster. Two count. Ryback sets
up for the Meathook but Sheamus escapes the ring. Ryback goes after him,
picks him up and press slams Sheamus into the announce table. The two
fight to the other side of the ring. Ryback rams Sheamus’s head into the
ringpost, then gets back in the ring. Back in the ring, Ryback tries
Shell Shock but Sheamus punches him in the ribs, then feigns an eye
injury. The ref shoves Ryback away from Sheamus — and Sheamus hits a
Brogue Kick to end it at 10:00.
WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick
RATING: **3/4. Not a bad match to start. 

AT ELIMINATION CHAMBER: Sheamus and Ryback are in the EC match anyhow, so…

TONIGHT: Seth Rollins will be praised for retaining the title at Payback.

Triple
H and Steph are backstage, talking about the party. Steph says the man
who can add the final touches is Kane. Kane shows up and says that he
thinks Seth has really grown up. Seth shows up with glasses of
champagne. He praises Kane for his help and says that he’s the reason
Kane still has a job. Dean Ambrose appears with a huge, goofy grin and
says that Rollins only won because four other guys helped him. He says
that he beat Rollins the last time they went 1 on 1. He says that
Rollins never beat him last night. He says that he will grant Seth a
“re-match” at Elimination Chamber — as long as Seth puts the title on
the line. Triple H leaves and lets Kane handle things. Kane tells Seth
to decide. Seth says Ambrose isn’t in line for the title and leaves,
laughing. Ambrose calls Kane a “glorified butler” and tells him that The
Undertaker and Paul Bearer would be very unhappy with him if they saw
him now. Kane’s so pissed, he books Ambrose in a match with Bray Wyatt.
Ambrose happily accepts — then takes Kane’s champagne and drinks it,
telling him, “You shouldn’t drink on the clock.”

A good segment made great due almost completely to Ambrose who just does not give one fuck. Loved it.

We get an ad for Elimination Chamber.

Renee
Young brings out…Neville?! Whoa. Ok. He says that he’s competed
worldwide, but it’s nothing compared to WWE. Bo Dallas interrupts the
segment and says that there’s nothing like a great children’s story.
Neville’s story would be “The Little Engine That Couldn’t”. He says that
Neville think’s he’s going up — but that would be a lie. Neville says
that he BO-LIEVES that Bo Dallas was the one that lost to him to start
his career. Bo Dallas attacks but Neville dispatches him from the ring.

Wade Barrett shows up and this is a match with Bo Dallas on commentary.

MATCH #2: Neville vs. King Barrett
Neville
and Barrett circle before Neville rolls him up for two. Barrett works
him over in the corner and starts attacking Neville’s injured knee from
last night. He stomps at Neville and gets a one count. Barrett gets out
of the ring, smashes Neville’s leg into the mat, then grins. After a
break, Wade’s still working on Barrett’s knee with elbows, kneedrops and
leglocks. Neville finally gets out and retreats to a corner. Barrett
tries to hit a big boot but Neville moves and Barrett hits the buckle.
Neville kicks at Barrett and tries a German Suplex but his knee buckles.
Wade rushes him and it’s an Enzuguri by Neville. Neville tries a
Springboard maneuver but just falls off the top rope from the pain.
Barrett hits the Bullhammer to win at 7:05.
WINNER: Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING: *1/2, at most. Kinda sad that Neville’s going from a decent mid-carder like Barrett to the bottom of the barrel with Bo Dallas, but I look forward to seeing what both guys can do in a feud.

Post-match, Dallas gets in the ring and attacks Neville, working over his knee and wrapping it around the ringpost.

We review what happened between Cena and Rusev at Payback.

TONIGHT: Cena’s Open Challenge.

ALSO: Rusev will react to last night.

Rusev
is out to speak as Cole argues about how “translators from out there”
say that Rusev quit. Rusev says that there is no Lana. (DANIELLE: ONLY ZUUL!) The
crowd chants for Lana as Rusev says he never quit. He tells the crowd
to shut up. He says he beat Cena badly. Cena passed out and Lana quit.
He says he wants the match to restart and tells The Authority to get out
here. Lana shows up and walks to the ring. Rusev’s furious. Lana says
that Rusev isn’t who he seems to be. She says that Rusev is
“misunderstood” and that she believes in him. She says that she thought
Rusev would make Cena say he quits — but he couldn’t do it. That’s
life. She says loses her accent twice, but finds it on the floor and
adopts it like a puppy. She says that Rusev just screams all the time.
Last night, he screamed “I QUIT” over and over. He tells Lana that he
doesn’t need anyone. Only he matters. He tells Lana to leave. She does.
Rusev stands in the ring, scowling.

(Incredible segment that brings a human element to an unstoppable monster and the woman behind him. I really enjoyed this.)

We go over last night’s Fatal 4-Way.

TONIGHT: The Tag Team Championship Rematch. Xavier Woods is banned from ringside.

MATCH #3: Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
Wyatt
hits a slam after a lock-up but misses the Reverse Senton. Ambrose hits
an elbow and kicks Wyatt in the stomach. He locks Wyatt’s left arm and
puts the right arm in an armbar. Hold is broken and Wyatt slaps the
taste out of Ambrose’s mouth. Ambrose tries to hit a cross body but just
bounces off of Wyatt’s chest. Wyatt runs and kicks him. He tosses
Ambrose in the corner and hits a big clothesline but Ambrose comes back,
hitting a running forearm. Bray bails from the ring. Ambrose tries a
Flying Psycho, but Bray hits him coming out, then just DDT’s him out of
the ring. After a break, Wyatt’s in control because he flew at Ambrose
real fast. Wyatt kicks Ambrose in the head, then just tosses Ambrose
across the ring and out. Bray goes for a clothesline but Ambrose nails
him too. They both get back in the ring at nine as Ambrose gets to his
feet, looking pissed. The two trade shots as the crowd chants for
tables. Ambrose hits a flying cross body off an Irish Whip, then hits
the Running Bulldog. Bray rolls outside, so Ambrose locks his arms on
the top rope and hits a missile dropkick and flying legdrop. Ambrose
pins for two. A series of counters and Wyatt flies at Ambrose, missing.
He goes outside and Ambrose hits the Flying Lunatic. Back in the ring,
the two men trade finisher attempts but both fail. Wyatt shoves Ambrose
who goes for the Rebound Clothesline but Wyatt hits the clothesline
instead. Wyatt hangs upside down and sets up for Sister Abigail. Ambrose
just slaps him. Wyatt punches him and Ambrose hits the Rebound
Clothesline for two. Ambrose puts Bray on the top buckle and goes for a
Superplex but Bray breaks it and goes for the Reverse Senton. He misses.
Ambrose climbs the buckle…but J&J show up, distract Ambrose and
Bray hits Sister Abigail for the win at 13:27.
WINNER: Bray Wyatt via Sister Abigail
RATING:
***1/2 for this. Finish is a touch annoying but Ambrose isn’t really
done any harm for it. This is the match of the night so far.

Backstage, Triple H and Steph smile as Bray does The Raven.

TONIGHT: Nikki Bella defends the Divas Championship against Naomi.

NEXT: The New Day defends the titles.

Kofi
and E come out to the ring and Kofi stops the music. He says that Woods
being banned from ringside is a conspiracy. E says that it isn’t fair
that they have to defend their titles against five other teams at
Elimination Chamber. They try the NEW DAY ROCKS chant but we know how
that ends.

MATCH #4: Cesaro &
Tyson Kidd (challengers) (w/ Natalya) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston
& Big E) (champions) for the WWE Tag Team Championship

E
press slams Cesaro and chokes him against the ropes. Cesaro breaks and
clotheslines Kofi off the mat, then hits a nice Delayed Suplex on E,
tagging Tyson Kidd. Kidd hits a nice Frankensteiner on E outside the
ring. After a break, E has Cesaro in an Abdominal Stretch. Cesaro breaks
and E grabs him, hitting a belly to belly suplex. He goes for the
Warrior Splash but Cesaro jumps up and hits a powerslam. Tag to Kidd who
hits a Springboard Legdrop on E. Two count. Kofi gets the tag and Kidd
is all over him with a kick and a clothesline. He goes for the
Sharpshooter, locking it in but E runs in to save the match. Cesaro gets
in the ring to help out Kidd but E dumps him. Kofi and E stomp a
mudhole in Kidd without a care until they get DQ’ed at 5:51.
WINNERS: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd via DQ
STILL CHAMPS: The New Day
RATING: DUD. This never got started and had a shit ending.

Post-match,
Xavier Woods comes down to beat on Cesaro. Lucha Dragons, Los
Matadores, The Ascension and Prime Time Players all show up to join the
party as this turns into a teaser for the EC Tag Match.

LATER: Seth Rollins’ party.

THIS THURSDAY ON SMACKDOWN: Roman Reigns returns…from wrestling YESTERDAY. Really?


John
Cena joins us to pander to ‘Murica with patriotic fervor and passion
and pointing to soldiers and what not. The Champ is Here…so come get
some. And it is…

KEVIN OWENS OF NXT.

