Superstar Of The Year


Scott,


It's rare when there's a universal consensus amongst wrestling fans, but I think we can all agree that "The Juggernaut" Roman Reigns was the clear choice to win the Slammy Award for Superstar Of The Year based on his numerous accomplishments in this, his breakout year. Is it too early to start discussing where he ranks all time in the pantheon of WWE greats?

​Also, did you know that you can watch all his classic matches for only $9.99 a month on the WWE Network?  ​

The Nicest, Most Grateful, Most Diplomatic and Pragmatic Superstar Ever… The Ultimate Warrior?!?

The Ultimate Collection is streaming on Netflix, and… wow. I know Warrior picked all sorts of internet fights and talked ill of the dead and everything else, but in this documentary he goes out of his way to praise Andre the Giant despite Heenan's suggestion in the previous DVD that Andre hated him. Heenan was repeatedly and wildly dismissive of Warrior in that shitty DVD, and yet Warrior talks admirably of how Heenan bumped like a madman when he was the age Warrior was during the filming of The Ultimate Collection.

The closest he comes to attacking anyone (at least up to the point I have seen thus far) is to note that it never mattered whether he had the belt, despite the fact that some people took the belt way too seriously; he then specifically cites Bret Hart. But while Bret went out of his way to bury the Warrior in his book and on his DVD, Warrior immediately adds that Bret's attitude about the belt was "important," and that it was how he was raised.

Hell, Warrior even thanks the jobbers, and makes a special note that the term "jobber" is not meant to be derisive. He insists that none of the Superstars would have made it without the selfless performances of the jobbers.

Has anyone ever thanked or even acknowledged the jobbers before?

​I don't recall it ever happening before, no.  
As for Warrior, keep in mind that he mellowed out a LOT in recent years.  For him to even do the interviews on the new documentary show how drastically his worldview changed even since the 90s and the lecture circuit.  Clearly fatherhood did something to give him a better perspective on life, and it's even sadder that he wasn't able to see it through properly.  Everything I've ever heard, even outside of the propaganda DVD years ago, says that Warrior was a nightmare to work with by all accounts.  ​

WWE Announces a “Show us Your Superstar” Contest .

STAMFORD, CONN. AND MINNEAPOLIS, MN, June 10, 2014 – WWE (NYSE:WWE) and Totino’s™ BOLD have partnered to offer one lucky fan the ultimate WWE experience – a chance to create their own WWE Superstar. The “Show Us Your Superstar” contest will allow fans to submit their best WWE Superstar characters in a short video online at www.wwe.com/TotinosBOLD.
The winner will travel to WWE’s biggest event of the summer, SummerSlam®, on Sunday, August 17 in Los Angeles where the journey will be showcased to a sold-out crowd at Staples Center and millions watching around the world. Totino’s BOLD, a General Mills brand, will be the presenting sponsor of SummerSlam and the “Show Us Your Superstar” contest.
Fans can submit videos no longer than three minutes showcasing their ultimate WWE persona and one lucky winner will be selected and sent to WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, where just like an aspiring WWE Superstar, their journey will begin and the winner’s character will be developed.
At the Performance Center, WWE will follow the winner’s journey from average fan to ‘spotlight ready’ and capture content for a series of digital videos. The videos will be released beginning Monday, July 21 and lead up to SummerSlam, when the entire experience will be revealed for the first time.
“Totino’s BOLD is excited to continue our relationship with WWE through this fan contest, and the sponsorship of SummerSlam 2014,” said Brad Hiranaga, Associate Marketing Director for Totino’s. “We are launching two new flavors to our BOLD product line this summer and together with WWE we are bringing both flavors and fan experiences to the next level.”
“WWE has the most passionate fans in the world and we’re thrilled to partner with Totino’s BOLD to offer a once in-a-lifetime chance for fans to create their own WWE Superstar,” said Michelle Wilson, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer, WWE.  “We’re excited to leverage WWE’s expansive TV, digital and social media platforms to help Totino’s BOLD Launch its new products.”

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection – Kofi Kingston

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection:  Kofi Kingston

This was released in September but at the time I got two
copies of the Randy Orton DVD instead of one Orton and one Kofi, so I guess someone
finally figured it out and sent it to me. 
Whatever, I love reviewing these because they’re SHORT and filled with
stuff from a time period when I wasn’t watching so it’s mostly all new to
me. 

Intercontinental
title:  Chris Jericho v. Kofi Kingston
From Night of Champions 2008.  At this point, I’d never even seen this Kofi guy
wrestle.  Jericho hides out in the ropes
and grabs a headlock, then boots him down and tosses him. Kofi catches himself,
however, and comes back for the criss-cross, but Jericho bails.  Kofi follows with a pescado, and back in for
a crossbody that gets two.  Kofi slugs
away in the corner, but Jericho dumps him. 
Back in, Jericho stomps the back and they fight over a suplex on the apron,
but Jericho wins that for two. 
Backbreaker submission, but Kofi knees out of it, so Jericho dropkicks
him.  He chokes away on the ropes and
into the abdominal stretch, and somewhat amazingly for this boring match, the
crowd is still hanging with Kingston. Jericho chokes him on the ropes again and
they fight for a superplex while the crowd starts the “boring”
chant.  Kofi falls on top for two and
makes the comeback, headbutting Jericho down, but he misses a splash and
Jericho goes for the Walls.  Kofi rolls
him up for two.  Clothesline and legdrop
gets two.  Rana gets two.  Jericho puts him down again with a
clothesline and the Lionsault follows. 
Walls of Jericho follows, but Shawn comes out of the crowd and distracts
Jericho long enough for Kingston to spinkick him and win the title at
11:01.  Really?  Bob Charlie from Super Punch Out gets the
belt?  (2012 Scott sez:  Of course I became a much bigger fan of Kofi
in later years.  And yet four years later
and he’s still no higher than IC champion.) 
Not a really auspicious PPV debut for him but people seem to
like the guy.  ** 

