Brian and I over at FSM are conducting a poll to look for trends in the recent bottoming out of Raw’s ratings. While the forthcoming answers won’t be too surprising, I’m sure, we’d like some solid numbers to back up the perceptions.
Tonight, we have the MLB All-Star Game, Tough Enough, and anything else you want to talk about tonight here.
Also, if you haven’t already, make sure to head on over to Place to be Nation for the latest installment of the “Kevin Kelly” show as he welcomes guest “The Patriot” Del Wilkes. Click on the link below to listen to this interview, which is quite revealing.
Still dealing with the time zone jump and general post vacation issues. I’m sick and I have no clue what time zone this publish button is on so rather than take a chance you guys get an early thread.
Saw Beast in the East. Liked it. Really growing to like Neville a lot. His stuff looks pretty damn smooth in the ring. Last week (on the old site as I wasn’t in a spot to get my WP account), I said Rick Rude’s U.S. title reign of 14 months through 1991 and 1992 was better than any of Lex Luger’s U.S. title reigns. I say that with the precursor that Luger ABSOLUTELY should have won the World title between 1988-1990 and Flair should have put him over. But Rude had ridiculously good matches with Sting, probably had a better match with Steamboat than Luger’s match at Bash ’89 and he was the centerpiece of arguably the best match in WCW history. So there!
Anyway enjoy the go home RAW tonight for whatever PPV is coming up. Enjoy the Home Run Derby if it doesn’t rain out and enjoy the Gold Cup soccer game.
We start with The Price is Rollins from last week and, even for a two minute recap, it runs too long.
We are LIVE(!!!) in Chicago, Illinois for Monday Night RAW!!!
Cole, JBL and Saxton are the guys at the desk.
Brock is here with Paul Heyman to start us out. Paul does his usual intro and calls Brock “The Night Mayor of Suplex City”. Heyman says that Rollins and his “band of merrymen” still think Brock’s in Japan. He says that Rollins lucked his way into the championship. He says that Brock is the king of retribution: he destroyed and conquered The Undertaker’s streak and took Cena to Suplex City. He didn’t respect Cena at all — and he doesn’t respect Rollins. He says the only way that Brock could be beaten was because he succumbed to the pack of hyenas that was Rollins and his guys — but they left Brock alive and breathing — and that’s a mistake. He says Brock will take the title back at Battleground. The fight may be in St. Louis, but the beatings and suplexes begin tonight. He calls the All-State Arena “City Hall of Suplex City”. He says that Rollins will be here tonight and they will have their retribution. “The beatings begin TONIGHT.” Brock leaves the ring with Paul and they go backstage.
Cole and the guys talk about this and, hey, Kane’s in Hawaii and, holy shit, we get Kane with “pictures” showing him in Hawaii. Hoaxers who fake UFO and alien photos are more convincing than this.
And with irony firmly propped up and showing off, Big Show comes out for a match.
And when we come back, The Miz is at ringside and he has a mic. Am I seeing things or is this exactly what happened last week?
MATCH #1: Big Show vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback (non-title) Immediately, Miz starts barking at the two of them. Show shoves Ryback to begin. Ryback comes back with a headlock but Show shoves him into the corner again. Show nails him with a chop to the chest and Miz cheers him on, getting the crowd into this. Miz tells Show to do it again. Show lunges at Miz and Ryback fights out of the corner. Ryback hits a press and kicks at Show but Show belts Ryback and begins beating on him in the corner. He lunges at Ryback but misses a body splash. Ryback climbs the buckle and punches at Show but Show grabs him and drops him on his face. Show has Ryback in a leglock when we come back from a break. Miz continues to yell and it’s at this point that I hope Brock Lesnar is serious about “beginning the beatings”. Ryback attacks Show who confronts Miz but Show STILL manages to fall on Ryback after his legs give out. Irish Whip by Show and Ryback clips Show’s knee. Ryback punches at Show and then tackles him. Miz tries a distraction but Ryback chases him off, spears Show and hits a big splash. Ryback misses a splash off the top rope and Show hits a Chokeslam. Show hits an elbow from the second rope — but Miz is here to fuck the whole thing up at around 10 minutes. WINNER: No contest
RATING: *1/2. The same as last week — only long, with a commercial break. Thanks for that.
Post-match, Show and Ryback gang up on Miz. Ryback hits Shell Shock. Show hits a Chokeslam, then gets taken out with a forearm by Ryback.
TONIGHT: United States Open Challenge with John Cena
Cole plugs Total Divas and calls it “the most controversial season ever”. I don’t even know anyone can tell one episode from the other.
J&J drive around in their new car. This, after we see pics of Kane in Hawaii.
And, now: a Bellas match just in case you were debating on this vs. Tanked on Animal Planet.
MATCH #2: Brie Bella (w/ Nikki Bella & Alicia Fox) vs. Paige Paige roughs up Brie in the corner. Brie elbows out and tosses Paige outside the ropes, then drops her neck on the ropes. She tosses Paige back in and a two count. Meanwhile, Naomi and Tamina watch backstage because they matter in this intense Divas Division. Paige breaks an armlock by pinning Brie for two, then clotheslines Brie on a charge. Brie backs Paige into Nikki and Fox who attack Paige with impunity. Brie runs at Paige for the running knee but misses and hits Nikki and Fox instead. Fox rolls her up for two, then hits a Superkick. She sets up for a PTO but Brie breaks out and it’s a fight in the corner. Brie misses her Missile Dropkick and Paige goes for the PTO again. Fox gets on the apron, so Paige tosses Brie at her, then kicks Nikki. Brie grabs Paige and hits the Bella Buster for the win at 3:13. WINNER: #BELLASWINLOL
RATING: *1/2. Same as the last few weeks. We’re just trading wins and losses at this point and hoping for a “story” to come to fruition.
Post-match, it’s Fox kicking Paige and Nikki hitting the Rack Attack.
We get a montage of the whole Reigns/Wyatt feud and Reigns hits the ring.
MATCH #3: Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus Reigns runs Sheamus over so Sheamus goes outside to regroup. After getting back in, he drops some shots over Reigns and puts on a side headlock. Sheamus hits a knee to Reigns’ gut and drops a knee to his head. He goes second rope but Reigns gets up and pulls him to the mat, then clotheslines him out of the ring. Reigns chases Sheamus and hits a nice forearm to his head. He puts Sheamus’s head into a barrier and rolls him back into the ring. Sheamus gets up and hits a Running Kneelift. The two exchange blows until Roman is knocked out of the ring. When we come back from a break, Sheamus has Reigns in a headlock, so the crowd gives us our first “CM PUNK” chant in about four months. Reigns breaks and hits falling faceslam. Sheamus runs at Reigns and flies out of the ring. He gets back in but Reigns clotheslines the shit out of him. Reigns goes for a Samoan Drop but it’s a series of counters as both men exchange move attempts. Finally, Reigns sends Sheamus to the bottom rope and hits the Hanging Missile Dropkick, then a Samoan Drop. He goes for the Superman Punch but Sheamus blocks and hits a backbreaker. Two count. Sheamus goes to the top rope and Reigns hits the Superman Punch on the way down. Spear attempt — and wouldn’t ya’ know it? Another Bray video spot because this act never gets old. Reigns isn’t waiting to get his ass handed to him and he attacks Bray on his way down to the ring. But it isn’t Bray. It’s some guy wearing a Bray wig, because now the backstage crew not only helps him with his video clips, they willingly dress up like Bray to get their asses kicked. Bray appears on the big screen saying, “Anyone but you, Roman,” then the ref counts out Reigns because and we’re done around 12 minutes. WINNER: Sheamus via countout
RATING: *1/2. Bored of this feud. Both this one and the fight between Sheamus and Reigns.
