CZW Only The Strong: Scarred 4 Life 05/02/2005

Part two of Maffew Defends CZW 2005, click here to read the January show or don’t and just wing it. Commentators are John House and for whatever reason, Rick Feinberg (a horrible parody of Rob Feinstein). They’ll be yelling into their bass-filled headsets like Gordon Cole in Twin Peaks for the next three hours.

Read moreCZW Only The Strong: Scarred 4 Life 05/02/2005

Nick Mondo’s The Trade

Because I posted an old CZW show review on here (and important people read the Blog of Doom) the company behind ‘Sick’ Nick Mondo’s film The Trade sent me a review copy to have a look at, which is terribly nice of them. I watched Mondo’s earlier documentary Unscarred years ago but that was produced by people still in the mid-2000s mentality of STITCHES ARE FOR BITCHES, WEAR THE SCAR YEAHHH so let’s see what mature film-maker Matthew Burns (the man behind the sickness) can make for himself.

(Note: The subject matter is death matches, so if you’re not up for a bit of the old ultraviolence then don’t click.)

Read moreNick Mondo’s The Trade

CZW Gen Z: New Blood 08/01/2005

Combat Zone Wrestling gets a lot of shit from people for being a death match based company, but there was a time in 2005 when their shows were great. Don’t believe me? Well let’s re-visit this magical time and see if it lasts under the scrutiny of actual re-watching and not retro goggles. CZW builds it’s story-lines to come to an end at the annual December megashow Cage of Death, so January is the perfect starting point. In relevant news from Cage Of Death VI the previous month:

Read moreCZW Gen Z: New Blood 08/01/2005

ECW on Sci-Fi #48 05/15/2007

Another ECW on Sci-Fi, another dramatic recap of Lashley getting beat up by The McMahons and Umaga on Raw. This one turns into a Cannon Films production as Shane escapes by jumping on top of a limo as it drives away, only for Lashley to turn around and get struck down by Vince McNinja.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #48 05/15/2007

ECW on Sci-Fi #23 11/14/2006

We’re in Manchester, England (looks like the 02 Arena but by the time you’ve read this it’ll have changed it’s name again. Probably the Angry Birds Arena by now). Tazz is recovering from knee surgery so Elijah Burke joins Joey Styles on commentary. It’s where he’d end up ten years later and it means he’s not wrestling so good call.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #23 11/14/2006

ECW One Night Stand 2006

ECW One Night Stand 2006

Cold open into a rabid-arse crowd, just like the good old days. The Hammerstein was perfect for One Night Stand, seeing as how 2000-era ECW would do a better job hyping house shows at this venue than their own national PPVs.

Read moreECW One Night Stand 2006

Matt’s Monday Night RAW Review – 7/6/2015

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…

KEVIN OWENS.

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:

 

 

Er…that’s it.

Matt’s Monday Night RAW Review – 6/29/2015

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.

Rollins
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.

Rollins
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?)

But,
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
Miz
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.

Post-match,
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)
Miz
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
that’s good.

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)
Paige
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.

John
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
We
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.

Post-match,
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.

Then
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?

MATCH
#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)

Woods
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. Tag to
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.

Out
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.

Dean
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
Neville
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
Swagger
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.

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

Chaos to
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
here.

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
another Pedigree.

And we go off the a–

Oh.
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.

OVERALL:
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:

Er…that’s it.

Matt’s Monday Night RAW Review – 6/22/2015

Just so you all know, there’s breaking news: WWE Network interviewed the Music Legend of All-Times, Machine Gun Kelly and he’s totally fine. I know you all care.
I don’t know why but I feel like it’s been forever since the last RAW.
Maybe
it’s because we didn’t have two PPV events in three weeks and I don’t
watch Smackdown or NXT but it feels like a long time.
There
are three major feuds in WWE right now: Roman/Sheamus/Wyatt, Cena/Owens
and, now, Rollins/Lesnar. For those of you looking for an update on
Machine Gun Kelly vs. Kevin Owens, go elsewhere.
Let’s go…

No
mention of “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel as we begin. That’s right. WWE
updated you on Machine Gun Kelly’s health and didn’t memorialize Buddy.
We are LIVE(!!!) in Indianapolis, Indiana for WWE Monday Night RAW!!!
Cole, JBL and Byron Saxton are at the table tonight.
Brock
Lesnar and Paul Heyman start us out to a huge pop and we get clips from
last week when Seth and Lesnar went face to face last week. 
AT BATTLEGROUND: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins
Heyman
introduces the official return of Lesnar. Heyman says a lot of fans are
wondering where Brock’s been and what happened to him. Heyman gives us
clips from the RAW following WrestleMania 31. After we come back, we
learns that Lesnar’s only back if he apologizes to Michael Cole and JBL.
Brock looks sheepish and the crowd chants “Suplex City”. He steps out
of the ring and then approaches the desk slowly. Brock extends his hand
to JBL and JBL shakes it. Cole tells Brock he doesn’t have to apologize,
then tells Brock he wants no trouble. Brock extends his hand. Cole
takes it — and Brock grabs him a headlock — only to give him a noogie.
Brock laughs and shoves Cole back into his chair, then taps him on the
shoulder and says he’s sorry. Cole: “We’re good! WE’RE GOOD!”
Brock
gets back into the ring. Heyman says Brock has done what he’s been told
to do and asks if Cole has accepted Brock’s apology. Heyman mocks Cole,
yelling, “YES, MR. HEYMAN! I DO!” He says the next order of business is
taking care of the sneaky little guy known as Seth Rollins. Rollins
will end up a resident of Suplex City, bitch. 
TONIGHT: Roman Reigns will fight Sheamus
Dean Ambrose walks backstage and he’s on his way to the ring. He will face Kane…next. 

MATCH #1: Dean Ambrose vs. Kane

Kane
boots Ambrose, then hits a Side Suplex but Ambrose kicks out of the
pin. Ambrose fights back, chopping Kane in the corner but Kane just
uppercuts the shit out of him, then kicks at him while he’s down.
Ambrose comes out of the corner with a forearm and punches away at Kane.
Kane comes back and knocks Ambrose down and covers for two. Ambrose
comes back with a press, but Kane escapes and rolls out of the ring.
Ambrose goes outside and tosses him back in. He hits a nice legdrop off
the buckle but Kane pulls him outside. After break, IT’S BEEN ALL KANE!
But Ambrose comes back with quick jabs. He runs at Kane who catches him
for a Sidewalk Slam for two. Kane goes Brie Mode with a Chinlock of
Doom. Ambrose breaks it but Kane hits a Running DDT for two. Kane beats
Ambrose in the corner, then beats him in the other corner. He tries a
third corner but Ambrose elbows out and hits a Neckbreaker. Dane hits a
Missile Dropkick and tries a Bulldog but Kane shoves him away. Dean
comes back and rolls up Kane but Kane kicks out at two. Kane runs at
Ambrose but Ambrose pulls the top rope down and Kane flies outside.
Ambrose follows and it’s a brawl with Ambrose hitting the Rebound
Clothesline. He rolls Kane back in and hits another one off of a counter
to the Chokeslam. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds — but Rollins’ music
hits. Ambrose ain’t falling for it and runs at Rollins, knocking him
down. Kane attacks Ambrose who fights back. Ambrose climbs the top rope
but Rollins leaps up to grab his leg. This should be a typical fuck
finish but referees no longer care about interference these days. Kane
grabs Ambrose and hits a Chokeslam so weak, Ambrose actually lands on
his feet before he hits the mat. Kane takes this at 11:21 because he
needs protection being a rookie and all.
WINNER: Kane via Chokeslam
RATING: *3/4. Another boring Kane match. I’m not sure Ambrose has any heat left.
Post-match, Rollins gives a thumbs-up to Kane, signalling that he stands with Kane. Kane looks confused.
After
break, Rollins walks with Kane backstage. Rollins tells him that they
should be on the same page like the old days. Kane sees through this and
says that Rollins is sucking up because he needs back-up for when
Rollins faces Lesnar at Battleground. Rollins denies this and says that
this is about family. He wants to make amends and offers his hand in
friendship. Kane shakes his head and walks away, leaving Rollins looking
worried.
Cole reviews MITB when Wyatt cost Roman Reigns the case and how he used his daughter’s photo in his promo spots.
AT BATTLEGROUND: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
ALSO AT BATTLEGROUND: The Prime Time Players fight The New Day in a re-match for the tag titles.
MATCH
#2: WWE Tag Team Champions The Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil &
Darren Young) vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) (non-title)
Titus
slams Konnor and does the Gator Bark. Tag to Young who splashes Konnor.
Another tag to Titus and he takes care of Viktor who flies into the
ring by slinging him across the ring. Konnor and Titus gets into a heavy
slap fight which Konnor wins and tags Viktor, who stomps a mudhole in
Titus. Viktor works him over in the heel corner and the two tag in and
out. Konnor applies a headlock. Titus breaks it with a Side Suplex. Hot
tags on both sides with Young punching at Viktor and clotheslining him.
Suplex by Young and running clotheslines in the corner. Northern Lights
Suplex gets two. Konnor comes in and Titus hits a Spinebuster. Viktor
boots Titus from the ring and Young hits Viktor with the Gut Check to
win this at 4:06.
WINNERS: The Prime Time Players
RATING: *1/4. Eh. At least the PTP looked a little better here.
PTP celebrates…and Sheamus’s music hits as we’re on to match #3…
MATCH #3: Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns
Sheamus and Reigns grapple for the first minute as Cole is so sure
that “people will be chatting about this on social media”. Reigns
ejects him from the ring, then kicks him in the head. Back in the ring,
it’s a Reigns clothesline and a running elbow. Sheamus drops Reigns’
throat on the top rope and he starts his attack. Short-arm Clothesline
gets a one-count. Sheamus goes for Ten Beats but only hits four before
Reigns has had enough. He elbows out of it but misses a running attack.
Sheamus hits the Irish Curse Backbreaker and both men just look beyond
gassed already. After a long break, Reigns breaks a headlock and hits
clotheslines and a huge flying lariat. Reigns hits several clotheslines
in the corner and Sheamus falls across the bottom rope. Reigns goes for
the Missile Dropkick but Sheamus counters with a nice clothesline.
Sheamus goes outside and tosses Reigns into the crowd barrier, then
rolls him back into the ring. ANOTHER headlock. Reigns breaks and hits
three huge Irish Curse Backbreakers for a two count. Sheamus goes for a
Cloverleaf but Reigns fights his way to the ropes. Sheamus slingshots
him into the bottom rope, then locks it in. Reigns breaks it and kicks
out. Sheamus just runs him over with a lariat. Sheamus punches Reigns in
the back but Reigns comes back with elbow shots and a side suplex.
Another side suplex gets two. Roman runs at Sheamus and both men end up
outside. Roman hits the Running Missile Dropkick and then hits a massive
clothesline into the announce table. Reigns gets back into the
ring…and we hear Wyatt humming about a tea party. And there he is,
drinking tea with a toy tea set and candles. Reigns runs off to find
Wyatt and just fuck all this. Time is 16:43.
WINNER: Sheamus via countout, presumably.
RATING: *. Holy. Shit. A slow, clunky, plodding match that went on far too long with a guy who has a very small moveset and ending in a shit finish to resolve some sort of “feud” nobody cares about. Thanks for that, WWE.
When we come back, it’s a recap of what we just saw.
Backstage,
Reigns walks backstage and finds the “tea room” that has a bunch of
photos of Reigns with his eyes gouged out and “ANYONE BUT YOU” painted
on the walls in red.
We get a look at Lesnar and Heyman from earlier tonight.
Rollins
approaches J&J backstage at the coffee dispenser. J&J ain’t
happy, man! Rollins says that he was just joking. That’s what “family”
does. He calls them both family and friends. Rollins says it has nothing
to do with Lesnar. He can face Lesnar and beat him. He wants to know if
they’re cool. J&J walks off.
John Cena was on The Today Show plugging Tough Enough.
MATCH #4: Neville vs. Kofi Kingston (w/ Xavier Woods & Big E)
Neville
hits a quick Northern Lights Suplex while Woods threatens to “call
gravity”. Neville locks Kofi’s arm but Kofi breaks and punches away at
Neville in the corner. Kofi hits a Flying Axe Handle and gets two.
Armbar by Kofi but Neville breaks and hits a Frankensteiner and then
dropkicks Kofi from the ring. Neville goes to beat on Kofi but the New
Day is there to harass him. PTP shows up but the ref tosses them from
ringside, then does the same for New Day. Kofi’s pissed. Neville hits an
Enzuguri at Red Arrow to get the win at 4:28.
WINNER: Neville via Red Arrow
RATING: *. A match that was actually hindered by Big E and Xavier Woods yelling the entire match. How many times does Neville have to look over his shoulder as Woods and E yell really loud? It just made for a slow, boring match.
LAST MONDAY: Owens beat up MUSIC LEGEND MACHINE GUN KELLY!!! OH NOES!!!
TONIGHT: John Cena returns, having only been out of action for like a week.
ALSO TONIGHT: Ryback fights Mark Henry
Then we get a peek at Mr. Robot for no reason. 

MATCH #5: Zack Ryder vs. King Barrett

Barrett
hits a shoulderblock but Ryder comes back, dropping Barrett on his
face. Ryder tries to punch at Barrett in the corner but Barrett escapes
and trips him, then beats the crap out of Ryder in the corner, finishing
with a hug short-arm clothesline for two. Ryder comes back with a big
clothesline and a nice Missile Dropkick. Running Elbow hits the mark but
Ryder misses the Broski Boot. Barrett rolls out of the ring. Ryder
climbs the buckle but Barrett trips him and hits the ROAL BULLHAMMER for
the win at 3:21.
WINNER: Barrett via Bullhammer
RATING:
*. Barrett finally wins a match, so I guess he stopped fucking around
backstage or whatever the hell it was he was doing.
NEXT: John Cena.
Cena joins us and calls the United States Championship a “symbol of excellence”. You know, only when he
wears it. Otherwise, it’s the title that R-Truth could win at any
moment. Cena recaps what Owens did to him at MITB and says that Owens
wants to win the title. Cena calls him a great wrestler but a garbage
human being. He says that it’s gonna be hard to deal with if he loses
the United States title and says that, maybe, he has signed up for a
fight he can’t win. He says he could tell Owens “no” like Owens told him no a month ago. He says he will fight because that’s what champions do.
Owens’
music hits and he comes out to the entrance ramp. Owens says that he
isn’t upset by what Cena just said. Owens says he doesn’t put value in
what people think. He says he’s been called lazy and out of shape. He
says that Cena even called him a “dirtbag”. He says that this lazy, fat
dirtbag beat him. He says he doesn’t care about pride. He cares about
winning titles. He wants to win the title that Cena has as we continue
to pretend that the U.S. Championship is the top prize in WWE Because
Cena. He says he will make the crowd boo the “evil foreigner” and starts
speaking French like he’s in a Lady Gaga song. He wants to hear what
Cena has to say.
Cena
says that the people dislike Owens because he’s a disrespectful
“suckbag”. Then he speaks French. And Chinese. Then, he says he’s gonna
spell it out in good ol’ English: he accepts Owens’ challenge. And he
will kick Owens’ ass. 
Backstage,
Triple H and Steph hang out. Rollins shows up. Steph asks if Rollins is
letting Brock get to him. Rollins says he’s not afraid. Rollins says
he’s pissed at J&J. HHH says that Rollins doesn’t need them. Rollins
says that he’s afraid that J&J and Kane will never align with him
again. HHH tells him to cut the crap. This is all about Rollins being
afraid of Brock Lesnar. He says that a smart man has back-up and a “Plan
B”. He says that a smart man apologizes to those he pissed off. That’s
surreal. Rollins wants to know what happens if Brock shows up. HHH asks
Seth how much he wants the title.
LAST MONDAY: Paige tries to get the other girls behind her but they all left.
MATCH #6: The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie) (w/ Alicia Fox) vs. Naomi & Tamina
Brie
and Naomi start out. Naomi kicks at Brie and tags in Tamina who just
tosses Brie to the ring and punches at her. Tamina tosses Brie into the
corner and elbows her, then it’s a nerve hold while Fox pounds the mat
because she’s totally with the Bellas now. Tag to Naomi and the
Bella Beating continues. Naomi hits a Bulldog into the buckle, then
tosses Brie into the ringpost. Naomi runs at her but Brie holds down the
second rope. Naomi flies out — but gets up and attacks Nikki. Nikki
eventually gets a hot tag and dropkicks everyone, plus Tamina. Alabama
Slamma gets a two count. Tamina gets involved and lunges at Brie. The
ref, however, can’t get out of the way and Tamina trips the fuck over
him in a horrible botch. Naomi hits the Rear View on Brie and goes to
nail Nikki with one but, nope. She hits Tamina. Rack Attack. Done at
3:45.
WINNER: #BELLASWINLOL
RATING: DUD. This division needs an overhaul. Shit the episode needs an overhaul.
We get a commercial for Terminator Genesys. Also, it’s just like WWE. Because editing. 

