The SmarK Retro Rant for WWF In Your House: International Incident. – In retrospect, perhaps this wasn’t the best PPV title to pick out of the trunk. Well, what’s done is done. (I presume this was written around September 2001, then?) – Let’s go back to July 1996, as WCW was busy changing the world and Vince was farting around with Shawn Michaels, still trying to figure out how to get him over. (In the long run, Vince won that one.) – Live from Vancouver, BC, home of all the WWF’s crappier vintage of PPV. (Was there another Vancouver show around that time I would have been slagging on? I know New Blood Rising would have been fresh in my mind at that point, but that was WCW.) – Your hosts are Vince, Jerry & Good Ol’ JR. – Free 4 All match: Savio Vega v. Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw. This was shortly after Bradshaw’s debut, when the WWF thought the cure to their financial troubles was to find someone who could imitate Stan Hansen. (Well, aside from Steve Austin, I guess, but that was more influence than outright imitation.) They slug it out, won by Savio. He kicks away, but eats turnbuckle. Bradshaw pounds away, but misses a blind charge, and again, and a third time. He finally bails and they brawl outside, where Bradshaw then punches the post by mistake. Not exactly his day. Back in, Savio works on the hand as Vince declares this a “real romp’em stomp’em affair”. Ah, truly he had his finger on the pulse of young America. (Just think, this was before he was REALLY senile and out of touch!) Big boot from Bradshaw, but Savio comes back with chops. A pair of leg lariats get two, but Bradshaw catches him for the blockbuster, and Zebekiah pushes them over and holds Bradshaw on top of Vega for the pin at 4:44. Heel beatdown follows, and JR declares that Savio will never forget this day. Well, that makes one of us. ¾* – I would be remiss in not mocking Michael Hayes during his Dok Hendrix period, shilling for the PPV and advertising the big special for that month…a half-price membership in the WWF Fan Club! Considering how low most IYH buyrates were, I’m pretty sure they were the only ones buying the damn things to begin with. (I feel like the Network needs a Handsome Dok Hendrix or even Don West to just come out and do the hard sell on it.) – Opening match: The Smoking Gunns v. The Bodydonnas. Gunns were the champions, but this is non-title, just to make sure to kill any last vestiges of people thinking of buying the show. I mean, what the hell is the selling point of a NON-title match supposed to be? Especially when the Bodydonnas were already the biggest joke in wrestling at that point thanks to Cloudy, perhaps the dumbest idea Vince McMahon came up with that year. Next, of course, to dying Tom Pritchard’s hair blond and naming him “Zip”. (Could have been “Flip” if not for a previous copyright claim, so look at the bright side, I guess.) The Donnas double-team Billy, and Vince calls shenanigans. Gunns bail and stall. Zip & Bart slug it out back in the ring, and Zip goes armdraggin’. They work the arm for a while. A long while. Bart clotheslines out to break and Billy stomps away on Skip. Fameasser ends a rally, but Skip goes back to the arm shortly after. A rather surreal conversation breaks out at ringside, as JR suddenly goes off about the speed of the Bodydonnas (while Skip is standing around holding an armbar, mind you), and Vince counters by pointing out the speed of the GODWINNS, of all teams. JR seems legitimately incredulous that Vince would say something like that, and asks him if he meant the Gunns, trying to cover for Vince, but indeed Vince meant the Godwinns. I really wonder sometimes what it was with Vince and the hillbillies. Billy bails, setting up Skip for an ambush, which prompts a funny line from Jerry about how Skip would never stand a chance to get someone like Sunny. Anyway, Skip is YOUR crack addict-in-peril. (To be fair, I don’t know if he was ADDICTED as such.) Bart tosses him around while Tammy mugs for the camera. The thrill is gone with her, thanks to drugs and naked pictures. (And to think that she would find a lower level of rock bottom 14 years after I wrote that. However, going back and watching her on these shows today, the thrill is definitely there.) Skip goes up, but gets powerslammed. Billy screws up the double-team leapfrog, failing to clear Bart and landing lamely back on the mat as the crowd gives him a sarcastic ovation. The beating continues ENDLESSLY, as the crowd is just gone. Bart & Skip get crossed signals and screw up a reversal sequence, then repeat it. Billy goes up, but lands in an atomic drop, hot tag Zip. I’d be quaking in MY boots if a guy named Zip with blond hair was after ME. Billy quickly trips Zip, and the Gunns go for the Sidewinder, but Skip pops in with a missile dropkick on Bart and Zip gets the pin at 13:06. Boring and heatless. ½* The Donnas disappeared for good soon after. (Yeah, we’ve been discussing the Bodydonna babyface run on the RAW rants, but man what a disaster they were in that role. As others have pointed out, the New Rockers should have been in this spot because the matches would be better if nothing else.) – Mankind v. Henry Godwinn. Godwinn is subbing for an “injured” (no-showing) Jake Roberts, allowing Jerry Lawler to unleash a bevy of drunk jokes about Jake. The best of them is Jerry declaring that Jake has succumbed to the “Wrath of Grapes”. (That’s not saying much. What a mean-spirited feud that one was, for no real reason. Jake was trying to deal with his problems and be honest about it, and Vince let Jerry mock him endlessly on national TV for months.) Mankind attacks to start, and bites away. He goes low, but HOG slugs away. Mankind bails. Back in, Mankind hammers away and Henry responds in kind. Mankind comes back with an elbow, bulldog and elbowdrop. Running knee in the corner and guillotine on the apron follow, and mats are pulled up as they head out. Mankind gets a neckbreaker on the concrete, and they head back in. Blind charge misses, and Henry lariats him, but gets tossed. Mankind follows, but gets slammed on the concrete. Slop drop is blocked, mandible claw finishes at 6:52. Okayish last-minute squash. ¾* I think that instead of Henry O. Godwinn, he should have been O. Henry Godwinn, so that they could have all his matches feature some sort of twist finish to them. – Steve Austin v. Marc Mero. What? This is a rematch from King of the Ring, what? (Aha, definitely 2001, then.) Austin was the RVD-ish bad boy heel at this point, who the more rebellious element of the fanbase cheered for before the rest “got it”. Austin pounds away to start, but gets bodypressed for two. Mero works the arm, and Austin grabs a headlock, which leads into an early pinfall reversal sequence. Mero slugs away, and Austin takes a powder. Mero attacks and rolls him up for two. Austin fakes another mouth injury (ala KOTR), then suckers Mero in and dumps him, drawing BIG cheers from the Austin Cheering Section. (That cheering section was sort of like the Cesaro one, but Vince actually started listening to this one.) They head out, and Austin posts Mero. Mero climbs onto the apron, and gets shoved into the railing as a result. Back in, the FU Elbow gets two. Austin hits the chinlock, but misses a Bossman straddle. Mero crotches him on the top and comes back, but Austin goes for a powerbomb. Mero tries to block with a rana, and they end up tumbling out. Mero hits a somersault off the apron, and a wicked standing moonsault off the apron. NOW the whole crowd is into it. Back in, springboard splash gets two, but Austin crotches him. Stunner is blocked and Mero gets a springboard legdrop for two. Austin clips him, KICK WHAM STUNNER, goodbye at 10:47. Big face pop for Austin. Match wasn’t as fluid as the King of the Ring one, but it had it’s charm. **3/4 – Undertaker v. Goldust. Goldust stalls FOREVER. I’m eternally shocked that a pairing that produced that such shitty results as this one did got so much PPV time in 1996, with four appearances (counting Beware of Dog #1). UT nails him and he stalls again. Finally, they slug it out on the floor, and Taker drops him on the stairs. Back in, Taker chokes him down, and clotheslines him. Legdrop gets two, and he continues manhandling Goldust. OLD-SCHOOL ROPEWALK OF DOOM, but an elbow misses, and they head out. UT retains control, but Goldust pulls a turnbuckle off and whips Taker into it, backfirst. Stairs to the back, and Taker is in trouble. Hey, what’s that thing he’s doing, where he pretends to be affected and/or in pain from the actions of the heel? Um…selling, I think it’s called. But, but, but…I thought he didn’t DO that back in the Dead Man days? At least that’s what all the whiny rationalizing Undertaker fanboys who write me always seem to be trying to convince me of. (Obviously I was going through a phase here.) Goldust hits the chinlock, but Taker comes back with a small package for two. Flying lariat and tombstone, but Mankind pops out of a hole in the ring for the lame DQ at 12:06, thus negating the whole point of making me sit through 12 minutes of this tripe. ½* Taker then disappears into the hole while steam rises out of it and Mankind sits there like an idiot waiting for Taker to re-emerge and UT’s music starts and stops intermittently. Finally, Taker pops out of the OTHER side of the ring, through another hole, and gets his revenge. Thrilling. – Unintentionally funny bit during the “Vince & JR banter” bit to fill time before the main event, as fans behind the table get all excited and stuff, and a security guard is all like “Hey, no excitement on a 1996 WWF PPV, sit down you hooligans!” and he proceeds to stand there on-camera, monitoring the poor guys in the front row and making sure no enthusiasm is shown for the duration of the segment. But then my general experience with the security guys at wrestling shows is that they’re all a bunch of grumpy rent-a-cops whose crushed dreams mean that no one else gets to have any fun, either, so maybe I’m biased on that score. (I’d say that’s not unique to wrestling. I had front row tickets to Def Leppard a few years ago and the security force was just the WORST, staring down anyone who dared to leave their seats until finally Joe Eliot basically told them to fuck off and let people have some fun. Not a great show as a result, unfortunately.) – Owen Hart, British Bulldog & Vader v. Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson & Sycho Sid. Warrior was supposed to be part of the babyface team, but, you know, it’s Warrior, so instead we get Sid, who at least can be reasonably assured of making his dates before disappearing without giving notice. Shawn & Vader start, and Shawn moves quick, but gets slugged. Rana is blocked, but perseverance pays off as he completes the move. Vader bails and gets baseball slid, and pescado’d. Another dive misses and Shawn eats railing. Back in, Vader hammers him until Sid comes in (to a BIG pop) and he pounds the shit out of Vader, Owen, Bulldog and anyone else in there. He cleans house and the crowd goes NUTS. Okay, Canada likes Sid, I have to apologize for my country for that. (It’s true. He was crazy over at every house show I saw him at.) Owen comes back in and gets clocked, and Ahmed hits a triple german suplex! Holy crap. Elbow misses and Bulldog pounds on him, but Ahmed comes back with a spinebuster and Pearl River Plunge. Vader saves, but Ahmed wears him out in the corner. Vader comes back with an avalanche and pummels him, but walks into a powerslam for two. That’s some impressive strength. Owen comes in with a leg lariat to take over again, and the crowd keeps chanting for Sid. So Ahmed tags out and gives them what they want. (If it was TODAY, Vince would call an audible and have Sid immediately do an injury angle and get stretchered out to spite the crowd.) Big boot on Owen and Sid whips him in the corner, and Owen takes a vicious bump there. Bulldog comes in and gets an amazing delayed vertical suplex on Sid, for two. Vader pounds him, but Sid shrugs off Bulldog and Shawn comes in via the top rope. He misses a blind charge, posts himself, and he’s YOUR face-in-peril. Shawn whips Bulldog into Vader for two, but Bulldog takes over again. Owen uses the ol’ Oklahoma Roll for two. Shawn counters it for two, Victory Roll gets two, countered for two by Owen, rollup, bridge, reverse, backslide, you know the drill. Awesome stuff. Owen nails him with a cast to break it up, and gets two. Bulldog legdrop gets two. Powerslam gets two. Owen cheapshots Shawn again with the cast, and Vader comes in to kick some ass and chew bubblegum, minus the bubblegum. (LAME. Come on, 2001 Scott.) He tosses Shawn, and then back in gets a short-arm clothesline for two. Vader bearhugs the neck as some idiot runs into the ring and gets triple-teamed by Bulldog, Ahmed and security. Shawn fights out, but gets splashed. Sid nails Vader, but Shawn can’t QUITE make the tag. Bulldog puts him in a body vice, and then reverses a crucifix into a fallaway slam for two. Blind charge misses, but Owen cuts off the tag again. Double-KO with Shawn & Owen, but Bulldog powerslams Shawn for two. Sid saves. False tag to Ahmed, and Shawn gets gang-raped by the heels. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Heel miscommunication follows, and finally it’s the HOT tag to Sid. Chokeslam Vader! Chokeslam Owen! Chokeslam Bulldog! It’s BONZO GONZO in Vancouver as Shawn gets launched onto Vader. Shawn gets the tennis racket and uses it for two, but the Vaderbomb finishes at 24:30. That was a rather fortuitous finish for Jim Cornette, considering he promised a refund to everyone if the heels didn’t win. Hmmm…almost…TOO fortuitous. You don’t think maybe this wasn’t on the up-and-up or something, do you? Wrestling? FIXED? **** (Oddly enough, that stip was never mentioned on RAW. It must have been on Superstars because I just did the go-home show and Cornette didn’t say anything about it.) The Bottom Line: Minor bright spots aside, 1996 sucked ass for the WWF for the most part, and this was no exception, earning the lowest buyrate in the history of the promotion with a 0.37, a record which held up until December, when they shattered it with a 0.35 for It’s Time. But then the buildup, hype, undercard and main event dynamic (with Ultimate Warrior flaking out and leaving the promotion the week before the show) all rivalled post-Russo WCW for sheer stupidity, so by the time the show rolled along they’d already decided it was a write-off anyway. I just wish they’d have resurrected Saturday Night’s Main Event if they just wanted a buildup show for Summerslam, though, instead of wasting our time with this junk. But hey, the main event is really, REALLY good, so you might wanna track that match down at least. But it’s not enough to save the show. Strong recommendation to avoid. (On the bright side, James Dixon e-mailed me to let me know that the sequel to Titan Sinking is almost done, so this era should produce some entertaining stories at least!)
– Okay, this is the semi-famous Beware of Dog PPV, famous not because of anything that happened in the ring, but rather because storms in South Carolina blew out the transmission satellite feed and left the arena in darkness for the better part of an hour. In order to make up for this WCW-like snafu, the WWF offered a makeup show on the following Tuesday in the replay slot, called Beware of Dog II, where they’d redo the matches missed by the outage. That’s the show I’m reviewing here, as it was a spliced-together combination of the two matches from the first show and the three from the second. (That’s also the show that is featured on the Network, as it is now considered the “official” version of the show. Holy shit was I pissed at this show back in the day, and Shaw Cable actually refunded the PPV for me and gave me the makeup show for free!) – Live from Florence, South Carolina / Charleston, South Carolina. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler / Jim Ross & Mr. Perfect. – Free 4 All Match, WWF tag team title: The Godwinns v. The Smoking Gunns. This was taped at the first show. Sunny has her wagon hitched to the Godwinns, who upset the Bodydonnas to win their first tag title a week prior to this. Bart overpowers PIG, but they mess up a double-reverse spot and Billy comes in to work the arm. HOG comes in to break it up, but gets armbarred as well. Bart & HOG exchange wristlocks, and HOG clotheslines him for two. PIG stays on the arm, but now the Gunns work on HIS arm. That goes on for a while, until Sunny jumps onto the apron and gets kissed by Billy. I guess she must have been looking like Chuck Palumbo that night. (Well NOW she does…) PIG is so distracted by this that Bart is able to suplex him for the pin and the titles at 4:53. If you like armbars, this is YOUR match! DUD Billy’s post-match interview sets up the Gunns’ heel turn and Billy’s eventual solo run. (And wasn’t the world waiting for THAT) – Onto the PPV. – Opening match, Wildman Marc Mero v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley. (Remember, you always have to say it like Vince, always as one word: WILDMANMARCMERO!) Mero attacks and they chase, allowing Hunter to gain control. Mero slugs him out of the ring and follows with a dive over the top, then gets a slingshot legdrop for two. Hunter goes to the eyes, but gets KO’d for two. Mero charges and hits the post, however, hurting his shoulder in the process. Hunter gives him another trip to the post for good measure, and then goes to work. Armbar takedown and he stomps away on the shoulder. He pounds away in the corner viciously, and gets a high knee for two. Back to the shoulder, as he surfboards the arm, but Mero cradles for two. Hunter nails the shoulder again and posts the arm, however. Back in, he works the arm using the ropes and stomps a mudhole on the shoulder. To the turnbuckle, and into a cross-armbreaker, but Mero blocks it. Vince is totally out of his league calling this stuff, and I think he knew it. That’s one thing about Vince; once he realized that a new style of UFC stuff was being worked into the matches, I think he knew enough to get out of commentating in favor of JR. (I wish he’d have the same realization about booking these days.) Mero can’t make it to the ropes, so Hunter starts cranking on the armbreaker and gets two before Mero makes it. Hunter kneedrops the shoulder, but Mero fights back. Hunter keeps yanking on the arm, however, and bars it with his own knee. Kind of a spinning toehold on the arm. Back to the turnbuckle, but Mero gets a fluke rollup for two. Hunter nails him from behind for two. Hunter stomps the shoulder again and snaps the arm off the top rope. He goes up and nails the arm coming down, and then goes to another armbar, using the top rope for leverage. Attaboy. Hammerlock slam and Hunter goes up again, but Mero crotches him and gets a top rope rana, making sure to sell the arm injury the whole time. Both guys are out, but Mero comes back with a flying headscissors and a kneelift. Backdrop and he’s fired up. He goes up with a sunset flip for two. Dropkick puts Hunter on the floor, but he misses a plancha and blows out his knee. Back in, Hunter goes for the Pedigree, but Sable doesn’t want to watch, and Hunter wants her to. So he yells at her until she gets in position to watch, goes for the Pedigree again, and Mero reverses to a catapult into the ringpost and falls on top at 16:22. Good finish, great match, as Mero keeps selling the arm the whole time. **** (I don’t think it holds up that great, actually, and it’s probably more like *** or so.) – Meanwhile, Camp Cornette prepares to “drop the bomb” on Michaels later tonight, and Owen Hart gets a manager’s license for one night only. (Judging by the attendance, the only bomb was this show. HEY-YO!) – Okay, here the power goes out. The show actually continued live in the arena in the dark, with all the babyfaces going over. If you want the full experience of watching the show live, turn off your monitor here and leave for an hour, then come back. I’ll wait. – Welcome back! – WWF title match: Shawn Michaels v. The British Bulldog. The “bomb” is Clarence Mason announcing a lawsuit for “attempted alienation of affection” on behalf of Diana Smith. As you might surmise, this angle went NOWHERE. In fact, according to Diana’s glorified roll of toilet paper “Under the Mat”, she was supposed to have seduced Shawn but had her advances spurned and sent Davey after him. (That’s kind of insulting to toilet paper.) That’s actually not a bad storyline, unlike this one, which IS a bad storyline. Bulldog attacks Shawn and he comes back with an armdrag and goes for the superkick quickly. Bulldog bails, but Shawn follows with a pescado. Back in, Shawn grabs a headlock and hangs on for two. Rollup is blocked and Bulldog catches a bearhug. Shawn escapes, and gets a rollup for two. Enzuigiri gets two. Shawn goes to an armbar and short-arm scissors for two. Bulldog powers out and stomps away. Hairtoss, and Bulldog hits the chinlock. It goes into a body vice and and a samoan drop. Legdrop gets two for Bulldog, and back to the chinlock as Vince points out that Shawn has never submitted or surrendered in any form. Unless of course you count Survivor Series 92, where he submitted to Bret Hart. Okay, now it’s about 10 minutes into the match, and while they’re doing this chinlock Earl Hebner quite clearly tells Shawn to go home, and Shawn equally clearly starts arguing like a 12-year old, nearly throwing a tantrum while supposedly incapacitated on camera. (Yeah, this was not a great time for Shawn’s maturity levels.) It’s quite blatant if you know what to look for. Shawn fights back and was supposed to take a kneelift from Davey on a criss-cross, but deliberately avoids Smith and misses by a foot, but sells it and takes a dramatic bump out of the ring anyway. They can’t even find a replay to show that would explain the bump, and Vince & Jerry are totally at a loss to justify Shawn’s behavior. Back in, Shawn slingshots in with a clothesline that again misses by a mile, and both are out. Another collision, both out again. Shawn makes the big comeback and goes up, and gets a double axehandle for two. Ref is bumped and Shawn gets the flying elbow, but Owen comes in and gets taken out by Shawn. Bulldog stomps Shawn as another ref comes in. Powerslam is reversed to a german suplex by Shawn, but both shoulders are down as both refs count the pin at 17:19. A big argument ensues, but tie goes to the champion so Shawn retains pending a rematch. Shawn’s childish reaction to having the match shortened from 30 minutes to 18 minutes aside, the match was actually quite good for what it was, especially considering most guys today would kill to get 18 minutes. ***1/4 (Yeah, 18 minutes for a MAIN EVENT is considered pretty epic now.) – Okay, now we go live to the Tuesday show. – Strap match: Steve Austin v. Savio Vega. If Austin loses, Dibiase joins the nWo. (WCW was offering a ton of money when his contract expired, and Lloyds of London paid him a giant amount of money for his career-ending neck injury at this point, so he was doing pretty well for himself. About two years after this I got to meet him at a local church where he was giving a talk and he was a really awesome guy and very forthcoming about everything in his career to that point.) Austin bails to start, but can’t go anywhere. Austin pounds away but gets backdropped and bails again. Savio uses the strap to yank him into the apron, and then follows him out and pounds away with the strap. Back in, more vicious strappings follow, and Austin bails over the top. Savio fires down with the strap and suplexes him back in. A superkick from Vega allows him to touch three, but Austin goes low. He starts in with the stiff shots from strap, but Savio takes him down and they scuffle. They head out and Savio chops away, but gets sent to the apron. Austin chokes him over the top and suplexes him back in. Austin drags him around for two, but Savio uses the leverage of the strap to whip Austin around the ring and into the turnbuckle. That’s some pretty wicked psychology, by playing up on Savio’s knowledge of using the strap and making it mean something in the match. Savio gets a clothesline with the strap, but Austin dumps him. However, it backfires as the strap is too short and takes Austin with Savio. Savio suplexes him on the floor and keeps strapping him, but Austin comes off the stairs.and gets nailed. Back in, Savio hogties him and drags him to two corners, but Austin legsweeps him down and gives him the leather. Savio comes back with a superplex attempt, but Austin headbutts to block. Savio crotches him and gets that superplex after all. Savio touches three, but Austin gets a wicked spear to stop the fourth. Austin chokes him in the ropes and in the corner, then stomps him down. Austin touches three, but then hesitates for some reason and allows Savio to poke him in the eyes. Hmm. Tombstone reversal sequence leads to Savio tumbling over the top, but when Austin leans over to suplex him in, Savio kicks him in the head. Austin recovers and goes to the top, but Savio redirects him on the way down using the strap and Austin meets the railing facefirst. He sends Savio into the stairs, however. Back in, Savio fireman’s carries Austin around, touching two before Austin uses Savio’s pants to block. Austin piledriver looks to finish, but Dibiase wants another one for some reason. Austin obliges, but Savio reverses. Austin goes to the Million Dollar Dream, but Savio manages to touch two while fighting out of it, and then pushes off the corner to break. Austin stunguns him and chokes him down with the strap, then drags him around the ring. However, Savio sneaks in to touch each corner after Austin, and when they get to the fourth they fight over the strap until Austin “accidentally” pulls Savio right into the corner at 21:22. The finish actually works once it was revealed that Austin deliberately threw the match to get rid of Dibiase. (I am aghast at a pro wrestler possibly fixing the result of a match!) And the match was incredibly stiff and featured neat stuff you don’t normally see in strap matches, plus terrific psychology. Definitely an unappreciated classic, much like most of Austin’s early WWF stuff. ****1/4 (Yeah, this match ruled and might be the only worthwhile thing Savio Vega accomplished in his run. I know the Death Valley Driver guys were all about his Boriquas stuff, but….meh.) – Yokozuna v. Vader. This was pretty much the last gasp for Yoko’s babyface run, before leaving the promotion later in the year. Slugfest to start, won by Yoko. Stalling follows. They do a sumo challenge, but Vader chickens out and stalls. Again, and Vader balks again. Finally they go ahead with it, and Yoko wins easily and Vader bails. Back in, Vader wins a slugfest but gets taken down and bails. Back in, he slugs away again, gets taken down again, and bails again. They slug it out, and Yoko gets a Rock Bottom and avalanche, into a samoan drop. On the samoan drop, you can actually see Vader doing it all himself. Yoko goes for the Banzai drop, but stops to beat up Jim Cornette. When he goes for a Banzai on him, however, Vader drags Cornette out of the way, and it misses. Vader splashes Yoko for the pin at 8:55. This was like watching the main event of a show from England in the 80s. ½* – Intercontinental title, casket match: Goldust v. The Undertaker. (Having watched all the RAW shows leading up to this, I still have no idea why they were even wrestling each other.) Taker attacks, and Goldust bails. Back in, he hammers away, but gets tossed around by Taker. Clothesline and Taker tosses him, but the lid is closed and he lands on top. They brawl outside, and Goldust eats stairs and has casket for dessert. Back in, Taker legdrops him and they slug it out. Taker gets the ROPEWALK OF DOOM and chokes away. Goldust slams him, no-sold. Tombstone by Goldust, no-sold. He gets a seated clothesline and rolls Taker towards the casket, but can’t shut the lid. Aker gets a big boot, but gets dumped. They brawl outside, and Goldust takes over in the ring. Taker keeps fighting back, but Goldust gets a sleeper. Into the casket, but again the lid won’t shut. Back in, Taker gets the flying clothesline and dumps Goldust. Chairshot is blocked and they head back in, where Goldust gets a powerslam and goes up. Flying clothesline, but he goes for a cover for some reason. Taker fights back and slams him off the top, then tombstones him. Into the casket.but Mankind pops up and puts him out with the Mandible Claw and into the casket at 12:36. I’m amazed two human beings can put on matches this boring on a regular basis. ** (And both still active! Sort of.) The Bottom Line: The two matches from the original show are both great, and the strap match from the second show is even BETTER, so call this thing an easy thumbs up. I’m not sure if it was ever put on video, but definitely check out the strap match if you can find it somewhere. (Like the WWE Network, free for the month of April!) Strongly recommended.
