Impact Wrestling – August 22, 2013

Impact Wrestling
Date:
August 22, 2013
Location: Constant Center, Norfolk,
Virginia
Commentators: Tazz, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall 

We’re
still in Virginia for the other main event from Hardcore Justice.
Tonight’s main event is the Mafia vs. the Aces in a big ten man brawl
with the person taking the fall being banished from Impact Wrestling
forever. Other than that we’ve got another four way match for twenty
points in the BFG Series. We’ve got about a month left in the entire
Series so points are becoming more and more important. Let’s get to
it.

We
open with the Aces and 8’s in the back. Ray and Anderson get in an
argument over whose corner Tito Ortiz will be in tonight. The world
champion tells Anderson to worry about his own business.
Here
are Roode, Daniels and Kaz to open us up in the arena. Roode
congratulates Ray on becoming a two time world champion by screwing
the system. Now it’s Ray with the target on his chest and it’s going
to be one of them that will take the title from him. Roode talks
about setting the tables for 20 points in the Series last week and
Kaz says he did the same. Tonight Daniels will complete the sweep
for the Extraordinary Gentlemen’s Organization because he’s the best
street fighter in TNA.
Roode
says they’re 25% of the BFG Series but they should be 1/3. They want
to add Austin Aries to the group because it’s the best chance Aries
has at becoming the world champion. Instead they get Storm and
Gunner, who are tag champions in case you had forgotten. Storm
doesn’t like hearing Roode talk about trust because it’s only a
matter of time before Roode turns on Daniels and Kaz. James takes
off his shirt and is ready to fight, with the tag champions clearing
the ring. Apparently this is going to be a tag match.
James
Storm/Gunner vs. Kazarian/Bobby Roode
Non-title.
It’s a brawl to start with the champions in control as we go to an
early break. Back with Roode sending Gunner into the corner and
chopping away before Gunner comes back with forearms of his own. Kaz
comes in with a spinwheel kick for two as Storm makes the save.
Everyone is in jeans here to give it more of a street fight feel.
Roode comes back in for some shots of his own before Kaz gets two off
a legdrop.
Gunner
no sells a kick to the chest and hits an Irish Curse to allow for the
double tag. Off to Roode vs. Storm with James cleaning house. The
corner enziguri drops Kaz and a top rope elbow gets two on Roode.
Everything breaks down and Storm hits the Closing Time to put Roode
down. Roode pulls the referee in the way of the Last Call, so Kaz
takes the kick instead. A low blow from Bobby is enough for the pin
on Storm at 9:45.
Rating:
C. These four guys and Daniels
have been stuck in midcard limbo for a good while now and it’s sad to
see them not move up at all. Storm had so much going for him last
year but it was all thrown away and has never come back. It’s a
shame too as he could have been a huge deal for the company. The
match was just ok and didn’t have time to go anywhere given the
commercial.
Aries
thinks he has a lot of offers on the table and has an idea.
Sonjay
Dutt vs. Manik
Non-title.
Sonjay tries to dive onto the champion during the entrance but Manik
dives to safety. Manik hooks a quick Black Widow submission hold but
Sonjay rolls out. They’ve moving very fast out there. Dutt misses a
big kick to the head but hits a standing moonsault for two. Sonjay
puts on a modified Octopus Hold before shifting to a double arm
choke.
Back
up and Manik does his land in the ropes spot and avoids a charging
Dutt to send him to the floor. A slingshot dropkick gets two for
Manik and he counters a Rocker Dropper into a sitout powerbomb for
two. Manik charges into a boot in the corner and hits a running boot
of his own, setting up a springboard splash for two. The moonsault
double stomp doesn’t connect and Manik hits his wheelbarrow gutbuster
for the pin at 4:26.
Rating:
C. Standard flippy match here
and if you’re into that style, you would have liked this. There was
nothing special to see here as I’m not huge on Manik for the most
part. He’s just another guy in the division and happens to be the
flavor of the month with the title. Nothing to see here, as usual
once Destination X is over.
Mr.
Anderson gives the bikers a pep talk.
Sting
and the Mafia huddle.
Bound
For Glory Series: Hernandez vs. Joseph Park vs. Christopher Daniels
vs. Jay Bradley
This
is a street fight for twenty points. It’s a big brawl to start with
SuperMex clotheslining Bradley to the floor so Daniels can get two
off a rollup. Eric Young is in Park’s corner because TNA loves their
wacky pairings. Bradley breaks up a cover by Hernandez with a chair
to the back before wrapping the chair around Hernandez’s neck to ram
it into the corner. Park is back up and helps SuperMex double team
the other guys while doing his “Who me?” schtick. Bradley and
Daniels are both splashed in the corner and we take a break.
Back
with Hernandez cracking Daniels in the back with a kendo stick but
Daniels backdrops him on the stage. Back in the ring and park avoids
a big boot from Bradley in the corner but Bradley gets in a shot to
stop his momentum. Park takes Bradley down to avoid a chair shot but
his Boston crab is broken up by a Roode/Kaz distraction. Eric Young
tries to make the save but gets beaten down as well. Bradley is back
up to beat on Daniels in the ring. A big boot sets up a chair shot
to the back followed by a suplex onto the chair.
Kaz
breaks up the Boom Stick as Hernandez hits the charge from the ramp
over the ropes to take Daniels down. Daniels escapes the Border Toss
and Austin Aries is here. His distraction allows Daniels to hit a
running STO on Hernandez, but after high fiving Roode, Aries lays out
Daniels with the brainbuster. Bradley knocks out Park with brass
knuckles but they bust Park open, meaning it’s Abyss mode. The Black
Hole Slam is good for the pin on Bradley at 12:20.
Rating:
C. I know I’ve used that rating
a lot tonight but that’s the case with almost everything tonight.
It’s just ok with none of the matches standing out. That’s the case
here again: Hernandez does his power stuff, EGO does their stuff,
Bradley is in way over his head and Park is very cautious until he
bleeds and then he snaps for the win. It’s not a bad or boring match
but it’s like a ham sandwich: it’ll get you through the day but it’s
nothing you’ll remember in about an hour.
We
recap the far too long Brooke Hogan/Bully Ray saga.
Here’s
the new world champion, flanked by Tito Ortiz, for his championship
celebration. Ray asks how it feels to have the wool pulled over your
eyes again. Do you know who he is? He’s Bully Ray, the world
champion. Notice that he didn’t say the two time world champion,
because he doesn’t count Sabin’s fluke win. This brings him to his
new best friend: Tito Ortiz. Tito says he’ll knock Rampage out again
on November 2nd.
Ray
says if you thought that was a surprise, there’s an even bigger
shock. This one is about Ray and his woman. It’s time for the world
to know about them. He tells Brooke to come out here but it’s Brooke
Tessmacher instead of Hogan. They kiss in the ring and Ray says now
he has the hot Brooke. Ray brags about being unstoppable and says
there’s only one thing left to do. Brooke bites his ring off and
spits it out, which I guess is writing Brooke Hogan off TV. I think
this was supposed to be some big surprise but no one seemed to care.
ODB
vs. Gail Kim
ODB
shoves her around to start and rams Gail face first into the buckle.
Gail heads to the floor for a breather as ODB rubs her own body in
the ring. Back in and Gail takes her down by the arm and sends it
into the buckle. ODB is put on the top rope and taken down by a
shoulder breaker for two before Gail hooks a hammerlock.
Gail
goes to snap the arm over the ropes but gets hit low to give ODB a
breather. Back to the corner for ODB’s crotch rams (don’t ask if you
don’t know) followed by the middle rope Thesz Press for two. A
superplex puts Gail down but it hurts ODB’s shoulder again, meaning
it’s only good for two. Gail pops back up with a crucifix for the
pin at 6:42.
Rating:
D. There was no heat to this
match at all and it didn’t seem like the wrestlers cared either.
ODB’s one joke has been played out for years now and for the life of
me I don’t get why the fans cheer for her so much. This was a very
dull match as the show continues to just fill in time until the main
event.
Jeff
Hardy talks about what winning the Bound For Glory Series means.
Austin
Aries says he’s going to win the world title with his own skills
alone.
Hulk
Hogan will be back next week after meeting with lawyers.
Chris
Sabin says it sucks that Aces and 8’s keep interfering. Rampage had
his back and Sabin will get his revenge.
Aces
and 8’s vs. Main Event Mafia
Aces
and 8’s: Wes Brisco, Garrett Bischoff, Knux, D-Von, Mr. Anderson
Main
Event Mafia: Sting, Samoa Joe, Rampage Jackson, Magnus
The
loser of the fall is gone from TNA forever and the Mafia comes in
down a man due to Angle going to rehab. Before the bell Anderson
calls out Ray to sit on the stage and watch. Anderson goes on to say
that the Mafia can pick someone to lay down without a fight. Sting
says no way because they want to fight. There go the lights for some
reason and here’s AJ Styles. He throws the hood back and the music
changes to Get Ready To Fly, meaning the Phenomenal One is back and
part of the Mafia tonight.
It’s
a huge brawl to start until we finally get down to Magnus vs. Wes to
start. Magnus throws him into the corner and brings in Joe to pound
Brisco down. Joe hits the enziguri in the corner for two before it’s
off to Garrett. AJ comes in for the fireman’s carry flip into a
backbreaker as we take a break. Back with Magnus in trouble in the
Aces corner. The bikers take turns on the Brit with everyone getting
in shots.
Garrett
gets two off a clothesline as the fans chant YES. Anderson comes in
for a suplex before it’s back to D-Von for a neck crank. The fans
tell him he sucks and Taz rants about Hogan a bit. The back elbow
puts Magnus down again and D-Von Spinaroonis up. Back to Knux for
some choking but Magnus scores with a quick DDT for a breather.
There’s the hot tag to Sting and everything breaks down. Jackson
starts cleaning house but Knux gets in a cheap shot.
Sting
takes Knux down with the Death Drop and puts on the Deathlock but
D-Von makes the save. Knux can only get two though and things settle
down again. AJ gets the hot tag and hits the springboard forearm to
D-Von. A backfist and a standing enziguri get two for Styles but
everything breaks down again. Styles loads up the Clash on D-Von but
has to hit the Pele on Anderson. D-Von spears Styles down but AJ
comes right back with the Clash to get rid of D-Von at 16:16.
Rating:
C+. The match was ok because it
actually got some time. The fans were pleased for AJ’s return to
form which has been needed for a long time. Getting rid of D-Von is
fine as he doesn’t really do anything other than say TESTIFY.
Hopefully it leads to the end of the Aces as they’re so far past
their expiration date it’s unreal.
Taz
is furious to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
C-. The main event was
pretty good but it doesn’t safe a very dull show up to that point.
I’m glad to see AJ back in his old form but I can’t stand it when a
story is just dropped like that. The Aces stuff is beyond boring at
this point but them losing a member is a good sign as hopefully
they’re gone soon after Bound For Glory. Boring show but helped by a
decent main event though.
Results
Kazarian/Bobby
Roode b. James Storm/Gunner – Low Blow to Storm
Manik
b. Sonjay Dutt – Wheelbarrow gutbuster
Joseph
Park b. Jay Bradley, Christopher Daniels and Hernandez – Black Hole
Slam to Bradley
Gail
Kim b. ODB – Crucifix
Main
Event Mafia b. Aces and 8’s – Styles Clash to D-Von
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