RAW World tag
titles:  Ted Dibiase & Cody Rhodes v.
CM Punk & Kofi Kingston


From RAW, October 2008, a couple of nights after Punk lost
the World title to Jericho in that Scramble match deal.  Legacy was still hanging out with Manu the Samoan
at this point, which was a storyline that went NOWHERE.  Funny to see Punk as the plucky young
babyface at this point, especially since Kofi is basically still playing the
exact same character four years later.  Really,
Dibiase was the one who was the can’t-miss star out of the bunch and now he’s
basically screwed.  Punk and Kofi
double-team Cody in the corner to start, but Dibiase gets a jawbreaker on Punk
and hammers him in the corner.  Punk
comes back with dropkicks and the challengers clean house, allowing Kofi to
backdrop Punk onto the heels as we take a break.  Back with Cody hitting a legsweep on Punk and
reversing out of the GTS, but Punk manages a tag to Kofi.  He’s running wild, but runs a bit TOO wild
and gets yanked to the floor by Dibiase to allow the champs to take over again.
This is pre-Orton for Legacy, by the way, so this match has zero heat.  Cole tries to get over “The Dynamic Duo” for
Punk and Kingston because they’re both comic nerds but that went nowhere, much
like the team itself.  Kofi gets the heat
and the heels cut off the ring, but Kofi rolls up Dibiase for two.  Cody works the arm to finally pull the crowd
into it, and Kofi makes the hot tag.  Punk
uses the backfist-kick combo he never does anymore and lays out Manu with the
high kick to get rid of him.  GTS on
Dibiase wins the tag titles at 8:59.  I
remember none of this even though I was casually watching here and there at the
time.  I think they lost them to Miz
& Morrison if I’m not mistaken.  
Match was fine.  **1/2

Money in the Bank:  CM Punk v. MVP v. Shelton Benjamin v. Mark
Henry v. Kane v. Finlay v. Kofi Kingston v. Christian


From Wrestlemania 25. 
Henry and Kane clear the ring to start, but a ladder from Christian
& Shelton puts them down.  Kofi does
a nice acrobatic evasion of the ladder and dropkicks them down, and we get the
first climb from Kane and Henry. 
Everyone gangs up on them to bring them down and then we get a
mass-climb, which leads to the big men knocking the ladders over.  Finlay manages to get rid of Henry and hits a
suicide dive onto Kane outside, and we get a series of highspots from
there.  This concludes with Shelton
diving off the top of a 15-foot ladder with a plancha, which is pretty
awesome.  Mark Henry actually teases a
dive, but Finlay thankfully brings him down and then launches Hornswoggle off
Henry’s back onto everyone else.  Why
would 6 guys do down off that?  That
doesn’t even make SENSE!  Kofi gets a
good monkey-bar style attack on Finlay using the ladder, but dives and runs
into a stepladder.  Finlay climbs again
and Kofi kicks him down, but Henry pushes him off the ladder.  He just sucks the fun out of everything he
touches.  Another tremendous Kofi spot
sees Henry holding the ladder upright, which allows Kofi to climb up for the
briefcase before Henry drops him again. 
Kofi’s like the new Shelton Benjamin here.  Speaking of which, we get the mandated
contrived ladder spot, as a ladder gets wedged between the rungs of another
one, and MVP & Shelton work off that. 
Punk takes them out and climbs, but Christian follows and they tease a
GTS off the ladder, which turns into a blown Unprettier instead.  Well the thought was there, but they just
couldn’t pull it off without breaking a neck. 
MVP climbs and Shelton does his usual crazy jungle gym climb to save,
then they badly fuck up a powerbomb spot. 
Shelton recovers and powerbombs MVP out of the ring in another
scary-looking spot.  Shelton slugs it out
with Finlay on top of the ladder, but Christian pulls them down.  He and Shelton fight there and the ladder
goes down, but Christian holds on and pulls himself up again.  Punk saves, but gets hung up.  Kane finally returns from Purgatory and
climbs up to chokeslam Christian off, but Punk boots him down and repeats as
MITB winner at 14:23.  Kind of a big heel
reaction for Punk, as I think the fans wanted someone new to win.  As did I, I was hoping for MVP.  Pretty fun opener, although Kane and Henry
sucked the life out of it every time they were in and there were too many blown
spots.  ***1/4

Randy Orton v. Kofi
Kingston


From TLC 2009, just after Kofi had “come out” as African
instead of Jamaican.  I totally forget
where this fell in regards to their MSG brawl, but Michael Cole doesn’t even
mention it so I’m thinking it comes later. 
Orton goes for the arm and hits a powerslam for two.  They fight out of the ring, leading to a
great spot where Kofi tries the springboard dive and Orton counters with a dropkick
from the floor.  Say what you will about
Orton, but he’s got impeccable timing. 
Maybe that’s why he gets so mad when others screw up their spots.  Back in, that gets two.  Kofi fights back with the move that would
become the SOS, despite injured ribs, and hits a suicide dive on Orton.  Back in, a flying bodypress gets two, but the
ribs are still hurt.  He slugs Orton down
and hits the springboard forearm out of the corner, but walks into Orton’s
backbreaker.  Kofi has taken a LOT of the
offense in this match thus far.  Orton
sets up for the RKO, but Kofi dropkicks him to block and hits the boomdrop.  The Trouble in Paradise hits, but Orton is in
the ropes and bails to escape.  Kofi
quickly goes to get him back into the ring and Orton appears to be dead weight,
but he was just faking and hits the draping DDT on the way back into the ring.  Orton sets up for the punt, but Kofi blocks
with his arm, so now Orton goes after THAT with a single-arm DDT.  Another RKO attempt, but Kofi ducks and tries
the kick again, and Orton ducks THAT and finishes at 13:25.  Not much heat for this one, but I liked the
gutsy performance from Kofi back when he gave a shit about that sort of
thing.  ***1/2  The announcers treat this like Kofi’s big
ascension to the main event, but it wasn’t. 

