Inside Pulse Wrestling » Jim Ross http://wrestling.insidepulse.com Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Fri, 28 Mar 2014 17:34:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 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 » Jim Ross http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://wrestling.insidepulse.com CB’s Slant: Ringside with Jim Ross Live at Gramercy Theatre in New York City 03.01.2014 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/03/01/cbs-slant-ringside-with-jim-ross-live-at-gramercy-theatre/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/03/01/cbs-slant-ringside-with-jim-ross-live-at-gramercy-theatre/#comments Sun, 02 Mar 2014 00:26:41 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=165117 WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross kicked off his live speaking tour today in New York City at the Gramercy Theatre. I happened to be in attendance and so I wanted to share some thoughts.

First and foremost, this was a MUST-SEE show for any wrestling fan. JR was hilarious, heartfelt and just outstanding as the pro wrestling storyteller and crowd-pleasing host of his “no holds barred” Q&A session.

–Special guests included Joey Styles, Tommy Dreamer and Judah Friedlander.

–The first part of the show was JR talking about his early life, his beginnings in wrestling and his stories ranging from childhood through his time in WWE.

–He said his father told him if he did all his chores he could watch the local wrestling show at 4:00 pm on Saturdays.

–His first wrestling gig was for $150/week and he would make extra money doing everything from setting up rings to refereeing to driving wrestlers around.

–He talked about working for Bill Watts, announcing with Leroy McGuirk despite McGuirk being blind and told some great stories about the craziness of the road.

–He told the Vince McMahon “sharting” story that made waves during his press interviews this week. Basically, Vince wanted to pass gas but did a whole lot more than that just before his music hit to go out on TV. He fearlessly marched out anyway.

–He said that his biggest can’t-miss that missed was Sycho Sid and his biggest surprise remains Mick Foley. Vince let Ross hire Mick so he could have JR experience what it’s like to have his heart broken, but then it turned into magic.

–He said the best tag team he ever saw were The Assassins from the 1960s.

–When asked about CM Punk, Ross reiterated it was a simple case of burnout and that he still think Punk will regret leaving one day. He thinks Punk will be gone longer but others like Steve Austin think Punk will be back before WrestleMania XXX.

–He talked about overcoming Bell’s Palsy three times, and also overcoming intestinal issues that nearly ended his life before leaving WWE full-time in 2005.

–He took the blame for the SummerSlam panel discussion with Ric Flair going off the rails and said he’s doing just fine since being let go from WWE.

–The most emotional part of the show came during the Q&A when JR was asked about having to stay on the air after Owen Hart’s fall at Over The Edge 1999. JR said he saw Owen’s fall in his peripheral view and that as soon as it happened Jerry Lawler ran over to Owen and came back and shook his head no. Ross said no one told him Owen was dead until producer Kevin Dunn broke the news to him … 10 seconds before he had to update the world about it. He said he hasn’t gone back to watch the footage of his commentary in that moment and never will unless he writes a book about his career and needs to see it to recount his feelings in that moment.

–He wrapped up by thanking everyone for coming and got a rousing standing ovation.

Overall, this was a great experience and Jim Ross was honest, authentic and just awesome.

That’s all from me — CB.
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Jim Ross Opens Up about Leaving WWE and Talks CM Punk’s Departure in Candid Interview http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/02/06/jim-ross-opens-up-about-leaving-wwe-and-talks-cm-punks-departure-in-candid-interview/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/02/06/jim-ross-opens-up-about-leaving-wwe-and-talks-cm-punks-departure-in-candid-interview/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 11:37:12 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=164315 In a candid interview with Newsday, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross discussed leaving WWE following the infamous Ric Flair panel discussion incident and talked about the recent departure of CM Punk.

JR on the Ric Flair incident that led to his WWE “retirement”:

“The wheels came off a wagon I didn’t build.”

“I knew that when it was over, a lot of the top WWE officials were very anxious to get Ric Flair out of the facility … So I knew there was some concern there, but I didn’t know that the concern involved me. A story started out of misinformation that I had been drinking with Flair all day. And the issue was that if they [WWE officials] had checked their schedule, I had been booked all day with WWE activities and SummerSlam that had nothing to do with Ric Flair.”

JR on finally moving on from WWE:

“My job was to keep the rudder in the water … I didn’t do that. And so, the decision was made that we part ways. And to be honest with you, and this is not looking back, or trying to cover somebody’s tracks, or cover my own [behind], I was really looking for an opportunity to move on. I wanted to get into the podcast business, I wanted to get into one-man show stuff . . . I wanted to look at other opportunities, like this Fox Sports thing that I’m doing now. And I knew I couldn’t do those things while I was under contract to the WWE. But to be honest, to be totally frank with you, I had such a loyalty to that company, and I still do, that after 20 years I didn’t know how I was going to say goodbye.”

JR on on the WWE locker room and CM Punk’s departure:

“This whole locker room has a different feel to it, and a different — they’re not as edgy as the Attitude Era locker room … They’re not as competitive. I don’t know that they’re as hungry. But now, CM Punk is different. [Compared with] today’s corporate wrestler, CM Punk is a little bit of a rogue. And I don’t mean that in a negative way.”

“Over the last two of three years, he’s been my favorite WWE performer to watch in the ring, without question. He would’ve been a huge star in the Attitude Era, without question. Here’s the deal: He’s a very cerebral guy, who has an old-school spirit, that really cares about every aspect of the business. I think that he needed time off, ample time off, to recharge his batteries. I think he has, for lack of a better term, a major case of burnout. And I think the problem should have been recognized and addressed much earlier than letting it get to a head and him being so frustrated and such a sense of hopelessness that he decided to go home. Walking away from a problem is never a solution. Never. Solve the problem.”

Ross also talks about CM Punk possibly coming back after a self-imposed offseason or doing other things like helping out a startup promotion in the future or going into MMA broadcasting.

For the full, in-depth interview, click here.

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JR Blog: CM Punk, Brock Lesnar UFC, Undertaker, WWE Hall of Fame 2014 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/02/03/jr-blog-cm-punk-brock-lesnar-ufc-undertaker-wwe-hall-of-fame-2014/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/02/03/jr-blog-cm-punk-brock-lesnar-ufc-undertaker-wwe-hall-of-fame-2014/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 15:17:46 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=164172 What is on JR’s mind?

on CM Punk
I fully understand that Punk is burned out and frustrated but I personally and perhaps selfishly wish that he would perform and steal the show at WM30 before taking his leave and recharging his batteries. That’s just the fan in me talking.

on Brock Lesnar
I can see why Brock Lesnar would love to fight in the UFC again because he’s a beast who feels he’s left unfinished business behind and he’s healthy….finally. I say the former NCAA, WWE, and UFC champion has nothing to prove by returning to the Octagon as he’s got a great gig in WWE working part time for what I’d think is substantial cash….and I’m a HUGE, UFC fan.

Lesnar sells PPV’s when he’s hot and it’s up to WWE to get Lesnar hot between now and April 6.

I could easily see Lesnar challenging The Undertaker and the STREAK for WM31 and letting that matter build for a year. Lesnar gets reborn as a beast and provides the most intense threat to the STREAK that, arguably, anyone has ever presented. Just a thought….

on WWE Hall of Fame 2014
Got a tip of ‘leaked info’ from a non WWE source of who will be joining Warrior and Jake the Snake in the 2014 WWE HOF class. I choose to not spoil the surprise and divulge said info and let those who like to do the ‘spoiler’ thing handle that matter. Spoiler as in info we don’t need and not Spoiler as in the late Don Jardine who was one of the greatest masked wrestlers who ever lived.

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JR Blog: WWE Royal Rumble 2014 Controversy, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/27/jr-blog-wwe-royal-rumble-2014-controversy-daniel-bryan-roman-reigns/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/27/jr-blog-wwe-royal-rumble-2014-controversy-daniel-bryan-roman-reigns/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 20:06:01 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=163884 Jim Ross has written thoughts about the Royal Rumble from last night, here are some highlights:

on Daniel Bryan
I don’t think that I have received as much impassioned feedback on a WWE PPV event in recent memory as I have over the past several hours after the Royal Rumble ended. Many fans were downright pissed and shared their venom with yours truly.

Firstly, the vast majority of fans wanted Daniel Bryan to win the Royal Rumble so that he would be in line for a WWE World Title match at WM30. That did not happen.

Yet.

Obviously, Daniel Bryan has made an amazing connection with the WWE fans and I’d venture to say that today, 24 hours after the Royal Rumble, that Daniel Bryan has NEVER been more popular in his entire career.

At this point, Daniel Bryan becoming WWE World Champion would be great but it certainly isn’t definitively necessary for DB to be ‘over.’ Daniel Bryan is ‘over’ and his fans are seemingly rallying behind him in a verbal show of solidarity and support. If Bryan embraces this support, then a happier ending is more likely to occur.

on Roman Reigns
Huge night in Pittsburgh for Roman Reigns who set a record with 12 eliminations of which I guessed might happen. Of course, some think that I received inside info on that matter but if they only knew how little I communicate with anyone in WWE they would change their tune. It was a creative calculation that made sense to me. Today, it still makes sense.

Reigns is a future star and if he had won the Royal Rumble that would have been just fine with me. However, Reigns, as a fan favorite, chasing either villains Orton or Batista would be money matches. Reigns era is rapidly approaching. The foundation is being laid.

on the Rumble’s value, his grade of the event
I’d give the PPV a B- or C+ grade and I paid retail for it just like most fans and I am not clamoring for a ‘refund.’ In hindsight, could things have been executed differently? Absolutely. But isn’t that the case with any show biz entity or even most sporting events?

Check out his full thoughts at JRs BBQ

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Flashback: Top Ten Moments in Royal Rumble History http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/25/flashback-top-ten-moments-in-royal-rumble-history/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/25/flashback-top-ten-moments-in-royal-rumble-history/#comments Sat, 25 Jan 2014 17:18:15 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=163680 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!
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Jim Ross News: Debut on FoxSports.com, Royal Rumble History (HBK, Rey Mysterio, John Cena) http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/24/jim-ross-news-debut-on-foxsports-com-royal-rumble-history-hbk-rey-mysterio-john-cena/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/24/jim-ross-news-debut-on-foxsports-com-royal-rumble-history-hbk-rey-mysterio-john-cena/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 21:19:14 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=163659 Jim Ross has signed on to write columns for Fox Sports, and has kicked off with a feature about the Royal Rumble.

on Royal Rumble 1995
Shawn Michaels draws No. 11 and Davey Boy Smith draws No. 2. They endure and go coast to coast to become the final two survivors, outlasting 28 others. Both guys were at somewhat of a professional crossroads and the stage was set to launch both men significantly. ‘The Moment’ was when Michaels went over the top rope but only “one foot” touched the floor … hence the “Shawn Michaels Rule” saying that both feet must touch the floor for one to be eliminated. Many feel that Shawn Michael’s individual career was amped up thanks to his performance in this Rumble match. HBK was at his best in big-match scenarios.

on Rey Mysterio in 2006
Rey Mysterio more than earned his pay in the Royal Rumble match by ducking, dodging, and darting his way to winning in an hour plus, 62:12 to be exact. That’s a record, by the way. I’d love to know how many “near-misses” Rey had because by the time he prevailed and had overcome the odds, the fans were digging the 6-1-9. This win propelled Rey to new heights, including being a headliner at WM 22 that year. Rey, the ultimate underdog, represented “hope,” with which most fans could easily identify. It was a memorable night for another future WWE HOFer.

on MSG popping for John Cena’s 2008 surprise return
To broadcast from Madison Square Garden is, in homage to the late, Road Warrior Hawk,”What a Rush!” I call my life in wrestling … from the “farm” (in Oklahoma) to the “Garden.” However, few nights in my career was the crowd louder and became more unglued than when John Cena shocked WWE fans by returning from an injury to the Rumble as surprise entrant No. 30 and then winning by eliminating HHH. With Cena not in the Garden all day, who knew? John had been injured and the last that I had heard was that he was “getting better” so I left it at that. When Cena’s music hit it was, a “Monsoonism” is coming, pandemonium. The sold out crowd was so empowered that they almost forgot to boo the polarizing Cena,who eliminated HHH to get the win.

Check out the full column at Fox Sports

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JR Blog: Daniel Bryan/WWE, WWE Over The Edge On WWE Network, Ted Dibiase http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/20/jr-blog-daniel-bryanwwe-wwe-over-the-edge-on-wwe-network-ted-dibiase/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/20/jr-blog-daniel-bryanwwe-wwe-over-the-edge-on-wwe-network-ted-dibiase/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 17:31:21 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=163399 Jim Ross updated his blog over the weekend, here are some highlights…

on Daniel Bryan
Back to Daniel Bryan, he’s white hot and has done what many wrestlers only dream of doing and that’s making a strong, emotional connection with the fan base. Bryan is SO connected or ‘over’ in rasslin’ vernacular and he’s still evolving well even without the WWE Title.

Will Daniel Bryan ever become the WWE World Title for a nice ‘run’ some day? I can’t see how it won’t happen. Question is when and it could be at WM30 if all the cards fall into place. Stay tuned.

on WWE Over The Edge airing on the WWE Network
Just shake my head at some of these doozies. Firstly, I don’t know what the WWE Network is or isn’t going to program. Secondly, the WWE Network’s on Twitter so why not ask them? Thirdly, do you actually think I’d want to attempt to sit through that experience again? I’ve yet to watch it after all these years and won’t likely watch it unless I include that matter in a book.

on Ted Dibiase
Ted was a natural who picked up the nuances of working in front of live audiences in a variety of roles about as quick as any one that I recall. The Million Dollar Man persona spawned JBL and Alberto Del Rio in WWE but no one did it better than the original…Ted DiBiase.

