Inside Pulse Wrestling » bobby heenan Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Inside Pulse Wrestling no Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Inside Pulse Wrestling » bobby heenan A2Z Analysiz: WWE Survivor Series 1989 (Ultimate Warrior, Andre the Giant) Sun, 02 Nov 2014 20:00:00 +0000 sur ser 87-91

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The Horizon – Rosemont, Illinois – November 23, 1989

Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura are on commentary. This is the first year with team names, and they’re down to four-on-four rather than five-on-five.

MATCH #1: Survivor Series Elimination Match –The Enforcers (Big Boss Man, Bad News Brown, Rick Martel & Honky Tonk Man) vs. The Dream Team (Dusty Rhodes, Brutus Beefcake, Tito Santana & the Red Rooster)

Jimmy Hart and Slick are accompanying the Enforcers. Santana and Honky start the match with some chain wrestling. Martel tags in and takes advantage of his former Tag Team Championship partner. That doesn’t last too long before the teams come to a face-off and the referee has to restore order. The Enforcers isolate on Beefcake in their half of the ring. The Rooster gets much of the same treatment. Martel and Santana end up back in the ring together and Santana gets an O’Connor Roll but Martel rolls it over and holds the tights for the first elimination at 9:17. The yet-unnamed Sapphire is watching on from ringside. The Dream Team tries to apply the pressure but the numbers game soon takes over and the Boss Man uses his size advantage. Brown unwillingly gets tagged in but he makes the most of it. He works over Rooster for a bit until Boss Man accidentally slugs him and the Enforcers are exploding! Much like last year, Brown takes a walk and gets counted out at 15:27. The odds are once again even. Honky and Beefcake go back and forth and Beefcake hits a High Knee to eliminate him at 17:25. Martel comes in and keeps Beefcake on the mat. Beefcake gets kicked to the ring apron but he’s able to come back in the ring with a sunset flip to eliminate Martel at 20:14! Boss Man is at quite the disadvantage now. Rooster tags in and runs right into a Boss Man Slam and he’s gone at 20:59. Rhodes and Beefcake make quick tags and Rhodes is able to hit a cross body block to pin Boss Man and get the win at 22:02. Boss Man immediately gets his nightstick out and handcuffs Rhodes to the ropes and beats him until Beefcake gets his hedge clippers and runs them off. That was a serviceable opener with enough going on to get the crowd amped up.
Rating: **½

MATCH #2: Survivor Series Elimination Match – The King’s Court (Randy Savage, Greg Valentine, Dino Bravo, & Earthquake) vs. The 4×4’s (Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Bret Hart, Ronnie Garvin & Hercules

Earthquake is a replacement for Barry Windham. Duggan’s team all carry 2×4’s to the ring with them. It’s incredibly sad to note that half of the participants in this match are no longer with us. Two of them, Hercules and Savage, start the match. Valentine quickly tags in and the 4×4’s go to work on him and make quick tags to keep a fresh man in the ring at all times. Bravo is the next target of the babyface team, but he’s able to withstand Hercules’s attacks and reverses a whip into the corner. Earthquake gets tagged in and hits the Earthquake Splash to score the first elimination at 3:58. Valentine and Garvin go back and forth, as their issue had been simmering for a few months now. They trade hard chops and Duggan gets a blind tag and surprises Valentine with a clothesline to eliminate him at 7:32. Garvin comes back in and executes the Garvin Stomp on Bravo, but he can’t lock in the Sharpshooter. Incidentally, the Hitman quickly tags in after that, and Savage wants no part of him. Garvin tags back in and Bravo is able to catch him with the Side Suplex to get the pin at 11:19. Savage comes in and Hart and Duggan cleverly double-team him. The tide turns back to the King’s Court as they isolate on Hart. Savage lands the Macho Elbow to eliminate the Hitman at 19:07. That puts Duggan at a severe three-on-one disadvantage. He actually fares pretty well for himself, throwing everyone into Earthquake and clearing the ring! The King’s Court pretty much comes back in to triple-team Duggan. Earthquake hits a bodyslam and the big elbow drop for a two-count. Duggan fights back on Savage and goes to bounce off the ropes but Sherri pulls the top rope down and he crashes to the floor. Earthquake makes sure he stays down and gets counted out, giving himself, Bravo, and Savage the win at 23:24. I don’t understand why they couldn’t have just pinned Duggan, but odd finish aside there was a lot of fun to be had in this one, particularly when Savage and Hart were in the ring together.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #3: Survivor Series Elimination Match – The Million Dollar Team (Ted DiBiase, Powers of Pain & Zeus) vs. The Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts & Demolition)

Demolition is the current World Tag Team Champions. Hogan and Zeus start the match and the crowd is juiced to see it. The epic confrontation doesn’t go Hogan’s way, as Zeus no-sells all of his offense and goes after the neck. Zeus chokes Hogan in the middle of the ring and the referee can’t break the hold so Zeus is disqualified at 3:22. DiBiase wisely takes advantage of a weakened Hogan, continuing the work on the neck. Hogan is able to get a boot up in the corner and makes the tag to Roberts, who is a house afire. Roberts clotheslines DiBiase to the floor and follows him out. Demolition gets their licks in as well, giving Hogan time to recover. The Hulkamaniacs are clicking now. Ventura calls bias from the referee, noting how quickly Zeus was disqualified, and Monsoon gets the line of the night in by noting “You can’t put your hands on the referee, I don’t care whether you got a Z on the side of your head or not, that’s not legal.” DiBiase makes the comeback on Ax, and the Powers of Pain wear him down. Fuji trips Ax from the floor and Warlord drops the elbow to eliminate him at 9:52. Smash comes in and immediately goes to work. The Powers of Pain and DiBiase come back and isolate on Smash. DiBiase makes a blind tag to Barbarian just as Smash is making a comeback and Barbarian lands a huge clothesline off the top rope to eliminate Smash at 13:43. That leaves Hogan and Roberts at a three-on-two disadvantage. Roberts gets absolutely dominated by the Million Dollar Team, isolated far away from Hogan. Eventually Barbarian misses a flying headbutt and the hot tag is made! Hogan unloads on all three opponents, clearing the ring. The Powers of Pain double-team Hogan in the ring while Roberts and DiBiase battle outside the ring. Warlord and Barbarian deliver a spiked piledriver and the referee disqualifies both of them at 19:42! Ventura is furious with that decision. DiBiase tries to take Hogan out with a Million Dollar Dream and Roberts has to break up the hold before Hogan’s hand falls for the third time. When DiBiase locks it on again Hogan is able to break free and make the tag to Roberts, who goes right to work on the neck. Roberts hits the short-arm clothesline and Virgil jumps up on the ring apron and takes a DDT for his trouble! With Roberts prone, DiBiase hits a fist drop and puts his feet on the ropes for leverage to eliminate Roberts at 23:51. DiBiase still has the advantage though due to how worn down Hogan is. Hogan fights back and the both clothesline each other. Back on their feet DiBiase hits a back suplex but Hogan no-sells it. Hogan unloads with punches, the Big Boot, and the Legdrop to get the pin at 27:31. That was actually a bit on the long and dull side, and three disqualifications in one match seemed like a little bit much.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #4: Survivor Series Elimination Match – The Rude Brood (Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect & the Rougeau Brothers) vs. Roddy’s Rowdies (Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka & the Bushwhackers)

Before the match, Ventura notes that there has been some extreme tension in the Heenan Family locker room, and then Heenan is not in Rude’s corner for this important match. Perfect and Luke start the match, but as is normally the case with these early Survivor Series matches, everyone gets a chance to show off in the opening minutes. Superfly shines the brightest though, hitting Jacques with the Superfly Splash to score the first elimination at 4:02. The Rude Brood is having trouble getting on track here. The dominance by Piper’s team continues, as the team captain himself is able to pin Raymond after a piledriver at 7:39. Even with the four-on-two disadvantage, Perfect perseveres and traps Butch in an O’Connor Roll to eliminate him at 10:45. Rude gets a timely tag and drills Luke with the Rude Awakening to even the odds at 12:15. It’s a regular tag team match now, and after a series of exchanges by Perfect and Snuka, both men make tags and the captains tear into each other. Piper and Rude tumble to the floor and both get counted out at 18:35. Perfect and Snuka have a nice exchange now, with Perfect trying to win with wrestling holds and Snuka countering with strikes. Snuka makes a rookie mistake by dropping his head, allowing Perfect hits the Perfect-Plex to get the win at 21:27. That was solid all the way through and I like the final exchange between Perfect and Snuka a lot.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #5: Survivor Series Elimination Match – The Heenan Family (Andre the Giant, Haku, Arn Anderson & Bobby Heenan) vs. The Ultimate Warriors (Ultimate Warrior, Jim Neidhart & the Rockers)

Warrior is the current Intercontinental Champion. Tully Blanchard is nowhere to be found, and it looks like Heenan is replacing him himself. The brawl starts before the Warrior even makes his way out, and when he finally does Warrior is sprinting towards the ring! Warrior immediately clotheslines Andre to the floor and the Giant gets counted out at 0:28! That gives the Warriors a distinct advantage, but even so Haku is able to catch Neidhart with a thrust kick to the back of the head to eliminate him at 3:31. Haku and Anderson battle the Rockers and pretty much keep Heenan out of the action. Warrior gets his shots in on Haku and then tags Jannetty back in. Heenan tags in for about 1.3 seconds, and then Anderson drills Jannetty with a knee to the back from the apron. Haku then delivers a thrust kick for a two-count. Heenan tags in and delivers some kicks and a big knee drop, and then pins Jannetty with a handful of tights to give his team the advantage at 8:50. Warrior and Michaels work well as a team though, and Michaels is able to catch Haku with a high cross body off the top rope to eliminate him and even the odds at 12:52. Anderson is more-or-less on his own at this point. He lands a hard Spinebuster to eliminate Michaels at 15:39. Warrior is technically in a handicap match but it matters not. He hits the Gorilla Press Slam and the Splash to the Back to eliminate Double A at 18:18. Warrior beats Heenan unmerciful, and won’t let Heenan run away back to the locker room. Back in the ring Warrior hits a flying tackle and big splash to get the win at 20:28. I’m not sure why this was the main event rather than the Hulkamaniacs versus the Million Dollar Team, but people like seeing Heenan get beaten up so there’s that. Otherwise though, this match wasn’t much.
Rating: **topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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WWE Notes: Santino Surgery, Un-retiring, Wade Barrett Return Date, Bobby Heenan Surgery Sun, 21 Sep 2014 13:28:30 +0000 Santino Marella, who recently announced his retirement is already having second thoughts. Marella had a recent neck surgery, which reportedly went well. While the doctors did find additional broken bones in his neck, the surgery was such a success that Santino thinks he could be ready for an in-ring return in as little as six months.

Wade Barrett is slated for a December return. Barrett had should surgery just as his Bad News gimmick was taking off earlier this year. His original target was to return in time for the WWE UK tour in November, but was not able to return that quickly.

Bobby Heenan, 69, underwent surgery recently after he fell down and broke his hip. It’s the latest in a series of recent falls for Heenan, who has had health troubles several times in the past two years. He was forced to cancel all of his personal appearance bookings for the time being.

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DVD Review: WWE’s Greatest Wrestling Factions Wed, 21 May 2014 04:01:20 +0000 WWEs Greatest Factions


When you think about a wrestling stable or “faction”, the general consensus is that they really don’t work in wrestling anymore and the golden age of groups like the 4 Horsemen, the nWo and D-Generation X are long gone. But recently factions are coming back in vogue. The Shield, The Wyatt Family & even the partially reunited Evolution have taken over the WWE and have been apart of some of the hottest matches of the last few years. This documentary covers them all! From the Heenan Family to the Oddities and beyond, “WWE’s Greatest Factions” is the perfect choice for someone who loved it when the good guy was outnumbered by the stable of the day.

The DVD opens up with one of the big dogs in D-Generation X. And no, this isn’t you’re typical “countdown”-style of format so don’t let their positioning on the DVD fool you. The format is that of the recent Ultimate Warrior DVD where matches are inserted after the overall recap of the faction. In this case, the Corporate Rumble pitting DX versus The Corporation for the last entrant into the Royal Rumble of that year. (Another interesting note is that CM Punk’s comments are featured on the DVD but it’s obviously not new footage.)

The review of The Heenan Family was spot on & they basically focused on Bobby Heenan and how having him in your corner was an instant stamp of credibility. Paul Heyman has to be the closest you’d get to Bobby Heenan in today’s WWE & I don’t think even Heyman can top “The Brain”. Their match featured Bobby Heenan, Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy versus The Machines & Captain Lou Albano.

Incredibly, the Right to Censor is included on the list. The way the Superstars spoke about them and the video packages that were put together, made their act seem like this group had a MUCH higher impact on the WWE than it really did. Although it was funny that AJ Lee said she’d probably join the Right to Censor if they were around today.

And they’re followed by one of the greats, The Fabulous Freebirds. The differences between each member of the group is a formula that still stands today in groups like The Shield. You had the talker in Michael Hayes. The muscle in Terry Gordy. And the technician in Buddy Rodgers. There’s no better way to complete a stable than with this formula. Their match featured the Freebirds in an elimination match against the Von Erichs.

Next up was the Nexus. This is the GREATEST WWE factions right? I don’t know what to say…

Ah & onto one of my personal favorites, WCW’s Dangerous Alliance. The talent in that group was unbelievable. Rick Rude. Stunning Steve Austin. Beautiful Bobby Eaton. Arn Anderson. Larry Zbyszko. Medusa. And the incredible mind of “Paul E. Dangerously” or better known as Paul Heyman. I wholeheartedly believe that if it wasn’t for ECW, Heyman’s Dangerous Alliance would be looked back on much more fondly & intently when talking about Paul Heyman’s career. Their match featured Stunning Steve Austin and Beautiful Bobby Eaton versus Marcus Bagwell & Sting.

The next group featured was the fantastic stable of the Hart Foundation. They were absolutely revolutionary in the way they were able to turn the American audience into the bad guys and yet be idolized by the Canadian fans. It was never done like this before and has never been done again. Combine that with the incredible talent the Hart Foundation possessed & it truly did make them one of the best stables in wrestling history. If not for the Montrel Screwjob and Bret Hart leaving for WCW, the Foundation might have lasted for years longer and only God knows how big they might have become. Their featured match was one from RAW where The Hart Foundation faced Stone Cold Steve Austin, Dude Love & The Undertaker in a Flag Match.

The nWo was featured next… but the good nWo before it became too big for its own good. A lot of interviews from guys like Dean Ambrose or Seth Rollins who were teenagers when the nWo was at its height & how popular they were, even in the mainstream entertainment business. Just as with Stone Cold Steve Austin, you could find nWo merchandise anywhere, even in stores like Wal-Mart & the Burlington Coat Factory. It was incredible how popular wrestling was during this era and the nWo was a HUGE factor. The War Games match pitting the nWo versus WCW was the match featured for the nWo.

The next Attitude Era group that joins the list is the forever cool Brood. Between their extremely unique entrance, to the hard rock music theme and vampire imagery (Edge admits to buying a vampire encyclopedia to get everything right), The Brood was just damn cool. John Cena REALLY puts over the brood as a fan, along with many others. In today’s environment, the Brood would probably just look like a Twilight rip-off but in 1998, The Brood was different and could back up their gimmick with their talent in the ring. The match featured was the Brood versus the Job Squad consisting of Al Snow, Bob Holly and Scorpio.

Next up was one of the the best stables of the mid-90s, the Million Dollar Corporation. Ted DiBiase couldn’t wrestle any longer so a managerial role was perfect for him and his character. The talent in the Corporation left a lot to be desired. Sure there were some diamonds in the rough (*ahem* “The Ringmaster” *ahem*). Their bonus match consisted of the Million Dollar Corporation versus Lex Luger, Mabel, Mo, Adam Bomb, Billy & Bart Gunn in a Survivor Series Elimination Match.

The very controversial Nation Of Domination when they first debuted with all of the racism talk. Once they got past that background, we saw the birth and launch of The Rock into super-stardom and has never looked back since. Interestingly though, there’s no mention of when Owen Hart joined the faction even though their featured match was Triple H & The New Age Outlaws versus Farooq, Owen Hart and D-Lo Brown.

The bWo (Blue World Order) wasn’t supposed to work, according to Paul Heyman. But almost immediately, the ECW faithful took to the nWo parody and even when so far as to buy their merchandise by the hundreds. Heyman sounded shocked even today that they actually MADE money when he wasn’t even sure if he wanted to put the gimmick on TV.

The Corporation was one of the more well-known stables in the late 90s but that may be because they were the foil to the insanely popular Stone Cold Steve Austin. Consisting of mostly mid-to-upper mid-card heels, the Corporation was headed by Vince & Shane McMahon along with their “corporate champion”, The Rock while the others filled their roles as henchmen perfectly. The idea of The Corporation was just a natural evolution when the Austin/McMahon storyline started to stale.

Speaking of evolution, four elite men formed the next group, Evolution in 2002. Arguably the best stable in recent memory, Evolution consisted of the 16-time World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, the current World Heavyweight Champion Triple H, the 3rd generation Randy Orton and an absolute beast named Batista. There hadn’t been a better assembled group of talent formed since probably the Four Horsemen and that was never more apparent than when every member of Evolution left Armageddon 2003 with gold around their waists.

And now the one everyone’s been waiting for, The Oddities! OK so going from Evolution to the Oddities is a bit of a stretch but they had their niche. They had fun in the ring and the fans had fun watching them. They were never taken seriously (which was smart) but where a nice, albeit strange, way to break up the intensity RAW was usually filled with at the time. I’ll admit though, the strangest part about The Oddities might be the fact that Kurrgan has developed a pretty nice acting career since leaving wrestling.

ECW’s Triple Threat was up next & I’ll be honest, I didn’t know TOO much about the group consisting of Shane Douglas, Chris Candido and Bam Bam Bigalow. On paper, these three men in their primes could probably dominant pro-wrestling. If this faction existed today and they WERE in their primes, I could absolutely see them dominating TNA. You had the name value in Bigalow (& that he was damn good for a guy of his size). You had the talker in Shane Douglas who I don’t believe he ever met a mic he didn’t love. And Candido, probably one of the most underrated technical wrestlers of his generation. I would have loved to have seen more of these three on a larger stage but unfortunately I do not own a TARDIS. We are treated to a very good tag team match between Douglas & Bigalow versus Rob Van Dam and Sabu.

The next stable is one that should have been bigger in Legacy. They shot straight to the top right at the very beginning of their main roster careers but there was nowhere else for them to go. Orton was going to be a main eventer whether the group succeeded or failed. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase had some great matches during their feud with Shawn Michaels & Triple H but the question always lingered, “Who will break out & become the star of this team?” A lot of money was riding on DiBiase but it was Rhodes that was seemingly injected with charisma while DiBiase’s vanished within months.

And it’s time finally for the Dungeon Of Doom! The Dungeon Of Doom… One of the greatest factions of all time… Thank God this isn’t a countdown show. Oh and their showcased match is the Dungeon Of Doom versus the Hulkamanics in a War Games match.

Probably the most shocking entry is the next, The Straight Edge Society. A ton of CM Punk praise is heaped on him & not only were there a lot Punk promos showed but new Punk footage is shown in a tattoo parlor where he admitted that he was attempting to portray a “wrestling Jesus” but didn’t tell the WWE office because he didn’t want the plug to be pulled on the Society.

And the best is saved for last, the 4 Horsemen. What can be said about the Horsemen that hasn’t been said before? They set the standard for every stable that followed them and did so stylin’ & profilin’. There was no one better when they were active and I have yet to see someone come along to surpass them. Their match featured Flair, Blanchard & Anderson taking on Sting, Lex Luger and Barry Windham.

The Blu-Ray exclusives are not to be ignored either. Featuring the current stables of the WWE, The Wyatt Family, The Shield and the Spirit Squad are all profiled the same way the rest of the DVD is formatted. While each stable also has their own exclusive match, I thought it was even more interesting to hear the current roster comment on their contemporaries rather than those stables of the past.

As a whole, this is definitely a title I would pick up instantly. I always loved a good stable and while there may be some duds on this list, the retrospective look at some the best factions in wrestling history (along with some great matches attached to the documentary) showed what it takes to be a great stable.topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250

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DVD Review: Ultimate Warrior – “The Ultimate Collection” Wed, 09 Apr 2014 21:11:01 +0000 Ultimate Warrior - The Ultimate Collection Cover Art



(Editor’s Note: I watched this DVD last week leading up to WrestleMania XXX and of course, the Ultimate Warrior’s WWE Hall Of Fame induction. I don’t have the words yet to describe how Warrior’s sudden death is effecting anyone who’s ever been a wrestling fan. I’m not going to lie and say I grew up an Ultimate Warrior fan. I was more interested in the Intercontinental title and Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, Roddy Piper and Shawn Michaels, to name a few. They were the guys I could relate to since I wasn’t a 6 ft 2, 275 lb body builder and I never would be. But I saw the appeal of Warrior. He was flashy, highly energized and would plow over the competition. He was Goldberg before Goldberg ever thought about wrestling (and with a more colorful ensemble.) I found it odd that the Warrior chose now to mend fences with the WWE. First it was the video game. Then the DVD. The Hall of Fame. And finally him announcing he signed a new contract with the WWE. All of this was in a 12 month span. I don’t know if Warrior or his family knew something everyone else didn’t and I don’t care to speculate on it. What I will say is that in the past three days and especially on this DVD, Warrior appeared to be a man who had made peace with himself, God and did all he could to mend fences with past adversaries. It’s devastating that his family lost a husband and a father and we all lost one of the biggest characters in wrestling history. The only irony or maybe divine intervention is that he made it through this past week and definitely left us on a high note. Rest in peace, Jim Hellwig.) 

Not being a big Ultimate Warrior fan, I wasn’t too sure how I was going to enjoy watching this documentary. Most, if not all, wrestling fans have seen or heard of the “Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior” DVD & I was curious to see what this documentary showed. I think it’s safe to say that we’ll never get a truly unbiased version of the Ultimate Warrior’s career. But this is his side of the story.

