Post Secret Wars Marvel Universe

So for those who haven’t seen it, apparently preview cover art of all the new #1s coming out in October are floating around the Internet that shows us what the post Secret Wars Marvel Universe will look like.

Probably of the most interest to the Blog as whole is that CM Punk will be co-writing a Drax the Destroyer (ergo Batista’s character in Guardians) ongoing with Cullen Bunn

To me the one that looks most interesting is Ultimates with both Spectrum and Captain Marvel as members. That and Thing is now a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy in the post FF marvel universe.

Also of note Nick Spencer, who wrote the stellar Superior Foes of Spiderman, is getting the new Captain America title (with Sam Wilson in the lead) along with Ant Man. And Spider-Man legend Gerry Conway is writing a Carnage ongoing.

Anyway you can see all the cover art here:

Star Wars Drop on MCDU

Hi Scott,

I noticed this week Marvel Comics Digital Unlimited dropped 500+ legacy Star Wars comics that they have the rights to (regardless of original publisher) on the app. I haven't read most of the Dark Horse era, do you or any of your readers have some reccos to check out beyond the recent Brian Wood series?

Btw, MCDU has been everything I wish WWE Network would be since they sorted out their apps a few months ago. New content regularly and bugs few and far between.

​I actually started a new subscription for Marvel Unlimited because its getting close to the point where they'll be adding stuff from around the time I dropped out in the winter, and that way if I get the itch again I'll have the app right there.  ​Plus, as noted, a shitload of Star Wars content.  I also got a bunch of SW comics off a Humble Bundle recently, so I'm good to go there.  

Monday Night Wars

So I'm watching The Monday Night War, episode two in specific, and I can't help but feel grateful that Vince went into wrestling instead of world domination because MAN does that guy know how to do propaganda. I had gotten used to the line of "WCW was competitive because they stole WWE guys" but hearing them now take it a step further and say it's because the WCW fans were actually just WWE fans and they were glad to see the superior WWE guys come in and beat up the inferior WCW guys…mindblown. The most interesting part about it is that you listen to Vince talk, you see the decisions he's made since buying WCW, and you just have to know that it's how he really believes it happened. Is there any hope that Trips isn't as insane as Vince and that some of this will get better when he takes over?

​I dunno, but holy shit did that second episode kind of go off the rails already.  Hall and Nash were apparently carrying the WWF through 1995 and everyone thought of Randy Savage as a washed up 80s star?  At least the documentary DVDs sort of TRIED to be a version of the truth.

Did “Main Events” die with the Monday Night Wars?

Hi Scott,

A comment in the Smackdown review about Rollins "not being able to main event" got me thinking about when the shows (including PPVs) moved away from the traditional main event.  I don't know a ton about the quarterly ratings but there used to be a lot of talk about popping a rating when RAW and Nitro were going head to head and I guess it made sense.  For a long time now it seems that what would normally be considered your main event on a given TV show can be found anywhere on the card and the traditional main event slot is used as much for interviews and progressing story lines as it is for actual wrestling.  Not to mention Wrestlemania usually advertising about five co-main events lately…  Thoughts?

​I agree that "main eventers" have certainly become a diluted concept in the past few years, especially with two World titles and 50/50 booking all over the shows.  When pretty much everyone but Cena and Orton go unprotected, no one becomes a true star.  It's part of the reason why house show business flattened out so much now that they basically only advertise the WWE brand and not specific matches.  In fact, I just a had a dream last night where they finally came back to Saskatoon after 3 years and they just put up a big screen in the middle and did video packages and skits instead of matches.  That might not be far off from the truth in the future.  ​

