Inside Pulse Wrestling » nWo Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:00:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Inside Pulse Wrestling no Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Inside Pulse Wrestling » nWo Forever Heel: Thank You, Big Show. Sat, 29 Nov 2014 05:02:37 +0000 The biggest problem with the WWE is fans that boo a sincere apology. Big Show deserves our thanks for saving wrestling. It was Big Show that made guys like Chris Jericho, and the Undertaker look like champs. Show made guys like Miz and Kane look better than they already do. The guy is such a good wrestler that he usually gets a title shot against any champ. He was one of the youngest WCW World Champs, when won the belt in 1996. Big Show was known as “The Giant”, because his huge stature had WCW believing he was the son of André the Giant. WCW was smart when they signed Paul Wight, they immediately put the main title on him. WCW knew that pro-wrestling is a big man’s sport. There was no reason to keep Hogan around when Andre’s son has the belt. Screw Hogan. Sadley The Giant lost the WCW WHC to the awesome Hollywood Hogan, but he was also the NWO’s earliest recruit. The Giant would be thrown out of the NWO twice, but he also got to join the NWO three times. He would join NWO Hollywood in 1998, and the WWE’s version of the NWO in 2002. The Giant never retained the WCW World Heavyweight Championship before he left WCW in 1999. He joined WCW right before the NWO angle, and Hogan as the top heel meant he’d get to monopolize the title for nearly two years. There was no way The Giant would get a worthy title reign, let alone a title reign. As a face Giant would win the WCW Tag Belts with Lex Luger, but they were stripped of the belts later for no reason except to show Eric Bischoff was a heel. He’d also carry the belts with Sting and later Scott Hall. These were pretty much throwaway reigns. Sting and Giant won the belts while Giant turned heel and rejoined the NWO, taking the place of Kevin Nash. Meanwhile Sting would join in Kevin Nash ‘s new NWO Wolf-Pac. Since each man was in a feuding factions, Sting would face the Giant for the tag belts. This was unique in that it was a single’s match for the Tag Team Championships. Sting ended up winning and making his co-champ, Kevin Nash. In turn Hollywood Hogan choose Scott Hall -Kevin Nash’s best friend and tag partner that had recently turned on him- as The Giant’s tag partner. Giant and Hall would would win the Tag Belts because Eric Bischoff felt that NWO Hollywood would look bad if the faction had no titles, since Hollywood Hulk Hogan had recently lost his World Title to Goldberg. Both NWO’s spent the summer of 1998 feuding while trying to avoid having any big money matches between any of either groups top guys. By the winter of 1999, The Giant was thrown out of the NWO because in real life he had signed with the WWE.

The Giant joined WWE at a PPV called “Saint Valentine’s Massacre”, where he attacked Steve Austin, and joined Vince McMahon’s “Corporation”. Here he’d be called by his real name, Paul Wight, and “The Big Nasty”, but we’ll be calling him “Big Show”, now. Show has been in the WEE for around 15 years now, and has been misused and over used. He’s always been the guy that can main event, or be a place holder champ, incase the real champ might not be available. Big Show is the only wrestler to win the main titles in WCW, ECW, and WWE. He’s also held every WWE title available to him. He’s a champ that can literally put the title belt around his arm, and wear four belts around his waist. Big Show has wins over Brock Lesnar, Hulk Hogan, and The Rock. WWE had big plans for Big Show, but immediately deflated him in the summer of 1999. He would become a feel good champion at Survivor Series 1999, but with Triple H’s rise to being the top heel in the WWE, Show would be forced to drop the belt to another heel that would monopolize the main title.

When Stephanie McMahon offered to make Big Show the only active member of the WWE Hall of Fame, there really no other guy on the active roster that would deserve it more. True, Show has been misused and overexposed, but whether he’s a heel or a face, he’s a loveable jerk. I’m not sure why but WWE doesn’t seem as interested in promoting Big Show to the kid market? I think he’d be popular to the little guys? Kids my age loved André the Giant even when he was heel. Kids seem to like Kane too, maybe WWE isn’t as into keeping the kids happy as we think?

I haven’t been replying to many comments lately because I’m unable to answer through my emails, and I don’t get home from work until I’m an exhausted brain-dead slug. I read all comments, (it’s not like I’m bombarded with them or anything) because if you take the time to write them, I’ll read them (seriously, I only get like four).

The Heel of the Week is The Anonymous Raw GM. It seems everyone hates this computer from Hell, and that qualifies here.

Top 5 Big Show Gimmicks that Started Before Big Show Debuted.

5) Big Josh
4) John Studd
3) Berzerker
2) Executioner (1996 version)
1) Kurgantopstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Forever Heel: I Have Questions and Some Answers Wed, 10 Sep 2014 02:52:55 +0000 Editor’s Note: References to Raw are from the 9/1 show.

So since WWE stopped making tv shows this week, I wanted to make a quick comment on the final episode of  “Breaking Bad”, but I don’t watch that show. I better get back to writing about wrestling or CB will hit me with that broom. Today I have questions, and they’re in my usual narcotic ADHD worshiping style.

1) Did they add 2 more hours to Raw?

It felt like I was waiting for 5 hours just for it to be over. The Bellas aren’t the problem because any wrestling fan has learned to tune out awkward evil sibling angles, unless you’re Vince Russo. Even though Brock isn’t on Raw they should mention him more, him being the champ and all? If they book Cena to beat Brock at Night of Stale Belts, I really will tune into Nitro every Monday night. If WWE Network stops showing Nitro then I will go into my garage and set-up my Monday Nitro Playset (from Toy Biz), and create my new show “Monday Night Wrestling from The Grand Punkitorium Arena!”, screw you Vince. Fourteen year old boys are booking better shows with their video games. They even have guys like Hamburgler, and Bat Man on their rosters.

I’m beginning to question how much money Cena brings in? I saw kids cheering Brock before SummerSlam. Little kids want to see Cena die in the ring. It would be one of those magical WWE moments. Of course Vince would lose his greatest kind of employee, one that will do whatever they’re told, that doesn’t care how they’ll look or feel, and will support WWE over anything. So even if Cena was a drain on WWE, Vince would keep him as champ. Vince only got the “ruthless” part of “ruthless businessman”, right. I mean seriously, why did they bury Zack Ryder a few years ago? They did it to be ruthless a-holes. There’s no other reason. Zack was way more popular than Roman Reigns ever was, and Zack has better skills. WWE doesn’t do what’s best for business, and never have so can we stop giving this company excuses for their screw-up? WWE is run by basically by a street smart dropout, and his muscle head son in-law. The reason Vince has all these evil rich guy heels is because rich people don’t accept him, and why should they?

2) What the hell did Buff Bagwell do in his Raw match with Booker T?

I realize this is out of left field, but I noticed another writer blaming Buff for the reason the WCW Invasion failed. I only remember him on that one Raw and his match seemed alright to me. I met Buff once, he signed my action figure. I told him I liked that he stayed loyal to Hollywood Hogan, and he said, “nWo Hollywood is just too sweet, brother.”, he seemed cool enough. There were even some IWC losers there talking snot about him, and he paid them no mind. I’m sure he’s an a-hole in the back, but so is almost every wrestler…except Sting. I just would have enjoyed the Alliance better with Buff, and not Steph, and ECW guys that didn’t need to be in the Invasion Angle at all. I’m just going to blame Buff’s poor handling on Pat Patterson.

3) Doesn’t anyone else think ECW went too far with Mass Transit, or think New Jack should’ve been sent to jail?

I know MT shouldn’t have been there in the first place, and he did ask for New Jack to blade him, but F’ New Jack. No matter what happens in a wrestling match you don’t get to cut a guy’s forehead off. Even if Mass said, “Hey New Jack, do Me a favor and cut my forehead off.”, New Jack still can’t legally do it. Does New Jack get his legal advice from the real Clarence Mason? Why isn’t he black listed? I know in real life he’s a cool guy, but Jesus H Christ on a bicycle. I’m not sure how Paul Heyman survived this? Pro-wrestling is a sport for tough guys, but no one should be put through that. It’s not worth it, just ask CZW’s accountant. New Jack would go on to try and kill Vic Grimes twice. Vic was a lovable dumbass and it was a gimmick. He lived and acted like the Mankind character, luckily New Jack was there to convince him they needed to themselves over balconies, twice. Hopefully New Jack isn’t wrestling at all, with the Indy feds now more interested in clean wrestling and no blood. Thank you Ring of Honor. He would be great for those stand-up tours that Foley and Raven do. I’d pay to watch him. Speaking of crazy indy feds…

4) What happened to the Urban Wrestling Federation?

The UWF was like a living Def Jam Wrestling video game. You had bosses from various cities across America pitting their crews against other crews in wrestling matches, for bling and stuff. I had the first DVD, and enjoyed it okay, except for the lack of a Los Angeles crew. I tried to find other DVDs, but came up empty. I’m not sure why this Fed didn’t take off? Homicide was going to be the main guy, but he didn’t stay long enough, and they went with Ricky  Ortiez (Atlas Ortiez in WWE’s ECW). It seemed they went with a ppv business model, but that doesn’t explain the lack of merchandise and DVDs. All I can think of is that they weren’t offering DVDs for fear of piracy, but they would lose way more money by not selling DVDs at all. Maybe it’s just as well that UWF died? We’ve talked in the past about how African-Americans are stereotyped in wrestling, and this was a whole fed of wacky black gangsta gimmicks.

Well guys that’s my brain hurts, so that’s enough questions for now.

Heel of the Week: Triple H, for being the only foil that won’t destroyed by Super-Cena.

Here are my top 5 Tag Team partners:

5)Kieth Gas- Pete Gas’s cousin, and my 4th BFF

4) Bunny Ashtonberg- My valet, and one time main squeeze

3) Chavez Jose Jr. – My angry gardener, and one time grounds keeper for Alcatraz. That’s one evil landscaper.

2) Big Nanny Vader – My childhood nanny

1) Baron von Rhenkev- My dear father, and President-General of The People’s Communist/Fascist state of Punkistantopstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Forever Heel Reviews the Book “The Death of the WWF” Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:02:42 +0000

I just read RD Reynolds’ book about the death of WWF. There’s a lot interesting reasons for WWF’s failure to keep fans happy, that goes beyond Montreal. Vince Russo wanted to continue his “Gang Wars” storyline, but Vince wanted to focus on Steve Austin and DX. Another problem was the fact that talent like Jeff Jarrett, Steve Williams, and Terry Funk would end up not signing WWF contracts, fearing they couldn’t trust McMahon to hold up his end of the bargain. This is also what led Kurt Angle to decide, pro-wrestling wasn’t for him. WCW stars like Shane Douglas, we’re right about WWF. They bring talent and force them to embarrass themselves without a guaranteed deal. Like Mick Foley told Dave Meltzer, “Opportunity doesn’t feed my kids.”, shortly after that interview Foley signed with WCW as a road agent, and author.

1999 was WWF’s worst year by far. The so called Attitude Era fell flat for most fans, and Vince McMahon’s ridiculous over booking of the 1999 Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 15 killed it for the 18-34 male demographic. Vince Russo says that he disagreed with the preposterous idea that Vince McMahon could win a Royal Rumble, or that fans would take Mankind seriously as WWF Champ. Fans agreed the night Mankind won the WWF title was Raw’s lowest rated shows since 1995. Fans couldn’t believe a fat goof like Mankind could ever beat the Rock, even with a dusty finish. Many fans were turned off by WWF’s unrealistic storylines and stupid ideas, like a Hardcore title, and European belt that was mostly held by a African American in his 20’s, or by Shane McMahon.

Another disaster was the sweetheart deal given to Paul White, that went nowhere. Keeping Undertaker’s buddies like, Mideon, Savio Vega, and Fatu on the roster. Keeping Taka over Great Sasuke, and never giving Brian Christopher a Lightweight title run. “WWF didn’t know what to do with their own roster. Vince only knew how to book steroid freaks and cartoon characters.”, said Bret Hart. Bret had lost his brother Owen because of McMahon forcing the younger Hart to attempt a cartoonish stunt.

2000 was the year WWF died. It began disappointingly due to the fact that it was leaked that Steve Austin would not be in any WrestleMania match. Another problem was Wrestlemania’s main event confusion. Since most fans didn’t watch WWF television, many thought the WrestleManias 2000 main event was Triple H vs The Bigshow. Many had no idea that The Rock and Mick Foley were involved. WWF only had themselves to blame because they knew they didn’t have the money to promote their big events, and that they were confusing the fans. Then in the summer of 2000, The Rock announced that he’d be leaving WWF for Hollywood. He became the only pro-wrestler to win an Oscar. Meanwhile WCW was pulling in big numbers as Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff brought us some of the biggest Main Events in history, and proved that WCW didn’t need the NWO to stay on top. Bill Goldberg retained his WCW WHC belt at Road Wild, when he was attacked by a freshly healed Steve Austin. By the time Austin vs Goldberg happened at Starcade 2000, the WWF had been dead for 12 weeks.

Vince McMahon would try and get Fox Sports to fund the WWF further, but instead Fox Sports ended up buying the company outright and keeping only the WWF tape library, figuring no wrestling company could compete with WCW and Turner’s money. Vince McMahon would finally die of heart attack while arguing with a waitress. Shane McMahon still works for Fox Sports, while Stephanie McMahon works at Fox News. Linda McMahon remained retired.

