Tryout: Waiting For The Trades #1

Waiting for the Trade By Bill Miller Spider-man: Death and Dating by Marc Waid, Marc Guggenheim, Roger Stern & Dan Slott Collects Amazing Spider-man 578-583 and Annual #1.Why I bought this: It was in the discount bin of my local comic shop for $6. On the back cover was the Shocker, who is one of my favorite silver age Spidey villains. It also promised an explanation on how Harry Osborn (a favorite supporting character) returned from the dead, which aside from the marriage ending was the biggest change once they started Brand New Day. This is actually only the second Brand New Day era Spidey story I’ve purchased (although I also read the first two trades at the local library so I have a general idea of who all the players are in the new status quo). The Plot: There are basically two types of trades: those that tell a single clear concise story and those that are just a random collection of sequential issues. Generally speaking I prefer the former because if you are buying a trade from some random time period you want a complete story. However, I understand why Marvel would collect every single issue of their flagship character’s book. As this collection has four authors it should not be a surprise that it is a just random collection of sequential issues. There will be spoilers ahead including the identity of the death in the title. The initial story sees Peter trying to catch a train to go visit his aunt when the train derails trapping him underground with several passengers. Pete quickly changes into Spidey and learns a jury for a mob trial is in one of the passenger cars. The Shocker has been hired to kill the jurors and Spidey thwarts him but in the process the cave-in worsens eventually forcing Spidey and Shocker to work together to get out alive. Additionally one of the jurors ends up being the long lost father J. Jonah Jameson. Next we get the origin of Jackpot, a new red-headed female super hero introduced in Brand New Day that was designed to get the reader thinking she was possibly Mary Jane. The short version is she’s not, and she dies that same issue battling a new villain named Blindspot, who can cause temporary blindness in those he touches. This is followed with Spidey taking on the Blank, a D-list villain with a personal force field seen only once before in the early days of West Coast Avengers. Blank robs a bank while Aunt May is there, reminding Spidey of the death of his uncle and causing him to get a mad-on as he tracks the villain down. Next we get to the Harry stuff in which Harry and Pete go off to visit Harry’s ex-wife Liz Allen. While there her super-villain step brother the Molten Man decides to try to kill Harry for what he put Liz through years ago and Spidey is of course caught in the middle. This story is also a checklist of answers to questions that lingered since Brand New Day such as how Harry was resurrected and how Aunt May got her house back since pre-Brand New Day it had been destroyed and Pete, MJ and May had all been living in Avengers Tower. The answers given are for the most part simple non-answers, like “goblin serum,” but they do in a pinch. Finally we have a story from the perspective of Betty Brant as Pete tries to throw her a birthday party and she tries to hook him up in various ways for the “dating” half of the title. Ultimately, neither is successful in their goals. Critical Thoughts: Although there is no through storyline, most of this stuff is entertaining to read if you like Spider-man. Certainly none of these stories are going in the list of all-time classics, but for the most part Spidey is presented in classic form: down on his luck, occasionally funny, and taking responsibility for everyone around him from old-friends like Harry and Betty to casual acquaintances like Jackpot. For what I paid for it, I liked it. I do have some nitpicky complaints in regards to the Shocker storyline. For one I think Spidey wins the initial fight way too easily. I say this not only because I am a Shocker fan, but in general I think silver age villains should be better protected simply because Spidey will be meeting them again until the end of time. Furthermore he wins by crushing Shocker’s gauntlets but Shocker long ago (like in the 1980s) transferred his power source from the gauntlets to the suit itself. I also was at first taken aback by Shocker being a hired killer in this story. Shocker is usually portrayed as more of a safe-cracker/bank robber than a killer; however, on reflection Shocker more than most villains is motivated by profit—there have been stories where he declined teaming up with other Spidey villains for revenge because there is no profit in it, so I could see it being in character for him to take on a mob contract. Still overall I said these are nitpicks rather than criticisms, and some of my initial concerns on Shocker’s portrayed threat level were mitigated in the second half when Shocker and Spidey have to work together and seeing the inevitable double cross that follows. My biggest criticism is probably Spidey’s ongoing internal monologue in the Shocker story that if he saves Jameson Sr., Jonah will have to finally admit he’s been wrong about him. Spidey has saved Jonah himself scores of times over the years as well as saving Jonah’s son dozens of times and all of his employees at the Bugle on multiple occasions and nothing has ever changed so why would Spidey think this time would be different at this point? I’m also not sure why they killed Jackpot off in the same issue we saw her origin. She seemed to have a nice chemistry with Spidey in the scene where they share a coffee, so there could have been future stories there. At the same time if the only point of the character was to tease the Mary Jane thing then once resolved maybe they had nothing more to say. I guess I’m saying while I wouldn’t go out of my way to read more Jackpot stories, I could see keeping her around as an occasional ally like they do with Silver Sable or Cloak & Dagger so her death seemed a little abrupt in that regard. Other than that, I was glad for the answers in the Harry story but felt the telling of it was a little flat, and the remaining stories were one-issue throwaways with obscure villains that don’t require analysis. Overall Grade: C+ – The stories read fine on their own so if you can grab it cheap like I did noting wrong with picking it up, but the lack of a major through storyline and the lack of the importance of these stories prevent me from giving anything other than a mild recommendation.

Tryout: Waiting For The Trades #1

Waiting for the Trade By Bill Miller Spider-man: Death and Dating by Marc Waid, Marc Guggenheim, Roger Stern & Dan Slott Collects Amazing Spider-man 578-583 and Annual #1.Why I bought this: It was in the discount bin of my local comic shop for $6. On the back cover was the Shocker, who is one of my favorite silver age Spidey villains. It also promised an explanation on how Harry Osborn (a favorite supporting character) returned from the dead, which aside from the marriage ending was the biggest change once they started Brand New Day. This is actually only the second Brand New Day era Spidey story I’ve purchased (although I also read the first two trades at the local library so I have a general idea of who all the players are in the new status quo). The Plot: There are basically two types of trades: those that tell a single clear concise story and those that are just a random collection of sequential issues. Generally speaking I prefer the former because if you are buying a trade from some random time period you want a complete story. However, I understand why Marvel would collect every single issue of their flagship character’s book. As this collection has four authors it should not be a surprise that it is a just random collection of sequential issues. There will be spoilers ahead including the identity of the death in the title. The initial story sees Peter trying to catch a train to go visit his aunt when the train derails trapping him underground with several passengers. Pete quickly changes into Spidey and learns a jury for a mob trial is in one of the passenger cars. The Shocker has been hired to kill the jurors and Spidey thwarts him but in the process the cave-in worsens eventually forcing Spidey and Shocker to work together to get out alive. Additionally one of the jurors ends up being the long lost father J. Jonah Jameson. Next we get the origin of Jackpot, a new red-headed female super hero introduced in Brand New Day that was designed to get the reader thinking she was possibly Mary Jane. The short version is she’s not, and she dies that same issue battling a new villain named Blindspot, who can cause temporary blindness in those he touches. This is followed with Spidey taking on the Blank, a D-list villain with a personal force field seen only once before in the early days of West Coast Avengers. Blank robs a bank while Aunt May is there, reminding Spidey of the death of his uncle and causing him to get a mad-on as he tracks the villain down. Next we get to the Harry stuff in which Harry and Pete go off to visit Harry’s ex-wife Liz Allen. While there her super-villain step brother the Molten Man decides to try to kill Harry for what he put Liz through years ago and Spidey is of course caught in the middle. This story is also a checklist of answers to questions that lingered since Brand New Day such as how Harry was resurrected and how Aunt May got her house back since pre-Brand New Day it had been destroyed and Pete, MJ and May had all been living in Avengers Tower. The answers given are for the most part simple non-answers, like “goblin serum,” but they do in a pinch. Finally we have a story from the perspective of Betty Brant as Pete tries to throw her a birthday party and she tries to hook him up in various ways for the “dating” half of the title. Ultimately, neither is successful in their goals. Critical Thoughts: Although there is no through storyline, most of this stuff is entertaining to read if you like Spider-man. Certainly none of these stories are going in the list of all-time classics, but for the most part Spidey is presented in classic form: down on his luck, occasionally funny, and taking responsibility for everyone around him from old-friends like Harry and Betty to casual acquaintances like Jackpot. For what I paid for it, I liked it. I do have some nitpicky complaints in regards to the Shocker storyline. For one I think Spidey wins the initial fight way too easily. I say this not only because I am a Shocker fan, but in general I think silver age villains should be better protected simply because Spidey will be meeting them again until the end of time. Furthermore he wins by crushing Shocker’s gauntlets but Shocker long ago (like in the 1980s) transferred his power source from the gauntlets to the suit itself. I also was at first taken aback by Shocker being a hired killer in this story. Shocker is usually portrayed as more of a safe-cracker/bank robber than a killer; however, on reflection Shocker more than most villains is motivated by profit—there have been stories where he declined teaming up with other Spidey villains for revenge because there is no profit in it, so I could see it being in character for him to take on a mob contract. Still overall I said these are nitpicks rather than criticisms, and some of my initial concerns on Shocker’s portrayed threat level were mitigated in the second half when Shocker and Spidey have to work together and seeing the inevitable double cross that follows. My biggest criticism is probably Spidey’s ongoing internal monologue in the Shocker story that if he saves Jameson Sr., Jonah will have to finally admit he’s been wrong about him. Spidey has saved Jonah himself scores of times over the years as well as saving Jonah’s son dozens of times and all of his employees at the Bugle on multiple occasions and nothing has ever changed so why would Spidey think this time would be different at this point? I’m also not sure why they killed Jackpot off in the same issue we saw her origin. She seemed to have a nice chemistry with Spidey in the scene where they share a coffee, so there could have been future stories there. At the same time if the only point of the character was to tease the Mary Jane thing then once resolved maybe they had nothing more to say. I guess I’m saying while I wouldn’t go out of my way to read more Jackpot stories, I could see keeping her around as an occasional ally like they do with Silver Sable or Cloak & Dagger so her death seemed a little abrupt in that regard. Other than that, I was glad for the answers in the Harry story but felt the telling of it was a little flat, and the remaining stories were one-issue throwaways with obscure villains that don’t require analysis. Overall Grade: C+ – The stories read fine on their own so if you can grab it cheap like I did noting wrong with picking it up, but the lack of a major through storyline and the lack of the importance of these stories prevent me from giving anything other than a mild recommendation.

Tryout: Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking By, Frankie P Hello boys and girls. My name is Frankie P. I haven’t done something like this in about 10 years when I used to write this very same column for another website (which has probably gone by the wayside, because honestly it STUNK). Let me tell you a little bit of what this column will be about: It will be about WRESTLING!!! What did you THINK it was gonna be about? Snooki? This will be a mixture of current stuff with retro stuff. I love writing about retro stuff because its fun reliving the memories and mocking some of the ridiculousness of it. Anyway, lets not waste anytime and get right into it, shall we? Ahhhhhh, its that time of year: WrestleMania time. And with WrestleMania comes many memorable moments. This week I will share some memories of the first five Mania’s. Lets see if my once photogenic memory still works. WrestleMania I In the first WM match ever, Tito Santana starts out 1-0 with a huge opening match victory over Playboy Budd…..I mean the Executioner. Any chance of El Matador going undefeated forever at WM are thwarted when he loses every one of his matches over the next 7 years…..It took King Kong Bundy only 23 seconds to squash SD Jones in 9 seconds…..David Sammartino and Brutus Beefcake went to a double countout in a classic that will NEVER be talked about by anyone…..Jesse Ventura kept referring to Gorilla Monsoon as “Gino” which probably confused a lot of people INCLUDING Gorilla…..Lord Alfred Hayes handled the backstage interviews and looked like a deer in headlights. To his credit, he was smooched by The Fabulous Moolah and Lelani Kai. Al, you sly dog…..After Greg Valentine beat the Junkyard Dog by putting his feet on the ropes, Tito Santana came out with a visible erection, which obviously influenced the referee to restart the match. The Hammer refused to get back in the ring, so JYD was awarded the match by countout…..Andre the Giant won $15,000 in his bodyslam challenge match. After the match was over Andre threw most of the obvious fifteen thousand singles that were in Bobby Heenans medium sized duffle bag. Before Andre was done, the Brain stole the bag and whatever money was left in it…..Liberace rang a little crystal bell to signal the start of the main event. He also stared down Hulk Hogan like a lion stares down little children when the are at the zoo. Oh and by the way, Hogan and Mr T defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. WrestleMania 2 Three locations, 12 exciting matches, which meant, if you were there live, you were watching television for 2 hours…..In New York: Guest commentator, Susan St James said “watch this” at least 14 times during the Paul Orndorff/Magnificent Muraco match…..Both Jake Roberts and George Welles made their ppv debut in a match against each other. Guess who never appeared on one again?…..Randy Savage defeated George “The Animal Steele” in a zero star classic. Hopefully Savage will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..One word: Herb…..Mr T defeated Roddy Piper in a boxing match, when Roddy remembered he was a wrestler and bodyslammed T in the 4th round., getting himself disqualified….In Chicago: My boy Ernie Holmes was upset by 19 other wrestlers/football players in a battle royal that Andre the Giant won.….Velvet McIntyre had the first ever ppv wardrobe malfunction and was quickly defeated by The Fabulous Moolah…..Corporal Kirchner defended the honor of American when he defeated Nicolai Volkoff in a gruelling 2 minute flag match…..Ozzy Osborne resisted biting the head off of a rat while seconding the British Bulldogs as they defeated The Dream Team for the WWF tag team titles…..In Los Angeles: In a match that had “WrestleMania” written all over it, Adrian Adonis overcame the odds and defeated Uncle Elmer. At one point in the match, Elmer his Adonis so hard that he ended up falling on his own ass…..Tito Santana’s one match WrestleMania winning streak came to a screeching halt as The Funk Brothers defeated him and The Junkyard Dog…..In what was probably the least anticipated match of in L.A., Ricky Steamboat defeated Hercules. Hopefully Steamboat will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..Robert Conrad was one of the many celebrities who appeared during the Hulk Hogan/King Kong Bundy steel cage main event. I have no idea what he did, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with Elvira smacking a battery off his shoulder. WrestleMania III 78,000 people (allegedly) jam packed into 93,173 (allegedly) seats in the Pontiac Silverdome…..King Kong Bundy went from main eventing the previous WM, to bodyslamming midget wrestler Little Beaver in a mixed 6 man tag team match…..Danny Davis took one of the most wicked tombstone piledrivers, that I’ve ever seen from Davey Boy Smith in a six man tag team match where the Hart Foundation and Davis defeated Tito Santana and the British Bulldogs. This match brings Santana’s WM losing streak to two. Jesse Ventura made his way all the way down to the ring before the match began, to be introduced to the crowd, only to have to carry Matilda the dog to the back with him…..…..The highlight of the Roddy Piper/Adrian Adonis haircut match was watching the fan that jumped in the ring, being beat down and arrested in the background while a victorious Piper made his way back to the lockerroom……Ricky Steamboat defeated Randy Savage for the Inter-Continental title, in a decent match that is rarely talked about…..The seeds were planted to humble Brian Blair, as The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff beat the Killer Bees by DQ as the debuting Hacksaw Jim Duggan interfered…..Mel Phillips got cross at Mary Hart when she rang the ring bell too soon right before the main event…..And in that main event, Hulk Hogan defeated the previously “undefeated” Andre the Giant to retain the WWF title. This match totally blew away the rarely talked about Steamboat/Savage match…..Oh yeah, Butch Reed defeated KoKo B Ware. WrestleMania IV Trump Plaza would host this Mania. Donald Trump and his hair were seated in the front row…..This would be the first WrestleMania to top the four hour mark, making renting the video of this show extra exciting because of the double deep tape case that held the TWO videos that Mania was recorded on…..That would be pretty much the only thing exciting about this show…..A 14 man elimination tournament, for the vacant WWF title, won by Randy Savage, was the main event of the show. Tournament highlights included: hmmmm, hold on. I’m thinking. It included…….oh yeah!! It included a Randy Savage/Greg Valentine second round match, instead of a Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat rematch that no one wanted to see. Honestly this tournament was a piece of crap….. Demolition won their first of three WWF tag team titles from Strike Force, which brought Tito Santana’s WM losing streak to three in a row. Don’t worry Tito, you’ll get’em next year!!…..Bad New Brown won a Battle Royal after double crossing Bret Hart and throwing him over the top rope. Bret then went on to destroy Bad News’ trophy that looked cheaper than the one I won for having the best clown hat during my 4th grade Sports Night (love you nanna, for making the hat for me)….. This show is so boring that Im falling asleep just writing about it…..Brutus Beefcake cut Jimmy Harts hair after his IC title match with the Honky Tonk man……Ok you know what? Lets move on to the next one. I don’t wanna bore you readers to death….. WrestleMania V WWF returns to Trump Plaza for the second year in a row because the crowd for Mania IV was just so lively and chipper…..Instead of defending her title, WWF Womans Champion, Rockin’ Robin did a rousing rendition of God Bless America. Last I checked, it peaked at number six katrillion-zillion on the itunes…..Wrestlers such as Butch of the Bushwackers and Mr Perfect tripped while walking down the approximately 342 steps that lead to the ring…..RUN DMC did the “WrestleMania Rap”. The only two words that were audible were “piledriver” and “bodyslam”…..Hacksaw Duggan had snot hanging from his nose after his 3 minute match with Bad News Brown…..World class wrestler, Terry Taylor because a cock and defeated his former manager Bobby Heenan in a 30 second classic…..Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson defeated Strike Force, when Rick Martel turned on his partner, Tito Santana. Tito’s WM losing streak reaches four. Don’t worry buddy, I don’t blame you one bit for this one…..Brother Love reveals legs whiter than cocaine after he dons a kilt for his and Morton Downey Jr’s appearance on Pipers Pit…..In what must have been a booking error, the Rugged Ronnie Garvin/Dino Bravo match went on seventh instead of co-main eventing like everyone was expecting…..Speaking of the main event, Hulk Hogan scored the upset of the century when he defeated Randy Savage for his second WWF title. After the match Hogan took Donald Trump and his then wife Ivana to a special screening of “No Holds Barred”. Trump wouldn’t be seen again in the WWF for 18 years. Well, I hope you enjoyed my first column a lot more than I enjoyed typing it up. Id like to thank Scott for giving me that chance to do this again. Ive actually missed it. I will be back next week with WrestleMania VI-X. Until next time, I’m outta here Frankie P.

Tryout: Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking By, Frankie P Hello boys and girls. My name is Frankie P. I haven’t done something like this in about 10 years when I used to write this very same column for another website (which has probably gone by the wayside, because honestly it STUNK). Let me tell you a little bit of what this column will be about: It will be about WRESTLING!!! What did you THINK it was gonna be about? Snooki? This will be a mixture of current stuff with retro stuff. I love writing about retro stuff because its fun reliving the memories and mocking some of the ridiculousness of it. Anyway, lets not waste anytime and get right into it, shall we? Ahhhhhh, its that time of year: WrestleMania time. And with WrestleMania comes many memorable moments. This week I will share some memories of the first five Mania’s. Lets see if my once photogenic memory still works. WrestleMania I In the first WM match ever, Tito Santana starts out 1-0 with a huge opening match victory over Playboy Budd…..I mean the Executioner. Any chance of El Matador going undefeated forever at WM are thwarted when he loses every one of his matches over the next 7 years…..It took King Kong Bundy only 23 seconds to squash SD Jones in 9 seconds…..David Sammartino and Brutus Beefcake went to a double countout in a classic that will NEVER be talked about by anyone…..Jesse Ventura kept referring to Gorilla Monsoon as “Gino” which probably confused a lot of people INCLUDING Gorilla…..Lord Alfred Hayes handled the backstage interviews and looked like a deer in headlights. To his credit, he was smooched by The Fabulous Moolah and Lelani Kai. Al, you sly dog…..After Greg Valentine beat the Junkyard Dog by putting his feet on the ropes, Tito Santana came out with a visible erection, which obviously influenced the referee to restart the match. The Hammer refused to get back in the ring, so JYD was awarded the match by countout…..Andre the Giant won $15,000 in his bodyslam challenge match. After the match was over Andre threw most of the obvious fifteen thousand singles that were in Bobby Heenans medium sized duffle bag. Before Andre was done, the Brain stole the bag and whatever money was left in it…..Liberace rang a little crystal bell to signal the start of the main event. He also stared down Hulk Hogan like a lion stares down little children when the are at the zoo. Oh and by the way, Hogan and Mr T defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. WrestleMania 2 Three locations, 12 exciting matches, which meant, if you were there live, you were watching television for 2 hours…..In New York: Guest commentator, Susan St James said “watch this” at least 14 times during the Paul Orndorff/Magnificent Muraco match…..Both Jake Roberts and George Welles made their ppv debut in a match against each other. Guess who never appeared on one again?…..Randy Savage defeated George “The Animal Steele” in a zero star classic. Hopefully Savage will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..One word: Herb…..Mr T defeated Roddy Piper in a boxing match, when Roddy remembered he was a wrestler and bodyslammed T in the 4th round., getting himself disqualified….In Chicago: My boy Ernie Holmes was upset by 19 other wrestlers/football players in a battle royal that Andre the Giant won.….Velvet McIntyre had the first ever ppv wardrobe malfunction and was quickly defeated by The Fabulous Moolah…..Corporal Kirchner defended the honor of American when he defeated Nicolai Volkoff in a gruelling 2 minute flag match…..Ozzy Osborne resisted biting the head off of a rat while seconding the British Bulldogs as they defeated The Dream Team for the WWF tag team titles…..In Los Angeles: In a match that had “WrestleMania” written all over it, Adrian Adonis overcame the odds and defeated Uncle Elmer. At one point in the match, Elmer his Adonis so hard that he ended up falling on his own ass…..Tito Santana’s one match WrestleMania winning streak came to a screeching halt as The Funk Brothers defeated him and The Junkyard Dog…..In what was probably the least anticipated match of in L.A., Ricky Steamboat defeated Hercules. Hopefully Steamboat will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..Robert Conrad was one of the many celebrities who appeared during the Hulk Hogan/King Kong Bundy steel cage main event. I have no idea what he did, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with Elvira smacking a battery off his shoulder. WrestleMania III 78,000 people (allegedly) jam packed into 93,173 (allegedly) seats in the Pontiac Silverdome…..King Kong Bundy went from main eventing the previous WM, to bodyslamming midget wrestler Little Beaver in a mixed 6 man tag team match…..Danny Davis took one of the most wicked tombstone piledrivers, that I’ve ever seen from Davey Boy Smith in a six man tag team match where the Hart Foundation and Davis defeated Tito Santana and the British Bulldogs. This match brings Santana’s WM losing streak to two. Jesse Ventura made his way all the way down to the ring before the match began, to be introduced to the crowd, only to have to carry Matilda the dog to the back with him…..…..The highlight of the Roddy Piper/Adrian Adonis haircut match was watching the fan that jumped in the ring, being beat down and arrested in the background while a victorious Piper made his way back to the lockerroom……Ricky Steamboat defeated Randy Savage for the Inter-Continental title, in a decent match that is rarely talked about…..The seeds were planted to humble Brian Blair, as The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff beat the Killer Bees by DQ as the debuting Hacksaw Jim Duggan interfered…..Mel Phillips got cross at Mary Hart when she rang the ring bell too soon right before the main event…..And in that main event, Hulk Hogan defeated the previously “undefeated” Andre the Giant to retain the WWF title. This match totally blew away the rarely talked about Steamboat/Savage match…..Oh yeah, Butch Reed defeated KoKo B Ware. WrestleMania IV Trump Plaza would host this Mania. Donald Trump and his hair were seated in the front row…..This would be the first WrestleMania to top the four hour mark, making renting the video of this show extra exciting because of the double deep tape case that held the TWO videos that Mania was recorded on…..That would be pretty much the only thing exciting about this show…..A 14 man elimination tournament, for the vacant WWF title, won by Randy Savage, was the main event of the show. Tournament highlights included: hmmmm, hold on. I’m thinking. It included…….oh yeah!! It included a Randy Savage/Greg Valentine second round match, instead of a Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat rematch that no one wanted to see. Honestly this tournament was a piece of crap….. Demolition won their first of three WWF tag team titles from Strike Force, which brought Tito Santana’s WM losing streak to three in a row. Don’t worry Tito, you’ll get’em next year!!…..Bad New Brown won a Battle Royal after double crossing Bret Hart and throwing him over the top rope. Bret then went on to destroy Bad News’ trophy that looked cheaper than the one I won for having the best clown hat during my 4th grade Sports Night (love you nanna, for making the hat for me)….. This show is so boring that Im falling asleep just writing about it…..Brutus Beefcake cut Jimmy Harts hair after his IC title match with the Honky Tonk man……Ok you know what? Lets move on to the next one. I don’t wanna bore you readers to death….. WrestleMania V WWF returns to Trump Plaza for the second year in a row because the crowd for Mania IV was just so lively and chipper…..Instead of defending her title, WWF Womans Champion, Rockin’ Robin did a rousing rendition of God Bless America. Last I checked, it peaked at number six katrillion-zillion on the itunes…..Wrestlers such as Butch of the Bushwackers and Mr Perfect tripped while walking down the approximately 342 steps that lead to the ring…..RUN DMC did the “WrestleMania Rap”. The only two words that were audible were “piledriver” and “bodyslam”…..Hacksaw Duggan had snot hanging from his nose after his 3 minute match with Bad News Brown…..World class wrestler, Terry Taylor because a cock and defeated his former manager Bobby Heenan in a 30 second classic…..Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson defeated Strike Force, when Rick Martel turned on his partner, Tito Santana. Tito’s WM losing streak reaches four. Don’t worry buddy, I don’t blame you one bit for this one…..Brother Love reveals legs whiter than cocaine after he dons a kilt for his and Morton Downey Jr’s appearance on Pipers Pit…..In what must have been a booking error, the Rugged Ronnie Garvin/Dino Bravo match went on seventh instead of co-main eventing like everyone was expecting…..Speaking of the main event, Hulk Hogan scored the upset of the century when he defeated Randy Savage for his second WWF title. After the match Hogan took Donald Trump and his then wife Ivana to a special screening of “No Holds Barred”. Trump wouldn’t be seen again in the WWF for 18 years. Well, I hope you enjoyed my first column a lot more than I enjoyed typing it up. Id like to thank Scott for giving me that chance to do this again. Ive actually missed it. I will be back next week with WrestleMania VI-X. Until next time, I’m outta here Frankie P.