Check out the whole blog at JR’s BBQ

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JR Blog: Taunts IWC, Secretive Backstage Politics Reference, Turns Down Shoot Interviews http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/17/jr-blog-taunts-iwc-secretive-backstage-politics-reference-turns-down-shoot-interviews/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/17/jr-blog-taunts-iwc-secretive-backstage-politics-reference-turns-down-shoot-interviews/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2014 15:55:48 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=163318 Jim Ross has a mid-week blog with some news and notes, here are some highlights!

on his new podcast, mentions IWC:
My venture with Podcast One begins in mid February if all goes according to plan. My show will drop on Wednesdays so it will be recorded a few days in advance to allow time for production elements to be added. I do plan on it being very interactive as I will be taking listener’s calls. We will also have a variety of guests. Plus, I will offer my personal analysis/take on some TV wrestling shows that I watch.

Should give the internet wrestling community (IWC) plenty of cannon fodder. :)

on wrestling politics
The more I read online about the daily drama in various pro wrestling organizations makes me happy that I’m not engaged full time in that world. Don’t get me wrong, I will always be a fan and support the genre but dealing with today’s athletes is a taxing, never ending saga. It was somewhat simpler in the old days but certainly far from not having issues in which to address.

on doing a shoot interview
To answer an often received question, I am NOT considering doing any “Shoot” interviews for DVD release for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I cover many of the topics one would be asked in these productions in RINGSIDE: An Evening with Jim Ross shows. Secondly, I don’t care to address ‘dirt oriented’ questions that can embarrass people’s families, etc. Lastly, the fees offered are generally low and not worth the time invested to do them.

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JR Blog: Daniel Bryan/WWE Raw Reaction, Ultimate Warrior, Damien Sandow, Kofi Kingston http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/14/jr-blog-daniel-bryanwwe-raw-reaction-ultimate-warrior-damien-sandow-kofi-kingston/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/14/jr-blog-daniel-bryanwwe-raw-reaction-ultimate-warrior-damien-sandow-kofi-kingston/#comments Tue, 14 Jan 2014 20:06:57 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=163101 Jim Ross has a new post-Raw blog up, and here are some highlights!

on Daniel Bryan on Raw
The show closing moments involving Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt was reminiscent of the Attitude Era as it relates to raw passion and the fans totally buying into the production.

I said it last night on Twitter @JRsBBQ that Daniel Bryan was the hottest commodity in WWE today….by far. The connection that he’s made with the audience, which more often than not, can’t be manufactured is priceless.

Daniel Bryan sitting on top of the cage and the sold out crowd chanting Yes! Yes! Yes! was Austin-esque in my eyes. The closing moments of RAW is what one always looks to achieve when formatting a TV show. That special moment that becomes a ‘moment.’

Daniel Bryan is a legit bookers dream. Highly skilled and can make anyone that he competes with appear better, no locker room issues or bad, personal habits and he’s respectful and reliable. The perfect pro. Good role model for any young talent wanting to succeed.

Don’t overlook the fact of how much this piece of business helped young, Bray Wyatt, too. Now fans have a legit reason to not cheer the Wyatts which they really didn’t before.

on The Ultimate Warrior
The Ultimate Warrior was one of WWE’s all time most polarizing performers who was a massive star while being one of the most unique TV personas ever in WWE.

on Damien Sandow/Kofi Kingston
My mantra of maximizing one’s minutes was in full play and Damien Sandow and Kofi Kingston come to mind as two guys who did just that.

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Jim Ross Announces Involvement With Paul Heyman DVD Release http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/13/jim-ross-announces-involvement-with-paul-heyman-dvd-release/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/13/jim-ross-announces-involvement-with-paul-heyman-dvd-release/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 16:17:19 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=163013 It’s been a long time since we’ve had a WWE Home Video release deal with a non-wrestling personality. And as far as managers go, you’d have to go back to the 2006 release of The World’s Greatest Wrestling Managers, for a WWE DVD putting an emphasis on the managerial side of sports entertainment.

For fans today, Paul Heyman will be the guy that is the representative for Brock Lesnar, but he’s been more than a mouthpiece for wrestlers.

Heyman has also been a promoter and commentator through the years and has ventures outside the realm of the squared circle. He’s probably most famous for being the creative force behind Philadelphia’s Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion which flourished in the mid-to-late nineties before ultimately closing shop in 2001.

As part of his recent blog, Jim Ross acknowledged that he’s been “asked by WWE to be a part of the upcoming Paul Heyman DVD of which I’m anxious to participate.” JR goes on to write:

Once details are worked out we will schedule a time for me to head to WWE HQ and tell a few…dozen Heyman stories. I’m very honored to have been requested to be a part of this production as it was me who gave Paul his first broadcast gig and taught him the ropes as best that I could . Paul was so high strung and outspoken that many within WCW did not want to work with him but I saw talent in the abrasive albeit highly intelligent Jewish kid from Scarsdale, N.Y.

This could be a very interesting release if they get enough involvement from people for the documentary portion. The extras can include various matches he’s been a part of (anyone else remember that cage match between him and Brock Lesnar from SmackDown back in 2002?) as well as personalities and stables he’s managed (the Dangerous Alliance, Sabu, et al.).
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JR Blog: Piper’s Pit, Brock Lesnar Not Over?, Jake Roberts, Daniel Bryan http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/07/jr-blog-pipers-pit-brock-lesnar-not-over-jake-roberts-daniel-bryan/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/07/jr-blog-pipers-pit-brock-lesnar-not-over-jake-roberts-daniel-bryan/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 21:14:54 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=162847 Jim Ross has been prolific with blogs in 2014, and has another with fallout to Old School Raw

on Piper’s Pit
Thought it was one of the better Piper’s Pit segments that we’ve seen over the past few years. Succinct, cut to the chase content, etc. Nice rub for the Shield. Roddy endorsing Punk did nothing but good as well.

on Brock Lesnar
No issues with Lesnar/Henry/Show but for anyone to think that Lesnar is as hot right how as he needs to be isn’t looking at Brock through honest eyes. His absence was long and Brock wasn’t red hot when he left. The former WWE and UFC champion is an amazing talent but he’s got little traction from where I sit and needs to promoted aggressively and soon if he’s expected to sell PPV’s at WM30. The good news is that it can be done.

on Jake Roberts:
The final surprise of Jake the Snake Roberts was a good surprise. Jake looked good and he was well received. Via @DDPYoga and making smart, personal decisions, Jake has gotten himself healthier and the alternative if he had continued to travel his former road was bleak.

on Daniel Bryan/Wyatts
I’m still confused as to where the Daniel Bryan/Wyatt Family storyline is headed. I’m trying to like it as I’m a big fan of all the men involved in the equation but I don’t know much more about their relationship or issues than I knew last week. As a fan, I needed a little more concrete info or a viable tease from these four men than I was provided.

Check out the full blog at JR’s BBQ

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JR Blog: Jarrett/Keith Promotion Update, Daniel Wyatt, WWE Old School Raw http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/06/jr-blog-jarrettkeith-promotion-update-daniel-wyatt-wwe-old-school-raw/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/06/jr-blog-jarrettkeith-promotion-update-daniel-wyatt-wwe-old-school-raw/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 23:47:10 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=162763 Jim Ross did another blog update today, responding to rumors of his involvement in a new promotion.

on Jeff Jarret & Toby Keith:
FYI…I have not had any conversations with anyone about starting a ‘new’ pro wrestling promotion. I have not spoken to Jeff Jarrett since he left WWE on a day that doesn’t rank too high on my list of fun days at work.

Some websites are irresponsibly running with the story that just because Toby Keith and I are friends and fellow Okies who both follow the Sooners that I’m about to do business with Toby and Jeff Jarrett which isn’t true. Toby and I had dinner at the Sugar Bowl, he’s a wrestling fan from the old days and, a helluva entrepreneur with deep pockets. Nonetheless the reason that we were there was to support our Sooners vs. Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and not talk about pro wrestling.

on Daniel Wyatt
WWE creative must hit it out of the park tonight on the Daniel Bryan, who’s soon to be known as Daniel Wyatt based on weekend WWE live events, and the Wyatt Family storyline. I’ve never seen a talent over the last few years get ‘over’ to the level of Bryan and then be booked so curiously. Hopefully, at the end of the day, this will come full circle and please many fans but at least Bryan is still getting quality TV minutes and his bell to bell in ring work is virtually untouchable.

on his hopes for WWE Old School Raw tonight
Hopefully the Legends will be allowed to be themselves tonight on RAW and not be over produced and have their entire promos written by a creative team member. Tonight would be a good night to go really ‘Old School’ and let the verbal creativity flow from those who are good at extemporaneous speaking.

Check out the full blog at JR’s BBQ

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Rumor: Jeff Jarrett To Start New Promotion With Toby Keith, Jim Ross Mentioned http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/06/rumor-jeff-jarrett-to-start-new-promotion-with-toby-keith-jim-ross-mentioned/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2014/01/06/rumor-jeff-jarrett-to-start-new-promotion-with-toby-keith-jim-ross-mentioned/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 18:01:09 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=162756 jeff_jarrett_280x39_883423a1_9951

While TNA continues to have financial troubles, it appears that TNA’s original founder is gearing up for a possible new promotion.

In an MLW podcast on Sunday, Konnan noted that Jarrett buried TNA in a conversation they had, saying the promotion was in bad shape and wasnt sure it would make it out of the year.

Konnan noted that Jarrett would have a big announcement this week on a new project. Speculation is that its a new wrestling promotion, with country superstar Toby Keith involved as a founder.

Interestingly, Jim Ross has been mentioned as being attached to the project. Last week, Ross slipped in that he was meeting with a “major sports concern” and this tweet:

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Guys and Divas #11: Slammy, Go Home! (Daniel Bryan, The Bella Twins, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler) http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/12/11/guys-and-divas-11-slammy-go-home-daniel-bryan-the-bella-twins-jim-ross-jerry-lawler/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/12/11/guys-and-divas-11-slammy-go-home-daniel-bryan-the-bella-twins-jim-ross-jerry-lawler/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 10:52:57 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=162085 Hey, hello and hi, everyone!

I believe I see a one next to a one up there, so that means I should welcome you to the eleventh edition of “Guys and Divas”; the only column on Inside Pulse Wrestling unafraid to come out and say that Mr. Not PG!‘s “Bonnie Button” tweets are only funny to Mr. Not PG! and should stop being a thing. (Seriously, if you laugh at those…let’s never meet.)

In this week’s “Divas”, the Bellas get booed AND in “The Bonus Ball”, I get all comment-y about commentators.

…BUT FIRST(!), we got a go-home show (as always, I hate that phrase) and a theme show all in one three-hour shot. How’d that go?–Find out in this week’s…

GUYS

Watching Monday Night’s 2013 Slammy Awards edition of Monday Night Raw, I was reminded of a comment from our own CB a few weeks back following the entertainment septic tank that was “Raw Country”:

“…one disturbing formula is when WWE knows a big angle is coming at the end of a show, it’s almost like they make it a point to have the rest of the show suck.”

Now, to be fair…this wasn’t an out-and-out suckfest like the disastrous Nashville affair of weeks past; but given that it was our last true 180-minute teaser for the final pay-per-view of the year, it was pretty weak sauce…UNTIL(!)–as CB notes–those final glorious moments. So many narrative threads were cast, teased, mangled and kicked in the face, and I loved every second of it.

As is becoming a staple of this segment, let’s see exactly where we stood as we faded to black with my first bullet-pointed list(!) of the week:

  • Triple H attempts to monologue about the prestige of the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships, but is roundly drowned out by the cacophonous “YES!” and “DANIEL BRYAN!” chants of the Seattle crowd.
  • John Cena cuts his best promo in quite a while, reiterating his (arguably accurate) belief that Randy has become complacent, lazy and spoiled over the past eleven years; and even pulls the crowd-demanded Daniel Bryan in to prove what hard work and perseverance can accomplish.
  • Randy mumbles something vaguely pompous and heelish and then punching happens.
  • MASSIVE Cena/Orton brawl, tamped down unsuccessfully by the former champions (including some hall of famers like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart) leading to the dynamite final sequence which goes (to a fault) as follows:
    • CM Punk takes a shot at Randy Orton.
    • Triple H pulls Punk off of Randy and tosses him aside.
    • Punk takes a few shots at The Game.
    • Shawn Michaels hits Punk with Sweet Chin Music.
    • Daniel hits HBK with the running knee.
    • Orton attempts an RKO on Daniel who counters by shoving Randy away…directly into Stephanie McMahon.
    • An enraged Triple H Pedigrees Randy.
    • The Authority, Kane and Cena check on Stephanie and then gather in a corner, staring at a prone and out-of-breath Randy in the opposite corner. The crowd is still chanting “YES!” and/or “DANIEL BRYAN!”. Fade out.

So much to say, and–as I write this–many already have.