ROH Border Wars 2013

Live from Toronto. Hosted by Kevin Kelly and Nigel

ACH & TaDarius
Thomas vs. Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander:
This has the potential
to be a complete trainwreck. Thomas and Coleman start, they dance around for a
bit before fighting over a headlock, then a cradle reversal sequence. Both guys
tag out and ACH & Alexander do a back-and-forth involving some armdrags.
Thomas back in now with an elbowdrop that only gets a 1 count. He gets a
vertical suplex for 2, Alexander fights back with forearms but ACH comes in on
a blind tag with a neckbreaker. He hooks a bodyscissors and tags in Thomas, who
lands a dropkick for 2. Alexander is back up with a dropkick of his own, Thomas
bails to the floor and Coleman gets tagged in, he tries a dive to the outside
but ACH cuts him off. ACH backflips to the floor and Alexander takes him out
with a dive, back in the ring Thomas goes after Coleman with his usual stuff.
He tries one of the capoeira kicks, Coleman catches the leg and Alexander
dropkicks him in the back of the head. C+C hit a snap suplex/slingshot senton
combo, then a suplex/twisting bodypress combo for 2. Alexander in now and they
slug it out before Alexander gets a snapmare and a kick to the back of the
head. C+C hit the spinebuster/leg lariat for 2, Coleman hits a scoop slam and a
legdrop for 2. Thomas enziguries both guys and finally makes the hot tag and
ACH sends Coleman to the floor, but Alexander nails him from behind. ACH sends
him to the outside as well, Thomas hits the Space Flying Tiger Drop on Coleman
and ACH gets Air Jordan on Alexander. Back in ACH gets a pumphandle suplex,
Coleman makes the save. Thomas gets dumped and Coleman hits the triple Northern
Lights on ACH for 2. Everyone throws kicks before ACH lands some sort of
rope-assisted Crusher for 2. Overtime finishes ACH shortly thereafter at 11:00.
Everything landed clean, and that’s all I ask from these guys. **1/2, good
opener but not something I’d go out my way to watch again.
Mike Bennett (w/Maria
Kanellis) vs. Roderick Strong:
This was supposed to be a triple threat with
Mike Mondo, but he got injured again last week. Brutal Bob is absent from
Bennett’s corner thanks to problems getting across the border, according to the
commentators. Maybe he should start managing Sabu or Jeff Hardy… Maria is
practically naked, so I expect the camera to focus more on her than the
wrestlers. A couple lockups go nowhere before Strong hits a chop and Bennett
bails to the outside. He heads back in as Kelly describes him as a “5 tool
guy”. I don’t see how his baseball abilities are relevant  here. Bennett hits a shoulderblock, Strong
lands a wheel kick and stomps away in the corner, Maria hops up on the apron
but nothing comes out of it. Strong gets a backslide for 2 and hooks the
Stronghold, Bennett easily gets to the ropes. Strong gets dumped, but he
immediately pulls Bennett out with him and chops away on the floor before
getting dropped back-first on the edge of the ring. Strong eats the barricade a
few times before Bennett tosses him back in for a 1 count. Shoulderblock for 2,
then Bennett hits a scoop slam (and does the CM Punk GTS taunt for some
reason) and a legdrop for 2. He runs into a boot on a blind charge but no-sells
and sends Strong back down with a clothesline. Maria joins the commentators for
a moment as a forearm battle breaks out, Strong wins that and he puts Bennett
on the top rope and eventually hits a (nearly blown) superplex for 2. He throws
a knee but ends up running into a spinebuster. Bennett charges in but Strong
jumps over him and lands a jumping knee in the corner, a backbreaker gets 2. He
tries a fireman’s carry but Bennett grabs the top rope to block. He gets it
again and tries for the double-knee gutbuster but Bennett reverses it into a
cradle for 2. Spear gets 2, he tries for the TKO but Strong gets free and hooks
the Stronghold again, Bennett taps but the ref is distracted by Maria. Bennett
hits a superkick and the Box Office Smash, but Strong kicks out. And now here’s
Cheeseburger out to jam his tongue down Maria’s throat, Bennett gives chase but
runs into the Sick Kick from Strong and that ends his night at 11:36. **,
decent enough, but I can’t be bothered to give a shit about either of these
guys. For some reason we get a replay of Cheeseburger making out with Maria,
though at this point I’d think that’s the highlight of his career.
Clips of Kevin Steen getting booted out of S.C.U.M. are
I Quit: Rhett Titus
(w/ Steve Corino) vs. BJ Whitmer:
Speaking of people I don’t give a shit
about… Corino runs his mouth about, well, everyone before Whitmer runs out and
attacks. Corino distracts Whitmer but it doesn’t do any good and Titus gets
dumped to the floor as McGuiness leaves the commentary table and heads to the
back. Whitmer lands a dive to the outside and plays to the crowd while
McGuiness is back with 2 refs and they toss Corino, with a “Get the fuck out”
chant from the crowd. Back in the ring Whitmer fires off chops in the corner,
he goes for a top rope rana but Titus drops him on the top turnbuckle. He
stomps away and chokes Whitmer with his foot, the ref asks him if he wants to
quit and he declines. Now Whitmer gets dumped, Titus hits a neckbreaker on the
floor and chokes Whitmer out, then kicks his head into the ringpost. Back in we
hit the chinlock, Titus also adds some fish hooking, which is guess is pretty
creative. He stops to play to the crowd before kitting a kick to the face, then
starts biting his forehead. Another chinlock now, this time with a bridge.
Whitmer finally makes the comeback, but gets sent into the middle turnbuckle
and Titus grabs some zip-ties from ringside. He tries to tie Whitmer to the
ropes, but Whitmer fights back. Titus ends up getting tied to the ropes,
Whitmer fires off some shitty looking punches but Titus won’t quit. So he grabs
a chair, but now Corino is back out to try and take one for the team, Titus
tells the ref that he quits before Corino gets his skull cracked open at 11:32.
This was just a bad idea from the start. *, total mess with a fucking stupid
ending, and hopefully this will be the last time these two are in the ring
together. Jimmy Jacobs and Cliff Compton are out to jump Whitmer, Jay Lethal
and Michael Elgin make the save and that takes us right into:
Jimmy Jacobs and
Cliff Compton vs. Jay Lethal and Michael Elgin:
If S.C.U.M. wins then
Corino becomes the commentator and a S.C.U.M. member gets a world title shot.
If Lethal/Elgin win S.C.U.M. has to leave ROH for good, which gives away the
outcome right there. Brawling to start, Titus is still tied to the ropes so
Lethal superkicks him just for the hell of it. One of the ring crew guys
finally cuts him free (though Corino remains at ringside) as the guys that are
actually in the match take the brawl to the outside, Compton ends up going over
the guardrail and into the crowd thanks to a kick from Elgin. They make it back
in the ring, Jacobs takes over on Lethal but that doesn’t last long and Elgin
tags in. He goes straight for the delayed vertical suplex and holds him up for
nearly a full minute with the crowd counting along. It gets 2 and a “That was
awesome!” chant, Jay is back in and they do some double-team stuff (with
someone near the ring mic yelling “Fuck!”), Jacobs goes to the eyes and tags in
Compton. Lethal hits the handspring elbow and now Elgin is back in with the
delayed suplex on Compton, Jacobs tries to break it up but Lethal cuts him off
and hooks a delayed vertical of his own. That spot always impressed me just
because I couldn’t imagine being strong enough to do that. Elgin gets 2 off a standing