(I forget if I’ve Scott Sez’d this one before, but we’re at that point so let’s check it out again.) – Live from Omaha, Nebraska. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler – This would be the farewell show for both Diesel & Razor Ramon, as they departed for WCW in what was supposed to be a minor defection and ended up turning the company around. Sound familiar? Well, not that the WWF needs turning around these days, but hopefully someone at WCW was watching RAW on Monday night and paying attention to the response for the Radicals got, one that they couldn’t get in WCW due to politics. (Turns out that politics were just as much of a factor in the WWF.) Anyway, in the Survivor Series 95 rant, I commented that the Bret v. Diesel match there was Diesel’s second-best ever, and that he had a better one with Michaels. Many have e-mailed to ask what that one was, and herein lies the answer. (Mystery! Intrigue!) – Free 4 All match: 1-2-3 Kid v. Wildman Marc Mero. This is Marc’s PPV debut after jumping from WCW due to squabbling with Eric Bischoff and working most of the internet in the process. Hey, Marc, guess who’s laughing at who now? (Also, your ex-wife is doing very well for herself.) Karate showboating from the Kid to start. Quick sequence puts Mero in control with a flying headscissors that sends the Kid to the floor. Mero follows with a tope suicida. Slingshot legdrop gets two. Reverse rollup gets two. He goes aerial and gets crotched, then HHH (Mero’s first feud) makes an appearance. Kid hits some vicious kicks to take over as HHH stalks Sable. Mero escapes and goes to confront Hunter, and gets nailed by the Kid from behind. The ref tosses HHH, and Mero mounts the comeback. HHH runs in for the lame DQ at 7:20 of what was looking to be a great match. *** (Future) DX beatdown follows on Mero. (Kid was practically out the door, between injuries and his friends leaving, at this point as well and they were STILL protecting him!) – Opening match: The British Bulldog & Owen Hart v. Jake Roberts & Ahmed Johnson. Johnson was getting into Goldberg territory of overness at this point, although his work was stiff and sloppy, a dangerous combination. (On the bright side, he never punched through a car window.) Bulldog had the issue with Ahmed over arm-wrestling (gotta love the mid-90s WWF) so Bulldog hides on the apron and lets Owen handle things. That goes pretty badly for him, as Ahmed tosses him around like a doll and then Jake nearly gets the DDT. Some cheapshots from Bulldog finally allow him to come in without fear of death. Ahmed plays face-in-peril for a bit, but doesn’t really sell anything and soon tags out to Jake and he gets beat on for a long while. Jake’s mobility is so limited by age and alcohol at this point it’s scary. Not as scary as Heroes of Wrestling, but scary. The match drags on and on. Ahmed gets the hot tag and screams a lot. Jake inexplicably comes back in to finish things, but takes a LOADED TENNIS RACKET OF DOOM to the knee and submits to a lame kneebar at 13:43. Just way too long. ¾* (And this was supposed to be a singles match with Bulldog v. Jake and was advertised as such all the way until the show started, and was changed because Bulldog injured his knee in Germany. Can you imagine how bad THAT would have ended up? And then Bulldog was supposed to challenge for the title at the next PPV. The booking was just on another planet of ridiculous at this point.) – Intercontinental title match: Goldust v. Ultimate Warrior. You know how some matches are so bad that they’re good? Well, this is so bad that it’s just BAD. Goldust has a knee injury, so the “match” is literally him walking around the ring and stalling for FIFTEEN MINUTES to waste time. Finally he gets counted out to put us out of our misery. That’s all, folks. -***** How hard would it have been to say “Goldust is injured, so Warrior is fighting [x]”? (And again, they were well aware of his knee injury for two weeks before this and still chose to advertise the match right up until the day of the show. They even did hotline updates where they ADMITTED that Goldust had a knee injury but lied and said he was cleared to wrestle at the PPV!) – Vader v. Razor Ramon. (Another super-weird booking decision, with Ramon off TV for weeks leading up to this.) This was Graceful Job-Out #1 on the night, as Razor was wooed by WCW a few months before this. Ramon bumps around for Vader to start, as Vader basically squashes him. Ramon punches a lot to come back. Three clotheslines put Vader on the floor. Vader stalls. Cornette’s help allows Vader to continue his destruction of Ramon. Vaderbomb gets two. Ramon gets a vertical suplex to come back. Powerslam as Vader is coming off the 2nd rope gets two. Bulldog gets two. He tries the Razor’s Edge, but his ribs give out and he collapses. Vader goes for the moonsault, but Ramon brings him down the hard way. Razor’s Edge attempt #2, but Vader backdrops out and sits on him for the pin at 14:47. The selling and psychology were sound enough for a good rating, but the match was REALLY boring. *** (And why give Ramon all that offense against the new monster is another mystery. I guess Vince really thought he could talk Razor into staying?) – WWF tag team title match: The Bodydonnas v. The Godwinns. This was a rematch from the finals of the inaugural “Placeholder champions until Billy Gunn’s injury heals” tournament at Wrestlemania 12. (At least they made it off the pre-show this time.) Zip gets double-teamed to start as Vince says “scufflin’” about 14 times. What the hell is with him and hillbilly gimmicks, anyway? Are the southern states REALLY so much of a hotbed that he has to tailor entire gimmicks for them? The story here is that Phineas is in love with Sunny. Just give her some crack, Phineas, that’ll bring her around. Highlight of the mostly-comedy match sees HOG pull out an Ocean Cyclone suplex (picture a german suplex, but starting with the opponent face-down on the mat) as the farmers dominate the champs. This whole period for the titles was a trainwreck, as the Bodydonnas were not over and Vince had no desire to help them become so (Cloudy, anyone?) and the Godwinns were, well, the Godwinns. Thank god for the New Rockers to save the tag division in 96. The champs cheat and gain the advantage. Phineas gets all “riled up” (seriously, is this whole gimmick like one big cheapshot at Ted Turner or something?) (Well, duh) and hot tags HOG, but Sunny had conveniently brought a framed, autographed 8×10 of herself to ringside (which probably wasn’t far from the truth at the time) and uses it to distract PIG while the Bodydonnas pull the switcheroo and pin HOG at 7:12. Soo-ey, that sucked… ½* – WWF World title match: Shawn Michaels v. Diesel. This is the ultimate blowoff for their long-simmering feud, as Diesel was leaving for WCW and made it known that he was on one final run of destruction before he left. Shawn was hot off beating Bret Hart at WM12 and needed credibility. This is no-holds-barred. Shawn uses his speed to avoid Diesel, then dropkicks him out and hits a moonsault tope onto him. He steals a boot from Hugo Savinevich and nails Diesel for two. Diesel gets pissed and knocks Shawn onto the railing, then tosses him back in and absolutely wallops him. Shawn sells like he’s dead. Diesel keeps shooting evil glances at Vince. Jumping side slam nearly puts Shawn though the mat, then Diesel undoes his wrist tape…and chokes out Hebner! He steals Earl’s belt and lays in some wicked shots on Shawn, then hangs him from the top rope and ties him there. As Shawn struggles to free himself, Diesel calmly grabs a chair and blasts Shawn. Back in for another solid chairshot. Lord, what a beating. One more, but Shawn ducks and Shawn gets the chair. That proves temporary, as a low blow gets two for Diesel. Diesel absolutely lays into him with forearms, sending him crashing to the floor. Vince keeps yelling at Shawn to “stay down”. Cool spot of the year: Diesel starts a long tradition, powerbombing Shawn through the announce table. He parades around with the title belt while Shawn, who is nearly dead, pulls himself out of the wreckage. Vince, his own microphone dead, does his usual awesome acting job, yelling “Just let it be over!” at Shawn. Shawn crawls to the ring, and finds a fire extinguisher, which he discharges into Diesel’s face. Flying forearm puts him down, and Shawn grabs a chair to even the odds. Two vicious shots follow, but Diesel won’t go down, and in fact hits the big foot to the face right away to KO Shawn. He takes too long, however, and Shawn escapes the powerbomb. Flying elbow sets up Sweet Chin Music, but Diesel calmly grabs his foot and rips his head off with a lariat. What is this, All Japan? He tosses Shawn out again and drops him on the railing, then gets inspired. He heads over to the front row and beats up Maurice Vachon, who is seated ringside, and STEALS HIS ARTIFICIAL LEG. Major, major heel heat for that. Shawn lowblows him, however, and steals the leg. He knocks Diesel cold with a shot from the leg, then waits for him to recover, warms up the band, and superkicks him for the pin to retain at 17:51. He didn’t win the match, he SURVIVED it. What a horrific beating and an AWESOME brawl. ****3/4 Shawn’s “in your FACE!” post-match celebration is amazing acting on his part, too, and it really makes the match. (This is still the only reason to watch this show, and it’s probably Nash’s best match ever.) The Bottom Line: Most of the show is pretty worthless, but that brawl is something else and sets the tone for garbage main events to follow for years to come. In the next in my little In Your House series, I’ll look at an even BETTER Shawn brawl from a few months later against Mankind. As it is, I’m still in shock to this day that Shawn won Match of the Year for the Wrestlemania match rather than the Diesel or the Mankind one. As it was, however, this match, rather than the Bret one, was the one that really put Shawn over the top as a credible champion and got him over. I wonder if that pissed Bret off? Recommended only for the main event.
(It was pointed out to me that I skipped this show and went right to the Nitro the night after. So here we go. Also, this show was dogshit and thus I’m never watching it again, but I’ll probably at the very least rewatch Bash 96 to get a fresh look for the Scott Sez repost.) The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Slamboree 96 – Into the home stretch of WCW PPVs now, as we wrap things up with Slamboree ’96 (which I didn’t order back in the day and have only watched once since then) and then finish off with Road Wild ’99 (which I watched live, but was very drunk while doing so). And then that’ll be every WCW PPV ever, in the bag. (We are at least now approaching the point when I met my longtime circle of friends in Edmonton in late summer of 1996 and learned about the wondrous creation that was that the black box imported from Mexico, which meant I didn’t have to order PPVs anymore.) (…allegedly.) – Live from Baton Rouge, LA – Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Dusty. – This of course is the last, and worst, iteration of Dusty Rhodes’ original “Battlebowl” idea, with “random” drawings forcing people to team up, with winners advancing until there’s 8 people left for a battle royale to crown the “Lord of the Ring”. (Now, at the point I was writing this, would Lord of the Rings jokes have been a hilarious and topical thing? Because I’m surprised I didn’t go for the low-hanging fruit in some form if so.) – Opening match: Road Warrior Animal & Booker T v. Road Warrior Hawk & Lex Luger. Let’s see if Booker can carry three guys at once. (Spoiler: Fuck no.) Oddly enough, Hawk & Animal have different variants on the same “Iron Man” ripoff. (So apparently when they did the graphics on Nitro a few weeks before this where they were the “Roadwarriors” as all one word, it might have been some weird legal dodge because WWF ended up with the rights to the Road Warriors name after their initial stint there. If so, that’s would be all kinds of fucked up.) Luger was in full babyface mode at this point, in preparation for the impending nWo invasion. (More specifically, Giant chokeslammed him through a table on Nitro leading up to this, which was the babyface turn once and for all.) Animal starts with Luger and they do the dramatic lockup in the corner, before Luger stomps away. Powerslam, but he doesn’t cover. Animal works him over in the other corner, and gets his own powerslam. Luger gets a suplex, which is no-sold, and Booker comes in to work on Luger’s arm. Charge hits boot, and Luger gets a clothesline out of the corner to take over again. Okay, we’ve obviously mastered the punching and kicking, let’s move into the 20th century now. Booker misses an elbow but recovers with a Spinarooni and sidekicks Luger. That gets two. It’s funny – WCW marketed Booker as a viable contender while ignoring the marketing possibilities of the Spinarooni, while the WWE markets his catchphrases while ignoring the viability of him as a contender. That pretty much sums up their differences in a nutshell. (Guess this was written pre-2003.) Axe kick gets two. Partners Hawk & Luger get into a fight, which leads to a pier-six brawl, and Luger runs away from the fight. It’s a double-countout at 6:55, which eliminates both teams from the tournament. That is so incredibly stupid that it can only have come from WCW. Horrible match, filled with bad wrestling. DUD – The Public Enemy v. Kevin Sullivan & Chris Benoit. This match really stretches the bounds of credibility as far as random drawings go. (This whole show really stretches the bounds of credibility as far as “wrestling PPV” goes.) I mean, at least back in the early 90s the teams were suitably bizarre and thus seemed random. Benoit starts with Rocco Rock and gets pounded, and Rock hits him with a headscissors. That turns into a shoving match and stalling follows. Rocco gets a rana as Dusty and Bobby have a funny discussion about what would happen if they were partners. A second rana is reversed into a powerbomb by Benoit. He pounds away and brings Sullivan in, which turns the match into a brawl. That’s smart, because 3 out of the 4 guys aren’t good for much else. Sullivan pounds on Rocco with a chair, but gets put on a table. Benoit cuts off a dive by Rocco with a clothesline, but gets suplexed out of the ring. Sullivan and Johnny Grunge keep fighting on the floor, but Sullivan and Benoit both end up on the table, and the Public Enemy dive onto it, putting Benoit through when Kevin moves. Back in, Rocco gets the pin on Benoit at 4:44. This could have been SO much more if they had booked it like one of the crazy brawls both teams were known for. 1/2* (OK, I confess to being really confused as this point. Benoit and Sullivan didn’t interact at ALL on Nitro around this time, but by Bash 96 they’re engaging in a giant blood feud? When did Sullivan transition from Pillman to Benoit as far as the feud went and where did that happen?) – Sgt. Craig Pittman & Scott Steiner v. Rick Steiner & The Booty Man. I’ve had nightmares involving these four guys wrestling each other. I mean, seriously, Rick Steiner and BRUTUS BEEFCAKE? Is that someone’s idea of a sick joke? (That’s Hulk’s idea of DRAWING MONEY, brother.) Kimberly is playing Brutus’ “booty babe” as a result of DDP jobbing to him at Uncensored. So there’s at least one (or two) things to watch here. (I was referring to her boobies.) Pittman and Booty start, and do a ridiculously bad mat- wrestling sequence. Pittman headbutts him low to end that charade, and Scott Steiner, who was not yet the Big Bad Booty Daddy and thus couldn’t really be confused with The Booty Man at that point, comes in with a butterfly powerbomb for two. For some reason he tags Pittman back in, as Booty tags out to Rick. Pittman pounds on Rick, who cheerfully no-sells everything and powerslams him. Pittman gets a german suplex, but Rick comes back with a Steinerline and Pittman decides that cowardice is the better part of valor and tags out to Scott. This actually gets the crowd going, and Scott takes Rick down with a fireman’s carry. Rick responds with a side headlock, but Scott goes behind to control on the mat. They do some mat-wrestling, and Scott gets a side suplex, but Rick gets a Steinerline. Scott suckers Rick into checking on him, and cradles for two. Scott gets a full-nelson, but Rick reverses to a german suplex and goes up. Scott follows and superplexes him, but Rick tags out to Booty to end the awesome. So we get Booty v. Pittman again and Pittman works on the arm, into the cross- armlock. Booty tags Steiner to escape the hold (which isn’t actually legal), and Rick suplexes Pittman for the pin at 8:21. Oh man, that stuff with the Steiners fighting in the middle was shaping up to be one of the best matches of the year given some time and a proper match. The rest was junk, so it evened out. **3/4 I briefly considered giving it another 1/4* in celebration of Kimberly leaving her bra in the dressing room, but then we’ve already seen her naked anyway. – Lord Steven Regal & Squire Dave Taylor v. Hacksaw Duggan & VK Wallstreet. Amazingly, it’s another combination of archenemies facing regular tag team partners. Oddly enough, Mike Rotundo was playing a Wallstreet spoof of Vince McMahon 4 years before the WWF went public. (And now he and his sons all work for Vince. Life is funny.) Duggan and Regal start and we get a posedown-slash-stallfest. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess who does what. Regal gets a cheapshot, but Duggan hiptosses him. Clotheslines send Regal running to the corner, and tags abound. Taylor and Regal work over Wallstreet’s arm, but he fights back with forearms. Duggan and Wallstreet can’t get the teamwork going, however, and Regal takes advantage with a beatdown on Duggan in the corner. Duggan & Regal collide, but Wallstreet won’t take the tag. Duggan makes his own comeback, including nailing his own partner, and uses the ATHLETIC TAPE OF DOOM on Taylor for the pin at 3:49. Short and bad. (Just like both of Rotundo’s kids, AM I RIGHT?) 1/4* – Dirty Dick Slater & Earl Robert Eaton v. Alex Wright & Disco Inferno. Disco ducks away from Slater to start, in order to save the hair. Dancing follows. Slater chops away, prompting Disco to tag out. Eaton slugs away on Wright, but he fires back and gets a hiptoss and bad headscissors. Leg lariat gets two. Slater comes in with a neckbreaker, but Wright escapes a piledriver and Disco cleans house. Was that supposed to be the hot tag? It’s breaking loose in Tulsa and Wright dumps Eaton, but Slater nails Disco with his boot and gets the pin at 2:56. Yeah, okay. DUD (Disco was really a non-entity on Nitro at this point, as the last I’ve seen of him was getting squashed by the Booty Man. It really wasn’t until the two and three hour versions of the show that guys like him started getting any kind of TV time.) – DDP & Barbarian v. Meng & Hugh Morrus. This show gets better and better. Speaking of Hugh, I was watching bits and pieces of Confidential, and listening to him yelling at kids about how they’ll never make it in the WWE was kinda surreal. I mean, this is HUGH FREAKIN MORRUS telling someone that THEY don’t have what it takes to make it. (Huh. Now there’s an oddly coincidental comment on my part.) All they need now is HHH to come out and tell the kids that they don’t know how to work. (They do have that, it’s called NXT. That’s what he’s been telling Hideo Itami, in fact.) DDP grabs a headlock on Morrus to start, but gets dumped. Hugh follows with a pescado and misses by a mile. Back in, Page gets a lariat for two and brings the Barbarian in. This leads to the showdown of the Faces of Fear, as Meng starts pounding with chops. Barbarian overpowers him in turn and elbows away, but neither guy sells anything. Barbarian finally gets a back kick to drop Meng, and he presses Page onto him. Meng comes back with a headbutt and Morrus comes in and goes up right away. Flying elbow gets one. He changes his mind and goes up again, but DDP crotches him and Barbarian gets a belly-to-belly superplex for two. That looked pretty bad. Meng comes back in for some double-teaming and Morrus heads up for the moonsault, which gets two. It’s BONZO GONZO and DDP eats a superkick from Meng while Barbarian hits Morrus with the KICK OF FEAR, and since DDP is in the ropes, Barbarian’s pin counts and they win at 5:16. Who booked this shit? (Kevin Sullivan.) They tried, but the universal suck force bound them together too tightly. 1/2* – Big Bubba & Stevie Ray v. Scott Norton & Ice Train. Kill me now. It’s like someone wanted to book Fire & Ice v. Harlem Heat, but decided to replace Booker T to ensure the worst match humanly possible. Why? Who would be cruel and inhuman enough to book such a match? (Kevin Sullivan.) Norton pounds on Stevie, but charges and hits boot. Stevie clotheslines him and brings Bubba in, as Norton does an astounding amount of selling for an astoundingly bad run of offense. Spinebuster gets two. Norton gives Bubba the worst faceplant ever seen on TV, and Juice Train gets a buttsplash for two. Clothesline and both guys are out, as even Tony is riffing on the excessive number of clotheslines in the match. When TONY SCHIAVONE thinks you’re lame, you’ve got trouble. Norton comes back in and hammers on Stevie, but Bubba collides with his own partner and Norton pins him at 3:28. And thank god it’s over. DUD – Eddy Guerrero & Arn Anderson v. Ric Flair & Randy Savage. If there’s any justice they’ll give this a decent amount of time. Arn attacks Savage while waiting for Flair to make his entrance, and Flair adds some punishment on his own partner until Eddy (still a babyface) makes the save. Flair chops away, but Eddy wants to bring it! Liz & Nancy quietly make their way to ringside. Eddy backdrops Flair and dropkicks him a couple of times, but Flair goes to the eye, and then nails Savage for fun. I guess that was a tag. Arn comes in and beats on Savage, with Flair’s blessing, but Macho fights back. Arn keeps pounding in the corner, but eats boot. He gets the spinebuster for two, however. Flair tags back in, beats on his own partner some more, but Eddy pokes him in the eye and chops away. This is wild. Another dropkick sets up a tornado DDT, and Savage comes in and goes after Flair again, while Arn turns on his own partner and DDTs him. Flair gets the pin on Eddy at 4:05. Oh man, that match was amazingly fun stuff and it’s tragic that they cut it off at 4 minutes. ** Liz and the Horsemen give Savage some more abuse on the floor afterwards. – We review the winners and set up the next round of matches (determined by another “random” drawing, with one team getting a bye due to the double countout. Mean Gene and some Hooters girl select a team at random for the bye – Fire & Ice. The rest of the matches are drawn from there. – WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Brad Armstrong. Tony talking about the “lengthy double-elimination tournament” for the belt (in reality: One match between Shinjiro Ohtani and Chris Benoit) is slightly bizarre given that even in 1996 it was easy to look this stuff up on the ‘net. Also Dean is apparently a youngster. (In all fairness he looks exactly the same today.) They do some mat-wrestling to start and Brad gets an enzuigiri. They fight over a hiptoss and neither gets it, but Brad armdrags him and Dean bails. Back in, Dean dropkicks the knee and wraps it around the post, going to work on it. He uses an Indian deathlock and gets a backdrop suplex. Brad reverses a fireman’s carry into a sunset flip for two, but Dean goes back to the knee and keeps him down. Stump- puller (now there’s a move you don’t see everyday) and Dean goes back to the knee. He grabs a kneebar, but Brad makes the ropes. Pump splash hits foot, and Brad makes the comeback. Charge hits boot, but he gets a powerslam and goes up for a missile dropkick. He puts Malenko into a Texas Cloverleaf, but Dean makes the ropes. Brad gets dumped, but goes up again until he gets caught by Dean and hit with an Atomic Gutbuster for the pin at 8:25. Crowd didn’t care about any of this, and you can thank Rey Mysterio Jr. for completely salvaging this division from the scrap heap. Match didn’t really work, either. ** (And then Brad was on Nitro the next night doing a meaningless job to DDP anyway.) – Dick Slater & Robert Eaton v. Hacksaw Duggan & VK Wallstreet. (Yes, two of these people are going to the FINALS.) Slater hammers on Wallstreet to start while Duggan takes Eaton. Duggan and Wallstreet want to go, but Duggan calls for peace…and Wallstreet turns on him and dumps him. Slater gets a legsweep on VK for two. Elbow and the Slater-Eaton team work him over in the corner, but he comes back on Eaton. Eaton bails and Duggan beats on him outside, and back in Wallstreet gets the abdominal stretch, but Duggan refuses to help out by grabbing his hand. What a wuss. Duggan tags himself back in and pounds everything that moves, and gets two on Slater. We hit the chinlock. Slater & Duggan collide and tags abound. Duggan & Wallstreet disagree and Eaton rolls up Wallstreet for the pin at 4:04. Well, at least it was short. 