Elizabeth At Wrestlemania VIII

While down the Network rabbit hole, I was watching Wrestlemania VIII and couldn't understand why so many company officials (including a young Shane-o-Mac) were trying to stop Elizabeth from coming down to the ring late in the Flair-Savage match.  I remembered the pictures angle, but even if Savage had said he didn't want Elizabeth down there, why would all of the suits try to stop her if she just chose to come down there?

​Because Flair's pictures were ACTUALLY of Savage and a young Stephanie McMahon in compromising position and they were afraid Liz was going to react badly to that?​

ROH Supercard of Honor VIII

Supercard
of Honor VIII
Date:
April 4, 2014
Location:
Alario Center, Westwego, Louisiana
Commentators:
Kevin Kelly, Nigel McGuinness, Steve Corino
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
I’m
not the biggest ROH fan in the world but I was in New Orleans for
Wrestlemania weekend and saw ROH was having a pay per view the night
I got into town. The general admission ticket was cheap so I grabbed
a seat and took in my first Ring of Honor show ever. I didn’t know a
lot of the people on the card so it’s going to be interesting to hear
the commentary to fill in some details. The main event is Adam Cole
defending the World Title against Jay Briscoe in Ladder War V, which
is their version of a TLC match. Let’s get to it.

The
opening video shows last year’s Supercard of Honor where Jay Briscoe
won the title in the first place. He was injured last summer and had
to vacate the title, but held onto the belt and said he was never
defeated for the title. Therefore, there are two titles but only
Adam Cole is champion, setting up the main event tonight. The idea
here is Briscoe is nuts but Cole is classy. Adam gives off a Bobby
Roode vibe in his promos.
We
start with a YES chant as the announcers run down the card.
Cedric
Alexander vs. Roderick Strong
Strong
is part of the Decade (Strong, Jimmy Jacobs and BJ Whitmer with their
assistant Adam Page), which represents the old days of ROH and
doesn’t like a lot of the disrespectful young punks around anymore.
They threw Cedric’s bag out of the locker room to show their
displeasure after Cedric used Strong’s backbreaker. The Decade also
has their Young Boy Adam Page here to towel them off and hand them
water, which isn’t the worst gimmick in the world.
They
trade wristlocks to start with Strong getting the better of it until
Cedric quickly flips out of it and sends Roderick into the corner.
The Decade is quickly on the apron to check on Strong as the match
slows down already. A dropkick puts Strong down though and he’s
bleeding from the hand. Alexander goes to the corner but gets
tripped up, sending the back of his head into the top turnbuckle to
give Strong control.
Adam
Page runs back down to the ring with a bandage for Strong as he hits
a backbreaker for two on Cedric. We stop to get the thumb taped up
which I thought was putting on a foreign object live. Some knees to
the back are good for two and we hit a rear waistlock. Back up and
Roderick misses a dropkick as the announcers talk about RD Evans’
streak. Strong loses the tape off his hand and gets caught with a
slingshot DDT for two.
A
half nelson facebuster gets the same but he gets caught by a running
knee to the ribs and an Angle Slam for two. Some running knees in
the corner look to set up a Rock Bottom but Cedric crucifixes him
down for two. Strong comes right back with a backbreaker for two
more and they chop it out. A running knee to Cedric’s face sets up a
fireman’s carry into a double knee gutbuster for a VERY close two and
the fans think this is awesome. That’s a stretch at this point.
Alexander
comes back with a spinning kick to the face out of the corner
(remember that for later) but has to go after Adam Page. A fireman’s
carry into another kick to the head drops Strong and another kick
knocks Jimmy Jacobs to the floor as well. Cedric dives onto the
Decade but springboards into a dropkick which mostly misses. Strong
lifts him into the air for a suplex but drops him onto his knees
(ankles but whatever) for the pin.
Rating:
C+. The match was going well
but the camera showing the misses at the end really brought it down
for me. You could see that the dropkick missed live but the cameras
made the finish look a lot worse. Still though, I liked the idea
they were going for here and it was a fast paced opener which got the
crowd going.
Post
match Jimmy Jacobs agrees that that was wrestling (another stretch)
and says you can learn exactly what NOT to do by watching Cedric
Alexander. You can learn how to get started in this company by
watching Adam Page however. Alexander almost comes back into the
ring but Jacobs orders him out of their building. Jacobs
advises Adrenaline Rush and Andrew Everett to take a lesson from
Alexander in what NOT to do.
Decade
vs. Adrenaline Rush/Andrew Everett
This
is a scramble match, which I believe means lucha rules, meaning that
if you leave the ring, it’s as good as a tag. Adrenaline Rush is ACH
and Tadarius Thomas. Steve Corino says ROH popularized this kind of
match, which is just flat out wrong as WCW was having these almost
weekly back in their heyday.
ACH makes sure to get as
many handshakes as he can get when the Decade won’t give him one.
Jacobs pulls out his spike to go after ACH but the referee won’t let
it happen.
ACH
wants to start with Jacobs but Jimmy tags in Page after swearing a
bit. They start fast with
ACH nailing some fast armdrags into a nipup for a standoff. Off to
the powerful BJ Whitmer who knocks ACH into the corner. Some
dropkicks have little effect on BJ so ACH actually points into the
air to distract him before dropkicking the knee out. Whitmer bails
to the floor, allowing Jacobs to come in and knocks ACH to the floor.
Thomas
comes in for a rollup to Jimmy followed by Richie Steamboat’s Sling
Blade. The high flier Everett comes in and speeds things up with a
moonsault over Jacobs followed by a big dropkick. Two backflips set
up a hurricanrana to Whitmer but BJ pulls Andrew to the floor.
Thomas hammers on Jacobs but charges into the corner and moonsaults
down onto Whitmer and Page. Jacobs sends ACH to the apron where BJ
pulls him onto his shoulders, setting up a Jimmy spear through the
ropes to crush ACH. Cool spot. I’m sorry for all the play by play
here but we’re in total spot fest mode.
Back
in and ACH gets beaten up as Corino says one of the photographers
looks like he’s from Jamaican. Kelly: “HE’S FROM ARKANSAS!” The
guy they’re talking about was all over ringside and did more than any
crew member I’ve ever seen. The Decade triple teams ACH to give Page
a two count followed by a chinlock. A nice spinwheel kick gets the
same on ACH and it’s back to BJ for some kicks in the face. ACH
comes back with a running clothesline to send BJ onto the floor,
setting up a HUGE flip dive to take him down again.
That
allows Thomas to come in legally and kick Jacobs in the face (that’s
at least two tonight) for two before throwing him down with a suplex.
Page comes in for a fireman’s carry backbreaker but Everett comes in
as Thomas rolls to the floor. Everett charges too fast into the
corner and slips onto the ropes, and we get something I really liked:
Page is right on him. Instead
of waiting around like an idiot for Everett to get back into
position, Page goes over and starts pounding on a fallen opponent,
like a wrestler should be doing. It MAKES SENSE for him to be doing
that but you hardly ever see that in WWE.
Anyway
Andrew comes out of the corner with a nice moonsault press and Page
rolls to the floor. BJ comes in but gets caught by a springboard
kick to the face (you may be noticing a pattern here). Everett hits
a gorgeous springboard shooting star to take out Jacobs and Page
followed by a springboard shooting star press for two on Whitmer. A
big backdrop sends Everett over the top and to the floor, followed by
a wicked clothesline to Thomas. The All Seeing Eye (gutwrench mat
slam from Whitmer with a sliding neckbreaker from Jacobs. I’ve seen
that somewhere before and I think it was in TNA) is good for the pin
on Tadarius.
Rating:
C. Total spot fest here and
there’s nothing wrong with that. ACH looked polished out there and I
can see why he was given a WWE tryout a few months back. That being
said, the opening two matches should have been combined into one or
had the opener cut. The show starts to drag at the end and neither
of these matches really did much differently from the other.
Jacobs
gets his spike post match and goes after Thomas until an injured ACH
makes the save.
We
recap Truth Martini vs. Matt Taven. Martini is a heel manager who
led Taven to the TV Title, but after losing the belt they parted ways
with Taven firing Truth. Tonight Martini is back with a mystery
wrestler to take care of Taven.
Martini
says he’s alone tonight but that doesn’t bother him. He won’t be
alone for long and promises
a big surprise.
Matt
Taven vs. ???
Martini
comes out alone and says Taven is nothing without him. He calls
Kevin Kelly into the ring (Corino: “YOU’RE THE MYSTERY GUY???”)
as he reads the end of the Book of Truth. Matt says no one wants to
see this and opens the book, only to get kicked low by Martini.
Truth says surprise and walks out. No match.
Silas
Young vs. RD Evans
Time
for a comedy match! Evans is back and on a made up win streak but
it’s played totally for laughs. He called himself a real man and
that’s not cool with Wrestling’s Last Real Man in Silas Young.
However, the interesting part here is Evans’ manager Veda Scott, who
is absolutely GORGEOUS. I
had heard her name before but I had never seen her in person. She’s
a redhead with a kind of sexy nerd thing going on here in a short
green skirt. Evans’ other dude Ramon comes out with an 82-0 sign