senton, Lethal comes in but gets nailed with a jumping knee, Jay comes right
back and sends Compton into an Elgin slingshot shoulderblock. Jacobs gets sent
to the floor and Lethal does the dive through the ropes, blowing out his knee
in the process. Elgin hits Compton with the Black Hole Slam in the ring for 2
before going to check on Lethal. A couple refs also come out to attend to him
as Corino wants him counted out, and he has a point, I’m pretty sure Lethal is
the legal man. Now McGuiness gets involved as well, Elgin gets back in the ring
and just destroys the heels, including a cool spot where he catches Jacobs
trying a spear and powerbombs him into Compton. A double fallaway slam gets 2
on Compton, he tries to bucklebomb Jacobs but Compton nails him from behind and
sends him into the ringpost. Jacobs tags in and the heels beat on Elgin in
their corner before Jacobs hits a jumping DDT and does the always hilarious
“pretend to be a dog pissing on your opponent” taunt. He grabs a sleeper but
gets crushed in the corner, Compton charges in but runs into a boot, Jacobs goes for
the sleeper again but Elgin German suplexes Compton while Jacobs is still
hanging on his back. Now THAT was awesome. Triple KO, and here’s Kevin Steen
out from the crowd, McGuiness gives the OK for him to replace Lethal. Elgin
makes the hot tag and Steen is a house of fire, tossing around the heels like
ragdolls, then hits both of them with the cannonball. The ass-whoopin continues
on the floor with both heels just getting launched into the barricade, then
Steen powerbombs Jacobs on the edge of the ring. Elgin hits him with the
bucklebomb, but Compton clips Elgin’s knee when he tries the spinning
powerbomb. Steen tosses Jacobs over the top for yet another nice bump and
powerbombs Compton, but Jacobs sneaks back in to roll him up while he’s going
for the package piledriver to finish at 20:06. ****, not the most technically
proficient match for sure, but this was a wild brawl with crazy bumping from
the heel side and nuclear heat, not to mention the insane power moves from
Elgin. The clean finish certainly helps too. I don’t see anything else tonight
being able to touch this one.
Intermission, clips of El Generico/Taiji Ishimori and Paul
London/Michael Shane matches are shown. Man, those old ROH commentators were
QT Marshall and RD Evans join us for a cheap heat promo,
insulting the Canadian anthem and getting Toronto confused with Montreal. They
also complain about reDRagon not defending the tag titles at this show
(something I was wondering about myself, though I can’t say that I’m
disappointed in not seeing Bobby Fish) before the lights go out and Tomaso
Ciampa makes his return, getting a better entrance than anyone that’s actually
wrestling on this card. Marshall attacks, Ciampa kicks his ass but Evans gets
him out of harm’s way before any real damage is done. Hopefully this feud is
over quick and they can move Ciampa on to someone worthwhile.
Eddie Edwards vs.
Taiji Ishimori:
I know absolutely nothing about Ishimori, though as the
clips during the intermission show he’s worked for ROH in the past, and
according to the commentators these guys have ran into each other before in
NOAH. He’s also the GHC junior champ, though that title is obviously not on the
line here. Both guys play to the crowd before locking up and doing some rather
acrobatic chain wrestling. Edwards gets dumped on a headscissors and Ishimori
tries the Tiger Pass (619, basically) but misses. More chain wrestling, Edwards
ends up on the floor again thanks to a headscissors and Ishimori hits him with
a gorgeous moonsault from the top rope. Back in the ring Ishimori grabs a
chinlock, but he’s Japanese so it actually looks painful. He gets backdropped
to the apron on a blind charge and a jumping enziguri sends him to the floor,
Edwards follows with the ROH staple, the dive through the ropes. I swear that
everyone in the company does that spot except for Steen and Elgin, and if they
could fit between the ropes I’m sure they’d be doing it too. Anyway, Edwards
rolls Ishimori back in for a 2 count, then hits a nasty Shining Wizard. Snap
suplex for 2, a chop battle breaks out and Edwards wins that easily, but he
runs into a boot on a blind charge. Ishimori goes up top but gets nailed with
an enziguri and Edwards hits the Chinchecker for 2, then turns it into the
Achilles lock, Ishimori makes it to the ropes. Now a forearm battle, this works
out better for Ishimori and he hits a nice handspring kick, then a painful
looking double-stomp for 2. He comes off the top with a move I can’t even
really describe for 2, then tries the handspring kick again but Edwards catches
him and drops him on his face. Edwards throws about 20 chops in the corner, a
knee to the face and a brainbuster gets 2.9. He tries a German but Ishimori lands
on his feet only to run into a Tombstone attempt, Ishimori reverses it into one
of his own but he drops Edwards face-first into his knees rather than
piledriving him. He blasts him with a kick to the face for 2, he tries a top
rope rana but can’t land it and they do a cradle reversal sequence. Ishimori
lands a beautiful reverse rana and Edwards actually has the nerve to no-sell it
(there’s some moves that should never be no-sold, and that’s one of them) and a
clothesline with the 360 sell by Ishimori gives us the double KO. Another
forearm battle goes Ishimori’s way so Edwards goes back to the chopping, but
Ishimori hits a great superkick and a brutal kick to the face for another near
fall. He tries the 450 (his finisher) but takes too long and gets nothing but
knees. He goes up top again, but Edwards catches him and hits the super rana.
Nasty powerbomb and a Ligerbomb by Edwards for 2, Die Hard Driver (a Northern
Lights bomb variation) finishes it at 15:44. Hey, let’s put on a good match
just for the sake of putting on a good match, what a concept… ***1/2, I can’t in
good conscience go any higher when neither guy would sell anything for more
than 5 seconds. I will say that Ishimori looked GREAT here, and if WWE ever
gets serious about bringing back the cruiserweight division he should be one of
the first people they call.
ROH TV Title: Mark
Briscoe vs. Matt Taven (C) (w/ Truth Martini, Scarlett Bordeaux, and some other
Taven is wearing the belt like Johnny Nitro used to. Crowd is solidly
behind Mark, obviously. Back-and-forth technical stuff to start (headlock,
wristlock, etc…), with the camera focusing more on the girls than the match. Mark
hits a wheel kick and Taven bails. Fuck, this is going to be just like the
match with Adam Cole, isn’t it? Taven burns some time fixing his headband
before getting back in the ring. Taven misses an enziguri and Mark pounds away,
crowd chants “Fuck him up”. Mark gets a belly-to-belly and Taven bails again, Mark
dropkicks him through the ropes and follows him out and sends Taven to the
barricade. He suplexes Taven from the floor to the apron, then hops back in and
dropkicks Taven to the floor again when he tries to get back in the ring.
Another suplex on the apron, then a scoop slam on the floor. Does Mark realize
that he needs to win this in the ring? He goes up top, but Bordeaux distracts
the ref and Martini knocks him off. Taven gets Divorce Court for 2 and goes to
the arm, then hits a spinning boot for 2. Mark flips out of a suplex and goes
to his usual terrible striking, but gets distracted by Martini and nailed with
a spinkick. Vertical suplex and a twisting springboard senton gets 2 for Taven.
Mark comes back with more redneck kung-fu and a suplex into the corner for 2,
but the froggy elbow hits the knees. Taven hits a neckbreaker for 2 and goes up