First, I’ll take a moment to mourn my undeniably dynamite booking plan from last week’s column (although it’s still not entirely impossible…just highly unlikely). I simply yearn for the serpentine elaborate plots of my youth and what can I say?–I dig the cut of my own jib sometimes.

With that out of the way, let’s just think about everything that list up there suggests. CM Punk is still a factor in the big picture. Daniel Bryan will clearly have his day soon enough, and (as an added bonus) got some long overdue revenge on his former mentor HBK. Randy’s ego has clearly grown larger than even The Authority can handle; to the point of possibly aligning themselves with his opponent. John Cena is still John Cena.

To put it shortly, there’s a lot of places this show can go after TLC this Sunday. However, I can’t stop thinking about the suggested conclusion column reader Starcade left a few weeks past; particularly after seeing the elaborate mechanism on which the two belts will be suspended.

In the brief (but effective) lead-up to this historic match, there’s been so much pomp and circumstance; from the contract signing to this past Monday’s overdramatically-titled “Championship Ascension Ceremony”. A lot of images and ideas are being exhausted in the pursuit of telling the audience that there can be only one champion at the end of this Sunday’s pay-per-view.

Could WWE truly be oblivious enough to think that ending the match by simply swapping the belts won’t cause a bit of fuss amongst the fans? Or will we honest-to-your-chosen-deity, no joke, for realsies go into 2014 with a single, end-all, be-all best-of-the-best champion?

I can’t get these questions out of my mind; and to be honest, I have no potential answers for you. All I can do to conclude this week’s “Guys” portion is throw out the following speculation.

As reported throughout the IWC today, the home of 2015′s Wrestlemania XXXI (or 31 or…red YouTube-ish play button icon, as it may be) will be Santa Clara, California’s Levi’s Stadium. As usual, this announcement came with a Superstar-(and Diva)-studded press conference, during which the logo for the event was revealed for the first time…and here she be…

Simple. Tasteful. Elegant–hey, wait! What’s that pointy thing up top?!

Indeed, the sharp double-W we’ve seen acompanying countless premature announcements for the allegedly still-upcoming WWE Network has finally made its way to a tangible part of the WWE Universe. Naturally, speculation has run rampant as to when or if the new logo will at (arguably) long last replace the “scratch” design that has defined our favorite former Federation for almost two decades.

Some say that the recent WWE Championship redesign is still too hot off the presses to undergo such a drastic brand overhaul, but with a title unification in the offing, one certainly wonders…and look, I know this is purely cosmetic and the majority of wrestling fans don’t really care enough to gasm about newfangled iconography…but hey, look! SHINY NEW THING!

…and while you’re nice and distracted, we’ll move on to a Slammy surprise in this week’s…

DIVAS

Let’s be real. The validity of any fan-interactive shenanigan in the WWE Universe is always suspect.

For as much as we remember the name Team Hell No fondly, we all know we voted for “Team Friendship”. (Our own Chris Sanders has rightfully never let that dream die.) During 2011′s “Power to the People” episode of Raw, one poll result was memorably so far from the fans’ true intentions, WWE surprised everyone by apologizing and giving the people the match they wanted. (I know. Can you even remember a time when we wanted to see that?–I kid because I love.)

Never is the suspicion quite so high as during the (somewhat) yearly Slammy Awards, and this past Monday’s 2013 edition was not without its share of head-scratchers. (Cena vs. Rock II for Match of the Year?–Surely you jest.)

Naturally, the award I kept the closest eye on was the announcement of the 2013 Diva of the Year. When voting time came, I was thoroughly conflicted, but almost by default decided to give the duke to my spirit animal AJ Lee. For while others have made great strides this year, the Divas Champion remains the centerpiece–nay, life force–of the division.

When the envelope was finally opened (by cameoing former Divas Champion Eve Torres), I was pleased yet thoroughly puzzled at the announcement that “Total Divas” stars The Bella Twins were walking away with this year’s golden…guy press slamming another guy. For the Seattle crowd that puzzlement quickly turned to rage, as the future Mrs. Daniel Bryan and John Cena were soundly booed off the stage, and even played off to their own theme.

Now, as has been noted here at “Guys and Divas”, 2013 has been an eye-opening year for me as it pertains to Brie and Nikki. I remember very clearly groaning as they returned to the fold shortly before Wrestlemania earlier this year. Over the past nine months or so, I’ve really come to appreciate these sisters for who they are as people; and as luck would have it, the popularity of their E! reality show has helped bring personality and humanity to their kayfabe personas, as well.

In short, they certainly wouldn’t have been my first choice, but I can live with this.

However, in the spirit of Seattle’s (to put it mildly) disagreement with the decision, I’d like to take a moment to look at the remaining nominees for this year’s prize and see what they all would have brought to the Slammy table. How does one justify these potential winners?–Here’s another bullet-pointed list(!) to explain…

  • AJ LEE – What can be said that I haven’t already gushed onto my Twitter feed and this column over the past eleven weeks?–She’s the Divas’ Champion for a reason; with the strongest character and the most visually-arresting moveset, my spirit animal is the total package.
  • THE FUNKADACTYLS – While I would argue that Naomi alone deserved this nomination, the backup dancers-turned-”Total Divas” have had a truly notable year. Naomi continues to impress in competition, with a memorable bout against Natalya last August still keeping the internet talking. Cameron…well, she’s certainly got personality to burn, now doesn’t she?
  • NATALYA – In truth, the rightful winner. For years, the daughter of the Anvil has been the athletic heart of the Divas division; but with her newfound reality TV exposure and an upcoming (long-overdue) Divas Championship bout at this Sunday’s TLC pay-per-view, she’s arguably the uncrowned queen of WWE.
  • KAITLYN – No Diva makes me swoon quite like her. As the second half of this year’s strongest storyline in the division, she’s more than earned this nomination. Her disappearing act of late may have taken her off the radar a bit; but as a recent WWE.com poll shows, the fans are still waiting for her to get her hands on her former best friend one more time. In the hearts and minds of many, the second-billed Diva; which is nothing to sneer at.
  • EVA MARIE – …Sigh. …Okay. I’ll say this. While I heartily and sincerely dislike this girl, it’s clear that she’s developing quite the name for herself (despite BARELY having competed). I don’t think I’ve heard such strong heel heat for a Diva since…well, Vickie. If she could add a modicum of in-ring skill to that, maybe we’d really have something.

In truth, The Slammy Awards are nothing to get too worked up about. They’re merely a sort of annual status update for the kayfabe world of WWE; and while I may somewhat understand Seattle’s disappointment with this year’s Diva(s) of choice, it’s undeniable that all (okay, most) of these talented women have had one hell of a 12 months.

The division is on the rise, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for my favorite female protagonists.

Lastly this week, a brief stream of consciousness on professional wrestling’s stream of consciousness. Let’s talk talking heads in this edition of…

THE BONUS BALL

Weeks ago, in preparation for the most recent edition of “Wayback Championship Wrestling Federation Entertainment”, I took a walk down memory lane with a look at the first three Survivor Series of my life as a wrestling fan. Ever since then, I’ve been a bit obsessed with revisiting the pay-per-view events that have signposted the major events of the past 15+ years of WWE action.

During these revisits, I’ve been quite taken with how much the show has changed over the years; how the characters have toned down a bit, the storylines tamed, the production values exploded, etc. However, something that has really struck me in my more recent viewings has been how a show can truly be affected by the men and women calling the action.

As I ruminated on this topic, I started to think about how the role of the commentator has changed since I started watching WWE back in 1998. As it happened, my first team were arguably the best duo to ever sit behind the desk, Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Nobody did it better and I don’t think anyone ever will.

However, the J.R. and King of 1998 are stylistically almost unrecognizable compared to when they last shared the announce position (alongside JBL) this past January. In 1998, The King was firmly in the corner of the heels; always scrambling to justify their actions, no matter how heinous. J.R., ever the voice of reason, was the everyman; the viewer; the true host of this bizarre thing called sports entertainment.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this legendary duo at the time however was their commitment to the show. Rarely if ever did either Jerry or Good Ol’ J.R. break kayfabe. The events they and we saw unfold were as real as it got, no matter how insane or cartoonish. They were as much a part of the wacky cast of personas on the screen as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and the Undertaker (at his most gothic and supernatural).

True, sometimes real life made its presence felt. I know there are many of us who will never forget the shock of watching Jim Ross somberly announce that Owen Hart had died before his very eyes. In many ways, the horrific accident that claimed the life of the future Hall of Famer in the spring of 1999 was the first time we the viewers were forced to truly face the fictional nature of this show we so love and how starkly it contrasts with the harshness of reality.

Surprisingly though, the fiction of the WWE Universe was pretty resilient; and as years went on and names like Paul Heyman, Jonathan Coachman and Joey Styles shuffled in and out of the booth, the kayfabe aspect of their roles remained as strong as ever.

As with many things, a marked change seemed to arrive with the 2009 decision to lower the content rating of WWE programming from TV-14 to TV-PG. The commentators seemed to be a bit more self-aware; a bit more open to the idea that they resided in a fictional universe.

I would contend that such changes have had a tremendous detrimental effect on the overall atmosphere of WWE television.

It’s just a bit more difficult to emote and react to the actions of dastardly villains, triumphant heroes and those who fall in-between in a time when the folks calling the action have subdued so incredibly much. It’s as though the current team of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John “Bradshaw” Layfield have become as jaded as so many of us to the white-washed repetitiveness that plays out before them.

Meanwhile, over on Spike TV’s TNA Impact Wrestling, “The Professor” Mike Tenay and Taz are very much living in the fictional universe that surrounds them. During my brief tenure as a viewer of WWE’s biggest non-MMA competitor last year, they were one facet of the show about which I simply could not complain. No matter how ridiculous things got (and if you do the math, you’ll note I was watching during the nascent days of Joseph Park and the dreadful AJ Styles/Claire Lynch storyline), Taz and Tenay were–if you’ll pardon a colloquialism–dealing with some real sh!t; and as a viewer, I found myself gripped to even the most unwatchable moments.

As wrestling pundits, we focus our dissatisfaction with the WWE product on so many facets; the creative team, production design, the superstars and Divas themselves…but just ask yourself: how much easier would the missteps and weaker moments go down with a committed team of voices talking us through it all?–I for one would have a lot fewer reasons to grouse…for a little while, at least.

…and as that stream of consciousness enters calm waters, this week’s “Guys and Divas” comes to a close.

In next week’s “Bonus Ball”, I’ll take a look at one of my all-time favorite Raw episodes in this month’s “Wayback Championship Wrestling Federation Entertainment”. In the meantime, here are your homework assignments on which to ponder:

  • The Wrestlemania 31 logo got many of us wondering if WWE’s headed for a major cosmetic overhaul. What would you change about the look of our favorite brand of sports entertainment? How about some nostalgia? What have been some of your favorite logo designs, set designs, etc. over the now-50-year history of the McMahon family business?–Vociferate on visual changes.
  • Debate rages on the validity of this year’s Slammy Award-winning Divas. Who would you have voted for? For our NXT fans, who stands out as the yellow brand’s Diva of 2013?–Lay out your thoughts on the best ladies of the year that was.
  • For many, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are THE WWE commentary team. Who are some of your favorite personalities who have sat at the desk over the years? Any favorite moments from the voices of professional wrestling?–Talk it up about the folks who talk it up.

As always, don’t miss my weekly Raw live-tweet (@biscuitman18; #GuysAndDivas) and stay tuned in the coming weeks for some exciting news about the future of “Guys and Divas” in 2014!

Until next time, I’m Jeff Heatherly saying…”What did you see, old man?“. Good reading, all!
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Guys and Divas #8: Country Weak (Big E Langston, AJ Lee, Vickie Guerrero, Survivor Series) http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/11/20/guys-and-divas-8-country-weak-big-e-langston-aj-lee-vickie-guerrero-survivor-series/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/11/20/guys-and-divas-8-country-weak-big-e-langston-aj-lee-vickie-guerrero-survivor-series/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 11:05:18 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=161598 How you holding up, dear reader?

Welcome to week eight of “Guys and Divas”; the only column on Inside Pulse Wrestling that makes it weirder than Pete Holmes.

…Oh, boy.

So, obviously in this week’s “Divas” segment, I’ll be addressing the insulting disaster that was the Diva portions of this past Monday’s “Raw Country”; and on a happier note, I’ll be looking back at the first three Survivor Series events of my life as a wrestling fan in this month’s edition of “Wayback Championship Wrestling Federation Entertainment” in this week’s “Bonus Ball”.

…but first(.), this week’s column is going to be a rant-ish stream of consciousness for the most part, and it all starts with the latest edition of…

GUYS

Let’s be fair. I knew this week’s country music-themed episode of Raw would probably not be my cup of tea. However, little did I know that it would skid right past being a cup of tea in general and instead become a frothing cauldron of disease-ridden urine.

Now, in this column’s ongoing spirit of optimism, I’ll start by giving credit where it is due.

Big E Langston emerged from this week’s show as the long-awaited savior of the Intercontinental Championship; finally wresting it from the bland, forgettable waist of Curtis Axel. It was a great match that put a spotlight on both men’s strengths and a fantastic way to start the show proper.

Props also to my spirit animal AJ Lee and the invaluable Vickie Guerrero for taking their admittedly somewhat weak and indisputably mean-spirited “match” and making it as entertaining as possible. While I don’t care for WWE poking fun at AJ’s recent overseas health scare, they at least had the sense to put their top Diva and one of their greatest character performers into a segment that involved neither music nor chairs.

