Revolution 2021 Date: March 7, 2021 Location: Daily’s Place, Jacksonville, Florida Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Excalibur, Jim Ross
There is something rather pleasing about having another AEW pay per view. The company has such a great track record with these things and it should be awesome to see what they can do again. The main event is an exploding barbed wire deathmatch because….I have no idea why but it is certainly going to get them some attention. Let’s get to it.
Revolution Date: February 29, 2020 Location: Wintrust Arena, Chicago, Illinois Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Excalibur, Jim Ross
We’re back on pay per view for the first time in a good while as AEW is much more of a TV company than a major event company. The top of the card looks stacked this time around too and we could be in for a rather big night. The main event is Chris Jericho vs. Jon Moxley for the World Title, but there are two other matches that could easily headline. Let’s get to it.
Impact Wrestling Date: July 22, 2015 Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida Commentators: D’Angelo Dinero, Josh Matthews
We have a boss to counter the Reign of Carter now as Bully Ray was appointed the new man in charge last week. That leaves us in need of a new challenger as Kurt Angle is on the shelf, meaning we might be getting someone new in the main event scene. Other than that though, we have the fallout of Eli Drake turning on his former Rising teammate, Drew Galloway, after costing him the World Title last week. Let’s get to it.
Impact Wrestling Date: July 8, 2015 Location: Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida Commentators: D’Angelo Dinero, Josh Matthews
We’re officially in the Ethan Carter III era, which means tonight is going to be a big celebration. It’s going to be interesting to see where the company goes with Ethan on top, because he was clearly the next logical choice to take the title. Oh and Dixie is back. Yes, about a year after she left, Dixie Carter makes her big return tonight to either congratulate or help deal with her nephew, because the world just wouldn’t be complete without the Duchess of Darlin out there to guide us through life. Let’s get to it.
Hi Scott Hope you and your family are well I’ve been giving some thought of getting back into reviewing shows again. Back when I did it for Pulse Wrestling, I’d do the traditional “play by play” review style for matches. That got a bit tiresome though and, to be perfectly honest, it was far too much like your review style. (Seriously, I basically had my own version of all your best lines. Instead of “BONZO GONZO” for example I had “HOUSE EN FEUGO”) I’ve had a go at a new review style and I was wondering if you’d mind posting this to the blog just so I can get some opinions on it? As it stands, I’m not looking at going back to reviewing full time, but if there’s elements here that The Doomers like I might be able to cultivate them and it could motivate me to start doing reviews more often. So yeah, I’m essentially looking to do some market research if that’s okay with yourself? It’s cool if not of course, but I just thought I’d ask on the off chance. This might start up some discussion on the blog as well as I’ve actually been quite favourable to the two most hated matches on the show, not even intentionally to popcorn either, I genuinely don’t hate them that much. I’ll post the review below. In the meantime, take care of yourself and all the best! Mike WWE New Years Revolution The WWE Network has been substantially eating into my life since I signed up just before the Royal Rumble. Despite the odd case of bizarre music dubbing (Prince Iaukea’s faux “Purple Rain” theme is edited out but X-Factors “Uncle Kracker” theme remains intact?) I’ve been having a mighty fine time watching the shows and Pay Per Views that I had never seen before but had always wanted to. I’ve also been re-watching shows that I have seen before, just to see whether the crusty hands of time have altered my memories of them in anyway. Sometimes I’ll want to watch a show for a particular reason, but other times I’ll just skim through the shows on offer until I see one that I feel like watching. New Years Revolution was a show I hadn’t watched since way back in 2005 when it first happened. I remember being a bit “meh” on it when it first happened, while also remembering a lot of people on the internet complaining about it. Thus, I decided to watch it again. The event took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico. To my knowledge, this has been the first and last time that WWE produced a live Pay Per View Event from Puerto Rico. The crowd were, understandably, excited to see such a big event. Commentators for the show were Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, with Jonathon Coachman popping in towards the end as well. Opening Match Raw Tag Titles Champions – William Regal and Eugene Vs Challengers – Tyson Tomko and Christian The Background This was back before the Raw and Smackdown Tag Titles had been unified. The Eugene character was an interesting one to say the least. Played by Nick Dinsmore, Eugene was Eric Bischoff’s storyline nephew who had some form of Special Needs. It was never outright said by WWE that this was the case, but it was strongly implied that he was mentally ill (Although WWE never felt it was relevant to furnish us with what Mental Illness he actually had) As a consequence, Eugene had a childlike innocence to him. His other main character trait was that he was a huge wrestling fan, who had watched wrestling so much that he had developed the ability to copy the moves of his favourite wrestlers like some form of savant. At first, the gimmick was popular and it looked like Eugene was going to reach higher parts of the card than originally expected. However, during the summer of 2004 he’d taken part in a feud with Triple H, which had ended with him being decisively beaten. He faded into the mid card before becoming nothing more than enhancement talent. Upon his debut, William Regal had been assigned to Eugene by Eric Bischoff, so as to look after him. At first Regal had hated the idea, but during the ensuing months, he grew to care for Eugene and they ended up firm friends and Tag Team Champions to boot. Tomko was essentially just Christian’s muscle, brought in to be his “Problem Solver”. Christian himself was firmly entrenched as a sneaky mid card heel. He would eventually leave WWE later in 2005, frustrated with his lack of push. There wasn’t really a particular heated storyline going into this. Christian and Tomko were essentially just “Challengers of the Month” and this was the show they were to get their shot. The Match Pretty much a standard opening tag contest. Eugene performed a lot of comedy in the opening exchanges, which the crowd responded to reasonably well. Eugene and Christian entered solid enough performances but Regal had an off night and Tomko wasn’t particularly good at this point in his career. There were a couple of instances where Tomko and Regal were on different pages and had some sloppy exchanges as consequence. Christian entered a serviceable performance. He looked annoyed at Eugene when he was supposed to, taunted the crowd now and then and was basically just “there”. Disappointing from him really, considering his experience in tag wrestling. Tomko lumbered around and did what he could. Regal seemed to not have his head together at all for this for some reason. Maybe he was carrying an injury or was struggling with fatigue due to the travel involved to get to San Juan? Heels got the heat on Eugene as well as a further heat on Regal. Eugene got the hot tag but injured himself during his comeback. He threw a dropkick and landed very badly on his leg, causing a legit injury. The match was hastily ended, with Eugene getting a weak roll up on Tomko. WINNERS – EUGENE AND REGAL RATING – *1/2 OVERALL THOUGHTS – Standard formula tag match with an abrupt ending due to Eugene’s injury. Can’t really fault any of the guys in the match for the finish, as they were making the best of a bad situation. The match up to that point had been average at best and would have probably ended up around the ** mark if the ending had gone as planned. Basic opener that the crowd responded to well. I should point out that there were numerous skits by the swimming pool involving Maria, Christy Hemme, Candice Michelle and Stacy Keibler in bikini’s. It all built up to them having a chicken fight in the pool. It was what it was, but didn’t really add anything to the show and I must question actually paying to take them to San Juan just for that. Second Match Women’s Title Champion – Lita Vs Challenger – Trish Stratus The Background In storyline, Lita had been forced to marry Kane and was due to give birth to his Demon Spawn™ until an unforeseen accident, which we’ll cover in more detail later on, caused her to miscarry. Trish, being the heel of the piece, decided to mock Lita about losing her baby. It was tasteless but at least created the desired reaction of fans wanting to see Lita beat Trish up, so every cloud. The two had an abrupt match at Survivor Series which had ended in a Disqualification, and was notable for Lita causing Trish to bleed from her nose. The re-match was a hotly contested bout on Raw, that was actually the Main Event on that particular show, which saw Lita win the title clean to gain a measure of revenge. This was probably the highest status the much beleaguered Women’s Title would ever reach in WWE. The match on this show was a continuation of the storyline. The Match Unfortunately this was the second match on the show that had to go home early due to a legit injury. Lita dove off the apron early in the bout and injured her leg severely. Unable to carry on, an audible was called and Trish kicked Lita to win the match and the title. WINNER – TRISH STRATUS RATING – I can’t really give it one as there wasn’t much of a match up to the injury and it would be unfair to mark the ladies down for having to go home early. OVERALL THOUGHTS – Looked like it was going to be another solid match between the two before the injury. I’m not sure if Trish was due to win anyway and they just went to the planned finish early, or if Lita was due to win and they changed the finish on the fly. Lita would come back after this to help train Trish’s Wrestlemania opponent Christy Hemme. However, the feud would fizzle out in Spring as both women would take their characters in different directions Third Match Intercontinental Title Champion – Shelton Benjamin Vs Challenger – Maven The Background Maven was fresh off a heel turn around this show. I can’t pinpoint the exact date, but I know he was a face at Survivor Series so it was sometime between that show and this one. Shelton had been champion since October when he’d defeated Chris Jericho. He’d been pushed as an Upper Mid Card face that could hang with the