Post-match, Orton’s music hits and he beats the holy hell out of Sheamus, puts him in the ring and hits the RKO. He celebrates. That makes it all better, I guess.
Cole plugs the Network.
Rollins and J&J show up backstage and talk to Triple H. Triple H wants to talk to Rollins alone. Triple H wants to know what Rollins is gonna do about Lesnar. Rollins has no idea. Triple H says he wants to see Rollins be the champ after Battleground. Rollins says he has it in the bag. Triple H says that Rollins is cocky but he should do something nobody expects. Rollins says he doesn’t know what that means. Triple H says Heyman gave him a hint with the 11th Commandment: “Never intentionally antagonize The Beast”. Rollins says he’s gonna call out Lesnar and then he’s gonna beat up Lesnar which makes sense if you’re high.
Rusev is in the ring with Summer. Rusev would like to apologize about what happened last week. He calls Lana a “blonde snake” and for how much time he wasted with her. He calls Ziggler a weasel. Summer tries to help Rusev out but Rusev tells her not to waste her time. Out comes Ziggler with Lana. Ziggler says that he knows Rusev’s leg is broken but says his brain must be broken, too. Everything he’s gotten has been because of Lana. He says that Lana was the one who gave him everything. They make out. Summer is pissed and confronts Lana. Rusev blocks Summer. Ziggler holds Lana back. Suddenly, Rusev attacks with his crutch and beats Ziggler senseless and hits a Superkick. He removes the ankle boot from his right foot (DANIELLE: He’s healed! It’s a miracle! Man, JBL needs to study Heenan-isms.) and stomps at Ziggler. Ziggler fights back but Rusev clubs him with the crutch and then drops his throat on it. Refs and medics get into the ring but Rusev just keeps clubbing.
After the break, Cole shows us clips of Rusev’s wrath and informs us that Ziggler was wheeled to the back on a stretcher.
Bo Dallas hits the ring. He says that the attack on Ziggler was terrible. It just goes to show that bad things happen to BAD PEOPLE. Good things happen to good people. Good people, like him. All you have to do is BO-LIEVE!
MATCH #4: Bo Dallas vs. Dean Ambrose Crowd is hot as Bo Dallas attacks and locks in a headlock. Ambrose breaks but gets clotheslined. He does a victory lap and tries for a kneedrop. He misses. Ambrose gets up and clubs away. He hits lariats and a Bulldog. He goes top rope and hits an elbow drop. He tries a neckbreaker and Bo shoves him for the requisite Rebound Clothesline, followed by Dirty Deeds for the win at 3:00. WINNER: Dean Ambrose
RATING: N/A – squash – I can dig keeping Ambrose strong but he needs a real feud. Even against Dallas, though, the crowd is white hot for him.
When we come back from a break, R-Truth is wearing his bed sheet and has a plunger. Him and Barrett are gonna face off because this feud is just red velvet on a stick.
MATCH #5: King Barrett vs. R-Truth Truth hits a beautiful body scissors pin off an Irish Whip. Barrett kicks out and the fight spills to the corner. Barrett beats on Truth and yells “BOOM”. Truth retaliates and sends him over the top rope. Truth chases and Barrett runs Truth into the edge of the mat, then tosses him into the ring post. Barrett isn’t content and whips into another one, then rolls him into the ring for a two count. Barrett beats on Truth, then puts him in a side headlock. Truth fights out and kicks Barrett in the head. He charges again but Barrett just runs him over with a big boot. When we come back from a break (yes, even Truth’s matches get breaks now), Barrett puts Truth in a Surfboard. Truth breaks and hits a lariat. Barrett charges Truth in the corner but Truth hits a series of clotheslines and kick to the gut. He hits a Scissors Kick and Barrett just escapes a pinfall. Truth hits a splash in the corner and tries a suplex but Barrett counters. Truth pins Barrett for two but Barrett kicks out, kicks Truth and tries for the Bullhammer, missing. Truth rolls him up for a two count. Truth goes top rope but, on the way down, it’s a ROAL BULLHAMMER OUTTA NOWHERE MIGGAL to win this thing at 8:41. WINNER: Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING: **1/4. This is the match of the night thus far. Beautifully wrestled for what it was. Both guys looked good with none of the corny “King” bullshit or prop warfare getting in the way. I enjoyed this.
Backstage, Rollins and J&J walk to the ring.
Cole recaps Rusev beating the snot out of Ziggler earlier tonight.
Seth Rollins hits the ring, carrying an axehandle. J&J drive out in their Cadillac. Can’t imagine why. They also have axehandles. (DANIELLE: Brock’s out there. It’s a trick. Get an actual AXE.)
Rollins says that Lesnar was chosen to be his opponent at Battleground because they know that Rollins is the man and the Future of WWE — something the crowd “doesn’t understand”. He says he even proved it last week when him and The Authority beat up Brock Lesnar. Then Rollins shows us an actual montage which is confusing when he can just explain it. Rollins says that he has beaten everyone in his way and he will walk out of Battleground the champion. He tells Brock that he’s right there in the middle of the ring as the crowd chants “JUSTIN BIEBER”. He calls Brock “Paul Heyman’s bitch”, then stands tall.
Brock’s music hits as the heels stand there with their weapons and egg him on. Brock slowly approaches the ring…then stops and backs up to the car. He motions to Paul and Paul rolls a production crate over. Lesnar reaches into the crate and grabs an actual goddamn axe. He grins and “accidentally” backs up into the car, then starts wrecking the shit out of the car. He bashes all the windows and the crowd loves every second. He starts swinging at the rear of the car (DANIELLE: Oh shit…that’s the gas tank…and everyone’s afraid to tell Brock he’s about to die and take everyone in the entire first section with him…) and then takes the driver’s side rear door, rips it from the hinges and tosses it away, fan safety be damned. J&J come down to face him. Brock kicks Mercury, then puts him in the Kimura Lock and “breaks his arm”. Noble attacks but Brock just beats him and tosses him into the car’s front windshield. Rollins tells Brock to bring it on so Brock runs to the ring and hops in. Rollins bails from the ring and runs into the crowd. Brock gets into the ring and holds up the title belt that Rollins left behind. The crowd eats this up
TONIGHT: John Cena’s Open Challenge
TOMORROW: Both Tough Enough and Total Divas are on…jesus…and I thought I’d get some sleep.
MOMENTS AGO: Lesnar Street Fighter II’ed J&J’s new car.