Holy
crap. Owens makes his way to the ring and has a mic with him. He
congratulates Cena on last night’s victory. He introduces himself — but
Cena has to do it instead because reasons. He says that Sami Zayn was
injured before he came in to face Cena last Monday — and he’s here to
finish the job that Sami started. Cena berates him and plays to the
crowd, telling everyone how important they are. Cena wants to give him
some advice — but Owens isn’t having it because he’s been wrestling
longer than Cena and only got his break just now. Cena says it’s time to
warn Owens instead: Owens is a scared kid. Cena tells Owens that he
should come get the title. Owens declines as he says he’s already NXT
Champion — but that they will fight someday and it will be on Owens’
terms. Owens grabs him and hits the Pump-Up Powerbomb, then stands tall,
stepping on the United States Championship and doing “U CAN’T SEE ME”
in Cena’s face as he lays in the middle of the ring.

(NICE SEGMENT. Owens is already over as hell here. This feud needs to happen ASAP.)

LAST MONDAY ON RAW: Daniel Bryan has vacated the IC Title.

AT ELIMINATION CHAMBER: Rusev, Barrett and R-Truth join the IC Title match.

MATCH #5: Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust
Ziggler
has a bad stitched-up gash near his right eye as Stardust makes it a
point to target that area. He gouges Ziggler, then kicks him when he’s
down. Star goes for Cross Rhodes but Ziggler counters with a Zigg Zagg
for the win at 1:27.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via Zigg Zagg
RATING: n/a – squash. 

Cole
leaps right into the ring to interview Ziggler. Ziggler says that
losing to Sheamus hurt worse than being cut open last night…but that
it’s hockey playoff time and chicks dig stars. Cole and his new hair dye
job announce that Ziggler’s the final participant in the
Intercontinental Title Match at EC. Ziggler’s stoked…but here comes
Lana.

Lana grins at Ziggler and Ziggler waits
for her to talk. Instead, she kisses Ziggler and then smiles. Crowd
loves this as Ziggler tries everything to he can to just hit that in the
middle of the ring. The crowd wants another kiss. Lana obliges. Ziggler
waits for the Rusev run-in and finally gets it. Booker: “Somebody’s
gonna DIE.” Ziggler tries to fight him off but Rusev just pounds him
into the mat. He turns and faces Lana, screaming at her. Lana just slaps
him in the face. Rusev is furious and goes to lunge at Lana but Ziggler
gets up and hits the Zigg Zagg. (DANIELLE: So, the end game is Lana in a five-man pre-match gangbang at EC?) Ziggler and Lana leave as Rusev gets up and yells.

Kane
is yelling at the set-up crew for Seth Rollins’ party…and is
immediately outdone by a spot where Adam Rose is making out with Rosa
Mendes against a crate.

MATCH #6: Fandango & Zack Ryder vs. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper
Harper
starts with Fandango who gets knee’ed in the gut and sells it a year
later. Harper hits a shoulder tackle but Fandango comes back with a
dropkick. Harper goes outside. Fandango chases only to eat the crowd
barrier, courtesy of Harper. Back inside, it’s a tag to Rowan who hits a
big Body Splash and a knee drop. Harper gets back in and hits an
uppercut and Gator Roll as the crowd chants for Zack Ryder. Fandango
elbows out of Harper’s grip and hits a Tornado DDT off the buckles.
Fandango hits a one count and tags in Ryder. Ryder hits forearms and
knees Harper in the face off a counter. Big dropkick off the top buckle
but Harper just hits a Spinning Sidewalk Slam. Harper hits the Superkick
and Rowan hits a Chokeslam to finish it at 3:45.
WINNERS: Harper & Rowan
RATING: n/a – squash


Steph
bumps into the Bellas in the hallway. She apologizes to Brie for saying
what she said earlier about Daniel Bryan. She says Brie needs to really
vent about how she feels about the situation — so it’s probably a good
idea if Brie stays backstage during the Divas match. Nikki protests
with all the fury of a wounded sloth and we’re all supposed to pretend
that Nikki and Steph never had an alliance months ago that vanished into
thin air.

The Divas Match is your main event, folks.

MATCH #7: Nikki Bella (champion) vs. Naomi (challenger) (w/ Tamina) for the WWE Divas Championship
Naomi
leaps into the ring and then chickens out, going outside the ropes.
Nikki’s pissed and pulls her back into the ring. Naomi comes back with a
knee to the head. Nikki answers with a slap to her face and then
clotheslines her out of the ring. Nikki dives at both women. We come
back from a break. Naomi’s in control and Tamina’s hurt with a trainer
looking at her right arm. Nikki fights out of a hold and bashes Naomi’s
face with a knee. Nikki gets to her feet and kicks Naomi in the chest.
Nikki hits clotheslines and a dropkick, then a back body drop. He puts
Naomi to the mat with a press and gets a two count. She goes for the
Rack Attack but Tamina shows up and Superkicks Nikki in the chin for the
DQ finish at 6:28.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Nikki Bella via DQ
RATING:
DUD. Look…RAW was advertising “three titles on the line” tonight. We
got two — and the Kevin Owens reveal in place of the title shot was a
hell of a lot better than the Tag Title or Divas Championship matches combined. We could have easily dumped Ziggler and Stardust for more time in the tag team match…otherwise, this has been a good show.

Post-match,
it’s a mudhole stomp…until Paige shows up to chase them off. Nikki
gets to her feet and Paige grabs her, hitting the Ram-Paige, standing
tall with the Divas Championship.

Kevin Owens is backstage. Triple H congratulates him. Renee Young stops him. He says that he’s gonna face John Cena at Elimination Chamber.

When
we come back, Steph, Triple H and Kane are in the ring. Steph talks up
Rollins and invites him to the ring. J&J follow. Triple H just
verbally fellates Rollins for the next two minutes and announces him as
their champion, Seth Rollins. Triple H says members of The Authority
want to TALK about Seth now.

Kane says that he’s
taller than Rollins and that’s why they “don’t see eye to eye”. He says
he’s being serious when he says that he’s glad that Rollins is still
champion. Rollins wants more. So Kane thanks him for saving his job.
Also, he put together a Seth Rollins highlight video with the help of
the video crew.

After that, Jamie Noble begins kissing
ass. He forks the mic over to Joey Mercury and Ambrose FINALLY
interrupts this train wreck of a segment. He gets into the ring as Cole
loses his collective shit. Steph wants an explanation.

Ambrose
says that he was looking for the perfect Justin Bieber album for Seth.
Crowd chants for Justin Bieber which has to be the only time in history
that’s happened. Ambrose says he came back empty-handed. Instead, he
wants a re-match. Seth isn’t having it and says that Ambrose isn’t
getting another shot at the title and that he needs to get back in line.

Ambrose
says he’s a “line jumper”. He wants a title shot…or else. Steph says
Ambrose is crazy…but Seth never backs down…so, Seth: GET HIM.
Rollins goes after Ambrose and J&J follow. Ambrose fights Security
off and the fight spills outside. Ambrose dumps Rollins onto the
announce table, then reveals cinder blocks. He grabs a chair, steps on
Rollins’ head and tells The Authority to grant him the match. Steph
agrees if Ambrose lets Rollins go. Ambrose goes fro the chair shot
anyhow but J&J grab the chair. Ambrose beats the snot out of them.
Kane comes over to help. Ambrose takes them all out, then chases Rollins
into the ring. Rollins escapes but J&J face his wrath, as does Kane
with a Rebound Clothesline. Rollins jumps Ambrose and hits a Pedigree,
then yells that he’s the man.

We go off the air.

OVERALL:
***1/4. Solid show tonight despite two awful championship matches and
two incredibly overlong Authority segments. WWE feels like it’s finally
finding its way again.

And, of course…the Best of Monday Night Open Mic:

Er…that’s it.

Monday Night Open Mic

Howdy Blog O’Doomers!

Not to bother you guys enjoying the music chat but he’s the nightly thread.

I liked the Network Special. Good opener. Very good tag match as New Day and Tyson/Cesaro are meshing to the point of where you can give them 15 minutes and get the hell out of the way. And that’s pretty incredible given the short period of time both teams have competed against each other.

Couldn’t explain why Rusev and Cena had such a horrible, plodding match. But I didn’t this format for them because both guys are supposed to be superhero/supervillian types and someone’s not going to look good in an I Quit match. But what I like about the few I Quit matches that have worked is they have relatively kept it in the 20 x 20. Try to have a wrestling, work on a body part, throw in some submissions and sell the drama of trying to escape or survive the submissions rather than use every bell and whistle in the book. Both guys can wrestle strong style so they should have done a lot better.

Very good main event and man Orton is just eating these pinfalls. The Shield spot was great as was the aftermath with Rollins holding out the fist and getting pummeled for it. That’s called a double payoff right there.

Anyway TV:

RAW is Live

ECF Game 2: Go Lightning!

Mets-Cardinals on ESPN

NCIS has a season finale

New Episodes of The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, The Bachelorette, American Dad, etc. etc.

Keep it clean!