Bret Hart eventually got his revenge on Shawn Michaels after suggesting to Russo that they hire HBK to lose to Shane Douglas for the US Belt, and then for Shawn to lose his hair. Sadly Michael’s would die of a heart attack in his hotel room the night before he was to lose to Douglas in that hair vs hair match.

ECW would finally fold and their champion Triple H would never wear a belt in a national company again. Hunter remains a valuable part of WCW’s Power Plant, working along side Sarge. Paul Heyman joined ROH in 2003, as both booker and as the manager of Steve Corino. Heyman is still in court over the sale of ECW to ESPN over the objections of Acclaim, and Old San Francisco Toy-makers.

Although Steve Austin lost to Goldberg at Starcade 2000, he would go on to defeat Sting for the belt in the spring of 2001. Austin would beat Hulk Hogan and declare himself the new leader of the New World Order of Wrestling. What followed was a six month long attempt at NWO nostalgia that fans hated and felt was stale, but it had been a year since the last episode of Raw, and there was no alternative insight.topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250- |topstory500x250

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WWE Monday Night RAW LIVE Results For 8/11/14: Hulk Hogan Birthday Bash Mon, 11 Aug 2014 23:32:58 +0000 It’s the final RAW before SummerSlam. Both Brock Lesnar and John Cena are in the building. Expect a confrontation there, along with a final sell for every other match on the card. There’s also a birthday celebration planned for Hulk Hogan. There will probably be a nWo reunion. But the real question is this: Will we get a Damien Hogan appearance? Follow along to find out.

Hip Hop Advocating Jew. T-Shirt That

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar came out to start the show. He said in six days he will be the advocate for the new WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. Heyman said his client has asked him to come out tonight and sell SummerSlam to the Cenation. Heyman said bad things happen to good people when you step into the ring with Brock Lesnar. Heyman said those who don’t learn from history live to repeat it. Heyman then showed pics of Lesnar ending The Streak at Wrestlemania. He said that he told everyone it would happen and they shouldn’t have been surprised. He then brought up Lesnar destroying Rock and Hogan back in the day. Heyman told the Cenation to watch SummerSlam, because after it they won’t be able to see John Cena around here anymore. Heyman said even though Cena won their previous match, Cena lost the fight. Heyman said Brock was still battling diverticulitis at the time of that loss, but this Sunday Brock is 100%. Heyman said this Sunday will be a Shakespearean Tragedy. Heyman said they aren’t from West Newbury, and they can’t hip hop like you. Heyman said he is just Brock’s advocating Jew. Heyman said Cena says his time is now, but Brock said his calendar is out of date. Heyman went on to rhyme and rap. It was great. I couldn’t keep up writing it. Heyman said this is Brock’s house now. He said we are now all his servants. Heyman said they are leaving the house to go get dinner, but after they are coming back home.

Super Roman

Roman Reigns came to the ring. Kane came out and said he is back as The Authority’s Director of Operations. He said last week beating Kane was like beating two men. So The Authority wanted to see if he could actually do that. Reigns opponents were Rybaxel. Reigns took down Axel with a shoulder tackle. Axel yelled at Reigns and called him a coward. Reigns shoved him down. Ryabck wanted in. He landed some quick blows but Reigns came back with a clothesline out of the corner. Axel distracted Reigns, but he blocked an attempted suplex and landed one of his own on Ryback. Reigns landed some corner punches but Ryback picked Reigns up and hit a powerbomb into commercial.

Back from break Reigns caught Ryback with an elbow and sent him out of the ring. Curtis Axel tried to get after Reigns but he was thwarted. Ryback took him out from behind and shoved him into the post. Both men continued to do it, which caused the referee to ring the bell. They continued their attack in the ring before Reigns started a comeback. Reigns hit a Superman Punch on both men, and followed it up with two spears.

WINNER via DQ: Roman Reigns

Reigns was interviewed about his match with Orton. He said when you knock the teeth out of a viper, it becomes nothing more than a worthless worm. He said he never stole anything from Randy Orton, but at SummerSlam he is taking everything.

Backstage, Kane told Orton that he has a match with Sheamus tonight.

Best Present Ever

Seth Rollins vs Rob Van Dam. RVD hit a spinning heel kick in the corner followed by a standing moonsault for two. RVD went for some punches in the corner but Rollins escaped and hit some kicks. Rollins went to a headlock. RVD escaped and went for a roll up but got two. RVD caught Rollins with an elbow followed by a thrust kick off the second rope. RVD knocked Rollins into the barricade on the outside. He put Rollins on the barricade and went for a spinning leg drop off the apron but Rollins moved and RVD’s leg hit the barricade.

Back from break RVD caught Rollins with a kick to the head and a splash. RVD hit a crescent kick followed by a split leg moonsault for two. RVD went to catapult Rollins in the corner but Rollins held on to the ropes. He then hit the curb stomp for the win.

WINNER: Seth Rollins

After the match Rollins walked up the ramp. There were a bunch of present boxes set up on the stage for Hulk Hogan’s birthday. Rollins looked at one of the life sized ones then laughed it off and said it was ridiculous that he was in there. Rollins went to leave but Ambrose popped out of the box and attacked Rollins. Rollins ended up running off. Ambrose said this Sunday he’s going to get his money’s worth when he beats Rollins ass this Sunday.

It’s Officially A Soap Opera

Stephanie McMahon came out. She said as principal owner of the WWE, it is in her best business to provide the best product for everyone. And sometimes, they have to protect everyone and do things that are best for business. She brought up Daniel Bryan and said his physical therapist is here tonight. Steph invited her to the ring and said that she has something to confess. Megan talked about growing to like Daniel and Brie and how he has such an appreciation for the WWE. Megan said she can’t be Bryan’s physical therapist anymore. She said it all happened so innocently, at least at first. Steph asked what happened and she said she had an affair with Daniel Bryan. Steph hugged Megan. Brie came out and confronted Megan. Steph said the wife is always the last to know and that Megan ended every session with “Yes!” Brie slapped Megan then went after Steph. Brie applied the Yes Lock on Steph before agents broke it up. Steph said they aren’t waiting until SummerSlam, they are finishing things tonight.

The Real Americans Explode! Again!

Jack Swagger vs Cesaro. Cesaro connected on a shoulder tackle but missed a stomp. Swagger came back and caught Cesaro and slammed him to the mat. Cesaro moved out of the way of a charge and hit a gut wrench suplex. Cesaro took control and went to an abdominal stretch. Cesaro then went to an armbrar but Swagger backed Cesaro into the corner. Cesaro caught Swagger with a boot. He went to the second rope but Swagger caught Cesaro and hit a belly-to-belly. Cesaro recovered and dropped Swagger on the ropes, then kicked Swagger into the barricade.

Back from break Swagger escaped an abdominal stretch and started a comeback. He hit a Swagger Bomb. Cesaro then caught Swagger with a shot to the throat followed by a boot to the face for two. Cesaro went to the top and hit a back splash for two. Swagger blocked the apron suplex and pulled Cesaaro to the outside and clotheslined him back into the ring. Cesaro countered and tossed Swagger into the air and hit a knee to the gut, followed by an upper cut. Cesaro hit a body stomp but Swagger grabbed the ankle for the Patriot Lock but Cesaro got to the ropes. Cesaro hit an upper cut and went to the top, but Swagger pulled him down and went right into the Patriot Lock. Cesaro tapped.

WINNER: Jack Swagger

After the match, Zeb said that after SummerSlam everyone will remember the sight of the American Flag waving in the air and standing tall. Before Zeb could say We the People, Rusev and Lana appeared on stage and the Russian Flag came down in the ring.

Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho had a sit down interview earlier. Bray told Michael Cole to leave. Bray told Jericho that he knows about his dreams and wanting to be like his dad and end up a hero. Bray said he never dreamed of being a savior. He said you can only help someone by hurting them in a way, and he’s hurt a lot of people. He said there are no consequences to his actions and he hates everything this world created. He said he’s a monster and he’s coming for Jericho at SummerSlam.

Jericho said he isn’t a savior. He’s a survivor. He said he never knows what Chris Jericho you will get. He said he is going to follow the buzzards and shove them down Bray’s throat. And he is going to be the first person to shut him up, for good.

AJ vs Eva Marie. Paige came out and skipped around the ring, distracting AJ. Eva Marie rolled up AJ to pick up the win. Paige then apologized via a poem. She ended it by saying that she would be skipping out of SummerSlam with the Divas Title. AJ then flipped out and attacked Eva Marie.

I Wonder What The Taxes Are On Brock’s House?

John Cena came out. He said in six days he is apparently going to be conquered by Brock Lesnar if you are to believe Paul Heyman. Cena said this Sunday he is going to get the beating of a lifetime, but he won’t win. Cena said he isn’t laying down for Brock Lesnar. Cena said Lesnar doesn’t deserve the Title. Cena said Lesnar is arrogant, a bully and doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself. He said everyone backstage knows that. Cena said that he’s heard the cheers and heard the boos. Cena went through all the chants he’s heard. He then said there are a bunch of people who ask when he is going to turn, stop being about the t-shirts and start raising hell. Cena said that happens this Sunday, when he turns into a monster that does everything to keep the Title away from Brock Lesnar. Cena said this isn’t Brock Lesnar’s house, it is the WWE Universe’s house. He said if this is Brock Lesnar’s house, there is a stranger standing in his living room. And he should try to come down there and kick him out. No Lesnar. Cena said Lesnar must have come down with Punk Bitch-itis. Cena said this Sunday, he beats the conqueror and the one.

Brie came out for her match with Steph. But Steph came out and said Megan was pressing charges since Brie slapped her earlier. Brie was arrested.

The Slater Era Continues

Heath Slater vs Dolph Ziggler. Slater landed some early blows. Ziggler escaped a headlock and hit a dropkick. Ziggler missed an elbow and hit a knee drop for two. Slater hit a high kick to the face for two. Slater went to a headlock. Ziggler escaped and started a comeback. He hit the ZigZag on Slater. Miz came on the apron and Ziggler went after him. He beat him up on the outside, but Ziggler was counted out, giving Slater the win.

WINNER via Countout: Heath Slater

After the match Ziggler offered a handshake. Slater went for a kick instead, so Ziggler turned him around and hit a ZigZag.

Well The Crowd Didn’t Turn On This Like Last Time

Sheamus vs Randy Orton. Both men exchanged early blows. Sheamus hit a clothesline. Orton tossed Sheamus into the corner and hit a clothesline. Sheamus caught a charging Orton with a boot and followed it up with a powerslam and knee drop off the top. Sheamus connected on a short clothesline. Sheamus went for his rope punches but Orton bailed with an elbow.

Sheamus fought out of a headlock back from break and clotheslined Orton to the outside. On the outside, Orton caught Sheamus with a boot and backdropped him on the announce table. Back in the ring Sheamus got out of another Orton headlock with a backdrop of his own. Sheamus started a comeback with his normal set of moves. Orton bailed again to the outside. Orton caught Sheamus and went for the middle rope DDT, but Sheamus countered with his rope punches. He hit a rolling senton and got two. Sheamus telegraphed a backdrop so Orton hit a kick followed by the middle rope DDT. Sheamus rolled to the apron and caught Orton with a battering ram and another powerslam. Orton ducked a Brogue Kick and Sheamus countered the RKO. Sheamus caught Orton with a boot and went to the top, but Orton caught him on the way down with the RKO to pick up the win.

WINNER: Randy Orton

Isn’t It Past These Guys Bed Time?

Hulk Hogan Birthday with Mene Gene and Jimmy Hart hosting, and all the current stars on stage. A video package aired. Hulk said Vince gave him a card with $9.99 in it so he could subscribe to the WWE Network. Hogan talked about what a great birthday he has had. Various legends started to come out: Ric Flair, Paul Orndorff, Rowdy Piper and the nWo. Scott Hall took the mic and said it’s time to take a survey. He asked who wants to see Hulk in the red and yellow, or in the black and white of the nWo. Hall said one more for the good guys. Nash started singing Happy Birthday but Brock Lesnar came out. Lesnar told Hogan that the party was over grandpa. Cena came out and challenged Lesnar to fight, but Lesnar left the ring.


Paul Heyman/Brock Lesnar Opening: Heyman was once again great on the mic. His rap was priceless. Whatever you don’t buy, I’m pretty sure Heyman could convince you to buy it. Great job selling SummerSlam to the audience.

Jack Swagger vs Cesaro: If you would have told someone after Wrestlemania that Swagger would be getting the better push of these two after SummerSlam, they would have laughed at you. But that’s where we are now. A good match between these two. It is still kind of weird to see Swagger making a babyface comeback. It was an interesting test to see him matched against someone other than Rusev and see the reaction. It was okay, but not great. Will be interested to see if Swagger keeps the support going forward. But a good match between the two and a creative finish.

Dean Ambrose: If you don’t like Dean Ambrose then you have no soul. Every week he does something new that tops what he did the previous week. I just wish the stipulation for the match on Sunday was better than what it is.

John Cena Promo: This one just makes the cut list. I like serious Cena. He’s taken the build to this match seriously and hasn’t made any of the stupid jokes he is used to making. I’d much rather have the Cena we’ve had in this build than anything we’ve seen this year. The anti-Cena crowd was in full force on social media. You are just going to never win with them. But I liked Cena’s rebuttal to Heyman from earlier.