Main Eventers, but didn’t often defeat them. Maven had pinned Benjamin in a tag match to set up his role as challenger. The Match This match got a lot of negativity at the time but I remembered loving it then and I still love it now. Maven stalled for a few minutes at the start of the match, drawing a decent amount of heat while doing so. Finally, he couldn’t stand it anymore and rolled out of the ring to grab a microphone. He cut a promo on the audience telling them to be quiet as they were distracting him. This of course only caused the fans to boo him louder and yell obscenities at him in Spanish. Maven continued to insult the crowd declaring “I can’t concentrate with you talking all that gibberish” which went down about as well as you could imagine and still cracks me up every time I see it. After cutting his promo, Maven finally got into the ring again where he was promptly rolled up by Benjamin for the win. Fabulous! WINNER – SHELTON BENJAMIN RATING – Again, I can’t really rate it as a traditional wrestling match because it was essentially an angle more than anything else. OVERALL THOUGHTS – A lot of people got cheesed off by this match back in the day because having something like this on a Pay Per View was seen as a rip off. I really don’t see that though. To me, a Maven Vs Shelton match would hardly have been a classic. It would have been, at best, an average mid card match and nothing more. By booking it the way they did, it made the match unique and also gave Maven a great opportunity to get his smarmy heel act over. He was excellent in this and incited the crowd beautifully. Plus, it was funny to watch the arrogant heel get his comeuppance and it made Shelton look strong in the process. If the first two matches hadn’t had abrupt finishes as a result of injuries, this match probably wouldn’t have received as much of a backlash as it did. I think the fact they followed two interrupted matches with an extended angle made people have a more negative view of this match than was deserved. Following the match, Maven called Shelton back in to face him again, as he wasn’t ready previously. Maybe he’d been too busy brushing up on his Spanish to do enough squat thrusts and body planks? Shelton obliged, drilled him straight away with a T-Bone Suplex, and beat him again. Marvellous! Fourth Match Muhammad Hassan with Daivari Vs Jerry Lawler with Jim Ross The Background With Islamaphobia rife throughout the Western World, the WWE decided to deal with it in their usual calm and measured way, by debuting Hassan as a stereotypical angry Muslim. At first, it seemed like they were going to go a different direction with the gimmick and play up the idea that Hassan and Daivari were both normal Americans who were mistreated just because they happened to look Asian (Hassan himself was actually Italian) but by this show they’d gone the whole hog and had just made them evil men who wanted to put Americans in The Camel Clutch. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler had gotten on the bad side of the two, by decrying their Anti-American comments, so naturally a match was made between the potential hot new heel Hassan and the aging half retired Lawler. This was supposed to get Hassan over somehow. Don’t look at me, I didn’t book it The Match The first problem with the match is the length. It takes up nearly 10 minutes, which is far too long for what it needed to be. Secondly, with Lawler wrestling and Ross seconding him, the match had no commentary whatsoever, which only hurt it further. Hassan sold far too much for a guy they supposedly had top card plans for. He should have polished Lawler off pretty quickly and moved on to fry bigger fish, but that’s not how the match was booked at all. The work wasn’t particularly thrilling either. I like Jerry Lawler and think he is a good storyteller in the ring, but this match was just flat and uninteresting. Hassan eventually pinned Lawler with a Complete Shot after a tedious contest. WINNER – MUHAMMAD HASSAN Rating – * OVERALL THOUGHTS – Boring match that did nothing to elevate Hassan and was a waste of Lawler’s Legend Status. Hassan would start gaining a little bit of momentum over the following months once he started working with fulltime roster members. He’d even get to face Hulk Hogan at Backlash. In the summer of 2005, he was traded to Smackdown and was positioned to be Batista’s Summer Slam foil. However, in the build up to a match with The Undertaker where he’d earn his #1 Contendership status to Batista’s Title, WWE shot an offensive angle where a group of balaclava clad mercenaries attacked Undertaker with a piano wire while Hassan prayed outside the ring. Awful as this was, WWE probably would have got away with it, but two days after it was shot there was an Islamic Fundamentalist attack on London. WWE couldn’t edit the footage in time, or so they claimed, so instead played a pitiful disclaimer at the bottom of the screen while the angle commenced. This netted them a boatload of negative publicity and things got so bad that they decided to “kill off” the Hassan character at that year’s Great American Bash. Quite literally in fact. Undertaker Power Bombed him off a stage and after a shot showing his broken body on the concrete, we never saw him again. Ah, WWE, classy till the end. Marc Copani, who played Hassan, got into acting I think. I wish him well to be honest; it wasn’t like he booked any of the stuff that got WWE in hot water. He was essentially made the scapegoat, when he’d merely been doing what he was told. Fifth Match Snitsky Vs Kane The Background Remember the whole “Lita being pregnant” thing from the second match? WWE decided that they wouldn’t deliver on Lita actually having a child with Kane. With that decision made, they needed a way of getting rid of the imaginary child. Snitsky was the man who ended up with that job. Baby killing isn’t glamorous work, but I hear the dental plan is good at least. One week Gene Snitsky was just there on Raw, and nothing would ever be the same again. After Kane had forced Lita to carry his wicked offspring, he then naturally followed that up with the logical step of forcing her to marry him. Ah, young love. This led to a number of occasions where they’d squabble and Kane would lose a match or two as direct consequence. Kane was booked against Snitsky on Raw one week, who everyone watching just assumed was an enhancement guy who was there to put Kane over. Oh, if only we had been so lucky. In fact, Kane and Lita had another one of their weekly arguments during the match. While they argued, Snitsky grabbed a nearby chair and walloped Kane in the back with it. The force of the chair shot sent Kane tumbling onto Lita, thus causing her to miscarry. “Hmm” I thought “It’s strange that they’d use a Jobber of the Week for this sort of angle as opposed to a recurring character”. Oh how wrong I was. Because Snitsky was not there as part of a one shot deal, no sir. Next week on television, Jim Ross interviewed Snitsky about the incident. Snitsky, showing no compassion or sympathy, simply declared that “It wasn’t my Fault!” and thus a catchphrase was born. Snitsky continued to show no lament for his actions. In fact, he even seemed perversely proud of them. At one point he even punted a doll into the crowd! Snitsky was here to stay and WWE decided to go all the way with him and actually let him put Kane out of action in October for a prolonged period of time. This show was Kane’s return and he was looking for revenge. The Match This is a strange one for me. The match told a decent story and had sustained crowd heat throughout. However, both men got very tired and as consequence the offence on display was beyond sloppy. At one point, the brawl spilled to the outside of the ring and Snitsky removed the protective mats, exposed the dreaded concrete. Snitsky then tried to Piledrive Kane onto said concrete, but Kane countered with a back drop and Snitsky took a bump on the unprotected floor. This was a standard spot but the crowd went nuts for it. San Juan really, REALLY liked Kane and it made the match much more entertaining than it normally would have been. There was some good progression in the match as far as storytelling. Earlier on, Kane tried his Top Rope Clothesline, but Snitsky countered with a raised boot. Later on Kane tried it again and this time managed to get it, which popped the crowd. I don’t know why, but I liked the little touch of him failing the first time. It made it seem like he’d achieved something when he finally connected with the move. There were some slow points though. Snitsky used at least two rest holds throughout the bout. And, as much as I’d like to ignore it, the work wasn’t good. Snitsky in particular was out of position a few times and hit some sloppy looking moves. In the end, Kane drilled Snitsky with a Tombstone to pick up the victory, but it was a very ugly looking one that almost ended in disaster. Kane lost his grip of Snitsky on the move and nearly dropped him right on top of his head. It gave me cause to shudder when they showed the replay. WINNER – KANE RATING – *1/2 OVERALL THOUGHTS – I’m torn on this one. I was hovering around ** for it but I couldn’t in good conscience give a match this awful that high of a rating. The work in this match leaves a lot to be desired, but both guys work really hard and the live crowd enjoyed it. I personally enjoyed it as well and got into the story of the match, but in the cold harsh reality of star ratings, this was a bad match. Still, I give props to both men as the match build and story made sense and they were clearly putting their all into it. The feud raged on for a bit longer after this and there was a genuine possibility that Wrestlemania would feature Kane and Undertaker Vs Snitsky and Heidenreich, but thankfully WWE came to their senses and we weren’t subject to having that atrocity foisted upon us. Main Event Elimination Chamber for The Vacant Raw World Title Shawn Michaels as Guest Referee Triple H with Ric Flair Vs Edge Vs Batista Vs Chris F’ing Benoit Vs Chris Jericho Vs Randy Orton The Background Triple H had won the Title in September, cutting the legs off hot new babyface Orton in the process, and held it until December of 2004. Due to a disputed finish in a Triple Threat Match between Triple H, Edge and Benoit, the belt was held up with the new Champion to be crowned in the Elimination Chamber. Michaels was instilled as Trouble Shooting Referee™, thanks in large part to having issues with pretty much everyone in the match at some point or another. At this point though Michaels was firmly entrenched in a feud with Edge, who was trying to get over as an opportunistic heel. It would take winning the first ever Money In The Bank Match and stealing Matt Hardy’s bird to finally get Edge past the Upper Midcard to Main Event barrier. At this point he was a moderately over heel with something missing. The big story going into the match was the