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.  ​

New Japan Pro Wrestling: Road To The New Beginning 01/30/2015

This is the first of back to back spot shows to start The New Beginnings Tour. New Japan is slowly adding shows here and there. Because this is essentially a House Show, there are no commentators and they’re only using 1 Hard Camera. It’s a very stark production contrast to the big PPV’s.

Also, for those few that asked me on Twitter, I will get around to reviewing the two NJPW vs CMLL FantasticaMania shows. Lucha isn’t really my thing but I figured I’ll do them for completist sake as I’d like to give you insight into everything offered on New Japan World.



This is taking place at the Tokorozawa City Gym. Maybe 800 people in the house?



Alex Shelley vs Jay White
This is White’s first match for New Japan. He’s a 2 year pro and wrestled primarily out of the UK. He’s playing the Young Lion (rookie working from the bottom) role here with the plain black trunks. Shelley’s the right opponent to make him look good in his debut, as he sells well and knows when to let his opponent take control. White’s fiery, works the crowd well, and is technically sound. It’ll be enjoyable to see his progress. *½



Yohei Komatsu vs Kyle O’Reilly
Komatsu is one of the top 2 Young Lions in the company, along with partner and rival Sho Tanaka. He’s a 27 year old, 2 year pro who came through the Dojo system. O’Reilly is ½ of ReDragon with Bobby Fish and ½ of the ROH Tag Champs and NJPW Jr. Tag Champs. I highly recommend tracking down his work. His creative fusion of Shoot & Pro style is truly something to behold. While Shelley gave White plenty of offense, this match is worked with O’Reilly doling out punishment and Komatsu showing he has the Fighting Spirit to take it and keep pushing through. Komatsu had a bit of an off night as he mistimed a couple of spots, detracting from the flow of the match. This was otherwise solid. **¼



Mascara Dorada & KUSHIDA vs The Young Bucks
This is my first look at Dorada. I rarely dip my feet in the Lucha pool. I only know he’s been in the business for around 10 years and worked CMLL before coming to New Japan. KUSHIDA is one of my favourite Junior workers. He typically teams with Alex Shelly in The Time Splitters. The Bucks are my outright favourite Tag Team in any company right now (though Cesaro & Tyson Kidd are creeping up there). The Bucks, Time Splitters, and ReDragon are in a 3 way Jr Tag Title match at the New Beginning In Osaka PPV on 02/11 so this is to further that along. The Bucks do what they do best as they work a fast paced style with creative spots. They’re especially heelish in this one, mocking the Japanese girls for chanting Dorada’s name. Dorada is everything I dislike about Lucha as his work is overly contrived with excessive movement before actually hitting his offense. He works a blistering style though. The match is US Face In Peril formula with a hot Face start, FiP, and then hot tag finish. Sadly short and cookie cutter for such high level talent. *½



Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Jushin “Thunder” Lyger vs Captain New Japan & Tiger Mask IV & Manabu Nakanishi
Six Man Tags with aging veterans is commonplace on Japanese spot shows. If this had taken place 15 years ago, it could have semi main evented. Now it gives the crowd something fun to watch for a few minutes. The match is slow and plodding. Not a surprise when the average age of the workers is 45. Most of it is worked for comedy. The crowd loves to chant along with trademark spots like Kojima’s Machine Gun Chops (a tribute to Kenta Kobashi) and Nakanishi’s chanting Lariat. Odd to see Lyger and TMIV on opposing sides, as they’re usually partners. *½



Yugi Nagata & Togi Makabe & Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma vs Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano & Yoshi Hashi
This match is meant to lay the groundwork for a few stories leading up to the big shows of the tour on 02/11 & 02/15 respectively. The 02/11 card has Nagata/Makbe/Naito vs Nakamura/Ishii/Hashi. The 02/15 card has Ishii getting his rematch with Makabe for the NEVER Open Weight Title that he lost at Wrestle Kingdom 9 (01/04/2015 ****¼) and Nagata challenging Nakamura for the Intercontinental Title. Nagata & Nakamura’s exchanges throughout the match were frankly sloppy. This is exactly why you work these kind of spot shows leading to the big singles match though. They’ve got to work the kinks out. Makabe & Ishii work what is now their customary stiff exchanges. I’m always left at a loss as to how these guys hit each other so hard without serious injury. The other 4 participants are entirely inconsequential. **¾



Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi
This is a continuation of the stable feud between CHAOS and The Bullet Club. Fale scored a clean pinfall on Okada at the 01/05 show (think of it as the Raw after Wrestlemania). CHAOS vs Bullet Club will have tag matches on 02/11 & 02/15 with Okada vs Fale being the underlying theme. The match has an odd dynamic. CHAOS as a stable are more heelish, though not strictly heels per se. The Bullet Club however, are concretely portrayed as heels. As such, you get guys like Gedo, who’s annoying beyond words most often (though a fantastic Head Booker), working as Face In Peril while Okada is pounding Turnbuckles to build the crowd up. This is the first match the crowd was really into from the get go. They absolutely love Okada. The Fale vs Okada story will play out for a while as they aren’t booked in a singles match on this tour. ***



Hiroshi Tanahashi & Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga & Kenny Omega
This match is more about continuing feuds than starting new ones. Goto & Shibata ended Gallows & Anderson’s 1 year Tag Title reign at Wrestle Kingdom 9 (01/04/2015 ***½). Omega defeated Taguchi to win the IWGP Jr. Title on the same card. I’m a bit surprised to see AJ Styles wasn’t in this match. He lost the IWGP Heavyweight Title to Tanahashi at the King Of Pro-Wrestling PPV (10/13/2014 ****). Styles scored a pinfall over Tanahashi on 01/05 in an 8 Man Tag match, setting up their Title rematch at the New Beginning PPV on 02/15. Taguchi’s resemblance to the late Eddie Guerrero in this match is staggering. The tights, build (he’s really starting to get a hard body), moustache and now shorter haircut just scream Guerrero. This was a fast paced, hard hitting, but entirely forgettable match. While Styles wasn’t there, the story with Tanahashi is furthered through his work in the match. It’s actually a bit of a “WHOA” moment and instantly elevates your interest in their title match. A hot crowd made this match all the better. ***



Final Thoughts: It’s pretty much what you’d expect from any House Show. The matches were solid. The bigger matches all moved stories and feuds forward to the big shows in mid February. I’ll be back with thoughts on the 02/01 Korakuen Hall show soon.

Question/comments are always welcome. You can also find my thoughts on various random matches that cross my path on Twitter at @NagataLockII.

Road Wild 1999

Road Wild
1999

Date: August 14,
1999
Location: Sturgis, South Dakota
Attendance:
5,500
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Back
to Eric Bischoff’s big idea so he could ride motorcycles around the
Black Hills. The main event here is Kevin Nash vs. Hulk Hogan in a
title/career vs. career match, which still doesn’t sound fair to
Hogan. After sitting through the disaster that was Thunder though, I
really don’t care about what is fair in WCW. Let’s get to it.

The
opening recap of course focuses on Nash vs. Hogan. In case the five
or six videos on Thunder weren’t enough for you of course. Actually,
the more I think about it, one of these guys leaving means we might
get someone new in the main event. FREAKING SWEET MAN!
Tony
talks about this history of Road Wild. As in the show that debuted
back in 1996 (1997 if you consider Hog Wild its own show). Just
printing his quotes are better than almost any jokes I could come up
with.
Here’s
the first show of any WCW employees: Tenay in a jean jacket and
sunglasses, Tony in a darker jean jacket, sunglasses and a backwards
hat, and Heenan (looking
mostly normal) in a black
shirt and hat. My goodness this stuff never gets easier to sit
through. They hype up the
main event and other big
options to eat up time.
We
recap the Dead Pool vs. the yet to be named Filthy Animals which I
don’t think has an actual story. They just started fighting one day
and led up to this match. Tony says the fighting took place on the
WCW Network. Good grief you mean they thought of it first???
Dead
Pool vs. Eddie Guerrero/Rey Mysterio Jr./Kidman
I
do like the road design for the entrance ramp and
the whole atmosphere is always really cool.
It’s Vampiro and the Insane
Clown Posse (Violent J. and Shaggy 2 Dope) with Raven in their corner
here. It’s a big brawl to
start with the Clowns thankfully being knocked to the floor so
Vampiro can handle the wrestling. Kidman
hits an early Sky High, followed by a slingshot hilo from Eddie.
They head outside for a few seconds and we see that the ring is up on
a mini platform like in previous years.
Vampiro
nails a nice spinwheel kick to drop Eddie as Tony points out that the
Clowns aren’t really wrestlers. Granted I question how much they’re
actually singers or musicians either but that’s a discussion for
another time. We now get to the real point of the match as Tenay
says Vampiro might be touring with the Clowns in the future. J.
comes in to imitate whatever moves he saw watching wrestling as a
kid, including a clothesline and a jawbreaker.
Tenay
brings up the fans that have been stuck in the airport for all
eternity, stalking wrestling personalities and asking them about
whatever main event is coming up. Vampiro
comes back in but Eddie climbs the ropes into a hurricanrana, only to
have J. make the save. A
Rock Bottom gets two on Eddie and the Clowns hit a double suplex.
Amazingly enough, one of the most talented wrestlers of all time
doesn’t have much of a problem beating up a clown named after
a Scooby Doo character. He
drops Shaggy with a superplex and the hot tag brings in Mysterio.
Raven
actually does something (when was the last time he even had a match?)
by tripping Mysterio to the floor so Vampiro can hit the Nail in the
Coffin on the floor. J. comes back in and I keep getting distracted
by the steak sandwich stand opposite the hard camera. Things
slow back down again as Tenay brags about the Clowns being able to
hit legdrops in the wrestling ring they’ve set up in their backyards.
The moral of the story: don’t backyard wrestle unless you can get
WCW mainstream coverage.
Shaggy
powerslams Rey (Tony: “Great execution. As good as you’ll get!”
The British Bulldog is rolling over in his grave.) and drops him with
a clothesline for no cover. Rey raises a boot in the corner and hits
a split legged moonsault, allowing the hot tag to Kidman. Everything
breaks down and Kidman is left alone with Shaggy. Apparently he’s
more of a Yogi Bear fan as he drops the Shooting Star for the pin to
thankfully get us to a match full of actual wrestlers.
Rating: D+.
The thing is, the match isn’t even all that bad. The problem here
though is how many notches Mysterio, Guerrero and Kidman have to
crank it down so the Clowns aren’t overwhelmed. Those three are some
of the best wrestlers WCW ever had but they’re stuck in the opening
match against some musicians because WCW would rather make a quick
splash off having the Clowns in a boring match than put on a product
that could actually compete against WWF, which Mysterio, Guerrero and
Kidman tearing the house down for these twelve minutes could have
been a big part of.
The
Clowns aren’t even horrible in the ring, but they’re very, very
limited. They can do basic stuff like clotheslines and suplexes, but
so can every single wrestler on the roster. Instead of Mysterio
defending the title (which he hasn’t done on a major show since May
from what I can find) or Eddie actually wrapping up that stolen
wallet story, we’re stuck watching these guys do stuff they taught
themselves so they can have a thrill. That’s what we get for our
$30?
We
recap Harlem Heat vs. the Triad for the Tag Team Titles. Booker was
getting beaten up by the Triad but Stevie came out to help him. He
wanted to reform the team, but Booker said take off the NWO colors.
Stevie said okey dokey and that’s about all it took.
Tag
Team Titles: Jersey Triad vs. Harlem Heat
The
Triad is defending but it’s only Kanyon and Bigelow at ringside
because Flair can’t let them have all three members around anymore.
Kanyon says most of the
bikers here likely don’t have cable, so he explains the usual
question, only to be drowned out by the engines revving.
Booker is in black and
white after making a big deal out of Stevie not wearing the black and
white. I smell a secret alliance and feel the need to tune into
Nitro to find out more.
The
champs jump them to start but are quickly knocked to the floor. Only
WCW would put Bam Bam Bigelow, a former biker covered in tattoos, in
front of a biker rally as a heel. Tony
isn’t sure if Harlem Heat will have continuity after only wrestling a
few matches in the last year. You mean like Bigelow and Kanyon?
Stevie tries to get the
crowd going but Kanyon sends him into the corner and drives in some
shoulders to the ribs. Ray
pops back up and throws both champions out to the floor and things
slow down again. Heenan: “I remember one time I picked up the
Beast From the East. Her name was Monica.”
Back
in and Booker comes in to stomp Kanyon in the corner but gets dropped
to the mat and choked. Tony and Bobby actually agree that Charles
Robinson was a fair referee most of the time. Tenay: “…..what?”
This commentary is extra golden tonight. Back
to Stevie who tells the fans to rev their engines, which for some
reason keeps Bigelow from going after Stevie when his back is turned.
Shoulder blocks have no
effect on either guy so Ray runs him over with a clothesline.
Kanyon
gets in a knee from the apron and comes in to mock the bikers a bit.
Heenan turns into a manager and starts coaching Kanyon on how to
choke. It’s back to Bigelow for a corner splash and a chinlock so he
can whisper some sweet spots into Ray’s ear. Back
to Kanyon who tries to put Stevie down so Bigelow can go up top, only
to have Kanyon catapult him into Bam Bam for a breather. The
hot tag brings in Booker to fire off his kicks but Bigelow low
bridges him to the floor. Oddly the fans have gone far more silent
since Booker came in.
Kanyon
nails his middle rope Fameasser for two as we’ve slowed down again.
He loads up the same move
but this time Booker powerbombs him for a nice counter. I love when
wrestlers learn during the match. Stevie comes in again to hammer
away but Page runs out, only to get knocked down by Bigelow, setting
up Booker’s missile dropkick for the pin and the titles.
Rating: C+.
It’s a very good sign that Benoit and Booker T. have picked up a
title each in the last five days. Going back to Harlem Heat was a
step backwards, but I’m very glad to see the
younger guys getting something out of all this. The match was pretty
good too with a basic tag team formula that has worked for years and
will continue working for years to come. It also keeps up the idea
that once the villains lose their backer and have to fight fair, the
good guys win. In other words, Wrestling 101 works even in WCW.
We
recap the Revolution vs. the Rednecks. For some reason this is
treated as more about Hennig vs. Saturn than anything else. There
isn’t much of a story here other than they needed something for these
teams to do and threw them into this match. Oh and CHAD BROCK!!!
Revolution
vs. West Texas Rednecks
It’s
Douglas/Malenko/Saturn vs. Hennig/Windham/Duncum with the rednecks
billed as the villains as WCW still doesn’t get their audience (nor
do they get their money but at least Bischoff got to ride a
motorcycle!). Saturn says
they don’t care about the cowboys or Chad Brock (heresy!) so just
pick who gets beaten up first. It’s a brawl to start again with the
Revolution cleaning house. We
settle down to Malenko vs. Barry Windham, who can’t make the t-shirt
over trunks look work.
Dean
takes over to start and brings in Saturn for a back elbow as Tenay
goes into Professor mode, talking about how the Rednecks all have
fathers who wrestled. That’s
the kind of guy wrestling needs again (and not Matt “let me beat
you over the head with my knowledge and names of moves that no one
uses” Striker) and I’m sure there’s someone out there. Douglas
comes in with a nice powerslam on Duncum as the Revolution keeps the
wrestling strong. Heenan
tells a story about having an 115 degree temperature but coming back
just two years later. Wrestling could use a commentator like him
too, but I don’t think one exists.
Saturn
suplexes Windham down and hammers away but Kendall nails Saturn from
the floor to change control. Good old fashioned cheating never hurt
anyone. Well Saturn maybe
but that’s beside the point. Off
to Hennig for the necksnap as a truck drives along the road behind
the ring. You can’t say this show looks the same as the rest of
them. Hennig lets Saturn
tag and house is cleaned for a bit before it’s off to Douglas.
The
Rednecks come in to break up a Pittsburgh Plunge attempt and “whoever
it was” (Tenay’s words) trips him to the floor and Shane gets
beaten down on the floor. Things
settle down to Windham suplexing Douglas for two. The Rednecks get
us into a regular tag team formula with Kendall getting in his shots
from the floor. Since we’re getting into a good wrestling match,
it’s time to talk about Savage vs. Rodman. Duncum suplexes Douglas
for two and we hit the chinlock.
Back
to Windham for a DDT and the slowest two count I’ve seen in years.
If a heel was getting counted, the announcers would suggest the
referee was crooked. Shane
stops Duncum with a boot in the corner and Saturn gets the hot tag.
Everything breaks down and Dean puts Hennig in the Cloverleaf, only
to have Kendall break it up with the cowbell. Saturn nails Duncum
with the Death Valley Driver for the pin.
Rating: C.
Well at least the right team won. They actually had me thinking that
the Rednecks were going to win there just to tick the fans off even
more. The Revolution finally has some momentum, but unfortunately
it’s momentum against midcard acts instead of against the main event
guys. I guess that boxing match against Piper was the extent of the
youth movement’s main event push, because we need room for the main
events we’re getting.
Speaking
of what we’re getting, this was the third straight match that could
have been on any given Nitro but instead they’re all on this show.
The Tag Team Title change meant something, but so far nothing has
happened to really give the fans a real thrill. Nothing so far has
felt like a big moment and we’re about an hour into the show. That’s
not a good sign given what’s coming.
We
recap Bagwell vs. Cat. Miller said he could dance like no one else,
Bagwell dressed up in black face and stole Cat’s shoes, Miller beat
him up a few times, let’s have a match.
Buff
Bagwell vs. The Cat
Speaking
of matches that have no business on pay per view. Tenay
says Bagwell is one big match away from winning championship gold.
If you throw in a far better offense I can’t say I disagree, but he’s
stuck in this mess of a feud. Sonny
is in a biker vest with no shirt underneath for a disturbing look.
They still can’t start the
match because both guys have to try to talk with Cat cutting off
Bagwell every time and the bikers cutting Cat off. Bagwell:
“Cat, you’re not a crowd favorite if you know what I mean.”
Unless he’s being completely literal, no I don’t know what you mean.
We
finally get going with Cat hiptossing Bagwell and dancing a bit. The
idea works so well that he does it again but with a slam this time.
We’re two minutes into the match now as a PUSSY CAT chant starts up.
Buff comes back with a
hiptoss and slams of his own, sending Cat to the floor so Buff can
dance. Back in again and
Miller spends almost a minute teasing a handshake as this match is
dying in front of our eyes. He
finally gets in a cheap shot on Bagwell and chokes in the corner,
only to take two dropkick. Of course, it’s time to dance!
Cat
hits him low (what took them so long?) and superkicks Bagwell down
but the referee yells at Miller, allowing Sonny to get in some lame
choking. They repeat the
same sequence before Miller slaps on a chinlock. Bagwell
reverses a suplex into one of his own and both guys are down. Back
up and a cross body gets two on Cat so Sonny gets on the apron. To
complete the disaster, Cat is rammed into Sonny’s briefcase and one
of the worst rollups I’ve seen in years (I’ve had to say that too
often in this review) gives Bagwell the pin.
Rating: F-.
Where do I even start? How about Buff can’t even beat ERNEST MILLER
with his finisher??? Last time he beat Piper with a pin in a boxing
match and now he beats Miller with a rollup without the shoulder even
being on the mat. The match was horrible as it was borderline comedy
with all the dancing and repeated spots, mainly focused on choking.
This was a disaster and something that should have been buried on
Thunder instead of something that was supposed to make me care about
Bagwell. How does beating up a goofy dancer who can’t do anything
but choke and kick make Buff look like a star? Awful mess.
Miller
and Onoo lay Bagwell out post match while Buff’s music is playing.
They REALLY had to do this?
We
recap Benoit vs. Page. This is part of the Revolution vs.
Triad/establishment feud with Benoit wanting to prove that he could
hang with a former World Champion like Page. Benoit finally got his
chance to win a singles title by beating David Flair for the US Title
in a fair fight and now Page wants to beat him to regain his
confidence.
US
T….
Oh
I’m sorry I had the wrong notes. That’s the feud that should have
happened. Instead Page made a bunch of Your Mama jokes about Benoit
to tick him off, then Benoit won the US Title and this was made a No
DQ title match at the last second.
US
Title: Chris Benoit vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Benoit
is defending and this is No DQ. Before
the match, Page says Benoit loves his mother, just like anyone else
can for $2.99 a minute. Tony
says this is the scene of one of Page’s best matches: last year when
he teamed with Jay Leno. First the Miller match and now those
memories brought up? They
slug it out to start and Benoit punches out of a helicopter bomb,
knocking Page out to the floor.
Back
in (and thankfully away from a shirtless guy that makes Ralphus look
trim) with Page getting two off a suplex.
We’re already in a reverse chinlock as Page starts in on the ribs.
A fireman’s carry into a faceplant drops Benoit for a delayed two and
Page drives knees into the ribs. We hear Page’s career history,
which really is quite the story. Page plants him with an Anderson
spinebuster for two but stops to yell at the referee.
Things
slow down as Page walks around the ring before a side slam gets two.
I can live with him walking around like that because, unlike Miller,
Page has actually shown us more than entry level offense and it fits
his character to be a cocky jerk. That’s
the kind of stuff that separates guys from nothing like Cat to stars
like Page.
Benoit gets a breather off a jawbreaker and goes up, only to get
caught in the Tree of Woe.
Page
takes the referee’s belt away and tries to whip Benoit but Little
Naitch actually stands up to him. Granted it doesn’t work as Page
wraps the belt around Benoit’s throat (Heenan: “WALK THAT DOG!”)
before doing the same with Benoit over his shoulder. Very cool yet
disturbing visual actually. Benoit escapes and starts rolling the
Germans for two but Kanyon breaks up the Swan Dive.
The
Revolution is shown watching on the monitors as Benoit throws Page
into Kanyon for two. Page suplexes him down and Bigelow adds a top
rope headbutt for another near fall as Benoit just won’t quit. He
knocks all three members together for a pair
of
falling low blows
(ala Sting), setting up the Swan Dive to Page to retain the title, no
thanks to the Revolution.
Rating: B-.
I’d be stunned if this isn’t match of the night. I really liked the
story here with Page being all cocky and underestimating Benoit
because he had the Triad in his back pocket, only to have Benoit
fight all three of them off and win in the end. That
being said, it’s really nothing great as it’s far more about the
story than the wrestling. It would have been nice to have Benoit win
the title here, but I wouldn’t want to live in a world without that
David Flair title reign. I
mean, it did SO much to make you hate Ric more right?
Breathe
in people. It’s big match time.
A
motorcycle is given away. I didn’t hear this advertised on any WCW
show leading up to this.
We
recap Sid vs. Sting but unfortunately we don’t get any Halloween
Havoc 1989 clips. Basically Sid is calling himself the Millennium
Man and wants to lead WCW into the future. Sting is his first target
as he’s being built up for Goldberg.
Sid
Vicious vs. Sting
The
announcers claim that Sid has been in WCW a little over a month (it’s
been two months) and he’s undefeated (if you don’t count tag matches
or disqualifications of
course). Apparently Sting
has given up all of the power that he won from Flair. That clears up
some questions, but did they have to wait two weeks to explain it?
Sid stalls on the floor to
start but gets kicked into the corner for a pair of Stinger Splashes.