Intercontinental
title:  Dolph Ziggler v. Kofi Kingston


From Smackdown, January 2011.  I remember this, as they built and built Kofi
until fans were BEGGING for him to beat Dolph. 
Kofi is all fired up and pounds on Dolph in the corner, as Cole is at
his heel worst on commentary.  Kofi goes
up and misses the bodypress as we get this exchange:  (Cole) “Kofi’s been after this title since the
summer, maybe he should just give up and try something else.”  (Striker) “Well what do you want him to do?”
(Cole)  “I dunno, maybe win a match for
once?”   What a douche.  Dolph pounds away, but misses a blind charge
and Kofi puts him down with a dropkick. 
Ziggler counters the SOS and rolls him up for two, but Kofi gets a
clothesline and boomdrop.  The kick
misses and Dolph gets the sleeper, but Kofi quickly escapes with a
jawbreaker.  Kofi with the SOS for
two.  They head up and Kofi blocks a
superplex and follows with the crossbody to win the title at 5:31.  Well that was certainly right to the point.  **1/2  Dolph
quickly lays him out with the Zig Zag, so Vickie grants him an immediate
rematch as assistant GM.  The heel
announcers point out that Kofi should have told the ref he wasn’t ready and
just left.  Very true.  Dolph pounds him down, but Kofi hits the
Trouble in Paradise to finish a second time, and that’s it for Dolph’s IC title
aspirations. 

The Pulse

Not exactly a must-buy, but again for $7 on Amazon what’s to
lose?  It’s stuff that’s not generally on
the other DVD releases and a low-profile guy like Kofi gets a DVD of his own to
shine.   Thumbs up.  

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Superstar Collection: Rey Mysterio