SummerSlam Build: Outside of a couple problems I had (see below), I thought in general the WWE did a good job with SummerSlam’s build. Roman Reigns and Randy Orton didn’t interact, but they both looked strong heading into their match Sunday. AJ and Paige had a good build, as has Swagger/Rusev. Even Miz/Ziggler had a good interaction this week. I’m looking forward to SummerSlam.


Chris Jericho/Bray Wyatt Interview: Sorry, but I’m still not buying into this program. And it actually seems like it isn’t that high on the WWE’s radar either. The interview was just a rehash of everything that we have heard already. And I like both guys, but I just can’t find myself getting into this program. Hopefully the match at SummerSlam makes up for the mediocre build this program has had.

Stephanie McMahon/Brie Bella: Talk about taking something good and ruining it. I liked the program when it started. I was hoping last week would just be a minor hiccup. But man did this week jump the shark. The whole affair thing, and then Brie getting arrested again was just bad. At least Steph still plays a heel well. But this program lost a lot of the heat it once had. There was no need to introduce this whole “Daniel Bryan cheating” thing into the storyline.

I thought the overall show was okay. The WWE was in a hard SummerSlam sell mode and I think, for the most part, they did a good job of it tonight. The Hogan Birthday thing seemed like a waste for the most part. There were a handful of okay matches but nothing that really stood out as must see. I’m going to give RAW a 6. Hopefully SummerSlam delivers on Sunday.

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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The SmarK Rant for WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIV (January 1997) Mon, 16 Jun 2014 04:40:23 +0000 The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXXIV (January 1997)

Live from Milwaukee, WI

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes & Bobby Heenan.

This is the second-to-last Clash, and clearly by this point these shows were just extra editions of Nitro and little effort was put into promoting or booking them.  Plus this was leading into nWo Souled Out, so…you know…not the best PPV to be leading towards.

Cruiserweight title:  Ultimo Dragon v. Dean Malenko

They trade hammerlocks on the mat and take a break.  Back with Malenko’s suplex attempt getting foiled, but he fires away in the corner instead and hits the delayed suplex for two.  Dragon fires back with kicks to chase Dean out of the ring.  Dean recovers and comes back in with a backdrop suplex and into an anklelock on the mat.  Half-crab and STUMP PULLER as Dean works on the leg in mechanical fashion.  They head to the floor and Dean runs the leg into the post, and back in for a figure-four.  Dean releases and hits a corner clothesline, but a second try runs into a spinkick.  Dragon goes up and Malenko follows with a superplex and a rollup for two.  Heenan:  “What do you call 40 millionaires watching the Super Bowl?  The Dallas Cowboys.”  And as if inspired by that joke, Dean and Dragon start firing off highspots and trade near-falls, fighting to the floor for Dragon’s Asai moonsault.  Back in, Dragon goes up and snaps off a moonsault for two.  They head back up and Dragon gets a rana to bring him down, and a small package gets two.  Malenko tries a powerbomb, but Dragon flips out and escapes, so Malenko does it again and gets the Cloverleaf for the submission and the title at 11:58.  ****  Dean was crazy over here, and Mark Curtis calling for the bell like a maniac is a thing of beauty.

Mike Enos v. Scotty Riggs

This is the very definition of “main event anywhere in the country”.  Riggs tosses Enos and follows with a dive, but Enos runs him into the apron and follows with a clothesline to the floor.  Back in, Enos with an overhead suplex, but Riggs comes back with a flying forearm for the pin at 2:20.  *

Meanwhile, The Four Horsemen join us, and Benoit has some comments that hit a bit too close to home now. (“When I don’t get want I want, I cripple you.  I’ve got a very fragile mind.”  YIKES.)  Mongo going off on the Green Bay fanbase is pretty hilarious, as they start booing him and he makes no effort to win them over.  It’s too bad he had nothing to back it up with in the ring.

Konnan, Mr. JL & La Parka v. Chris Jericho, Chavo Guerrero & Super Calo

Quite the interesting mix.  JL gets a back elbow on Chavo, and Konnan slugs away on Calo and works the arm.  Konnan has now fully transitioned into the K-Dogg look, by the way.  Parka goes a little nuts on Jericho, but Jericho sends him out with a dropkick.  Back in, the rudo side double-teams Chavo and Parka does a crazy moonsault onto Chavo while Konnan has Chavo up on his shoulders.  Jericho comes in and we get the series of trainwreck spots and dives, and JL gets a rana on Jericho for two.  They head up and Jericho finishes him with a rana off the top rope at 5:30.  Just a crazy collection of spots, hinting at what the division would become later.  ***

Harlem Heat v. Joe Gomez & The Renegade

Gomez gets pounded unmercifully in the Heat corner, but Booker misses a flying legdrop and Renegade gets the “hot tag”, at which point the Heat beat the shit out of him as well and finish him with missile dropkick at 3:30.  Total squash.  ½*

Masahiro Chono v. Alex Wright

Nick Patrick is reffing while wearing an nWo shirt, just to eschew all subtlety.  Wright pounds away in the corner and takes him down with a headscissors and dropkick, and a side kick gets two.  Thankfully, Patrick actually knows how to make a slow count in this case.  Chono comes back with an atomic drop, but Wright gets a sunset flip and Patrick won’t even count now.  Wright kicks him in frustration, but misses a flying bodypress as a result of his anger and gets Yakuza’d at 4:30.  *

Scott Norton v. Eddie Guerrero

More Nick Patrick here, goody.  Eddie was US champion but Syxx had possession of the belt.  Norton whips him around and puts him down with a press slam, but Eddie dropkicks the knee and goes to work on the leg.  Norton overpowers him again and adds a powerslam, then just destroys him with a powerbomb.  No one took a powerbomb like Eddie.  Norton actually tries to go up and Eddie comes back and brings him down, but misses the senton.  This brings DDP out, and the ref gets bumped, giving us a Diamond Cutter on Norton and a frog splash from Eddie at 5:25.  Patrick’s slow count wasn’t enough to allow Norton to kick out, sadly.  *1/2

Meanwhile, The Giant (who has joined and left the nWo in the time since the last Clash) has words for Hulk Hogan leading into Souled Out.

Falls Count Anywhere:  Kevin Sullivan v. Chris Benoit

They immediately brawl into the crowd and into the traditional bathroom.  Poor Randy Anderson gets dumped into a urinal while they tear up the bathroom and Dusty is just in his glory.  They fight back down the stairs again, with Bobby Eaton acting as security for some reason, and into the ring for the Tree of Woe and some abuse therein.  Double stomp gets two for Sullivan.  Jimmy Hart distracts the ref, but Woman sneaks in and breaks a balsa wood chair on Sullivan to give Benoit the pin at 5:01.  Too short to be worth much, and all this stuff was done better in the years following.  **  This feud was just too long and ended up destroying the personal lives of everyone involved.

The Steiner Brothers v. The Amazing French Canadians

Truly one of the laziest repackagings done by WCW, and that’s saying something.  The Canadians manage to clear the ring, but the Steiners come off the top rope as we have to take a very ill-timed commercial break.  Back with the Canadians in control, but they miss the finisher Scott gets the hot tag.  So yeah, they edited out the entire heat segment via commercial.  Top rope DDT finishes Pierre at 8:06.  Everyone looked bored out there, but at least the Steiners finally got that job from 1993 back.  *1/2

Alleged Main Event:  Scott Hall v. Lex Luger

Weird bit as Tony throws out birthday wishes to “long time fan and WCW supporter Brian Hildebrand”, aka the guy who’s refereeing the match!  Couldn’t he just say happy birthday to referee Mark Curtis?  Hall gets a chokeslam and misses an elbow, but manages to dump Luger anyway.  Nash lays him out with a clothesline on the floor.  Back in, Hall pounds away in the corner and gets a clothesline for two off a Syxx cheapshot.  Fallaway slam gets two.  Abdominal stretch as the cure for insomnia continues, but I will say that at least Hall was mobile and cogent at this point.  Luger, having won and lost his World title already, had clearly given all the fucks he was going to.  He makes the comeback with the usual and fights off the Wolfpac, but turns his back and gets clobbered for the DQ at 10:28.  Steiners come out for a brawl, but they take it home too soon and get a cue from the director to stretch it out, so they have to start brawling again to fill the rest of the time in the show.  Because WCW.  *

The Pulse

Really, all pretense of the Clash shows being unique and special was gone by this time, and it was just an episode of Nitro here.  This is only for completionist idiots like me.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JC’s Top Rope Report: Is The Shield One Of The Greatest Wrestling Factions Ever? Tue, 13 May 2014 14:03:55 +0000 First let me start off by saying that I’m sorry I didn’t have a post up last week. I had almost no free time. But it was also helpful to take some time off and recharge the batteries.

I was trying to think of something to write about this week. WWE TV has kind of felt like a re-run for the last few weeks. It looks like Payback will have the same top three matches that Extreme Rules had. So nothing looks like it will change much in the coming weeks.

So this week I decided to take a look at The Shield. If you are to believe recent reports from the dirt sheets, The Shield is not breaking up any time soon. And that’s quite surprising when you consider that they were rumored to be breaking up heading into this year’s Wrestlemania. But for once, the WWE realizes that they have a good thing going with The Shield and they don’t want to screw it up. The face run that The Shield has been on has gotten over better than what the WWE expected. All three men have taken to their roles as faces well. And that includes Dean Ambrose, someone who is much better as a heel and whose entire character and mannerisms are best suited for a heel. But he’s adopted his character well to being a face.

With The Shield sticking together for the foreseeable future, I decided to look at The Shield’s place in wrestling history as one of the greatest factions of all time. By staying together for as long as they have (now at 18 months) they deserve to be a part of the conversation. Great factions stick together and remain relevant for a long time. And there is no denying that The Shield has done that. There may have been a time in the late summer/early fall where they lost a little bit of steam. But obviously that hasn’t effected how they are doing today.

Another factor in The Shield’s success has been their ability to put on constantly good to great matches with anyone put in the ring with them. It started with all of the six men tags that the group had. You can go back to their first PPV Match: A six man TLC match against Ryback, Daniel Bryan and Kane. Watching that match you knew that this group had the potential to be something special. Every six man tag after that has been entertaining. They were the highlight of RAW for the longest time (and you could argue they still are). While having six man tags, The Shield also went on to win WWE titles. Dean Ambrose won the US Title, while Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns went on to win the Tag Titles. While Ambrose didn’t have that great of a reign as Champ, Rollins and Reigns definitely helped elevate the Tag Titles. They had a great match with The Usos on the pre-show at Money in the Bank. I would argue it was the best match of the night. They then went on to have a good set of matches with the Rhodes Brothers. And now you can add recent six man tags against The Wyatt Family and Evolution to the mix. There aren’t a lot of misses when it comes to Shield matches.

Another great feature of The Shield is that just like other great factions in wrestling history, each member brings their own unique presence to the group. Roman Reigns is the powerhouse, and his move set shows that. But Reigns doesn’t have a slowed down move set for a big man. He is much more athletic. His moves still deliver an impact. My personal favorite is the ring apron dropkick. I also think he delivers the spear rather well. Seth Rollins is the high flyer of the group. He wows the crowd with all of his moves. I’m sure by now everyone has seen his insane dive from the stands at Extreme Rules. Rollins is Jeff Hardy but an upgraded, better version without the personal problems. Dean Ambrose is the mat wrestler of the group who has an edge to him. As I said above, the guy is tailor made to be a heel but has adopted well to being a face.

So, after going through all of these positives that The Shield has, you start to wonder where they are listed among the greatest stables ever. They don’t touch the top group on my list, the Four Horsemen. The Horsemen almost single-handily kept Jim Crocket promotions going when they were up against the WWF. They had INCREDIBLE heat during the eighties. Not only that but their matches were just as good as The Shield’s. And the Horsemen had the top guy in the promotion, Ric Flair, as a member. It always helps a faction when the top dog in the company is with them.

Next on the list would be the nWo. And really, the nWo is number 2 because they had such a huge impact on the wrestling buisness in the mid-90s. Without the nWo, the Monday Night Wars might have never gotten as big as they did. The nWo launched a whole new era of professional wrestling. They didn’t have the same quality matches as The Shield, but their impact and recognition in the history of pro wrestling puts them at number two on the list. The one thing that keeps the nWo from the top of the list is that they 1. Got way too big as far as members go and 2. They stuck around for way too long. The group should have started to disband after Starrcade 97. But of course, WCW as a whole started to go down hill after 1997. But the lasting impact the nWo had on the wrestling business puts them at number 2.

Around here I might start listening to arguments about The Shield, but they don’t go ahead of my number 3 group which is the Fabulous Freebirds. Even though the Von Erichs were a hot act in Texas and World Class Championship Wrestling, the Freebirds gave them a new rivalry that helped launch everyone involved into stardom. Most people look at the Freebirds as one of the originators when it comes to factions in pro wrestling. They helped introduce rock and roll to wrestling and were one of the first to have entrance themes. Anyone who knew about WCCW knew that the heat the Freebirds got from some of those crowds makes anything that happens today look like nothing. The Freebirds did a great job of keeping the crowds hating them throughout their WCCW run. They take the number 3 spot on my list.