1/2* – The Public Enemy v. Ric Flair & Randy Savage. Liz throws out Savage’s alimony money into the crowd, so Randy charges out and attacks Flair during his entrance. Security pulls them apart to prevent anything interesting from happening, and TPE wins by forfeit. GIMME A BREAK. – DDP & Barbarian v. Rick Steiner & The Booty Man. I can’t imagine this show getting much worse, so there’s always that on the bright side. Just call me Positively Netcop. (Well don’t really call me Netcop because I don’t wanna get sued.) We’re really rushing through now, so this should be short and painless. DDP pounds on Booty to start, but gets dumped. Tony actually stops to give a logical explanation for DDP’s reinstatement following his retirement match: Since Johnny B Badd left the promotion and thus the match with Booty Man wasn’t for the TV title, DDP was under no obligation to put anything up, either. Okay then. Steiner comes in and pounds Page, but gets dropped on the top rope. Barbarian uses the power of the foot on Rick, but gets caught with a backdrop suplex. Sloppy belly-to-belly gets two, but Barbarian no-sells and powerbombs Rick, for two. Booty accidentally ties up the referee’s attention, allowing the heels to work Steiner over in the corner. Barbarian gets a clothesline, but Rick hotshots him and makes the “hot” tag to Booty Man. High Knee of Death gets two. Rollup is broken up by Page, and Barbarian GETS THE PIN at 5:05?!? From an ELBOW? Geez, is Brutus suffering from that brittle bone disease like Mr. Glass or something? (Cocaine is a hell of a drug.) DUD – US title match: Konnan v. Jushin Liger. Liger is sporting the EVIL BLACK TIGHTS tonight, but the pink boots sort of ruin the effect. Konnan only has one “N” in his name at this point. Konnan takes him down with a reverse bow-and-arrow to start, but Liger escapes. They do the wristlock reversal spot and lots of RVD-ish flipping results. Liger gets a senton and Konnan bails, which allows Liger to follow with a pescado. Back in, brainbuster gets two. Liger goes into a cross-armlock, but Konnan reverses to a Regal Stretch. Liger goes to a half-crab while the crowd snoozes. They exchange palm strikes and Liger gets the Koppo kick, and they head up. Liger gets a superplex and goes back up with a flying splash that gets two. Dropkick puts Konnan out, and Liger follows with a plancha, but Konnan catches him with a kick on the way down. Back in, Liger gets a fisherman’s buster for two. Konnan gets a whiplash slam for two. Liger reverses a powerbomb into a sunset flip for two. Cradle gets two. Ligerbomb gets two. Liger goes up and lands on Konnan’s foot, which sets up Splash Mountain for the pin at 9:30. Crowd was getting into it by the end. *** – Flair and Arn Anderson are doing an interview, but Steve MacMichael interrupts and challenges them to a match for the next PPV. Kevin Greene comes out as Mongo’s partner. – Battlebowl finals: Scott Norton, Ice Train, Dick Slater, Robert Eaton, DDP, Barbarian, Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge. This is just a plain old battle royale, with the winner getting a title shot at the Giant. Let me repeat that: The winner of THIS match, with THESE guys, was supposed to get a shot at the champion on PPV. This is why WCW was in so much trouble before the nWo. Usual kick and punch stuff with absolutely no storyline to the match. Page gets booted out by Barbarian, clearly eliminated, but the ref misses it (even though the camera shows it all). Gotta love WCW. More kicking and punching as guys randomly switch dance partners with no rhyme or reason. They should have done a Survivor Series elimination match or something to settle this. Rocco charges Barbarian and gets backdropped out. Slater hits Eaton with his boot and eliminates him. Slater follows him out via unseen elimination, and brawls with Eaton back to the dressing room. DDP dumps Norton, leaving four men. Ice Train powerslams everyone and forms an alliance with Barbarian, then turns on him. DDP Diamond Cuts everyone, and pins Grunge, and Train. Um, WHAT? Barbarian kicks out, however. This is retarded. What is this, the AWA World title battle royale? Where’s Tom Zenk? (Good question. Did we ever figure out what the hell happened to Zenk that caused him to disappear off the face of the earth? Jail?) Barbarian clotheslines Page for two. He charges and Page gets two in the corner. Page charges and Barbarian gets two. Tombstone piledriver (which looked like it nearly killed DDP) gets two. That was almost an OwenDriver. Sleeper is stopped by DDP going low, but Barbarian gets a powerbomb for two. Barbarian goes up, but misses the flying headbutt, and the Diamond Cutter ends it at 9:36. And the crowd goes apathetic. ** DDP didn’t get his promised title match until more than two years following, at Halloween Havoc ’98, and even then he had to win WarGames to earn that. – WCW World title: The Giant v. Sting. We’ve got like 10 minutes of airtime left here, so this should be quick. Those who give me that garbage about Big Show not being able to move faster and be thinner than he is now should watch his stuff from 1996, when he still sucked, but sucked in such a way that you could at least watch his matches without being embarrassed by it. This would be the point when Sting started growing his hair out, for whoever asked me a couple of weeks ago. Sting tries a bodyblock to start, but bounces off harmlessly. He keeps hammering on Giant and tries a sleeper, but gets shoved down. Seriously, Giant is MAYBE 400 pounds here. Maybe. If he got down to that size again and stayed there, I’d have no problem with him in the main events. (Keep in mind this was written something like 14 years ago, and now Show is still stinking up main events.) Sting keeps bouncing off Giant, and bails. Back in, Sting tries an enzuigiri, but that gets no-sold. Giant charges and Sting tries a slam, but Giant falls on him for two. Giant elbow and he simply walks on him to set up another elbow. Back elbow puts Sting down again and Giant works him over in the corner. Headbutt low and Giant chokes away. Another elbow and we head to a bodyscissors. That’s a pretty smart move, actually. Giant uses the ropes for good measure. That goes on for a while. Giant tosses him and sends him hurling down the aisle, but Luger prevents a chokeslam through the table by holding Jimmy Hart on the table. A REAL man would sacrifice his manager for the greater good. You think Ric Flair would have blinked twice before throwing JJ Dillon out there as a diversion? Giant misses a dropkick and the ref is bumped by mistake, as Sting makes the comeback and gets the Stinger Splash. He keeps hitting them, and Giant keeps not selling them. Giant finally goes down as Luger has Jimmy Hart tied up, but there’s no ref. Sting makes the fatal error of going after Hart with another splash, misses, and then recovers with a flying splash for two. Ref is bumped again on the kickout, so Sting hits him with another splash and gets the Scorpion Deathlock. Luger “accidentally” hits Sting with the megaphone, chokeslam, goodbye at 10:40. Surprisingly good, given that they kept it around 10 minutes to compensate for Giant’s weaknesses. *** (And then there was no followup on that megaphone deal the next night. Because WCW.) The Bottom Line: Well, when the nicest things I can muster up about a show are that some of the matches are “surprisingly good” and “entertaining despite all the other crap” and “they tried hard but still sucked”, you know there’s not going to be much worth watching here. Not the worst show ever, but one of the weirdest in terms of booking, and certainly not one that you’d wanna watch more than once. Strong recommendation to avoid.
It runs at one hour and fifty-five minutes long.
Scott is asked about his amateur background and said he was recruited and an All-American at Michigan and the time of his life. He joked that he did not go to class a lot and again said it was a great time. He also said “you know” a few times, which happens frequently throughout the interview. Scott said he received a few football scholarships from schools in the MAC conference. He wanted to stay close to home.
He said that he was there in Buff Bagwell broke his neck and thought that it was “weird.” Steiner then denies that there was legit tension between them.
Steiner said that the only reason DDP got pushed was because of his friendship with Bischoff. He did say that DDP had a little bit of tension.
He said that Sid’s broken leg was one of the worst things he had ever seen. At the time, Steiner said he had no idea his leg snapped as his back was turned and the ref told him that Sid thought he broke his angle. Steiner then said he went over and kicked him and then pinned him after that. Steiner then said that when he went backstage, the guys all saw what happened to Sid and Chuck Palumbo asked Steiner why the fuck was he kicking him then when Steiner saw the replay of what happened, he understood why he was saying that.
They talk about steroids for a few minutes and Steiner denied that he ever took them. He also denies ever taking any growth hormones.
He talks about how he ruptured a disc in his back then took time off only to have it happen a few more times and he ended up needing surgery.
When asked about his series of matches against Booker T, Steiner did not think much of them and said people popped when he one the belt, despite being a heel.
Steiner said that he was not emotional after the last Nitro as everyone knew that the company was fucked. Steiner declined a buyout from the WWE as his contract was good until November and he sat home to heal from injuries.
When talking about the WWE, Steiner said that they originally wanted him to return at WrestleMania 18 to team with Steve Austin against Scott Hall & Kevin Nash. He said that he let is lawyer take care of it and not call him until they came up with the right number financially. Steiner said the WWE was shit at the time and was watching Austin singing in the ring from home on television.
Steiner said that he heard rumors when he did sign with the WWE that he was just going to be there to put over HHH. He said they did not let the WCW guys do their own thing and said they were control freaks. He said they had a bunch of short guys trying to write TV and appear cool.
Next, he is asked about his match at the Royal Rumble against HHH. Steiner said that they took it too long and that the match was only supposed to go on for eighteen minutes. He hinted that they made it go longer in an attempt to bury him. Steiner said that he was not blown up in the match. When pressed a little by the interviewer about why they would try to bury him in the match, Steiner said “you tell me” then said who is dumb, him or them, adding that he was getting paid the same either way. He said the match wasn’t very good and it takes two to have a bad match.
He said his angle with Test and Stacy Keibler was brutal and thought that Stacy should have dressed like Midajah.
He was then asked about Jerry Jarrett writing in his book that it was disrespectful for Steiner to not help out a friend when he and Jeff were trying to get TNA started. Steiner said what the hell did he ever do for him. He said that he is friends with Jeff.
They ask him if he has a desire to wrestle in TNA. Steiner said he just finished a our of Italy but doesnt want his career on a bad note.
Steiner is asked about appearing on the TV show “Charmed” while working in WCW. He said that while explaining to Shannen Doherty’s stunt double that he would have to put his hand in her crotch to perform a press slam, Shannen came up to him and said that she would do that and when Steiner told her that he would have to put his hand in her crotch, Shannen told him that is why she asked. Steiner says that she was cool and gets a lot of bad press.
He is asked about JBL and if he was a bully. Steiner said that JBL tried to do that with Chuck Palumbo by stiffing him in a match and when they got backstage, Palumbo told him off and challenged him to a fight and JBL backed down. Steiner himself denied ever purposely stiffing someone in the ring. He said cheapshots like that are bullshit.
Steiner said that he had a lot of great times on the road but when asked, could not come up with a story.
When asked what he would be doing if he was not a wrestler, Steiner did not know.
He then said it is extremely difficult to get over today as a wrestler in the WWE because you have the same “weasels” in the back trying to script out things for everyone and they all have the same voice.
Steiner is asked by Feinstein if the decision by WCW to put the belt on David Arquette a good one and Steiner went “are you fucking kidding me” before saying it was the biggest piece of shit that he was ever involved in and said it was all because of “Ready to Rumble” which he called a horrible movie. He said that Arquette meant nothing and still doesnt mean anything.
He is asked about the Ultimate Warrior and Steiner mentions how he met him while working in the UWF and that anyone who legally changes their name to “Warrior” has to be fucked up.
Final Thoughts: This interview was something else. Steiner came across as a combination of brain-damaged and high on drugs. Some of this interview was brutal, some of this was funny, and some of it was unintentionally funny. Steiner probably said “you know” about 500 times too. The beginning of this interview was painful as Steiner barely able to recall the beginning of his career.
Steiner certainly dislikes Flair and his bashing of him was the most interesting part of the shoot. There was not a whole lot of insight but Steiner’s brutal honesty was actually refreshing at times. It was tough for the interviewers to ask Steiner questions as he did not remember a lot and even asked for timeouts and edits at times.
As far as a recommendation for this shoot, I really cannot recommend it unless you want to watch/listen to two hours of proof as to how Steiner is a lunatic with a poor memory. The beginning and end of this was painful to watch but there was some entertainment in the middle. Not the worst shoot I have ever seen but I would never want to watch it again.
The SK RAW Rant for March 26, 2001 surreal adj 1: characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtapositions; “a great concourse of phantasmagoric shadows”- J.C.Powys; “the incongruous imagery in surreal art and literature”; ” [syn: phantasmagoric, phantasmagorical, surrealistic] 2: resembling a dream; “night invested the lake with a dreamlike quality”; “as irrational and surreal as a dream” [syn: dreamlike] 3: vince mcmahon on wcw nitro – Live from the Twilight Zone, Ohio. – Your hosts are Jim “Rod Serling” Ross and Paul Heyman (Niceshot) (Well that’s a tad dated now. ) – Am I stoked for tonight? Does a pope shit in the woods? All that stuff about the WWF’s overall staleness? Forget it, THE SHIT IS ON. (Yeah, for now. Wait until they fuck it up and then I have to do a million blog threads about it.) – We open with Vince gloating about (what else) buying WCW. And there’s a split screen, Nitro and RAW. HOLY SHIT, 2 minutes in and I’m marking out already. He begins by sealing Jeff Jarrett’s fate, declaring him “G-double-O-double-N-double-E” Well, I’m not sure what goonnee is, but it sure SOUNDS bad. (13 years in and he’s STILL holding that grudge.) – Opening interview: Kurt Angle spills the Big News: He doesn’t have an opponent for Wrestlemania! That truly IS the biggest story of the year. Even worse, the Gobbledygooker has an opponent. Benoit (drawing a noticeable pop) comes out to remedy that, because he’s annoyed with Angle and just generally thinks he’s the better man with the better submission hold. (Man, you REALLY don’t want to get Benoit mad.) See, now THAT’S good old fashioned match-making. I’m the better man, no I am, oh yeah, yeah, PROVE IT. Anyway, Angle says he’ll NEVER tap to the Crossface, so of course they hook it up and that’s exactly what happens. Edge & Christian charge the ring for the save and punk out Benoit, thus completing the babyface turn for Benoit. Great opening segment. – Meanwhile, Vince watches Totally Buffed on TV, while establishing that HHH isn’t here, or in wrestling speak, “He’s here”. (And then Buff Bagwell ended up changing the course of history a few weeks later.) – Tazz v. Val Venis. This is a lumberjack match with the APA and RTC serving as lumberjacks. Val gets a spinebuster and RTC pounds Tazz, but he gets the Tazzmission on Venis. Steviekick sets up the Money Shot, which misses. Northern Lights suplex finishes for Tazz. Lasted maybe 30 seconds. DUD Just WM hype. – Meanwhile, Vince and William Regal mock Animal. (And then gave him a job and the tag titles four years later.) – Doink the Clown cavorts in the audience to hype the Gimmick Battle Royale. And dear god, is that Mike Kirscher in the upper corner of that graphic? Did his welfare benefits run out already? (Let’s not mock the dead. Oh, wait, it turned out he was alive, right? Fuck him then. YOU SUCK, KIRSCHNER!) – William Regal, with an announcement relating to W.C….Fields, wants a warmup match, So he calls out the Holly family, and gets Crash and Molly. Crash assumes he’s the one, but Regal goes after Molly… – William Regal v. Molly Holly. Goes about 2 seconds before Doink the Clown reappears to make the save, and is revealed as Chris Jericho. Moving right along… – Meanwhile, Vince notices Dustin Rhodes on Nitro and relates the story about his aborted try at breast implants to Trish, then realizes who he’s talking to and sheepishly moves on. I can’t even believe I’m typing some of this stuff. This one segment just violated about four layers of kayfabe in one shot. (And then Goldust got another job a year later and then again today.) – Meanwhile, Team E/C/K (Edge / Christian / Kurt) welcomes Rhyno to the fold. So it’s Team R/E/C/K now, I guess? (Yup.) – Wrestlemania promo, thus once again wedging “My Way” in my head. Then we head back to Smackdown for the Most Boring Interview Ever with Rock & Austin. – And now, History. With a capital “H”. Vince, simulcast on TNT, comes out to gloat about the purchase of WCW. Paul Heyman, ever the good employee, compares Vince to Alexander the Great. Ye gods. Vince brags about how Time-Warner was literally begging him to take the troubled promotion off their hands, and in fact he’s more than happy to do so…provided Ted Turner comes to Wrestlemania to personally hand him the contract to sign. No bitterness there. He also takes full credit for winning the war, of course, although he admits that the wrestlers may have had a small part in it. He segues to Shane and hyping the big match, then goes back to WCW, specifically his options for the company. He can bury them and put it on the backburner, or he could rebuild it. So then this segment goes completely beyond the pale as Vince starts gauging fan reaction to some of the top WCW “stars”. Hulk Hogan gets a tepid reaction. (Back within a year and World champion again.) Lex Luger is soundly rejected. (Never brought back again.) Buff Bagwell gets a pop so shockingly big from the teeny-bopper set that it may have saved his job. (Which it did.) Booker T gets a good face pop. (Hall of Famer!) Scott Steiner gets MAD pops, and again that may save his job. (Sure, until he botched it himself a year later.) Then, in the most amazing moment I’ve seen in months, the crowd, with no prompting or cue, starts LOUDLY chanting for Goldberg. (Ryback must have been there.) So Vince adds Sting to the list (BIG pop), and Goldberg, whose name alone nearly brings the house down. Okay, they’ve GOTTA get him now. (Sure, two years later after he didn’t really mean anything.) In the end, Vince decides that WCW isn’t worth it, and he’ll just line them all up and hit ‘em with a good old “You’re FIIRRRRRREEED” for fun. Oh, and WCW is dead and buried, thank you and good night. BUT WAIT. Shane joins us…from NITRO?!? Oh my lord. Shane reveals that HE is in fact the new owner of WCW, having signed that contract himself earlier in the day, and Vince can essentially go to hell because he’ll bring WCW back up himself. Oh my lord. If they don’t fuck this up, and I don’t see why they would, this is gonna be the BIGGEST money-drawing angle in history, I swear to god. (Oh, 2001 Scott, so naive to the ways of the world…) – Meanwhile, Vince yells at his lawyer. Smart man. – Is there even any point in finishing the show after that segment? – The Hardy Boyz & Chris Benoit v. Team E/C/K. Big brawl to start, Matt & Edge go in the ring. Hardyz work Edge over and a double-suplex gets two. Jeff heads to the floor the hard way and gets punked out. Angle stomps a mudhole and gets a backdrop suplex. Benoit gets the hot tag (at 1:00?) and cleans house, but Angle cheapshots him. Angle takes Poetry in Motion, however, and Benoit hits the Crossface. Edge & Christian save, but Christian takes the move and taps. Rhyno comes in and destroys both Matt and Lita. As long as he doesn’t wrestle, he might get over. Match was too short to be anything. ½* (Rhyno did OK for himself, all things considered.) – Test v. X-Pac. Welcome to the long dark tea-time of the soul. Special ref: Eddy Guerrero. We actually just saw this exact thing last month, except with Jericho reffing between X-Pac and Eddy, but it’s the hard sell for Wrestlemania, so what can ya do? Test gets a tilt-a-whirl slam, but Eddy won’t count. Test crotches himself, and gets kicked in the head. Lightning legdrop gets one. Test’s press-slam attempt is stopped by Eddy, and X-Pac falls on him for two. X-Pac’s leg lariat gets two. He hits the kick combo in the corner, but Test catches him going for the broncobuster and slams him. Eddy won’t count. X-Pac grabs the belt and goes up, but gets nailed and Melted-down on the way down. A second ref comes in, but Eddy gives him what-for. Albert sneaks in, Baldobombs Test, and X-Pac gets the win. These guys were just sleepwalking through, and the severe overbooking didn’t help. ¼* – MICK’S BACK! He shills a new book (“Foley is Good”), hits the cheap pop, and invites himself to Wrestlemania. Vince comes out, understandly vexed about that, but then the continuity-o-meter goes through the roof as we hit a tape from Dec. 2000, with Mick (one day before getting fired as commish) signs a gigantic stack of papers with Linda, in one of the coolest deus ex machina devices I’ve seen in a long time. He reveals the first document signed: A contract giving him the right to referee any match he wants at Wrestlemania. So of course he picks the Family Feud match, and basically notes that Vince’s life is gonna get a whole lot more difficult now. As if his night wasn’t bad enough already… – Chris Jericho v. Big Show. This is Jericho’s punishment for the Doink thing. Jericho dives onto him but gets posted. Into the ring, Show walks on him and misses a pump splash. Bulldog is deflected by Show, but Jericho escapes the Final Cut. Both guys hit the floor, but Show presses him back in. Kane comes out to brawl, as do Raven and Regal. Regal hits the neckbreaker on Jericho to break up a pin attempt after the Lionsault on Show, and Show gets AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH THE CHOKESLAM!, for the pin. Would it have KILLED them to job Big Show here? DUD Needless overbooked. – The Rock & Steve Austin v. Undertaker & Kane. Kane hammers Rock, but gets forearmed. Kane kills him with a lariat. Big foot and Kane chokes him out. Taker pounds him in the corner, as the crowd seems pretty subdued. Rock fights back, but UT gets the flying clothesline for two. Kane comes in again, but walks into a spinebuster and Rock gets the hot tag to Austin. He cleans house but gets dropped by Taker. Kane & Rock fight outside as Austin hits the Thesz Press on Taker. He gets nailed again, but fights out of the tombstone. UT shoves him into Rock, however, and chokeslams him. HHH runs in, chairshots UT, and Austin gets the pin. That ending’s really stupid on a lot of levels, like “Why do Austin & Rock need HHH’s help to beat UT & Kane” and “Who really cares who wins this match anyway, so why is UT so pissed off” and so on. Match was real bad with no heat, too, thus ending our streak of super hot main events. ½* Austin drinks some (de-alcoholized) beer, but Rock sneaks up and goes KICK WHAM STUNNER on Austin! (Oh yeah, I forgot about the “no booze allowed” era for Austin after the unpleasantness with Debra.) Wow, pretty soon this guy will have stolen EVERY finisher in the WWF. Seems pretty heelish to me. The Bottom Line: It’s really too bad this was a Wrestlemania hype show, because had it occurred AFTER the big show and we had been treated to, say, a single decent match, it could easily be the most awesome RAW ever thanks to the Vince segment. However, it didn’t, so it’s not, and more’s the shame. At any rate, Wrestlemania is now set, with 11 matches looking like this: – Rock v. Austin for the WWF title – TLC II: Dudleyz v. Hardyz v. Edge & Christian. – Jericho v. Regal for the I-C title – Test v. Guerrero for the Euro title. – HHH v. Undertaker – Benoit v. Angle – Big Show v. Raven v. Kane for the Hardcore title – Ivory v. Chyna for the Women’s title – APA & Tazz v. RTC – Vince v. Shane in a street fight – The Gimmick Battle Royale. If the four big workrate matches (Rock/Austin, TLC, Jericho/Regal and Benoit/Angle) are given 15 minutes or more each, they should all easily hit ****+ and elevate this show to Best PPV Ever without breaking a sweat. However, if they DON’T and they try to do a three-hour PPV with a one-hour post-game…it could get ugly. That’s why I declared last week that this show could go either way. Still, hope springs eternal. (Wrestlemania ended up OK, I’d say.) As always, tune in the day after Wrestlemania for the PPV rant, and until next week, BUY THE BOOK.