Tryout: Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking By, Frankie P Hello boys and girls. My name is Frankie P. I haven’t done something like this in about 10 years when I used to write this very same column for another website (which has probably gone by the wayside, because honestly it STUNK). Let me tell you a little bit of what this column will be about: It will be about WRESTLING!!! What did you THINK it was gonna be about? Snooki? This will be a mixture of current stuff with retro stuff. I love writing about retro stuff because its fun reliving the memories and mocking some of the ridiculousness of it. Anyway, lets not waste anytime and get right into it, shall we? Ahhhhhh, its that time of year: WrestleMania time. And with WrestleMania comes many memorable moments. This week I will share some memories of the first five Mania’s. Lets see if my once photogenic memory still works. WrestleMania I In the first WM match ever, Tito Santana starts out 1-0 with a huge opening match victory over Playboy Budd…..I mean the Executioner. Any chance of El Matador going undefeated forever at WM are thwarted when he loses every one of his matches over the next 7 years…..It took King Kong Bundy only 23 seconds to squash SD Jones in 9 seconds…..David Sammartino and Brutus Beefcake went to a double countout in a classic that will NEVER be talked about by anyone…..Jesse Ventura kept referring to Gorilla Monsoon as “Gino” which probably confused a lot of people INCLUDING Gorilla…..Lord Alfred Hayes handled the backstage interviews and looked like a deer in headlights. To his credit, he was smooched by The Fabulous Moolah and Lelani Kai. Al, you sly dog…..After Greg Valentine beat the Junkyard Dog by putting his feet on the ropes, Tito Santana came out with a visible erection, which obviously influenced the referee to restart the match. The Hammer refused to get back in the ring, so JYD was awarded the match by countout…..Andre the Giant won $15,000 in his bodyslam challenge match. After the match was over Andre threw most of the obvious fifteen thousand singles that were in Bobby Heenans medium sized duffle bag. Before Andre was done, the Brain stole the bag and whatever money was left in it…..Liberace rang a little crystal bell to signal the start of the main event. He also stared down Hulk Hogan like a lion stares down little children when the are at the zoo. Oh and by the way, Hogan and Mr T defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. WrestleMania 2 Three locations, 12 exciting matches, which meant, if you were there live, you were watching television for 2 hours…..In New York: Guest commentator, Susan St James said “watch this” at least 14 times during the Paul Orndorff/Magnificent Muraco match…..Both Jake Roberts and George Welles made their ppv debut in a match against each other. Guess who never appeared on one again?…..Randy Savage defeated George “The Animal Steele” in a zero star classic. Hopefully Savage will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..One word: Herb…..Mr T defeated Roddy Piper in a boxing match, when Roddy remembered he was a wrestler and bodyslammed T in the 4th round., getting himself disqualified….In Chicago: My boy Ernie Holmes was upset by 19 other wrestlers/football players in a battle royal that Andre the Giant won.….Velvet McIntyre had the first ever ppv wardrobe malfunction and was quickly defeated by The Fabulous Moolah…..Corporal Kirchner defended the honor of American when he defeated Nicolai Volkoff in a gruelling 2 minute flag match…..Ozzy Osborne resisted biting the head off of a rat while seconding the British Bulldogs as they defeated The Dream Team for the WWF tag team titles…..In Los Angeles: In a match that had “WrestleMania” written all over it, Adrian Adonis overcame the odds and defeated Uncle Elmer. At one point in the match, Elmer his Adonis so hard that he ended up falling on his own ass…..Tito Santana’s one match WrestleMania winning streak came to a screeching halt as The Funk Brothers defeated him and The Junkyard Dog…..In what was probably the least anticipated match of in L.A., Ricky Steamboat defeated Hercules. Hopefully Steamboat will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..Robert Conrad was one of the many celebrities who appeared during the Hulk Hogan/King Kong Bundy steel cage main event. I have no idea what he did, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with Elvira smacking a battery off his shoulder. WrestleMania III 78,000 people (allegedly) jam packed into 93,173 (allegedly) seats in the Pontiac Silverdome…..King Kong Bundy went from main eventing the previous WM, to bodyslamming midget wrestler Little Beaver in a mixed 6 man tag team match…..Danny Davis took one of the most wicked tombstone piledrivers, that I’ve ever seen from Davey Boy Smith in a six man tag team match where the Hart Foundation and Davis defeated Tito Santana and the British Bulldogs. This match brings Santana’s WM losing streak to two. Jesse Ventura made his way all the way down to the ring before the match began, to be introduced to the crowd, only to have to carry Matilda the dog to the back with him…..…..The highlight of the Roddy Piper/Adrian Adonis haircut match was watching the fan that jumped in the ring, being beat down and arrested in the background while a victorious Piper made his way back to the lockerroom……Ricky Steamboat defeated Randy Savage for the Inter-Continental title, in a decent match that is rarely talked about…..The seeds were planted to humble Brian Blair, as The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff beat the Killer Bees by DQ as the debuting Hacksaw Jim Duggan interfered…..Mel Phillips got cross at Mary Hart when she rang the ring bell too soon right before the main event…..And in that main event, Hulk Hogan defeated the previously “undefeated” Andre the Giant to retain the WWF title. This match totally blew away the rarely talked about Steamboat/Savage match…..Oh yeah, Butch Reed defeated KoKo B Ware. WrestleMania IV Trump Plaza would host this Mania. Donald Trump and his hair were seated in the front row…..This would be the first WrestleMania to top the four hour mark, making renting the video of this show extra exciting because of the double deep tape case that held the TWO videos that Mania was recorded on…..That would be pretty much the only thing exciting about this show…..A 14 man elimination tournament, for the vacant WWF title, won by Randy Savage, was the main event of the show. Tournament highlights included: hmmmm, hold on. I’m thinking. It included…….oh yeah!! It included a Randy Savage/Greg Valentine second round match, instead of a Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat rematch that no one wanted to see. Honestly this tournament was a piece of crap….. Demolition won their first of three WWF tag team titles from Strike Force, which brought Tito Santana’s WM losing streak to three in a row. Don’t worry Tito, you’ll get’em next year!!…..Bad New Brown won a Battle Royal after double crossing Bret Hart and throwing him over the top rope. Bret then went on to destroy Bad News’ trophy that looked cheaper than the one I won for having the best clown hat during my 4th grade Sports Night (love you nanna, for making the hat for me)….. This show is so boring that Im falling asleep just writing about it…..Brutus Beefcake cut Jimmy Harts hair after his IC title match with the Honky Tonk man……Ok you know what? Lets move on to the next one. I don’t wanna bore you readers to death….. WrestleMania V WWF returns to Trump Plaza for the second year in a row because the crowd for Mania IV was just so lively and chipper…..Instead of defending her title, WWF Womans Champion, Rockin’ Robin did a rousing rendition of God Bless America. Last I checked, it peaked at number six katrillion-zillion on the itunes…..Wrestlers such as Butch of the Bushwackers and Mr Perfect tripped while walking down the approximately 342 steps that lead to the ring…..RUN DMC did the “WrestleMania Rap”. The only two words that were audible were “piledriver” and “bodyslam”…..Hacksaw Duggan had snot hanging from his nose after his 3 minute match with Bad News Brown…..World class wrestler, Terry Taylor because a cock and defeated his former manager Bobby Heenan in a 30 second classic…..Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson defeated Strike Force, when Rick Martel turned on his partner, Tito Santana. Tito’s WM losing streak reaches four. Don’t worry buddy, I don’t blame you one bit for this one…..Brother Love reveals legs whiter than cocaine after he dons a kilt for his and Morton Downey Jr’s appearance on Pipers Pit…..In what must have been a booking error, the Rugged Ronnie Garvin/Dino Bravo match went on seventh instead of co-main eventing like everyone was expecting…..Speaking of the main event, Hulk Hogan scored the upset of the century when he defeated Randy Savage for his second WWF title. After the match Hogan took Donald Trump and his then wife Ivana to a special screening of “No Holds Barred”. Trump wouldn’t be seen again in the WWF for 18 years. Well, I hope you enjoyed my first column a lot more than I enjoyed typing it up. Id like to thank Scott for giving me that chance to do this again. Ive actually missed it. I will be back next week with WrestleMania VI-X. Until next time, I’m outta here Frankie P.

Tryout: Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking By, Frankie P Hello boys and girls. My name is Frankie P. I haven’t done something like this in about 10 years when I used to write this very same column for another website (which has probably gone by the wayside, because honestly it STUNK). Let me tell you a little bit of what this column will be about: It will be about WRESTLING!!! What did you THINK it was gonna be about? Snooki? This will be a mixture of current stuff with retro stuff. I love writing about retro stuff because its fun reliving the memories and mocking some of the ridiculousness of it. Anyway, lets not waste anytime and get right into it, shall we? Ahhhhhh, its that time of year: WrestleMania time. And with WrestleMania comes many memorable moments. This week I will share some memories of the first five Mania’s. Lets see if my once photogenic memory still works. WrestleMania I In the first WM match ever, Tito Santana starts out 1-0 with a huge opening match victory over Playboy Budd…..I mean the Executioner. Any chance of El Matador going undefeated forever at WM are thwarted when he loses every one of his matches over the next 7 years…..It took King Kong Bundy only 23 seconds to squash SD Jones in 9 seconds…..David Sammartino and Brutus Beefcake went to a double countout in a classic that will NEVER be talked about by anyone…..Jesse Ventura kept referring to Gorilla Monsoon as “Gino” which probably confused a lot of people INCLUDING Gorilla…..Lord Alfred Hayes handled the backstage interviews and looked like a deer in headlights. To his credit, he was smooched by The Fabulous Moolah and Lelani Kai. Al, you sly dog…..After Greg Valentine beat the Junkyard Dog by putting his feet on the ropes, Tito Santana came out with a visible erection, which obviously influenced the referee to restart the match. The Hammer refused to get back in the ring, so JYD was awarded the match by countout…..Andre the Giant won $15,000 in his bodyslam challenge match. After the match was over Andre threw most of the obvious fifteen thousand singles that were in Bobby Heenans medium sized duffle bag. Before Andre was done, the Brain stole the bag and whatever money was left in it…..Liberace rang a little crystal bell to signal the start of the main event. He also stared down Hulk Hogan like a lion stares down little children when the are at the zoo. Oh and by the way, Hogan and Mr T defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. WrestleMania 2 Three locations, 12 exciting matches, which meant, if you were there live, you were watching television for 2 hours…..In New York: Guest commentator, Susan St James said “watch this” at least 14 times during the Paul Orndorff/Magnificent Muraco match…..Both Jake Roberts and George Welles made their ppv debut in a match against each other. Guess who never appeared on one again?…..Randy Savage defeated George “The Animal Steele” in a zero star classic. Hopefully Savage will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..One word: Herb…..Mr T defeated Roddy Piper in a boxing match, when Roddy remembered he was a wrestler and bodyslammed T in the 4th round., getting himself disqualified….In Chicago: My boy Ernie Holmes was upset by 19 other wrestlers/football players in a battle royal that Andre the Giant won.….Velvet McIntyre had the first ever ppv wardrobe malfunction and was quickly defeated by The Fabulous Moolah…..Corporal Kirchner defended the honor of American when he defeated Nicolai Volkoff in a gruelling 2 minute flag match…..Ozzy Osborne resisted biting the head off of a rat while seconding the British Bulldogs as they defeated The Dream Team for the WWF tag team titles…..In Los Angeles: In a match that had “WrestleMania” written all over it, Adrian Adonis overcame the odds and defeated Uncle Elmer. At one point in the match, Elmer his Adonis so hard that he ended up falling on his own ass…..Tito Santana’s one match WrestleMania winning streak came to a screeching halt as The Funk Brothers defeated him and The Junkyard Dog…..In what was probably the least anticipated match of in L.A., Ricky Steamboat defeated Hercules. Hopefully Steamboat will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..Robert Conrad was one of the many celebrities who appeared during the Hulk Hogan/King Kong Bundy steel cage main event. I have no idea what he did, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with Elvira smacking a battery off his shoulder. WrestleMania III 78,000 people (allegedly) jam packed into 93,173 (allegedly) seats in the Pontiac Silverdome…..King Kong Bundy went from main eventing the previous WM, to bodyslamming midget wrestler Little Beaver in a mixed 6 man tag team match…..Danny Davis took one of the most wicked tombstone piledrivers, that I’ve ever seen from Davey Boy Smith in a six man tag team match where the Hart Foundation and Davis defeated Tito Santana and the British Bulldogs. This match brings Santana’s WM losing streak to two. Jesse Ventura made his way all the way down to the ring before the match began, to be introduced to the crowd, only to have to carry Matilda the dog to the back with him…..…..The highlight of the Roddy Piper/Adrian Adonis haircut match was watching the fan that jumped in the ring, being beat down and arrested in the background while a victorious Piper made his way back to the lockerroom……Ricky Steamboat defeated Randy Savage for the Inter-Continental title, in a decent match that is rarely talked about…..The seeds were planted to humble Brian Blair, as The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff beat the Killer Bees by DQ as the debuting Hacksaw Jim Duggan interfered…..Mel Phillips got cross at Mary Hart when she rang the ring bell too soon right before the main event…..And in that main event, Hulk Hogan defeated the previously “undefeated” Andre the Giant to retain the WWF title. This match totally blew away the rarely talked about Steamboat/Savage match…..Oh yeah, Butch Reed defeated KoKo B Ware. WrestleMania IV Trump Plaza would host this Mania. Donald Trump and his hair were seated in the front row…..This would be the first WrestleMania to top the four hour mark, making renting the video of this show extra exciting because of the double deep tape case that held the TWO videos that Mania was recorded on…..That would be pretty much the only thing exciting about this show…..A 14 man elimination tournament, for the vacant WWF title, won by Randy Savage, was the main event of the show. Tournament highlights included: hmmmm, hold on. I’m thinking. It included…….oh yeah!! It included a Randy Savage/Greg Valentine second round match, instead of a Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat rematch that no one wanted to see. Honestly this tournament was a piece of crap….. Demolition won their first of three WWF tag team titles from Strike Force, which brought Tito Santana’s WM losing streak to three in a row. Don’t worry Tito, you’ll get’em next year!!…..Bad New Brown won a Battle Royal after double crossing Bret Hart and throwing him over the top rope. Bret then went on to destroy Bad News’ trophy that looked cheaper than the one I won for having the best clown hat during my 4th grade Sports Night (love you nanna, for making the hat for me)….. This show is so boring that Im falling asleep just writing about it…..Brutus Beefcake cut Jimmy Harts hair after his IC title match with the Honky Tonk man……Ok you know what? Lets move on to the next one. I don’t wanna bore you readers to death….. WrestleMania V WWF returns to Trump Plaza for the second year in a row because the crowd for Mania IV was just so lively and chipper…..Instead of defending her title, WWF Womans Champion, Rockin’ Robin did a rousing rendition of God Bless America. Last I checked, it peaked at number six katrillion-zillion on the itunes…..Wrestlers such as Butch of the Bushwackers and Mr Perfect tripped while walking down the approximately 342 steps that lead to the ring…..RUN DMC did the “WrestleMania Rap”. The only two words that were audible were “piledriver” and “bodyslam”…..Hacksaw Duggan had snot hanging from his nose after his 3 minute match with Bad News Brown…..World class wrestler, Terry Taylor because a cock and defeated his former manager Bobby Heenan in a 30 second classic…..Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson defeated Strike Force, when Rick Martel turned on his partner, Tito Santana. Tito’s WM losing streak reaches four. Don’t worry buddy, I don’t blame you one bit for this one…..Brother Love reveals legs whiter than cocaine after he dons a kilt for his and Morton Downey Jr’s appearance on Pipers Pit…..In what must have been a booking error, the Rugged Ronnie Garvin/Dino Bravo match went on seventh instead of co-main eventing like everyone was expecting…..Speaking of the main event, Hulk Hogan scored the upset of the century when he defeated Randy Savage for his second WWF title. After the match Hogan took Donald Trump and his then wife Ivana to a special screening of “No Holds Barred”. Trump wouldn’t be seen again in the WWF for 18 years. Well, I hope you enjoyed my first column a lot more than I enjoyed typing it up. Id like to thank Scott for giving me that chance to do this again. Ive actually missed it. I will be back next week with WrestleMania VI-X. Until next time, I’m outta here Frankie P.