top but takes too long, Iconoclasm by Mark is blocked but he still manages to
hit a powerbomb for 2. Taven tries a springboard something but botches it (with
the required “You fucked up!” chant) and eats a spinebuster, Mark stalls while
they figure out what to do. He gets a DVD, Martini tries to take his head off
with the Book of Truth but misses, and the 2 girls distract the ref (and Mark)
by making out. If I saw Scarlett Bordeaux making out with another chick 3 feet
away from me I’d forget about the match too. Taven rolls Mark up while holding
the shorts to finish at 13:45. *, these guys never had a chance thanks to the
booking, and as long as Taven is paired with Martini his matches will continue
to suck. Does ROH realize that Taven can actually work and doesn’t need the
circus at ringside to cover up his deficiencies?
Davey Richards vs.
Paul London:
This was originally supposed to be Richards vs. Naomichi
Marufuji, but Marufuji injured his knee in Japan and London (who shakes hands
with or hugs everyone at ringside) will take his place. He’s in good shape, and
clearly really happy to be here, though he’ll regret it later on. They fight over
a wristlock as the fans get into the dueling chants. They then get into a
crowd-killing submission reversal sequence. Now some stalling, and at this
point I’m thinking that the S.C.U.M. match should have gone on here, especially
with the 2 Canadians in that match. A cris-cross ends with a London rollup for
2, both guys do armdrag-related stuff before stalling some more (though I will
say that Davey’s facial expression here is hilarious). London tries for the
third handshake of the match, Richards declines so London dropkicks him and he
bails. Yeah, that’s just what this match needs. Back in London gets backdropped
to the apron and slingshots back in with a shitty headscissors, then gets
tossed to the floor, landing on a photographer at ringside (she’s OK). Richards
hits the kick from the apron, back in he throws kicks in between standing
around. Another cris-cross ends with Richards landing on his face (looked like
a botch, but I can’t be sure), then running into an atomic drop. A headscissors
sends Richards to the apron, London tries to springboard out but eats an
enziguri and Richards fucks off some more. Now an Indian deathlock that gets
turned into a 2 count, and Davey plays to the crowd some more. London lands on
feet after a backdrop and hits a wheelkick and Richards bails AGAIN, London
follows him out with a somersault dive to at least try and bring this above DUD
(SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t work). Back in London gets a slingshot cradle for 2
and a standing shooting star press, Richards runs into a boot on a blind charge
and London gets a double stomp for 2. Richards runs into another boot but
no-sells it and hits a kick to the face and a German for 2. Forearm battle ends
with London getting a superkick and a dragon suplex for 2, Richards comes back
with a kick that sends London rolling to the apron, and Richards tombstones him
on the floor. Fans chant “This is awesome!” They must be drunk (after all, it is Toronto), because this
match is fucking awful. London makes it back in at 19, Richards hits a baseball
slide and goes upstairs, but he fucks up the double-stomp and lands right on
London’s face, giving him a concussion. Crowd chants “You killed Paul” as
Richards puts London on the top rope (after another minute or so of standing around,
though at least here it’s warranted) but ends up taking a sunset flip
powerbomb, London (barely) gets to the top rope but the SSP hits the knees and
Richards wins it with a cradle at 18:00, about 12:00 of which was just standing
around, or at least it felt that way. Boring and sloppy, this was just a
terrible match, and it’s not like these two are green rookies or anything. DUD,
bordering on negative stars, and Davey should be fucking ashamed of himself. He
gives props to London after the match, if he really had any respect for him he
should have actually put in some effort here.
Cole/Briscoe hype package is shown.
ROH World Title: Adam
Cole vs. Jay Briscoe (C): 
I already said everything I have to say
about Jay’s recent ignorant remarks about homosexuals in the Wrestlemania 26
thread a couple days ago, so I won’t bother getting into it here. Same old
chain wrestling to start, Cole takes a shoulderblock and bails to the outside.
Back in for more chain wrestling, and the crowd is dead. Jay pounds away in the
corner, a couple headbutts and a back elbow get a 2 count. He goes back to the
stomping in the corner but gets backdropped to the apron on a blind charge and
Cole hits a jumping enziguri to send him to the floor. Cole follows with the
dive through the ropes (of course), he tosses Jay back in and hits a crossbody
from the top for 2. He gets a snapmare and throws knees to Jay’s back, a
running seated dropkick gets 2. He grabs a headlock, Jay gets free and hits a
full nelson slam. Scoop slam and a running legdrop get 2 for Jay, snap suplex
gets 2 and we hit the chinlock. Cole makes it to the ropes. Jay runs into a
boot and Cole hits a missile dropkick to the knee, then hooks the ringpost
figure 4. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that… Cole starts working the knee,
Jay gets to the ropes and they slug it out as the commentators foreshadow a
heel turn by Cole. Jay does the Road Dogg punches, Cole goes back to the knee
but gets dropped into the middle turnbuckle. Boot to the face and a rolling
elbow get 2 for Jay. He puts his head down and eats a kick, Cole hits a fireman’s
carry into a backbreaker for 2, crowd still doesn’t care. Cole tries for the
figure 4, Jay blocks it and tries something off the top but dives right into a
superkick. Cole tries coming off the ropes but Jay is right there with a
shoulderblock and the falcon arrow gets 2. He tries for the Jay Driller (Tiger
Driver 91) but the knee can’t take it and Cole hits a vertical suplex into a
neckbreaker for 2. Jay bails to the apron, Cole follows but takes a DVD, and
both guys are out on the floor. Jay is up first and he tosses Cole back in, a
Yazuka kick and a neckbreaker gets 2. Jay Driller attempt #2 is reversed to the
figure 4, Jay makes the ropes. Jay goes upstairs, Cole follows with a German
from the top. Superkick, superkick to the back of the head, Cole gets the
Florida Key but Jay kicks out. Back to the figure 4, Jay makes the ropes, Cole
tries it again but Jay kicks him off and the ref gets bumped. And here’s Corino
to toss Cole a S.C.U.M. shirt, McGuiness crotches Corino on the top rope and
hits him with the Tower of London while Cole considers the offer. Jay Driller
on the distracted Cole and Briscoe retains at 19:59, a decision that ROH
officials surely regretted a few days later. **1/2, this would have been fine
for a TV match, as a PPV main not so much. Almost no heat either, though I’d
blame that more on the length of the show and the 2 shitty matches preceding
this than the performance of Cole and Briscoe. They shake hands after the
match, Cole teases turning on Jay but doesn’t go through with it.
Final thoughts: The S.C.U.M. match was great,
Edwards/Ishimori was really good (albeit meaningless), the rest was either
totally forgettable or complete crap, and the crowd was shot by the time the main
event rolled around. They could have easily cut out at least a half hour out of
this show (starting with Richards/London), and it would have been better for it.
Check out S.C.U.M. vs. Elgin/Lethal/Steen and
Edwards vs. Ishimori if you can find them, but they weren’t enough to save this show.
Not recommended.