He
knocks Sid to the floor and that’s enough action to start as Sid
takes a seat on the edge of the platform. Sting sends him into the
crowd and they walk around ringside for a bit. When did Sting stop
wrestling and become a full time brawler? 1997? Back
in and Sting misses a Splash in the corner so it’s time for the wide
world of choking. A
backbreaker gets two on Sting as the crowd has died again. Off
to another chinlock as Tony thinks the temperatures lowering could
mean the matches go long. Global warming never sounded better.
They
head back to the floor with Sid dropping him throat first across the
barricade and we hit that chinlock again because Sid needs air. Back
up and Sting drops him with a shoulder, setting up the falling low
blow (third time in two matches). Sting goes to run the ropes but
Sid trips him from his back. Yes, somehow Sid has invented a way to
wrestle while laying down. You knew someone was going to do it
someday. Snake Eyes puts
Sting down again but Sid goes up, only to get taken down with a
superplex. Not that it
matters as the Stinger Splash is caught by a chokeslam for the
completely clean pin.
Rating: D.
The resting here was ridiculous as Sid was sitting/laying down at
every given chance he had in a match that didn’t even last eleven
minutes. This is the kind of thing that people look at in WCW and
shake their heads as they wonder why they’re still watching. I mean,
am I supposed to just wait for Sid to have another major match where
he can be even lazier? I can get behind the idea of building up Sid
as a monster, but could he put some effort into his matches? He
doesn’t even use a lot of power moves as most of his offense revolves
around choking. You can’t throw a powerslam in there?
Quick
recap of Rick Steiner vs. Goldberg. Rick and Scott had destroyed
Goldberg earlier in the year so Goldberg could go make a movie.
Goldberg came back and started brawling with Steiner without a
mention of the beatdown, but he did manage to say the TV Title wasn’t
worth fighting for. How do you respond to that?
Goldberg
vs. Rick Steiner
Non-title.
It’s a brawl to start of
course and Goldberg just nails him with a clothesline. Steiner tries
something like a cross body to no effect and the superkick drops him.
They’re clearly not going long here and that’s the best idea
possible. Rick bails to the
floor ala Sid before coming back in with a low blow. At least he
bothered to shove the referee. Rick
takes Goldberg’s knee brace off and beats him with it in whatever
ways he can (which to be fair isn’t a long list).
I’ll
give Tony this: he FINALLY points out that a knee brace Goldberg wore
into the ring isn’t a foreign object and shouldn’t be considered
cheating. I believe that’s the only time I’ve heard a commentator
say that and it’s accurate. A
belly to belly gets two for Rick and another brace shot to the head
has him in trouble. Goldberg gets up and press slams Steiner into a
powerslam, setting up the spear and Jackhammer. He really did just
pop up from that offense and win with his signature moves.
Rating: D+.
Believe it or not this wasn’t the worst thing they could have done.
Ignoring the TV Champion losing in less than six minutes, Goldberg
not selling, the knee brace shots having almost no effect and
Goldberg’s comeback lasting all of three moves, this was the best
possible option they had. Goldberg was supposed to destroy Steiner
here and that’s basically what he did, setting him up for a bigger
feud down the line. They really need to get the TV Title off of
Steiner now though as it’s dying every single day he holds it.
We
recap Arliss (the character, not the actor. Well depending on who
you ask that is but I’m not getting into that mess again) bringing
Rodman back to face Savage. This was before Rodman became a real
face by kidnapping Gorgeous George, potentially raping her, attacking
from behind and running from a fight. This story was such a mess and
I really don’t want to know the logic behind it as I fear it might
destroy my mind.
Dennis
Rodman vs. Randy Savage
Hardcore
for obvious reasons. Now
this should be interesting as this match is very fondly remembered
but I’m very curious as to how well it holds up. It
should also be noted that Savage promised to bring a very bad man
here to guard George. That man would also be revealed as the Hummer
driver, even though this was ignored on Nitro this past week. Savage
comes out alone because he doesn’t want George around Rodman. To be
fair I don’t want to be around Rodman either. Rodman
wants to know where she is but Savage says Rodman is his tonight.
More swearing ensues and I have no idea what they’re talking about.
They’re
on the floor about six seconds in with Savage going into the
barricade a few times. Back in and the announcers are already
praising Rodman as hard as they can. What took them so long? An
elbow to the jaw puts Savage down and Tony says that’s enough to show
that he’s a fine competitor. He follows it up with a Russian
legsweep for another really slow two and even knows how to argue with
a referee. He gets tired of
dealing with Billy Silverman and lays him out before slowly walking
around the ring.
Savage
gets in his first offense after about three minutes by raking
Rodman’s face. Heenan: “REBOUND THIS!” Mickie
Jay comes out to referee as Savage hits his third choke of the match.
He punches out a
photographer to steal his camera and uses it to nail Rodman for two.
The near fall earns Jay a right hand of his own and Scott Dickinson
comes in to give us three referees knocked out.
Rodman
gets back up to throw Savage outside but
Savage tosses him over the barricade. The fans throw Rodman back as
Savage walks around looking for weapons (or a real opponent). We’re
on referee #4 now as they walk backstage. Rodman kind of armdrags
Savage down but gets thrown into some trash. Here’s the big spot of
the match: Rodman gets thrown into a portable toilet, which is then
shoved over. The door opens and the waste comes out, only to have
Rodman pop back up. Seriously, THAT is what people say made this
match entertaining.
Back
to ringside with Savage being thrown into the lighting structure
before Dennis “hits” a middle rope “clothesline”,
accidentally knocking the referee down. Gorgeous George comes out to
the reaction of the match and hits Rodman low. She also gives Savage
a chain to knock Rodman out for the pin to end this mess. Yes,
Savage needed George and a chain to beat a basketball player.
Rating: D.
It was messy (literally), it wasn’t really entertaining, Rodman nor
Savage have any business in a ring at this point…..but
I didn’t completely hate this. Maybe
it’s low expectations or Rodman having a better presence than he did
in the horrible tag match in 1998, but this could have been about a
million times worse. Yeah the toilet spot was stupid and a lot of
the moves didn’t hit, but this is like the Clown match earlier: it’s
not fair to expect a good match out of someone who isn’t a good
wrestler. The praise this match got is overkill, but this could have
been WAY worse.
We
recap Hogan vs. Nash, which seems to be the real match they wanted to
get to instead of Goldberg vs. Hogan or Goldberg vs. Nash. The
idea here is they’re arguing over who was the real force behind the
NWO and it’s Nash’s career vs. Hogan’s career and title to try and
add in some drama. Hogan turned face earlier in the week to get rid
of any possible drama for this match.
WCW
World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Kevin Nash
The
fans and announcers are entirely behind Hogan. Nash
shoves him into the corner a few times to start and the engines rev
again. He grabs a headlock
(Hogan: “OH MY GOD!”) and we’re already stuck in first gear.
Another shove sends Nash to the floor and the stalling begins. Back
in and we hit the test of strength with Nash getting the better of
it. Tony continues his bizarre commentary by saying Nash is two
inches taller than Hogan. If you drop Nash down to 6’11, that puts
Hogan at 6’9. That’s a stretch even for WCW.
Nash
starts going after the back but takes too long on the framed elbow.
There’s nothing here that wouldn’t be seen on a Nitro main event so
far. Hulk hammers away in
the corner but gets raked in the eyes. Nash uses the boot choke as
we’re only in signature mode here. They
head outside for nothing of note before Nash slowly walks around the
ring. He calls for the
Jackknife but keeps hammering away, including the framed elbow. The
big boot and Jackknife plant Hogan and it’s Hulk Up time. You know
the rest and Nash is sent on vacation. Uh I mean retired. Yeah
retired. For like, ever.
Rating: D.
So after all that time (the full five days) of buildup for the career
vs. career stipulation and the huge Nash heel turn (three weeks ago I
believe) after Hogan’s long title reign (less than a month at this
point), they did the paint by numbers Hogan match and expected us to
be amazed. This was the
Hogan formula from the 80s taking place four months from the year
2000, which tells you almost all you need to know about WCW.
The
worst part is Hogan vs. Nash could have drawn a fairly decent crowd
if promoted the right way. It’s a big main event that we hadn’t seen
yet but it’s thrown onto maybe the lowest level PPV of the year on a
Saturday instead of the usual Sunday. They set this match up to fail
and I really don’t get the thinking there. Granted that could be
said about almost everything around this time.
Overall Rating: D.
This really isn’t the worst
show ever, as the first half (save for the Bagwell vs. Cat mess) is
totally watchable. Mostly boring but watchable. You
have some decent action and a title change plus a good Benoit vs.
Page match. Unfortunately, that all led to the second half of the
show and that’s where this show gets its reputation.
The
main event guys hit new levels of lazy and sluggish here with Sid
somehow coming up with offense from his back. I mean, he can’t even
sit up to trip Sting? The main event had as much heat as an igloo on
Christmas Eve, Sting vs. Sid was just there to set up something for
the future, Goldberg vs. Steiner was a Thunder main event and Rodman
vs. Savage was just a celebrity appearance. Maybe
Nash leaving for awhile will open up a main event slot, but the
thoughts of who they might put in there terrifies me.
You
know what this needed to be? A Clash of the Champions. Cut out the
opener, Miller vs. Bagwell and make Sid/Savage vs. Rodman/Sting (Tell
me you wouldn’t pay to see Sting and Rodman try to have a
conversation) a tag match. That’s not a bad two hour show and it
would certainly make fans feel better than paying for this mess.
This show didn’t need to be a three hour pay per view as the matches
and feuds just aren’t there for one. They need to mix things up soon
though because this product is killing them.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

RF Video On the Road with Raven

This was filmed in December 2006.