WWF Championship Wrestling February 2nd, 1985

February 2, 1985
Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon
This week Paul Orndorff and the Junkyard Dog are in action. Also, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart will make his debut and Don Muraco will return to action. Andre the Giant will be the guest on Piper’s Pit as well. .

Johnny Rodz vs. Junkyard Dog

Rodz ducks out but JYD slingshots him back inside. Rodz bails as JYD approaches then manages an eye rake as he re-enters the ring. JYD quickly takes the advantage then gets on all-fours and uses his headbutts. Rodz takes down JYD and bites his forehead but JYD bites back then shortly after that, hits him with the powerslam for the win (3:05).
Thoughts: The fans still go nuts when “Another One Bites the Dust” plays. Not much different that any other JYD TV squash from this time.
WWF Update with Lord Alfred Hayes. After several weeks of promising to show us the footage from the December MSG show, we are shown backstage footage of Mean Gene with Cyndi Lauper and her manager David Wolfe, who is on a stretcher. Hayes will update us some more next week.
Peter Pompeii vs. Paul Orndorff w/Bobby Heenan
The crowd is screaming chants of “Paula” and “weasel” at the heels. Despite being called Pompeii, the graphic reads “Pompell” and the announcers call him that instead. Heenan grabs a stretcher from underneath the ring before the match. Orndorff beats the fuck out of Pompeii before tossing him outside. The fans are jacked right now. Pompeii gets dragged inside and clotheslined before Orndorff hits the piledriver for the win (1:45). After the match, Orndorff taunts the crowd as Heenan leaves the stretcher in the ring.
Thoughts: Orndorff squash matches are always fun. Also, Orndorff had nuclear heat, as this crowd hated him with a passion. Orndorff, despite being stuck wrestling midcarders, is starting to get more of a push with Heenan as his manager.
Gene Okerlund plugs tonight’s show at the Boston Garden. JYD and Andre come out and cut a promo on their opponents, Ken Patera and Big John Studd. Andre plays with JYD’s chain and puts it around Okerlund’s neck and starts playing with him.
Bruno and Vince show us clips from the match between Mike Rotundo & Barry Windham vs. Dick Murdoch & Adrian Adonis from the 1/21 show in Hartford in which Rotundo & Windham captured the tag team titles. The finish occurred when Windham, the legal man, was brawling with Adonis outside and sent him into the post then went back in the ring and pinned Murdoch with the sunset flip. Vince tells us that Capt. Lou aligned himself with Windham & Rotundo. The few minutes of action shown looked pretty good.
Okerlund is with Mr. Fuji and Don Muraco. Okerlund says that Muraco might be jinexed in Boston (where Muraco lost the IC Title to Santana last year) as Muraco says he is used to being a main eventer and not wrestling in the second match. He is facing George Wells. Muraco then mockingly congratulates Okerlund for figuring out that he is jinexed in Boston then starts to crack jokes about being in the second match on the card and as the interview ends, he says not to worry because he will leave the curtain open then proceeds to make a curtain-opening gesture as he is smiling. Funny stuff by Muraco.
Aldo Marino vs. Don Muraco w/Mr. Fuji
Muraco slams Marino then stomps away. He beats the crap out of Marino for a bit. Muraco hits a dropkick then finishes him off with the tombstone piledriver for the win (2:43).
Thoughts: Muraco looked really good in this match and it is good to have him back. He made no mentions of Hogan, the man who he was attacking in his vignettes.
Piper’s Pit with Andre the Giant. Piper starts by stating he has been a longtime fan and says that what Patera and Studd did to him was terrible. Andre doesnt believe a word he is saying and leaves shortly after that. Piper then says he is an idiot and insults Andre with Orton, calling Studd the real giant of pro wrestling.  
Jose Luis Rivera vs. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
The Anvil attacks Rivera from behind. He then impresses Vince by being able to do a dropkick at 280lbs. Rivera gets tossed on the floor then gets destroyed when he gets back inside the ring. Neidhart tosses Rivera halfway across the ring and after a brief comeback, Neidhart finishes him off with a running powerslam (3:04).
Thoughts: Solid in-ring debut for Neidhart. However, the crowd was silent and the announcers didn’t really do a whole lot to put him over on commentary.
Jeff Craney vs. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka
Vince calls Snuka a “kind and quiet” man outside of the ring. Snuka backs Craney in the corner to start. Craney briefly works the arm but Snuka takes control as Vince promises to show us what happened to Lou Albano at MSG last December. They take it to the mat and continue at a slow pace until Snuka hits a backbreaker then finishes off Craney with the Superfly Splash (3:24).
Thoughts: Snuka was still hurting badly as this was very slow-paced
Okerlund is with Bobby Heenan and Paul Orndorff. Heenan tells Okerlund that Orndorff was just being modest last week as he didn’t buy out the entire first class section of the plane, the airline gave it to him. He also says that the Boston Garden will know be called the “Wonderful Garden.” Studd and Patera come in and talk about Andre, with Studd playing with Andre’s hair.
Next week, Vince says we will be shown the footage of Albano’s award presentation. Also, we will see a training session with Hillbilly Jim and Hulk Hogan. Plus, Greg Valentine, Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch, Ken Patera & John Studd and Tito Santana & Blackjack Mulligan will be in action.
Final Thoughts: Not the greatest show but Muraco looked good in his comeback and cut a funny promo at least. They are slowly revealing what happened at MSG, which will lead to the main event of WrestleMania. The debut of Neidhart was forgettable and Piper’s Pit wasn’t that great to be honest, but it at least had a purpose, as it continued the Andre/Studd feud and set up for a possible later feud between Piper and Andre.

Impact Wrestling – August 15, 2013 (Hardcore Justice)

Scott asked me to take over for him on Impact.  I’m not sure how long this will last but I’ve watched Impact every week for years so I’m well versed in how dull it can be.
Impact
Wrestling
Date:
August 15, 2013
Location:
Constant Center, Norfolk, Virginia
Commentators:
Tazz, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
This
is another special episode with Hardcore Justice. The main event
tonight is Bully Ray vs. Chris Sabin for Sabin’s world title inside a
cage. We were also supposed to get the Main Event Mafia vs. Aces and
8’s in a loser (of the fall) leaves town match but it was postponed
to next week due to “unforeseen circumstances”, whatever that may
mean. The show should be fun tonight so let’s get to it.