which will come into play later.
Evans
kicks Young in the face to start but gets driven hard into the corner
to give Silas control. We get a Flair Flip in the corner but Scott
trips Silas up for two. Young chases her around the ring but she
SPRINTS away and loses her shoes in the process. Ramon offers a
distraction and Evans takes over. Scott jumps in on commentary as
Evans is slammed off the top. Apparently she’s an attorney along
with Evans who is a wrestler on the side. I’ve heard worse gimmicks.
Young
puts on a bodyscissors as the announcers talk about Evans winning a
match in what sounded like Romania. Back up and a dropkick nails
Evans but Young runs into a boot in the corner. A top rope shoulder
block puts Young down again and a powerslam gets two. Evans misses a
top rope splash though and a backbreaker into a lariat is good for a
near fall on RD. Fans: “YOU CAN’T BEAT HIM!”
They
head to the apron where Young can’t hit a German suplex to the floor
but does hit an electric chair drop onto the apron. Evans DIVES back
in at 19 (ROH goes to 20, which I forgot until the referee got to 11)
and gets a near fall off a small package. Scott gets on the apron
for a distraction as Ramon gets on the apron.
Silas
takes the belt and claps his hands before grabbing his back. It’s
not enough for the DQ so Evans gets a VERY close near fall off a
rollup. The referee takes a
belt shot to the head and goes down as Evans hits a running
neckbreaker. Young
gets up and hits a rolling fireman’s carry into a slingshot moonsault
for the pin by another referee to break the streak.
BUT
WAIT! The original referee says Young hit him in the head so THAT’S
A DQ AND THE STREAK LIVES! Ramon sprints to the back and comes back
with an 83-0 sign as Scott goes nuts.
Rating:
C. This was so over the top and
completely goofy but I totally loved it. There’s something awesome
about a character that is played totally for laughs like this and
Veda Scott made it all the better. The fact that the skirt was
barely there helped a lot but she’s also hilarious on commentary. I
dug this one a lot and the fans did too.
Mike
Bennett and Maria promise to make Mark Briscoe feel pain tonight. He
promises a new submission to put Chicken Briscoe down.
Mark
Briscoe is all fired up and sounds completely insane, talking
about a shark and a female dog being in a jungle before tearing
Bennett’s face off like a gorilla.
Mike
Bennett vs. Mark Briscoe
No
DQ. Maria is with Mike here
and somehow blows Veda Scott away by wearing basically a bikini.
Briscoe takes him down with
a flip dive off the apron to get things going. Maria rants at the
commentary table about how she didn’t want Mike to do this in the
first place. Back in and a hard clothesline drops Bennett again but
he comes back by whipping Mark into the barricade.
They
head into the crowd with Briscoe backdropping him onto the stands and
landing a big dive off a railing. Back to ringside where Bennett is
able to pelt a chair at Mark’s head a few times to take over. Inside
again with a low blow with a chair before Bennett wedges the chair in
the corner. In a funny bit he sings Edge’s theme song but misses a
charge into the chair, knocking him back to the floor. Mark hits a
running elbow off the apron for two and they fight up to the
entrance.
The
fans and announcers say they can’t see anything as Briscoe is knocked
off the stags and through a table as the cameraman goes down. They
head back to the ring with Maria acting as a shield for Bennett. To
his credit he shoves her out of the way to take the kendo stick shots
for her. Maria gets in a cheap shot from the floor and a Side Effect
onto a chair sets up a series of chair shots to the back. Bennett
Pillmanizes the neck (it’s not a Conchairto if it’s wrapped around a
body part people) and puts on an Anaconda Vice for the easy win.
Rating:
C. This was a wild brawl which
made sense given the story they were telling here. That was quite
the ending spot with the Pillmanizing and it was nice to see the
match again as I spent most of the first viewing staring at Maria.
Seriously, she’s just hard to take your eyes off at any time but
barely dressed makes it even better. She’s
also great at messing with the crowd as she stands there in terror
when Bennett is in trouble but then poses and shakes her hips when
Mike wins.
Matt
Taven is looking for Truth Martini and gets beaten down in the
bathroom by Truth’s new guy who we don’t see. This didn’t air for
the live crowd.
Intermission,
during which Nigel
McGuinness was working the merchandise stand. This
ran about twenty minutes but they cut it out here for obvious
reasons.
Speaking
of Nigel, he replaced Corino on commentary for the second half of the
show.
A
small guy named Cheeseburger is in the ring and asks who wants free
t-shirts. He’s interrupted by Matt Hardy who tells Cheeseburger to
get out of the ring before something bad happens to him. Matt says
he’s back in Ring of Honor and it’s on to its biggest year ever.
ROH’s ratings, attendance and merchandising are setting records and
it’s all because Matt Hardy is here again. He’s giving ROH the rub
and has picked Adam Cole as the Holy Spirit of Wrestling.
Matt
says the internet smark fans just don’t get it. Cole and himself are
like the Holy Trinity you hear about in church because they’re one in
the same. Hardy: “Go ahead and boo. It’s just part of my $15,000
payday.” Matt says he and Cole run this company along with Michael
Bennett and Maria Kanellis instead of the fans or announcers.
Tonight Cole will cement himself as the greatest ROH World Champion
in history, including CM Punk.
Cheeseburger gets in the ring like an idiot and takes a Twist of
Fate. “You’re not on my menu anymore.” The heat was great, but
this didn’t need nine minutes.
Forever
Hooligans vs. ReDragon vs. Hanson/Raymond Rowe
The
Hooligans are Alex Kozlov (fake Russian but a small guy) and Rocky
Romero. ReDragon is Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. Fish
is very energetic and tries to fire Kyle up before we get things
going. Hanson and Rowe are
two big power guys that you don’t often see in ROH. The
winner of this gets a Tag Team Title match against the Young Bucks at
some point in the future.
Rowe
and O’Reilly get things going by circling each other for a bit. Kyle
knocks Hanson to the floor but makes the mistake of heading outside
for a breather. Hanson plants him with a slam so it’s off to Fish
who walks into an overhead belly to belly. Hanson gets the tag and
nails a clothesline to the back of the head for two. Bobby heads
outside again and we get a chase, resulting in Fish sliding back in
and tagging out to Romero.
Two
fingers to the eyes slow Hanson down and a hurricanrana puts him on
the mat. Off to Kozlov for some double teaming, including a
springboard cross body for two. O’Reilly tags Hanson after the big
man drops Alex with a clothesline but Romero gets in a cheap shot
from the apron to give the Hooligans control. Now we get to the
stupid comedy portion of the match with Kozlov putting on one of
those Russian hats and hitting some dancing kicks to the head.
Thankfully it doesn’t last long.
Romero
starts firing off running clotheslines to Kyle in the corner and
won’t let Alex hit one of his own. They nearly come to blows but hug
it out to a big reaction. Rowe
comes in to blame Romero with something resembling a release Rock
Bottom but Fish tags himself in to work over Rocky. ReDragon hits a
backbreaker/middle rope knee combo for two on Romero before things
settle back down.
Kyle
works over Rocky’s arm before it’s back to Fish for some
shots of his own. Kyle comes in again for a
hammerlock slam and a
chinlock but Rocky fights back with a spinning kick to the face.
Alex gets the tag and hits a springboard cross body on Kyle, despite
Rowe clearly touching O’Reilly’s back in plain view of the referee.
Kozlov nails a bunch of kicks to the head and takes out most of the
people in the match with a big flip dive.
A
springboard missile dropkick gets two on Kyle but Hanson comes in and
cleans house. Everything breaks down even more and everyone is
knocked to the mat or floor. Kozlov and O’Reilly are the only ones
left in the ring and they slug it out until Rowe trips Kyle to the
floor. Rowe is driven into the barricade by Kyle and hit with a
running dropkick off the apron from Fish. Hanson catches a diving
Fish in a powerslam but Kozlov sends him to the floor. Alex hits a
shooting star for two but Fish makes the save. Forever Hooligans
loads up some kind of a double team move on Fish but he slips off
Alex’s back and gets a rollup for the pin.
Rating:
B-. This was an insane tag
match but it went on a bit too long. It was entertaining enough but
I would have gone with the title match here instead of the #1
contenders match. Still though, this was another fun spot fest with
some power added in to balance things out in a nice addition.
Replays
show that Fish had a handful of trunks.
We
recap Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jay Lethal which started about two years ago
when Ciampa injured his knee in a match against Lethal and was put
out for a year. Lethal has had Ciampa beaten twice but various
issues has cost him the TV Title. Tonight it’s 2/3 falls again.
TV
Title: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Jay Lethal
Ciampa
is defending and this is 2/3 falls. This is where the fans were
getting restless as you could see a lot of them looking at their
phones and the chants started to die a bit. Ciampa
takes off his knee brace for the first time since his injury in a
symbolic move. Feeling out process to start as they trade headlocks
and rollups for two each. A hiptoss puts the champion down and
Lethal cartwheels over to a standoff.
They
chop it out in the corner but Lethal misses a springboard dropkick.