Also, a great debut for NXT’s Xavier Woods. While we may mock R-Truth from time to time in the IWC, pairing him up with the highly-educated newcomer was a fun time for all concerned (3MB notwithstanding).

…and of course, there was that main event. WWE’s decision to waste what would have been a blockbuster traditional Survivor Series match on arguably the worst episode of Raw this year aside, it was still these twelve men that we were all itching to see go toe-to-toe following the conclusion of last week’s show and a tremendous way to close out the night.

THAT. BEING. SAID…

…I don’t entirely know the profanity policy here at IPW, but [censored just in case].

What a three-hour pile of festering garbage! Not only was it just a terrible weekly show, but that it was ostensibly the go-home show (a phrase of which I’m not a fan, but no matter) for the last of this year’s “big four” pay-per-views is incredibly upsetting.

How did I hate it?–Let me count the ways:

  1. At the risk of completely quoting my own Twitter account, whoever decided Big E’s entrance theme needed a noisy, overproduced dubstep remix should be slapped. Really, really hard.
  2. Even if you enjoy the genre, there’s no justifying the agonizing snippets of current country music videos that took us to and back from commercial. Also, seriously Blake Shelton? A song that celebrates tobacco spit?–God, I hate the south. I’m counting the days in which I no longer have to live in this excruciating, stereotype-ridden region.
  3. I’m with our own Chris Sanders. Since when have Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler had “issues”? Like, was this episode written by a staff of one-off writers who had never seen the show before?
  4. (Not really about this episode, but it was announced in the midst of all this, so…) GOD, I thought we would never have to hear the phrase “guest host” ever again. No disrespect to Michael Strahan, who–despite my not giving the faintest of damns about football–seems like a perfectly charming and enjoyable fellow…but it feels like WWE just wants to take any and all progress they’ve made in the past two years or so and throw it out the window (but not before dousing it in gasoline and setting it ablaze), seemingly out of absolutely nowhere. Just ugh.
  5. Living where I do, I grew up on country music. In fact, my childhood coincided with what was arguably the biggest period of mainstream success for the genre; with names like Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire topping all the charts, no matter what the category. Even if that boom were still happening and the artists of the day were still on the level of those two multi-talented legends, the genre is still so specialized that interrupting your wrestling show for a musical performance by a band that only a minimal percentage of your viewing audience has heard of or cares about only further alienates the majority of your viewers (who’ve already had to suffer the preceding 150 minutes of godawful television) and makes your product seem overly niche and closed off. Never do this again, show.

So, yeah. Maybe those all come off as purely cosmetic gripes, but I defy anyone to have sat through that show and not just felt a pervasive sense of…BLERG.

Not to mention the incredibly foolish booking decisions that saw the most talked-about clash in recent memory (the 12-Man Tag) wasted at the tail-end of a beyond-lackluster free(ish) show instead of the impending pay-per-view that is ENTIRELY BASED AROUND MULTI-WRESTLER ELIMINATION TAG MATCHES; or what about Big E Langston’s IC Title win?

How much bigger would that have been for both Big E and the somewhat-tarnished midcard belt to have their moment of long-awaited redemption and triumph in the midst of one of the biggest shows of the year?–The same can be asked of the upcoming Tag Team Championship bout between the reigning champion Rhodes Brothers and the #1 Contenders The Real Americans, which has been scheduled for Friday’s episode of Smackdown. None of this makes any sense.

Admittedly, my rage has tamped down considerably after a good night’s sleep, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that WWE seriously screwed the proverbial pooch this week. It’s going to take a lot to redeem missteps like these in 2014…but I must remain diligently hopeful they can pull it off.

Speaking of missteps…you knew I’d have to talk about this. Here’s this week’s…

DIVAS

As I closed my eyes to rest Monday night, one thing was clear: I was HEARTBROKEN.

I’ve made no bones about my battle with depression here at “Guys and Divas”, and over the past few years I’ve really come to rely on my entertainment choices to help see me through the hard times. I’ve been disappointed before (post-Season 1 “Community”; post-Season 5 “Doctor Who”, etc.), but it never gets any easier.

If it hasn’t been made apparent in the past eight weeks of this column, I adore the Divas. Yes, some of that is because they are physically attractive and I have eyes. Slightly more of it is my lifelong affection for strong female protagonists. However, as discussed in recent weeks, the biggest reason is because I appreciate these performers (and this includes the Superstars, as well) as human beings. I want to see them succeed and do so in a manner that they and we can all be proud of.

This doesn’t mean (as I’ve often been incorrectly accused) that I’m not aware that things could be better. They could have more screen time, more substantial storylines, better booking…but to be fair, a lot of the very same things could be said of the male quotient, particularly in the midcard. (I digress.) There is also the not-entirely-unfounded criticism that a number of the Divas have not been trained nearly enough to be where they are right now.

None of this should be levied at these women themselves. Yes, things could be better; but these are decent, intelligent, adult human beings and to dismiss them wholesale as people and ignore the fact that the people in charge of their place in this business are doing them grave injustice after grave injustice is shortsighted and mean-spirited; i.e. the very reason why I decided to do a column like this one. (It’s not that the column is Diva-centric per se, it’s merely a column where you can be guaranteed that these women will be–without fail–regularly discussed in a respectful, understanding manner.)

I’ve basically said all of this before…but watching the travesty of a television segment the majority of WWE’s Divas were subjected to this past Monday night, I knew I’d need to reiterate my mission statement before I go on (at length) about how utterly infuriated I was.

“But Jeff, it’s not the first time that these women have participated in such a frivolous segment; and more to the point, it’s sadly not the first time they’ve played musical chairs.”

I know that, dear reader. That’s not my issue (although it’s not a good excuse, just to say).

What troubles me is that after the past two-ish years of undeniable progress and concerted efforts to make this division something special again AND with a group of women who have been culled down to–I think it can be argued–the best (or at least, most potentially great) we’ve seen since the departures of the holy trinity that is Trish, Lita and Mickie AND on the final show before one of WWE’s “big four” pay-per-views…they were paraded around like strippers/Hooters waitresses/braindead Playboy centerfolds in thematic outfits playing a childrens’ game.

Am I glad it’s led to the upcoming 7-on-7 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match (Total Divas vs. Non-Total Divas)?–Yes…but the ends most certainly do not justify the means.

Mock me if you must (and undoubtedly will) but I respect each and every member of the Divas division (even, begrudgingly, Eva Marie) as a person of intelligence and ambition and think they deserve better than this. Because for all the hand-wringing that’s been done about the overall state of the division, you can’t dispute that this was an incredibly low move; definitely the lowest in a very long while.

Let me put it this way: I would gladly watch the aforementioned Eva Marie haphazardly roll-up Tamina Snuka for a cheap pin in a Six-Diva Tag Team Match over and over and over and over, etc. before I’d ever want to see this kind of immature nonsense again.

Bad form, WWE. The worst form.

On a positive note, I sincerely can’t wait for the aforementioned 7-on-7 match at Survivor Series. I want to really see what all these ladies can do. I know there’ll be some disappointment, but in the end, I think we’re going to see a lot of promise and get a match we can call be proud of.

and speaking of WWE’s “fall classic”, I decided to revisit a few of my first experiences with the event for this month’s…

THE BONUS BALL presents “WAYBACK CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FEDERATION ENTERTAINMENT”

WWE Survivor Series 1998/1999/2000

That’s right. This month I’m tackling a veritable triple threat.

Last week, I spoke briefly about my very first Survivor Series, 1998′s “Deadly Game” Tournament. All those memories flooding back, I decided I wanted to truly relive it. So, through the magic of the Internet, I watched all roughly three hours of the memorable WWE Championship tournament that saw (SPOILER ALERT) The Rock come out on top AND make, quite possibly, his most notable heel turn as he became Vince McMahon’s “Corporate Champion”.

When that was over, I found myself still awash in nostalgia…so I watched the 1999 edition…AND the 2000 edition; and when it was all said and done, I realized I’d truly just given myself a cross-section of what made the “Attitude Era” the period we all know and revere today.

…but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, some memories…

Sounds like one hell of a match, right?–It sure would have been…but devotees will remember, it didn’t exactly turn out the way we expected.

One of the main things I took from revisiting these three events was remembering what a strong sense of continuity WWE had in those halcyon years. In 1998, Vince (and our favorite, Shane) McMahon “screwed” Steve Austin out of the WWE Championship in order to place the belt on someone they feel to be more suitable as the face of the company. (Sound familiar?)

By 1999, the tumult between Austin and the McMahons had died down considerably, the Rock was once again the People’s Champion and Triple H was just beginning his long journey to the COO’s chair. These were the top three men in the company, and the tensions among them couldn’t have been higher. In the twelve months since the prior Survivor Series, their roads began to intersect more and more and a collision was inevitable. Although, I don’t think anyone predicted THIS collision:

To wit, the–at the time–face McMahons wouldn’t allow this misdeed to go unanswered, and refused to kowtow to whoever was responsible. There would still be a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship, and Austin’s replacement: the 500-pound Big Show. Show had just–for the most part–wrapped up (that very night, in fact) his notorious rivalry with the Big Boss Man, which included the unforgettable incident involving Boss Man towing the casket away from Show’s father’s funeral, as the giant sobbingly rode atop  it. He was renewed but still angry; and in a shocker, he came away from Survivor Series 1999 as our new WWE Champion.

Meanwhile, “Who Ran Over Stone Cold?” became the #1 question. In professional wrestling’s answer to “Who Shot J.R.?” (or to a comedic extent, “Who Shot Mr. Burns?“), the entire WWE roster was subject to a full-scale investigation that took up almost the entire ensuing year. The McMahons immediately began to suspect the members of D-Generation X, led by Triple H. This sparked a rivalry between Vince and Triple H that ran–most notably–through 1999′s Armageddon pay-per-view, and included the infamous on-screen wedding of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon (on an episode of Raw that may very well be the subject of next month’s WCWFE).

About ten months later, “Stone Cold” returned to the WWE looking for payback. It wasn’t long before the legendary Rikishi stepped forward and, at long last, took responsibility for  having run down Austin. The pair faced off in a No Holds Barred Match at No Mercy 2000, which memorably included Austin attempting to run Rikishi down in the parking lot with his pickup truck.

Finally, as November approached, the truth was revealed. It had indeed been Triple H who masterminded the attack on Austin one year prior, hiring Rikishi to be the wheelman and protect The Game’s reign as WWE Champion. Naturally, the Texas Rattlesnake was hellbent on revenge, and would finally have his chance at Survivor Series 2000.

After two years, the battle was finally on. Austin would meet Triple H in a No Holds Barred Match for the WWE Championship. At the event, Triple H–who had recently aligned himself with the Radicalz–seemed pretty confident he would come out of the fracas unscathed and still our WWE Champion.

To his credit, he was half-right.

Stone Cold and The Game had one hell of a bloody battle in the ring, until finally the action spilled out and headed backstage, where Trips’ new buddies The Radicalz waited to beat Austin into submission. The champ ran out to the parking lot and got into his car, where it quickly became apparent that he intended to see history repeat itself. The match having been thrown out, the Rattlesnake had pretty much nothing to lose. This trilogy of classic Attitude Era events concluded with a bang.

(The uncut version is a bit more fun, as you might remember.)

As always, it was fun to look back on some notable moments in my life as a wrestling fan, particularly three such formative pay-per-views to my philosophies as a viewer; but of course, this being “Guys and Divas”, it wouldn’t be complete without a bullet-pointed list to sum things up. It’s time for this month’s installment of MISS/DON’T MISS/CONFLICTED/NOTEWORTHY: Survivor Series 1998-2000 Edition!

  • MISS: The continuity. It can’t be overstated. WWE is at its best when it remembers the details, and the evolution of the relationships among Austin, The McMahons, The Rock and Triple H were on full display with these three events. I wish the writers would write long-term like this again, but perhaps it was all just more a matter of lucky booking.
  • DON’T MISS: Jerry Lawler the pervert. Make no mistake; I’ve never said that all facets of the way the Divas were handled in the past were sterling, but some of the comments The King made in this time period are even more mind-blowingly awful in retrospect. At the time, it was just part of the show’s trashy charm. By comparison to the show (and the Lawler) of today…just wow.
  • MISS: The weird gothicness of the Attitude Era. Just watch the opening video of Survivor Series 1998. From the creepy music to Freddie Blassie’s narration to the skull logo of the “Deadly Game” tournament, it’s all very spooky. It’s like a horror movie crossed with a biker gang (and this was two years before Undertaker’s biker gimmick).
  • NOTEWORTHY: (…and on that note…) If I’m not mistaken, the lead-up to Undertaker’s WWE Championship match with Kurt Angle at Survivor Series 2000 included the first utterances of “this is my yard” and “I’ll make you famous”, two of the more iconic catchphrases of Biker Taker.
  • NOTEWORTHY: (…and on a tangentially related note…) Survivor Series 1999 saw the WWE debut of 1996 Olympic gold-medalist Kurt Angle, as he took on Shawn “Meat” Stasiak. Watching the match, I was immediately taken back to those promo videos that heralded his arrival AND taken aback at how ballsily meta WWE was for referring to him as the only “real athlete” in the company.
  • MISS: J.R. and The King on commentary. It goes without saying that there may never be a better duo at the desk. Their rapport as on-screen rivals is made that much more fantastic knowing what great friends the two are off-screen. I wish they were still calling the action.
  • MISS: (…and on yet another related note…) How unabashedly this was a TV show. Sometimes, I’m glad we’ve come to a point with WWE that the fourth wall is broken so regularly; but watching these events, I remember how gripping it was when the show seemed to take place all in its own little world. Attempted vehicular manslaughter?–Not a problem. Roofied drive-thru marriages?–Why not? A Satanic cult led by a long-haired figurehead and his rotund stepfather?–Of course! While I love the access that changing culture and the advent of social media have given us to the reality of this business, I really wish it was still possible to get lost in the fiction. Maybe it’ll happen again someday. I can only hope.
  • CONFLICTED: The underlying trashiness of it all. As a young man, I felt so rebellious watching this show with its harsh language, well-endowed women and bloody battles. It was, as I say, part of its charm…and yet, it’s kind of nice living in a time where WWE is such an established brand of legitimate entertainment that I don’t have to feel quite so ashamed to tell people it’s one of my favorite things in the world.