NEXT: Ryback vs. Mark Henry

Big Show’s at ringside for commentary as we learn that…
AT BATTLEGROUND: Big Show vs. Miz vs. Ryback in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

MATCH #7: Mark Henry vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback (non-title)

Mark
Henry just knocks Ryback over as Show buries Miz on commentary. Ryback
comes back with a shoulderblock and kicks Henry out of the ring. Ryback
follows him and it’s a brawl. Ryback gets tossed into the crowd barrier.
We actually get a fucking commercial break. When we come back, Ryback
has broken a hold and is punching Henry in the corner. Henry knocks him
off and runs at Ryback who counters with a Spinebuster. He tries the
Meat Hook but Henry counters with a big boot. Henry goes for the WSS
which, as we all know, now includes tossing his opponent up in the air
before doing it. Ryback escapes and knocks Henry down, then hits a Big
Splash off the ropes to win the match at 6:22.
WINNER: Ryback via Big Splash
RATING: 1/4 of a *. This is horrible stuff.
Post-match,
Show gets into the ring and lectures Henry who shoves Show. Show leaves
the ring, irritated as Henry falls to a knee.

Cole, JBL and Saxton promote Tough Enough.

JoJo
interviews Ryback who doesn’t wanna be called “Flyback”, even though
nobody was calling him that. He says he can beat anyone. The Big Guy is
here to stay. Show shows up and says he’s gonna expose Ryback for the
fraud he is. They mock one another and it’s a brawl backstage with
Ryback getting the better of it all. Ryback tells Show he doesn’t look
so big and walks off. Man, this feud really needs The Miz to make it “great”, doesn’t it?
MOMENTS AGO: Holy crap, we have to re-live that epic backstage battle.
It’s
not enough we have to watch Adam Rose wrestle, we have to hear him talk
and then make out with Rosa which isn’t much different than a bass
swallowing a goldfish.
MATCH #8: Adam Rose (w/ Rosa Mendes) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ Lana)
Ziggler
hits a dropkick but Rose comes back and copies all of Dolph’s moves
because he suddenly has no original moveset of his own. Ziggler hits the
neckbreaker but Rose puts Ziggler in the corner and beats on him.
Ziggler tries a Fame-Asser but misses. Rose hits a Spinebuster and
SHOULD have had three except Ziggler forgets to kick out and the ref
stops the count so he can. Anyhow, this ends when Ziggler Superkicks
Rose off the top turnbuckle at 3:05.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler
RATING: DUD. I didn’t even know Rose still existed.
Post-match,
Ziggler tells Lana to let her hair down. She does. Then they make out
while Rusev watches from backstage. Rusev gets so pissed, he tosses his
crutches away, then falls on his ass. Summer Rae shows up to pick up the
crutches and hands them to Rusev. Oh, the white hot passion.
J&J
complain to Steph about Rollins’ behavior. Triple H lays the law down
and Steph asks them to hear Rollins out. Kane & J&J agree.
Rollins
hits the ring and says that it’s easier to pretend you’re right then
admit your wrong and asks that J&J and Kane come to the ring. They
do. Rollins says that he has something to say. He says it isn’t about
Lesnar. He’s not afraid of Lesnar. He beat him before. He apologizes to
J&J and tells them that they’ve always had his back. J&J discuss
it so Rollins turns to Kane and says that Kane isn’t a Dinosaur, he’s
The Devil’s Favorite Demon. He asks Kane to come back and be a family.
The three men are incredulous. Rollins begs them to come back. 
Suddenly,
Lesnar’s music hits and he hits the ring. All four men wait for
Lesnar’s next move. Surprisingly, they stand with Rollins…then they
leave. Lesnar grins and goes to get in the ring — but Kane attacks.
Lesnar tosses him to the mat, then runs Mercury into the crowd barrier.
Lesnar gets into the ring. Rollins attacks but Lesnar hits two German
Suplexes. Crowd finally wakes up for this and yells “ONE MORE TIME”.
Lesnar obliges. He goes for an F5 but Kane gets back into the ring and
chokes Lesnar. Lesnar breaks it but then runs back into it. Chokeslam by
Kane. Kane goes for another but Lesnar breaks out and hits a German on
Kane. Rollins attacks but Lesnar goes for an F5. Kane clips Lesnar’s
ankle. Lesnar gets up and goes after Kane but Rollins attacks from
behind and the two beat on him, wrap his leg around a ringpost and hit
his knee with a chair. They continue their mudhole stomp. Lesnar tries
to fight back again but Mercury joins the fight and grapples Lesnar’s
legs. Mercury punches away and it’s a 3-on-1 mudhole stomp. They hold
Lesnar in place and Rollins completely botches a flying knee from the
top rope, overshooting it by five feet. Lesnar sells it anyhow and Kane
hits a Chokeslam for good measure. Rollins finishes with a Pedigree as
this drags on and on. Rollins holds up the belt and brags as we finally
go off the air.
OVERALL:
Ugh…this show was lazy with slow, boring matches and a bunch of
filler. The only bright spot was Brock Lesnar who has so much heat, he
can turn a funeral into a rock concert.
Er…that’s it.

WCW Road Wild 1999 Review

Hi Scott

I hope you and the family are doing well

I must be honest and say that I kind of wanted The Cav's to win the series,
as I liked the story of LeBron coming home and carrying an average team to
the title, but I enjoyed your goading in the recent Nitro thread 😉

LeBron's a bad Kopite anyway

My search to try and find a review style that works has led me to trying
this one out

I think this works a bit better than the previous style I used for New
Years Revolution 2005

Could I please ask you to post this to the blog so I can get some feedback
from the Doomers?

They really helped me out last time and I tried to take some of their
feedback on board and put it into practice

Not much of a show this one of course, but then WCW wasn't much of a
company by this point either. The writing was probably already on the wall

The first bit is me complaining about how rubbish WCW was at releasing
Videos in the UK (WCW being run ineptly

​​

in a commercial way? Perish the
thought!) but the rest I think is alright

Take care anyway mate

Mikey

http://thisandthatmikey.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/this-and-that-wcw-road-wild-1999-review.html

​God I hated the buildup to that show so much.  Nash loses the title and THEN puts his career on the line against Hogan, who's already won the title back?  Just so bad.  ​

The Princess Review on the Legends of Wrestling Roundtable: Texas Wrestling

One final Dusty-related piece from me:

First here’s Dustin’s eulogy: https://twitter.com/Goldust/status/611569470147031040
And here’s Cody’s eulogy: https://twitter.com/StardustWWE/status/611332890568327168/photo/1

And here’s wonderful obit/feature on Dusty and his time in Tampa: http://tbo.com/Obituaries/private-funeral-in-tampa-today-for-wrestler-dusty-rhodes-20150617/

And here’s my piece on Legends of Wrestling Roundtable: Texas Wrestling

Your panelists are: Jim Ross, Michael Hayes, Dusty Rhodes and “Cowboy” Bill Watts. With Mean Gene Okerlund moderating the conversation. Number of cowboy hats on the set are two but the “Cowboy” isn’t wearing one. Rhodes is the only actual Texas-born person on the panel.

— Ross starts out by saying Texas had five full-time territories and as an Oklahoma guy Ross says there’s no state that comes close to Texas for producing stars. He goes into the Dallas territory with the Von Erichs and from there with Paul Boesch in Houston, Gory Guerrero in El Paso, Joe Blanchard in San Antonio and Dory Funk Sr. in West Texas. Ross said guys could bounce from territory to territory in Texas and make a good living without leaving the state.

— Hayes talks about some guys could only draw in Texas and other guys could draw anywhere but Texas, making that area really unique.

— Dusty talks about the wrestling tradition on the West Texas State football team that included the Funk Brothers, Tito Santana, Ted DiBiase, Tully Blanchard, Bruiser Brody and of course Dusty himself. Dusty cracks a joke about Watts booking him nine times in a week.

— Hayes takes credit for making Dallas hot, which is somewhat true and somewhat of an embellishment. Hayes says the promoters in Texas weren’t often put over but the panel reminds him that Boesch was highly revered by the boys and promoters alive. Dusty says Boesch was the best payoff in the territory era.

— JR talks about the Von Erichs a little and how he came across them when Watts would book them for Mid-South TV. And then he talks about how strong the Von Erichs were because of their TV coverage. He makes the comparison of the old wrestling fan being like a NASCAR fan as they would watch all the different promotions they could on TV.

— Dusty puts over Texas as the greatest state in the union and the greatest football team in the union. And tries to talk about JBL but ends up telling a story about him hitting a home run against Abilene Christian. That’s Dusty for ya. Back to wrestling and Dusty says the Freebirds-Von Erichs encaptured the Dallas market and we see a long clip of a Freebirds vs. Von Erichs (Kevin, Fritz and Mike) in a street fight at Texas Stadium.

— JR says Dusty was the quintessential Texas wrestler because he went to every territory around and drew money everywhere. Ross said this is a bottom line business and Dusty proved his value. From a technical standpoint Ross said Dory Jr. was probably the best. And we saw a clip of the Funk Brothers absolutely destroying the faces in Florida, including breaking Dusty Rhodes’ arm. Fans were pelting them with trash. And more clips of Dory beating Thunderbolt Patterson in a NWA title defense in Florida.

— Hayes said Dusty was so good as drawing money he could get other wrestlers’ payoff…other wrestlers meaning Hayes himself of course.

— JR said for modern times Stone Cold is the man. Texas guy, born there, trained there and started in Dallas but in a bottom-line business no one sold more.

— Watts and Hayes put over the Guerrero family as a whole and then some of the great Latin talents that came from Gory Guerrero’s promotion in El Paso.

— Hayes and Watts talk about Dick Murdoch and how great the Dusty-Murdoch team was as the Texas Outlaws and how choatic their fights were. Dusty tells stories about Murdoch working for San Francisco and how he might have gotten into some weird stuff out there. We see clips of the Outlaws reuniting to take on Bob Roop and Harley Race in 1975 at the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. Roop and Race did damage to Rhodes’ throat and Rhodes recruited Murdoch to help him and as legend goes the card sold out in a few minutes once the match was announced. When Dusty piledrives Roop on the concrete the place goes absolutely ape shit. And back in 1975 if you got piledriven on the concrete, it was pretty much instant death. Rhodes and Murdoch just continue to beat the shit out of Race and Roop, who the medics are trying to take out on a stretcher. Rhodes is narrating this with Gordon Solie and getting hyped up more by the second. Amazing, wild stuff and it was cool to see the Outlaws be total heels in their actions but they were the faces and had the crowd eating out of their hands.

— Watts talks about Rhodes’ wife being a tremendous Tex-Mex cook and then they get deeper into the Latin talent like Jose Lethario and El Santo and of course Mil Mascaras. And when the real Mexican superstars came into the Texas territory for spot shots they sold big tickets. Ross talks about how the Mexican fans knew the Mexican stars from the Puerto Rican stars and would punish the promoters that tried to pull one over on that fan base and bring in a Puero Rican star and push him to the Mexican fans.

— Watts tells a Terry Funk story about him getting drunk and ribbing his ex-wife and her new boyfriend, who were shacking up in the house he lost to her in the divorce.

— Dusty talks about Terry Funk shooting out the traffic lights in those one-horse towns around the canyons. Dusty tells a tremendous story about him and Nick Bockwinkle trying to rib Terry but Terry caught on to it and ribbed Bockwinkle instead.

— Watts talks about Dory Jr. ribbing Hansen and making him tear out his shoulder trying to knock down a street sign after Dory did it with one he gimmicked.

— More Watts this time talking about the Von Erichs and how big David’s funeral was. Watts said Fritz never really understood the problem his sons had with substance abuse. He talks about how Kerry was so huge but he was caught up in drugs as was his brother Chris. The only one who generally avoided the hard drugs was Kevin, who is the only surviving brother.

— Hayes said the tragic part of the Von Erich story was that the great memories they left for the people in Dallas are often just a footnote. He says Fritz got a lot of flack for taking care of his boys but when they had the right opposition, like the Freebirds, he let things escalate and get huge.

— Dusty talks about the super shows and how Vince rn the showdown at Shea and Florida did the Tampa show at Tampa Stadium and Fritz did the shows in Dallas. Hayes said the Texas Stadium shows were the largest houses in Texas until the WWE had the Royal Rumble in 1997 and the two Wrestlemanias in Houston.

— Ross talks about Wrestlemania 17 and how much he loved the Astrodome and puts over how great of a show that was….and wrestling fans agree as it’s widely considered the best Wrestlemania and arguably the best PPV of all time. We see clips of the Rock-Austin main event from the Wrestlemania 17 card.

— The panel gives praise Shawn Michaels and Ross says he’s the best “big match” perform to ever grace the ring. This was taped as a lead-in to Wrestlemania 25 too so once again Shawn was about to deliver another classic (depending on who you ask). Hayes says he continues to get better.

— Hayes mentions the other Texas guys that fell to substance abuse and brings up Gino Hernandez. Ross said Hernandez had the potential to be great and Watts said Gino’s attitude was that he wanted to work and he wanted the responsibility to be the man. And then somehow Watts goes back to putting Dusty over.

— Dusty tells a story about having to turn down a booking because his father died the same day Dustin was born. He barely had enough money to cover the funeral but Fritz gave him an envelope with money to cover the cost. Dusty said years later he was able to go back into Dallas and had the resources to give Fritz the money back and said he didn’t feel right until he did that.

— Hayes talks about Blackjack Mulligan and Dick Murdoch buying Amarillo territory from Dory Sr. Dusty said it included a “trunk factory” where they could make the wrestlers gear. He says the first trunks they sent him were too big and they misspelled “DR” on them. “I’m heavy, you know, but these would have fit Beulah the Cow.” Dusty said Blackjack and Dick were at gunpoint with each other from time to time and sold the territory within a year as only Dory knew how to make Amarillo work.

— Watts said he had Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen as a team but broke them up because he could see they were both going to be stars. Watts said Bruiser was a different type of talent as he would make a deal with a promoter and look at the house and then would hold up the promoter for more money. Watts speculates that was much of the reason he got murdered by Invader I in Puerto Rico.

— Dusty and Watts talk about Ernie Ladd and he was from Texas. Watts said when Ernie died he cried for four days. Ross said Ernie, like Dusty, outgrew Texas pretty quickly and became an international star.

— Watts tells a story about the time Brody didn’t want to sell for Danny Hodge because he didn’t think Hodge looked big and strong enough. Now Hodge, who’s badassedness is legendary, beats the fuck out of Brody and Brody starts screaming for mercy and Watts tells Brody to “show him your arms and big muscles!”.

— Okerlund puts over Watts for his Hall of Fame induction and the show closes.

The Bottom Line: The first 30-35 minutes were great and it slowed down a little after that. My main beef was that they spent very little time actually talking about the memorable angles run in the Texas promotions other than the Freebirds-Von Erichs from WCCW. Fun discussion though as Hayes tends not to be as overbearing with Dusty and JR on the same panel.