This is a two-disc set, totaling at two hours and fifty-eight minutes long

It is conducted by Rob Feinstein and Doug Gentry, in his last on camera appearance before he passed away. The poor guy looked sick too. A graphic for him is on the screen before the interview.

The disc starts with Raven on a shopping spree in New Hope, PA. He is walking around with some girl, who has one fine set of tits but a busted face, then walks into the “Witch Shop.” They talk about the Nip/Tuck season finale and some other TV shows before leaving.

He then talks to someone about his new character (the leader of the Serotonin stable) and how he wears a white suit. He then talks about meeting people at DragonCon and wants something that looks like it would hurt if it hit you but not too bad. He then wants Gentry to come over and be his guinea pig. Raven shoots the shit for several more minutes with the guys from the shop. He looks at various swords and masks along with other weapons. This is going on for far too long and is not at all interesting to me. The only thing remotely entertaining was Raven ragging on Feinstein and Gentry.

We are now shown Raven being picked up at the airport in Baltimore, MD on 12/28/06 as he heads to a show for Maryland Championship Wrestling. Raven then talks in the car about how the people in Philadelphia are bigger deviants than those in New York City and how Howard Stern said the same thing. Raven then calls Baltimore the ghetto version of Philly. Gentry talks about how he used to sell flowers as Raven seems interested and they talk about some notoriously perverted guy who used to pay boys to shit in their underwear and take it home with him and how Gentry sold him his socks for $10 when the guy offered to buy them and then heard that he would pay kids to go to the bathroom in his house.

Still in the car, Raven talks about falling in the trap of using drugs to be cool and how he wanted to be Keith Richards. He then says that there comes a time when you have to grow up once he realized that and stopped using. Raven then talks about Bob Evans after they pass it on the road and how he eats their pancakes with honey.

Raven then talks on his phone to his mechanic about having problems with his tires. They finally arrive to the arena as Raven wants to go to Bob Evans at some point. He is backstage as the camera work is too shaky to see who else is there.

We now see Raven get checked out by the Maryland State Athletic Commission. They take his vital signs as the old guy who is in charge talks about how Smackdown was in town recently and saw guys like Sgt. Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes but forgot everyone else. To say this guy’s memory was gone is an understatement. The doctor then makes Raven do a sobriety test as Raven fucks around for a minute before taking it seriously.

Raven goes backstage and eats his food that he brought along from the Atlanta airport. Feinstein comments how it smells like shit as Raven responds by saying that it smells like Feinstein’s mom. Guys on the show like Jeff Jones and Danny Doring walk by and say hi for a bit.

Doring then comes back and talks with Raven for a bit as Feinstein asks Raven about his opponent tonight, Nick Berk. They then talk about the ex-boyfriend of an ECW rat who is here and how he invested the boys money. Raven asks Doring about Chetti and learned that his wife became pregnant with their 5th child the day after he got a vasectomy. He also said that Chetti told his wife that he got a $1,500 bonus for Christmas and she ended up giving him $300 and keeping the rest. Doring then talks about how he told Chetti not to worry about the 5th kid because in the next ten years he will found out that he had fathered six or seven more.

Feinstein is now with Nick Berk, who is pumped about wrestling Raven tonight. They then meet for the first time briefly as Raven heads over to his gimmick table past all of the fans at the event as there still Christmas decorations up with KC and the Sunshine Band playing in the background. Raven signs some autographs and is not exactly the friendliest guy while doing so as he seems annoyed when fans request a picture. 90% of the fans are obese and wearing hooded sweatshirts and glasses. Raven seems to warm up a tad to the fans near the end. He did insist one fan get an extra picture after she gave him extra money and when she refused, he gave it to a kid. Some guy who claims to sell wrestling merchandise at a flea market attempts to cut a deal with him as Raven said he will talk to him later. Raven briefly comments on the covers on Women’s Wrestling matches.

After leaving the gimmick table, Raven heads up to the locker room and talks with Berk. Raven comments on how he looks like George Hamilton with his mustache and how he has to rent “Love at First Bite.” Berk then comments on how he recently was on WWE TV portraying Michael Richards in a skit. MCW owner Dan McDevitt comes out and says that Tom Brandi will not be here as he had a part of the show as Raven and McDevitt talk about the past and how Raven would like to work here in the future. McDevitt then wants Berk to fill the role of Brandi and they go through the segment as a girl walks by dressed as a slutty elf. Raven learns that his match was not advertised and how he got the spot right before first intermission. Raven then suggests how to make the segment better and he ends up schooling them both with his knowledge. The owner is actually incorporating his real-life divorce into the story. Raven stresses to let the heels get the heat as several other wrestlers on the show stand around and listen to Raven lay out how to do the segment and says that the heel shouldnt be too funny in bringing up the divorce as the fans will laugh and how they should say things to make the fans feel uncomfortable so he still maintains his heel heat. Raven then walks Berk through on what to do that will make the segment work. Chasity comes out and chills with Raven for a bit and looks great to be honest. Raven then talks to Berk after everyone else leaves and asks if he gets were he is coming from. Berk responds by saying that he listens to Opie & Anthony and how they are offensive and uses that style but Raven reminds him how this audience listens to that stuff so they will not be offended. Raven then suggests to study tapes of Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman when they were in WCW. Raven is teaching these guys a lot and just does a great job of it to be honest. The WWE would really benefit from him in NXT but that is never going to happen.

Raven is now getting dressed and asks the owner if he can go on after the intermission so it gets more time and so he can stretch for a bit. He then talks some more about the segment and how the heel should “pat him on the back then shove it up his ass.” Raven closes the disc by alerting everyone that he has to take a shit.

DISC TWO




We leave off with Raven still in the locker room. He then gets a Bob Evans delivery and shares it with Doring, who jokes about how he learned a lot from who he traveled with. For instance, he learned from Raven on what to eat and also learned to wear a rubber with your wife from Chris Chetti and not tell your wife that you got a Christmas bonus.

Berk talks to Raven about how he talked to him when he was in ECW. Raven then talks to Doring about Francine and how she claims to be in love with her boyfriend as Doring doesn’t believe her. Raven then says that he believes it is real as she can tell it in her voice. He then asks Doring if he ever got with her and he said that Francine told him that she was told who not to talk with.

Doring and Raven then talk about masturbating and it is a pretty funny conversation to be honest. Its all just shooting the shit stuff but actually entertaining, unlike Raven in the shops of New Hope, PA. Doring is always hysterical in shoot interviews.

Raven then tells Berk again that being funny kills heel heat and to not think funny when he interrupts the owner’s speech but rather think mean. He even suggests some lines to him as they finish up talking as Berk thanks him. Again, Raven did a tremendous job giving advice.

After some more bullshitting, Raven heads backstage in the gorilla position and stretches as McDevitt and Berk have their confrontation. He then talks with Chasity and Jeff Jones and after a few minutes, peaks through the curtain and a few minutes after that, Raven is introduced and he runs in and clotheslines Berk, wrestling as a character called Nicky Benz, to the floor. Raven then cuts a promo before beating the crap out of him outside of the ring. They have their match, which isnt anything special, and Raven wins that. He limps to the back then talks to McDevitt in the locker room about how he should have not pulled the microphone away from Berk as it turns to a pissing contest and it hurts his sympathy a bit but most importantly, it kills the tension as the heel should be in control of his own segment and that is why there were two microphones. This is Raven offering constructive criticism and not being a dick. Overall, Raven puts over the segment and said it made the crowd sympathetic towards the face.

Raven then teaches Berk some more and how the heel needs to build heat so the face can make the big comeback. He says that when the face is on the ground set up, attack them. Raven talks about how as a heel, you need to be good enough that when you show ass, people still think you are a prick. Berk then thanks Raven for all he has taught him.

Final Thoughts: To begin, this was a documentary, not a shoot interview. No questions were really asked to Raven and he was filmed the entire time during his normal daily routine. The only stories provided were from Danny Doring as he ragged on Chris Chetti. The beginning with him at the shops was tedious but watching him at the show and seeing him shoot the shit backstage, interact with fans, and teach others about wrestling was fantastic. It was all raw footage and very, very interesting to watch. It doesnt make for an interesting recap to read though.

Raven really stood out here with his wrestling knowledge. He was teaching everyone and not in a condescending way either. Watching and listening him explain his reasons on how something will and will not work was something else. Also, watching an indy show from behind the scenes is about as dreary as you would expect. From the venue to the talent, it was sad at times.

Another problem was that the sound quality was rough as it was hard to listen when Raven was shopping and when he was backstage waiting for his cue to come out to the ring. The camera work was shaky at times too. However, I do recommend this shoot as the footage of Raven at the show is worth watching. My recommendation is to skip until he reaches the venue as everything else is dull. Luckily, a majority of the shoot takes place at the show.

You can purchase the video at RFVideo.com, who has a sale lasting through tomorrow for 25% off shoot interviews.

http://www.rfvideo.com/

Here is my schedule:

Friday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 10/4/86
Saturday: RoH Scramble Madness 11/16/02
Sunday: WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event 10/4/86
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 10/5/86
Thursday: Shoot Interview TBD

Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mrbayless1982

Which “On the Road” Shoot Interview Should be Reviewed Next

This week, I decided to select five “On the Road” shoots. This is a series from “RF Video” that follows the subject around to different shows and inerviews them in the process. Here are your four choices.

Iron Sheik


http://www.rfvideo.com/ontheroadwiththeironsheik.aspx

Jake Roberts


http://www.rfvideo.com/ontheroadwithjakeroberts.aspx

Raven


http://www.rfvideo.com/ontheroadwithraven.aspx



Honky Tonk Man


http://www.rfvideo.com/ontheroadwithhonkytonkman.aspx

Sandman


http://www.rfvideo.com/ontheroadwiththesandman.aspx

Vote by clicking on the link below. Voting ends Saturday at 7pm EST.

http://vote.pollcode.com/38616533

QOTD #56: The (looong) Road to Wrestlemania

Today’s Question: I’ll piggyback from a comment from yesterday and ask….how would you book Brock Lesnar (and the WWF World title) from now until Wrestlemania?

Yesterday’s Question: I’ll keep it short and sweet…..What would you say is the high point, and what is the low point from the Summer Slam 2014 PPV Special Event?



Going back to Friday, watching the SNMEs on the Network was the inspiration for the Opening Credits question last week…..the “Obsession” theme was one of my favorites, but eventually they switched music (the 2nd theme was almost as good)….anybody who knows the name of that one feel free to comment with the answer

Anyway, other than SNME, mine is a toss-up between the old World Class house show that played in local markets (KTVT 11 Championship Sports – NOT the World Class syndicated show)

And the old Mid-South theme

As for yesterday, obviously, everyone thinks (as I do) that Lesnar demolishing Cena is a step in the right direction. A small sample of the comments….

Devin Harris: “High point: Brock’s zombie situp. Brock tries to play the “too cool for
school” deal but this guy cares about his ring work. The little details
he adds to his character shows he is a guy isn’t just about collecting
checks”

Jared Bellow: “High point: Lesnar destroying Cena to leave him lying in a heap.”

Mike Mears: “High point- obviously the Lesnar/Cena slaughter. I don’t even know how
to classify that match in terms of how good it was because it was so far
outside the norm for a main event match. Not just by today’s “WWE main
event style” standards. ….”

cabspaintedyellow:”High point: Cena having only signed up for the Six Suplex Commitment, but forgetting to turn off Auto-Renewal.”

As  for the low point, the Bellas angle left a pretty big stink on the show……personally, I’ve always hated when real-life siblings turn on each other. a) Its overdone, and b) We know its a work, but what person would beat up their twin and side with Stephanie? It’s kind of like Bill Watts said a while back….just because there were no Indians really killed in the movies doesn’t mean we want to see John Wayne ride off into the sunset with his arm around them either…anyways, tangent over. See you tomorrow with a new post.