rise of Batista. Obstensibly he was there merely to help Triple H win, but ever so small cracks were starting to appear in his relationship with Triple H. Hints were given that maybe he’d take the Title for himself. Orton was pretty much dead in the water as a face by this point and would be a heel again about a month after this. Ditto for Jericho, although his heel turn would take a bit longer. Benoit was coming off probably the most successful year of his career, which had seen him win the Title at Wrestlemania XX and generally have great matches with everyone from Triple H to Sylvain Grenier. The Match What struck me first off was how over everyone in the match was. The San Juan crowd gave everyone, barring Edge, a babyface reaction. Triple H, the companies top heel at the time, received a thunderous ovation, as did Batista. Edge was seemingly the only one to draw any heel heat on his way to the ring. As a result, everyone was clearly jazzed by the reaction and were all up for having a good match. With such a collection of excellent workers, the match was naturally a good watch. Benoit and Jericho started out and hit each other really hard, as they were always want to do. Edge’s elimination eventually came at the hands of Michaels. Edge had clobbered Michaels by mistake, so a perturbed Michaels had Super Kicked him to lead to a pinfall. Benoit and Jericho had Triple in a dual submission, almost causing him to subut before a last gasp rescue by Batista. Batista was given scalps of both Benoit and Jericho and was generally booked very strong. It eventually came down to Batista, Orton and Triple H. Orton was able to clock Batista with an RKO and eliminate him. Of interest though was the fact that Triple H could have potentially saved Batista, but he instead left him to his fate. This was a nice subtle touch that added another layer to the Evolution storyline. Batista eventually clocked Orton with a Lariat before leaving The Chamber, which allowed Triple H to spike Orton with a Pedigree to beat him once again. WINNER – TRIPLE H Rating – **** OVERALL THOUGHTS – An excellent Main Event that made Batista look like a monster while also sowing the seeds for his eventual face turn a month later. Orton was made to look like a chump again, but that was par for the course at this point in his babyface run. Benoit, as always, was the glue that held everything together and Edge gave a good showing of himself up until his elimination. Back in the day, I very much had a feeling of “What was the point of all that if the belt just ends up with Triple H again?”, but looking at it now I feel a bit differently. This was the match that tied up some loose ends while also laying down the tarmac for the Road to Wrestlemania. This was the match that essentially finished Orton as a top level face, ending that chapter of his career so he could switch back heel in time for his match at Wrestlemania with The Undertaker. It also set up the Edge and Michaels marriage for the next month, which in turn led to Michaels Vs Angle for Wrestlemania while also giving Edge something else to complain about before he won the briefcase at Mania. And it also set Batista up as a monster, while also teasing that at some point he might kick Evolution to the curb. This match was the perfect way to get things rolling for Wrestlemania and it was a brilliant match to boot! OVERALL SHOW THOUGHTS – Not a particularly great show this one, but it does have its moments. I would recommend watching maybe just The Maven/Shelton match and the Chamber match on The Network. Kane/Snitsky is an acquired taste, but you may get some enjoyment out of it if you fast forward through the rest holds and can put up with the sloppy offence. Peace Out
The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover REvolution Live from Orlando, FL Your hosts are Rich Brennan, Corey Graves & Alex Riley. So I guess Graves has decided to hang it up after all. It must suck to be forced into retirement before you even make it out of developmental. Kevin Owens v. CJ Parker Hopefully this “KO” will work out better than the first one. Huge pop for Owens once his video reveals his identity and he attacks Parker, tosses him, and then splats him with a dive on the ramp. Back in, CJ catches him with a spinkick and throws weak knees, followed by the palm strike for two. This actually busts Owens’ nose open, and he levels Parker with a lariat and a muscle buster. Powerbomb finishes at 3:12. So that was quite the debut. **1/2 NXT Tag titles: The Lucha Dragons v. The Vaudevillains Sin Cara gets a quick bodypress on Gotch for two and the Dragons double-team him with a senton for two. The villains work Sin Cara over and English gets two. Blind charge hits elbow, but Cara remains trapped in the corner. The beating continues for a bit and Kalisto gets the hot tag and throws kicks on Gotch. They toss the heels and follow with a double dive on English, but Gotch gets out of the way and tries to capitalize on Kalisto. Sadly, he takes the SDS and gets pinned at 6:54. Kind of a nothing match, not much heat to it. ** Tye Dillinger v. Baron Corbin The crowd timing the match is a funny bit. Corbin hits the Snake Eyes, big boot and finishes with the End of Days at 0:40. That’s a hell of a name for a finisher. He and Bull Dempsey have a staredown at ringside afterwards in some good old fashioned rasslin’ story development. The Ascension v. Finn Balor & Hideo Itami Well the babyface team doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue easily. But Finn Balor’s interpretive dance entrance WINS THE INTERNETS because holy shit. This was like something out of NJPW’s over the top theatrical entrances and I love it. The babyfaces clear the ring and the crowd chants “Marking out”. Itami and Balor control Viktor in the corner and Balor throws chops for two. Over to Konor, who gets dropkicked for two. Itami throws kicks, but walks into a flapjack for two and the Ascension takes over. Konor stomps away for two and Viktor goes to a chinlock. Konor with a corner clothesline for two. Viktor does some old school cutting the ring off, but misses a charge and hits the post…and then Konor knocks Balor off the apron like an ASSHOLE. That’s great. Itami keeps fighting back, and this time makes the hot tag and the crowd goes cray cray. He kicks Viktor into the corner and then hits him with an enzuigiri on the top, putting him on the floor and following with a dive on both Ascension. Back in, he misses a double stomp on Viktor, but hits an inverted DDT for two. Viktor with the STO for two. Itami tries a GTS as the crowd freaks out, but Konor breaks it up and they set up for the Fall of Man. Balor hits a Pele on Konor and both faces go up with stereo double stomps to finish at 11:34. Devitt is a STAR and I was way into this one. Although he was such a huge star that he pretty much overshadowed Itami in the process, which might be a problem. *** Meanwhile, Renee Young interviews Roman Reigns, who as usual has nothing much to say. NXT Women’s title: Charlotte v. Sasha Banks Sasha throws chops in the corner and gets beat up as a result, and they take it to the floor. Sasha sends her into the stairs and back in for two. Sasha stomps away in the corner and gets two off that. Sasha stops for a strut and gets rolled up for two, and they do a nice little reversal sequence that leads to Sasha hitting a backstabber into a straitjacket hold. Charlotte powers out of that, but Sasha takes her down with a headscissors. Charlotte powers out with an electric chair and makes the comeback with clotheslines and a neckbreaker for two. Sasha dumps her and follows with a suicide dive, and that gets two. They trade chops and Charlotte puts her down with a spear, but goes for the figure-four and Sasha cradles for two. Neckbreaker gets two and she fights for the count. Good to see that. I also love the touch of Sasha getting all pissed off because she can’t beat Charlotte. Charlotte misses a moonsault, but recovers with a senton instead for two. What a great spot. Sasha escapes a Razor’s Edge and sends Charlotte into the corner for a superplex, but Charlotte blocks it. Natural Selection from the top rope finishes at 12:13. Good, no point in bringing her up after the debacle on Monday. This was an amazing performance from Sasha Banks, as I had no idea she had this kind of match in her. ***1/2 NXT title: Adrian Neville v. Sami Zayn The heat for Zayn is off the charts as he somehow manages to keep people invested in him despite all the failures. They trade wristlocks to start and Neville starts working the arm, which leads to a stalemate. Sami with a backbreaker to put Neville on the floor, and Sami hits him with a quebrada. Back in, Neville with a crucifix for two and a back elbow for two. Low dropkick gets two. Neville with the chinlock, and three kneedrops for two. Sami fights up, but Neville gets a dropkick for two. Sami fights back again and dumps Neville for another dive, then follows with a crossbody for two. Neville tries a handspring and Sami catches him with a powerbomb for two. Neville with a running elbow and german suplex for two. Sami escapes a powerbomb, but tries a ropewalk and Neville reverses into his intended powerbomb for two. Neville throws forearms, but Zayn gets more fired up and comes back with a lariat. Heluva Kick misses, however, and Neville goes up, but the Red Arrow hits knee and Zayn hooks the Koji Klutch. Sadly, he makes the ropes. The ref gets bumped “accidentally” by Neville, and he hits a superkick and crazy inverted rana for two. How do you even take that bump? They slug it out and Zayn drops him on his head with a suplex, so Neville bails. Zayn follows with the diving DDT through the ropes, and back in the ref gets bumped AGAIN. Neville grabs the belt while Zayn wastes time checking on the ref again, but this time Sami gets the belt and contemplates using it. Sami finally decides that he can’t win it that way, so Neville rolls him up for two. Zayn has had enough and comes back with the exploder into the corner and Heluva Kick to FINALLY WIN THE BIG ONE at 23:13. And the crowd LOSES THEIR MIND. What a cool morality play, with Zayn getting tempted and beaten down, but finally learning that hard work and fair play can triumph in the end. **** And Kevin Owens comes out for a big tearful manly hug with his best friend. Neville also gives him a hug as we get the celebration with the entire locker room and Owens comes out for one more hug to end the show…and then FUCKS HIM UP WITH A POWERBOMB ON THE FLOOR. While the end graphic was on the screen no less! Well there’s your next challenger. The Pulse Easily the best, or at least more purely enjoyable, show of the year thus far. All killer, no filler. Even if the weekly show has been pretty weak as of late, everyone came out trying to steal the show and more than a few succeeded. Three great matches to close the show, in three totally different styles, makes this a giant thumbs up.