Warrior (yes, the man is billed as “Warrior” instead of the past Jim Hellwig) opens up the DVD speaking directly to the audience about how in the past two decades, “they” have tried to erase the memory of the Warrior. Say that the Ultimate Warrior never had any good matches. But his recent access to the WWE video library proves otherwise. This was definitely an interesting/captivating way to open the DVD and obviously, completely the opposite of how the “Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior” DVD opened.

The documentary begins where the Warrior begins, in the UWF with Sting as part of the Bladerunners. Warrior admits plainly that he always wanted to be a bodybuilder but eventually made his way into the ring. Warrior talks about how the Road Warriors really influenced their look and ring style & while Sting and he didn’t get along too well, they made it work for the time being.

“We split because me and Steve had two different personalities. Steve wanted to be told what to do where I had a mind of my own. I headed to WCCW where the Dingo Warrior began.”

The quality of the UWF footage is incredibly clear, on the Blu-Ray version at least. The DVD format is similar to recent releases with matches worked into the documentary. I honestly prefer to have the matches on a separate disk and watch the documentary as a whole but that’s just my preference.

An interesting note is that only the Warrior is interviewed for this DVD so it’s only his opinion of his career. I’m sure this is the WWE’s way of making amends by allowing him to tell his own side of the story but it’s strange to watch a career retrospective where the star featured is the only one interviewed. Then again, the WWE recently did the same thing with the “Mr. WrestleMania/Shawn Michaels” retrospective and I wasn’t a fan of that either. Yes we get to hear great stories from the men featured but I would love to hear from the opponents that are also featured in the documentary.

A treat for me (and probably any other old school fans) were Warrior’s first two WWE matches featuring him against the ever-lovable jobbers Barry Horowitz and The Brooklyn Brawler. Warrior is very complementary about how the jobbers really made the superstars of that era and how many older veterans helped him along. He didn’t name the veterans specifically except for Harley Race.

Getting into the Warrior’s “real” WWF run is when the documentary picked up. This was the era of taped Madison Square Garden and Boston Garden matches & it’s been awhile since I’ve seen any footage of the Ultimate Warrior’s matches in these two venues. There was a highlight of a match at Boston Garden between the Ultimate Warrior as the Intercontinental Champion and “Macho Man” Randy Savage as the WWF Champion when Savage was in the middle of the Hulk Hogan/Miss Elizabeth love triangle. It was a nice look at the chemistry between the two athletes before their most famous match at WrestleMania 7.

A comment that Warrior made that really stuck with me was when he compared himself to Bret “The Hitman” Hart in that he (Warrior) never cared about if he had a championship or not but Hart was really into it because of the way he was raised. Warrior said that he had no problem with that or with people who thought that way but it did seem like a backhanded compliment.

Warrior goes on to talk about his feud with the late Andre the Giant and on how very highly he thought of him. He said Andre helped the Ultimate Warrior character look stronger and more dangerous by the things Andre allowed in the match because “if Andre didn’t want to do something, you didn’t do it.” He continued by saying that Andre really enjoyed the business and was a pleasure to be around as long as you love the business as well. He didn’t have much patience for people who were just in it for the money or fame and didn’t enjoy what they were doing. This lead into a great match between Andre and Warrior at MSG for the IC title. This is the awesome moment where Andre gets caught calling the Warrior crazy and mocks him by shaking the ropes. Warrior enters and hits a clothesline a bunch of times, hits him with the big splash and wins before the Warrior’s music stops playing. Andre gets on the mic and berates the referee about how the bell never rung. It truly is a gem of a match if you love Andre the Giant. Of course, a more competitive match followed this on the DVD where the two-faced off again for the IC championship on Saturday Night’s Main Event in a stellar match.

Before they move to Hulk Hogan versus the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 6, included is another MSG diamond in the rough where the Ultimate Warrior ends Mr. Perfect’s undefeated streak; a piece a trivia I don’t think I knew.

OK, it’s WrestleMania 6 time and with it comes the Ultimate Warrior’s infamous “Hulk Ho-Gan” promo & beginning the journey to WrestleMania 6. When out of character, he makes an interesting point by saying that Hogan’s past WrestleMania feuds were with former friends turned heel while the Ultimate Warrior would be remaining a babyface. It might have been only WrestleMania 6 but that is still novel today.

Following the match with Hogan, Warrior admits to not being able to relish the moment but always thinking about what was going to be next. He was never complacent in one role, even if that role was as the WWF Champion. This led to a probably never before seen match between Warrior and Ted DiBiase in Tokyo. It was interesting to see how a Japanese crowd reacted to the Warrior’s energy compared the usual rabid reaction from the fans.

Disc 1 ends right near the end of his WWF title reign and with the first match in his feud with the heel Sargent Slaughter while disc 2 opens with Warrior explaining that the story going forward would be for Randy Savage to cause him to drop the title to Slaughter at the Royal Rumble and this would lead to the Savage/Warrior retirement match at WrestleMania 7. Unfortunately the Slaughter/Warrior match is only shown in highlight form but included is a MSG cage match between the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage with Sensational Sherri only a few days after the Warrior dropped the belt.

After his match at WrestleMania 7, Warrior really liked the idea of being one of the first to work with The Undertaker and loved working with him. The ignition of the feud was the Funeral Parlor segment where The Undertaker locked The Ultimate Warrior in a casket. They stayed with the segment as officials tried to pry open the casket. Once open, they showed officials performing CPR on Warrior as Vince McMahon, Roddy Piper and Randy Savage are on commentary questioning if Warrior is still alive. You’d never see that on today’s WWE TV and it would probably be even a little edgy for the Attitude Era.

There wasn’t much discussion about why or how Warrior left the WWF except for his reasoning of just being worn out and how he wanted to try out some other things that didn’t include wrestling. It was a very short and superficial segment of the documentary that I think a lot of people would have liked to learn much more about.

Upon his return at WrestleMania 8, Warrior goes in-depth about the “Ultimate Manics” of he and Randy Savage & how they were supposed to face Razor Ramon and Ric Flair at Survivor Series expect Warrior left before the match happened and Mr. Perfect took his place. Again Warrior never lets on why he left again except for the same reasons as before.

Obviously the shortest part of the documentary was Warrior’s brief WCW run and how Hogan was instrumental into bringing him in for a short-term deal to work only with Hogan. Though they had a great beginning of the feud & debut, the creative team had too many things going on and “Warrior couldn’t do it all by himself.”

“They used Turner’s checkbook to buy me to come back and lose a match to Hogan… If I would have known, I never would have come back.”

The DVD runs well over 8 hours long. I would suggest picking up the Blu-Ray version where there are exclusive features like bonus matches such as Ultimate Warrior vs Sgt Slaughter in the Tokyo Dome and segments like the WrestleMania 6 & 7 contract signings. If you were an Ultimate Warrior fan or just want to hear his side of his story, this collection will satisfy. Even for the casual fan, this collection truly allows Warrior to repute the statements made by many on the “Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior” DVD and he does so eloquently & without malice. I definitely recommend picking this title up if you’re into the classics.


Warrior RIPtopstory120x120-×120-2013.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Get the Latest on WrestleCon This Weekend Sat, 05 Apr 2014 14:35:59 +0000 Catch up with the latest on WrestleCon on Saturday, April 5 & Sunday, April 6 at Sugar Mill, 1021 Convention Center Blvd in New Orleans, LA.

Making appearances at WrestleCon: Terry Funk, Kurt Angle, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Edge, Rob Van Dam, Scott Hall, Bobby Heenan, Mickie James, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, Jim Neidhart,Bully Ray, Matt Striker, Scott Norton,Scotty 2 Hotty, Brian Christopher, Velvet Sky, Angelina Love, Lisa Marie Varon (aka Victoria/Tara), & more!

On Saturday, April 5, from 10 am to 5 pm, meet & greet & get autographs with your favorite wrestling stars, as well as a live Q&A with Goldberg at 1 pm, a live Mickie James concert at 2:30 pm, and a live Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana.

On Saturday, April 5, at 7 pm, get access to the Sugar Mill to not only continue to meet & greet with wrestling superstars, but see the Mardi Gras variety show w/ Marty DeRosa, followed by the WrestleCon SuperShow at 8 pm, followed by $5 Wrestling Hall of Fame After Party:
* Luke Hawx, Shane Helms, & Cassidy Riley vs. Steve Corino, Matt Striker, & Adam Pearce!
* Sid Vicious vs. Doug Gilbert!
* Kevin Steen vs. Masato Tanaka!
* Jeff Jarrett vs. Colt Cabana!
* CZW World Heavyweight champion Drew Gulak vs. Chris Hero vs. Michael Elgin
* In an Ultraviolent Affair: CZW owner DJ Hyde vs. MASADA
* Joey Ryan & Candice LaRae vs. Sojo Bolt & Jake Manning
* Also Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, & more!

Then on Sunday, April 6 from 10 am to 3 pm, continue the chance to meet & greet with stars of wrestling, as well as a live Kevin Steen Show, a Wrestling Trivia Contest w/ Matt Striker, and a Countdown to WrestleMania hosted by Marty DeRosa w/ live guests & predictions.

Combat Zone Wrestling then returns to action with ‘Best of the Best’ on Saturday, April 12 at The Flyers Skate Zone, 601 Laurel Oak RD in Voorhees, NJ at 7:30 pm!topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250

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Flashback: Top Ten Moments in Royal Rumble History Sat, 25 Jan 2014 17:18:15 +0000 HTC Editorial Logo


{Here’s an editorial I wrote WAY BACK when the website was still called Creatively Endeavored & John Cena didn’t win his second Rumble. – MJH}

Everyone has one.

The first Pay Per View they were allowed to get.

Even though I started watching wrestling in 1987, I had never seen a live PPV until January of 1993. You see, I was born in January (23rd to be exact) and every year my parents found it hard to find me presents. It was less then a month after Christmas and Hasbro couldn’t put out WWF figures fast enough to complete my collection. So in ’93 my parents got creative. After hours and hours of fulfilling my familial obligations, I was finally able to open the huge wrapped box with my name on it. Inside of that box was… another smaller box. And then another. And another. After 7 boxes I finally opened a small ring box to reveal this:

To say I was excited would be a VAST understatement. Finally I would be able to see the Royal Rumble as it happened just a day after my birthday and thus a love for the Rumble was born.

The Royal Rumble is my WrestleMania. The surprises, the nostalgia and the most important prize in wrestling: a main event spot at WrestleMania. To win the Royal Rumble is arguably more prestigious than winning the WWE championship right now. As there have only been 19 winners, a victory in the Rumble match can almost ensure your status as WWE’s elite. 9 of these winners already reside in the Hall of Fame with 8 others whom are assuredly future inductees. I look forward to the Rumble all year-long so having to put together this list was probably the easiest assignment I’ve ever had.

Top 10 Royal Rumble Moments:

10. Mr. Perfect returns to WWE & stands toe to toe with Austin, Angle & HHH

– “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig was a mainstay in the upper mid-card in the 80s and early-90s WWF. 2002 saw the re-emergence of many wrestlers who had left for the “greener” pastures of WCW in the mid-90s and the Royal Rumble was a perfect event for their re-debut. Perfect entered the Rumble at #25 to a HUGE ovation and eventually ended up in the final three before being eliminated by the winner, Triple H. This was pretty much the last hurrah for Mr. Perfect before his untimely death in 2003.

9. Jerry Lawler hides under the ring for almost 40 mins

– Jerry Lawler wasn’t always the wise-cracking sidekick to Jim Ross or Michael Cole. When “The King” entered the WWF in 1992, he was just starting with the USWA and came to the WWF mainly as a heel announcer. That changed though as he quickly entered into a feud with the ENTIRE Hart family. But Lawler was always a comedy character in the WWF and that was never more evident than at the 1996 Royal Rumble when he actually hid underneath the ring for a whopping 36 minutes before being eliminated by the eventual winner Shawn Michaels.

8. John Morrison’s “Spiderman” leap to the barricade

– There’s not much to say about this as the video speaks for itself. One of the most incredibly athletic things seen on a WWE event.

7. Bret Hart & Lex Luger are co-winners

– 1994 was only the second year that the stipulation of “Whomever wins the Royal Rumble gets a WWF Title shot at WrestleMania” and things were about to get interesting. Yokozuna had dominated the WWF as Heavyweight Champion since June of 1993. He fended off challenges from Lex Luger, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and The Undertaker, whom he defeated earlier in the Rumble PPV. Luger and Hart were both heavy favorites coming into the Rumble match as Luger defeated Yokozuna by count-out 6 months earlier at Summerslam and it was Hart who Yokozuna defeated for his first WWF title at the previous year’s WrestleMania. No one knew who was going to win the Rumble but all were positive it was going to be one of their favorites, either Bret Hart or Lex Luger. No one thought BOTH would win! For the first and only time in history, there were TWO winners of the Royal Rumble and both men were set to face the dreaded Yokozuna at WrestleMania 10.

6. Diesel stands tall waiting for more opponents

– In the very same Rumble, a new superstar exploded onto the radar of every WWF fan. At the time, Diesel was nothing more than Shawn Michaels’ goon with very few WWF matches under his belt. By the time he was eliminated by five men he had eliminated 7 on his own, literally waiting for new opponents to enter the match just so he could toss them right out. Before the year was out, Diesel had won the Intercontinental, Tag Team and World Heavyweight Championships. And it all started at the Royal Rumble.

5. Undertaker & HBK have an epic Royal Rumble finale

– Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker’s paths hadn’t crossed since HBK returned from his mid-career retirement in 2002. But everyone remembered their epic matches from the late 90s and when the two legends found themselves as the last two men in the 2007 Rumble, the excitement in the arena was palpable. HBK and Taker didn’t disappoint giving us a thrilling 10 minutes of dramatic action concluding with The Undertaker winning his first Royal Rumble.

4. John Cena returns MONTHS before his expected return & wins in the Garden

– John Cena was recovering from a torn pectoral by the time the 2008 Royal Rumble rolled around. His shocking return and victory surprised even the most jaded of fans and set off a trend of “surprise” returns that has almost become a staple of more recent matches.

3. CM Punk tries to “save” Superstars before eliminating 5

– CM Punk is the “en vogue” superstar right now. People appreciate his in-ring talent, his ability to talk and his apparent fearlessness with his own career. And while he was somewhat popular before the 2010 Royal Rumble, his mid-match promos attempting to convert fellow superstars to his Straight Edge Society not only solidified him as a star to watch but it also made for a Rumble moment that will surely stand the test of time.

2. Ric Flair wins his first WWF title

– For the first and only time in WWF/E history, the World Title was to be awarded to whomever won the 1992 Royal Rumble match. While he had been claiming to be the “real World’s champion”, Ric Flair hadn’t really accomplished anything in the WWF by the time the ’92 Rumble came around. And when it was revealed that the “Nature Boy” had drawn #3 out of #30, not a single person thought we’d be seeing Flair with the gold when the night was over. Bobby Heenan practically had an aneurysm all night while on commentary! But “with a tear in his eye” Ric Flair outlasted 29 other men to reign supreme for his first of two WWF World Title reigns.

1. Shawn Michaels goes the distance

– Royal Rumble 1995 was the birth of a legend. At the end of 1994, Shawn Michaels was a former tag team competitor and Intercontinental championship who seemed to have a good upside. His potential appeared limitless after his WrestleMania 10 ladder match but many still looked at him as the “pretty boy” who wouldn’t reach the levels of his former bodyguard Diesel who had already won the WWF title within one year of being with the company. Michaels was good but not many believed he was THIS good. The ’95 Rumble was the unveiling of our era’s Ric Flair as Shawn Michaels entered at number one and proceeded to flip, flop and fly around the ring until he emerged as the winner, along with the added bonus of having Pamela Anderson on his arm. Shawn Michaels took this victory and ran all the way into the Hall of Fame.

The Royal Rumble is arguably the most unpredictable match on the WWE calendar. But that’s exactly what’s so fun about making these predictions.

2012 Predictions:

– Goldust will make a surprise appearance and eliminate Cody Rhodes (They’ve been teasing this for awhile with Cody wanting more competition and claiming to be “the last hope for the Rhodes name”).

– A former World Champion will win the Rumble (I’m looking at you Miz, Jericho or Orton).

– Sheamus will dominate & have the most eliminations of the night (Look for a Diesel-esque performance).

– Rey Mysterio will be the token injury return.

– The losers of the WWE & World Title matches will enter the Rumble (except for maybe the injured Mark Henry).

One way or another, we’ll have A LOT to talk about on Monday as we all start to get ready for WrestleMania!topstory120x120-×120-2013.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250

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Guys and Divas #3: After the Stampede (Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Tamina Snuka, WCW Monday Nitro) Wed, 16 Oct 2013 09:50:29 +0000 Good day, everyone!

Welcome to week three of “Guys and Divas”; the only column on Inside Pulse Wrestling that puts its legs on one pant at a time.

I’ve got a real cracker of a column for you this week. In this week’s “Bonus Ball”, I’ll be taking a trip down memory lane to the show that started it all. Plus, the Rhodes Brothers make history and the latest adventures of  the daughter of the “Superfly”, Tamina Snuka!

But first(!), some business.

I’d like to apologize to anyone who might have taken certain facets of my column thus far the wrong way. I’ve wanted to write something like this for a very long time, and I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about what I’m about or how I feel about the lively and thoughtful discussions that are no doubt in our futures.

I assure you that the use of the epithet “Kids” in the preface to last week’s “Bonus Ball” was merely a stylistic choice, as the whole segment was intended to be conducted in the style of a family meeting. I didn’t intend to put forth a tone of condescension or to imply that I’m “better” than anyone. It was, as I say, a stylistic choice and nothing more.

As my column progresses, I fully intend to engage in the comments. My request to not be pulled into arguments was a response to a specific commenter (who believe it or not, didn’t even return for week two, so it was pretty much all for nought) who I felt misinterpreted the gist of what I was saying. It obviously would have been better to address that commenter directly within the comments section, and that was my mistake and for that I am sorry.

I’m new here and I’m still learning when and where and how to address the things that happen around my column. I’ll get there, but I’ll need some patience in the meantime. I sincerely hope I can count on all of you for that.

In the spirit of that, I must stand firm on one thing however. I DO love the Divas division, and that comes from a long-standing, deep-seeded affection for the strong female figures I’ve known both personally and through various entertainment media. I agree that the Divas division and the way it is treated within WWE isn’t in the best shape right now, and I would never argue to the contrary. My position is simply that despite their flaws and the flaws of those who are in charge of their adventures, I care about these characters and the women who portray them very deeply. I know that’s not a very common sentiment, but it is what it is and that’s the place from which all my thoughts will spring forth.

So long story short (too late), I hope we can all move forward from all this and start a healthy dialogue about this thing we all love…and remember, the column’s called “GUYS and Divas”. I’m going to cover it all, and I hope you’ll all come with me as I do.

Thank you for your time.


This Monday night saw the crowning of new WWE Tag Team Champions and arguably the beginning of one of the most long-awaited storylines in years. Let’s raise a verbose but well-earned glass…to Cody and Goldust!


Capping off what I felt to be a really solid Monday Night Raw this week, we saw the long-running Tag Team Championship reign of The Shield’s Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns come to a decisive end at the hands of The Rhodes Brothers (Cody and Goldust)–with a little help from The Big Show.

What a match, too! All too rarely these days do I really feel like I’m watching characters fight for their lives. Perhaps it’s just the cynicism of adulthood and having watched this show for so long, but sometimes it feels like the performers are so consumed with trying to reach the predetermined result that they forget to take us on a journey.

Not these four men. Not this time. Cody, Dustin, Seth and Roman had me glued to my television and never sure where this could all go; not to mention how refreshing it was to see the Tag Team belts being defended in the main event, with very few strings from other storylines attached. If anyone has any doubt about the prestige of the “giant pennies” being alive and well, this match cemented their importance in a big way. (As I mentioned last week, the mens’ singles titles could use such a boost, and I hope they get it soon.)

After a perfunctory (yet, I’d imagine, quality) rematch sometime soon, it’s a safe bet that The Shield will return to their new roles as Triple H and Stephanie’s bodyguards and muscle with nary a dent. As for the Rhodes Brothers, I think we’re all abuzz about the possibility that the long-awaited Cody vs. Goldust Wrestlemania showdown is waiting in the wings.

Frankly, the recent reemergence of Dustin Rhodes in general has had me in a constant state of theorizing how we might find ourselves with that dream match. Will it just be another standard “tag team breaks up over a minor quibble” scenario or are we in for something really special and really personal?

I opt for the second possibility. I think the seeds were planted a few weeks back during the Dusty and Stephanie confrontation. After proposing that “The American Dream” decide which of his sons would be returning to the WWE ring, our Mrs. Levesque seemed to sum up the relationship between the legendary father and his two sons. Cody is the clean-cut golden child and Dustin is the troubled, often ignored and misunderstood rebel. I have to believe sometime in the next 6+ months, that dynamic is going to become a factor.

Now, the question becomes: who’ll be the face and who’ll be the heel?

From a sentimental perspective, I don’t see how Dustin is our heel. He’s the wily veteran getting a chance at redemption. I can’t fathom how that would lead to a villainous role. He’s got to be the face; the protective older sibling who worries that his kid brother’s getting a big head from all of his newfound success. Moreover, if we get this match, I’d say it’s highly likely it’ll be some sort of retirement shenanigan. Heel Cody defeats Face Dustin, whose career is ended…but then Cody reaches a hand down and lifts his brother up for a tearful embrace. He’s earned his respect and accepted a passed torch. A Wrestlemania classic, to be sure.

Regardless of how it all turns out, I think we can all agree that we’ve got great things in store courtesy of the sons of the son of a plumber.

…and speaking of multi-generational superstars, let’s head over to this week’s Divas segment for a look at one of the division’s best and brightest, and her new place in the WWE Universe.


April 15. I take my girlfriend to her very first live WWE event. She’s been watching the show with me for about six months at this point and has come to love it from her usual literary perspective; something I adore about her.