The Prime Time Players are on the commentary side of things for the net match.
MATCH #6: Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) vs. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (w. Xavier Woods) The New Day looks at the damage inflicted by Lesnar and dances down to the ring anyhow. Kofi and Cara starts off. Cara avoids a corner splash by Kofi and tags Kalisto. Kofi punches him and it’s E in on the tag. Kalisto hits a beautiful shoulderblock off an Irish Whip. Too bad E practically no-sells it. E is pushed from the ring anyhow. Kofi comes in but he’s sent from the ring. They go for a dive but Xavier gets in the way. They dropkick his ass, then do twin dives off the buckle. We actually get a commercial break after that. After the break, Kalisto breaks a hold by Kofi. E tags in and he takes out Cara, then belly to belly suplexes Kalisto. Abdominal Stretch by E and it’s a tag to Kofi as the commentary gets weird with Titus telling JBL he’s smarter than JBL. Hot tag to Cara and Cara knocks down Kofi and hits a springboard moonsault for two. Kofi tries to fly at Cara who grabs him and counters into a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Cara dumps Kofi from the ring and the two dive at the New Day. Cara misses and E hits a belly to belly on Kalisto. Back in the ring, it’s the 11th Hour for the win at 10:17. WINNERS: The New Day
RATING: **. Not bad at all. New Day and Lucha Dragons look great here.
New Day and PTP taunt one another after the match.
Cole plugs Dusty’s special on the WWE Network.
NEXT: John Cena’s Open Challenge
Out comes Cena. He stops to look at the destroyed car and smiles. Cole gives us clips of Beast in the East where Finn Balor beat Kevin Owens to become NXT Champ. Cena basically asks the crowd, “U MAD BRO?” after mentioning Owens losing the NXT Championship. He praises the Chicago crowd and says he wants them nice and loud. He issues the challenge and out comes…
Owens says the worst part of RAW is when Cena comes out and talks. He’s sick of it, so he’s ending it. He needs the United States Title because, that way, Cena will finally shut up. He says he was content on waiting for Battleground but, no longer. As they’re about to get started, Cesaro’s music hits.
Cesaro says that nobody wants to see Owens whine about losing in Japan. He says that Cesaro is the only person who deserves the title shot. He says that he had Cena ready to tap out last week and Owens screwed it up. He did it because he was jealous. Owens wasn’t able to beat Cena at the last PPV and he won’t be able to do it at Battleground. He tells Owens to leave the ring or else the two of them will have a problem. Owens leaves.
MATCH #7: John Cena (champion) vs. Cesaro (challenger) for the WWE United States Championship Crowd is white hot for this match. After a break, Cena hits a side suplex and goes for the 5KS but Cesaro gets up and knocks him down, then taunts him. He hits a dropkick and tries to charge Cesaro but Cesaro moves and hits a Delayed Standing Suplex, showing off by squatting while holding him up. He tries another suplex but Cena counters and puts Cesaro on his shoulders, hitting an Electric Chair Drop. The two trade shots until Cena tries the AA. Cesaro counters with a DDT. Cesaro locks in a Cobra Clutch. After a break, Cena starts hitting shoulder tackles but Cesaro catches him in a backbreaker. Cesaro tries a splash in the corner but Cena moves and hits the Side Slam. He goes for the 5KS but Cesaro gets up. Cena grabs him for another Side Slam and another 5KS but Cesaro counters with a Crossface. Cena breaks it and locks in the STF but Cesaro breaks the hold with the bottom rope. Cesaro gets up and walks over to Cena who hits a back body drop. Cena goes for a suplex but Cesaro hits three straight Gut Wrench Suplexes. Two count. Cesaro hits uppercuts in the corner and then goes for the Swing. Cena pulls himself up, grabs Cesaro and hits a DDT to counter. Two count.
Cena goes top rope but Cesaro hits a dropkick, sending Cena out of the ring. Cesaro walks outside, then hits a running uppercut. Cesaro tosses Cena back into the ring and goes top rope with a cross body but Cena catches him and goes for the AA. Cesaro lands on his feet. Counter after counter and Cena hits a Frankensteiner and a Reverse Sitting Suplex. Two count! Cesaro gets to his feet and hits an uppercut! Two count! Both men are outside the ring ropes and Cesaro nearly powerbombs Cena to the outside. Cena kicks out but Cesaro pulls him into the barricade. Cesaro runs at Cena but Cena ducks and sends him into the timekeeper’s pit. Cesaro escapes and Cena rolls him into the ring. He goes top rope but Cesaro jumps up and hits a mean uppercut. Cesaro tries a Superplex but Cena breaks out with headbutts, then hits the Flying Legdrop for a close fall.
Cena runs at Cesaro but Cesaro pushes Cena up and hits the uppercut! Close fall! Cesaro calls for the Swing but Cena stands up and hits an AA for two. Cena runs at Cesaro but Cesaro hits the Swing, getting about 10 rotations before letting go. Cesaro hits a Sharpshooter and Cena starts dragging him to the ropes, so Cesaro drops the Sharpshooter and hits a Crossface. Cena rolls over but Cesaro keeps it locked. Finally, Cena kicks out and hits the STF. Cesaro gets to his feet and counters into a suplex that looks like it wrenches his neck. He gets two. Cesaro slings Cena into a corner but Cena tries the Stunner. Cesaro counters into the Neutralizer! Two count! Cena goes for a Tornado DDT but Cesaro counters into a Crossface! Cena drags Cesaro to the ropes and breaks the hold. Cena rolls outside the ring ropes — and Cesaro suplexes him back in as Cena stands up, getting two. Cena hits a Sitting Powerbomb on a rush and HE nearly gets a fall. Both men get to their feet. Cena hits some punches and puts Cesaro on his shoulders, climbing the buckle. Cesaro elbows out and goes for the Neutralizer but Cena punches out of it. The two exchange shots but Cena grabs Cesaro for an AA to retain! WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: John Cena via AA
RATING: *****. What a match. Beautifully wrestled by both guys and a hell of an effort.
Post-match, Kevin Owens attacks Cena but Cena fends him off and hits an AA. Owens flees. Cena celebrates as we go off the air.
OVERALL: Another show that started awful and got better as it went along. It’s nice to see the fans getting a payoff for sitting through Rollins giving gifts like it was Christmas. Brock destroying the car and the Cena/Cesaro epic were the reasons to watch and I can’t believe I’m gonna say that R-Truth and Barrett was a match worth watching.
This week’s Best of Monday Night Open Mic has some of the funniest comments I’ve ever read. Either that or I had too much wine last night:
Seems like everyone else has a life. If you don’t, feel free to talk about everything going on, including plans for the July 4th holiday, when you’re going to watch the Japan show and your favorite type of firework!
Tonight, Smackdown is on SyFy at 8pm EST, highlighted by Mark Henry vs. Ryback. Plus, MLB action, NHL & NBA free agency and more.
Also, as a quick programming note, I will be reviewing the Brickhouse Brown shoot interview next Thursday as I will be reviewing episodes of Brickhouse TV every other Saturday night, alternating them with my RoH reviews. And the shoot interview after that will be the 1994 WCW Timeline with Eric Bischoff.