Weird that Bryan & Vinny were reviewing the nWo DVD on their show this morning, because I actually got bored last night and watched it on Netflix myself. I was just as unmoved as they were, as it's pretty much a one-hour condensation of five years and still manages to feel like it overstays its welcome by 15 minutes. Most of it is reused interviews with the exception of new talking heads from guys like Joe Hennig, Matt Striker and Cody Rhodes, and most of it is very, very kayfaby with only occasional glimpses into what was actually going on. I was amused by Cody's tales of 11-year old Cody calling Dusty Rhodes to ask if Rey Mysterio was OK after the lawn dart incident and getting kayfabed by his own dad, but that's Dusty for ya. Goldberg wasn't even mentioned, everything was blamed on guaranteed contracts, and Jay Leno was portrayed as the height of the promotion because MAINSTREAM. I also found it weird that they played up the REALNESS of the angle (ironically championed by Dusty Rhodes, as he pointed out the folly of doing the same stuff over and over) but didn't even touch on Bischoff's grandstand challenge to Vince McMahon and the giant real lawsuit that resulted. They also didn't touch on Fake Diesel and Razor. And Vince Russo was there, denying everything as usual.
It was an OK use of an hour, but time to bury this dead horse already.
Perhaps due to the lingering spectre of Kayfabe, pro-wrestling games have always been about making a staged competition seem real. Thus, when you buy your Smackdowns, or WWE 13s, or TNA Impacts, you’re not really getting the quintessential pro-wrestling experience. The number of high-quality wrestling games that have come out -Fire Pro Pickaletter, WWF No Mercy, a few others – that make wrestling *real* by turning it into a legitimate competition number in the dozens and are really a game genre unlike no-other. These games are so good in fact, that it’s nearly impossible for me to play any sort of fighting game because wrestling games hold so much more depth, excitement and appeal to me. But pro-wrestling games, regardless of quality, are also missing out on what makes wrestling awesome for the hardcore fans.
Imagination. Your normal wrestling game doesn’t care if you spent 40 minutes in an epic battle to the near-death with The Undertaker, or spent 5 minutes spamming The Bronco Buster with X-Pac before pinning your opponent. Wrestling fandom celebrates a most bizarre creativity, and it’s a real shame that most games in the genre have a hard time capturing, quantifying, and rewarding it.
(Hopefully) fans yearn for the ability to have a great match, with unexpected moments and death-defying and creative moves. And just like how our eyes grow wide in anticipation when CM Punk ascends the top turnbuckle and gives props to Macho Man before leaping Elbow First at a 40+ year old man who pretends to be a zombie laying on a paper thin announce table, *we* want a chance to create some of that magic ourselves from the inside out.
So, to fill that void you may not have known existed in the wrestling-game scape, I present to you, “Booking Revolution”, now available on the Appstore and Android Marketplace for less than the cost of a pack of cigarettes.
For the un(or under)-informed, Wrestling Revolution was the latest in a series of wrestling games by Indie Dev Mat Dickie, who was “indie” before “indie” was a thing. After starting out on PC with varying degrees of success (utilizing Blitz Basic and Blitz 3D of all things), he took his game-development expertise to Mobile Platforms (and switched to developing via Flash). As of today Wrestling Revolution has been downloaded somewhere in the neighborhood of one-hundred thousand plus time via the Appstore and Google Play.
While Wrestling Revolution was a great warm-up and a pretty decent wrestling game, it’s sequel (or counterpart) Booking Revolution is the game I’ve been waiting for. Booking Revolution has you create your booker, has you choose from a variety of available promotions (Ranging from the super-popular All American Wrestling, to the lowly Federation Online), then hands you the the keys to the book.
But, who is the best person to take the reigns of a wrestling empire?
You may have heard of him…
Dozens of hairstyles, faces, facial hairs, poses, taunts, moves, boots, and tights options populate the customization screen. The tap interface can yield a couple of problems when selecting moves; and as you click on one side of the screen to move through the list, it can be a little touchy and you’ll find yourself accidentally skipping through moves frequently unless you’re incredibly delicate with your tapping. But the tapping to-and-fro works pretty well with appearance customization, though changing the color of your outfit can be a bit cumbersome if you opt to play with the three-bar color slider. Ultimately It’s somewhat intuitive and unless you’re *really* trying, it’s very hard to make a wrestler that doesn’t look at least somewhat bad-ass.
Once your booker looks tough enough to survive in the dog-eat-dog world of fake half-naked guys pretending to hit each other, you’re given a status screen that displays your promotion’s money, popularity, current champion, booker, owner, and whether you’re booking a PPV or a TV taping. The options to hire talent, edit your roster, or check out that evening’s card (which we’ll get to later) are also displayed.
The editor is pretty self-explanatory, but a caveat here is that if a wrestler has “creative” you can’t edit them (in career mode), which is a pain-in-the-ass, but in a cool way – and you can’t change their face/heel alignment either, which is accomplished through in-ring promos.
Hiring talent is pretty self-evident too, but once you get a gander at the absolutely massive roster available to you, you may just fall in love. I’m not exaggerating when I say that pretty much everyone of note who has stepped in the squared circle, is represented in Booking Revolution. Albeit in a bit jerry-rigged sort of way, much like the old “Fire Pro” games.The Brock Lesnar-esque character has tight-red tights instead of his MMA shorts, Stone Cold has blonde hair (which is so offensive I changed it immediately), Mankind has an eye-patch, and there are similar idiosyncrasies sprinkled across the massive roster to keep things exciting (and I imagine to escape legal action). But once you customize the roster’s appearance to your liking, you’ll be amazed how authentic the big-names really feel – despite a relatively limited move list.
I may have made…one or two additions to the roster
Using the roster properly, and booking quality matches is Booking Revolution’s bread and butter. In addition to the Yokozuna-huge roster, there’s a Rikishi-big number of match options. Singles, Triple Threat, Fatal Four Way, Battle Royal, last man standing, Steel Cage (Blue, Black, or Gray mesh), Inferno, Barbed Wire, ropeless (hell, ringless is an option), Furniture smash (Tables match, anyone?), and literally dozens of other match modifiers like 2/3 falls, escape the ring to win, Sumo, and a few others – unfortunately there’s no Hell in a Cell, or Ladder Match but if you can’t find a match type you enjoy, you’re not trying hard enough. You also have a number of pre-match promos to select from, too: including face turns, heel turns, arguments over drugs or stealing friends, farewell announcements, team formations, and some more to add a little extra juice to a match.