Jay kicks him into the barricade and nails a suicide dive followed by
a second one for good measure. A third puts Ciampa into the crowd
and the fans chant for ROH. Why they don’t chant for Lethal is
beyond me, but it’s happened since the ECW days. Lethal
is whipped into the barricade and Ciampa hits a running knee so fast
that he falls right back into the crowd. The referee restarts the
count for no apparent reason before Ciampa throws Jay back inside.
Jay
comes back with some kicks to the head and a dropkick in the corner
for two until Ciampa bites Jay’s hand to escape. Lethal tries a
Tajiri handspring elbow but gets caught in what was supposed to be a
Backstabber. They fight over a suplex until they both go over the
top in a big crash. Neither
guy gets the better of a slugout and they both slide back inside at
the 19 count, which didn’t please the fans in my section. Another
Tajiri handspring is countered but Lethal grabs a German suplex for
the pin and the first fall.
There’s
no rest period so gets in a quick shot to the head and they trade
near falls. Lethal
Combination (backbreaker into a Downward Spiral) sets up a Koji
Clutch on the champion but he counters into a Rings of Saturn
Crossface. Jay gets his feet into the ropes though and it’s time for
another slugout. Again neither guy can get the better of it so Jay
tries another Tajiri handspring but gets caught in a Diamond Cutter,
which apparently is the finish to the handspring.
Lethal
busts out Ciampa’s finisher (powerbomb into double knees to the back)
for two but ANOTHER Tajiri handspring hits the referee. Ciampa rolls
some Germans and hits a discus lariat to put both guys down. This
brings out Truth Martini who throws Jay the knee brace. He nails
Ciampa in the face for two before nailing the top rope elbow, only
to have Ciampa Hulk Up. Some superkicks have no effect but Lethal
FINALLY hits the handspring into the cutter for the pin and the
title.
Rating:
C-. This was longer than it
needed to be as the second fall could have been cut out to
the same result. The ending really didn’t work for me either as
Lethal knocked Ciampa out but they did another minute or so, making
the entire knee brace thing seem completely worthless. Just too long
here, but I’ve never been a Jay Lethal fan in the first place.
Post
match Lethal says there’s a new house in New Orleans and it’s the
House of Truth.
Michael
Elgin vs. Kevin Steen
Winner
gets an IWGP Title shot at Global
Wars in May. Elgin
is one of the few ROH guys I really like but Steen is pretty much the
top star in ROH. Steen
immediately tries the Package Piledriver but Elgin fights out, only
to get caught by a Cannonball in the corner for two. You can tell
this is going to be a power brawl. They head to the floor with Elgin
being thrown into the barricade which is knocked into the crowd.
Michael
is sent into the barricade again around the ring as the fans chant
OVER HERE. Elgin reverses and “hits” a running big boot to
the….chest I think? Steen teases getting back in but would rather
load up a piledriver on the floor. Thankfully Elgin backdrops him
down to prevent the whole broken neck thing and lands a delayed
vertical suplex on the floor. They head back inside but Elgin’s
sunset flip attempt is countered by some running knees to the head
for two.
A
senton backsplash gets two on Michael but he muscles Steen up into a
German suplex to put both guys down. The Sharpshooter from Steen is
quickly countered into a suplex for two but Steen misses a moonsault
into a flip to give Steen a breather. A knee to the back of Elgin’s
head gets two but a second Cannonball is countered into a powerbomb.
Steen comes right back with the F-Cinc (French for 5) for another two
count.
Elgin
wins a slugout and Steen almost falls out to the floor. Michael
tries the Cesaro superplex but Kevin headbutts him down, only to get
enziguried (again with the head kicks!) to the floor. Kevin
powerbombs him onto the apron but Elgin gets up and powerbombs him
against the post. That’s only good for two as well so Michael
tombstones him down for another near fall. They
slug it out until Steen throws him into the air for a powerbomb and
gets two off the Package Piledriver.
Steen
is STUNNED and takes too long going up top, allowing Elgin to block a
Cannonball with knees. A sitout powerbomb gets Elgin another near
fall so he loads up a superplex. Steen fights back AGAIN and hits a
top rope brainbuster. The kickout shocks everyone again but Elgin is
able to counter a Package Piledriver into a triple bomb. Another
powerbomb and a lariat set up a buckle bomb on Steen, followed by a
Package Piledriver to FINALLY pin Steen.
Rating:
B+.
This is the kind of match the show was needing for awhile now. It’s
totally different from the rest of the show and that was the big
problem. The show had become repetitive so mixing things up like
this made a good match feel like a very good match. Elgin gets a big
win as well which can only help him.
Steen
takes awhile to get up and receives a THANK YOU BOTH chant.
The
main event took awhile to set up so a bit was cut out here.
ROH
World Title: Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Cole
Cole
is defending. There are two
belts above the ring and three ladders at ringside, first person to
pull down the belts wins. Corino
is on commentary as well. Jay
wins a fight to start and nails a quick backdrop to stagger the
champion. He heads outside but comes up with a chair to the head to
stop a suicide dive. Back inside and the chair bounces off Briscoe’s
head before Adam slams him down onto the steel.
An
AA breaks the chair and it’s time for the smallest ladder, only to
have Jay baseball slide it into Cole’s face. Some more chair shots
put Cole down before Jay pelts the chair at his head to even the
score. Adam comes back with
a suplex onto the ladder and Briscoe’s
head is busted open BAD.
The first attempt at the
belts is easily cut off as the referee brings in a towel to wipe
Jay’s face. He refuses the help of course and brings in the medium
sized ladder.
Cole
is sent up the ramp but Jay goes after him instead of climbing for
the titles. There’s another LOUD chair shot to Cole’s head and Jay
bridges the small ladder between two chairs. A big splash knocks
Cole off the ladder and now it’s time to climb. Scratch
that actually as Jay shoves the medium ladder over and gets a table.
Cole is able to get off
before Jay can dive off the big ladder though and Adam gets in
another cheap shot to take over.
The
big ladder is laid against the ropes but both guys head back inside.
Briscoe is knocked down by a hard clothesline and the small ladder is
thrown into the ring again. Jay
pops right back up though and powerbombs Adam onto the small ladder
in the corner. Adam fights off a superplex through the ladder (fans:
“PLEASE DON’T DIE!”) and superkicks
Jay onto it instead for a HUGE crash.
Adam
climbs the medium ladder but Jay is right back up and throwing Cole
through the small ladder in the corner, badly bending it in the
process. Briscoe is now
bleeding from the back as well but is still able to put the champion
down with a neckbreaker. Jay
sets up another ladder bridge but the ladder is badly broken so it
collapses as soon as Adam lays down on it. That’s fine with Jay as
he tries a splash onto the mostly broken ladder but Cole moves,
sending Jay crashing down.
The
medium ladder is set up in the middle of the ring but Jay pelts
another chair off the champion’s head to put him back down. They
both climb up to fight on top but Jay knocks him off for a big crash.
Cole is able to talk enough trash from the mat though that Jay drops
down and hits the Jay Driller piledriver. He still won’t climb
though and loads up a Conchairto onto the ladder, only to have Matt
Hardy run in and hit a Twist of Fate to Jay on the floor.
Matt
helps Cole climb but Mark Briscoe runs out, completely crippling a
lot of the momentum this show had going for it. His neck was
Pillmanized but here he is an hour and a half later? I don’t care
how tough he is. Mark Briscoe shouldn’t be seen for AT LEAST two
months after a spot like that. He puts Matt on the table but Mike
Bennett comes out to shove the ladder over, sending Mark through the
table.
Jay
and Cole are alone in the ring and the Jay Driller puts Cole down
again. A Jay Driller puts Bennett down as well and there’s a third
to take out Matt Hardy. Cole and Jay climb at the same time but the
champion wins a slugout and shoves him down. Jay tries one last
climb but Cole pulls down
the belts to retain.
Rating:
B. This was a solid fight but
the Mark Briscoe stuff really took me out of things. To be fair
though I got to look at Maria a bit more when she came down with
Bennett so I can’t complain too much. Jay looked like a soldier out
there which is the right idea and Cole holding onto the title is the
right choice at the end of the day. Good stuff here.
The
heels pose to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
B-. This is a show
where the parts don’t add up to the final total. As mentioned, the
show just went on forever and it really started to drag around the TV
Title match. It’s certainly entertaining and the last two matches
brought things back up, but it didn’t really fire me up and make me
want to see more ROH.
At
the end of the day, it’s about the same take on ROH that I’ve always
had: there’s good stuff here, but it’s not enough to make me want to
keep coming back. Thankfully they cut WAY down on the no selling
stuff (Mark Briscoe aside) but unfortunately they cranked up on the
repetitive moves. From Jay Lethal trying Lethal Injection four times
to seemingly EVERYONE using a spin kick to the head, I felt like I
saw the same match several times tonight. If
ROH was near me again and relatively cheap I’d go, but it’s not
something I’m going out of my way to see.

Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

Superbrawl VIII: Drunk Version

The Netcop Rant for WCW/nWo Superbrawl VIII (2013 Scott sez:  I haven’t done a Scott Sez redo for a while, and I decided all by myself without suggestion from anyone to do Superbrawl VIII.  This was the original version of the rant, written and posted basically while the show was airing, and I was pretty drunk at the time, but I thought it was interesting enough to keep in the archives, I guess.  So we’ll do a compare and contrast.)  Live from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, thus guaranteeing a built-in fanbase for Raven’s Flock. (Maybe Lodi should have been holding red equals signs.)  We start with another lame black & white promo, which is ironic, considering… (I don’t really get what’s ironic about that.)  Hosted by Eeny, Meeny and Miney. Mo is delayed at LAX due to weather problems. Okay, I was of two minds during a show more than a few times, so for a lot of the matches, I’m going to divide my review into Good (net)Cop and Bad (net)Cop. Try and follow my lead. Opening match: TV Title match #1: Booker T v. Rick Martel. Martel is once again in full heel mode and my interest in him is gone because of it. Booker is OVER. The Flock’s entrance at ringside is highlighted at one point during the match. They really get some time to stretch out here, moreso than on Thunder or Nitro, and they don’t really take advantage of it. It was just kinda slow, that’s all. Goes about 18 minutes before Martel comes off the second rope with whatever and Booker nails a Harlem sidekick in mid-air to block, which puts Martel’s lights out. And we have a two-time champion in Booker T! Yah! *** (Martel was actually on a pretty good run here in his comeback bid.)  TV Title match #2: Booker T v. Saturn. Saturn charges in immediately after the previous match and they start it up right away as Saturn hammers on Booker. The announcers inform us that Martel tore some ligament, which will hopefully mean I won’t have to watch him wrestle for a while (I hate the heel Martel). (In fact Martel’s career was basically over following that injury.)  Match is very lethargic as Booker seems winded and Saturn just sucks. Lots of time spent outside the ring, as Booker gets virtually no offense in. Tony blathers on about who the referee for the main event will be. (Yeah, their whole practice of hyping a main event for a show we already bought, or stole in our case, really was stupid.)  Finally it gets good about 12 minutes in as both guys exchange some high-impact stuff. Booker goes for the Hangover and misses, but Saturn can’t capitalize as Booker hits the Harlem Sidekick and gets the pin to retain the title. *1/2 (Yeah, I know I underrated this one, as the redo will show.)  Good Cop sez: I liked the booking, which put Booker over as a bigger badass than ever and really established him as a top face, and hopefully put an end to this triangle feud. Time to move onto Eddy. The matches were pretty disappointing, however. Bad Cop sez: Who cares about the match quality? BOOKER T RULZ! Consensus: Good opening. La Parka v. Disco Inferno. Fans are pretty into La Parka now. (Not that they did anything with him.)  He whips the chair at Disco before the bell, nearly getting him right in the head. Total “charisma over talent” match as both guys dance, stall, play to the crowd, and basically do everything *but* wrestle. And as a result, the crowd is pretty dead. And of course NOW Tony talks about the match. Sheesh. Finally, La Parka brings in the chair, but Disco…very….slowly….stops him from coming off the top rope and using the chair, slamming him off the top onto the chair, then hitting the Stone Cold Chartbuster for the pin. * Good Cop sez: Really poor match for both guys, and putting Disco over made no sense on several levels, unless they’re priming him for another run at the TV title. This sucked. Bad Cop sez: BOR-RING. And La Parka didn’t even get to hit him with the chair afterwards. This sucked. Consensus: This sucked. (I bet the redone version has a higher rating.)  JJ Dillon reinstates Nick Patrick with no conditions, but tells him that he will, under no circumstances, be involved in the main event. This, of course, tells us that he’ll be involved in the main event. Patrick actually kisses Mean Gene in his happiness. That’s a bit too much information… Brad Armstrong v. Bill Goldberg. We take a pool to bet on how fast Goldberg will destroy Brad Armstrong. Estimates range from 46 seconds (me) up to 3:16 (CanSen). Time of the match: 2:25, which means that Zenon wins. Oh, yeah, the match: Goldberg does some sloppy, dangerous moves which I’m sure RSPW will cream over, spear, jackhammer, yada yada yada. (Goldberg used to be a smark darling for some reason.)  Good Cop sez: I’m sick of Goldberg and I don’t need to see him squash Brad Armstrong on a major PPV.  (Get ready for MORE Goldberg!)  Bad Cop sez: GOLDBERG SUCKS! Consensus: Save this crap for Nitro. (I kind of think the lack of Nitro in Canada meant that us Canadianites didn’t have the same love for Goldberg that the US did.  Really, Canada was hardcore WWF territory, which was demonstrated by that Nitro in Toronto where Goldberg was booed like crazy.)  Cruiserweight title v. Mask: Chris Jericho v. Juventud Guerrera. Jericho leaves the belt on until Juvy kicks him there. Tony, at one point, calls a Juvy move a “flying body attack,” which may be *the* most generic move description in the history of wrestling. (I’ve been mocking that one ever since.)  If you don’t know, just let Tenay call it, dude. Some other stuff happens, and then Juvy hits the 450, but Jericho has, like, 3 of his appendages in the ropes, although the announcers nevertheless act like it was a close call. Then it’s a super hot ending, as a flurry of offense from both guys nearly gives each the win before Jericho blocks a rana into the Liontamer for the tap-out. D’oh! **1/2 Jericho makes fun of Juvy as he removes his mask, which ruins the whole Juvy mystique for me. Sigh. (Juvy ruined his own mystique just fine later on.  Hindsight says that unmasking him was actually the right move, because he went from generic luchador to literally a babyface star.)  Good Cop sez: I think Jericho is on the bottom rung of the whole Cruiserweight talent ladder, but he continues to get a bigger push based on his whining in the ring and in real life. I didn’t like this match, and their styles aren’t really compatible. It just never clicked for me. (What the hell was my problem with Jericho?  I certainly changed that tune later on.) Bad Cop sez: Cruiserweights suck. But unmaskings are cool. Consensus: Disappointing. Steve McMichael v. The British Bulldog. This was *so* bad. Not as bad as the main event, but still pretty wretched. After hearing me complain about lack of ring psychology, Mongo proceeds to sell a wrist injury to the point of stupidity (I mean, not being able to do a three-point stance because of the wrist injury?) before Bulldog puts him in an armbar for the submission, although the announcers act like he never gave up. -* Good Cop sez: It makes me sick to my stomach to watch Davey Boy Smith deteriorate before my eyes like this. (Yeah, it would get worse once he went back to the WWF.)  And Mongo hasn’t had a good match since WarGames. (He pretty much disappeared soon after this, in fact.  Like, literally just walked out of the promotion and they had no idea where he went.)  Bad Cop sez: BOR-RING! Consensus: Save this crap for Nitro. (Or Thunder.)  [Note: The crowd is just dead silent by this point.] US Title match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Chris Benoit. And they blow it again. Terrible match for Benoit. Restholds galore, and the only markout moment of the match was the triple german suplex which Benoit seems to be adding to his usual repertoire now. (Yup, it became a signature move, of course.)  WHOMP ASS~! But it’s for naught, as DDP reverses a Benoit move into the Diamond Cutter for the pin. FUCK! ** (Oh, now you’re just letting emotions and alcohol influence your rating, 1998 Scott.  I bet it’s like **** on the redo.)  Good Cop sez: Benoit jobs again. And the match did nothing to advance the Raven storyline or give Benoit more credibility as a title contender. DDP just can’t keep up, it’s that simple. Bad Cop sez: BOR-RING! Consensus: Disappointing, but at least it was clean. Tony says by the way, Giant won’t be here tonight after all, but tune into Nitro because he’ll be there. Hey, more WCW bullshit. Whoo-hoo! No-DQ: Randy Savage v. Lex Luger. Oh, like you need me to tell you a) How bad it was; b) Who won or c) Who ran in, but I will anyway. a) It was pretty horrible. b) Luger wins with the Rack. c) The nWo runs in and beats up Savage so Luger can win. –** (That sounds harsh.)  Good Cop sez: Why did Luger win? Savage is the one getting the push. (BECAUSE SCIENCE!)  Bad Cop sez: Bounce, Liz, bounce! Consensus: Save this crap for Nitro. [Note: The crowd is almost comatose right now.] “Unified” tag team title match: The Steiner Brothers v. The Outsiders. Yeah, unified, sure, whatever. (It was supposed to be “unifying” the WCW and NWO tag titles, see.)  Thankfully Scott punks his brother a mere two minutes in, thus saving me having to watch these four stink up the ring again. (That was a weird turn.  Also set up one of the most dramatic makeovers in wrestling history.)  Dibiase gets creamed by Dusty and the nWo do everything but play catch with the carcass of Rick Steiner before pinning him to regain the titles yet again. It did, however, completely reawaken the crowd. DUD Good Cop sez: Finally Scott turns. Thank god. Match was incredibly bad, of course. (Yeah, they had been teasing that turn out FOREVER.)  Bad Cop sez: Hey, I liked it. I thought it was cool to turn him right at the beginning of the match, and I liked watching Rick get killed. Concensus: None, really. Bad match with a fun angle that was three months too late. Uncensored promo which directly rips off the Game Boy commercials. Main Event: “Unified” World title: Hulk Hogan v. Sting. And what the FUCK does it unify, huh? And what the hell happened to Sting? (18 months in the rafters and no steroids happened to him, DUH.)  This is a HORRIBLE match, featuring not one, but TWO ref bumps, and Sting has been reduced to Lex Luger’s level: Take an ass-kicking, then come back with a repeated move (the Stinger splash) and a lame finisher (Deathdrop) to get the win. Which is what happens, as the entire nWo runs in, but Sting fights them off as Randy Savage bops Hogan with something and allows Sting to get the pin. Nick Patrick makes the count, of course. -** Sting claims the belt, then spraypaints “WCW” on the fallen Hogan, end of show. (Yeah, that should have been how Starrcade went.)  Good Cop sez: I never, ever want to watch Sting wrestle again if this is his ceiling. (He’d get a little better, but yeah, that 18 months off was basically the end of top-level worker Sting.) DDP was able to carry Hogan to a better match than his kick-and-punch festival. Dallas fucking Page! And why couldn’t they do this ending at Starrcade, when it would have been appropriate and meant something? Bad Cop sez: YEAH! STING KICKS ASS! nWo SUX! STING FINALLY WINS! Concensus: Wretched match with an ending they should have done three months ago. The Bottom Line: Wrestling wise, this was easily the worst PPV I’ve seen in quite some time. There was no match I’d even classify as “good” after the opener, and even the Martel-Booker T match was on the fringes of being “good” and was flirting with “okay”. The only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing that saved this show was some really good angles that were long overdue. If Hogan had gone over in the title match, it would have been a cinch as “Worst Show of the Year”. On the other hand, I kind of liked the show on a markish level, as Sting finally got his revenge and Scott turned in a cool way and Juvy unmasked. So it wasn’t all bad. Just most of it. Later. (Way too harsh, 1998 lush Scott.) 

Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: WWF In Your House VIII: BEWARE OF DOG!