The SmarKdown Rant – June 27, 2002
– Taped from Chicago, IL
– Your hosts are MC & Tazz.
– Vince McMahon introduces Kurt Angle and shares in the jubilation of making Hogan tap like a bitch. And then he leaves. Geez, talk about a pointless cameo. Angle finally ditches the wig and takes it like a man, because he’s just so darn happy. So he throws out the dreaded open challenge. He even promises to take it easy. John Cena answers, and Angle isn’t impressed. Cena attacks and we’re off.
– John Cena v. Kurt Angle. Cena attacks and dumps Angle, and back in he fires away with a pair of clotheslines. Stinger splash gets two. He overpowers Angle again, but falls prey to the Anklelock. He powers out of it, but gets suplexed for his troubles. Angle’s got it under control, but Cena reverses a suplex for two. Angle pounds on him in the corner and gets a vertical suplex for two. To the facelock, but Cena powers out of it. Forearm and he’s on the comeback trail. Spinebuster gets two. Well, he’s a future main eventer already. Angle Slam is reversed to a DDT, which gets two. Angle charges and posts himself, and Cena gets two. Small package gets two. Powerslam gets two. Angle catches a double-chickenwing and rolls him over for the pin at 5:36, however. Well, Cena gave it the old college try. **1/2 (Hopefully they start putting Cena over soon! Wouldn’t want him to look weak.) Cena even offers a handshake, but Angle is too cool for that. Cena reminds me of a very young Sting, both facially and in build. Cena wants more, however, but Angle blows him off after thinking it over a couple of times.
– Elsewhere, Cena meets the boys, including Undertaker. This time he gets his handshake. Okay then. (See, there’s your buildup for Wrestlemania 31!)
– Tag title match: Billy & Chuck v. Hardcore Holly & Val Venis. (What an incredibly random tag team. And then we later got Billy Gunn and Holly stuck together in a tag team as well. And why weren’t they known as HARDCORE PORNOGRAPHY?!?) Well, I guess sticking them in a tag team is one way to find a use for them. There’s even a sort of motif – they’re a Wunza team. In this case, wunza lover, wunza fighter. Holly overpowers Billy to start and gets the DROPKICK OF DOOM. Billy retreats and Chuck comes in, but Val works him over with chops. They exchange high kicks, and Chuck clotheslines Val to take over. Val gets an elbow and the kneedrop for two, however. Holly comes back in and they even do a little double-teaming, but the old cheapshot-from-the-illegal-man trick turns the tide. Why does a move hurt more if the guy isn’t legal? Someone should look into that. I’d be happy to accept any government grants offered. Billy chokes away, but Holly fights back against Chuck and gets a backdrop suplex for the double KO. Hot tag Val, and he’s a a Porn Star Afire! The match is dangerouly close to BONZO GONZO as Val cleans house, but he can’t get the Seaman’s Suplex on Billy thanks to Rico. Holly takes of that problem, but Billy gives Val a Fameasser at 4:20 in the confusion to retain. I have no beef with this and would actually enjoy seeing Holly & Venis continue as a team. They even have the matching purple tights already. **
– Torrie shows off her lingerie to hype the show on Saturday.
– Earlier today, Jamie Noble pimps Nidia to Tajiri. Literally. Poor guy.
– Lance Storm v. Mark Henry. An earlier pre-taped segment reveals that Lance is going to beat Henry not just for himself, but for the whole world. If someone like Lance was representing the interests of world peace at the G8 summit, there would be no protests – we could all unite under the banner of kicking the crap out of Mark Henry! (I have of course since come around on ol’ Mark.) Henry overpowers Storm to start with the dreaded KNUCKLELOCK OF DEATH and chokes him out. Storm goes flying out after a shot, and Henry tosses him back in. Storm comes back with chops, but has to bump around for Mark some more. Storm hits the post, but Henry misses a pump splash and Storm gets a missile dropkick. Stormkick gets the pin at 2:33. Whoa, CLEAN WIN. Kudos. Christian offers more of those kudos on the way by. ½*
– Undertaker comes out for some gabbin’. We establish through some basic logical arguments that he is the champion (he has the belt, he who has the belt is the champion, therefore he is the champion, QED. You kids out there who go into comp sci in university can use that when you start building logic circuits). (Gah, machine language still gives me a headache.) He takes credit for injuring HHH’s arm and badmouths the Rock. I have to draw the line there. So anyway, Rock returns July 11, and Undertaker is gonna make him pay. What, he’s gonna force to him to watch the last three Undertaker matches on PPV? Because that Austin match was really a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Kurt Angle interrupts all the Rock-hating and accuses Taker of talking too much. See, that’s irony. Angle wants a title shot next week on Smackdown (building ahead, what a concept), but Undertaker wants some right now. Angle politely declines the beating, but Undertaker accepts that title match regardless. Angle wants to touch the belt. And he even asks nicely. Showing that a little manners goes a long way, Taker lets him, but it’s a SWERVE, and Angle attacks and quickly gets the anklelock before running away. I have a theory on this: They’re hyping a title match for Smackdown against Angle, but first they’re hyping one with Jeff Hardy on RAW. They want to get the title on Angle (supposedly) but a heel-heel switch wouldn’t work without turning Taker face. So perhaps they’re gonna book that fluke title win for Jeff, have him take UT’s place against Angle on Smackdown, and then Angle can manhandle him and win the title. However, this messes up the July 11 Rock return because then Undertaker is stick on RAW and can’t carry through with his threat against Rock. But I wouldn’t be 100% shocked to see a title change on Monday and then again on Thursday. (What the fuck was I going on about there? Of course they put the title on Rock at Vengeance and then onto Brock Lesnar from there.)
– Test v. Rikishi. Test pounds away to start and gets a belly to belly. They slug it out, won by Rikishi, but Test clotheslines him and elbows away in the corner. Test shoves the ref, because he’s a biased American, and slams Rikishi for good measure. That’s CANUCK POWER! Rikishi comes back with a superkick for two, however. A Banzai drop is blocked with a nutshot for two. You should know that Canadian wrestling rules stipulate that low blows are legal. Ref bumped, but because he’s prejudiced against Canadians, he DQs Test for no reason, thus robbing our great country of a glorious victory against America. Storm & Christian hit the ring to defend the honor of Canada and explain the legalities to the ref, but much like Earl Hebner, he’s taken off for the dressing room after screwing Canada and can’t answer to his heinous refereeing job. I DEMAND AN INQUIRY! ¼*
– Elsewhere, Vince was personally upset at seeing Hogan submit at the PPV. He’s all heart. Hogan tries using the FINGERPOKE OF DOOM on Vince, but he’s not the World champion (any more) or Kevin Nash, so it doesn’t work.
– Elsewhere, Test agrees that America sucks. How could I have been so wrong about Test all this time? Maybe he is okay after all.
– Jamie Noble & Tajiri v. Kidman & Hurricane. An astute fan at ringside has a sign saying “Trailer Trash”, presumably referring to Noble & Nidia. Man, where do people think of those witty signs? It must have taken hours to come up with that one. Tajiri attacks Hurricane from behind, and Noble comes in and immediately gets beaten on. Clothesline and Shining Wizard Magazine get two. Noble clotheslines him and the heels try a double-team, but Hurricane bulldogs both and Kidman lends a hand with a double-team on Tajiri. Kidman armdrags him, but walks into a handspring. Noble comes in, but gets powerbombed and Kidman is on the attack, but a cheapshot from outside puts Kidman in a situation tighter than his disturbing tiny pants. Tarantula and kneedrop , but Kidman reverses a tornado DDT into a facejam, hot tag Hurricane. Hurricane slugs away on Noble and sends him facefirst to the floor outside. Tajiri catches him with a superkick for two, however. Blind tag to Kidman and Helms chokeslams Tajiri, and Kidman finishes with the Shooting Star Press at 4:29. They should just forget the cruiserweight designation and let Hurricane & Kidman challenge for the tag titles. It’s Kidman and Hurricane, the dynamic duo! **1/4 (And they both went on to win the tag titles! Albeit with different partners.)
– D-Von & Bautista v. Faarooq & Randy Orton. I think they need a better bad-ass name than “Bautista” if they’re gonna dump the Bull Buchanan look for him. (How about…BATISTA!) Orton controls D-Von and gets a sideslam for two. D-Von dropkicks him and gets the spinning elbow. They head up top, where Orton blocks a superplex and follows him down with a bulldog. Hot tag Faarooq, and that epic brother v. brother feud continues. Powerslam gets two. D-Von DDTs him, however, and heads up for the missed headbutt. Orton comes back in with a bodypress that gets two. Dropkick gets two. Bautista tags himself in and gets a vicious lariat on Orton, and a spinebuster that finishes at 3:18. He needs a better finisher, but all he needs to do is master the sleeper and he’s set for the main event, too. That would be sarcasm, by the way. Match was okay. *1/4 (Well at least he got a better finish.)
– Hulk Hogan v. Chris Jericho. Hogan’s website is apparently “redandyellow.com” Does that refer to his wardrobe or the colors needed to make up his skin pigment? Jericho attacks from behind (also perfectly legal in Canada, FYI) and hammers away in the corner. Hogan clotheslines him and gets a backdrop, but the elbow misses. Jericho chops away, but gets slugged in the corner. Jericho goes low (legal according to Canadian rules, remember) to take over and gets a backdrop suplex. ARROGANT COVER gets two. He chokes away and gets a DDT for two. Michael Cole notes that Hogan isn’t gonna make any excuses because he “never has before in his career”. Oh man, I could spend HOURS disputing THAT little claim. Do the words “How much was the plastic surgery?” ring any bells? Jericho gets the abdominal stretch (using the ropes to steady himself in case he falls over), but Hogan escapes and slugs back. Jericho posts himself and Hogan makes the big comeback, but Jericho ducks the big boot (I’m amazed no one has thought of that before) and goes for the Walls. Hogan powers out, but falls prey to the bulldog and Lionsault, which get two. Hulkup time and he fights back, and Jericho bails off the big boot and grabs a chair. Chairshot draws a DQ at 6:32, but more importantly puts Hogan out. That’s a fair trade. Hogan seemed strangely motivated here, but then they were basically doing Hogan-Savage from 1986 so he didn’t need much prompting in order to work the match. According to Jericho’s wacky star ratings system, this would be a ***1/2 show-stealing spectacular! (This would be during the period when Jericho was bitching about a match that I apparently under-rated. So of course I took the high road in response.) I’d call it *1/2, which is very respectable for Hogan these days. Jericho goes for the Edge Special on Hogan’s arm, but the Y2J countdown hits, and Edge makes his triumphant return and saves his buddy Hogan. Some asskicking results. Hogan doesn’t even hog the spotlight! (And this set up Edge & Hogan winning the tag belts in a match that I really love, in fact.)
The Bottom Line:
See, now THIS is the kind of show I can get into – letting some new guys show their stuff, everyone working hard more or less, Canadians everywhere, using midcard guys in tag teams to shore up the ranks…just tremendous all around.
And Cena’s debut not only made him look like a MAJOR player right away (and mark my words – he’s the next Sting) by working him into the mix with the big boys rather than the losers, but also showcased his stuff in a really good match and made me want to see more of him.
Good show all around.
Hey Scott, I doubt you’ll do it but I figured I would ask anyway. A few of us on the blog thought it might be interesting for you to do a “Scott Sez” on the email I sent you from Caliber. To get your side of the issues he’s talking about. Like I said in the comments I did catch him in one lie concerning the email and I was wondering what else he stretched the truth about. Thanks.
You know, the weird thing is that I didn’t even realize most of this was even an issue. I just thought he was writing for PlaceToBe and I only revoked his posting access once he started bitching on Facebook. Anyway, here we go…
“Here’s why I quit:
A few years ago when I was just posting on the BoD, I got into an argument with Chad Bryant. Well, he went over to a google newsgroup, created an account under my name and started making posts that said “Look how hard I’m trolling Chad Bryant over on the Blog of Doom”. Well, this pissed Scott off, and he banned me. I said it wasn’t me, and he told me that he trusted Chad, and to be honest, he didn’t like me.
Well, a while goes by and Chad pulls the same shit, so Scott apologies. I ask if I can write for the blog, he says yeah. At the same time, Charlie Reneke started writing. I freely admit, my style was rough in the beginning. Well, we both drew complaints. Scott emails me to tell me he’s letting me go because I got complaints. He says that Charlie got them too, but he brings readers in. So, what’s Charlie do about a month later? Has his melt down and insults everyone. Does Scott even stand up for his fans? Nope.
(My fans can stand up for themselves.)
So, I come back after a while. At this point, I’d tried to create a msg board for the BoD on two separate occasions. Would Scott back it? Get behind it? Endorse it? Nope. (I wanted an embedded one so I could get ad revenue off it, duh.) Scott also created that tacky as fuck header that said it was “created by the sci-fi-customizer!” on it. So, I create a brand new header, and give it to him. It’s the one that’s up now. Does he even thank me? Nope. (Several times in fact, publicly.) Scott didn’t know how to produce ebooks, once I did, he asked me how I did it, so I taught him. (Amazon’s Kindle help forum “taught” me to do it after I Googled it.)
Last June, I went to see The Dark Knight Rises at a midnight screening. I had some where to be afterward, but I specifically came home to write up a short review, and post it on the BoD so that website would be the first to have a review before ANYONE. Before 411mania, insidepulse, or any of the other wrestling websites that also talked movies. I don’t make myself late so I can help my site, no, I make myself late so I can help SCOTT’S website. Then everyone started being the pricks that they are, because I didn’t enjoy the film that much. Then a few hours, what does Scott do? He posts a review of the movie that some random person emailed him. Does he even mention mine? Thank me? Nope. I also did the same thing for Iron Man 3. (Don’t know what the fuck he’s going on about here.)
I told Scott I could help him with his email over-flow, no problem, and I was even in the middle of creating an FAQ to help him with people asking the same questions, AND a BoD greatest hits page. (Never saw any of those.) Not to mention the QoTD, which became a lot of people’s favorite feature, and brought a ton of people around every day to check it out, thus upping his ad revenue. (I’ve never shared information on my ad revenue with anyone, ever. And for the record, it has little to do with which posts get the most visits and more with time of year and whims of the advertisers.) Do I ever get any tank you? Any “good job” or anything of the matter? Nope. Not once. Really, it’s no big deal, but it shows what kind of character he has. So, the other day, Dougie is being Dougie. I try to have an adult, flat out debate with him, to which he refuses. The next day, in the Die Hard thread, he makes a post where he references the argument we had the day before, the one he refused to have with me. So, I just deleted it. He then signed up as Jesse Baker, went to my website, and spammed me.
I email Scott, and tell him what happened. I ask Scott to ban Dougie for just one day. I mean, I’m his most loyal writer. (Except for the time he flaked out and quit. Twice.) I’ve busted my ass to make the BoD a better place. Would have done anything he’d asked to help out. I’m a very well liked guy around there. Dougie on the other hand, is a piece of shit. He went else where and posed as someone else, which is apparently a big deal to Scott, and all I want is a 24 hour ban.
So, I find out that some views to my website come from some wrestling forum. I go to the thread, and apparently the forum is run by Scottsman. Who we know is one of Scott’s best friends. Who’s in this thread? None other than Dougie. He’s been talking shit about the BoD for YEARS in this thread, posting comments people had made in discussions and making fun of them. I then see that Dougie is posting our discussion and mocking me, which is fine, but then I see the fucking email I sent Scott about him. Scott never emailed me back, but what did he do? He fucking sends Dougie the email I sent Scott, and tells him to “quit antagonizing Caliber” like I’m some fucking petulant child who’s making a big deal out of nothing. (You were.) I mean, he sends the guy my email. Why the fuck would he do that? (Because it amused me.) Here I was, Scott’s most loyal guy, (Except for the time he flaked out and quit. Twice.) and he just shits all over my trust by doing this. So, apparently Dougie is a good friend of his. (I think it’s more I’ve grown accustomed to him.)
That’s why I quit. All of that history. I did a lot for this guy, even though he’s been a prick to me a number of times, and he won’t even ban a guy for 24 hours who’s completely hated? And even sends the guy my email, for which the guy uses to openly mock me? Not to mention how he treats his fans. He doesn’t give a shit about them. He only cares about his ad revenue. Well, he’s not a guy I want to work for anymore. I didn’t bother even telling him I quit, because I know he doesn’t give a shit. (For the record, the blog had by far the biggest numbers in its history in the months AFTER Caliber left. I’m not saying one had anything to do with the other, however, because I wouldn’t want to sound like a prick.)
This interview was conducted in 2007.
It is a two-disc set that totals at two hours and forty minutes long.
Hall said he always wanted to be a wrestler since he was eight years old. His dad took him and a friend to see a show that included a hair vs. hair match. Hall said that he still has a piece of hair from that match.
When asked if he was discovered by Barry Windham, Hall said he went to Tampa, knowing that the Florida Championship Wrestling offices were there but he didnt know exactly the location and joined every gym he could in the hopes of being discovered. Anyway, Windham saw Hall in a Publix supermarket and thought he was a football player. They talked and Hall told him he was trying to break into wrestling and get trained by Hiro Matsuda, to which Windham replied “fuck him” and told Hall all that would happen if he went with Matsuda was doing hindu squats all over the place. Windham then told Hall to meet him at the Sportatorium the following morning.
Hall arrived and said that he “bumped” Windham and Mike Rotunda for two hours, not taking any bumps himself. Hall said that Windham would perform a move on Rotunda then have Hall try the same thing, critiquing him along the way.
When asked about the hardest thing about training, Hall said when you are green, everything is hard. He then said how television was getting to be more important when he broke into wrestling, meaning guys who looked the part where getting the attention, thus changing the business and that caused friction as Hall had the look but no ability at that point.
He teamed up with Dan Spivey at the beginning. He said the Road Warriors were hot at the time so Dusty took two big muscular guys and teamed them up, despite having no experience. Hall liked Spivey but said they were completely different and also wanted to believe singles wrestler. He said if they stayed in Florida and been groomed by Dusty in Florida, they could have been a success but they went to Charlotte.
In Charlotte, Hall said they were too green to be put over but also too muscular and young to job so they sat on the sidelines. He also said that Jim Crockett owned a minor league baseball team and they basically worked with the grounds crew, sometimes sitting in the dugouts.
After that, they went to Kansas to work for Bob Geigel. Hall said it was a smaller territory and he thought that if he embarrassed himself their instead of a National promotion, less people would see it and he could benefit from the experience. Hall said he was making between $800-1,000 a night working opening matches in Charlotte, which was awesome, but the problem was that they were so green they only worked about once a month. Spivey left to go back to Charlotte after a few months and Hall stayed in Kansas City.
He talks about beating the shit out of Marty Jannetty in the locker room. The night before, a hotel called Hall after a room was trashed and it turned out that DJ Peterson and Marty checked in using his name. Hall came to the show dressed in crappy clothes, because he was going to fight and didnt care if he got any blood on them. He sees Marty sleeping on a table then beats the shit out of him. After it happened, he thought for sure he was going to be fired. Anyway, he was walking backstage and heard Harley Race yell for him, calling him “Steve.” Hall, who figured that he was fired anyway and had nothing to lose, turned around and angrily told Harley that his name was Scott and that he had been their for six months. Anyway, Harley told him to calm down and said that next time, do what he did to Marty after the show because he was unable to work the night after the attack.
Hall wound up in the AWA after he saw Blackjack Lanza at a show in St. Louis. About once a month, stars from different territories would wrestle in St. Louis. Lanza was with the AWA at the time and asked him about moving up. Hall said that he didn’t know if he was ready then Lanza told him that everyone is shit when they are first starting out. He went up to Winnipeg and wrestled in front of 15,000 people. He said that he beat Rick Steiner, to which Hall said he still teases him about to this day, then wrestled against Larry Zbyszko. Hall puts over Larry a ton, saying that he walked him through the match. Hall said that after the show, the people cheered for him during a nearfall due to a spot that Larry came up with on the fly and also said Larry gave him a lot of offense in the match. He didnt know if he was getting hired right away though, because Verne was ice fishing in Alaska at the time.
They then skip ahead to WCW, when Hall said he used to flick his toothpick at Larry before commercial breaks and the fans dug it so he went to Bischoff and told him they should work an angle, saying that Larry was over enough with the fans that it could work.
From that, he talks about facing Shawn Michaels at Madison Square Garden, when Shawn was the champ and they were both heels. At the time, Hall was getting face reactions from the crowd so Vince told him that the people are turning him face and that they needed to change him up. So, during the match, the fans chanted for Razor, who remembered what Curt Hennig told him about not pandering to the crowd and just glance at them briefly. As the match went on, the crowd was about 70/30 in favor of Razor, who asked Shawn what to do. Shawn said to look at them and act surprised that he was getting cheers and when they did, they started to cheer even louder.
He then tells the story of how Vince told him he was going to turn face. He told Scott that they had a kid who was “120lbs soaking wet” and showed him a tape of Sean Waltman, who Hall immediately recognized as the Lightning Kid from GWF. That shocked Vince that Hall knew of him. Hall said that he looked like he was 11 years old but could go in the ring and puts over intelligent he was from watching him on TV. Vince then lays out the plans for their feud, which Hall said was months before it took place. Waltman was going to beat him then each week then as he would offer more money to others to beat Waltman, his money would get stolen by him. Hall said the whole thing was Vince’s idea and it was the best thing to happen to his career.