Setting up a match properly can take a bit of time considering all the options available – but the game tends to reward sound logic. If you throw two nobodies into a regular 1-on-1 match with no promo, gimmick, or feud behind them, the crowd will crap all over it unless they’re highly skilled. If you toss two hugely popular wrestlers into a barbed-wire, steel cage, inferno match, you’re sure to get a quality match rating, but your two competitors will likely end up injured or worse (wrestlers can die in this game, and they do somewhat regularly). This is probably the first game that gives you a reason to play as marginally skilled, but “hardcore” wrestlers who can take ridiculous abuse.
Matches are rated on a scale of 1-5 stars (with half-stars being included in a forthcoming update), and have a whole slew of factors that go into exciting the crowd. Ideally you want to strike a balance between hardcore, in-ring work, and the popularity. A match between the highly skilled and highly popular “Slam Dunk” and “Cody Massacre” needs little more than some quality back and forth, an occasional elbow drop off the top rope, and an exciting finish to get yourself to a four-star match rating. Similarly a match between “Ralph Zipper” and “Les Miserables” might need a guest referee, some hardcore brawling, or a third party to obtain a quality match rating.
Matches themselves are wildly unpredictable. The gameplay is a mix between Fire Pro Wrestling and the old WWF Raw games on the SNES and Genesis. You’ve given a straight-on perspective of the ring (ala Raw), and the punch / kick / grapple system may seem rudimentary at first, but once you get into the flow of a match, the countering and grappling mechanics become deceptively deep and sometimes out of your control, leading to more genuine “OH MY GOD!” moments than any other wrestling game I’ve played.
This is accomplished in three ways. First, while you’re wrestling to have a great match, wrestlers do have health meters that can be depleted, therefore, as you approach the end of a match and both you and your opponent’s meter is in red, each-near fall elicits Oohs and Aahs from the player, and eeks out precious match rating points. Second is the intuitive chain-grappling / reversal system that is completely out of the gamer’s control. At first the inability to counter a move via direct input seems like a missed opportunity, but it adds incredible drama to a given match – going for a late match powerbomb through the announce table, only to have it
countered into a hurricanrana or back body drop is wildly entertaining – counters can come out of no-where, too. I’ve had top-rope moves countered into pile drivers, a spear countered into a suplex, and had a pretty stellar re-enactment of Rock v. Cena where every other move was a Rock Bottom or Attitude Adjustment counter. Thirdly, and most important, is the ability to control any of the competitors at any given time. What this does is allow you to control the flow of a match, to ensure back-and-forth fighting ensues to pop the star-rating and to make sure “Gold Bolder”’s 15 match winning streak doesn’t end on a fluke win by “Petrol” and his magical stun-gun of doom. But even with the control of both wrestlers, and the referee, unexpected results occur, especially if you’re counting on a quality near-fall that never comes (switching to the pinning player and “letting off the pin” doesn’t pop the crowd), or a big move gets countered into a submission that results in an immediate and shocking tap out. The A.I is pretty great here, and on more than one occasion you’ll switch to playing as your opponent just to give the other guy a breather.
There’s also some light business management elements that will certainly become a bigger factor in gameplay as the updates are released (Mdickie has a way of updating his games like a mad-man. Wrestling Revolution today and when it was released are amazingly different), there’s backstage drama and politics to deal with (“Ripper Ace” came to me the other day and wanted to change his name to “Golden Balls” and, well, I had to let him because he had creative control), and it’s pretty amazing the whole shebang fits in your pocket.
The game does have it’s share of issues – weird glitches, if you do a 3 person promo with two wrestlers the Ref acts like the world champion, sometimes wrestlers will intentionally get themselves DQed (which may be intentional) – and the game threw a weird bug (or intended consequence) where all my matches for one TV taping had to take place without a ring – which was incredibly annoying. I fully expect these bugs to be fixed, and more robust management / feuding elements to be implemented too – but regardless, the game is an absolute blast.
Simply put, with a little imagination on the player’s part Booking Revolution becomes the quintessential wrestling game for wrestling fans. I know I’m approaching Mick Foley/Tori Amos on the creepy scale, but what Mat Dickie has done with this game is sort of profound – essentially showing up every other wrestling game, ever, simply by rating your performance. Wrestling is never about winning and losing, it’s about entertaining audiences, and that’s what connects with people. This is why Caliber Winfield’s bizarre star-ratings garner such scrutiny, and Scott Keith’s rating of Punk v. Bryan from Over The Limit was quote unquote controversial, it’s why we buy the PPVs, it’s why we complain Bryan is being held down while Triple H gets to waddle around the ring with Brock Lesnar. We’re fans after all, and we want to be entertained – and to be honest, with a little logic and quality matches, it shouldn’t be that hard to do so.
Booking Revolution gives you a chance to prove it.
Wrestling Revolution (Pro) IOS / Android Price: 4.99 (IOS)
Do me a favor, hop in your brain Delorean and let me take you back in time. Oh, you don’t *have* a brain Delorean? That’s okay, you can borrow mine. We’re traveling back to the early 2000s; The internet has exploded, parents are just about over that whole “violence in music” deal, and pro wrestling is the hip thing. Stone Cold, The Rock, and Triple H are household names – hell, Mankind had a New York Times No 1. Best Seller. Wrestling was so popular in the 2000s that an entire cottage industry of wrestling games sprang up in the span of a few short months.
Hardcore wrestling fans have always yearned for something that took us backstage, let us control the inner workings of a largely staged sport. They wanted to book the matches, settle the feuds, win the ratings war – not just compete in ring. And by and large, their demands were answered by a dedicated group of indie developers. The PC game Extreme Warfare Revenge took gamers inside the workings of a promotion – tasking you with booking matches and feuds, managing contracts, and fighting for TV ratings, sort of like Championship Manager: Pro Wrestling Edition. It was incredibly complex, and exciting in it’s own special way – but required a lot of attention to detail, and a lack of actual wrestling game play made it a niche product for those of us who *really* wanted to run our own pro-wrestling promotion, backstage politics and all. There were a few other games in this genre, but nothing held a candle to EWR.
While it was (relatively) easy to find a text-based wrestling simulator to satiate your inner Ed Ferrara (who I met a few times – nice guy!), if you wanted an actual wrestling *game* your options were pretty limited outside of the available WWE Smackdown and WWE Wrestlemania / No Mercy games of the time. A select few took to importing the Japanese Fire Pro Wrestling series of games for their PSXes, a 2D grappler with mechanics based more on timing and skill, as opposed to the button mashing of it’s American counterparts. But still, the pickings were slim for those of us who wanted the management and the mayhem.
Enter Mat Dickie and his Federation Online – a combination of the management mechanics of Extreme Warfare Revenge, with enough game play to keep things enthralling through multiple play-throughs. The free game featured a small roster of notable and not-so notable characters, including Bret Hart, Triple H, The Rock, Stone Cold, and some folks from a local Indie promotion in Europe. The game was intoxicating. You could play out a match, a card, or a month of shows in a single sitting and not get bored. The management wasn’t as deep as EWR, and the game-play wasn’t as good as in No Mercy; but regardless, the game was greater than the sum of it’s parts – due in part to it’s charming audio visual design.
Unlike other games made by a team of developers, everything in Federation Online was 100% Mat’s. The graphics, sound effects, music, coding, moves, game-play, and menus were all him (though initially the graphics were heavily modified sprites from Super Fire Pro Wrestling X from the SNES). Playing an Mdickie game (and it’s sequels) almost felt like watching a movie from an indie director – little things about the way’s characters taunted or moved, the pained noise a wrestler would make when tapping out, the way the universe has featured an ever growing list of both fictional and real wrestlers that have evolved over the better part of a decade (Jimmy Ciera is John Cena, Triple H is Treble 8, etc etc) immerses you in a world that had (and has) no right enthralling you such as it does.
Eventually Dickie upgraded the game (with dozens of new wrestlers and moves) and sold it’s sequel in two versions, Federation Wrestling and Federation Booker. Federation Wrestling saw you tasked with creating a wrestler and working your way up the food chain through a series of matches. You’d be responsible for signing your contract, dealing with backstage politics, and ultimately becoming the champion of your chosen promotion. Federation Booker made you the president of a promotion and challenged you to book exciting shows, sign popular wrestlers and keep them happy, make money, and most incredibly, *have good matches*.