We are two weeks from Battleground and it looks as though The
Authority is on the same page as Seth Rollins as he looks to defend the
title against Brock Lesnar. Smackdown proved to be a fairly solid show
which is ironic since last Monday’s RAW was a dud.
Let’s see if RAW recovers…
We begin with clips from LAST MONDAY, scored by Emotional Theme #87 From Full House.
We are LIVE(!!!) from Washington, D.C. for Monday Night RAW!!!
JBL, Cole and Saxton are your guys on the mics.
comes out to the ring with Kane and J&J Security. Rollins says that
Washington is obsessed with power. He says he took power last week when
he conquered “The Conqueror” last week. John Cena and The Undertaker
couldn’t do that, he says. He burned Suplex City to the ground. He says
that Brock isn’t here tonight. He’s going to Japan for the big WWE show.
Rollins says that Brock injured Jamie Noble by breaking three of his
ribs. But Jamie’s here with us tonight because he’s braver than everyone
in the arena and he wouldn’t miss any of this for the world.
says he has gifts for each one of them. He lifts a red velvet blanket
off a table and there are three Apple Watches. They all wear them.
Rollins asks them what they think. Noble’s totally stoked. Rollins says
that he “broke Lesnar” and asks for #BrokenBeast to trend on Twitter
which even JBL has trouble repeating. Rollins says he is giving Kane
something special for all his hard work all these long years: a trip to
Hawaii. He calls down a hula dancer and a dude playing the ukelele. (DANIELLE: What is this, “The Price is Right”?!) Kane
is totally thankful and says he’s always wanted to relax on a beach and
think of what animal he’d like to toss into a volcano. Rollins says
that they’re gonna send Kane off in style tonight with a great tag match
for the ages. (DANIELLE: Doesn’t Kane outrank Rollins? Isn’t he a director? Why is he giving his boss permission to go on vacation?)
there’s more, which is GREAT since I wanted to watch 10 more minutes of
whatever the hell this is supposed to be. Rollins says that J&J are
going to travel in style from here on out. He points to some random
blonde chick in a black dress. She ushers in a brand-new Cadillac CTS.
J&J give Rollins a group head as we get a modified version of The
Dating Game theme. Rollins follows them down the ramp and describes how
awesome this car is. Rollins goes over the specs which includes a nice
engine, leather interior and (DANIELLE: “…uh…technology and stuff…”) a sun roof which Mercury puts his body through.
Rollins thanks Kane and J&J as Rollins screams how awesome the last 17 minutes has been. J&J honk the horn loudly.
Big Show’s music hits…and…I guess we’re having a match after ALL of that. Mark Henry heads to the ring.
MATCH #1: Big Show vs. Mark Henry
is on commentary because, remember? He’s still a part of the
Show/Ryback feud for some reason. Show boots Henry in the head and
punches him in the corner. Henry kicks at Show and knocks him down with a
huge clothesline. Henry boots Show to the mat and headbutts him. Henry
hits a weak-looking Warrior Splash and gets a two count. Henry kicks at
Show but Show stands up and nails Henry with the KO Punch to win this at
1:24. WINNER: Big Show via KO Punch RATING: DUD. The review speaks for itself.
Ryback runs down to the ring and attacks Show, knocking him from the
ring. Miz attacks Ryback right after this and then runs away when Ryback
chases him. Ryback says they have a match later but he wants Miz in the
ring NOW. Commercial.
MATCH #2: The Miz vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback (non-title)
runs away which never fucking gets old. Ryback chases him back into the
ring and slams him to the mat which Miz half-sells and nearly snaps
himself in half. Ryback beats him in a couple corners before Miz regains
control with fists to his head. Ryback goes for a delayed suplex and
holds Miz upside down for nearly a minute. Ryback marches around and
finally drops him, getting two. Miz bails from the ring and tries to go
into the crowd but Ryback grabs him and tosses him into the crowd
barricade. Ryback drags Miz into the ring and Miz quickly hits a DDT,
getting two. He hits a running boot to Ryback’s face, getting two.
Neckbreaker. Two count. Miz kicks at Ryback who grabs the foot of Miz
and then just runs him over twice, hitting a Spinebuster after two
shoulderblocks. Ryback tries for a Meat Hook but Miz runs off and…ok,
the match just stops at a count of like 5 because The Miz isn’t even
worth a full countout these days. Mark it at 5:26. WINNER: Ryback via countout RATING:
*. A 20-minute QVC spot followed by two matches featuring a weak feud
that’s so vaporous, it makes Reigns and Wyatt look important. This is
gonna be a long night. That said, Ryback is over as he’s ever been, so
Oh lord…the fucking Bellas are in the ring and we didn’t even get the Nikki twirl to make it worthwhile. MATCH #3: Paige vs. Alicia Fox (w/ Brie Bella & WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella)
hits a couple of Snap Mares and an arm bar. Page hits a drop toehold
off a whip. Fox comes back with a slap to Paige and punches. She rams
Paige into the buckle. Paige comes back and punches Fox who dashes from
the ring. Paige chases but gets distracted by THEBELLABRAND™. Fox
wallops her from behind and — a BREAK?! For THIS match?! After the
break, Fox is “complete control” of this compelling feud. She kicks
Paige in the head and gets two. Long headlock and Paige breaks, hitting a
Spinning Backbreaker for a fall that Paige botches by kicking out late.
Fox elbows Paige in the head and it’s another headlock spot. Paige
busts free and hits a running knee, followed by several others in the
corner. Paige hits clotheslines and a Superkick. Two count. The Bellas
have had enough and try for a distraction. Fox rolls her up for the pin
— but Paige reverses to get the win at 9:35. WINNER: Paige RATING: **1/4. Match of the night if you can believe it. Fox and Paige are perfectly matched here.
TONIGHT: Ambrose & Reigns vs. Rollins and Kane in a No-DQ Match.
Cena comes out to the ring, saying that the Open Challenge is on — but
Kevin Owens’ music hits. Owens gets in the ring as Garcia starts to
announce the match. Owens goes outside and grabs a mic. He says he’s
gonna wait until Battleground. He promises to beat Cena…but, maybe,
somebody else will be first…and Cesaro’s music hits.
MATCH #4: John Cena (champion) vs. Cesaro (challenger) for the WWE United States Championship
get a headlock by both guys as Owens joins the commentary team. Cesaro
hits a powerslam in stride. Two count. Another long headlock spot. Cena
breaks but Cesaro his a backbreaker for two. Gut Wrench by Cesaro gets
two. Cesaro puts on another headlock but Cena breaks. Cesaro counters,
punching away, then hits an uppercut. ANOTHER headlock which Cena
counters with a pin for two. Cesaro whips Cena into the corner but Cena
comes back with a dropkick. Cena misses a running elbow and Cesaro
stomps Cena’s chest after he falls. Cesaro punches at Cena and hits an
elbow drop from the buckle. When we come back, Cesaro has a two count.