Tryout: Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking By, Frankie P Hello boys and girls. My name is Frankie P. I haven’t done something like this in about 10 years when I used to write this very same column for another website (which has probably gone by the wayside, because honestly it STUNK). Let me tell you a little bit of what this column will be about: It will be about WRESTLING!!! What did you THINK it was gonna be about? Snooki? This will be a mixture of current stuff with retro stuff. I love writing about retro stuff because its fun reliving the memories and mocking some of the ridiculousness of it. Anyway, lets not waste anytime and get right into it, shall we? Ahhhhhh, its that time of year: WrestleMania time. And with WrestleMania comes many memorable moments. This week I will share some memories of the first five Mania’s. Lets see if my once photogenic memory still works. WrestleMania I In the first WM match ever, Tito Santana starts out 1-0 with a huge opening match victory over Playboy Budd…..I mean the Executioner. Any chance of El Matador going undefeated forever at WM are thwarted when he loses every one of his matches over the next 7 years…..It took King Kong Bundy only 23 seconds to squash SD Jones in 9 seconds…..David Sammartino and Brutus Beefcake went to a double countout in a classic that will NEVER be talked about by anyone…..Jesse Ventura kept referring to Gorilla Monsoon as “Gino” which probably confused a lot of people INCLUDING Gorilla…..Lord Alfred Hayes handled the backstage interviews and looked like a deer in headlights. To his credit, he was smooched by The Fabulous Moolah and Lelani Kai. Al, you sly dog…..After Greg Valentine beat the Junkyard Dog by putting his feet on the ropes, Tito Santana came out with a visible erection, which obviously influenced the referee to restart the match. The Hammer refused to get back in the ring, so JYD was awarded the match by countout…..Andre the Giant won $15,000 in his bodyslam challenge match. After the match was over Andre threw most of the obvious fifteen thousand singles that were in Bobby Heenans medium sized duffle bag. Before Andre was done, the Brain stole the bag and whatever money was left in it…..Liberace rang a little crystal bell to signal the start of the main event. He also stared down Hulk Hogan like a lion stares down little children when the are at the zoo. Oh and by the way, Hogan and Mr T defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. WrestleMania 2 Three locations, 12 exciting matches, which meant, if you were there live, you were watching television for 2 hours…..In New York: Guest commentator, Susan St James said “watch this” at least 14 times during the Paul Orndorff/Magnificent Muraco match…..Both Jake Roberts and George Welles made their ppv debut in a match against each other. Guess who never appeared on one again?…..Randy Savage defeated George “The Animal Steele” in a zero star classic. Hopefully Savage will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..One word: Herb…..Mr T defeated Roddy Piper in a boxing match, when Roddy remembered he was a wrestler and bodyslammed T in the 4th round., getting himself disqualified….In Chicago: My boy Ernie Holmes was upset by 19 other wrestlers/football players in a battle royal that Andre the Giant won.….Velvet McIntyre had the first ever ppv wardrobe malfunction and was quickly defeated by The Fabulous Moolah…..Corporal Kirchner defended the honor of American when he defeated Nicolai Volkoff in a gruelling 2 minute flag match…..Ozzy Osborne resisted biting the head off of a rat while seconding the British Bulldogs as they defeated The Dream Team for the WWF tag team titles…..In Los Angeles: In a match that had “WrestleMania” written all over it, Adrian Adonis overcame the odds and defeated Uncle Elmer. At one point in the match, Elmer his Adonis so hard that he ended up falling on his own ass…..Tito Santana’s one match WrestleMania winning streak came to a screeching halt as The Funk Brothers defeated him and The Junkyard Dog…..In what was probably the least anticipated match of in L.A., Ricky Steamboat defeated Hercules. Hopefully Steamboat will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..Robert Conrad was one of the many celebrities who appeared during the Hulk Hogan/King Kong Bundy steel cage main event. I have no idea what he did, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with Elvira smacking a battery off his shoulder. WrestleMania III 78,000 people (allegedly) jam packed into 93,173 (allegedly) seats in the Pontiac Silverdome…..King Kong Bundy went from main eventing the previous WM, to bodyslamming midget wrestler Little Beaver in a mixed 6 man tag team match…..Danny Davis took one of the most wicked tombstone piledrivers, that I’ve ever seen from Davey Boy Smith in a six man tag team match where the Hart Foundation and Davis defeated Tito Santana and the British Bulldogs. This match brings Santana’s WM losing streak to two. Jesse Ventura made his way all the way down to the ring before the match began, to be introduced to the crowd, only to have to carry Matilda the dog to the back with him…..…..The highlight of the Roddy Piper/Adrian Adonis haircut match was watching the fan that jumped in the ring, being beat down and arrested in the background while a victorious Piper made his way back to the lockerroom……Ricky Steamboat defeated Randy Savage for the Inter-Continental title, in a decent match that is rarely talked about…..The seeds were planted to humble Brian Blair, as The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff beat the Killer Bees by DQ as the debuting Hacksaw Jim Duggan interfered…..Mel Phillips got cross at Mary Hart when she rang the ring bell too soon right before the main event…..And in that main event, Hulk Hogan defeated the previously “undefeated” Andre the Giant to retain the WWF title. This match totally blew away the rarely talked about Steamboat/Savage match…..Oh yeah, Butch Reed defeated KoKo B Ware. WrestleMania IV Trump Plaza would host this Mania. Donald Trump and his hair were seated in the front row…..This would be the first WrestleMania to top the four hour mark, making renting the video of this show extra exciting because of the double deep tape case that held the TWO videos that Mania was recorded on…..That would be pretty much the only thing exciting about this show…..A 14 man elimination tournament, for the vacant WWF title, won by Randy Savage, was the main event of the show. Tournament highlights included: hmmmm, hold on. I’m thinking. It included…….oh yeah!! It included a Randy Savage/Greg Valentine second round match, instead of a Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat rematch that no one wanted to see. Honestly this tournament was a piece of crap….. Demolition won their first of three WWF tag team titles from Strike Force, which brought Tito Santana’s WM losing streak to three in a row. Don’t worry Tito, you’ll get’em next year!!…..Bad New Brown won a Battle Royal after double crossing Bret Hart and throwing him over the top rope. Bret then went on to destroy Bad News’ trophy that looked cheaper than the one I won for having the best clown hat during my 4th grade Sports Night (love you nanna, for making the hat for me)….. This show is so boring that Im falling asleep just writing about it…..Brutus Beefcake cut Jimmy Harts hair after his IC title match with the Honky Tonk man……Ok you know what? Lets move on to the next one. I don’t wanna bore you readers to death….. WrestleMania V WWF returns to Trump Plaza for the second year in a row because the crowd for Mania IV was just so lively and chipper…..Instead of defending her title, WWF Womans Champion, Rockin’ Robin did a rousing rendition of God Bless America. Last I checked, it peaked at number six katrillion-zillion on the itunes…..Wrestlers such as Butch of the Bushwackers and Mr Perfect tripped while walking down the approximately 342 steps that lead to the ring…..RUN DMC did the “WrestleMania Rap”. The only two words that were audible were “piledriver” and “bodyslam”…..Hacksaw Duggan had snot hanging from his nose after his 3 minute match with Bad News Brown…..World class wrestler, Terry Taylor because a cock and defeated his former manager Bobby Heenan in a 30 second classic…..Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson defeated Strike Force, when Rick Martel turned on his partner, Tito Santana. Tito’s WM losing streak reaches four. Don’t worry buddy, I don’t blame you one bit for this one…..Brother Love reveals legs whiter than cocaine after he dons a kilt for his and Morton Downey Jr’s appearance on Pipers Pit…..In what must have been a booking error, the Rugged Ronnie Garvin/Dino Bravo match went on seventh instead of co-main eventing like everyone was expecting…..Speaking of the main event, Hulk Hogan scored the upset of the century when he defeated Randy Savage for his second WWF title. After the match Hogan took Donald Trump and his then wife Ivana to a special screening of “No Holds Barred”. Trump wouldn’t be seen again in the WWF for 18 years. Well, I hope you enjoyed my first column a lot more than I enjoyed typing it up. Id like to thank Scott for giving me that chance to do this again. Ive actually missed it. I will be back next week with WrestleMania VI-X. Until next time, I’m outta here Frankie P.

Tryout: Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking By, Frankie P Hello boys and girls. My name is Frankie P. I haven’t done something like this in about 10 years when I used to write this very same column for another website (which has probably gone by the wayside, because honestly it STUNK). Let me tell you a little bit of what this column will be about: It will be about WRESTLING!!! What did you THINK it was gonna be about? Snooki? This will be a mixture of current stuff with retro stuff. I love writing about retro stuff because its fun reliving the memories and mocking some of the ridiculousness of it. Anyway, lets not waste anytime and get right into it, shall we? Ahhhhhh, its that time of year: WrestleMania time. And with WrestleMania comes many memorable moments. This week I will share some memories of the first five Mania’s. Lets see if my once photogenic memory still works. WrestleMania I In the first WM match ever, Tito Santana starts out 1-0 with a huge opening match victory over Playboy Budd…..I mean the Executioner. Any chance of El Matador going undefeated forever at WM are thwarted when he loses every one of his matches over the next 7 years…..It took King Kong Bundy only 23 seconds to squash SD Jones in 9 seconds…..David Sammartino and Brutus Beefcake went to a double countout in a classic that will NEVER be talked about by anyone…..Jesse Ventura kept referring to Gorilla Monsoon as “Gino” which probably confused a lot of people INCLUDING Gorilla…..Lord Alfred Hayes handled the backstage interviews and looked like a deer in headlights. To his credit, he was smooched by The Fabulous Moolah and Lelani Kai. Al, you sly dog…..After Greg Valentine beat the Junkyard Dog by putting his feet on the ropes, Tito Santana came out with a visible erection, which obviously influenced the referee to restart the match. The Hammer refused to get back in the ring, so JYD was awarded the match by countout…..Andre the Giant won $15,000 in his bodyslam challenge match. After the match was over Andre threw most of the obvious fifteen thousand singles that were in Bobby Heenans medium sized duffle bag. Before Andre was done, the Brain stole the bag and whatever money was left in it…..Liberace rang a little crystal bell to signal the start of the main event. He also stared down Hulk Hogan like a lion stares down little children when the are at the zoo. Oh and by the way, Hogan and Mr T defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. WrestleMania 2 Three locations, 12 exciting matches, which meant, if you were there live, you were watching television for 2 hours…..In New York: Guest commentator, Susan St James said “watch this” at least 14 times during the Paul Orndorff/Magnificent Muraco match…..Both Jake Roberts and George Welles made their ppv debut in a match against each other. Guess who never appeared on one again?…..Randy Savage defeated George “The Animal Steele” in a zero star classic. Hopefully Savage will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..One word: Herb…..Mr T defeated Roddy Piper in a boxing match, when Roddy remembered he was a wrestler and bodyslammed T in the 4th round., getting himself disqualified….In Chicago: My boy Ernie Holmes was upset by 19 other wrestlers/football players in a battle royal that Andre the Giant won.….Velvet McIntyre had the first ever ppv wardrobe malfunction and was quickly defeated by The Fabulous Moolah…..Corporal Kirchner defended the honor of American when he defeated Nicolai Volkoff in a gruelling 2 minute flag match…..Ozzy Osborne resisted biting the head off of a rat while seconding the British Bulldogs as they defeated The Dream Team for the WWF tag team titles…..In Los Angeles: In a match that had “WrestleMania” written all over it, Adrian Adonis overcame the odds and defeated Uncle Elmer. At one point in the match, Elmer his Adonis so hard that he ended up falling on his own ass…..Tito Santana’s one match WrestleMania winning streak came to a screeching halt as The Funk Brothers defeated him and The Junkyard Dog…..In what was probably the least anticipated match of in L.A., Ricky Steamboat defeated Hercules. Hopefully Steamboat will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..Robert Conrad was one of the many celebrities who appeared during the Hulk Hogan/King Kong Bundy steel cage main event. I have no idea what he did, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with Elvira smacking a battery off his shoulder. WrestleMania III 78,000 people (allegedly) jam packed into 93,173 (allegedly) seats in the Pontiac Silverdome…..King Kong Bundy went from main eventing the previous WM, to bodyslamming midget wrestler Little Beaver in a mixed 6 man tag team match…..Danny Davis took one of the most wicked tombstone piledrivers, that I’ve ever seen from Davey Boy Smith in a six man tag team match where the Hart Foundation and Davis defeated Tito Santana and the British Bulldogs. This match brings Santana’s WM losing streak to two. Jesse Ventura made his way all the way down to the ring before the match began, to be introduced to the crowd, only to have to carry Matilda the dog to the back with him…..…..The highlight of the Roddy Piper/Adrian Adonis haircut match was watching the fan that jumped in the ring, being beat down and arrested in the background while a victorious Piper made his way back to the lockerroom……Ricky Steamboat defeated Randy Savage for the Inter-Continental title, in a decent match that is rarely talked about…..The seeds were planted to humble Brian Blair, as The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff beat the Killer Bees by DQ as the debuting Hacksaw Jim Duggan interfered…..Mel Phillips got cross at Mary Hart when she rang the ring bell too soon right before the main event…..And in that main event, Hulk Hogan defeated the previously “undefeated” Andre the Giant to retain the WWF title. This match totally blew away the rarely talked about Steamboat/Savage match…..Oh yeah, Butch Reed defeated KoKo B Ware. WrestleMania IV Trump Plaza would host this Mania. Donald Trump and his hair were seated in the front row…..This would be the first WrestleMania to top the four hour mark, making renting the video of this show extra exciting because of the double deep tape case that held the TWO videos that Mania was recorded on…..That would be pretty much the only thing exciting about this show…..A 14 man elimination tournament, for the vacant WWF title, won by Randy Savage, was the main event of the show. Tournament highlights included: hmmmm, hold on. I’m thinking. It included…….oh yeah!! It included a Randy Savage/Greg Valentine second round match, instead of a Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat rematch that no one wanted to see. Honestly this tournament was a piece of crap….. Demolition won their first of three WWF tag team titles from Strike Force, which brought Tito Santana’s WM losing streak to three in a row. Don’t worry Tito, you’ll get’em next year!!…..Bad New Brown won a Battle Royal after double crossing Bret Hart and throwing him over the top rope. Bret then went on to destroy Bad News’ trophy that looked cheaper than the one I won for having the best clown hat during my 4th grade Sports Night (love you nanna, for making the hat for me)….. This show is so boring that Im falling asleep just writing about it…..Brutus Beefcake cut Jimmy Harts hair after his IC title match with the Honky Tonk man……Ok you know what? Lets move on to the next one. I don’t wanna bore you readers to death….. WrestleMania V WWF returns to Trump Plaza for the second year in a row because the crowd for Mania IV was just so lively and chipper…..Instead of defending her title, WWF Womans Champion, Rockin’ Robin did a rousing rendition of God Bless America. Last I checked, it peaked at number six katrillion-zillion on the itunes…..Wrestlers such as Butch of the Bushwackers and Mr Perfect tripped while walking down the approximately 342 steps that lead to the ring…..RUN DMC did the “WrestleMania Rap”. The only two words that were audible were “piledriver” and “bodyslam”…..Hacksaw Duggan had snot hanging from his nose after his 3 minute match with Bad News Brown…..World class wrestler, Terry Taylor because a cock and defeated his former manager Bobby Heenan in a 30 second classic…..Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson defeated Strike Force, when Rick Martel turned on his partner, Tito Santana. Tito’s WM losing streak reaches four. Don’t worry buddy, I don’t blame you one bit for this one…..Brother Love reveals legs whiter than cocaine after he dons a kilt for his and Morton Downey Jr’s appearance on Pipers Pit…..In what must have been a booking error, the Rugged Ronnie Garvin/Dino Bravo match went on seventh instead of co-main eventing like everyone was expecting…..Speaking of the main event, Hulk Hogan scored the upset of the century when he defeated Randy Savage for his second WWF title. After the match Hogan took Donald Trump and his then wife Ivana to a special screening of “No Holds Barred”. Trump wouldn’t be seen again in the WWF for 18 years. Well, I hope you enjoyed my first column a lot more than I enjoyed typing it up. Id like to thank Scott for giving me that chance to do this again. Ive actually missed it. I will be back next week with WrestleMania VI-X. Until next time, I’m outta here Frankie P.

Tryout: Frankly Speaking

Frankly Speaking By, Frankie P Hello boys and girls. My name is Frankie P. I haven’t done something like this in about 10 years when I used to write this very same column for another website (which has probably gone by the wayside, because honestly it STUNK). Let me tell you a little bit of what this column will be about: It will be about WRESTLING!!! What did you THINK it was gonna be about? Snooki? This will be a mixture of current stuff with retro stuff. I love writing about retro stuff because its fun reliving the memories and mocking some of the ridiculousness of it. Anyway, lets not waste anytime and get right into it, shall we? Ahhhhhh, its that time of year: WrestleMania time. And with WrestleMania comes many memorable moments. This week I will share some memories of the first five Mania’s. Lets see if my once photogenic memory still works. WrestleMania I In the first WM match ever, Tito Santana starts out 1-0 with a huge opening match victory over Playboy Budd…..I mean the Executioner. Any chance of El Matador going undefeated forever at WM are thwarted when he loses every one of his matches over the next 7 years…..It took King Kong Bundy only 23 seconds to squash SD Jones in 9 seconds…..David Sammartino and Brutus Beefcake went to a double countout in a classic that will NEVER be talked about by anyone…..Jesse Ventura kept referring to Gorilla Monsoon as “Gino” which probably confused a lot of people INCLUDING Gorilla…..Lord Alfred Hayes handled the backstage interviews and looked like a deer in headlights. To his credit, he was smooched by The Fabulous Moolah and Lelani Kai. Al, you sly dog…..After Greg Valentine beat the Junkyard Dog by putting his feet on the ropes, Tito Santana came out with a visible erection, which obviously influenced the referee to restart the match. The Hammer refused to get back in the ring, so JYD was awarded the match by countout…..Andre the Giant won $15,000 in his bodyslam challenge match. After the match was over Andre threw most of the obvious fifteen thousand singles that were in Bobby Heenans medium sized duffle bag. Before Andre was done, the Brain stole the bag and whatever money was left in it…..Liberace rang a little crystal bell to signal the start of the main event. He also stared down Hulk Hogan like a lion stares down little children when the are at the zoo. Oh and by the way, Hogan and Mr T defeated Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff. WrestleMania 2 Three locations, 12 exciting matches, which meant, if you were there live, you were watching television for 2 hours…..In New York: Guest commentator, Susan St James said “watch this” at least 14 times during the Paul Orndorff/Magnificent Muraco match…..Both Jake Roberts and George Welles made their ppv debut in a match against each other. Guess who never appeared on one again?…..Randy Savage defeated George “The Animal Steele” in a zero star classic. Hopefully Savage will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..One word: Herb…..Mr T defeated Roddy Piper in a boxing match, when Roddy remembered he was a wrestler and bodyslammed T in the 4th round., getting himself disqualified….In Chicago: My boy Ernie Holmes was upset by 19 other wrestlers/football players in a battle royal that Andre the Giant won.….Velvet McIntyre had the first ever ppv wardrobe malfunction and was quickly defeated by The Fabulous Moolah…..Corporal Kirchner defended the honor of American when he defeated Nicolai Volkoff in a gruelling 2 minute flag match…..Ozzy Osborne resisted biting the head off of a rat while seconding the British Bulldogs as they defeated The Dream Team for the WWF tag team titles…..In Los Angeles: In a match that had “WrestleMania” written all over it, Adrian Adonis overcame the odds and defeated Uncle Elmer. At one point in the match, Elmer his Adonis so hard that he ended up falling on his own ass…..Tito Santana’s one match WrestleMania winning streak came to a screeching halt as The Funk Brothers defeated him and The Junkyard Dog…..In what was probably the least anticipated match of in L.A., Ricky Steamboat defeated Hercules. Hopefully Steamboat will get some better competition at WrestleMania III…..Robert Conrad was one of the many celebrities who appeared during the Hulk Hogan/King Kong Bundy steel cage main event. I have no idea what he did, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with Elvira smacking a battery off his shoulder. WrestleMania III 78,000 people (allegedly) jam packed into 93,173 (allegedly) seats in the Pontiac Silverdome…..King Kong Bundy went from main eventing the previous WM, to bodyslamming midget wrestler Little Beaver in a mixed 6 man tag team match…..Danny Davis took one of the most wicked tombstone piledrivers, that I’ve ever seen from Davey Boy Smith in a six man tag team match where the Hart Foundation and Davis defeated Tito Santana and the British Bulldogs. This match brings Santana’s WM losing streak to two. Jesse Ventura made his way all the way down to the ring before the match began, to be introduced to the crowd, only to have to carry Matilda the dog to the back with him…..…..The highlight of the Roddy Piper/Adrian Adonis haircut match was watching the fan that jumped in the ring, being beat down and arrested in the background while a victorious Piper made his way back to the lockerroom……Ricky Steamboat defeated Randy Savage for the Inter-Continental title, in a decent match that is rarely talked about…..The seeds were planted to humble Brian Blair, as The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff beat the Killer Bees by DQ as the debuting Hacksaw Jim Duggan interfered…..Mel Phillips got cross at Mary Hart when she rang the ring bell too soon right before the main event…..And in that main event, Hulk Hogan defeated the previously “undefeated” Andre the Giant to retain the WWF title. This match totally blew away the rarely talked about Steamboat/Savage match…..Oh yeah, Butch Reed defeated KoKo B Ware. WrestleMania IV Trump Plaza would host this Mania. Donald Trump and his hair were seated in the front row…..This would be the first WrestleMania to top the four hour mark, making renting the video of this show extra exciting because of the double deep tape case that held the TWO videos that Mania was recorded on…..That would be pretty much the only thing exciting about this show…..A 14 man elimination tournament, for the vacant WWF title, won by Randy Savage, was the main event of the show. Tournament highlights included: hmmmm, hold on. I’m thinking. It included…….oh yeah!! It included a Randy Savage/Greg Valentine second round match, instead of a Randy Savage/Ricky Steamboat rematch that no one wanted to see. Honestly this tournament was a piece of crap….. Demolition won their first of three WWF tag team titles from Strike Force, which brought Tito Santana’s WM losing streak to three in a row. Don’t worry Tito, you’ll get’em next year!!…..Bad New Brown won a Battle Royal after double crossing Bret Hart and throwing him over the top rope. Bret then went on to destroy Bad News’ trophy that looked cheaper than the one I won for having the best clown hat during my 4th grade Sports Night (love you nanna, for making the hat for me)….. This show is so boring that Im falling asleep just writing about it…..Brutus Beefcake cut Jimmy Harts hair after his IC title match with the Honky Tonk man……Ok you know what? Lets move on to the next one. I don’t wanna bore you readers to death….. WrestleMania V WWF returns to Trump Plaza for the second year in a row because the crowd for Mania IV was just so lively and chipper…..Instead of defending her title, WWF Womans Champion, Rockin’ Robin did a rousing rendition of God Bless America. Last I checked, it peaked at number six katrillion-zillion on the itunes…..Wrestlers such as Butch of the Bushwackers and Mr Perfect tripped while walking down the approximately 342 steps that lead to the ring…..RUN DMC did the “WrestleMania Rap”. The only two words that were audible were “piledriver” and “bodyslam”…..Hacksaw Duggan had snot hanging from his nose after his 3 minute match with Bad News Brown…..World class wrestler, Terry Taylor because a cock and defeated his former manager Bobby Heenan in a 30 second classic…..Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson defeated Strike Force, when Rick Martel turned on his partner, Tito Santana. Tito’s WM losing streak reaches four. Don’t worry buddy, I don’t blame you one bit for this one…..Brother Love reveals legs whiter than cocaine after he dons a kilt for his and Morton Downey Jr’s appearance on Pipers Pit…..In what must have been a booking error, the Rugged Ronnie Garvin/Dino Bravo match went on seventh instead of co-main eventing like everyone was expecting…..Speaking of the main event, Hulk Hogan scored the upset of the century when he defeated Randy Savage for his second WWF title. After the match Hogan took Donald Trump and his then wife Ivana to a special screening of “No Holds Barred”. Trump wouldn’t be seen again in the WWF for 18 years. Well, I hope you enjoyed my first column a lot more than I enjoyed typing it up. Id like to thank Scott for giving me that chance to do this again. Ive actually missed it. I will be back next week with WrestleMania VI-X. Until next time, I’m outta here Frankie P.

Tryout – Ryan Murphy (ROH TV)

ROH 2/4/12

Ring of Honor has been producing their TV show on Sinclair Broadcasting since this past September. While ROH isn’t anywhere near its pinnacle of the mid 00s, it’s still the top indie fed in America right now, and has always been synonymous with high quality wrestling. The fact that the current WWE and World champions are ROH alumni pretty much says it all, right? So with that in mind, I’d like to start taking a look at ROH’s weekly show. Anyone interested in checking it out should head to ROHWrestling.com. There you can find either a list of Sinclair stations that carry ROH or, if you aren’t in one of those areas, you can register with MyROH and view the show for free on the website.

(General Admission memberships allow you to view it free on Thursdays, Ringside Memberships have it posted on Mondays. If it’s a pressing issue with everyone I can level up my membership and start cranking these things out for earlier in the week, but generally, I watch the show over the weekend and I’d like these columns to be more of a Saturday thing.)

(Also, I’m not much in the way of move-by-move recapping, and I don’t really think it’s necessary since the video is there for everyone to watch online.)

The 2/4/12 broadcast starts out with a video package highlighting some of the action from Final Battle’s 3-way TV Title match between Jay Lethal, El Generico, and “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett. These three have comprised the bulk of the TV title scene for the past few months, with Lethal having won the title from Generico and Bennett feeling he deserves the title. On one of the early ROH Sinclair shows, Bennett and Lethal went to a TV-title-standard 15 minute draw, and while Cornette came out and made the offer for the match to go into overtime, Bennett declined. Tonight marks what I’m assuming will be the blowoff match between Lethal and Bennett, with no time limit.

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness do the in-ring intro, leading us into a Bennett promo. For those unaware, Bennett is a boilerplate cocky heel, sometimes calling himself “The Box Office Smash” and rocking a pre-retirement-heel Batista look, with the mirrored shades and dress shirts. Joining Bennett is his “girlfriend”, Maria Kanellis. Maria is a recent addition to the ROH roster, and it’s a pretty good catch for them. She has WWE experience, she has mainstream appeal due to “Celebrity Apprentice” and Playboy, and she was always really good, IMO, playing the “ditz” character. Bennett says nothing of note, and with that we go to the ring, and we get to see Maria do a little take on the Beautiful People ass shot on the way to the ring.