Pro wrestling is ultimately a game of entertainment, not a sport of competition, and it was baffling to me that this was the first game (Outside of EWR) to include match quality ratings as the marker for success. Federation Booker finally stumbled upon the very thing wrestling gamers had wanted all along; Challenge and gratification. Wrestling in a brutal contest to eek out a few more rating points became a battle of wills against the stamina and limitations of your chosen wrestlers. Do you put a frail Ric Flair (or rather, Perry Class) through a table to send ratings through the roof, or do you have a sub-par match in order to save his health for the upcoming all-important Pay-Per-View?
The goal was to earn money and win the ratings war. Good matches netted more cash, and more cash netted the ability to sign more popular wrestlers which in turn increased ratings. Couple this with a variety of match types, insane weaponry, and backstage drama, deaths, and feuds, you had yourself a hyper-stylized version of what every wrestling fan probably wants in a management sim, coupled with completely serviceable game-play.
Unfortunately not a lot of people wanted to pay for it. While never released, the sales numbers were low, and in an era before “indie games” were a thing, the asking price of 14.99 was a bit too much for most fans.
Eventually Mat Dickie went on to make a series of interesting and experimental games including the prison simulation “Hard Time” and Jerry Springer parody “The Mdickie Show” (which eventually served as the basis for his 3D wrestling engine), a duo of management games: Popscene and Popcorn, before finding God, writing a book about sports, and releasing The You! Testament which put you in the shoes of a biblical prophet.
Within that period of time he released 3D versions of Federation Online and Federation Booker, the latter of which introduced the ability to switch between competitors with the tab key – again underlining the point that the game was about having the best match – not winning. These games weren’t perfect, but introduced amputation, flaming ropes, barbed wire, and glass panes into the Mdickie verse.
Now, for all my gushing, these games were not without their flaws. Graphically, while charming, the 3D modeling was somewhat rudimentary, and to call the clipping and collision detection serviceable would be generous. There weren’t a *ton* of moves, so a lot of wrestlers felt samey – though the ability to powerbomb / suplex / belly to belly someone over the top rope to the outside was always exciting. The management aspects were solid, but a lot of the backstage stuff ended up feeling hollow or lacking in resolution – but for a game with limitless replay value, and a virtual wrestling economy that could continue on for years, the game’s ambition more than made up for it’s (many) significant flaws. The 3D versions, alas, sold poorly as well.
Mat took a long break after that, made all the games he’d previously charged for free (Seriously, go download and play Booking Remix Right The Fuck Now) and I thought I’d never see him take on the world of Pro Wrestling again.
I was wrong.
Available this instant on your IOS (4.99) and Android devices is “Wrestling Revolution Pro” – A career focused mobile version of “Federation Wrestling” featuring a fairly unique art-style, all sorts of chaos, and a pretty enthralling career mode, too.
The game world is broken up into a few different promotions: Maple Leaf Wrestling, Strong Style Wrestling, All American Wrestling, Federation Online, Lucha Libre Pro, and Wrestling School; which is where you’ll start out. After winning a few matches and learning the ropes, you’ll eventually be signed by a larger promotion for a meager sum, and have to work your way up that food chain.
And it’s a *lot* of work, too. The game’s A.I is pretty brain-dead, and since you’re wrestling to win, versus wrestling to have a good match, it can be annoying getting your opponent to follow you up a ladder stacked on two tables in the ring so you can power-bomb him through them. Thus a lot of early matches can be a little bit of a slog to get through – but when you get the opportunity to wrestle for a title or wrestle for a number one contendership, all that hard work puts a great deal of pressure on you to win, and it makes the title match all the more exciting. There are also increased difficulty levels to play with, so if the game is no challenge *at all* you can crank that up.
In terms of control, you have two options: One is a buttonless point-and-drag interface which is probably the most confusing thing I’ve ever seen, and the other is a virtual button style control scheme that works *far* better than I expected it too, both on an iPhone and iPad. There’s no “Counter” system in play, nor is it properly explained what buttons you hit to kick out of a pin, but mashing them all seems to work relatively splendidly. Graphically the game is punk-rock through and through. Tons of options, attention to detail, but rough around the edges. Wrestlers don’t so much climb up ladders as they levitate to the top of them. Some moves look a little weird thanks to the 2D perspective, and occasionally it’s hard to tell who a specific wrestler is supposed to be. But after you become accustomed to the game engine’s limitations, you can actually start to have a lot of fun with it.
For example, during my playthrough I was in a “Loser Leaves” match against “Brook Lazer” for the World Championship of Strong Style Wrestling. This was my first title shot, and internally I wanted to do some crazy ass things. I started by stacking the ring steps on a table, and putting a ladder on top of it. The plan was for the finale I wanted to give Lesnar a belly to belly off the ladder and out of the ring, then pin him. He countered and powerbombed me through all the hardware, leaving me a broken and bleeding mess on the ring canvas. And he pinned me, 1…2…3. It. Was. Awesome.
To ape a phrase from Game Trailer’s Grand Theft Auto retrospectives, “Mdickie’s Wrestling Revolution Pro” is a game you can play – and play with. You can have a perfectly serviceable time wrestling your opponents, winning matches, and not getting too outlandish. Or, alternatively, you can beat Roddy Piper within an inch of his life using a Guitar and Christmas tree. The game encourages the latter. Throughout the career mode you’ll encounter all sorts of matches, from “No Rope” sumo-matches, to Steel Cage bouts, to “Tables and Hockey Sticks” matches that allow you to embrace your inner Cam Neeley. While the objective is to win the match, half the fun is seeing what kind of crazy ish you can get away with on your way there.
Ultimately, I happily paid for Wrestling Revolution Pro – sight unseen – because I have gotten literally hundreds of hours of enjoyment out of Mat Dickie’s previous wrestling efforts, and 4.99 didn’t seem too high a price to pay. I’m not (and still am not) a fan of the “Career” side of things – I’d rather book matches and try and earn snowflakes, versus win the title myself. If you consider yourself a wrestling fan, and haven’t tried the Mdickie brand of games, you’re seriously missing out – it’s seriously my contention these are some of the best wrestling games of all time.
(Paul can be found on Twitter at @MeekinOnMovies, and on Facebook at “MeekinOnMovies”)
Alright, before we get started let me address my absence. You see, Cracked has been really slacking as of late. So, without any proper quality articles to rip-off, I just didn’t feel right bringing you guys lackluster work. Now that they’re back on track, I feel I can deliver!
The documentary is great, but I’m a huge fan of wrestling docs & the nWo, so there isn’t more I could ask for. There’s recycled footage from The Monday Night Wars DVD, as well as Back in Black. But there’s also a good amount of fresh stuff from Dusty Rhodes, Matt Striker, Lex Luger [who looks like he hasn’t touched a weight in 10 years] Vince Russo, and quite a few others. I was very entertained, and only wished that it was longer, and included more talk about the Wolfpac era. But honestly, I guess they covered just about as much as they needed too. Now instead of reviewing it, I thought I’d talk about my favorite moments. Before I do, I’ll mention some of the other features from the first disc. They have Hall appearing on Nitro, as well as Nash. There’s Bischoff’s reveal as a member, and when Giant get’s kicked out, and finally when the nWo showed up at No Way Out. Honestly, seeing this stuff really makes me kick myself for not getting the bluray, because it’s packed with more moments, and that’s what the nWo was all about.
Those who read my work, you know this story, so I apologize for going into re-runs. I became a wrestling fan in May 1995, and was die hard from the get go. I started with the WWE, and that was it. I HATED, absolutely HATED WCW. I thought they were low-rent crap. I thought their stars were a bunch of old has-beens, and couldn’t compete with the superstars of WWE. Now, over in the land of Titan, my two biggest heroes were Razor Ramon & Big Daddy Cool Diesel. So, you can imagine how absolutely torn up I was when I heard on the Ross Line that both were leaving for WCW. That night I was so upset, I cried. No joke. I cried as I ripped one of my many pictures of Razor off my wall.
But then it happened….he wasn’t going to WCW to wrestle, he was going to take over! OH MY GOD! See, I still thought wrestling was real. I thought, honest to God, that Razor & Diesel were going over to kick WCW’s pathetic ass. Then as they grew, I truly thought Ted Dibiase was funding the nWo, and the reason WCW wouldn’t have them arrested was because they were bringing in the ratings. Those were two points my mom would bring up “how are they making money? Why won’t WCW just arrest them?”. She never gave me shit for believing it was real.