Deconstructing the Road to Summerslam ’14

I said my goodbyes not realizing I was a few weeks ahead of
schedule for school, so I am going to be around for longer. How long will
depend on how hard my classes are this semester. It is unlikely I will be
writing anymore DVD reviews, though. Even if my classes are easy, I will still
not have enough time.
Summerslam is two weeks away. That means there are two Monday
Night Raws left to influence people to buy it. This Summerslam, because of the
Network’s underwhelming numbers, might be the most important one yet.
Therefore, WWE’s product should be hot right now from both a creative and
wrestlers’ performance standpoint. This week’s Raw showed little signs of that,
though. With the exception of the main event, its build for Summerslam was
dubious at best.
Let’s now take a look at all the important matches for
Summerslam.
Lesnar and Cena’s angle launched due to the Authority hating
Cena as champion so much, that they made a deal with their former enemies to get
the title off him. The story would have been better and made more sense if
Daniel Bryan had not been injured.  While
HHH had plenty of reasons to hate Bryan, he has not many reasons to hate
Cena. His resentment towards him has been forced and vague, to say in the least. It has made his authority gimmick less dimensional, because he is hating on a babyface who is best for business. And unlike all the other GM Authority people, HHH was refreshing because his character was more than hating the babyfaces for the sake of it. His character was  multifaceted because he only hated merely on the babyfaces that he thought weren’t good for business. In essence, the creative staff inserted Cena in Bryan’s original role – in
spite of it making no sense.
The story has fortunately moved away from that nonsense, as
the vocal point is now about it being a huge fight. To build it up as one, WWE
took a page out of the UFC’s playbook by using a similar array of video packages
and sit down interviews. There is no doubt about it that Cena’s happy-go-lucky persona can be very annoying,
although it does make things mean more when he becomes super serious. Due to playtime
being over, it emphasizes how big of a threat Lesnar is to Cena. Speaking of Brock,
he should never talk on a live microphone again. The difference between him
talking backstage and live are night and day, coming off excessively  more intimidating in taped interviews.
Ultimately, they have added in realism, continuity, and red-hot
heat into this.  Similar to an episode of
Seinfeld where Constanta does everything opposite from his natural instincts, WWE
has built this from doing the opposite of what they would normally do.
Unlike the UFC, though, this is trying to be ultra-serious in
the face of there being tons of silliness around it. It is difficult to take
something seriously when there is a wannabe ballroom dancer who is sexually
dancing with a bald midget on the same show. Raw is flooded with so much tawdry
and childish humor that is becoming hard to take anything seriously on its show
anymore. Comic relief has its place in wrestling, but it has to be sporadic and
actually funny for it to work. In sum, the comedy has become counterproductive
and a hindrance to things that are meant to be taken seriously.
Because of how well booked the Stephanie and Brie’s feud has
been, it has not been a projected disaster. They perfectly nailed the arrested
segment, as Stephanie’s behavior was on-point. While people love to hate and
cheer against her, it is hard to rally behind Brie. Even though she has not
been as terrible as predicted, her poor delivery on the microphone and
monotonous demeanor does not make her out to be a great foil for Steph. If she
were replaced with a babyface whom people cared about and could wrestle, while someone
replaced Stephanie with someone that had an awesome heel character like herself
but could wrestle as well – the suspense for this match would be off the
charts. 
However, the McMahon’s have always had a knack for booking themselves
in a spot where they can accentuate their strengths and hide their
weaknesses. It will be interesting to see if they can book this in a manner
that makes it entertaining.
HHH was supposed to wrestle Roman Reigns at Summerslam, but it
was put on delay because WWE is going to stack Night of Champions to make people
consider renewing their membership. Unless WWE comes up with a fascinating
story, nobody is going to renew their subscription to see HHH vs. Roman Reigns,
though. At any rate, it was confirmed that Randy Orton would take on Roman
Reigns at Summerslam instead.
So far, this feud has been an example of a major problem
within. WWE thinks a story needs to add a new layer to it every week, resulting
in feuds being marred by superfluous angles. Also, a ton of ideas have become hackneyed
from being recycled continuously within a short period of time –and clichéd booking
is now unfortunately at an all-time high from no-brand separation and three
hours of Raw to fill.
Theoretically, a storyline should be no different from a
movie trailer. Both should provide a sample size of things to come to create
intrigue and a sensation of wanting more. When done properly, they can be two powerful
tools that can cause people to pay to see it. Also, wrestlers who have a series
of matches need something to happen to ensure the next one will be even better.
 TV matches can actually buildup a PPV
match, contrary to popular belief. Ziggler and Miz gave an example of that
three weeks ago. They had a condensed, fun match that left viewers wanting to
see more. That causes people to imagine how grander their title match on PPV might
be with more time and significance. In regards to the Reigns/Orton feud, though,
the booking and the wrestlers have both failed to accomplish those two things. This
has overstayed its welcome, and their matches have been tedious and bloated –both
of which have caused a resentment towards their upcoming match.
This feud has also brought up another problem in WWE: beatdown
segments are not prospering into much of anything anymore. Back in the territorial
days, a good old fashion beat down could cultivate into a long, hot feud where
the plucky babyface sought for revenge over the malicious heel and finally culminated
in a bloodshed battle where the heel paid for his sins. Nowadays, we are
fortunate if Cena is does not make a mockery of it a beating the next week–
never mind him actually selling it or cutting a revenge promo.
That alluded problem was brought up when Randy Orton beat
the holy hell out of Reigns two weeks ago. The segment that was well received among
the critics, yet the beat down had next-to-no purpose by the next week. Instead
of using it to enrich the story, Reigns brushed it off as if it did not even
affect him. So even with a blindsided attack, Orton could not damage him.  The heel becomes irrelevant when the hero becomes
invincible; when the hero is invincible, there are no signs of endangerment;
and when there are no signs of endangerment nothing is engaging nor suspenseful.
Besides, Reigns defeating someone that a poses no threat to
him is not going to get him more over. Any amount of extensive offense Orton obtains
on him will impair his credibility, to be honest. They booked themselves in a
corner here, with the only logical way Reigns can become more over is if he
squashes Orton.  They would have avoided
this situation if only Reigns had just sold the beatdown.
Hell, they could have even taken it a step further. They
could have advised him not to wrestle at Summerslam. Then, he would have looked
courageous by going against the doctor’s will. Orton would also be made into a
threat and his extended offense would not be damaging to Reigns. Their match would
also be unlike their former ones because of the distinctive story. If this was all
done thoroughly, Orton’s extensive heat segment beatdown on Regins’ injury
could have garnered some sympathy for him and made him look like a stouthearted
combatant when he overcame the injury and won.
Now, we are shifting from a feud that booked itself into a corner
to a feud that is being booked backwards. Yes, I am talking about Bray Wyatt
vs. Chris Jericho.  Due to his year
absence, Jericho needed to regain some credibility in order for it to mean something
when he puts Wyatt over. Instead of holding off on their feud, so that Jericho can
win some matches and beat someone else at Battleground, they gave Jericho
credibility via defeating the same exact wrestler who he is trying to get over.
The decision is even stupider when it is put into perspective, to be honest.
In a feeble attempt to build up their rematch, Jericho has defeated
both Harper and Rowan –disqualifying both from ringside due to the
stipulations. Of course, this story would have made more sense if Harper and
Rowan cost Jericho his match at Battleground, although WWE adding something to a
feud that does not call for it has become their modus operandi.  It is also worth noting that Wyatt’s promos
are becoming so incoherent that the message is rather difficult to understand.  There is nothing wrong with him trying to be mysterious,
but his actions are becoming much too vague from his hard-to-follow promos. Up
until this point, this feud has just damaged the Wyatt Family even more.
Finally yet importantly, it is time to tackle the Seth
Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose feud.  This can
be best described as being a mixed bag. Dean Ambrose’s madcap persona has been
a shining diamond stuck up a cow pie. He has been the best defiant-hero in WWE
since Stone Cold Steve Austin, as his promos and just overall mannerisms are so
good that he is always causing people to want more of them. He has been the
highlight of Raw for the best several of months – with Paul Heyman being the only
individual that has come close to topping him.
They have been feuding with each other on a week-to-week
basis with minimal letup since June, yet not once have they wrestled a singles
match. The ultimate purpose of this feud has become so encrusted that is now an
afterthought. And the bait-and-switch at Battleground did not help this at all,
as put a sour taste in many of the fans’ mouth – no matter how much Andy PG disagrees
about it.
Yet again, Dean Ambrose was on point this week. His loose
cannon persona is so refreshing, and it has escalated to a point where it is unsure
what he is going to do next. His range and unpredictability are what has made him
into such a dynamic character.  However,
creative has let these two down again. Out of all the stipulations Dean Ambrose
could have picked, he picked a Lumberjack one. In context, it makes sense –
Seth Rollins will not be able to run away from a beating of a lifetime –
although it is so difficult to pull off an awesome lumberjack match, and it doesn’t strike as being appropriate for such a heated feud. And why didn’t
Ambrose force Seth Rollins put up his MITB briefcase on the line – especially when they were hinting at it on Monday Night Raw? In hindsight,
it is better to hold off on that until Night of Champions, assuming that the
blow off will be in and at  Hell in the Cell. Still, it is an example of what has become so
frustrating with this company: their inability to try to pave all the crevices
in their stories. They tend to have giant plot holes in them – as their booking
wants to go from point A to D by vaguely covering points B and C.
So, those are the important matches at Summerslam. The other
ones so far are Dolph Ziggler vs. Miz for the IC title, Paige vs. AJ Lee for
the Divas title, and Jack Swagger vs Rusev in a flag match. Overall, this is a good,
almost great, looking card. With the exception of Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena – the
booking has been inconsistent, though. One week an angle is firing on all cylinders,
but then the next week it is as cold as ice.  
Obviously, they still have two weeks to hard sell this PPV. They
need to get moving as quickly as possible, though, because time is in the essence.
They especially need to put on a compelling go home show, which has been a
major weakness in the company for a while now. Those shows are leaving its viewers with a bloated feeling, as opposed to an eagerness feeling, heading towards the said month’s special event. Even Wrestlemania 30’s
go-home show was poor – and that is saying something. And one must assume that
poor go home shows can put a big damper on a PPV’s buyrate/the network.
Even though Summerslam appears to be a good show, WWE has
failed to make it look like a “cannot miss” show. Which is what they desperately need Summerslam to look like.

Ring of Honor: Road to the Title June 22nd, 2002

June 22, 2002
From the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia, PA
Your hosts are Steve Corino and Donnie B.