– Okay, this is the semi-famous Beware of Dog PPV, famous not because of anything that happened in the ring, but rather because storms in South Carolina blew out the transmission satellite feed and left the arena in darkness for the better part of an hour. In order to make up for this WCW-like snafu, the WWF offered a makeup show on the following Tuesday in the replay slot, called Beware of Dog II, where they’d redo the matches missed by the outage. That’s the show I’m reviewing here, as it was a spliced-together combination of the two matches from the first show and the three from the second.  (Insert ROH joke here.)  – Live from Florence, South Carolina / Charleston, South Carolina. – Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler / Jim Ross & Mr. Perfect. – Free 4 All Match, WWF tag team title: The Godwinns v. The Smoking Gunns. This was taped at the first show. Sunny has her wagon hitched to the Godwinns, who upset the Bodydonnas to win their first tag title a week prior to this. (Sunny as a farm girl hick?  Kinda hot.  Just saying.)  Bart overpowers PIG, but they mess up a double-reverse spot and Billy comes in to work the arm. HOG comes in to break it up, but gets armbarred as well. Bart & HOG exchange wristlocks, and HOG clotheslines him for two. PIG stays on the arm, but now the Gunns work on HIS arm. That goes on for a while, until Sunny jumps onto the apron and gets kissed by Billy. I guess she must have been looking like Chuck Palumbo that night. (That wasn’t the case until a few years after when she was doing that porn site with Missy Hyatt.)  PIG is so distracted by this that Bart is able to suplex him for the pin and the titles at 4:53. If you like armbars, this is YOUR match! DUD Billy’s post-match interview sets up the Gunns’ heel turn and Billy’s eventual solo run.  (So blame this match then.)  – Onto the PPV. – Opening match, Wildman Marc Mero v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Mero attacks and they chase, allowing Hunter to gain control. Mero slugs him out of the ring and follows with a dive over the top, then gets a slingshot legdrop for two. Hunter goes to the eyes, but gets KO’d for two. Mero charges and hits the post, however, hurting his shoulder in the process. Hunter gives him another trip to the post for good measure, and then goes to work. Armbar takedown and he stomps away on the shoulder. He pounds away in the corner viciously, and gets a high knee for two. Back to the shoulder, as he surfboards the arm, but Mero cradles for two. Hunter nails the shoulder again and posts the arm, however. Back in, he works the arm using the ropes and stomps a mudhole on the shoulder. To the turnbuckle, and into a cross-armbreaker, but Mero blocks it. Vince is totally out of his league calling this stuff, and I think he knew it. That’s one thing about Vince; once he realized that a new style of UFC stuff was being worked into the matches, I think he knew enough to get out of commentating in favor of JR. (And then once UFC started kicking their ass on PPV, he tried for his old tactic of buying their lead announcer outright.  Thankfully, that one didn’t work.)  Mero can’t make it to the ropes, so Hunter starts cranking on the armbreaker and gets two before Mero makes it. Hunter kneedrops the shoulder, but Mero fights back. Hunter keeps yanking on the arm, however, and bars it with his own knee. Kind of a spinning toehold on the arm. Back to the turnbuckle, but Mero gets a fluke rollup for two. Hunter nails him from behind for two. Hunter stomps the shoulder again and snaps the arm off the top rope. He goes up and nails the arm coming down, and then goes to another armbar, using the top rope for leverage. Attaboy. Hammerlock slam and Hunter goes up again, but Mero crotches him and gets a top rope rana, making sure to sell the arm injury the whole time. Both guys are out, but Mero comes back with a flying headscissors and a kneelift. Backdrop and he’s fired up. He goes up with a sunset flip for two. Dropkick puts Hunter on the floor, but he misses a plancha and blows out his knee. Back in, Hunter goes for the Pedigree, but Sable doesn’t want to watch, and Hunter wants her to. So he yells at her until she gets in position to watch, goes for the Pedigree again, and Mero reverses to a catapult into the ringpost and falls on top at 16:22. Good finish, great match, as Mero keeps selling the arm the whole time. ****  (And Mero’s last great match before injuries turned him into the boxing heel and ruined his career.)  – Meanwhile, Camp Cornette prepares to “drop the bomb” on Michaels later tonight, and Owen Hart gets a manager’s license for one night only. – Okay, here the power goes out. (And if Facebook was around in 96 Gabe Sapolsky would have gone on a nutso rant on it.)  The show actually continued live in the arena in the dark, with all the babyfaces going over. If you want the full experience of watching the show live, turn off your monitor here and leave for an hour, then come back. I’ll wait.                             – Welcome back! – WWF title match: Shawn Michaels v. The British Bulldog. The “bomb” is Clarence Mason announcing a lawsuit for “attempted alienation of affection” on behalf of Diana Smith. As you might surmise, this angle went NOWHERE. In fact, according to Diana’s glorified roll of toilet paper “Under the Mat”, she was supposed to have seduced Shawn but had her advances spurned and sent Davey after him. That’s actually not a bad storyline, unlike this one, which IS a bad storyline. Bulldog attacks Shawn and he comes back with an armdrag and goes for the superkick quickly. Bulldog bails, but Shawn follows with a pescado. Back in, Shawn grabs a headlock and hangs on for two. Rollup is blocked and Bulldog catches a bearhug. Shawn escapes, and gets a rollup for two. Enzuigiri gets two. Shawn goes to an armbar and short-arm scissors for two. Bulldog powers out and stomps away. Hairtoss, and Bulldog hits the chinlock. It goes into a body vice and and a samoan drop. Legdrop gets two for Bulldog, and back to the chinlock as Vince points out that Shawn has never submitted or surrendered in any form. Unless of course you count Survivor Series 92, where he submitted to Bret Hart. (Or 2001, when he surrendered to Jesus.)  Okay, now it’s about 10 minutes into the match, and while they’re doing this chinlock Earl Hebner quite clearly tells Shawn to go home, and Shawn equally clearly starts arguing like a 12-year old, nearly throwing a tantrum while supposedly incapacitated on camera. It’s quite blatant if you know what to look for. (“I wanna go to WCW too!  WAAAAAA!”  Man, wouldn’t history have been radically different if Vince HAD called Shawn’s bluff and let him out of his contract?)  Shawn fights back and was supposed to take a kneelift from Davey on a criss-cross, but deliberately avoids Smith and misses by a foot, but sells it and takes a dramatic bump out of the ring anyway. They can’t even find a replay to show that would explain the bump, and Vince & Jerry are totally at a loss to justify Shawn’s behavior. (I’m gonna go out on a limb and say “Drugs”.)  