Number 4 on my list ends up being D-X. But I will be honest with you and say that I was tempted to put The Shield here. As big of a D-X fan as I was, I still tend to think their importance is a little bit over-rated when it comes to the Attitude Era. After Shawn Michaels left and the “new” D-X was formed, they really weren’t main event players during that time period. And by Wrestlemania 15 they were dis-banded. D-X gets number four on my list because I think you could argue that they started the Attitude Era with Shawn Michaels and Triple H. But everything that came after Wrestlemania 14 is kind of overrated in my eyes. Were they still popular? Yes. But looking back on everything I think they sometimes get more praised than warranted.

And as we get to number 5 on my list, this is where I would put The Shield. When you compare them to other groups that would come up on list, I just think their match quality out-rates everyone else. Not only that, but no other group on any list would have as much historical impact as the top four. And we still don’t know what the future holds for The Shield after their break-up. One thing is for certain is that being in this faction has helped ensure the future of all three men involved. Had they debuted separately, they may not have had the same success in the future. But being in The Shield has helped all three men develop their characters and grow as performers even more. The longevity that the group has maintained also helps put them at this spot. And the best thing is that you know there is a lot more to come for The Shield as a group. I could be over-rating them right now, but I truly believe that even if others don’t agree, they will find their way up here when we look back on The Shield in a few years. Especially if they all become huge singles stars.

So that’s where The Shield ranks on my all time factions list. I think it will be really tough for them to get any higher, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. What would the rest of my list look like if you were wondering?

6. The Corporation/Corporate Ministry

7. The Dangerous Alliance

8. Evolution

9. The Hart Foundation

10. The Heenan Family

So what does your list look like? And where do you think The Shield ranks in terms of the greatest factions of all time?

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonkatopstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Forever Heel: Kevin Nash Tried to Save WCW? Fri, 09 May 2014 13:14:06 +0000 Sorry I wasn’t here last week, but I was vacationing at my second mansion on the beaches of Parts Unknown. Okay I actually couldn’t get my account to work, but it seems fine now. Yeah brotha! I thought I’d write this article while watching David Flair and Crowbar win the WCW Tag Team Titles. True David Flair isn’t a great wrestler, but he and Crowbar saved us from the team of Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner as champs. Flair saved us from months of Nash dragging his tag belt around in endless comedic segments, that would’ve added nothing. Instead we got David Flair and Crowbar who at least we’re entertaining and actually defended belts. Than I thought about Big Kev, and thought about how he saved us.

Kevin Nash Saves WCW: In the summer of 1998 Goldberg was huge with the fans, and had an insane win streak. WCW decided to give him The WCW Belt on free TV, and all that. The only problem was Goldberg was World Champ, and had no real competition to defend his title against. WCW had no one to put him against for the long-term. In fact WCW just promoted Hogan ‘s celebrity tag matches at first. Goldberg defended against guys like Kurt Hennig and Konnan, while Bobby Heenan swore to God these guys were legit threats. The big names that were left like Sting, DDP, and the Giant eventually fell. The only big name for Goldberg to beat was Kevin Nash. Kevin Nash faced Goldberg for Goldberg’s World Title at Starrcade ’98. Nash handed Goldberg his first loss, after Scott Hall had electrocuted Goldberg with a cattle prod. Nash had saved us from the meaningless Goldberg World Title Tour. If Nash hadn’t taken the belt, Great American Bash ’99 would’ve had Goldberg defending the WCW belt in a four corners match with Lodi, Disco Inferno, and Van Hammer. Instead we all got the greatest Christmas gift of all, Nash basically handing his newly won belt to Hollywood Hogan. We went back to the basics of NWO vs The Horsemen. We were saved from the Goldberg/Van Hammer bloodfued for God’s sake.

Alot of wrestling historians still point to “The Finger Poke of Doom”, as the beginning of WCW’s fall. WCW’s fall was not due to who was champ in 1999, but the execution of their storylines. If you notice fans had a ready-made feud with the NWO Wolf-Pac Elite against the constantly loved Four Horsemen, and Goldberg. This should’ve worked? All the signals were there. Toybiz even released a Four Horsemen and Wolf-Pac Elite figure sets. We would’ve had solid matches between guys like Scott Hall and Chris Benoit, and the mystery of which side guys like Sting, Bret Hart, and Randy Savage would choose. We instead got a series of dumb ideas that just confused fans and made WCW very hard to follow.

Our first problem was Ric Flair becoming the head of WCW (kayfabe). Later Steve McMichael would be removed from television. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall would lose to Goldberg without much fanfare. Finally Flair and Hogan would do a double turn that fans didn’t notice. The fans continued to cheer Flair, even after he won by cheating. Fans were so used to booing Hogan for three years, that they didn’t mind Flair cutting corners to keep the belt.  Hogan drifted off tv for a while, and Flair was finally seen as a heel.

The Spring and Summer of 1999 would hit an even more chaotic time for WCW. So I say it wasn’t the Finger Poke of Doom that hurt WCW, but WCW’s lack of follow through.topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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My Thoughts On WWE Raw 3.24.14 (Triple H, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, The Shield) Tue, 25 Mar 2014 22:00:13 +0000 WWE Raw 11-13 Header

1. I absolutely LOVE the fact that four former World Heavyweight Champions are wrestling a fatal four-way match on Raw to be named the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship! I’ve said ever since they unified the World & WWE Championships that either the IC championship or the United States Championship had to be built back up to a higher level. This is the perfect step in the right direction but out of the 4 potential matches that could have come out of that match, Christian versus Big E was the lowest on my list.

2. I will say this, the Scooby Doo movie is actually pretty damn good. Of course my 3-year-old son has watched the screener I received on repeat for a week straight but before I started tuning out the repetitiveness, the movie is written very well! There are inside jokes that relate both to the world of wrestling AND the Scooby Doo world. All of the wrestlers did their own voices (except for Sin Cara who only speaks “Lucha”) & they all put on a good performance. I actually hope they make a sequel to this direct-to-DVD movie.

3. I had horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE WCW Nitro flashbacks when John Cena saw the sheep’s mask in the mirror and then it wasn’t there. I’ll just leave you with this:

4. Triple H’s “sit-down” promo with Michael Cole was rather awkward the entire way though. First, I didn’t see a particular reason as to why Cole had to be in the ring for a Triple H promo. Sure, he set up some of the topics but does anyone really think Triple H needs to be walked through a promo at this point? Two things fell flat for me. One was that Daniel Bryan didn’t make an appearance at all. Even something where he was live “via satellite” would have worked better than a complete no-show. Last week’s Raw ended so hot I felt they needed to capitalize on that and two promos from Triple H, Randy Orton, Stephanie McMahon or Batista aren’t going to do the job. Secondly was Hunter’s forced attempt at trying to “name” this time in WWE history as the “Reality Era”. Aren’t times in history named AFTER they’ve taken place and not during? He said it so many damn times I wouldn’t be surprised if people come up with a different name for the time we are living in just to spite WWE TV.

5. My favorite part of Cody/Fandango was when Goldust danced over to Summer Rae who shouted “Are you mocking me?” To which Goldust simply yelled “Yes!” and they had an impromptu dance off. I don’t know what it is but Goldust looks like he’s having so much damn fun, I can’t help but laugh at things like this.

6. Before I get to John Cena versus Luke Harper, everyone needs to watch this tremendous piece of work again:

Cutting pieces like that is my actual job and unfortunately I’m not allowed as much creative liberty when working for a sports news network. But from one editor to another (whoever it was), getting the rights to that song, laying out the promos to match the lyrics and letting the video & music tell most of the story made it fantastic. Great work that deserves all the play I’m sure it will receive.

6b. Alright, back to the actual match. First off, I like how Luke Harper is getting little bits of promo time here and there. They didn’t throw him into a sink or swim scenario like so many others and this allows him to develop at his own pace. The match itself I believe exceeded a lot of people’s expectations. I’ve been saying that if they want Harper to eventually be a top heel, they need to get him going and having him work with a main-eventer is definitely the way to go. A non-finish was logical given that we are less than two weeks away from WrestleMania and the visual of Cena wearing the sheep’s mask is one that’s going to leave an impression on a ton of Cena’s fans. It was just creepy and weird enough that it probably freaked out the kids while the adults couldn’t help but be intrigued by a John Cena storyline.

7. Well if you thought the battle royal at WrestleMania XXX was going to be a clusterfuck, the Divas just stole that mantle. What are the rules? How many women are involved? Can AJ lose the title without being pinned or is it elimination? Whatever the answers may be, it’s definitely not going to be pretty.

8. So wait, is Scott Hall going into the Hall of Fame or “Razor Ramon”? I would think they would have shown SOME of his NWO days if Hall was being inducted based on his career but it seems like he’s being inducted based on the character he played. I’d pop if Rick Bognar came out to accept the award.

9. The Shield are OVER as babyfaces. This match was good but nowhere the quality of tag matches we’ve seen them put on and yet the crowd was into it for every offensive spot by them (or by Cesaro). I know they’re not ready to turn Cesaro yet, especially when the priority seems to be on when Roman Reigns will turn, but they must be chomping at the bit to have Cesaro turn full babyface. Hell, he’s already there in the fans eyes!

10. I’m confused as to why ANYONE gets freaked out when the druids roll a casket to the ring. You know The Undertaker is either in there or will be after he climbs into it from under the ring (nice directing going to the one camera that shows someone going under the ring, by the way). I’m sorry but Undertaker/Lesnar is purely senseless to me & not the huge money draw the WWE expect it to be. Now if they could only show footage of when Brock Lesnar confronted The Undertaker after Lesnar’s UFC fight…topstory120x120-×120-2013.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-×250-raw-2013.jpg|topstory500x250

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JC’s Top Rope Report: My 25 Favorite Wrestling Moments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 18:49:58 +0000 Writer’s Note: This Was My 300th post on HTCWrestling. I started writing there before InsidePulse, so I haven’t quite gotten there yet on IP, but enjoy this anyways!

Trust me, I’ve gone through some of the same things other wrestling fans have. People like to rip on us when we say we watch pro wrestling. And I don’t care. To me, wrestling is just like any other TV show. It’s entertainment. Its scripted. Reality TV is the same way. Almost all of my friends have accepted my wrestling fandom, and they have even watched it and come to different events with me. So a special thanks to my friends Alexx, Dave, Kevin, Sabrina, Lorah and Heather (she’s actually a big fan like myself).

Now with that out of the way, this column is a look back at my favorite moments in wrestling history. No other real introduction here. This list includes matches, moments, promos etc. Some of the list includes moments that happened at events I attended. Some of my Top 25 also includes multiple things lumped into one as I felt that they went together. For me, this is just a look back and a way to have fun with my 300th post. I had other topic thoughts, like writing about late WCW, but then I realized I wanted to live past this weekend and not get committed.

So here’s my list. I’ll share my thoughts on what I was thinking at the time as a kid and now. Feel free to share your own favorite moments at the end.


25. Stone Cold Takes Out The Alliance

-Everyone likes to forget the Invasion angle actually happened. I mean, in all honesty, what good came from the angle long term? It’s always something I thought about doing a column on at some point down the road. But my favorite moment from the whole thing? Austin returning before the Invasion PPV on RAW and delivering Stone Cold Stunners to any Alliance member in sight. Another moment where the crowd popped huge for Austin’s return. And although he would turn heel at the PPV, this moment is the highlight of a very forgettable Invasion angle.

24. Eric Bischoff Shows Up On RAW

-People always use the phrase “never say never.” But there are some things you just don’t expect to happen. One of those things to a lot of wrestling fans was Eric Bischoff ever stepping into a WWE ring. But that ended up happening Bischoff appeared on RAW to become the show’s GM. Here’s a guy that tried to run the WWE out of business and constantly made jabs at Vince and Co. I don’t know if anyone ever expected to see Bischoff on a show he was in competition with every week. It shocked me when it happens and to this day I still can’t believe Vince McMahon welcomed Bischoff to the WWE at all.

23. Ron Simmons Wins The WCW Title

-Sometimes you just have to appreciate the feel good moments in wrestling. There had never really been a top African American wrestler in the major wrestling promotions to that point. Simmons win was a great emotional moment and the crowd was very appreciative of it. Even for someone who isn’t African American like myself appreciated for all the hard work Simmons had done in the business looking back on it.

22. Macho Man Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior: Wrestlemania 7

-Obviously this was one that I was alive for, but three year old Justin didn’t see it live. This is a match that I can go back and watch anytime I want. It is easily my favorite Ultimate Warrior. A good example of a story adding to the match. The Randy Savage of old was great at telling stories in the ring and laying out matches to perfection. And he did it here again. And the after match story with Elizabeth was good too and played to the WWF audience at the time. Wrestlemania 7 isn’t that great, but this definitely stood out.

21. Jeff Hardy Wins The WWE Title At Armageddon

-This is the first of my handful live event experience that will end up on my list. I thought Jeff Hardy was someone who had deserved the WWE Title for over a year. And it was nice to see him finally win it in person. I remember the loud pop from the crowd after he won. It was the first WWE Championship change that I had ever seen in person. And it was a good match to go along with it. Just a nice moment for someone who, despite his personal struggles, no doubt loves pro wrestling and has busted his ass to get to the top.