Da Hit Squad pumps up Low Ki in the locker room by telling him that the tournament is all about him. Ki then gets up and starts to throw forearms against the wall before promising to win the title.
Block C
Bio Hazard vs. American Dragon
Bio Hazard cheapshots Dragon after shaking his hand. The rules of the tournament are explained as the final four competitors tonight will compete in an hour-long Ironman match for the belt at the next show. Bio Hazard hits a few suplexes but Dragon chops him back. He hits a few forearm smashes but eats boot on a charge. Dragon comes right back with a DDT and an inverted suplex before locking on the Cattle Mutilation for the win (2:34) *.
Thoughts: Fine for what is was but too short to really develop. Bio Hazard looked solid.
Block A
Paul London vs. Spanky
These two start on the mat as neither guy can gain the advantage. London slingshots in with a flying headscissors and follows that with a few armdrags. London sends Spanky to the floor with a spinning heel kick but was unable to follow him out with a tope as Spanky moved out of the way. Spanky gets back in the ring and hits London with a few suplexes then works the arm. Spanky spins out of a sunset flip attempt then sets him up for a running kick that got two. Suplex gets two as Spanky is getting frustrated. They trade forearm smashes as London gets the best of that. London hits him with a twisting senton but charges and runs into a flying headscissors. London then dodges a kick and murders Kendrick with a super kick as both men are down and the crowd going crazy. London is up first and heads up top. He shoves Spanky down but misses the shooting star press. Spanky tries for the Sliced Bread #2 but London crotches Spanky on the ropes then kicks him outside. London then flies out with a somersault plancha, nearly killing himself in the process. He rolls Spanky inside then hits a sweet double springboard quebrada for a nearfall. Spanky fights back but London slams him down with a chickenwing facebuster for two. London heads up top but Spanky cuts him off and then London almost dies as they completely botch a superplex. Holy shit was London lucky to be able to get up after that. Spanky hits a brainbuster then heads up top and that leads to a few reversals that finishes with Spanky hitting the Sliced Bread #2 for the win (9:57) **1/2.
Thoughts: Clunky at times but entertaining enough. Spanky was a lot more advanced in the ring than London was at this point. Spanky was also the most charismatic person in the promotion. The superplex botch was incredibly scary to watch.
Block C
Jay Briscoe vs. Doug Williams
Williams starts by schooling Jay with his mat wrestling. Mark then Briscoe comes out to show his brother support. They go back and forth some more until Jay hits a dropkick. He then hits a trio of suplexes for a nearfall before chopping Williams in the corner. Williams reverses an Irish whip and send Jay in the corner and hits consecutive running knee smashes. Jay floats over on a suplex attempts then folds Williams in half with a powerbomb. Top rope leg drop gets two. He tries for the Jaydriller but Williams is able to block the move. He fights back with European uppercuts then finishes him off with the Chaos Theory (Roll up into a German Suplex) (6:18) **1/4.
Thoughts: Fine match. Williams looked good in his RoH debut and they continued the friction between the Briscoe Brothers.
Block A
Jonny Storm vs. Jody Fleisch
Both of these guys are from the FWA promotion in England. They start by going a million miles an hour and end in a standoff, which the crowd applauds. Not bad but it was extremely choreographed. Storm kicks Fleisch through the ropes and follows out with a senton. Back inside, Storm’s momentum sends him flying through the ropes and then he comes back in where they completely botch a floatover. Fleisch super kicks Storm then sends him to the floor with a clothesline and follows him out with a springboard shooting star press. Back inside, they engage in a pinfall reversal sequence that lasts just a bit too long. Storm follows Fleisch to the top rope and takes him down with a German suplex. Storm messes up a springboard frankensteiner but recovers and gets a nearfall. They mess up another spot but that leads to a rana for two. Fleisch comes back with a tornado DDT  but it gets blocked when he tries it again. Storm tries for another springboard rana but Fleisch catches him in a sitout powerbomb for the win (7:01) *1/2.
Thoughts: Neither guy impressed to be honest and the match was really sloppy. Fleisch is the least impressive guy to make it into the second round.
Block D
Prince Nana vs. Low Ki
Nana attacks Ki before the bell. He rams him into the turnbuckle then hits a suplex. Nana stomps away then hits an avalanche in the corner. The crowd chants for Low Ki as Nana continues to destroy him. Ki tries to fight back but Nana knocks him back down. Nana misses a second avalanche then Ki absolutely drills him with an enziguiri as the referee calls for the bell (3:54) ½*. A few officials and Rob Feinstein, dressed like a gay raver (well, the rumors state that he was one), comes into the ring to check on Nana.
Thoughts: They put over Ki strong here, which was the main thing. Nana was never thought of as someone who would win this match.
Block D
Xavier vs. Amazing Red
Xavier hits Red with an overhead suplex to start. Red comes back with a tornado DDT then hits him with a running flip dive. Back inside, Xavier catches Red and power bombs him. Red floats over on a pumphandle then takes down Xavier with a rana, who ends up using a handspring and from that hits Red with a kick. Red comes back with a nearfall off of a sunset bomb then hits a few kicks. Xavier slams Red down and heads up top but misses the 450 splash. Red comes back with a springboard into a DDT. Xavier cuts off Red  but Ed counters the splash mountain and hits a spinkick then goes up top for the Infrared before finishing off Xavier with the Red Star Press (4:21) **.
Thoughts: Good action but too short to mean anything. Xavier’s push has been put on hold,  for tonight anyway.
Block B
“Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels vs. Scoot Andrews
Before the match, Daniels talks about the Prophecy and its first member, Simply Luscious. Daniels attacks Scoot as soon as he enters the ring. He hits a clothesline but Andrews slams Daniels off of a tilt-a-whirl. Dropkick gets two for Andrews but Daniels comes back with a neckbreaker. He punches away in the corner but Andrews counters a bulldog attempt and hits a few punches. Daniels floats over on a pumphandle slam but Andrews hits a Tiger Bomb for a nearfall. Daniels comes back with a STO then hits the Best Moonsault Ever for the win (2:29) *.
Thoughts: Again, too short to mean anything.
After the match, Luscious hits Andrews then begs for him to hit her back. Andrews says that he has never hit a woman but knows someone who will then brings out Sumie Sakai, who the crowd applauds and we get an impromptu match.
Simply Luscious vs. Sumie Sakai
They trade nearfalls to start then Sakai hits a few dropkicks and a slam for a nearfall. Luscious comes back with a dropkick then hits a spinebuster for two. Sakai hits a pair of missile dropkicks but still cannot put Luscious away. Luscious gets two off of a suplex but Sakai hits several overhead chops then locks on an abdominal stretch. Sakai hits a terrible-looking slam and heads up top for the moonsault and the win (3:26) DUD.
Thoughts: Awful match. These two were not on the same page at all and why even bother to have a title tournament match set this up, when RoH was not even promoting a women’s division at the time. A giant waste.
Block B
AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn
This is just before they started their great feud in TNA. They both trade off working the arm to start the match and that ends in a standoff. They are now engaging in a fast-paced reversal sequence that looks fine but a little too choreographed. Lynn grounds AJ then puts him in a bow-and-arrow lock. He stomps AJ then hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that gets two. AJ blocks a tornado DDT attempt but Lynn ends up tossing AJ into the turnbuckle with an overhead suplex and that gets two. AJ took one hell of a bump on that. AJ escapes from a Gory Special and connects with a super kick. Swinging neckbreaker gets two. AJ goes to work on the arm for a while until Lynn backdrops AJ to the apron then hits a leg drop. AJ blocks a suplex attempt and comes back with a fallaway neckbreaker that gets two then AJ goes back to the arm. Now they counter each other’s finishers until Lynn plants AJ with an enziguiri as both men are down. They get up an engage in a pinfall reversal sequence. Lynn hits a German suplex with a bridge for two as both men are down again as Corino mentions that the winner will face Christopher Daniels. AJ goes up top and hits the Spiral Tap but Lynn kicks out much to AJ’s dismay. Lynn comes back with a DDT then hits the TKO but AJ kicks out of that but AJ comes right back and hits the Styles Clash for the win (15:30) ***1/4.
Thoughts: Good match but these two would have better in TNA. A win over Lynn gives AJ more credibility with the RoH fanbase and that is a good thing.
Dunn and Marcos are in the ring proclaiming that they are the top tag team but Da Hit Squad run out and beat the shit out of them. After that, Quiet Storm come out and cannot believe that they call themselves the greatest team seeing as they haven’t had a match (they have but lets just play along). Now the SAT’s come out as RoH shows the complete lack of depth that they had at this time and a six-man brawl breaks out. After that, the Christopher St. Connection come out and kiss in the middle of the ring until Homicide & Boogaloo come out and break that up then Homicide bends Allison Danger over his knee and pulls up her skirt and slaps her ass. Now the Carnage Crew comes out as the announcers try to figure out who is the best tag team in RoH. This lasted for way too long and none of these teams were any good at all. Well, Natural Born Sinners seemed to have some potential but Boogaloo was gone after the next show. 
Block A Finals
Jody Fleisch vs. Spanky
This starts out with another fast-paced sequence that has been seen in almost every match. Fleisch takes down Spanky with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and a spinning wheel kick. Spanky takes a breather and leaps up to the apron and blocks a dive attempt by Fleisch. He gets nearfalls with a brainbuster and a back suplex but Fleisch blocks a Sliced Bread #2 attempt and kicks Spanky to the floor. Fleisch tries a springboard moonsault but overshoots it and takes out the guardrail. He’s lucky he didn’t kill himself and the crowd applauds when he gets up. Back inside, Fleisch lands on his feet after Spanky rolled away from a shooting star press then gets two off of a rollup. Spanky misses a charge in the corner but ducks a flying attack then gets two with a La Magistral then follows with the Sliced Bread #2 for the win (5:15) *1/2.
Thoughts: Fleisch was nowhere near polished enough of a wrestler to be in this tournament, IMO, nevermind advancing to the second round. Spanky did a fine job.
Block C Finals
Doug Williams vs. American Dragon
Dragon hits an enziguiri to start off the match. He kicks Williams again and grabs a front facelock. Williams escapes and takes Dragon down then they take it to the mat. They bust out all sorts of wacky holds mixed in with stiff strikes. Williams catches Dragon on a crossbody attempt and hits a backbreaker then stretches him out over his knee. Butterfly suplex gets two then Williams puts Dragon in the Gory Special and drops him in the tree of woe. Williams dropkicks him then takes him down with a pair of running knee strikes. Dragon catches Williams with a dropkick as he comes off of the top rope then works the leg. They end up rolling out to the floor as Dragon works a figure four but the referee breaks it up. Dragon tries to suplex Williams back into the ring from the apron but Williams counters that and they end up on the floor. Back inside, Williams gets a nearfall with a rollup. They work a reversal sequence that ends with Williams hitting a tornado DDT that gets two. He lays into Dragon with a few European uppercuts but Bryan comes back with a neck crank suplex as both men are down. They get up and trade shots until Dragon knocks him down with a dropkick. He hits a suplex and follows with a diving headbutt but that only gets two. Williams dodges a corner charge and hits the Chaos Theory on Dragon but that only gets two as the fans are into this match. Dragon kicks the shit out of Williams and places him on top and hits a super back suplex but sells the move before covering and only gets two. He tries the Cattle Mutilation but Williams rolls through and hits a gutwrench suplex then pins him with a bridge for the win (13:36) ***1/2.
Thoughts: Damn good match. Some of these strikes were brutal as these two did not mind working snug. Dragon losing is a bit of a shock though.
Block D Finals
Amazing Red vs. Low Ki
The crowd chants “You killed Nana” at Low Ki, who starts off the match by kicking Red in the leg. Red comes back with a spin kick and that starts off a pretty great martial arts sequence which has the crowd going nuts. Ki grounds Red then blocks a few kicks and takes him down with a dragon screw. Ki hits a few kicks but Red takes him down then almost puts him away with the Red Star Press. Red’s bandana comes off as he attacks Ki. After countering a rana, Ki takes Red down with a rolling koppu kick that looked fantastic. He chops Red in the corner but Red dropkicks him in midair after he tried a handspring kick. The crowd is going apeshit right now as these two are doing some incredible spots that all look crisp. Ki kicks Red off of the second ropes and he takes a nasty bump to the floor. No wonder his knees are all fucked up today. Back inside, Ki attacks Red for a bit until Red comes back with a tornado DDT. Red dropkicks Ki off of the apron but is met with a knee to the head when he attempts to fly outside. Jesus. Ki signals for the Ki Krusher but Red is able to reverse it into a small package of sorts for a nearfall. Red then blocks a powerbomb attempt and off of that ends up hitting an inverted hurricarana. Ki rolls away from the Infrared then murders him with an European uppercut before sending Red into the turnbuckle with a Ki Krusher. Ki rolls Red back inside then rolls through his Phoenix Splash attempt. Red is then able to cut off Ki on top with a kick but Ki blocks a Hurricarana and hits a Super Ki Krusher for the win (11:13) ****. After the match, Brian XL comes in and cuts a promo that I cannot understand due to the poor audio quality then attacks Red until the SAT’s make the save and hit him with the Spanish Fly.
Thoughts: Fantastic match. These two had some incredible sequences and the work was all crisp. The Super Ki Krusher was an insane move too. This match gave Red some credibility, even in a losing effort. That is what you want out of these matches when your promotion is in it’s infancy.
Backstage, the Natural Born Sinners call out the Carnage Crew and say that they will kill them in a Bunkhouse Brawl match at the 7/27 show.
Brian XL bitches at Divine Storm for not making the save when he was attacked by the SAT’s. They couldn’t care less and neither could I to be honest.
Block B Finals
AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels w/Simply Luscious
These two start off the match with some mat work as Donnie B informs us that he has some breaking news to deliver after this match. Neither man can gain the advantage as they are frequently countering each other’s moves. Daniels grabs a quick rollup then they go back to the mat. Donnie B then breaks the news that on the 8/24 show, AJ Styles will face Low Ki in a rematch from the “Night of Appreciation” show. AJ gets a nearfall with a dropkick then they go back to the mat. The mat work is pretty good but it is getting a bit repetitive now. AJ kips up and catches Daniels with a rana then they trade shots until AJ dropkicks him to the floor. AJ slingshots outside with a twisting pescado  then they brawl on the apron until Daniels gains the advantage with a low blow then knocks him off the apron into the guardrail with a forearm smash that busts AJ open. Daniels attacks the cut on AJ’s head. They are back inside the ring as Daniels continues to attack the cut on AJ’s head. Daniels waves his blood-covered hand in front of the camera then goes back on the attack. Daniels pancakes AJ and that gets two. He misses a quebrada then AJ comes back with a brainbuster as both men are down. AJ is up first and sends Daniels to the floor then they brawl on the apron. Daniels is hung over the middle rope and AJ takes him down with a double jump moonsault for two. Daniels then comes back with a Flatliner and from that he immediately locks on the Koji Clutch as the crowd chants for AJ. Daniels has the hold broken up but comes back with a guillotine leg drop to the back of the head for two. Falcon Arrow gets two. Daniels gets pissed at the crowd chanting for AJ then stops a comeback with an eye poke. AJ comes back with an enziguiri then they blow a discus clothesline spot. AJ gets two off of a powerslam then hits a German suplex and rolls through that to hit a front face suplex, which gets two. Daniels comes back with a STO as both men are down again. Blue Thunder Bomb gets two. Daniels stalls and that allows AJ to stop a Best Moonsault Ever attempt. AJ tries for the Styles Clash but Daniels rolls through with an ankle lock then grapevines the leg. After that, they engage in a pinfall reversal sequence that the crowd appreciates. AJ then tries for the Phenomenon but Daniels blocks that and hits the Last Rites for the win (21:45) ***3/4. The crowd appreciates the efforts of both guys.
Thoughts: Started off a bit too slow but built up to a damn good match. AJ has established himself as a top guy in RoH tonight and worked the most out of anyone else on this show. Daniels winning was not a shock, especially considering that Low Ki advanced and they have feuded since the debut show.
Donnie B. comes into the ring and makes his announcement but Daniels grabs the mic from him and tells the fans that the “Code of Honor” is a farce. Daniels keeps grabbing the mic away from Donnie until Spanky comes in and tells off Daniels before knocking him down. Donnie finally speaks as the tells the fans that Ring of Honor TV can be shown weekly on WGTW-48 starting on Sept 2nd. Now, all four participants in the Ring of Honor 60 Minute Ironman Match come out as they reveal the RoH Championship but first Daniels interrupts by trying to steal the belt and this triggers a brawl between all four men. Ki refuses to let Daniels go from a Dragon Sleeper as Da Hit Squad begs for him to let go as does others then they try to pull him off and they carry them both out of the ring as Ki still has the hold locked onto Daniels.
AJ, still bleeding from his forehead, tells us that on the 7/27 show, he will face Adam Jacobs and David Young in a three-way match as they will all show us what the South is really about.
Rudy Boy is backstage looking for Simply Luscious.
Spanky taunts Dragon for not being in the finals or even booked for next month’s show. Dragon then challenges Spanky in a best of three falls match in Boston on 8/24 but Spanky just walks away.
Carnage Crew promises to take out the Natural Born Sinners then toss around a couple of the ring guys.
Outside of the arena, Corino is seen making out with Simply Luscious and stops to sarcastically thank Rudy Boy for making this happen.
Final Thoughts: Not a bad show as it featured four matches above ***. However, the tag team stuff was all horrible and the terrible production values, specifically the sound quality, made it difficult to follow the in-ring promos. The backstage stuff is generally terrible too, as is the announcing. The only thing the company has going is the in-ring product. The 60 Minute 4-Way Iron Man Match for the Belt should be interesting but besides the Bunkhouse Brawl tag, the next show has nothing else of importance.

NJPW Road To Dontaku

The Beer & Coffee Rant for NJPW’s “Road To Dontaku” PPV Live from Kōrakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan – 4/19/14
Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Tiger Mask IV & BUSHI vs. Mascara Dorada, El Desperado & “The Funky Weapon” Ryusuke Taguchi