Back in, Shawn slingshots in with a clothesline that again misses by a mile, and both are out. Another collision, both out again. Shawn makes the big comeback and goes up, and gets a double axehandle for two. Ref is bumped and Shawn gets the flying elbow, but Owen comes in and gets taken out by Shawn. Bulldog stomps Shawn as another ref comes in. Powerslam is reversed to a german suplex by Shawn, but both shoulders are down as both refs count the pin at 17:19. A big argument ensues, but tie goes to the champion so Shawn retains pending a rematch. Shawn’s childish reaction to having the match shortened from 30 minutes to 18 minutes aside, the match was actually quite good for what it was, especially considering most guys today would kill to get 18 minutes. ***1/4 – Okay, now we go live to the Tuesday show. – Strap match: Steve Austin v. Savio Vega. If Austin loses, Dibiase joins the nWo. Austin bails to start, but can’t go anywhere. Austin pounds away but gets backdropped and bails again. Savio uses the strap to yank him into the apron, and then follows him out and pounds away with the strap. Back in, more vicious strappings follow, and Austin bails over the top. Savio fires down with the strap and suplexes him back in. A superkick from Vega allows him to touch three, but Austin goes low. He starts in with the stiff shots from strap, but Savio takes him down and they scuffle. They head out and Savio chops away, but gets sent to the apron. Austin chokes him over the top and suplexes him back in. Austin drags him around for two, but Savio uses the leverage of the strap to whip Austin around the ring and into the turnbuckle. That’s some pretty wicked psychology, by playing up on Savio’s knowledge of using the strap and making it mean something in the match. (The rare case where the person’s specialty match does NOT mean they do a job and/or look like a fool.  Contrast with the main event tonight.)  Savio gets a clothesline with the strap, but Austin dumps him. However, it backfires as the strap is too short and takes Austin with Savio. Savio suplexes him on the floor and keeps strapping him, but Austin comes off the stairs.and gets nailed. Back in, Savio hogties him and drags him to two corners, but Austin legsweeps him down and gives him the leather. Savio comes back with a superplex attempt, but Austin headbutts to block. Savio crotches him and gets that superplex after all. Savio touches three, but Austin gets a wicked spear to stop the fourth. Austin chokes him in the ropes and in the corner, then stomps him down. Austin touches three, but then hesitates for some reason and allows Savio to poke him in the eyes. Hmm. Tombstone reversal sequence leads to Savio tumbling over the top, but when Austin leans over to suplex him in, Savio kicks him in the head. Austin recovers and goes to the top, but Savio redirects him on the way down using the strap and Austin meets the railing facefirst. He sends Savio into the stairs, however. Back in, Savio fireman’s carries Austin around, touching two before Austin uses Savio’s pants to block. Austin piledriver looks to finish, but Dibiase wants another one for some reason. Austin obliges, but Savio reverses. Austin goes to the Million Dollar Dream, but Savio manages to touch two while fighting out of it, and then pushes off the corner to break. Austin stunguns him and chokes him down with the strap, then drags him around the ring. However, Savio sneaks in to touch each corner after Austin, and when they get to the fourth they fight over the strap until Austin “accidentally” pulls Savio right into the corner at 21:22. The finish actually works once it was revealed that Austin deliberately threw the match to get rid of Dibiase. And the match was incredibly stiff and featured neat stuff you don’t normally see in strap matches, plus terrific psychology. Definitely an unappreciated classic, much like most of Austin’s early WWF stuff. ****1/4  (Definitely a case where Austin losing actually helped him in the long run, as it gave him a storyline and an excuse to redefine his character.)  – Yokozuna v. Vader. This was pretty much the last gasp for Yoko’s babyface run, before leaving the promotion later in the year. Slugfest to start, won by Yoko. Stalling follows. They do a sumo challenge, but Vader chickens out and stalls. Again, and Vader balks again. Finally they go ahead with it, and Yoko wins easily and Vader bails. Back in, Vader wins a slugfest but gets taken down and bails. Back in, he slugs away again, gets taken down again, and bails again. They slug it out, and Yoko gets a Rock Bottom and avalanche, into a samoan drop. On the samoan drop, you can actually see Vader doing it all himself. Yoko goes for the Banzai drop, but stops to beat up Jim Cornette. When he goes for a Banzai on him, however, Vader drags Cornette out of the way, and it misses. Vader splashes Yoko for the pin at 8:55. This was like watching the main event of a show from England in the 80s. ½* – Intercontinental title, casket match: Goldust v. The Undertaker. Taker attacks, and Goldust bails. Back in, he hammers away, but gets tossed around by Taker. Clothesline and Taker tosses him, but the lid is closed and he lands on top. They brawl outside, and Goldust eats stairs and has casket for dessert. Back in, Taker legdrops him and they slug it out. Taker gets the ROPEWALK OF DOOM and chokes away. Goldust slams him, no-sold. Tombstone by Goldust, no-sold. He gets a seated clothesline and rolls Taker towards the casket, but can’t shut the lid. Aker gets a big boot, but gets dumped. They brawl outside, and Goldust takes over in the ring. Taker keeps fighting back, but Goldust gets a sleeper. Into the casket, but again the lid won’t shut. Back in, Taker gets the flying clothesline and dumps Goldust. Chairshot is blocked and they head back in, where Goldust gets a powerslam and goes up. Flying clothesline, but he goes for a cover for some reason. Taker fights back and slams him off the top, then tombstones him. Into the casket.but Mankind pops up and puts him out with the Mandible Claw and into the casket at 12:36. I’m amazed two human beings can put on matches this boring on a regular basis. **  (Yeah, Undertaker and Goldust had negative chemistry together.  And Goldust was pretty much at his peak as a worker at this point, so you think he could bump around and get something out of Taker, but no, never could even come close.)  The Bottom Line: The two matches from the original show are both great, and the strap match from the second show is even BETTER, so call this thing an easy thumbs up. I’m not sure if it was ever put on video, but definitely check out the strap match if you can find it somewhere. Strongly recommended. (Not sure what’s been released from this DVD-wise.  I don’t recall Shawn-Bulldog being on any collections, and rightly so unless people are into fascinating trainwrecks.  I don’t see why HHH v. Mero would be on anything, and I think there’s a chance of Savio-Austin being on an Austin DVD but he loses so I doubt it.) 

Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania VIII

The good and bad of the older Wrestlemanias is that the chances of seeing the same match on a PPV 3-4 down the road was slim so it’s harder to compare a Wrestlemania match to a TV match.

Unfortunately Wrestlemania VIII left me with few alternatives. I just did a Savage match so I didn’t want to do Savage-Flair, and if I did which one of their millions (and millions) of WCW matches would I choose. Thought about doing Shawn Michaels – Tito Santana but I couldn’t find a second match of them plus I’m doing both ladder matches for Wrestlemania X.

So I just had to bite my tongue and work with what I had.

And in case you were worried, you won’t get two separate Hogan vs. Sid rants.

Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania VIII
From The Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana
Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

WWF Intercontinental Title Match: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart

Yes this isn’t their only encounter. Piper won his first and only WWF singles title at the 1992 Royal Rumble when he defeated The Mountie and received a massive pop. Bret Hart held the title for much of the second half of 1991 until he got screwed (you don’t say?) out of the title by The Mountie and has worked his way back into earning another title shot.

Piper was weighing about 170 pounds for this match as doing the pre-match interview the belt barely fit him even though he had a rolled up leather strap stuck inside of it. Was there a promised cruiserweight title in his future or something? A little lockup and Piper with an armdrag and on second lock up Hart returns the favor (I’m not going to mention it often but Gorilla and Heenan were on fire for this match…and most of this card). They do some amateur stuff that Bret gets the best of and Piper spits at him. Hmmm. They try a little test of strength here, Piper with an armbar but Hart reverses it so Piper goes to the eyes but Hart won’t let go. Piper punches away but Hart won’t let go. Piper sends Hart into the buckle but Hart won’t let go and finally he wrestles Piper to the ground. Piper finally gets out of the hold with an irish whip but Hart hits a drop kick. He fakes a shoulder injury and small packages Piper for two so Piper rightfully slaps him for being a lying cheating little bitch. All right we’re properly warmed up now as Hart tries a high cross body that sends both guys to the floor. Piper holds the ropes open for Hart as the crowd applauds his sportsmanship. Hart decides to check his boots to make sure they are tied and Piper uppercuts him (Good. Protect yourself at all times dumbass. Didn’t Stu teach you that in the dungeon?). Piper lays in some punches and delivers a big bulldog as Hart is busted open. The move gets two. Piper goes to biting and then hits a massive kneelift for two. Piper sets too early and Hart gets a sunset flip for two but Piper rallies back with a punching combo that gets two. Hart battles back and hits a flying forearm that sends Piper tumbling to the floor. He comes back in the ring and a double clothesline knocks both men out.

Piper recovers first and heads to the top but Hart was playing possum again and cuts Roddy off with a facebuster. Inverted atomic drop and a beautiful suplex gets a near fall. Russian legsweep gets two. Classic side breaker and Hart goes for the sharpshooter but Piper blocks it so Hart hits a front elbow drop. Hart climbs to the middle rope and goes for another front elbow but eats boot instead (Crowd is clearly 50-50 at this point). They slug it out n their knees and both men get to their feet but Hart gets the headbutt. Headlock and Piper shoots Hart into the official and clotheslines Hart over the top. Piper follows Hart to the floor and rams him into the steel steps. Piper grabs the ringside bell and the crowd is in HORROR. Heenan continues his hot streak (USE IT! USE IT! WAFFLE HIM WITH IT! Remember the old saying ‘what the hell use the bell’). Piper thinks better of him, however, and goes for the sleeper instead so Hart climbs the ropes and gets a rollover for the pinfall. Piper admits he was outsmarted and does the right thing – awards the belt to the Hitman.

(Hart def. Piper, pinfall, ***1/2, tremendous storytelling and highly entertaining. Wasn’t super long or anything but Piper was working pretty damn stiff.)

And the Challenger

WCW Monday Nitro
February 8, 1999
Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

U.S. Heavyweight Championship: Bret Hart vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

WCW President Ric Flair forced his nemesis at the time, Hart, to defend the title again Piper. Hart claimed a groin injury during a skit on MadTV which everyone knew was fake. There was also something going on with Will Sasso and whatever. Anyway Hart is your heel and Piper is the face in this encounter.

Piper slaps Hart to start and they brawl along the outside with Piper getting the best of the action and he sends Hart back in the ring and gives him a bell ringer. Piper corners Hart and punches but Hart goes to the eyes and slugs Piper back a few times. Piper goes back on the offensive with a heel trip and wants to stomp Hart in the “injured” groin but Hart goes to the ropes and buys some time. Hart stalls for a few minutes and then they slug it back out in the ring until Piper gets the old eye poke in. Hart goes for the choke as the crowd starts cheering for something non-related. Hart acts as if Piper kicked him low (he didn’t) and the WCW trainer (??) comes in the ring to check on Hart as Schiavone protests the fake injury. Piper turns his back and Hart jumps him and works him over in the corner.

Commercial.

We’re back and Hart is choking Piper on the ropes. Russian legsweep and Hart holds the leg and delivers a headbutt to the mid-section. Hart gives Piper and eye burn on the top ropes and hammers away at the challenger in the corner. Side backbreaker gets a two count. Hart clotheslines Piper to the floor and he follows him out. Hart sends Piper to the safety rail and then chokes him out with the television cable. While the referee checks on Piper, Hart runs over and attacks Will Sasso, who was sitting at ringside. Piper sends Hart into the steel steps and back in the ring. Kneelift from Piper and a suplex gets two. Back suplex gets another two count. They slug it out some more and Piper gets the sleeper. Hart backs Piper into the corner where the official was, knocking out the official. Double clothesline sends both men down and gives Hart time to get some knuckle dusters. He whacks Piper with them and goes to revive the official but Sasso pulls the official back long enough for Piper to get a rollup for three!

(Piper def. Hart, pinfall, *1/2, lots of kicking, punching and Will Sasso. No need to track this one down unless you want the full collection of what these two guys have done.)