Sporting News: NXT in Review

I feel like the blog is a little thin on Wednesday Night Wars coverage.  Tommy and I both do NXT, of course, and Tommy also does Impact because he's a sadist or whatever, but ROH and especially Lucha Underground aren't getting any love.  Anyone want to take a crack at Lucha?  I don't have access to the show so I'm out.  

Matt’s Monday Night RAW Review – 6/15/2015

We are 24 hours removed from Money in the Bank and I liked the show.
In my review,
I gave it 3 1/4 stars but my opinions were pretty much the same as
Scott and Bayless. It had some major problems and some weird, arbitrary
booking that made next to no sense.
The least of which is Brie Bella checking her own pubic hair to show Paige that her and Nikki are different. That match was actually decent up until that fuck-finish.

Sheamus
won Money in the Bank for some reason after Bray Wyatt attacked Bray
Wyatt for some reason and Renee Young is a platinum blonde for
some–wait. No. Renee’s hair color changed because Ambrose is just a
lucky fuck who jobs to TV monitors but gets what he wants in private.
We
got two really great matches in Ambrose/Rollins and Cena/Owens…but
the rest of the show is a prime example of what’s been driving WWE fans
nuts.

Look, I get wanting to shake things up, but if we’re gonna be random and different, give Kofi the case. Even that makes more sense than Sheamus grabbing it. Bray fucking with somebody else? Where’s that
gonna lead? Nowhere. It’s gonna be eight weeks of Bray saying a bunch
of cryptic shit in the middle of a room of Vick’s Vap-o-Rub and then
he’ll lose three matches in a row.

So what was the point of any of this? I guess we’ll see…

We begin with the Dusty Tribute from MITB followed by the video package.

We are LIVE(!!!) from Cleveland, Ohio for WWE Monday Night RAW!!!

Michael Cole, JBL and Byron Saxton are the guys at the desk.

Seth Rollins starts us off with a promo…and we’re already on a break because of the first portion.

Hopefully,
this isn’t what’s to come. Rollins welcomes us to “Monday Night
ROLLINS”. He says that he acknowledges Ambrose and how much of a fight
he brought to the ring last night. But, he still beat Ambrose — and he
did it all by himself. He says that he knows he really hung on and won
but he needs to recognize those who got him to the top. He thanks
himself for his own win. Over and over and over again. But, wait…he’d
like to thank Seth Rollins…and Seth Rollins…and Seth Rollins…and,
wait — he left somebody out. Seth Rollins. He says he can’t thank
J&J Security or “The Devil’s Favorite Dinosaur”, Kane. He didn’t
need Triple H or Steph because he’s that good. He says that he should
pretty much be in the Hall of Fame now. He says that Johnny Manziel and
LeBron James aren’t bringing titles to Cleveland. He says he’s leaving
town and bringing the title with him…

Dean Ambroses’s
music hit. He marches down to the ring and attacks Rollins, puts him in
the ring, then clotheslines him out the other side. They fight over the
Announce Desk and Ambrose kicks him away. Rollins retreats and leaves.
Ambrose grabs a chair and a mic and gets in the ring. He says that he
got beat last night because the title slipped through his fingers…but
Rollins shooting his mouth off reminded him of how much fun it was
torturing Rollins. He’s gonna be in the ring until Rollins gets back
into the ring.

After a break, Ambrose is still in the ring.

Backstage,
Rollins bumps into Triple H and Steph. Triple H tells Rollins that
things have been taken care of. Steph can’t believe what Rollins is
saying and says that Rollins doesn’t need them. Rollins says that he
wants to know what’s next. Triple H says that they are making that
decision. Rollins says that he should have a say and Triple H tells him
that Rollins won all by himself, so Rollins should trust them to make a
choice.

Meanwhile, Ambrose is still hanging out because
we’re 30 minutes into a wrestling show that doesn’t need wrestling.
Sheamus shows up and says that he’s a winner while Ambrose is a loser.
He says that The Authority told him to come down and kick Ambrose’s head
off his shoulders.

MATCH #1: Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus
Sheamus
knocks Ambrose down, then starts kicking at Ambrose’s injured knee.
Ambrose comes back with forearms and a lariat on a whip. Ambrose puts
Sheamus in a corner but Sheamus fights out and the fight spills outside.
Once the match gets back inside, Ambrose hits a lariat. Sheamus quickly
comes back and takes control. After a break, Sheamus is bending
Ambrose’s knee but Ambrose kicks out of it and fights back with some
punches. Sheamus just clips his knee and tries the Cloverleaf but
Ambrose escapes and tosses Sheamus away. Sheamus comes back at Ambrose
who hits a Swinging Neckbreaker. Ambrose nails Sheamus with a corner
forearm and follows up with a Bulldog. He goes top rope but Sheamus
clips his knee, grabs him and hits the Rolling Senton. Sheamus locks in
the Cloverleaf but Ambrose don’t tap to nobody and gets to the bottom
rope. Ambrose rolls outside so Sheamus starts hitting Ten Beats but
Ambrose counters and returns the favor. Sheamus angrily elbows out of it
and tries a BROGUEOUTOFNOWHERE but misses and Ambrose kicks him.
Ambrose goes top rope with a flying elbow and nearly gets a fall.
Sheamus comes back with a kneelift but Ambrose hits the Rebound
Clothesline. He goes for Dirty Deeds but Sheamus rolls out of the ring
and grabs the MITB case, leaving. All of the sudden, Randy Orton’s music
hits and he stalks Sheamus back to the ring. Ambrose grabs Sheamus,
tosses him back into the ring and rolls him up for a highly unlikely
Distraction Pin to win it at 10:50.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
RATING:
**. Your MITB “winner”, ladies and gentlemen. Weak finish to a match
where Ambrose practically no-sold everything Sheamus had to offer. 

Orton beats up on Sheamus, post-match, whipping him into the crowd barrier and ringpost, then hits Vintage Orton. He goes for the RKO but Sheamus blocks it and rolls out of the ring with his case.

Backstage,
Rollins bumps into J&J Security, calling them “Harry and Lloyd”. He
says that he hates to be the guy that says, “I told you so”, but he’s
that guy. He calls himself “good” but, hey, if J&J want to tell him
who his next opponent was, he’ll have them back in his fold. Noble says
it’s Joey Mercury. Rollins mocks Noble and says he’s busy living his
“WCW glory days”. Mercury says that Rollins is afraid to face him.
Rollins scoffs at this but Mercury says it’s the truth because he
already lost to Mercury and Noble once and he’s afraid of being
embarrassed again.

Cole and the announcers pay tribute to Dusty Rhodes and we get clips of him in NWA.

R-Truth
is out, dressed in a sheet and has a toilet plunger for a scepter. He’s
on commentary…but soon learns he’s wrestling Barrett. Truth isn’t
happy at all, but enters the ring.

MATCH #2: R-Truth vs. King Barrett
Barrett
kicks Truth’s head off, then punches away at him. He sets up for the
Bullhammer but Truth just rolls him for the win at 22 seconds.
WINNER: R-Truth
RATING: Two fuck finishes in a row. Barrett is so beyond dead, it’s not even funny.

Post-match,
Barrett his ROAL BULLHAMMA MIGGAL then gets on the mic and still
declares himself “king”, because that’s apparently still a thing.

Machine
Gun Kelly is backstage and a bunch of Divas and Heath Slater pretend
they like him. Paige interrupts the party and asks if she can see the
Divas right now. Kelly walks off.

NEXT: Kevin Owens is here.

Kevin
Owens is out for a promo and says that Cena’s not here tonight but that
he’s insulted that Cena thinks that Owens needed his endorsement
following his loss at Money in the Bank. He says that he KNOWS he
belongs in WWE. He doesn’t need Cena’s approval. He says he isn’t a sore
loser, Cena’s a horrible winner. Cena wanted to show Owens up by
getting that “handshake” at the end. That’s why he kicked the crap out
of Cena. He says that he will always be the guy that beat John
Cena…that’s why he wants a re-match — and he wants the United States
Championship. Usually, Cena would come out and issue his challenge, but
he can’t. So, Owens issues his own “Open Challenge”…and it’s…

Dolph Ziggler.

Ziggler
hits the ring with Lana and actually fixed his “Megadeth” jacket.
Ziggler says that Owens made his night. He will never defend John Cena
but Owens has some guts talking about sacrifice. Ziggler says he’s been
through hell to get where he is now. He says that he’s gonna give Owens a
fight right now. Lillian Garcia announces that the match is for the NXT
Championship — but Owens interrupts her and says this isn’t a title
match. Somehow, Ziggler’s pissed off at this, which makes no sense at
all since it would be like an MLB team challenging for a minor league
championship, but whatever.

MATCH #3: NXT Champion Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ Lana) (non-title)
It’s
a brawl to start, then we go to break. When we come back, Ziggler
breaks from a headlock, but Owens puts him back to the mat for a Reverse
Senton. He follows by dropping Ziggler’s body on the top rope and gets
two for that. He whips Ziggler into the turnbuckles, then stomps and
taunts him. Ziggler gets back up and punches away, then sends Owens over
the top rope. Owens get up first and tosses Ziggler into the
timekeeper’s pit. Ziggler struggles to get back in and barely makes it
back into the ring. Owens attacks but Ziggler hits a DDT. After another
break, it’s another Owens headlock. Ziggler breaks free again but Owens
just continues to mow him down. When Owens goes into the Cannonball,
Ziggler counters with a Superkick and gets two. Ziggler goes for a
Fame-Asser and hits it on the second try, getting two. Ziggler tries a
corner splash but Owens hits Suplex City instead, then a Cannonball.
Ziggler kicks out at two. Owens tries a Pop-Up Powerbomb but Ziggler
counters into a Zigg Zagg, nearly getting a fall. Ziggler runs at Owens
only to see Owens kick Ziggler and hit the Pop-Up Powerbomb to win this
at 15:14.
WINNER: Kevin Owens via Pop-Up Powerbomb
RATING: ***. Not a bad match, but it didn’t need two breaks. That really broke up the momentum of this thing for me.

The
Divas hang out backstage and talk boys and take Selfies because they’re
CHICKS. Paige makes a huge speech about how awful the Bellas are.
Summer shuts her up and says it’s all about Paige. Alicia Fox agrees.
Paige continues to rant. Naomi is also hesitant to trust Paige…and
this goes on and on…and on…The Bellas interrupt and Nikki dares the
Divas to side with Paige. They all stand around, apathetic, then leave,
one by one. Then Paige leaves. The Bellas act cool and that’s
just…whatever. Seeing all the women backstage reminds me of how empty
and vapid the Divas Division has become.

MATCH #4: Randy Orton vs. Kane
Crowd
is dead for this as Orton attacks. Kane fights back, then hits a big
boot and headlock. A big, long headlock that sucks half the match. Orton
counters with a side suplex but misses a knee drop. Kane hits a
Sidewalk Slam for two. Kane puts Orton in the corner and Orton collapses
after hitting the buckles. Kane slugs away. Orton fights back but Kane
grabs Orton by the throat. A bunch of clunky counters later and Orton
clotheslines Kane in the corner. Orton hits a Powerslam in Stride, then
goes for Vintage Orton but Sheamus’s music hits and he walks down to the
ring. Kane grabs a mic and says that he is making this match a No DQ
match. So Sheamus attacks. Kane joins. Big boot by Kane and we’re done
with whatever the hell that was at 4:26.
WINNER: Kane
RATING:
DUD. This match was fucking terrible. It’s a shitty match involving
Kane who’s a shitty wrestler in order to push this weird Orton/Sheamus
“rivalry” that has no heat whatsoever.

TONIGHT: We get “answers” about why Bray Wyatt interfered in the MITB match.

Backstage,
Kane walks and runs into Seth Rollins. Rollins congratulates Kane on
his victory tonight and rubs in the fact that he lost, so tonight’s
“victory” must have put him in a better mood. Rollins just rants about
how cool he is and how much Kane sucks. Kane says that Rollins won one
match. A true champ wins over and over, night after night. Rollins says
that Kane’s always needed help, whether it’s from Paul Bearer or The
Undertaker. Kane grabs Rollins and says to never mention his family
again. Rollins tells Kane never to touch him again and says that he
hopes that Kane is his next opponent because Kane needs to be put out of
his misery.

DUSTY MEMORY: His Hall of Fame moment.

Ryback’s at ringside to do commentary with the guys.

MATCH #5: Big Show vs. The Miz
Miz
goes to take off his sunglasses. Show attacks. Miz bails and takes off
his sunglasses. Show chases him around the ring. Miz escapes. Show
chases again. Miz enters the ring. Show chases and then enters the ring,
faking a leg injury. Miz attacks and Show pushes him in the corner as
the crowd chants “THIS IS AWFUL” which part of the crowd somehow
mistakes as “THIS IS AWESOME”. Show slaps at Miz’s chest, then whips him
into the corner. Miz boots him on the charge but Show grabs Miz and
tosses him out of the ring. He beats on Miz and tosses him into Ryback.
Ryback isn’t happy. Meanwhile, Miz slides back into the ring and it’s a
countout.
WINNER: The Miz via countout
RATING: DUD. This RAW has been a giant piece of shit in terms of actual wrestling matches.

Post-match, Ryback chases Show from the ring. Yay?

When we come back from break, it’s Roman Reigns on the way to the ring as Cole announces…

AT BATTLEGROUND: Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns

Roman
says he got very little sleep because of what happened at Money in the
Bank. He says he wants Wyatt right now and tells him to get down to the
ring. Instead, it’s Wyatt, live from the Steam Room of Doom. Bray does
his usual shtick. Roman’s not interested and tells him to get down to
the ring. Bray won’t and says that the MITB case was supposed to be his.
Instead, Roman ruined his chance. Bray rants and raves about how
nothing is paradise and that him and Roman are “opposites”. He has a
picture of Roman and his daughter from that PSA that aired. He says that
him and Roman are just getting started.

AT MITB: Dusty Finish with the Divas

MATCH #6: Paige vs. The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie) in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Paige
tries to attack, but the ref holds Paige back. Finally, Brie tags Nikki
and Paige just presses her, punching away. She chokes Nikki on the
ropes but Brie trips Paige from the outside. Nikki pins for two. Tag to
Brie for a Missile Dropkick. Two count. Another long chinlock spot.
Paige finally breaks it and hits the running knee. Two count. Tag to
Nikki and they double team Paige, dropping her on the mat, face-first.
Two count. Nikki kinda apathetically kicks at Paige, then puts on Head
Scissors. Paige counters with a Bridge Pin but Nikki kicks out and tags
Brie who accidentally clocks her sister on a double team attempt. Brie
gets up and runs at Paige. Paige kicks her and hits a series of
clotheslines, then kicks at Brie’s head. She tosses Brie into Nikki and
hits the Ram-Paige. Nikki saves the pin, then tags in and hits a forearm
and Rack Attack to win it at 5:34.
WINNERS: #BELLASWINLOL
RATING: 1/2 a *. Too slow, and boring as hell. The match is uninteresting. There isn’t anything left here.

TONIGHT: We will find out who Rollins’ next opponent is.

NEXT: MGK performs! So, it’s a good time for me to start dinner.

Anyhow,
Machine Gun Kelly performs. Garcia says that he’s “Cleveland’s own”
which is weird since nobody seems to care. The performance fucking
sucks. Why is this person here? At the end, Kevin Owens attacks
him after MGK shoves him and hits a Pop-Up Powerbomb into a part of the
stage. He just stares, then walks off. Everyone tends to Machine Gun
Kelly and we actually get a replay. PLUS, a “moments ago” thing when we
come back from break.

Cole plugs “Terminator: Genesys”.