Cena comes alive and hits his first few Moves of Doom but Cesaro hits a
MEAN clothesline as Cena goes for the 5KS. Two count by Cesaro. Cesaro
goes for the Swing but Cena counters with a Springboard Stunner after
Cesaro converts it to a Slingshot. Two count. Cena goes for the AA but
Cesaro lands on his feet and hits a sloppy Euro Uppercut for a near
fall.Cena comes back with the STF but Cesaro counters with a
Sharpshooter. Cena gets to the ropes to break. Cesaro puts Cena up on
the buckle for a Superplex for another near fall. Cesaro hits a Running
Uppercut. He tries again but Cena boots him in the head and hits a
Bulldog for a VERY close fall. Cesaro hits a Cross Body but Cena
counters with a DDT for a close fall. At around 17 minutes, Kevin Owens
stands up and tries to take a swipe at Michael Cole who looks legit
pissed off. Meanwhile, Cesaro dropkicks Cena off the turnbuckle and goes
outside, hitting a running uppercut for two. Cesaro goes for the
Neutralizer which we haven’t seen since 2012, I think. Cena counters
into a Sunset Powerbomb, getting two. Cena sets up for the AA but Cesaro
kicks out and hits the Neutralizer for two. He can’t believe it and
starts uppercutting Cena. He hits a big one, then the Swing, getting
nine rotations. He goes for the Sharpshooter after that but Owens gets
into the ring and attacks Cesaro, ending 20 minutes of this in a DQ. WINNER: No contest RATING:
***1/4. Good match here, even with a crap ending. Even still, it’s the
most logical ending, keeping Cena, Cesaro and Owens all red hot. Still a
shame it had to end the way it did.
Owens hits the PUPB on both Cesaro and Cena and then says Cesaro won’t
get the title tonight because Owens will be the only one with the title.
TONIGHT: Ziggler and Lana “go public” with an IPO or something.
ALSO: The No-DQ Tag Match brought to you by Terminator: Stretching the Premise.
We get a recap of The Authority vs. Brock.
it’s another Wyatt segment right as this show was beginning to regain a
pulse.. He talks about his Dad and how he’s making IRS proud. Wyatt
says that Reigns won’t succeed. He won’t let Reigns succeed. Run.
The Rock showed up in Boston once to beat up Bo Dallas. Yay?
#5: Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) & WWE Tag Team Champions
The Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young) vs. Bo Dallas
& The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E & Kofi Kingston)
and Kalisto exchange counters and armbars before Woods belts Kalisto in
the head. Kalisto comes back with chest slaps and a goofy armdrag
involving the top rope as a Springboard. Tag to Sin Cara who punches at
Woods. Woods tags in Dallas and Cara puts him in an armbar. Tag to Young
who knees Dallas in the gut. One count. Tag to Titus who sends Young
into Dallas’s stomach, then he tosses Dallas across the ring. Tagto
Kalisto and Dallas works him over with kneedrops. Dallas comes back
with a short-arm clothesline and a front facelock. Kalisto shoves Dallas
into the Face corner and it’s a tag to Young again. Young gets knocked
down by Dallas but nobody in the crowd cares. Young comes back, hitting a
Sidewalk Slam on the mat outside. We go to break as it nearly turns
into a Pier Six.
When we come back, Woods has Kalisto
in a Million Dollar Dream. Kalisto breaks and ends up in Belly to Belly
by E. Kalisto lands on his feet and rolls over to tag Sin Cara who goes
Flip City, knocking E around the ring. Tag to Young who elbows E in the
head. E breaks out of a hold and goes for a tag. Young picks on E again
but E just tosses him out of the ring. Dallas attacks Young outside,
then rolls him back into the ring for a mudhole stomp in the heel
corner. Kofi hits a dropkick and the ref finally gets involved, pulling
Kofi off Young. Young escapes the hold but Dallas catches him in a
headlock. Young breaks and chops at Dallas’s chest. Both guys run at one
another and collide. Both men make a hot tag with Titus and Kofi the
legal guys. Titus takes out the heels, then clotheslines Kofi. Chaos
hits as everyone’s in the ring. The Luchas help Titus clear the ring,
then they dive at the remainder of The New Day. Kofi flies at Titus who
counters with Clash of the Titus for the merciful end at 14:29. WINNERS: Luchas and PTP RATING:
**. Not bad, not good and hey, look: Luchas because reasons! Match was
overlong at near 15 minutes. Dallas and the Luchas are DOA after
building up massive heat.
LAST WEEK: Summer hit on Rusev, kinda.
comes Dolph for a long promo which pretty much tells you the state of
the roster this week. Ziggler explains making out with Lana as if that
needs an explanation. Lana takes over. She says Rusev isn’t a real man
because Ziggler’s that man. This goes on two minutes too long until
Rusev emerges with Summer in tow. Lana doesn’t look happy as they head
to the ring. Rusev says he doesn’t care about Lana anymore. He never
did. He calls Lana a “cold fish”. Ziggler stops him and says that
Rusev’s a scumbag. Ziggler says Lana belongs to him. Ziggler tells Rusev
that he blew it. He says that he can arrange the breaking of Rusev’s
other ankle. The two face off with the crowd finally deciding that
Ziggler’s a face, they guess. They start chanting “USA” even though
Bulgaria is a NATO ally. ‘Murica! Summer calls Lana a gold digger and
says that Rusev cared about Lana. But this whole thing proves that Lana
is a phony. Summer slaps the taste out of Lana’s mouth. Lana’s furious
and lunges at Summer. The two fight. Ziggler separates them and — oops,
there goes Lana’s skirt. Summer escapes the ring. So, I guess we’re
getting a mixed tag with these four in the near future.
Ambrose hangs out with some T-800’s from Terminator backstage BECAUSE
WE HAVEN’T HAD ENOUGH PRODUCT PLUGS TONIGHT. Reigns approaches him and
wants to know if Ambrose is ready. Ambrose asks the same question.
Reigns looks pensive. Ambrose says Reigns SHOULD be angry and tense.
That’s the way he likes Reigns. They leave for the ring as LOOK AT THE
ROBOTS AND GO SEE TERMINATOR 7 or whatever this one is.
We come back — and get a commercial for the new Terminator flick.
MATCH #6: Neville vs. Sheamus
and Sheamus fight into two corners until Sheamus snapmares him to the
mat. Neville breaks but Sheamus punches him. Neville flips around and
hits a Frankensteiner. He tries again but Sheamus catches him. Neville
counters and they both spill out of the ring. Neville goes for a dive
but Sheamus runs. When we come back, Neville is in control for a change.
He runs at Sheamus but Sheamus tosses him over the top rope. Neville
lands on his feet and jumps at Sheamus who catches him and hits the
Rolling Senton. He kicks at Neville and then hits a nice suplex throw.
Sheamus hits a headlock. Neville breaks but Sheamus kicks at Neville in
the corner. The ref shoves Sheamus off of Neville but Sheamus won’t
listen and lunges repeatedly until Neville flies out of the corner,
forcing Sheamus to eat a Superkick. Neville tries to follow up but
Sheamus grabs him and gives him a trio of Irish Curse Backbreakers.