New E-Book: Complete Monday Nitro (and Thunder) Reviews Volume III

When we last left WCW, they were the
undisputed kings of the Monday Night Wars and that’s certainly still the
case as they come into 1998. Things were so good that they decided to
more than double the amount of television they were airing per week. To
say this might have been too much too soon is an understatement but WCW
had done stupider stuff before.
In this book, I’ll be looking at every episode of
Monday Nitro and Thunder from January through June of 1998. This is the
time where the Monday Night Wars finally started to get competitive
again after nearly two years of being completely one sided. Having two
shows a week was a fresh idea as well, making this a very important time
in wrestling history. As usual I’ll be providing play by play,
historical context and analysis of every show.
Also remember that I’ve already covered 1995-1997
Monday Nitro in case you don’t want to jump right into the later stuff.
Both books are available from my Amazon author page.
The books runs over 300 pages on a Kindle and only
costs $3.99, or the equivalent in other currencies. If you don’t have a
Kindle or e-book reader, there are several FREE apps you can use to read it on pretty much any electronic device. You can find those from Amazon here.

You can pick up the book from Amazon here.

From the UK Amazon here.
From the Canadian Amazon here.
Or if you’re in another country with its own Amazon
page, just search “KB Nitro 1998” and my book will be the first thing
that pop up.
Also you can still get any of my previous books on
the WWE Championship, Monday Night Raw from 1998 and 2001, Monday Nitro
from 1995-97, In Your House, Summerslam, Starrcade, ECW Pay Per Views,
Royal Rumble, Saturday Night’s Main Event, the WWF and WCW pay per views
from 1998 and Clash of the Champions at my author’s page here.
I hope you like it and shoot me any questions you might have.
Thomas Hall

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–07.01.96

The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.01.96 Taped from Green Bay, WI Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler Shawn Michaels v. Marty Jannetty Shawn doing the “Kliq Cam” gimmick and hauling super-old Jose Lothario around with him just makes this such a cheesy deal to sit through these days. The Rockers have Jim Cornette with them for this, although that ended up being just a one-shot deal. They do the usual stalemate sequence to start with a nice fight over a backslide, and Marty slugs him down. Shawn comes back with armdrags and Marty runs away for advice from Jim Cornette. That advice? “Never hire ultra-violent black guys as a tag team in your southern-based promotion.” That’s some oddly specific fake advice. Shawn gets tossed and lands on the railing, allowing Marty to take over in the ring. Sadly, the camera cuts away from his goofy dance celebration. Marty suplexes him onto the top rope for two and we hit the chinlock and take a break. Back with Marty still holding that chinlock, but he misses a blind charge. Shawn tries to monkey-flip him, but Marty lands on his feet and puts Shawn down. He takes over again and goes up, but Shawn gets his foot up and makes the comeback. Shawn with a powerbomb, reversed by Marty, reversed by Shawn into a sunset flip for two. Crossbody is reversed by Marty for two. We take a second break and return with Marty hitting the Rocker Dropper, but the flying fistdrop misses. Shawn escapes a suplex and follows with a piledriver, and the flying elbow. Superkick finishes at 18:14. Dull start but the last 10 minutes were spectacular. ***1/2 It should be noted that although Vince is still hyping Ultimate Warrior as Shawn’s partner, two days earlier the relationship completely went into the toilet and Warrior left the promotion for good. Meanwhile, on Superstars, Sunny tells off Phineas Godwinn once and for all and the Gunns attack him, but Hillbilly Jim makes the save and Phineas slops Sunny to get his revenge. Now you’d think this would be leading to yet another Gunns v. Godwinns title match at the PPV, but no, it was Gunns v. Bodydonnas in a non-title match instead. Vince uses his “HE’S…HE’S GONNA PUKE!” voice to express his excitement over this development. Mankind v. Duke Droese We randomly take a break 20 seconds into the match with Mankind choking away in the corner. Even production has been getting sloppy on these shows. It’s an odd juxtaposition, because although ratings were in free-fall, Shawn was drawing on the road as champion at this point and crowds were described as “super-hot” up and down the card. Mankind pounds away in the corner, but walks into a spinebuster and Duke comes back with a sleeper as they overdub cheering fans onto the half-asleep crowd. Duke tries a bearhug for some reason, and Mankind applies the Mandible Claw to escape and finish at 6:13. Pretty much a squash. * Jerry Lawler and Jake Roberts spend the whole match sniping at each other on commentary, setting up one of the worst feuds and matches of the year. Meanwhile, call the Superstar line to find out why Ultimate Warrior is in the doghouse! Answer: His father died. The WWF response: Have the ring announcer tell crowds that “Ultimate Warrior refuses to wrestle in an arena like this one” to explain his no-shows. Classy out the assy. Goldust v. Marc Mero Speaking of comings and goings, Barry Windham returns at this point. Here’s Meltzer’s snark on it: “Barry Windham had a meeting with Vince McMahon this past week. He was said to have been around 275 pounds, maybe 20 pounds overweight, and was interested in making a comeback at the age of 36. It looks pretty good that he’ll be coming in. Maybe they can team him with Dustin Rhodes as Silverdust.” From this actually launched a substantial rumor that Windham was going to be Silverdust. Not that the New Blackjacks was much better, but there was a pretty low ceiling for Barry at that point anyway. Mero gets a crossbody for two and Goldust bails while Steve Austin continues to show personality on commentary. Back in the ring, but Goldust bails again off a dropkick as we take a break. Back with Goldust taking over after a clothesline while the announcers discuss the weird period where Marlena was supposed to be hitting on Sable. Gee, I wonder who come up with THAT one? Mero escapes a chinlock, but Goldust dumps him and continues his stalling. And then it’s back to the chinlock. Steve Austin goes on an awesome rant on commentary about how he beat everyone in the WWF by proxy when he won the tournament, except for Davey Boy Smith and Shawn Michaels, but everyone knows he can beat them anyway. Mero escapes and gets a rollup for two, but Goldust comes back with a fistdrop as we take another break. Back with, you guessed it, another chinlock. Mero comes back with a powerslam for two while Marlena heads over to put the moves on Sable. Thankfully Terri’s acting would improve to at least passable levels by 1999. Mero goes up with a double axehandle for two and he follows with a kneelift, but Mero gets distracted by the quality acting on the floor. Goldust finishes with the Curtain Call at 16:20. Next week: Ultimate Warrior has his swan song in the WWF against Owen Hart. The Pulse Shawn v. Marty is worth checking out, but the rest is the usual dead crowd and boring storylines from around this time.