After what seems an interminable wait outside the Local Grocery Store Conglomerate Arena, we take our seats. It’s a perfect view: dead center (both vertically and horizontally) on the camera side. We’re getting a live panoramic view of what we see on our television screen every week.

A bit of pyro. Some videos touting WWE’s work with the National Guard. A DVD trailer or two…and then, it’s on.

The screaming guitar and the modified version of “Hart Attack” heralds Natalya to the ring. I’m ecstatic that not only are we going to see arguably the best Diva on the roster in action, but she’s not flanked by her lumbering then-on-screen boyfriend and their leprechaun pal. I wonder, can it get any better?

Then it gets better.

Tribal drumbeats ring out and out steps an Amazon in blue. My girlfriend’s eyes widen. I smile big. Tonight we’re going to see Natalya vs. Tamina Snuka, and it is going to be FANTASTIC.

My girlfriend is now enamored of Tamina, and why wouldn’t she be?–She’s big, loud, powerful and bloody gorgeous; like a Samoan Sigourney Weaver.

Sadly, this was pretty much the last we saw of her for a while. Plagued with injuries and having just earned a role in her cousin Dwayne’s upcoming Hercules film, Tamina took some time away from the ring. Meanwhile, the rivalry of former best friends AJ Lee and Kaitlyn and the debut of E!’s “Total Divas” monopolized the division’s airtime.

Now the dust has settled, and we’re kind of back to the standard Diva plot of the last few years. There’s a challenger. There’s a champion. A match is nigh…but oh, wait! What’s this? AJ’s got some muscle…and in the immortal words of Leon Phelps, it’s a lady!

Mark my words: AJ and Tamina will have a falling out…and the results will be glorious.

Here’s what I picture. The champ and her enforcer split (probably violently). Tamina remembers that she’s the alpha female of this proverbial canvas jungle. She challenges her former client for the butterfly belt (and to tag up on a comment from last week, I agree we need to get the Women’s Championship back in the mix like whoa). She dominates.

Now we have a monster heel holding all the marbles. Diva after Diva after Diva steps up to the plate, only to be flattened by a big boot and a Superfly Splash. It seems like no one can stop this second-generation lady-trouncing machine…

…and then, as gives rise to so many hidden characters in “Super Smash Bros.”, A NEW CHALLENGER APPEARS!

Who will it be? A newly-promoted NXT face? A returning Kharma? Or maybe it’s just the end of the line…and standing tall, waiting to take it all down: Natalya. I don’t know about you (although I can respectfully guess for some of you), but all this makes me pretty giddy for the next few months of Diva action.

Ta. Mi. Na.

Ta! Mi! Na!



Like music to my Diva-loving ears. This is going to be fun. I just know it.

Finally this week, I’m proud to present a new sub-segment here at “Guys and Divas”. Starting here, I’ll be periodically taking a look back at a formative, memorable or favorite moment in my life as a professional wrestling diehard.

This time around, we go to the root of all the madness: my first time watching wrestling on television. Buckle up, put some refuse in Mr. Fusion and hold tight. The proverbial DeLorean is on the move, for today…


WCW Monday Nitro: April 20, 1998

This is where it all began for me.

It’s the night after WCW/nWo Spring Stampede 1998. The top stories:

  • “Macho Man” Randy Savage is your new World Heavyweight Champion after defeating Sting in a No Disqualification Match. The nWo is beginning to split, and will eventually form two factions: Hollywood (black and white) and Wolfpac (black and red).
  • Raven is your new United States Champion after defeating Diamond Dallas Page in a Raven’s Rules Match. He already has his first challenger in the thus-far undefeated (74-0, to date) Goldberg, and his own organization (The Flock) is dealing with infighting.
  • Booker T is your new WCW Television Champion.

After fifteen years, I slipped into watching this episode like a glove. I thought the production design, the sound of Tony Schiavone calling the action or the sight of those chrome plated letters on either side of the stage would cause a bit of nostalgic jet lag…but I was thankfully mistaken.

What a different show this was, though. Compared to the WWE (or even TNA) of today, there was very little prose and matches seemed to flow naturally from one to the next. Characters defined themselves by their actions instead of their words, more often than not. It felt like a show about WRESTLING, and I had no idea how much I missed that.

I know I’ve stated numerous times thus far here on “Guys and Divas” that the main crux of my attention as a viewer of professional wrestling is in the writing, the theatricality and the storytelling. Watching this, I began to wonder if perhaps that was less about a personal predilection and more about the changing times. When I watched these shows as a young man, every second counted and the fights themselves gripped me far more than promos or interviews. Is it a product of aging? Of my years in the theatre? Or is it a defense mechanism I’ve developed to combat those who might sneer that at 26, I still make a point of watching a show about sweaty men faux-fighting and acting out a live soap opera?

Whatever the answer, as I watched, I started making a mental list of things I miss, things I don’t miss and things that left me conflicted.

  • MISS: A prominent Cruiserweight division and a strong presence from the world of lucha libre. In this episode in particular, I was treated to a bout between “The Chairman of WCW” La Parka and the Ultimo Dragon. I recall watching matches like this one in a state of wonderment. When you’re a kid and you’ve got school the next day, every moment of your night counts, and I guess the presence of these acrobatic performers (traditionally during the 8 o’clock hour) was something I held very dear, and something I remember with great fondness.
  • DON’T MISS: The Hogan of it all.
  • CONFLICT: The grunginess. I remember when I started watching wrestling, it was viewed as something trashy on the level of “The Jerry Springer Show”. I’ve always been attracted to forbidden things, so I felt somewhat rebellious. To be fair, this was also when the business was at the to-date unmatched zenith of its popularity, so I wasn’t part of a shameful minority. Sometimes I miss that rush of feeling like “This is weird. I shouldn’t be watching this…but I’m still going to anyway.” Then I remember what that outward controversy meant backstage. These were the days before we lost so many talented men and women to the addictions that that environment tended to breed. As homogenized and squeaky-clean as this business may seem sometimes today, I feel better knowing that there is a concerted effort being made to keep these performers as safe and comfortable as possible. Does it result in a loss of spontaneity and unpredictability?–Perhaps; but I sleep better knowing I’m not always watching someone for the last time…and on that tip…
  • MISS: Eddie Guerrero. It goes without saying, but GOD, he was something.
  • MISS: Bobby Heenan on color commentary. Sure, Jerry Lawler gets off a clever one-liner now and again; but “The Brain” was a font of hilarious thought. So many times during this episode, Tony Schiavone would throw to commercial; and as the camera panned over to the Nitro logo sitting on the ground, Heenan couldn’t help but fire off one more ridiculous quip. Just fantastic.
  • CONFLICT: Buff Bagwell. I miss him because I remember finding him ridiculously entertaining. I don’t miss him because he’s Buff Bagwell.
  • DON’T MISS: The WCW Hotline. It got me into a lot of trouble when I was 12. Not a good memory.
  • MISS: WCW’s sense of continuity. To use an example from this episode, at one point Schiavone mentions something from a pay-per-view two years prior that leads DIRECTLY to the then-current Nash/Savage contingent. I know it’s a small thing, but it made me really happy.
  • MISS: The competition of two shows on a Monday night. True, the fairly recent attempt by TNA to be WWE’s new rival was a failure, but there’s something about that “other show” being around that really seems to up the creative team’s game.

All in all, it was fun to look back at the night where my relationship with this business kicked off and I look forward to revisiting more such events the third Wednesday of each month. Let’s get nostalgic up in this mother.

…and like that, the third installment of “Guys and Divas” comes to a close. I hope you all had fun reading it; and speaking of fun, I’ve got some homework for you, dear reader.

In the spirit of keeping the comments lively and interactive and fun, I’d like to hear from you on the following questions (in addition to your traditional thoughts and queries).

  • I laid out my potential Cody/Goldust plot. Where do you think it could go? Do you think Dustin COULD be the heel?–Help me predict the future for the Rhodes Brothers.
  • If not Natalya, who do you think could be the David to Tamina’s Goliath? Is there anyone in NXT who’s caught your eye?–Sound off on this potential Divas blockbuster.
  • What was your first televised wrestling experience?–Share your memories of the first time you glimpsed the world of sports entertainment on your screen.

(OBVIOUS CONFESSION: I love a good bulleted list.)

As usual, join me for my weekly Monday Night Raw live-tweet (username: @biscuitman18; hashtag #GuysAndDivas) and again thank you for your patience and your thoughts. I really do appreciate you all.

Until next week, I’m Jeff Heatherly saying “Come on, Mary Todd Lincoln. I’ll buy you a drink.” So long, everybody!topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-×250.jpg|topstory500x250

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The View From Down Here – Things I Miss In Wrestling Mon, 07 Oct 2013 10:00:11 +0000 By the time you read this I’ll be on holiday for a week, and will not have seen the Battleground PPV, will not know its results, and may not see it until it’s released on DVD (unless one of my oh so generous friends records it for me). That is because this is the school holidays, and so the family is going on a trip. But the school holidays have actually already started this past week, and so I am introducing my son to some more of my favourite wrestlers.


It must be said I have had a success. Mr Perfect is now held in as high esteem as Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan. We’ve just started on Randy Savage and early indications are that this will be another success. But watching those old matches made me think about the things I was seeing on the screen that we just don’t see any longer.


(Pause! Today’s column is brought to you by the wrestler Jake Roberts and the number 10.)


Now, before I start, this column is about aspects and concepts. Otherwise it’d just be names like Randy Savage, Eddie Guerrero, Arn Anderson, Ricky Steamboat, etc. And this is in no order other than the order I wrote the paragraphs in. Okay. Ready? Let’s take a look.


1) Managers.

We still have the odd manager here and there, mainly to act as mouthpieces for wrestlers who have trouble talking. But that’s about it. They run some interference, do the distraction thing, every so often get in a sneaky shot. But that’s not the managers I remember. Heenan, Ellering, Dangerously – these were managers who had complete stables and talked about money and looked after every aspect of their wrestlers’ lives. They were more subtle about their assistance at ring-side, they argued a lot more with the refs and their interactions were a lot more avuncular. Managers back then had personalities, but they did not let themselves overwhelm their charges. They were people you would be proud to have actually representing you.



2) Masked identities.

I don’t mean the lucha libre masks from Mexico or the similar masks worn by some Japanese wrestlers. I mean when wrestlers whose identities everyone knew who wore masks. It might be something like the Killer Bees donning masks and doing the ol’ switcheroo in order to win matches (man, I love that spot!), or a fired wrestler wearing a mask in order to keep wrestling. The Yellow Dog, Giant Machine, Hulk Machine, The Midnight Rider… there is quite the list. The most recent was Hulk Hogan’s run as Mr America, but this was totally negated by the fact he kept lifting his mask to drop the wink at the crowd… as though they were so stupid they could not work it out for themselves.



3) Finishing moves.

What? You ask, interrupting me. Of course we still have finishing moves! You is crazy. Well, I counter, ignoring your appalling grammar, yes, but are they actually finishing moves? They have to hit the moves three or four times before they actually get the pin. What I miss is that move that once it’s been hit, you know the match was over. Jerry Lawler’s piledriver, Jake Roberts’ DDT, Macho Man’s flying elbow, the Perfectplex, Hulk Hogan’s apparently devastating leg drop… the list is pretty damn comprehensive. You only let some-one kick out of your move if you were retiring (like Savage v Warrior at WM7… although the retirement was then 15 years in the future). For a while a few were sacrosanct, but nowadays even HHH’s pedigree and Undertaker’s tombstone have been kicked out of. Sure, it might make the finish of matches a little more uncertain, but there was something about that killer finishing move that the crowd was just waiting for.



4) Tag team formula.

Yes, tag teams still exist, but there was something about the tag team formula that just made the matches so much more heart-attack inducing. The Ricky Morton, face in peril, false tag formula. It rears its head every so often, but you so rarely get to see anyone play the genuine Ricky Morton, get your arse kicked from end of the ring to the other until you finally make that last gasp hot tag and the crowd, who has been taken along for the ride of the story told in the ring, explodes. It still appears in the indys every so often, but, again, who wants to play Ricky Morton and (to quote a wrestler from Victoria, here in Australia) “look like a loser”. That selfishness is a big part of the issue. And it’s a shame. Because Morton never looked like a loser. He looked like the toughest SOB to step foot in the ring.



5) Wrestling announcers.

I know, cutting you off before you interrupt me again, we have wrestling announcers. Yes, but that’s not what I mean. I mean announcers who know about wrestling. Play-by-play announcers who could call the moves, and even colour commentators who knew what the moves were called. Now, some announcers are quite good – JBL, for example, CM Punk when he steps behind the mic – but it is as wrestling announcers that there are issues. It all boils down to being forced to sell the story of the match because that is what is expected. Even some-one like Mike Tenay is forced to interact with the semi-motivated Taz as the straight man; in WCW he could rattle off the names and history of wrestling moves with hardly a second thought. Nowadays you’re lucky if three moves (and two of them are the finishing moves) are even named by the guys on the mic.


6) Jobbers.

This is what started this column, after a discussion in my column’s comments section last week. The unsung heroes of early wrestling were the jobbers. The guys whose job it was to lose but also make the other guys look good. But it was Vince Russo who changed that when he gave every guy on the card, no matter how low on the totem pole they stood, a back story. While that was great for the guys, what it meant for the audience was that they expected these people they were starting to develop a relation ship with to win, and so now everyone had to get some wins. But the days of Barry Horowitz, Mike Bell and, my favourite, Iron Mike Sharpe (the greatest ever) were gone, and now everyone has to look like they could win, and we don’t have those guys who didn’t even get an entrance just so the wrestling star could look good.



7) Tag Team Survivor Series matches.

I can’t remember the real last one of these we had. There was no rhyme or reason to them, it was just all the face teams against all the heel teams and let them go out there and have fun for 20+ minutes. What more could a fan ask for? All survivor series matches started as something that just created fun matches that – because nothing except pride was on the line – had uncertain winners (unless a certain orange-skinned human with pythons instead of arms, which made using utensils rather awkward, was involved). Even better, they showed that the WWF at the time had more than enough legitimate tag teams to do this. And the Conquistadors.



8) Animals.

From Frankie to Damien to Matilda, there was just something about a wrestler having some sort of animal mascot accompanying them to the ring. It created insta-feuds – Heenan dog-napping Matilda, Earthquake serving snakeburgers – and it just helped add to the whole circus atmosphere of the WWF at the time. And then there was the iconic – who could forget the snake biting Macho Man while Miss Elizabeth cried at the side? Of course, then we had Pepper (the dog, not the condiment) and that was the last time I think an animal was featured heavily on WWF/E programming. But for some wrestlers, the presence of an animal just added to the mystique. Seriously – would Jake Roberts have been as creepy without being able to drop Damien on the bodies of his fallen victims?



9) Introductory vignettes.

Nowadays a new wrestler is first seen on NXT or announced via Twitter or Tout, but the whole series of introductory vignettes setting up some-one’s personality and outlook on life is missing. Sure, we had the Wyatt family things that sort of set them up as a cult-like entity, but that was for the group, not an individual. Sure some made us look forward to a wrestler who ended up being a huge disappointment – I’m looking at you, Outback Jack, and you in your comeback, Billy Graham – but then there were some that helped set up some-one who became a legendary performer – and, of course, the epitome of this is Mr Perfect and his perfect series of sports shorts.



10) Looking over the crowd.




Yep, I’m now done. Of course, this is wrestling, and the old “never say never” thing holds as true in the indys as it does in the big leagues. But I will miss the sound of the crowd booing me, and cheering when I get pinned or submit in the middle of the ring. I will miss the adrenaline rush that wipes out all pain the moment I swing out through the curtains. I will miss the camaraderie that exists backstage and at training. I will even miss doing bump after bump and taking suplex after suplex, slam after slam, move after move in the training ring. Okay, I won’t miss 500 Hindi squats and the aerobic training, but that’s such a little part of the overall experience. The concussion, my worsening knees and shoulder, and my kids getting older have made me think I should hang up the boots. Maybe a manager at some point? Who knows, but I will miss wrestling from a wrestler’s point of view.




So… is there anything you miss in wrestling?

Now, while this column and what I write might not be to your taste, we have had a plethora (a plethora, I say!) of new writers start to submit their columns to IP in recent days, so go and check them all out and give them your love.


And that’s the view!

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Editorial: Remembering “Good Ol’ JR” Sun, 15 Sep 2013 13:05:24 +0000 HTC Editorial Logo

No, we didn’t lose Jim Ross in the physical sense (thank the Lord) but the wrestling world did lose one of the greatest minds the industry has seen. And he’s gone far too soon.

Ross is 61 years old, began in the wrestling business in 1974, is an intelligent man with his finances and has a happy home life. He has the same right as any person to leave their chosen profession when they want to & “ride off into the sunset”. But if recent “reports” or “rumors” are true, then Ross felt he had much more to give to the business he loved & was muscled out of a position where he would be able to do something about it. And that is only in a backstage capacity. In this day and age, a man with Jim Ross’ talent for storytelling could travel one day a week for a TV taping (or two on a PPV week) and be home either the same day or next. John Madden called football games on a weekly basis until he was 74 years old. Ralph Kinner is 88 years old and still visits the Mets announce booth from time to time.

Jerry Lawler is even two years older than Ross.

There was no outcry for Jim Ross to retire – just the opposite. His removal from WWE television befuddled and angered the majority of wrestling fans. Ross was the first voice on WWE TV that fans were able to make a connection to since the retirement of Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan’s departure to WCW. JR was the voice of an era and not an era any wrestling fan is soon to forget. Jim Ross helped navigate longtime WWE viewers into the new waters of the “Attitude Era” while also introducing new fans to an insane world filled with half-naked men & women wrestling in front of a live audience with the end goal of winning a “belt”. He did it all with professionalism, excitement and with a grown man screaming “puppies!” sitting next to him. Every match had a story & the audience was invested in the characters being featured on television.

I began watching wrestling in 1987 and as much as I wanted to be a part of this comic book come to life, as I grew older it was pretty clear I wasn’t going to “grow” to the size of these superheroes on TV (little did I know that being 5′ 6″ & 185 lbs wasn’t as much of a dream killer as I thought). When I hit high school and thinking I wasn’t ever going to step through those ropes as a wrestler, Jim Ross was just starting to get more airtime with Vince McMahon weekly & suddenly there was a voice on TV just excited about watching wrestling as I was. He didn’t talk down to the audience. He knew every story and how to sell it to the audience to make it seem FAR more important than it really was. And he knew the names of the moves being performed in the ring! THAT’S what I wanted to do. I wanted to tell stories using the sport I loved as a medium. I wanted people to as invested and excited about what was happening in the ring as I was. I wanted to be known as the voice of pro-wrestling.

Obviously that didn’t happen. But I didn’t abandon pro-wrestling like so many of my peers did once it was clear the “Attitude Era” was over. I stuck around even when the stories were horrible but yet if Jim Ross was excited about what was happening, I was too. It’s the basis of good storytelling – know your audience & give them what they want (or at least act like what they are seeing is what they want). That’s what “Good Ol’ JR” did for every show until 2009 when he was taken off of the air as a weekly announcer & has only made sporadic appearances since.

By many accounts, Jim Ross was enjoying a semi-retirement where he still worked for the WWE in a consultant/”Legends” capacity. Sometimes he’d be on a DVD. Sometimes it was scouting talent for the new Performance Center. Sometimes it was hosting discussion panels…

One way or another, there was always a chance that JR would return to the announce booth and all would be right in the world of wrestling again. And who really knows if we’ve seen the last of the black hat on Raw. But if this really is “goodbye” for Jim Ross, it’s a tough pill to swallow for many wrestling fans.

Jim Ross always mentioned the great Gordon Solie during many of his broadcasts & consistently brings him up in interviews as being the best wrestling announcer in history. He’ll never admit it himself but Jim Ross surpassed every man who sat near a wrestling ring & helped tell millions of fans the stories being acted out before them. To me, he will forever be the voice of wrestling and I feel honored to have witnessed his career.

Thank you, Jim Ross, for everything you gave to pro-wrestling. And thank you for showing me how to be a great storyteller even if you didn’t write the story.topstory120x120-×120-2013.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Jim Ross Blog: JR Picks His Greatest Performer In Professional Wrestling History Sun, 30 Dec 2012 17:18:18 +0000 In his latest blog post, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross picked out his greatest performer in professional wrestling history. Says JR: “I also say that even though @ShawnMichaels or Ric Flair are generally considered the best in ring talents, over the long haul, as any one ever in pro wrestling that the greatest all around performer that I ever witnessed do their thing was Bobby ‘the Brain’ Heenan. Many younger fans will disagree of which they have the right.”

In this blog entry, JR also talks about his personal picks for the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame class, his greatest tag team of all time, and of course, BBQ sauce. topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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The Stomping Ground: Old School Nitro Recap 6.2.97 (Ric Flair, nWo) Thu, 30 Aug 2012 10:40:34 +0000 Holy crap, has it been a whole week already? Jeez, you guys are needy.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been watching Raw with my thumb on the fast forward button. Unfortunately, most of the energy expended to press that rubber arrow has been spent on the show itself rather than just the commercials. For the first time in months, there is literally NOTHING that interests me in terms of the WWE’s product. Don’t get me wrong; I love CM Punk’s title run and Daniel Bryan as much as the next fanboy, but story-wise there is just nothing fresh or even remotely worth my time. When the highlight of your show is a pre-taped segment wherein Kane does his best “Dr. Evil in group counseling” impression to talk about the insanity that is his character’s back story, you know something is wrong.

A couple of ideas floated through my mind shortly after watching Raw. I wanted to discuss why no one gives a shit about Triple H’s speech (which, by the way, ended without him saying whether or not he’d retire) and I also thought a neat idea would be to do a retrospective of Kane’s career and highlight the absurdities as well as call attention to the possibility of a tag team with either Zack Ryder or Daniel Bryan. I could also talk about how Punk’s heel turn actually lessens the appeal of a Cena/Punk rematch (it would be more intriguing if both were fan favorites and not governed by silly good guy/bad guy rules).