Sheamus slaps Neville and Neville returns the favor and hits his set of
roundhouse kicks. Sheamus lunges at Neville and Neville sends him
outside, then hits a Springboard Moonsault to the outside. Neville hits a
sitting dropkick and then it’s a series of counters. Finally, Neville
catches Sheamus in the head with a high kick and goes for the Red Arrow.
Sheamus manages to get up and kick at the ropes which knocks Neville to
the mat. Sheamus sets up for the Brogue but misses. Neville rolls up
Sheamus for a near fall but Sheamus kicks out and hits the Brogue anyhow
to win this at 12:42. WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick RATING: ***. A much better showing for Sheamus than last week’s march through apathy.
Backstage, a worker shines J&J’s car.
Hulk Hogan’s in Sports Illustrated. Wonder if they’ll mention the ‘roids and weird family life.
Holy shit, it’s Jack Swagger! Barrett says that all his opponents will bow down to him.
MATCH #7: Jack Swagger vs. King Barrett
chases Barrett around the ring. Barrett exits and re-enters, only to
get slammed by Swagger. Swagger beats him in the corner, then tosses him
across the ring. Swagger goes for the Patriot Lock but Barrett is next
to the ropes and escapes the ring. Swagger chases and he tosses Barrett
into the barricades. When the fight gets back in the ring, it’s the ROAL
BULLHAMMER MIGGAL to finish this at about 90 seconds or so. WINNER: Barrett via Bullhammer RATING: DUD. Barrett’s character is pointless…and wasn’t Swagger supposed to bow? Oh well. Never mind that.
NEXT: The No-DQ tag match.
#8: Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Kane & WWE World
Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins (with J&J Security – Jamie Noble
& Joey Mercury) in a No Disqualification Match
start. Ambrose knocks Rollins out of the ring and dives at him while
Reigns and Kane fight in a corner. Ambrose joins the fight and the two
hit a double suplex. Ambrose goes for a top rope move but Rollins knocks
him off. Rollins lures Reigns out of the ring and back in so that Kane
can kick his head off when he gets back in. Ambrose gets tossed into the
barricade. When we come back from break, it’s Rollins with a headlock
on Reigns. Kane is tagged in but Reigns comes off the top rope with a
clothesline as, suddenly, we’re in a tag match with rules. Ambrose tags
in and he stomps the shit out of Rollins and hits a Bulldog. Kane goes
for a distraction but Ambrose knocks him off the mat, then dumps
Rollins, then dives at two of them AND takes out J&J. Ambrose
marches after Noble who runs. Ambrose grabs Rollins instead and then
clotheslines him. Ambrose rolls Rollins into the ring, then goes for a
table under the ring. He slides the table in but J&J pull the table
back out. Rollins hits a high kick to Ambrose after a cheap roll-up and
gets two. Reigns saves the day and powerbombs Rollins, then clotheslines
Kane. Mercury gets into the ring with a Kendo Stick and attacks Reigns
who no-sells it. He grabs the stick and destroys Kane with it and breaks
it over Mercury’s back. Reigns Superman Punches every single heel he
sees and goes for a Spear — but Wyatt Cut to fuck up another
match in a feud nobody gives a shit about. Wyatt beats up Reigns and
hits Sister Abigail into the announce table. The refs send Bray away despite the fact that this is NO-DQ.
Meanwhile, Ambrose is alone in the ring. Kane grabs him for a Chokeslam
but Ambrose breaks and hits the Rebound Clothesline. A series of
counters ends with a Chokeslam by Kane and Pedigree by Rollins and we
are done at around 12 minutes. WINNERS: Kane and Rollins RATING:
***. Entertaining match for the most part but the shit finishes
involving Bray are becoming irritating. The crowd really liked Reigns
Post-match, the Authority tries to put
Ambrose through a table but Reigns attacks. The Authority disposes of
him. Rollins taunts Reigns who comes back to life and clears the ring by
himself. The Authority swarms the ring again and Reigns gets his ass
kicked again. Reigns fights back and prevents a Chokeslam.
Rollins hits a horribly botched “knee clip” spot and it’s a mudhole
stomp. Rollins tells his guys to pick Reigns up. They do and it’s a
Buckle Bomb into the table in the corner. Reigns aiin’t through and
actually struggles to get up and we’re STILL on this. Rollins hits
And we go off the a–
Nope. Bray Wyatt is back. He re-enters the ring and hits Sister Abigail
just in case you haven’t had enough of Wyatt getting involved. He yells
“FOLLOW THE BUZZARDS” as we finally go off the air.
Better than last week by far and a solid show to boot. It somehow
survived a weak opening and a horrible Ziggler segment to finish with
some decent matches. I’m still not a fan of Reigns/Wyatt but I do like
the idea of Rollins and his guys all being back together and on the same
page. It sets up a nice payoff at Battleground.
And, before we go, we have this week’s Best of Monday Night Open Mic:
I wasn’t the only person completely baffled about a 6-man tag-team match being included on WCW’s VHS release where nobody seemed to know the wrestlers. In fact, WCW themselves never expected it. HOWwrestling: The truth behind that six-man – It was supposed to be the Steiners vs. the Hellraisers (Hawk & Sasaki) but the WWF signed the Steiners and blocked WCW from showing it, even though WCW argued it was a New Japan show which they had rights to and the WWF didn’t. Then the WWF also signed Jim Ross, who was subsequently no longer available to go back and dub commentary on the new match.
Great insight here, but I’m still not willing to accept that Schiavone and Ross DIDN’T go to a sushi bar together. You aren’t taking that away from me.
We’re gonna skip the Power Hour this week, because … well, virtually nothing of note took place. I did a recap that ate up just over 1 page of written word, and I’m not gonna bother with it. However, I’ll give you the highlights. 28 seconds was dedicated to Teddy Long taking us through Jim Ross’ second career as the host of the Atlanta Falcons pre-game show. And … well, this gem:
MISSY HYATT welcomes us to “Missy Does the Mail”. The first question asks what the chances of Austin and Pillman taking the straps from Steamboat and Douglas. Hyatt looks at this mathematically. Steamboat loses 11 points for being married, and 7 more for having kids – since he won’t be able to train picking up after his brat while his wife is out shopping. Douglas gets 6 points for being single, but loses 10 for his god awful hair. The challengers are in far better shape, because Austin gets 3 points for those gorgeous blue eyes you could just drown in, 6 more for those round and well defined shoulders, 3 for the perfect pecks, and 10 for his hair. Given that his trademark became no hair at all – he should take a great deal of pride in knowing he was rockin’ it both ways. Pillman gets 8 points for his smile, 5 for his waist, and 11 points for not having an ounce of fat. “Brian Pillman can take MY belt anytime he wants to.” Missy’s whoring it up act is always fun. Missy actually whoring it up … not so much.
And with that, we’re off to the races.
JIM ROSS and LARRY ZBYSZKO welcome us to Center Stage, in Atlanta! Tonight is all about the build to the Clash of Champions coming up later this week. I’m down.
MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL vs. BOB COOK
Ross gives mad props to Bagwell for winning WCW Magazine Rookie of the Year. This would of course pale in contrast to his sweeping of the 2001 RSPW awards, which included Worst Wrestler, Worst Worker, Least Favorite Wrestler, and Worst Match. You’re probably not particular impressed; but you need to understand that he ended a decade long by Hulk Hogan in the majority of those categories, no small feat! The announcers fail to pay any attention to Bob Cook, which I consider a hate crime. Here we have short, portly man, who is not letting his lack of facial follicles stop him from attempting a sad little mustache, while rocking a mullet straight out of the trailer park – and while most people meeting his description are found sourcing scrap metal from whatever rolled into their backyard that morning, Bob has decided to make something of himself. He even shows a little savvy, dodging a dropkick and punching Bagwell in the face repeatedly with his giant hams. While working a chinlock, I note that poor Bob is going bald. This man has NOTHING – would YOU mess with him?!? Marcus Bagwell is not particularly charitable, and leaves Bob with none of his dignity when he uses a Perfectplex for the pin at 5:40. This hurts my heart. *
Ross and Zbyszko promise to show us the Vader / Simmons title change, and … well, I guess they didn’t lie. I thought we might get to see the whole match, but no, they show us the end of the match where the title changed. Spoiler: Vader wins.
VADER and HARLEY RACE are god knows where. Harley gloats about being at the top of the mountain; but they’re standing in front of a blue curtain, nowhere near the white castle. Vader adds: “I AM VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADER!” I imagine he is!
VAN HAMMER vs. RANDY SLEDGE
Randy Sledge! Where have you been all my life? So what he lacks in shape, he makes up for in hair. He’s managed to groom a perfect mushroom cut, and then, if he wasn’t already the hippest cat in the room, he added a rat tail! This looks to be some sort of metaphoric battle between good and evil, as Van Hammer’s styling a pair of shiny silver pants, lined with stars all over the place, Sledge is wearing the black singlet, with a star on his crotch, another on his ass, and two on each boot. And, as Hollywood is apt to script, the alleged good side triumphs with a slingshot suplex at 2:14. Why can’t the coyote win, just this once? DUD
TONY SCHIAVONE stops Hammer on his back to the shower. Tony’s hopped up on some sort of early 90’s energy drink, because there is nobody more excited to see Tony Atlas and Van Hammer settle the Strongest Arm competition once and for all. Van Hammer says he’s already climbed the mountain, but he’s bringing a lot of bass and treble to the fight. Oh.
Z-MAN and JOHNNY GUNN vs. MIKE THOR and CHICK DONOVAN
O…M…G. Chick Donovan? In 1993? This is the greatest gift in the history of amazing gifts. He’s the spitting image of Randy the Ram here, while tied up in a Chippendales vest and bowtie. I had no idea the old CWA mainstay was still working – but a quick Internet search tells me that not only was here working here, well into his 40’s, but he’s still working TODAY, well into his 60’s. That’s it, I’m moving to the South. One of you readers must have some sort of job offer that’s going to get me a work visa so I can live in your beautiful country and follow the exploits of Chick Donovan. Donovan actually beats Zenk in a test of strength, which is probably the most effective anti-depressant I’ve ever taken. I’m going to replace my Wellbutrin with Chick Donovan owning the Z-Man. A bearhug from Grandpa Love Machine has Zenk wailing, and Thor comes in to try and put this one away. Unfortunately, I know a weak link when I see one, and Thor gets kicked in the face and Zenk makes the hot tag. Gunn nails the flying jalapeno on Thor, Zenk hits a superkick, and Gunn finishes with a dick to the face at 6:50. **
TEDDY LONG and CACTUS JACK share a moment. Foley can’t wait until the Barbarian steps into the Thundercage at the Clash, because there’s going to be buckets of blood. I agree with EVERY word Cactus just said, but I think we’re imagining different things. He talks smack about ERIK WATTS, who immediately gets in Mick’s face. He throws Cactus through the prop lockers, and locks on the STF. None of this is going to help me sleep tonight.
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. MUSTAFA SAIED
We saw Saied last week, and much as I want to throw him a little support, I can’t. His hair is perfectly normal, and his tights look like fluorescent Granny Panties. You can’t unsee that. Scorpio hits a superkick, and sends Saied to the floor with a dropkick. Of course, high flying in 1993 means “jumping off the apron gently”, and Saied sells it like he’s been shot. Back in, the 450 finishes quickly at 2:27. JR’s imagination has been captured – but really, outside of the 450, he’s not really flashy and his good matches were few and far between. 1/2*
TONY SCHIAVONE, wearing a plaid shirt and a red tie, wants to talk about BARRY WINDHAM’s bad blood with Dustin Rhodes. Windham points out that Dustin’s interfered in several of his matches, while he’s never done that to Dustin. He goes back to a match on Worldwide last week, which is conspicuously missing from my library. I’ll have to open a ticket with CFB Network tech support. Windham took Shane Douglas to the floor during the tag-team affair, and DDTed him on the concrete. Rhodes had an issue with that and ran down. Tony thinks he was just trying to help his friend. Windham: “Hey, when I want to know how my friends are doing, I call them on the phone, I don’t go sticking my nose in other people’s business.” Rhodes took a tag from Steamboat which the referee tried to stop, and Windham tried to help by kidney punching Dustin. Still, he got in and the referee let the match continue. Windham: “What match? I didn’t want him in the ring! I was trying to keep him out of the ring!” Barry’s particularly pissed because Dustin then walloped him with a cast across the face and the referee counted the pinfall. Windham issues a warning to Rhodes, which is the next time he steps in the ring with him, he’s going to relish the pain he’s going to put him through.
TEX SLAZENGER and SHANGHAI PIERCE vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE and VINNIE VEGAS (in the Battle of the Bullies)
A Godwinn under any other name is still a Godwinn, and no matter how you dress up Tex and Shanghai, they’re still gonna suck. In the case of Tex, this also applies when he’s undressed. DDP is still 4 years away from being any good, and you probably know Vegas better as Master Blaster Steel. Page cheats like crazy on the masked man, softening him up for Vinnie. Tex fights loose and tags in Pierce. Vegas hits a gutwrench slam, and Page hits a face plant, using Pierce’s hair liberally. Pierce throws a clothesline to get back to his corner, and Tex hits a stomp off the second rope. Pierce works a step over toe hold, and Tex pulls his arm for added leverage. I admire the fan in the front row holding up a 4 foot poster that reads “TEX” in bold red font. That’s someone who knows what he likes, isn’t afraid to express it, and I respect that. Page gets worked over for 3 or 4 hours, before making the hot tag to Vegas. He’s shut down immediately with a rake to the eyes, and is forced to tag Page back in. That … doesn’t seem very wise. Still, Page hits a neckbreaker, and uses a Pedigree on Pierce for 2! Vegas fights Tex on the floor, and the referee is too busy watching them to notice that Pierce has hung Page over the top rope with a bullrope! Vegas rushes over with a wooden chair and smashes it over Pierce’s head, and the referee throws a double DQ their way at 8:50. How the heck are we supposed to settle the battle of the bullies now? You can’t just give a match that kind of a title and leave it without a conclusion. I expect the WCW booking committee to start drawing up ideas STAT.