Taguchi and Tiger Mask start with a tight, crisp sequence as the announcers recap Taguchi’s defeat of Prince Devitt at Invasion Attack. Mask looking more invested than normal here. BUSHI and Dorada enter and the Lucha begins as this match leans more towards a Fantasticamania feel by the minute. Dorada tags into Desperado and they get off a mainy looking Reverse Sunset Flip into a Basement Dropkick. Liger in now, perhaps tuning up for his ROH World title match against Adam Cole in May, withsome world class showboating. BUSHI regains control and locks in the Indigenous Peoples Death Lock but Liger makes the ropes. Taguchi interferes which riles up Liger. Dorada does his pirouette-on-the-middle-rope-from-one-side-of-the-ring-to-the-other-side thingy on Tiger Mask and he’s a fuego de casa but misses a moonsault off the top. Hot tags and BUSHI sends Taguchi flying with a missile dropkick, spinaroonie and an Asai Moonsault to the floor, called a quebrada on commentary. Tope suicida from Desperado, tope suicida from Tiger Mask, and a double rotation corkscrew from Dorada. Taguchi attempts the Dodon, but BUSHI reverses for a close nearfall. Gourdbuster hits for Taguchi, followed by the Dodon @ 9:21 for the pin. *** Same guys they always throw out there for the “low card masks” match, but the addition of Dorada kept it fresh. All 6 guys raise their hands in unison after the match, and Liger wishes Taguchi luck on May 3rd challenging for the Jr. Heavyweight championship.
NWA World Tag Team Champions Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Yohei Komatsu
NWA World Champ Kojima looking closer to 100% and healthier by the day, Tenzan not so much. Komatsu moving his way up the card, rightfully so. The champs attempt a double suplex early on but Nakanishi (the former Kurasawa) reverses by suplexing both at once. Yohei tags in and he’s immediately cut in half by a chop from Kojima. More double teaming from the champs until Komatsu finally hits a dropkick and tags in Nakanishi who gets his shit in. Nakanishi to the TOP ROPE for the missile dropkick. Hooks the leg for 2, and throws Tenzan in a torture rack. Kojima goes to break, but Nakanishi is the proverbial immovable object. Kojima off the ropes, and Nakanishi throws Ten onto Koji. Komatsu back in. Huge forearm from the kid. Rolling heel kick from Tenzan drills him. Kojima in with 184 chops in the corner. Icchauzo, Bakayaro! Flying elbow gets 2. Nakanishi in to break it up but he eats a 3D. Kojima rips off the elbow pad and sets up for the Cozy Lariat, but Komatsu slaps the old man right across the face and hits a bridging German for 3 but Nooooooo… Kojima kicks out. Crowd Going Banana. The incredulous look on Komatsu’s face is just awesome. The kid hits the ropes but gets murder death killed by a Cozy Lariat @ 11:05 to give the champs the win. *** ¼ Komatsu was great holding his own with three former IWGP Champs. Building almost came unglued for that German. Minoru Suzuki, Shelton X Benjamin, TAKA Michinoku & Taichi vs. Gedo, Jado, Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka No Shinpei Nogami on commentary tonight so we are deprived of Iizuka’s passionate art until the next show. This super pumped Saturday night crowd screams Kaze Ni Nare for Suzuki’s entrance. Such a different crowd than the weekday shows that didn’t sell out earlier this month. Pier Six brawl to start. X and Iizuka brawl up the stairs of the aisle in a strange combination. Back in the ring right before the 20 count as this settles into a wrestling match. Delayed butterfly suplex by X on Iizuka. Gedo in, but he gets Oklahoma Stampeded by Shelton from one side of the ring to the other. X looking way more motivated than normal, I don’t think I’d be the first to say he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire since signing. Everybody in, they brawl outside again, and settle back into a wrestling match. TAKA & Taichi do the quick 3-count spot! Crowd pumped as Gedo makes the tag to Jado. Chops and Woos. Feigns a Flair Flop but stays on his feet for a big pop. Yano tags in, takes off the turnbuckle padding and fights with Suzuki for the RVD thumbs spot. They kinda fuck up the last one but the crowd still loves it. X hits a spinebuster on Yano for a close two. Suzuki grabs a chair but is foiled as Iizuka hits the Iron Fingers to the throat of Taichi allowing Yano to get the roll up @ 11:06 to give CHAOS the win. ** Fun match that kept the line moving. Tomohiro Ishii, Yujiro Takahashi & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Tetsuya Naito, Tomoaki Honma & KUSHIDA
The guy in the front row who pushes Yujiro off his girl is the best. KUSHIDA tells Ishii he’s coming for the title, a program I assumed they blew off at Wrestle World ’14 already. We start with KUSHIDA & Yujiro trading athletic counters back and forth. A duck under/leapfrog/armdrag turns into a handspring heel kick knocking Ishii & YOSHI off the apron, and then he nails Ishii with a dropkick on the floor. Naito in as he and Honma hit a slingshot into a headbutt on the knees. Fishermanbuster gets two for Yujiro. KUSHIDA gets thrown to the outside where he’s met by Ishii who crushes him with a whip into the guardrail and chairshots as they brawl backstage. Back in, Ishii headbutts KUSHIDA into oblivion in the corner. Ishii is done fucking around and wants to see how hard KUSHIDA can bring the slaps. Ishii no-sells the hands of KUSHIDA and cuts him in two with a chop that floors him. HASHI in with a sleeper to bring the crowd to a unified clap and KUSHIDA comes back with a twisting DDT. Tag into Naito. Sweet ass dropkick and rolling senton for two. HASHI changes the tide with a neckbreaker. Hangman’s neckbreaker gets two. He gets a huge lariat off the ropes, tags into Ishii, and now we finally get some motherfucking ISHII vs. NAITO~! Ishii pounds him in the corner like a carpenter but Naito gets a DDT off the ropes and tags out. Already? Honma with some killer chops but Ishii just rams his head into Honma’s. Powerslam follows and Ishii sets up the superbuster from the 2nd rope and nails it for two. Powerbomb on Honma for a close two. Ishii sets up for a fatal brainbuster but gets triple teamed with a series of kicks leading to a big lariat for two, shadowed by stereo planchas. Crowd way into this. Kokeshi headbutt off the top to finish but Ishii out of the way. Ishii wins a contest of lariats and goes for the brainbuster to win but Honma kills him first with a Kokeshi Driver out of nowhere for the mega upset @ 12:26 before putting his foot on Ishii’s chest and telling him he’s coming for the title now. Crowd chants Honma! *** ¾ Not enough Ishii vs. Naito but still a killer little six-man with a finish that made the building come unglued. We hit the intermission and they pimp some stuff. Nothing like a 2CW intermission however.
Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto vs. Yuji Nagata & Captain New Japan
GHC Champ Nagata trades kicks and lariats with Goto in a stalemate. CNJ tags in and now we get some Shibata. This can’t end up well, but a wrestling sequence is surprisingly more even than one would think. Shibata works quite the lengthy headlock, and throws him out of the ring a couple times. He drills him with some trademark Shibatas to the chest, but nothing major. Just a lot of posturing. Captain tags out and we go back to the GHC title dream matches. Shibata pounds Nagata into the corner to set up for a big stiff hesitation dropkick but Nagata pops up, trails him and nails an exploder for two. Shibata bows up and they trade blows until Nagata hits the deck. Goto in to hit the big spin kick in the corner and a back suplex gets two. CNJ bringing it to Goto now. An enziguri and a cross body set up a flying headbutt off the top that misses, but he recovers and hits a rock bottom for two on Goto. Captain sets up but Shibata just smacks him in the back of the head; think Full Force in House Party. Goto hits Captain with a lariat, but CNJ completely no sells it (hahaha) and digs in with the Caribbean Death Grip. Goto headbutts out and hits a discus clothesline. Shoten Kai (sitout hellavator) gets the three @ 10:53 ** ½ Action was good and the point was to make Goto & Shibata an established act and not a novelty, but tagging them rarely (in killer matches) worked better unless they were planning on giving them the straps, which has apparently been dropped as a plan. That’s the second time this year that Shibata’s had title programs dropped out of nowhere when it appeared he was on his way to some gold. He’s become a verb at this point.
Shinsuke Nakamura & The Forever Hooligans vs. Bad Luck Fale & The Young Bucks This marks the first time Nakamura & Fale have squared off since their instant classic bloodbath from the NJ Cup finals last month. Fale attacks from behind to start, Nakamura gains the advantage and fakes a kick to the chest to hit a kick to the face. Shinsuke chants. Matt Jackson in, gets taken down and Nakamura teases a boot to the nuts before sparing the kid and tags in Alex Koslov. This crowd hates the American Bucks so much that they chant “Russia! Russia!” for Koslov. Some fancy footwork from the Russian and he offers a handshake (w/ Jackson’s non-broken hand). Jackson tries to attack but gets flipped and a tag into Romero who gets a boot and tags back into Koslov, who gets a boot and tags into Romero, who gets a boot and tags Nakamura, who gets a boot and tags Romero back in and so on. Crowd loves it. They double team for a bit and Koslov grabs the ushanka hat and hits the kicks. Bucks to the outside and Koslov hits a corkscrew plancha. Fale attacks him and the Bucks take control back in the ring. Unfortunately it seems Matt has ditched my favorite new addition to his moveset, the “Smell My Cast” facelock. Handspring backrake from Nick, which the crowd is now in on. Corkscrew neckbreaker by Matt onto Nick’s knee. Fale comes in and drills CHAOS in the corner, he goes for Koslov in the other corner but drills the Bucks off the apron by accident. Some additional Bucks miscommunication leads to the big tag to Nakamura. Strikes to Fale in the corner. Shinsuke dances on his face in the corner and connects with the big knee. Fale back up and they brawl mid-ring. Bucks and the Hooligans back in and Romero going crazy with clotheslines from corner to corner. Too much tag team action to call and it’s all non-stop perpetual motion. Nakamura breaks up a two and Fale throws him out. Bucks go to hit more Bang for your Buck, which is broken up and followed by a Romero tope suicida. The Hooligans set up for the Contract Killer, Fale breaks it but eats a backstabber and a Boma Ye to the back of the head. Contract Killer finishes Nick Jackson @ 12:20 **** Everyone looked strong here and the Hooligans/Bucks stuff in the middle was top shelf. Romero cuts a promo after the match vowing to take the titles when they collide in Fukuoka. IWGP Heavyweight Champion “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada vs. Tama Tonga (non-title) The champ doesn’t even have time to hit the pose on the turnbuckle before Tonga attacks from behind. Okada gets whipped into the guardrail. Tonga goes to F5 him onto the commentary, but drops him throat first onto the guardrail instead. Back in, Tonga misses a Stinger splash at about 140 mph. Okada hits a flapjack (with the kip-up to match) and a DDT gets two. Body slam, to the top and the BEST Flying Elbow in the business. Rainmaker attempt but Tonga grabs the ref to break and hits a fireman’s carry into a flapjack; called facebuster on commentary. That gets two and Tonga does some more coiling. He connects with the splash this time. He locks on a choke but gets countered into a “neckbreaker dropu”. Okada hits the Top 3 Ever dropkick, and then straight to the Rainmaker for a quick three @ 6:16 ** ¾ Okada’s “Are you fucking kidding me?” facials are the shit. Gedo cuts the requisite killer promo.So CHAOS goes 3-1 on the night, only losing on a gigantic upset. IWGP World Tag Team Champions Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe (non-title)
Machine Gun Karl starts with Tanahashi and he gives a clean break but Gallows hangs onto to the Ace’s hair from the apron. Makabe & Gallows in now. Doc with the double bird and a big, hearty “Fuck You Japanese”. That’s a quote. Makabe gets a lariato and tags Tanahashi back in. Anderson with some heel tactics from the outside so Tanahashi drills him to the floor and now everybody’s brawling. Chairshots ensue. Gallows choking Makabe with the man’s own chain. They barely break the 20 count and spill right back to the outside. Tanahashi just barely gets in by 20 again. Some double teaming from the champs, standard stuff. Anderson back in and hooks a chinlock, as the crowd builds itself back up. Hiroshi misses a dropkick and Anderson lands a senton, but gets caught with a dragon screw while attempting a modified gun stun. Finally makes the tag to Makabe who connects with 10 fists in the corner, but Gallows lays him out with the 12th Step and tags out. Some quality shit talk from Karl leads to him eating a lariat and Tanahashi back in now with a flying forearm. Gallows obliterates Makabe into the guardrail on the outside, while Tanahashi hits knees on a High Fly Flow attempt. He catches a huge Anderson boot to the face off a Gallows fireman’s carry and they hit the 3D II for two. Magic Killer set up but Makabe breaks it up until he catches another 12th Step and Anderson impales Tanahashi with a Bernard Driver for a close two. Awesome. Crowd is rallying their hero who evades a couple gun stun attempts and gets a backslide for two but catches a boot from Gallows. Makabe gets involved and double clotheslines the champs into next week. Tanahashi hits the slingblade, Makabe hits the King Kong knee drop, and Tanahashi wraps it up with the High Fly Flow on Anderson @ 14:47 to send the crowd home happy. *** ½ Gallows just isn’t the guy to throw out there in the main event picture. Totally different crowd though, compared to the weeknight shows that led to Invasion Attack, and this weekend crowd totally ate up that main event. Tanahashi goes to leave but the crowd screams no. He teases that he’ll stay, then teases that he’ll leave and finally decides to stay in the ring to the crowd’s delight. He does the air guitar routine a half dozen times. They chant this fucker’s name seemingly forever as the crowd begs with tears in their eyes for encore after encore. They won’t even leave until they touch him on his way back to the dressing room, as he shakes hands with everybody in the crowd. It’s really the only thing you could evercompare to Hogan’s famous pose downs in the 80’s. It’s something else. So now the tag team of Makabe & Tanahashi will be further known as “King Ace”, and they want the belts. Name may take some getting used to, but a summer feud with them defending against Goto & Shibata (who Nagata says he wants another match with as well) should fill out the months leading up to the G1. Plus the AJ Styles thingand a couple months of Ishii & Honma beating the living shit out of each other. Really breezy, fast paced show with a slew of fun 10 minute matches that didn’t overstay their welcome and set up a couple feuds for the summer. No match of the year type stuff, but a definite thumbs up, recommended show. — Drunksuke Muraco

Deconstructing the Road to WrestleMania XXX

Ready or not, the “Grand Daddy of Them All” is right around
the corner. It is one of the biggest entertainment spectacles of the year. No
matter what, WrestleMania 30 will go down in the record books, as it is the
first PPV that will air on the WWE Network. One would speculate that there were
a handful fans on the fence about ordering the network, basing their decision
on how compelling Wrestlemania’s card is. This, of course, put a lot of
pressure on the creative department because they had to create enough
anticipation. Has creative done its job? Aaron Glazer, former Inside Pulse and
New York Examiner expert, will be joining me to find out.
Andre The Giant 30 Man
Battle Royal

Aaron Glazer: There
is no build. It is a payday for some extra dudes, and I’d be shocked if Big
Show didn’t win.

Kyle Fitta: I think
a heel should win, to be honest.

Aaron Glazer: Sure,
but if they are pretending to honor Andre, Show wins. Big E is their biggest
project besides, but there is no good heel in the match.

Kyle Fitta: There are not
really any quality heels in this yet, but winning it is the kind of thing that
could kick start a push. The winner could come out every week with his trophy
and brag to no end. Think King of the Ring without the accessories.

Aaron Glazer: Yeah,
I do not think they are doing that. Well, I will pick the Show to win.

Kyle Fitta: It is
difficult to book a battle royal well. What they ought to do is hire Pat Patterson
for one night. He did, after all, book some of the all-time classic Rumbles. I
will give them some credit, though, for intertwining some of the midcard
subplots into this battle royal. At the very least, it has made it seem like
more than just an afterthought or complete filler. Since my idea probably will
not happen, I guess I will pick Big Show too.

Aaron Glazer: I
think it opens the show proper with the 8pm slot going to Bryan H.

Tag Team Title Match: Usos (c) vs. Real Americans vs. Ryaxel
Aaron Glazer: It
has been said, but this should either be one on one or Real Americans should be
in the Shield match and New Age Outlaws should be here.

Kyle Fitta: Do
you really want to see another Usos vs. New Age Outlaws match?

Aaron Glazer: Let
it be a three-way with RyAxel.

Kyle Fitta: Ugh.
Even worse.

Aaron Glazer: Sure,
but then the USOs win and we get a better, more important Shield match.

Kyle Fitta: I believe
Usos vs. Real Americans would have been better on its own. They could’ve had a
memorable undercard match if given the time. They still could, but Ryaxel is
going to do either drag this down or, worse, make it a clusterfrick.

Aaron Glazer: If
we get any kind of turn, though, this match is it. I can see Cesaro going face
here.

Kyle Fitta: I could
see Jack Swagger getting a Wrestlemania caliber swing by Cesaro.

Aaron Glazer: That
makes sense, but more likely they are just in this match to get everyone on the
show and because Hunter’s friends, the NAO, get the more high profile match.
Also, Cesaro’s turn would be far more over at the smark heavy Raw after crowd.

Kyle Fitta: That
is possible, kind of like last year with Dolph Ziggler.
(Kyle Fitta’s Notes: Los Matadors have been added to this
match. It is now probably going to be a spotfest in order to get the crowd into
the show right away.)
Kane and New Age Outlaws vs. Shield
Aaron Glazer: This
won’t be good, but the Shield are so over it won’t matter. They’re getting huge
reactions and will win.

Kyle Fitta: The
main objective seems be to establish the Shield in their new roles by giving
them a win over the evil authority.

Aaron Glazer: I’m
really impressed with Roman Reigns. That dude is being booked perfectly and has
“it” in spades.

Kyle Fitta: He
has really maintained his mystique. That is for sure.

Aaron Glazer: He
got over several major spots; that is never easy. I mean, very few people have
more than two over spots.

Kyle Fitta: That
is true. To be honest, though, I just hope the NAO are done wrestling after
this. Their antiquated offense, poor selling, and inability to make their
opponents look good is reprehensible. The Usos and Rhodes Family both lost more
credibility than gained by feuding with them. They were fun in their time, but that
ship has sailed. (Speaking of the Rhodes family, why are they only in the
Battle Royal? They have been one of the best tag teams of the past six months.
They should be in something more important.)

Aaron Glazer: They
served a purpose. Now they can go away.

The Battle For Legacy:Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena

Aaron Glazer: There’s
no way in hell Cena loses, but this will get a lot of time as a star-making
performance.

Kyle Fitta: I am split
on who is winning this one. It could go either way.

Aaron Glazer: I
find it hard to believe Cena dropped from the main event to job.

Kyle Fitta: Aside
from its minor blemishes – particularly Cena calling Wyatt a Jimmy Buffet
rip-off one week to being afraid of him the next – this feud has been really
well done.

Aaron Glazer: I
like it too, but there is no way Wyatt is winning.