MATCH
#7: The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. Neville
& WWE Tag Team Champions The Primetime Players (Titus O’Neil &
Darren Young)

Young and Woods start off and Young finally
manages to hit a strike or two before Kofi tags in. Young kicks at Kofi
who tags Woods back in. Young clotheslines him and tags in Titus who
drops Young on top of Woods. Kofi flies at Titus. Kofi gets dumped
across the ring. E attacks and Titus tosses him from the ring. Neville
splashes everyone outside. After break, Woods has Young in a headlock.
In and out tags as New Days works Woods over with kicks and a headlock.
Tag to Woods and a double axehandle from the top rope. Two count. More
Young peril. Young breaks a headlock and it’s a hot tag to Neville who
kicks away at Woods. Neville kicks him in the head, then dropkicks
everyone in the heel corner. Woods and Neville counter one another until
Neville puts Woods to the mat. Neville goes for the Red Arrow but it’s
chaos when guys come in to botch it. Titus hits Clash of the Titus. More
chaos and Young hits a Gutbuster on Kofi and it’s Neville to finish it
with the Red Arrow to win it all around 9 minutes.
WINNERS: The New Day & Neville
RATING:
*1/2. This wasn’t terrible but incredibly disjointed. Neville didn’t
really fit here and the match really suffered after he became involved.

Post-match, we get a look at Cena/Owens and ANOTHER look at Owens destroying the idiot rapper. Apparently, Kelly was badly hurt.

Backstage,
Dean Ambrose throws darts at a picture of Seth Rollins. Kane
interrupts. Dean laughs and says he can’t picture Kane as a champion.
Kane says he’s been champ, unlike Dean. Dean says that’s
true…but that was THEDEMONKANE, not kiss-ass Kane. Dean says that, in
the end, Kane’s just doing a job and he’s loyal to The Authority. Dean
says he lives for moments like last night. He says he liked getting a
taste of the title at MITB and he says he won’t stop until he finally
has the title. Dean asks what Kane lives for. Kane stands there, a bit
taken back.

NEXT: We find out who Seth Rollins will fight next.

DUSTY MEMORY: Dusty ranting a lot.

TONIGHT: Dusty Rhodes: Celebrating the Dream on WWE Network

The
Authority hits the ring. Steph apologizes for what happened with MGK.
Cleveland cheers the concept of MGK getting beat up as Steph says that
Owens will be reprimanded. They are announcing who Seth will face next.
Triple H says that a lot of WWE superstars feel as though they deserve a
shot…but it won’t be J&J or Kane or Dean Ambrose. Steph asks
Triple H who it could possibly be.

Seth Rollins’ music
hits and he makes his way down. He shakes hands with Triple H and Steph
and then gets a mic. He tells them that it doesn’t matter who gets
picked. Rollins says that they’ve been right about him all along. Nobody
is capable of beating him. He’s ready to beat his next opponent. He
will make The Authority proud. Triple H says that might be true. Rollins
has beaten everyone. He even beat Ambrose with no help. Steph says that
she’s proud of him, too, but that he’s ripe for the pickin’. Plus, he’s
been testing their patience as well.

Triple H says
that they invested a lot in the future and in him and, sometimes, you
need to step back and check out your investment. Sometimes, you put
pressure on a piece of coal. If it’s worth something, it won’t crumble,
it will become a diamond. Triple H asks if he’s ready for the pressure.
Seth nods and smiles and says that he’s ready…

…and Brock Lesnar’s music hits.

Brock
makes his way to the ring (with a brand-new shirt reading “SUPLEX CITY”
– remind me to scoop that fucker up) with Paul Heyman. They get in and
shake hands with The Authority. Seth can’t believe it and just stands
there in blinking disbelief, looking sick to his stomach. Brock and Seth
just look at one another. Rollins backs up a bit with Brock matching
his steps. Rollins gets out of the ring and leaves.

He
slowly walks to the backstage area as Brock just stares a hole in his
head from 50 yards out. Cole says that Brock Lesnar will face Rollins at
Battleground.

We go off the air.

OVERALL: The Lesnar bit was a nice bookend to an otherwise blah show. It was basically Kevin Owens being used as sugar to coat the flaming dogshit that was the mid-card. Honestly, Sheamus with the case isn’t compelling.
Neither is his beef with Orton or Orton’s match with Kane that took a
left-turn into stupid. I don’t buy the PTP as tag champs and the
mis-match with Neville was just odd to me. The Divas division is a
dumpster fire…I mean, you look at WWE and they’re patching the ship’s
hull with Scotch tape they’ve bought in bulk. Even as good as Lesnar is,
I’m kind of wanting to know how he went from being a casualty of
Stephanie McMahon because he straight up murdered the crew of RAW to
being a guy they can trust. Nothing on this show makes any real sense
anymore.

Er…that’s it.

Matt’s Monday Night RAW Review – 6/8/2015

Well, all
right…after my hernia surgery, I am surprisingly good enough to
finally sit at a laptop and write. I don’t think I’ve used a computer at
all except for just now. Everything’s been on my phone.
In any case, hope you’re all well.
We
have a Going Home Show coming tonight and there have been rumors
ranging from a Reigns heel turn to Lesnar showing up at Money in the
Bank to have some sort of impact on the big ladder match.
Let’s roll…

We are LIVE(!!!) from New Orleans, Louisiana for WWE Monday Night RAW!!!
Michael Cole, JBL and Byron Saxton are the guys at the desk.
John
Cena starts us off which is a welcome change which, I suppose, might be
the lesser of two evils. He basically gives a mini version of what he
said last week, pandering and yelling at the top of his lungs about how
he’s gonna prove himself because he’s “the face blah blah blah”. This
brings out Kevin Owens who the announcers kinda shit on. Owens says that
the fans are tired of Cena and his Open Challenge. Instead, they should
have an NXT Title Open Challenge. (DANIELLE: Isn’t challenging for, and possibly winning, the NXT Title a step backwards
for a WWE superstar? I’m just saying. It’s like watching a Major League
Baseball team challenging their minor league affiliate for a division
title. It’s hard to be excited for the result.)
John
Cena condescends and then says he accepts Owens’ challenge. Owens says
that Cena’s delusional. They won’t fight tonight. Cena says that it’s
kinda weak that Owens won’t accept just anyone’s challenge. He rants and
raves about the situation. Owens: “Ok…so, we’re just gonna ignore all of that…and let’s let the person coming from the back decide which title he wants.” We wait for that Superstar and it’s…
Neville.
Neville has the mic and tells Cena that they’ll fight again someday.
Neville says that Owens likes to mock the fans and the other Superstars.
He can’t let that stand. So, he chooses to take on Owens.
Cena is gonna join the guys on commentary for the love of god…
MATCH #1: Kevin Owens (champion) vs. Neville (challenger) for the NXT Championship
The
fight immediately starts outside the ring. Neville chases back in, then
hits a nice Hurricarana, tossing Owens outside. Neville dives outside,
knocking Owens down. Neville rolls him back in the ring and pins for a
one count. Owens goes on the attack, hitting a short-arm clothesline.
Neville fights back but Owens shoves Neville in the corner and hits a
splash as well as a Cannonball Splash. Two count. Owens flips Neville up
and drops his stomach on the top rope. Owens hits a headlock as John
Cena won’t shut up about himself and even compares himself to Babe Ruth.
Neville punches away at Owens but Owens catches him and drops Neville’s
stomach right on his knee. Two count. Owens chokes Neville against the
bottom rope, then hits a Side Suplex for two. When we come back from
breaks, Owens has Neville on his shoulders but Neville counters with a
nice DDT. Owens rolls out of the ring. Neville dives at him and the
fight continues. Neville rolls him back inside the ring. A couple of
counters and Neville hits a Springboard Missile Dropkick. Neville tries
to hit a high kick but Owens counters with a Pump Handle Slam and a near
fall. Neville comes back, kicking Owens in the face on a whip, then
hits a German Suplex for two. Neville goes for the Red Arrow but Owens
gets to his feet. Neville knocks him down with an Enzuguri and tries the
Arrow again. He misses. Neville lands on his feet, then hits a
Superkick. Another Red Arrow attempt fails as Owens gets up, knocks him off the top buckle, then hits the Pop-Up Powerbomb to retain at 13:53.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Kevin Owens via Pop-Up Powerbomb
RATING:
**3/4. Not a bad match. Was slow to start, then picked up. Neville
didn’t get a whole lot of offense and this match could have been light
years better if they had worked to their potential.
Post-match, Owens invites Cena into the ring. Cena obliges but Owens leaves the ring, bragging about how he’s NXT Champion.
Cole, JBL and Byron all talk about the situation with Ambrose and Rollins. We get a long segment detailing Elimination Chamber.
AT MONEY IN THE BANK: Ambrose vs. Rollins for the WWE Title.
Ambrose has been walking around New Orleans with the title.
Triple
H and Steph are backstage. Rollins interrupts and he’s so disgusted by
Dean Ambrose! Just DISGUSTED! ACTING!!! They mock Rollins about not
needing help from The Authority. Steph tells Rollins to deal with this
shit and they tell Rollins to pick an opponent to face to prove that he
can handle himself.
We
review the idiotic “Twin Magic” spot the Bellas pulled last week. On
Smackdown, Paige ridicules the Bellas for “always using that trick”.
Renee
Young brings in Nikki Bella. Nikki says that Paige is projecting her
frustration. She thinks that Paige is, like, so ny-eve! Like OMG! Nikki
says that this IS Paige’s house…but she lives in the Bellas’ world.
Next, Summer Rae vs. Nikki Bella.
MATCH #2: Summer Rae vs. WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella (non-title)
Nikki stiffly slams Summer, then does push-ups because that’s what she always
does during matches. Summer comes back with a forearm and a Cobra
Clutch. Nikki breaks because that shit only works if you’re Ted DiBiase.
She somehow knocks Nikki down and gets a two count. Summer chokes Nikki
against the buckle. Nikki comes back and hits the Rack Attack to get
the win at 2:18.
WINNER: Nikki via Rack Attack.
RATING: DUD. (Danielle: Oh, come on. Nikki’s entrance music was longer than that match.)
Cole can’t even be bothered to recap any of that. Instead, we take a look at Roman Reigns running the Gauntlet last week.
More Instagram photos of Dean Ambrose just hanging out in various spots in New Orleans.
Roman
Reigns is out here to talk. He says that he hated the MITB case and the
contract because it was tied to a guy he detests. He says he’s gonna
make history when he climbs the ladder and gets the contract. Aaaaaand
here comes Kane to dead silence. Kane says that he believes that anyone
else stands a better chance than Roman. He says that Reigns is full of
weakness, not strength. Reigns just invites Kane into the ring and he’ll
show people how to break a jaw. That brings out Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler
says that Kane can’t do a thing unless The Authority pulls his string.
He says that Kane is a human hardware store because he throws “wrenches”
into peoples’ plans and “hammers” things out and “screws” people and
he’s a “tool” because he “tools away”. Oh, jesus, please cut away to
anything. He says he has a hot Russian chick and he’ll win the MITB
case. Kane goes with the “tool” thing. He says that Ziggler and Reigns
better watch their mouths because the MITB foes will be in singles
action tonight.
That
brings out R-Truth as this segment just takes a turn. Kane: “What are
you doing out here? You’re not even IN the match!” Truth: “I’m not? You
sure? This one’s on me. My bad.” Oh…fuck. Wow. Truth leaves. 
Then
The New Day shows up. They insult Kane. Kofi says that when he wins
MITB, all of The New Day will be the winners of that case. Kane
interrupts their chant again — only to bring out Sheamus. Sheamus says
that the thought of winning the MITB case brings a smile to his face.
More ranting. Kane interrupts again and says that everyone’s forgetting
about Neville and Randy Orton.
Orton’s music hits. (DANIELLE: So…we had to sit through all that, plus R-Truth, just so Kane could introduce Randy Orton?)
When we come back, it’s Orton and Sheamus… 
MATCH #3: Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
The
match starts outside but continues inside with Randy Orton hitting a
back breaker and Garvin Stomp. Sheamus rolls outside to recover but
Orton attacks with a clothesline, then rolls Sheamus back inside.
Sheamus attacks with shots in the corner but Orton hits uppercuts and a
headbutt. Sheamus hits quick uppercuts. Orton fights back and knocks
Sheamus down. Sheamus rolls out of the ring again. Orton goes outside
and shoves him back in. Orton whips him into the corner but Sheamus
elbows him on a charge, then hits a short-arm clothesline for two.
Sheamus puts on an armbar but Orton breaks it and hits a dropkick.
Sheamus comes back with some shots, then puts Orton outside. When we
come back from break, Orton breaks a headlock only to see Sheamus
powerslam him for two. Orton fights back as the two men trade punches.
Sheamus knees Orton in the gut and whips him to the ropes. Orton comes
back with a knee to the gut and clothesline along with a Powerslam in
Stride. Sheamus regains momentum only to fly into the corner post. Orton
hits a leghook suplex and goes for the Vintage Orton DDT. RKO attempt
by Orton goes awry. Sheamus tries a Brogue but misses and Orton
clotheslines him outside. It’s a brawl as Sheamus tries to toss Orton
into the table. Orton manages to fly over it and lands on his feet.
Sheamus grabs a chair but Orton punches Sheamus, then hits Sheamus in
the stomach with the chair for the DQ at 13:09.
WINNER: Sheamus via DQ
RATING: **. This was the same match we saw last week. Still, these guys put on a great brawl.
Post-match,
Orton’s in a bad mood and decides to beat the holy hell out of Sheamus,
putting him into the steel steps. He rolls Sheamus into the ring and
hits the RKO.
Rollins
is on Instagram, looking at more of Dean’s pics. J&J come by and
say they know that Rollins said some things he didn’t mean. Rollins says
he meant every single word. He calls them morons. Noble’s had it. He
says that they’ve had Rollins’ back for a long time and that he wouldn’t
continue to be champ if it wasn’t for them. Rollins says that he’s
gonna prove how awful they are — because he wants to take them on in
tonight’s main event. He laughs at Noble, then slaps him in the face.
Noble slaps him back. Rollins lunges but Mercury gets in his way and
says that they’ve defended Rollins — but, tonight, they’re gonna kick
his ass.
MATCH #4: Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane
Whoa, we haven’t seen this
match before. I can hardly wait. Ziggler hits a dropkick, sending Kane
into the corner. Ziggler goes for a splash but Kane belts him in the
face. Lana, meanwhile, stands halfway down the aisle as Kane hits
uppercuts. Long headlock spot with Ziggler finally hitting a chinbreaker
to escape. Kane grabs him, however, and it’s a Side Suplex for two.
Kane punches Ziggler in the corner and then hits a hard knee to
Ziggler’s head. Kane hits a scoop slam for a one-count. Ziggler comes
back, kicking Kane in the head but Kane picks him up and hits a Sidewalk
Slam for two. When we come back from a commercial, Ziggler hits the
Fame-Asser and gets a near fall. Ziggler tries the Superkick but Kane
catches his foot and goes for the Chokeslam. Ziggler counters and does
hit the Superkick. Both men go down…and here comes Rusev on crutches
because, oh yeah, Lana’s still out there on the ramp in case you care.
Lana takes a weird fall off the ramp and does something to her ankle.
Kane grabs Ziggler on the distraction and hits a Chokeslam to end this
bullshit at 9:46.
WINNER: Kane via Chokeslam
RATING:
1/2 a *. A match that served no purpose and that ended because Ziggler
was concerned about his new g/f with whom he has no chemistry
whatsoever. 
Post-match, trainers and Ziggler tend to Lana as Cole acts like Lana took a dive off the Titantron.
Meanwhile, Ambrose is still on Bourbon Street, touring New Orleans.
J&J are talking backstage. Noble and Mercury agree that Rollins is getting cocky.
NEXT: MizTV starring Ryback and Big Show.
A bunch of people resembling models and bodybuilders are the Top 40 Tough Enough finalists.
Backstage, trainers tend to Lana backstage.
Miz
is in the ring, dressed like a Muslim woman and welcomes everyone to
MizTV. He recaps last week when Big Show clocked him and robbed him of
an IC Title shot. Ryback hits the ring and says that HE was robbed of a
chance to beat up Miz. Miz does his “how dare you” spot. Ryback
interrupts him and says that he thinks he’s big but Damien Sandow
outclassed him the entire time they were together. Ryback says that, had
they wrestled, Ryback would have taken years off Miz’s career. Miz
calls him “ugly” and says there’s only one pretty face and it’s Miz.
They argue over crowd chants until Big Show shows up. The crowd chants
that the chair Show’s sitting in is gonna break. Show tells them that
the chair won’t break. He talks up his own strength and says he can
break whatever he wants and can take whatever he wants. Ryback says that
he has no issue with fighting Show. He’s not afraid of him…unlike
Miz. Ryback stands and so does Show. Miz tries to get them to fight.
Show tells him to shut up or else he’ll shut Miz’s mouth. Miz attacks
Show. Show nails him, then tosses Ryback into his chair. He clotheslines
Miz out of the ring. Ryback comes to and hits Shell Shock on Show to
end the segment. Crowd liked that.
MATCH #5: Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) (w/ El Torito) vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
The
announcers talk about Rowan and Harper as if they’re the most awesome
tag team in the entire universe even though we’ve seen them twice on RAW
in the last month or so. Harper and Rowan beat up on one of the
matadors. Harper hits a huge boot to the face and it’s Rowan’s turn.
Rowan hits a Warrior Splash for two. Torito gets up on the mat to cheer
his team but Rowan knocks him off. Diego goes to take care of Torito as
Harper and Rowan hit 3D to win it at 2:18.
WINNERS: Harper & Rowan
RATING: n/a – squash
Crowd
chants “3D” as Harper grabs a mic and says that the time for everyone
to pay for their sins is coming. Rowan says it’s ok to be afraid.
Everyone should be.
Backstage,
Kane laughs at Ambrose’s Instagram and mocks Rollins. Rollins isn’t
happy. Kane says that Rollins is in a no-win situation. If Rollins wins
on Sunday, Kane’s gonna come down the aisle with the MITB case. Rollins
says he’s gonna teach J&J a lesson — then Ambrose — then Kane.
Kane says that he’s interested to see if that will happen…because he’s
gonna be in J&J’s corner tonight.
WWE congratulates itself for having more followers than ESPN, HBO — and GATORADE!!! SUCK IT, HYDRATION!!!
Ambrose is on his way to the arena. He has a ticket to tonight’s show.
Cole plugs “Ted 2” and we get a fucking trailer.
MATCH #6: Big E (w/ Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Titus O’Neil (w/ Darren Young)
Holy
shit, this crowd is asleep. E puts Titus to the mat, then punches at
him. He kicks Titus, then claps in his face. More punching and an
Abdominal Stretch. Another kick to Titus’s ribs and more clapping. Titus
finally fights back, then punches at E in the corner. He slaps E’s
chest, then just throws E across the ring and hits shoulderblocks. Titus
puts E in the corner and more punches. Titus hits a huge shoulderblock.
Woods starts shoving Young outside. Titus grabs Woods by his hair. Kofi
hits the mat. E grabs Titus and hits the Big Ending on the distraction
to end it at 3:10.
WINNER: Big E via Big Ending
RATING: 1/4 of a *. Not even a match and makes the challengers look horrible heading into MITB.
The New Day celebrates as Roman Reigns’ music hits. He heads to the ring. He takes on Kofi after break. 
MATCH #7: Kofi Kingston (w/ Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. Roman Reigns
Kofi
hits a headlock. Reigns escapes and hits a shoulder tackle. More hot
headlock action but Reigns escapes again and flips Kofi to the mat and
outside. Kofi, Woods and E huddle. They surround the ring and Reigns
just stands there and falls for it like a giant dope. Kofi attacks and
puts Reigns in the corner, hitting shoulder rams while Woods rants. Kofi
runs at Reigns who grabs him for a Samoan Drop. Kofi kicks out but
Reigns hits a HUGE clothesline and then sends Kofi out of the ring.
Reigns follows him and tosses Kofi’s head into the announce table.
Reigns hits the Sitting Dropkick and gets back into the ring. He goes
for a Suicide Dive at the entire New Day but they move out of the way.
Reigns runs at them from another angle and ends up nailing Woods. Kofi
hits a missile dropkick from inside the ring. When we come back, Kofi
hits a dropkick to Reigns, then kicks him in the back, getting two.
Reigns escapes a headlock but Kofi trips Reigns, knocking him to the
mat. Kofi goes top rope with a nice Double Axehandle for two. Reigns
gets to his feet and hits clotheslines, then puts Kofi in a corner. He
rushes and splashes Kofi. Reigns hits a Gut Wrench Slam for two. Kofi
kicks at Reigns and tries the SOS but Reigns counters with a Sitting
Powerbomb for two. Reigns goes for a Superman Punch. E interferes but
Reigns sends him off the mat. Woods attacks but backs off. Kofi tries a
roll-up with a handful of tights but Reigns kicks out. Kofi goes top
tope but Reigns counters with a Superman Punch on the way down to win
the match at 12:07.
WINNER: Roman Reigns via Superman Punch
RATING:
**. Kofi really carried this match with pure physicality and Woods with
his verbal shenanigans and trolling. Other than that, this match was
so-so with Reigns suddenly popping up and winning.
Post-match,
Reigns grabs a chair at ringside and waits…Dean Ambrose arrives to
take a seat at ringside. Reigns hands him the chair so he can sit down.
Triple
H and Steph watch this backstage. Rollins approaches them. Steph asks
if Rollins needs something. Rollins says nothing even though he wants
to. He walks off for his match.
When we come back for break, it’s the Handicap Match and we’re two minutes into the overrun. Lovely.
MATCH #8: Seth Rollins vs. J&J Security (Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) (w/ Kane)
Mercury
and Rollins start. Rollins puts Mercury in a wristlock but Mercury
reverses it. Rollins counters that and Noble tags in. Ambrose barks at
Rollins. Already, this has gone on too long. Noble eats a shoulderblock
and Rollins tosses him and Mercury out of the ring as the crowd maps the
quickest way out of the building. J&J surround the ring with Kane
on the other side. J&J swarm Rollins and clothesline him out of the
ring as the crowd kinda wakes up. Rollins ends up next to Ambrose who
dumps popcorn on Rollins’ head. Rollins gets back into the ring and runs
into a Mercury dropkick and an armbar. Rollins counters with a
short-arm clothesline, then knocks Noble off the mat. Rollins tosses
Mercury into the crowd barrier outside, then stomps a mudhole in
Mercury. He tosses Mercury into the barrier in front of Ambrose, who
gives not one shit. He drinks soda and laughs at Rollins. Rollins is
furious and rolls Mercury back into the ring.
He
splashes Mercury, then taunts Noble. He stomps at the hands of Mercury
as part of the crowd half-heartedly chants for Joey Mercury by default.
Rollins locks Mercury in a chinlock as Ambrose pounds the barrier in
front of him to fire up J&J. Rollins misses a top rope attack, then a
corner splash and Mercury makes a hot tag to Noble. Noble hits a lariat
and then just crashes into Rollins. He hits a Swinging Neckbreaker and
NEARLY gets a fall. Noble goes top rope but Rollins knocks him off.
Rollins tries a suplex but Mercury grabs Rollins’ leg. Noble falls on
him for a two count. Chaos on the ring with a ton of counters before
Rollins puts Mercury to the mat. He goes for a Buckle Bomb, tossing
Mercury into Noble. Rollins slaps at Noble’s face and goes for a
Pedigree but Ambrose pops out of his seat, then tosses the title at
Rollins. Rollins grabs it. Mercury rolls Rollins up to win it at 9:00.
WINNERS: J&J Security
RATING:
**. This was your basic overbooking nonsense with the underdog heroes
getting the unlikely win. Of course, that means Rollins is gonna close
this sucker at MITB.
Post-match,
Rollins hoists the belt, bragging in Kane’s face — but Ambrose attacks
him and hits Dirty Deeds, taking the title away from Rollins once
again. Ambrose grabs a ladder and climbs it, holding the title up while
Rollins glares.
OVERALL:
**. Ok RAW. I didn’t expect much but I figured there was going to be
more to this than what I just saw. The whole Lone Wolf Rollins angle is
pointless as hell — especially when we all know it isn’t going
anywhere. Money in the Bank is not something I’m looking forward to.
Bayless is on the same line of thought. There’s nobody there I’d like to
see pull down the case and the status quo is going to continue with
Rollins keeping the title, even though he jobs as much as Barrett does.
I’ve actually really enjoyed Ambrose having the Championship. It’s
really too bad they didn’t convince much of anyone that Ambrose should
stay the “champion”. Even if it’s not Ambrose, the whole “Authority
controls who’s champion” angle needs to die soon. It weighs down
everything.
And, of course…the Best of Monday Night Open Mic:
Regarding Neville and the “Man That Gravity Forgot” thing:

Er…that’s it.

Wrestlemania 31 review podcast (yep, it’s a plug request)

Scott,

Long time reader of your various blogs and books, second time writer.  Yours is the only wrestling blog I read (yes, I am asking you for a favor, but that is true about BoD being my only online wrestling info source).  Anyway, we reviewed Wrestlemania 31 on the podcast "Don and his Amazing Friend" this week, and I personally invite you and your readers to listen.  We had a great time discussing the show.

D&AF is not normally a wrestling show – we dissect older genre movies – but wrestling always finds its way into the conversation.  The link to the show is pasted below, as is the Twitter handle.

By the way, I also watched the Macho Man doc last night, and I couldn't agree with you more about the awesome beginning, and then surprisingly lackluster coverage of his wrestling career.  That said, it is still worth the 90 minutes.

Thanks,

Don

http://donandhisamazingfriend.blogspot.com

Twitter: @secretduck922

Sent from my iPad

Fast Lane Video Review

Hi Scott,
 
Long time reader of your stuff – All the way back to 411 days etc……
 
Always browse your blog, I've started this reviewing lark myself, and enjoy doing it but have 14 views….14. 
 
Know this isn't normally "the done thing" but I'm a 33 year old Scotsman who wants the world to hear what I have to say about wrestling. Plus im not good at it and need feedback on how to improve!
 
A gentle blog post with the link would be lovely 🙂 http://youtu.be/JjQ9_p7ab60 
 
If you like this, i'd happily do these for your blog for every WWE PPV (and NXT big event)……
 
Good Evening

 

Legends Roundtable Review: The Soul of Wrestling

My contribution to Black History Month as I, unlike Kurt Angle, am a
very big fan of “the black people” and I even decided to marry one of
them.

Anyway this panel is in the vault and has been for
a long time. Not sure if they moved it to the Black History Month section but
you can find it on the Network rather easily.

Originally
Aired in February of 2009

JR is your moderator and your esteemed panelists are:

Teddy Long (Definitely black)
Dusty Rhodes (Considered to be close to black by some black wrestlers although
he teamed up with an alleged Klansman in Dick Murdoch)
Tony Atlas (Definitely black and half of the first black tag champions with
Rocky Johnson)
Bill Watts (Often considered a friend of blacks)

— JR asks Teddy to tell his story. Teddy got into the business around 1984 or
so as a hanger on and someone that could help the new guys coming into the
Georgia territory. He met Abdullah the Butcher first and was a gopher for him.
He would come with Abdullah and help the guys take their ring gear back from
the ring to the dressing room. Ran errands for the guys. Didn’t make any money
of course. Eventually he met Dusty and Dusty liked him and gave him his first
paying job as part of the ring setup crew, which paid about $75/show. Dusty
gave him a job as a referee when the ref didn’t show for an event at Marietta,
Georgia. He tells a funny story about reffing a Black Bart-Ron Bass Texas death
match and they were bleeding everywhere and he tossed the “foreign object” that
Bart was using into the crowd. Bart was pissed but the timekeeper made a
mistake and they got mad at him about that and forgot about Teddy.


JR talks about Teddy being a manager of Doom. Teddy said he rode with Kevin
Sullivan and Eddie Gilbert and he would entertain them using his radio DJ’ing
skills while they rode and Sullivan convinced Flair to let him manage. He thanks
JR as well for his help in convincing Flair, who was against it. First guy he
managed? Norman the Lunatic. Then it was the Skyscrapers and then Doom. That’s
a pretty nice upgrade of talent actually.

— On to Atlas, who was a state champion as an amateur wrestler, power lifter
and bodybuilder. Atlas said he’s one of the luckiest people in the profession.
Sandy Scott saw an article on Atlas in a newspaper and met him during a show at
the YMCA. At the time he was trying to get to the Olympics in weight lifting or
wrestling. He describes his career as too much too soon. He was in main events
with Tommy Rich and Dusty within six months. He says he was his biggest problem
in wrestling. He made $1,500 his first week and $75,000 his first year. He said
most of his problems were with black wrestlers because when he came into the
territory the other black star had to leave. Pistol Pez Whatley hated him as
did Skip Young but they made amends. Tommy Rich told Atlas he wasn’t black or
white, he was green — as in he made money.

(They show a promo he cut with Gordon Solie and they are talking about Ric
Flair and…holy shit Atlas is MASSIVE. I could see why everyone wanted him in
their territory. He looks like big money and his babyface promo skills were
solid. He didn’t come across as a badass but more of a loveable babyface that
looked like a dude you did not want to mess with.)

(They show clips of a Flair-Atlas match, probably from the Georgia territory.
Flair is bumping like a madman for Atlas and even takes a nasty piledriver.)

– Atlas tells a funny story of a promoter riding him around the black
neighborhoods in Virginia with him covered in baby oil and posing while the
promoter billed him as the strongest black man in wrestling. He hated it but
went to the arena and saw the big crowd and starting buying his own baby oil for future promotions.

— Dusty talks about growing up in neighborhood of mostly blacks and Hispanics.
He said Sailor Art Thomas was one of the first black wrestlers that influenced
him. He also mentioned Thunderbolt Patterson and how he crafted his promos.
Dusty also got his style from listening to the black preachers that came
through town each month for revivals.

(Clips of a Thunderbolt Patterson sit down promo with Missouri Mauler and Dale
Lewis. You can easily see the similarities with him and Dusty and exactly where
Dusty took some of his style)

— JR asks Watts about his run with Bobo Brazil. He said he did some things to
create a racial atmosphere mostly because he was dumb and ignorant. He talked
about being drenched in urine going to the ring to face Bobo and causing a riot
after he pinned him.

(Clips of a Bobo Brazil interview when he entered Florida. I kind of like his
style.)

— Watts said Bobo was a classy guy, as was Ernie Ladd. He talked about an
incident in Baltimore when his tag partner called Ladd the n-word after Lyndon
Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. Watts expected Ladd to get up from
playing cards and knock the guy out but he didn’t knowing that he would
probably get fired. Watts said Thunderbolt Patterson’s problem was that he
fought the culture because he dealt with so much and was filled with so much
animosity. Watts said that when he was in charge of Mid-South he looked at the
territory’s demographics and saw the black fans and saw how blacks were
dominating other athletics but just token blacks in pro wrestling so he wanted
to change that. He talks about Ernie Ladd and Ray Candy as the main event the
first Superdome card. JR said he remembered when white bookers would call Watts
and ask him if he lost his mind for promoting so many black wrestlers.

(Clips of a hilarious interview between JYD and Gene Okerlund with both of them
gawking over Wendi Richter and JYD talking about making enough money to pay the
IRS…shoot comments that aren’t meant to be shoot comments?)

— Watts talks about JYD entering the territory. He said he learned of him from
Jake Roberts (“only good thing he’s ever done”). Watts talks about Ladd booking
JYD with Super Destroyer and ran him tired for 20 minutes. Watts told Ladd that
he sent JYD to him to figure out what he could do, not what he couldn’t do…and
fired Ladd and Super Destroyer. But hired them back the next day.