Back to the AWA, Hall puts over for being a cool, eccentric guy. He said that Verne was big on having his faces go to events with him and Hall would be with him as he was groomed for a top spot. Verne told him that it is important to have the wrestler be remembered whenever they were at a function. Verne told him you are “working” the minute you leave your house, not just in the ring. He said they wanted to make him the champ but Hall said it was too cold up there and that they never knew how to create any gimmicks and his was “Big” Scott Hall and wanted to wrestle in Florida, with cool gimmicks and angles that he grew up with. Verne was shocked by this and told Hall he could make him a star but Hall said he is in it for the money. Verne said that comes later but Hall joked that his bills come every month. From there, they just started to talk like friends, instead of a boss/employee relationship and Hall asked Verne how it was to have money and he replied that it was “pretty damn good.” Hall then said that he would do jobs on the way out. He puts over Verne for being a good guy.
Hall is asked about Curt Hennig pulling ribs. He puts over Curt as the first guy that got reactions for his bumps and how he would pick him up when he was in the AWA and not used to driving in the Winter weather. He learned from Curt that you had to have fun in this business and you can either have a shitty attitude or a good one and Curt was always upbeat.
He learned a lot from Curt when they teamed. He said that Curt would always start off then tag him in what Hall refers to as “featuring the big guy.” Hall said he did the same when he teamed with Nash and tells a story of how he would sometimes spit at guys after they were beating on him then tag out to Nash. He also never told guys about this before hand so it would look better. This instance, they were working against Harlem Heat and he spit at Stevie Ray, who Hall puts over as being a tough guy, then tagged out immediately. Stevie then worked on Nash and went over and spit on Hall, who was on the apron and then tried to go after him and ended up falling over the ropes, in a planned spot. Hall then apologized to Stevie after the match.
In the AWA, he and Hennig faced off against Bill & Scott Irwin. Hall said Scott was cool and put him over but that Bill had a problem with him and Hall thinks it was because he was getting a push so young his career and never really put him over in their matches at all. Hall felt that Bill was never doing his job and he felt like punching him in the face but knew that it would be a horrible business decision.
He is asked about memories of several workers in AWA. He said that Nick Bockwinkle was an “absolute pro” but would walk around the locker room with a t-shirt and loafers without pants and his junk hanging out. Hall thought that John Nord should have been a huge star in the business but thinks he had other priorities, like his car dealership. He first knew Shawn Michaels from Kansas City and said that back then in a car ride, Shawn “explained the business” to him. He told Hall that you let the face shine then get heat on him then let him make a comeback then go to the finish. Anyway, the office asked Hall about bringing in Shawn and Marty, specifically if there was still a problem between him and Jannetty. Hall said that he and Jannetty buried the hatchet the night after he attacked him in Kansas City. Hall said that Jannetty was the star of the team then. Hall puts over the Freebirds a lot and said that he was a “mark” for them then says it was his idea for the nWo Wolfpac because he wanted to have them be just like the Freebirds. He puts over Buddy Rose as a good athlete and a heel. He said that Doug Somers was a smooth worker. Overall, he said that just about everyone helped him out in the AWA.
He went to Europe and wrestled as “Texas” Scott Hall after Vader called up CWA promoter Otto Wanz. Hall said at that time, Europeans looked at Americans as those who wore cowboy hats and they billed him from Texas.
Hall then went to WCW for a bit. He said he first had a verbal deal for $1,000 a week. He then said in WCW, your push was determined when you got there as it was based on the amount of your contract. He said that making what he did, there was no way that he was going to beat a guy making $750,000 a year, let alone be in the same match as them. Hall barely wrestled when he first got there.
In between tours of Europe, Hall found out that his wife at the time was pregnant. He was not making much money at the time and on the verge of quitting the business in order to get a regular job. He called Diamond Dallas Page in the hopes that he could land him a job in WCW. Page told him to shave his mustache and dye his hair black. He then told Hall to grow stubble, like Rob Lowe popularized at that time. Page then said that he would be his manager, so Hall could still look big standing next to him and they called him the “Diamond Studd.” Before their first TV taping together, they ate at the Waffle House and both grabbed the toothpicks that came with the bill. They get to the match and Page was talking with his toothpick in his mouth on the way to the ring and it fell out so Hall, who still had his, flicked it right into the camera and that was how he came up with the toothpick gimmick.
Hall said that when he first did the Studd gimmick on TV, Pat Patterson called him up and told him that Vince loved the new look. Pat asked him if he signed a contract and Hall told him that he just sign a one-year deal and Pat told him that not tot worry, as you can tell them you have a deal in place when the contract is up.
He is then asked about DDP and how he was getting ribbed all of the time. Hall said that he was an announcer but desperately wanted to be a wrestler. Hall said that he loves Page like a brother but that he could drive you nuts with his quirks. Hall said that he was always an upbeat guy though. Anyway, Firebreaker Chip started to give DDP shit one day and as a result, got punched in the face in the locker room and at that moment, guys started to give DDP some respect.
Hall tells a story of a battle royal in West Virginia in which everyone played a rib on DDP. The Steiner Brothers were going to strip him in the ring during the match and everyone but DDP knew that. Everyone goes after DDP and knock him down then the Steiners run over to him. DDP was known to wear layers of spandex when he wrestled and Rick Steiner pulled on him so hard that he completely snapped off his tights and he was naked, causing Oliver Humperdink to take off his shirt and throw it on DDP so he could cover himself up.
After WCW, he wound up in the WWF. Hall said they filmed the Razor Ramon vignettes and he was thrilled to be getting a push right off of the bat. Once again, Hall said that Hennig helped him out and told him to never waste a motion in the ring and not to hit a bunch of devastating moves in a TV squash match because you will kill them all off. He told Hall that whenever you are on TV, treat it like an advertisement for yourself and when you do hit a move, make it look explosive. You always have to act as you know what you are doing.
Hall talks about his tryout with the WWF and how he got hired. After the match, Hennig took him to Vince. They are talking and Vince said that he needed a gimmick and brought up how his dad was in the military. Hall told Vince that if he wanted him to be G.I. Joe, he would be the best one he could be as at that point, Hall told Hennig that he would even settle as a job guy in the WWF as they were the top company and said guys like Barry Horowitz could lose all of the time and be stars, complete with their own baseball cards. Back to the story as Hall then told Vince that he needed a bad guy and started to play the Tony Montana character from “Scarface,” which is what he and Curt did all of the time in the car when they worked for the AWA. He was using direct lines from the film. Vince thought that Hall was a genius and had no clue that Hall was doing as he had never seen or apparently heard of the movie. Vince then asked him for a name. He said Razor but Vince told him about Razor Riddick and Hall said in the Tony Montana voice that he could “squash him like a cockroach.” Vince said he needed a last name that began with an “R” so he went to the bathroom and saw Tito Santana. He asked Tito for a name that began with “R” and he said “Ramon” and he told it to Vince, who loved the idea.
They filmed the promos in South Beach and Vince still had no clue that they were doing stuff that was basically out of “Scarface.” He did say that during his vignettes. Vince told him to speak very,very slow and Hall said that it worked out well.
He talks about his feud against Savage. Hall said that in Pennsylvania, he was to kick Savage in the leg that Ric Flair had been working on all match long then toss him back inside so Flair could put on the figure-four and win the title after Savage passed out. Backstage, Vince yelled at Heenan to go get Savage and Flair for him then Vince flipped out on Savage and Flair for not working on the leg and for looking like jabronis, which had Hall nervous as he just started out and Vince was flipping out on two major stars. They go back out and work the leg and Hall kicks Savage and Flair rolls him inside but works on Savage for five more minutes before putting on the figure four. That five minutes was clipped from the airing. Hall said that he never liked Flair because he controlled his career when he was in WCW. After that they had a meeting with Vince and he asked at the end if there were any questions and Hall wanted to ask him if he could trust Flair with the belt after what he did in WCW but Hennig told him not to say anything.
Hall said that he might have stolen the Razor’s Edge move from Danny Spivey. He started to use that as a finisher in Puerto Rico. Hall said that in wrestling if you want to be a top guy, you need a good look, to be good on the mic, have a few signature moves and a cool finisher.
He then talks about how he WWF was going through a transitional phase as Vince was under trial and everyone had to be clean. Hall said that he used steroids prior to the WWF. He was down to about 260 lbs at that point in the WWF but liked that weight and stayed there as he could work with the big and small guys. He said that he never wanted to be a bodybuilder, just a wrestler with a good body then jokes how he never shaved his chest or anything as he felt that “Tarzan gets more pussy than Mr. Universe.” He said that the traveled with Shawn in the WWF and they would party at night then eat breakfast in the morning, lay in the tanning bed as the food digested then work out for a half-hour on the stairmaster then a quick session with weights and some dips before heading off. He calls that the “Tarzan” workout and said it was enough to pump you up.
He tells a story about Bill Watts in the WWF. They were in the Garden and Watts was with Patterson and Vince. After Nash faced Mabel, Shawn made the save when Mo interfered and Hall ran out and got beat up too as they were putting the Men on a Mission strong. Hall grabs the belt and hands it to Nash but Shawn wanted it so Hall went to hand it to him then dropped it purposely, making Shawn look like a fool. As he walks backstage, he gets shoved in the back hard and saw that it was Shawn, who Hall says does not like to be made to look foolish. Anyway, Watts saw that and went up to Hall and told him that he was over and should be used better then joked about how he was expecting that push in the back. Hall said Watts lasted about a week in the WWF and left as he wanted full control and Vince would not let that happen.
When asked about the video being shopped by Man Mountain Rock that features the locker room using drugs in Europe and Louie Spiccoli banging a prostitute, Hall said that it is a shame that someone is so talentless that selling it is the only way they can make money. He then said that he would probably be sued if he tried to sell that.
Hall then talks about how he changed a finish at a show in Philadelphia against Chris Jericho, who was using the Lionheart gimmick. Hall said that the gimmick would not get over in Philly so he thought that Jericho should win and afterwards, he can beat him up and then Larry Zbyszko would run in and that would start their feud. Hall said he told Jericho to come up with a finish and not to tell anyone at all. Jericho came up with a finish that had him escape the Razor’s Edge and pin Hall with a small package. Backstage, Bischoff was mad that he changed the finish and Hall kept asking him if it was exciting and he couldnt get past the fact that he did not listen to him.
When asked about his matches against Jeff Jarrett, he said at first thy had bad matches but grew to work well with each other.
He now talks about his WrestleMania ladder match against Shawn. Hall said there chemistry and timing were excellent and they were always on the same page. He also said that it was Shawn’s idea for Razor to climb up the ladder with both belts and that he had Earl Hebner tell him that. Back in the locker room, Savage told him they had a great match but were selfish, as they went a lot longer than the time they were allotted.
Now, Hall is asked about the political power that the Kliq had in the WWF. Hall said that it was Bam Bam Bigelow who came up with the name. Hall then said how they were friends who all shared the same ideas as to how the business should be run. When they all reached the main event level, they started to kick around ideas all of the time then go pitch them to Vince.
He is now asked about a myth in which the Kliq went on strike one weekend. Hall forgets where they were (it was Indianapolis) but Hall was supposed to lose to Sid after 1-2-3 Kid interfered as the special guest referee then Ted DiBiase stuck a $100 bill in his mouth. Hall was fine with that but then when they changed it to include him losing the IC Title, he was against it. Hall told Vince he had no problem putting over Sid clean in the middle of the ring. This is the incident in which Pat and Vince flew to Indianapolis and met with the Kliq.
The interviewer brings up how Shane Douglas said in his shoot how Hall wanted to work the same match every night. Hall said that he and Shane get along a lot better now then when they were in the WWF. Hall also said that he was going to work with Douglas to get him ready to face Shawn, as the WWF saw money in a program between HBK and Douglas. Hall recalls a time when they were in London, England and they were tired from partying on the plane. Douglas told him to go home and Hall asked him if he was okay and told Hall said that he was just tired. Hall was irate and told him he didnt give a fuck if he was tired as this is how he fed his family. He told Douglas to drink coffee or take pills if he was tired, which he said was wrong. Hall said that in the ring, you always give it your all.
When asked if they were too hard on Chris Candido, Hall said they were. He said that between the stupid gimmick and his girlfriend Sunny, they were hard on him. Hall talks about the locker room and how it was a vicious shark tank and that he crossed paths with him in TNA years later and he had no hard feelings towards him. Back then, Hall said there was no guaranteed money and that Vince and everyone else perpetuated that environment in wrestling and that they had a bunch of jocks away from their families and that was how they coped.
This disc runs forty-nine minutes long
It starts with Hall in the middle of a story about Waltman, which led to him stating that he rejected an angle with Goldust because he thought that a feud with Waltman could have been money but that did not happen and he got Goldust upset in the process.
On how he jumped over to WCW, Hall said that he was moving a lot of merchandise and wanted more money. He then said that he asked Vince if he needed to improve on anything so he could earn more money, which is also what he learned from Hennig on how to ask for more money. He then went up to Stamford to the office and when he walked in, he saw all of his pictures in the hallway, which he said were turned around and had another wrestler on the other side. He met with Vince and JJ Dillon and brought in a secretary who dumped a pile of fan mail on the desk to show his popularity. Vince then put a check on the table for him and said he had a three-year contract. Hall said he couldnt do this schedule for three more years then asked if he could move over the decimal point on his merchandise check and Vince said that he couldnt because he was getting the same as guys like Diesel and the Undertaker. Hall then asked if he could go over to New Japan for a month a year to get their money and that was shot down as Vince said he needed him in the WWF. Waltman was in contact with Jesse Ventura’s agent, Barry Bloom, and Hall found out how much they offered him and realized that there was a want for him. Hall said that Vince ‘s contract rolled over yearly unless you gave a 90 day notice. Hall sent a telegram to Vince then went to a house show. While there, Tony Garea told him to call the doctor about the drug test results, he called and the doc wasnt there so he got ready for his match but Garea told him he had to leave and at that point Hall realized that they got his notice. He said that the piss test he took was six weeks old too. Hall said he was never a mark like Bret Hart and didnt care about the belt as he would rather job for a million dollars a year than make half as much as the champ. After that, he took the money and went to WCW.
When asked about the nWo idea being the plan all along, Hall said that is was Larry Zbyszko’s idea to come out from the crowd and grab the mic. He said Bischoff wanted him to walk down the aisle. Hall said the reason it worked is because people still thought he worked for Vince. Hogan had creative control and was in the air before the Bash at the Beach and they were not sure that he wanted to be a heel when they arrived to the show. Hall said Hogan was smart enough to turn at the right time and that if people thought Hall & Nash still worked for Vince, there was no better guy to align with them than Hogan. Hall said that the nWo idea was Bischoff’s and that the finish that night was thought up by Nash.
He goes back and talks about his last night in the WWF when he faced HHH at the Garden. Hall said that the fans chanted “please don’t go” then some chanted that he sold out. After that, Hall picked up the mic ad said “say goodbye to the bad guy,” which the crowd ate up, and said if Vince gave him the money there, he would have stayed. He said that Patterson came up with the finish to his match. When talking about the “curtain call” incident, Hall said that Shawn came up with the idea.
Hall now talks about the incident he had with Jerry Sags in a match at WCW. Hall said that he and Nash went in with fat contracts but some guys had to take a paycut because they weren’t drawing and couldn’t even run house shows. The Nasty Boys took a paycut then Terry Taylor told them how He and Nash received huge contracts. Hall said he broke in with them at Brad Rheingans camp in AWA and still considers them friends to this day. Anyway, during their run-in spot, Hall and Nash came in and Hall waffled Sags with a chairshot. Hall said that when he swung a chair with force and took it the same way too. He also had no idea he potatoed him and thought he was feeding him and almost went to hit him more times. In the locker room, he found out that he potatoed him and was happy that he didnt hit him again and said that with a nervous laugh to Nash but at that moment, Sags walked in and saw him laugh and Hall thought he was not only taking his money but also taking his liberties with him in the ring. A few nights later, the Nasty Boys started to throw chairs and stuff into the ring in the match during a six-man that included Meng and Barbarian. Hall said that Sags was stiff to begin with and started to hit him hard, even knocking out one of his teeth as Meng was hitting him from behind. As they won the match, Hall asked Nash if his face was alright and it was all swollen and fucked up. Nash then went into the locker room and grabbed Sting’s bat and told Hall just say the word and he would go fuck up Sags and Hall told him not to as Nash had the bat above the head of Sags.
Later that night, Hall said that he was with some of the Mexican wrestlers like Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, and Konnan in his hotel room as he was holding an ice pack to his face when Bischoff called his room and told Hall he would fire Sags but Hall said no as he knew him and he had a family so Bischoff kept him at home for a while as he got paid. Hall said if you were mad at him, he should have confronted him in the locker room instead of the ring.
He denied that Roddy Piper ever tried to fight him in the locker room but told a story about convincing Hogan to put over Piper at Starcade after he was seeing them put over people without getting hurt or seem like less of a star. They also told Hogan to take the finisher instead of a cheap school-boy or something. He did say that when it was Piper’s turn to put over Savage, he refused to take the elbow and would only lose to Savage cheaply. That pissed off Hall so he fucked with Piper all night long, saying that he refused to job for Savage after Hogan put him over clean then joked if they were too close to Portland for him to job clean. He then said he laid into Piper that night and if he ever tried to fight he and Nash, Piper would have got his ass kicked.
Hall did think that the Horsemen took the nWo parody too seriously, especially Arn Anderson, who thought they made him look like a drunk. Hall said that Nash took the cooler from Arn’s rent-a-car, were Pee Wee Anderson would get him beers. Hall then said that night, Arn complained to him at the bar with a beer in each hand, which was common among wrestlers as they got to the bar right before it closed most nights.
The interviewer asks Hall point blank about his own substance abuse issues and the stuff that Bischoff did on screen. Hall said that he tries to look at everything positively and says that if he can tell someone that drinking and drugging is not the answer, despite it being fun. Hall also doesnt care about what everyone thinks about him either.
Hall did think that the watering down of the nWo was bad. He originally thought that “WCW Saturday Night” would be an nWo show and let the fans choose if they liked WCW or nWo better. He said the beneift of the nWo expanded was that they didnt have to work that many house shows.
He did not think that WCW mismanaged Bret Hart as his strong suit was wrestling and not live interviews. he then said that WWF did a lot of taped interviews that helped him out and did not really fit into what WCW was doing with live Nitro’s.
Hall agreed that WCW pulled the plug too quick on Bischoff when they went with Russo and Ferrara. He says Russo is a nice guy but a small cog in the WWF machine before he came over to WCW.
When discussing how he was let go by the WCW, Hall was at a bar in Germany with his girlfriend and broke up with her. He then talked to another girl who had a gift to him, which was a sock puppet doll. She gave it to him in his room but his now ex-girlfriend, who was a WCW representative, got a key and walked into the room and saw him with the girl. Hall insists that nothing happened between them and they argued while he was drunk. He said that they were at the airport the next day bickering, which you cannot do on an International fight, and he ended up flying out the next day and that was the beginning of the end.
He said that he stopped following when he left and had no idea that Goldberg was talking about him on TV as he stopped following the product when he left. He also has no idea why Goldberg dislikes him as Hall said he helped him out and introduced him to Barry Bloom, who became his agent.
He said that his current goal is to get back in shape and possibly go to Japan. He believes that he has another run left in him and that his work is good enough as long as he behaves outside of the ring.
When asked about returning to the WWE as the nWo, Hall said that Nash went to Vince and discussed the idea with him. Vince then called up Hall and told him how he was talking with both Hogan and Nash about returning and said that they needed him to return. Hall was raising his kids by himself at the time and Vince said they worked something out taht he could work ten days a month and in his first month, he ended up working twenty-two. They all thought that Vince was not going to push something that he did not create and Vince killed it off the next PPV. Hall said he was not having fun and having bad matches plus he had to watch his kids and self-destructed. He decided to call Jim Ross and tell him that he was going to leave. Hall thought that Vince could have made the nWo even bigger.
He said that a day before his PPV match in Toronto against Austin, he was told that the finished changed and at that point, he knew he was out and was surprised that he even made it to Mania to face him. Hall said that he and Austin just did not click but thought his match against him at Mania was “okay” and he laid it out. He also said that Austin treated him like gold.
They now talk about TNA and how he was on the first few shows. He said he signed a three-show deal as he did not know if he wanted to be locked into the company at the beginning.
When asked about the Chris Benoit tragedy, Hall said he knew Chris for a long time then starts to break down and cry for a little bit. He said that a producer from HBO “Real Sports” called him up if he wanted to comment on drugs and steroids in wrestling. Hall said it is ridiculous for the media to attack wrestling promoters for what independent contractors do then adds that no one ever made him take drugs. He also thinks it is insane for people to only focus on deaths in wrestling when there are many more wrestlers who are alive. He brings up how no one blames the NFL for Pacman Jones or Michael Vick.
In regards to doing conventions, he feels weird charging people for autographs but loves to meet fans. He then thanks the interviewer for discussing wrestling with him and having knowledge and being respectful. He rather likes to hear from fans than guys who sit at home and criticize guys without going to the matches.
The interview closes with Hall thanking his fans for all of their support over the years and that he is getting things together and has one more run left.
Final Thoughts: An excellent shoot interview. One of the best, quite frankly. Hall is a great story-teller who also offers loads of insight into the business. He was sober during the interview and seemed to be enjoying just about every minute of it, except for the discussion about Benoit I guess. There was no agenda at all here, which is always a good thing. He never seemed bitter, either.
I really came away liking Scott Hall as a person from this. He is a likable guy who sometimes cannot keep his demons in check and that is when he gets into trouble. Even when discussing instances that made him look bad, he would take responsibility. He did not look to pass the blame onto others.
Hall has such a great mind for the business. Too bad he might not get another chance to show that off again. It is great that he is sober today but sadly is run that he talked about in this interview never really went anywhere and he fell deeper into his substance abuse issue, which were very evident in his follow up to this shoot, in which he was notably impaired.
I highly recommend this interview. You will hear some great stories, get some valuable insight, and learn a lot about what happened during his runs with the Kliq and the nWo. For those interested in the shoot, you can download the interview to own from Highspots for $9.99. I will provide the link below for you.
Methinks I better tread lightly here…
Let’s dispense with all the pleasantries and ball slurping right out of the gate. Obviously, as a writer on this site, I am a longtime fan of the grand poobah of this blog. I have been reading Scott’s rants since way back in the WrestleManiacs years, starting with his WCW Thunder rants many moons ago. I was a loyal CRZ guy at the time I discovered Scott’s, uh, unique outlook on one of my favorite pastime. I believe it was a line referring to Van Hammer’s “Leather Jacket of Extreme Discomfort” or someone using “The comfy cushions of death~!” that really dialed me into his writings, and since early 1998, I have been a loyal and devout Keith follower. Much of my early writing styles attempted to ape Scott’s style, until I realized a few things: That there is only one Scott Keith, that I was not a very good imitation of Scott, and I needed to find my own voice. While I still do keep some elements of Scott’s writings in mine, its amazing going around the interwebs, reading a review by some new cat on the block, and within about 100 words, know that the author is clearly trying to imitate Scott. Usually poorly.
With that said, obviously I have read all the man’s books. I bought “Buzz on…” the day it came out. Same goes for “Tonight in this Very Ring” and “One Ring Circus.” However, where I live is not blessed with a good amount of book stores to peruse through (and I have shitty credit, so Amazon was out of the question…plus at the times of their releases, my money was going towards some more mind altering substances)…so I only just read “Dungeon of Death” about a year ago, and just today received, from Amazon, at a cost of four cents plus $4.99 shipping, “Wrestling’s Made Men.” I devoured it in about two hours (trust me…after slogging through that shit that is Dusty Rhodes book…this was a fucking cakewalk) and loved it.