Kyle Fitta: Cena
has little, if anything, to gain from this. He is at a point of his career
where he is not going to lose any credibility from doing a job. Conversely,
Bray Wyatt could really benefit from a win here; it could solidify him as big
deal and boost him to a higher plateau. Cena winning would be a satisfying
moment for all of his fans, but the more Bray’s character has developed, the more
depth he has been able to add to it. Now is not the appropriate time to
decelerate his momentum.
Aaron Glazer: Cena
rarely loses, therefore his losses always mean something. I do not think Bray
is quite there yet. Remember that even Punk barely got wins over Cena. Never
really wholly clean.

Kyle Fitta: Well,
Wyatt is trying to reveal all of the evilness in this world. He believes that if
he exposed the most righteous person in the promotion as being evil, it would
be a monumental step in the right direction. Almost in every perceivable way,
the story’s developments would be more refreshing if Wyatt were to win. Maybe
he is not “there” yet, but a win over Cena could very possibly elevate him to
that *top-tier* level.

Aaron Glazer: Sure,
but since when does story override politics?

Kyle Fitta: Cena
has been willing to do jobs in the past. I don’t have the records to prove my case, but I’d go on a limb by saying he’s has the closest win/loss ratio than any other figurehead in the past. Plus, Wyatt does not have to win clean either. I do
not think it would matter if his henchmen caused a distraction. Either way, it is
not as if Cena cannot recover from a loss. He is essentially bulletproof. 

Aaron Glazer: I
agree on all except that Cena just doesn’t job often. I mean, in the past 3-5
years? All I can think of are Bryan (clean), Orton (not clean), and Punk
(semi-clean). Well and Rock, but whatever. If he loses too weirdly, though, it
does nothing for Bray.

Kyle Fitta: It does
not have to be fluky.  Just a small distraction.
 Aaron Glazer: This is Wrestlemania. I’ll take the Cena win in a
better match than anyone expects.

Kyle Fitta: Wyatt
is so good at staying in character while he wrestles. It is one of many reasons
that he is better than most at portraying a psychopath. He is good in the ring,
too, especially for someone his size. He can also move around the ring, bump,
and sell. And he can pace and call a match as well.  Cena, on the other hand, is great at making
his significant matches feel very dramatic and special. There is no doubt in my
mind that these two could really put on something very good. I will pick Bray
Wyatt to win, extending the feud.


Streak vs. The Beast: Undertaker vs. Brock
Lesnar

Aaron Glazer: I’m
worried about this one. Does Taker still have it?

Kyle Fitta: I
feel like we all question if Taker can have another great match every year.
Somehow, he finds a way to have one. He has brought his A-game to just about
every Mania since WM 23. 

Aaron Glazer: He
was in the best match last year, but it was hardly his A-game. And only one
person has gotten good out of Brock since his return.

Kyle Fitta: I
count two out of three.

Aaron Glazer: HHH
was terrible; Cena was okay, but not more than solid.

Kyle Fitta: I
thought Cena-Lesnar was excellent, plus CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar was arguably
WWE’s best match of that year.

Aaron Glazer: It
was fun; it was an epic whopping, but the quality was just the entertainment
factor of Brock kicking ass.

Kyle Fitta: Lesnar’s
body language and mannerisms were just on that night. He came so much across
like an ass-kicker. It was also one of those completely unpredictable fights, wherein
anything could happen at any time. It had a real unique feel to it if you
watched it live.

Aaron Glazer: Somehow,
I don’t see Taker just getting his ass kicked for a whole match.

Kyle Fitta: Well,
one thing is for sure, the buildup has not created any anticipation for it
whatsoever. The decision to build Lesnar as a meek underdog is preposterous. WWE
likes to book things as even-steven as possible, which means the wrestler that
dominates the encounters leading to the match typically loses. WWE seems to be
trying to use reverse psychology with Lesnar being dominated to set up the idea
that he might actually win. Nobody is buying it, though. The feud’s other
dilemma is it lacks a story-arc – merely because of both being off TV for a
while — therefore the feud has come across as excessively forced. They should
have simply built Brock as a cocky bruiser,
snickering right in Taker’s face during their promos, and then had him demolish Taker more than anyone has in history.

Aaron Glazer: So,
subpar build and then a disappointing match?

Kyle Fitta: I
think the match could deliver. Both can bring it. They would have been better
with different opponents. Lesnar has no chance of winning nor does he need the
rub. Plus, there’s no sugarcoating the build. It has been nothing less than
stellar.
This One’s Personal: Daniel Bryan vs. HHH

Kyle Fitta: This
is most intense, heated, and well-developed story on the card, right?

Aaron Glazer:  Oh, absolutely. This should also be match of
the night with relative ease unless something else overperforms.

Kyle Fitta: I am glad
that they did not prematurely have Bryan win the title or physically outshine HHH.
Preserving both for the biggest show of the year will make them both way more
significant.

Aaron Glazer:  I really hope they don’t overbook this. As a
straight match, this can be special.

 Kyle Fitta: HHH has really been bringing the goods over the past
couple of weeks, especially with his scheme to get the best of Bryan.  His
old school, NWA-esque beatdown was not only awesome, but it also re-established
his virtuously malicious Authority character, in addition to making Bryan come
off sympathetic as hell. It will be a prodigious moment when Hunter gets his
comeuppance that he absolutely deserves, if booked correctly. HHH has a good
performance left in him, and who greater to get it out of him than the best
wrestler in the world.



Aaron Glazer: He
should have been pure heel sooner, but that is really the worst I can say about
this. Everyone marked out and freaked at various points in this story.

Kyle Fitta: The
Authority angle has had its inconsistencies, but it has accomplished one of its
most important jobs, which was making Daniel Bryan a more sympathetic and more
liked wrestler than he was before.

Aaron Glazer: He
is a superstar.

Kyle Fitta: That
leads us, of course, to the main event.

WWE Championship Match: Randy Orton vs. Batista vs HHH or Daniel Bryan



Aaron Glazer:
Batista is winning. He’ll be a huge heel by the time this is done.

Kyle Fitta: So,
you think WWE should book something that screws Bryan over again?

Aaron Glazer: Should?
Not at all, but I’ve been watching for… good lord, 25-years now. I’d be
shocked if they don’t.

Kyle Fitta: A
good portion of Bryan’s fans would lose hope if he fails to get his shining
moment on the biggest stage of them all, especially
after 8 months of coming oh-so-close. The iron is blistering. It is the hottest
it has ever been. There is no need to get cute here. They just need to do the right
thing.

Aaron Glazer: I
think beating H will be his moment.

Kyle Fitta: Bryan
can kill two birds with one stone: He can give HHH the beatdown that he has
owed him forever and then win the title all in the same night, proving that the
Authority’s opinion of him is false. It shall be both Bryan and the fans’ definitive
moment, as good finally conquers evil.

Aaron Glazer: That’d
be fantastic… and I really hope so given that he’s been my favorite since
early ROH.

Kyle Fitta:  Batista winning would just generate the wrong
heat. It would lead “Daniel Bryan” chants marring practically every show moving
forward. Fans optimism will be either very low or nonexistent. WWE would just
be booking themselves in a corner for no reason.

Closing Thoughts:

Kyle Fitta:  So, overall, what do you think of this Wrestlemania
from top to bottom?
Aaron Glazer: It’s
great. The Bryan story is compelling. Bray has a star-making match with Cena.
Brock-Taker is at least compelling, and the Rise of Reigns is awesome. I love
all of this.

Kyle Fitta: Could the card be better? Absolutely. But I could say that
just about every Wrestlemania. It has never been about putting together a
supercard, to be honest.  The show is more of a spectacle than anything else.
I mean, there have only been one or two stacked WM cards in history. This,
compared to the others, has an above-average looking card. It will not be an
all-time classic or anything. But I see it ranging from good to very good.
(Kyle Fitta’s Notes: Glazer and I forgot to address the Divas
match. It’s certainly just a way for people to receive their WM payday. I heard a rumor that Brie
Bella will win, then celebrate with her man at the end of the show. Sure, why
not?)
A special thanks to Aaron Glazer for joining me.

Bump in the Road – Part 6: The Drop


Hey Scott,


Part 6 of Bump in the Road just went live. Could you do your magic and share it, please?


This is the final part of the series, not including the epilogue or afterword. I'll write and post that by this time next week. Naturally, I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who has enjoyed this series. I can only give my deepest and humblest thank you to everyone.

Regards,
Nick Piers

Bump in the Road Part 5?

Hey Scott,

I e-mailed you earlier this week that the fifth part of Bump in the Road had gone up. I wasn't sure if you'd gotten it, though with all the stuff going on with Caliber, it wouldn't surprise me it got lost in the shuffle (along with the gaggle of other e-mails you get).

Anyway, here's the link again. If you could please share it, I'd be very thankful. My paltry little site gets a BIG jump in numbers – over 250 unique visitors. Probably a small number for you, but for a new blog like mine, it's a nice boost.


Thanks again,

Nick Piers

You're not gonna demand an apology first, are you?  

Bump in the Road, Part 4: Toronto Bound

Hey Scott,

The fourth part of BUMP IN THE ROAD just went up. Do please share it with the Doomers, as you have magnificently done in the past. I must take a moment to thank you, by the way. Every time you post the link, the views on my blog skyrocket. I get around 300+ views, which for me is fantastic. So thank you again for being shameless in helping to promote other people’s work.

Bump in the Road Pt. 3: No Other Way Out

Hi Scott,

Part Three of Bump in the Road is now up on my blog. This one doesn't exactly detail anything about wrestling school, but it is still strongly related with wrestling. Specifically, how WWF's No Way Out 2000 and Mick Foley's "last" match was that one last, stupid thing that broke me and drove me to suicide. Have a look.

Road Wild 1998

Road
Wild 1998
Date:
August 8, 1998
Location:
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis, South Dakota
Attendance:
8,500
Commentators:
Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenany, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The
summer of celebrities continues with one of the worst ideas I can
imagine: Jay Leno as a professional wrestler. I still don’t get who
this is supposed to attract. Fans of the Tonight Show don’t seem
like the kind of people that are going to drop $30 to see something
they know is going to be a goofy comedy bit and wrestling fans aren’t
going to buy it because it’s Jay Leno as a wrestler. On top of that
there’s one match that has been pushed at all here and it’s a battle
royal. Why they can’t just do NWO vs. NWO and Goldberg vs. Giant is
beyond me but I’d bet politics were involved. Let’s get to it.