Bound
For Glory Series: Austin Aries vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Kazarian vs. AJ
Styles
This
is for 20 points and it’s a ladder match. The clipboard hanging
above the ring has a piece of paper with the number 20 on it.
Keeping it simple I guess. Kaz goes to the floor to get the first
ladder but the other three block him from coming back in. Aries and
Kaz fight for the ladder on the ramp with Austin letting go of the
ladder to send Kaz to the floor. A top rope ax handle puts Kaz down
but AJ knocks Hardy to the floor as well. AJ dives onto Hardy to
take him down again and leave Styles as the only man standing.
Kaz
gets in a ladder shot to put AJ down before climbing the ladder.
Aries comes back in and crotches Kaz against the ladder, leaving
Austin vs. Jeff in the ring. Jeff sends him to the floor but AJ
pulls the ladder away for a showdown. Hardy tries a quick Twist of
Fate but gets shoved off and sent to the announce table on the floor.
Kaz comes back in with a slingshot DDT to AJ but has to have a
forearm duel with Aries. Styles dropkicks the ladder into the back
of Kaz’s head but Aries backdrops AJ to the floor. The company is
living up to its name for a change as this has been nonstop action
since the bell.
Aries
runs interference to stop Jeff and AJ from going up the ladder before
sending Kaz head first into the post. Austin tries a climb but gets
pulled down by Hardy and Jeff knocks down the other two as well.
Jeff and Austin both go up but Kaz and AJ make the save, sending all
four guys down as we take a break. Back with Aries going up but
being pulled down by Kaz before he gets too far. AJ stops both of
them and hits the springboard forearm to send Austin to the ramp.
The ladder appears to be bent or broken.
Kaz
brings in another ladder to clean house but can’t climb up fast
enough. All four guys go up at the same time and AJ gets his fingers
on the contract but Aries shakes everything up with a sunset bomb to
Hardy. Kaz and AJ are left alone on the ladder and they fight over a
suplex off the ladder. Kaz rakes AJ’s eyes to put him down but
Styles shoves the ladder over, putting everyone down again.
Aries
hits his running dropkick in the corner on Styles and goes up but
Hardy makes another save. Styles pulls Aries off the ladder and
loads up the Styles Clash but Kaz pulls in a downward spiral on AJ at
the same time. Kaz goes up but it’s Jeff making another save. Aries
comes out of the corner with a missile dropkick to take them both
down and goes up as well, but here are Roode and Daniels for a
distraction.
Styles
plays Shelton Benjamin by springboarding up to the ladder but Hardy
shoves the ladder over, sending both guys to the floor. Roode pulls
Hardy down as Daniels distracts the referee but Jeff kicks him off.
Daniels slips the appletini to Kaz and Jeff gets blinded, allowing
Kaz to get the win at 17:35.
Rating:
A-. This was the simple formula
of take four guys and let them dive off stuff for fifteen minutes or
so. I’m not big on another faction in TNA because they’re already on
overload with them, but at least they’re not involved with the other
two. The action here was great though and they couldn’t have picked
a better opener.
Chris
Sabin talks about enjoying watching Team 3D put people through
tables. Tonight though, he’s going to be 3-0 against Bully Ray.
Dixie
Carter is in the ring with the Main Event Mafia. She talks about
Angle being in rehab and how he’ll be there for an indefinite amount
of time. Here are the Aces minus Bully before she can get too far
into things though. Anderson talks about how the team only has a
week to find a replacement. He talks about how Magnus could be
leaving and says Magnus used to be the future.
Magnus
says they only have a week to find someone new but they might just
pull someone out of the audience. Anderson says tonight is the start
of a new era for Aces and 8’s and the brawl is on. The Aces beat the
Mafia down with ease and stand tall. That’s rather impressive when
you have guys like Brisco and Bischoff on one side and a former MMA
world champion on another.
Tito
Ortiz is here.
Mickie
James vs. ODB vs. Gail Kim
This
is a hardcore match and not for Mickie’s title. ODB runs them over
to start and hits her chest grabbing splashes on both girls in the
corner. Mickie pulls her out of the corner but Gail isn’t interested
in an alliance. Gail pounds on ODB as Mickie wedges a chair into the
corner. ODB is whipped into said chair and the other girls get a
stereo two count. Mickie rolls up Gail for two and they slug it out
with until Gail is sent to the floor. Kim sends ODB back inside and
goes to look for a weapon but gets a knee from Mickie instead.
James
finds a kendo stick from somewhere and cracks ODB over the back
before choking Gail with it. ODB comes back in and pounds on them
with the stick before pulling one of her two bras out of the top to
choke both girls with it. Mickie gets in a shot and puts on the
figure four around the post as Gail chokes away but they can’t get
along again. ODB gets a shot from the flask and sprays Mickie in the
face but Gail breaks up the Bam. Another stick shot misses and ODB
hits the Bam on Gail on the chair for the pin at 6:48.
Rating:
D+. Did you know ODB was
uncouth and does stuff that isn’t proper or whatever you call it?
Don’t worry if you don’t because TNA will beat it over your head
until you get the idea. The match was nothing special and felt more
like a WWE style street fight with the really basic weapons and
little more.
Sting
yells at the Mafia and suggests Aries as a replacement.
Sting
pitches Aries a spot in the Mafia but doesn’t get an answer. Aries
does seem intrigued though.
Roode
says his plan is coming together.
Sting
tells the Mafia that Aries said no. Rampage has an idea and will
address it in the ring. Joe goes with him and Magnus has an idea for
Sting.
We
recap Ray vs. Sabin in a nice, comprehensive video. To be fair
though there isn’t much to recap.
Ray
is on the phone with someone he calls honey and says this hasn’t been
a normal relationship. Tonight is about Ray but next week is about
the two of them. “I love you too Brooke.”
Here
are Jackson and Joe with something to say. Jackson talks about MMA
fans calling him a sellout for coming to wrestling. However now that
he’s in the Mafia, he feels like he’s in a family. He didn’t come
here to get beaten up though, so now he needs to ask an old training
partner for his help. Jackson calls out Tito Ortiz and plugs the
Bellator PPV several times. Rampage offers Tito the spot on the
Mafia team next week but Ray interrupts (to the wrong music) before
we can get an answer. Ray says he’d come in there right now if he
didn’t have a title match later tonight. Ray threatens them, Ortiz
is held back, that’s about it.
Bound
For Glory Series: Magnus vs. Samoa Joe vs. Mr. Anderson vs. Bobby
Roode
This
is a tables match with the first person to drive someone else through
a table getting 20 points. Magnus jumps Roode during his entrance
and we start fast. They head inside as Joe and Anderson brawl on the
floor with no tables brought in yet. Joe throws the first one in
before taking Roode down with a powerslam. Anderson tries the
rolling senton on Anderson but Magnus makes the save. The Mafia
teams up to clean house but both of them try powerbombs through the
table at the same time. Anderson and Roode fight out and turn the
table over as we get a makeshift tag match.
Everyone
heads to the floor and Joe rings the bell on top of Roode’s crotch.
Anderson tries a Mic Check off the ramp through a table but Magnus
counters into a failed powerbomb bid. A low blow puts the Brit down
and Joe rings the bell again. The pairings switch off and Joe hits
the Ole kick minus the Ole on Anderson. Back inside Magnus’
powerslam through the table is escaped and he walks into the Roode
spinebuster. Everyone is back inside now and the Mafia is in
trouble. Joe is whipped into Roode for a clothesline, sending Bobby
to the outside.
Joe
hits the suicide dive to take Roode out and Anderson gets caught in a
bad looking Snow Plow. The table is set again but Anderson takes
Magnus down with the Mic Check. Joe comes back in to chop Anderson
and loads up the Muscle Buster but Roode moves the table. Roode
sends Joe to the floor and puts Magnus on the table, only to get
crotched on the top by the Samoan. Cue Kazarian to distract Joe,
allowing Daniels to throw the appletini into Magnus’ face. Roode
powerbombs Magnus through the table for the 20 points at 10:20.
Rating:
C+. This was fun but ran a bit
long. The ending being the same as the first one was fine but it
didn’t really surprise anyone. I’m not a fan of the 20 points thing
here because it sent Kaz and now Roode from the bottom to the top in
one night, basically making whole months worthless.
Anderson
and Ray get in an argument over Anderson costing Ray the title. Ray
doesn’t know if he can win and Anderson says the club is here to help
him. Anderson says he isn’t an enemy but Ray says he doesn’t seem
like an ally.
Next
week it’s Jay Bradley vs. Hernandez vs. Daniels vs. Joseph Park in a
20 point street fight.
TNA
World Title: Bully Ray vs. Chris Sabin
In
a cage with Sabin defending and if Ray loses, he never gets another
shot at the gold. After the big match intros we’re ready to go. I
think it’s pin/submission/escape here but the announcers don’t make
it clear. Ray scores a quick slam but Sabin pops right back up.
Another slam puts Sabin down even harder but he shoves Ray back.
There’s a third hard slam but Sabin comes back with some armdrags and
a dropkick to send Ray into the corner. Some forearms in the corner
set up a delayed dropkick but Ray sends him onto the top rope. The
champion comes off with a cross body for two and dropkicks Ray’s leg
out.
Sabin
goes up but gets crotched and LAUNCHED into the cage with authority.
I’m guessing Bully’s authority but it isn’t really clear. Back from
a break with Ray in full control and getting two off a big elbow
drop. He shouts at Sabin to hit him in the face and the champion
does just that, coming out of the corner with forearms to the face.
Ray gets caught in a backslide for two but takes Sabin’s head off to
regain control. Bully loads up a huge powerbomb but Sabin slips down
into a sleeper, only to have Ray ram him into the cage for the break.
Sabin
comes out of the corner with a nice tornado DDT but can’t immediately
follow up. They slug it out and the champion gets all fired up by
chopping Ray down. He actually hits a Death Valley Driver on the big
man but doesn’t cover. Sabin takes Ray’s Aces cut off and whips Ray
across the back with it, only to get kicked in the face for two. A
Samoan drop gets two on Sabin but Ray gets caught while climbing.
Sabin tries a rana out of the corner but drops Ray down on his
shoulder, sending Ray across the mat, clutching his shoulder and
screaming in pain.
Hail
Sabin is countered into a suplex and Ray wants the door open. Sabin
tries to slide past Ray but gets pulled back in. Ray misses a charge
and sends the referee into the cage, knocking him out cold. Sabin
hits a missile dropkick on Ray but there’s no referee to count the
pin. Anderson slams the cage door against Sabin’s shoulder but Sabin
pops right back up. Anderson: “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Cue the
Mafia for the save but Ortiz hits Rampage with the hammer, allowing
Ray to kill Sabin with the powerbomb for the pin and the title at
18:08.
Rating:
C+. Good cage match here but
you knew the swerve was coming. Ortiz turning (was that a turn? I
don’t think he was ever a face to begin with) isn’t really a surprise
and it was pretty obvious that Ray was walking out with the gold.
It’s a good cage match but the lack of any drama really didn’t help
much.
Overall
Rating:
B. This was a really
solid show and with the extra matches that are scheduled for next
week it would have been even better. If only there was a way to have
all the stuff you get on TV plus a bit more, say on a different night
of the week to make it feel special…..nah that would never work.
Anyway this was the usual good stuff from TNA when they try and have
no Hogans dragging them to a grinding halt. The problem I see for
TNA though is they pretty much have three stories going: Ray’s
ongoing story, the Series and the Mafia vs. the Aces and 8’s. If you
don’t like those, you’re out of luck. Good show tonight.
Results
Kazarian
b. AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy and Austin Aries – Kazarian pulled down
the clipboard
ODB
b. Gail Kim and Mickie James – Bam on a chair to Kim
Bobby
Roode b. Magnus, Samoa Joe and Mr. Anderson – Roode powerbombed
Magnus through a table
Bully
Ray b. Chris Sabin – Powerbomb

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

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

WWF Championship Wrestling January 26th, 1985

January 26th, 1985
Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon
This week, Hillbilly Jim makes his in-ring debut, with Hulk Hogan in his corner. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo (called the American Express by Vince) will be in action as well. Plus, George Wells makes his Championship Wrestling debut.