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Rey Mysterio Kind of weird that both releases this month cover guys who already have multiple comprehensive DVD sets in the past. In the case of Shawn Michaels, he not only has multiple sets about his singles career, but multiple sets about the D-X reunion. Intercontinental title v. Mask: Chris Jericho v. Rey Mysterio This is from The Bash 2009, aka the show formerly named The Great American Bash. Jericho grabs a headlock to start but misses a charge, and Rey puts him on the floor with a headscissors. Jericho blocks a baseball slide and runs Rey into the barricade, however, and the crowd gives him a babyface reaction for it. This must have been during the Rey backlash. Jericho with a delayed suplex for two. They head up and Rey puts him down for the senton, but Jericho gets a backbreaker for two. Jericho runs him into the corner as the early going isn’t terribly exciting stuff. Seated dropkick gets two, but Rey goes to the leg and puts Jericho on the floor, then follows with a CRAZY seated senton from the top to the floor. No wonder his knees are shot. Back in, Rey with a double springboard moonsault for two, as the crowd stars to turn back for him again. Well defying the laws of physics should probably get a babyface reaction, I’d hope. Jericho blocks a springboard bodypress and slams him for two, but misses a blind charge. Rey with a moonsault press for two. Rey tries a rana and Jericho headfakes him with a powerbomb counter, then drops him into a Walls of Jericho instead. What a great touch. Rey hits him in the leg to break, then suckers Jericho onto the apron and tries the 619. That misses, and Jericho hits a clothesline that has the heel fans cheering for him again. Back up for another rana attempt from Rey, and this time Jericho does powerbomb him for two. Lionsault misses and Rey gets the West Coast Pop for two. 619 is caught by Jericho, but Rey reverses him into a DDT for two. Rey springboards right into a Codebreaker in a great spot, but that only gets two. Jericho wants a top rope rana, but Rey blocks him and hits a missile dropkick. 619 finally hits, but Jericho blocks the rana with the Walls. What a great sequence. Rey fights into a sunset flip and they do a reversal sequence off that, but Jericho unmasks him Rey has another mask underneath, however, and while Jericho is pointing at his head to indicate his intelligence, Rey hits the 619 and drops the dime for the title at 15:51. What a BRILLIANT finish. Played off the previous match, built from Rey’s repeated 619 attempts, made Jericho look like an arrogant jackass who got what he deserved. Absolutely tremendous. ****1/2 Intercontinental title: Rey Mysterio v. Dolph Ziggler From Night of Champions 2009, back when Ziggler was managed by Maria and had no heat. You know the Vickie relationship is a good one because it’s hard to remember a time when it didn’t exist. Ziggler snaps off a dropkick for two, and he works the count before going to a headlock. Rey takes him down with a headscissors and tries a rana, but Dolph powerbombs him into the turnbuckles for two. And it’s chinlock time, as Ziggler works that in dramatic Orton-like fashion. Rey takes him into the post to break and gets the senton and springboard bodypress for two, however. Dolph powerslams him for two. Rey dumps him and follows with the senton off the apron, as the crowd isn’t buying into any of this. Back in, Rey goes up Dolph brings him down and tries a tiger bomb, but Rey reverses into 619 position. Dolph escapes and tosses Rey again, however. Back in, that gets two. I think that young Dolph is having trouble pacing the offense and giving Rey hope spots. Obviously he’s way better now. Speaking of which, Dolph goes to a full nelson and then powerslams him for two. Elbowdrop gets two. Back to the full nelson to cut off Rey’s comeback, and they trade rollups for two off that. Rey with a low kick for two. Ziggler gets a jawbreaker for two, but Rey takes him into the corner and goes up. Ziggler dropkicks him on the way down and gets two. They fight to the top, where Ziggler gets a gutbuster for two. JR is being fed some really annoying lines from Vince here, mostly about how close the near-falls are. Rey finishes with the 619 and splash at 14:18. Pretty dull stuff. **1/2 Steel cage match: Batista v. Rey Mysterio From Smackdown, January 2010. I don’t get why they did the awesome heel turn for Batista and then had him lose, like, EVERY MATCH. Rey immediately tries to run away, but Batista catches up and hauls him back in. Grisham calls this “like locking a fox in a cage with a lion”. Is there an alternate commentary option where I can hear monkeys throwing shit at each other instead of having to sit through these two? Neat bit sees Rey trying the 619, realizing that there’s not enough room between the ropes and the cage, and then running up Batista’s back and almost out of the cage instead. Batista hauls him back in again, however, and chokes him out on the cage while laying the bad-mouth on him. And once again Matt Striker switches between heel commentator (“These fans can chant 619 all they want!”) and all-knowing dispenser of wrestling wisdom. I just hate his commentary so much. Batista puts him down with a big boot, but Rey fights back with a clothesline and springboard leg drop for two. Batista goes for the spinebuster, but Rey gets a weak rollup reversal for two. Batista puts him down again and then spears him, and now Striker switches back to cheering for the heel. Batista with the spinebuster and some pushups and WHY THE HELL DIDN’T THEY PUT THE WORLD TITLE ON THIS GUY?!? I guess they did for like a month in 2010, but he really deserved a much longer run with this character. Rey tries to escape, but Batista keeps pulling him in, so Rey kicks the door in his face and escapes at 6:57. And now Striker is neutral again. Good finish, but I really hate the escape rules because it makes the babyface look like a total coward. Batista just ruled it here with his facials, but it was too quick and simplistic to really tell any kind of a story. **1/2 Hair v. Straight Edge Society: CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio From Over The Limit 2010. Punk is of course in full long-haired greasy Jesus mode at this mode to set up the payoff. This was kind of a weird feud in terms of progression, as we never got the “Rey joining the Society” wackiness you’d think would make for the better storyline, and we never got the mask on the line, and in fact Punk never really got any kind of advantage on him. They slug it out to start and Punk launches him onto the floor with a backdrop. Punk misses a dive and Rey takes him into the barricade with a rana as a result. Back in, Punk blocks the 619 and tosses him into the barber chair, and how the hell do you take THAT bump safely? Meanwhile, Punk is bleeding, so the match grinds to a halt so that everyone can come in and stop the tiny trickle of blood while Punk sits there rolling his eyes at the hard camera. I don’t mind the “no blading” policy, but stopping the match to tend to any little cut is just ridiculous overkill. Sometimes real men hit each other and gush blood all over the mat in the midst of combat sports. Deal with it. A clearly pissed off Punk attacks Rey and suplexes him on the floor, then puts him in a headscissors on the mat while Lawler and Matt Striker have the most annoying discussion possible. Striker was just the WORST by the end of his tenure, and the commentary was almost unlistenable here thanks to the bickering between Striker and Lawler. Punk drops forearms on Rey while pledging Straight Edge, and that gets two. Rey with the sunset bomb for two. Rey makes the comeback with the springboard bodypress for two and throws knees at Punk’s head as now I’m wondering if he’s trying to bust him open again as a rib. Punk alley-oops him into the turnbuckles and sets up the 619, but Punk reverses into a backbreaker for two instead. Rey reverses out of the GTS, but Punk bulldogs him off the middle rope for two. High kick gets two. Rey reverses another GTS attempt into the 619, but the splash misses. Punk goes for an arrogant cover, but Rey rolls him over for the pin at 13:44. The blood stoppage obviously ground things to a halt early, but after the restart it got rolling again pretty well. ***1/4 The SES comes in for the beatdown on Rey, but Kane makes the save and chases them off, leaving Punk handcuffed to the ropes for a PAINFUL haircut. Those dull clippers on greasy hair…OUCH. The crowd chants “shave his chest” afterwards, although thankfully Punk started doing that himself later. I think this was recently released on both the Rey DVD set AND the new Punk set as well. The Pulse Again, given the limitations of these Superstar Collections (has to be 2008-2010, they have to win their matches, only 90 minutes long) this was fine, but obviously Rey’s best work was not during this period. Kind of odd that they didn’t feature Rey winning the World title from Jack Swagger as one of the matches, though. Again, it’s a good quick watch, but nothing I’d pay more than the $6 sticker price for.