Next up, this is happening:
Honest to god, does TONY SCHIAVONE’s mother dress him? They’re talking football for some reason. VADER is a former All-American, getting drafted in the first round by the LA Rams and winning a Superbowl Ring. Knowing goddamn well the Rams never won a Superbowl, I decided to Google this mess, and found that Vader was actually drafted in the 3rd round. I realize that heels are meant to be liars and all, but isn’t it Schiavone’s job to call him out? Instead, he’s eating this up – and then asks if he’s going to give a title shot to Sting? He says he’s ready to accommodate Sting anytime, any place, as long as he gets a rematch for the King of Cable. Ummm, ooooo kay? He defends his loss to Simmons in the summer, because he spent all his time training for Sting, and he was dealt Ron instead. As soon as he got his rematch, he was ready, and won, exactly as he expected to. If he wants a rematch, he can bring it. He fears no man, and fears no pain. His plan? To be the longest reigning WCW champion in history.
Looking at that last segment – this is EXACTLY what the WWE is lacking in every one of their heels except for Lesnar (which is why he looks so much better than the rest of the roster). Vader isn’t a chickenshit, which is pretty much the only heel they know how to write for any more. He talks shit, and is prepared to back it up with his actions. He is the real life version of basically every video game Final Boss that had ever been created to that point, and this is why Vader was so damn effective in his role. You knew he was going to maim pretty much anyone he’d face, and if his opponent had even a sliver of hope, you could immediately rally behind that person because it’s so glorious to watch the evil topple.
TONY ATLAS (with Cactus Jack) vs. DUSTIN RHODES (in a semi-finals match in the US title tournament)
We’re clearly headed right into Rhodes against Windham, so hopefully they make this one quick. Rhodes comes out firing, with dropkicks a plenty. Every time Atlas tries to get up, Rhodes hits him again or sweeps out the legs to keep him down. Atlas finally gets up in the corner, so that Rhodes can’t take him down. He goes to work on the broken wrist, slamming Dustin on it with a hammerlock. Ross reports that Rick Rude isn’t going to be able to compete at the upcoming Thundercage event – so they’ll update us on the new game plan before the end of the show. Rhodes takes back over with a clothesline and finishes with a bulldog at 4:12. *
BARRY WINDHAM vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT (in a semi-finals match in the US title tournament)
Steamboat, carrying both tag-team titles, makes a bee-line straight for the ring, and he’s a ball of energy tonight. You can feel how much these two hate each other – as they just throw a maelstrom of fists at each other in the opening moments. Windham bails, but Steamer’s right behind, chasing him until he’s able to catch and chop the hell out of Windham’s chest. Back in, Windham hides in the corner long enough for Steamboat to back off when asked; and that gives Barry the chance to attack at the leg. Steamboat goes for a slam, but Barry’s too heavy and he falls on top for 2. Steamboat throws a desperation karate chop at Windham’s head, but that’s all he’s getting before Barry turns the tide with a hard clothesline. With Ricky down, Windham stomps on Steamboat’s wrist, playing into the Dustin Rhodes injury. Barry works a hammerlock on the mat, driving his kneecap into the wrist over and over while the kids scream in horror. Steamboat elbows loose, but Windham’s not ready to give up yet – dropping down to the floor to snap Ricky’s arm over the top rope. Steamboat crawls to the apron, but Windham wants him in the ring, and attempts to drag him back in. Steamboat surprises him with a sunset flip over the top, and the big guy topples backwards for 2. Windham gets up, walking right into a jawbreaker from the former world champ, and Steamboat starts beating on Barry’s shoulder. Steamboat continues to sell his own wrist as he attempts to hold Windham in place, and when it looks like Barry’s making his way loose, Steamboat turns to his legs to hold the hammerlock. Steamboat wiggles around until he’s able to work a full half nelson on the mat, and Barry’s fading fast. Steamboat goes for the knockout blow, but he misses the karate chop, and in the process really hurts his wrist now. Windham, arm dangling to the side, uses his good arm to slam Steamboat’s face into the canvas. A vertical suplex gets 2, but Windham goes to the well a second time and Ricky reverses it mid-move for 2. Steamboat gets a head of steam to prep a clothesline, but Windham tries to sidestep and both guys collide head first into each other, Barry hitting so hard he collapses to the floor. Windham just makes it back to the apron at 9, and Steamboat’s ready with a suplex to bring him back in – except his wrist is mush, and he can’t hold it, letting Windham fall on top for 2. Windham uses a gutwrench slam, but he can’t get the pin, and he’s frustrated now. Going up turns out to be a huge mistake for the big man, and Steamboat catches him for a slam. Ricky decides to use the top rope, trying his karate chop – but Windham sidesteps and delivers a kidney punch on the way by. A jumping DDT makes the audience groan, and Windham locks on the Figure Four. Barry uses the ropes liberally, but Steamboat won’t tap out. After a long struggle, Steamboat reverses the hold, but Windham’s out quickly. Both guys are staggering, throwing haymakers. Windham whips Steamboat across the ring, but he can’t make it before his legs fall out from underneath. Back in, Windham puts on a headlock, but Steamboat turns that into a single leg atomic drop to set up the Figure Four! Windham howls, desperately clawing for the safety of the ropes, but he can’t make it. As a last hope, Barry pounds at the weak legs of Steamboat, and he’s forced to break the hold. A vertical suplex doesn’t finish Ricky off, and Steamboat faceplants Windham. He starts with the karate chops, and hits a swinging neckbreaker! Off the top, a karate chop gets 2. Steamboat picks up Windham for a slam, but his legs swing wildly and clocks Nick Patrick in the face, sending the referee sprawling to the floor in pain. Steamboat hits a top rope crossbody for a count of 6, but the referee is dead and it doesn’t count. Windham illegally tosses Steamboat over the top to the concrete, but he does it just as Patrick is stirring, and he calls for an immediate DQ at 17:37. ***1/2
Windham isn’t done, slamming Steamboat on the floor and preps the jumping DDT. SHANE DOUGLAS rushes in to save his partner, beating the piss out of Windham … and you know that means BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN aren’t far behind. DUSTIN RHODES takes it to Windham on the floor, while Austin and Pillman double team Douglas in the middle of the ring. Steamboat hits the ring to protect his partner, and the newest heel unit bails for now. Steamboat’s announced as the winner in a bit of a shock – it seemed readily apparent we were gonna get Rhodes/Windham, but that’ll have to wait now.
Fun edition of Saturday Night, and it effectively sets up Wednesdays Clash. The mid-card is positively stacked these days, with Cactus Jack, Dustin Rhodes, Brian Pillman, and Steve Austin as the clear breakout stars heading into 1993 – and the timing is ripe to see who of this crew is going to develop. The main event scene is absolutely decimated, with little of substance beyond Vader and Sting, so the time is now for any one of these guys to explode as the next big thing.