20. The TLC Match Trilogy

Yes, I know the first match at Wrestlemania wasn’t considered a TLC match, but it was pretty much just like one. The Dudleyz, Hardy Boys and Edge & Christian but on three of the most entertaining ladder matches you will ever see. They were the lone highlight of Wrestlemania 16. I will salute all six men to this day for going out and putting their bodies on the line to entertain every wrestling fan out there. Probably the last time WWE had three legit tag teams in their tag division.

19. Backlash 2000: The Rock vs Triple H

-The WWE was on fire in early 2000. It’s such a shame Wrestlemania 16 was such a dud because the PPVs before and after were great. The atmosphere in the building was phenominal. The crowd was anticipating the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin to help The Rock take down the McMahon Family. When the moment finally happened, it was probably one of the loudest pops you will ever hear to this day. To me, this moment was the peak of the Attitude Era.

18. The Debut Of The Nexus

-The Nexus angle started off great. Here’s this group of young, rebellious guys who want to make a name for themselves in the WWE. And they were just destroying everything insight. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Daniel Bryan wasn’t fired. Wade Barrett came off as a great leader and someone destined for big things. It’s a shame the WWE messed it up and Barrett never succeeded. But their debut had people talking and was something different for the WWE at the time.

17. Edge Cashes In Money In The Bank

-I was curious to see how the first Money in the Bank cash in would work. It was a new concept and no one really knew how exactly Edge would turn in his contract. That is why New Year’s Revolution, despite not being a great PPV, had this great moment. It really was the perfect first time to have a cash in. The crowd might have been at its all time high as far as hatred for John Cena goes. Despite the reign only being a couple weeks long, it showed that the WWE was serious about Edge being a main eventer and his subsequent feud and match with Mick Foley solidified it. It is always tough to top the first or original of anything, and that theory holds true to the Money in the Bank cash in.

16. ECW One Night Stand 2005

-I wasn’t old enough at the time to appreciate the true alternative that ECW offered to WWE and WCW. By the time I started reading the Internet, ECW was gone for a few years. I would always try to watch ECW TV early or late at night when it was on whatever random channel it was on. And I did start watching regularly when it went to TNN. But I thought the first One Night Stand did a great job of paying tribute to the ECW of old. It had as many originals as they could get. The Sandman’s entrance still gives me goosebumps to this day. Mike Awesome and Masato Tanaka had another one of their fun brawls. It was just a shame that Rob Van Dam was injured and couldn’t compete. But it was a great nod to the old ECW by the WWE, before they ruined it with their new version.

15. Eddie Guerrero Wins The WWE Championship

-Another one of those feel good moments in wrestling. Eddie Guerrero was a guy who spent over a decade in the wrestling business. He was one of the most gifted wrestlers to ever set foot in the ring. And it was great to see him get his due and be given the top prize in the industry. Wrestlemania 20 would have been on this list if it weren’t for Chris Benoit. That moment was great before it was tarnished. But nothing takes away from Eddie Guerrero’s legacy at all.

14. The Goldberg Streak And World Title Win

-WCW definitely screwed up Starrcade 97 and the following PPVs and everything to do with Sting after. But they started to redeem themselves when they began to push Goldberg as an unstoppable monster. Goldberg may not have been the most polished wrestler, but he looked like a legit badass and his offense in the ring looked dominant. Now, should his match against Hogan for the Title been saved for PPV? Absolutely. But that was the business side of things. It didn’t at all takeaway from a sold out Georgia Dome going nuts for their hometown guy winning the Title. Of course, they screwed up who Goldberg lost too in the end, and that continued the downfall of WCW.

13. The Debut Of Chris Jericho

-One reason the Monday Night War Era was fun is because there was a sense of unpredictability during that time. For all you knew, someone could be on Nitro one week then show up on RAW the following. Chris Jericho’s debut was great because the WWE treated it as a big deal. They hyped it up for the longest time, then had him interrupt The Rock. The crowd loved it. It took a little while for Jericho to get to the top of the WWE, but you knew with his debut that the WWE had high hopes for him and he ended up delivering during his career.

12. Uncensored 97: Sting Stands Up To The nWo

-As a kid, I was definitely split on who I liked in WCW. While I was an nWo fan, I was also a Sting fan. Of course I was in my early teens so that is acceptable for not being able to pick sides. But if there was one moment that turned the tides for me, it was Sting attacking the nWo after their match at Uncensored. Nobody knew what side Sting would be on and when he finally chose WCW it was a great moment. Then we got months of Hollywood Hogan avoiding Sting, and then they ruined the great build at Starrcade. Sting is in my Top 5 wrestlers of all time (#5 after HBK, Austin, Savage and Punk) and this moment helped solidify that for me, and turned me from an nWo fan to a Sting fan.

11. Stone Cold Wins The WWF Title At Wrestlemania 14

-This one was a tough one for me. For those that don’t know me, Shawn Michaels is my favorite wrestle of all time. And that will be evident as we get to the rest of my list. My second favorite wrestler of all time? Steve Austin. So I really didn’t know who to root for going in. I probably would’ve been happy with either outcome as a kid. Now, obviously I know how booking in wrestling works and new Austin was winning. Looking back on it, it was nice to see a guy who busted his ass for so long in the industry to finally get his due.

10. CM Punk’s 434 Day WWE Title Reign

-It is something that hadn’t been seen in quite some time. Most WWE Title reigns were lasting for a few months. You might see them top out at six. But once CM Punk won the WWE Title at Survivor Series, he was given the ball and never gave it back. Sure, he was still not considered the top guy with John Cena still around. But once he turned heel he became the focal point of everything. I don’t think we will see anyone come close to topping Punk’s reign in the near future. He had some classic matches with Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho. His alliance with Paul Heyman rejuvenated the tail end of his reign. Punk did a great job making every part of his reign fun to watch.

9. SummerSlam 2002: The Return of Shawn Michaels

-Once Shawn Michaels stopped wrestling full time after Wrestlemania 14, I didn’t think he would ever wrestle again. That is why I was very pumped to see him return at SummerSlam to take on Triple H. And boy did they tell a great story in the ring. HBK showed that he could still bring it in the ring even after four years of being gone. HHH played his part great as well. And even after this I didn’t expect HBK to stay around for as long as he did. It’s one of my favorite Shawn Michaels matches and it still holds up to this day when viewed.

8. Attending Royal Rumble 2014

-Yeah, I feel bad for everyone that watched this on PPV. But I attended the show live and the crowd alone made for a great atmosphere. I’ve made my points before that “hijacking” a show can be good when done appropriately. This was one of those times. The crowd let it be known that they were sick of John Cena vs Randy Orton, and they didn’t want Batista being shoved down our throats as a main eventer. Plus, the Rumble match itself was something that I’d always wanted to see live. If the outcome was a little better this would’ve been higher on my list. Plus, along with Heather my friends Kevin and Sabrina actually spent money to come on the trip, which made for a fun weekend. And I met Chris Jericho which was great, except when he lied to me about being the #31 entrant in the Rumble.

7. CM Punk vs The Undertaker: Wrestlemania 29

-I was at Wrestlemania 29. For me, the weekend itself was way more fun than Wrestlemania 29. But there is one thing that stands out from Mania 29, and it was CM Punk vs The Undertaker. It is easily the greatest match that I have ever seen live and in person. You had a truly divided audience. While some people I know don’t get into Taker matches because they know he is going to win, you can’t deny that there are some dramatic moments in his matches. Including this one. Taker had put on “spectacles” with HHH the previous two years. This one for the most part was a standard wrestling match and it was great. You knew HHH/Brock and Cena/Rock couldn’t follow it. These two guys hooked in fans that even knew the finish going into it. And it was even better live.

6. The Formation of the nWo

-To this day, I would still call this the most shocking moment in wrestling history. I wasn’t really an insider at the time or knew what was going on behind the scenes, so this came as a total shock to me. Hulk Hogan had always been the clean cut American babyface. And he turned heel to form one of the most memorable factions of all time. He also launched WCW into the #1 wrestling promotion in the world. It was a great way to grab attention to the company. Because of the Internet, we will never see such a shocking swerve or heel turn in the near future. No one really saw this coming and it made it that much better.

5. The Rock vs Hulk Hogan: Wrestlemania 18

-Sometimes there are moments when even the smarkies of Internet fans go back to being a mark. And this was one of those moments. Two of the biggest icons in this business standing in the same ring and going one-on-one for the first time ever. While they may not be at the top of my favorites list, you can’t deny that these two are probably the biggest names pro wrestling has ever seen. It’s a time where the match quality really didn’t matter. It was just two icons from different generations going at it in the ring.

4. My First Wrestlemania

-A good majority of wrestling fans have been to at least one Wrestlemania. Some make it a tradition and go every year while others have just been to a handful. I have now been to 2, and Wrestlemania 27 was my first one. While it may not have been one of the better Wrestlemanias, just the experience of going to my first one was memorable. Of course, I got to see Shawn Michaels go in the Hall of Fame. Going to Axxess was fun. And being around 70,000 other fans in a giant dome stadium was different. Of course, for someone who doesn’t travel a lot like me, just going somewhere like Atlanta was fun. Wrestlemania weekend is a great experience and I recommend it to everyone. WM29 was fun to just for being in New York City for some of it.

3. Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker: WM25/26 + HBK’s Retirement

-I’m combining the two because the follow-up at WM26 links it to WM25. The Wrestlemania 25 match is probably my favorite wrestling match of all time. The story told in the build to WM26 was much better. Of course, that was also built up over the span of about three months. The fact of not beating Taker at WM25 and it eating him up inside for over a year was good and justified a rematch at the following Mania. One of the best one/two set of matches ever. There matches I would show to any non-wrestling fan to show why I like pro wrestling. HBK’s retirement speech the next night got some tears in my eyes. I’m not afraid to admit it. When your favorite at anything retires it can be emotional. But this year story had a great beginning, middle and end. And again, it was two veterans giving it their all to entertain and tell a great story.

2. Summer of Punk: From Pipebomb to Money in the Bank 2011

-Some of this stuff I’ve lumped into one because it is all part of one story. And this is what’s happening here. The pipebomb promo was great at the time. We hadn’t seen something like that in a long time on WWE TV. Then the story that was told in the coming weeks was well done, including the contract negotiation between Punk and Vince McMahon. Then the Money in the Bank match between Cena and Punk happened. It was everything you want to see a wrestling fan. A great match between two ring veterans, a good story told to build up to it, and a great crowd that adds to the overall atmosphere. Punk and Cena have great chemistry together. And I will still say to this day (even though my colleague Matt Harrak won’t agree), Punk is Cena’s greatest rival in the WWE.

1. Shawn Michaels Wins the WWF Title At Wrestlemania 12

-There have been a couple of other Shawn Michaels moments in my list. But this one is at the top. I remember as a young kid in 4th grade going crazy at the time when this happened because I had become such a big Shawn Michaels fan. And I never stopped being one after this. The match is a long one to get through, but the story was built up so well that the moment of HBK raising his hands in victory is worth it. The whole “boyhood dream” was perfect. What kid watching doesn’t have that same dream at one point? We all do. From the story to the match to HBK’s hand being raised, this moment tops my list.

That was a fun trip down memory lane for me. And a great way to spend my 300th column on HTCWrestling.

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonkatopstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Forever Heel: Bret Hart Invades WCW. Fri, 08 Nov 2013 16:00:52 +0000 I think we’ve all had our fill of obscure WWE heels? So I’ve decided that I will be covering bigger heels, and their adventures outside WWE. My first stop is Bret Hart and his first year wrestling in WCW. I’ve often heard about Bret being wasted in WCW but I think the people saying that are either Bret Hart fans or people who hated WCW. The truth is his WCW tenure was okay. He came to WCW on the night of their biggest Pay Per View ever. He even had a hand in the WCW World Title match by throwing out Hogan’s win and restarting the match. He now had exposure to the WCW fans.

His babyface career in WCW began with a feud against Ric Flair. Flair was still the best in the eyes of most WCW fans while Bret was the greatest technical wrestler coming in from the WWE. Both men had a history so this was a ready-made feud, and Bret beat Flair, twice, each time getting the win with a clean submission victory.

After his feud with Flair, WCW could not keep Hart away from an NWO angle. He was put in a series of matches with his friend, and now turned NWO foot solder, Brian Adams. This was a total betrayal because Adams was one of Bret’s biggest supporters after Montreal, and followed Bret to WCW. The Adams mini feud led to Hart’s next obvious opponent, Curt Hennig.

After Bret beat Hennig, he was running out of good competition, and so Bret Hart decided it was time to turn heel. During a World Title match between Randy Savage and Hollywood Hogan, Bret got involved in the match. Hart attacked Savage, costing him the World Title. Bret was a unique character because while he allied with NWO Hollywood, he never officially joined. He became Hogan’s tag partner of choice and this led to he and Hogan taking on Roddy Piper and Randy Savage in a series of matches throughout the Spring of 1998. He was the only non-NWO member in Hogan’s inner circle.

During the summer of ’98, Bret was the WCW United States champ. While Goldberg was fighting Ming and Lodi, Bret was putting on great matches with guys like Lex Luger and DDP. He attacked a fellow Dungeon Alum, Chris Benoit, for the fun of it and the fans got another great match. By this time Bret decided it was time to turn into a real WCW heel, and tell Sting that he wanted to be friends. Sting enjoyed the company of his new friend, and even they even teamed up against Bret’s in-laws, the British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart. Sting finally found someone he could trust. Everything looked good for WarGames ’98, but Bret turned on Sting by the end of the PPV, and a match at Halloween Havoc was made.