Which got me to thinking: I generally like all of Scott’s books, and the last few all generally follow a simple formula: describe what is wrong with the WWE, elaborate on the problems, throw in some match reviews, voila. So reviewing one of them is basically like reviewing all of them, so I figured I’d do something different here: quickly run down each book, discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of them all, and give a somewhat objective ranking of each work of Scott. So let’s do this.
Scott’s first book was “The Buzz on Wrestling”, which was a popular book series around the turn of the decade roughly akin to the “(Whatever Subject)…for Dummies” series. It was meant to be a quick tutorial for the uninitiated to the mat wars at a time when wrestling was at its zenith popularity wise. It is a quick and concise history of the modern era of wrestling that has sections dedicated to certain wrestlers and promotions in an attempt to give the less astute fan an idea of what was REALLY going on with said performers or promotions at the time, and in that sense, it is a success. Whenever I would have a friend or co-worker ask me questions about wrestling and how they could gain some more knowledge, I always referred them to this book, because it is easy and quick to read, and is filled with some great knowledge that alot of us smarter fans had already discerned from Scott’s online writing.
However, reading it today is very much reading the portrait of the artist as a young man. That is what is going to make this review interesting hopefully. It more or less really gets going around Hogan and the AWA and reaches the year 2000. Don’t get me wrong, its a good book, one I will still pick up as I am rushing towards the bathroom and in need of something quick and easy to read. (I can recount most of the book offhand without even glancing at it…even the typo’s, like Dynamite Kid’s style and drug use causing him “dearky.”), but it was really just scratching the surface of what was to come. It had some snark to it, but not nearly what was to come. It did not feature any match reviews, which were to come. Which leads us to…
“Tonight in this Very Ring” was what I considered the genesis of the more modern, scathing Scott we have come to know and loathe. I mean love. Consider “Buzz” the end of the Netcop years, and this book as the genesis of the smark rants. It is basically dedicated to the years 2000-2001, and reading it now is very much a trip, having experienced that wonderful WWF period live and in living color, if you will. The snark is turned up. The match reviews are there. And so is a phrase Scott rues to this day, in print: “HHH is God.” To be fair, in 2000, HHH really WAS Godlike, as he and Rock, with Austin sidelined, drew obscene amounts of money together, and it also didn’t hurt that the mid card had been revamped with additions like Benoit, Guerrero, Jericho, Malenko, et al. In short, it was, for this fan, one of the best years of wrestling I have experienced. Add in the fact that Russo had left for greener pastures in Turner Land, phew, buddy, it was a fun year, especially for PPV’s.
Well, except for King of the Ring 2000, the one PPV I had the privilege of attending live that year. That PPV was a steaming pile.
Anyway, “Tonight…” began a killer run for Scott, as he was well ahead of the curve on what precisely was going wrong with the WWF product even as it reached its pinnacle. He foresaw the growing HHH problem. This book introduced many to the term “Glass Ceiling.” It featured the Scott we all know and love (phew…got it right that time) right as he was reaching the peak of his powers. Without a doubt one of Mr. Keith’s better offerings. But the best was yet to come, with…
“Wrestling’s One Ring Circus.” This is, in my mind, without a shadow of a doubt, Scott’s best work to date in print form. It details a very tumultuous time period in the history of WWF/E, 2002-03. HHH becoming the egomaniac we all deride to this day. Austin walking out. WWF losing its name. It takes the blueprint Scott laid out with “Tonight…” and turns the volume up to 11. Scott was a very jaded viewer at this point…as were many of us…and it is reflected in this book. It also seems to mark where modern Smark Scott shows up for good, filled to the brim with sources deep within the industry, as evidenced by the remarkable chapter on the walk out and demise of Stone Cold Steve Austin, which, if you have never read, in my mind is the definitive chapter on what he was experiencing at the time. A total slam dunk ***** classic chapter that may or may not be Scott’s definitive MOTY. Unreal stuff. Those last two words actually accurately describe the whole book, as it is just spot on from beginning to end, showing uncanny prognostication powers that I remain in awe of. Still a book I very much read to this day when I have time.
A quick life experience side note here: After this book is where I very much fell into the vices that basically destroyed my life for the better part of a decade. 2003-2011 were very dark times for me, so while I read Scott’s sporadic online contributions…and they were beginning to become very sporadic, reflecting his distaste for the product…his books became afterthoughts. It was only this afternoon I received, and read, “Wrestling’s Made Men.”
My thoughts on this chapter of Scott’s book writing is that it is a very good book, his second best. But in light of some events over the last few years, the two star players of the tome, Eddie and Benoit, make it almost tragic to read in retrospect. If I had read it when it initially came out, that Chris…in a druggie haze, no doubt…would have screamed “RIGHT ON!!! BENOIT!! EDDIE!! FUCK THE WORLD (Wrestling Entertainment)!” Reading it today though more or less made me feel a little melancholy, because I can recall experiencing the same joy as Scott relays in the book when Benoit won the Rumble in 04, when Eddie won the title at No Way Out in the Cow Palace, Mania 20…honestly, that was the pinnacle of my fandom, and its all been downhill ever since. It was a fun read because, honestly, I was so messed up at that point I was not seeing Raw week to week, let alone Smackdown. And to be honest again, reading this book, I am glad I wasn’t! There were some horribly illogical things going on with the WWE product at that time. Nathan Jones. Heidenreich. Mordecai. Kenzo Suzuki. Luther Reigns. HHH. The babyface push of Randy Orton. Ugh. Just…so…bad. Yet the book also describes WWE starting to finally push new guys towards the top, in the form of the (soon returning) Batista and John Cena, which at the time was a fresh idea that Scott was skeptical about. Wonder how he feels about that now, what with Cena being pushed and pushed and PUSHED down fan’s gullets (he was remarkably prescient on how Cena would go down well with younger fans) to the point of nausea. All in all, almost as brilliant as his prior book, but the main body of work showed an author who was growing weary of the product, on the verge of total wrestling breakdown…and Scott seemingly did, as did many of us fans as well. WWE had hit a corner here where Johnny Ace had taken over as head of talent relations (lowercase for a reason) and Steph and Trips were gaining more and more power. Honestly, the highlight of the book is Scott and friends attending Backlash 2004 and the Raw the following night, and their interactions with Shane O Mac.
“…Made Men” ends with a very somber afterword, as in between finishing the book and its publish date, the wrestling world lost Eddy Guerrero. Any fan worth their salt knows how great Eddy was in the ring, and what a spectacular fuck up he was outside of it. If I had to compare my life, my experiences, to a wrestler, its Eddy. Total perfectionist fighting the odds and a huge family influence trying to find his way to the top. In that process, he finds every pratfall known to man in an effort to remain at the top while slowly and surely descending into every abyss he attempts to jump. It is almost sort of ironic that Eddy’s death closes out “Made Men” with little mention of Chris Benoit. The afterword by Scott is written in February of 2006. 18 months later, the landscape of wrestling would change, and it would involve the very man Scott worshiped at the altar of.
Chris Benoit murdered his wife and child on the weekend of June 25, 2007. Chris Benoit was the lord and savior of the internet wrestling fanbase, a man most championed by Scott Keith himself. I can remember how I felt once I learned the grim reality of the situation: I felt like my balls had been stretched out and Benoit had thrown his hardest chop right down the middle of my sack. How could the man we had been led to believe was the ideal wrestler, salt of the earth, just a great guy who provided us hours upon hours of amazing wrestling, be this cruel and sadistic madman? I remained in mourning for many years, refusing to analyze the hard facts, just because it hurt too much. It was only within the last two years, when I really got clean, that I figured I would determine if I was being irrational in defending the man because of the concussive nature of his line of work, which leads us to “Dungeon of Death.”
In my opinion, “Dungeon of Death” is Scott’s lesser work. We all know Scott was a HUGE Benoit guy, to the point of obsession (just for the record, so was I), so I was expecting huge things from a Canadian who experienced more or less the entirety of Benoit’s career. It was a slam dunk for Mr. Keith to really, really, REALLY fashion a name for himself in the literary world. Who better than SCOTT KEITH to write the definitive story on Benoit and his ascension and demise? Well, I read the book about ten months ago, and was totally underwhelmed. I got a section that described Benoit’s career in about 70 pages, and then the book moved into this morbid death march of wrestlers who lost their lives due to drug abuse…quick little snippets that never really scratched the surface, much like Scott’s description of Benoit’s career. I was expecting so much more, but was left totally deflated by it, and consider it Scott’s worst work. Muschnick’s book on Benoit was better. As was Randazzo’s. And those two can be described as a skeptic and the other as a total outsider who did damned good homework. Was Scott too emotionally scarred to write the definitive Benoit tome? (Ring of Hell is it, by the way, for all the guff I gave the author.) I do not know. All I know is that Scott’s Benoit book left me with more questions and skepticism than any of the ones that have been produced to this date.
So then. We all frequent this site, so we are all Keith-ists to a degree. Here is where I have his books ranked:
1. One Ring Circus
2. Wrestling’s Made Men
3. Tonight in this Very Ring
4. Buzz on Pro Wrestling
5. Dungeon of Death
This post was meant as less review and more of a discussion starter. How far off base am I? Delusional? What are your favorite Scott Keith books and why? Have at it.
And yes, Missy Hyatt is coming. I just received the book via mail today, and not even 30 pages in and she is giving Tommy Rich road head. Its next…
The Netcop Rant for the “Heroes of Wrestling”, a one-time-only (oh lord let that be true) so-called PPV that I wasted $19.95 on due to a long story that I don’t wanna get into. Thankfully, I made sure to stock up on alcoholic beverages before the show, and BOY did I need them. (Rather ironic that I would rag on Jake Roberts for his behavior while getting wasted myself.) First of all, the pre-game show looks like it was edited on a Video Toaster, with jump cuts so sudden that I think some poor editor down in Mississippi is suffering from whiplash as we speak. (Oh, the Amiga computer, still good for cheapshots years later.) We get some various BAD angles to set up the show, including George Steele & Sherri Martell getting caught in a secret tryst, Bob Orton cheating at poker, and Tully Blanchard getting shoved into a trunk by Stan Lane. I don’t know who I pity more, btw – Sherri or George. Not a promising start. Live from Bay Saint something, Mississippi. I didn’t quite catch the name of the town where the casino we’re coming from is, and I hadn’t heard of it at any rate. Your hosts are Dutch Mantell and some dufus named Randy Rosenbloom, not Gordon Solie as was triumphantly advertised leading up to the show. He wouldn’t make so much as an appearance. (Gordon wasn’t long for the world, sadly.) The arena is announced as 2,000 SRO, (Standing Room Only or Sold Right Out depending on who you ask.) but they’re lucky if there’s 600 people there, and the lights are so dim you can only see the first five rows anyway. A big banner for the casino sits on the ring apron, and I won’t dignify it by reprinting the casino’s phone number here. (An indy doing 600 people these days isn’t that bad, especially for a nostalgia group like this one.) Opening match: The Samoan Swat Team v. Marty Jannetty & Tommy Rogers. First of all, Fatu looks like Yokozuna, with his ass taking up most of the camera whenever he’s on. Seriously, he’s just that fat. (This was of course written in 1999, just before he went back to the WWF as Rikishi. So that’s at least one person who got a job out of this.) And it’s not like he’s been retired for the past few years or anything. The SST is managed by some Paul E. wannabe goof. Jannetty (who is looking like a crack addict) has let his hair grow back since his WCW stint last year. (He looks even worse these days. And the crack addict thing might not be far off given his habits at the time.) Stall session to start, with Jannetty taking control once Samu gets in. Jannetty is blowing moves left and right and missing his cues, which would indicate either drugs or alcohol tonight. Of course, had I known what was in store, I’d have counted my blessings for Jannetty at least being coherent. Stay tuned, folks. Lots of arm-working from the Fantastic Rockers, for lack of a better name. First chinlock of the show comes at 8:15 EST. Expect more. Inevitably, Fabu’s HUGE ASS overcomes Marty and he plays Ricky Morton. Speaking of Ricky, the RnR would seem to be a perfect fit for this show – I wonder why they’re not on it? (Because even Ricky Morton has standards?) Jannetty takes a chairshot and the announcer declares it “obscene” and “unethical”. No shit. Where did they dig this dipshit up? Rogers gets the hot tag, but tries to headbutt the Samoans and gets nowhere. Jannetty and Rogers double-team the SST, with Jannetty hitting a plancha on Fatu, but that leaves Rogers alone with Samu. Samu hits a pretty good TKO and gets the easy pin at 9:51. Nothing special here. 1/2* Did I mention how bad lead commentator Randy Rosenbloom is, calling a simple dropkick a “legdrop” and other things equally ridiculous? Thank god Dutch was there to cover for him. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine v. George “The Animal” Steele. George has Sherri with him. It occurs to me that given the choices, George is smarter to eat the turnbuckle than to eat…oh, never mind. George starts to remove his shirt, and Hammer jumps him. Sherri attacks as well, thus throwing the subtlety card right out of the window. But George can’t see the betrayal, because the shirt is over his head. Plus he’s really stupid. Steele finds an international object and hits Greg with it, then hands it off to Sherri for safe-keeping. Sherri hands it right to Greg, who plays “Hide the object” for a bit, and then Sherri turns on George outright, nailing him with a chair and giving Valentine the win at 6:31. Hey, our first negative star match of the night! –*** (The booking and the matchmaking was just bizarre here. Valentine was still doing regular indy shots at this point and could have worked a totally acceptable match with someone like Tully Blanchard.) Julio Fantastico (Sanchez) v. 2 Cold Scorpio. I have no idea why they even bothered with this one. 2CS has a WCW World title knockoff with him, which is never mentioned by the announcers. Captain Lou Albano comes out to do rambling commentary. Decent, but awkward wrestling sequence to start. Julio ends up on the floor and Scorp follows with a pescado. Now it’s Julio’s turn, as he blows a pescado and ends with a skin-the-cat type thing, then decides to REDO THE SPOT (Ugh!) and hits it better on the second try. Sure sign of a jobber 4 life right there. NEVER REDO THE SPOT! He does take a nice backdrop over the railing into the crowd. Back in the ring and then a very ugly sequence begins, with the end result being a legdrop from Scorpio and a badly blown Tumbleweed to finish it at 9:48. Hey, if you’re gonna do a spotfest, HIT THE DAMN SPOTS! * (Julio never ended up doing anything in the business anyway.) The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff v. The Artists Formerly Known as the Bushwhackers. The heels have some goof named Nikita Brezhnikov in their corner, who does a bad Russian accent and wears what looks like a Cossack uniform and waves a USSR flag. Geez, read the news once in a while, guys. We get the Russian national anthem (short form version) and the Iranian club demonstration, for old (and I mean OLD) time’s sake. Thankfully, I’m on my third drink by this time and I’m getting pleasantly detached from the living room. Ssssssssssssss tttttttttttt aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll. The old, wrinkly, Volkoff beats on Luke to control, although there’s six inches of air between Luke and the bottom of Nikolai’s boot on every kick. Sheik comes in and gives Luke what can only be generously described as a lovetap, and Luke sells a throat injury like Steamboat. Yeargh. The heels are working so loose they might as well stand in the aisle and kick them from there. It’d look more believable. Seriously, this is just SO sad. Butch finally gets the hot tag, and heel miscommunication involving the wrong person getting hit with an international object gives Butch the pin at 8:45. Oh. My. God. –**** (That’s actually a generous rating given Meltzer’s famous demolition of the match in the Observer. This is where I would have stuck George Steele, by the way. Steele & Bushwackers v. Sheik/Volkoff/some other geek at least confines the major suck to one bad comedy match.) Stan Lane v. Tully Blanchard. Both guys look pretty good, age and layoff time considered. Pretty nice start with Tully taking a bump into the post early, and Lane gets a neckbreaker and a cobra clutch. Russian legsweep gets two. They hit the floor and Tully puts a figure-four on him on the floor. Lane is playing the heel but Tully is drawing the heel heat for some reason. Lane is also sporting the Chris Candido hairstyle. Anyway, back in the ring and after a brief bit involving a sleeper, we get the stupidest ending in wrestling, the “belly-to-back suplex and one guy lifts his shoulder” double pin. In this case, Tully gets the shoulder up first and wins at 7:12. Well, they tried, I guess. 1/2* (Much like getting the gold medal at the Special Olympics…) Who in god’s name is booking this crap? I mean, the double pin spot? I know this is supposed to be nostalgic, but let’s at least get past 1985 in the booking, PLEASE! Do an nWo run-in and get it up to 1997 or something… One Man Gang v. Abdullah the Butcher. Both guys bleed. Both are counted out at 7:29. There’s your match highlights. Oh, those and Abby swiping the blade over his forehead every five seconds with a camera focusing on his head. Almost forgot about that one. –*** (Hopefully Gang didn’t get Hepatitis from this match.) What’s the point of doing a non-conclusive ending to a one-time-only match? To protect the reputation of two semi-retired wrestlers? (I think their reputation was long gone by this point anyway. OMG could have teamed with Sheik and Volkoff, I think.) “Cowboy” Bob Orton v. Jimmy Snuka. I’m on drink #4 by this point, so it’s gonna be hard to faze me. (These days I stop after one. Just doesn’t interest me anymore.) Snuka gets a quick two off a cross-body, but Orton takes control with a cheapshot. A suplex into the ring and a kneedrop gets two. Orton is moving slow, but he’s pacing himself nicely and doing his usual great job of working the mat. He works one armbar in particular for quite a long time. (Like father, like son.) Dutch is doing an absolutely spectacular job of selling the armbar for the fans at home, because Randy Rosenbloom has no idea what the hell is going on, in terms of the psychology. The fans invent increasingly crude taunts for Bob during the armbar, leading to the epic “Bob is a faggot! (clap clap clap-clap-clap) in D-Minor” to close out the armbar. (Clearly we know he reproduced, so they’re probably off-base in their criticisms of his sexuality. I don’t think Snuka ever had any children, though.) Snuka comes back with the usual, and they do a double-KO with Orton falling on top for two. Snuka recovers and heads to the top, but Orton tries to reverse to a superplex. Lou Albano grabs Snuka’s ankles to stop the move, and Snuka hits a bodypress off the top for the pin at 11:42. Match of the night, at a whopping *1/4 And now…THE FUN PART! During the night, the wrestlers have been cutting various pre-match promos with some Pettingill-ish clone backstage, with nothing of note being said. Then comes Jake Roberts. The promo itself was unexceptional. No, what was so memorable was the fact that he was PLASTERED. I mean, he was literally so stinking, falling down drunk off his fat ass that he could hardly string together a sentence, and in fact needed to grab onto the interviewer to keep from falling over. The interviewer looked SERIOUSLY freaked at having Jake hanging on him, with the snake crawling around in it’s bag on the floor. (Let’s GO TO THE YOUTUBES!) And then the match… Jake “The Snake” Roberts v. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. PLEASE let it be quick, that’s all I ask. (Dozens of young wrestlers also thought the same thing before trips into the shower with JBL.) Jake is literally STAGGERING down the aisle on the way to the ring. He tosses Damien into the corner, then staggers back to the dressing room, takes his shirt off, and staggers back. Poor Neidhart has no idea what to make of the situation. (I’m guessing “This guy is almost as fucked up as my wife!”) Jake hits on a couple of ugly chicks in the front row, then rolls in and we’re underway. Anvil literally does all the work, physically carrying Jake through the “match” so he doesn’t’ fall over and puke all over the ring. Damien wriggles free of the bag, so Jake pulls him out and makes uses it as a surrogate penis, waving it around the ring while protruding from his crotch, pointing towards women in the front row. And there’s KIDS in the audience, all over the place. I think Jake can finally kiss his wrestling career goodbye, for good this time. And now obviously someone in the back realizes this is getting out of hand, so King Kong Bundy comes out to run interference. Anvil puts Jake in a long chinlock, and looks to be bitching him out while there. Jake goes for the DDT, but he can’t get the spot quite right, so Bundy runs in for a 2-on-1. Yokozuna makes the save, and it’s turned into a tag match. Jake takes a couple of chairshots from Neidhart to hopefully make him stay on the floor, but he rolls back in and Bundy gets a two count. Jake hasn’t even bothered to lace his boots, and when Neidhart pulls on his foot to stop a tag, the boot comes free. Jake makes the hot tag to Yoko, but about 2 seconds later Bundy splashes and pins Jake (the illegal man) for the pin to end the whole fiasco. Jake and Yoko beat up Bundy’s manager, and the show is hastily yanked from the air 15 minutes early without so much as a goodbye from the announce team. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is your Worst Match of the Year, hands down. -***** I suppose it would be harsh of me to wish Jake would just choke on his own vomit one night and spare us all ever watching him ruin his life or the lives of the people that care about him ever again, but at the rate he’s going he’s probably not far off. (I’m continually amazed that 15 years after this, he’s still alive.) The Bottom Line: You may have noticed that we didn’t get the advertised main event, or even Yokozuna or Bundy wrestling for more than 5 seconds each. Leave it to Jake to ruin an entire show for everyone. Not that there was much there to ruin. Easily the worst PPV I’ve ever seen, and that includes a lot. I don’t know how these morons got a PPV deal in the first place, but since the buyrate is likely to be somewhere between 0.00000005 and 0.1 (if they’re lucky) I doubt we’ll have to worry about seeing this abortion stink up our TV screens ever again.If there was a rating even lower than thumbs down I’d give it. If you want nostalgia, watch WCW. You might even see a wrestling match there by accident, too. (Given the people involved, here’s the matches I would have booked instead: Stan Lane & Marty Jannetty v. Scorpio & Tommy Rogers George Steele & The Bushwackers v. Samoan Swat Team & Yokozuna King Kong Bundy v. One Man Gang Bob Orton & Greg Valentine v. Jimmy Snuka & Jim Neidhart Main event: Jake Roberts v. Tully Blanchard I dunno, still not great, but I’m big fan of disguising weakness with tag matches. This would also presume that Roberts wasn’t shitfaced going into the show, and that he and Tully could do promos leading up to it.
Just a heads up to check out Scott Hall on Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast.
He’s totally lucid and his REMARKABLE knowledge of the business (particularly given what he’s done to himself over the last decade and a half) is pretty amazing. Given his basic understanding of how wrestling “works” and a history that dates back to Florida when Dusty was booking(!) and the AWA, it’s a damned shame he hasn’t been working for the E for the past ten years on the creative staff. If there’s any way he can keep himself together he’d still be a fantastic add for them.
Soooooo . . .
Scott, What are the odds we’ll see: A). Scott Steiner return to the WWE as a wrestler? and/or B). Scott Steiner in the WWE Hall Of Fame within the next 5 years?
Hmm, that calls for some high-level math. Let me consult someone. I think that should give you all the answers needed.