So, you can imagine my love for the nWo. I was 12 years old, I was exactly the type of crowd they were reaching for. Young folk who could spend their parents’ money. Although I never did give a dime to WCW, except for one thing; Starrcade 1997. There was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to miss that match. To this day, Sting vs The nWo is still my favorite feud. Sure, the match was God-awful, but oh well. I even had this tale of the tape poster from a PWI Special that was all about the feud. I lost the poster years ago, but I actually found it online while working on this review. It’s the first time in years that I’ve found it online, so it’s a good day to be Caliber.
As the nWo was losing it’s steam, they went with The Wolfpac, which rekindled my interest all over again. I still remember taking like 3 hours one Saturday as my mom drove me from store to store to find a Wolfpac shirt. I ended up getting the all red with black nWo letters. I wore it every day at PE and felt like the World’s biggest bad-ass, who caused mass destruction, guess who’s here? The bad-boy of PE.
In 2002, I lost my shit when Vince turned around to reveal he was bringing in the nWo. I went out and bought 2 VHS tapes. On one I wrote ‘nWo Raw’ and the other ‘nWo Smackdown’. I’d watch the shows, and only record moments with the nWo. Youtube wasn’t around back then, and I thought I’d never see the classic nWo footage, so I swore I wouldn’t miss a second this time around. Of course, Hogan went good, and Hall left, so that was that.
In the end, I realize the nWo was a bunch of bullshit. Every match ended in a run-in, they did nothing but bury people, on and off screen, while rarely delivering in match quality. But honestly, I don’t care. I watch the old stuff and feel like I did 15 years ago, it never fails to entertain me the same way it did when I was younger. Because when you’re nWo, well, you’re nWo for life. And that is just too sweeeeet.
The Outsiders vs Sting & Macho Man – Bash at the Beach, July 7th, 1996 If you need any proof of how completely awesome this angle was, the announcers are PISSED that The Outsiders come out alone. Even though it gives WCW the advantage, they still want to see who the 3rd man is. Luger was originally involved, but he was taken out about 10 seconds in. This actually lead a lot to speculate that the 3rd man was in fact The Total Package. Dream says “Get’em Macho, who be bad now?”, to which Tony responds “You tell’em, Dream!”. Taking this litereally, The Dream says “Who be bad now?” about 8 times in a row. It’s even more annoying than it sounds. Sting does a pretty smart move and drop-kicks Nash right on the knee, prompting Tony to scream “Sting just nailed him in the gut!”. We all know how the rest of the match goes. It’s too bad it was simply for the angle, because the match actually had a pretty good base to it. Match ends at 16:55 when Hogan comes in and joins the New World Organization ***
The Giant [C] vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan – WCW Championship – Hog Wild, August 10th, 1996 I will say, it’s weird seeing Hollywood Hogan without the big gold belt. Up until I saw Hogan & Rodman vs DDP & Malone, I had this pegged as the worst match I’ve ever seen. That was quite a while ago, so let’s see if things have changed. Although now I must admit that Zeus vs Abby from the WWC show is the worst I’ve ever seen. Anyway, Tony actually sums up this entire match with “Hogan has slowed the pace of this match down to a crawl”. Serious, the WHOLE match is nothing but stalling. I’ve never seen anything like it. I mean, I suppose it’d work if the pace of the match picked up like Jarrett vs Shawn for the IC Title, but the pace of this match is just gonna go from crap to ass. The big spot in this match is a test of strength! I seriously don’t understand the pace of this match. The only reason you’d have a match like this is if one of the wrestlers were dead, and you needed to hide the fact. Honestly, I would have been a lot happier seeing the Giant wrestle in a pair of sunglasses. Hulk Hogan hits the Giant with the title and snags the pin at 6 days, 2 hours, and 43 minutes. At least, that’s what it felt like. Records say it’s 14:55. I would go dud, but this includes Brutus getting smashed with the cake. So, it’s gotta get a star for that. Also, you have to love the fact that the Giant literally lays there on the mat for 2 days while Hogan does this deal with Brutus. *
Harlem Heat [C] vs. The Outsiders – WCW Tag-Team Championship – Halloween Havoc, October 27th, 1996 This was a damn fine tag match, and perhaps the best I’ve ever seen from The Outsiders. There was a great amount of back & forth action, with each member getting in and out, as both teams traded momentum. Of course the ending was a bit deflating. Nash clobbers Stevie with Col. Parker’s cane, allowing Hall to score the pin at 13:07 ***
X-Pac vs Bounty Hunter – nWo Saturday Night – November 9th, 1996 This is from nWo’s Saturday Night, means they filmed it before Nitro started. Actually, that would mean these guys would have been to work early, so this has gotta be afterward. Actually, that means these guys would have had to stick around after work. So, this is filmed in some alternate universe. Bounty Hunter is just your typical jobber-with-a-gimmick that you’d normally see on WCW’s Saturday Night. Syxx takes him out with a jumping spin kick for the pin at around 3 minutes
The Outsiders [C] vs The Steiners – nWo Souled Out, January 1997 I know a lot of people didn’t like Souled Out, and while it didn’t have a plethora of great matches, the style was awesome. The ring entrances for the WCW wrestlers were damn funny, and I thought Bischoff & DiBiase were honestly one of the best announcing teams I’ve ever heard. Decent match, nothing too exciting. The ending is pretty well done, with Nick Patrick being out, and the little southern ref Randy Anderson running in to make the count for The Steiners. It really gave a moment of WCW being triumphant for once. Of course it would be reversed the next night on Nitro, and Steiners never got their moment. Of course, when the straps were suppose to be switched at Road Wild 1997, they complained the switching of the titles was hurting their value. Yet they had no problems with Hulk Hogan getting the title back from Luger a week after he won it on Nitro. Rick Steiner hits Hall with the Bulldog for the pin at 16:39 **1/2
Hollywood Hulk Hogan [C] vs Roddy Piper – WCW Championship – WCW Superbrawl VII, February 23rd, 1997 A lot of people don’t like their match at Starrcade, but I thought it was pretty entertaining, actually. Sure, not the greatest action, but the way Hogan & Piper were acting I felt made up for it. Now, apparently, Piper’s been hanging out on Alcatraz for a week for some reason. Why? I have absolutely no idea. This match is just about the same as the last one, but not nearly as entertaining. Piper puts Hogan down with the sleeper, but Macho pulls Hogan’s legs under the ropes and slips the tape brass knuckle thing on Hogan’s hand. Match restarts when ref sees Hogan’s legs under the ropes, Hogan clocks Piper, gets the pin. The crowd did not like that. Perhaps Piper should have stayed in Alcatraz for TWO weeks. Hogan clocks Piper with brass knux that Macho gave him for the pin at 11:32 **
Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Dennis ‘Rod The Bod’ Rodman vs Lex Luger & The Giant – Bash At The Beach, July 13th, 1997
They’re building up to this match on 24/7 right now, so I was actually about 25% stoked for this bout. Honestly, it would have been higher if Rodman hadn’t been involved, since WCW’s use of Rodman is the antithesis of WWE’s use of Tyson. Would it have killed them to just have this POS as an enforcer or something? Anyway, the match is terrible, and of course IT LAST FOREVER. Unbelievably, it would get even WORSE next year. Nash saunters down dressed as Sting, and who wouldn’t confuse him for Steve Borden? They’re practically twins. Everyone from Hogan, to Rodman, and finally Savage get racked. Hogan taps to Lex Luger’s Torture Rack at 22:30 DUD
Macho Man vs DDP – Las Vegas Sudden Death Match – Halloween Havoc, October 26th,1997 Savage comes out dressed like a Slim Jim package, and that isn’t a joke. He really is. DDP comes out in Costume 2 from nWo/WCW Revenge, which is the jeans & rib-wrap. They fight out into the crowd, and there’s a dude in a pair of Zubaz who gets so excited he takes his shirt off while watching. If the match get’s any better, then the other patrons are gonna have a front row ticket for some hangdang. They brawl amongst the tombstone decorations, which is pretty cool, despite the stuff is obviously made of harmless material. They get back to the ring, where Macho takes a video camera, but that backfires. Elizabeth tries to interfere on Macho’s behalf, but Kimberly runs down to drag Liz to the back. After a Diamond Cutter, DDP appears to have it, but a Bogus Sting comes down to crack DDP in the ribs, putting him down for good. It’s one hell of a match, as Macho & DDP give their usual intentsity. Seriously, WCW was just on fire during 1997. And this was all PG stuff, proving that it’s fantastic story-lines & wrestlers who give a damn that make for a great product. DDP fails to answer the count of ten, giving Macho the win 18:07 ****1/4