Gino Carabello & AJ Petruzzi vs. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo
The camera shows a guy in the crowd who looks just like Matthew McConaughey’s character from “Dazed and Confused.” Petruzzi gets one off a hiptoss then gets dropkicked by Rotundo. Windham tags and gets two off a back elbow smash. Carabello tags and gets knocked down. Windham hits a vertical suplex then drops the elbow. Rotundo tags and hits a dropkick before working a hammerlock. They use a few quick tags before Windham hits the bulldog for the win (3:45).
Thoughts: Although not mentioned here, Windham and Rotundo actually were the tag-team champions when this match aired. They defeated Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch at a house show in Hartford, CT. The crowd wasn’t that into this match but seeing as this was the 4th and final show of the taping, you cant blame for being tired. Anyway, its clear that Windham and Rotundo are being pushed as the top bayface team and it has gotten off to a promising start.
WWF Update with Lord Alfred Hayes. He lets us know that they will show us thestill photos of what happened at the December 28th MSG show between Piper and Albano as soon as they are available. Some update this was.
Dave Barbie & Rusty Brooks vs. Tonga Kid & Jimmy Snuka
Snuka can barely move here. Brooks school-boys Tonga for one before getting put in a headlock. Snuka tags and gets shoved in the corner. Tonga tags and slams Barbie then Snuka hits the Superfly Splash for the win (2:29).
Thoughts: Tonga did all the work and Snuka hit a splash for the win. Snuka was really broke down at this point and Tonga was no-showing all the shows at this time, including the recent MSG show, and was gone from the company within days of this match airing. Had Tonga, who admitted that he lefty because of the pressure from being on top, stuck around, he definitely would have been involved in WrestleMania and had a prominent role in the company during the 1980’s. He did come back at the end of 1986 to form the Islanders with Haku but was never able to capture the momentum that he had here.
Gene Okerlund runs down the card for the February 2nd show at the Boston Garden. Big John Studd comes out, with his bag containing Andre the Giant’s hair, plugging his Texas Tornado tag with Ken Patera against Andre & Junkyard Dog. He puts himself over for being strong enough to bench 700lbs and clip Andre’s hair. Studd really needed Heenan to help him out on interviews.
S.D. Jones & Aldo Marino vs. Nikolai Volkoff & Iron Sheik w/Freddie Blassie
As Volkoff sings the Russian national anthem, Windham & Rotundo appear ringside waving the American flag, upsetting the heels. The crowd erupts in a “USA” chant. SD headbutts the Sheik then tags Marino. Sheik kicks him and tags Volkoff, who puts him in a backbreaker. Sheik tags and hits a suplex before making him submit to the Camel Clutch (2:04). After the match, the heels toss their opponents to the floor.
Thoughts: The match was forgettable but they found their next tag feud, even if it was a bit contrived. Its nice to see the tag division get built up again as it was awful during 1984.
Okerlund is with Andre, who is also plugging the tag-match at the Boston Garden. He mumbled lot here and nothing of note happened.
George Wells vs. Paul Kelly
This is the Championship Wrestling debut for Wells, who left Mid-South to come here several weeks prior. He starts with a crescent kick off an Irish whip spot. He takes Kelly down with a headscissors then an armdrag. Kelly throws some forearms in the corner but Wells comes back with another headscissors then works the arm. Kelly doesn’t break cleanly then takes Wells down with a kneelift. Wells hits a European uppercut then finishes Kelly with a diving shoulder block (2:05)
Thoughts: An action packed two minute match that was sloppy at times. The crowd gave Wells a nice ovation after he one and they seemed to respond favorably to him. His run in the WWF was mostly forgettable, with his most famous moment jobbing to Jake the Snake Roberts at WrestleMania II, while foaming at the mouth from selling the effects of Damien.  
Piper’s Pit with guest Blackjack Mulligan. Piper mocks Blackjack, who comes out with a bag with chewing tobacco. He tells him that he doesn’t have the qualifications to interview anyone and tells him that he stinks. Piper also tells him he is not afraid of him then introduces him to his bodyguard, Bob Orton. Blackjack lets the people decide who makes the better host then they cut to commercial. Piper spoke for 95% of the segment, which didn’t really click at all to be honest.
The Moondogs vs. Steve Lombardi & Jim Young
Spot hits Lombardi with a thrust kick the Rex chops him against the ropes. The Moondogs continue their assault on Lombardi as Vince plugs Hillbilly Jim’s debut, which will be coming up next. Young tags in but Rex powerslams him then they hit their finisher (backbreaker/elbow drop combo) for the win (2:48).
Thoughts: The Moondogs, a very underrated team, looked really good in this match.
Another vignette of Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji in Hawaii. Muraco says that Hawaii is not for “comic book hulks” or “moron, retarded superflies” then says he will be back to the WWF shortly as Fuji is laughing in the background.
Terry Gibbs vs. Hillbilly Jim w/Hulk Hogan
They come out to “Eye of the Tiger” as the crowd goes nuts. Vince is cackling like a moron during all of Hillbilly Jim’s antics. The match starts as Jim breaks out of a full nelson. He sits Gibbs on the top rope and pats him on the chest. Gibbs bounces off Hillbilly a few times before getting caught with a slam. Gibbs rakes the eyes and lands several shots but is unable to take him down. Jim blocks a slam and hits one of his own before catching Gibbs in a bearhug for the win (2:58). After the match, Jim poses with Hogan as Vince is in all his glory.
Thoughts: Gibbs did all of the work in the ring but that did not stop Jim from getting over big with the crowd. Vince was also enamored with Jim, doing anything he can on commentary to put him over.
Gene Okerlund is with Paul Orndorff, who faces Ivan Putski at the next Boston Garden show. Orndorff looks glum and talks about how sad it is to be so wonderful. I cant do this interview justice but Okerlund was awesome here in playing off Orndorff. At the end, Orndorff sheds his robe and calls Putski a “turtle head” who will cower up and never be seen again after their match.
Bruno and Vince praise Hillbilly Jim at the end of the show. Next week, Don Muraco and Andre the Giant will be here.
Final Thoughts: Not a bad show. The debuted Jim and started a new tag feud so that was good. The matches were all shorter than usual too. The crowd was cold for most of this but next week will be the first show from the new taping so that usually means a more energetic crowd. The WWF continues to shape up their feuds too as they are dragging out the process of showing us what happened to Albano at MSG so you know there will be a big feud as a result of that. Plus, Muraco will be coming back to presumably feud with Hogan, seeing as he has been insulting him in all his vignettes.

Desert Island: Wrestling

Waylon Mercy has a question for the blog, involving an internet favorite, Top 5’s…

If you were going away somewhere and had to pick the Oeuvre of 5 wrestlers total (Oeuvre means the works of a painter, composer, or author regarded collectively: “the complete oeuvre of Mozart”.)

Which 5 wrestlers do you take?

You can take every match they had, every promo or angle leading up to their matches but it’s only those 5 wrestler’s career. Nothing else.

Thank you. I look forward to your answer.

Pretty interesting question. I’d have to go with….

1. Chris Jericho – He’s my all time favorite, so it goes without saying. You’d have such a massive archive of promos, angles, & matches that I honestly feel you could be infinitely entertained on the island with just his career. Plus I’m sure I could work out a deal where I could also get his flashy Lite-Brite jacket, and the islander chicks would love it. 
2. Mick Foley – I could basically give the same answer for him as I did Jericho. Plus it’d be a refreshing change from your typical wrestling to watch some of his stuff from Japan. 
3. Ric Flair – I think that’s a pretty obvious one. Plus, I could use his lines to pick up the aforementioned island chicks. “I got 25 women over there in my Coconut-Bamboo Limo and they’re all DYIN’ for me to go Whoooo!”
4. Hulk Hogan – I need to make sure I get the nWo stuff, and with Hogan that also means I get his red & yellow WCW days, which are always great for entertainment. Who wants to live on an island where you don’t have access to Darkside Hogan, which in turn brings Darkside Macho and his sword? I don’t. 
5. Macho Man – Duh. Also, I don’t know if anyone listens to Chris Hardwick’s podcast, The Nerdist, but you should. There’s one episode in particular, when he has Joe Manganiello as a guest. Joe loves pro-wrestling, and is impeccable at impressions. He gives what is hands down the greatest Macho Man impression anyone has ever heard. It’s incredible. He also does a mean Jesse Ventura. It would serve you well to check it out.

Oh, and after you’ve been on the island for a while you discover on the other side there’s a Beach Boys concert going on.

All-Divas wrestling show?

To your knowledge, has WWE ever considered — or would they ever consider — an all-Divas wrestling-based show? I'm picturing something like G.L.O.W. from the '80s but not as terrible. They always have more Divas on the roster than they know what to do with, and it seems they train their Divas to be wrestlers and not just valets. Plus, with Stephanie taking on a bigger role in the company and appearing to have a special interest in the Divas division, I wonder if this is something in their future plans. Especially if "Total Divas" becomes a big success, I could see WWE starting an hour-long "Sunday Night Heat" kind of show that just focuses on Divas wrestling and storylines.

Yes!  Absolutely there was serious plans for all-Diva show during the glory days of Vince Russo and Sable.  If I'm remembering correctly from the time, the original concept for Smackdown was going to be exactly that, before it got retooled into the RAW Jr. that you see today.

WWF Championship Wrestling January 19th, 1985

January 19, 1985
Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon
Vince immediately lets us know that Hulk Hogan will be in action this week, making a rare TV appearance. Also, the Junkyard Dog, Brutus Beefcake, Blackjack Mulligan, The Spoiler, and Big John Studd & Ken Patera will wrestle tonight. Plus, Piper’s Pit with guest Tito Santana.