For those of you unfamiliar with my work – most likely reading this as a tryout on the BLOG OF DOOM!~! – my name is Scott Newman and I’ve been watching MMA religiously now since 2003 and have been writing show reviews since 2004 at The Oratory. I’ve got an archive of all the UFC shows from UFC 1 up to this one there, as well as plenty of PRIDE, WEC, Cage Rage, etc, so check it out if you wish. Otherwise, enjoy this review (hopefully!). -This was of course one of the biggest money matches of 2012, with GSP finally returning, after nineteen months on the shelf rehabbing a torn ACL, to face off with Interim Champion Carlos Condit to decide the undisputed Welterweight Champion. And where else to do it but in Montreal? While the Nick Diaz match at this point (if he’d beaten Condit) obviously would’ve drawn more in terms of a PPV buyrate, personally I’d wanted to see this fight for a long, long time anyway, so I was pretty stoked. UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit 11/17/12 Montreal, Quebec -Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. Featherweight Fight: Darren Elkins vs Steven Siler This was an interesting fight actually given it was buried on Facebook, as Elkins had quietly put together a very impressive run at 145lbs – 3-0 with wins over Diego Brandao and Michihiro Omigawa – while Siler was unbeaten himself in the UFC coming off his TUF run. Even fight to call but my money was on Elkins. Round One and Elkins lands a couple of decent punches right away but they don’t seem to have much effect. Leg kick connects for Siler. Right hand to the body from Elkins. Good right hook follows and he clinches for a moment but Siler breaks off. Another flurry sets up the clinch and this time Elkins forces Siler into the fence. Nice trip takedown from Elkins and he almost gets to mount right away, taking a low Kawajiri-esque mount. He turns that into side mount, but Siler does a good job of sliding his legs back through into full guard. Elkins postures up to deliver a couple of nice right hands, and then really drops a pair of hard punches from standing down into the guard. Siler keeps getting his legs up, but Elkins passes the guard by dropping some more punches. Siler again manages to slide back to half-guard, but it looks like Elkins is considering a top side guillotine. Short punches land for Elkins and he gives up the guillotine. Siler slides back to full guard and manages to reverse to his feet, but Elkins trips him back down into guard. Triangle attempt by Siler is shrugged off and this time Elkins grabs a guillotine and looks to drop to guard, then rolls through into top position, but Siler manages to survive nicely. Exchange ends up with Elkins in half-guard, where he drops some hammer fists to end the round. 10-9 Elkins. Round Two and Elkins narrowly misses a combo as Siler keeps his head waaaay too high. Takedown from Elkins follows and he’s back in half-guard again. It looks like he might go for the guillotine once more, and then seems to be turning it into a neck crank attempt, but Siler pops his head free and gets to full guard. Good left hand from Elkins from the top and he keeps Siler down when the TUF veteran attempts to escape. Good upkick from Siler though. Elkins stands over him and eats another hard upkick, but he makes Siler pay with some hard punches and then takes the back with both hooks in a scramble. Body triangle now for Elkins and he looks for the rear naked choke, but he can’t lock it in and Siler survives. Short punches land for Elkins from back control but Siler throws some nice back elbows of his own. He’s bloodied from Elkins’s punches though. Big shots land for Elkins now as he flattens Siler out, but the TUF veteran manages to roll to avoid a stoppage. It looks like Elkins has the choke locked up now, but Siler is clearly a tough guy as he manages to free himself again. Less than a minute to go and it looks like he has the choke sunk again after softening Siler up with more punches, but he still can’t get it and a bloody Siler throws loads of punches from there to pop the crowd. Round ends with Elkins in firm control. I’d call that a 10-8 in fact. Round Three and Siler comes out swinging, but he takes a couple of shots from Elkins on the way. Good combination from Elkins to counter a flurry from Siler. Got to give Siler credit here as he’s really trying. He’s got his head way too high though and Elkins is landing the better shots. Bodylock from Elkins and he gets Siler down again into side mount, but Siler quickly gets to full guard. He works his way to his feet, but Elkins stays on him like glue before breaking off surprisingly. Siler presses forward, but his punches look stiff now, likely due to him being tired from grappling. Single leg attempt from Elkins but Siler stuffs it initially. Elkins keeps going though and gets him down into guard again. Some good shots connect for Elkins again as Siler tries to stay active from the bottom, but Elkins passes the guard into half-guard. Siler gets his guard back and looks for the rubber guard now, but it’s too late for that sort of thing and Elkins postures out and stands to drop some punches. Triangle attempt is shrugged off but it allows Siler to stand with a minute to go. Elkins tackles him right away though back down to guard. This is looking like a shutout. Into half-guard and Elkins takes the back with no hooks as they stand, but Siler turns into him in the clinch. They break with seconds to go and Siler stuffs a takedown and looks to set up an anaconda choke, but Elkins slips free before the buzzer. 10-9 Elkins and 30-26 overall. Judges officially call it 30-27 all round for Darren Elkins. Clear result there but I really enjoyed this fight actually, as Elkins looked excellent and kept a nasty pace throughout, but Siler was good enough defensively and kept active so much that he never truly seemed out of the fight until really late in the third. Good opener. Bantamweight Fight: Ivan Menjivar vs Azamat Gashimov Canadian-based Menjivar was looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Mike Easton in this one – hard to believe he’s only 30 given how long he’s been around! He was the firm favourite here against newcomer Gashimov despite the Russian bringing a solid 7-1 record into his UFC debut. Fight begins and Gashimov opens with a quick inside leg kick. Body shot connects for Menjivar but Gashimov counters with a fast combo. Good leg kick and an uppercut land for the Russian too, and then he shoots on a single and manages to bring Menjivar down despite an attempted sprawl. Full guard from Menjivar and he ties the Russian up tightly. Menjivar begins to look for an armbar and despite taking some hammer fists it looks like he might have it. Good job from Gashimov to lift Ivan up and shake him off though. Upkick lands for Menjivar before Gashimov drops back into the guard. Menjivar begins to set up for the armbar again, but Gashimov avoids. Ezekiel choke (!) attempt from Gashimov but he can’t get it, probably due to lack of gi. Short punches from the Russian but Menjivar locks up the armbar and this time it’s sunk, and in a really sick finish Gashimov tries to slam his way out, but ends up swinging Menjivar into extending the arm and that’s enough for the tapout. Looks like it might’ve popped in fact. Sick stuff. Really, really slick work from Menjivar from the bottom there as he just caught Gashimov in a picture-perfect technique. Best UFC showing from Menjivar thus far in his career in fact. Fun little fight too. Welterweight Fight: Matt Riddle vs John Maguire This was a fight totally changed by injuries, as it was originally Stephen Thompson vs. Besam Yousef! First Thompson was forced out and replaced by Riddle – coming back from a positive test for marijuana at UFC 149 – and then Yousef was injured and Brit Maguire stepped in on short notice. Despite the short notice I was taking Maguire, for no good reason other than he’s British and I don’t really like Riddle’s attitude. First round begins and it’s clear right away that Riddle has a huge size advantage. Little action in the first thirty seconds with Riddle landing a leg kick. Kick from Maguire is caught and Riddle counters with a couple of punches. Right hands land for both men. Body kick glances for Riddle. Nice right hand from Maguire on the counter as Riddle throws out some punches. This round has sucked so far to be quite frank. Good short elbow from Riddle but he takes a right from Maguire for his troubles. Left hand comes over the top for Riddle. Body kick is caught by Maguire and Riddle tries some sort of Pettis-style kick but it doesn’t come off at ALL. Kick is caught again by Maguire and again Riddle tries some sort of flashy kick, but it allows Maguire to go for a takedown. Riddle stuffs it and they wind up clinched with a minute to go, but nothing really happens and they break. Couple of jabs glance for both men before Riddle sprawls to avoid a takedown. Into the clinch again and Maguire just avoids a trip attempt. They exchange a couple more punches and that’s the round. 10-10. Boring stuff. Second round and it picks up where the first left off, with Riddle backing Maguire up without really landing much. Decent body kick does connect though. Right hand follows over the top. Clinch from Riddle and he forces Maguire into the fence. They break after little happens and a nice combination lands for Maguire in an exchange. He lands some more shots, but Riddle catches a kick and shoves him down. He stands over him and looks a bit wary of entering the guard, but drops some punches for good measure anyway. Finally he drops into the guard. Not for long though as he stands and kicks the legs until the ref calls Maguire up. Good left hand from Maguire and then he shoots on a single leg, but Riddle stuffs it pretty easily. They break off with a minute to go and exchange some more strikes with Maguire again getting the better of it. Riddle shoots, but Maguire tries a guillotine, but can’t get it and they come back to their feet. Flurry from Riddle backs Maguire up to end the round. Tricky round to score. Fuck it. 10-10 again. Third and final round and Riddle lands with a sweet right hook in a brief exchange. Looks like he’s outlanding Maguire in the early going here. They clinch, but Maguire breaks with a nice short right forearm. Brief exchange sees both men land. This fight is really bad. Just loads of striking that’s not really successful for either man. Good flurry does land for Riddle. Takedown attempt from Maguire but Riddle stuffs it and pins him into the fence. Good knee inside from Riddle and it looks like it might’ve hurt Maguire. He doesn’t really follow up though, instead keeping him clinched. Trip attempt by Riddle is blocked. They break with seconds to go and Riddle lands a couple more punches and then looks for the takedown. Maguire grabs a front choke though and rolls through with it, but the fight ends before he can go for the finish. Probably just about for Matt Riddle, 10-9 and 30-29 overall on my card. Judges don’t agree with my scores naturally but they do give it unanimously to Riddle, 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. I thought this fight really sucked though; just loads of nothing going on and neither man got hurt or came close to a finish really. Blah. Featherweight Fight: Antonio Carvalho vs Rodrigo Damm The first fight following TUF Brazil for Damm then, and he was faced with a Canadian veteran in Carvalho, who was looking to follow his beautiful knockout of Daniel Pineda at UFC 149 in July. Quite a tough fight to pick actually but I was leaning slightly towards Pato who’s shown better striking than Damm overall in my eyes. Round One and both men come out looking tentative. They circle around for a while and it’s thirty seconds of no contact to begin before a leg kick glances for Carvalho. Right hand connects for Damm. Another leg kick glances for Pato. Random observation time – Carvalho’s usually huge beard is trimmed to a handlebar moustache here. Wouldn’t normally mention it but there’s not much going on. Solid leg kick connects for Damm. Carvalho answers with a nice one of his own. Head kick misses for Pato. Leg kick from Damm. Carvalho answers with one of his own and it’s a better one, too. Another follows and you can see Damm beginning to hurt from them now. His leg is all marked up from them. Crowd begin to sound frustrated with about a minute to go as there’s not much action. Inside leg kick lands for Carvalho. Both men land leg kicks but Carvalho’s clearly connects with more force. Another one follows. Damm is really swinging here but not connecting with anything major. No sooner have I typed that than he lands with a stiff jab. Pato fires back with another leg kick and that’s the round. 10-9 Carvalho but it wasn’t a great round. Round Two and it looks like Carvalho’s going to go right back to the leg kicks as he glances on one and then lands flush with another. Head kick misses, though. Front kick to the body from Damm forces him backwards. Yet another leg kick from Carvalho and he follows with a head kick that glances as Damm looks to fire back with a combo. Couple of pawing jabs from Damm and he lands with another front kick to the body. Carvalho slips on a head kick attempt and goes down, and Damm looks to get on top and then takes the back in a scramble. Carvalho quickly scrambles from there though and explodes to his feet in a nice move that pops the crowd. Right hand lands for Damm. Two minutes to go and sections of the crowd are booing again. Damm keeps pushing forward but can’t really land cleanly. This is beginning to suck, unfortunately. Big left hook glances for Damm but Carvalho comes back with a leg kick. One minute to go in the round now. Solid leg kick into a one-two from Damm and he follows with a jab. Damm really pushes the action from there but soon slows down. Combination lands for Damm with thirty seconds to go but he doesn’t follow up and Carvalho NAILS him with a hard right hand right before the buzzer. I’d go 10-10 there as Carvalho landed the slightly better shots, but didn’t really do enough and Damm was the aggressor throughout. Round Three and neither man comes out with any sense of urgency. Right hand glances for Damm and forces Pato onto the back foot a bit. Inside leg kick from Carvalho. This is SO FRUSTRATING as these guys are high level grapplers and they’re having a dull kickboxing match. Damm is at least pushing the action here but outside of the odd leg kick he isn’t landing enough to be winning the fight. Mouthpiece is dropped by Carvalho and they have to stop things to wash and replace it, frustrating the crowd further. Damm’s leg is BADLY marked up. Good combo from Damm and that finally gets the fans fired up as he backs Pato up, but then he slows right back down. Short trade follows but then they slow right back down again. Nice head movement from Pato to avoid some punches. Good right hand from Carvalho to counter a left hook. Inside leg kick from Carvalho and he glances on a head kick. Head kick answers for Damm. Inside leg kick for Carvalho. Glancing strikes from both men. YAWN. Damm with a flurry with seconds to go. Round ends with a sort-of trade. Flying knee misses for Pato as the buzzer sounds. 10-9 Damm I’d say for a draw but who the hell knows? Judges have it a split decision; 29-28 Damm, 29-28 Carvalho and 29-28 Carvalho. Well, there you go. Really annoying fight in my eyes, as while some of the exchanges were decent and Carvalho’s leg kicks looked really good, it’s two high-level grapplers having a stand-up fight and yeah, that can be fun sometimes if it degenerates into a sloppy brawl, but this just DIDN’T and neither man showed much in the way of urgency. One to skip over for sure. Lightweight Fight: John Makdessi vs Sam Stout Battle of strikers in this one then, with the more traditional Muay Thai striking of Stout taking on the unorthodox karate of Makdessi. I was taking Stout to win basically because Makdessi looks so small for 155lbs, and a larger Muay Thai guy in Anthony Njokuani had been able to comfortably outpoint him earlier in the year. First round gets underway and Makdessi starts throwing a left side kick right away as they circle and Stout looks to fire off with some jabs and an overhand right. Nice side kick from Makdessi and he uses some quick movement to avoid a Stout haymaker. Good right hand from Stout but Makdessi sticks him with a jab. Beautiful counter right from Makdessi as Stout rushes in. Combo glances for Stout but Makdessi fires back with a jab. Leg kick from Stout. Side kick from Makdessi forces him back. Makdessi is using his jab nicely here although he does take a solid right from Stout too. Leg kick connects for Stout and he follows with a left to the body. Big uppercut misses for Stout. Makdessi connects on a couple more jabs. Heavy leg kick from Stout but Makdessi counters with a right hand down the pipe. Stout is looking marked up. Potential takedown is avoided by Makdessi’s footwork. Stiff jab again from Makdessi. Stout tries a takedown but Makdessi does well to shrug it off and he lands with the jab once more. His movement is looking great here as Stout is barely landing with any of his shots. Jab lands flush for Makdessi and snaps Stout’s head back. Spinning back kick to the body from Makdessi and he follows with the jab. Makdessi is getting out of the way of Stout’s big combos by INCHES here. Awesome movement. Round ends on the feet. Good round for John Makdessi; 10-9. Second round and Makdessi opens with a HOPPING SIDE KICK that misses. Dude had to try it! Stout keeps pushing forward and Makdessi continues to counter well with the jab. Left to the body from Stout but Makdessi counters with a left of his own that lands hard. Body kick from Makdessi. Another jab connects for the Bull. This is basically looking like a very good striker being picked apart by an even better one. A thousand times better than the previous fight! Good left uppercut from Stout and he shoots on a double and gets Makdessi down, but Makdessi immediately springs back to his feet. Solid right lands for Stout. Makdessi catches him with another counter jab though. Sick head movement allows Makdessi to slip a big combo, but a kick does connect for Stout. Good body kick from Stout but he takes another jab. Stout walks in with the left to the body but eats a pair of counters from Makdessi. Stats show Makdessi is WAAAY ahead in the total strikes, basically just by landing clean counters. Leg kick from Stout but it allows Makdessi to catch him with a right. Jab snaps Stout’s head back. Nice jab from Stout to answer. Side kick to the chest from Makdessi. Big combo again misses for Stout as he makes the error of chasing Makdessi, who uses slick movement to avoid and sticks him with the jab. More of the same follows and Stout needs to change his gameplan up badly. Takedown attempt indeed comes, but Makdessi manages to stuff it and remain standing. 10-9 Makdessi. Third round and I’d say Stout needs a finish here. He pushes forward but walks right into a jab and almost a turning heel kick as Makdessi slips out of the way of Stout’s swings. Makdessi is looking great here, best I’ve ever seen him look. Side kick and an ultra-rare HOOK KICK!~! land for Makdessi although Stout has the chin to take them LIKE A MAN. Nice counter left hand from the Bull as Stout pushes forward. Good leg kick from Stout though. Another one follows but Makdessi catches it and lands a stiff counter. More of the same follows as Makdessi uses Stout’s aggression against him to land the slicker counter shots. Stout continues to walk right onto the end of stiff jabs. Sick head movement allows Makdessi to slip a combo and he catches Stout with a solid head kick. Big right hand snaps Stout’s head back. Guy has an excellent chin as always though and keeps coming forward, landing a leg kick. Takedown attempt is beautifully avoided by Makdessi like a matador. Couple of kicks glance for Stout but not enough to really damage Makdessi. More of the same follows and it’s largely advantage: Makdessi. Seconds to go now and another jab snaps Stout’s head back. Brief clinch almost allows Stout to land a knee but Makdessi avoids and then dodges another takedown too. Crowd are LOUD as Stout really tries to push it to end the fight, but he can’t catch Makdessi and that’s the fight. Shutout for John Makdessi in my eyes. Official scores are 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27 for John Makdessi. Story of this fight was basically as I said – Makdessi using Stout’s aggression against him to constantly counter and land the cleaner shots while avoiding being hit himself. I mean sure, he didn’t come close to finishing or even stunning Stout really, but it was still a fascinating fight to watch to see a good striker like Stout being picked apart and Stout’s iron chin sort-of excuses Makdessi from not *really* hurting him. Decent stuff and Makdessi’s first impressive showing since that spinning backfist back in 2011. Light-Heavyweight Fight: Cyrille Diabate vs Chad Griggs After a surprisingly successful run at Heavyweight was brought crashing down by Travis Browne, Griggs was making his first foray into the 205lbs division here, facing off with the Snake, who had last been seen in March taking a decision over prospect Tom De Blass. With Diabate being a much cleaner striker than Griggs who is more of a crude brawler, the smart money was likely on the Frenchman to win, but with his habit of leaving his chin open a victory for Griggs wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. Fight begins and Griggs looks to close the distance as Diabate stays on his bike. A rushing attack forces the Snake backwards, but he fires back with a straight left counter that drops Griggs. Diabate pounces and drops some elbows as Griggs tries to hold on, but the Snake manages to get into side mount. Griggs uses brute force to hit a reversal and get to his feet, but Diabate stays on him and trips him back down. Whoa! Griggs gets half-guard, but Diabate controls him from the top and passes into side mount again. Looks like Griggs’s nose might be bust. He tries to get to his feet, but gives his back in the process and Diabate hits him with a vicious knee as he stands. Trip from Griggs though allows him to take top position and he tries a guillotine off the scramble. Diabate takes him back down and escapes, and this time he takes the back with a rear waistlock as they stand. Griggs trips him but that allows Diabate to slap both hooks in, and from there he gets a rear naked choke and Griggs taps! Wild to see the Snake pull off a submission like that, but there you go. Big difference here was that Diabate was using skill and technique and Griggs was using brute power and force and just like in the old Royce Gracie days, the cleaner technique paid off. Exciting little fight actually. Middleweight Fight: Patrick Cote vs Alessio Sakara After a disappointing UFC return in his loss to Cung Le, this was Cote’s chance at redemption and on paper it seemed like a good match for him, as in my opinion Sakara’s stand-up is overrated and he doesn’t have much else in the toolbox, while Cote hits harder, has a better chin and is decent on the ground too. My pick was Cote via early TKO, ala Sakara’s loss to Brian Stann. Round One and both men come out looking to strike. Early leg kick lands for Cote and he avoids a combo from the Italian. Decent jab connects for Sakara. Leg kick again from Cote. Clinch and Sakara tries to land some knees, but Cote breaks off and rocks him BAD with a combination. Big right hands from Cote back Sakara up, but the Italian does fire back and manages to force Cote into the fence. Suddenly HE opens up with a big right hook and a CRUSHING OVERHAND ELBOW and now Cote is rocked! More knees and a series of elbows stun Cote and a big one sends him crashing down. He tries to go for a single leg, but Sakara absolutely HAMMERS him with punches to the back of the head and from there the referee steps in. Crowd are booing as the finishing blows looked potentially illegal. Replay confirms the elbows that hurt Cote initially were legal, but indeed, the final hammer fists were literally all to the back of the head. Damn. Bad break for Sakara but you have to follow the rules, dude, even though it’s hard to in that situation given the adrenaline rush and the position of Cote’s head as he’s going for the takedown. Official call is a DQ win for Patrick Cote, which probably saved his UFC career actually as he was likely cut with a TKO loss. I would’ve tried to book a rematch as the fight was incredibly exciting while it lasted, but Cote’s since dropped to 170lbs so c’est la vie. Post-fight Sakara apologises for his actions in a really classy moment. Featherweight Fight: Pablo Garza vs Mark Hominick I was pretty pumped to see this fight despite both men being on pretty bad skids – Hominick losing three in a row and Garza two, albeit all against pretty decent opposition – mainly because I’m a big fan of the Scarecrow and love his style and while I’m not as big on Hominick, the guy nearly always puts on an exciting fight regardless and he was back in his home country of Canada where he usually (Korean Zombie fight notwithstanding) delivers the goods. My pick was Garza based on the thinking that Hominick had looked like a potentially shot fighter in his loss to Eddie Yagin. Round One and Hominick comes right out and walks Garza down, as the taller man looks to fire some knees at him. Good leg kick and a jumping kick land for Garza. Hominick keeps pushing forward though, obviously looking to negate the reach of Garza. More kicks from Garza before both men land combinations. Left hand connects for Hominick and he follows with a sharp combo. Big knee from Garza backs him up a bit though. Hard leg kick into a right hand from Hominick but again Garza backs him up a bit with kicks. Another nice combo lands for Hominick. This is a really high pace they’re keeping. Combo into a leg kick from Garza. Body shot answers for Hominick. Pair of heavy right hands get through too. One-two looks to have Garza stunned a little but he recovers well. Leg kick from Hominick is caught and Garza looks for a takedown, but Hominick reverses and hits a nice throw to land in half-guard. Garza gets full guard back quickly though and immediately locks up an armbar. Hominick lifts him up to try to shake it off and manages it, then lands some solid punches from the guard. Excellent submission defense there. Hard shots to the body connect for Hominick before Garza kicks him away and gets up, following with a knee to the body. This has been a hell of a round. Brief exchange and then a BRUTAL LEFT TO THE BODY from Hominick absolutely FOLDS Garza, dropping him HARD. Hominick pounces and starts pounding the body looking for the finish, but Garza guts it out and gets to his feet, and now HE opens up, landing a heavy right that busts Hominick open! Crowd are going crazy. This is AWESOME. Big left lands for Garza and Hominick looks wobbly, but still fires back with a left hook. Garza walks through it though and lands another combo before absolutely OPENING UP on Hominick on the fence, leaving his face a bloody mess. Hominick manages to stay standing though and the round ends there. That was a great, great round. Really difficult to score too but I think Garza just about stole it there at the end. 10-9 Garza. Round Two and Garza comes out with the HELICOPTER KICK!