All in all, another fun trip down memory lane. Join me again on December 18th for another edition of “Wayback Championship Wrestling Federation Entertainment”!

…and that just about does it for this week’s “Guys and Divas”. It seems it was good to talk out my frustrations, and honestly, I’m still rather excited to see what comes out of this Sunday’s Survivor Series 2013.

As we head into Thanksgiving Week, your last homework assignments before the break:

  • “Raw Country” was a tough one to endure, but it certainly wasn’t the first big stinker for Monday Night Raw. What are some of your least favorite episodes?–Rant freely about sub-par sports entertainment shows.
  • Divas Musical Chairs was certainly a low point of this week’s events, but to be fair, the Superstars haven’t always been given the best to work with either. Tell us about a Superstar moment that made your jaw drop in a similar disgust.
  • Of course, Survivor Series 2013 is just a few days away. I took some time to remember some of my favorite years for the WWE’s “fall classic”. What’s been your favorite Survivor Series?–Don’t be the sole commenter to gush about the past!

Of course, don’t miss my weekly Raw live-tweet (@biscuitman18; #GuysAndDivas) where I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about the unwanted return of guest hosts, and hey!–If you’re feeling crafty, why not follow me on Pinterest? (Apologies. I just needed something to put after the live-tweet plug. I hope you understand. It’s just a stylistic choice.)

Until next week, I’m Jeff Heatherly saying…well, at least one good thing came out of that terrible segment. #Swoon
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HTC Wrestling Pulsecast 10.24.13 – Hell In A Cell Predictions & State Of TNA Analysis http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/10/25/htc-wrestling-pulsecast-10-24-13-hell-in-a-cell-predictions-state-of-tna-analysis/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/10/25/htc-wrestling-pulsecast-10-24-13-hell-in-a-cell-predictions-state-of-tna-analysis/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 18:27:13 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=160885 HTC Wrestling Pulsecast

Matt Harrak, Justin Czerwonka and Cam Dougharty are back & playing “catch up”. After being on hiatus, there was a lot to cover in 90 minutes. From the state of TNA, to the WWE main event picture and finally their predictions for this Sunday’s Hell In A Cell PPV, the HTC crew ranted, jabbed and got back into podcasting form with this week’s show!

WWE Championship Match Special Referee: Shawn Michaels Hell in a Cell Match
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan

JUSTIN: DANIEL BRYAN / CAM & MATT: RANDY ORTON

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Alberto del Rio (c) vs. John Cena

JOHN CENA WINS BUT DEL RIO RETAINS

Handicap in a Cell Match
CM Punk vs. Ryback and Paul Heyman

CM PUNK

WWE Tag Team Championship Three-Way-Tag Match
The Rhodes Brothers (c) vs. The Shield vs. The Usos

THE RHODES BROTHERS

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Curtis Axel (c) vs. Big E Langston

BIG E LANGSTON

WWE Divas Championship
AJ (c) vs. Brie Bella

JUSTIN & CAM: AJ / MATT: BRIE

Los Matadores vs. The Real Americans

JUSTIN: AMERICANS / CAM & MATT: LOS MATADORES

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http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/10/25/htc-wrestling-pulsecast-10-24-13-hell-in-a-cell-predictions-state-of-tna-analysis/feed/ 0 AJ Styles,alberto del rio,Antonio Cesaro,big show,Bobby Roode,bound for glory,Bully Ray,cm punk,Cody Rhodes,Damien Sandow,Daniel Bryan,Hell in a Cell Getting back on the podcasting horse (http://htcwrestling.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/htc-wrestling-pulsecast.jpg?w=640) Matt Harrak, Justin Czerwonka and Cam Dougharty are back & playing "catch up". After being on hiatus, there was a lot to cover in 90 minutes. From the state of TNA, to the WWE main event picture and finally their predictions for this Sunday's Hell In A Cell PPV, the HTC crew ranted, jabbed and got back into podcasting form with this week's show! WWE Championship Match Special Referee: Shawn Michaels Hell in a Cell Match Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan JUSTIN: DANIEL BRYAN / CAM & MATT: RANDY ORTON World Heavyweight Championship Match Alberto del Rio (c) vs. John Cena JOHN CENA WINS BUT DEL RIO RETAINS Handicap in a Cell Match CM Punk vs. Ryback and Paul Heyman CM PUNK WWE Tag Team Championship Three-Way-Tag Match The Rhodes Brothers (c) vs. The Shield vs. The Usos THE RHODES BROTHERS WWE Intercontinental Championship Curtis Axel (c) vs. Big E Langston BIG E LANGSTON WWE Divas Championship AJ (c) vs. Brie Bella JUSTIN & CAM: AJ / MATT: BRIE Los Matadores vs. The Real Americans JUSTIN: AMERICANS / CAM & MATT: LOS MATADORES Inside Pulse Wrestling no 1:53:30
This Week in Wrestling History #3 (Butch Reed, Bob Holly, Samoan Swat Team) http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/10/15/this-week-in-wrestling-history-3-butch-reed-bob-holly-samoan-swat-team/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/10/15/this-week-in-wrestling-history-3-butch-reed-bob-holly-samoan-swat-team/#comments Tue, 15 Oct 2013 10:00:26 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=159982 Wondering what happened in wrestling history during the week 14th October – 20th October?
Read on to find out!!

Major Events:

1951 – Mae Young defeated Cora Combs to become the first NWA Florida Women’s Champion, in a match that set the stage for the women’s rights movement of the 1960s.

1977 –  Jimmy Garvin faced Bill Watts for the Oklahoma State Heavyweight title. The match would later be cited by Jim Ross in many of his academic research papers.

jimross-wcw

1987 – Bill Dundee & Jerry Lawler defeated Evil Foreigner #1 & Evil Foreigner #2 for the AWA Tag Team title. They don’t like those types round there.

1988 – Michael PS Hayes and Steve Cox (aka The Forgotten Freebird) defeated The Samoan Swat Team for the World Class Championship Wrestling Tag Team Title. This wasn’t particularly significant, but I just like to mention The Samoan Swat Team every week in these proceedings.

1992 – Money Inc. defeated the Natural Disasters for the WWF Tag Team title, back when tag teams and their feuds were truly awesome. They had Legion of Doom, The Nasty Boys and the Headshrinkers all involved with this one. Ah…nostalgia.

Title Changes:

1997 – The Steiner Brothers defeated Scott Hall & Syxx for the WCW Tag Team title, in a feud which spanned almost two years of substance abuse.

1998 – One year later and X-Pac was triumphing over D-Lo Brown for the WWF European Heavyweight title (the poor man’s WCW Tag Team title)

xpac-wwf

1999 – Jushin Liger defeated Kendo KaShin to win the IWGP Junior Vice-President Heavyweight Title. KaShin was disqualified when he ripped off one of Liger’s foam horns, something which is frowned upon in Japanese society.

2001 – The NWA World Heavyweight title was held up as vacant when title holder Steve Corino realised that nobody at all cared about the NWA title any longer.

Career points:

1989 – General Tito Santana defeated Action Figure Rick Mattel to win the “King Of The Ring” tournament, having beaten the top level talents of Bad News Brown and Akeem in order to be “crowned” with said title.

1985 – Butch “Baracus” Reed defeated Dick Murdoch (from The A-Team) for the Western Mid-South North American Heavyweight title. Jimmy Snuka was the special guest referee.

snuka-sun

1992 – Butch “The Hitman” Reed (as he was known in the WWF at that time) defeated Ric Flair for the WWF Heavyweight title.

1992 – Butch “The Other Guy From Doom” Reed defeated Junkyard Dog for the USWA Heavyweight title and thus unified the titles.

Fun Facts:

tommyrich1

1981 – Tommy Rich defeated The Masked Superstar for the Georgia National Heavyweight title. To learn more about the life and accomplishments of Tommy Rich, you can visit the Tommy Rich Memorial Museum in Springfield, Tennessee.

2009 – Discouraging news was announced by medical researchers at the Harvard University and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology:- Wrestling causes cancer.

Thanks for reading! Come back again next week to find out what happened…next week…in history!

(For more “facts” about “wrestling”, be sure to follow @wrestling_facts )

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Forever Heel: A Real Slobberknocker, By God! http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/10/04/forever-heel-a-real-slobberknocker-by-god/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/10/04/forever-heel-a-real-slobberknocker-by-god/#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 15:00:32 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=159888 Welcome to Forever Heel, the place where you can let your hair down, and punch a clown. Unless that clown is beating the crap out of Kona Krush with a Mannequin arm. Here we will take a look at heels, heel factions, or storylines where the bad guys won. A bit about me: I’ve followed wrestling since I was a little guy. I’ve been following the IWC, since Scott Keith was Netcop, and Bob Ryder would pelt you with pop ups, for going to his site. I don’t care what he says, that was Ryder.

Our first entry is a man who most fans just wouldn’t take seriously as a villain because we all love him. I’m speaking of the recently retired Jim Ross. Since 1993, Jim Ross had been fired by WWE twice, both times by Vince McMahon. One time after Ross was struck with bell’s palsy, (Mick Foley forgot to write that part in his book) and a second time after WWE felt he wasn’t needed. On top of being raped by the business he loved, Ross was still forced to be Good Ol JR. Stupid hat, and all.

By the fall of 1996, the newly returned Jim Ross, was getting tired of what the WWE was turning into. Storyline wise, he was tired of the hijinks of then champ, Shawn Michaels; and guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Brian Pillman. It should be noted he never mentions their names. He begins to take traditionalist heel role, similar to what Bob Backlund had done in 1994.

Jim Ross turned heel at the Buried Alive Pay Per View, in October of 1996. His microphone had been going out all through the first half of the event, while Vince McMahon, who was at the commentary table with Ross, found this hilarious. After informing viewers that Stamford Connecticut, is “an overpriced hell hole”. Ross finally got up from the table and proceeded to rant on about how WWE and Vince McMahon had treated him for the last 3 years. Ross had also claimed he was the primary reason Bret Hart was coming back. A comment that the storyline never followed up on.

Jim Ross was playing a crazy old man that makes shoot comments. Most of these comments were nonsense, and nothing big. Then Jim Ross claimed he was going to bring back Razor Ramon and Diesel. On RAW Good Ol Jim Ross debuted Glen Jacobs as Diesel, and some poor Canadian guy to play Razor. The fans immediately hated these guys. You could even see children in the audience swearing and slapping their wives, that’s how bad it was.  Ross’s only excuse for bringing in Fake Diesel and Razor was that they were bigger. This incident also caused Kevin Nash to make up some bullshit story about renegotiating his contract with Eric Bishoff, and getting more money because he thought the Outsiders might really leave.

After this fiasco JR began to distance himself from his heel ways. The only sign of his villainy was the occasional comment that he couldn’t understand why the fans were booing his two new abominations, as they walked to the ring? By then no one cared. The fans were just happy to have JR back.
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Rabblecast #335 Jim Ross to UFC, TNA Returning to Orlando http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/09/19/rabblecast-335-jim-ross-to-ufc-tna-returning-to-orlando/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/09/19/rabblecast-335-jim-ross-to-ufc-tna-returning-to-orlando/#comments Thu, 19 Sep 2013 23:20:51 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=159741 Last week, the WWE announced the retirement of, Jim Ross after 20 years of loyal service to the company. Jim Ross held various jobs/titles in his time with WWE, one of those being the announcer for their flagship show, Monday Night RAW. Jim Ross easily became the “voice of RAW” to many fans over the years. Who can forget lines such as, “It’s going to be a slobber-knocker”, or “He’s being beaten like a government mule”. What if, now that he is retired from the WWE, Jim Ross joined the UFC and became the “voice” for the MMA crowd? It could happen.

 

In 2013 TNA Wrestling made the decision to take Impact Wrestling on the road. The goal: to grow and expand TNA’s reach in various markets across the USA. Now, six months into their first year touring, TNA may have come to a crossroads. With financial troubles already hitting TNA, rumors coming from the number two wrestling company hint at the possibility of TNA returning to a central location hoping to recoup whatever losses they may be suffering by being on the road. Should TNA stay on the road or should they return to familiar surroundings and settle down to collect themselves?

 

We are, The Rabblecast!