— Watts continues on how it was tough to book black wrestlers against white
wrestlers and how many of the houses in Louisiana still had segregated seating
(this is in the late 70s, early 80s BTW). Watts partner, Leroy McGuirk, wasn’t
happy about all the color in the crowds and the card but Grizzly Smith reminded
him that it’s all about the green. And they made a lot of money.

— Long talks about Ole Anderson being a big racist jackass (you’re shocked I
know) and how Thunderbolt Patterson would side with Ole because he wanted to be
the only black on the card. Dusty said Patterson’s biggest problem was himself
and he blamed everyone else. The panel agrees. No love for Thunderbolt here
(Long really hated him).

— Watts talks about how far we’ve come but how far we need to go and mentions
the lack of black college football head coaches compared to the black players
in college football. He tells another funny story about Ladd.

(After a break we return with a clip of Dusty cutting a promo about having
soul. He was born with soul and so was Tony Atlas daddy!)

— JR talks about Butch Reed and Koko B. Ware wrestling at Wrestlemania III
with Slick as Reed’s manager and having two black wrestlers against each other
on the card was more history.

(Clips of the Reed-Ware match, Reed won with a rollover and a handful of
tights.)

— JR asks Tony about winning the tag championship with Rocky Johnson. Atlas
said S.D. Jones said they were the only two guys that held the belt and made no
money with it. They hated each other and mostly because they didn’t want to
share the spotlight. Atlas said he beat up Rocky after Rocky promised to give
him a ride to a show and didn’t do it so he would get heat. They lost the belts
the next day and Atlas was fired. Atlas puts over Tommy Rich as his best tag
partner and his brother. Atlas tells a funny story about trying to do a 500-lb
bench press in the ring with Dusty supposed to spot him but Dusty starts jumping
around to get the crowd going and the ring is shaking while he’s trying to lift
this large amount of weight.

— Dusty talks about how proud he is of Teddy Long because he wasn’t necessary
going to draw money but he was a good guy and he loved the business and never
became part of the problem despite all the shit he took. Long said he had many
opportunities to sue based on racial discrimination but he just wanted to do
his job and not deal with it.

— Atlas talked about being protected by the promoter George Scott, who was a
father figure to him. He told him to always be on time, do what you are asked
and stay away from white girls. Of course Tony married a white lady.

— Watts said he loved Ron Simmons and he had the pedigree of an All-American
athlete. He decided to pull the trigger on Simmons winning the title in
Baltimore and the people are crying. Dusty said when you go to the FSU football
locker room and see Simmons’ locker enclosed in glass you know he’s the real deal.

(Clips of Simmons beating Vader and it’s a beautiful moment seeing that kid
rush to the front of the crowd and almost jump over the railing. Looking around
the crowd closely there were lots of pockets of people going apeshit. Very cool)

— Atlas said he’s rode with guys that have showed him their Klan card (they
have cards??) but those same guys would stand by him and fight with him if he
needed it. He said if you are looking for racism you are looking in the wrong
business. Watts slows him down a bit and tells him he was a different guy and
everyone loved him because he was just so dog gone friendly. So he was lucky
and well protected (probably because he made everyone a lot of money).

— Watts said he didn’t care about any backlash to Simmons winning the title.
JR said he broke from tradition with the NWA lineage and all the white
champions. Teddy Long said that seeing Simmons as the champion during their
celebration in Atlanta was great because they were friends and he used to
manage him. Watts said that at the end of the day it was too big of a burden
for him and he tried too hard to please everyone. Long and JR agree that
Simmons struggled with the pressure (I wish Simmons could have been part of the
panel to talk about this. Hell the WWE should track him down now to talk about it).

— Atlas said Harley Race tried to convince the promoters to give him the NWA
belt several times, naturally Ole Anderson was against it because god knows if it will make money, Ole is against it.
Harley fought Atlas in Florida and when the fans thought Atlas won they rushed
the ring and Harley left the ring unnoticed, which told him that this guy was a larger-than-life figure. Harley’s favorite color was money green.

— JR brings up the Nation of Domination, at least later version with Farooq,
D-Lo Brown, The Godfather and The Rock. Teddy said it was good for the black fans of
wrestling and Ross says it might have been the first black-based faction on
wrestling TV. Teddy said there were a lot of black fans of wrestling but they
didn’t come to the events because there weren’t many black stars to support. He
talks about Doom having the support of the few black fans that were at live WCW
events.

— Dusty said The Rock was going to be a megastar, maybe he was bigger than
Austin, maybe not. Dusty goes back to the Nation of Domination and how they
took it to the edge.

(Clips of Farooq cutting an in-ring promo with Vince in 1997. I’m a mark for
Ron Simmons’ heel promos.)

— Atlas compared the Rock to Elvis with his unique look and said a guy with
that look come along once in a generation. Watts said the Rock had a humbleness
about him and always took time to talk to the older guys. He was never too busy
to have a conversation with someone like Watts, even though he was no longer a
factor in the business.

(Clips of the Rock doing Rock things and making fun of everyone he can find.)

— They talk about the current black stars (as of 2009) like Shelton Benjamin,
MVP, Mark Henry, etc. He said that Pat Patterson introduced JR to the Rock as “Rocky
Johnson’s kid”. Ross said he thought he was seeing a mirage, he couldn’t
believe this guy was real and the rest is history. Watts says the Rock doesn’t
see color and that’s where we all need to evolve.

— Teddy closes by saying that he’s had a chance to work for everyone on the
panel. He wasn’t “the color green” but to sit here with the guys that gave him
the opportunity it’s history for him and it’s not just black history, it’s
history. Teddy comes across so well in this panel, a super likeable guy.

Bottom Line: Lot of good stuff there. Lot of great stories and definitely worth
the hour and 15 minutes of your time if you are interested in such a thing.

Guest Post: Sports Review Wrestling PREDICTIONS!

Sports Review Wrestling Predictions into 1998…What They Were And Why They Weren’t As Ridiculous As You Might Think. Took some inspiration from the ongoing WWF Magazine recaps on the BOD, and remembered that I had this in my possession (not for long…as of this writing you can purchase it from my eBay store at jmfabianorpl, with other wrestling goods and more!  Jeter421 on Half.com has even more great items.  Anyway…) http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjQwWDQ4MA==/z/zPUAAOSw~uhUmvC8/$_57.JPG Back when I started being a wrestling fan, I had to have EVERYTHING related to the sport.  The action figures, the books, videos, I had to be around when anything even resembling wrestling was on television and I watched it ALL.  And of course, there were the magazines.  Like others, I started with the WWF Magazine, but then as I discovered other companies on TV, I took notice of other titles on the newsstand…especially those coming from Bill Apter and “TV Sports.”  Yes, the trinity of The Wrestler, Inside Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling Illustrated especially…though I liked many of Apter’s side publications such as Wrestling ‘8x/’9x, Wrestling Superstars, and why I am here today, Sports Review Wrestling.   SRW really didn’t have anything that jumped out at you like the other Apter mags did…for example, Inside’s strengths included One on One (a phone conversation between rivals); Top 15 rankings, instead of the usual 10, for the major companies and a roll call of champions; and a “Where are they now?” page.  PWI had arena reports, “breaking” news, and full-color centerfolds.  SRW seemed to mostly be straight news most of the time.  Wrestling Superstars, while one of the B-listers, still had monthly dream matches, complete with storylines (such as a masked Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake assaulting Sting and Davey Boy Smith; El Gigante taking Andre the Giant’s mainstream popularity, causing the latter to get in bodybuilder’s shape for one big blowout; and the Road Warriors having a singles match competition for a car, ending inevitably in them facing each other).  However, more often than not, the other magazines would get something interesting, and the September 1988 SRW was no exception, as you can tell from the cover.  For this issue, the writers would attempt to guess what way the wrestling world would go in the next 10 years.  I am a sucker for this kind of thing, and love revisiting the fans’ predictions in the year-end PWIs.  So I had to have a look at this article and some of the things it foresaw.  I expected far-fetched weirdness and got some, but I must tell you…some of SRW’s predictions actually weren’t as far off from the truth as you may think… C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8209.JPG So, we start out with the bold prediction that a major corporation would take over the NWA by 1993, helping it compete with the WWF and even surpass it.  Coca-Cola (which would have lost Columbia Pictures years ago) and MCA (which would lose Universal in a couple of years) are named…BUT…we know how things really went down.  As the NWA would be purchased by Ted Turner, rebrand itself WCW, and would of course become a part of Time Warner eventually.  Now the article is 5 years off with the year of the purchase, which would actually be coming within months.   However, think about this: 1993 was when Eric Bischoff came to power, and though it took some more time, he would be the one in power when WCW did overtake the WWF.  And hey, the article is off by just one year as far as when that really happened.  You could even stretch things and say 1995 was the debut of Nitro, which was a catalyst in WCW becoming number one.   Next prediction involves “Sean” McMahon, Vince’s son (typo?  Misinformation?  DIDN’T KNOW BUT CAME REALLY, CLAIRVOYANTLY CLOSE?!!?), taking over the WWF by 1997.  Either that or you can say another Sean (or Shawn) was practically family with Vince by then, of course, being favored in the Montreal Screwjob and pretty much being allowed to get away with anything and, well, practically running the joint.  Name play aside, the dates again are still not that far off, and competition with WCW would indeed push the WWF harder, all the way into the Attitude Era, as the prediction states.  As for the prime-time comedy-drama, isn’t that one of the things they insist/insisted Raw and Smackdown are?  Then again, the XFL was pretty unintentionally comedic…but that was years off anyway.  This column also predicts that “Sean” will make WrestleMania 14 the first to be held in outer space…yeah, let’s pretend that SRW was actually seeing Steve Austin beginning the company’s rise into the stratosphere for the next 3 years.   C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8407.JPG C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8211.JPG OK bear with the blurriness here.  We have Michael Jackson signing a 10-year contract with the WWF in 1992 after doing an album of standards with Frank Sinatra.  MJ would be getting $50 million and by 1994 would primarily serve as a manager who loads his sequined glove to pass to his wrestlers.   I could simply say “no, but both would be dealing with PR scandals at the time.”   The Road Warriors were predicted to break up in 1990 and become singles wrestlers, only to feud when both Animal and Hawk wanted Paul Ellering for a manager.  They would have a one-on-one match at Great American Bash ’91 or Starrcade ’91 and cripple each other, ending both their careers, so the article said.  Now, any LOD partings in the ‘90s happened with whimpers (their split in 1992 when Hawk left the WWF; the teased feud in 1998 that was abandoned for the formation of LOD 2000…sup, Russo?).  Interestingly enough, Bash ’91 did feature a grudge match between the former members of a long-standing NWA/WCW tag team in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express.  And Starrcade of that year ended with a confrontation with ex-friends Sting and Lex Luger, in the Battlebowl finals.   Steve DiSalvo will be NWA world champion in 1993, managed by Harley Race, and he’ll run rampant until losing the title to Owen Hart in ’94.  The closest level of infamy DiSalvo achieved was becoming the first, or one of the first, IWC internet memes in 1991.  But a dominant world champion in NWA/WCW, managed by Race and dominating throughout 1992-94, sound familiar?   Also, Owen DID use the Sharpshooter/Scorpion Death Lock as a finisher, like someone’s arch rival during his tenure in WCW.   C:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8408.JPGC:UsersStaff.INTERNALDocumentsJames folder151___12IMG_8214.JPG When making a predictions article, Apter always loved to throw in a tease that Hulk Hogan would be turning rulebreaker.  This was no exception, as the writers saw Hogan beating Brutus Beefcake for the Intercontinental Title in ’93, then going to the NWA…to join the Four Horsemen.  Again, SRW was a few years ahead, but we all know that this basically happened with Hogan returning to his heel roots with a new elite group in the company.  And hey, Hogan did leave the WWF in 1993, although it took time for him to first show up in WCW.   Other predictions made in the column included: Larry Zbyszko getting his own talk show on WWF TV and beating the Ultimate Warrior for the I-C title; Elizabeth beating Wendi Richter in a 26-minute classic in ’94 to become WWF Women’s Champion; and Nick Bockwinkel coming out of retirement and regaining the AWA title in the mid ‘90s.  (Well, the latter can be likened to a certain legend winning the #3 company’s world title, on their first pay per view…) So Sports Review Wrestling…second coming of Nostradamus, or not worth the $1.75 it cost?  You decide…

WCW: 1996 Year in Review

What a ride 1996 brought us on. People who were heroes became villains, and people who became WWF Intercontinental Champions were the cornerstones of WCW Prime. There were moments of great highs, and sometimes, very low lows.
But it is important not to spend all ones focus on The Public Enemy, because there were many months in the year (12, at my count), and as many as 4 complete shows did not feature them.
So grab a bowl of popcorn, sit back, and head back to where it all began, which like so many years before it, started in …
JANUARY