Monday Nitro – December 20, 1999

Monday Nitro #219
Date: December 20, 1999
Location:
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Attendance: 8,915
Commentators: Mike
Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We’re just past
Starrcade and……I have no idea what we’re supposed to do now
actually. Bret is still World Champion, Sting is out of action again
and the rest of the show was pretty much a big waste of time with
short matches that went nowhere or that only Russo and company care
about. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of Piper calling for the bell on Goldberg to end
the title match against Bret. Yes, that’s their big idea: Montreal
part 58.
So you might be asking
how the big fallout show starts. After last night, we’re ready to
start on the new road forward for WCW. I promise, I’m not making
this up. This is really how this show began.
Here
are Madusa and Spice for a chat. Madusa brags about being the first
female Cruiserweight Champion and how the women of WCW are taking
over with their T&A. Right now she wants any man in the back to
come out here so she can neuter him. As luck would have it, Buzzkill
is in the crowd campaigning for equal rights, so Madusa calls him to
the ring for a title match right now.
Cruiserweight Title:
Madusa vs. Buzzkill
Madusa takes the sign
and blasts Buzzkill in the head, followed by the missile dropkick for
two. The German suplex is blocked though and Buzzkill dropkicks her
down. The Russian legsweep should have the title won (because it’s a
Russian legsweep) but Spice has the referee. In the distract, Spice
throws in a foreign object and Madusa knocks Buzzkill silly, setting
up the German suplex to retain.
I
need a minute here. After last night’s disaster of a Starrcade,
Vince Russo, the man who actually takes credit for the Attitude Era,
decided that the big idea was to open Nitro with a match between a
comedy character and Madusa, who is flat out saying she has one of
the most popular titles (well at least it used to be) in the company
because of how she looks. That’s their big way to open the
post-Starrcade Nitro. Imagine if the night after Rollins cashed in
Money in the Bank or after Bryan overcame the Authority, we opened
with a Nikki Bella promo and match. That’s basically what they did
here and it’s making my head hurt.
The announcers talk
about Goldberg getting screwed last night. I’ll set the over/under
for use of that word in this story at about 6,000.
Russo tells Curt Hennig
to get rid of Hugh Morrus tonight. Why Russo has issues with Morrus
isn’t clear, but I’d bet it’s a nuance of a plot point that I missed
in Russo’s 19 segments a night. Creative Control is sent to find
Piper.
Speaking of Piper, he
arrives with his assistant and son because of reasons I don’t want to
be told. The kid tapes Piper’s wrists and Creative Control comes to
collect him.
Hugh Morrus vs. Curt
Hennig
Before
we get started, it’s time for an another angle that no one will care
about but we need to force it in there anyway. This time it’s Shane
being beaten down by a guy in a Scream mask with what looks like a
pipe. As for the match, here’s Tony’s take on it: “I’ve never been
so confused coming out of a WCW pay per view.” I can’t believe I’m
saying this, but preach it Tony. Morrus slugs Hennig into the corner
to start as the announcers don’t explain Hugh’s issues with the
Powers That Be, likely because they don’t exist.
After a big running
splash in the corner, Morrus gets distracted by some old guy in a
hospital gown who wanders from the crowd to the ramp. For the love
of……JUST HAVE A WRESTLING MATCH! Morrus goes outside and helps
the man he calls Pop to the ramp so he stays out of harms’ way.
Hennig gets in a few shots as Pop comes back down to ringside. In
the distraction, Hennig hits the PerfectPlex for the pin.
Rating:
D-.
I would ask why this is happening and what this is supposed to mean,
but I really, really don’t care. Hugh Morrus is getting a story now?
Apparently about his father who just wanders around ringside after
leaving a hospital? As usual, Russo doesn’t get that you have to
make us care about a person before you just throw them into a story
that makes no sense on the surface. I don’t care about Hugh Morrus
because he’s never done anything worth caring about. Therefore, I
don’t care about his Pop or whatever they’re doing with him. Again,
just let them wrestle and THEN come up with a story.
Pop
checks on his son, who is still down after a devastating suplex.
Piper is in Russo’s
office where Russo talks about Piper making some sort of deal with
the devil, meaning Piper can’t touch Russo. It’s not over though
because Piper has to go out there and tell everyone that he sold out
and that Russo had nothing to do with it. So who did he sell out to
if Russo wasn’t involved? That question is immediately wiped from my
memory as Russo says that Piper will take his heat. Piper talks
about going out there to “shoot on the marks” and how he and
Hogan built this sport. The audio screws up so I can’t hear the rest
of it but do I really need to?
So to recap: Russo is
the mastermind behind screwing Goldberg out of the title and gave
Piper something in return for ending the title match last night and
now Piper has to go and take the rap for it. This is going to be a
SHOOT, because all those times where Piper was evil and made his big
name were just him acting and we should believe how much he cares for
wrestling? Can we go back to Hugh and Pop?
And
now, a word from Tony Schiavone about how Vince McMahon screwed Bret
Hart out of the WCW Title. Russo worked for McMahon at that time, so
rumors are speculating that Russo scripted the ending to that match.
I don’t even know how to respond to that so we’ll move on to Tony
talking about how Kevin Nash is defending Goldberg in the locker
room. You know, the SHOOT locker room.
This
brings out Kevin Nash, who talks about living by a code in wrestling.
There are certain rules you have to live by no matter what happens.
Yes people, KEVIN NASH is talking about ethics in wrestling. Just go
with it and maybe it’ll be over soon. There are two groups of people
behind the curtain: the boys and the office. The boys are all a
fraternity and the office doesn’t care about any of them. Nash
doesn’t care about Goldberg, but what happened last night was…..a
word they don’t actually censor. TV-14 it is I suppose. Hart
screwed one of the boys and now he has to pay.
Creative
Control says Nash is the biggest politician in the locker room. So
yeah, it’s clearly a big worked shoot (in case it wasn’t obvious
before) and the audience, after sitting through Madusa vs. Buzzkill
and Hennig vs. Morrus/Pop gets to hear a lot of stuff that is
probably going over their collective heads while Russo jerks off to
this nonsense because it makes him feel so much smarter than everyone
else. I understand what they’re talking about and it’s just so dumb.
Tank
Abbott vs. Jerry Flynn
No
holds barred of course. They trade slaps/punches before shoving the
referee, drawing out security to break it up. Flynn is put in
handcuffs and Tank knocks him out cold. This didn’t last a minute
and the fans are rightfully booing it out of the building.
Goldberg
arrives.
Here’s
the Revolution for what is actually the most interesting part of the
show so far. Douglas talks about how the Revolution was proven right
at Starrcade, but we pause for a word from Saturn about Tootsie Pops.
He calls out Jim Duggan to denounce America, but Jim doesn’t want to
do it. Instead, Duggan says he lied and gets beaten down. The
Revolution goes to burn the American flag but the Filthy Animals
(minus Eddie) return for the save. Great. It’s this feud again.
Shane’s look of shock when the Animals came out (walking at about
half a mile an hour) is great.
Here’s
Piper for his big explanation as Goldberg and Hart watch from
backstage. Piper lists off some of the evil things he’s done in the
past before going into a mini rant against Russo’s writing. Couldn’t
they just call it like, match making? Anyway, Piper knows people
just want to see the wrestlers fight. After listing off his
accomplishments from the 80s, Piper says he’s a real fighting and
quits. His son comes out to walk to the back with him, but Goldberg
comes out to block their way.
Goldberg
has stayed up all night trying to make sense of this (now THAT is
probably a shoot comment). He’s looked up to a few guys all his life
and until last night Piper was on that list. Piper made the wrong
decision last night but Goldberg doesn’t think Piper would ever sell
out. Roddy apologizes and things seem to be a bit better until Bret
comes out to pick it up all over again. As far as he’s concerned,
there’s no point in blaming Piper and the title is vacant. Bret goes
to the back to tell the Powers That Be what they can do with their
title. Keep shooting people. You’ll hit something eventually,
though it’s likely your own foot.
Post
break, Hart yells at Russo, but the boss says that was an attempt at
making up for Montreal. Yes seriously, THAT’S THEIR BIG STORY. Bret
throws the belt at Russo so he makes Hart vs. Goldberg for tonight.
Nice to see them continue their tradition of airing the same match
the night after Starrcade. I mean, it’s gone so well before.
Meng/Norman
Smiley vs. Fit Finlay/Brian Knobbs
Hardcore
of course. So why would Meng want to team with Smiley here? My
question is quickly answered as Meng goes after Smiley before their
opponents come out. Knobbs and Finlay come out to watch as the
announcers try to explain the psychology. Apparently Knobbs and
Finlay want Norman to keep the Hardcore Title so they can take it
from him with less of a fight.
Therefore,
we’re supposed to ignore the two of them knocking Smiley out cold
with a pipe so Norman could pin him with one hand last night, proving
that they could beat Meng with ease. As for the match, Norman gets
chased through the crowd, objects are thrown, a bathroom is invaded,
Norman’s head is put in a toilet and Knobbs gets the pin.
Rating:
F.
We’re over an hour into this show and this is the second best match
of the night so far. I’m not sure if it’s good or horribly stupid
that they’re trying to add psychology to this division. Yeah there’s
an idea to it, but the idea is stupid. The joke isn’t funny though
and Meng was just kind of there most of the “match” as everyone
else was “fighting.”
Piper tells his kid to
wait in the limo and gets a ball bat.
Video
of the Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea’s recording session
where he doesn’t actually sing. Somehow this sounds like one of the
more logical things on the show.
Hart is walking and
runs into Piper. Bret tries to talk but Piper is back to babbling to
himself.
Maestro vs. Evan
Karagias
It’s
a flashback to the NWO days as the announcers ignore what’s going on
in the ring to talk about the backstage stuff. Maestro runs him over
to start but Evan hits a springboard spinning cross body. Evan rains
down right hands in the corner until he gets dropped throat first
across the top rope. We get a bit of a tease as Maestro loads up a
chinlock but slaps Evan in the face with both hands instead.