Bret beat Sting at Halloween Havoc, while Goldberg scored the pin over DDP. Around this time Tony Schiavone started talking about how Bret Hart had shelved Sting. Schiavone then said Hart had also shelved Randy Savage and Booker T. On WCW Saturday Night, Mike Tenay mentioned that Bret was piling up injured opponents. They mentioned how Hart was ducking Goldberg. This was never mentioned again until WCW was in Toronto. I thought it would’ve been cool to have WCW count all of the wrestlers Bret crippled, the same way they counted Goldberg’s wins. I guess that was what my inner fanboy thinking.

It took a Canadian to bring prestige to The WCW United States Championship, but Bret would lose the belt to Roddy Piper. The NWO was pretty much dead at this point, and Bret was gearing up for his mega push in Toronto. Well since it’s WCW, they just forgot about Hart for most of the show until Bret came to the ring to call out Goldberg. Of course, Goldberg answered the call and came out. Almost as soon as Goldberg entered the ring, Hitman got in his face and started being a real dick. Goldberg speared Bret, but neither man moved. Finally Bret pushed Goldberg’s limp body off him, and counted his own pin over Goldberg. Bret Hart would tell Eric Bischoff that he quit. We all know that Bret would be back because he told Eric Bischoff he quit, and not WCW President Ric Flair, although that cool loophole was never used.

In retrospect, Bret Hart was treated well during this time. He held the US Title for 5 months, beating most opponents by submission. He got to be tag partners with Hollywood Hogan, who was still the biggest name in wrestling. He headlined Souled Out against Flair, sharing the main event with Randy Savage vs Lex Luger. Which was okay for two reasons; first being that Souled Out was supposed to be an NWO PPV, and second being that the NWO had main evented pretty much every big event since Bash at the Beach ’96. Bischoff still saw the NWO as their cash cow, the same way WWE now sees Cena.

I think Bret turning heel the first time was because he needed more competition, and it worked well enough. WCW was known for being booked like an indy fed because almost every WCW booker was from the old territory days. WCW was fine if you just sat back and watched it without freaking out about Judy Bagwell, or the Kiss Demon, or the fact that Hogan and Nash were dicks.

British Bulldog and Jim Neidhart vs Curt Hennig and Bryan Adams.


Bret Hart pins Goldberg.



Fun with Stinger


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

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

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

But first(!), some business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your time.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Then it gets better.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ta. Mi. Na.

Ta! Mi! Na!



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

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

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


WCW Monday Nitro: April 20, 1998

This is where it all began for me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The SmarK DVD Rant for Wargames: WCW’s Most Notorious Matches Wed, 04 Sep 2013 21:13:31 +0000

The SmarK DVD Rant for Wargames:  WCW’s Most Notorious Matches

I have of course reviewed these a bazillion times, but they sent me the DVD so let’s review them again!  The very first one is at the very least due for a redo, although I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the Blu Ray so I can do the extra matches.  Honestly, I’m just happy that I will now have a master copy with ALL the matches, uncut and in order.  I only held off buying it because I figured I’d be getting it to review.

Hosted by Dusty Rhodes, naturally.

Disc One

Dusty talks about the origins of the match, as he took the idea from Mad Max and gave it to Klondike Bill to design.  The promoters complained that two rings would take away ringside seats, so Dusty told them to charge double for the remaining ones.  That’s Dusty for ya.


Wargames:  Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger & JJ Dillon v. Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, Hawk, Animal & Paul Ellering

The rather woeful state of the Bash 87 master tapes is evident here, as this looks only marginally better than the original VHS transfer and might actually come from that source.  Dusty starts out with Arn Anderson and throws him around the rings, as he wins a slugfest and blatantly punches him in the nuts to the delight of the crowd.  They end up on the top rope and poor AA gets his forehead sliced open on the CEILING, and Dusty just continues battering him.  Figure-four, although it means nothing this early in the match, and we get the first ever coinflip, which is won by the heels.  So Tully comes in and Dusty holds them both off with elbows, and the quality of the transfer suddenly improves dramatically.   Inevitably the Horsemen beat him down and destroy the knee, but Animal makes the save and does the epic bearhug/catapult of Tully into the cage.  That visual alone had me running to the video store as a kid wanting to rent this thing.  The faces hang Tully on the top rope and tee off on him, but Flair is next into the match.  He beats on Animal while the Brainbusters work Dusty over, but Dusty keeps coming back on them.  Dusty is just bleeding everywhere and Flair gives him the cheese-grater on the cage for good measure.   Nikita makes the save and clotheslines everything, and we get Flair gigging himself on camera back before I understood what he was doing.  Poor Tully gets trapped between the rings by an angry Russian and Flair is just bumping all over.  Lex Luger comes in and allows Flair to get a mighty, mighty ballshot on Koloff, and a pair of spike piledrivers.  Ouch.  Hawk makes the save and just kicks the everloving shit out of Lex Luger as Jim Ross is ready to have a heart attack.  The Horsemen manage to take over again, however, and JJ Dillon comes in as the last man on the heel side.  Hilarious spot as Hawk completely laughs off Dillon’s offense, but the heels retain control anyway, even though Dillon is pretty messed up already.  Finally, Precious Paul is the last guy in, wearing a spiked gauntlet.  And he just stabs JJ repeatedly in the face with it before the Road Warriors finish him off with an ill-advised Doomsday Device following an epic beating.   Dillon actually broke his shoulder on the move and couldn’t do the second iteration of the match.   Dillion surrenders at 21:08, probably wisely.  Just awesomely violent.  *****

Wargames:  Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, The Road Warriors & Paul Ellering v. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger & War Machine (Ray Traylor)

I never actually reviewed this one in the Bash 87 rant, so here we go.  Dusty starts with AA and slugs him down before adding the Flip Flop and Fly, then sends him into the cage.   Dusty beats him down and goes for the shitty figure-four, but Arn slugs his way up until Dusty hits him in the nuts.  We get some cheese grater action into the cage and Dusty elbows him down again and suplexes him into the figure-four.  And with the 5:00 period running out, the coin toss reveals that…the heels have won it!  And so begins the great tradition.  Bubba Machine enters for the heels and goes after Dusty, joining Arn for some double-teaming, and soon Dusty is bleeding like himself.  They go after the leg and Big Boss Machine splashes the knee as Dusty just bleeds like crazy.  He fights back, however, and Hawk makes the save and dropkicks War Machine.  Powerslam for Arn and a regular slam for Machine, but he won’t go down, so Hawk adds a clothesline from the middle rope.  Neckbreaker for Arn and Dusty drops elbows on everything he can reach with minimum effort.  And with two minutes gone, that means it’s time for Ric Flair, but he quickly gets clotheslined by Hawk.  However, where there’s Dusty Rhodes, there’s Ric Flair to beat on him, so he goes after Big Dusty and drops a knee on him.  Hawk and War Machine continue their no-selling contest, meanwhile, until Nikita Koloff heads in to even it up.  And he immediately walks into a piledriver from Arn, but promptly no-sells it.  The resulting Sickle on Arn and the sell job is just awesome.  He’s all over Flair and the champ eats a Sickle as well, and a trip to the cage draws blood.  Koloff pounds on AA in the corner and Flair throws chops at Dusty, but Tully Blanchard enters the match to give the Horsemen the advantage.  They go right after Dusty, teaming up on three-on-one while War Machine continues his quest to not sell a single move from anyone.  But then Animal comes in for the spot that makes his one an automatic *****, as he holds Tully in a bearhug and then rocks back and forth, ramming Tully’s head into the cage several times in the process.  That is BADASS.  This is a magnificent car wreck of human wreckage, as Jim Ross might say.  Things slow down a bit until Lex Luger enters last for the heels, but quickly gets overpowered by Animal.  Another awesome spot as Animal just javelins Tully from one ring to the other and Tully sells it like a human lawn dart.  Ellering comes in last to begin the proper match, and he brings a spiked gauntlet with him and jams it into various people’s eyes.  And now War Machine finally sells, as The Road Warriors and Dusty take turns teeing off on him with clotheslines, allowing Animal to jam the spikes into his eye until he surrenders at 21:30 to give the faces the win.  Still awesome, but Traylor’s constant no-selling was driving me nuts, sorry.  ****1/2


Tower of Doom:  The Road Warriors & Jimmy Garvin & Ronnie Garvin & Steve Williams v. Kevin Sullivan & Al Perez & Mike Rotundo & Ivan Koloff & The Russian Assassin (Dave Sheldon).

This was a goofy-ass idea they stole from World Class, themselves known for off-the-wall booking notions at that time (like the infamous “blackout” finish to the Iceman Parsons-Kerry Von Erich World title match), and the concept is thus:  There’s three cages stacked on top of each other, with the smallest on top, and team members at the top every two minutes and fight their way down, with the winner being the first team to exit.  Precious holds the key and decides who wins, presumably.    It’s kind of funny to think back on a time when Jimmy Garvin WASN’T playing a smarmy sleazeball heel.  Ivan Koloff and Ron Garvin start in the little cage on top and slug it out, despite being so high that no one can possibly follow the “action” from the crowd.  I have no idea why they didn’t just do the Wargames instead of this stupid idea.  So the door opens and Garvin proceeds to the next level, leaving Steve Williams 2-on-1 against Koloff and Rotundo.  The next period sees Ron Garvin heading to the bottom level and leaving while Ivan Koloff and Steve Williams fight to the second level.  Up on top it’s Rotundo & Perez v. Animal.  What a fucking retarded match concept.  The rules are so convoluted that it’s like something even Vince Russo would reject for being too tough to understand.  Anyway, next period sees Animal & Williams v. Koloff & Perez in the second cage, with Hawk v. Russian Assassin & Rotundo in the top cage and no one in the bottom.  It’s all just guys punching each other, so there’s nothing really to call other than that.  Third period and we’ve got Perez and Animal in the bottom cage, RA & Koloff v. Williams & Hawk in the middle cage, and Rotundo still on top with Kevin Sullivan against Jimmy Garvin.  Animal and Perez both walk out to put the faces up 2-1.  Next period and the Russians both drop down and look to depart, but beat up on Hawk first.  Jimmy Garvin and Kevin Sullivan, the principles in the whole dumb Precious feud, are alone on the top, with Rotundo & Williams in the middle cage.  Hawk walks, as do the Russians, so it’s 3-3.  The build is just all off for this thing, as guys fight in the bottom cage when they can just as easily walk out.  What a mess.  Rotundo and Williams both exit, leaving us with Garvin & Sullivan in the middle cage, where we should have just gone to in the first place.  Garvin actually tries a spinning toehold of all things.  They make it to the bottom and Garvin hits the brainbuster and leaves at 19:13.  Yay, it’s over.  I don’t know that I can even rate it.  Call it a solid DUD and leave it at that.  Afterwards, with Precious having chosen hubbie Jimmy Garvin over Sullivan, Kevin takes it badly and tries to kill her by strangling her.  Uh, I don’t know that it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to edit that out given the time when they were airing it and all.

War Games 88:  Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham & JJ Dillon v. Dusty Rhodes, Steve Williams, Lex Luger, Nikita Koloff & Paul Ellering. 

This is something of a rarity, only seen on the Four Horsemen DVD set before now.  As usual, Dusty Rhodes starts out with Arn Anderson for the five minute opening period.  No commentary here either.  Slugfest to start and Dusty wins that, so Arn backs off into the other ring and forces Dusty to follow.  He tries a sunset flip for no reason I can fathom, and Dusty elbows him to escape and gets his shitty DDT.  Arn wisely kicks him in the knee to slow down the fireball of speed that is Dusty Rhodes, and goes to work on the leg, but Dusty (already managing to cut himself) catches him coming off the middle rope and gets his shitty figure-four.  Seriously, Dusty has been a wrestler for HOW LONG and he still can’t figure four the proper way to apply the hold?  The heels SHOCKINGLY win the coin toss and Barry Windham is next in, and of course Dusty wants a piece of him.  It’s elbows for everyone!  Arn does his team proud and hits Dusty from behind, however, and the beating begins, as Barry claws him while Arn kicks him in the head and chokes him.  Things look bad for Dusty, but the two minutes is up and Dr. Death saves the day.  Double clothesline for the Horsemen and he chop blocks everything that moves, leaving Dusty to exact his revenge on Windham again.  Barry is just bumping all over the place for him.  Next in is Ric Flair., who jumps Williams and quickly regrets it, as Doc no-sells the chops, but can’t no-sell a shot to the junk.  Arn and Barry go back to messing up the Dream, and Arn stops by to DDT Williams, trading off with Flair.  Lex Luger is next in for the faces, and anyone with blond hair is the target. Powerslam for Flair, and Windham, and he puts Flair in the rack, but Windham hits him in HIS rack.  Hope there’s a testicular specialist on call tonight.  Luger decides to no-sell, however, and hammers away on Flair in the corner, until Tully is the next guy in.  He brings a chair with him and takes care of Luger in short order that way.  The Horsemen dominate again, as Arn DDTs Luger the heels pound on the faces, but Nikita Koloff is in and he’s not taking any shit.  Of course, this was skinny, crew-cutted Koloff, not the cool roided one, so the threat is not as scary at this point.  He puts Flair in the figure-four, but gets jumped and the Horsemen take over again, until JJ Dillon is the last guy in for the Horsemen.  He and Windham double-team Luger, and Dillon goes around the ring poking people in the eye and trying to be all bad-ass, while Dream makes his comeback by elbowing four people at once.  Paul Ellering is the last guy into the match, and now it’s the Match Beyond portion.  Dillon beats on Ellering in a ring by himself, but misses an ill-advised dropkick and Dusty puts him in the figure-four as a result at 20:59. ****  Typically good War Games match, but Steve Williams and an unmotivated Nikita Koloff were a pretty poor substitute for the Road Warriors.  Too many slow spots here.