Following a gruelling Starrcade, Ric Flair surprised everyone by walking out with the belt for the first time in nearly 18 months. Backed by Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit, and Brian Pillman – one of the strongest Horsemen units in years – Ric Flair began a month-long quest to see how many different ways Hulk Hogan could beat him in under 30 days.
Despite dropping his first 19 matches of the year to Hogan, it was Randy Savage who would surprise everyone in capturing the WCW belt on the January 22 Nitro. Hulk Hogan demanded the first title shot 12 seconds after Savage’s win, and acted hurt when Savage took a little offense.
On that same show, Lex Luger would cheat to win the tag-team titles from Harlem Heat, with partner Sting. When the replay showed Lex having used a roll of silver dollars to score the win, an angry Sting demanded answers. Lex told Sting, with all sincerity, what he just saw never actually happened. Sting was satisfied.
Meanwhile, WCW pettiness was at its ugliest. Following the acquisition of a former WWF talent, Sting was tasked with squashing him on an early episode of WCW Prime, completely eliminating any chance he had of getting over in the long haul. These types of vindictive childish games were a large part of WCW’s eventual downfall. Dave Dalton really deserved better.
Lex Luger made short work of Cobra, an up and coming former federal CIA agent, turned wrestler, on WCW Saturday Night. Though seemingly innocuous at the time, Cobra would begin a year-long mission to seek revenge against the man of many pecs, plotting for the right moment to really make it count. To sting him, if you will.
The One Man Gang, crowned WCW US Champion at the tail end of 1995, went around the horn defending his belt against all-comers, including newcomer Super Giant Ninja. While failing to capture the belt, the Super Giant Ninja would live on all year through my obsession with hilariously tall jobbers.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
The match of the month is a ***1/2 affair between Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero on the January 15th edition of Prime. The match was interrupted twice; once by Brian Pillman to save Chris Benoit from being pinned, and another time to let us know we can buy The Century of War for $4.99 + shipping and handling.
The Hulk Hogan of Mexico, Konan, would burst on to the scene, defending the prestigious Mexican Heavyweight Title, which had roots dating all the way back to the earliest parts of January.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff is forced into retirement with neck problems. Many saddened fans were left with the same question: why couldn’t it have been Kevin Sullivan?
Sista Sherri and Colonel Parker’s wedding is halted, when it’s revealed that Madusa has exceptionally large breasts.
A mini-series, dedicated to the great WCW announcer, Mongo McMichael, airs in 10-minute parts on WCW Saturday Night. Former coach Mike Ditka spends several episodes detailing Mongo’s triceps.
Bobby Heenan expands his vocabulary during a Clash of Champions special.
And speaking of special…
FEBRUARY
Diamond Dallas Page rolls the dice in the biggest gamble of his life, putting his $6.6 million on the line in order to secure a TV title shot against Johnny B Badd, after having lost his previous 6 outings. This turns out to be about as wise an investment as Andy Beale’s foray into the space program, and Page is left homeless. Johnny swears complete and total devotion to DDP’s ex-wife Kimberly. He immediately disappears from all programming except WCW Prime.
On the same show, Brian Pillman decides he’d be better off whipping out his Johnson elsewhere than continue to be booked against Kevin Sullivan.
Ric Flair re-captures the WCW belt from Randy Savage, when Savage is betrayed by his ex-wife and her friend. Randy is completely shocked that his bitter ex, who spent years terrified and controlled by his insane jealousy, would turn her back on him again several years after their divorce. His best friend Hulk Hogan shows his support by immediately challenging for the title.
Hogan is granted a series of matches against Flair’s ally Arn Anderson instead, and loses all of them. For some reason, I feel compelled to repeat this at ad nauseum for months afterwards.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Konan captures the United States title from One Man Gang. The TV title is immediately recognized as the #2 belt in the company.
Color commentator Mongo McMichael dresses up his pet ferret to look like cupid on Valentine’s Day. Former coach Mike Ditka details Mongo’s trip to Petcetera, where the costume was purchased, as part of WCW’s continuing Saturday Night miniseries.
50-year old, 500 pound European wrestler, Loch Ness makes his debut for the Dungeon of Doom. Armed with less mobility than the Great Khali, he is put over every young talent in the company.
David Finlay draws a great deal of attention when it’s discovered that his giant brown mullet was actually ripped directly off the head of Brad Armstrong. As a result, he and Steven Regal can’t stop punching each other in the nose for several months.
VK Wallstreet clarifies his 1996 goals, by naming the top wrestlers he wishes to defeat. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and the Shark. I am not making this up.
Ric Flair and Randy Savage wrestle one more time, and put on the match of the month at ***1/2 on February 19th. The Zodiac is taken by their awesome display of wrestling, and decides to start wearing see-through pants and calling himself “the Booty Man” seconds after its conclusion.
DDP’s ring attire and Mercedes Benz are repossessed.
Things would sink even lower in…
MARCH
The Alliance to End Hulkamania hits its apex, as 8 of the group’s members challenge the Megapowers to a handicap match inside a Doomsday Cage. The rules, never fully clear, either before or during the show, led to a lot of confusion. Adding further problems, was the renaming of Ludwrench Perkins “The Ultimate Solution”, causing more than a few insensitivity complaints.
Hulk Hogan, realizing that things were getting ugly, smooths things over by booking the match to run 25 minutes. Wrestlers are chained in and outside of the cage, with Savage and Hogan sliding in and out like survivors of Jurassic Park. Still, a sport to the end, realizing he had no business winning this match with the odds so heavily stacked for the heels, Hogan pins World Champion Ric Flair following an errant coal miner’s glove, and insists on a title shot. The match is one of the most memorable of the year, picking up an epic rating of -*****.
Meanwhile, hot newcomer, The Giant, would continue his path of destruction, sending Loch Ness back to Europe, and ending the careers of both Dave Sullivan and Ralph the Rabbit. Fans openly ask why his brother Kevin could not have followed suit.
Lex Luger and Cobra once again meet on a loaded edition of Saturday Night. Lex again dispatches of the CIA agent, with some illegal assistance from good friend Jimmy Hart. Sting tries to mend the fences, but Cobra doesn’t hear of it. He returns to the tactical unit to work on a cerebral mind-trick to split up the reigning tag-team champions. A hard deadline of 180 days is set.
The tag-team division is turned upside down with a series of memorable returns and matches. While the Road Warriors and Steiners are given heroes’ welcomes, it’s actually Men at Work and the Barrio Brothers who truly leave the division with more questions than answers.
The Faces of Fear destroy Buck Quartermaine and Mike Winner, kicking off a love-affair for one particular recapper.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay and Steven Regal stop punching each other long enough to enter the ring separately at Uncensored, and then immediately resume punching each other. They are given **** for their effort; the match of the month.

Johnny B Badd appears at Wrestlemania. In response, WCW Prime is now sponsored by the Badd Blaster.
During one night of festivities, Ric Flair nearly comes to blows with an irate Mongo McMichael. This is replayed heavily on WCW Saturday Night, hosted by former coach Mike Ditka.
DDP has his career repossessed.
Sadly, nothing would repossess the memories of…
APRIL
Bootymania runs mild! Partnered as Hulk Hogan’s pants-free friend, Bootyman seduces Kimberly Page. Wrestling fans rejoice, understanding that with Kimberly’s lowered expectations, they might actually have a shot! Bootyman is given a World Title match, and in a rare display of comradery, Hogan demands one too.
Instead, it is The Giant who unseats Ric Flair on the final Nitro of April, hitting a chokeslam on the champion right out of the Figure Four. Giant had turned babyface to ally with Sting for a cup of coffee at the start of the month, before reverting to his heel ways. This would continue to be a trend for the next 20 years.
Women’s wrestling is pushed to the forefront, and leading the division is Madusa, who is given a number of highly competitive 2 minute losses to Colonel Robert Parker.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay and Steve Regal continue to punch each other at a frantic pace, generating their second **** affair in as many months in the parking lot of the April 29th Nitro. Finlay wins after piledriving Regal on the roof of Heenan’s rental car.
Johnny B Badd takes over as lead commentary on WCW Prime.
Meng wrestles Hacksaw Duggan to a **1/2 match. This is not a joke.
DDP has his house repossessed.
After weeks of fighting each other to a series of draws, Scott Norton and Ice Train figure that if they collectively can’t beat each other, they must be the toughest wrestlers on earth and should form a tag-team. Thus, Fire and Ice debuts, losing every match they ever wrestle together.
And on the topic of huge debuts…
MAY
Following months of anticipation, things finally come to a head on the Memorial Day episode of WCW Nitro. No longer under WWF contract, and one of WCW’s finest all time acquisitions makes his debut to much surprise. Going head to head with RAW, WCW makes their move, and brings out the former Blake Beverly, now dubbed “The Mauler”. Realizing this could tip the ratings scales for good, the WWF panics, and sends in Razor Ramon to interfere in the match.
Meanwhile, a series of vignettes begin airing on Nitro, indicating that BLOOD RUNS COLD. Speculation begins regarding this mysterious wrestler, who is expected to debut at any time.
Lex Luger misses a series of scheduled World Title matches, using an array of excuses lifted from an 18-year old McDonalds employee. Young, enthusiastic Marcus Bagwell offers to wrestle in place of Luger, giving him a chance to show off his wide array of dropkicks.
Displaying Ali-like reactionary skills, WCW suspends Randy Savage for being “too insane”. They are also said to be investigating claims that Ric Flair drinks too much, and Hulk Hogan is losing his hair. Many frustrated fans call WCW to demand Kevin Sullivan also be suspended.
The Lethal Lottery rears its ugly head at Slamboree, and it’s DDP, armed with millions of dollars via a mysterious benefactor, who wins the Battle Royale, and prestigious ring and eventual World Title shot. The title shot is immediately repossessed.
The WCW Road Report is conducted from the house of Mongo McMichael by former coach Mike Ditka.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Fit Finlay mysteriously disappears. Steven Regal punches Jeeves, but it’s not the same.
Cobra begins a winning streak, while Dusty Rhodes embarks on a mission to crack the “Morris” code of Cobra’s theme music. Fans with particularly good listening are able to make out L … E … X … L … U … before the commercial break.
The match of the month is delivered on the May 6th edition of Nitro from an unlikely pair. Randy Savage and Hugh Morrus put on a hellacious **** brawl, complete with Morrus stealing Savage’s ring-attire and doing Macho Man imitations.
“Lifeguard” Steve Collins wrestles Buddy Valentine on one particularly delightful edition of WCW Prime. Head Prime referee Johnny B Badd calls it the finest match he’s ever officiated.
Hulk Hogan takes a brief hiatus, but films a segment from his latest movie shoot on the beach, where he keeps us abreast of his demands to receive a World Title shot.
The real shots would be fired in…
JUNE
After weeks of back and forth drama and escalating tension, tempers finally brewed over and Big Bubba cut off half the hair of The Shark. Now without the backing of the Dungeon of Doom, Shark delivers a heartfelt promo where he admits, despite much speculation to the contrary, that he was a man, not a fish.
Meanwhile, at the Great American Bash, Razor Ramon and Diesel continue their path of destruction by putting WCW Executive Vice President Eric Bischoff through a table. WCW stars unite, challenging the pair to a match at the following month’s pay-per-view. Even the absent Hulk Hogan weighs in, demanding an immediate title shot.
Bobby Heenan returns to managing one more time, joining the Four Horsemen in a battle against football brethren Mongo McMichael and Kevin Greene. Proving once again to be smarter than everyone else in wrestling, Heenan pays off Mongo to throw the match and join the Horsemen. Everyone is disgusted by this turn of events, including former coach Mike Ditka who dedicates the entire month of WCW Saturday Night to its continued coverage.
Blood continues to run cold, as our mysterious new wrestler appears to be named “Glacier”. He is a dual threat, having both a brown and blue eye. He promises to be arriving very soon.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Diamond Dallas Page continues his winning streak, armed with a new swagger since being gifted millions from his benefactor. His swagger is immediately repossessed.
Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan wind up brawling through the men’s room on pay-per-view. The addition of urinals, and the possibility of a career ending injury to Kevin Sullivan pushes this match to *****, easily the best of the entire year.
The newly established “Cruiserweight” division finds its first superstar in 21-year old Rey Mysterio Jr. Weighing little more than an official US minted silver dollar, Rey wows audiences with his high flying maneuvers, and appallingly awful interviews.
Johnny B Badd begins booking WCW Prime.
A new jobber named “Johnny Wild”, looking like David Spade’s “Joe Dirt”, challenges Lord Steven Regal on a star-studded Saturday Night. Regal, having spent most of the month looking for Fit Finlay, punches him in the nose repeatedly.
Sadly, we would continue to receive no mention of Finlay in the month of …
JULY
Razor Ramon and Diesel finally make their in-ring debuts, challenging any 3 members of WCW’s roster against their trio of the both of them. Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage step up to the plate, but Luger is injured early and unable to assist. Still, WCW keeps it together, until Hulk Hogan returns. Angry about a denied title shot, Hogan hits Savage with the atomic legdrop and tells the fans to stick it. This was the birth of the New World Order.
More disturbingly, Diamond Dallas Page is missing his Battlebowl Ring, and locks down the entire building, frisking everyone from the announcers, producers, and even Johnny B Badd who is on his way to a taping of WCW Prime.
Glacier is about to change, because blood runs the fury of a cold warrior. Loosely translated: He’s coming soon.
Greg Valentine arrives to a Nitro taping, and while greeting old friends backstage, finds himself accidentally placed in a match with Randy Savage. Valentine is pinned in seconds, having not been given his requisite hour to get warmed up.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Masked acrobats, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Psychosis, put on an unbelievable show during Bash at the Beach that would leave Guy Laliberte needing a change of pants. At ****1/2, this is the match of the month.
Rough and Ready lose their first of 478 consecutive matches to Harlem Heat.
The Dungeon of Doom reveal their latest device in their war against Hulkamania: A hyperactive cannibal leprechaun named “Braun”. The fans don’t take to the silly gimmick, calling for more realistic storylines, like a retirement party for Kevin Sullivan.
Joe Gomez, Alex Wright, The Renegade, and Jim Powers discover they all have nipples. They form an alliance.
But alliances would be tested in…
AUGUST
Celebrating Hulk Hogan’s 44th birthday, longtime friend and ally, Brutus “The Zodiac Butcher Barber Furface Booty Boulder” Beefcake presents a cake to his good friend. Hogan destroys the cake, screaming “I HAVE HYPOGLYCEMIA!” and orders new best friends Scott and Kevin to destroy him. With the ring covered in cake, Hogan eyeballs his old buddy, and immediately demands a title shot, despite having captured it from the Giant moments earlier.
“Lord” Steven Regal upsets Lex Luger to capture the TV title for an unprecedented 3rd time. Regal cuts an emotional interview afterwards, vowing to defend his title against anyone in the world who wants a shot … but only after he solves the mystery of the missing Fit Finlay, who his fists miss dearly. Regal isn’t seen again for months.
And speaking of Lex Luger, he and Sting spend an entire episode of Nitro chasing a limousine. Failing to capture the elusive automobile, they challenge old “Stretch” to a rooftop match at Halloween Havoc, as is tradition.
Decorated Japanese star, Jushin Liger, is brought back to WCW to bolster its incredible Cruiserweight division. He is given several high profile matches on top syndicated program, WCW Prime, by president elect Johnny B Badd.
The Dungeon of Doom are given a 5 minute segment prior to Road Wild, where they take us through the misty caves. Through a series of mysterious doors, this turns out to be the bunker in which the members live. Cannibal “Braun” The Leprechaun has the most open concept room; as he’s replaced his door with a cloud of orange smoke. Disturbingly, The Giant’s door is much smaller than his 7’0” 400 pound frame can handle, leading to a probe by the Human Rights Commission.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
“Mean” Gene Okerlund promises exciting news on the WCW Hotline about an interesting debut that is right around the corner. It turns out it’s just Glacier, who’s coming.
Diamond Dallas Page has his winning streak repossessed at the Clash of Champions.
Joe Gomez and the Renegade invite High Voltage to tag with them on an episode of Saturday Night. They are on the losing end of a beating from the Horsemen, largely due to the fact High Voltage wears singlets, covering their nipples.
Marcus Bagwell has an affair with Jim Powers.
The match of the month is fought at Hog Wild, where The Ultimate Dragon makes his WCW debut against Rey Mysterio Jr. in a fantastic **** affair. Rey retains the Cruiserweight title, but is unable to capture Sonny Onoo.
Controversy would rear its ugly head in…
SEPTEMBER
The Four Horsemen challenge the nWo to a showdown at Fall Brawl under the traditional War Games banner. Sting and Lex Luger beg for inclusion, resulting in the exile of Mongo McMichael. Mongo McMichael warns the pair not to drop the ball. Former coach Mike Ditka sits down with Eric Bischoff to discuss Mongo’s lack of fumbles throughout his career on a special edition of WCW Saturday Night.
Cobra finally strikes. Months of preparation lead to a dramatic moment on Monday Nitro, when the beret wearing superstar joins forces with the mysterious limousine. Lex Luger attacks the car alone, and has his mind blown when he sees Cobra wearing Sting’s facepaint inside. Devastated, Luger draws the conclusion that the paint must have come from Sting, despite his friend’s protests to the contrary. At Fall Brawl, Sting confronts Luger with a receipt from Dollarama, proving Cobra purchased the facepaint alone. Luger apologizes, but Sting retreats to the rafters to consider his next move.
The nWo expands its ranks, adding the 1-2-3 Kid, Miss Elizabeth, Ted DiBiase, The Giant, Nick Patrick, and Kyle Petty. However, it’s the curious inclusion of the Nasty Boys that gets a lot of press from Internet Wrestling Fans and sparks much debate. During their initial meet and greet party, Jerry Saggs shocks WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff, when he reveals he has an asshole. Party host Hollywood Hogan shares Bischoff’s disgust, angrily admitting his mistake in inviting them, by demanding a title shot.
A one hour tribute to the fallen Fit Finlay airs on WCW Prime, featuring an update on television champion Steven Regal, who has been travelling through Europe in search of answers. It is considered one of the most touching interviews of the year, according to President of Prime, Johnny B Badd.
The long-awaited debut of Super Calo occurs this month. Calo wrestles Rey Mysterio Jr. at the Fall Brawl pay-per-view, and despite being a long-shot underdog, manages to keep his hat on throughout the entire match.
And on the topic of debuts, after a 6 month journey, Glacier finally arrives on September 16th. He is scheduled to wrestle Big Bubba, but it’s cut for time purposes following Glacier’s 84 minute entrance and martial arts show. Through his 300 year old mask, he vows to come again.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
The Faces of Fear begin a four month odyssey of balls out work, carrying lacklustre wrestlers Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson to a **** match on Prime, which is the finest of the month.
Dusty Rhodes is unable to make it to WCW Saturday Night, having made a wrong turn at the Pay Windah on his way through the Mothaship. He blames that Debulush Woman for his filibusterin’ around.
The Booty Beefcake gives a candid interview on the topic of Hulk Hogan. While the betrayal has left him questioning whether or not he can ever wrestle again, he does feel he’ll return if given a big pay raise.
Diamond Dallas Page has his heel heat repossessed.
“Braun” the Leprechaun eats Prince Iaukea. Using modern technology, many fans surf on over to WCW.com, where they campaign to have Kevin Sullivan devoured next.
Unfortunately, Sullivan would remain uneaten through…
OCTOBER
Former Yeti and Ninja, Ron Studd is placed under intense scrutiny when he curiously debuts using Fit Finlay’s music. The search for Finlay proves to be fruitless, as Steven Regal returns from a 2 month investigative search of Europe. Frustrated, and without hope, the TV champion is forced to ask himself “what would Hulk Hogan do?” Later on Nitro, he demands a World title shot.
However, it’s Randy Savage, cleared of the insanity charges, who is granted the first crack at Hogan’s title belt. Realizing this might be his last chance at glory, Randy spends the month in lockdown, crying about his lost Elizabeth. This turns out to be an ineffective strategy against Hulk Hogan’s ridiculous wig.
Super Calo is put out of action following a particularly nasty leg injury. He won’t return for the rest of the year; but the luchadore remains optimistic, as he successfully gets through surgery without once losing his hat.
WCW Prime signs off for the last time, with a special 1-hour tribute to Johnny B Badd, as narrated by Johnny B Badd.
Debuting this month is a family bonded superstar who is bound to carry us through the next millennium. He is clearly the anointed choice to lead WCW against the nWo. Given a chance to showcase his arsenal against the crafty veteran Arn Anderson, brother of recently retired Ricky, Vic Steamboat puts on a DUD of a clinic on Saturday Night.
Also Jeff Jarrett debuts.
Ultimately, the big news of the month is the returning Roddy Piper, who debuts at Halloween Havoc. Refusing to let bygones be gone, Roddy tells Hulk Hogan he’s a disgrace. The announcers declare this the biggest moment in the history of WCW.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Pat Tanaka, clearly over the weight limit, gets a Cruiserweight title shot, paving the way for future superstars like Oklahoma.
Lex Luger’s hair is granted its own area code at Halloween Havoc.
Road Block, a gigantic brickhouse of a man, who carries a road block on his shoulders, takes over WCW Saturday Night, and demands a match with Randy Savage immediately. Savage, the #1 contender to the title, declines, leaving Dusty Wolfe to try and destroy this Goliath. A wild 37 seconds follows, and gets the holy grail of match ratings, a perfect *****, best of the month.
The nWo are gifted their own segment on Saturday night, which is simulcast on Skinemax, due to the overwhelming masturbation.
Sting begins writing angst-ridden poetry, with the first one titled “WCW, My One, My Only”. Larry Zbyszko speculates that Sting has joined the nWo.
Sting would have a much bigger impact in…
NOVEMBER
Frustrated by the lack of leadership in WCW, a silent Sting, clad in a homemade “I <3 WCW” t-shirt, descends from the rafters to confront a mouthy Jeff Jarrett about his loyalty. Larry Zbyszko throws his headset in disgust at Sting’s obvious jump to the nWo.
All eyes turn to World War 3, where a 3-ring 60-man battle royal will determine the #1 contender to Hulk Hogan’s World Title. Hogan responds by twerking at the end of every Nitro for some reason.
A mysterious video tape is handed to Tony Schiavone by a random guardrail jumping fan. Tony insists that whatever’s on this tape MUST be played immediately. This turns out to be a bad decision on his part, as the content features all 4 minutes of Roddy Piper’s “I’m Your Man” German music video. Embarrassed, WCW promises to make things right, and plays the video on a continuous loop for the next 2 weeks.
Completely humiliated, Roddy Piper returns to WCW to confront Eric Bischoff, and exposes him as a fraud. Bischoff admits that yes, Piper’s correct, but that everyone has known this for years and he isn’t exactly breaking new ground.
Meanwhile, WCW finally rallies the troops to end this nWo problem once and for all, by introducing a new Women’s title and holding a tournament to crown the first champion.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
“Braun” the Leprechaun passes away following a bout of Kuru; contracted by his cannibalism. Newcomer Jack Boot points out that Hugh Morrus is exhibiting similar symptoms, while fans suggest Kevin Sullivan might consider trying cannibalism.
At 240 pounds, Scotty Riggs receives a Cruiserweight title shot. John Tenta considers becoming a Cruiserweight.
The nWo begins showing DDP preferential treatment, helping him win matches. Page insists he doesn’t need help from anyone, except perhaps a lawyer to prevent anything else from being repossessed.
Jim Duggan threatens to beat up someone named Terry Hogan. Petrified, Terry never debuts in WCW.
Rey Mysterio Jr. and The Ultimate Dragon tear down the house once more, wrestling a ****1/2 classic at World War 3. The Dragon captures the Cruiserweight title, adding it to his massive collection of walking title belts. “Mean” Gene Okerlund announces on his Hotline that the belts don’t actually have legs, and pulls back the curtain to reveal Sonny Onoo.
Juventud Guerrera makes waves by signing the first ever contract that includes WCW title shots on every show. Juvi fails to win any of the titles he competes for, but it sets the stage for Hulk Hogan to consider renegotiating his own deal.
But the only deal being negotiated comes in…
DECEMBER
Live coverage of Roddy Piper hits fever pitch, with round the clock updates of his past segments. Highlights, such as the time he arrived at Halloween Havoc, the time he got in Bischoff’s face, and the time he made a horrible music video in Germany, are played on a continuous stream on TBS. Hulk Hogan, in his most charitable move of the year, offers to wrestle him in a non-title match if he’ll stop airing the music video.
A tournament to find a new United States Champion comes to a head at Starrcade, and Eddie Guerrero pins Diamond Dallas Page to capture the gold. Having expected a heavily favored DDP to win, the repo men take the belt anyway and award it to Syxx.
Sting also makes an appearance at WCW Starrcade, handing his baseball bat to WCW leader, Lex Luger, to defeat nWo member The Giant. Scrawled on the bat reads “Lex, please take me back, I miss you, I miss everyone in WCW, I just want you to want me.” Larry Zbyszko considers this the most damning evidence to date that Sting is the new leader of the nWo.
The Faces of Fear take back-to-back losses to close out the year, causing one particular recapper to write angry letters to Ted Turner himself. Turner would reply, informing the lunatic that WCW went out of business 14 years ago.
Screenshot of the month:
In other news…
Sergeant Buddy Lee Parker makes his return after a 10 month leave of absence, taking the roster spot of Jack Boot. Lieutenant James Earl is unable to return, having been promoted to lead investigator in the Fit Finlay story.
After the disappointment of Vic Steamboat in October, WCW calls upon another wrestling family to try and sew the seeds of tradition back into the company’s proverbial quilt. Unfortunately, that person is David Sammartino, who is immediately asked to leave by irate WCW fans, and “to take Kevin Sullivan with you!”
Sullivan is going nowhere, however, needing to avenge the loss of his wife to young stallion Chris Benoit. Benoit taunts the much older Sullivan by sending a number of adult films featuring he and Woman in a series of poses that would re-write the Kamasutra series. Benoit declares this a “killer partnership”, and adds “this won’t be remotely awkward to look back on in several years”.
And as we close out a memorable year in wrestling, it’s important to remember that while we experienced a number of lows, which was not limited to the Nasty Boys, we also got introduced to a colorful new cast of characters that are bound to carry this company for the next 20 years. During a 10-part series that aired in December, former coach Mike Ditka predicted Mongo McMichael would one day have a more colorful legacy than Hulk Hogan.