Not gonna do it.

No, this week I actually want to ENJOY what I write about, so I’ve decided to recap an episode of WCW Monday Nitro from waaaaaaaay back in 1997. You know, when the Monday Night Wars were constant water cooler talk and my students weren’t even born yet (how’s that for depressing?). I pulled this stunt back in May with an episode of Raw from the same era. So, courtesy of WWE Classics on Demand, I bring you my recap of WCW Monday Nitro from June 2, 1997.

Previously on WCW Monday Nitro, the Outsiders revealed that they would indeed face the team of Ric Flair and Roddy Piper for the WCW Tag Team Championship. Remember, this is years before Flair and Piper would defeat the Spirit Squad for tag team gold…..and they were still in no better shape.

Scott Hall and Syxx (!!!) are in the ring as the show kicks off. Hall asks Syxx if he notices a certain odor in the air (I could SO make an alcohol joke at BOTH men’s expense right now, but I’ll take the high ground). They call out Flair, who’s recovering from a beating he received at the hands of Hall at Slamboree. JJ Dillon heads to the ring to tell Hall he’s got a match with Flair tonight in Dayton, Ohio (cheap pop)! Hall refuses but JJ tells him that the titles will go back to WCW if he doesn’t take the match. I’m a little confused. If the nWo is supposed to technically be a rival promotion and not just a stable within the company, why are they subject to the ruling of a WCW official?

Here comes Das Wunderkind, Alex Wright, as Tony Schiavone and Larry Zybysko welcome us to the first hour of Nitro. And his opponent? Why, none other than Glacier! As a kid, I thought his gimmick was cool (no pun intended), but now? I definitely see him for what he is: a bad rip-off of a Mortal Kombat ninja. True story: when WCW/nWo World Tour was all the rage, I renamed Glacier’s red outfit “Heatwave” and booked him as Glacier’s evil twin. Anyway, Glacier wins rather quickly with his Super Kick. Mortis (“who’s betta than Kanyon?”) and Wrath attack Glacier while James Vandenberg (who I believe was Abyss’s Father Mitchell) gloats from ringside holding a helmet of MYSTICAL POWER. I don’t remember his involvement in this angle at all….must not have lasted too long.

We return from break with Buff Bagwell facing off against Joe Gomez. Who the fuck was Joe Gomez? In any case, Bagwell had just recently rechristened himself “Buff” after joining the nWo with Scott Norton. This was all before everyone and their mother (except for Judy Bagwell….SHE was a tag team champion) was a part of the organization and diluted the impact the nWo had. Buff Blockbuster ends this one pretty quickly.

Mike Tenay is in the crowd giving us back story to Ernest “The Cat” Miller. Somebody call his momma for Funkasaurus copyright infringement! Hugh Morris (Tough Enough’s Bill DeMott) heads to the ring when he’s attacked from behind by a pre-nWo Konnan. He refuses to head backstage and insists upon facing his opponent, Prince Iaukea (before he would become known as “The Artist Formerly Known As”). Iaukea wins in less than a minute as we now have three squashes in the first hour alone.

Mean Gene and Dillon chat at the ramp about who will get a future tag team title shot after Great American Bash and he says it’s the Steiner Brothers. Sherri and Harlem Heat interrupt to demand an opportunity. Damn, I nearly forgot that Sherri was still their manager back in ’97. Dillon says the Steiners have to beat their next opponents in order to get that title shot, though.

Masahiro Chono and the Great Muta head to the ring to face said Steiners. I completely forgot there was a Japanese contingent of the New World Order. Big Poppa Pump’s still got his mullet and his sanity at this point in his career. He and Muta trade offense until Steiner nails Muta with a double underhook power bomb and tags in the Dog-faced Gremlin. He chases off Muta, who tags in Chono. A decent match turns into a clustershmozz as all four men get into the ring. Harlem Heat interferes, costing the Steiners the match. JJ Dillon tells them they have a match later tonight and they’d better focus on preparing for it. Booker T is definitely showing signs of “break-out star charisma” here, while Stevie Ray rants and rambles cluelessly.

Bobby Heenan joins Schiavone for the next hour as they recap the opening segment. And here comes the Nature Boy, screaming into the mic as only Flair can. God, he was awesome. He says, and I quote, “I will stomp a pothole in (Hall’s) toothpick-chewing, white, honkey ass!” Then we get a promo from DDP as he tells us all he’ll beat Randy Savage in their second encounter at Great American Bash.

To counteract Flair’s charisma, we now have Dean Malenko heading to the ring. Deano Machino is the current United States Champion, back when the belt actually meant something, and his opponent is none other than Wallstreet (aka IRS). The commentators bring up the angle that Wallstreet is on the fence between choosing WCW or the nWo. Honestly, his career was nearing the end; why would ANYBODY care which side he chose? They have a generic old school match (read: nothing fancy) as Nick Patrick catches Wallstreet using the ropes for leverage. “I like what I see with Nick Patrick,” says Schiavone. Ah, irony. Jeff Jarrett runs down to botch the ending of the match, tripping Malenko as he attempts to suplex Wallstreet back into the ring. Wallstreet only gets a count of two and Malenko manages to win with the Cloverleaf. The replay shows Nick Patrick blocking the ropes so Wallstreet can’t reach them!

Jarrett demands a rematch with Malenko from Slamboree and he agrees to it. After that, MONGO makes an appearance to call out Kevin Green and he has Debra by his side. Puppies! Boy, Debra sure knows how to pick her husbands, right?

Harlem Heat faces Ciclope and Damien….is that Sonny Onoo at ringside? You know, before he sued WCW for racial discrimination. I’m sure you can predict where this is going. The Steiners return the favor from earlier (in full view of the ref on the outside) and Damien picks up the victory with a top rope splash! I guess this means Chono and Muta will face Damien and Ciclope for the chance at a tag title shot, right? Yeah, right.

Scott Hall saunters to the ring with Syxx in tow as we are all set for our main event! Flair unloads on Hall despite interference from Syxx and the crowd goes absolutely ape shit. Ric decides to go after Waltman and choke him out on the outside, which allows Hall to capitalize. He distracts the ref so Syxx can nail Flair with a Bronco Buster! The crowd chants for Sting (who’s up in the rafters, I assume) as Hall traps Flair in an abdominal stretch. Flair powers out with a hip toss but he still can’t regain the momentum no matter what he does. Syxx tries to get involved again, but he and Hall collide and Ric tries for the Figure Four! Syxx gets involved AGAIN and Hall bashes Ric in the head with one of the tag title belts, drawing the DQ. The heels continue to beat the shit out of Flair until MONGO and Jarrett make the save! Definitely not the best version of the Horsemen, I can tell you that.

Before the show can end, “Macho Man” Randy Savage drags Okerlund to the ring and threatens to beat Mean Gene up if he doesn’t interview the Macho Man. Gene shows Savage he’s got a pair of steel balls by telling him he’s underestimated DDP and should get his head from out of his ass. JJ Dillon makes the save (!) and tells Savage never to touch an announcer or official again. Dillon calls Savage a bitch who hides behind Elizabeth and Savage decks him!!! Eric Bischoff of all people runs out to call off the Macho Man as Dillon sells it like he was hit by a truck.

This was a great example of a show that focused on a title other than the Big Gold Belt. You had three matches that revolved around the WCW Tag Team Championship and how important the titles were to everyone involved. You hear that, WWE? Go back in your archives and look at how to book a “title hunt” angle.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Rasslin’ Roundtable — Our Favorite WWE Monday Night RAW Moments Mon, 23 Jul 2012 08:00:12 +0000 Chris Sanders: April 23rd 2007, in London. It was a match between then-champion John Cena and Shawn Michaels. It was a few weeks removed from their great match at Wrestlemania 23. But this wasn’t your typical little-meaning Monday Night Raw match. No, this was different, this was special.This was a great back and forth match where both men were countering or kicking out of finishers. This a match where both men wrestling like we had to pay to see it. Just by length alone, I don’t think any match on Raw has match up with that and definitely none since.

The sentiment behind it was simple for me. Just like Chris Jericho stated in his DVD, this match brought me back. I was a casual wrestling fan when I was younger but by the time I got to high school and the beginning of college, I stopped watching. I’m not sure exactly why I stoppe, probably because I was a punk teen that thought he was too cool for everything. But I had seen an ad for Wrestlemania 23 and saw that my old favorite, Shawn Michaels, would be having a match for the WWE championship and I was confused because I never thought Michaels would come back to wrestling. So I watched WM23 and enjoyed it and so I kept watching but after a couple weeks (and a few moments of ridicule from my friends) I started to not really want to watch anymore. And then I watched this episode and this match. All of a sudden, I felt like that kid that watched with excitement and I knew that I didn’t care what my friends said (they all ended up becoming wrestling fans anyway) and that I would forever be a wrestling fan.

Ryan Brown: There are so many potential moments here – especially those where you saw something that you never expected (The 1-2-3 Kid beating Razor Ramon), the ones that were so powerful (RAW is Owen), a match that made you proud to be a wrestling fan (The Two-Man Power Trip vs. Jericho and Benoit) or just astonishingly awful (THAT Jackie Gayda match).

But it comes down to two moments –

First, Mankind winning his first WWE championship, which was – and this is a word that gets thrown around way too casually – unbelievable.  I can remember watching Cactus Jack in World Class Championship Wrestling and the old WCW.  I remember the goof who had two versions of his music – one for his entrance, and one when his match was over.  The one-eared wonder who seemed like the perfect mid card guy – and now, he was heavyweight champion of the world.  The moment when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s glass shattered, I popped out of my chair and marked out.  When the ref hit the mat for the count of three, I jumped into the air.  I’m getting goosebumps writing this just thinking about it.  It was unbelivable.  Truly, truly unbelievable.

Second – and this is 1% for the event, and 99% for Jim Ross’s commentary – Kurt Angle attacking the Alliance with the milk truck.  Ross’s call of “He’s bringing out the heavy artillery!  It’s homogenized!” is one of the best calls I’ve ever heard – and I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.

Matthew Michaels: I’ve told this story before but if imagine most of you haven’t read it. Let’s face it, wrestling fan turnover is one of the rules of the game. It’s why WWE is always trying to hold on to the kids – the Cena fans who hopefully like my generation’s Hulkamaniacs – will watch their entire lives. And it’s why fans my age – over 30 – get so upset over seemingly little things. Why Cena hasn’t turned heel yet, why story lines get repeated, why (insert favorite wrestler X) doesn’t get a chance… why things from when we were younger seem better for one reason or another.

But here’s why I still watch. The moments. The chance that something big will happen on live TV that other wrestling fans – or maybe even some non fans – will be talking about later that night or on Tuesday morning. This could be as silly as Vince Mahon’s limo blowing up or as emotionally charged as Punk’s pipe bomb promo in Vegas or anything to do with Steve Austin, The Rock and a beer truck.

I had stopped watching wrestling throughout most of the 1990s. Tuned in here and there but never got hooked like when I was a Hulkamaniac. Then I heard Hulk Hogan himself along with some other stars from my youth were popping up on Nitro. Maybe someone told me, maybe I saw an angle on Leno. So I tuned in to WCW. To watch the stars I grew up idolizing. And got hooked by a young guy I had never heard of before. He called himself the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla. WTF? Loved it.

So I followed him to Raw when the Internet told me he might be showing up there. And then the Countdown happened. And Raw was Jericho. And I had a moment I would never … EVER forget againe. To this day I keep watching, hoping for the next one.

CB: The crazy part about picking one favorite moment from Monday Night Raw’s first 999 episodes is coming to the realization that I have actually watched every single one of these shows. No matter how I felt about pro wrestling, Raw was and always will be can’t-miss television for me (especially now in the DVR age, but I remember setting up a weekly recording on my old VCR as well).

To pick one moment can pull me in a million — or at least 999 — different directions. On one hand, there was nothing quite like Mankind’s first WWF championship win over The Rock (with a lot of help from DX and Stone Cold, of course), the infamous night where WCW spoiled the surprise and people changed the channel en masse to see it. On the other hand, the spectacle of The Undertaker’s “Black Wedding” to Stephanie McMahon — with Stephanie hanging on the black cross of DOOM — was a scene you just never forget.

However, those two moments I just gave you are actually my second- and third-favorites, respectively, from the history of Monday Night Raw.

I actually thought about this long and hard, and while the Attitude Era was obviously an incredible time period for the WWF/E, my personal favorite Raw moment came before any of that.

That’s right, my favorite Raw moment comes from January 25th, 1993, when Ric Flair (with Bobby Heenan) faced Mr. Perfect in a Loser Leaves WWF match. I was 13 going on 14 years-old at the time, and I’d loved Mr. Perfect ever since his “Absolutely Perfect” vignettes debuted. I also thought the Perfect Plex was just a great finishing move, one that should be talked about more when folks make to those lists or spit the bit with their friends talking about wrestling.

Back then, I hated Ric Flair. I didn’t know anything about his pre-WWF history at the time, and I just thought he wasn’t all that great, or maybe he just wasn’t my cup of tea.

So when this match came to pass and Perfect had separated himself from Flair and they where now fighting for their WWF careers (I didn’t know until later on that Flair was going back to WCW where he really did belong), I viewed this as one of the most epic and emotionally charged matches EVER, in my 13 year-old mind.

And when Mr. Perfect did the unthinkable and won “the big one” over Ric Flair, well, I still remember that feeling of joy and relief and happiness that this landmark moment brought me.

This match was one of the reasons I kept watching wrestling from 1993 to 1996, why I always tuned into Raw.

And to think that Mr. Perfect — now a WWE Hall of Famer — to think that Curt Hennig never won the WWF title, well, it makes this victory of his stand out even more as I look back.

That’s all from me — CB.

Kelly Floyd: Everyone knows that I’m a newer fan, who has been watching for about seven years now. Unfortunately, things went downhill quickly after they won my heart. Does that make me bad luck? I sure hope not. Anyway. There have been many moments on RAW that will stick out to me…for instance, I pretty much ate up anything Randy Orton could possibly do to Triple H. But only one can be my favorite. And what stronger memory than the one that MADE me a wrestling fan?

I had just gotten off work and was headed to a buddy’s house. I was 16 at the time–rebelling like we all do–and wanted to hang out, despite the fact that it was a “school night”. That friend said he just wanted to finish something called RAW. Now, I had never known a single person that could tell me what WWF/E stood for until that moment, so I was lost. And, I admit, I rolled my eyes.

It was the main event when I arrived. Some little squirt named Rey Mysterio was going to take on a behemoth named Big Show in what was billed a “David vs Goliath match”…I was intrigued. The match itself sucked me in so much, that I was cheering and booing in the exact places I was supposed to, even though those few minutes were the most I’d ever seen of a wrestling show. So imagine my mark-tastic reaction when Kane suddenly appears and teams up with Big Show to squish little Rey. But wait, it’s not over! The Undertaker arrives to rescue him! Finally, Randy Orton and Bob Orton run out to take care of Undertaker, using the lowrider Mysterio entered in as a tribute to Eddie Guerrero, by flooring the car right into the speaker system.

So much happened, so many men were involved, they captivated me from the start, and ended it with a giant explosion. I knew right from that moment, that I would love this sport for the rest of my life.

Martin Shaw: This is going to sound like a cop-out because they covered it on RAW in the run up to episode 1000, but it has to be Jericho’s début back in August of ’99.

They had been teasing us for weeks, maybe even months. When the countdown finally ended and JERICHO flashed on the Titantron as the music started, i reached uncharted levels of markdom.
I was a massive fan of Chris during his WCW run and he pretty much kept in character after the jump. He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand for the first 30 seconds,  got them to turn on him in an instant, talked about “sports entertainment” ruining the show, mentioned plummeting buyrates and ratings, called the roster boring… he really set the tone in those three minutes.

Great countdown, great music, great début of a great wrestler and my favourite RAW moment.

Mike Gojira: I believe I already covered this moment in an early column of mine, but who the hell remembers old crap that I write? It happened on April 17, 2000. The show opened with Chris Jericho challenging Triple H for the WWE Championship….and he won the match! My friends and I were jumping up and down (and hitting our heads on their basement ceiling) doing the “Happy Happy Joy Joy Dance” as Jericho celebrated his first world title reign.

And then….the decision was reversed.

The. Decision. Was. Reversed.

That was the most emotional roller coaster I’ve ever been on watching Monday Night Raw, and I don’t think anything can top that.topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Jim Ross’ New Blog: Brock Lesnar’s WWE Relationship, The Streak & More Fri, 04 May 2012 23:03:40 +0000 WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross is back with his latest blog. Here are some highlights:

Brock Lesnar’s rocky relationship with WWE: “Lesnar and WWE may be a marriage made in Hell but it’s a relationship that I, as a fan, want to follow. When we signed Brock back in the day we knew tht he was going to be a handful and he was. However, athletic freaks like him don’t grow on trees and, like many coaches, etc, we put in the time necessary to keep Brock headed in the right direction as best that we could. He’s stubborn, anti social, uber talented, and volatile. Time will tell where Lesnar’s latest foray into WWE life takes him but as for me, I’m staying tuned.”

Undertaker’s opponent at WrestleMania 29: “Just as I can’t predict the weather on April 7, 2013 I cannot predict Taker’s potential opponent on that event. Several would love to notch their gun and make the Deadman 20-1. I still believe that ‘The Streak’ is alive & well until told otherwise.”

His favorite broadcast partner: “Besides the King, my favorite broadcast partner, when looking at antagonists, is Paul Heyman. He knew what buttons to push to get me to raise my game. I never played the role of an announcer and was always just myself, for better or for worse. Being real.

“Bobby Heenan was an amazing partner too but ‘The Brain’ was more funny than a villain. I’ve said it before, Bobby Heenan may well be the most talented, all around performer in the history of the wrestling business.”topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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The Common Denominator – Bring Back the Stables (WWE, NWA, World Class, UWF, Four Horsemen, Devastation Inc., Jimmy Hart, Bobby Heenan) Thu, 15 Mar 2012 16:00:54 +0000 Just some quick notes – I’m glad to see the Funkasaurus Brodus Clay back on WWE TV. I am a bit confused about why he was gone for nearly two months. Word was he needed to develop more or something, only to se him come back with even fewer moves than before. And worst of all, he didn’t holler out his moves before he hit them, which was one of my favorite parts of the character.

Also, I am sad to hear about Kharma’s baby. As a father who lost a 15 month old several years ago to meningitis, I can relate to the loss. Hopefully, she can have another child if that is something she really wants, and in the meantime, she would probably do well to get back in the ring and kick some Diva butt to help get on with her life.
Okay, so there is a definite aspect to this whole wrestling business that I feel Vince and Company have completely let fall by the wayside. Well, it’s actually a two-part problem.

Back when I was a kid and wrestling was real (or at least real-ish, the way I knew Santa Claus wasn’t real, but I believed because I wanted to), there were managers. These were guys, usually little sniveling weasels who I assumed became managers because they couldn’t cut it in the ring. Now, I’m from Memphis, so managers like Jimmy Hart and Downtown Bruno (or Harvey Whippleman if you prefer) fit this bill perfectly. Same for Jim Cornette, Paul E. Dangerously (Heyman), and their ilk. You also had the cerebral managers like Bobby Heenan, Paul Ellering, the Grand Wizard, Skandor Ackbar, and the like. Then of course there were the ladies. Missy Hyatt, Miss Elizabeth, Sunshine, Baby Doll, Precious, Sherri Martel, Woman (Nancy Sullivan-Benoit), and others. There were a few assorted weirdos, too, like Oliver Humperdink and Percy Pringle, and wrestlers who doubled as managers, like Kevin Sullivan and Robert Fuller, but the idea seemed like a very realistic one in an age when wrestling was (theoretically) treated like any other sport. I mean boxers had managers, sports teams had managers, entertainers had managers, so why wouldn’t a professional wrestler need a manager. I mean in kayfabe terms, is Vince McMahon going to cut Kamala the Ugandan Giant a check every two weeks? Who’s going to go down to the butcher shop and get the Moondogs fresh bones every Friday?

And that leads to the real focus of this column. You see, managers didn’t just like to hang out at the arena. They had a stable, a group, a faction of wrestlers that were usually of a like mind and would often look out for one another, serve as partners when the need arose and my favorite part, had an established pecking order that sometimes led to one of the group getting fed up and turning on the rest of the group.

I mentioned Memphis and Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart earlier, and Hart is the first manager with a stable that I remember. Now, Hart’s seemingly sole goal in life was to rid the world of Jerry “The King” Lawler, and he had at one time or another a cadre of heels in Memphis that would fill an entire dream roster for any promotion: Randy Savage, Rick Rude, King Kong Bundy, The Assassins, Austin Idol, Dutch Mantell…he even brought Hulk Hogan in before Hulkamania was running wild, and of course his famous alignment with comedian Andy Kaufman.
Jimmy, of course, would go on to the WWF, where he continued to have success as a manager of heels, including the Hart Foundation, the Funks, Honkytonk Man, Greg Valentine and others, and even went to WCW and managed successfully first with Hogan again, and later with the heel First Family of Ming (Haku), Hugh Morris, the Barbarian, and probably some other yahoos. The point is the idea works.
This is something I feel the WWE has just completely dropped the ball, and something TNA has actually done fairly well since its inception. Maybe it’s the more Southern-centric mentality or maybe it’s just a matter of “this is how it’s supposed to be” that has seen TNA feature stables regularly, whether is was SEX, XXX, the Kings of Wrestling, the Beautiful People, whatever Raven was calling his group there, Fortune, or whatever.

WWE has flirted with stables, obviously, over the past few years, from Evolution to the Spirit Squad to Legacy to the Straight-Edge Society to the Nexus to the Corre, but what I see as a problem is that none of these groups have really had a counterpart.
The Four Horsemen were a perfect example of a properly used stable. They had the mouthpiece/manager in JJ Dillon (how did I not mention him before?), they had a well-defined pecking order: Flair was the champ and number-one guy, Arn and Tully were the enforcers and tag-specialists, and Luger or Windham or Sid were the muscle. The formula changed over time but for years it worked. It was hard to get over on the Horsemen, because their gang mentality meant the faces had to be on their toes every match. And it also gave those same faces a common enemy and reason to cooperate. Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA, Sting, the Rock & Roll Express, the Garvins, and the rest of the NWA good guys (oddly, some of which were former or future Horsemen) were united in opposition, and any time one of them did manage to thwart the nefarious Horsemen, it was a genuine feel-good moment to celebrate as a fan (even if one was forced to admit deep down inside that the Horsemen were actually cool).