Simulate Star Wars!

This is tremendous.  Best I got so far was a B score with Joss Whedon writing/directing and Joseph Gordon Levitt starring in "Star Wars", with roughly equal numbers on the sliders.  Grossed 338 million for a profit of 162.  Some of the other potential combinations are pretty hilarious, like Michael Bay directing Tina Fey in a romantic comedy called "Again With The Midichlorians?" that ended up making $0 at the box office and losing 163 million.  

LoW Roundtable: Monday Night Wars

Legends of Wrestling

Monday Night Wars

Today’s Panel is: JR, Mick, Bischoff, Hayes and Lawler

This could be an interesting one. Ross gives a little background and goes right to interrogating Bischoff and says the start of the Monday Night War came when Lex Luger showed up at the Mall of America.

Oh but that’s not good enough for Michael Hayes. He wants to start with how Bischoff got the job originally. Hayes looks like he’s ready to fight but they back up. Bischoff said a lot of people were applying for the executive producer job at that time to replace Bill Watts. Bischoff said the WCW under Watts was hell and it wasn’t all Watts but most of it was. Turner was looking to fix the problem by changing bosses or pulling the plug.

Hayes interrupts and says the reason Bischoff had a chance to jump in this position is because Watts failed. He brings up Watts old school policies (no jumping from the top rope, etc. all of which is pretty much covered in the Rise and Fall of WCW DVD program). Mick says that he thought Watts failed with some racially borderline statements. Bischoff gets back to the point and he says he got the job because he had wrestling experience but he wasn’t a wrestling guy. He didn’t think he would get the job. Mick says he was shocked Bischoff got the job.