Lethal is still riding the sympathetic babyface gimmick he was just barely establishing in TNA after he ended the Black Machismo character, and he is of course one of the more talented young wrestlers in ROH. Bennett, unfortunately, is still green. He’ll do nothing but improve if he learns from his fellow ROH talents, but his offense is mainly punches, clotheslines, and power moves. Most of this match is a punch-fest brawl, but Lethal attempts to add some ‘ranas and other flying stuff. Bennett does the heel schtick of hiding behind his second twice in short order, sending his trainer Brutal Bob into Lethal to take a hit and then hiding behind Maria to gain the upper hand. Some of the drama in this match was based around Bennett trying to avoid the Lethal Injection, arguing that the move should be banned. (In this case, the Lethal Injection is a Tajiri-handspring off the ropes into a cutter. Lethal is taking a page from Mike Quackenbush, apparently naming all his finishes the same even though the Lethal Injection has, in the past, been a back suplex-into neckbreaker and a front STO to the knee into Flatliner.) The finish sees an attempt at a rear-lockup result in Bennett and Lethal colliding heads, with Lethal laid out on the mat and Bennett slumped over the ropes. While Brutal Bob had the ref distracted, Maria shoved the unconscious Bennett onto Lethal, attempting to sneak a win for Bennett. Lethal, however, wasn’t all the way out, and rolled up Bennett for the three count. Definitely not a finish I can remember seeing before, and it helps to maybe re-introduce Maria’s “ditz” character, with a more hateable “boyfriend” than Santino. (I don’t take myself to be an authority on star ratings, which I know some people take very seriously, so just take mine with a grain of salt.) ***, since the good finish negated a lot of the punchy-kicky.

Next we have a backstage interview with “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards. It seems like Eddie has been on the slow-burn to a heel turn for a year or more now, and while I thought that we’d finally see that at Final Battle, they’re just now turning up the heat. Eddie cuts a dickish promo calling out Kyle “KO” O’Reilly, trainee of Davey Richards and member of the tag team Future Shock with Adam Cole, for being a wannabe-American Wolf. Eddie is finally heeling it up a little bit here, building off of his sarcastic applause for KO and Davey winning a tag team match. Eddie pretty much calls KO out for being Davey’s bitch, which brings a suitably pissed off O’Reilly out from the far reaches of the locker room to challenge Eddie. Should be a decent match, and I like the potential here: the interplay between Eddie and KO both being Davey’s friends, the potential for Adam Cole to get involved and possibly side with Eddie, maybe a Davey/KO vs. Eddie/Cole match down the line? And the outside chance of Roderick Strong and the House of Truth as the shit disturbers, playing the middle. Could be something cool, but as we’ll see later, most of the involved parties have something else on the boil as well.

Now comes the really exciting stuff: we get a video recap of Kevin Steen’s vicious brawl at Final Battle with Steve Corino. For those unfamiliar with this awesome angle, Steen has spent the last 2 years playing out the machinations of this storyline, where Steve Corino conspired to get inside his head and turn him against El Generico. Steen and Generico’s violent brawl at Final Battle ’10 led to Steen “leaving ROH for good”. Corino, feeling guilt over what he did to Steen enlisted the help of Jimmy Jacobs to gain “sobriety from being evil”. That played out with Corino attempting to get Steen reinstated, to the chagrin of ROH Executive Producer Jim Cornette, so he could make amends. Meanwhile, Steen was doing, basically, what people wanted to see out of CM Punk last summer: he didn’t wrestle for ROH but he would appear outside shows, post YouTube vidoes trashing Ring of Honor, hack the ROH message boards with an ominous video; and when he was an invited guest of Corino in the audience at Best in the World, he said “Fuck Ring of Honor!” and laid out Corino and Jacobs with the Package Piledriver. Finally, Steen managed to gain a match with Corino at Final Battle ’11. It was a vicious hardcore brawl, ending with a Package Piledriver through several chairs. Steen then piledrove Jimmy Jacobs (who was the referee) and then attempted to do the same to Cornette, until everything came full circle with El Generico making the save until Steen gave him a Package Piledriver off the apron through a table.

All this has put Steen over huge with the ROH faithful, and gained him the nickname “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare”. Steen starts the interview segment by dismissing Kevin Kelly, but not before pushing his gum into Kelly’s hand. For someone who isn’t a native English speaker, Steen is incredibly comfortable on the mic and seems to be really astute at putting over a character that’s both unpredictable and completely plainspoken. Steen plants the seeds for a potential feud with champion Davey Richards, saying that the reason he was kept out of ROH is because he’s hard to control, and wouldn’t suck up to Cornette like Davey. Steen promises to win the title and hold ROH hostage, the way he was held hostage for a year. Cornette comes out with a bevy of ROH security guards and Cary Silkin by his side, just to sell how dangerous Steen really is. They trade fat jokes, and Steen plants another seed for a feud with Davey, saying how he spends his time in a wrestling ring rather than a gym, and Cornette might like him better if he spent time in an MMA gym (ala Davey). Cornette relates the story of being there at Summerslam ’97 when Owen laid out Austin with a piledriver, and how Owen was sorry for what he did, which Steen wasn’t for laying out 3 guys at Final Battle. Cornette bans all variations on the piledriver from ROH (wonder if that’ll come up in a Briscoes match when Jay goes for the J-Driller?) Steen promises to come up with something else to finish off Davey with and tells Cornette he’ll be the nightmare he won’t wake up from. Awesome stuff, all around.

Inside ROH brings us a House of Truth promo, referring back to an 8 man tag from a few weeks ago with Eddie, Generico, Haas, and Benjamin winning out over HoT’s Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin, and the Briscoes. A dispute over the gimmicked-payout for that match apparently is going to lead to a Briscoes/HoT feud. Let me say here that Truth Martini is a stupid gimmick and a blatant imitation of The Jackyll, right down to the look, and that never got over that big to begin with; and Michael Elgin looks like he’s scared out of his mind every time he has to talk. Next we get The Briscoes, who have issues with HoT taking their money. Next week we get Briscoes vs. HoT, fighting over a laughably small $5000. We get Davey next, with an understated and somewhat drab for Davey’s standard, against Jay Lethal, who he will soon be facing in a champion vs. champion match. The All Night Express call out The Young Bucks for causing Rhett Titus’ knee injury, which he’s still out from. Finally we get The Young Bucks, aka Generation Me from TNA, cutting a promo on The Briscoes, whose titles The Bucks are #1 Contenders for. Then, I assume, the regular broadcast would go to a commercial, but on the webcast, it cuts right to The Young Bucks again, saying basically the same things.

Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (who were once the World’s Greatest Tag Team, but are now apparently better than every tag team in wrestling but not as good as Tag Team, of “Whoomp, There It Is!” fame) join us next, to a chorus of boos. This is a result of a double turn with The Briscoes (funnily enough, Briscoes had been heels based off of a double turn with ANX). Haas mentions how their TV time has been cut short due to Steen (even though they just showed two redundant Bucks promos) and says not to bother sending out their opponents, The Bravados. Instead they call out The Briscoes. Cornette first comes out to protest but then relents, declaring it a title match when Dem Boys come out to answer the challenge. It’s mainly just a brawl, with a few cursory tags. One point sees Mark engage in some “hillbilly Kung Fu”, as Nigel calls it, which is a fun gimmick for him to use on the offensive portions of their matches. The match ends when Haas reverses an O’Connor roll and sends Mark into a chairshot from Shelton, in plain sight of the referee. Not much of a match as it was just a quick brawl, but I’ll give it ** just out of charity.

Overall, it was a very fun ROH episode, featuring many of their top stars. Right now it seems like their upper echelon are all involved with different feuds with everybody, and while some are just sparking while others need to be sewn up and filed away, having a bunch of different stories going on is a good direction for ROH to go in. Hope everyone enjoys the review, but remember: Don’t take my word for it, go to ROHWrestling.com and watch for yourself.

Tryout – Ryan Murphy (ROH TV)

ROH 2/4/12

Ring of Honor has been producing their TV show on Sinclair Broadcasting since this past September. While ROH isn’t anywhere near its pinnacle of the mid 00s, it’s still the top indie fed in America right now, and has always been synonymous with high quality wrestling. The fact that the current WWE and World champions are ROH alumni pretty much says it all, right? So with that in mind, I’d like to start taking a look at ROH’s weekly show. Anyone interested in checking it out should head to ROHWrestling.com. There you can find either a list of Sinclair stations that carry ROH or, if you aren’t in one of those areas, you can register with MyROH and view the show for free on the website.

(General Admission memberships allow you to view it free on Thursdays, Ringside Memberships have it posted on Mondays. If it’s a pressing issue with everyone I can level up my membership and start cranking these things out for earlier in the week, but generally, I watch the show over the weekend and I’d like these columns to be more of a Saturday thing.)

(Also, I’m not much in the way of move-by-move recapping, and I don’t really think it’s necessary since the video is there for everyone to watch online.)

The 2/4/12 broadcast starts out with a video package highlighting some of the action from Final Battle’s 3-way TV Title match between Jay Lethal, El Generico, and “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett. These three have comprised the bulk of the TV title scene for the past few months, with Lethal having won the title from Generico and Bennett feeling he deserves the title. On one of the early ROH Sinclair shows, Bennett and Lethal went to a TV-title-standard 15 minute draw, and while Cornette came out and made the offer for the match to go into overtime, Bennett declined. Tonight marks what I’m assuming will be the blowoff match between Lethal and Bennett, with no time limit.

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness do the in-ring intro, leading us into a Bennett promo. For those unaware, Bennett is a boilerplate cocky heel, sometimes calling himself “The Box Office Smash” and rocking a pre-retirement-heel Batista look, with the mirrored shades and dress shirts. Joining Bennett is his “girlfriend”, Maria Kanellis. Maria is a recent addition to the ROH roster, and it’s a pretty good catch for them. She has WWE experience, she has mainstream appeal due to “Celebrity Apprentice” and Playboy, and she was always really good, IMO, playing the “ditz” character. Bennett says nothing of note, and with that we go to the ring, and we get to see Maria do a little take on the Beautiful People ass shot on the way to the ring.

Lethal is still riding the sympathetic babyface gimmick he was just barely establishing in TNA after he ended the Black Machismo character, and he is of course one of the more talented young wrestlers in ROH. Bennett, unfortunately, is still green. He’ll do nothing but improve if he learns from his fellow ROH talents, but his offense is mainly punches, clotheslines, and power moves. Most of this match is a punch-fest brawl, but Lethal attempts to add some ‘ranas and other flying stuff. Bennett does the heel schtick of hiding behind his second twice in short order, sending his trainer Brutal Bob into Lethal to take a hit and then hiding behind Maria to gain the upper hand. Some of the drama in this match was based around Bennett trying to avoid the Lethal Injection, arguing that the move should be banned. (In this case, the Lethal Injection is a Tajiri-handspring off the ropes into a cutter. Lethal is taking a page from Mike Quackenbush, apparently naming all his finishes the same even though the Lethal Injection has, in the past, been a back suplex-into neckbreaker and a front STO to the knee into Flatliner.) The finish sees an attempt at a rear-lockup result in Bennett and Lethal colliding heads, with Lethal laid out on the mat and Bennett slumped over the ropes. While Brutal Bob had the ref distracted, Maria shoved the unconscious Bennett onto Lethal, attempting to sneak a win for Bennett. Lethal, however, wasn’t all the way out, and rolled up Bennett for the three count. Definitely not a finish I can remember seeing before, and it helps to maybe re-introduce Maria’s “ditz” character, with a more hateable “boyfriend” than Santino. (I don’t take myself to be an authority on star ratings, which I know some people take very seriously, so just take mine with a grain of salt.) ***, since the good finish negated a lot of the punchy-kicky.

Next we have a backstage interview with “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards. It seems like Eddie has been on the slow-burn to a heel turn for a year or more now, and while I thought that we’d finally see that at Final Battle, they’re just now turning up the heat. Eddie cuts a dickish promo calling out Kyle “KO” O’Reilly, trainee of Davey Richards and member of the tag team Future Shock with Adam Cole, for being a wannabe-American Wolf. Eddie is finally heeling it up a little bit here, building off of his sarcastic applause for KO and Davey winning a tag team match. Eddie pretty much calls KO out for being Davey’s bitch, which brings a suitably pissed off O’Reilly out from the far reaches of the locker room to challenge Eddie. Should be a decent match, and I like the potential here: the interplay between Eddie and KO both being Davey’s friends, the potential for Adam Cole to get involved and possibly side with Eddie, maybe a Davey/KO vs. Eddie/Cole match down the line? And the outside chance of Roderick Strong and the House of Truth as the shit disturbers, playing the middle. Could be something cool, but as we’ll see later, most of the involved parties have something else on the boil as well.

Now comes the really exciting stuff: we get a video recap of Kevin Steen’s vicious brawl at Final Battle with Steve Corino. For those unfamiliar with this awesome angle, Steen has spent the last 2 years playing out the machinations of this storyline, where Steve Corino conspired to get inside his head and turn him against El Generico. Steen and Generico’s violent brawl at Final Battle ’10 led to Steen “leaving ROH for good”. Corino, feeling guilt over what he did to Steen enlisted the help of Jimmy Jacobs to gain “sobriety from being evil”. That played out with Corino attempting to get Steen reinstated, to the chagrin of ROH Executive Producer Jim Cornette, so he could make amends. Meanwhile, Steen was doing, basically, what people wanted to see out of CM Punk last summer: he didn’t wrestle for ROH but he would appear outside shows, post YouTube vidoes trashing Ring of Honor, hack the ROH message boards with an ominous video; and when he was an invited guest of Corino in the audience at Best in the World, he said “Fuck Ring of Honor!” and laid out Corino and Jacobs with the Package Piledriver. Finally, Steen managed to gain a match with Corino at Final Battle ’11. It was a vicious hardcore brawl, ending with a Package Piledriver through several chairs. Steen then piledrove Jimmy Jacobs (who was the referee) and then attempted to do the same to Cornette, until everything came full circle with El Generico making the save until Steen gave him a Package Piledriver off the apron through a table.

All this has put Steen over huge with the ROH faithful, and gained him the nickname “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare”. Steen starts the interview segment by dismissing Kevin Kelly, but not before pushing his gum into Kelly’s hand. For someone who isn’t a native English speaker, Steen is incredibly comfortable on the mic and seems to be really astute at putting over a character that’s both unpredictable and completely plainspoken. Steen plants the seeds for a potential feud with champion Davey Richards, saying that the reason he was kept out of ROH is because he’s hard to control, and wouldn’t suck up to Cornette like Davey. Steen promises to win the title and hold ROH hostage, the way he was held hostage for a year. Cornette comes out with a bevy of ROH security guards and Cary Silkin by his side, just to sell how dangerous Steen really is. They trade fat jokes, and Steen plants another seed for a feud with Davey, saying how he spends his time in a wrestling ring rather than a gym, and Cornette might like him better if he spent time in an MMA gym (ala Davey). Cornette relates the story of being there at Summerslam ’97 when Owen laid out Austin with a piledriver, and how Owen was sorry for what he did, which Steen wasn’t for laying out 3 guys at Final Battle. Cornette bans all variations on the piledriver from ROH (wonder if that’ll come up in a Briscoes match when Jay goes for the J-Driller?) Steen promises to come up with something else to finish off Davey with and tells Cornette he’ll be the nightmare he won’t wake up from. Awesome stuff, all around.

Inside ROH brings us a House of Truth promo, referring back to an 8 man tag from a few weeks ago with Eddie, Generico, Haas, and Benjamin winning out over HoT’s Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin, and the Briscoes. A dispute over the gimmicked-payout for that match apparently is going to lead to a Briscoes/HoT feud. Let me say here that Truth Martini is a stupid gimmick and a blatant imitation of The Jackyll, right down to the look, and that never got over that big to begin with; and Michael Elgin looks like he’s scared out of his mind every time he has to talk. Next we get The Briscoes, who have issues with HoT taking their money. Next week we get Briscoes vs. HoT, fighting over a laughably small $5000. We get Davey next, with an understated and somewhat drab for Davey’s standard, against Jay Lethal, who he will soon be facing in a champion vs. champion match. The All Night Express call out The Young Bucks for causing Rhett Titus’ knee injury, which he’s still out from. Finally we get The Young Bucks, aka Generation Me from TNA, cutting a promo on The Briscoes, whose titles The Bucks are #1 Contenders for. Then, I assume, the regular broadcast would go to a commercial, but on the webcast, it cuts right to The Young Bucks again, saying basically the same things.

Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (who were once the World’s Greatest Tag Team, but are now apparently better than every tag team in wrestling but not as good as Tag Team, of “Whoomp, There It Is!” fame) join us next, to a chorus of boos. This is a result of a double turn with The Briscoes (funnily enough, Briscoes had been heels based off of a double turn with ANX). Haas mentions how their TV time has been cut short due to Steen (even though they just showed two redundant Bucks promos) and says not to bother sending out their opponents, The Bravados. Instead they call out The Briscoes. Cornette first comes out to protest but then relents, declaring it a title match when Dem Boys come out to answer the challenge. It’s mainly just a brawl, with a few cursory tags. One point sees Mark engage in some “hillbilly Kung Fu”, as Nigel calls it, which is a fun gimmick for him to use on the offensive portions of their matches. The match ends when Haas reverses an O’Connor roll and sends Mark into a chairshot from Shelton, in plain sight of the referee. Not much of a match as it was just a quick brawl, but I’ll give it ** just out of charity.

Overall, it was a very fun ROH episode, featuring many of their top stars. Right now it seems like their upper echelon are all involved with different feuds with everybody, and while some are just sparking while others need to be sewn up and filed away, having a bunch of different stories going on is a good direction for ROH to go in. Hope everyone enjoys the review, but remember: Don’t take my word for it, go to ROHWrestling.com and watch for yourself.

Tryout – Ryan Murphy (ROH TV)

ROH 2/4/12

Ring of Honor has been producing their TV show on Sinclair Broadcasting since this past September. While ROH isn’t anywhere near its pinnacle of the mid 00s, it’s still the top indie fed in America right now, and has always been synonymous with high quality wrestling. The fact that the current WWE and World champions are ROH alumni pretty much says it all, right? So with that in mind, I’d like to start taking a look at ROH’s weekly show. Anyone interested in checking it out should head to ROHWrestling.com. There you can find either a list of Sinclair stations that carry ROH or, if you aren’t in one of those areas, you can register with MyROH and view the show for free on the website.

(General Admission memberships allow you to view it free on Thursdays, Ringside Memberships have it posted on Mondays. If it’s a pressing issue with everyone I can level up my membership and start cranking these things out for earlier in the week, but generally, I watch the show over the weekend and I’d like these columns to be more of a Saturday thing.)

(Also, I’m not much in the way of move-by-move recapping, and I don’t really think it’s necessary since the video is there for everyone to watch online.)

The 2/4/12 broadcast starts out with a video package highlighting some of the action from Final Battle’s 3-way TV Title match between Jay Lethal, El Generico, and “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett. These three have comprised the bulk of the TV title scene for the past few months, with Lethal having won the title from Generico and Bennett feeling he deserves the title. On one of the early ROH Sinclair shows, Bennett and Lethal went to a TV-title-standard 15 minute draw, and while Cornette came out and made the offer for the match to go into overtime, Bennett declined. Tonight marks what I’m assuming will be the blowoff match between Lethal and Bennett, with no time limit.

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness do the in-ring intro, leading us into a Bennett promo. For those unaware, Bennett is a boilerplate cocky heel, sometimes calling himself “The Box Office Smash” and rocking a pre-retirement-heel Batista look, with the mirrored shades and dress shirts. Joining Bennett is his “girlfriend”, Maria Kanellis. Maria is a recent addition to the ROH roster, and it’s a pretty good catch for them. She has WWE experience, she has mainstream appeal due to “Celebrity Apprentice” and Playboy, and she was always really good, IMO, playing the “ditz” character. Bennett says nothing of note, and with that we go to the ring, and we get to see Maria do a little take on the Beautiful People ass shot on the way to the ring.

Lethal is still riding the sympathetic babyface gimmick he was just barely establishing in TNA after he ended the Black Machismo character, and he is of course one of the more talented young wrestlers in ROH. Bennett, unfortunately, is still green. He’ll do nothing but improve if he learns from his fellow ROH talents, but his offense is mainly punches, clotheslines, and power moves. Most of this match is a punch-fest brawl, but Lethal attempts to add some ‘ranas and other flying stuff. Bennett does the heel schtick of hiding behind his second twice in short order, sending his trainer Brutal Bob into Lethal to take a hit and then hiding behind Maria to gain the upper hand. Some of the drama in this match was based around Bennett trying to avoid the Lethal Injection, arguing that the move should be banned. (In this case, the Lethal Injection is a Tajiri-handspring off the ropes into a cutter. Lethal is taking a page from Mike Quackenbush, apparently naming all his finishes the same even though the Lethal Injection has, in the past, been a back suplex-into neckbreaker and a front STO to the knee into Flatliner.) The finish sees an attempt at a rear-lockup result in Bennett and Lethal colliding heads, with Lethal laid out on the mat and Bennett slumped over the ropes. While Brutal Bob had the ref distracted, Maria shoved the unconscious Bennett onto Lethal, attempting to sneak a win for Bennett. Lethal, however, wasn’t all the way out, and rolled up Bennett for the three count. Definitely not a finish I can remember seeing before, and it helps to maybe re-introduce Maria’s “ditz” character, with a more hateable “boyfriend” than Santino. (I don’t take myself to be an authority on star ratings, which I know some people take very seriously, so just take mine with a grain of salt.) ***, since the good finish negated a lot of the punchy-kicky.

Next we have a backstage interview with “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards. It seems like Eddie has been on the slow-burn to a heel turn for a year or more now, and while I thought that we’d finally see that at Final Battle, they’re just now turning up the heat. Eddie cuts a dickish promo calling out Kyle “KO” O’Reilly, trainee of Davey Richards and member of the tag team Future Shock with Adam Cole, for being a wannabe-American Wolf. Eddie is finally heeling it up a little bit here, building off of his sarcastic applause for KO and Davey winning a tag team match. Eddie pretty much calls KO out for being Davey’s bitch, which brings a suitably pissed off O’Reilly out from the far reaches of the locker room to challenge Eddie. Should be a decent match, and I like the potential here: the interplay between Eddie and KO both being Davey’s friends, the potential for Adam Cole to get involved and possibly side with Eddie, maybe a Davey/KO vs. Eddie/Cole match down the line? And the outside chance of Roderick Strong and the House of Truth as the shit disturbers, playing the middle. Could be something cool, but as we’ll see later, most of the involved parties have something else on the boil as well.