Bobby Heenan’s stable was another great example. After honing his skills as “the Brain” in the AWA, Heenan came to the WWF and became THE bad guy manager, with a stable that included King Kong Bundy, John Studd, Rick Rude, Paul Orndorff, Haku, Curt Hennig, and even Ric Flair and Andre the Giant. Like Hart and Lawler, it seemed Heenan’s sole goal was to rid the WWF of Hulk Hogan and Hogan’s buddies. Heenan’s war with the Big Bossman was an excellently run mid-card feud. When the odds needed evening, Hogan or whoever could partner up and wage war with the Heenan Family. This works because, again, why wouldn’t the bad guys team up and try to take out the good guys, and why wouldn’t the good guys work together to thwart the forces of evil?
Now, I’m not suggesting an NOW-type take-over-the-whole-focus-of-the-promotion program. I’m also not for going back to a mid-90s WWE where it was like gang warfare and everyone it seemed was in a clique, like Nation of Domination, DOA, the Ministry or whatever, but just a few stables who can give us some mix and match match-ups, build some feuds, incorporate some developmental guys partnered with some veterans, and bring back managers. I thought we might be headed this way with the “Conspirators” back during last summer with Punk, Truth, Miz, Ziggler, and Cody maybe coming together like the second coming of the Horsemen, maybe with Vickie as the mouthpiece. Then, that kind of just disappeared. I think I read somewhere that Vince or someone in the mix nixed the idea of building a heel stable. I don’t know if it was the idea that the Nexus/Corre thing didn’t really pan out long-term, with only Barrett, Bryan and Otunga getting any kind of push out of all of that, but that’s three established stars that they didn’t have before. Why not try it again?

There have got to be some older wrestlers who would make great managers. I’ve said it before, but if someone can get Jake Roberts cleaned up, he could be a major force as a manager and behind-the-scenes guy. Make Teddy Long a manager again, or Raven, or Booker T, or the Miz, or Roddy Piper, or Mick Foley. Mick Foley as the manager for the next generation of “hardcore” wrestlers sounds pretty cool to me. Or make your own manager. Do a Tough Enough/NXT for managers/valets. Stables are also great for big fancy blow-off matches like traditional Survivor Series matches or War Games-like gimmick matches.

You could go the Evolution route. Let’s say Wade Barrett wins the World Championship from Sheamus sometime this summer. Barrett surrounds himself with Joe Hennig, Drew MacIntyre and Justin Gabriel (whoever). They watch the champ’s back, interfere in matches, draw heat, and generally mess with the faces. Maybe the good guys form a group to oppose them at Survivor Series, and Hennig actually wins the match after Barrett gets eliminated somehow, putting Joe in the spotlight. Eventually Hennig wins some kind of number one contender’s match like the Royal Rumble or Money in the Bank or just some kind of challenge match on SmackDown. This leads to him respectfully asking Barrett for his shot, Barrett orders him to show fealty, and when that doesn’t happen, Wade, Drew and Gabriel turf Hennig, making him a big babyface. He wins (or doesn’t win) the belt and becomes an established star. The same thing was done when Sting won a shot against Flair during a brief Horsemen face run in 1990 or so. It worked then. I think it would work now.

One of my favorite stables was Skandor Ackbar’s Devastation, Incorporated. I think they started in World Class with the Missing Link, Kamala, the Great Kabuki, Cactus Jack and some other “out there” characters. Eventually Ackbar went to Bill Watts’ Mid-South/UWF territory and his charges included the One Man Gang, Big Bubba Rogers, Wild Bill Irwin, the Angel of Death and some of the World Class guys. The presence of Devastation, Inc. meant chaos and gave an anything-can-happen feel to it. Let’s do that again. Get some crazy gimmick characters. Start with Kane, maybe as the centerpiece, bring in Raven to manage them. Or better yet, turn the Iron Sheik’s crazy ass loose on the WWE in the Ackbar role. Anyway, Kane builds an army of characters and let the chaos commence. Eventually, the faces, led by Randy Orton and Sheamus I suppose, fight back. Eventually you do a big War Games revival to blow it off. I mean, how’d you like to see an up to date version of this:

Stables can create excitement, can create a revolving door roster that builds stars, and can give lower-card guys a chance to get the rub from established stars. The WWE has a chance to get the ball rolling on this as the Four Horsemen are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Have Cody Rhodes decide that Flair was the one who had the right idea in the group mentality, rather than his father Dusty always trying to go it alone. Cody can build his own Horsemen. Arn Anderson could be the manager. It makes sense to me. Anyway, thanks for reading.topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Jim Ross Blog: JR Talks WrestleMania 28, Chris Brown vs. CM Punk, Ric Flair’s Birthday and John Cena vs. The Rock Mon, 27 Feb 2012 20:15:25 +0000 Jim Ross answered readers’ questions and had plenty to say about WrestleMania 28, John Cena vs. The Rock, Bobby Heenan, Vader, CM Punk and Chris Brown, Triple H and The Undertaker, and a whole lot more:

Q..”How’s Bobby Heenan?” It’s tough for Bobby to communicate but from what I understand he’s doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. Cancer is a vile and vicious affliction. ‘The Wease’ is making a few, select appearances which is good. I love the guy and he was visited recently by Dusty Rhodes and Harley Race in Tampa.

Ross on Undertaker’s WrestleMania Streak: I never said Undertaker’s Streak at WrestleMania would end in the ring. I’ve actually said the contrary and that I did not think it would happen. That’s simply my opinion but it can only be determined in the ring. Obviously, the Streak will end some day when Taker retires which I do not expect to be this year. That decision is entirely up to Undertaker and how his body is holding up after years of combat.

Q..”Will Chris Brown ever wrestle/fight CM Punk?” I hope not. Can’t see it ever happening.

Q..”Was Vader under utilized during is WWE run?” I’d say no because Vader was in several main event scenarios but was limited due to wear and tear on his big body and untimely injuries. Vader was amazingly athletic for a super heavyweight and I felt his WWE tenure was productive. Could it have been better? Sure…in hindsight most talents could have had better hindsight.

Q..”Will WWE music man Jim Johnson ever be inducted into the WWE HOF?” Gosh I have no idea. Jim is a talented man and has left his mark on WWE music for years but I don’t know if that correlates into HOF status.

Q..”Did John Cena’s promo Monday night on Raw resonate with you?” It impressed me a great deal as I thought it was John’s best in ring promo ever. He spoke from his heart and how that he personally feels about @TheRock whether folks agree with @JohnCena or not. I loved John’s passion and expect one hell of a rebuttal this Monday night on RAW.

The best and most productive rivalries in the genre of sports entertainment, and this goes back forever, are organic, personal issues. Yes, ‘meaningful’ titles are imperative, without question, but adding the personal component to a title tilt makes it even more marketable. That’s what I see happening with the @CMPunk vs. @IAmJericho WWE Title bout at WM28. The WWE Title is the most coveted prize in WWE but this bout will escalate even more while becoming a personal issue of significance. The on camera build for Punk-Jericho should rival anything that we fans have heard and seen in years.

Rock vs. Cena has been simmering for a year. Social media has helped underscore this match and will continue to help enhance this main event that will surely close the show at WM28. Going on last at an event like WM28 cbrings with it immense pressure and responsibility. Some men have buckled under this pressure and under delivered when the lights were shining their brightest.

Neither Cena nor Rock will wilt while closing the show in Miami. Both men come from legit, athletic backgrounds where being in the starting lineup and playing in the big game was a part of their athletic DNA. Both men have intense work ethic and both perceive that they are the alpha male inside the squared circle. Obviously something has to give and watching this one play out including this Monday in Portland on Raw all the way through to the ‘second bell’ at WM28 truly intrigues me.

Ross on Ric Flair’s Birthday: Happy Birthday to Ric Flair. Naitch called me this past week to catch up. He’s got a great opportunity with Coca Cola’s energy drink along with his state lottery work. I went on You Tube and checked out Ric’s TV commercials for the lotteries he promotes and they were hilarious.

Some of my fondest memories in the business involve Ric Flair and I’m so blessed to have been able to broadcast not only many Ric Flair bout but @ShawnMichaels bouts over the years, too as they are widely considered the two, best, all around pro wrestlers ever. That’s a debate that will rage on until the end of time but no one can intelligently say that Naitch and HBK aren’t on an abbreviated list of the best ever.

Check out JR’s full blog entry right here.topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF Royal Rumble 1992 (Ric Flair, Sid Justice) Mon, 23 Jan 2012 04:47:11 +0000

For an easy-to-search archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, Click Right Here!

Knickerbocker Arena – Albany, New York – January 19, 1992

Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan are on commentary.

MATCH #1: The Orient Express vs. The New Foundation

Kato and Tanaka are accompanied by Mr. Fuji. Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and “The Rocket” Owen Hart are accompanied by their awesome puffy pants. Hart and Kato start the match with some chain wrestling. Monsoon announces that due to injuries, Marty Jannetty and Nasty Boy Brian Knobbs are being replaced by Nikolai Volkoff and Haku in the Royal Rumble match tonight. Hart takes control and tags Neidhart, who throws Kato around. Tanaka, appearing to be in horrible shape (wearing a t-shirt) tags in. Monsoon tells the story of how Bret Hart lost the Intercontinental Title two days ago but was so sick that The Mountie was able to defeat him and capture the gold. Meanwhile, Bret’s Brother Owen, who is wrestling in the match currently going on, has taken control of Tanaka. Owen and Anvil work together to keep Kato and Tanaka down. Finally the Express is able to gain control with a little help from Fuji. Owen makes several comeback attempts but continually gets shut down. Of course the comeback eventually does happen, and Anvil cleans house. Kato gets dumped to the floor and Owen wipes him out with an impressive dive. Anvil slams Tanaka and then they hit the Rocket Launcher to get the win at 17:19. That was too long for what they had to say, but it was a solid opener otherwise, just not up to the level of what Kato and Tanaka pulled off last year.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: Intercontinental Championship Match – The Mountie vs. Roddy Piper

Mountie has been the champion since 1.17.92, and this is his first defense. He’s accompanied by Jimmy Hart. The match was supposed to be Bret Hart defending the title against Mountie, but Bret must have been injured or something (I don’t recall), so he dropped the belt to Mountie at a house show and Piper is stepping in to take his place here as the challenger. Piper goes right after Mountie before the bell. Hart interferes on the floor to give Mountie a brief advantage before Piper fights back with his most prolific offensive weapon – the punch. Piper hits a bulldog but it only gets two. Mountie cuts him off and takes over with his boring stuff. Piper fights back with a sunset flip for two. He hits even more punches and a back body drop. Piper thinks he throws Mountie to the floor, but Mountie skins the cat, only to accidentally knock Hart off the apron. Then Piper locks on the Sleeper and Mountie is out at 5:22! That is Piper’s one and only singles title in his WWE run, and it led to the best match of his career. At least good things happened because of this match; because on its own it was pretty bad. Piper is the first man to wrestle twice at the Rumble, and also the first man to ever get a shot at both the Intercontinental and WWE Championships in the same night.
Rating: *½

MATCH #3: Beverly Brothers vs. The Bushwhackers

The Beverlys are accompanied by the Genius, who recites a poem before the match. The Bushwhackers are accompanied by Jameson, who does nothing. They stall forever to start, as it takes almost three minutes before any contact is made. Beau and Blake take the first control but are soon thwarted by Butch and Luke’s unorthodox offense. Back in the ring they all stall some more. Once again the Bushwhackers come back with their usual stuff and the Beverlys bail again. The Bushwhackers outsmart the Beverlys continually, which is just absurd. Finally the Beverlys take control on Luke, keeping him in their half of the ring. Outside the ring, Genius bullies Jameson, slapping him across the face. That leads to nothing. After what seems like an eternity Luke hits Beau with a clothesline and makes the hot tag. Butch is a house afire. The referee loses control and I’m losing patience. Beau hits Butch with a double axe handle off the top rope and Blake gets the pin at 14:57. That was simply rotten.
Rating: ¼*

After the match, the Bushwhackers and Jameson get their heat back by abusing the Genius and licking each other. Is anyone else disturbed by Luke and Butch licking young kids at ringside? That’s all kinds of disgusting.

MATCH #4: World Tag Team Championship Match – Legion of Doom vs. The Natural Disasters

Earthquake and Typhoon are accompanied by Jimmy Hart. Hawk and Animal have been the champions since 8.26.91. Typhoon and Hawk start the match. They try to out-power each other, and Hawk wins that battle with a clothesline off the top rope. Earthquake tags in and he actually tries a dropkick but it misses. Animal tags in and they size each other up. Johnny Ace’s brother tries a bodyslam but Earthquake falls on top. Typhoon tags in and Animal comes right back. It’s sad that Hawk and Animal barely even sell for guys like Earthquake and Typhoon. Hawk tags back in and now the Disasters take control for real; Hawk even sells for them so I take back what I said earlier. Of course Hawk comes back and makes the hot tag and the referee loses control. All four men spill to the floor to continue brawling. The referee starts the count and Typhoon barely sneaks back in the ring to get the countout win at 9:23. That was pretty dull and the finish was puzzling, given that the makeshift team of Ted DiBiase & IRS won the titles from the LOD a few weeks after this anyway.
Rating: ¾*

MATCH #5: Royal Rumble Match for the WWE Championship

The title has been vacant since 12.7.91, after two controversial matches between Hulk Hogan and Undertaker. As a result, Hogan and Undertaker both got to pick numbers between 20 and 30. I love little touches like that. British Bulldog (who recently won a 20-man battle royal in England) draws #1 and “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase with Sensational Sherri picked #2. They start off hot, both going for a quick elimination. That goes well for Bulldog, who dumps DiBiase to the floor. That was certainly quick. Ric Flair comes out at #3! That’s huge. Bulldog goes right after Flair, and when Jerry Sags with Jimmy Hart comes out at #4, he helps Flair. Even so, Bulldog is able to come back and eliminate Sags. Next up is Haku at #5. Bulldog also eliminates Haku as #6 Shawn Michaels makes his way out. Tito Santana is #7. The action continues at a fast pace given the talent of all four men in the ring. Barbarian comes out at #8. Kerry Von Erich is #9, raising the death toll in this Rumble to two. Repo Man brings us to the one-third mark at #10. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine is #11. Flair is everyone’s target, which makes Heenan crazy on commentary. Nikolai Volkoff comes out in the #12 spot. He’s a babyface but draws mostly boos from the sounds of it. In one corner of the ring Valentine locks Flair in the Figure-Four Leglock and Barbarian breaks it up. Repo Man dumps Volkoff for another quick exit. Big Boss Man is #13, raising the death roll to three. Repo Man tosses Valentine. Who would have thought Repo Man would eliminate anyone in the Rumble, let alone two guys? Just as I type that, Boss Man hurls Repo to the floor. Flair eliminates Bulldog after an impressive 25-plus minute performance, and then dumps Von Erich out as well. Hercules is #14 and that bumps the death toll to four (seven if you count the undercard). Hercules dumps Barbarian, Boss Man dumps Hercules, and Flair dumps Boss Man to be all alone in the ring! That’s awesome. New Intercontinental Champion “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is #15 and that’s just great booking right there. Piper’s reaction to having Flair all to himself is priceless. Flair runs to the floor (but not over the top rope) and Piper follows him to continue the assault. Piper utilizes the airplane spin and the Sleeper. Flair is in trouble here. Jake “The Snake” Roberts is #16. He even goes after Flair. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan comes out at #17 to a monster pop. Irwin R. Schyster is #18. Not much happens until Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka makes his way out at #19. Rounding out the first two-thirds is Undertaker with Paul Bearer at #20.

Undertaker immediately tosses Snuka. “Macho Man” Randy Savage is #21 and he is laser focused on finding Roberts. He gets his hands on his hated rival and eliminates him. Savage then stupidly goes over the top rope to continue beating Roberts up. He should be eliminated by the rules – even Monsoon says so – but the referees rule that you have to actually be thrown over the top rope by another competitor. Okay then. Berzerker is #22, and Virgil is #23. Col. Mustafa with Gen. Adnan comes out at #24, and he’s technically a former WWE Champion since he used to be the Iron Sheik. Rick Martel, who set the longevity record last year, is #25. Hulk Hogan makes his way out at #26. He goes right after Undertaker and Flair, sending Undertaker to the floor with a clothesline. Berzerker is the next one to go and then the shirt gets ripped. Duggan and Virgil eliminate each other. Skinner is #27. Former WWE Champion Sgt. Slaughter is #28. Martel eliminates Skinner, and moments later Flair sets the record for longevity, crossing the 53-minute mark. Sid Justice is #29. Hogan and Flair fight on the floor as Warlord with Harvey Wippleman is #30. Sid eliminates Slaughter. Piper eliminates Schyster via his tie. Hogan and Sid eliminate Warlord. Sid then pushes Piper and Martel to the floor at the same time. We’re down to the final four – Sid, Savage, Hogan, and Flair. Sid eliminates Savage, and then watches Hogan beat on Flair. He then sneaks up from behind and eliminates Hogan completely fairly. Hogan then grabs Sid’s arm and helps Flair eliminate him, and Ric Flair wins the Rumble at 61:59! The lineup in this Rumble was amazing, and the booking was perfect all the way through. That was a great performance from Flair, and this is still the best Rumble match of all-time.
Rating: *****


Longest Lasting Superstar in the Ring: Ric Flair, 60 minutes
Superstar With Most Eliminations: Sid Justice, 6
Royal Rumble Rookies: Berzerker, Ric Flair, Sid Justice, Col. Mustafa, Repo Man, Jerry Sags, Irwin R. Schyster, Skinner, Sgt. Slaughter, and Virgiltopstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Jim Ross on Kane at Wrestlemania, Working for WWE, and Michael Cole/Bobby Heenan Fri, 16 Dec 2011 17:30:57 +0000 On Working For WWE: “We get lots of Twitter questions on how can folks work for WWE. Rarely does anyone say what role it is that they are seeking but I assume as a wrestler. I also assume these questions come from guys who are still teens and are living at home with their folks. For the record, I think that it is easier to make it on a NFL roster than to become a Wrestlemania level, main eventer in WWE. So, that’s why I always encourage wannabe wrestlers to have a back up play IE a college degree or another, established skill set. Getting fundementally sound training by a legit coach is imperative as is getting plenty of low paying, independent wrestling gigs. For wannabe executives, etc, if you’re not smart enough to figure out how to apply for a job via WWE Human Resoruces then your chances of being hired aren’t too good.”

On Comparing Michael Cole to Bobby Heenan: “Is it fair to compare Michael Cole to Bobby Heenan? Obviously, hell no. Cole is still somewhat new in his current role. Heenan had years to master his spiel and to refine his craft. Plus, Bobby Heenan was the most all around talented performer ever in the business when one considers wrestling, managing, and commentary. Being a great, wrestling villain is an acquired skill and a true art form. Heenan was a genius and influenced many ala Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman, among others. Heenan was a product of a variety of wrestling territories plus the bottom line is that Bobby Heenan was simply a naturally gifted, entertaining, talent.”

On Brock Lesnar Returning to theUFC: “Lesnar vs. Overeem prediction for December 30? I can’t pick against Brock so I won’t. I’m a Lesnar fan but I will say that if Lesnar doesn’t destroy Overeem’s vertical base quickly and aggressively, Overeem can and will knock Brock out. The former WWE Champion’s standup/striking defense has to improve. Lesnar needs to dance with what ‘brung him’ and that is wrestling. Take Overeem down and then pound. Overeem’s hand strikes and knees are toxic. Don’t see this fight making it out of round two. Another question mark is if Brock is returning to the Octagon too soon after battling illness? That question will largely be answered on December 30. I am predicting a Lesnar win via stoppage. ”

On Kane’s Return: What did I think of Kane’s return to WWE at Raw during the closing moments of the Slammy’s? I thought it was an excellent surprise and it made an impact. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess but getting back a star with Kane’s name identity is viable for WWE. He also looked to be leaner and in great physical condition. I’m still amazed that many fans thought that it really wasn’t Kane but an imposter or a ‘new’ Kane. Some even thought it was the Undertaker dressed in Kane attire. Will Kane wrestle the Undertaker at WM28? I don’t know who will compete on Raw this Monday much less who all will be on the card for WM28.


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The Stomping Ground: A Heel Stable Retrospective, Part Two Fri, 04 Mar 2011 15:00:12 +0000 Welcome back to Part Two of my Heel Stable Retrospective. In case you missed Part One, you can find it right here. I’m actually quite proud of the turnout from Part One, as it seems to have gotten a great response from the Pulse Community. Before I move on to the second half of this look back into wrestling history, there are a couple of things I have to address.

First of all, there seems to be some controversy around my grade of the effectiveness of the Heenan Family. Keep in mind that I rated a stable’s effectiveness by their impact and who gets over the most due to it. Yes, Hogan did indeed seem Immortal whenever he went up against Heenan’s boys. And yes, Heenan was an amazing manager who put over talent like no one else. However, the revolving door aspect of Heenan’s Family coupled with the amount of wrestlers he managed at any given time diluted the stable’s rating (in my eyes). Many of his wrestlers were already over (see Flair, Andre, Race) and once they left the fold, most of his stablemates were either done with the major leagues or lowered in status. You can argue with me all you want about how wrong I might be, but that’s the beauty of my opinion: it’s mine, not yours. I enjoy reading various viewpoints and I will always continue to welcome them. With that said, the rating remains: A-.

Secondly, this next installment is going to be huge, as I not only cover nearly 20 more factions, but some require breakdowns as they either produced offshoots (nWo) or made comebacks years later (DX). Get ready for a doozy of a read.