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Shawn Michaels

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Shawn Michaels Yup, another 90 minute special from the WWE DVD library. But for the price, you can’t argue. Especially with the content here… Chris Jericho v. Shawn Michaels From Judgment Day 2008. I guess this is non-title. Shawn teases the leg injury to start and they go right into a pinfall reversal sequence to trade some near-falls, then fight for the backslide before reversing each others’ bodypress attempt to put Jericho on top for two. Shawn with the inverted figure-four, but Jericho makes the ropes. Jericho goes for the leg, so Shawn bitchslaps him and now it’s on. Shawn starts acting all heelish by hiding in the corner to hide, then grabs the headlock, so Jericho elbows out and stomps him in the corner. Shawn, however, grabs the arm and holds an armbar while hanging upside-down, then takes him down with a nasty armbreaker. Oh, I like these matches where it’s face v. face and it starts getting all nasty and mean because they want to win so much. THAT’S wrestling! Jericho sends Shawn into the corner with a Flair Flip and stomps him down, but can’t get a superplex. Shawn sets up on top, but Jericho tries his suplex again and Shawn blocks with a front suplex, then follows with the flying elbow…which hits the knee. OUCH. Now that’s unique! Normally you just move to escape that, not put the knees up. Jericho starts working on the ribs and gets a backdrop suplex, leading to the abdominal stretch. Gorilla is up there bitching about it now, I bet. If Jericho is haunted by a mysterious voice telling him to hook that other leg, that’s why. Gutbuster gets two. Shawn gets sent into the corners, but Shawn blocks the bulldog attempt by sending him into the ropes and comes back with chops. Flying forearm, but the kip-up hurts the ribs, so Jericho POUNCES with the Walls of Jericho. Shawn makes the ropes, however, so Jericho stomps him down and follows to the apron…where he walks into a superkick. Oh, snap! Jericho’s ramrod-stiff sell to the floor was a thing of beauty. Shawn doesn’t want the countout and drags Jericho back into the ring, where he gets two. Shawn follows with the flying elbow, but they’re BOTH hurt by it. This sets up the superkick, but Jericho collapses twice to mess up Shawn’s timing. And indeed, he was faking, as Shawn gets fed up and moves in…right into the Codebreaker. Awesome. That gets two. Shawn reverses a suplex into the crossface (what is WITH that move on WWE PPV lately?) and Jericho WANTS to tap, but ends up grabbing the ropes instead. Another try is reversed by Jericho into the suplex he originally wanted, and he drops Shawn on the top rope to set up the Lionsault, but Shawn puts up the knees…which is what Jericho wanted! He hooks the Walls, but Shawn reverses to the pin at 15:54. Now this is more like it, a masterpiece of two guys being total pricks to each other in the name of WINNING. Jericho offers a handshake and if someone turns on the other I’m adding another 1/4*. Both guys flinch, but no turn is evident. Darn. ****1/4 Of course the turn would come a little later, leading to an even better ladder match between them. Why they didn’t include that one here, I do not know, unless it’s because Shawn won here and lost there. D-Generation X v. Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase This is the semi-main event of Summerslam 2009. I had the unfortunate honor of being at the RAW in Calgary where Shawn made his “return” in a series of vignettes as a short-order cook who superkicks a little girl to pay the whole thing off. DX literally rides a tank into the arena, preceded by the military, or least guys dressed like them. HHH and Dibiase fight over a headlock in the corner and slug it out, which of course HHH wins. Cole makes an offhand remark about how HHH won the World title at Summerslam there in Los Angeles one year. I have no idea what he’d be referring to there, since he never won either version of the World title at Summerslam or even in Los Angeles at any point. Suplex and kneedrop gets two. Over to Shawn and he disrespects Cody, prompting Legacy to regroup outside. Back in, Cody tries the sneak attack and gets foiled, but Dibiase manages to get the heat on Shawn with the Flair Flip in the corner. Funny how poor Shawn is always the one who has to get the shit kicked out of him when he’s teaming with HHH. Hot tag HHH and he beats on Dibiase before giving both heels the spinebuster. Shawn comes in and it’s LUCHA DX, as HHH backdrops Shawn over the top onto Cody. However, this allows Dibiase to punt HHH right in his chief operating officers. And now HHH gets the heat for once! Dibiase with the chinlock right out of Randy Orton’s boring playbook, as HHH is unable to escape and make the tag. That segment goes on for quite a while until HHH makes his comeback and slugs it out, then tosses Dibiase to buy time. Rhodes throws his partner back in, but it’s hot tag Shawn. Dibiase cuts him off with a clothesline off the kip up, and the brawl is