 

On this week’s show:

  • What if Jim Ross were picked up by TNA?
  • The return of Dusty Rhodes to WWE TV
  • Mickie James turns down TNA contract
  • Mark Jindrak with CMLL for 80th Anniversary show

 

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Editorial: Remembering “Good Ol’ JR” http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/09/15/editorial-remembering-good-ol-jr/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/09/15/editorial-remembering-good-ol-jr/#comments Sun, 15 Sep 2013 13:05:24 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=159624 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.
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Rabblecast #334 Drew Cordeiro Returns, Beyond Wrestling http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/09/13/rabblecast-334-drew-cordeiro-returns-beyond-wrestling/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/09/13/rabblecast-334-drew-cordeiro-returns-beyond-wrestling/#comments Sat, 14 Sep 2013 01:14:50 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=159611 Drew Cordeiro returns to the podcast! With him comes a whole bunch of Beyond Wrestling news and info. We run down the “Point of No Return” card for their upcoming show on Sunday, September 15th in Providence, RI and find out what Beyond Wrestling is doing to help their talent.

In other news, the WWE has announced the “retirement” of “good ole” Jim Ross from the company(the voice of Monday Night RAW to a generation of wrestling fans). After 20 years of service and various tasks assigned to him(commentator, VP of Talent relations, WWE talent scout, and others) why retire now? It all seems a little abrupt.

*(This week’s show suffered from some technical glitches, hence the delay in posting. Enjoy the show and thank you for listening to The Rabblecast.)

 

We are, The Rabblecast!

 

On this week’s show:

  • Beyond Wrestling, Point of No Return card rundown
  • WWE, Night of Champions card rundown
  • The guys deal with a sound glitch
  • Better late than never, right?

 

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Breaking: Jim Ross Announces His Retirement From The WWE http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/09/11/breaking-jim-ross-announces-his-retirement-from-the-wwe/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/09/11/breaking-jim-ross-announces-his-retirement-from-the-wwe/#comments Wed, 11 Sep 2013 20:41:16 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=159575 WWE just posted the following on their website:

WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross announced that he is retiring from WWE today, after 20 years of service, to focus on his personal business endeavors.

Jim has had a long and storied career at WWE, both on the corporate staff as well as his television persona, calling some of the most memorable matches in WWE history as the voice of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown for more than two decades. He made his debut with WWE at WrestleMania IX in 1993 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007 by his long-time friend “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

Jim has made many contributions to WWE and the sports-entertainment industry, and we thank him for his many years of service and wish him well.

 

Harrak’s Hit: JR will be missed more than probably any other on-air personality in recent memory. I know I’m not the only one who always held out hope that he would make a triumphant return to the booth. All I can say is thank you, Jim Ross for always making the stories in the ring truly come to life.
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NXT Yellow Ropes Report 06.06.2013 (Paige, O’Brian, Wyatt) http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/06/10/nxt-yellow-ropes-report-06-06-2013/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/06/10/nxt-yellow-ropes-report-06-06-2013/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 12:02:52 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=157147 The Glimpse:

Bo “Goro” Dallas signs the contract for his NXT Championship match against Big E Langston.  Bray Wyatt’s Family will defend their Tag Team Championship against the unlikely team of Kassius Ohno and Corey Graves, plus the NXT Women’s Championship Tournament begins.

The Action:

Contract Signing

Jim Ross opens the show for the contract signing between Bo Dallas and Big E Langston.  E signs, then passes it to Bo, who needs to say something before he signs.  The crowd gives him a “No more Bo” chant, Bo laughs a bit and talks about E being on Raw, being at Wrestlemania.  Bo says that’s what he should be doing, and it’s all because he doesn’t have the NXT Championship.  Bo doesn’t “want” it, he “needs” it.  Bo says he’s signing a contract that could change his life.  Bo says three seconds could make history, and the crowd reminds him he’s talking to the master of the five count.  E says he respects Bo, but he’s the biggest baddest man in NXT.  E calls Bo a geek and says he lives at home with mama and has footie pajamas.  Bo signs the contract and shoves it into the chest of E, then heads to the back.

Renee Young welcomes Corey Graves.  Graves says tonight isn’t just about the NXT Tag Titles; tonight the Wyatt family falls.  Graves calls himself a one man army and says he doesn’t like his partner tonight, Kassius Ohno.  He shows his Stay Down knuckle tats to the camera.  Ugh.

Match 1:  Tamina Snuka vs Paige, NXT Women’s Title Tournament First Round

Winner:   Paige via pinfall

A lockup and Tamina launches Paige across the ring, which she answers with a kick to the gut and a headbutt.  You never headbutt a Samoan wrestler!  Tamina answers with a jumping headbutt of her own then whips Paige across the ring by her hair.  Paige kicks out at one and Tamina suplexes her, then floats over for another one count.  Paige tries a school girl, but Tamina takes a tumble, so she gets right back up to her feet and whips Paige by her hair again.  Tamina settles into a chinlock and Paige quickly escapes but runs into a back elbow.  Tamina hits a knee drop for yet another one count.  Tamina goes back to the chinlock and as Paige fights up, she gets tossed back down to the mat.  Tamina with a scoop slam and now a two count.  A keylock from Tamina now, which Paige punches her way out of, then finds herself in a rear waistlock.  Paige backs Tamina into the corner and hits multiple elbows; Paige steps away and turns around into a superkick.  Tamina drags Paige all the way around the ring, then drops her back where she landed and heads to the top for a Superfly Splash, but Paige gets the knees up and pins her with a school girl.

Renee Young welcomes Kassius Ohno this time.  Kassius says his plan of attack is…to attack.  Ohno says tonight isn’t about Kassius and Graves; it’s about taking the Titles from the Family.

Match 2: Colin Cassidy vs Mason Ryan

Winner:  Mason Ryan via pinfall

Cassidy, were he not wrestling Mason Ryan, would look imposing – He’s even taller and in great shape, but anyone is dwarfed by Ryan.  Cassidy rocks Ryan with right hands and ducks a clothesline, then boots Ryan in the gut.  He hammers the back of Ryan, who roars and boots Cassidy in the face.  Ryan throws him into the corner and hits multiple headbutts.  Into another corner and Ryan bores his shoulder into Cassidy, then hits a clothesline off the ropes.  Ryan takes Cassidy up into the Rack for the inverted TKO and wins it.

Renee Young is earning her check tonight – It’s time to chat with Sami Zayn.  Renee reminds us all that Zayn beat two men on his debut night.  This draws Cesaro into the frame, who says Zayn got a cheap win.  Zayn says the only thing cheap that night was getting popped in the back of the head after winning.  Cesaro says he’s ticked off and wants Zayn in the ring again.  Zayn says on one condition – He wants to know where Cesaro got his man purse.  Cesaro slaps him and Zayn tackles him.  Quickly broken up.

Match 3:  Alex Riley vs Conor O’Brian

Winner:  Conor O’Brian via submission

O’Brian stands like a statue after the bell rings and A-Ry rushes him, ending up in a headlock.  A-Ry somehow gets knocked down off the ropes and O’Brian takes an extra lap to shoulder him back to the mat.  O’Brian with a headlock takeover, then multiple more still on the ground.  Riley headbutts out and chops away at O’Brian, then hits a back elbow off the ropes.  Riley up to the top rope and a diving clothesline for one.  Riley wants his lifting DDT, but O’Brian shoves him to the corner then hits snake eyes and an avalanche in the corner, followed by a flapjack.  O’Brian locks in The Stockade submission and wins it.  It’s basically a grounded Octopus.

Match 4:  Kassius Ohno & Corey Graves vs Wyatt Family (c), NXT Tag Team Championship

Winners:  Wyatt Family via pinfall

Wyatt introduces himself as the eater of worlds and says his brothers will give their own introduction in the ring.

Rowan starts it off with Ohno.  Rowan powers him away, so Kassius tries a headlock this time.  Rowan sends him to the ropes and Kassius locks in a cravat from a run.  Rowan tries to slam him out of it, but Ohno holds onto the hold, only to get thrown to the ropes and shouldered down.  Ohno with strikes to the corner, but Rowan tries to fight out.  Ohno with another headlock and a tag to Graves.  Graves’ turn for a headlock, but he gets leveled by a knee and Harper tags in.  Graves tries a cross body, but gets caught.  He ends up on the apron and tries a sunset flip, then a roll up, but Harper kicks out.  Graves flips out of a hip toss into an arm drag and tags Ohno in to drop an axe handle on Harper’s arm.  Harper hits a huge elbow to the head for a two count.  Rowan tags back in as we head to commercial.

Back to action, Rowan has Ohno grounded.  Ohno gets back to his feet and stomps on his opponent’s foot, but Harper gets tagged in and punches him in the gut, followed by European uppercuts.  Ohno kicks out at two.  Rowan tags back in and Ohno hits his reverse jawbreaker (skull breaker?  I dunno).  Graves tags in and clips the knee of Rowan.  Graves wants Lucky 13 but gets distracted by Harper.  Graves gets elevated to the apron and Harper boots him flat.  Rowan rolls him in for a two count.  Harper tags in and stomps on Graves then hits a back elbow and a knee drop for another two.  Graves tries to fight from his knees, but Rowan tags in and knees him in the midsection, then again.  Rowan with a pumphandle backbreaker but Graves is out at two again.  Rowan takes Graves up into a Canadian backbreaker – Graves looks like a toy in the arms of Rowan.  Graves slips out, but gets hammered down by Rowan.  Rowan puts Graves in a headlock then drives him headfirst into the top turnbuckle.  Harper tags in and takes Graves up for a suplex, reversed into a small package, then a crucifix for two.  Graves makes the hot tag to Ohno who strikes away at Harper and takes Rowan off the apron.  Ohno hits the forearm in the corner and a low dropkick, then boots Rowan away again.  Ohno hits a senton for two on Harper.  Wyatt hops on the ring steps to distract Ohno, but he ducks the incoming Harper, then hits a rolling headbutt after ducking the discus lariat.  Rowan is in to break up the pin, but gets clotheslined over the top by Graves.  Wyatt tags Ohno in the back of the head with an elbow behind the ref’s back and Graves answers by hitting a corkscrew dive onto him.  Harper hits the discus lariat on Ohno and pins him during the chaos.

The Reaction:

Every time Bo Dallas picks up a mic, it’s a reminder of why he’ll never be a main eventer.  Getting a negative chant from the crowd makes him laugh?  Not good.  Bo claims that Big E’s NXT Title is what has him on Raw and Smackdown, palling around with the World Heavyweight Champion.  This would have more of an impact if Raw/Smackdown EVER acknowledged NXT or its Title.  Or maybe E could carry the belt to the ring.  This would also garner more people going “Oh, what’s NXT?  I should check that out.”  Lack of logic and consistency…vintage WWE.

Perfectly fine match from Paige and Tamina.  Don’t quite understand why you would have Paige, the obvious favorite to win this tournament, get her ass whipped for 95% of this match, then win with knees and a roll up.  Beating Tamina with the Paige Turner wouldn’t have hurt anything here.  It’s not like Paige isn’t normally a dominant competitor.

Mason Ryan again.  These wrestling companies insist on using the same guys over and over and over, regardless of how many times they falter in becoming stars.  Matt Morgan, Rob Terry, Mason Ryan – All giant dudes that have made no progress in years and years and just cycle in and out.  Given, it’s fun to see a guy the size of Ryan beat people up.  In the short matches he’s had since returning, he looks a bit more consistent.  I won’t poo-poo this run just yet, but they’ll need to give us something compelling for Mason Ryan.

Poor A-Ry.  I wonder how much he misses being on Raw week after week.  At least Riley got some offense in this squash.  Conor O’Brian has a submission move now for some reason…that’s fine.  O’Brian runs that risk of ending up another Mason Ryan/Matt Morgan/etc.  At the least, he has a gimmick, but it’s very…Underworld.

I’m admittedly not a big fan of Graves, but damn that was a fun tag match.  You reinforce that Bray Wyatt is the head of the Family, helping where needed, and not always physically.  You have a now built-in rivalry for Graves and Ohno, as Ohno can point out that instead of staying focused on the ring, Graves threw himself out of it in poor judgment.  Or, you can have them stick together as a tag team and deal with differences.  Both are perfectly viable.  Harper’s “Yeah yeah yeah” is catching on with the NXT crowd.  No way to tell if that will carry on to the big shows, but it’s simple things like that that can get the crowd to chant along.  Think about it – Daniel Bryan just said “Yes” and that has taken over the wrestling world like Austin’s “What?”.

The Preview:

Big E Langston defends against Bo Dallas.  Big E is on the main roster now – I wonder what’ll happen…

The Shill:

As always, if you like what you read here, let me know in the comments or on twitter @sbfantom.  I sincerely would like to hear what people think and strike up some conversation!
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Jim Ross Blog: JR Talks Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family Vignette from Raw, Curtis Axel, Fan Impatience and WWE / NFLPA Relationship http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/06/03/jim-ross-blog-jr-talks-bray-wyatt-and-the-wyatt-family-vignette-from-raw-curtis-axel-fan-impatience-and-wwe-nflpa-relationship/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/06/03/jim-ross-blog-jr-talks-bray-wyatt-and-the-wyatt-family-vignette-from-raw-curtis-axel-fan-impatience-and-wwe-nflpa-relationship/#comments Mon, 03 Jun 2013 11:00:49 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=156969 WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross touched on a number of subjects over the weekend in his latest blog post, including the Wyatt Family, Curtis Axel, fans not letting storylines develop organically before rushing to judgment, and more:

JR on Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family:

“Perhaps the Wyatt Family introductory vignette put the freshness tag over the top for me and I consider “new’ as being better more often than not. The Wyatt vignettes were expertly produced and edited which isn’t surprising coming from WWE TV personnel.