Straight Edge Society
Notable Members: CM Punk, Luke Gallows, Serena Deeb, Joey Mercury
I really wanted this group to do better in the long run. It was a great idea and Punk was an awesome motivator, willing to do the job in favor of saving face for his teammates and he used his mic skills to bring mucho heat to the faction. Unfortunately, it looked like Creative didn’t have much for Gallows and Mercury once Serena screwed up and the Big Show squashed whatever credibility the team had left. CM Punk’s heel status went from upper midcard to main eventer, though, so in a way the SES was successful.
Effectiveness: B

Million Dollar Corporation
Notable Members: Ted DiBiase, IRS, Nikolai Volkoff, The UnderFaker, Bam Bam Bigelow, Tatanka, Kama, Sycho Sid, The 1-2-3 Kid, Stone Cold Steve Austin
DiBiase’s Million Dollar Corporation was built off of his successful tag team run in Money Inc with Irwin R. Schyster. Looking at the list of wrestlers that worked for DiBiase, each had his own varying degrees of success, though not directly because of the Million Dollar Man. Tatanka never surpassed the midcard, Sid, Bigelow, and X-Pac all found their own niche, and Kama eventually became the Godfather. One man stood out amongst them all, however: a man by the name of Austin. While the wild Stone Cold character first appeared back in ECW, it was in the WWE where Austin rose to prominence as the protege of Dibiase. The Corporation wasn’t as memorable as another well-known Corporation, but perhaps it’s due to the mid-90s slump the ‘E was going through. Some of you may complain about my rating, but remember that I’m basing the stable on how well it put over not just its own wrestlers but its opponents too.
Effectiveness: B-

D-Generation X
1. Original DX
Notable Members: Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chyna, Rick Rude
The original DX was Vince McMahon’s answer to the nWo. It was rude, it was crude, and I don’t think I recall ever seeing more women flash the camera than when I watched Raw in the late 90s. Shortly before his death, the Ravishing One would head to the ring with a briefcase to introduce HBK and Triple H. I definitely was not a fan of them, which I suppose was their goal since they were heels. They most certainly and unequivocally left a mark on the business and are deserving of their grade.
Effectiveness: A
2. DX 2.0
Notable Members: Triple H, Chyna, X-Pac, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, Tori
The second incarnation of DX started right where the previous version left off: the night after Wrestlemania XIV. They continued as heels until the Gang Wars began, where they battled the Nation of Domination and became tweeners. They were the epitome of the Attitude Era and had a very lengthy run, holding every belt the company had at the time. The death knell for DX came when Triple H joined the Corporation; effectively ending an era.
Effectiveness: A-
You’ll note that I haven’t mentioned the DX Reunion. This is because they were not heels.

Right to Censor
Notable Members: Steven Richards, Ivory, Val Venis, The Goodfather, Bull Buchanan
Vince McMahon is a very vindictive human being. Case in point: When the PTC attacked the WWE for its hardcore violence and objectification of women, McMahon stuck his tongue out at them and created the Right to Censor, an ultraconservative band of midcarders who dressed in button-down white shirts, slacks, and ties. Their goal was to rid the ‘E of smut and filth much like the PTC but the only thing they had in common was their failure to do so. Ivory had a good run as Women’s Champion but the RTC didn’t amount to much in the long haul.
Effectiveness: C+

Four Horsemen
Notable Members: Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, JJ Dillon, Barry Windham, Lex Luger, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko
What needs to be said about the Four Horsemen that hasn’t already been said? They lived the fast life both onscreen and off, they had legendary feuds with everyone from Dusty Rhodes to the Road Warriors to Sting and the Steiner Brothers, and they were wrestling’s premier bad boys. Their prime was spent in NWA feuding with the top babyfaces of the time until Crockett was bought out by Turner and WCW was born. The Horsemen had several stops and starts since then but were finally laid to rest in 1999. The Horsemen were the epitome of a heel stable: they were easily able to get under the skin of the fans, they had a great talker and wrestler in Flair, they used gang mentality to swarm their opponents, and (most importantly of all) they helped make their enemies into stars. Despite the half-assed version that died in WCW, the Horsemen are still the most revered stable in wrestling history, heel or otherwise.
Effectiveness: A+

Team Canada
1. Team Canada (WCW)
Notable Members: Lance Storm, Elix Skipper, Mike Awesome, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
WCW’s version of Team Canada was mildly successful as a midcard stable which at one point held three of the company’s championships and renamed them (such as the US title becoming the Canadian Heavyweight Championship). The team’s biggest moment was the heel turn of “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, but other than that their impact was minimal as the stable thrived during a time when WCW was on its way out the door.
Effectiveness: B-
2. The Un-Americans
Notable Members: Lance Storm, Christian, Test, William Regal
Lance Storm’s second iteration of Team Canada was unique in that his stable was not pro-Canada; it was merely anti-America. They carried around an upside down American flag as their symbol and started as a trio, adding Regal to their ranks toward the end of their run. They held the WWE Tag Team Championship but only lasted for three months in 2002, due to fears that their on-air agenda would not be well-received by fans who still believed the angle to be legitimate (akin to the fear that Sergeant Slaughter’s heel turn brought on, though not anywhere near as intense).
Effectiveness: C
3. Team Canada (TNA)
Notable Members: Petey Williams, Eric Young, Robert Roode, Johnny Devine, Scott D’Amore
The final and most recent incarnation of Team Canada made its mark in TNA a few years ago. The group feuded with Team 3D and 3 Live Kru in their three year tenure and they also held the X Division Championship as well as the Tag Team Championship. Of all its members, Roode is the only one who has made something of himself since as one half of Beer Money. Eric Young…is just Eric Young. In comparison to the other versions of Team Canada, TNA’s version made the largest impact (no pun intended) as they were featured prominently during TNA’s shows from 2004-2006. Battling the former New Age Outlaws and the Dudleys made them a powerful heel entity during their run.
Effectiveness: B

The Hart Foundation
Notable Members: Bret Hart, Owen Hart, British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, Brian Pillman
The Hart Foundation is a unique stable that formed when fan sentiment turned away from Bret Hart and toward Stone Cold Steve Austin after Wrestlemania XIII. This particular version was truly something special: across the country they were the most hated heels in the WWE. However, in Canada and Europe they were treated as faces because of their anti-American stance and the influence of the much revered Hart family. This led to an intriguing storyline during the Attitude Era that has never been duplicated since. The stable held every title in the company at one point or another and served to boost Austin’s status as the top star in the company. With the advent of DX, the Harts fell out of favor with McMahon and the infamous Montreal Screwjob sealed the faction’s fate.
Effectiveness: A

Nation of Domination
Notable Members: Faarooq, Crush, Savio Vega, The Rock, Mark Henry, D-Lo Brown, The Godfather,
Owen Hart, Clarence Mason
The original NoD was a trio of superstars led by Faarooq. They feuded with Ahmed Johnson when he returned from kidney surgery. This version did not hold any titles but led to a falling out between the members, spawning Los Boricuas and the Disciples of Apocalypse. The second run of the Nation gave birth to the People’s Champion and saw more success in its feud with DX, Ken Shamrock, and Steve Austin. The Rock held the Intercontinental Championship and D-Lo was European Champion twice. The stable is most notable for the emergence of The Rock as a major player in the WWE.
Effectiveness: B+
NOTE: I’m sure I’ll get some grief for this rating :p

Disciples of Apocalypse
Notable Members: Crush, Chainz, Skull, 8-Ball
This stable arrived during the WWE’s “gang war” era and was formed after Faarooq dumped Crush and Savio Vega on their keisters. A motorcycle gang in the style of Hell’s Angels, the DOA would head to the ring on their Harleys (pre-American Badass) to feud with Los Boricuas and the Nation. Needless to say, with so many “gangs” roaming the WWE, this particular team didn’t carry much weight and fell apart after Crush left for WCW.
Effectiveness: D

Los Boricuas
Notable Members: Savio Vega, Miguel Perez, Jose Estrada Jr,
Jesus Castillo
Yeah, just like the DOA these guys didn’t do much of note. They were a gang of Puerto Ricans whose only claim to fame was Miguel Perez’s incredibly thick mane of body hair. Next!
Effectiveness: D

Truth Commission
Notable Members: The Jackyl, Kurrgan, Sniper, Recon
The Truth Commission was based off a South African paramilitary organization and was originally led by the Commandant and had another member, Tank, but both left shortly after the stable’s debut. They remained active for over a year but never really garnered much success. Kurrgan and Jackyl moved on to form the Oddities and Sniper and Recon soon disappeared from the spotlight altogether.
Effectiveness: D

Main Event Mafia
Notable Members: Kurt Angle, Sting, Kevin Nash, Booker T, Scott Steiner, Traci Brooks
MEM was a stable of main event level talent from the past (and Samoa Joe) who dominated the end of the last decade in TNA. They held every title the company had to offer at one point and often used nWo-like tactics to defeat their opponents. They even joined with another heel stable, the World Elite (led by Eric Young), but infighting distracted the team from their primary goals and AJ Styles was able to unseat Angle as TNA Champion in 2009, thus propelling himself back to the top as the posterboy of TNA. I find it extremely humorous that TNA recently tried to reunite the team…without guaranteeing their contracts first! How do you set up a big return like that without first making sure the talent you require has resigned with you? But I digress. The Mafia was a career resurgence for Angle as one of the best in the biz.
Effectiveness: B+

The Corporation
1. Vince’s Corporation
Notable Members: Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, Triple H, The Rock, Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, Big Bossman, Test, Ken Shamrock, Big Show, Chyna, Sergeant Slaughter
The Corporation was formed once The Rock was awarded the WWE Championship in the 1998 Survivor Series tournament. McMahon claimed that there were too many rebellious personalities running rampant in the company and used his loyal wrestlers to clean up the mess. The group held every title, with Bossman and Shamrock holding the Tag Team, Intercontinental, and European Championships at the same time and The Rock as the perfect Corporate Champion. The Corporation was also responsible for the end of DX as Triple H and Chyna turned on their compatriots to side with the McMahons. The faction ended when Shane forced Vince out and merged with the Ministry of Darkness to become the Corporate Ministry.
Effectiveness: A-
2. The Corporate Ministry
Notable Members: Shane McMahon, The Undertaker, Triple H, Vince McMahon, Paul Bearer, The Acolytes, Big Bossman, Chyna, The Mean Street Posse, Mideon, Viscera
After Shane and Undertaker formed an alliance, the Corporate Ministry began systematically attacking Stone Cold Steve Austin and even attempted to crucify him. The angle was hokey and the reveal of Vince McMahon as the Higher Power was ridiculous and nonsensical. After Taker suffered an injury, the Corporate Ministry slowly dissolved.
Effectiveness: B-
3. The McMahon-Helmsley Regime
Notable Members: Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, D-Generation X,
Kurt Angle, Shane McMahon
The McMahon-Helmsley Era ushered in a new age and made Triple H into a bonafide main eventer. He and Stephanie dominated the WWE, using every trick in the book to outsmart their enemies and hold onto their titles. In fact, thanks to the efforts of Mick Foley and Triple H in their bloody series of matches prior to Wrestlemania 2000, The Game was cemented as the top dog in the company, making the faction more of a success in my eyes.
Effectiveness: A-

The Brood
Notable Members: Gangrel, Edge, Christian, The Hardy Boyz
The Brood were famous for the “blood baths” they would give opponents after matches and their attire straight out of Interview With a Vampire. They feuded with the Hardys and joined the Ministry of Darkness, but a falling out with the Undertaker caused the Brood to leave the Ministry. After Edge and Christian left Gangrel, he acquired the services of Matt and Jeff Hardy to form the New Brood. This faction did not last long, but it helped propel both tag teams into the spotlight.
Effectiveness: B-

The Ministry of Darkness
Notable Members: Undertaker, Paul Bearer, The Acolytes, The Brood, Viscera, Mideon
The Ministry is responsible for bringing Stephanie McMahon into the WWE and returning Undertaker to his darker roots as a Satanic cult leader. The faction was rife with controversial storylines, including attempts at crucifixion and blood sacrifices. However, the merger with the Corporation diluted the stable and it never regained the prominence it had held in 1999.
Effectiveness: B

The WCW/ECW Alliance
Notable Members: Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Paul Heyman, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, the Dudley Boyz, Rhyno, Kanyon, Diamond Dallas Page, Nick Patrick, various ECW and WCW wrestlers
It’s pretty ironic that the number one wrestling company in the world, with all the money and resources it has acquired over the years, could stink up an angle this badly. We all knew how this story would end, as Vince clearly intended to stick it to his rivals and prove his company was superior. However, since he couldn’t get the big names like Sting, Goldberg, Luger, Flair, Savage, and Hogan, the Alliance was dead in the water. It took a heel turn from Austin to make the Alliance into a legitimate threat but all that was left when it was all said and done was a bad taste in our mouths.
Effectiveness: C

New World Order
1. nWo Originals
Notable Members: Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Ted DiBiase, Syxx, Vincent, Nick Patrick, The Giant
The Hogan heel turn at Bash at the Beach 1996 would forever change the face of wrestling. As the nWo began its domination of WCW, the ratings skyrocketed and WCW was closer than ever to putting the ‘E out of business. There’s no question how effective the first version of the nWo turned out to be.
Effectiveness: A
2. nWo and Tigger Too
Notable Members: Pretty much all of WCW’s midcarders and jobbers
Then this shit happened. Suddenly the nWo became “hip.” Most of the roster realized that if they weren’t main event talent then they’d suffer at the hands of the nWo, so what better way to beat the enemy than to join them? It was like a diluted gene pool as every wrestler under the sun had a spot in the nWo and the angle devolved from “WCW vs nWo” to “nWo vs nWo” with the emergence of the Wolfpac. What a shame. Instead of changing with the times, the company decided the nWo was the way to go and lost sight of their original goal, effectively killing WCW with the Finger Poke of Doom.
Effectiveness: C-
3. nWo 2000
Notable Wrestlers: Jeff Jarrett, Bret Hart, The Harris Brothers,
Scott Steiner
After WCW’s relaunch, the nWo had a relaunch as well but this didn’t last very long, as the fans were sick of the nWo by this time and the company was well into its downward spiral.
Effectiveness: D
4. nWo in the WWE
Notable Members: Hollywood Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash
Vince’s “poison” that he intended to inject into the WWE subsequently backfired on him. By the time Hogan, Nash, and Hall agreed to join the ‘E train, the invasion debacle had become an afterthought and problems with Austin caused the group’s momentum to stall. The face turn at Wrestlemania X8 for Hogan sealed the trio’s fate.
Effectiveness: C-
5. HBK’s nWo
Notable Members: Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, X-Pac, Big Show
And then THIS happened. A last ditch attempt at making the nWo relevant seemed more like an undercover Kliq reunion more than anything else. If ever there was a sign that the stable needed to be put to rest, it was certainly Nash’s quad tear.
Effectiveness: C-

There, I’m done! I don’t care what stables I missed. Some were intentional and others may have slipped my mind. Want to talk about them? Hit me up in the comments section.

Random Thoughts
Why is the ‘E jobbing out the midcard champions? I’m talking, of course, about their current treatment of Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston. Bryan is barely on Raw any more (wrestling-wise) and when he does show up he either gets jumped by The Miz or the Gail Kim/Bellas feud takes center stage. And as for Kofi: WTF?! He is consistently jobbed out to Del Rio and just last week lost to a directionless Jack Swagger. Hopefully there’s a storyline reason for all this mistreatment, but I could be wrong.

TNA putting the belt back on Sting just makes me shake my head. It’s pathetic that they have perfectly good challengers in Mr. Anderson, Matt Morgan, RVD, and AJ Styles. What has Sting done to deserve the title shot and belt? He returned in a mockery of Undertaker’s 2/21/11 promo. So what?

Cheap Plugs
Yeesh. I’m running on fumes right now since this column took FOR EH VER, but as always I have to give credit where credit is due.

Chantal is back with a new Hotties and Notties. Looks like she read my suggestion about the Bellas and agreed with me.

Rhett Davis returns with a brand new O’Really Report discussing how the WWE can fix the tag division.

Chris Sanders has arrived and his new column, The Rager, is all the rage. Get it?

FLEA teaches us a lesson about rewriting the days of the week in his Wednesday-posted Saturday Evening Post. Makes your head spin, eh?

That’s gonna do it for me this week. Congrats to all the new writers on Pulse and, as always……

So long, and thanks for all the fish.topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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The Stomping Ground: A Heel Stable Retrospective, Part One Fri, 25 Feb 2011 15:00:16 +0000 Howdy!  Time for another edition of Gojira’s Stomping Ground.  As promised in last week’s column, I have decided to once again step into the old time machine for a look back at wrestling moments from Christmas Past.  That’s right: it’s time for a look back at history’s heel stables.

Now, obviously I can’t talk about EVERY heel stable that’s been around the block, since that might take forever.  I HAVE decided, however, to break this topic up into two columns so you won’t have to hurt your retinas staring at a 300-page essay.  My primary goal is to focus on WWE, WCW, TNA, and ECW stables that have made a mark in the industry (whether they are worthy of being famous or infamous is up to you, dear reader).  As a side note, there won’t be any mention of Japanese, Mexican, or Independent heel stables since my familiarity with them is extremely limited (although I have attended some ROH shows, but that’s neither here nor there).  If anyone wants to talk about these groups, feel free to discuss them in the comments and I’ll be happy to add them to the second part of this endeavor.

Heel stables have proven to be far more effective at getting superstars over than most face stables.  For one, heel stables often put over a main face who is trying to overcome the odds to beat them (see Nexus).  They are also effective at putting over a younger heel being mentored by a classically-trained one (see Evolution).  A stable’s success is not just how much money they draw when people come to see them get their asses handed to them; the success lies in where the stars within wind up after it’s all said and done.

The Heenan Family

Notable Members: Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Andre the Giant, King Kong Bundy, The Blackjacks, Ken Patera, Harley Race, Haku, The Barbarian, Professor Toru Tanaka, Big John Studd, Mr. Perfect, The Brainbusters, Rick Rude, Ric Flair (unofficially)

Aside from being one of the (if not THE) most charismatic and comical managers of all time, Bobby Heenan is also responsible for one of the most successful heel stables in the history of professional wrestling.  Across the AWA, NWA, and the then-WWF, the Heenan Family has held over 30 championships and the majority of his family either went on to great success or were already at the top of their game.  Heenan’s Family is also responsible for getting Hulk Hogan even more over than he already was, especially in his feud with King Kong Bundy and the heel turn of Andre the Giant.

Effectiveness: A-

Camp Cornette

Notable Members: Jim Cornette, Clarence Mason, Mr. Fuji, British Bulldog, Owen Hart, Yokozuna, Vader

Camp Cornette was one of my favorite stables of the mid-90s.  It provided great matches for Shawn Michaels during his first run as WWE Champion and made Bulldog and Owen an impressive team to contend with.  Unfortunately, due to backstage politics, Vader never amounted to much and neither Bulldog nor Owen ever made it to the major title.  It’s sad to look back and realize that 3 out of the 4 wrestlers Cornette managed are no longer with us.

Effectiveness: B

Triple Threat

Notable Members: Shane Douglas, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Bam Bam Bigelow, Chris Candido, Francine

The Triple Threat was one of the most dominating factions in ECW history.  Led by Shane Douglas (he of retail store management fame), the original troupe consisted of Four Horsemen alumni Malenko and Benoit.  Together they held every belt the company had to offer.  When Douglas left the company to become a Dean (look it up, kiddies) the group did not last as Malenko and Benoit made their way to WCW.  When Douglas returned to the company, he restarted Triple Threat with Bigelow and Candido and the trio feuded with Taz over the ECW Championship.  The stable is notable for one thing in particular: the leader, Douglas, had reached the pinnacle of his success when leading the group.  As a singles competitor in the other territories, he didn’t amount to much whereas most of his stablemates went on to more memorable careers.  However, since Triple Threat made stars out of nearly every man and put them on the map, they were clearly pretty effective.

Effectiveness: B+

King’s Court

Notable Members: King Booker, Queen Sharmell, Fit Finlay, William Regal

Booker T’s most successful WWE run came at the expense of an injured Batista and Rey Mysterio’s first heavyweight championship.  In all honesty, I don’t recall how Regal and Finlay wound up supporting him.  Regardless, both men were past their prime (yet still effective brawlers) but didn’t amount to much after the gimmick ran its course.  Booker left the ‘E with a bitter taste in his mouth thanks to a drumming by Triple H (not the first time The Game made him look like a joke, either).

Effectiveness: C+

Raven’s Flock/Nest/Gathering

Notable Members: Raven, Stevie Richards, The Pitbulls, Beulah, Perry Saturn, Kanyon, Billy Kidman, CM Punk, Mickie James

Raven’s various stables have been seen in ECW, WCW, and TNA under different names, but all involved a group of social misfits who gathered under Raven’s tutelage and did his bidding.  In all versions, Raven used the numbers game to take advantage of his opponents and win various titles for himself.  In TNA, Punk and Mickie James were a part of his Gathering and in WCW, Kidman and Saturn received the biggest rubs for being associated with Raven.  Many of Raven’s ECW compatriots had individual success at one point or another but never really achieved main event status.

Effectiveness: B-

Kai En Tai

Notable Members: Yamaguchi-San, Taka Michinoku, Sho Funaki, Men’s Teioh, Dick Togo, Kaz Hayashi, Tajiri

Kaientai began in Japan in 1994 and was named in tribute to an organization put together by an actual samurai whose goal was to free Japan from feudal rule.  Interesting little factoid, eh?  Here’s another one in case you were unaware: Taka Michinoku was a member of the original Kaientai before they came to the WWF to assault Val Venis and his penis.  Yeah, I did write that entire sentence with a straight face.  Heh.  Doesn’t matter though, because they didn’t last in the ‘E and Funaki became the longest running jobber since the Brooklyn Brawler as a result.  In fact, Taka was arguably more successful BEFORE he turned heel in the WWE.  Indeed.