on. Cody TO THE TOP, but the flying elbow misses. Shawn goes up in turn, but Cody puts him down and they fight for a superplex. Cody ends up on the mat, but Shawn drops an elbow on his knees and Cody gets two. You’d think that would have hurt Cody’s knees as much as it hurt Shawn’s elbow. And indeed, Shawn snaps a figure-four on him. That’s why he’s in the Hall of Fame. Dibiase breaks that up and it’s BONZO GONZO, leading to Rhodes hitting Crossroads on Shawn for two. HHH breaks it up with a KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but Dibiase hits the Dream Street on Shawn. So Rhodes and Shawn are out in the ring, while Dibiase and HHH are out on the outside. Superkick on Cody finishes at 20:00. Mostly dull tag match with a tremendous finish. ***1/2 This would lead to a bizarre submissions-only tag match at that crappy Breaking Point show, and then a really good and unique Hell in a Cell blowoff. The end result was supposed to be making Legacy look like superstars who could hang with D-X, but then they just ran a breakup angle after the Orton deal and they never teamed again. Shawn Michaels v. Kane From RAW, March 2010. Kane pounds away in the corner and gets a dropkick for two. Suplex gets two. Chinlock and corner clothesline and Kane slugs away in the corner and follows with a sideslam for two. Kane goes up and tries a clothesline, but Shawn catches him with a crossface on the way down. That was not a pretty sequence. Kane quickly gets to the ropes, but Shawn takes him down with an anklelock now. Kane makes the ropes again, so Shawn hits him with the flying forearm and goes up with the flying elbow. He sets up to finish, but Undertaker appears after a blackout and chokeslams him. Kane gets two off that. Tombstone is reversed to the superkick to finish at 5:25. Nothing match, which ended up being Shawn’s last one on RAW. *1/2 Streak v. Career: Undertaker v. Shawn Michaels Shawn’s last match to date, from Wrestlemania 26. Shawn fires away with chops in the corner, but eats Snake Eyes and a big boot. Corner clothesline and Taker tries to go Old School, but Shawn pulls him down. A second try hits, however. Taker pounds away in the corner and sets up for the tombstone, but Shawn slips out and fights for a crossface. Taker fights that off, but nearly takes the superkick before slipping away. Shawn decides to work on the leg in the corner, but Taker slugs him down and clotheslines him to the floor. That sets up a tope attempt, but Shawn slides in and clips the knee to stop him. Taker tosses him and runs his back into the post, then drops the guillotine legdrop on the apron. Back in, Shawn takes him down with a figure-four, but that only seems to make Undertaker really, really mad. He reverses the move and Shawn releases, and they slug it out. Shawn puts him down and kips up, but it’s a chokeslam for two. Tombstone is reversed into an anklelock by Shawn, so I guess that’s why Jericho couldn’t have it. Taker kicks him in the head a few times to break, but Shawn clotheslines him to the floor and follows with a moonsault. Taker catches that and tombstones him on the floor, and you have to figure that’s not good for Shawn’s career. An EMT runs down to check on Shawn, but Taker beats him up and rolls Shawn back in for two. Last Ride, but Taker’s knee gives out and Shawn gets two. Looked bad. Shawn goes up and drops the elbow, but Taker gets his knee up to block and Shawn takes the bump on his ribs. Ouch. Taker tries Hell’s Gate and Shawn rolls it over for two. They both struggle up and Shawn superkicks him for two. Shawn cues up another one, but Taker catches it and counters to the Last Ride for two. That was a giant near-fall. A frustrated UT tosses Shawn and preps the announce table, but Shawn escapes a powerbomb and superkicks him onto it instead. And given that it’s Wrestlemania, Shawn can’t resist a moonsault from the top, which puts Taker through the table. He even hits the knee, which is either a great bit of psychology or a lucky miss. Back in, Shawn adds one more superkick…for two. This match needs Jim Ross so badly. Shawn wants another one, but Taker chokeslams him. No cover, as he opts for the tombstone instead, and that only gets two. The crowd is just going insane now. Taker’s had it and he pulls the straps down, but he stops because he doesn’t want to end Shawn’s career. Just awesome facials from Shawn, as he gives Taker’s throat-cutting gesture right back to him, and then slaps Taker. And that’s it, as Taker tombstones him extra-super-duper hard for the pin at 23:57 to end it. If this was Shawn’s last match (which it’s not), he went out with another Wrestlemania classic. However, I just don’t think it was as good as last year, because expectations were so ridiculously high. ****1/2 The Pulse Hey, for $7 what are you gonna complain about here? Nothing, that’s what. Yeah, it’s really limiting to only be able to use stuff from the HD era and nothing past 2010 apparently, but for a quick fix (even if all the matches are already featured on other DVDs) you could do worse. Recommended.