Ross tries to get things back on track and asks Bischoff how he convinced Turner to go live. Bischoff said he had a meeting with Turner about internation distribution and Turner asked him what they needed to do to be competitive with Vince and Bischoff suggested a primetime slot. Bischoff said had he known Turner would agree to it he wouldn’t have brought it up. Bischoff knew he couldn’t beat WWE doing what they did but he worked on being different and going live was the biggest difference.

(They show some clips of the first Nitro which had a Ric Flair-Sting match in which Lex Luger made his appearance. Bischoff did a bad job at appearing surprised and disgusted by Luger’s arrival.)

Lawler asks Bischoff if things could have been as successful if Turner offered another night but Bischoff said he had to go head to head. Bischoff isn’t sure if Turner had a vendetta with Vince but he was a natural competitor. He just wanted to be No. 1. Bischoff chose to make the Nitro debut while the WWF was pre-empted on USA for the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Hayes and Bischoff get into another confrontation and he thinks Bischoff and Turner did have the goal of putting Vince out of business. Hayes understood the competition but didn’t like the idea of trying to deprive people of paychecks to feed their families. Bischoff said he might have said that to rally the troops but putting WWF out of business wasn’t his goal, he just wanted to be number one. Lawler believes Bischoff and says that everyone wanted to win.

Hayes pushes on, however, and says that had he been in Bischoff’s position he might have felt the same way.

Ross says the reason people might think Bischoff is being a little disingenuous is because of the way he would give away RAW results, etc. Bischoff says he “pissed” and “buried” RAW whenever he could. Hayes said it was a good idea that eventually backfield but Bischoff disagrees.

Bischoff said he did whatever he could to get attention and create controversy. And he said that he had a better product. Lawler asks when did WCW have a better talent roster? Bischoff said during the hot period with the nWo and Lawler stops him to say that he says he couldn’t do what the WWF did but his better roster is loaded with ex-WWF talent. But Bischoff reminds him that guys like Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were WCW first.

Hayes says that the way they handled Hall and Nash’s entrance into WCW as some sort of invasion was genius. (And they show clips of it. I remember marking out slightly even though everyone knew they were coming in sooner or later.)

Ross asks if the talent defections, specifically Hall, Nash and Hogan, were the turning point. Bischoff said Hogan signed in 1994 and floundering a little. Hayes tells Bischoff to give himself more credit because he got the Disney thing and used Hogan as an anchor. (Hayes is being really bipolar in this episode.) Bischoff says none of the early moves had an impact until we went live. Bischoff said that nWo made Hall and Nash bigger stars then they were in WWE. Everyone agrees.

Bischoff said live is what brought the War. And Lawler says every war has a winner and a loser. Hayes adds on by saying that the fans were the big winners until the thing ended. Ross says the Monday Night Wars was the golden era of wrestling. Mick said if anyone watched the one-hour RAWs they would seem stale. (Yes and no. The first season when they were live from the Manhattan Center was TREMENDOUS. Once they started moving houses and taping things went downhill.) Mick said that Vince hated the idea of losing a battle and he responded to the challenge.

Hayes and Ross say while the WWF wasn’t necessary as close to going out of business as people thought but many had to take pay cuts to make sure the organization to make payroll. Ross added that he assumed the role as head of talent relations which included weekly meetings with Vince and together they decided they had to focus on new talent to rebuild the roster and re-packaging guys like the British Bulldog wasn’t going to work any more.

Ross said that many of his suggestions didn’t fit Vince’s vision of what a superstar looked like. He brought up Mick Foley and Steve Austin as examples. Foley being a journeyman that wasn’t physically appealing and Austin was floundering in WCW. Hayes added that these guys didn’t fit Bischoff’s mold either.

(How ironic is it that Vince is stuck in the same mold today of having a roster full of cookie cutter guys that really can’t get much a crowd reaction? But the couple of guys that don’t fit Vince’s vision of stardom, like C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan, are quite over? Some guys never learn.)

Hayes asks did some wrestlers take pay cuts and Lawler brought up Bret Hart. Ross says that concessions were made that allowed Bret to sign with WCW. Hayes talks about the 1996 negotiations when Bret had the opportunity to leave and re-signed with the WWF. Hayes also mentions that Bret showed up to work late that day…(“as usual” Ross adds, but he still says he wishes he had 20 Bret Harts on the roster.)

Lawler talks about the WWE couldn’t afford to keep talents like Heenan and Okerlund but Bischoff says that wasn’t the result of the Monday Night War (and his is absolutely correct.). Mick asks Bischoff if not for the Monday Night War does he think there would be guaranteed contracts in the business. Bischoff says probably not. And Mick adds how he had a $1,500 guarantee from the WWF on his first deal (10 dates for $150) and two weeks later Marc Mero came in with a six-figure salary. That pissed him and Austin off(Austin had a similar deal, yes in 1996, Marc Mero made considerably more money than Steve Austin).

Mick says the turning point in the WWF might have come during a locker room meeting when Vince took blame and admitted maybe he wasn’t keeping up with the times. And with that you stopped seeing animated storylines geared towards kids. (Oh how things changed.) Bischoff points out that the attitude formula came from the nWo. He brings up the transformation of HHH from royal blueblood to a guy wearing leather jackets and grabbing his nuts.

Hayes says the nWo promo format with the music and the black and white was a work of art. Bischoff said it was more accident than attentional because he couldn’t get clean takes with Hogan, Hall and Nash.