The
announcers talk about Montreal with Tony saying it’s unbelievable
that Russo wants to make up with Hart. Evan fights up and counters a
hurricanrana into a powerbomb. Symphony gets shoved onto the apron
but Evan has a quick change of heart to check on her. The
distraction lets Maestro hit a knee to the back for the pin.
Symphony is of course fine. Tony: “She sold that knee.”
Rating:
D.
Total mentions of Evan losing the title last night: zero. Then again
it’s fairly clear that there’s no future to the title so losing the
belt might have been the best thing possible for Evan. Maestro and
Symphony are a nothing pairing but at least they’re not victims of a
stalker anymore.
Piper
literally destroys the Powers That Be’s office. Piper: “How about
Adrian Adonis and Gorilla Monsoon?” And yes, he breaks the fourth
wall.
Chavo Guerrero tries to
sell Evan a book on how to pick up chicks. Thankfully, this ends in
a beating.
Chris Kanyon vs. Bam
Bam Bigelow vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Kanyon
says this isn’t Hollywood and talks about destroying the Triad.
Bigelow and Page come out and double team him with Page hitting a
Rock Bottom and Bigelow adding a headbutt. A clothesline and another
headbutt have Kanyon reeling but Page and Bigelow argue about which
finisher should end Kanyon. Page offers a handshake but pulls
Bigelow into a Diamond Cutter. It’s angle time though as Page drops
to the floor, kisses a fan, and leaves. J. Biggs throws Kanyon a
briefcase but the referee cuts him off, allowing Kanyon to hit
Bigelow with a champagne bottle for the pin.
Rating:
D+.
Well that happened. They spent the entire summer building up the
Triad and then the blowoff (I guess?) match takes four minutes with
no announcement on a Nitro? Sounds appropriate to me. At least
Kanyon has a new character and he’s getting as close as he can to
thriving in it.
Bigelow is busted way
open and Kanyon is bleeding from the hand. Were they stupid enough
to use a real bottle???
Creative Control vs.
Kevin Nash
There’s
no referee so I don’t think this is a match. Actually that makes
sense given how things worked earlier. Hall accompanies Nash on
crutches. Since this isn’t a match (no bell), the twins tag. Nash
slugs away at Patrick in the corner and kicks Gerald in the face as
the tagging part is already done.
The
numbers catch up with Nash and Gerald takes him down for a cover but
there’s no referee. Heenan praises Nash for having the guts to say
what he said earlier in the night. They start going after Kevin’s
knee and the tagging starts up again. Hall gets bored and comes
inside for some crutch shots to the twins. Creative Control walks
out to end whatever this was.
Luger
and Liz are amused at Sting having a broken jaw. Why they’re in the
rafters and why Luger is dressed as Sting isn’t clear but I don’t
think I want to know.
US Title: Chris
Benoit vs. Jeff Jarrett
Another
ladder match with Benoit defending because there’s no reason not to
do it again twenty four hours later. At least it was good last night
so maybe it works again here. They slug it out to start and Benoit
takes over with a pair of dropkicks. Benoit ties him in the Tree of
Woe for a running dropkick but Jeff crotches him against the post to
take over. Back up and Benoit is the first to the ladder but he has
to side step the baseball slide.
Benoit throws him into
the chair in the corner before nailing the back and knee with the
same chair. Jeff stays on the floor and holds his leg as Benoit
breaks the ladder by stepping on the rungs. Tony: “Someone has
gimmicked this ladder!” Tenay: “You know who it is!” Heenan:
“Kidman?” The other side’s rungs break as well and it’s a guitar
shot to Benoit as Jeff’s leg is fine. He grabs a fresh ladder and
wins the title because SCREW YOU BENOIT FANS! YOU’RE GETTING JARRETT
WHETHER YOU CARE OR NOT!
Rating:
D+.
They said the word gimmick for the ladder about ten times in two
minutes near the end as the levels of obnoxiousness get higher and
higher every single week. Benoit winning the title last night and
being in the main event of a pay per view last month already seem to
be nothing but memories.
After
a bunch of replays, Curt Hennig tells Jarrett that the Powers That Be
need to see him.
Sid Vicious vs. The
Wall
Sid
kicks him in the face to start and takes it outside for some right
hands to Wall’s face. Back in and Wall hits him right back, only to
eat a chokeslam. Cue Berlyn for a distraction, allowing Wall to load
up a chokeslam of his own. Not that it matters as Berlyn missile
dropkicks Wall for the DQ.
Sid
powerbombs Berlyn and shakes Wall’s hand to complete the face turn.
Russo
tells Jarrett that it’s going to happen tonight.
Disco offers to pay the
mafia but Tony Marinara’s dad tells him he can join the Family or
spend the rest of his life in a coma.
Harlem Heat vs.
Varsity Club
Rotundo/Steiner
here with Sullivan on commentary, where he spends the whole match
referring to Rick as Robbie (Rick’s real name) because SHOOTING IS
COOL AND HIP AND MAKES US SMARTER THAN YOU SO HA! Stevie quickly
runs Rotundo over to start before it’s off to the partners. Booker
kicks him in the face a few times but it’s too much to ask Steiner to
sell so it’s a big clothesline to put Booker on the floor. Things
get a bit confusing as the Varsity Club decides they’re the Freebirds
(they’re from the right time period) and start changing places with
Rotundo going to commentary.
That
lasts all of eight seconds before Mike runs back in and misses a
charge, allowing Booker to plant him with a Rock Bottom. Stevie
comes in off the hot tag and cleans house but there go the lights
because it’s Midnight. Ever the genius, Stevie yells at her,
allowing Mike to roll him up for the pin.
Rating:
D.
More mindless brawling here with Booker doing everything he could to
make it a match. I still have no idea why the Varsity Club is back
as Rick was the only one doing anything, even though he’s one of the
least likeable people on the roster. I’ll give them this though: at
least this felt like a match, even with the screwy ending.
PG-13 runs in and
attacks the Varsity Club. They can’t be serious.
The
yet to be named Daffney is getting a Surge when the Misfits come up
to hit on her. For reasons of crazy, she knees Jerry Only low and
runs off.
Here’s
David Flair for a chat but he beats up David Penzer first. Flair
calls out Vampiro, who says he has no problem with David. Vampiro
yells at Daffney but eats a crowbar shot. Jerry Only comes out and
takes a beating as well, leaving David and Daffney to kiss.
Buff
Bagwell comes out with something to say. He’s had a good career in
WCW but now he wants some gold around his waist. Gene goes way out
in right field and asks about rumors regarding Bagwell and Kimberly
Page. Buff pushes the mic away and whispers to Gene, but Okerlund
says that sounds like an admission of guilt. Bagwell admits that
Kimberly is a knockout and if Page wasn’t a factor, he would, and I
quote, “put his stuff all over Kim.” He mentions his bed and
Page comes out to jump Bagwell.
Piper
says goodbye to the locker room and calls Sid a kid. He rambles on
about how hard wrestling has been on him and wants the boys to fight
back against the Powers That Be.
WCW World Title:
Bret Hart vs. Goldberg
The
title is officially vacant coming in and Jeff Jarrett is watching on
a monitor in the back. Goldberg hammers him in the face to start and
chokes with a boot in the corner. They head outside with Goldberg
hammering away even more as Bret has been on defense almost all
match. Back in and a powerslam drops Hart but he grabs the ropes to
break up a leg lock.
Bret
starts going after the leg with kicks to the knee before wrapping it
around the ropes. The referee goes down because of course he does
and Bret slaps on the Figure Four. Cue the Outsiders with ball bats
to beat up Goldberg. Bret lets go of the hold and beats on Goldberg
as well so Piper comes back to try and protect Goldberg as the
referee calls for the bell. There was a cover in there somewhere and
Bret has won the title.
Jeff
Jarrett comes out with spraypaint and……THE BAND IS BACK TOGETHER!
Bret tries to say something but his mic doesn’t work. Everyone
celebrates with their new titles to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
W.
That’s W for waste. I’ve watched a lot of wrestling shows in my day
(upwards of 4,000 last I checked). In the course of my time as a
fan, I don’t remember a show that felt like a waste of my time. That
has changed after this show. I can live with a show where nothing
happens. I can live with a show full of bad matches. I can live
with a show where the company loses its way for a night.
That’s not what
happened on this show. This show was about eliminating every single
concept and idea of logic and common sense from what used to be World
Championship Wrestling. I’m not going to go into the long, long list
of things this show did that made no sense, as A, I don’t have that
much memory on this computer and B, I don’t think my blood pressure
can take it.
Let’s sum up the major
flaw in logic on this show. The idea is that Russo and company are
in charge of booking the show and have turned it into a shoot.
Ignoring how absolutely stupid that is to point out (from a kayfabe
perspective, wrestling is always supposed to be a shoot), let’s go
with Russo’s theory (I’ll ask for forgiveness later). Let’s say that
Russo has complete authority and is writing himself into this
position.
If
that’s the case, why have any of his guys ever lost a match and why
did we need some big conspiracy? Why didn’t Russo just book his boys
on top the second he debuted? Why are we having some big conspiracy
with Jarrett having to win the title back? Why am I supposed to
believe anything that happens if Russo is just in charge of the whole
thing? Did he book Nash to fight back against his authority or is
Nash going into business for himself?
I
get that it’s what Russo is going for, but it leaves so many
ridiculous holes in the story and makes the whole thing so completely
illogical that you can’t buy into anything going on in this company.
Ninety percent of the show is scripted but THIS RIGHT HERE is real?
Why should I believe that? At the end of the day, this is wrestling.
I shouldn’t need a scorecard and a flow chart to keep track of
what’s going on, nor should I have to hear all these insider terms.
This is the definition of too much going on and making things way too
complicated.
This stopped being
wrestling and became Russo having fun and deciding to make this show
his big personal playground. He’s removed logic and common sense
from this show in order to turn it into some insider fest. I know I
say this a lot, but I literally do not think it can get worse than
this. They’ve taken away any the basic core principles of wrestling
and made this a B movie. There is however one bright spot to this
whole mess: Jim Cornette suddenly makes so much more sense to me.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with cheap wrestling books at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Matt’s Monday Night RAW Recap – 5/11/2015