Effectiveness: C

La Familia

Notable Members: Edge, Vickie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder

Edge’s dominance of Smackdown came about due to his association with the Guerrero family.  His Edgeheads Hawkins and Ryder were used as decoys and Chavo became his lackey as well.  This faction solidified Edge as a top heel (arguably he was already on that path since cashing in on Cena and shagging Lita on live television).  As for his flunkies, Vickie replaced “X-Pac heat” with “Vickie heat” and Chavo battled a leprechaun, both as himself and as an eagle mascot.  So…yah.  I guess not EVERYONE can be successful in a stable, right?  Edge’s rise to prominence and Vickie becoming the most hated personality since Mike Adamle boosted this stable’s effectiveness.

Effectiveness: B+

Dungeon of Doom

Notable Members: Kevin Sullivan, The Giant, Jimmy Hart, Kamala, Vader, Meng and the Barbarian, The Shark, The Yeti, Hugh Morris, Konnan

Sigh.  The poor man’s version of the Heenan Family suffered from ridiculously unbelievable gimmicks like the Shark (Earthquake) and the Yeti (a guy wrapped in toilet paper).  It was definitely the wrong place at the wrong time, as the wrestling business was quietly changing from tired gimmicks to realistic but slightly overblown personalities.  The cartoonish atmosphere was disappearing but Sullivan and his ridiculous crew did not.  The only man to come away from this unscathed was the Giant, known to most fans as Knucklehead…err, the Big Show.

Effectiveness: C+

Mean Street Posse

Notable Members: Shane McMahon, Joey Abs, Pete Gas, Rodney

Let’s face it.  These guys weren’t wrestlers (except for Abs).  They were a bunch of childhood friends whose goal was to make Shane-O-Mac look like more of a preppy bully.  Was it necessary?  No, because Shane already had the Corporation at the same time.  Was it effective?  They kept the now-defunct European Championship around Shane’s waist and held the Hardcore Championship 4 times between them.  Pffft.  Hell no, they weren’t effective!  EVERYONE held that Hardcore Title!

Effectiveness: F


Notable Members: Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, Batista

Evolution is an example of a heel stable done right.  You’ve got your wily veteran and mentor in Naitch, the powerful leader in The Game, the obnoxious golden boy in Orton, and the muscle in Batista.  Evolution is hands down the most successful stable in the last decade.  It turned Orton into a legit threat, made Batista into The Animal, and gave Flair a nice boost back up the card and into the hearts of wrestling fandom.  As for Triple H, his credibility as a leader (see DX, McMahon-Helmsley Era, Corporation) only added to the legitimacy of Evolution.  If it hadn’t been for Orton’s false start as a face after Summerslam, this group would’ve received an A+.

Effectiveness: A


Notable Members: Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, Manu, Sim Snuka

By contrast, Legacy in the long run was a failed attempt at making Randy Orton into a leader.  The storyline was that Orton had learned a lot from Triple H and Flair so clearly it was time for him to take command of his own stable.  The idea here was solid: second and third generation superstars coming together to make a name for themselves.  Unfortunately, it took so long for Randy to finally choose his stablemates (Manu and Snuka clearly were not ready) that by the time they were ready it was already too late.  You can’t have infighting in a group in it’s early stages, and the fact that Orton, DiBiase, and Rhodes never looked dominant at the same time really hurt their credibility.  Orton won the Rumble and destroyed the McMahon-Helmsley family, only to lose at Mania.  DiBiase and Rhodes faced DX, who only put them over ONCE, and the rise of JeriShow pushed their tag team further down the ranks.  In fact, the only thing Legacy managed to do was give Orton the successful face turn that had been attempted years earlier.  Cody Rhodes is still coming into his own on Smackdown and DiBiase is treading water on Raw.

Effectiveness: B


Notable Members: X-Pac, Albert, Justin Credible

Ah, X-Factor.  What a pathetic gathering.  This was the WWE’s last real attempt at pushing X-Pac.  Billed as a DX-Lite, X-Factor didn’t amount to squat as none of the three could escape the gaping black hole that is Chyna’s va….X-Pac’s heat.  Credible was better off wearing a jockstrap on his head and calling himself Aldo Montoya again.

Effectiveness: F

Latin American Xchange

Notable Members: Konnan, Homicide, Hernandez, Apolo

LAX was a TNA stable that was created due to the controversy surrounding illegal immigration.  They began after 3 Live Kru broke up, which formed both LAX and the James Gang.  After a feud with the former Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, LAX battled Team 3D and America’s Most Wanted en route to the TNA Tag Team Championship.   Konnan’s national exposure helped put Homicide and Hernandez on the map, but since we’re talking TNA here that isn’t necessarily a good thing.  Hernandez has since gone on to feud with Matt Morgan and Homicide is enjoying success on the independent circuit.  Konnan is currently spending time in AAA.  As for the team’s effectiveness?  They haven’t exactly left a lasting impression, and it remains to be seen where Homicide and Hernandez go from here.

Effectiveness: B-

Spirit Squad

Notable Members: Kenny Dykstra, Nicky (aka Dolph Ziggler), Mikey, Mitch, Johnny

Yawn.  The Spirit Squad was good at one thing, and one thing only: they were very easy to hate.  Unfortunately for them, they appeared at the worst possible time: the DX reunion.  Everyone knows once Triple H is involved in a storyline that anyone NOT on his side gets absolutely squashed.  See Rated RKO, Legacy, JeriShow.  And I’m not counting Dolph Ziggler, because if the Squad put anyone on the map it was Kenny, who was grossly underused on Smackdown.  Ziggler appeared after a failed caddy gimmick and a series of “Hi, I’m Dolph Ziggler” skits that went nowhere.

Effectiveness: D

The Cabinet

Notable Members: JBL, Orlando Jordan, Basham Brothers, Jillian Hall, Amy Weber

During JBL’s only run as the longest-reigning WWE Champion in Smackdown history, he created a stable that was supposed to help propel him through the stratosphere as a top heel.  It worked, to some extent, but the Cabinet was unnecessary as JBL was fully capable of getting people to hate his guts all by himself.  The Cabinet members themselves didn’t really go on to great success (I don’t count Orlando Jordan as US Champion a success) and the only one who stuck around for a number of years was Jillian.

Effectiveness: C+

La Resistance

Notable Members: Sylvan Grenier, Rene Dupree, and Rob Conway

La Resistance were a trio of French-Canadian sympathizers who drew great heat as a tag team but didn’t go anywhere as singles competitors.  Since they didn’t fare so well after they broke up, they didn’t exactly leave much of an impression.

Effectiveness: C-

And there you have it, folks: part one of my heel stable retrospective.  Next week I’ll discuss more heel stables, including the Four Horsemen, the Hart Foundation, DX, and the Main Event Mafia.  As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Elimination Chamber Thoughts

I thought that both chamber matches really delivered, but arguably the breakout star of the evening was John Morrison.  The man is INSANE, as evidenced by his irrational behavior dropping from the ceiling and landing on Sheamus.  Kudos to CM Punk for his outrageous antics, especially his mocking of Orton before eliminating the Viper with a GTS.

Cheap Plugs

Since this column is actually being typed up on Monday (I’m out of town for the week), the following links may be outdated by the time you read them.  Regardless, be sure to check out the following:

Pulse Glazer is back with a review of last Sunday’s Elimination Chamber PPV.

Although old news, Chris Biscuiti provided us with his thoughts on who should have replaced Ziggler at the PPV.

Finally, the always lovely and exquisite Chantal discusses last week’s Hotties and Notties.

Until next time, so long…and thanks for all the fish.topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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The O’Really Report – The Heenan Heritage, Bobby Heenan, Michael Cole, Vickie G Wed, 19 Jan 2011 21:00:10 +0000 Greetings and welcome to the first edition of The O’Really Report.  I am your humble and wrestling loving amigo Rhett Davis.  Don’t be shy, c’mon in, take your coat off and stay awhile.

Bobby Heenan is arguably the best manager of all time and why?  Not because he’s eye candy, that’s certain.  Heenan is the best manager because he had skills on the mic.  He could make the big men who didn’t have charisma in the least seem like big deals.  At WrestleMania 2 and 3, Heenan managed King Kong Bundy and Andre the Giant (respectively).  Neither of these men could talk on a mic well enough to match up to the heights that Hulk Hogan had set.  This is where Heenan came in.  He would tell you how bad your ribs would hurt after Bundy splashed you.  He would tell you how impossible it would be to pick up and slam Andre.  And you would believe him.  Then Hulk would go out there and prove Heenan wrong.  Not only did this build up the challenger as a potential threat when he couldn’t tell you himself, but it made the protagonist super heroic.  The buildup was huge for both of those matches, and a key part of it was Bobby Heenan’s doing.  Without Heenan, it would’ve just been Andre staring into the camera saying things barely coherent and Bundy rambling.  The WWE has done that again in this decade except with a new hero named John Cena.  Everyone likes to point their finger at Cena and say he is to blame for it being uninteresting.  But is it really?  Everyone says that Cena is a terrible wrestler.  Which I’m not here to disagree, but was Hulk Hogan really any better?  Cena has about five or six key moves, but so did Hulk Hogan.  Imagine if Cena’s opponents had someone like Bobby the Brain managing them.  The only time I can recall that his opponent had a manager who was capable of creating that surprise was Armando Estrada.  Do you remember when Cena fought Umaga (RIP) in a Last Man Standing match?  Umaga, despite not saying a word, created the ONLY match of the Cena-superman-era that I bought just to see how he would do it.  If you recall, Cena had to use the ropes and choke Umaga out in order to defeat the behemoth.

Now, I gave the history lesson to get to this point.  Why couldn’t Michael Cole be the next Bobby Heenan?  Before you get too critical on me, hear me out.  Cole has always been just a bland commentator that most people either found extremely annoying or just tuned him out.  For the first time in his career, Cole actually has a role worth mentioning.  He gets the “privilege” to read what the anonymous Raw GM has to say to the audience.  “And I Quote…” has become his new line and could easily be what he uses to garner that heat in an interview when putting over his wrestler.  Oh, I mean superstar.

Heenan was a coward, but he could afford to be.  After all, he surrounded himself with huge wrestlers.  Why couldn’t Cole do the same thing?  There are a plethora of big men on the WWE roster currently that have no real direction.  Imagine if Cole were to gather up Mark Henry, DH Smith, Chris Masters, Jack Swagger, and Tyler Reks along with Miz and Riley?  That would be a force to be reckoned with.   None of these men (minus Miz/Riley) have very good mic skills and could definitely use Cole to be there to put them over.  Cole could put over how Henry is the world’s strongest man and how big a deal that is, how much DH is better than his daddy, how bad it feels when the blood runs to your head when the Masterlock is applied, how Swagger can snap your ankle with his Ankle Lock, and how dangerous Reks is.

Now let me exit the Cole Miner club for a second and introduce my second nomination if the first doesn’t happen:  Vickie Guerrero.  In the case that WWE doesn’t want to lose the “Voice of the WWE” on commentary, then there is always the heat magnet Vickie Guerrero.  Vickie could do as I mentioned earlier and get a posse of big superstars to do the dirty work lead by Dolph Ziggler.  Or she could do something a little different…

WWE has been giving her this little reputation (Edge, Show, Ziggler) of being promiscuous and that could really play well into her stable.  Would it really surprise you if she surrounded herself with the ‘pretty’ boys?  What if somehow she got Ziggler, Ryder, Rhodes, McIntyre, Kidd, and Morrison?  The leaders could be Morrison and Ziggler and they could be the big title contenders.  Vickie did well on Monday Night,  a few weeks ago, when she was doing most of the talking for Ziggler.  She made him look like he really was of importance and that his win was important as well.  Vickie would draw great heat for her superstars and she could do most of the talking for the charisma lacking ones.  John Morrison could be the rebellion if in need of faces and put on some phenomenal matches with them.

Cole and Vickie are both capable of being great stable managers, if given the opportunity and creative backings.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment, question, concern, or totally long criticism/rant in the section below.  And that’s a wrap.topstory500x250-|topstory500x250 topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120

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What the World Was Watching: WCW Monday Nitro – December 25, 1995 Thu, 30 Dec 2010 00:54:17 +0000 WCW Nitro

-Who has a show on Christmas? WCW does! Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan and they say they are live, but since they don’t give a location I doubt it.

-Opening Contest: “The Total Package” Lex Luger (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Scotty Riggs:

What is this? Part II of Lex Luger’s destruction of the American Males tour? If so, I’m not arguing that that is a bad thing. Bagwell isn’t with Riggs for this match, unlike last week. Luger pounds on Rigg’s back until Riggs gets some dropkicks and a flying forearm, which causes Luger to bail. Back in, Luger corners Riggs and pounds away but a blind charge eats buckle and Riggs gets an arm drag and works the arm. Riggs gets a body press off the ropes for two. However, Luger blocks a suplex and suplexes Riggs on the top rope and then clotheslines him off the apron. When Riggs gets back on the apron Luger suplexes him inside for two and works the back. A blind charge eats boot and Riggs makes the comeback. A small package gets two. Riggs goes to the top rope, but Luger avoids a missile dropkick and a powerslam and Torture Rack, which gets a huge pop from the crowd, finish at 7:06. If Riggs wanted to work the arm he should have watched Savage’s match with Luger a few weeks prior to this. This match got more time than Luger’s match with Bagwell last week and was your run of the mill TV encounter. Grade: C

-In an obviously taped interview, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Sting. Okerlund asks him what’s up with Luger yet again and Sting says he’s tired of being asked that question and says that he’s just a friend. I don’t think Okerlund was implying THAT Sting. Sting reminds New Japan that WCW is the best. At least Sting addressed the World Cup this time.

-Big Bubba Rogers vs. Sting:

Rogers delivers a shoulder block, does the Owen cheer, and proceeds to botch an enziguri. Sting fights his way out of the corner and drives Roger’s face into the canvas and Rogers bails. Sting gets tired of waiting for Rogers so goes out after him and drives his face into the arena floor. Yowzers. Rogers takes a while to recover from that and when he gets back in Sting reverses an arm ringer. Rogers goes to the eyes and takes control. Bischoff announces that Hogan is suspended until the end of 1995 as Rogers scores a near-fall and locks on a chinlock. For real? That’s hardly an effective suspension when there are only SIX DAYS left in the year! Rogers hurls Sting to the floor, but when he goes out after him Sting unloads and tosses him back in. Sting goes to the top rope, but Rogers rakes his eyes. Unfortunately for Rogers, when he tries to throw Sting off the top rope Sting catches him with a small package and gets the pin at 5:14. That was a nice counter and someone should steal that spot. This match didn’t have enough action and you could tell Rogers was just going through the motions. Grade: D+

-Okerlund interviews Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart. Luger says there is a lot of history in the triangle match at Starrcade and repeats how he’s the uncrowned WCW World champion. Sting is shown smiling in the aisle at Luger’s comments and Hart repeats Luger’s claim to be the uncrowned WCW World champion. Craig “Pitbull” Pittman comes out and asks Jimmy Hart to be his manager. Hart has Pittman take his shirt off and says that his physique doesn’t compare to Luger’s so he gives him a quarter and tells him to call a manager who needs a few guys. Burn! If they were serious about getting Pittman over they would’ve had him trap Hart in an armbar and made Luger beat him up in response. Instead, they just made Pittman look weak.

-Dean Malenko vs. Mr. J.L.:

Malenko takes control early after dropkicking JL in the back. JL floats over on a suplex and resists a Malenko rollup with the help of the ropes and after a reversal sequence JL gets a rollup for two. JL gets a headscissors and Malenko bails. Malenko tries to avoid a JL pescado, but JL merely gets on the apron and cannonballs onto him instead. JL takes Malenko to the buckle when he gets on the apron and suplexes him inside for two. Malenko blocks a monkey flip out of the corner and gets a rollup for one, but JL bridges out after a delay and hits a sitdown powerbomb for two. Malenko comes back and hot shots him out of a powerbomb position and then hits a stomach breaker off the second rope (which Bischoff calls a side breaker). Malenko then applies a hold referred to as a “Malenko leg lock” (a kneebar) which gets the submission at 3:41. Interesting submission hold, but Malenko’s shoulders were on the mat so the referee should’ve counted a pinfall. Both guys weren’t given a lot of time, but put on a solid match. Grade: C

-Okerlund interviews “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Flair says that Savage is about to wrestle him and that he won’t be denied the World title. Jimmy Hart comes out and apologizes for last week’s interruption by Kevin Sullivan. Hart says he owes Flair one because of how he saved his life on Nitro a few weeks ago and he proposes that he accompany Flair to ringside. Flair says that’s cool with him. Hart’s overacting was really funny in this segment.

-WCW World Championship Match: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Champion) vs. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/Jimmy Hart):

Flair’s going for his twelfth title reign here and if Savage gets disqualified in this match too I’m going to laugh. Flair goes to the eyes, but a knee drop misses and Savage works the knee with the help of the ring post. Savage applies a figure-four, but the crowd is dead for it. I’m sorry for any readers out there who are from Augusta, but their fans suck. Flair grabs the ropes to force a break and holds the ropes to keep Savage from dragging him out of the corner. However, Savage comes back after Flair and gets some second rope punches in the corner before Flair delivers an inverted atomic drop to get a break. Flair goes for a figure-four, but Savage gets a small package for two. Savage unloads in the corner, but the referee stops Savage’s attack and Flair gets a cheap knee shot. Flair tosses Savage to the floor and that allows Hart to get in a few kicks behind the referee’s back as we go to a commercial break.

When we get back from the break, Flair is beating on Savage in the aisle and he whips him into the guardrail. Flair drops Savage’s throat across the top rope when he gets on the apron and snapmares him into the ring. Flair and Hart continue to cheat and Flair covers Savage with the assistance of the ropes but only gets a series of two counts out of the whole deal. Savage hits a clothesline after going under Flair’s for two and wins a battle over a backslide for two. Savage blocks a Flair punch off the ropes and gets two of his own for two. Flair begs off and when Savage doesn’t allow him to Flair just mule kicks him in the corner. Flair hits a suplex for two. Flair unloads as we go a second commercial break.

After returning from our second break, Flair is pounding on Savage in the corner, but Savage eventually blocks his blows and gets in his own. Savage whips Flair into the corner with authority and hits a backdrop for two. Flair flips and falls to the floor and Savage goes for an ax handle off the top rope, but Flair just punches him in the gut on his way down. Back in, Savage traps Flair in a sleeper, but Flair delivers a kneebreaker to escape and we have a double KO. Flair works the leg and locks in a figure-four. Flair uses the ropes for leverage, but Savage gets in the ropes. The referee doesn’t force a break for some reason and instead counts Savage’s shoulders to the mat twice. Randy Anderson is really having a rough go of it tonight by blowing calls and opening up Savage to cheap shots left and right. Savage grabs the ropes again and Anderson forces the break this time. Flair applies a sleeper, but Savage runs him face-first into the corner to get a break and we have double KO #2. Savage gets a fluke small package for two. Flair goes for a piledriver, but Savage backdrops out for two. The crowd remains dead for this, which I can’t understand, and Savage gets a top rope ax handle for two and covers again for one. Hart grabs Savage’s foot when he runs the ropes so Savage knocks him off the apron and unloads on Flair. Suddenly, Lex Luger comes out and unloads on Savage for a disqualification at 15:18 shown. Savage chokes Luger and Sting comes in, seemingly to get Savage off of Luger, but Flair intercepts him. Sting forces Flair to flee as Savage does the same to Luger and as the show goes off the air, Sting and Savage have a staredown. Of course, Flair and Savage have had better matches than this but this wasn’t bad at all. The crowd being dead for the ENTIRE match really hurt it, though, and I would’ve liked to see Hart interfere more than he did since he was making up a debt to Flair. Also, Flair didn’t work the leg THAT much to cause Savage to limp around like he did. Grade: B-

The Final Report Card: This show had a fun main event and an appropriate final segment that built up the Starrcade pay-per-view. Of course if any fans thought that when they bought that show they’d get to see Sting face off with Savage for the belt then they were the suckers of the century (although that match would’ve made a LOT of sense with the way they booked Nitro over the last few months). Needless to say, you can check how that show went if you don’t already know or you can wait until I recap the 1996 season to find out what happened there. This was arguably one of the better Nitro’s as far as wrestling was concerned because three out of the four of them were C’s or above.

Monday Night War Rating: 2.5 (Unopposed)

Show Grade: C+

Up next for my reviews: The 1996 season of Monday Night Raw!topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Video: WWE Classic Moment of the Week – Roddy Piper & Bobby Heenan (12.25.1991) Fri, 24 Dec 2010 16:00:42 +0000 In this week’s classic moment, Roddy Piper confronts Bobby Heenan for making fun of Christmas…

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What the World Was Watching: WCW Monday Nitro – December 18, 1995 Thu, 23 Dec 2010 23:22:24 +0000 WCW Monday Nitro

-Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan are in the booth and are live from Augusta, Georgia.

-Madusa interrupts the broadcast and says that she will always be Madusa. She has the WWF Women’s title belt and dumps it in the trash can, saying that that’s what she thinks of it. This was so damaging for the WWF women’s division that it didn’t come back for three years. Of course, during the mid-90s it was easy to forget there was a women’s division in the first place. Madusa was never great on the mic and it really hurt this segment.

-William “Refrigerator” Perry visits and squeezes Heenan’s hand really hard during a handshake.