Now comes the really exciting stuff: we get a video recap of Kevin Steen’s vicious brawl at Final Battle with Steve Corino. For those unfamiliar with this awesome angle, Steen has spent the last 2 years playing out the machinations of this storyline, where Steve Corino conspired to get inside his head and turn him against El Generico. Steen and Generico’s violent brawl at Final Battle ’10 led to Steen “leaving ROH for good”. Corino, feeling guilt over what he did to Steen enlisted the help of Jimmy Jacobs to gain “sobriety from being evil”. That played out with Corino attempting to get Steen reinstated, to the chagrin of ROH Executive Producer Jim Cornette, so he could make amends. Meanwhile, Steen was doing, basically, what people wanted to see out of CM Punk last summer: he didn’t wrestle for ROH but he would appear outside shows, post YouTube vidoes trashing Ring of Honor, hack the ROH message boards with an ominous video; and when he was an invited guest of Corino in the audience at Best in the World, he said “Fuck Ring of Honor!” and laid out Corino and Jacobs with the Package Piledriver. Finally, Steen managed to gain a match with Corino at Final Battle ’11. It was a vicious hardcore brawl, ending with a Package Piledriver through several chairs. Steen then piledrove Jimmy Jacobs (who was the referee) and then attempted to do the same to Cornette, until everything came full circle with El Generico making the save until Steen gave him a Package Piledriver off the apron through a table.

All this has put Steen over huge with the ROH faithful, and gained him the nickname “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare”. Steen starts the interview segment by dismissing Kevin Kelly, but not before pushing his gum into Kelly’s hand. For someone who isn’t a native English speaker, Steen is incredibly comfortable on the mic and seems to be really astute at putting over a character that’s both unpredictable and completely plainspoken. Steen plants the seeds for a potential feud with champion Davey Richards, saying that the reason he was kept out of ROH is because he’s hard to control, and wouldn’t suck up to Cornette like Davey. Steen promises to win the title and hold ROH hostage, the way he was held hostage for a year. Cornette comes out with a bevy of ROH security guards and Cary Silkin by his side, just to sell how dangerous Steen really is. They trade fat jokes, and Steen plants another seed for a feud with Davey, saying how he spends his time in a wrestling ring rather than a gym, and Cornette might like him better if he spent time in an MMA gym (ala Davey). Cornette relates the story of being there at Summerslam ’97 when Owen laid out Austin with a piledriver, and how Owen was sorry for what he did, which Steen wasn’t for laying out 3 guys at Final Battle. Cornette bans all variations on the piledriver from ROH (wonder if that’ll come up in a Briscoes match when Jay goes for the J-Driller?) Steen promises to come up with something else to finish off Davey with and tells Cornette he’ll be the nightmare he won’t wake up from. Awesome stuff, all around.

Inside ROH brings us a House of Truth promo, referring back to an 8 man tag from a few weeks ago with Eddie, Generico, Haas, and Benjamin winning out over HoT’s Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin, and the Briscoes. A dispute over the gimmicked-payout for that match apparently is going to lead to a Briscoes/HoT feud. Let me say here that Truth Martini is a stupid gimmick and a blatant imitation of The Jackyll, right down to the look, and that never got over that big to begin with; and Michael Elgin looks like he’s scared out of his mind every time he has to talk. Next we get The Briscoes, who have issues with HoT taking their money. Next week we get Briscoes vs. HoT, fighting over a laughably small $5000. We get Davey next, with an understated and somewhat drab for Davey’s standard, against Jay Lethal, who he will soon be facing in a champion vs. champion match. The All Night Express call out The Young Bucks for causing Rhett Titus’ knee injury, which he’s still out from. Finally we get The Young Bucks, aka Generation Me from TNA, cutting a promo on The Briscoes, whose titles The Bucks are #1 Contenders for. Then, I assume, the regular broadcast would go to a commercial, but on the webcast, it cuts right to The Young Bucks again, saying basically the same things.

Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (who were once the World’s Greatest Tag Team, but are now apparently better than every tag team in wrestling but not as good as Tag Team, of “Whoomp, There It Is!” fame) join us next, to a chorus of boos. This is a result of a double turn with The Briscoes (funnily enough, Briscoes had been heels based off of a double turn with ANX). Haas mentions how their TV time has been cut short due to Steen (even though they just showed two redundant Bucks promos) and says not to bother sending out their opponents, The Bravados. Instead they call out The Briscoes. Cornette first comes out to protest but then relents, declaring it a title match when Dem Boys come out to answer the challenge. It’s mainly just a brawl, with a few cursory tags. One point sees Mark engage in some “hillbilly Kung Fu”, as Nigel calls it, which is a fun gimmick for him to use on the offensive portions of their matches. The match ends when Haas reverses an O’Connor roll and sends Mark into a chairshot from Shelton, in plain sight of the referee. Not much of a match as it was just a quick brawl, but I’ll give it ** just out of charity.

Overall, it was a very fun ROH episode, featuring many of their top stars. Right now it seems like their upper echelon are all involved with different feuds with everybody, and while some are just sparking while others need to be sewn up and filed away, having a bunch of different stories going on is a good direction for ROH to go in. Hope everyone enjoys the review, but remember: Don’t take my word for it, go to ROHWrestling.com and watch for yourself.

Tryout – Ryan Murphy (ROH TV)

ROH 2/4/12

Ring of Honor has been producing their TV show on Sinclair Broadcasting since this past September. While ROH isn’t anywhere near its pinnacle of the mid 00s, it’s still the top indie fed in America right now, and has always been synonymous with high quality wrestling. The fact that the current WWE and World champions are ROH alumni pretty much says it all, right? So with that in mind, I’d like to start taking a look at ROH’s weekly show. Anyone interested in checking it out should head to ROHWrestling.com. There you can find either a list of Sinclair stations that carry ROH or, if you aren’t in one of those areas, you can register with MyROH and view the show for free on the website.

(General Admission memberships allow you to view it free on Thursdays, Ringside Memberships have it posted on Mondays. If it’s a pressing issue with everyone I can level up my membership and start cranking these things out for earlier in the week, but generally, I watch the show over the weekend and I’d like these columns to be more of a Saturday thing.)

(Also, I’m not much in the way of move-by-move recapping, and I don’t really think it’s necessary since the video is there for everyone to watch online.)

The 2/4/12 broadcast starts out with a video package highlighting some of the action from Final Battle’s 3-way TV Title match between Jay Lethal, El Generico, and “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett. These three have comprised the bulk of the TV title scene for the past few months, with Lethal having won the title from Generico and Bennett feeling he deserves the title. On one of the early ROH Sinclair shows, Bennett and Lethal went to a TV-title-standard 15 minute draw, and while Cornette came out and made the offer for the match to go into overtime, Bennett declined. Tonight marks what I’m assuming will be the blowoff match between Lethal and Bennett, with no time limit.

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness do the in-ring intro, leading us into a Bennett promo. For those unaware, Bennett is a boilerplate cocky heel, sometimes calling himself “The Box Office Smash” and rocking a pre-retirement-heel Batista look, with the mirrored shades and dress shirts. Joining Bennett is his “girlfriend”, Maria Kanellis. Maria is a recent addition to the ROH roster, and it’s a pretty good catch for them. She has WWE experience, she has mainstream appeal due to “Celebrity Apprentice” and Playboy, and she was always really good, IMO, playing the “ditz” character. Bennett says nothing of note, and with that we go to the ring, and we get to see Maria do a little take on the Beautiful People ass shot on the way to the ring.

Lethal is still riding the sympathetic babyface gimmick he was just barely establishing in TNA after he ended the Black Machismo character, and he is of course one of the more talented young wrestlers in ROH. Bennett, unfortunately, is still green. He’ll do nothing but improve if he learns from his fellow ROH talents, but his offense is mainly punches, clotheslines, and power moves. Most of this match is a punch-fest brawl, but Lethal attempts to add some ‘ranas and other flying stuff. Bennett does the heel schtick of hiding behind his second twice in short order, sending his trainer Brutal Bob into Lethal to take a hit and then hiding behind Maria to gain the upper hand. Some of the drama in this match was based around Bennett trying to avoid the Lethal Injection, arguing that the move should be banned. (In this case, the Lethal Injection is a Tajiri-handspring off the ropes into a cutter. Lethal is taking a page from Mike Quackenbush, apparently naming all his finishes the same even though the Lethal Injection has, in the past, been a back suplex-into neckbreaker and a front STO to the knee into Flatliner.) The finish sees an attempt at a rear-lockup result in Bennett and Lethal colliding heads, with Lethal laid out on the mat and Bennett slumped over the ropes. While Brutal Bob had the ref distracted, Maria shoved the unconscious Bennett onto Lethal, attempting to sneak a win for Bennett. Lethal, however, wasn’t all the way out, and rolled up Bennett for the three count. Definitely not a finish I can remember seeing before, and it helps to maybe re-introduce Maria’s “ditz” character, with a more hateable “boyfriend” than Santino. (I don’t take myself to be an authority on star ratings, which I know some people take very seriously, so just take mine with a grain of salt.) ***, since the good finish negated a lot of the punchy-kicky.

Next we have a backstage interview with “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards. It seems like Eddie has been on the slow-burn to a heel turn for a year or more now, and while I thought that we’d finally see that at Final Battle, they’re just now turning up the heat. Eddie cuts a dickish promo calling out Kyle “KO” O’Reilly, trainee of Davey Richards and member of the tag team Future Shock with Adam Cole, for being a wannabe-American Wolf. Eddie is finally heeling it up a little bit here, building off of his sarcastic applause for KO and Davey winning a tag team match. Eddie pretty much calls KO out for being Davey’s bitch, which brings a suitably pissed off O’Reilly out from the far reaches of the locker room to challenge Eddie. Should be a decent match, and I like the potential here: the interplay between Eddie and KO both being Davey’s friends, the potential for Adam Cole to get involved and possibly side with Eddie, maybe a Davey/KO vs. Eddie/Cole match down the line? And the outside chance of Roderick Strong and the House of Truth as the shit disturbers, playing the middle. Could be something cool, but as we’ll see later, most of the involved parties have something else on the boil as well.

Now comes the really exciting stuff: we get a video recap of Kevin Steen’s vicious brawl at Final Battle with Steve Corino. For those unfamiliar with this awesome angle, Steen has spent the last 2 years playing out the machinations of this storyline, where Steve Corino conspired to get inside his head and turn him against El Generico. Steen and Generico’s violent brawl at Final Battle ’10 led to Steen “leaving ROH for good”. Corino, feeling guilt over what he did to Steen enlisted the help of Jimmy Jacobs to gain “sobriety from being evil”. That played out with Corino attempting to get Steen reinstated, to the chagrin of ROH Executive Producer Jim Cornette, so he could make amends. Meanwhile, Steen was doing, basically, what people wanted to see out of CM Punk last summer: he didn’t wrestle for ROH but he would appear outside shows, post YouTube vidoes trashing Ring of Honor, hack the ROH message boards with an ominous video; and when he was an invited guest of Corino in the audience at Best in the World, he said “Fuck Ring of Honor!” and laid out Corino and Jacobs with the Package Piledriver. Finally, Steen managed to gain a match with Corino at Final Battle ’11. It was a vicious hardcore brawl, ending with a Package Piledriver through several chairs. Steen then piledrove Jimmy Jacobs (who was the referee) and then attempted to do the same to Cornette, until everything came full circle with El Generico making the save until Steen gave him a Package Piledriver off the apron through a table.

All this has put Steen over huge with the ROH faithful, and gained him the nickname “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare”. Steen starts the interview segment by dismissing Kevin Kelly, but not before pushing his gum into Kelly’s hand. For someone who isn’t a native English speaker, Steen is incredibly comfortable on the mic and seems to be really astute at putting over a character that’s both unpredictable and completely plainspoken. Steen plants the seeds for a potential feud with champion Davey Richards, saying that the reason he was kept out of ROH is because he’s hard to control, and wouldn’t suck up to Cornette like Davey. Steen promises to win the title and hold ROH hostage, the way he was held hostage for a year. Cornette comes out with a bevy of ROH security guards and Cary Silkin by his side, just to sell how dangerous Steen really is. They trade fat jokes, and Steen plants another seed for a feud with Davey, saying how he spends his time in a wrestling ring rather than a gym, and Cornette might like him better if he spent time in an MMA gym (ala Davey). Cornette relates the story of being there at Summerslam ’97 when Owen laid out Austin with a piledriver, and how Owen was sorry for what he did, which Steen wasn’t for laying out 3 guys at Final Battle. Cornette bans all variations on the piledriver from ROH (wonder if that’ll come up in a Briscoes match when Jay goes for the J-Driller?) Steen promises to come up with something else to finish off Davey with and tells Cornette he’ll be the nightmare he won’t wake up from. Awesome stuff, all around.

Inside ROH brings us a House of Truth promo, referring back to an 8 man tag from a few weeks ago with Eddie, Generico, Haas, and Benjamin winning out over HoT’s Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin, and the Briscoes. A dispute over the gimmicked-payout for that match apparently is going to lead to a Briscoes/HoT feud. Let me say here that Truth Martini is a stupid gimmick and a blatant imitation of The Jackyll, right down to the look, and that never got over that big to begin with; and Michael Elgin looks like he’s scared out of his mind every time he has to talk. Next we get The Briscoes, who have issues with HoT taking their money. Next week we get Briscoes vs. HoT, fighting over a laughably small $5000. We get Davey next, with an understated and somewhat drab for Davey’s standard, against Jay Lethal, who he will soon be facing in a champion vs. champion match. The All Night Express call out The Young Bucks for causing Rhett Titus’ knee injury, which he’s still out from. Finally we get The Young Bucks, aka Generation Me from TNA, cutting a promo on The Briscoes, whose titles The Bucks are #1 Contenders for. Then, I assume, the regular broadcast would go to a commercial, but on the webcast, it cuts right to The Young Bucks again, saying basically the same things.

Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (who were once the World’s Greatest Tag Team, but are now apparently better than every tag team in wrestling but not as good as Tag Team, of “Whoomp, There It Is!” fame) join us next, to a chorus of boos. This is a result of a double turn with The Briscoes (funnily enough, Briscoes had been heels based off of a double turn with ANX). Haas mentions how their TV time has been cut short due to Steen (even though they just showed two redundant Bucks promos) and says not to bother sending out their opponents, The Bravados. Instead they call out The Briscoes. Cornette first comes out to protest but then relents, declaring it a title match when Dem Boys come out to answer the challenge. It’s mainly just a brawl, with a few cursory tags. One point sees Mark engage in some “hillbilly Kung Fu”, as Nigel calls it, which is a fun gimmick for him to use on the offensive portions of their matches. The match ends when Haas reverses an O’Connor roll and sends Mark into a chairshot from Shelton, in plain sight of the referee. Not much of a match as it was just a quick brawl, but I’ll give it ** just out of charity.

Overall, it was a very fun ROH episode, featuring many of their top stars. Right now it seems like their upper echelon are all involved with different feuds with everybody, and while some are just sparking while others need to be sewn up and filed away, having a bunch of different stories going on is a good direction for ROH to go in. Hope everyone enjoys the review, but remember: Don’t take my word for it, go to ROHWrestling.com and watch for yourself.

Tryout – Ryan Murphy (ROH TV)

ROH 2/4/12

Ring of Honor has been producing their TV show on Sinclair Broadcasting since this past September. While ROH isn’t anywhere near its pinnacle of the mid 00s, it’s still the top indie fed in America right now, and has always been synonymous with high quality wrestling. The fact that the current WWE and World champions are ROH alumni pretty much says it all, right? So with that in mind, I’d like to start taking a look at ROH’s weekly show. Anyone interested in checking it out should head to ROHWrestling.com. There you can find either a list of Sinclair stations that carry ROH or, if you aren’t in one of those areas, you can register with MyROH and view the show for free on the website.

(General Admission memberships allow you to view it free on Thursdays, Ringside Memberships have it posted on Mondays. If it’s a pressing issue with everyone I can level up my membership and start cranking these things out for earlier in the week, but generally, I watch the show over the weekend and I’d like these columns to be more of a Saturday thing.)

(Also, I’m not much in the way of move-by-move recapping, and I don’t really think it’s necessary since the video is there for everyone to watch online.)

The 2/4/12 broadcast starts out with a video package highlighting some of the action from Final Battle’s 3-way TV Title match between Jay Lethal, El Generico, and “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett. These three have comprised the bulk of the TV title scene for the past few months, with Lethal having won the title from Generico and Bennett feeling he deserves the title. On one of the early ROH Sinclair shows, Bennett and Lethal went to a TV-title-standard 15 minute draw, and while Cornette came out and made the offer for the match to go into overtime, Bennett declined. Tonight marks what I’m assuming will be the blowoff match between Lethal and Bennett, with no time limit.

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness do the in-ring intro, leading us into a Bennett promo. For those unaware, Bennett is a boilerplate cocky heel, sometimes calling himself “The Box Office Smash” and rocking a pre-retirement-heel Batista look, with the mirrored shades and dress shirts. Joining Bennett is his “girlfriend”, Maria Kanellis. Maria is a recent addition to the ROH roster, and it’s a pretty good catch for them. She has WWE experience, she has mainstream appeal due to “Celebrity Apprentice” and Playboy, and she was always really good, IMO, playing the “ditz” character. Bennett says nothing of note, and with that we go to the ring, and we get to see Maria do a little take on the Beautiful People ass shot on the way to the ring.

Lethal is still riding the sympathetic babyface gimmick he was just barely establishing in TNA after he ended the Black Machismo character, and he is of course one of the more talented young wrestlers in ROH. Bennett, unfortunately, is still green. He’ll do nothing but improve if he learns from his fellow ROH talents, but his offense is mainly punches, clotheslines, and power moves. Most of this match is a punch-fest brawl, but Lethal attempts to add some ‘ranas and other flying stuff. Bennett does the heel schtick of hiding behind his second twice in short order, sending his trainer Brutal Bob into Lethal to take a hit and then hiding behind Maria to gain the upper hand. Some of the drama in this match was based around Bennett trying to avoid the Lethal Injection, arguing that the move should be banned. (In this case, the Lethal Injection is a Tajiri-handspring off the ropes into a cutter. Lethal is taking a page from Mike Quackenbush, apparently naming all his finishes the same even though the Lethal Injection has, in the past, been a back suplex-into neckbreaker and a front STO to the knee into Flatliner.) The finish sees an attempt at a rear-lockup result in Bennett and Lethal colliding heads, with Lethal laid out on the mat and Bennett slumped over the ropes. While Brutal Bob had the ref distracted, Maria shoved the unconscious Bennett onto Lethal, attempting to sneak a win for Bennett. Lethal, however, wasn’t all the way out, and rolled up Bennett for the three count. Definitely not a finish I can remember seeing before, and it helps to maybe re-introduce Maria’s “ditz” character, with a more hateable “boyfriend” than Santino. (I don’t take myself to be an authority on star ratings, which I know some people take very seriously, so just take mine with a grain of salt.) ***, since the good finish negated a lot of the punchy-kicky.

Next we have a backstage interview with “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards. It seems like Eddie has been on the slow-burn to a heel turn for a year or more now, and while I thought that we’d finally see that at Final Battle, they’re just now turning up the heat. Eddie cuts a dickish promo calling out Kyle “KO” O’Reilly, trainee of Davey Richards and member of the tag team Future Shock with Adam Cole, for being a wannabe-American Wolf. Eddie is finally heeling it up a little bit here, building off of his sarcastic applause for KO and Davey winning a tag team match. Eddie pretty much calls KO out for being Davey’s bitch, which brings a suitably pissed off O’Reilly out from the far reaches of the locker room to challenge Eddie. Should be a decent match, and I like the potential here: the interplay between Eddie and KO both being Davey’s friends, the potential for Adam Cole to get involved and possibly side with Eddie, maybe a Davey/KO vs. Eddie/Cole match down the line? And the outside chance of Roderick Strong and the House of Truth as the shit disturbers, playing the middle. Could be something cool, but as we’ll see later, most of the involved parties have something else on the boil as well.

Now comes the really exciting stuff: we get a video recap of Kevin Steen’s vicious brawl at Final Battle with Steve Corino. For those unfamiliar with this awesome angle, Steen has spent the last 2 years playing out the machinations of this storyline, where Steve Corino conspired to get inside his head and turn him against El Generico. Steen and Generico’s violent brawl at Final Battle ’10 led to Steen “leaving ROH for good”. Corino, feeling guilt over what he did to Steen enlisted the help of Jimmy Jacobs to gain “sobriety from being evil”. That played out with Corino attempting to get Steen reinstated, to the chagrin of ROH Executive Producer Jim Cornette, so he could make amends. Meanwhile, Steen was doing, basically, what people wanted to see out of CM Punk last summer: he didn’t wrestle for ROH but he would appear outside shows, post YouTube vidoes trashing Ring of Honor, hack the ROH message boards with an ominous video; and when he was an invited guest of Corino in the audience at Best in the World, he said “Fuck Ring of Honor!” and laid out Corino and Jacobs with the Package Piledriver. Finally, Steen managed to gain a match with Corino at Final Battle ’11. It was a vicious hardcore brawl, ending with a Package Piledriver through several chairs. Steen then piledrove Jimmy Jacobs (who was the referee) and then attempted to do the same to Cornette, until everything came full circle with El Generico making the save until Steen gave him a Package Piledriver off the apron through a table.

All this has put Steen over huge with the ROH faithful, and gained him the nickname “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare”. Steen starts the interview segment by dismissing Kevin Kelly, but not before pushing his gum into Kelly’s hand. For someone who isn’t a native English speaker, Steen is incredibly comfortable on the mic and seems to be really astute at putting over a character that’s both unpredictable and completely plainspoken. Steen plants the seeds for a potential feud with champion Davey Richards, saying that the reason he was kept out of ROH is because he’s hard to control, and wouldn’t suck up to Cornette like Davey. Steen promises to win the title and hold ROH hostage, the way he was held hostage for a year. Cornette comes out with a bevy of ROH security guards and Cary Silkin by his side, just to sell how dangerous Steen really is. They trade fat jokes, and Steen plants another seed for a feud with Davey, saying how he spends his time in a wrestling ring rather than a gym, and Cornette might like him better if he spent time in an MMA gym (ala Davey). Cornette relates the story of being there at Summerslam ’97 when Owen laid out Austin with a piledriver, and how Owen was sorry for what he did, which Steen wasn’t for laying out 3 guys at Final Battle. Cornette bans all variations on the piledriver from ROH (wonder if that’ll come up in a Briscoes match when Jay goes for the J-Driller?) Steen promises to come up with something else to finish off Davey with and tells Cornette he’ll be the nightmare he won’t wake up from. Awesome stuff, all around.

Inside ROH brings us a House of Truth promo, referring back to an 8 man tag from a few weeks ago with Eddie, Generico, Haas, and Benjamin winning out over HoT’s Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin, and the Briscoes. A dispute over the gimmicked-payout for that match apparently is going to lead to a Briscoes/HoT feud. Let me say here that Truth Martini is a stupid gimmick and a blatant imitation of The Jackyll, right down to the look, and that never got over that big to begin with; and Michael Elgin looks like he’s scared out of his mind every time he has to talk. Next we get The Briscoes, who have issues with HoT taking their money. Next week we get Briscoes vs. HoT, fighting over a laughably small $5000. We get Davey next, with an understated and somewhat drab for Davey’s standard, against Jay Lethal, who he will soon be facing in a champion vs. champion match. The All Night Express call out The Young Bucks for causing Rhett Titus’ knee injury, which he’s still out from. Finally we get The Young Bucks, aka Generation Me from TNA, cutting a promo on The Briscoes, whose titles The Bucks are #1 Contenders for. Then, I assume, the regular broadcast would go to a commercial, but on the webcast, it cuts right to The Young Bucks again, saying basically the same things.

Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (who were once the World’s Greatest Tag Team, but are now apparently better than every tag team in wrestling but not as good as Tag Team, of “Whoomp, There It Is!” fame) join us next, to a chorus of boos. This is a result of a double turn with The Briscoes (funnily enough, Briscoes had been heels based off of a double turn with ANX). Haas mentions how their TV time has been cut short due to Steen (even though they just showed two redundant Bucks promos) and says not to bother sending out their opponents, The Bravados. Instead they call out The Briscoes. Cornette first comes out to protest but then relents, declaring it a title match when Dem Boys come out to answer the challenge. It’s mainly just a brawl, with a few cursory tags. One point sees Mark engage in some “hillbilly Kung Fu”, as Nigel calls it, which is a fun gimmick for him to use on the offensive portions of their matches. The match ends when Haas reverses an O’Connor roll and sends Mark into a chairshot from Shelton, in plain sight of the referee. Not much of a match as it was just a quick brawl, but I’ll give it ** just out of charity.

Overall, it was a very fun ROH episode, featuring many of their top stars. Right now it seems like their upper echelon are all involved with different feuds with everybody, and while some are just sparking while others need to be sewn up and filed away, having a bunch of different stories going on is a good direction for ROH to go in. Hope everyone enjoys the review, but remember: Don’t take my word for it, go to ROHWrestling.com and watch for yourself.

Tryout – Ryan Murphy (ROH TV)

ROH 2/4/12

Ring of Honor has been producing their TV show on Sinclair Broadcasting since this past September. While ROH isn’t anywhere near its pinnacle of the mid 00s, it’s still the top indie fed in America right now, and has always been synonymous with high quality wrestling. The fact that the current WWE and World champions are ROH alumni pretty much says it all, right? So with that in mind, I’d like to start taking a look at ROH’s weekly show. Anyone interested in checking it out should head to ROHWrestling.com. There you can find either a list of Sinclair stations that carry ROH or, if you aren’t in one of those areas, you can register with MyROH and view the show for free on the website.

(General Admission memberships allow you to view it free on Thursdays, Ringside Memberships have it posted on Mondays. If it’s a pressing issue with everyone I can level up my membership and start cranking these things out for earlier in the week, but generally, I watch the show over the weekend and I’d like these columns to be more of a Saturday thing.)

(Also, I’m not much in the way of move-by-move recapping, and I don’t really think it’s necessary since the video is there for everyone to watch online.)

The 2/4/12 broadcast starts out with a video package highlighting some of the action from Final Battle’s 3-way TV Title match between Jay Lethal, El Generico, and “The Prodigy” Mike Bennett. These three have comprised the bulk of the TV title scene for the past few months, with Lethal having won the title from Generico and Bennett feeling he deserves the title. On one of the early ROH Sinclair shows, Bennett and Lethal went to a TV-title-standard 15 minute draw, and while Cornette came out and made the offer for the match to go into overtime, Bennett declined. Tonight marks what I’m assuming will be the blowoff match between Lethal and Bennett, with no time limit.

Kevin Kelly and Nigel McGuiness do the in-ring intro, leading us into a Bennett promo. For those unaware, Bennett is a boilerplate cocky heel, sometimes calling himself “The Box Office Smash” and rocking a pre-retirement-heel Batista look, with the mirrored shades and dress shirts. Joining Bennett is his “girlfriend”, Maria Kanellis. Maria is a recent addition to the ROH roster, and it’s a pretty good catch for them. She has WWE experience, she has mainstream appeal due to “Celebrity Apprentice” and Playboy, and she was always really good, IMO, playing the “ditz” character. Bennett says nothing of note, and with that we go to the ring, and we get to see Maria do a little take on the Beautiful People ass shot on the way to the ring.

Lethal is still riding the sympathetic babyface gimmick he was just barely establishing in TNA after he ended the Black Machismo character, and he is of course one of the more talented young wrestlers in ROH. Bennett, unfortunately, is still green. He’ll do nothing but improve if he learns from his fellow ROH talents, but his offense is mainly punches, clotheslines, and power moves. Most of this match is a punch-fest brawl, but Lethal attempts to add some ‘ranas and other flying stuff. Bennett does the heel schtick of hiding behind his second twice in short order, sending his trainer Brutal Bob into Lethal to take a hit and then hiding behind Maria to gain the upper hand. Some of the drama in this match was based around Bennett trying to avoid the Lethal Injection, arguing that the move should be banned. (In this case, the Lethal Injection is a Tajiri-handspring off the ropes into a cutter. Lethal is taking a page from Mike Quackenbush, apparently naming all his finishes the same even though the Lethal Injection has, in the past, been a back suplex-into neckbreaker and a front STO to the knee into Flatliner.) The finish sees an attempt at a rear-lockup result in Bennett and Lethal colliding heads, with Lethal laid out on the mat and Bennett slumped over the ropes. While Brutal Bob had the ref distracted, Maria shoved the unconscious Bennett onto Lethal, attempting to sneak a win for Bennett. Lethal, however, wasn’t all the way out, and rolled up Bennett for the three count. Definitely not a finish I can remember seeing before, and it helps to maybe re-introduce Maria’s “ditz” character, with a more hateable “boyfriend” than Santino. (I don’t take myself to be an authority on star ratings, which I know some people take very seriously, so just take mine with a grain of salt.) ***, since the good finish negated a lot of the punchy-kicky.

Next we have a backstage interview with “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards. It seems like Eddie has been on the slow-burn to a heel turn for a year or more now, and while I thought that we’d finally see that at Final Battle, they’re just now turning up the heat. Eddie cuts a dickish promo calling out Kyle “KO” O’Reilly, trainee of Davey Richards and member of the tag team Future Shock with Adam Cole, for being a wannabe-American Wolf. Eddie is finally heeling it up a little bit here, building off of his sarcastic applause for KO and Davey winning a tag team match. Eddie pretty much calls KO out for being Davey’s bitch, which brings a suitably pissed off O’Reilly out from the far reaches of the locker room to challenge Eddie. Should be a decent match, and I like the potential here: the interplay between Eddie and KO both being Davey’s friends, the potential for Adam Cole to get involved and possibly side with Eddie, maybe a Davey/KO vs. Eddie/Cole match down the line? And the outside chance of Roderick Strong and the House of Truth as the shit disturbers, playing the middle. Could be something cool, but as we’ll see later, most of the involved parties have something else on the boil as well.

Now comes the really exciting stuff: we get a video recap of Kevin Steen’s vicious brawl at Final Battle with Steve Corino. For those unfamiliar with this awesome angle, Steen has spent the last 2 years playing out the machinations of this storyline, where Steve Corino conspired to get inside his head and turn him against El Generico. Steen and Generico’s violent brawl at Final Battle ’10 led to Steen “leaving ROH for good”. Corino, feeling guilt over what he did to Steen enlisted the help of Jimmy Jacobs to gain “sobriety from being evil”. That played out with Corino attempting to get Steen reinstated, to the chagrin of ROH Executive Producer Jim Cornette, so he could make amends. Meanwhile, Steen was doing, basically, what people wanted to see out of CM Punk last summer: he didn’t wrestle for ROH but he would appear outside shows, post YouTube vidoes trashing Ring of Honor, hack the ROH message boards with an ominous video; and when he was an invited guest of Corino in the audience at Best in the World, he said “Fuck Ring of Honor!” and laid out Corino and Jacobs with the Package Piledriver. Finally, Steen managed to gain a match with Corino at Final Battle ’11. It was a vicious hardcore brawl, ending with a Package Piledriver through several chairs. Steen then piledrove Jimmy Jacobs (who was the referee) and then attempted to do the same to Cornette, until everything came full circle with El Generico making the save until Steen gave him a Package Piledriver off the apron through a table.

All this has put Steen over huge with the ROH faithful, and gained him the nickname “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare”. Steen starts the interview segment by dismissing Kevin Kelly, but not before pushing his gum into Kelly’s hand. For someone who isn’t a native English speaker, Steen is incredibly comfortable on the mic and seems to be really astute at putting over a character that’s both unpredictable and completely plainspoken. Steen plants the seeds for a potential feud with champion Davey Richards, saying that the reason he was kept out of ROH is because he’s hard to control, and wouldn’t suck up to Cornette like Davey. Steen promises to win the title and hold ROH hostage, the way he was held hostage for a year. Cornette comes out with a bevy of ROH security guards and Cary Silkin by his side, just to sell how dangerous Steen really is. They trade fat jokes, and Steen plants another seed for a feud with Davey, saying how he spends his time in a wrestling ring rather than a gym, and Cornette might like him better if he spent time in an MMA gym (ala Davey). Cornette relates the story of being there at Summerslam ’97 when Owen laid out Austin with a piledriver, and how Owen was sorry for what he did, which Steen wasn’t for laying out 3 guys at Final Battle. Cornette bans all variations on the piledriver from ROH (wonder if that’ll come up in a Briscoes match when Jay goes for the J-Driller?) Steen promises to come up with something else to finish off Davey with and tells Cornette he’ll be the nightmare he won’t wake up from. Awesome stuff, all around.

Inside ROH brings us a House of Truth promo, referring back to an 8 man tag from a few weeks ago with Eddie, Generico, Haas, and Benjamin winning out over HoT’s Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin, and the Briscoes. A dispute over the gimmicked-payout for that match apparently is going to lead to a Briscoes/HoT feud. Let me say here that Truth Martini is a stupid gimmick and a blatant imitation of The Jackyll, right down to the look, and that never got over that big to begin with; and Michael Elgin looks like he’s scared out of his mind every time he has to talk. Next we get The Briscoes, who have issues with HoT taking their money. Next week we get Briscoes vs. HoT, fighting over a laughably small $5000. We get Davey next, with an understated and somewhat drab for Davey’s standard, against Jay Lethal, who he will soon be facing in a champion vs. champion match. The All Night Express call out The Young Bucks for causing Rhett Titus’ knee injury, which he’s still out from. Finally we get The Young Bucks, aka Generation Me from TNA, cutting a promo on The Briscoes, whose titles The Bucks are #1 Contenders for. Then, I assume, the regular broadcast would go to a commercial, but on the webcast, it cuts right to The Young Bucks again, saying basically the same things.

Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (who were once the World’s Greatest Tag Team, but are now apparently better than every tag team in wrestling but not as good as Tag Team, of “Whoomp, There It Is!” fame) join us next, to a chorus of boos. This is a result of a double turn with The Briscoes (funnily enough, Briscoes had been heels based off of a double turn with ANX). Haas mentions how their TV time has been cut short due to Steen (even though they just showed two redundant Bucks promos) and says not to bother sending out their opponents, The Bravados. Instead they call out The Briscoes. Cornette first comes out to protest but then relents, declaring it a title match when Dem Boys come out to answer the challenge. It’s mainly just a brawl, with a few cursory tags. One point sees Mark engage in some “hillbilly Kung Fu”, as Nigel calls it, which is a fun gimmick for him to use on the offensive portions of their matches. The match ends when Haas reverses an O’Connor roll and sends Mark into a chairshot from Shelton, in plain sight of the referee. Not much of a match as it was just a quick brawl, but I’ll give it ** just out of charity.

Overall, it was a very fun ROH episode, featuring many of their top stars. Right now it seems like their upper echelon are all involved with different feuds with everybody, and while some are just sparking while others need to be sewn up and filed away, having a bunch of different stories going on is a good direction for ROH to go in. Hope everyone enjoys the review, but remember: Don’t take my word for it, go to ROHWrestling.com and watch for yourself.

Tryout #2: Marion Cobretti

The Cobra Kai Review of The Best of the King of the Ring
by Marion Cobretti
The set is hosted by King Bookah. I wasn’t into wrestling so much during the days of King Bookah, but from what I’ve seen, he’s damn entertaining. Plus, Booker can wrestle well when he wants to.  
Bret Hart vs Bam Bam Bigelow – King of the Ring Finals [1993]
I’ve often thought that King of the Ring 1993 was the greatest example of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ that we’d ever see in wrestling. Hulk Hogan comes out, wrestles his last match with the WWE for almost 10 years, and gives us absolutely nothing new. Bret Hart comes in, wrestles three different matches, that were all fantastic and shows us that he’s best in the world at this point. This is a great big-man v underdog type of match, and Bret puts the icing on the cake that was an incredible night for him.
Bret Hart wins with the Owen Hart style roll-up from WMX at 18:11
***3/4
Hulk Hogan [C] vs Yokozuna – WWE Title Match

From that same night, we get the polar opposite of Bret’s performance. It’s exactly what you’d expect. The oddest looking photographer EVER uses the exploding flash-bulb and blinds The Hulkster. Yoko takes advantage, drops the leg, and we get the three count. Everyone always references the guy there dressed like Hulk Hogan, and you know where you see him next? Front row at Bash of the Beach 1994. Who is this guy, by the way? I always saw him, and he was always dressed like Hulk, and he’s always been a question mark. Why isn’t he present in the IWC? Anyways, there’s nothing memorable about this match other than the previous mentioned aspects. I understand it’s inclusion.
Yoko drops the leg for the win at 13:09
**
Owen Hart vs Razor Ramon – KOTR Finals [1994]

For the second year in a row, Razor loses out to a Hart. This match wasn’t much, but it’s nice to see Owen win, because he was always so humble. I can’t be the only one who during
his mark days, would become very mad at Razor for trying the Razor’s Edge so close to the ropes, can I? I mean, c’mon Razor, don’t you learn from your mistakes?! 1994 was the year of Owen. Well, in terms of having awesome, awesome matches. Also, I’m a bit bummed we didn’t get the classic Piper v Lawler that followed this.
Owen drops a top rope elbow for the win at 6:35
**
Bret Hart vs Jerry “The King” Lawler – Kiss My Foot Match
This was basically the cap on their feud that had been goin
g on for about 2 years now. Why it couldn’t be a decent match, is beyond me. But the stipulation here works to Lawler’s character, because having him do whatever he could to make his foot disgusting works perfectly. Also, how does a gross foot lead to a tooth problem? But then again, why would Lawler go to his dentist to solve his problems in the ring.
Bret rocks the Sharpshooter for the win at 9:20
*
Goldust [C] vs Ahmed Johnson – Intercontinental Title Match

If Ahmed wasn’t always hurting people, he could have really gone on to big things. But, I suppose getting the rights to the letter “T” and playing Suge Knight in Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story is a pretty good consolation prize. This match goes on about 5-6 minutes too long, but other than that, nothing too much to complain about. Goldust’s The Kiss That Don’t Miss ended up working like Macho Man’s Hulkster Reviving Elbow as Ahmed scores the IC title.
Pearl River Plunge gets the pin at 15:34
**
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts – KOTR Finals [1996]

We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his “reborn” gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn’t include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal. This does include the speech.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
**
DISC TWO
Shawn Michaels [C] vs. British Bulldog – WWE Championship Match

This was your typical bout where Shawn was in his prime and having great matches with anyone and anything.The match at Beware of Dog ended in a double pin, thus setting up this bout, which ends in interference. I don’t understand the need to protect Bulldog again, and I’m astonished that Shawn didn’t have it vetoed, and the match was then that Bulldog got to be inside Truckosaurus, but Shawn still beat The British Truckosaurus with a superkick & Kerry Von Erich’s false foot. Anyways, this match is a perfectly fine that isn’t as great as Beware of Dog, but gets the job done.
Tons of interference gets the bell at 26:25
***3/4
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels

I don’t recall why they were having this match, but I do remember the absolutely fantastic tag-match where they beat Bulldog & Owen on Raw. Man, was 97 great. Either way, this match is all sorts of awesome. I wish they would have had an actual finish, but I suppose the need to keep both strong makes sense. I love that the mentally challenged kid just loves Shawn so much, that he’ll do anything to get to Stone Cold. This kid just man-handles security.
Ref calls for a no-decision at 23:01
****1/4
Triple H vs Mankind – KOTR Finals [1997]

I don’t get it. Do I have some sorta special eyes that creates some sorta They Live scenario when I watch this match? Most people don’t give this bout the time of day, but I LOVE IT. It’s absolutely fantastic and one of the most under-rated matches of all time, I think. The crowd wasn’t into this until the last 3rd of it, and I don’t understand their apathy either. This match just kept building and building, it’s incredible. Is there anyone else out there who loves this match?
Triple H hits Mick with the Pedigree for the win at 19:24
****1/4
The Rock vs Ken Shamrock – KOTR Finals [1998]

I didn’t expect much out this one, but I really enjoyed it. The Rock proves just as much that he’s the man, getting a damn great match out of Ken Shamrock. It’s a meat & potatoes type of match, that’s delivered with a clean finish. Worth your time.
The Rock taps out to the ankle-lock at 14:09
***1/2
The Undertaker vs Mankind – Hell in a Cell

Has a year gone by where the WWE hasn’t released a DVD with this match on it? I mean, there’s at least 5-6 DVDs with this. Funny thing is, I usually watch it with every DVD I get that has it, and my opinion of it always improves. I hate the first spot because of what a waste of time it is, it just eats up the minutes, and I get so sick of the replay. Anyways, it turns into a real war, and they take what would be a 20-30 minute hardcore match and cram in all the greatest hits.
The Undertaker gets the pin with the Tombstone at 16:01
***** for history and such, **** for the actual match.
DISC THREE
The Undertaker vs The Rock – WWE Championship Match

There’s not much to say about this match, honestly. Undertaker was doing his super-evil gimmick here, which produced a run of matches nearly as bad as Biker-Taker, and this is no bright shining star. Taker punches out the ref right when the bell rings for absolutely no reason. I believe everyone knew that things weren’t working with ‘Taker, because he dropped the title on Raw the next night.
Undertaker gets the tombstone on The Rock for the pin at 19:10
*1/2
Triple H, Vince & Shane McMahon vs The Rock, Undertaker & Kane – 6 Man Tag For the WWE Championship

The 2000’s was probably the greatest year of high quality wrestling ever, as far as the WWE was concerned. Starting at Royal Rumble 2000, they started on an awesome streak of incredible PPVs that ended with King of the Ring. Sure, WM2000 wasn’t a huge success, but it had the awesome triangle-ladder match, and the Kurt v Jericho v Benoit bout. That’s more than KOTR2000 had, and the main event here is in no way a saving grace. There’s not much to say here about the match, because it runs 20 minutes, has Vince McMahon, and doesn’t flow at all. Don’t bother with this at all.
Rock Bottom to Vince allows Rock to get the pin at 18:55
*
Rikishi vs Kurt Angle – KOTR Finals [2000]

This match is about 5 minutes, and it’s Kurt just taking everyone on home to the finish-line that we all saw coming miles away.
Kurt nails Rikishi with the superplex and the pin at 5:00
*
Jeff Hardy vs X-Pac – Light Heavyweight Championship Match

They’re kind of reaching here on the 3rd disc, but I guess it’s always nice to be reminded of one of the 12 times they tried to have a Lightweight title. There’s nothing wrong with this match, and I think if they got an extra 5 minutes they could have produced a pretty decent match. But then that might have helped elevate the title, so, no. The blown spot is a pretty bad one, and both guys seem kinda out of it afterward.
Jeff hits the Swanton at 7:12
**1/4
Edge vs Kurt Angle – KOTR Finals [2001]

Ah, now we’re talking. Kurt extended his hand in friendship, and asks Edge to bow-out so Kurt can rest up for his show-stealing match with Shane later. Edge gives it some thought, but opts not too. This is a great match,. and it’s no surprise because Edge & Kurt always had chemistry.
Kurt eats the Impaler for the pin at 10:22
***1/4
Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon – Street Fight

Oooh man. This match was the big reason for me buying this DVD. This match is absolutely incredible, and to my amazement doesn’t get love from everyone. How? I have no idea. These guys go full tilt for almost a half and hour, and they both show what passion they have for putting on a great show. According to Kurt from his RF Shoot, someone ordered the wrong kind of glass, and what they ended up with was the absolute worst kind of material they could be crashing through. Once the glass didn’t break, Shane didn’t have to go for it again, but he did. When it came to the 2nd glass pane, knowing that he’d been cut to hell the first time around, he could have vetoed going through it, but he didn’t. Then when TWO suplexes didn’t do it, he didn’t have to get thrown through it head first, but he did. This match is absolutely incredible, and I’m shocked it didn’t get Match of the Year for 2001.
Kurt gives Shane the Angle Slam from the top rope for the pin at 26:01
*****
Brock Lesnar vs RVD – KOTR Finals [2002]

Brock was on the war path, and the winner here got a shot at the WWE Championship at the upcoming SummerSlam. I can’t imagine anyone had RVD for the win. A typical Raw match with no real high-light.
Brock gets the F5 on RVD for the pin at 5:56
**
Kurt Angle vs Hulk Hogan

I know a lot of people don’t like Hogan, but for my money, when he was in the ring with an awesome worker they could have a hell of a match, see Jericho’s DVD for proof. I didn’t know Kurt was during his wig period for this match, and busted a gut. Hands down, that’s the funniest thing any wrestler has ever done. It’s absolutely hilarious, and one of the reasons why heel Kurt was my all time favorite bad-guy. Kurt carries Hogan to one of the better matches of his 2nd WWE run, and Hogan even taps to the Ankle-Lock which is absolutely amazing. That’d be like seeing Cena tap.
Kurt Angle gets Hogan to tap to the Ankle-Lock at 12:06
***1/4
Booker T vs Bobby Lashley – KOTR Finals [2006]

After 2002, the KOTR gimmick was dead. No one really missed it, because of how pointless it had become. But I think they had a plan with this, so it all makes sense. Booker is able to take the rather green Lashley, and carry him to a very watchable match. The last few minutes really get the match going, and makes you wish they would have kept it going.
Booker T with the axe kick and the pin at 9:12
***

CM Punk vs William Regal – KOTR Finals [2008]
There was no real reason to bring back KOTR, but if they actually put some stock into William as a heel, he could have done some real damage. Punk took out Henry & Jericho, while Regal passed Hornswaggle & Finlay. They don’t give this match much time, thus showing us just how much we should really care.
Regal scores the win at 4:04
**

John Morrison vs Sheamus – KOTR Finals [2010]
It’s an absolute shame that these guys didn’t have a big feud, because they have a crazy chemistry. This match is fantastic. Sheamus comes out there as the brute that he is, and works the hell out of John’s arm & shoulder. Right when you think that there’s no hope for Morrison, he’ll do something to get the best of Sheamus, and help turn the tides. You really felt like this could go either way, and if they were given 5-10 more minutes, they could have broken 4 stars, no problem at all. Also, I still stand that Starship Pain is probably the lamest finisher of all time.
Sheamus hits the High-Cross on John for the pin at 8:32
***1/2

Last Word: This is a fantastic set. They cover the King of the Ring in a exhaustive manner, and give us all the gems. Thankfully they didn’t feel the need to give us coverage of King Ass, or King Mabel. Although to be honest, I would have liked a look back at King Mabel, simply for how atrocious of a decision it was. I would definitely give this set a recommendation. All in all, as a set it gets ****1/2.