We
are coming off of one of the better RAW shows in recent memory. The
Payback main event is shaping up to be a nice one — featuring Dean
Ambrose, a guy who should have been a part of this picture a long time
ago if WWE hadn’t been booking him to job to Star Wars holograms and
exploding TV sets. The tag team division has The New Day leading the way
and is looking strong with Kidd and Cesaro and Lucha Dragons in the
background. John Cena leads the mid-card (I can’t believe I’m saying
that) while simultaneously dominating it. And Sami Zayn’s injured. And so
is Hideo Itami. Despite this, the Giant Wrestling Company That Did chugs
along on this, the “going home” show, despite the fact that we really,
only, have two official Payback matches set up. So, I guess we’re gonna
book the other 6 or 7 tonight and on Smackdown.

Let’s move…
We are LIVE(!!!) from Cincinnati, Ohio!!!
JBL, Cole and Booker are the usual guys.
Triple H starts us off, declaring that “Daddy’s home”. He says that when he comes home to his kids and says “Daddy’s home”, (DANIELLE: They boo me!), they’re happy. But he’s not happy with Kane and his bullshit booking because he’s Triple H and there’s no way for him to stop his employees from doing stuff he doesn’t want done or reverse the main event booking. He tells Kane to come out here — but here comes Rollins instead.
Rollins
rants about Kane and reviews all the bullshit Triple H just said and
all the shit we’ve gone through in the past few weeks while the crowd
chants Ambrose’s name in several different variations. Rollins tells
Triple H that Kane isn’t the same person and it’s time to “take the old
dog out back and put him out of his misery.”
That’s enough of that. Kane shows up — and actually gets a pop.
Kane says that he’s older than Rollins and with age comes wisdom. He
wants to strangle Rollins right the fuck now. They bicker back and forth
and Triple H gets between them. Triple H says he respects Kane — but
Kane needs to get on the same page as The Authority. He says that he
knows Rollins is irritating and you just wanna punch him in the
face…but you don’t. He says that Kane’s job is on the line. If Rollins
doesn’t leave Payback as champion, his services won’t be needed. 
Kane
says that’s a shame…but it’s all worth it to eviscerate Rollins.
Rollins argues again and Triple H tells him to shut up. Triple H says
that Kane should speak up because this is the point where a break would
be “amicable”. Kane is quiet. Triple H accepts the silence and says that
the Fatal 4-Way will go on — and they’ll all see action tonight. So,
tonight he wants to test Kane. Tonight, it’s Kane vs. Reigns. He orders
Rollins to take on Randy Orton. Rollins is furious.
Then,
Jamie Noble decides to get brave and criticizes Triple H, telling him
that he’s just some rich guy who rides in limos and watches a big
screen. Triple H mocks Noble and Mercury, saying that he “didn’t know
they were still around”. He gets into Noble’s face, taking care to,
mockingly, kneel down to match Noble’s height. He puts Noble and Mercury
into a handicap match…against Dean Ambrose.
Triple H tells Kane and Rollins to come with him as Ambrose makes his way to the ring.
MATCH #1: Dean Ambrose vs. Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Ambrose
manhandles Mercury who tags in Ambrose. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds
but Noble escapes and the fight continues outside. Mercury and Noble
double team Ambrose until Ambrose puts both guys over the announce
table. Back in the ring, Ambrose tries to go top rope on Mercury but
Mercury pulls him down. It’s a couple quick tags as Noble puts Ambrose
in an armbar. Mercury comes in and hits a dropkick and headlock. Ambrose
breaks and the two men collide and butt heads. Tag to Noble. Ambrose
gets up and works him over, hitting a couple mean tackles. He goes for a
bulldog but Mercury pulls Noble outside the ring. Ambrose hits the
Flying Psycho and puts Noble back in the ring, hitting a flying
clothesline. Mercury makes the save. The boys beat on Ambrose, who hits a
Double Rebound Clothesline and Dirty Deeds to finish it at 5:17 as
Booker, frustratingly, says “We have a new champion!”
WINNER: Dean Ambrose via Dirty Deeds
RATING:
*3/4. Better than expected, but big deal. Why are we wasting Dean
Ambrose on these guys when Ambrose is main eventing Payback? Quick
action and no commercial break for a change, so there’s that.
TONIGHT: Daniel Bryan is here.
When
we come back from break, Ziggler is out here, dressed like what white
80’s TV Execs thought gang members looked like. Sheamus is at ringside
with the guys, doing commentary. Cole welcomes Sheamus to commentary
and, because he just can’t let it die, continues to berate him for not “kissing Ziggler’s arse” three weeks ago. 
(WHYG Writer Jared: “Hey, folks, welcome to our third PPV,
WEDGIEMANIA! John Cena will defend the United States Championship
against Rusev again — but this time, in a No Holds Barred WEDGIE MATCH!”
JBL: “A wedgie match?!” COLE: “That’s right, John! In order to win the
match, you have to give your opponent a WEDGIE!”)
Barrett
gets on the mic and gives a speech that just isn’t the same without the
“bad news” gimmick. He tells the ref to ring the bell.
MATCH #2: Dolph Ziggler vs. King Barrett
Ziggler
hits a Superkick and nearly gets a pin. He hits an elbow drop for
another two count and dropkicks Barrett outside. When we come back from
one RAW’s much-needed commercial breaks, Barrett’s in control with a pin
and a headlock. He elbows Ziggler on the back of the head but Ziggler
charges up and hits the Fame-Asser for two. Ziggler goes for another
Superkick but Barrett grabs his leg and goes for Wasteland. Ziggler
breaks it but Barrett knocks him down with a knee to the gut. Barrett
sets up the Bullhammer but misses. Sheamus gets involved, distracting
Ziggler. Barrett hits the Bullhammer to finish up at 5:52.
WINNER: Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING: **. Nothing going on here except to build up the Sheamus feud.
Post-match, Sheamus kicks at Ziggler. Ziggler fights back with a press but Sheamus hits a Brogue and leaves.
TONIGHT:
  • Kane vs. Roman Reigns
  • Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

MATCH #3: Erick Rowan (w/ Luke Harper) vs. Fandango
It’s
the Suddenly Evil Because Reasons Eric Rowan vs. The New and Improved
Fandango You Know What Nevermind. JBL, Cole and Booker argue over how
fast Rowan will win, guess 2 minutes or under because this is a thing
now. Rowan destroys Fandango and hits a Full Nelson Slam for the win at
around 36 seconds.
WINNER: Erick Rowan
RATING: n/a – squash. I didn’t care about Rowan before. I don’t care for him now. As a tag team, Rowan and Harper can kick a whole lot of ass. Let’s do that instead of 15 straight solo squashes week after week. Anyhow, this whole match has an Island of Misfit Toys feel, starring a bunch of WWE’s failed experiments.

Post-match, it’s a Rowan/Harper beatdown.

NEXT: Cena will beat a mid-carder.

LAST WEEK: Bret Hart introduced Sami Zayn who lost to John Cena, got injured and won’t return to WWE for weeks to come. 

Cena
graces us with his presence and is thrilled because the arena seems to
cheer for him. He talks up the Franklin Mint United States Commemorative
Championship and lists all the people he’s beaten to keep it. The Cena
U.S. Open is…uh…open…and the challenger is…

Neville. To almost no pop.

MATCH #4: John Cena (champion) vs. Neville (challenger) for the WWE United States Championship
The
two men exchange holds and wrist locks and armbars for the first couple
of minutes. Cena hits a shoulderblock and side headlock as JBL says
that Cena “could have anyone…like Harper and Rowan”. Neville breaks
the hold and sends Cena outside. When we come back, NOBODY IS IN
CONTROL! Cena hits Move #1 but Neville kicks out of #3 and sends Cena
out of the ring, following with a nice Baseball Slide Kick. Neville
follows that up with a beautiful Springboard 450 Splash. Back in the
ring, Neville gets a two count. A few counters later and Cena hits #3
and goes for the 5KS, hitting it. He goes for the AA but Neville kicks
free and kicks Cena in the face. Neville hits ANOTHER beautiful 450
Splash but only gets a near fall. The two men exchange punches and
Neville hits some quick low kicks before Cena grabs Neville for a nice
Michinoku Driver for two. Cena sets up the AA again but Neville counters
into a pin for two. Cena puts Neville in the corner. Neville jumps over
Cena and does some backflips. He hits a cross body but Cena counters
into an AA which Neville counters. Neville hits an Enzuguri and NEARLY
gets another fall. He goes for the Red Arrow but Cena counters into the
STF. Neville counters that and nearly gets another fall. Cena
gets to his feet and hits a quick clothesline and both men are weary.
Cena rushes at Neville but Neville dodges and kicks Cena. Cena grabs
Neville anyhow and hits an AA. 1…2…NO. Both men are on their backs
and struggle to get up. Cena is on his feet first as Neville rolls
outside the ropes. Cena grabs Neville and puts him on his shoulders,
climbing to the second buckle…but Neville counters into a Falling
Powerbomb! 1…2…NO. Neville gets up and goes for the Red Arrow and
hits it…and Rusev fuck this entire thing up by interfering for the DQ
finish at 14:42. Fuck this fucking show.
WINNER: Neville via DQ
RATING: I’ll go ***3/4. I hate run-in finishes but that fit. This would have been an easy ***** on any PPV.