-Opening Contest: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero:

Guerrero gets the jobber treatment and I guess the booking committee didn’t make a mistake this time in making this match. Flair plays to the crowd and does his false handshake spot with Guerrero. Both guys go through a standard wrestling sequence, with Guerrero getting the better of Flair and mocking his walk. That piece of gimmick infringement causes Flair to bail. Back in, Flair grabs the ropes and avoids a Guerrero dropkick and goes for the figure-four, but Guerrero ties him in a small package for two. Guerrero wins a battle over a backslide for two. Flair trades chops with Guerrero’s fists in the corner and fists win. A backdrop and a tornado DDT gets two. Heenan talks about how over Guerrero is, but the crowd isn’t responding to him. Guerrero turns a wristlock into a hurricanrana with the help of the ropes and gets two. Guerrero goes to the top rope, but Flair dives into the ropes in desperation and Guerrero falls to the floor. Outside, Guerrero grabs his knee and Flair goes after it. Back in, Flair works the leg and applies the figure-four. Flair uses the ropes behind the referee’s back and that gets a near-fall. Flair keeps working the ropes behind the referee’s back and eventually Guerrero succumbs to the pain and the referee counts his shoulder to the mat at 7:37. After the match, Flair stomps Guerrero and “Mean” Gene Okerlund says that he won’t conduct an interview with him, as if that is going to be the carrot that makes Flair stop. This match was good, but the crowd was surprisingly apathetic. Grade: B-

-Arn Anderson and Ric Flair are with Okerlund and Anderson reminds Paul Orndorff that for every action there’s an equal but opposite reaction and that he found that out last week. Kevin Sullivan and Jimmy Hart interrupt and Sullivan says that while he respects Anderson and Flair, Pillman is a loose cannon and he’s insulted by Pillman’s comments last week about the Dungeon. Sullivan tells Anderson that he better keep Pillman on a short leash or he’s going to go looking for him. Flair says there isn’t a problem, but Anderson says there is a problem and if Sullivan and the Dungeon go after Pillman they are going to run into the Horsemen. Good segment that planted the seeds for a Dungeon-Horsemen feud, but having Pillman out there could’ve helped.

-Craig “Pitbull” Pittman interrupts the announce team and he asks Heenan to manage him to the World title because Heenan is one of the best managers of all time. Heenan says he doesn’t manage anymore, but he can recommend him to someone else. Pittman says that if he doesn’t get any help soon that he’s going to snap. This was a very random segment and Pittman’s military gimmick should’ve been played with more.

-Lex Luger (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Marcus Bagwell (w/Scotty Riggs):

Bagwell gets the jobber treatmen,t but that’s a good thing because we don’t have to listen to the American Males entrance music. Luger pounds away until Bagwell pulls out a monkey flip and forces him to bail with a dropkick. Following a trend this evening, Bagwell mocks Luger’s taunt and then dropkicks him off the apron. Luger regroups with Hart and when he goes back in he pounds away, but but a blind charge eats buckle and Bagwell makes a comeback. Bagwell hits a flying forearm off the ropes, but a splash hits knees and Luger delivers a powerslam. Luger exercises his right to taunt and a Torture Rack finishes at 3:07. Not bad for a three minute match, but there was nothing special in it either. Grade: C-

-Okerlund interviews Luger and Hart on their way back to the locker room. Hart reminds us that Luger is the uncrowned WCW World champion and Luger says that he’s breathless in anticipation for Starrcade. I fail to see what this promo did that previous week’s promos did not.

-“Earl” Robert Eaton (w/Jeeves) vs. Sting:

After a monkey flip Sting works the crowd, but when he applies an arm ringer Eaton gets out and pounds and chokes away. Eaton gets a snapmare for one and wanting to get revenge for War Games in 1992, he applies an armbar. Sting comes back with a hiptoss, but runs into a backbreaker. However, a top rope splash misses and Sting makes the comeback. Stinger’s Splash and the Scorpion Deathlock finish at 3:58. This was a slow and boring match. Grade: D

-Okerlund interviews Sting after his match and he asks him about the Starrcade pay-per-view in nine days. I had a big problem with this pay-per-view because Sting and Luger had to wrestle for team WCW while Flair didn’t have to wrestle in the World Cup and was rested for the triangle match. How was that fair? Sting says he’d like to emerge from Starrcade as a six-time world champion. This promo didn’t want to make me buy the show and again, WHAT ABOUT THE JAPANESE TEAM?!?!?!

-WCW World Championship Match: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Champion) vs. The Giant (w/Kevin Sullivan & Jimmy Hart):

Savage uses his speed to outmaneuver the Giant and he unloads in the corner. Savage applies a quick sleeper, but the Giant throws Savage off. When the Giant goes to talk with Jimmy Hart on the apron, Savage gets to his feet, knees the Giant in the back and Hart goes flying. However, the Giant shakes it off and pounds away. A bearhug sends up to a commercial break.

When we return, the Giant slams Savage and signals for a chokeslam, but Savage stops that by going to the eyes. However, the Giant catches him with a backbreaker when he goes for a clothesline. That gets two until Savage puts his foot on the rope. The Giant goes to the top rope, but a humongous splash misses and Savage hits a flying elbow smash, but the Giant kicks out with authority at two. The Giant knocks Savage to the floor and takes away the padding. However, this attempt to impress Bill Watts fails as Savage grabs the ropes on a suplex attempt and the Giant hits the concrete. Back in, the Giant chokeslams Savage with ease, but doesn’t cover. The Giant hits a leg drop, but Hulk Hogan comes into the ring and hits the Giant in the back with a chair at two to draw the disqualification at 7:35 shown. Hogan goes on a rampage, KO’ing Nick Patrick and hitting the Giant in the face with the chair, as William Perry and McMichael come down and break it up. So THIS is how you book Savage’s title reign? He’s been in two major television matches to defend the belt and lost both by disqualifications right when they were going to win the title. This match was better than I expected it to be and the Giant was adding some spots to his arsenal to really make him appear unique. Grade: C

-Okerlund interviews Hogan and Savage. Hogan whines that Ric Flair and the Giant are on probation with him, but they are getting titles matches and he’s not. The Giant is detained by Sullivan and a member of security so Hogan uses the opportunity to run down the aisle and hit the Giant and Sullivan with a chair. Hogan runs back in the ring and say “oohh yeah” on the mic. So now he’s not only taking over Savage’s matches, but taking his gimmick too. Nice. Hogan says that his name is still on the title belt and that Savage owes him a title match. Savage says that he has to defend the title against Flair next week on Nitro and then face Tenzan at Starrcade, but after that he’ll face him in a match that the whole galaxy wants to see. Savage asks Hogan to give him the chair and says that he’s going to make lots of money off of selling it because it has the Giant and Kevin Sullivan’s signature on it. Hmmm…I wonder how he did that because eBay wasn’t invented yet. Anyway, this was a VERY ego driven promo on Hogan’s part. Sometimes I think he gets some unnecessary criticism from the Internet, but this segment made Hogan appear more important than Savage, which was completely unwarranted.

The Final Report Card: I was a WWF fan during the Monday Night Wars and missed a lot of the events on Nitro because of it. I heard of Hogan losing his mind on shows and making it all about him and this show is exhibit A for that. It was clear by this point that Savage was just a transitional champion because of how he was being treated in the main events. I was always bothered by the fact that the Giant was left off of the Starrcade 1995 card as well. You’d think if WCW wanted to win the World Cup that they’d put him on the team instead of Alex Wright. No offense to Das Wunderkid, of course.

Monday Night War Rating: 2.7 (vs. 2.3 for Raw)

Show Grade: C-
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What the World Was Watching: WCW Monday Nitro – December 11, 1995 Fri, 17 Dec 2010 05:00:00 +0000 Monday Nitro

-Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan are in the booth and are live from Charlotte, North Carolina.

-Opening Contest: Mr. J.L. vs. Eddie Guerrero:

Neither JL or Guerrero get an entrance as the match starts after the show has only been on for a couple of minutes. Guerrero clotheslines JL and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. A side suplex gets two. JL arm drags out of a powerbomb and arm drags out of an inverted slingshot, but gets caught with a sloppy backbreaker. JL comes back with a headscissors off the ropes and Guerrero bails. Back in, JL manages to put Guerrero on the top rope and kicks him in the face to make Guerrero fall to the floor. Outside, JL cannonballs off the apron onto Guerrero and rolls him back in for two. A suplex gets two. Guerrero gets a sunset flip out of blind charge, but JL quickly gets out, BUT Guerrero flips JL back into a sunset flip and that gets the pin at 4:27. A solid opener that had its moments but the high spots came off as too choreographed. Grade: C

-“Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Lex Luger and Jimmy Hart. Hart says that Luger should be the WCW World Champion and Luger says he would have destroyed Savage’s arm if it wasn’t for Sting and that Hogan ruined his opportunity to be world champion. Take a number Lex. Luger addresses Sting and says that they are good friends, but the best man will have to win the triangle match. Just standard promo fare here.

-The Disco Inferno vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff:

Orndorff takes his time on his way to the ring, but is awesome when he interacts with the crowd and they respond with a “Paula” chant. Disco gets tired of waiting on Orndorff and attacks him before the bell. A blind charge eats elbow, though, and Orndorff unloads. Orndorff hits an inverted atomic drop and a forearm off the ropes as Bischoff talks about Orndorff’s “world famous” left hand in reference to his alleged beating of Vader backstage. Orndorff slams Disco’s head into the canvas and then mocks Disco’s dance before dropping an elbow. If you think there’s too much dancing before the People’s Elbow you need to see this. Orndorff folds up Disco with a side suplex and Orndorff gets the pin with the help of the ropes, which he doesn’t need because Disco makes no attempt to kick out, at 2:23. Although the match didn’t have much action, Orndorff handled the crowd beautifully and you could tell he was really having fun out there. Grade: D

-Okerlund interviews the Four Horsemen, although there are only three: Flair, Anderson, and Pillman. Flair and Anderson have Four Horsemen shirts, but Pillman doesn’t. That’s just wrong. Pillman criticizes Hogan’s turn away from the dark side and takes shots at the American Males, the Dungeon of Doom, McMichael, and Orndorff. Flair starts talking to a big pop, but Orndorff interrupts him, apologizes, and gets in Pillman’s face. Orndorff says he could’ve been a Horseman until Pillman took his spot. Anderson tries to play peacemaker and Orndorff just brushes him aside and says that Pillman’s just carting around bags. Unsurprisingly, that creates a slugfest and when Orndorff doesn’t let Anderson and Flair break it up they join in the beating and Anderson and Flair finish him off with a spike piledriver on the cement.

-After the commercial break we see medical personnel putting Orndorff on a stretcher.

-Lex Luger (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan:

Duggan attacks Luger when he gets into the ring and Luger bails. Back in, Duggan pounds away as the camera cuts away to show that Orndorff is being loaded into an ambulance backstage. When we cut back to the match Luger is in control, but Duggan reverses a whip into the corner and hits another clothesline. Duggan goes for the three point stance clothesline, but Hart hops up on the apron, grabs the 2×4, and wildly swings it around. Duggan tapes up his fist for some reason and then goes over to deal with Hart, but that just allows Luger to hit him with a forearm in the back of the head and put him in the Torture Rack for the win at 2:42. Duggan carried this short match and it wasn’t bad. Grade: D

-Okerlund interviews WCW World Champion “Macho Man” Randy Savage about Starrcade and his title match with the Giant on next week’s show. Savage says that he’s going to turn into TNT and blow up in the Giant’s face.

-“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair & “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson vs. Hulk Hogan & Sting:

Hogan and Sting come out separately and Sting comes out first to his music. Hogan comes out a minute later to Sting’s music and he doesn’t look happy walking to ring, giving the impression that Sting bolted to the ring without him. The crowd boo’s Hogan as he comes down to the ring and could care less about his problems. Sting and Anderson start with a lockup and Anderson counters a hiptoss with an arm drag and the crowd loves it. Anderson pounds away until Sting catches him with a gorilla press slam off the ropes. Hogan gets a cheap shot from the apron as the crowd works up a “Hogan sucks” chant. Anderson demands that Hogan get tagged in and Sting obliges. Anderson calls time out and then tags in Flair, who gets a massive ovation. Hogan doesn’t sell Flair’s chops and the “faces” proceed to destroy Flair. All hell breaks loose and it ends with the Horsemen pounding on Hogan. Hogan fights out and tags in Sting, who dropkicks Flair for two. Flair comes back with a low blow, but Sting bridges out of a two count and gets a backslide for two. Flair seizes control with an inverted atomic drop and tags in Anderson. Anderson goes to the top rope, but gets thrown off and Sting applies the Scorpion Deathlock. Flair comes in to break it up and Sting just releases the hold on Anderson, trips Flair, and traps him in it instead. The referee cuts Hogan off and doesn’t let him enter the ring and that lets Anderson drill Sting with a sick DDT to a huge crowd pop. Jimmy Hart runs down to the ring and Lex Luger comes down, ambushes Hogan, and racks him on the floor. Meanwhile, the Horsemen work over Sting’s knee. Flair locks in the figure-four and gets extra leverage from Anderson when he needs it. That gets a two-count until Sting decides to no longer sell it and he drags Flair over to the face corner. However, we get a false tag spot and the crowd erupts. I think that’s the only time I have ever seen that happen. The Horsemen continue to work Sting’s knee until Sting tosses Flair off the top rope for two. Sting drives Anderson’s head into the mat when he puts his head down too early and we have a double KO. Sting gets the momentum swinging tag to Hogan, which gets ZERO audience reaction, and Anderson hits a spinebuster. However, Hogan hulks up, gives a big boot to Flair, and leg drops Anderson as Sting gives Flair a Stinger’s splash in the corner for the win at 13:25. Really? In HORSEMEN country you just jobbed out the Horsemen? If you want to see an example of the fans going against the booking of the match then watch this one because they completely invert the face/heel dynamic. The match was above average, but the figure-four spot needed more drama to sell the idea that Sting and Hogan might actually lose. Grade: B-

-After the match, Pillman comes down to the ring and tries to attack Hogan, but that goes nowhere until Flair and Anderson get involved. Luger comes back out and protects Sting and then tries to keep him away from the Horsemen, but Sting brushes him aside and clears the ring. THEN Savage comes out and gets in Sting’s face so Sting just clobbers him. Savage slaps Sting after he gets to his feet and Okerlund gets in the ring and Hogan and Savage demand to know what’s going on with Luger. Sting apologizes to Savage for hitting him and Hogan vouches for how Sting saved him from the Horsemen. Savage tells Sting that he and Hogan want Sting with them and Sting says that’s cool. These segments made Sting look like such a loser.

The Final Report Card: They packed a lot into this show and it had an old NWA feel to it because of it setting. Despite major towns voicing their displeasure with Hogan, WCW refused to change anything and wouldn’t until the NWO invasion angle seven months later. I think the show should’ve gone off the air with Sting decking Savage because they could’ve played that storyline out on the next Nitro with Savage facing off against the Giant and it would have avoided the stupid Okerlund interview segment that closes out most of these shows, which does not play into Sting’s strengths. The whole “what side is Sting/Luger on” storyline seemed to be building for an eventual clash between Sting/Luger vs. Hogan/Savage but we never quite got there. That storyline also established that WCW saw Hogan and Savage as their top two faces and that Sting was just playing second fiddle to them regardless of how much support he had from the fan base. Furthermore, I fail to see why I would buy the Starrcade 1995 pay-per-view because they don’t hype it very much on this show and the only match they talked about was the Luger-Sting-Flair triangle match. The entire “New Japan vs. WCW” World Cup concept isn’t addressed and none of the Japanese guys were on the show. Someone tell me how that’s a good business decision.

Monday Night War Rating: 2.6 (vs. 2.5 for Raw)

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What the World Was Watching: WCW Monday Nitro – December 4, 1995 Thu, 09 Dec 2010 04:56:18 +0000 Monday Nitro

-Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan are in the booth and are live from Phoenix, Arizona. Bischoff informs us that the WCW Executive Committee has put Hulk Hogan, the Giant, and Ric Flair on probation and that they are all on thin ice based on their recent actions. The “executive committee” concept is something I wish would return.

-Opening Contest for the WCW Tag Team Championships: Harlem Heat (Champions w/Sister Sherri) vs. The American Males:

The crowd boos the Males during their entrance. The Heat dominate Riggs until Bagwell gets tagged in and the Males clean house. Bagwell gets a sunset flip out of a Booker blind charge for two and Colonel Robert Parker appears in the aisle with a present. Sherri opens the gift from Parker and they share a kiss. When the camera gets back to the match, Booker gets a two count, but misses an elbow drop. Spinarooni time and Booker hits an axe kick on Riggs for two. Sherri leaves with Parker, showing off an engagement ring, and Booker yells at her. Ray gets two on a side suplex until Bagwell breaks it up. Riggs gets a fluke rollup for two after Booker yells at A.C. Green, who is sitting in the front row. Riggs also gets a fluke sunset flip for two. The Heat beat on Riggs until a Booker pump splash off the second rope eats knees and Bagwell gets the momentum swinging tag. Bagwell takes out the champions and hits Ray with a fisherman’s suplex for two until Booker breaks it up. Ray catches Bagwell on a dropkick, slams him, and a Harlem Hangover finishes at 7:47. Standard tag match here. Grade: C

-“Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Sting and Lex Luger. Sting says that Luger has a good shot at beating “Macho Man” Randy Savage tonight for the World title, but that he’d better not be complacent because he plans on winning the triangle match at Starrcade and taking the title off of him. Luger says that he will win the title tonight and that he’ll face Sting if it comes to that. After the interview, Sting walks to the ring for a match.

-Sting vs. Kurasawa:

Colonel Robert Parker isn’t with Kurasawa like he usually is because of his involvement with Sherri earlier in the show. If I were Kurasawa, I’d fire my manager over that. Sting dominates for a while until the match spills to the floor, where Kurasawa lays in some chops. Back in, Kurasawa gets a kneelift and works the arm. Sting fights out of the corner, not even selling the arm, and takes Kurasawa to the buckle. Stinger’s splash and a Scorpion Deathlock finish at 2:38. A month earlier Kurasawa broke Hawk’s arm and looked like a threat. Now he’s just a jobber. There wasn’t enough action here to justify a higher grade. Grade: D-

-Scott “Flash” Norton vs. The Giant (w/Kevin Sullivan & Jimmy Hart):

When I heard the Dungeon of Doom’s music I feared that we were going to get Norton-Shark III. Maybe they are saving that rubber match for next week. The Giant beats on Norton and exercises his weak grapple attacks from WCW vs. NWO World Tour until Norton gives him an atomic drop. The Giant shakes it off and Norton goes to the eyes. Norton goes to the top rope, but he dives right into a choke hold and the chokeslam finishes at 2:44. The Giant was pretty green at this point, but he and Norton put together a good short power match here. Grade: D

-A slimmed down Chares Barkley, who I don’t initially recognize, comes out with Ric Flair for an interview. Barkley says that he can’t measure up to Flair, but that Flair is his guy regardless of what the fans in Phoenix say. Barkley says that the fans in Phoenix need to appreciate Flair and Flair says Barkley might retire from the NBA and become a Horseman. That would’ve been a much better choice than McMichael.

-WCW World Championship Match: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (Champion) vs. Lex Luger (w/Jimmy Hart):

Savage stalks Luger outside of the ring when Luger confers with Hart to start and when they get into the ring Savage refuses a Luger handshake and tears into him. Luger catches himself on his own blind charge and clotheslines Savage and Savage bails. When Luger tries an axe handle off the apron, Savage catches him with a fist to the gut and rolls him back inside. Savage hits a top rope axe handle for two. Luger manages to get Savage into the corner and knees away, but Savage blocks a take to the opposite buckle and hits an elbow off the ropes for two. Luger blocks a suplex and delivers one of his own, but misses an elbow drop and Savage works his arm as we go to a commercial break.

When we get back, both men are on the outside and Savage is still working Luger’s arm with the help of the guardrail and ring post. Savage whips Luger’s arm in the ring post and small packages him for two. Savage continues to attack the arm, but when he goes for an axe handle off of the apron to Luger on the floor, Luger moves and Savage crashes into the guardrail. Back in, it’s stomp city, but Luger has to go to the eyes to maintain the advantage when Savage recovers. Luger sells the arm as he takes Savage to the buckle a couple of times and hits a clothesline for two. Luger delivers a few careful elbow drops, something none of the announcers pick up on, for two. A few more elbow drops get two. Both men’s heads collide off the ropes for a double KO as a few idiots in the audience yell “boring.” Savage covers for two. Savage clotheslines Luger for two and the camera shows that Jimmy Hart has taken the turnbuckle pad off. Savage reverses a take to the exposed buckle, but the referee gets knocked out of the ring, and Savage hits the top rope elbow smash. There’s no referee so Ric Flair comes out, blasts Savage with a foreign object, and Hart puts Luger on top of Savage. The referee is still out on the floor, though, and Hulk Hogan comes out as Flair is walking back to the locker room and chases him back to the ring. When the referee gets ready to count the pinfall, Hogan grabs the referee and that leads to a disqualification at 13:58 shown. Hogan pulls Hart into the ring as Flair flees and gives he and Luger a double noggin knocker. Hogan goes to nail Luger, but Luger moves and Hogan hits Sting and Sting doesn’t take too kindly to that as we go to a commercial break. The match between Luger and Savage was pretty good until the disqualification at the end, with Luger doing a great job selling the arm. I wish Savage had done the same in the match since his was taped up from Luger’s previous assaults. Grade: B-

-Okerlund reminds Hogan that he was on probation and just touched a referee. Hogan says all he wants to know is whether Sting is with him or Luger. Sting yells he’s on Hogan’s side and that Luger’s his best friend and Luger’s just mixed up right now. Sting asks Hogan why he’s always got to run down Luger because Sting never runs down Savage. Savage reminds Sting that he called Luger’s turn before Halloween Havoc and Sting doesn’t have a good comeback for that. Sting reminds Hogan that they have a tag match with Flair & Arn Anderson next week and they have to work together. Hogan demands that Sting keep Luger out of his face, neglecting the fact that HE is the one that interjected himself in Luger’s business and not vice versa. All this drama is ridiculous and completely unwarranted. Since when is Hogan Sting’s daddy who gets to tell him who he can associate with?

The Final Report Card: After a mediocre undercard, the main event ended the show on a positive note. Although I wasn’t a fan of the cop out finish, it still made both guys look strong and furthered the dissension angle among Hogan, Savage, and Sting. Next week’s tag team main event should be interesting because it’s going to be in Charlotte, North Carolina and that’s Horsemen country.

Monday Night War Rating: 2.4 (vs. 2.6 for Raw)

Show Grade: C
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