Speaking recently on Bray Wyatt’s “2nd gear” that some did not understand it is essentially the same thing as a great, defensive lineman in the NFL being able to explode off the ball and then change gears again when needed to make a play. It’s not something that every athlete, no matter their size, possesses. Wyatt’s grandfather, WWE HOFer Blackjack Mulligan was a massive beast who was once recruited to play college football by the legendary Bear Bryant along with football coaching legend Bum Phillips so athleticism runs in the family. Wyatt’s father, Mike Rotunda was an outstanding, two sport star at Syracuse in football and in wrestling. So the bottom line is that Bray Wyatt has good athletic DNA.

Nonetheless the level of success that the Wyatt Family achieves is going to be largely up to them and not the family scrapbook. I like the trio and feel that they will contribute quickly once they arrive in WWE on RAW or Smackdown. I’d also assume that we will see another Wyatt Family vignette on RAW this week.”

JR on young talent getting called up to WWE TV and Curtis Axel’s relationship with Paul Heyman:

“The key for any young talent getting the ‘call up’ is to never rest on their laurels as if they have ‘made it.’ They haven’t ‘made it.’ They’ve only been provided the opportunity to ‘make it’ as becoming great and becoming a perennial main eventer is an on going, evolutionary process. It includes conducting one’s self like a professional, continuing to study the game and maintaining an aggressive regime with their strength and conditioning program.

I’d also assume that we will see more of the on going breakout build continue for Curtis Axel who’s now being mentored by Paul Heyman. @RealKingRegal and I have both said for months that, after seeing various Curtis Axel matches on NXT, that the 3rd generation athlete was ready for something significant. However, even though a talent is ‘ready’ there has be be a place for him or her to make an impactful entry or re-entrance to RAW or Smackdown.

Pairing Axel with @HeymanHustle is highly strategic and having the young Minnesota native face HHH and John Cena his first two weeks on RAW has people talking. That’s more than they were doing when the kid was named McGillicutty.”

JR on WWE fans being impatient with storylines:

“Bottom line based on the feedback that I receive either on Twitter @JRsBBQ or here at our Q&A section of the site, is that many fans have little to no patience to allow a talent to organically evolve or a storyline to develop in a deliberate, logical manner. Many fans, again I assume the younger ones, want instant gratification as in ’30 minutes or it’s free’ sort of a deal.”

JR on WWE’s relationship with the NFLPA to create a pipeline for recruiting new talent:

“Anyone who actually thinks that WWE attempting to develop a relationship with the NFLPA is wrong or ill timed has a very unique view on the recruiting of world class athletes for WWE especially with the fact that there are no full time territories developing large numbers of talents for WWE to potentially utilize. Approximately 400, excellent athletes will look for work outside the NFL each year and if they are young enough and have the required aptitude for the genre then why wouldn’t WWE want to give some of them a look?”

JR on the perfect Father’s Day gift:

“Order JR’s products online at http://www.wweshop.com and in the UK part of the world at http://www.americansoda.co.uk. Keep us in mind for Father’s Day shopping. Our packages make for great Dad’s Day gifts.”
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WWE For All Mankind: The Life and Career of Mick Foley DVD Review (Documentary, Disc 1) http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/04/19/wwe-for-all-mankind-the-life-and-career-of-mick-foley-dvd-review-documentary-disc-1/ http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/2013/04/19/wwe-for-all-mankind-the-life-and-career-of-mick-foley-dvd-review-documentary-disc-1/#comments Fri, 19 Apr 2013 20:43:54 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=155893 This is the latest and most definitive WWE release on Mick Foley. There was a brief release in 2000, Hard Knocks & Cheap Pops, which was focused on the Commissioner portion of Foley’s career. This was expanded on in 2004 with the release of Mick Foley’s Greatest Hits & Misses, which added matches from the rest of his career. There has never been a proper documentary release on Foley until now, however, with this release neatly coinciding with his recent WWE Hall of Fame induction. So, let’s check it out…

p-wwe-mankind-dvd

Disc One – Biography Portion

1. A Happy Story

We start with Mick sitting at a giant table of photos, news clippings and other memorabilia of his career, putting over his career as a happy tale of overcoming the odds. The Jim Ross sound-bites certainly help sell it. If only WWE could use more Jim Ross sound-bits in their programming.

2. Idyllic Childhood

Mick discusses his childhood in Bloomington, Indiana, as we get a lot of old home footage. Jim Gray, a friend of Mick’s ever since they were 12, discusses Mick’s early prowess in Little League. We also run through Mick’s short-lived lacrosse career, although it is evident that Mick wanted to be in a solo entertainer instead. Hence, he acted out by doing things like dangling worms off his lacrosse stick and eating them in front of his opponents.

Amateur wrestling stole Mick’s heart from lacrosse and a brief interest in track. He discusses his friendly rivalry with the other heavyweight on the high school team, Kevin James, whose injury led to Mick being picked for meets with other schools and Foley even getting some wins.

Academically, Mick describes himself as “a great underachiever”, but had faith in the quality of his writing. Tracy Gray, another high school friend, noted that Mick was shy as a teenager but was creative and enjoyed a few pranks, like dressing up as a Homecoming Queen for a high school parade downtown. What a worker!

3. Huge Fan

Mick and his brother were huge wrestling fans as children, watching the Madison Square Garden Network back in the day. He taped matches to watch with his friends and was mesmerised by Jimmy Snuka. We get the infamous story of Mick buying a ticket to see Snuka leap off the steel cage onto Don Muraco at the Garden, which set Mick off on his determined path to make it as a professional wrestler. “I want to make people feel the way I feel right now”, he thought as he sat in the MSG “community” watching Snuka.

He studied the wrestling tapes he had, becoming captivated by things he could not figure out from watching alone. This led to Mick thinking that his own style would be to basically do things that hurt him in the ring, since then nobody would be able to figure out how he did them. In the long-term, this approach would unsurprisingly lead to some serious health issues. In the short-term, it led to the creation of Dude Love. This character was intended to be everything that Mick did not think himself to be – cool, handsome, popular with the ladies. He made a load of Dude Love gear, catchphrases and even taped interviews in character with his friends. Even from an early age, Foley was a creative initiator.

4. Training School

His high school hosted an independent wrestling show in Mick’s sophomore year, with Mick setting up a meeting with the promoter via his father. Mick showed the promoter his homemade Dude Love video, of which we get numerous clips. This includes the shot of Foley jumping off his house to a pile of mattresses – and the aftermath of a bloodied Dude Love yelling at the camera.

The promoter was convinced Foley had something, which led to him being added to Dominic DeNucci’s ring crew. For $25 and a tough wrestling lesson, Mick had to spend around 20 hours each show collecting, assembling and returning the ring to storage. Four months later, DeNucci invited Foley to Pittsburgh for a new camp he was setting up.

Despite the distance from his home in up-state New York, Foley agreed to go. Mainly because of his lack of geographical awareness, which is rather amusing. There are numerous clips of Foley, in early Cactus Jack gear, training with Shane Douglas. We even get comments from modern-day Shane, looking surprisingly like Michael Hayes, admitting that he doubted Foley based on initial appearances but was quickly convinced by the efforts Foley put forth.

5. Working the Road

WWE called DeNucci and asked him for some extra enhancement talent. This led to an appearance by a skinny looking “Jack” Foley on WWF Superstars in September 1986. Unfortunately for Foley, he wound up in the ring with the British Bulldogs and received a dislocated jaw courtesy of a Dynamite Kid clothesline. He couldn’t chew solid food for several weeks.

Future job matches against the likes of the Killer Bees, Hercules and Kamala followed. DeNucci also managed to land some additional gigs for him in the AWA and World Class. Terry Funk first saw Foley on Dallas television and was won over by his unusual style.

All the while, Mick was perfecting his manic look and wild moves. The Cactus Jack character started to take shape, as a crazy man who relished each and every moment of his fights.

6. WCW

Meanwhile, Shane Douglas was working as a Dynamic Dude in WCW. He and Mick had stayed in contact and Shane invited him to come down to Atlanta, in an attempt to get him onto the card. Foley’s reputation from World Class had already spread, with Jim Cornette (at this point on the WCW booking committee) already a big fan of his. They invited Mick to come back to the next tapings in a couple of weeks.

Mick returned and wound up working with the Steiner Brothers. Foley remembers telling Kevin Sullivan that his finisher was not just an elbow drop but a leaping elbow drop off the ring apron onto the concrete floor. Foley does a great Cornette impression as he remembers Cornette justifying the move to Sullivan, who told him that no matter how badly the Steiners might hurt him, Foley has to do the elbow onto his own tag partner. Seeing the move helped win over Arn Anderson backstage and the deranged Cactus Jack became a regular.

There is a montage of crazy WCW bumps taken by Foley, which Michael Hayes comments made him think Foley would not be able to work by the age of 30. Foley was striving to be as unique as possible to circumvent any concerns about his appearance. William Regal simply comments, “I thought he was insane”.

Ole Anderson becoming booker meant that Foley’s style was no longer welcome. Foley left WCW, which at the time was a financial risk but in the long-run he feels made him more rounded and permitted his character to be taken more seriously. He got the chance to work in Japan, which also enhanced his international credibility in the wrestling press and led to extra bookings.

7. Sting

Fifteen months later, the more confident and scarier Cactus Jack returned to WCW. The booking team wanted to keep Sting as their #1 guy but needed someone to work with him. There were some concerns about Sting working with a relatively unknown person but Jim Ross was a strong advocate of Foley’s potential and things went from there.

Cactus Jack returned at Clash of the Champions in September 1991, pummelling Sting and finishing off the assault with an elbow onto the concrete from the ropes. As JR says, “Mick did things no other villains could do.” Sting had become stale and needed a jolt; Foley needed main event exposure to make it. Both guys benefited. Despite Foley losing, he still gained credibility from JR putting him over on commentary.

Foley’s stand-out performances led to the crowd starting to support him. The fans picked up on his efforts and appreciated them. Foley also points to his kind eyes as a reason for the fans starting to root for him. Paul Heyman turns up to downplay any comparisons between Cactus Jack and Bruiser Brody, putting Foley over as someone truly unique.

8. Vader

As a babyface, Foley needed his own truly unique heel to face – hence Vader. Foley stresses just how hard-hitting Vader truly was. We get an unmasked, modern-day Vader reminiscing fondly about this feud and everything they were able to pull off in it.

Foley remembers one time he found a shovel backstage. Harley Race threatened that if he didn’t hit Vader with the shovel, he’d come backstage and hit Foley with it instead. So, Foley went out and whacked Vader, Race and Paul Orndorff with it. There were meant to be additional heels come out to take shovel-shots. They refused!

The two psychotic characters embarked on what Vader calls “the hottest feud in wrestling, period”. Regal remembers being concerned about just how much punishment Foley was taking in this series. Foley admits that at one point he was on the verge of retiring to enjoy his Lloyds of London insurance policy, having tired of backstage politics. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, he was unable to cash in on the policy and had to keep going.

There is blurry handheld fan-cam footage of the Vader match in Germany that cost Foley his ear. The ring ropes were too loose, having been put up by a rock music crew instead of an experienced ring crew. Foley got caught in the ring ropes, which tore the ear cartilage off his head, yet got back in the ring. He and Vader traded blows and we actually see Foley’s ear fly off his head. The French referee picked it up and got it backstage, although he spoke no English and could not tell Mick during the match.

Foley went to the hospital after the match, using his moderate German skills to remind the crew to pack his ear up for him. By this point, only part of it could be reattached. Looking back, Foley remembers being happy that there was so much potential for them to take the feud forward to a huge pay-off match from this incident.

WCW did not pursue the Cactus/Vader program further. This has got to go down as one of the dumbest booking strategies ever made. At the end of his patience with the WCW management and creative approach, Foley gave his notice.

9. ECW & Japan

Foley had a bigger picture to strive towards, regardless of the security a guaranteed contract with WCW afforded him as a married man with two children. Heyman brought Foley into ECW straight away, feeling he could raise the bar in terms of sacrifice in the locker room. Joey Styles notes that Foley brought credibility to ECW as a star with serious TV time, with a style suited perfectly to the early days of the promotion.

ECW also allowed Foley to vent his frustration at both WCW and the goofy gimmicks the WWF was using back then instead of calling him. He notes it was lucky there was no Twitter back then. Instead of immediately venting, Foley was able to think things through in his mind and sculpt them into genuinely emotional wrestling interviews. It’s that attention to his craft that enabled the fans to connect with Foley. No doubt about it, his ECW promos are up there with the best of all time and we get some footage of them here.

Heyman remembers shooting the first promo, knowing they had struck gold five seconds after the camera went on. At this point Cactus was putting down the hardcore style as a result of his sacrifices getting him nothing in return. This made for fantastic viewing and was the first genuine sign that Foley was as strong on the mic as he was in the ring.

Foley also got to return to Japan at this time. Terry Funk had gone to IWA-Japan, home of the most extreme and dangerous matches in the world. Funk appears regretful about them in his comments here. Foley notes that there was no humanity in what they did. He even did the same move that cost him his ear again, this time in barbed wire.