R.T. Reynolds vs. Blackjack Mulligan
Blackjack overpowers Reynolds to start. Reynolds is unable to slam Mulligan and ends up getting slammed himself. He gets tossed then rolls outside. Back inside, Mulligan works the leg. Reynolds gets off a few shots but they have no effect and Mulligan boots him down. Mulligan no-sells a few shots then catches Reynolds with a back elbow smash before dropping the elbow for the win (3:36).
Thoughts: Man, this was dull. Blackjack got a bit of a push before flaking out a few months later. He would come back periodically until 1988.
Capt. Lou Albano is with Cyndi Lauper, David Wolfe, and Hulk Hogan. He talks up Hogan and apologizes for his past behavior. This is the final step in turning Albano face.
Jim Powers vs. Brutus Beefcake w/”Luscious” Johnny Valiant
The announcers gloat over the physiques of both men. Beefcake and Valiant stall for a while until they lock up. Valiant distracts Powers, allowing Beefacke to attack from behind. Powers gets a sunset flip and a slam but Beefcake blocks a second slam attempt and knocks him down. Beefcake then catches him with a running knee smash for the win (2:43). After the match, Beefcake stomps Powers.
Thoughts: No matter how hard Vince tries, the crowd doesn’t care about Beefcake.
Gene Okerlund Interviews Andre the Giant about his upcoming tornado tag match with JYD against John Studd & Ken Patera in the Boston Garden. Not much of an interview but Andre and Gene seemed to be having a good time.
Rusty Brooks vs. Junkyard Dog
The crowd goes apeshit for JYD. He grabs an arm wringer then toys with Brooks for a bit. Clothesline gets two then JYD applies a chinlock. Brooks escapes then whiffs on a dropkick, allowing JYD to hit a clothesline for the win (2:09). After the match, JYD helps a stunned Brooks get back up on his feet then leaves to dance at ringside, which has Vince quite excited.
Thoughts: Damn, JYD was over huge. You could tell  that Vince loved is act, especially the ringside dancing, as he would be screaming when he cheered him on. This match was as bad as you would expect but it doesn’t matter when you are over that much.
Okerlund interviews the Iron Sheik about his upcoming match against Mike Rotundo at the Boston Garden. Sheik goes off on another one of his tangents as Gene stops to occasionally correct him.
The Spoiler w/”Luscious” Johnny Valiant vs. Salvatore Bellomo
Spoiler works on Bellomo in the corner. Salvatore fights back but the Spoiler overpowers him. He hits Bellomo with the ropewalk forearm then stomps away. He hits several elbow smashes to the chest before Bellomo comes back with a dropkick. He ends up eating boot on a charge but manages to come back with a headbutt to the mid-section. Bellomo floats over on a slam but fails on a reverse rollup attempt and shortly after that the Spoiler makes Bellomo submit to the iron claw (2:54).
Thoughts: One of the last TV appearances for the Spoiler, who would actually wrestle on house shows, usually in the opening matches, for another several months before leaving. Vince was phasing out the Masked Wrestlers at this time and at age 44 the Spoiler was not in his future plans.
Piper’s Pit with Tito Santana. Piper rips on Tito, saying they usually do not have wash-ups on the Pit. He calls him a former champion as Tito tells him he can make anyone submit to the figure-four leglock, including Piper. Roddy then has Orton take his place and before he can submit, Piper attempts to hit him with a chair.
Ken Patera & Big John Studd w/Bobby “The Brain” Heenan vs. Paul Roma & Jim Young
Heenan lets us know that the $15,000 reward is still valid if you can slam Studd. Both men fail to slam Studd. Both men take turns tossing around Roma as the crowd chants for Andre the Giant. Young tags and Patera hits him with a vertical suplex then Studd makes him submit to the backbreaker (2:41). After the match, they rough up their opponents.
Thoughts: These squash matches are fun to watch, mostly due to Patera. He was rough and would just toss around his opponents. Studd was really bad in the ring and had nothing going on for him other than being big.
Another vignette with Don Muraco from Hawaii. He is with Mr. Fuji and tells us that we should be jealous because he is in Hawaii and you are not. These vignettes have just about run out of steam at this point. Its been two months.
Johnny Rodz vs. Hulk Hogan
The fans are going ballistic for Hogan, who is still using “Eye of the Tiger” as his theme song and wearing the baby blue trunks. Rodz stalls then gets taken down with a drop toehold. Hogan grabs a front facelock as Beefcake and Valiant make their way down the ring. Rodz uses an eye rake and works on Hogan, who hulks up and knocks him down. Hogan slams Rodz then works the arm. Rodz gets in a few moves but Hogan powers up and fires away before hitting him with the Axe Bomber then finishing him off with a leg drop. (4:13).
Thoughts: Hogan looked good in the ring and it was interesting seeing him use a variety of moves that he all but abandoned several months later. He had the ability to put on good matches and work at a much faster speed but with his brutal travel schedule and the fact it was dumb to risk injury and miss out on millions, he made the wise choice to switch up his style as he can barely walk now. Anyway, it was a rarity to see the Heavyweight Champion wrestle on TV. The Beefcake stuff was pointless as no one in the world bought him as a threat to Hogan.
Okerlund is with Don Muraco. Okerlund asks about the influence that Mr. Fuji has on him as Muraco wants to know why Okerlund didn’t go party with him in Hawaii. Anyway, this is a pretty funny interview as Muraco lets him know how Fuji is psychic and spiritual.
Vince promises that Hogan will here for the debut of Hillbilly Jim next week. Plus, Mike Rotunda & Barry Windham, Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff, Jimmy Snuka & Tonga Kid, and The Moondogs will all be in action. Also, George Wells will make his Championship Wrestling debut.
Final Thoughts: Besides the appearance of Hogan, this show had nothing else going on. The interviews were fun but did not really factor into anything and the rest of the matches were dull. Nothing much was progressed in terms of feuds. Also, you could tell that the crowd was getting fatigued as this was the 3rd show of this TV taping. They still had one more left.  

WWF Championship Wrestling: January 12th, 1985

January 12, 1985
Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon
Appearing on the show this week will be the Tonga Kid as well as the team of Big John Studd & Ken Patera. Also, we will see another training video of Hulk Hogan and Hillbilly Jim.

 

Mike Powers vs. Tonga Kid
The crowd likes Tonga. Powers tries to attack Tonga but fails. Tonga hits a backdrop as Powers can barely run the ropes. He is a tall guy with a gut and no athleticism. Tonga grabs a chinlock then switches to a headlock. Tonga hits a shulderblock and a slam. Fist drop gets two. Powers backs Tonga to the corner and lands a few crappy punches that even the announcers make fun of but Tonga hulks up and chops him down. He grabs another headlock the hits a backbreaker. He heads up top and hits the flying headbutt for the win (3:54). The crowd popped huge for the finish as Vince states that Tonga is just eighteen years old.
Thoughts: Powers is one of the worst wrestlers I have ever seen. I remember a squash match he had against Tito several months before this which was embarrassing. Tonga was just about gone from the company when this match aired, as he no-showed several dates and went over to Pro Wrestling USA shortly thereafter. He would come back to the WWF the following year as part of the Islanders. In his shoot interview, Tonga admitted that he had difficulty handling the fame, which is a lot when you become a star overnight at age 19.
Lord Alfred Hayes introduces us another clip of Captain Lou Albano and Cyndi Lauper at Studio 54. This time, Hulk Hogan is introduced and puts over Albano for changing his ways. They really wanted to get Albano over as a face.
Joe Mirto vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
Since Albano is now a face, Valentine is now without a manager. The crowd taunts Valentine with a “Tito” chant. Valentine works the arm but gets caught with an armdrag. Valentine backs Mirto against the ropes and doesn’t break cleanly. He takes him down with an elbow smash then goes to work on the leg. He softens him up before hitting a suplex. He gets two off an elbow drop then puts on the figure-four leglock for the win (2:20).
Thoughts: Valentine was awesome here, and he would stay that way until midway through 1987. He was one of the best workers in the company and in a great feud with Tito Santana.
Gene Okerlund runs down the February 2nd card at the Boston Garden. He welcomes Mike Rotundo, who will be facing the Iron Sheik and Barry Windham, who will be facing Nikolai Volkoff. Rotundo cuts a horrendous promo on Sheik, stating that he will show how an American boy like himself can win. Windham shows signs of life and says they can show what they can do in singles competition. Nine days after this interview aired, Windham & Rotunda won the titles from Adonis & Murdoch at a house show in Hartford, CT.
Up next is another training video with Hogan and Hillbilly Jim. Hogan is proud of his progress as Jim can now handle Hogan’s morning drink called “Python Powder.” We get another training montage and this time, Hillbilly isn’t embarrassing himself. However, Hulk says that he still isn’t ready to wrestle, even though Hillbilly thinks he is ready because he wrestled bears in the circus.
Gene Okerlund is with Andre the Giant. He tells Ken Patera and John Studd that he will chase them all over the country and all he wants to do is get even. This is to promote his Tornado Tag match in Boston with the Junkyard Dog.
R.T. Reynolds & Mr. X vs. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo
On commentary, Vince refers to Windham & Rotundo as the “American Express.” Reynolds and Windham trade armdrags to start. Reynolds hits a shoulderblock but Windham monkey flips him and Reynolds goes outside. Both men tag out and Rotundo slams Mr. X. He gets two off an elbow drop then tags Windham, who gets two off a flying forearm, then Rotundo tags and hits the airplane spin for the win (2:49).
Thoughts: Windham & Rotundo were over with the crowd, who finally gets to see a face tag-team that doesn’t involve Tony Garea or SD Jones. R.T. Reynolds would get a makeover later on in the year, as he became Corporal Kirchner.
Piper’s Pit with Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch. Piper says he couldn’t find the Brisco’s in Oklahoma, stating he only found an empty bottle of cheap wine in front of their teepee. Murdoch says they did not lose as they were sick and defied doctor’s orders as Adonis claimed they had the “Taiwan Flu.” Piper brings up how the Brisco’s think they deserve a title shot but Adonis says that there are other guys deserve a shot, like Frankie Williams and “Rivera.” Just promoting their house show matches against the Brisco’s, who would be gone in a month.  
Tito Santana vs. Paul Kelly
They have a nice little sequence ending with Kelly backing away. Santana gets a hiptoss and a slam. He then works the arm before putting on a chinlock. Kelly hits a shoulder block but Tito comes back with a monkey flip. Tito fires away and gets a backdrop. He then softens up the leg before locking on the figure-four, causing Kelly to submit (2:59). The ending was weird as the bell was rung softly and Tito said something to the ref, who then broke up the hold.
Thoughts: Kelly worked at a fast-paced and this was a well wrestled squash match. Too bad Kelly didn’t job regulary throughout the 80’s, as he could have kept up against guy like Steamboat and the Dynamite Kid.
Another vignette of Don Muraco in Hawaii, who is with Mr. Fuji. Muraco says that they (the fans) will know the violence will return to the WWF and wipe away Hulkamania. Nice to see them push Muraco in a top feud in his return.
Aldo Marino & Jim Powers vs. Ken Patera & Big John Studd w/Bobby Heenan
Powers made his WWF debut at the previous TV taping. Oddly enough, he got in because of Studd. The crowd chants “Andre” at the heels. Patera starts by beating the shit out of Powers, tossing him all over the ring. Studd tags as the crowd chants for Andre. He knocks Marino off the apron then rams Powers in the corner. Patera tags and hits a suplex. Marino tags and Patera beat on him for a bit. Marino fights back but ends up in the wrong corner. Studd tags and throws around Marino. He pulls up Marino after dropping an elbow and tags out. The heels take turns tossing around Marino until Patera makes him submit to the full nelson (4:44). Patera refuses to break and when he does, stomps on Marino.
Thoughts: I thought this was a fun squash match, with the jobbers getting tossed around all over the ring. Patera was still good in the ring at this point.
Gene Okerlund is with Wendi Richter. She cuts a promo on Judy Martin, saying if she can beat Moolah, she can beat Martin. The Iron Sheik interrupts and disses Richter and Okerlund before cutting a promo on Rotundo, saying that his American coach at Syracuse knows nothing, unlike his own Iranian coach. He rants and raves for another minute before leaving.
Vince says that they were once again, not allowed to show the clip of the melee at last month’s MSG show.
Next week, Hulk Hogan will make an appearance. Also, Brutus Beefcake, Junkyard Dog, Blackjack Mulligan, and the team of Big John Studd & Ken Patera will be in action.
Final Thoughts: Not bad, although there was nothing that memorable on the show, unless you count another Hulk/Hillbilly training video and another clip of Albano with Lauper accepting an award at Studio 54. The show breezed right by, which is a good thing.