Dusty chimes in with some fun stories about working the shows on the road, as they always saved Hawk for last because otherwise he’d hurt someone from working too stiff.


Wargames ’89:  Steve Williams, Bobby Eaton, Stan Lane & The Road Warriors v. Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, Samu, Fatu & Terry Gordy

This is from the legendary Bash 89 PPV, of course, although this is considered one of the lesser WarGames.  We start with Bobby and Jimmy, and they exchange shots before Jimmy puts his head down and takes a neckbreaker.  Bobby misses an elbow and Garvin slams him, but Bobby comes back with an atomic drop before walking into a boot in the corner.  Bobby is the first one to taste the cold, unforgiving steel of the cage, and Garvin stomps away on him.  Bobby comes back with a kick while hanging from the cage, but Garvin levels him with a forearm.  He slugs away on the ropes while Michael Hayes puts the badmouth to Bobby from the outside (apparently, he’s SCUM.  Good thing he’s not black or who knows what might have made it onto live TV…) until Bobby comes back and puts Garvin into a boston crab.  The 5:00 period ends and Terry Gordy is the next heel in, so they do some Freebird beatings.  I think, for trivia buffs, that this is the only time that Michael Hayes teamed with both his Freebird partner Terry Gordy as well as his lesser replacement, Jimmy Garvin, in the same match.  Dr. Death interrupts the trivia and clotheslines the shit out of everyone, and it’s a Doc v. Gordy slugfest that results in Doc pressing Gordy into the ROOF eight times!  Garvin, meanwhile, chokes Eaton down, but Gordy comes back with a corner clothesline on Williams.  Poor Bobby just gets worked over by Garvin, and then Samu comes in to make it worse, but Eaton fights back along with Williams.  Animal comes in to save and he’s all over the place, hitting a flying shoulderblock from one ring into the other to take down Samu, and the faces actually turn the tide and just clothesline everyone to death, drawing a big reaction.  The faces continue their rare dominance until Fatu comes in to give the heels the advantage again.  The SST double-team Animal with headbutts in the corner and hit him with a double-clothesline.  Gordy chokes Williams down with the Asian spike and Garvin hammers on Eaton in the corner, but Bobby headbutts him away.  Stan Lane saves for the faces and rams people into the cage, and Paul Heyman does a little skit with Michael Hayes for the cameraman, as Hayes finally realizes he has to WRESTLE tonight.  The MX double-team Garvin, but the Samoans work Animal over until Michael Hayes joins us as the fifth heel.  He throws DDTs like they’re going out of style and then stops to strut, which is generally the fatal error made by most heels and comic book villains in general.  Things look bleak for the faces as there’s more choking than a year of John Cena main events, but Hawk makes the save and now it’s on.  He just goes medieval on Terry Gordy and hits the SST with a double flying clothesline.  And now Bobby hits some DDTs as Jim Ross is going crazy trying to work in all his metaphors.  God bless him.  More greatness as Paul tries to get the phone into the cage, but is foiled by Tommy Young and geometry.  Everyone slugs it out and the Road Warriors try the Doomsday Device on Gordy, but Garvin breaks it up with a high knee.  Alas, Hawk is so pissed off that he hits him with the clothesline instead, giving us a GREAT 180 sell, followed by a neckbreaker and the best submission finisher EVER, the Hangman’s Noose to finish at 22:20.  I really, really enjoyed this one this time around, although the lack of blood and inexperience of the Samoans hurt it a bit.  ****1/2

Disc Two

Dusty notes that he’s not BITTER or anything, but the Wargames ceased to exist as we knew them once Bischoff took over and fired him.  But he’s not bitter.


WarGames ’91:  Ric Flair, Sid Vicious, Barry Windham & Larry Zbyszko v. Brian Pillman, Sting, Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner. 

Pillman’s shoulder is all taped up, due (kayfabe-wise) to a Horsemen attack covered in the pre-match video. Pillman starts with Windham and gets a flying clothesline with the good arm, and uses the roof of the cage for leverage as he takes Windham down with a rana. He chops away in the corner, and headfakes Windham into taking a missile dropkick. He misses a splash, however, but comes back with a low blow. All’s fair in love and Wargames. Barry hits the cage and starts the blood flowing early, so Brian gives him some extra treatment on the cage. Jawbreaker and he bites the cut and hammers it in the corner. Hiptoss and he goes ground and pound, and back into the cage goes Windham. Pillman goes up with a flying clothesline and another jawbreaker, and he tosses Windham into the second ring and into the cage again. Windham is just selling like nuts for Pillman here. Spinkick puts Windham down and Pillman goes to work on the leg, but Windham comes back and slugs it out with him. Windham tries a piledriver, but Pillman reverses and comes off the top with another shot. The first period expires and the heels win the coin toss (duh), so Flair is in next.

They exchange chops, which Pillman WINS, but the Horsemen double-team him and send him into the cage shoulder-first. Windham spikes him into the cage and Flair holds the arm while Windham pounds it, and they dump him into the other cage. They work over the shoulder until Sting makes the save. He goes nuts on both of the heels, and gets a double-clothesline that sends the crowd into the atmosphere. Sting pairs off with Flair with a bulldog while Pillman keeps at Windham, but Brian gets crotched and the two-on-one commences on Sting. Pillman comes back to save while Sting no-sells Flair’s chops, but Larry Z is next in. Pillman puts Windham in a figure-four, and Sting dives from one to the other with a clothesline on Zbyszko. Flair & Larry go after Sting, and Flair breaks up Pillman’s figure-four. The Horsemen take over and pound on Sting, but Rick Steiner is in next to save. He clotheslines everyone and pounds Flair in the corner, into a belly-to-belly. Flair meets the cage and starts bleeding. Meanwhile, Pillman pounds Larry in the other ring until getting hung in the Tree of Woe and stomped. Sid Vicious is next in, and he goes right for Pillman’s injured shoulder. He then helps Flair out by holding Rick in place for a low blow, and clotheslines Sting. Pillman keeps pounding Flair into the cage, as does Rick. Poor guy. Larry sends Rick into the cage, but he no-sells it. The heels take over on Pillman & Steiner, but Scott Steiner is the last man in and clotheslines both Flair & Windham. Butterfly bomb on Larry, and he nails Sid with a flying clothesline (blatantly called on camera by Sid and Rick) as Sting puts Flair in the Scorpion deathlock.


Sid works on Pillman’s shoulder, ramming it into the corner and ripping the bandages off it. Pillman fights back, however, and goes low, and soon it’s four figure-fours on the Horsemen as the crowd goes insane. They all escape, but Sting presses Flair into the cage roof in a cool visual stolen from Steve Williams. Pillman chokes out Zbyszko while Sid stomps Rick Steiner and the Horsemen double-team him. The Horsemen go after Pillman, but he keeps fighting Flair with chops. Scott DDTs Windham, but Sid lays him out. And then the spot that makes this a famous match – Sid faceplants Pillman, and then powerbombs him, catching his feet on the roof on the way up and dropping him right on his neck, nearly killing him. Then, he does it AGAIN, legitimately injuring him and drawing El Gigante out for improvised finish whereby he surrenders the match on his behalf to give it to the Horsemen at 22:05. Most assumed Pillman’s career to be over at that point. Typically great and bloody Wargames, although not quite as great as I gave it credit for first time around. Still one of the best WCW matches of the 90s, though. ****1/2

WarGames ’92:  Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Nikita Koloff, Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham v. Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton, Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko. 

I have to change a previous Mailbag answer, because someone once asked what my favorite match ever would be in a world with Flair v. Steamboat.  It would in fact be this match.  Windham slugs it out with Austin to start and Steve sends him into the cage, but Barry blocks it.  Windham with a slam, but he misses an elbow and Austin pounds him with shoulders in the corner.  Windham tries a piledriver and Austin reverses out of it, so they fight into the other ring, where Barry hits the DDT.  Austin comes back with a running clothesline that puts them both into the first ring, and he goes up with a kick from the roof, but Barry yanks him down onto his face.  Barry throws Austin around the ring and into the cage, and here’s the blood, baby.  Jesse accuses Steamboat of spitting on the wounded Austin, which is pretty funny.  Windham gives us a nice closeup of biting the wound and puts Austin down with a kneelift, and the coin toss goes to the heels.  So that brings Rude into the match and he just kills Barry with knees, but Barry fights back.  Rude fires away with shoulders in the corner and Barry holds his own, so Austin attacks from behind and adds a flying clothesline to put the Dangerous Alliance back on top.  Barry eats cage and the heels beat him down, and Steamboat wants in!  Huge fire from the Dragon here, as he DDTs Rude and Austin and goes crazier than you generally see him.  He rams Rude into the turnbuckles, but Austin attacks from behind , so Steamboat uses the roof to kick Austin down and then takes Rude down with a rana.  AA comes in for the heels and it’s SPINEBUSTERS for everyone.

Rude and Arn do a unique double-crab on Steamboat, which would normally be illegal but this is WAR.  Everyone slugs it out and Rude piledrives Steamboat and JR is making vehicular metaphors again.  Rude and Steamboat clothesline each other and Dustin is in for the faces, throwing elbows and taking names.  Atomic drop and lariat for Austin while Steamboat returns the crab on Rude.  Austin tries to run up the ropes to escape Dustin, so Rhodes puts him down with an electric chair.  Meanwhile, Arn manages to get his head stuck between the rings, so Barry takes advantage of that.  Rude and Steamboat continue their private war with a figure-four, and Larry is next in for the heels.  Dustin is all over him, but Paul finally figures out how to get that phone into the match:  Send Madusa onto the roof and put it through an open joint.  So the heels make use of it to take over again, and now Rude goes after Steamboat’s broken nose in a wonderfully brutal bit.  Windham goes into the cage and starts bleeding, his tights already stained with Austin’s blood.  Hygenic, no, awesome, fuck yeah.  Sting comes in next for the faces and cleans house, pressing Rude into the roof and then tossing Arn into the cage.  Arn starts bleeding as it’s apparently a matter of pride as to who can do the sickest blade job tonight.  The faces work Rude over, but now Eaton is in to fill out the Alliance, and he sends Steamboat into the cage.  Larry and Rude undo the top rope in one of the rings while Windham and Arn fight for a figure-four.  The heels get the advantage one last time, and Nikita Koloff is the last man in.  He and Sting finally set aside their hatred and make up, and celebrate by clotheslining Austin and Anderson and then beat the hell out of them to a huge pop.  Rhodes and Windham team up on Larry and Sting gets the Scorpion deathlock on Arn, but Eaton breaks it up.  The top rope actually breaks off and Dustin puts Austin into the figure-four, blatantly holding the ropes in a nice touch.  He goes up and misses an elbow on Austin, but Eaton accidentally gets hit with the steel hook holding the turnbuckle, and Sting wrenches in an armbar for the surrender at 23:20.  Truly one of the greatest matches of all time, as the Dangerous Alliance era nearly revitalized the promotion until it inevitably fell apart because WCW didn’t know what to do with it.  *****

Dusty talks about the match moving to a once-a-year format in the 90s, because the business became about how much money you can make instead of entertaining the fans.  Isn’t this the guy who JUST TALKED ABOUT doubling the prices of ringside seats to make more money?!

WarGames ’93:  Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes & THE SHOCKMASTER~! v. Harlem Heat, Big Van Vader & Sid Vicious

This of course was the match that gave the world the infamous debut of the Shockmaster at Clash of the Champions.  Vader starts with Dustin and they slug it out, with Dustin winning that battle, and he takes his boot off and beats on Vader with that, too.  Vader just kills him with a clothesline, however.  Dustin and Vader had some crazy weird chemistry together in WCW, but just couldn’t recapture it in the WWF outside of a pretty good match at Royal Rumble 98.  Vader fires away in the corner, but Dustin throws forearms to put him down.  Vader recovers and hits the pump splash in the corner, then pounds away on the broken ribs of Dustin.  Dustin comes back with a DDT and then gives Vader a couple of good whacks with the boot, but Vader beats him down again and goes up.  Dustin catches him with a powerslam and Stevie Ray is in for the heels.  Vader & Stevie team up and put Dustin down with his own boot, and wouldn’t you know that a Rhodes would be the first one to bleed.  Sting comes in to save and the heels double-team him right away, but he fights back and sends Ray into the cage, then hits Vader with the Stinger splash.  Sting pounds Vader down in the corner while Dustin bleeds on everyone.  Sting sends Vader into the cage a couple of times, and that brings Sid into the match.  Sting fights them off for a bit, but gets chokeslammed by Sid and the heels go on him 3-on-1 with Dustin’s boot.  They team up and press Sting into the ceiling, which doesn’t really work as a heel spot, and Sid stomps on the bloody Dustin in the corner in fairly unconvincing fashion.  Bulldog comes in to save and powerslams Vader, and now Sting & Bulldog return the press slam on Sid.  The crowd is pretty dead for this whole thing, which isn’t surprising because it’s all a bunch of weak battle-royale style brawling.  Booker T is the last guy in for the heels, and everyone is just kind of standing around and slugging it out.  Shockmaster comes in last, managing not to trip at least, and he goes after Vader and throws Booker T around.  Bearhug gets the surrender from Booker T at 16:38.  A bearhug?  Really?  Incredibly weak, but this wasn’t even the WORST one they’d do.  Think about THAT.  **1/2  And after making fun of him for much of the match, Tony and Jesse suddenly have to put Shockmaster over as some unstoppable monster babyface.