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Randy Orton

The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Randy Orton I know we just got an Orton DVD set, but this is the 90 minute cheaper version with just four matches on it. I still really like this concept, actually. WWE title, Three Stages of Hell: Randy Orton v. HHH This is from The Bash 2009, a point where I wasn’t even watching the product outside of Wrestlemania and the Backlash where Orton won the title from HHH in a six-man. So this is a regular match first up. HHH gets the high knee and pounds him in the corner, but Orton goes for the knee and ends up running himself into the post. HHH suplexes him into the ring for two. Orton blocks a Pedigree attempt by clipping the knee and works on that for a bit, but HHH hits him with the spinebuster to slow down the torrid pace. HHH bails and grabs a chair, and beats on Orton for the DQ at 5:00. HHH absolutely destroys him with the chair, setting up the fall count anywhere portion. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE on the floor evens it up at 6:18. So it’s the stretcher match for the third part, which means the first two were basically pointless. Like really, 6 minutes for two falls? Why even bother? HHH puts him on the stretcher and can’t get him across the YELLOW LINE OF DEATH, as Orton escapes and goes to the knee again. Orton boots him into the crowd, right onto the JEFF HARDY CHAIRS, and they fight over to the sound board. Like really, would you want to be sitting on Jeff’s face at a wrestling show? Who even knows where it’s been? They fight back to ringside, tearing up the poor barricade in the process, and Orton drops HHH back-first onto the STEEL railing, and whips him into the STEEL stairs. Orton brings the stairs in, but HHH gives him the drop toehold to counter and drags him to the stretcher. Orton recovers and they both fall off the stretcher. Orton gives him the draping DDT off the stretcher, to the ramp, which is a pretty nice bump actually. The punt misses and Orton has to kick the stretcher on the follow-through in order to not have that sequence look ridiculous, but he gets HHH onto the stretcher again and sloooooooooooowly pushes the stretcher up. This is like slow-climbing in a ladder match, but even MORE boring. Orton’s RKO is countered by HHH and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE on the stage. Orton is on the stretcher, but Cody Rhodes runs out and blocks the stretcher. HHH beats him up and tries again, but now Ted Dibiase comes out for the save and HHH has to beat them both up single-handedly. Finally they manage to beat him down, but HHH locates his SUPER SECRET SLEDGEHAMMER and beats them up, but Orton hits him with a cheapshot from behind and puts him on the stretcher at 21:30 to retain. Boring match, terrible finish, as it took three guys to put down the THE MIGHTY HHH. The actual work was fine, but it felt like a bunch of wankery between them and the first two stages were a complete waste of time. **3/4 WWE title: Randy Orton v. HHH v. John Cena From Night of Champions 2009, so we get another round of Orton v. HHH. Orton wisely slithers out of the ring, but the other two chase him and HHH beats on him in the corner. Orton bails and the babyfaces continue taking turns on him, but Orton bumps Cena into HHH and takes over on Cena. Cena comes back with the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, but HHH breaks up the FU. HHH stops to glare at Cena, however, and Orton hits him from behind with a clothesline for two. Dropkick gets two. Orton with the chinlock, but HHH fights out and they slug it out. Orton with the powerslam, but HHH counters the RKO into a DDT. Both guys are down in contrived manner, so Cena gives them both the top rope legdrop. That looked ridiculous. Orton takes Cena out again with a neckbreaker and he bails, and then Orton backdrops HHH out of the ring as well. Another contrived spot sees Orton trying the double draping DDT, but the faces backdrop him out and now Orton gets to play dead for 5 minutes. So now it’s HHH v. Cena and they slug it out for the boo/yay spot. Cena gets his shoulderblocks, but HHH hits him with the high knee. Cena comes back with the neckbreaker and FU, but HHH counters out and they reverse each other until HHH gets the spinebuster. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE gets two, as Orton saves. He preps the table, but HHH goes low and Orton gets tossed into the crowd. Cena puts HHH in the STF on the table, so it must be extra painful. Back in the ring, Orton and Cena slug it out, but Cena blocks the RKO. They head up and tease the Tower of Doom spot, but Cena slingshots HHH into Orton and hooks him into the STF. HHH makes the ropes, so Cena does it again, leaving himself open for the punt. That misses and Cena rolls up Orton for two. That was a good moment, with Orton realizing his chance. Orton puts Cena down and gives both guys the Garvin Stomp and kneedrops. Finally he misses one, and the babyfaces go to work on his knee, but HHH turns on Cena and puts him on the floor. HHH actually uses a Sharpshooter on Orton, which is weird until Cena also hooks the STF on him and it’s clear why he did that. Orton taps but we don’t know who to, so Legacy runs in for the beatdown. Cena tries to give Cody the FU, and Orton gets the RKO on Cena to retain at 22:22. That was clever, but man did Cena look stupid there. Hey, two matches, two fuck finishes. No wonder I wasn’t watching in 2009. *** Randy Orton v. Ted Dibiase From RAW, March 2010. This would be after Orton’s babyface turn and setup of their boring three-way at Wrestlemania. Orton gets a clothesline, but Dibiase hammers away in the corner and dropkicks him. They fight to the floor and Dibiase runs away, and we take a break. Back with Dibiase stomping him down and choking away in the corner, and a boot to the head gets two. Dibiase with a clothesline for two. They slug it out and Orton gets the powerslam and Garvin Stomp. Cody Rhodes runs out to prevent the RKO, and Dibiase rolls him up for two before Cody comes in for the DQ at 5:41. Odd choice for inclusion. *1/2 World Heavyweight title: Randy Orton v. Christian From Capital Punishment 2011. There was concern at this point about whether Orton would actually be cleared due to concussion problems. Christian attacks to start and Orton gets the Thesz Press and works on a headlock. Christian goes up and misses a dropkick, but Orton bails and Christian gets the baseball slide instead. A dive misses and Orton takes over, hammering away in the corner. Back to the floor, where Christian escapes a DDT and runs Orton into the stairs. Back in, Christian gets two. He chokes Orton out in the corner and a neckbreaker gets two. Christian with the neck vice, but Orton rolls him up for two. Christian with a spinebuster for two and Orton is selling like he’s concussed again. He manages to whip Christian into the corner and comes back with a backdrop. Christian tries the inverted DDT, but Orton hits the powerslam and a belly to belly suplex for two. Why doesn’t he ever do that move, it looked good! Christian gets a cheapshot and tries to suplex Orton from the apron, but Orton blocks with a headbutt and they go up for an Orton superplex. And again Orton’s head is compromised, but he gets two anyway. They slug it out and Orton gets the backbreaker drop for two. Christian escapes the RKO, but Orton hits the draping DDT. Christian with his own DDT for two. Spear misses, but Christian escapes the RKO and hits it on a second try for two. Orton comes back with the dropkick, but Christian goes up and lands in the RKO at 14:02. Although his feet were under the ropes, so THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE. Good chemistry from them, as usual. ***1/4 The Pulse Kind of a strange selection of stuff, but decent enough for $7 I guess.

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Superstar Collection: Sheamus