Foley and Funk did put the promotion on the map, which was the intention, albeit at a great cost to their health. This culminated in the King of the Death Match tournament involving barbed wire and an exploding ring. Funk notes that it was his intention to pass the torch to Foley here.

10. Mankind

Eventually, Vince McMahon listened to JR’s continued pitches about bringing in Foley. At the first meeting, Foley was put off by the initial iron mask costume for what would become Mankind. Foley pitched his own ideas but Vince took some convincing. Shawn Michaels remembers that he was just expecting Cactus Jack to arrive, yet Foley wanted something fresher.

Mick made his debut against Bob Holly on Raw. Amid the confusion of trying to finalise the details of the character, he still did not know until he got out there what the character would be called. He didn’t even know that his post-victory music would be a different song, although that had been an initial pitch he made to the company.

Immediately, Mankind was booked as the nemesis of the Undertaker and even went over him. Initially expecting just a short lived program, the two instead got a long series with one another. Michaels notes that Taker was very appreciative of the lengths to which Foley would go to help get a match over.

Foley points to his In Your House: Mind Games match with Michaels as a turning point in his WWF career. Michaels remembers the creativity Foley brought to the match. CM Punk turns up to describe it as “wrestling, turned up to 11″, a definitive Foley match. Michaels notes that the WWF audience at that point had not seen anything like this before, putting Foley over for helping make HBK look edgier than before.

11. Dude Love

A year later, Vince McMahon determined that Foley’s real-life story was too interesting to not incorporate into the show. Foley agreed to a series of legitimate interviews with JR on Raw but was reluctant to let go of the Mankind character he worked so hard to create. This led to the audience getting to see the early Dude Love footage from Foley’s teenage years.

Foley rode with Steve Austin after the first interview aired, with Austin telling him he would be a babyface in two weeks due to the interviews. Indeed, every week, more people started cheering Foley, which he points to as the most organic turn ever.

Vince also discovered the Dude Love character and decided it had to be made a part of the show because “Dude Love makes people feel good”. This led to Dude Love trying to become the tag team partner of Stone Cold. Foley even transformed from Mankind to Dude Love in the middle of a cage match with Triple H. Finally, Cactus Jack turned up in MSG after a special introduction from Dude Love and Mankind, to a hell of a pop. The current WWE creative team could never have come up with anything even 1% as special as this run.

12. Hell in a Cell

The post-WrestleMania episode of Raw in 1998 led to the next phase of DX, finishing with the gang destroying Foley and Funk inside a cage – including, much to Foley’s chagrin, a bronco buster from X-Pac. Foley’s genuine resentment at the fans chanting Austin during this moment was funnelled into Dude Love becoming Mr. McMahon’s would-be corporate champion.

Foley doubts that the swift transformations between his three characters had been welcomed by fans. Too many changes in too short a time had led to the audience losing touch of what he was supposed to be, which meant he did not connect with them as strongly as before. The Cell match with Undertaker loomed on the horizon but Foley was uncertain the fans would buy him in this spot on the card at this point.

Wanting to do something special, Funk and Foley decided that Foley should start the match on top of the Cell. Nobody backstage was aware that the match was going to be as extreme as it turned out to be. The Miz reminisces about watching the match with his high school friends, gasping at the screen in silence when Taker threw Foley off the Cell.

Foley got back into the match, of course, crawling back on top of the Cell to deliver for the audience. This led to the second bump as Foley took a chokeslam through the Cell onto the mat and was knocked out. Funk said he was scared to death. The next day there were ‘Foley is God’ signs at Raw.

Afterwards, with a tooth in his nose, a dislocated shoulder, numerous stitches, a bruised kidney and more, Vince told him that he was appreciative of everything Foley had done for the company but never wanted to see anything like that again.

Foley is thankful that nowadays, when a guy gets knocked out, the match ends. He is also, however, nostalgic of the emotional roller coaster of that match.

13. Mr. Socko

The extent of Foley’s injuries after the Cell led to a change in lifestyle, with retirement looming on the horizon. Foley wanted to incorporate more comedy into the Mankind character, which allowed him to still get reactions without sacrificing his body.

Vince provided the obvious straight guy for Mankind to play off of, which ultimately led to Foley inventing a sock puppet (well, Al Snow came up with the idea) to try and cheer up an injured Vince in the hospital. And balloons. And a clown. It was the sock puppet that stuck. At the next show, there were already Socko signs and copies in the crowd.

14. The Rock

The Foley/Rock feud of course began at Survivor Series ’98 in Vince Russo’s ultimate swerve booking. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense if you think about it but at the time it was effective. For some reason, we get more Miz. He talks about how heartbroken he was by Rock’s heel turn. Anyway, this allowed Mankind to be a genuine babyface, whilst also setting up Rock to work with Austin at WrestleMania 15.

In the meantime, Foley and Rock embarked on a heated and hard-hitting feud. This also led to Foley winning the championship in probably the greatest reaction to a title change in Raw history. It should be pointed out, however, that the title change was actually beaten in the ratings by the Fingerpoke of Doom on Nitro that night. Enough of that myth being perpetuated. Still, a truly great moment.

This led to an epically brutal I Quit match between Rock and Foley at the Royal Rumble 1999. Foley was keen to let people see a ruthless side to The Rock, although by his own admission they went too far. This is the notorious match with too many unprotected chairshots as shown in the Beyond the Mat documentary. Foley’s wife and children were at ringside watching, which adds to Foley’s regrets.

There was also some genuine frustration at Rock not apologising for the excessive chairshots to Foley’s unprotected head during the match. Evidently, Foley got over it and this allowed for the creation of the Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection. They had undeniable chemistry and tremendous comedic timing with one another, which led to some mighty fine television. None of which involved their tag team matches but, hey, people were entertained.

15. Author

With genuine concerns about his physical condition and a general malaise about his future in wrestling, Foley turned his creativity back towards his writing. WWE had signed a deal with Regan Books to bring out a series of autobiographies. The publishers made arrangements for a ghost writer only for Foley to decide he wanted to write it himself. Regan were very reluctant at first but convinced by a sample Foley submitted to them.

Foley even ran his initial writing (on pen and paper) past the locker room and managed to pass that test. Empowered, Foley wrote his 700 page autobiography by hand as the WWE tour continued around the country. He even turned down pain medication from his knee surgery in order to remain lucid enough to meet his deadline.

The publishers were wary about the length of the book but yielded to Foley’s passion. The result? A #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. This was at the peak of WWE’s pop culture importance, of course, but the quality of the book should not be overlooked. There have been very few others in wrestling capable of producing a great autobiography, with only Bret Hart and Chris Jericho springing to mind.

16. Triple H

The success of his book, which sold millions of copies, coupled with his bad knees and concerns about memory issues, led to Foley winding down his full-time wrestling career. The final stretch was working with Triple H in the build to WrestleMania 16, filling in for an injured Austin.

The Street Fight the pair had at Royal Rumble 2000 essentially solidified Triple H as a genuine main event champion. This was followed by another Hell in the Cell match with Foley’s career on the line – a perfect ending to his career. “I ruined it”, Foley admits.

A couple of weeks later, JR called up Foley to discuss WrestleMania. Much to Foley’s surprise, he had been added to the main event despite only just retiring. It seems Vince was determined to let Foley have a WrestleMania main event spot before everything ended. Foley still has regrets about the comeback.

17. Commissioner

In June 2000, Foley shaved his head, with the idea that it would allow him to escape doing things in public ever again. His curious son Dewey even shaved his head in support. Foley did not consider the lack of an ear would tip people off that he was in fact the famous wrestler Mick Foley.

A few weeks later, Vince called again to bring Foley back as the Commissioner. This was a hugely enjoyable run, for Foley as much as the fans. Edge and Christian got great exposure from their comedic interaction with Foley, which was instrumental in the crowd caring about them. Who cannot love the chicken suit scene? Only reekazoids. Foley even puts over Kurt Angle for his comedy talents, which is a rarity for WWE DVDs nowadays.

We even get a backstage technician discussing how they enjoyed going around arenas finding inventive places to put Commissioner Foley’s office – the ladies bathroom, a crane, a deli counter, a laundry room, even a hockey penalty box. Sarge, the stuffed orange dog, was donated to Foley by a Make-a-Wish Foundation girl he had met and became a mainstay of the offices.

Foley enjoyed showing up late, leaving early, not getting hurt, not even having to change clothes. Michaels notes it was the smartest gig ever. Foley notes he is the Bret Hart of Commissioners – the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.

18. Going Away

The Commissioner Foley stretch lasted for six months. Foley now feels he should have stuck with it longer. The character was ousted by William Regal and Foley went off to write his novel. WWE’s deal with Regan had expired and the publishers contact Foley about continuing their relationship. Foley wanted to pursue the deal and do something independently, which led to tensions with the company and Foley’s departure. A lot of the detail is missing here, yet I guess you can turn to Foley’s books for that if you wish.

19. Randy Orton

That said, Foley’s relationship with WWE was not totally ruined. He returned to be the referee for the Kevin Nash v Triple H Hell in the Cell match at Bad Blood 2003. WWE even afforded him an in-ring celebration at MSG.

In 2004, they also brought him back to team with Rock against Evolution at WrestleMania 20. Foley remembers losing a lot of weight for the match but still doubting his abilities. Even now, he feels he underperformed. That match is remembered solely for the greatest comedic performance of Ric Flair’s career, so Foley should not be too harsh on himself for this one.

Seeking another shot at a successful comeback match, Foley worked with Randy Orton at Backlash the following month. They beat the crap out of one another in a violent encounter. Orton remembers the match had crescendos every minute, getting bigger and bigger as it progressed. Foley notes it even bettered the Mind Games match with Michaels as his favourite. Foley even succeeded at putting over Orton, which all but guaranteed Orton would be a top guy for years to come.

20. Making a Difference

After that, Foley turned his attentions elsewhere. He missed the opportunities WWE afforded him to do the Make-a-Wish Foundation and meet with charitable organisations. Foley and his wife turned their attention to other foundations, such as ChildFund International and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

DEE SNIDER turns up to note that Foley inspired him to be a charitable person. Snider never did much charity work before meeting Foley and was embarrassed by the level of Mick’s commitments. He puts Foley over as one of the kindest people he ever met.

Foley also makes vague comments about being able to get out there and see some younger guys, referring to his time spent at Ring of Honour in this period. He references CM Punk and even Samoa Joe as the two guys he wanted to refer to Vince. Punk discusses the interaction he had with Foley on-screen in ROH but no clips here, sadly.

21. Edge

Seeking a great WrestleMania moment, Foley returned to work with Edge. They had an insane brawl at WrestleMania 22, with fire and everything, as Foley finally got his moment. This is a very brief segment, with no mention made of the rest of his run in 2006. Again, Foley points to this as an end point for his career.

22. Retirement

We skip over the feud with Ric Flair, Foley’s pretty random determination to put over Melina, and of course his TNA stint, for some general thoughts about his retirements. Foley admits that each comeback since the Orton match was partly motivated more by money than by inspiration, which has diminished his genuine passion. That’s about as honest a statement as you can hope for on a release such as this. Triple H notes that people are damned if they do, damned if they don’t, if they retire and do or do not wrestle again.

Foley discusses two different medical specialists advising him that he should never wrestle again. It was a tough pill to swallow but his working relationship with WWE is now in a good place. Punk notes that he does not need to see Foley jump off a cell again, but having him appear with Socko now and then to put a smile on people’s faces is fine. That seems fair.

23. Stand Up Comic

In early 2000, on his book tour, Foley did a speech at a college and told the students stories that made them laugh. Foley noted that the reactions reminded him of how he felt during wrestling matches. The college tours wound up by 2007 as his writing career tailed off, yet a couple of years later he turned to actual stand-up comedy instead.

Fearing regrets, Foley went for it. There are some amusing clips from his Comedy Store appearances and his daughter, Noelle, puts him over. Can’t argue with that, really. If that’s not enough for you, even Regal endorses the shows. I’ll be seeing him on his UK comedy tour next month. Looking forward to it.

24. A Complete One-Off

As is the case, the documentary ends with a succession of talking heads putting over the guy whose DVD they are appearing on. Since this is Mick Foley, however, none of them feel forced and all of them feel genuine. Heyman notes Foley likely lives in constant daily pain, yet he has his wife, his children and they love him, with many other people in this business not being able to say that. Foley wraps it all up with, “I’m doing pretty good… pretty, pretty good.”

Conclusion

The issue with releasing a DVD chronicling the career of Mick Foley is that the majority of people who would care enough to watch it have likely already read at least some of his autobiographies. Those books are able to delve into greater detail than a DVD. They are also generally freer to discuss anything and everything on Foley’s mind, including topics that WWE would not wish to include on one of their official home video releases. This means that what we are left with is a brief overview of events that the target audience already knows a considerable amount about.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the documentary. It covers the vast majority of the talking points in Foley’s career. This is a perfectly acceptable release, although I could live without generic talking head comments from The Miz. So far as official WWE documentaries on Mick Foley go, this is the best there will ever be. If you are interested in Mick Foley’s story, this is indeed a fine purchase… but if you want to scratch a little bit deeper, well, head for the bookstore instead.

Call it a solid 6/10.
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