Hogan vs Sting [C] – WCW Championship – Monday Nitro, December 27th, 1997 It’s better than their Starrcade match, I’ll say that. Although it isn’t saying much. Much faster paced, more action, and not completely one-sided. They give you the footage of what happened after Nitro went off the air, which is what also helps to make the whole thing for me. Hogan pulls the ref Randy Anderson in when Stinger’s going for the Splash, thus taking Randy out. Nick Patrick runs in, only for Sting to object. While he’s distracted, Hogan clocks him in the back of the head and goes for the roll-up, which Patrick counts for 3. Sting continues to beat up on Hogan however, slapping him in the Deathlock, in which he submits and Anderson calls for the bell. At that point, Bischoff comes out and says no way, laying the swift kicks to JJ “Who do you want, Sting? I have a contract here for you to fight Big Bubba!” Dillion. Sting gives Bish’ the Death Drop as the whole nWo runs down, and he does his best to fight them off before the rest of WCW make the save. The whole thing was damn entertaining, honestly. Of course, this whole debacle forced the belt to be declared vacant. With the rematch taking place at Superbrawl VII, finally giving Sting the belt once and for all. He’d go on to defend against Hall at the next PPV, then lose to Macho Man at Spring Stampede. Leading us to the next match. Hogan submits to the SDL at 7:17 ***1/4
Hogan vs Macho Man [C] – No DQ for the WCW Championship – Monday Nitro, April 20th, 1998 There’s really no reason for this match to be good, but it really is. The night before Macho had defeated Sting for the title, after a 2 month reign. Honestly there’s never a bad time for Macho to be champ. He was always over, and always kicking ass. This match works because of Macho’s leg, with him constantly fighting against the odds of Hogan & The Disicple as well as his busted leg. There’s a great moment when Hogan puts him in the Figure 4, and the fans are so use to nWo run-in bullshit that everyone stands up and looks toward the enterance. Surprisingly however, no one comes down. Brutus gives the ref a neckbreaker, as he and Hogan double team Macho. Cool spot with Brutus giving Macho a stunner with the title on his shoulder. Nash finally shows up, Jackknifing Hogan. He throws Mach on top, only for Bret Hart to show up, wallop Nash, and roll Hogan ontop of Macho. Bret comes in and puts Hogan on top of Macho at 14:26 ***
Sting vs The Giant – WCW Tag Team Championship – The Great American Bash, June 14th, 1998 This is where The Giant & Sting were tag champs, but since they are both in different nWo factions, they don’t want to hang together. So whoever wins this match gets both straps and chooses their partner. Giant is of course smoking, something I never really understood. It’s always shocking to see what shape the Big Show use to be in. I was dreading this match, to be honest, but it’s more than adequete. It’s not as long as it should have been, but they did a fine job with it. The Giant had the power over Sting at the beginning, but through using up every available chance he had, Sting was able to chop the Giant down. The top rope Death Drop was a nice touch. Oh, and Sting went on to choose Nash for his partner. Sting nails Giant with a top rope SDD for the pin at 6:40 ***
Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff vs DDP & Jay Leno – Road Wild, August 8th, 1998 This was the last match I watched on the DVD because I was absolutely dreading it. It’s better than anytime Rodman got into the ring, I’ll admit that. You gotta love when Leno gets Hogan in the wrist-lock, and holds it forever as cameras soak up the moment. This match should have been about 5 minutes or so. Tops. Bright side? Leno & DDP do not dress alike. Eubanks hits a Diamond Cutter on Hogan, giving Leno the pin at 14:34 *
Team WCW vs Team nWo Hollywood vs Team nWo Wolfpac – War Games to determine the #1 contender for the WCW Championship – Fall Brawl, September 13th, 1998 It’s Bret & DDP first, followed by Sting, then Stevie Ray, Piper, Luger, and Nash. I stop at Nash, because he’s really the last entrant of when the match is actually a match and not pure ridiculousness. Hogan comes out about 2 minutes early, has the flapjack and literally knocks everyone out. Yet, he doesn’t pin anyone. It makes absolutely no sense. I think he fucked up and came out too early on accident, because now he’s just buying time as he waits for The Warrior. So, the ring fills with smoke, as The Renegade appears in a neato duster. More smoke. No Warrior. Oh snaps! Now the Warrior is here! God, this is so insulting. The Warrior literally wants us to believe he can vanish at will. So long as people’s vision happens to be obscured for an indeterminate amount of time. He’s used up his vanishing power, as he’s stuck in the cage now. He then breaks out, and chases Hogan. Managing to twist both ankles and tear both biceps. Well, perhaps on the flight home he’ll force the plane to take a nosedive into a hospital. Page hits Stevie Ray with the Diamond Cutter for the win at 20:06 *
Goldberg [C] vs Kevin Nash – No DQ for the WCW Championship – Starrcade, December 27th, 1998 I never understood why Goldberg needed an escort to the ring. Makes him look like a wuss. I love Bobby in the beginning of this “It’s all on the line! Goldberg’s streak, Goldberg’s title, Nash’s…………reputation!”. People can say what they want about Nash booking himself to win, but who the hell else could he count on? Plus, he was extremely over. Wolfpac was really hot at the time. What’s with all the goddamn run ins?! Can’t they just leave well enough alone for the World Title matches? I guess I shouldn’t ask so much from a company that did a complete 180 in every way possible in about 8 months. As for the match though, honestly, it’s not nearly as bad as it should have been. They both did as good as they could at this point, given who they’re both in the ring with. Nash hits Goldberg with the Jacknife for the pin at 11:20 **3/4
Bret Hart vs Goldberg – WCW Championship – Monday Nitro, December 20th, 1999 Mike Tenay says that last night at Starrcade, Goldberg go the short end of the stick. Boy, in hindsight that is extremely incorrect. This match isn’t much, at all. The only highlight is Piper covering Goldberg for the 3 count and Bret winning the belt as a result. The thing lasted less than 6 minutes. Bret must have loved working these style of matches. Piper pins Goldberg at 5:44 to give Bret the strap *
If you want to see how nWo 2000 ended up, and who doesn’t? Then do check out WCW In 2000
Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Rock vs The nWo – RAW, March 11th, 2002 Geez, this is like a dream match you’d come up with in No Mercy or something. Absolute ridiculous the names all crammed in this bout, and it’s on free TV no less. This is the go home Raw for WrestleMania, so it makes sense now. If they would have given this match about 5-6 minutes more, we could have had a TV classic on our hands. Everyone busts their asses in this match, and I enjoyed it. The nWo did a great job of keeping The Rock on their side of the ring, using classic heel cheating bullshit and what have you. There was a ton of energy, and never any down time. A damn fine TV main event. Hulk Hogan drops the leg on The Rock for the pin at 9:30 ***1/4
Showcase Showdown: It’s a great DVD. If you’re not a fan of the nWo, this isn’t going to change your mind. But if you are, then you’re going to really dig the hell out of this. As I said in the beginning, you should get the bluray. It has the Roundtable Discussion, and quite a few more moments, which is of course what the nWo was all about. The group is and always will be my all time favorite angle. I was the exact demo they were looking for, and I lapped it up. Before I go, there’s an easter egg hidden on the DVD. It’s a clip of The Big Show saying something to the effect of “Was the nWo cool? No, it wasn’t fucking cool. It was the absolute worst thing for the business, and it ended up destroying the fucking company.”. I thought that was a pretty funny inclusion. Also, did X-Pac get a nose job? He looks odd.
Str8 Gangster, No Chaser – I do movie reviews, Man Movie Encyclopedia entries, Top 5 lists, and general splendedness. WCW In 2000 – Reviewing the year of 2000 for WCW. We just saw Slamboree 2000, which of course had the rockin’ Ready To Rumble triple cage! The Man Movie Encyclopedia – My book, baby. 5 stars on amazon, endorsed by Scott Keith & Maddox. What more could you ask for? @HulkInThe80s – It’s not mine. But Hulkster promised me if he reaches 500 followers, he’ll whore my website. Besides, what’s better than hearing from The Hulk after he was cryo-frozen by The Heenan Family back in the late 80’s?
Hope you guys dug the action. Any requests just let me know, and I’d be more than happy to make the magic happen.