~! Unfortunately Hominick jumps out of the way. Left hook to the body from Hominick and he follows with a big left that misses. Garza comes back with a GSP-esque combo ending in a leg kick. Combo from Hominick but Garza comes back with a glancing head kick. Takedown attempt from Garza and he gets Hominick down, but Hominick rolls and looks for a reversal. Garza uses that to almost take the back, but Hominick shifts his weight and in the end Garza takes top position inside Hominick’s guard. Action finally slows down a bit as Hominick ties him up from the guard, restricting him to some short punches to the body. Garza does get through with some short elbows, however. Referee Marc-Andre Cote warns Garza for inactivity, and that triggers him to REALLY open up, posturing up in the guard to deliver some nasty punches down onto his opponent. Hominick suddenly looks in trouble, as his face is really badly busted open now. Big chant for Hominick and he tries for an oma plata, but Garza avoids it and stays on top, dropping a big elbow for good measure. One minute to go and this round has been all Pablo Garza. Vicious elbows begin to land with about thirty seconds to go, slicing Hominick’s face up even more, and the round ends shortly thereafter. 10-9 Garza and Hominick needs a stoppage most likely now. Round Three and Garza fires off with the front kick to the face right away. Hominick pushes forward, obviously recognizing the urgency, but Garza lands on him with a sharp combo and a powerful leg kick. Hominick replies with a nice right hook. Clinch from Garza but Hominick shrugs it off and opens up with a combination. Head kick is blocked by Hominick but a takedown attempt is not and Garza winds up on top in the guard again. Big elbow lands for Garza and he shrugs off an oma plata attempt easily. Hominick tries to kick him away, but to no avail as Garza uses his length to land some more punches from above. Hominick is looking a bit tired now too which is unsurprising given he’s been trying to defend for a long time now. Big elbow lands for Garza as he continues to work the Canadian over. Hominick manages to escape to his feet and then sprawls to avoid another takedown, but makes the mistake of taking a risk and going for the oma plata and instead he ends up on his back in half-guard. And of course, Garza goes back to feeding him a steady diet of elbows. Armbar attempt by Hominick with seconds to go, but Garza pulls out and the fight ends there. I have this 30-27 for Pablo Garza in a comfortable win in the end. Official scores are 29-27, 30-26 and 29-28 for Pablo Garza. Well, first off that was a great fight – best of the card so far. First round was absolutely outstanding and while the second and third weren’t as great, mainly because they were one-sided, it was still an exciting fight from bell to bell. Secondly, not to take anything away from Garza, because its arguably the best win of his career, but I think I was right about Hominick being a bit of a shot fighter, as he was much more easily rocked standing than he’d been in the past and he didn’t seem to have any answer for Garza on the ground once he took some damage to his face. He’s since retired which I think is the right move for him coming off this loss along with the losses to Yagin, Jung and Aldo. Not that he won’t be missed though as he was always an exciting fighter. Garza’s actually since been cut from the UFC himself, but that’s another show, so let’s just dwell on this fight, which was fantastic. Lightweight Fight: Rafael Dos Anjos vs Mark Bocek This one got elevated to the main card to replace Costa Philippou vs. Nick Ring, which was cancelled when Ring got sick. Personally I wasn’t impressed with the choice given it’s MARK BOCEK and I can’t even remember the last exciting fight involving the guy, but I guess RDA is pretty exciting and had been on a good run coming into this, so there was the off chance of it being something watchable at least. To say I was pulling for RDA would be an understatement, of course. Fight gets started and they circle around before Bocek closes the distance and forces RDA into the fence. Right hand quickly breaks for Dos Anjos. Couple of kicks glance for the Brazilian and he’s moving around a lot here, obviously looking to avoid the takedown. Body kick from Dos Anjos but Bocek closes the distance and forces a clinch again. Bocek tries to get him down, but Dos Anjos looks too strong and separates with a pair of hard knees to the body. Good right hook connects for RDA. Nice combination follows and ends with a sweet uppercut. Bocek’s stand-up isn’t looking great here and he’s beginning to eat some shots. Bocek grabs the plum though to force another takedown attempt, but evidently Dos Anjos has been working a ton on his wrestling as Bocek can’t get him down. Flying knee glances for the Brazilian. Body kick follows. Leg kick lands but Bocek goes for the takedown, but again Dos Anjos stuffs it. Bocek is in trouble here if he can’t get RDA down. He really goes for a single leg, but fails on it and takes some elbows to the head for good measure. Dos Anjos breaks and lands a sharp leg kick, then clinches and lands a decent elbow and knee to end the round. 10-9 Dos Anjos. Into the 2nd and both men glance on a couple of shots before a kick lands to Dos Anjos’ groin. Ref calls time and warns Bocek although he doesn’t take a point. Dos Anjos recovers quickly and they restart. Takedown attempt is easily stuffed by Dos Anjos, who follows with a hard straight left and a takedown of his own. Bocek tries to reverse position on the ground, but gives his back and takes a couple of shots before standing. Dos Anjos avoids a kimura attempt and drops into side mount as he drags Bocek back down, and now Dos Anjos looks for the kimura. Looks like he’s got it from north/south, too, which is always dangerous. He decides to switch to an armbar, but Bocek manages to avoid and looks for a reversal. He goes for a takedown, but Dos Anjos sprawls out and continues to control him, before taking a rear waistlock and using it to get Bocek on his back. Bocek looks busted up. He stands, but Dos Anjos cracks him with a left-right and separates. Another takedown is easily stuffed by Dos Anjos and then he hits a takedown of his own again. This time he takes the back with one hook and begins to land some hard punches, and it looks like Bocek is beginning to break. Bocek tries to roll, but he can’t get out of the bad position and Dos Anjos continues to land to the head while looking to get both hooks in. Bocek manages to stand, but Dos Anjos stays on the rear waistlock and then manages a slam to put Bocek on his back. Another scramble almost allows Bocek up, but RDA won’t let up and he continues to land hard shots. Back to the feet with seconds to go, but Bocek can’t land anything and that’s the round. Clear 10-9 for Rafael Dos Anjos. Third and final round and Dos Anjos looks confident, rightly so. Bocek’s left eye is a MESS. Body kick connects for Dos Anjos. Right hand follows. Bocek’s punches are coming up way short. Takedown attempt from Bocek is shrugged off, but he manages to hit a switch and take top position when RDA tries a takedown of his own. Right away though RDA reverses back to his feet. Bocek keeps trying to get him down, dropping for a double leg, and he manages to get the Brazilian down for a split second before he springs back up. Dos Anjos is looking awesome here. Good knee to the body from RDA and he follows with a big slam that dumps Bocek onto the ground. Kimura is wide open but he takes the back instead and lands some shots. Bocek manages to get to his feet and goes for a standing kimura (!) but Dos Anjos spins right out of it. Nice combination from RDA and he lands a jumping knee to the body too. Left hand fires back for Bocek. Can’t fault him for effort. He tries the takedown again but it’s still to no avail and they wind up clinched. Single leg attempt from Bocek fails again and RDA makes him pay with a pair of knees from the plum clinch. Referee breaks them up with seconds to go and Dos Anjos just misses with a hopping front kick. Slip sees Dos Anjos go down but he’s back up immediately. Another takedown is avoided and in a weird moment Dos Anjos stumbles right into the cage. Bocek begins to push forward towards the end of the round, but he can’t land anything significant before the buzzer sounds. Clear-cut 30-27 for Dos Anjos; literally no other score would be possible in my eyes. Indeed the judges all have it 30-27 for Rafael Dos Anjos. This was total domination as Bocek could literally do NOTHING with this guy, couldn’t come close to taking him down and got owned in all areas basically. Credit to Bocek for not giving up but he was totally outclassed in this fight and Dos Anjos did everything but get a finish, basically. He might be *the* most improved fighter in the UFC right now when you consider what he looked like in his early UFC fights with Jeremy Stephens and Tyson Griffin – basically a one-dimensional grappler with little striking and wrestling – and I think he could turn out to be a legit contender at 155lbs when you also take into account he’s still only 28. Fight was surprisingly okay to watch given it involved Mark Bocek! Middleweight Fight: Francis Carmont vs Tom Lawlor Well, I seem to be a rare online fan who actually LIKES Carmont – dude is a physical beast so of course I do! – and so I was excited to see him make another step up in competition after comfortably running over lower-level opposition in his first three UFC fights. Lawlor had looked impressive in his previous fight – a knockout win over Jason MacDonald – and the question was whether Carmont’s super-physical game could overcome the superior wrestling of the TUF veteran. I was betting on yes. Round One and Lawlor quickly pushes forward and closes the distance, forcing Carmont into the fence. Carmont manages to stay vertical and lands a decent knee to the body, but he can’t seem to separate. Carmont gets a reversal in position for a second, but Lawlor manages to spin him right back around. Ref finally calls a separation which DISGUSTS Joe Rogan, but c’mon Joe, they weren’t exactly doing much and clinch work isn’t great to watch in my opinion. Carmont is using this weird stance with his left hand waaaay extended here. Couple of good kicks land to the body for the Frenchman. Lawlor manages to clinch again and goes for the takedown, but Carmont defends nicely. He goes for a standing kimura, but can’t quite get it locked up correctly and Lawlor manages to break free. Takedown attempt from Carmont now but Lawlor stuffs it and we’re back to the stalemate in the clinch. Lawlor breaks with a glancing left. Solid right hook from Lawlor as Carmont pushes forward. Carmont answers with a body kick and manages to avoid the clinch this time. Right hand and a body kick from Carmont and he goes for a takedown, but Lawlor grabs onto a guillotine and pulls guard. This looks TIGHT and Carmont is in some trouble, but it’s an arm-in guillotine and Lawlor makes the error of pulling back rather than squeezing forward, and that basically allows Carmont to survive and escape right before the buzzer. Big elbow lands on the buzzer in fact. I’d go 10-9 Carmont there as the guillotine wasn’t THAT close and Carmont was outstriking Lawlor and stuffed all of the takedowns too. Round Two and Carmont makes some weird hand gestures before landing a leg kick. Both men miss with combos before Lawlor glances on a left hand. Straight right from Carmont. Lawlor looks for a takedown but Carmont blocks it and lands a NASTY knee to the body. Leg kick follows. Lawlor manages to close the distance though and forces him into the fence again. Right uppercut breaks for Carmont. Good right hand from Lawlor gets through in an exchange. He’s pushing the action more now as Carmont stays on the outside. Right-left from Lawlor and he walks through a right hand to go for the takedown. Carmont again blocks it, and man, these clinches are KILLING ME. Crowd too evidently as they begin to boo. Left hook connects for Carmont but Lawlor drops for the takedown and finally gets it. Full guard for Carmont and he immediately looks to get towards the fence. Lawlor postures up to drop some shots, but Carmont uses brute strength and gets his back to the fence to stand. Nice knee by Lawlor as he gets up though and he looks for the takedown again. Good knee inside from Carmont as he blocks, but Lawlor drags him to the ground again and looks to pass the guard this time. Carmont looks for a triangle, but Lawlor postures out and uses it to take side mount. Guillotine attempt again from Lawlor but he makes the same error as before, and with seconds on the clock like last time it looks like Carmont will survive. Again the round ends with Carmont breaking free and dropping some punches. 10-9 Lawlor for me as he did better standing in that round and hit two takedowns as well. Round Three and both men miss on some punches before Carmont glances with a straight right. Good leg kick from Lawlor is answered by a body kick from the Frenchman. Jumping knee attempt from Carmont glances, but Lawlor grabs him and drives him into the fence looking for the double leg. Carmont stuffs it and lands a couple of elbows to the head, and the crowd begin to boo as Lawlor can’t get him down. Referee decides to separate them and a weird moment ensues on commentary as it sounds like Goldie is gasping for breath for a moment. No clue what that was about. Good leg kick inside from Carmont. This fight, it must be said, is nowhere near as bad as I remembered it being when I saw it live. Left hand from Lawlor sets up another clinch, but he can’t get Francis down and he takes some more elbows to the head. Both men look tired at this point as this is a SLOOOOOW clinch. Lawlor almost gets him down but Carmont manages to slip away. Right hook connects for Lawlor. Body kick glances for Carmont. Good combination lands for Carmont to answer a Lawlor right hand. One minute to go now. Kicks from Carmont back Lawlor up a little. Leg kick from Lawlor. Nice body kick from Carmont as Lawlor comes forward. Another clinch follows to the boos of the crowd. This time Lawlor goes for the Ruas foot stomps, but he finds himself down for a second only to get up on the buzzer. Crowd are booing as the fight ends. Incredibly close fight to score but I’m leaning to Carmont, if only because he stopped Lawlor from doing what he wanted to do and just about landed the better strikes. And it’s a split decision – 29-28 Lawlor, 29-28 Carmont, and 29-28 for Francis Carmont to pick up his fourth UFC win in a row. Crowd seem pretty split over this which is surprising given Carmont is practically a hometown fighter. Erm, a lot of fans online claimed Lawlor was robbed here but I don’t see it myself – I just can’t agree with the idea that a guy is winning by shoving the opponent into the fence, sorry. Granted, Carmont didn’t exactly do a ton to make it clear that HE was winning either, but even so – I thought he landed the better shots standing and the two guillotine attempts just weren’t as close as they first appeared to be, so I have no problems with the decision. The fight was definitely killed by all the clinching though and while it wasn’t quite as bad of a stinker as I thought it was at the time, it wasn’t good or anything. Welterweight Fight: Johny Hendricks vs Martin Kampmann This was being pegged – quite rightfully so – as a #1 Contender’s fight, as both men were on pretty impressive streaks – Kampmann had beaten Rick Story and then finished both Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger, while Hendricks had knocked out Jon Fitch for his biggest win but had also beaten Josh Koscheck earlier in the year. I personally loved the fight too as it meant whoever won, GSP (or Condit I guess…) would get a fresh opponent. I was leaning towards Hendricks to win as not only did he have the wrestling to be able to ground Kampmann if need be, but the Dane had also shown a shaky chin in the past and Hendricks evidently hits HARD. Still, after seeing the Alves and Ellenberger fights, you couldn’t count Kampmann out. Fight gets underway and Kampmann looks to gauge the distance before Hendricks comes forward swinging with intent. Kampmann avoids it and backs up, then pushes forward with a jab that misses. Kick misses for Kampmann and Hendricks LANDS WITH THE LEFT HAND AND KAMPMANN GOES DOWN LIKE A CORPSE!~! He’s out before he hits the ground but Hendricks lands another for good measure and naturally IT’S OVER. Scary, scary knockout from Johny Hendricks. I mean after the Fitch fight it was clear that the dude has bricks for hands, but to see Kampmann go down in pretty much EXACTLY the same way as Fitch did – stiff before he even hit the ground – was really eerie. This was expected to be a tough fight for Hendricks and instead it was a MASSACRE. Post-fight Hendricks basically begs for a title shot and well, the expectation was that it’d happen, but….well, it is happening in November now so it doesn’t matter so much, but naturally shenanigans ensued and Johny ended up fighting another time after this. As for poor Kampmann, it’s back to the drawing board for him again and I doubt he gets this close to a title shot again realistically. Regardless, this was one of the most memorable knockouts of 2012 and really got this show back on track after the previous slower fight. UFC World Welterweight Title: Georges St-Pierre vs Carlos Condit Well, talk about a highly-anticipated fight. This was one that I’d personally wanted to see since Condit first arrived in the UFC in 2009, as while he isn’t the absolute best in any area, he’s a FIGHTER and has the ability to force anyone into a wild fight, and so I thought it’d mean GSP would really have to open up in a way that he didn’t have to against the likes of Shields, Koscheck and Hardy. Throw in the fact that GSP was of course coming back from a very serious knee injury and a long time on the shelf, AND Greg Jackson having to distance himself from the fight due to his ties to both men, and you had the makings of one of the most intriguing bouts of 2012. Admittedly for the casual fans the shine had come off Condit a bit post-Diaz fight, but ignoring that fight (which I actually liked due to the smart gameplanning of Condit), the Natural Born Killer had pretty much always lived up to his nickname, and so I was RIDICULOUSLY excited. As for a pick? Well, I never pick against GSP to begin with, but I also had a massive amount of faith in his ability to recover from the injury and thought he’d be able to ground Condit and weather a few storms to win by decision or a late stoppage. And HERE WE GO!~! Condit circles on the outside as GSP moves forward right away, and they trade some feeler strikes with GSP looking to establish the jab. Crowd are already DEAFENING with the OLE OLE chants. Right hand glances for St-Pierre. Condit is staying way on the outside here. Combination is blocked by GSP. Nice jab into a leg kick from Condit. Takedown attempt from GSP and he gets Condit down. Rubber guard from Condit but GSP postures up and breaks out of it before chopping at the body. Armbar attempt from Condit is avoided and GSP drops some punches to make him pay. Into half-guard but Condit regains guard quickly. GSP is beginning to wear on him though with short shots from the top as well as using a can opener to force Condit to open his guard. Into half-guard again for GSP but Condit once again scrambles back to guard. Flurry from the top lands for GSP. Good left hand from GSP as he stacks up, but Condit is getting his legs up high looking for submissions. Flurry again from GSP but Condit seems fine. Seconds to go though and GSP is really beginning to land with some hard shots. BIG LEFT ELBOW opens Condit up before he uses a leglock attempt to scramble to his feet. Condit is cut badly. Round ends there. 10-9 GSP and he didn’t seem to have lost a step. Into the 2nd and GSP again pushes forward, forcing Condit to circle out although he is throwing combinations. GSP moves nicely out of the way though and lands a stiff jab. Head kick misses for GSP but a right hand connects. Good right hook from Georges. Right hand answers for Condit. He looks a little gunshy though, possibly due to the threat of the takedown from GSP. Another jab lands for St-Pierre. Condit fires right back with a nice combo of his own though. Left to the body follows and Condit begins to come forward a bit more, but GSP immediately makes him pay with a counter right. Jab lands for Georges. Condit’s face is totally busted up. Body kick is caught by St-Pierre and he tackles Condit to the ground and passes into half-guard, where he opens up with elbows to cut Carlos further. Good scramble from Condit but GSP connects with a nasty left hand. More good shots land for GSP and there’s literally blood everywhere at this point, but Condit to his credit is landing shots from his back too. Scramble allows Condit to his feet, and from there they outright trade briefly with both landing punches before the round ends. Great round; 10-9 GSP. Third round and GSP dodges out of the way of a combo nicely. Good inside leg kick from St-Pierre. Spinning kick misses for Condit. Wild left-right misses for Condit but a BIG HEAD KICK CONNECTS AND FOLDS GSP! Holy shit. Condit pounces and looks for the finish, dropping BOMBS as GSP tries to cover up and desperately grabs onto guard. Sweep attempt from St-Pierre but Condit stays on top and lands some more shots, and then almost gets to half-guard before GSP gets guard back. Big elbows by Condit though and GSP’s face looks badly swollen now. GSP kicks him away and scrambles to his feet, but he still looks a bit stunned. Crowd are going BATSHIT now. Stiff jabs land for both men. Big right hand lands for St-Pierre and now HE opens up with a combo before getting a big takedown into Condit’s guard. Condit again stays active from his back, keeping a high guard and landing shots from there to the swollen eye of the champ. St-Pierre returns the favour of course with more short elbows and punches. Condit manages to reverse to his feet, but GSP gets a single leg. Condit grabs a kimura to prevent it though and then drops for it, but he can’t lock it up and GSP takes top position in the guard again. Massive GSP chant from the crowd as he works with elbows and punches while Condit tries to sweep. Into half-guard for GSP with seconds to go, but Condit again rolls for a kimura. No dice as GSP breaks free and lands a couple of elbows, and that’s the round. 10-9 Condit though as despite GSP controlling more of the round in a time sense, Condit clearly did the most damage. We’re into championship territory (or main event territory if you will!) now, fourth round. The right side of GSP’s face looks badly swollen. Couple of early kicks from Condit come close but don’t land flush. GSP keeps pushing forward and almost eats the head kick again en route to landing a jab. Head kick from GSP and he fires off a flurry before hitting a takedown. Condit sits up though to look for a switch, but GSP passes into side mount. Condit quickly sneaks back to half-guard though. Dude really is excellent from his back. GSP tries to work him over but Condit quickly slips back to full guard and lands some nice shots to the head with punches and elbows. GSP passes back into half-guard though and lands with a pair of really hard right hands. Condit works back into full guard though once more. Armbar tease from Condit and then he tries to turn it into a possible leglock as GSP postures out, and from there he goes for a triangle but GSP postures out and makes him pay with some more ground-and-pound. Condit manages to reverse to his feet, but GSP still has him tied up. He hits a reversal though as GSP takes him down and now Condit is on top! Before he can do anything though GSP reverses him and gets him right back down. Condit goes back to full guard and we’re back to square one really. There’s a TON of blood coming from both men now. Announcers keep talking about GSP possibly fighting Anderson Silva and they even show Silva at ringside which is annoying given neither man really seems to want the fight. Round ends with Condit trying to scramble to his feet. 10-9 GSP. Fifth and final round of what has really been a great fight. Right hand lands for Condit as GSP moves forward. Superman punch into a leg kick (!~!) from GSP. Condit is throwing combos but not landing cleanly. Good leg kick again from GSP. Condit fires back with a spinning back kick that glances. Beautiful low single leg from GSP but Condit uses a switch to escape to his feet and then breaks off with a side kick. Georges fires back with a hard right hand. Combination from Condit answers right back. Left hand connects for GSP in an exchange. Jab lands to counter a Condit combo. Another one follows to counter a leg kick and a double jab followed by a right hand comes after. Takedown from GSP and it looks like he might get full mount, but Condit immediately sneaks into full guard. GSP passes back into half-guard and it looks like he’s trying to pass that, too, pushing down onto Condit’s leg to free his own legs up. Condit proves to be a tricky customer though and avoids that. One minute to go and Condit gives up his back, but he doesn’t allow GSP to get his hooks in and tries to free himself in the scramble, but GSP is too good for that and winds up on top in guard again. Kimura attempt from Condit again but GSP avoids it and they trade from the guard to end the round. Crowd are blowing the roof off the building. Tremendous fight. 10-9 GSP and I have it 49-46 overall. Judges have it 49-46, 50-45, and 50-45 for the UNDISPUTED UFC Welterweight Champion of the World, Georges St-Pierre. As if there was any doubt! Well, to be fair when that head kick landed there was – that was the first time GSP had been in legitimate trouble since the first Matt Serra fight and coming off such a long layoff, Georges did an incredible job to not only survive it, but come back and win the round on two of the scorecards. Overall this was a tremendous fight in my opinion – low-end FOTYC when you consider all the aspects coming into it with GSP’s injury and stuff – as it went exactly how I’d hoped, with Condit really making a fight of it and busting GSP up even when he was being controlled on the ground, and Condit’s gameness made it a far superior fight to GSP’s last few – I’d say it was his best fight in terms of entertainment value since the Jon Fitch fight in fact. To see GSP return from an injury like a wrecked ACL to fight an awesome fighter like Carlos Condit and to beat him in that way just cements his greatness even further. Forget the haters – GSP is the best fighter in UFC history in my eyes. Post-fight GSP discusses his ring rust and again dodges the question of the Anderson Silva fight, and to be frank I wish they’d just forget about it now because it’s a silly idea anyway and both men have more intriguing opponents in their own divisions. But that’s another article. Condit then says he’s disappointed and thought he had Georges with the head kick, but he loved putting on such a great fight in Montreal anyway. Word. -Highlight reel rolls there and that’s our night, baby. Final Thoughts…. A handful of slower fights (Maguire/Riddle, Carvalho/Damm, Carmont/Lawlor) keep this show from being up there with the very best of 2012, but I mean, the main event delivered hugely, Hendricks hit one of the best knockouts of the year, and Hominick/Garza was a fantastic fight too as was Cote/Sakara while it lasted. If you’re a GSP hater you should probably stay away but outside of that I’d definitely give this one a high recommendation – just skip over those slower fights and don’t waste your time with them. Best Fight: St-Pierre vs. Condit Worst Fight: Riddle vs. Maguire Overall Rating: **** Until next time, Scott Newman: [email protected]