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Superstar Collection: Sheamus Maybe it’s my old age talking, but I much prefer these 90 minute bite-sized collections to the mammoth 9 hour marathon sessions that WWE pumps out on a monthly basis. Five matches, and it’s only $7 on Amazon right now, no fuss no muss. Yeah, the cheaply produced cover makes Sheamus look like he’s constipated, but it’s the content that counts. Plus this is the kind of disc that’s perfectly suited to Netflix or PPV. And there’s no documentary or anything, just a quick video intro and then the matches… RAW World title, tables match: John Cena v. Sheamus From TLC, December 13 2009. This was of course very early in Sheamus’s run as a heel, as he was basically just up from ECW and beating midcard guys. Cena had been trading the belt with Orton for the previous few months, including overcoming getting blown up (literally) to win an Iron Man match. Why was this a tables match? Good question. Cena gets a MIGHTY negative reaction for his entrance. It was kind of funny, because leading up to this I was wondering why Sheamus was getting pushed like this when he wasn’t over, and the people in WWE at the time who were talking to me about it basically said “Oh, well, HHH likes him, so he’ll probably get a pretty good push in a while.” That was about two weeks before this. Cena attacks him in the corner to start, but Sheamus takes him down and pounds away on the mat. The crowd is booing both guys, and they brawl outside and try to retrieve a table. Cena gets it first and puts Sheamus on it, but shockingly 2 minutes is enough for him to recover and Sheamus comes back in the ring. Sheamus with a powerslam and Cena bails to the apron and we get a goofy spot with Cena JUST BARELY able to hang on and not fall through his own table. Matt Striker notes the irony of that, showing what an insufferable clod he was becoming. THANK YOU CAPTAIN OBVIOUS. They fight on the floor again and Sheamus works on the back and tries a powerbomb through that darn table, but Cena fights back again with a suplex on the ramp. They brawl into the crowd and back to ringside, but Cena takes too long setting up the table and Sheamus catches him with a brogue kick (called “the Irish Curse kick” by Cole, as he cycled through four or five moves with that name before finally settling on the backbreaker for good.) Sheamus puts a table in the corner and tries to powerslam him through it, but Cena OVERCOMES THE ODDS and it’s the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. He sets up another table and puts Sheamus on top for an FU, but Sheamus fights him off and John slips on the proverbial banana peel and falls through the table at 16:23 to give Sheamus the belt. What kind of a bullshit fluke finish was that? Sheamus hung in there with Cena pretty well, but this was pretty dull stuff and it did nothing to establish Sheamus as a top guy. **1/2 RAW World title: John Cena v. Edge v. Randy Orton v. Sheamus From Fatal 4 Way 2010. Michael Cole listing off all the World titles between the competitors is supposed to sound impressive, but really all it does is emphasize how cheap and meaningless the titles have become. Cena starts with Orton and almost gets the FU, but Edge and Sheamus toss Orton and double-team Cena. They stretch it out so the crowd can do a dueling Cena chant, but Edge turns on Sheamus and rolls him up for two. Second rope clothesline gets two. He goes up again and Orton follows for a superplex attempt, but Sheamus breaks that up. The end result is Edge getting a high cross on Sheamus for two. Orton clears the ring, but Cena returns from the dead and gets suplexed back into the ring for his troubles. Orton slowly works him over, but Sheamus comes back in and takes Orton out with a clothesline. So now Orton gets to roll out and play dead for 10 minutes while Cena and Sheamus do their sequence. Sheamus with a backbreaker for two and sets up for the finish, but Edge breaks it up and then gets tossed again. Orton hits Sheamus and Cena with the hanging DDT and gets two on Sheamus, but Cena comes back with his VINTAGE CENA offense on Edge. Orton dumps him and goes after Edge, but Sheamus dumps Orton and beats on Edge himself. This match is going nowhere. Cena clears the ring now and puts Edge in the STF, but Sheamus breaks it up and gets two on Edge. Clothesline gets two. Can we just skip to the NXT run-in already? This is boring. So magically the ring gets down to two guys again, with Cena trying the FU on Edge, but Orton sneaks in with the RKO on Cena for two. Sheamus grabs the ref to stop the count, and Cole points out that there’s no DQ in a Fatal Four-Way match. Really? Sheamus with the bicycle kick on Orton for two. Everyone brawls to the floor and it’s a big trainwreck, but backstage the NXT guys attack the poor guys who have to stand there pretending to watch the match instead of showering. So with Cena alone in the ring, the NXT crew storms out and destroys everything, and Sheamus pins Cena to win the title back at 17:27. *** The whole match was just the setup for the run-in, much like the nWo days. King of the Ring finals: Sheamus v. John Morrison I don’t know who the chick doing ring announcing here is, but the less said about the job she does here, the better. Morrison gets booted to the floor and we take a break, and return with Sheamus covering for two. Sheamus works on the injured arm with a divorce court for two. Sheamus pounds away on the mat and goes to an armbar as Cole notes that the winner will be crowned the nineteenth King of the Ring. I was initially questioning that one, but Wikipedia confirms it. Meanwhile I miss a bunch of the match while doing that research, but it’s pretty dull anyway. Sheamus goes for the Razor’s Edge, but Morrison fights out and gets a tornado DDT for two. Morrison goes to finish with the Shining Wizard, but Sheamus blocks it and sends him into the corner. Morrison goes up, and Sheamus slams him onto the bad shoulder for two. Sheamus slaps on a Fujiwara armbar (called as such by CM Punk, something I never thought I’d hear on this show), and he’s really cranking on it, but Morrison uses the POWER OF PARKOUR to escape. Starship Pain misses, however, and the Brogue Kick and Razor’s Edge crowns Sheamus at 8:31. Good “Big heart in a bad situation” effort from Morrison here, but this didn’t end up doing much of anything for either guy. ***1/4 Sheamus and his kingship seemed to be setting him up for a beating from “King of Kings” HHH, but he just turned into kind of a joke. US title: Daniel Bryan v. King Sheamus From RAW, March 2011. So weird to see clean-shaven babyface Bryan now. Sheamus was doing a losing streak gimmick at this point, one of the few that actually ended up paying off for the guy doing it. Bryan evades him and kicks him to the floor, then follows with a suicide dive. Back in, missile dropkick gets two. Sheamus bails and we take a break. Back with Sheamus holding a chinlock and then throwing the forearms on the apron. Back in, that gets two. Bryan cradles him for two and backdrops him to the floor, injuring the ankle. Bryan takes him down wit the YESLOCK, but Sheamus makes the ropes. Bryan reverses the Razor’s Edge into a rollup for two and they slug it out, with Bryan kicking him down for two. Bryan goes up…and lands in a brogue kick to give Sheamus the US title at 5:45. That of course wouldn’t be the last time Bryan felt that kick. This did nothing for Sheamus, as he quietly dropped the belt to Kofi Kingston a few weeks later and then finally caught fire after a babyface turn around Summerslam. Royal Rumble 2012: Sorry, but this is clipped to Sheamus making his entrance at #22. I kind of figured they wouldn’t be able to put the entire match on a 90 minute DVD. So you get the last 20 minutes of the match and the big sequence at the end with Jericho and Sheamus, leading to Sheamus winning his first Rumble. The Pulse Oh well, still a pretty decent set of stuff for a few bucks, featuring most of Sheamus’ big title wins, although couldn’t they fit the 18 second win over Daniel Bryan on there as well? Cheap and lazy collection from WWE, but it’s a hell of a deal for the price, especially if you’re a fan of his. I think this is exactly the kind of format they can use to showcase guys like Kofi and Ziggler or Miz, who wouldn’t otherwise get a DVD set, but who newer fans might be interested in enough to drop $8 on a DVD primer. Zack Ryder just got one of these last month, in fact. Recommended.