Post-match,
Rusev stomps a mudhole in Cena and puts him in the Accolade and Neville
doesn’t do a thing about it because he’s dead some place. Meanwhile,
the crowd chants “WE WANT LANA”.

STILL TO COME:

  • Kane vs. Reigns
  • Orton vs. Rollins

Kane
and Reigns make their way to the ring. Kane immediately attacks Reigns
as he gets over the crowd barrier and just beats him up, slamming his
head into the steel steps. When Kane tosses Reigns into the ring, Reigns
hits a Sagat-like Tiger Uppercut and goes back outside to deal with
Kane. Kane regroups and tosses Reigns between the edge of the mat and
the crowd barrier. Reigns is left laying on the floor and starts taking
apart the announce table. Reigns gets up and fights back, trying the
Superman Punch, finally hitting it after a few counters. He hits a Spear
that was obviously meant to break the announce table but it didn’t and
Cole’s forced to hold his orgasm. Reigns awkwardly climbs the announce
table…and does nothing. His music hits and Kane is still down, having
proved…something to Triple H, I guess.

NEXT: Daniel Bryan is here to talk about his neck.

LAST WEEK: Tamin Snuka made an arbitrary return due to overwhelming demand. Her and Naomi beat up the Bellas, who are heels, kinda.

MATCH #5: Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella) vs. Tamina Snuka (w/ Naomi)
Cole
plugs the WWE App, telling us to tune in so we can see what the Bellas
think about Naomi. Tamina gained some weight during her off-time and botches a punch to Brie’s gut.
Tamina hits a clothesline and gets a one-count as Nikki says
inspirational stuff like, “C’mon, Brie, fight”. Brie regains composure
and hits a nice missile dropkick for two. Brie hits a running knee
against the ropes but can’t hit a second one, which she always tries for. Tamina blocks her and hits a Superkick for the win at 3:34.
WINNER: Tamina Snuka
RATING: 1/4*. 

TONIGHT: Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

Curtis
Axel is waiting for Damien Sandow. They’re fighting because Axel
imitated Hulk Hogan and Damien Sandow imitated Randy Savage. It’s like two drag queens jockeying for stage time.

MATCH #6: Curtis Axel vs. Macho Mandow
*Sigh*.
Sandow is out with Savage’s theme music and costume — and Cole has a
HASHTAG FOR IT. Sandow points like Savage. Axel rips off his shirt but
Mandow hits shoulderblocks and goes top rope for the big elbow…but The
Ascension shows up because why the fuck not? Viktor says that this
isn’t entertaining. Konnor takes the ironic route and says that
“dressing like a legend doesn’t make you a legend”. They rush the ring
— but Sandow dumps Konnor and slams Viktor to the mat. Axel hits a
Hogan Legdrop. And this is DOA. JBL, Cole and Booker sit there, stunned,
saying, “Well…that was…something.”
WINNERS: No contest
RATING: DUD. The Ascension was just buried by Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow imitating Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage while they, themselves, imitate the Legion of Doom. My brain is gonna short circuit.

Post-match, it’s a Pseudo Mega Powers handshake. Yay?

Daniel
Bryan is out to speak and looks none too happy. He says that he’s had a
bunch of doctor visits in the last two weeks. He is sick of that and
wants some energy. He says that he needed to come out here and get his
usual reaction. He recalls when Steph stripped him of the World Title
last year…and she was right to do it. He says that the fans deserve a
fighting champion — and that’s why he’s out here tonight. He says that
he had an MRI and that the doctors are telling him that he’s out
indefinitely. Despite that, he says the fans deserve somebody fighting
for the IC Championship — and has to invoke the name of Dean Ambrose in
order to get fans cheering. Tonight, he is giving up the
Intercontinental Championship. He thanks the fans and leaves the belt in
the center of the ring. The crowd chants “THANK YOU, DANIEL” and Bryan
rewards them by leading a YES chant to finish that segment.

Cole, JBL and Booker are depressed and discuss WHAT JUST HAPPENED.

The
New Day’s music hits but the crowd is dead. Eventually, it’s a “NEW DAY
SUCKS” chant that brings them back. The three men talk about the tag
teams in contention for the titles and try another “NEW DAY ROCKS”
chant. It doesn’t work and Cesaro and Kidd interrupt with Nattie’s Giant
Bewbz already having been there for 20 minutes.

MATCH #7: Big E (w/ Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. Cesaro (w/ Tyson Kidd & Natalya)
JBL
continues calling Cesaro and Tyson “Tyson & Kidd” as Cesaro hits a
HUGE slam to start things off. Cesaro hits an uppercut and huge
crossbody off the top rope for two. Cesaro beats E in the corner with
kicks, then clotheslines him from the ring. After a commercial break,
Cesaro fights out of an Abdominal Stretch only to fall victim to another
one. Cesaro counters with a Gut Wrench Suplex but E hits a Spinebuster.
He misses a Warrior Splash but hits ANOTHER Warrior Splash and gets
two. E hits a shoulder tackle for two. Cesaro comes back with a
Springboard Uppercut and two German Suplexes, followed by a dangerous
looking Belly to Belly that sees Big E landing on the back of his neck.
Cesaro goes for a Spin. Woods jumps on the mat and him and Tyson Kidd
fight each other. Finally, Woods trips Kidd and taunts Cesaro. E tries
to clothesline Cesaro but Cesaro counters an hits a neat cradle pin for
the three count at 8:54.
WINNER: Cesaro
RATING:
**. Good power match here. Cesaro just continues to look impressive,
even if you think you’ve seen everything he’s had to offer.

WWE Network is free for the month of May…so tune in to see Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel take on The Ascension.

If you think that’s fucked,
OMG, another PPV has been added this month: Elimination Chamber, live
from Texas on Sunday, May 31st. Shouldn’t that have been Fastlane? Yeah.
This isn’t desperate at all.

THIS THURSDAY: Roman Reigns vs. Kane because the match nobody wanted to see in the first place MUST HAPPEN.

The
Prime Time Players imitate D-X because we haven’t had enough of this
tonight. Parts of the crowd sadly chant along with the old D-X shit.

Bray Wyatt time. Wyatt comes to the ring and goes Alex Jones nuts,
talking about Climate Change and economic collapse and global war. When
he’s done with the Coast 2 Coast nonsense, he trashes Ryback for
reading The Secret and fighting against injury to “come back”. But
Ryback has never seen anything like Bray Wyatt. He says that,
sometimes, the bad guy wins. He does the Raven…until Ryback shows up
and heads to the ring. Ryback hits a Spinebuster and clothesline and
Wyatt is dispatched outside. We go to break with Ryback standing tall.

MATCH #8: Randy Orton vs. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins (non-title)
No
J&J “flank” for this match. After some back and forth, Rollins hits
some shots to Orton’s head and gut. Orton responds, tossing Rollins to
the mat and into the corner. Orton knocks him down and drops a knee for
two. He misses the next one but hits a backbreaker. He rushes Rollins
but Rollins trips him and sends him outside. When we come back, Rollins
is in control while Cole recaps what might happen in a Fatal 4-Way in
case you haven’t watched wrestling since the late 90’s. Rollins tosses
Orton into the corner and runs but Orton dumps Rollins over the ropes.
Rollins recovers and goes top rope but Orton trips him up. Orton hits a
Superplex but both men are hurt. When they get to their feet, it’s
“boo/yay” shots. Orton tries a Powerslam in stride but Rollins holds the
ropes. Rollins leaps at Orton from the top rope and Orton hits the
Powerslam anyhow. Two count. Rollins dazes Orton and hits a flying knee
from the top rope. Two count. Rollins tries the Buckle Bomb but Orton
counters it. There’s a series of counters and Orton finally hits a
Fisherman’s Suplex throw. Orton goes after Rollins but Rollins kicks
Orton and hits a Suicide Dive to the outside. For some reason, eight
guys in the crowd chant, “THIS IS AWESOME”. Back in the ring, Rollins
tries to splash Orton in the corner but misses. Orton misses an RKO.
Rollins rolls him up for two, then hits a low Superkick for two. Both
men struggle to theri feet. Rollins gets to feet first. He rushes Orton
but Orton sends Rollins outside the ropes for a Vintage DDT. He sets up
for the RKO but J&J Security are here to fuck this up at 15:19.
WINNER: Randy Orton via DQ
RATING: **. Just have J&J at ringside if you’re gonna end it like that.

Post-match,
Rollins and J&J put Orton to the mat. Kane’s music hits. He goes
for a chair. Rollins & J&J stomp a mudhole in Orton. Ambrose and
Reigns show up, tossing J&J from the ring. They surround Rollins.
Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds. The three Fatal 4-Way competitors turn to face
Kane. Kane does nothing. Ambrose picks up Rollins and holds him for
Reigns. Reigns hits a Spear. Kane still stands there, watching. Ambrose
and Reigns pick Rollins up for Orton who hits an RKO. Kane still doesn’t
move…so Reigns hits a Spear on Orton. That means Ambrose gets to hit
Dirty Deeds on Reigns and Ambrose stands tall as we go off the air.