Tryout #2: Marion Cobretti

The Cobra Kai Review of The Best of the King of the Ring
by Marion Cobretti
The set is hosted by King Bookah. I wasn’t into wrestling so much during the days of King Bookah, but from what I’ve seen, he’s damn entertaining. Plus, Booker can wrestle well when he wants to.  
Bret Hart vs Bam Bam Bigelow – King of the Ring Finals [1993]
I’ve often thought that King of the Ring 1993 was the greatest example of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ that we’d ever see in wrestling. Hulk Hogan comes out, wrestles his last match with the WWE for almost 10 years, and gives us absolutely nothing new. Bret Hart comes in, wrestles three different matches, that were all fantastic and shows us that he’s best in the world at this point. This is a great big-man v underdog type of match, and Bret puts the icing on the cake that was an incredible night for him.
Bret Hart wins with the Owen Hart style roll-up from WMX at 18:11
***3/4
Hulk Hogan [C] vs Yokozuna – WWE Title Match

From that same night, we get the polar opposite of Bret’s performance. It’s exactly what you’d expect. The oddest looking photographer EVER uses the exploding flash-bulb and blinds The Hulkster. Yoko takes advantage, drops the leg, and we get the three count. Everyone always references the guy there dressed like Hulk Hogan, and you know where you see him next? Front row at Bash of the Beach 1994. Who is this guy, by the way? I always saw him, and he was always dressed like Hulk, and he’s always been a question mark. Why isn’t he present in the IWC? Anyways, there’s nothing memorable about this match other than the previous mentioned aspects. I understand it’s inclusion.
Yoko drops the leg for the win at 13:09
**
Owen Hart vs Razor Ramon – KOTR Finals [1994]

For the second year in a row, Razor loses out to a Hart. This match wasn’t much, but it’s nice to see Owen win, because he was always so humble. I can’t be the only one who during
his mark days, would become very mad at Razor for trying the Razor’s Edge so close to the ropes, can I? I mean, c’mon Razor, don’t you learn from your mistakes?! 1994 was the year of Owen. Well, in terms of having awesome, awesome matches. Also, I’m a bit bummed we didn’t get the classic Piper v Lawler that followed this.
Owen drops a top rope elbow for the win at 6:35
**
Bret Hart vs Jerry “The King” Lawler – Kiss My Foot Match
This was basically the cap on their feud that had been goin
g on for about 2 years now. Why it couldn’t be a decent match, is beyond me. But the stipulation here works to Lawler’s character, because having him do whatever he could to make his foot disgusting works perfectly. Also, how does a gross foot lead to a tooth problem? But then again, why would Lawler go to his dentist to solve his problems in the ring.
Bret rocks the Sharpshooter for the win at 9:20
*
Goldust [C] vs Ahmed Johnson – Intercontinental Title Match

If Ahmed wasn’t always hurting people, he could have really gone on to big things. But, I suppose getting the rights to the letter “T” and playing Suge Knight in Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story is a pretty good consolation prize. This match goes on about 5-6 minutes too long, but other than that, nothing too much to complain about. Goldust’s The Kiss That Don’t Miss ended up working like Macho Man’s Hulkster Reviving Elbow as Ahmed scores the IC title.
Pearl River Plunge gets the pin at 15:34
**
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts – KOTR Finals [1996]

We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his “reborn” gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn’t include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal. This does include the speech.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
**
DISC TWO
Shawn Michaels [C] vs. British Bulldog – WWE Championship Match

This was your typical bout where Shawn was in his prime and having great matches with anyone and anything.The match at Beware of Dog ended in a double pin, thus setting up this bout, which ends in interference. I don’t understand the need to protect Bulldog again, and I’m astonished that Shawn didn’t have it vetoed, and the match was then that Bulldog got to be inside Truckosaurus, but Shawn still beat The British Truckosaurus with a superkick & Kerry Von Erich’s false foot. Anyways, this match is a perfectly fine that isn’t as great as Beware of Dog, but gets the job done.
Tons of interference gets the bell at 26:25
***3/4
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels

I don’t recall why they were having this match, but I do remember the absolutely fantastic tag-match where they beat Bulldog & Owen on Raw. Man, was 97 great. Either way, this match is all sorts of awesome. I wish they would have had an actual finish, but I suppose the need to keep both strong makes sense. I love that the mentally challenged kid just loves Shawn so much, that he’ll do anything to get to Stone Cold. This kid just man-handles security.
Ref calls for a no-decision at 23:01
****1/4
Triple H vs Mankind – KOTR Finals [1997]

I don’t get it. Do I have some sorta special eyes that creates some sorta They Live scenario when I watch this match? Most people don’t give this bout the time of day, but I LOVE IT. It’s absolutely fantastic and one of the most under-rated matches of all time, I think. The crowd wasn’t into this until the last 3rd of it, and I don’t understand their apathy either. This match just kept building and building, it’s incredible. Is there anyone else out there who loves this match?
Triple H hits Mick with the Pedigree for the win at 19:24
****1/4
The Rock vs Ken Shamrock – KOTR Finals [1998]

I didn’t expect much out this one, but I really enjoyed it. The Rock proves just as much that he’s the man, getting a damn great match out of Ken Shamrock. It’s a meat & potatoes type of match, that’s delivered with a clean finish. Worth your time.
The Rock taps out to the ankle-lock at 14:09
***1/2
The Undertaker vs Mankind – Hell in a Cell

Has a year gone by where the WWE hasn’t released a DVD with this match on it? I mean, there’s at least 5-6 DVDs with this. Funny thing is, I usually watch it with every DVD I get that has it, and my opinion of it always improves. I hate the first spot because of what a waste of time it is, it just eats up the minutes, and I get so sick of the replay. Anyways, it turns into a real war, and they take what would be a 20-30 minute hardcore match and cram in all the greatest hits.
The Undertaker gets the pin with the Tombstone at 16:01
***** for history and such, **** for the actual match.
DISC THREE
The Undertaker vs The Rock – WWE Championship Match

There’s not much to say about this match, honestly. Undertaker was doing his super-evil gimmick here, which produced a run of matches nearly as bad as Biker-Taker, and this is no bright shining star. Taker punches out the ref right when the bell rings for absolutely no reason. I believe everyone knew that things weren’t working with ‘Taker, because he dropped the title on Raw the next night.
Undertaker gets the tombstone on The Rock for the pin at 19:10
*1/2
Triple H, Vince & Shane McMahon vs The Rock, Undertaker & Kane – 6 Man Tag For the WWE Championship

The 2000’s was probably the greatest year of high quality wrestling ever, as far as the WWE was concerned. Starting at Royal Rumble 2000, they started on an awesome streak of incredible PPVs that ended with King of the Ring. Sure, WM2000 wasn’t a huge success, but it had the awesome triangle-ladder match, and the Kurt v Jericho v Benoit bout. That’s more than KOTR2000 had, and the main event here is in no way a saving grace. There’s not much to say here about the match, because it runs 20 minutes, has Vince McMahon, and doesn’t flow at all. Don’t bother with this at all.
Rock Bottom to Vince allows Rock to get the pin at 18:55
*
Rikishi vs Kurt Angle – KOTR Finals [2000]

This match is about 5 minutes, and it’s Kurt just taking everyone on home to the finish-line that we all saw coming miles away.
Kurt nails Rikishi with the superplex and the pin at 5:00
*
Jeff Hardy vs X-Pac – Light Heavyweight Championship Match

They’re kind of reaching here on the 3rd disc, but I guess it’s always nice to be reminded of one of the 12 times they tried to have a Lightweight title. There’s nothing wrong with this match, and I think if they got an extra 5 minutes they could have produced a pretty decent match. But then that might have helped elevate the title, so, no. The blown spot is a pretty bad one, and both guys seem kinda out of it afterward.
Jeff hits the Swanton at 7:12
**1/4
Edge vs Kurt Angle – KOTR Finals [2001]

Ah, now we’re talking. Kurt extended his hand in friendship, and asks Edge to bow-out so Kurt can rest up for his show-stealing match with Shane later. Edge gives it some thought, but opts not too. This is a great match,. and it’s no surprise because Edge & Kurt always had chemistry.
Kurt eats the Impaler for the pin at 10:22
***1/4
Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon – Street Fight

Oooh man. This match was the big reason for me buying this DVD. This match is absolutely incredible, and to my amazement doesn’t get love from everyone. How? I have no idea. These guys go full tilt for almost a half and hour, and they both show what passion they have for putting on a great show. According to Kurt from his RF Shoot, someone ordered the wrong kind of glass, and what they ended up with was the absolute worst kind of material they could be crashing through. Once the glass didn’t break, Shane didn’t have to go for it again, but he did. When it came to the 2nd glass pane, knowing that he’d been cut to hell the first time around, he could have vetoed going through it, but he didn’t. Then when TWO suplexes didn’t do it, he didn’t have to get thrown through it head first, but he did. This match is absolutely incredible, and I’m shocked it didn’t get Match of the Year for 2001.
Kurt gives Shane the Angle Slam from the top rope for the pin at 26:01
*****
Brock Lesnar vs RVD – KOTR Finals [2002]

Brock was on the war path, and the winner here got a shot at the WWE Championship at the upcoming SummerSlam. I can’t imagine anyone had RVD for the win. A typical Raw match with no real high-light.
Brock gets the F5 on RVD for the pin at 5:56
**
Kurt Angle vs Hulk Hogan

I know a lot of people don’t like Hogan, but for my money, when he was in the ring with an awesome worker they could have a hell of a match, see Jericho’s DVD for proof. I didn’t know Kurt was during his wig period for this match, and busted a gut. Hands down, that’s the funniest thing any wrestler has ever done. It’s absolutely hilarious, and one of the reasons why heel Kurt was my all time favorite bad-guy. Kurt carries Hogan to one of the better matches of his 2nd WWE run, and Hogan even taps to the Ankle-Lock which is absolutely amazing. That’d be like seeing Cena tap.
Kurt Angle gets Hogan to tap to the Ankle-Lock at 12:06
***1/4
Booker T vs Bobby Lashley – KOTR Finals [2006]

After 2002, the KOTR gimmick was dead. No one really missed it, because of how pointless it had become. But I think they had a plan with this, so it all makes sense. Booker is able to take the rather green Lashley, and carry him to a very watchable match. The last few minutes really get the match going, and makes you wish they would have kept it going.
Booker T with the axe kick and the pin at 9:12
***

CM Punk vs William Regal – KOTR Finals [2008]
There was no real reason to bring back KOTR, but if they actually put some stock into William as a heel, he could have done some real damage. Punk took out Henry & Jericho, while Regal passed Hornswaggle & Finlay. They don’t give this match much time, thus showing us just how much we should really care.
Regal scores the win at 4:04
**

John Morrison vs Sheamus – KOTR Finals [2010]
It’s an absolute shame that these guys didn’t have a big feud, because they have a crazy chemistry. This match is fantastic. Sheamus comes out there as the brute that he is, and works the hell out of John’s arm & shoulder. Right when you think that there’s no hope for Morrison, he’ll do something to get the best of Sheamus, and help turn the tides. You really felt like this could go either way, and if they were given 5-10 more minutes, they could have broken 4 stars, no problem at all. Also, I still stand that Starship Pain is probably the lamest finisher of all time.
Sheamus hits the High-Cross on John for the pin at 8:32
***1/2

Last Word: This is a fantastic set. They cover the King of the Ring in a exhaustive manner, and give us all the gems. Thankfully they didn’t feel the need to give us coverage of King Ass, or King Mabel. Although to be honest, I would have liked a look back at King Mabel, simply for how atrocious of a decision it was. I would definitely give this set a recommendation. All in all, as a set it gets ****1/2.

Tryout #2: Marion Cobretti

The Cobra Kai Review of The Best of the King of the Ring
by Marion Cobretti
The set is hosted by King Bookah. I wasn’t into wrestling so much during the days of King Bookah, but from what I’ve seen, he’s damn entertaining. Plus, Booker can wrestle well when he wants to.  
Bret Hart vs Bam Bam Bigelow – King of the Ring Finals [1993]
I’ve often thought that King of the Ring 1993 was the greatest example of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ that we’d ever see in wrestling. Hulk Hogan comes out, wrestles his last match with the WWE for almost 10 years, and gives us absolutely nothing new. Bret Hart comes in, wrestles three different matches, that were all fantastic and shows us that he’s best in the world at this point. This is a great big-man v underdog type of match, and Bret puts the icing on the cake that was an incredible night for him.
Bret Hart wins with the Owen Hart style roll-up from WMX at 18:11
***3/4
Hulk Hogan [C] vs Yokozuna – WWE Title Match

From that same night, we get the polar opposite of Bret’s performance. It’s exactly what you’d expect. The oddest looking photographer EVER uses the exploding flash-bulb and blinds The Hulkster. Yoko takes advantage, drops the leg, and we get the three count. Everyone always references the guy there dressed like Hulk Hogan, and you know where you see him next? Front row at Bash of the Beach 1994. Who is this guy, by the way? I always saw him, and he was always dressed like Hulk, and he’s always been a question mark. Why isn’t he present in the IWC? Anyways, there’s nothing memorable about this match other than the previous mentioned aspects. I understand it’s inclusion.
Yoko drops the leg for the win at 13:09
**
Owen Hart vs Razor Ramon – KOTR Finals [1994]

For the second year in a row, Razor loses out to a Hart. This match wasn’t much, but it’s nice to see Owen win, because he was always so humble. I can’t be the only one who during
his mark days, would become very mad at Razor for trying the Razor’s Edge so close to the ropes, can I? I mean, c’mon Razor, don’t you learn from your mistakes?! 1994 was the year of Owen. Well, in terms of having awesome, awesome matches. Also, I’m a bit bummed we didn’t get the classic Piper v Lawler that followed this.
Owen drops a top rope elbow for the win at 6:35
**
Bret Hart vs Jerry “The King” Lawler – Kiss My Foot Match
This was basically the cap on their feud that had been goin
g on for about 2 years now. Why it couldn’t be a decent match, is beyond me. But the stipulation here works to Lawler’s character, because having him do whatever he could to make his foot disgusting works perfectly. Also, how does a gross foot lead to a tooth problem? But then again, why would Lawler go to his dentist to solve his problems in the ring.
Bret rocks the Sharpshooter for the win at 9:20
*
Goldust [C] vs Ahmed Johnson – Intercontinental Title Match

If Ahmed wasn’t always hurting people, he could have really gone on to big things. But, I suppose getting the rights to the letter “T” and playing Suge Knight in Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story is a pretty good consolation prize. This match goes on about 5-6 minutes too long, but other than that, nothing too much to complain about. Goldust’s The Kiss That Don’t Miss ended up working like Macho Man’s Hulkster Reviving Elbow as Ahmed scores the IC title.
Pearl River Plunge gets the pin at 15:34
**
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts – KOTR Finals [1996]

We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his “reborn” gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn’t include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal. This does include the speech.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
**
DISC TWO
Shawn Michaels [C] vs. British Bulldog – WWE Championship Match

This was your typical bout where Shawn was in his prime and having great matches with anyone and anything.The match at Beware of Dog ended in a double pin, thus setting up this bout, which ends in interference. I don’t understand the need to protect Bulldog again, and I’m astonished that Shawn didn’t have it vetoed, and the match was then that Bulldog got to be inside Truckosaurus, but Shawn still beat The British Truckosaurus with a superkick & Kerry Von Erich’s false foot. Anyways, this match is a perfectly fine that isn’t as great as Beware of Dog, but gets the job done.
Tons of interference gets the bell at 26:25
***3/4
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels

I don’t recall why they were having this match, but I do remember the absolutely fantastic tag-match where they beat Bulldog & Owen on Raw. Man, was 97 great. Either way, this match is all sorts of awesome. I wish they would have had an actual finish, but I suppose the need to keep both strong makes sense. I love that the mentally challenged kid just loves Shawn so much, that he’ll do anything to get to Stone Cold. This kid just man-handles security.
Ref calls for a no-decision at 23:01
****1/4
Triple H vs Mankind – KOTR Finals [1997]

I don’t get it. Do I have some sorta special eyes that creates some sorta They Live scenario when I watch this match? Most people don’t give this bout the time of day, but I LOVE IT. It’s absolutely fantastic and one of the most under-rated matches of all time, I think. The crowd wasn’t into this until the last 3rd of it, and I don’t understand their apathy either. This match just kept building and building, it’s incredible. Is there anyone else out there who loves this match?
Triple H hits Mick with the Pedigree for the win at 19:24
****1/4
The Rock vs Ken Shamrock – KOTR Finals [1998]

I didn’t expect much out this one, but I really enjoyed it. The Rock proves just as much that he’s the man, getting a damn great match out of Ken Shamrock. It’s a meat & potatoes type of match, that’s delivered with a clean finish. Worth your time.
The Rock taps out to the ankle-lock at 14:09
***1/2
The Undertaker vs Mankind – Hell in a Cell

Has a year gone by where the WWE hasn’t released a DVD with this match on it? I mean, there’s at least 5-6 DVDs with this. Funny thing is, I usually watch it with every DVD I get that has it, and my opinion of it always improves. I hate the first spot because of what a waste of time it is, it just eats up the minutes, and I get so sick of the replay. Anyways, it turns into a real war, and they take what would be a 20-30 minute hardcore match and cram in all the greatest hits.
The Undertaker gets the pin with the Tombstone at 16:01
***** for history and such, **** for the actual match.
DISC THREE
The Undertaker vs The Rock – WWE Championship Match

There’s not much to say about this match, honestly. Undertaker was doing his super-evil gimmick here, which produced a run of matches nearly as bad as Biker-Taker, and this is no bright shining star. Taker punches out the ref right when the bell rings for absolutely no reason. I believe everyone knew that things weren’t working with ‘Taker, because he dropped the title on Raw the next night.
Undertaker gets the tombstone on The Rock for the pin at 19:10
*1/2
Triple H, Vince & Shane McMahon vs The Rock, Undertaker & Kane – 6 Man Tag For the WWE Championship

The 2000’s was probably the greatest year of high quality wrestling ever, as far as the WWE was concerned. Starting at Royal Rumble 2000, they started on an awesome streak of incredible PPVs that ended with King of the Ring. Sure, WM2000 wasn’t a huge success, but it had the awesome triangle-ladder match, and the Kurt v Jericho v Benoit bout. That’s more than KOTR2000 had, and the main event here is in no way a saving grace. There’s not much to say here about the match, because it runs 20 minutes, has Vince McMahon, and doesn’t flow at all. Don’t bother with this at all.
Rock Bottom to Vince allows Rock to get the pin at 18:55
*
Rikishi vs Kurt Angle – KOTR Finals [2000]

This match is about 5 minutes, and it’s Kurt just taking everyone on home to the finish-line that we all saw coming miles away.
Kurt nails Rikishi with the superplex and the pin at 5:00
*
Jeff Hardy vs X-Pac – Light Heavyweight Championship Match

They’re kind of reaching here on the 3rd disc, but I guess it’s always nice to be reminded of one of the 12 times they tried to have a Lightweight title. There’s nothing wrong with this match, and I think if they got an extra 5 minutes they could have produced a pretty decent match. But then that might have helped elevate the title, so, no. The blown spot is a pretty bad one, and both guys seem kinda out of it afterward.
Jeff hits the Swanton at 7:12
**1/4
Edge vs Kurt Angle – KOTR Finals [2001]

Ah, now we’re talking. Kurt extended his hand in friendship, and asks Edge to bow-out so Kurt can rest up for his show-stealing match with Shane later. Edge gives it some thought, but opts not too. This is a great match,. and it’s no surprise because Edge & Kurt always had chemistry.
Kurt eats the Impaler for the pin at 10:22
***1/4
Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon – Street Fight

Oooh man. This match was the big reason for me buying this DVD. This match is absolutely incredible, and to my amazement doesn’t get love from everyone. How? I have no idea. These guys go full tilt for almost a half and hour, and they both show what passion they have for putting on a great show. According to Kurt from his RF Shoot, someone ordered the wrong kind of glass, and what they ended up with was the absolute worst kind of material they could be crashing through. Once the glass didn’t break, Shane didn’t have to go for it again, but he did. When it came to the 2nd glass pane, knowing that he’d been cut to hell the first time around, he could have vetoed going through it, but he didn’t. Then when TWO suplexes didn’t do it, he didn’t have to get thrown through it head first, but he did. This match is absolutely incredible, and I’m shocked it didn’t get Match of the Year for 2001.
Kurt gives Shane the Angle Slam from the top rope for the pin at 26:01
*****
Brock Lesnar vs RVD – KOTR Finals [2002]

Brock was on the war path, and the winner here got a shot at the WWE Championship at the upcoming SummerSlam. I can’t imagine anyone had RVD for the win. A typical Raw match with no real high-light.
Brock gets the F5 on RVD for the pin at 5:56
**
Kurt Angle vs Hulk Hogan

I know a lot of people don’t like Hogan, but for my money, when he was in the ring with an awesome worker they could have a hell of a match, see Jericho’s DVD for proof. I didn’t know Kurt was during his wig period for this match, and busted a gut. Hands down, that’s the funniest thing any wrestler has ever done. It’s absolutely hilarious, and one of the reasons why heel Kurt was my all time favorite bad-guy. Kurt carries Hogan to one of the better matches of his 2nd WWE run, and Hogan even taps to the Ankle-Lock which is absolutely amazing. That’d be like seeing Cena tap.
Kurt Angle gets Hogan to tap to the Ankle-Lock at 12:06
***1/4
Booker T vs Bobby Lashley – KOTR Finals [2006]

After 2002, the KOTR gimmick was dead. No one really missed it, because of how pointless it had become. But I think they had a plan with this, so it all makes sense. Booker is able to take the rather green Lashley, and carry him to a very watchable match. The last few minutes really get the match going, and makes you wish they would have kept it going.
Booker T with the axe kick and the pin at 9:12
***

CM Punk vs William Regal – KOTR Finals [2008]
There was no real reason to bring back KOTR, but if they actually put some stock into William as a heel, he could have done some real damage. Punk took out Henry & Jericho, while Regal passed Hornswaggle & Finlay. They don’t give this match much time, thus showing us just how much we should really care.
Regal scores the win at 4:04
**

John Morrison vs Sheamus – KOTR Finals [2010]
It’s an absolute shame that these guys didn’t have a big feud, because they have a crazy chemistry. This match is fantastic. Sheamus comes out there as the brute that he is, and works the hell out of John’s arm & shoulder. Right when you think that there’s no hope for Morrison, he’ll do something to get the best of Sheamus, and help turn the tides. You really felt like this could go either way, and if they were given 5-10 more minutes, they could have broken 4 stars, no problem at all. Also, I still stand that Starship Pain is probably the lamest finisher of all time.
Sheamus hits the High-Cross on John for the pin at 8:32
***1/2

Last Word: This is a fantastic set. They cover the King of the Ring in a exhaustive manner, and give us all the gems. Thankfully they didn’t feel the need to give us coverage of King Ass, or King Mabel. Although to be honest, I would have liked a look back at King Mabel, simply for how atrocious of a decision it was. I would definitely give this set a recommendation. All in all, as a set it gets ****1/2.