(Clips of an nWo promo with Hogan, Hall and Nash and yes, it’s still pretty cool, 16 years later. Like if they could re-hash some of that style with 3-man band there’s no doubt in my mind they would get ridiculously over. Unfortunately the business cycle hasn’t gotten there yet.)

Mick says at a certain point during the 83-week streak that WCW dominated the WWF he though the WWF had a better product on Monday nights. He said around week 50-55 he felt like things turned but the ratings hadn’t reflected it yet. Ross said WCW was smart to hire the top-level smaller guys like Guerrero, Jericho and Malenko and those kids carried the show and appealed to the fans of workrate. And it protected the nWo from wrestling. Bischoff says with the exception of Scott Hall they couldn’t work. (Hmmm, Waltman could work in 1996-1997). Foley summerizes it that the WWF had the better main event matches but WCW had much better undercard. Bischoff said the WCW main event matches did what they were aimed to do in terms of fan reaction. Hayes said the lack of payoff hurt them as time went on. He assumes it had to do with creative control issues but Bischoff says that was bullshit.

Bischoff said one guy had creative control and that was Hogan. He sets Bret might have as well but Hogan was the one. Bischoff said he listened to a lot of people but one guy had creative control. Bischoff said for him Nitro was there to build to the PPV.

(Clips of Sting vs. Hogan at Starrcade or as Scott puts it the biggest missed opportunity in the history of the WCW…or something like that. Wow this is a horrible finish. Never seen this match. This was the best they could come up with?)

Ross brings up Montreal. Everyone knew Hart was negotiation with WCW. Ross asks Bischoff how serious the negotiations were and did he know that Vince was preparing to become a TV personality. Bischoff said they were serious and a lot of their discussions went beyond wrestling and discussed a variety of things. Hayes said Bischoff had a talent for talking to talent. Ross tries to run through the events but Hayes stops him and reminds him that a lot of WWE talent refused to work the next night including Foley. Hayes wants to talk about it but Ross pushes on (and good thing because Montreal should have been a show in itself and should have a DVD devoted to it beyond Bret vs. Shawn. Unfortunately some of the important people surrounding that night are dead but I would love to hear Undertaker talk about his thoughts and if he considered leaving…or if Austin considered leaving and why Vince cut Bulldog and Anvil but kept Owen. Lot of untapped stuff there in terms of how the boys in the back felt as this was happening and who said what to Shawn and Hunter.)

Anyhoo Ross asks Bischoff again if he thought Vince was going to be this great TV personality. Bischoff said he couldn’t see it at the time. Hayes said no matter who screwed who at Montreal he could not believe Bischoff waited so long to wait for him to debut. Hayes says he knew Bret well enough to know he would stall for time. Bischoff says there are a lot of things with that he wishes he could do differently.

Bischoff said that the move wasn’t just to take Bret away from the WWF, he needed more talent for TV. He needed brand name talent for this new show, Thunder, and he already had overexposed his talent on Nitro. So they were holding him to push his debut closest to Thunder. (Knowing what kind of show Thunder became I think he’s full of shit. Thunder was strictly more work for floundering Power Plant guys and used to push mid-card talents like Glacier and Kanyon. If the real reason of bringing Hart in for millions was to anchor Thunder…well maybe we do give Bischoff too much credit.)

Lawler still wonders if Bret and Vince came up with this plan on their own. Hayes says he doesn’t think so but only two people know. Hayes said the same rumors followed the departure of Russo and Ferrera. Lawler said he believes Vince and Bret came up with a plan. Ross said he believes Vince wanted to keep Bret in the company.

Mick brings up Tyson and how his involvement, starting with the Royal Rumble sent the WWF off to the races and where they finally unseated Nitro as the kings of Monday Night. And at that point both companies were doing great business. Mick asks was it more important for WCW to be successful or to beat WWF. Bischoff said beating WWF was more important and if he was number one the company had no choice but to be successful.

Bischoff said as the streak ended he was fried. He had help but not a true right hand man. Mick brings up that when Guerrero and Malenko came to the WWF they were shocked to see everyone dressing in the same dressing room. The Rock, Austin, all the “stars” dressing with the mid carders. Bischoff says one of the things he screwed up on was not keeping the boys on an even keel. He said Hogan started the separation from the rest of the boys and it ballooned from there. Ross said one of the first changes he made as head of talent was to eliminate the private dressing rooms. (Mick: “There were private dressing rooms?” Ross: “Yes there were Mick.” Foley: “Wow, I guess I wasn’t invited….laughter and awkward silence.)

Ross said wrestling companies that allow private dressing rooms are begging for disaster. Lawler said there is a pecking order but you can’t rub it in people’s faces. Hayes called Lawler out for saying he was the EPITOME of a private dressing room in Memphis. Lawler is like…well I owned the company. That was funny.

Let’s get to the Schiavone announcement of Foley winning the title. Man he’s a big asshole. Bobby Heenan ripping him on a shoot later was hilarious. Bischoff said he had a did that in the past and of course it backfired as Foley pointed out because there was a huge TV flow to Raw that night. Hayes said Foley’s victory was a victory for guys like him. Guys that didn’t fit the mold but had undeniable talent to entertain.

(Clips of Foley winning his first title from Rock. He got a pretty good pop for that one I’d say.)