WWF Championship Wrestling: January 5th, 1985

Since I haven’t done a WWF Syndicated TV show review since the November 17th show, I will recap the major angles that took place between these shows. I do have all of the Championship Wrestling shows from this one until August 1986, when it became Superstars and taped on the road.
On the November 17th episode of All-Star Wrestling, Blackjack Mulligan’s “Mulligan’s BBQ” talk show debuted. This was created in response to him being upset over Piper basically burying the faces on his show. Piper would send jobber Ted Grizzly to challenge Mulligan and he got squashed the following week. Also, a series of vignettes featuring Don Muraco would air, with him in Hawaii on the beach. This was to build him up for his return.  On the November 24th episode of Championship Wrestling, Cowboy Bob Orton debuted as Roddy Piper’s bodyguard on Piper’s Pit. On the December 8th episode of Championship Wrestling, Albano was a guest on Piper’s Pit and was not given a chance to speak as Piper cut him off and ranted about Lauper. The following week, Vince McMahon interviewed both men about Cyndi Lauper receiving an award. Piper trashed her while Albano thought she actually deserved the award. The slow turn for Albano carried into next week as he was shown reading Christmas stories to children. On the December 15th episode of Championship Wrestling, The Hillbilly (Hillbilly Jim) was a guest on Piper’s Pit. He said that he was “Big Jim” as Piper offered him to be his manager. Jim said he had to think about that. The next week on Piper’s Pit, Piper, along with guests Buddy Rose and Bobby Heenan, all made fun of Jim. On the December 29th episode of Championship Wrestling, Hogan asked Big Jim to come out of the crowd and he followed Hogan into the locker room. Later in the show, Jim returned to Pit and told Piper he was making fun of him and decided to go with the best. Piper thought that meant him but Hulk Hogan came out and said that Jim was his man and they left.

January 5th, 1985
Your hosts are Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon
Charlie Fulton & Rusty Brooks vs. Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo
Windham & Rotundo are using Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” for the first time. Fulton and Rotundo take it to the mat. Rotundo uses a hiptoss and goes to work on the arm. Tag to Windham and all the women scream with delight. Double dropkick and Brooks tags in the match. Windham catches him with a dropkick and a slam. Tag to Rotundo and they hit a double elbow smash. He uses a fireman’s carry takedown but Brooks takes control. He hits a slam and a knee drop then tags in and out quickly but Rotundo fights back and tags Windham, who hits the bulldog for the win (3:13). Crowd goes nuts.
Thoughts: Windham & Rotundo were over big with the crowd. They also connected a lot more with the audience than the Brisco’s did, who were the number one contender’s at the time. The WWF was starting to add to it’s depleted tag-team division around this time and it would start to get much stronger over the course of the year.
WWF Update with Lord Alfred Hayes. He is at Studio 54 as the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation presents an award to Cyndi Lauper and Capt. Lou Albano. Lou puts over Cyndi and David Wolfe as Lauper states she always knew there was a great man inside of Albano. This segment cemented the face turn of Albano. Too bad, as Albano was a lot more entertaining as a heel and appeared subdued as a face.
We are shown a training video between Hulk Hogan and Hillbilly Jim. This was first shown on TNT the day prior. Hogan teaches him how to eat healthy but Hillbilly doesn’t like Hogan’s drink and wants grits and stuff cooked with fatback. They go to the gym and we are shown a montage, complete with Hulk’s “Eye of the Tiger” theme song. They then train in the ring, with Hillbilly embarrassing himself some more. Hogan says he will stick with him all the way as Hillbilly says just wants to wrestle. They would show a few more of these montages over the next couple of weeks.
Mean Gene runs down the card at Boston Garden, which took place on the same date this show aired.
Mario Mancini & Steve Lombardi vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff w/Classie Freddie Blassie
The heels piss off the crowd with their evil foreigner act before the match. Sheik takes down Lombardi, who managegs to get a sunset flip. He tags Mancini but Sheik knocks him down then hits a back suplex. Volkoff tags in and stomps Mancini before hitting the backbreaker for the win (1:37). After the match, Sheik tosses Mancini to the floor.
Thoughts: A dominating squash for Sheik & Volkoff. Since Slaughter left the company last month, there was no one really left for them to feud with so they are building them up until they can find new opponents.
Mean Gene is with Blackjack Mulligan, who is facing David Schultz at the Boston Garden. Mulligan is selling the effects of overeating during Christmas and calls out Schultz for his bigotry and promises that they will have a brawl, just like he does back home in Texas. Mulligan was alright on the mic at least.
Paul Roma & Salvatore Bellomo vs. Adrian Adonis & Dick Murdoch
Murdoch takes down Roma and tags Adonis, who drops an elbow. He works a chinlock as Murdoch yells at the crowd. Roma finally makes the tag. Bellomo gets a hiptoss but Adonis tags in and hits Bellomo with a back elbow smash. Adonis holds him over his knee and Murdoch comes off the middle rope with a knee for the win (2:23).
Thoughts: A dominating squash for the champs to help them look strong for their matches against the Brisco Brothers.
Piper’s Pit with Ken Patera, Big John Studd, and Bobby Heenan. Bob Orton stands in the background as Piper’s bodyguard. He had been introduced as Piper’s bodyguard several weeks ago. Heenan says that he planned to attack Andre the Giant as the crowd goes nuts chanting for Andre. Patera said he didn’t realize it would be so easy to knock him out as Studd pulls out a bag containing his hair. They let Piper pick a lock and he is ecstatic and grossed out as he holds it up. An effective segment as Piper was great at making heels look good and Heenan is one of the best managers of all-time.  
Jim Young vs. “Dr. D” David Schultz
They shake hands to start. Schultz takes Young down with a side headlock as the announcers talk about how he is always miserable. Schultz grabs a front facelock then takes him down. Schultz gets a slam then puts him away with an elbow drop from the middle rope. (2:30). After the match, Schultz looks into the camera and says that everyone is running from him.
Thoughts: It looks like they were building up Schultz but he would get fired five weeks after this show aired for attempting to attack Mr. T on two separate occasions at a show in Los Angeles.
A vignette of Don Muraco in Hawaii is shown. He is getting rubbed down by three chicks wearing bikini’s. He calls out Hogan for being a phony, unlike himself, and promises that there will be blood if they fight. They continue to build up Muraco strong for his return. He had been out most of 1984 after losing the IC belt to Tito Santana.
Gino Carabello & Dave Barbie vs. Jack & Jerry Brisco
Jack puts Barbie in a headlock for a bit. The Brisco’s tag in and out, grounding Barbie. Carabello tags and they double team Jack in the corner. Jack gets a kneelift and a snapmare. He tags Jerry after a knee drop, who hits a back suplex, the tags Jack. He gets two off a cradle and hits a scoop slam. Jerry tags and hits a double underhook suplex as Vince puts over the toughness of Carabello. Jerry then puts him in a figure four, getting the win via submission (4:23).
Thoughts: The Brisco’s could still go even though they were in their forties. However, the crowd wasn’t that into the match. They tuned out during the headlock spot at the beginning. The Brisco’s would be gone from this company in a month.
Mean Gene is with Adrian Adonis. He asks him about their match against the Brisco’s. Adonis says their win on TV was a fluke as they both had the flu. Adonis says that the Brisco’s kiss up to the promoters and refs to get what hey want and promises victory tonight.
Mean Gene is now with Junkyard Dog. He cuts a promo about his match with Andre the Giant against Big John Studd & Ken Patera. JYD cuts a promo that is difficult to understand as he just names off people who are on the card.
We were supposed to be shown footage of Roddy Piper smashing the gold record over the head of Lou Albano but Vince says they were not allowed.
Final Thoughts: Not a bad show but it is interesting to see that with the first Wrestlemania less than three months away, most of the wrestlers on this show were gone from the company. Sheik & Volkoff and Windham & Rotundo were the only ones who were on the roster for Wrestlemania. Adonis did come back to the company later in the year. A lot of emphasis on the tag division and they are hyping the return of Muraco, seemingly for a feud against Hulk Hogan.