For reasons even he could not have predicted, he would not be wrong. But that’s to be saved for another year.

Yearly Review: 2CW 2006

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Squared Circle Wrestling (2CW) is a popular independent wrestling company that primarily runs its shows in the Upstate New York area. The company made its debut on April 8th, 2006 and has provided many memorable moments throughout the years. Many are not aware of the dream matches and hidden gems that have occurred in areas like Syracuse, Watertown, Rome, Binghamton, Rochester, Elmira and Oswego.

Lets take a look at the rise of 2CW through the years, starting at the beginning.
06
Spike Dudley vs. Zaquary Springate III & Isys Ephex 

Many times independent companies rely on a veteran wrestler in the early stages of its existence to help put over the local talents. For 2CW, that guy was Spike Dudley. On July 5th, 2005, Spike was released from his WWE contract and ventured off onto the independents. Spike would be part of the first show to take place on April 8th, and his exposure would continue when he returned to television with Total Non-Stop Action on April 13th.

Spike’s impact on 2CW was immediate.

His first feud was with local wrestler Zaquary Springate III. Springate was a snob from England and put down the New York area any time he could. In what had to be a surprise, Springate was victorious over Spike in the main event of the first show, Living on the Edge.

Springate is a graduate of trainer Killer Kowalski and often holds his own in the ring, as evident by his victory over Spike.

Their feud would continue to the second show on May 8th, which saw Spike gain a victory in a Syracuse street fight.

Afterward, Isys Ephex came out and brutally attacked Spike Dudley to set up a second feud for the former ECW/WWE star. It would take Ephex roughly four times to put Spike through a table because the table wouldn’t break. Tables not breaking for the company would become a common theme.

The third show was the promotions biggest show to date as it happened at the OnCenter. Ephex and Dudley were the main event and the bout was contested with the stipulation of a tables match. Spike prevailed by managing to put Ephex through the table with a double stomp. The feud between these two would not be over.

They would meet again at the fifth show, fittingly named Unfinished Business on September 16th in Syracuse. The trend of violence between Isys and Spike continued as they competed in a dog collar match. Ephex would earn the biggest win of his 2CW career, by pinning Spike after a Burning Hammer on a chair. Afterward, Spike wanted a death match at the next show while Isys wanted a pure wrestling match.

They wouldn’t meet at the next show in Utica due to Spike obligations with TNA, who had Bound For Glory the same weekend that year.

Spike would return for the last show of the year which was again in Syracuse. This time, Isys and Spike would compete in a thirty minute ironman match. Spike would lose the match seventeen falls to two. Not because Isys was that much of a dominate force, but rather because Spike refused to follow the rules and got himself disqualified fifteen times. Regardless, Isys had two victories over Spike and his stock in the promotion was on the rise.

Killer Steves vs. All Money Is Legal
Steve Mckenzie and Steve Kruz compromised the team of the Killer Steves while K-Murda and K-Pusha were known as All Money Is Legal. Murda and Pusha had actually garnered some success prior to arriving in 2CW having appeared for Combat Zone Wrestling, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Unplugged and NWA Cyberspace, which had a loose association with TNA.

Anyway, these four guys would be continually fighting for quite sometime and in 2006 they were involved in matches with each other on six of the seven shows. When it came to straight tag team matches, they had four matches with each team getting two victories. At the time, 2CW didn’t have much depth in the tag division, but more times than not, AMIL and the Steves put together entertaining bouts. They were the pioneers to what the tag division would eventually consist of.

There is much more between these two teams in future Yearly Review installments.

 
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Too Cold Scorpio vs. Slyck Wagner Brown, Slyck rises to the top of the heap. 

Slyck Wagner Brown had been a well traveled independent wrestler by the time 2006 rolled around. Slyck had worked for ROH in 2003/2004 and held the JAPW Heavyweight Championship during the same time. His most accomplishing feat was defeating Christopher Daniels at the ECW Arena to claim the 3PW Heavyweight Championship. That was around the time I had became a fan of Slyck and his ability in the ring.

Scorpio, as many know, was quite popular in the 1990s having spectacular matches with Sabu, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko. He was one of the first American wrestlers to highlight his high risk moves and the 450 splash that had never really been used previously.

Both men made their debut at the third show for the company, which was the OnCenter debut. Scorpio would get the win after 15+ minute match, but it made it clear that not only could Scorpio still go in the ring, but Slyck was something special and the veteran the company needed on every show.

They’d meet the following month at Unfinished Business and Scorpio won yet again in a no time limit match. Sure, Slyck lost both matches but he got an immediate boost in creditability from a crowd that hadn’t been exposed to the Underground King in person.

Some may have thought that Slyck would only be capable of great matches with established names but that was proven to be false.

Instead, Slyck had a competitive match with Dizzie, the leader of AMIL and perhaps the match of the year for 2CW when he defeated Isys Ephex in a great match that showcased both men very well.

While Spike Dudley was the biggest name for the company in terms of the drawing power, people were leaving the arenas remembering Slyck Wagner Brown. After just a handful of shows, Slyck was one of the top baby faces for the startup company.

Zaquary Springate/Gordy Wallace Feud
Shortly after his feud with Spike, Springate turned to his attention to the blue collar country boy, Gordy Wallace. Their issues started at the Unfinished Business show on September 16th. Wallace teamed with WWE Legend Tony Atlas, whom Springate had defeated at the OnCenter show in July. Springate viciously attacked Wallace with a steel chair and a barbed wire bat.

Their violent feud would see Springate win a no holds barred match in October and Wallace win a “front row brings straps match” in November. Their feud would continue in 2007.

Johnny Law Tries To Prevent Steve King From Entering 2CW
If the name Steve King sounds familiar, that would be because King was a former enhancement talent that was often on WWF television in the early 1990s putting over several of the top guys in the business.

King would be involved in a feud with Johnny Law, the resident cop for 2CW. Law didn’t want King in the company, but King would fight his way through security and eventually be involved with 2CW. They had a few matches, which saw King defeat Law rather easily.

Law did manage to get one win out of a handful when he hit King with a box full of donuts that also had a brick in it. Both men wouldn’t see much more 2CW action from here on out.

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Loca Vida vs. JD Love – It’s Only The Beginning 

Towards the end of the year, a feud that would become one of the longest feuds in 2CW history began. Loca Vida is a masked luchadore from Mexico… New York. JD Love was an overweight, flamboyant wrestler who’s wrestling gear would often not cover his chest and other areas.

Despite the odd pairing, the two had some kind of chemistry and their matches, while not great, were entertaining and the fans remained interested. Vida won two matches they had at the tail end of 2006, but the feud would take part for most of 2007.

Jason Axe Has An Attitude Change 
On the early shows for 2CW, Axe was a just a young kid working his way up the card. The very first show he just wanted to play his guitar for the fans and was beaten up by Johnny Law for doing so.

Axe teamed with WWE Legend King Kong Bundy in a losing effort against Zaquary Springate III and JD Love on August 18th.

The following month at Unfinished Business, Axe stated that he was the main event wrestler for the company. With the attitude change Axe traded wins with Ajax 820.

Axe refused to work the opening match at the November show. He would compete in a match where he took on two other tag teams. Axe actually won the match involving the teams of Dizzie & Ajax 820 and the Killer Steves.

2006 wasn’t much of a year for Jason Axe, but 2007 would be a breakout year for the “Main Event” Jason Axe.

Anytime a professional wrestling company starts up, the first year is always a rough time. Squared Circle Wrestling had its rough times but the pieces for the company and its future was put into place very early.

As you can see, 2CW brought in a few popular names such as Spike Dudley, King Kong Bundy, and 2 Cold Scorpio. They also brought in the New Age Outlaws for a one-time deal for the OnCenter show, which saw them defeat JD Love and Gordy Wallace.

Very few guys would be with the company after the first year, but it was evident that Slyck Wagner Brown was the top guy for the company in terms of ability.

Moving forward, 2CW would continually bring in top names, champions from other companies and dream matches never happening in any other promotion would take place in Upstate New York’s top independent company.


Notable Matches: 

2 Cold Scorpio vs. Slyck Wagner Brown – 2CW OnCenter
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Slyck Wagner Brown – 2CW Field Of Dreams
Slyck Wagner Brown vs. Dizzie – 2CW Unfinished Business
Slyck Wagner Brown vs. Isys Ephex – 2CW Field Of Dreams

 Notable Names Brought In:
Spike Dudley, Too Cold Scorpio, Tony Atlas, King Kong Bundy, Billy Gunn, Road Dogg

To learn more about 2CW, head over to their website www.2cwwrestling.com


For more wrestling columns and reviews, head over to WRESTLING RECAPS.

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