Tryout #2: Marion Cobretti

The Cobra Kai Review of The Best of the King of the Ring
by Marion Cobretti
The set is hosted by King Bookah. I wasn’t into wrestling so much during the days of King Bookah, but from what I’ve seen, he’s damn entertaining. Plus, Booker can wrestle well when he wants to.  
Bret Hart vs Bam Bam Bigelow – King of the Ring Finals [1993]
I’ve often thought that King of the Ring 1993 was the greatest example of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ that we’d ever see in wrestling. Hulk Hogan comes out, wrestles his last match with the WWE for almost 10 years, and gives us absolutely nothing new. Bret Hart comes in, wrestles three different matches, that were all fantastic and shows us that he’s best in the world at this point. This is a great big-man v underdog type of match, and Bret puts the icing on the cake that was an incredible night for him.
Bret Hart wins with the Owen Hart style roll-up from WMX at 18:11
***3/4
Hulk Hogan [C] vs Yokozuna – WWE Title Match

From that same night, we get the polar opposite of Bret’s performance. It’s exactly what you’d expect. The oddest looking photographer EVER uses the exploding flash-bulb and blinds The Hulkster. Yoko takes advantage, drops the leg, and we get the three count. Everyone always references the guy there dressed like Hulk Hogan, and you know where you see him next? Front row at Bash of the Beach 1994. Who is this guy, by the way? I always saw him, and he was always dressed like Hulk, and he’s always been a question mark. Why isn’t he present in the IWC? Anyways, there’s nothing memorable about this match other than the previous mentioned aspects. I understand it’s inclusion.
Yoko drops the leg for the win at 13:09
**
Owen Hart vs Razor Ramon – KOTR Finals [1994]

For the second year in a row, Razor loses out to a Hart. This match wasn’t much, but it’s nice to see Owen win, because he was always so humble. I can’t be the only one who during
his mark days, would become very mad at Razor for trying the Razor’s Edge so close to the ropes, can I? I mean, c’mon Razor, don’t you learn from your mistakes?! 1994 was the year of Owen. Well, in terms of having awesome, awesome matches. Also, I’m a bit bummed we didn’t get the classic Piper v Lawler that followed this.
Owen drops a top rope elbow for the win at 6:35
**
Bret Hart vs Jerry “The King” Lawler – Kiss My Foot Match
This was basically the cap on their feud that had been goin
g on for about 2 years now. Why it couldn’t be a decent match, is beyond me. But the stipulation here works to Lawler’s character, because having him do whatever he could to make his foot disgusting works perfectly. Also, how does a gross foot lead to a tooth problem? But then again, why would Lawler go to his dentist to solve his problems in the ring.
Bret rocks the Sharpshooter for the win at 9:20
*
Goldust [C] vs Ahmed Johnson – Intercontinental Title Match

If Ahmed wasn’t always hurting people, he could have really gone on to big things. But, I suppose getting the rights to the letter “T” and playing Suge Knight in Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story is a pretty good consolation prize. This match goes on about 5-6 minutes too long, but other than that, nothing too much to complain about. Goldust’s The Kiss That Don’t Miss ended up working like Macho Man’s Hulkster Reviving Elbow as Ahmed scores the IC title.
Pearl River Plunge gets the pin at 15:34
**
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts – KOTR Finals [1996]

We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his “reborn” gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn’t include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal. This does include the speech.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
**
DISC TWO
Shawn Michaels [C] vs. British Bulldog – WWE Championship Match

This was your typical bout where Shawn was in his prime and having great matches with anyone and anything.The match at Beware of Dog ended in a double pin, thus setting up this bout, which ends in interference. I don’t understand the need to protect Bulldog again, and I’m astonished that Shawn didn’t have it vetoed, and the match was then that Bulldog got to be inside Truckosaurus, but Shawn still beat The British Truckosaurus with a superkick & Kerry Von Erich’s false foot. Anyways, this match is a perfectly fine that isn’t as great as Beware of Dog, but gets the job done.
Tons of interference gets the bell at 26:25
***3/4
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels

I don’t recall why they were having this match, but I do remember the absolutely fantastic tag-match where they beat Bulldog & Owen on Raw. Man, was 97 great. Either way, this match is all sorts of awesome. I wish they would have had an actual finish, but I suppose the need to keep both strong makes sense. I love that the mentally challenged kid just loves Shawn so much, that he’ll do anything to get to Stone Cold. This kid just man-handles security.
Ref calls for a no-decision at 23:01
****1/4
Triple H vs Mankind – KOTR Finals [1997]

I don’t get it. Do I have some sorta special eyes that creates some sorta They Live scenario when I watch this match? Most people don’t give this bout the time of day, but I LOVE IT. It’s absolutely fantastic and one of the most under-rated matches of all time, I think. The crowd wasn’t into this until the last 3rd of it, and I don’t understand their apathy either. This match just kept building and building, it’s incredible. Is there anyone else out there who loves this match?
Triple H hits Mick with the Pedigree for the win at 19:24
****1/4
The Rock vs Ken Shamrock – KOTR Finals [1998]

I didn’t expect much out this one, but I really enjoyed it. The Rock proves just as much that he’s the man, getting a damn great match out of Ken Shamrock. It’s a meat & potatoes type of match, that’s delivered with a clean finish. Worth your time.
The Rock taps out to the ankle-lock at 14:09
***1/2
The Undertaker vs Mankind – Hell in a Cell

Has a year gone by where the WWE hasn’t released a DVD with this match on it? I mean, there’s at least 5-6 DVDs with this. Funny thing is, I usually watch it with every DVD I get that has it, and my opinion of it always improves. I hate the first spot because of what a waste of time it is, it just eats up the minutes, and I get so sick of the replay. Anyways, it turns into a real war, and they take what would be a 20-30 minute hardcore match and cram in all the greatest hits.
The Undertaker gets the pin with the Tombstone at 16:01
***** for history and such, **** for the actual match.
DISC THREE
The Undertaker vs The Rock – WWE Championship Match

There’s not much to say about this match, honestly. Undertaker was doing his super-evil gimmick here, which produced a run of matches nearly as bad as Biker-Taker, and this is no bright shining star. Taker punches out the ref right when the bell rings for absolutely no reason. I believe everyone knew that things weren’t working with ‘Taker, because he dropped the title on Raw the next night.
Undertaker gets the tombstone on The Rock for the pin at 19:10
*1/2
Triple H, Vince & Shane McMahon vs The Rock, Undertaker & Kane – 6 Man Tag For the WWE Championship

The 2000’s was probably the greatest year of high quality wrestling ever, as far as the WWE was concerned. Starting at Royal Rumble 2000, they started on an awesome streak of incredible PPVs that ended with King of the Ring. Sure, WM2000 wasn’t a huge success, but it had the awesome triangle-ladder match, and the Kurt v Jericho v Benoit bout. That’s more than KOTR2000 had, and the main event here is in no way a saving grace. There’s not much to say here about the match, because it runs 20 minutes, has Vince McMahon, and doesn’t flow at all. Don’t bother with this at all.
Rock Bottom to Vince allows Rock to get the pin at 18:55
*
Rikishi vs Kurt Angle – KOTR Finals [2000]

This match is about 5 minutes, and it’s Kurt just taking everyone on home to the finish-line that we all saw coming miles away.
Kurt nails Rikishi with the superplex and the pin at 5:00
*
Jeff Hardy vs X-Pac – Light Heavyweight Championship Match

They’re kind of reaching here on the 3rd disc, but I guess it’s always nice to be reminded of one of the 12 times they tried to have a Lightweight title. There’s nothing wrong with this match, and I think if they got an extra 5 minutes they could have produced a pretty decent match. But then that might have helped elevate the title, so, no. The blown spot is a pretty bad one, and both guys seem kinda out of it afterward.
Jeff hits the Swanton at 7:12
**1/4
Edge vs Kurt Angle – KOTR Finals [2001]

Ah, now we’re talking. Kurt extended his hand in friendship, and asks Edge to bow-out so Kurt can rest up for his show-stealing match with Shane later. Edge gives it some thought, but opts not too. This is a great match,. and it’s no surprise because Edge & Kurt always had chemistry.
Kurt eats the Impaler for the pin at 10:22
***1/4
Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon – Street Fight

Oooh man. This match was the big reason for me buying this DVD. This match is absolutely incredible, and to my amazement doesn’t get love from everyone. How? I have no idea. These guys go full tilt for almost a half and hour, and they both show what passion they have for putting on a great show. According to Kurt from his RF Shoot, someone ordered the wrong kind of glass, and what they ended up with was the absolute worst kind of material they could be crashing through. Once the glass didn’t break, Shane didn’t have to go for it again, but he did. When it came to the 2nd glass pane, knowing that he’d been cut to hell the first time around, he could have vetoed going through it, but he didn’t. Then when TWO suplexes didn’t do it, he didn’t have to get thrown through it head first, but he did. This match is absolutely incredible, and I’m shocked it didn’t get Match of the Year for 2001.
Kurt gives Shane the Angle Slam from the top rope for the pin at 26:01
*****
Brock Lesnar vs RVD – KOTR Finals [2002]

Brock was on the war path, and the winner here got a shot at the WWE Championship at the upcoming SummerSlam. I can’t imagine anyone had RVD for the win. A typical Raw match with no real high-light.
Brock gets the F5 on RVD for the pin at 5:56
**
Kurt Angle vs Hulk Hogan

I know a lot of people don’t like Hogan, but for my money, when he was in the ring with an awesome worker they could have a hell of a match, see Jericho’s DVD for proof. I didn’t know Kurt was during his wig period for this match, and busted a gut. Hands down, that’s the funniest thing any wrestler has ever done. It’s absolutely hilarious, and one of the reasons why heel Kurt was my all time favorite bad-guy. Kurt carries Hogan to one of the better matches of his 2nd WWE run, and Hogan even taps to the Ankle-Lock which is absolutely amazing. That’d be like seeing Cena tap.
Kurt Angle gets Hogan to tap to the Ankle-Lock at 12:06
***1/4
Booker T vs Bobby Lashley – KOTR Finals [2006]

After 2002, the KOTR gimmick was dead. No one really missed it, because of how pointless it had become. But I think they had a plan with this, so it all makes sense. Booker is able to take the rather green Lashley, and carry him to a very watchable match. The last few minutes really get the match going, and makes you wish they would have kept it going.
Booker T with the axe kick and the pin at 9:12
***

CM Punk vs William Regal – KOTR Finals [2008]
There was no real reason to bring back KOTR, but if they actually put some stock into William as a heel, he could have done some real damage. Punk took out Henry & Jericho, while Regal passed Hornswaggle & Finlay. They don’t give this match much time, thus showing us just how much we should really care.
Regal scores the win at 4:04
**

John Morrison vs Sheamus – KOTR Finals [2010]
It’s an absolute shame that these guys didn’t have a big feud, because they have a crazy chemistry. This match is fantastic. Sheamus comes out there as the brute that he is, and works the hell out of John’s arm & shoulder. Right when you think that there’s no hope for Morrison, he’ll do something to get the best of Sheamus, and help turn the tides. You really felt like this could go either way, and if they were given 5-10 more minutes, they could have broken 4 stars, no problem at all. Also, I still stand that Starship Pain is probably the lamest finisher of all time.
Sheamus hits the High-Cross on John for the pin at 8:32
***1/2

Last Word: This is a fantastic set. They cover the King of the Ring in a exhaustive manner, and give us all the gems. Thankfully they didn’t feel the need to give us coverage of King Ass, or King Mabel. Although to be honest, I would have liked a look back at King Mabel, simply for how atrocious of a decision it was. I would definitely give this set a recommendation. All in all, as a set it gets ****1/2.

Tryout #2: Marion Cobretti

The Cobra Kai Review of The Best of the King of the Ring
by Marion Cobretti
The set is hosted by King Bookah. I wasn’t into wrestling so much during the days of King Bookah, but from what I’ve seen, he’s damn entertaining. Plus, Booker can wrestle well when he wants to.  
Bret Hart vs Bam Bam Bigelow – King of the Ring Finals [1993]
I’ve often thought that King of the Ring 1993 was the greatest example of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ that we’d ever see in wrestling. Hulk Hogan comes out, wrestles his last match with the WWE for almost 10 years, and gives us absolutely nothing new. Bret Hart comes in, wrestles three different matches, that were all fantastic and shows us that he’s best in the world at this point. This is a great big-man v underdog type of match, and Bret puts the icing on the cake that was an incredible night for him.
Bret Hart wins with the Owen Hart style roll-up from WMX at 18:11
***3/4
Hulk Hogan [C] vs Yokozuna – WWE Title Match

From that same night, we get the polar opposite of Bret’s performance. It’s exactly what you’d expect. The oddest looking photographer EVER uses the exploding flash-bulb and blinds The Hulkster. Yoko takes advantage, drops the leg, and we get the three count. Everyone always references the guy there dressed like Hulk Hogan, and you know where you see him next? Front row at Bash of the Beach 1994. Who is this guy, by the way? I always saw him, and he was always dressed like Hulk, and he’s always been a question mark. Why isn’t he present in the IWC? Anyways, there’s nothing memorable about this match other than the previous mentioned aspects. I understand it’s inclusion.
Yoko drops the leg for the win at 13:09
**
Owen Hart vs Razor Ramon – KOTR Finals [1994]

For the second year in a row, Razor loses out to a Hart. This match wasn’t much, but it’s nice to see Owen win, because he was always so humble. I can’t be the only one who during
his mark days, would become very mad at Razor for trying the Razor’s Edge so close to the ropes, can I? I mean, c’mon Razor, don’t you learn from your mistakes?! 1994 was the year of Owen. Well, in terms of having awesome, awesome matches. Also, I’m a bit bummed we didn’t get the classic Piper v Lawler that followed this.
Owen drops a top rope elbow for the win at 6:35
**
Bret Hart vs Jerry “The King” Lawler – Kiss My Foot Match
This was basically the cap on their feud that had been goin
g on for about 2 years now. Why it couldn’t be a decent match, is beyond me. But the stipulation here works to Lawler’s character, because having him do whatever he could to make his foot disgusting works perfectly. Also, how does a gross foot lead to a tooth problem? But then again, why would Lawler go to his dentist to solve his problems in the ring.
Bret rocks the Sharpshooter for the win at 9:20
*
Goldust [C] vs Ahmed Johnson – Intercontinental Title Match

If Ahmed wasn’t always hurting people, he could have really gone on to big things. But, I suppose getting the rights to the letter “T” and playing Suge Knight in Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story is a pretty good consolation prize. This match goes on about 5-6 minutes too long, but other than that, nothing too much to complain about. Goldust’s The Kiss That Don’t Miss ended up working like Macho Man’s Hulkster Reviving Elbow as Ahmed scores the IC title.
Pearl River Plunge gets the pin at 15:34
**
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Jake The Snake Roberts – KOTR Finals [1996]

We all know why this is included. Did anybody watching this even think for a second that Jake was going to win? Man, was his “reborn” gimmick boring beyond belief. He should
have just gone to ECW as the classic Snake and feuded with Raven. Man would that have been one of the all time great feuds. Perhaps it’s just me, but I prefer the Stunner when Stone Cold doesn’t include the kick. It just seems a little more brutal. This does include the speech.
Stone Cold Stunner for the win at 4:28
**
DISC TWO
Shawn Michaels [C] vs. British Bulldog – WWE Championship Match

This was your typical bout where Shawn was in his prime and having great matches with anyone and anything.The match at Beware of Dog ended in a double pin, thus setting up this bout, which ends in interference. I don’t understand the need to protect Bulldog again, and I’m astonished that Shawn didn’t have it vetoed, and the match was then that Bulldog got to be inside Truckosaurus, but Shawn still beat The British Truckosaurus with a superkick & Kerry Von Erich’s false foot. Anyways, this match is a perfectly fine that isn’t as great as Beware of Dog, but gets the job done.
Tons of interference gets the bell at 26:25
***3/4
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels

I don’t recall why they were having this match, but I do remember the absolutely fantastic tag-match where they beat Bulldog & Owen on Raw. Man, was 97 great. Either way, this match is all sorts of awesome. I wish they would have had an actual finish, but I suppose the need to keep both strong makes sense. I love that the mentally challenged kid just loves Shawn so much, that he’ll do anything to get to Stone Cold. This kid just man-handles security.
Ref calls for a no-decision at 23:01
****1/4
Triple H vs Mankind – KOTR Finals [1997]

I don’t get it. Do I have some sorta special eyes that creates some sorta They Live scenario when I watch this match? Most people don’t give this bout the time of day, but I LOVE IT. It’s absolutely fantastic and one of the most under-rated matches of all time, I think. The crowd wasn’t into this until the last 3rd of it, and I don’t understand their apathy either. This match just kept building and building, it’s incredible. Is there anyone else out there who loves this match?
Triple H hits Mick with the Pedigree for the win at 19:24
****1/4
The Rock vs Ken Shamrock – KOTR Finals [1998]

I didn’t expect much out this one, but I really enjoyed it. The Rock proves just as much that he’s the man, getting a damn great match out of Ken Shamrock. It’s a meat & potatoes type of match, that’s delivered with a clean finish. Worth your time.
The Rock taps out to the ankle-lock at 14:09
***1/2
The Undertaker vs Mankind – Hell in a Cell

Has a year gone by where the WWE hasn’t released a DVD with this match on it? I mean, there’s at least 5-6 DVDs with this. Funny thing is, I usually watch it with every DVD I get that has it, and my opinion of it always improves. I hate the first spot because of what a waste of time it is, it just eats up the minutes, and I get so sick of the replay. Anyways, it turns into a real war, and they take what would be a 20-30 minute hardcore match and cram in all the greatest hits.
The Undertaker gets the pin with the Tombstone at 16:01
***** for history and such, **** for the actual match.
DISC THREE
The Undertaker vs The Rock – WWE Championship Match

There’s not much to say about this match, honestly. Undertaker was doing his super-evil gimmick here, which produced a run of matches nearly as bad as Biker-Taker, and this is no bright shining star. Taker punches out the ref right when the bell rings for absolutely no reason. I believe everyone knew that things weren’t working with ‘Taker, because he dropped the title on Raw the next night.
Undertaker gets the tombstone on The Rock for the pin at 19:10
*1/2
Triple H, Vince & Shane McMahon vs The Rock, Undertaker & Kane – 6 Man Tag For the WWE Championship

The 2000’s was probably the greatest year of high quality wrestling ever, as far as the WWE was concerned. Starting at Royal Rumble 2000, they started on an awesome streak of incredible PPVs that ended with King of the Ring. Sure, WM2000 wasn’t a huge success, but it had the awesome triangle-ladder match, and the Kurt v Jericho v Benoit bout. That’s more than KOTR2000 had, and the main event here is in no way a saving grace. There’s not much to say here about the match, because it runs 20 minutes, has Vince McMahon, and doesn’t flow at all. Don’t bother with this at all.
Rock Bottom to Vince allows Rock to get the pin at 18:55
*
Rikishi vs Kurt Angle – KOTR Finals [2000]

This match is about 5 minutes, and it’s Kurt just taking everyone on home to the finish-line that we all saw coming miles away.
Kurt nails Rikishi with the superplex and the pin at 5:00
*
Jeff Hardy vs X-Pac – Light Heavyweight Championship Match

They’re kind of reaching here on the 3rd disc, but I guess it’s always nice to be reminded of one of the 12 times they tried to have a Lightweight title. There’s nothing wrong with this match, and I think if they got an extra 5 minutes they could have produced a pretty decent match. But then that might have helped elevate the title, so, no. The blown spot is a pretty bad one, and both guys seem kinda out of it afterward.
Jeff hits the Swanton at 7:12
**1/4
Edge vs Kurt Angle – KOTR Finals [2001]

Ah, now we’re talking. Kurt extended his hand in friendship, and asks Edge to bow-out so Kurt can rest up for his show-stealing match with Shane later. Edge gives it some thought, but opts not too. This is a great match,. and it’s no surprise because Edge & Kurt always had chemistry.
Kurt eats the Impaler for the pin at 10:22
***1/4
Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon – Street Fight

Oooh man. This match was the big reason for me buying this DVD. This match is absolutely incredible, and to my amazement doesn’t get love from everyone. How? I have no idea. These guys go full tilt for almost a half and hour, and they both show what passion they have for putting on a great show. According to Kurt from his RF Shoot, someone ordered the wrong kind of glass, and what they ended up with was the absolute worst kind of material they could be crashing through. Once the glass didn’t break, Shane didn’t have to go for it again, but he did. When it came to the 2nd glass pane, knowing that he’d been cut to hell the first time around, he could have vetoed going through it, but he didn’t. Then when TWO suplexes didn’t do it, he didn’t have to get thrown through it head first, but he did. This match is absolutely incredible, and I’m shocked it didn’t get Match of the Year for 2001.
Kurt gives Shane the Angle Slam from the top rope for the pin at 26:01
*****
Brock Lesnar vs RVD – KOTR Finals [2002]

Brock was on the war path, and the winner here got a shot at the WWE Championship at the upcoming SummerSlam. I can’t imagine anyone had RVD for the win. A typical Raw match with no real high-light.
Brock gets the F5 on RVD for the pin at 5:56
**
Kurt Angle vs Hulk Hogan

I know a lot of people don’t like Hogan, but for my money, when he was in the ring with an awesome worker they could have a hell of a match, see Jericho’s DVD for proof. I didn’t know Kurt was during his wig period for this match, and busted a gut. Hands down, that’s the funniest thing any wrestler has ever done. It’s absolutely hilarious, and one of the reasons why heel Kurt was my all time favorite bad-guy. Kurt carries Hogan to one of the better matches of his 2nd WWE run, and Hogan even taps to the Ankle-Lock which is absolutely amazing. That’d be like seeing Cena tap.
Kurt Angle gets Hogan to tap to the Ankle-Lock at 12:06
***1/4
Booker T vs Bobby Lashley – KOTR Finals [2006]

After 2002, the KOTR gimmick was dead. No one really missed it, because of how pointless it had become. But I think they had a plan with this, so it all makes sense. Booker is able to take the rather green Lashley, and carry him to a very watchable match. The last few minutes really get the match going, and makes you wish they would have kept it going.
Booker T with the axe kick and the pin at 9:12
***

CM Punk vs William Regal – KOTR Finals [2008]
There was no real reason to bring back KOTR, but if they actually put some stock into William as a heel, he could have done some real damage. Punk took out Henry & Jericho, while Regal passed Hornswaggle & Finlay. They don’t give this match much time, thus showing us just how much we should really care.
Regal scores the win at 4:04
**

John Morrison vs Sheamus – KOTR Finals [2010]
It’s an absolute shame that these guys didn’t have a big feud, because they have a crazy chemistry. This match is fantastic. Sheamus comes out there as the brute that he is, and works the hell out of John’s arm & shoulder. Right when you think that there’s no hope for Morrison, he’ll do something to get the best of Sheamus, and help turn the tides. You really felt like this could go either way, and if they were given 5-10 more minutes, they could have broken 4 stars, no problem at all. Also, I still stand that Starship Pain is probably the lamest finisher of all time.
Sheamus hits the High-Cross on John for the pin at 8:32
***1/2

Last Word: This is a fantastic set. They cover the King of the Ring in a exhaustive manner, and give us all the gems. Thankfully they didn’t feel the need to give us coverage of King Ass, or King Mabel. Although to be honest, I would have liked a look back at King Mabel, simply for how atrocious of a decision it was. I would definitely give this set a recommendation. All in all, as a set it gets ****1/2.