WWF Primetime Wrestling: January 1st, 1985

January 1, 1985

 

This
is the debut episode of Primetime Wrestling. For those who are not familiar
with this show, it featured a lot of house show matches, especially for the
first few months. Over time, they incorporated studio interviews and even
filmed exclusive matches at the television tapings. Although Gorilla Monsoon
and Bobby Heenan are remembered the most, they were not the original hosts.
That honor belongs to Jack Reynolds and Jesse Ventura. Anyway, I will
occasionally review this show over time.

 

Your
hosts are Jesse Ventura and Jack Reynolds

 

The
show starts with Reynolds and Ventura welcoming the viewers. Reynolds seems
really uncomfortable and glued to the cue cards. Ventura informs us that TNT
has been moved to Friday nights. He also says that despite having blood clots a
few months ago, he is training and promises that 1985 will be his year. Not a
lot of chemistry at all between these two.

 

Just
to let everyone know, all of the matches and interviews on this show were from
the 10/22/84 house show at MSG.
 

 

 

Salvatore Bellomo vs. “Dr. D” David
Schultz

Bellomo
starts with a few arm wringers but Schultz is able to duck between the ropes.
Bellomo grabs a hammerlock and Schultz ducks out again as the crowd boos.
Bellomo grounds him with a headscissors for a bit. Schultz escapes and knees
Bellomo, then goes to work. He catches him with a back elbow smash then chokes
him out in the corner. Schultz gets a slam then drops the elbow from the second
rope but Bellomo kicks out. Schultz is pissed then roughs him up in the corner
before putting him away with a suplex (4:02) *.

Thoughts:
I have no idea why Bellomo kicked out of Schultz’s finishing move. The guy was
a scrub. Pretty much a squash for Schultz, which it should have been.

 

After
the match, the hosts give their thoughts. They put over Bellomo as being a
fighter but state he was no match for Schultz.

 

 

Ventura
puts down the Samoans, saying they should not be able to wrestle as they cannot
read or write, which he states should be a prerequisite.

 

 

Afa vs. Dick Murdoch

This
match is joined in progress with Afa chopping Murdoch. Afa no sells a
turnbuckle smash then and does the same to Murdoch, who comically oversells the
move by stumbing all over the place before falling through the ropes. Afa works
the arm, using headbutts, then knocks Murdoch down. Afa goes for a chinlock but
Murdoch rakes the eyes then tries to one-up Afa by ramming his own head into
the turnbuckle repeatedly but just stumbles around and falls over. The crowd is
eating up the comical overselling from Murdoch. Afa covers and gets two as
Murdoch struggles to get up. The Hillbilly is shown at ringside as Murdoch
knocks Afa to the floor. He goes out and chokes Afa with a cord. Murdoch kicks
him from the apron then chokes him by using the ropes. He unties the tag rope
and chokes out Afa but the ref is able to intervene. Afa finally makes it back
into the ring and no sells a ton of shots to the head. Afa fights back and
catches him with a chop. He bites Murdoch then hits him with a pair of atomic
drops. Falling headbutt gets two. Mrudoch oversells everything as Afa gets a
few nearfalls. Murdoch goes outside then puls out a paperbag that appears to
have a bottle inside and hits Afa. He drops a few elbows to the throat of Afa,
who is laying underneath the ropes. Murdoch goes to work but both men collide
and are down. Afa headbutts Murdoch down from his knees and gets two. Murdoch
tries a slam but Afa falls on top and gets two. Afa slams Mrudoch down on the
mat. Afa plays to the crowd then hits another headbutt and goes for the cover
but the bell rings, signaling they reached the twenty minute time limit. About
twelve minutes of this was shown. After the match, Murdoch challenges Afa for
five more minutes but gets destroyed shortly afterwards.

Thoughts:
Fine for what it was. Afa was in a ton of pain at this time and couldn’t do
much and they worked around that by having Murdoch do a lot of comedy spots.

 

Gorilla
Monsoon interviews Mad Dog Vachon in the locker room. Mad Dog says no one will
stop him. That was basically all he said.

 

 

Rick McGraw vs. Mad Dog Vachon

This
is also from the October show at MSG.  Vachon
backs McGraw into the ropes and breaks cleanly. He takes McGraw down with an
armdrag and puts on a headlock as Okerlund makes a joke about losing his dog
this weekend. McGraw eventually escapes and manages to ground Vachon with a
headlock of his own. Vachon escapes then bites McGraw. He rakes the back and
chokes him out, then goes back to biting. McGraw fights back and gets two off a
snapmare. Vachon chokes out McGraw but gets dropkicked. Vachon misses a charge
in the corner and McGraw covers for two. Dropkick gets two. Scoop slam gets
two. Vachon dodges a dropkick and chokes out McGraw with the ropes then hits a
terrible looking piledriver for the win (7:04) DUD.

Thoughts:
Vachon was of no use to this company. His antics did not fit in with the WWF at
this time. He fit in a decade earlier. McGraw was alright but these two did not
work well together.

 

 

Reynolds
promises that David Sammartino will be a superstar as Jesse calls him a
“beer-bellied punk.” They show Monsoon interviewing him at MSG. He is vanilla
and they were calling him David Bruno Sammartino at this time, which was an
attempt to get him over. The poor guy tried but didn’t have any star qualities
about him.

 

 

Moondog Spot vs. David Sammartino

This
is joined in progress. Sammartino catches Spot with a shoulder block and goes
to work on the arm. Sammartino ducks a clothesline and knocks Spot down. He
catches him with an armdrag and goes back to the arm. Sammartino charges but
runs into a superkick. Spot kicks him again then rams him into the corner. Slam
gets two. Spot sends him down with a kneelift as Sammartino eggs him on. He
fights back but Spot gets an eye rake. Sammartino gets two off a sunset flip but
Spot hits him with a forearm smash from the second rope. He grabs a chinlock
but Sammartino escapes. He sends Spot down with a shoulder block but misses an
elbow drop. Spot gets two off a backbreaker the fires away. Sammartino fights
back as Spot begs for mercy. They trade shots and Sammartino tries to fire up
the crowd. Kneedrop gets two. Suplex gets two. Spot catches him with a knee on
a backdrop attempt then picks him up for a 
slam but Sammartino countered with a small package, which looked
terrible, for the win.  About eight
minutes shown of this match, which went 12:23. After the match Spot jumps
Sammartino then grabs the bone but Sammartino fights back and the bone falls.
He grabs the bone from the ref, and the crowd goes nuts. Spot bails afterwards.

Thoughts:
Good action. The Sammartino push did not work as he lacked charisma and looked
like a bloated Rick McGraw but he really wasn’t that bad in the ring. Spot, who
was underrated, did a fine job.

 

 

The
hosts talk about Tito Santana, with Jesse referring to him as “Chico,” for what
I believe was the first time. He says that being the Intercontinental Champ was
a big jump from him selling tacos in Tijuana.

 

 

Monsoon
interviews Tito. He promises to get the IC belt back from Greg Valentine and
says that he will make him pay for every night he spent thinking about him. A
good, intense promo from Tito.

 

 

Intercontinental Title Match

Greg Valentine (Champion) w/Capt. Lou
Albano vs. Tito Santana

The
crowd goes nuts for Tito. He goes right after Valentine, who is still wearing
the belt. He takes it off and tries to use it but Tito knocks him down. He
continues his assault as the crowd is going nuts. Valentine grabs a hold of
Tito’s leg but gets knocked back down. Valentine fight back then they trade
shots. Tito knocks Valentine to the floor with a forearm smash. Back in the
ring, they trade shots with Valentine winning that battle. He punches Tito, who
turns him around and starts hammering away. Valentine hits a few forearms then
an atomic drop. Tito fights back but Valentine rakes the eyes. He kicks Tito
the floor and gets booted by Albano. Tito drags Valentine out of the ring and
they fire away. Valentine gets an eye rake and grabs a chair but Tito ducks and
fires away. In the ring, Tito whacks Valentine with a chair and Tito fires
away. Valentine is busted open and Tito opens him up some more. The ref tries
to intervene but Tito shoves him away and the ref rings the bell for the DQ (5:52)
***. Albano runs in the ring but Tito knocks him down and he and Valentine
leave ringside.

Thoughts:
Great stuff. Although short, this was all action and these guys really laid
into each other. I loved this feud, as these two just hated each other.

 

 

Back
in the studio, Jesse calls Tito a disgrace to wrestling as he cheated the
entire match.

 

 

Sika vs. Adrian Adonis

Sika
works the arm for a bit until Adonis bails. Back in the ring, Sika goes back to
the arm for a long time. Adonis eludes Sika with a cartwheel but gets caught
with a slam. Sika works a nerve hold for a bit. Adonis manages to catch Sika
with a clothesline then takes control. Adonis climbs up top but Sika knocks him
down then hammers away. Adonis reaches into his tights for a glove but Sika
moves and he accidentally hits the ref, who calls for the bell (9:29) ¼*. Sika
grabs the glove but Adonis is able to escape. Howard Finkel informs us that
Sika has won by DQ.

Thoughts:
Bad match with a shitty finish.  The tag
team division really stunk at this time. Luckily, 1985 brought some new tag-teams
to the WWF.