OVERALL:
**. Blah for a “going home” show. Nowhere near as good as last week
with a bunch of shit matches and a brilliant Cena/Neville match. That
one match does not, a good show, make.

And, of course, it’s the best of Monday Night Open Mic…

Er…that’s it.

Monday Night Open Mic

Howdy Blog O’ Doomers!

Hope you are all having a nice start to the week and enjoyed a nice weekend. Let’s take a little at the TV schedule tonight:

RAW is Live from somewhere

NBA Playoffs has the Hawks-Wizards and Grizz-Warriors tonight.

No NHL Hockey tonight. The Lightning are starting to piss me off. Michel Thierren is getting hit with a guitar over the head tomorrow. Watch!

Reds-Braves are in a rain delay on ESPN so they are talking about Tom Brady being a cheating bastard.

New episodes of Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, Bates Motel…I think it’s the season finale of Bates Motel.

And Letterman is in it’s final weeks of shows. I think it’s this week and next week.

So enjoy whatever you want to watch and keep it clean!

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–07.01.96

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 07.01.96 Call it schadenfreude, but BYE BYE FLAMES. I’m man enough to admit it. So apparently the reason that Nitro isn’t being further updated is because no one is actually watching the archived content. Seems like kind of a catch-22 to me. Well, I’m watching, all the way to the bitter end when I run out of Nitro episodes in a few weeks. IT’S STILL REAL TO ME, DAMMIT! Live from Landover, MD Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko DDP interrupts the opening spiel to complain about his magic ring being stolen. STRIP SEARCHES FOR EVERYONE! Oh, and Larry promises that this Sunday will bring a “new world order” of some sort. Yeah, well, that’s like, just his opinion, man. WCW World tag titles: Harlem Heat v. The Steiner Brothers Scott throws Booker around with a belly to belly and press slam, then dumps him to the floor. Somehow, Scott Steiner is getting bigger literally by the week. The Steiners clean house and we take a break, returning with the Four Horsemen enjoying some refreshments at Flair’s private table. I’m guessing that gag went away for good after next week. Rick with a Steinerline on Stevie Ray for two, and Scott takes him down with a backslide and overhead suplex as Larry again is all about the new world order. Rick wipes out Booker with a pair of clotheslines while Col. Parker now joins us at ringside. Booker hits the sidekick for two, but Rick brings him down off the top rope with a belly to belly for two. Scott with a butterfly powerbomb for two, but Stevie hits him with a cheapshot from the apron and the Heat take over. Booker with a flying splash for two, but Scott makes the hot tag to Rick. Clotheslines and powerslams abound, and Scott hits the Frankensteiner on Booker, but he’s not legal. Rick goes up with the flying bulldog, but Parker whacks Rick with his walking stick on a second attempt and the Heat retain at 10:08. Did Parker miss his cue there or something? Not sure why they suddenly put the Heat back with Parker again. Solid match with the guys throwing each other around, however. *** Meanwhile, Mean Gene brings up the open wound of Joe Gomez’s Nitro debut getting ruined, and Debra admits that she might be a bit high maintenance. GLACIER is on the way! At this point it’s actually getting pretty funny. Disco Inferno v. Kurasawa Kurasawa has somehow dumped Sonny Onoo and turned babyface for some reason never adequately explored. Mainly comedy here, as Disco runs away and Kurasawa no-sells everything and looks to finish Disco off…but it’s the oldest finish in the book, as Disco’s music hits and an Elvis impersonator comes down to distract Kurasawa, allowing Disco to pull down the disco ball and hit him in the back for the pin at 3:42. Like I said, the oldest finish in the book. DUD Diamond Dallas Page v. Scotty Riggs Unlike last week’s show, DDP’s generic butt rock music has been restored to its former glory with no wacky overdubbing. Page pounds away and drops Riggs with a backdrop suplex, and slugs him down for two. Page with the abdominal stretch and he blocks a sunset flip, but Riggs finishes the move for two. Page boots him down again and gets a pumphandle backbreaker for two, but Riggs makes the comeback. Dropkick puts Page on the floor and Riggs follows with a dive, and back in for a flying forearm that gets two. But, alas, Diamond Cutter out of nowhere finishes at 5:36. Good work from both here. **1/2 Randy Savage v. Greg Valentine Valentine gets the recycled Hollywood Blonds music as they dig him out of whatever state fair he was working in 1996. Hammer pounds away but misses a blind charge and Savage gets two. They fight to the floor and Valentine drops an elbow. Back in for some choking as Tony speculates that GREG VALENTINE might be the third man. Savage comes back with a slam and goes up, but Valentine catches him coming down. The ref loudly calls out a 30 second time warning, so Valentine “knocks himself out” on a back suplex and Savage miraculously drops the elbow at 5:14 to move us to the second hour. Meh. * Hour #2! Still live, still in Landover, MD. Your hosts are Eric Bischoff & Bobby Heenan The Outsiders joins us at ringside, with popcorn and drinks and about a million extra viewers over RAW. Bischoff refers to “Kevin Nash” for the first time here. WCW World title: The Giant v. John Tenta The announcers reason that Tenta is so mad at Big Bubba that he might just take it out on Giant and win the title! I’m gonna go with “no” to that one. Tenta indeed unleashes his fury and rage on Giant, but sadly he’s not quite as angry as, say, Alex Riley and quickly gets his ass beat in the corner. This progresses at a leisurely pace while I check the Observer, and apparently at this point Hogan kind of gave away the third man deal on a movie set. Also, in much more important news, Glacier debuts at some sort of toy fair and people mock his ridiculously expensive gear and point out how cheap it looks, comparing him to Chris Champion. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD! Anyway, this shitfest continues unabated, with Giant endlessly choking and pounding on Tenta in the corner while the Outsiders eat popcorn in the front row. Finally Tenta dodges a blind charge and makes the comeback, putting him down with a dropkick, but now Kevin Sullivan comes out for the distraction and Giant finishes with the chokeslam at 6:37. The dastardly Big Bubba shaves off half of Tenta’s beard now. You’re probably asking why he doesn’t just shave off the rest and regrow it, but that would be putting way more thought into this than the booking team did. -*** Meanwhile, a Rey Mysterio video is interrupted by the Outsiders stirring up trouble, until security throws him out, with Nash yelling “Attica! Attica!” all the way. Is it any wonder they were instantly bigger stars than anyone in the promotion? Meanwhile, Jim Duggan reveals that he found DDP’s ring in the men’s bathroom, but he wouldn’t want to keep it anyway because he wears a MAN’S ring size and not the feminine piece of crap that DDP wears. Page storms in to reclaim the ring and Duggan hits him with a taped fist as Page takes a dramatic bump off it. This was fun stuff. Well, except for Gene accidentally calling it the “King of the Ring”, which has a panicked Bischoff immediately clarifying it as a slip of the tongue so that they don’t get any further legal threats from the WWF. The Four Horsemen v. The Rock N Roll Express, The Renegade and JOE GOMEZ Finally, the Desperado assembles his team of anti-Horsemen to get his revenge! And yes, this is your main event, why do you ask? Team Gomez cleans house and Flair starts out the match properly with Morton, who takes him down with a rana and the double dropkick for two. Well that finisher is dead. Oh wait it’s 1996, no one gives a shit anyway. Over to Arn, who falls victim to an enzuigiri from Gibson. Benoit comes in and beats on Renegade, but it’s GOMEZ TIME and he beats on Flair in the corner to kick off the greatest era of WCW TV since the glory NWA years. Backdrop gets two, but Joe gets distracted by his own perfect hair and Flair kicks him in the nuts to take over. Benoit beats on him in the corner and takes him down by the hair, clearly jealous. Gomez fact: Joe Gomez has a much better chance of making it into the WWE Hall of Fame than Benoit does. Mongo comes in and pounds Gomez down, and Flair drops the knee. Gomez comes back with a sunset flip on AA for two, but walks into a spinebuster. He gets a backslide on Benoit, who punches Gomez in his beautiful, beautiful face to put him down again. Flair tries the figure-four, but Gomez reverses for two while Bischoff notes “I don’t want to say anything bad about Joe Gomez, but he’s been getting hammered in there.” Clear proof that this man is nWo through and through, because only a traitor to the entire promotion would dare say anything bad about the heart and soul of WCW, Joe Gomez. If Joe Gomez had been the guy in the rafters, you can bet he wouldn’t have failed like Sting did. And in fact, Gomez decides to tag out to Renegade and share the glory, because that’s the kind of guy he is. Renegade runs wild, but misses a flying whatever while Mongo flails wildly with the briefcase at nothing (did, like, EVERYONE miss their cue for that one? Jesus Christ.) and Renegade submits to the figure-four at 11:53. Joe Gomez had that match well in hand, you hack! 12 minutes of Joe Gomez masterpiece, a match almost as impressive as his hair, ruined by the Renegade’s ineptitude. ***1/2 Mean Gene interviews the Horsemen to wrap things up. Next week: WCW presents Bash at the Beach, with the third man revealed in another typical WCW angle that went nowhere and satisfied no one. Does anyone even remember who the guy was?