Foley goes on to rip that Jan. 4, 1999 episode of Nitro saying how much it sucked. Foley tells Bischoff that it was mean spirited and the tone Schiavone used was beyond hurtful. Bischoff says it wasn’t. (He’s wrong, it was and Schiavone was probably blackballed from the business for it. Although it could just be because he’s a huge asshole and everyone hates him. Listening to Heenan rip his punk ass to shreds in old shoots is great.) Schiavone made an apologetic call to Foley. Bischoff said he normally didn’t produce Tony. He might have but normally he didn’t. But he’s not denying that he didn’t tell him to do it. Bischoff said it wasn’t personal, he did what he had to do and he would have done it if it was anyone. He doesn’t regret it.

(In a way I like the way Bischoff came off here. He doesn’t hide from that criticism. It would be easy to say he regretted it and apologized but in actuality all is fair in love and war.)

Moving on Ross asks Bischoff does he wish he focused more time on creating new guys like Goldberg than continuing to hang his hat on the older hands. Bischoff says the fact is that WCW did develop guys but Foley says none of them were pushed other than Goldberg. Bischoff says when the WWF turned up the volume and started “out-Nitroing Nitro” he had to try to push back.

(Clips of DX invading Nitro. One of my favorite moments of the Monday Night War.)

Bischoff said while DX was doing that he was getting phone calls demanding scripts months ahead of time as if they planned that far ahead (well in 1993 they used to tape 3 months of television in one weekend…soooo). And he was being told to make WCW more family friendly while WWF was going Attitude. But he doesn’t want to make that excuse because he admits he reacted wrong. He said he loved being a big shot. Bischoff talks about going to a meeting with guys he never met before telling him where WCW was heading.

They talk about Bischoff getting told to go home (he had a ton of money left on his contract so they didn’t fire him…and of course he came back later.). And Ross rips on Bill Shaw, calls him a liar. Ross calls the other announcers compared to him ‘ham & eggers’ (love any Heenan reference). Ross compares his issues with Shaw and being told to take a two and a half year vacation to Bischoff’s meeting with Turner’s folks. Bischoff said it sucked because he was getting his ass kicked and people telling him what to do and then busting his balls for it not working (gotta love middle management.)

Bischoff says he barely knew who Russo and Ferrera were and had nothing to do with bringing them in. Hayes tried a jump ahead to when Bischoff and Russo combined forces. Bischoff never knew they came into WCW because once he was told to go home he did just that and starting fishing. He says after going from his Wyoming home to a Super Bowl party he saw an episode of raw and saw the Radicalz on there and thought “what the fuck”. He told his wife he’d be getting a call from WCW real soon and it happened.

Bischoff said the discrepancy in the ratings were at least two points. They asked if he could work with Russo, he didn’t know. He knew Russo wasn’t the mind behind the resurgance of the WWF because if he was he wouldn’t have been allowed to leave.

Bischoff said when the end came he knew what was going to happen with the simulcast but he couldn’t bring himself to watch it. He wasn’t there for the final day. It bothered him a little because he cared. Jamie Kellner put the final nail in the coffin and Bischoff explains he had a deal with fusion media to try to buy WCW and they had raised 67 million dollars. He believed he had a deal done and told his wife that if the deal got done he would be back on the road. Bischoff was on the beach when he got word that WCW was selling the trademark and library but not the distribution and without the distribution the rest was worthless. It ends there.

The Bottom Line: Enough information and friction to make it worth all 96 minutes of your time if you’ve never seen it.

Border Wars Live Thread & Predictions

As per request. Think we can beat the four comments for the Smackdown live thread last night? I bet we can.

Anyhow, the iPPV starts at 7 EST, so head on over to and float them a few bucks. Cmon, you can spare $9.99 for some wrestling, ya cheap bastards. Here’s some predictions:

 Kevin Steen vs. Davey Richards: I’m actually kind of torn on this one. They introduced the “This is Steen’s only chance” element, and I’m thinking they don’t want to make it look like Steen’s a choker ala Lex Luger. On the other hand, I assume they want this storyline to stretch out at least as far as Final Battle in December. Unless of course they learned their lesson from last years never-ending, never-changing Richards/Edwards feud, and they don’t want to slow their storyline plans down too much. In that case, Steen wins and begins his hostile takeover of ROH.

Fit Finlay vs. Roderick Strong: Strong’s the TV champ so unless he’s dropping the title to Finlay in his first ROH match, I’m thinking Finlay gives Roddy the rub and Roddy goes over here. I also think this is going to be a style clash.

Briscoes vs. Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team: Unless this feud is blown off completely I’d say WGTT takes the belts back. In fact, even if they do blow it off here, I’d still say WGTT should take it and move on to All Night Express for a feud, while the Briscoes can take on the Young Bucks or the House of Truth, or maybe even Steen & Jacobs for a while.

Lance Storm vs. Mike Bennett: Bennett gets the win again, still doesn’t give Storm respect, and then makes out with Maria for a really long time.

Eddie Edwards vs. Rhino: From the looks of things, Rhino’s going to be appearing more regularly in ROH so I think he might actually get the win here to put him in title contention. Since Steen is likely to be the biggest babyface in the company coming out of this show, I could see him taking on Rhino just as well as Edwards.

Michael Elgin vs. Adam Cole: Coming off his 5-star match with Davey, Elgin wins quickly.

Jay Lethal vs. Tommaso Ciampa: This one’s gonna keep going and Roderick is going to end up involved and I am positive we’ll see a 3 way in the future, so Ciampa wins.

Well, enjoy folks. Sneak out from under the ring and use multiple low blows.