 

 

Tony Garea vs. Brutus Beefcake
w/Luscious Johnny Valiant

Beefcake
starts things off by strutting around. Garea ducks under Beefcake but gets
trapped in the corner. Garea reverses a whip in the corner then takes him down
with a side headlock. He does it again as the crowd doesn’t care. He gets two
off a crossbody then takes him down with yet another side headlock. Beefcake
takes control and connects on several forearm smashes. He chokes him out in the
corner but misses an elbow smash. Garea punches away then dropkicks Beefcake to
the floor. He chases him around and gets two off a reverse rollup. They do an
Irish whip spot and Beefcake connects with a jumping knee smash for the win
(5:20) ½*.

Thoughts:
Another dull match, which is no surprise with these two. Garea is one of my
least favorite wrestlers of all-time. He is awful in the ring and on the mic.
Beefcake still cannot get over, despite his push and new manager.

 

 

World Heavyweight Title Match

Big John Studd w/Bobby Heenan vs. Hulk
Hogan (Champion)

Studd
ducks outside and when he comes back in, Hogan spits at him. Hogan fires away
and Studd ducks out again but Hogan chases after him. Studd fights back and
sends Hogan into the post. Back in the ring, Studd hits Hogan with an elbow
smash. He grabs a chinlock and Hogan tries to escape but Studd knees him down.
He hits Hogan with a forearm smash from the second rope then grabs another
chinlock. Studd knees him down again then drops him throat-first on the top
rope. Studd roughs up Hogan outside of the ring, who barely makes it in before
the ten count. Hogan blocks a slam attempt and fires away. Hogan then ducks an
attack and hits Studd with a lariat for the win (7:38) *1/4.

Thoughts:
Decent enough, considering Studd was in the match. It was pretty cool to see a
World Title match on TV, even if it was over two months old.

 

 

Jesse
refuses to comment on the Hogan match when asked by Reynolds. When they come
back from break, Jesse rips off his jacket and flexes while yelling about
Hogan. Reynolds runs down next week’s show, which features the Tonga Kid vs.
Roddy Piper match from the November MSG show.

 

 

Final Thoughts: Although some of these matches sucked, it was rare to
see not only an Intercontinental Title match, but a Heavyweight Title Match on
television. The show was long and the hosts had no chemistry but it was a new
format that featured competitive matches, which was uncommon at that time. It
was especially cool to see footage from house shows that most across the
country were not able to see. The debut show was okay but some felt at that
time that it was overexposure on the WWF’s part as they had several other
weekly shows at this time.

Cucch’s Book Review: “Benoit: Wrestling with the Horror that Destroyed a Family and Crippled A Sport.”

Of all the books on Benoit….this was the first…

Being the first book on a subject does not always coincide with it being the best book on the subject. “Benoit” proves that point nicely. While it is not actively horrible or anything, it is a very, VERY short read. It isn’t so much a book as a collection of five essays written by four authors: Steven Johnson (co-author of “The Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams”); Heath McCoy (“Pain and Passion: The History of Stampede Wrestling”); Greg Oliver (SLAM! Wrestling); and last, but certainly not least, Irv Muschnick.

Each of the essays tackles a different portion of Benoit’s life. The first chapter, by Greg Oliver, just gives a loose description of Benoit’s remarkable in-ring career. It is nothing mindblowing, nothing that you haven’t read on countless websites or other books on Benoit. It is short, to the point, with a minimum of commentary. Oliver also writes the follow up chapter, which isn’t necessarily a chapter or essay, but rather a list of the titles and accolades Benoit received throughout his 20 year career. Simple stuff, to be sure, and a relative easy read free of pretension.

Oliver also handles the second full essay, which is a biography of Nancy Toffolini. Again, its pretty bare bones, stating facts once again that most knowledgeable fans already have boned up on. It is fairly straightforward, as it recounts Nancy’s time as Kevin Sullivan’s valet, her WCW and ECW runs, and her marriage to Benoit. What it does leave out is any sort of detail surrounding her divorce of Sullivan and the start of her relationship with Benoit (offering only the vaguest explanation in almost a throw away paragraph). Don’t look for any juicy disclosures here. All these chapters are doing are trying to explain who these people were. Its pure exposition, and there is nothing wrong with that.

The third essay, by Heath McCoy, describes Benoit’s time in Stampede wrestling a little more thoroughly than the first chapter. It mentions almost all the stuff we already knew. Benoit idolized Dynamite Kid. He was a fan of Bret Hart. He would do anything to get his foot in the door of the business, and did. This chapter is where we finally start to hit some of the jucier (pun intended) stuff, namely steroids. Everyone brings up Benoit’s steroid use here- Bret, Ross, and Bruce Hart in particular. It also brings up, much like in “Ring of Hell”, the nickname bestowed upon Benoit and tag team partner Biff Wellington: The Mega Doses, named such because of their prodigious steroid intake. As corroborated in most of the other works on Benoit, he was shooting up pretty much from the time he was a teenager, and it continued, in incredibly high doses, until his demise in 2007.

Along with the steroid issues, the chapter also talks with some former Stampede colleagues of Benoit to try to paint a picture of the man. To a man, they all say he was quiet, polite, and respectful. He never drank much, never did much in the way of narcotics or pain pills, never partook in any of the carnal pleasures offered by ring rats. There is talk of the legendary ribs the Stampede boys inflicted on unsuspecting wrestlers. Benoit would get a chuckle out of these, but for the most part kept his nose to the grindstone.

The chapter, as with chapter 1, describes Benoit’s rise to fame in Japan, ECW, WCW, and ultimately WWE. Where the chapter differs, though, is it gives the Hart family reactions to the horrific tragedies of the weekend of June 25, 2007. To a man, they were all shocked, as most of Alberta was. Here was a local boy, a man who had a day in his honor in his native Edmonton in 2004, who by most accounts was just a hard working, blue collar salt of the earth type of guy, and he suddenly just snaps one weekend and wipes out his entire family and his entire legacy in one fell swoop.  Well, almost all the Hart brothers were shocked and saddened by the whole sordid affair. Always tactful Bruce Hart derided Benoit as a “Delusional juice freak.” Which, in light of everything that has come through the pipeline regarding Benoit’s last year or so, may not be too far from the truth.

Steven Johnson blesses the book with its fourth, and by far best, essay. It regards the media frenzy surrounding the Benoit case. The manor in which the media took the case and ran with it simply to garner all important ratings was shameless. (I know, probably hypocritical as someone who follows a business that has long been slave to the almighty Neilsens.) I am not going to delve into this chapter too much, but suffice to say, if you have not read this book, this should be the first chapter you read. It is comprehensive, with graphs and statistics to help bolster the author’s point. The worst example of “journalism” in the matter was the slapdash way a woman’s hearsay conversation with her deceased husband a few years earlier was corroborated into “Daniel had Fragile-X syndrome.” EVERY news outlet ran with that unsubstantiated load of crap and deemed it utterly true. Even WWE was complicit, as Linda McMahon took the allegation and spread it to the media as gospel truth. No one in this matter came out of it with clean hands, and it was just such a sorry spectacle to witness as it was happening in 2007.

Now, regarding the final chapter. I think I have plainly stated in the past that I am not a fan of Irv Muschnick. He has always seemed to me to be a self serving piece of crap who is a attention whore and who’s sole purpose is to get his ugly mug on screen. He comes across as smug and a know it all about all aspects of the business. That aside, no one is arguing how knowledgeable he is. His chapter deals with, what else, the staggering number of deaths in wrestling. As much as I despise him, you can not argue his points too much, as he is usually within the ballpark, so to speak, of the truth. Sometimes he twists and distorts it to reach his own conclusion, but I will leave it to you, the discerning wrestling fan, to read what he writes and come to your own conclusion. It is not a bad chapter, but its more or less the same stuff Irv has been writing for years, and he did a better, more thorough job in “Chris and Nancy”. (That’s right, Irv is a man of such moral conviction that he used the tragedy to produce TWO books on the matter!)

All in all, “Benoit” strikes me as a book that was just rushed through production to get something on the shelves regarding the Benoit tragedy. That is not to say its bad. But it certainly isn’t a must read of any sort, except for Steven Johnson’s chapter. Otherwise, I would recommend you stay away from this book, and read any of the other three books on the matter.

Non “Big Two” Wrestling

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Wes A.

Hi Scott,
 
Long time reader, first time e-mailer. I'm a lapsed WWE fan and over the past few years have turned to other promotions to fill the void for quality wrestling. Over the past year I've been getting my fix through PWG and older Dragon Gate USA DVDs. I know you've watched a few old Ring of Honor shows in the past, but have you ever watched some of the other smaller promotions like PWG, Dragon GateUSA/EVOLVE, Chikara, etc? If so, what have been your thoughts on them? Thanks!
 
Wes
—————————
Nah, New Japan is about the extent of my non-major promotional excursions these days.  I still have piles of old ROH DVDs that Gabe used to send me regularly before I ran out of free time and I might get around to those some decade.  I hear that Nigel guy is pretty good.  

Wrestling Retribution Project finally revealed…sort of.

http://vimeo.com/69165195   (password:  "whattooksolongkatz")
So a LONG-ass time after Jeff Katz funded his pet project on Kickstarter and took a bunch of money from people with absolutely nothing shown and no communication to anyone about it, we get a battle royale featuring people who who are now stars in bigger promotions, with different names, plus the usual parade of indy mainstays like Adam Pearce and Colt Cabana and such.  Why Karl Anderson would be slumming it here is beyond me.  
I found the concept interesting when we were first discussing it what feels like years ago, but the thing just looks low-rent and the camera work is horrid.  It just comes across like a male version of GLOW, to be frank.  The name changes wouldn't be so jarring but we KNOW who Colt Cabana is, and we know Chris Hero, and Chris Masters, and slapping silly new names and characters on them is just insulting.  If you take Joe Indy and give him the evil priest gimmick (that was Gangrel, right?) then whatever because it's some guy who can build a new character for himself, but having Chris Hero go out and be Chris Hero but NO, it's Chris Hyde who is a totally different guy…just dumb.  
No buys.