The
opening video is a collection of Tonight Show clips which still do
nothing to change the fact that it’s Eric Bischoff and Jay Leno in
the main event.
I’ll
give Road Wild this much: no show comes close to having such a unique
atmosphere.
The
announcers don’t look as ridiculous this year. Tenay in a jean
jacket is still ridiculous looking though.
Gene
is sitting on a motorcycle to start and brags about 200,000 bikers
being here in Sturgis. Not at the show mind you but I’m sure that’s
what will be claimed.
The
ring and mats are up on a platform instead of level ground.
Meng
vs. Barbarian
This
is going to be a long show. The fight starts at the bell with both
guys pounding on each other and screaming a lot. They fight over a
sumo lockup before trading some chops in the corner. Meng takes over
with a hard clothesline even though it didn’t knock Barbarian down.
Barbarian comes right back with a belly to belly superplex but Meng
pops up and piledrives him.
Meng
misses a middle rope splash, no sells it, and goes up top again.
Barbarian catches him in a belly to belly superplex as Tenay talks
about 350,000 people being at the biker rally this week. A powerslam
puts Barbarian down but he gets right back up for some chopping.
Meng staggers him with some headbutts but gets pulled to the floor.
Barbarian sends him into the steps and heads back inside, only to
have Meng put on the Tongan Death Grip for the pin.
Rating:
D. It sucked as a match but
this wasn’t the worst idea for an opening match. A crowd of bikers
is going to respond to two monsters beating each other up for five
minutes and they seemed interested here. It doesn’t do much for the
wrestling fans, but this show was never for them in the first place.
Meng
won’t let go of the hold so Jimmy Hart comes in for the save. That
goes as well as you would expect so here’s Hugh Morrus for the second
save. Meng gets triple teamed, including a top rope splash from
Hart, so Jim Duggan makes the final save, drawing a big pop from the
bikers that might have watched a few wrestling matches ten years ago.
Tenay’s
estimates are now up to 360,000.
Disco
Inferno/Alex Wright vs. Public Enemy
Tokyo
Magnum is here with the dancers. Wright rolls away from Rocco to
start before hiptossing him down and dancing. They fight over a
wristlock until Alex dropkicks him down and tags in Disco. He’s not
quite ready to fight yet though and drops to the floor for a three
way high five with the other dancers. Back in and Disco takes Grunge
down with a clothesline before bringing Wright back in for a missile
dropkick. Alex stops for some dancing and turns around into a Rocco
clothesline.
A
double flapjack puts Inferno down and Tokyo throws in a trashcan out
of nowhere. Grunge gets cracked over the back as the referee is cool
with all of this. Rocco brings in a ladder and that’s too much for
the dancers who go for a walk. Tokyo doesn’t want to leave but his
partners come back with a table. Disco grabs a mic and says let’s
make this a street fight. Tony states the obvious: “Haven’t we
already made it one already?”
The
referee is fine with that so Public Enemy goes to the back to find a
toilet seat and a kitchen sink. Grunge pounds on Disco on the floor
as Tony hypes up a cookie sheet. Wright suplexes Rocco through a
trashcan but Grunge blasts Alex with the sheet for the save. Rocco
loads up the flip dive through the table but Disco makes a save to
prevent Wright’s demise. The kitchen sink is brought in and nearly
broken over Grunge’s back. The fans want to see the table but they
get Tokyo Magnum thrown inside instead.
Public
Enemy throws the dancers into each other and give them stereo atomic
drops, only to have Wright come back with a leg lariat to Grunge.
Tokyo hits Magnum by mistake as Grunge blasts Disco in the face with
the ladder. Alex walks away as Rocco see-saws a ladder into Disco’s
hair. Now Tokyo walks away, leaving Public Enemy to set up three
tables on top of each other next to the platform. Grunge climbs a
ladder to put Disco on the top table, allowing Rocco to climb the
scaffolding for a huge elbow drop. Grunge has to throw Disco back
inside, avoid a top rope splash from a returning Magnum, and get the
pin.
Rating:
D+. The match was fun and the
spot at the end was good (though also odd looking with a delay before
each table broke) but it took over fifteen minutes to get there. The
wrestling stuff at the beginning was a waste of time and they should
have just gone to the street fight stuff from the beginning. Not
horrid though.
Dean
Malenko says he’ll be a fair referee.
Raven
vs. Kanyon vs. Saturn
Under
Raven’s Rules, meaning hardcore. Raven’s music is so awesome that it
doesn’t belong on a show like this. The question coming into this is
whether Kanyon is under Raven’s control or not. Raven stands on the
apron and tells Kanyon to get Saturn, only to have Perry take over
with some kicks. Raven comes in with a chair to Saturn’s back and
sends Kanyon into the post before Saturn falls to the floor as well.
Saturn
and Kanyon get in a fight on the floor as Heenan tries to figure out
the story of the match as only he can. Raven sits in the corner
while the other two fight in the ring but they finally realize what’s
going on. Kanyon dropkicks Raven low and Saturn belly to back
suplexes Raven into a Kanyon neckbreaker. Kanyon throws Raven into
Saturn and hits rolling Russian legsweeps on Raven for two in a nice
move. Saturn breaks up the cover with a guillotine legdrop on Raven
for two and the Moss Covered Three Handled Family Credenza gets the
same on Raven.
Kanyon
gets in another fight with Saturn so Raven blasts them both in the
head with a chair, only to be sent to the floor. Saturn follows him
out so Kanyon dives on both guys, giving us our first breather in
awhile. They get off the platform where Kanyon whips Raven HARD into
the barricade. Raven comes back with a suplex to put Kanyon down on
the ramp (designed like a road) but Saturn clotheslines Raven down
for two. Kanyon piledrives Saturn on the stage for two more before
Raven dropkicks Kanyon down the stage.
They
fight back to the ring where both guys drop down to avoid a charging
Raven before Saturn catches him with a t-bone suplex. Saturn puts
Raven in a sleeper but Kanyon puts one on Saturn as well before a
jawbreaker puts everyone down. We get a Tower of Doom with Kanyon
superplexing Saturn and Raven putting Kanyon in an electric chair.
Raven
tries a double DDT on both guys but only puts Saturn down. Kanyon
and Raven head outside with Raven getting suplexed onto the floor.
Kanyon misses a splash off the scaffolding but Saturn catches Raven
in the Death Valley Driver. Lodi makes the save but Horace comes in
to lay out Saturn. Horace picks up the stop sign but gets blinded by
Lodi’s powder. He caves Raven’s head in and a Death Valley Driver to
Raven gives Saturn the pin.
Rating:
C. This was a mess but it was
supposed to be. I’m still not sure where they go with this story now
but it would seem to still be Raven vs. Saturn. Kanyon was just
there to keep spots going and he did a good job, but that doesn’t
mean he helped the story or really changed anything.
Psychosis
vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Bonus
match and the winner gets a Cruiserweight Title shot at a date to be
determined. Since that’s not important, the announcers talk about
Leno being nervous. Psychosis takes him to the mat with a headlock
followed by an armbar. Rey tries to get up but gets taken back down
by the wrist. The crowd is dead for this which shouldn’t shock
anyone. Back up again and Rey can’t hook a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker
so Psychosis clotheslines him down for two.
A
sitout front suplex gets two for Psychosis and he whips Rey from
corner to corner. Rey’s arms are wrapped around the ropes in the
corner as this somehow gets even slower. It’s not terrible mind you
but it’s the completely wrong style for these two to be working.
Psychosis suplexes Rey down and goes up top, only to do the most
obvious “I’m going up here to jump into his raised boots because
I’m jumping straight down instead of doing ANY kind of move at all”
spot I can remember in a long time.
Rey
FINALLY realizes that he’s the king of cruiserweights and cartwheels
at Psychosis before jumping onto his shoulders for a spinning
hurricanrana. Believe it or not, the crowd actually responds to the
high spot. After nothing of note on the floor, Rey hits a big cross
body for two but has his hurricanrana countered into a sitout
powerbomb. That’s enough of the big spots though and it’s nerve hold
time. Rey fights up onto Psychosis’ shoulders but gets dropped back
into a suplex for two.
They
head outside again where Psychosis….does nothing. Back inside with
Psychosis putting on a half crab before going up top for a super
Frankensteiner for two. Psychosis goes up again but turns his back
to Rey, only to get dropkicked out to the floor. Rey follows him out
with a nice dive before throwing him back inside for a springboard
sunset flip for a close two.
Mysterio
hits something like a Fameasser with both legs across Psychosis’ back
followed by a slingshot moonsault for two. Psychosis comes back with
something resembling a Fameasser of his own for two but Rey avoids a
charge and West Coast Pops his way to the #1 contendership.
Rating:
D+. This felt like a car that
was low on gas. You could get it going for a few moments, but
eventually it would sputter and die. These two are capable of having
some awesome matches but instead they were happy with just laying
around and doing nothing most of the time. Rey was trying but
Psychosis looked horrible.
TV
Title: Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Stevie Ray
Before
the match Chavo shows off another hand made and stamped document
saying that he’s the TV Champion, so Stevie needs to come out here
and give him his belt. Chavo tries to do the handshake bit again but
Stevie runs away because he doesn’t want to win a match by submission
for some reason. Instead Stevie just punches him in the head and
blocks a sunset flip with a choke. Chavo bails to the floor as the
announcers call this a version of the rope-a-dope. Guerrero tries to
sneak in but gets caught in the Slap Jack (lifting Pedigree) for the
quick pin. This was a nothing squash.
Eddie
saves Chavo from a further beating post match.
Jericho
promises to keep the title and warns Malenko to be good tonight.
Rick
Steiner vs. Scott Steiner
Rick
is in jeans and a t-shirt…and here’s JJ to say hang on a second.
Apparently Scott is too injured to wrestle and here he is on a
stretcher with his arm and leg in casts, a neck brace, and on an
oxygen tube. Rick’s chair shot to Scott was so bad that even Buff’s
neck is reinjured. The match is rescheduled for Fall Brawl, and the
fans are LIVID. If Scott doesn’t fight at Fall Brawl, he’s suspended
for life. Scott jumps up but runs away from a charging Rick to end
this stupid bait and switch.
Brian
Adams vs. Steve McMichael
Another
bonus match which is about as welcome as 847 angry yellowjackets
pouring buckets of boiling tar on your back and injecting you with
needles filled with herpes while a blind monk with a bad case of the
shakes checks you for a hernia. They shove each other around to
start before not having a test of strength. We get the ugliest
mistimed sequence this side of Tough Enough as Adams misses a
clothesline and they just kind of run into each other and McMichael
putting on a front facelock.
Adams
slams him down and drops a pair of legs for two. We hit the nerve
hold for a LONG time before Adams hits a backbreaker and bends Mongo
over his knee. Mongo avoids a middle rope knee drop and comes back
with a belly to back suplex. A few three point shoulders take Adams
down but he shrugs them off and loads up a piledriver, only to have
the referee kicked in the face. Vincent tries to bring in a chair
but cracks Adams by mistake, setting up the tombstone for the pin.
Rating:
E. As in ebola, which sounds a
lot better than sitting through this match ever again. On to
ANYTHING else please.
The
Nitro Girls are around Gene on the motorcycle.
Cruiserweight
Title: Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera
Dean
Malenko is refereeing and Jericho is defending. Jericho comes to the
ring in a purple kimona because that’s the kind of guy he is. As
always, he wants us to want him but opts to tease the bikers instead.
I wonder if there are any Aces and 8’s in the crowd. Jericho takes
him into the corner to start and Malenko tears him away as he’s
supposed to do. Juvy takes out Jericho’s legs and chops away but
Jericho elbows him in the face to take over again.
Juvy
is sent to the floor and Jericho loads something up but Dean pulls
him to the mat by the hair. Well at least according to Tenay, as the
camera was on Juvy the entire time. Back in and Juvy slams Jericho
onto the mat and a missile dropkick sends the champion outside.
Guerrera chops him off the platform and into the barricade before
going inside for a HUGE placha over the platform and into Jericho
into the barricade.
Back
in and Juvy gets two off a springboard cross body but Jericho catches
another cross body attempt into something resembling a Juvy Driver
for two. Dean’s count was noticeably slow and the count off a
delayed vertical suplex is even slower. Juvy rolls out to the floor
while Jericho yells at some fans before getting hit with a backsplash
for two. We hit the chinlock on Guerrera before Chris stomps away
and talks trash.
The
Lionsault hits knees and Juvy comes back with chops and a
hurricanrana. A top rope spinwheel kicks gets the
same……slow……two……count from Dean but Jericho counters a
running hurricanrana into a powerbomb. Jericho kicks him out to the
apron instead of covering and kicks Juvy onto the floor. Back in and
a clothesline gets two on Guerrera as the crowd is trying to care
about this.
A
Jericho powerbomb is countered into a DDT to wake the fans up a bit
and the Juvy Driver gets a two count. Jericho is dazed but still
manages to crotch Guerrera on the top and superplex him back down.
Juvy rolls over for two but has another hurricanrana countered into
the Liontamer. He’s right in front of the ropes though and Jericho
is getting frustrated.
Juvy
pounds away in the corner and Dean seems to have been poked in the
eye. A belt shot lays out the challenger but Dean’s slow count means
it’s only for two. Jericho is all ticked off and goes to the middle
rope. He kicks Dean in the chest and that makes Malenko snap. Well
snap as much as he’s capable of. Dean launches a charging Juvy into
a middle rope Frankensteiner for the pin and the title.
Rating:
B-. The match was good but it’s
running with the anchor of this entire show. Maybe the heat of the
day has something to do with it but these matches have all been
incredibly sluggish. Juvy was trying here and Jericho was his usual
great self but they could only get so far. Again though, why didn’t
they just have Dean take the title himself?
Battle
Royal
Goldberg,
Scott Hall, Curt Hennig, The Giant, Scott Norton, Sting, Lex Luger,
Kevin Nash, Konnan
You
can be eliminated either over the top or by pin/submission. Hall
interrupts the ridiculously long entrances with the survey to keep
this show going even longer. The NWO factions brawl while Goldberg
hides in the corner. That lasts about fifteen seconds before
Goldberg goes after Giant, which should have been a regular match
tonight in the first place. Again that doesn’t last long and the
match breaks down into a regular battle royal.
Hall
loads up the Outsiders’ Edge on Goldberg but gets backdropped out.
Nash eliminates himself (you can’t make up jokes like this) and goes
after Hall as Goldberg spears Hennig down. Things get slow again
with no one trying for an elimination. Goldberg finally pounds on
Giant but gets headbutted back against the ropes. The fans chant for
Goldberg as Giant takes him down with a Russian legsweep. Norton
breaks up a Scorpion attempt on Hennig to keep the crowd bored.
Goldberg
spears Konnan and throws him out before getting kicked in the corner
by Giant. The NWO keeps fighting and Goldberg goes right back to the
corner to wait for the next victim. It’s a short wait this time as
he spears and eliminates Hennig before clotheslining Sting and Norton
to the floor as well. We’re down to Luger, Giant and Goldberg but
there’s a spear to Luger so Giant can dump him. A chokeslam puts
Goldberg down but he does the Undertaker sit up and it’s a spear and
Jackhammer for the win.
Rating:
F. Holy sweet goodness how did
WCW survive this long? There were eight eliminations in this match
and Goldberg had six of them. The other two were a self elimination
and someone Goldberg knocked out cold. There were, conservatively,
five PPV title matches in there and Goldberg beat them all in less
than eight minutes. You could have easily had someone throw Goldberg
out and set them up as the challenger but instead let’s just have him
destroy EVERYONE (except Nash of course because Nash losing would
just be silly) and leave you with no challengers. But hey, a bunch
of bikers cheered right?
Jay
Leno/Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eric Bischoff/Hollywood Hogan
Thank
goodness they don’t have another video package to set this up. The
one good thing about this: Liz ROCKING some jeans and chaps. Leno is
apparently here to defend his title as King of Late Night. Kevin
Eubanks is at ringside. Leno throws water at Hogan and Bischoff on
the floor to show how serious he is. Hogan and Page start (thank
goodness) and we get the usual non-action headlined by a wristlock.
Page
drives in the shoulders and hits a big right hand, knocking Hogan
into a left hand from Leno. Hogan is sent to the floor and the
ripped Kevin Eubanks sends him into the post. Leno leads a chant
against Hogan and is at least into the match. Bischoff comes in and
Jay tries to go after him but gets held back. Page shrugs off some
kicks to the chest and it’s off to Leno. Bischoff runs away to Hogan
and Jay stays in. He points at his chin and makes fun of Hogan’s
baldness which is about what you would expect. Leno avoids a pair of
right hands and tags in Page.
Hogan
clotheslines Page down and it’s back to the driving shoulders. Leno
comes back in to grab the wrist and in one of the most painful things
I can remember seeing as a wrestling fan, Hogan sells it. He
wouldn’t sell for Sting at Starrcade but he’s selling for Jay Leno.
Hogan shoves him into the corner and drives in a knee but Leno grabs
the wrist again. A double clothesline puts Hogan down and Leno gets
two before nearly collapsing into a tag to Page. Ok to be fair to
Leno, he did his job and was actually trying. Points for that.
The
wrestlers head to the floor and Eubanks steals a chair from Hogan to
keep Page in control. Back in and Bischoff gets in a kick to the
back of Page’s head to change momentum. Bischoff gets in his shots
to make himself feel important before Hogan gets in a shot with a
foreign object to give Eric a two count. There’s the big boot but
Page gets up before the legdrop and takes Hogan down with the discus
lariat.
Leno
gets the hot tag and we get the showdown with Bischoff…..who drops
Leno with a poke to the eye. Jay comes back with a low blow and some
right hands before sending Bischoff into some buckles. Leno is
totally gassed and everything breaks down. Hogan hits Bischoff by
mistake and Eubanks hits a very good looking Diamond Cutter on
Bischoff to give Leno the pin.
Rating:
D. Of course that’s on an
adjusted scale. This match wasn’t horrible but it was incredibly
stupid. Again I’d like to reiterate that Leno did his job to the
best of his ability. He did his comedy stuff, took a few shots from
Hogan and got the pin on Bischoff. He was bad, but you knew that was
going to happen as soon as this was announced. As for the booking,
there were a bunch of other ideas they could have gone with here and
this was probably the worst possible outcome.
You
could have gone with the Battle of the Billionaires idea with Leno
backing Page against Hogan in a singles match and done the showdown
with Bischoff that way. You could have swapped in Goldberg for Page
and done Goldberg vs. Hogan II with the same Leno vs. Bischoff
outside stuff. Do that and put Page in the battle royal to get
Goldberg’s next challenger. You could have done any of those things
and gotten a better result, but it wouldn’t be WCW if they had gone
that way.
Hogan
and Bischoff get in more cheap shots until Goldberg comes in for the
save. The good guys pose to end the wrestling part of the show.
The
announcers talk and we get a video on Fall Brawl.
Gene
interviews some fans as Travis Tritt gets ready.
The
announcers wrap things up as the concert starts to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
F. There’s no other way
to put it: this show sucked. The ONLY good match is the
Cruiserweight Title match and maybe you could argue the triple
threat, which was done on Nitro just a few weeks earlier. WCW is in
a creative tailspin here and it’s not looking any better. Depending
on your tastes, things are about to get either a lot more fun or a
lot worse as the product is going to go from dull to awful in a
hurry.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Bump in the Road Part One

Hey Scott,

I've mentioned in the comments a few times that I've been to wrestling school, along with saying it was a long story. I've decided to finally start writing that long story. This is Part One of a multi-part article I'll be posting over the next few weeks (likely one part per week). This one is about my beginnings as a fan, including beating up stuffed animals in my basement and some idiotic backyard wrestling in my college days. Next part will be my first time attempting wrestling school back in 1999. Later, I'll go into detail about my time in a Toronto wrestling school about five or six years ago.


Thanks,

Nick Piers

You bet.  And my article "10 Problems Not Caused By the PG Era", as based on your original e-mail, will be up on WhatCulture tomorrow sometime.  

Road to Unification?

With Cena apparently returning and assuming he would eventually take the World strap off of Alberto Del Rio I starting doing some 2014 booking in my head.

Let’s assume Punk wins the WWE belt at Wrestlemania. Don’t ask me how, there are a million scenarios…probably by beating Orton although I would hope it’s by beating Brock.

Both Cena and Punk would live in alternate universes for a while but all things generally lead back to those two meeting at a crossroad because for the last 2+ years that’s the way it has been. And given the fact that these two guys bring the absolute best out of each other that isn’t a bad thing at all.

So are we looking at a potential unification match by Summerslam and maybe just having one top guy?

Curious of your thoughts.

Go Rays Pirates Tigers!