The Match: Obviously much changed in the nearly seven years between encounters. Bret was trying to establish himself in 1992 and Piper was still pretty healthy. By 1999 Hart wasn’t motivated and Piper was working with a repaired hip. Also this was a Nitro match rather than the major PPV of the year so neither guy was expected to be on their ‘A’ game. Major Edge: Wrestlemania

The Storyline: The Wrestlemania storyline was simple and effective – former champion didn’t get immediate rematch and wanted an opportunity to get the belt back. The fact that Piper and Hart were friends added a twist but the premise was still the same. I have no clue what the WCW storyline was and why Will Sasso needed to be involved. Major Edge: Wrestlemania

Intangibles: Both matches featured title changes on clean pinfalls. You’ll be hard pressed to find many Piper matches better than his Wrestlemania match against Hart. He had quite an encounter with Jack Brisco back in the day and I loved the stuff with Snuka (no Tamina jokes, sorry) but in the interest of fairness there’s no need to compare the effort of a Wrestlemania match with that of a TV match.

Verdict: Wrestlemania by a landslide, even graded on a curve.

Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania VIII

The good and bad of the older Wrestlemanias is that the chances of seeing the same match on a PPV 3-4 down the road was slim so it’s harder to compare a Wrestlemania match to a TV match.

Unfortunately Wrestlemania VIII left me with few alternatives. I just did a Savage match so I didn’t want to do Savage-Flair, and if I did which one of their millions (and millions) of WCW matches would I choose. Thought about doing Shawn Michaels – Tito Santana but I couldn’t find a second match of them plus I’m doing both ladder matches for Wrestlemania X.

So I just had to bite my tongue and work with what I had.

And in case you were worried, you won’t get two separate Hogan vs. Sid rants.

Wrestlemania Challenge: Wrestlemania VIII
From The Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana
Hosted by Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

WWF Intercontinental Title Match: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart

Yes this isn’t their only encounter. Piper won his first and only WWF singles title at the 1992 Royal Rumble when he defeated The Mountie and received a massive pop. Bret Hart held the title for much of the second half of 1991 until he got screwed (you don’t say?) out of the title by The Mountie and has worked his way back into earning another title shot.

Piper was weighing about 170 pounds for this match as doing the pre-match interview the belt barely fit him even though he had a rolled up leather strap stuck inside of it. Was there a promised cruiserweight title in his future or something? A little lockup and Piper with an armdrag and on second lock up Hart returns the favor (I’m not going to mention it often but Gorilla and Heenan were on fire for this match…and most of this card). They do some amateur stuff that Bret gets the best of and Piper spits at him. Hmmm. They try a little test of strength here, Piper with an armbar but Hart reverses it so Piper goes to the eyes but Hart won’t let go. Piper punches away but Hart won’t let go. Piper sends Hart into the buckle but Hart won’t let go and finally he wrestles Piper to the ground. Piper finally gets out of the hold with an irish whip but Hart hits a drop kick. He fakes a shoulder injury and small packages Piper for two so Piper rightfully slaps him for being a lying cheating little bitch. All right we’re properly warmed up now as Hart tries a high cross body that sends both guys to the floor. Piper holds the ropes open for Hart as the crowd applauds his sportsmanship. Hart decides to check his boots to make sure they are tied and Piper uppercuts him (Good. Protect yourself at all times dumbass. Didn’t Stu teach you that in the dungeon?). Piper lays in some punches and delivers a big bulldog as Hart is busted open. The move gets two. Piper goes to biting and then hits a massive kneelift for two. Piper sets too early and Hart gets a sunset flip for two but Piper rallies back with a punching combo that gets two. Hart battles back and hits a flying forearm that sends Piper tumbling to the floor. He comes back in the ring and a double clothesline knocks both men out.

Piper recovers first and heads to the top but Hart was playing possum again and cuts Roddy off with a facebuster. Inverted atomic drop and a beautiful suplex gets a near fall. Russian legsweep gets two. Classic side breaker and Hart goes for the sharpshooter but Piper blocks it so Hart hits a front elbow drop. Hart climbs to the middle rope and goes for another front elbow but eats boot instead (Crowd is clearly 50-50 at this point). They slug it out n their knees and both men get to their feet but Hart gets the headbutt. Headlock and Piper shoots Hart into the official and clotheslines Hart over the top. Piper follows Hart to the floor and rams him into the steel steps. Piper grabs the ringside bell and the crowd is in HORROR. Heenan continues his hot streak (USE IT! USE IT! WAFFLE HIM WITH IT! Remember the old saying ‘what the hell use the bell’). Piper thinks better of him, however, and goes for the sleeper instead so Hart climbs the ropes and gets a rollover for the pinfall. Piper admits he was outsmarted and does the right thing – awards the belt to the Hitman.

(Hart def. Piper, pinfall, ***1/2, tremendous storytelling and highly entertaining. Wasn’t super long or anything but Piper was working pretty damn stiff.)

And the Challenger

WCW Monday Nitro
February 8, 1999
Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

U.S. Heavyweight Championship: Bret Hart vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

WCW President Ric Flair forced his nemesis at the time, Hart, to defend the title again Piper. Hart claimed a groin injury during a skit on MadTV which everyone knew was fake. There was also something going on with Will Sasso and whatever. Anyway Hart is your heel and Piper is the face in this encounter.

Piper slaps Hart to start and they brawl along the outside with Piper getting the best of the action and he sends Hart back in the ring and gives him a bell ringer. Piper corners Hart and punches but Hart goes to the eyes and slugs Piper back a few times. Piper goes back on the offensive with a heel trip and wants to stomp Hart in the “injured” groin but Hart goes to the ropes and buys some time. Hart stalls for a few minutes and then they slug it back out in the ring until Piper gets the old eye poke in. Hart goes for the choke as the crowd starts cheering for something non-related. Hart acts as if Piper kicked him low (he didn’t) and the WCW trainer (??) comes in the ring to check on Hart as Schiavone protests the fake injury. Piper turns his back and Hart jumps him and works him over in the corner.

Commercial.

We’re back and Hart is choking Piper on the ropes. Russian legsweep and Hart holds the leg and delivers a headbutt to the mid-section. Hart gives Piper and eye burn on the top ropes and hammers away at the challenger in the corner. Side backbreaker gets a two count. Hart clotheslines Piper to the floor and he follows him out. Hart sends Piper to the safety rail and then chokes him out with the television cable. While the referee checks on Piper, Hart runs over and attacks Will Sasso, who was sitting at ringside. Piper sends Hart into the steel steps and back in the ring. Kneelift from Piper and a suplex gets two. Back suplex gets another two count. They slug it out some more and Piper gets the sleeper. Hart backs Piper into the corner where the official was, knocking out the official. Double clothesline sends both men down and gives Hart time to get some knuckle dusters. He whacks Piper with them and goes to revive the official but Sasso pulls the official back long enough for Piper to get a rollup for three!

(Piper def. Hart, pinfall, *1/2, lots of kicking, punching and Will Sasso. No need to track this one down unless you want the full collection of what these two guys have done.)

The Match: Obviously much changed in the nearly seven years between encounters. Bret was trying to establish himself in 1992 and Piper was still pretty healthy. By 1999 Hart wasn’t motivated and Piper was working with a repaired hip. Also this was a Nitro match rather than the major PPV of the year so neither guy was expected to be on their ‘A’ game. Major Edge: Wrestlemania

The Storyline: The Wrestlemania storyline was simple and effective – former champion didn’t get immediate rematch and wanted an opportunity to get the belt back. The fact that Piper and Hart were friends added a twist but the premise was still the same. I have no clue what the WCW storyline was and why Will Sasso needed to be involved. Major Edge: Wrestlemania

Intangibles: Both matches featured title changes on clean pinfalls. You’ll be hard pressed to find many Piper matches better than his Wrestlemania match against Hart. He had quite an encounter with Jack Brisco back in the day and I loved the stuff with Snuka (no Tamina jokes, sorry) but in the interest of fairness there’s no need to compare the effort of a Wrestlemania match with that of a TV match.

Verdict: Wrestlemania by a landslide, even graded on a curve.