Dusty talks about how cool it was to finally team up with Dustin in a Wargames match, and adds a story about Robert Parker’s involvement that frankly I did not need to know.


WarGames ’94:  Dustin Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes & The Nasty Boys v. Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck & Col. Robert Parker

Dustin starts with betrayer Arn Anderson and beats on him with his arm cast, then sends him into the cage.  Arn backs off and tries to lure Dustin into the cage, but Dustin slugs him down and follows with an atomic drop and a big boot that puts Arn over the top and back into the other ring.  Arn gets his head stuck between the rings…again…and Dustin uses him as a jackhammer for a bit, but Arn goes to the eyes.  Dustin comes back with a nice diving clothesline over the ropes and puts him down with the Flip Flop and Fly.  Lariat and elbowdrop follows and Dustin stomps away on the arm.  Arn comes back with a DDT and chokes Dustin out with the wrist tape, and they fight into the second ring, where Dustin reverses an enzuigiri into a half-crab as the coin toss puts Bunkhouse Buck into the match.

Dustin eats some cage but miraculously doesn’t bleed, because that wouldn’t be family friendly.  So remember, it’s OK to show graphic violence between angry white men, as long as there’s no CONSEQUENCES for their actions.  Buck and Arn put Dustin into a double crab, but Jerry Sags in next in for the faces and he makes the save.  The heels eat cage and Sags piledrives Buck, then Dustin gets a sleeper on Arn.  Funk is in next for the heels, and he’s so desperate for a weapon he just takes his own boot off and uses that.  And it works quite well, thank you.  Sadly, he goes up and gets crotched, and Sags piledrives him on the crack between the rings…and Funk falls into it.  Now that’s a Funk spot.  Knobbs is in for the next save, ramming everyone into the cage and dropping the leg on Arn before gaining custody of Funk’s boot.  The faces make use of the boot and Dustin holds off both Funk & Buck at the same time, and that leaves Parker to go in.  He waits for someone to jump Dustin and then heads in to join into the attack.  And now belts get found and Dustin just whips the shit out of everything, and Daddy joins in to complete the WarGames portion.  The Nasties double-team Parker as Meng goes nuts outside, and Dusty uses the shitty figure-four and elbows from the Nasty Boys to finish Parker at 19:11.  I actually kind of like the story told there, with the chickenshit Parker avoiding getting involved until the end and then getting his ass kicked.  Much better than the disappointing 93 version.  ****  Lack of blood kept it from truly epic territory, though.

Disc Three

Dusty talks about Hogan’s involvement in the later Wargames, and how he’s a “great historian of our sport” (WHAT?!?)  who would have loved to have been involved in the early ones.  That would have literally been the worst thing ever.

WarGames ’95:  Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Sting & Lex Luger v. Kamala, The Zodiac, The Shark & Meng

The Hulkamaniac side is all decked out in camo paint and army uniforms, although I’d say that Hogan’s bright yellow boots would negate any stealth benefits.  Sting starts out with Shark (John “Earthquake” Tenta in yet another of his failed gimmicks) and gets thrown around, but comes back with a dive over the ropes into the other ring.  Sting slams Shark, but hurts his back, and Shark goes to the bearhug.  Or sharkhug, if you will.  Sting fights out and Shark tries his own dive, but gets hung up between the ropes in one of the dumber spots I’ve seen in a serious match.  Shark poses while straddling the ropes for some reason, and Sting crotches him, then starts kicking at the leg.  Sting gets the Scorpion Deathlock and Zodiac (Ed “Brutus Beefcake” Leslie, on only the second stupid gimmick of his WCW run) comes in for the heels and quickly gets beat up.  The Dungeon of Doom finally realizes that there’s two of them and starts double-teaming Sting, dropping elbows and ramming Sting into the cage.  Randy Savage is the next one in, but Meng hangs onto Sting from outside and allows Zodiac & Shark to double-team Savage.  Choking results, but Sting fights back and clothesline Zodiac.  Kamala is the next one in for the Dungeon, and we get more choking out of that.  Punch punch kick kick punch punch kick kick.  Lex Luger comes in to save and gets choked down by Zodiac.  Luger and Savage have a scuffle because they don’t trust each other, but now it’s time for Meng to come in and beat on everyone.  Kamala is just kind of standing around and watching.  More aimless choking and punching from heels until Hulk Hogan finishes up for the faces.  And sportsman that he is, he throws powder into everyone’s faces.  Sadly, Zodiac tries to collect it up and sell it on the subway.  And now the faces all come back, using their babyface choking instead of the heel choking.  And Hogan finishes Zodiac with a rear chinlock at 18:59.  Now THIS is the worst one they did, which is sad because it’s not a terrible lineup on paper.  **  And lucky us, the Hogan win gives us 5:00 of Hogan v. Kevin Sullivan, as Hogan beats on Sullivan and gets the big boot, but Giant heads down and attacks Hogan and gives him the Zeus neck twist to put him down.

Dusty talks about the nWo influence on the match, as changing loyalties and factions made it a more intriguing match than the past few years.


WarGames 96:  Sting, Lex Luger, Ric Flair  & Arn Anderson v. Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & The Mysterious Fourth Man

Arn starts with Hall and slugs away in the corner, then goes for the leg, but Hall comes back with the corner clothesline and smashes his head into the cage a few times to get his point across.  Arn fires back with knees and goes for the leg again, but Hall escapes to the other ring.  For some reason Nick Patrick is inside the ring here, a fact that the announcers pick up on pretty quickly as well.  Hall pounds away, but walks into the spinebuster, and Arn goes to a half-crab until Kevin Nash saves for the nWo.  Doing the Royal Rumble mystery entrance thing for the WarGames is a nice format change that works well with this feud.  So, um, Outsiders v. AA is not a particularly fair fight, let’s say.  More specifically, they beat the hell out of him and Luger comes in early to save, ramming both Outsiders into the cage and using the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DEATH to great advantage.  However, the Outsiders whip them into the cage, and now Hulk Hogan is out…and immediately gets jumped by Team WCW to a huge pop.  Hall and Nash go after Luger, however, and Hogan isolates Arn and drops elbows on him.  Hall gets some REALLY nice-looking punches on Luger in the corner and the WCW guys are in trouble, but here’s Flair to save.  He stops to dance and invites the nWo over to his ring, so Hogan accepts.  Flair procures a set of brass knuckles and knocks him out, then hits Hall in the bar-nuts and Luger follows with a million atomic drops on Hall as well.  Ha!  Flair puts Hogan in the figure-four and “Sting” joins the match, apparently having joined the nWo and changed his name to Jeff Farmer.  The crowd is immediately hip to the room and doesn’t buy the “turn”, but the announcers don’t even bring up the possibility that it’s not him.  The actual Sting is the last guy in for WCW and he cleans house alone, but the other WCW guys don’t trust him and won’t help.  So Sting tells them to stick it and walks out on them, kicking off the biggest and most successful storyline WCW ever ran.   This leaves it open season for the nWo, and the fake Scorpion Deathlock finishes Luger at 18:14.  That was a pretty shocking ending at the time, in the days before the crowd-killing heel finish became the rule in WCW.  I really liked the sense of tension that the match had back in the anarchic, Wild West period for the New World Order angle, before it became the Wild Wild West with Vince Russo riding a giant spider.  Technically speaking, as with most WarGames matches from the early 90s on, the lack of blood and true violence undercuts the point of the match, so we fall somewhere in the middle here.  ***1/4


Wargames 97:  Ric Flair, Curt Hennig, Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael v. Kevin Nash, Buff Bagwell, Syxx & Konnan

Haven’t seen this one in a while due to the deletion of Benoit from WWE 24/7 when they were doing the Wargames marathon there a few years ago, so let’s hit it again!  This was of course the direct result of the famous nWo Horsemen parody, one of the few times that something like that led to a serious blowoff.  Hennig as a Horsemen should have been so great and perfect (pardon the pun) but they just couldn’t let them get over on the nWo.  Benoit starts with Bagwell and beats the hell out of him, suplexing him into the cage and chopping him raw.  Diving headbutt misses and Buff stomps away as the nWo wins the coin toss.  Konnan is the next guy in and Benoit fights him off and slams Buff onto him.  Both heels eat cage, but Konnan comes back with a DDT and they move to the other ring to better beat on Benoit.  Mongo makes the save and the Horsemen do some double-teaming, including a cute spot where Bagwell hides in the corner and Benoit taps him on the shoulder before putting him down with a chop.  Syxx comes in for the advantage and Benoit gives him a well-deserved beating to wake up the crowd.  Mongo tosses him into the ceiling in a neat spot and Benoit applies the crossface, but the nWo takes over again.  Did Syxx and Benoit ever do a match on Nitro?  Seems like it would have been pretty awesome.  Curt Hennig arrives at ringside with his arm in a sling after an nWo “attack” backstage, and Flair comes in to get his revenge on everyone.   Nash is the last guy in for the heels, and he destroys everyone while Bagwell mugs for the camera.  Question:  Is Buff Bagwell one of the best makeovers in wrestling history?   Hard to imagine many better outside of, like, Stone Cold Steve Austin.  Flair makes a brief comeback and hits people in the nuts, but don’t worry, because Hennig is here to even it up.  And he was faking the injury, but quickly turns on the Horsemen as they get handcuffed to the cage.  Poor Flair gets mauled in a lengthy beatdown by the nWo , and Mongo finally submits at 20:00 after Hennig slams Flair’s head in the cage door.  Nash declares the death of the Horsemen in their own backyard, and he wasn’t far off.   About as good as it was going to be at that point, but why couldn’t they just let the Horsemen win and then do the turn on Nitro later?  The finish still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and no one ever get their revenge for any of it. ***1/2

WarGames ’98:  DDP, Ultimate Warrior & Rowdy Roddy Piper v. Lex Luger, Sting & Kevin Nash v. Hulk Hogan, Stevie Ray & Bret Hart

This one pretty much stretches the concept of WarGames as thin as you can go, since we’re down to teams of three and it’s a one-on-one format with a pin deciding things at any point.  So it’s more of a Royal Rumble now.  Bret starts with DDP and gets suplexed for two and I stop and nearly choke at Bobby Heenan declaring a match with Stevie Ray in it as “The nine best wrestlers in the world”.  Bret works him over and goes for the legs, but Page takes him down with an armbar and gets two.  He works Bret with knees in the corner, but Bret gets a legsweep for two.  Bret with a small package for two.  Next in is Stevie Ray, representing nWo Guys Who Were Left After The Wolfpac Picked Everyone Good.  Stevie and Bret double-team Page with nothing special, but Sting The Red Lobster is next into the match and stomps Stevie down.  He hits hits cross-ring dive and splashes Ray into the cage a couple of times, and Roddy Piper is the next guy in.   He randomly goes after guys because they’re on the other “team” but also hits his own “partner,” DDP, “because it’s every man for himself” according to the announcers.  Writing copy for the WCW announcers and having it make sense should be part of the SATs or something, just to see if it can be done by the brightest minds of America.  Lex Luger is the next guy in and we get some more random punching and standing around as the announcers are trying to find some kind of story or psychology to cling to here and just can’t find ANYTHING to make sense of.  It’s just turned into a battle royale, essentially.  Big Kev is out to wake up the crowd and he goes after Piper, but then Hogan just decides to come out regardless of time left as this loses all semblance of reality and Hulk hits everyone with the dreaded slap jack.  Tenay declares that it’s all beginning to make sense.  Of COURSE it is.  So now we get a couple of minutes of Hogan posing as he has everyone beat single-handedly, but the ring fills up with smoke and the “Warrior” appears, smelling like Curt Hennig’s shit, only to disappear in another puff of smoke so that the real one can run down and go after Hulk.  Luckily for Hulk, Ed Leslie is there to get him away from the ring (and probably supply the white powder that had everyone seeing clouds), so Warrior smashes out of the cage with only the power of DESTRUCITY, and the will to rip off the paying customer, to support him, and both he and Hulk fight back to the dressing room and leave DDP to pin Stevie Ray and win the title shot at 19:18 in the biggest piece of fucking crap WarGames I had ever seen up until that point.  Yeah, this one has a funny story about a bucket of shit attached to it, but it also had Magic Smoke and the SLAP JACK OF DEATH and DDP winning a major PPV main event without a trace of irony, so I’d say the negatives outweigh the one positive by about three negative stars in this case.  -***

Dusty RAGES about Vince Russo ruining the Wargames and how ridiculous it was.  He notes you might as well put two Divas out there playing Jacks and call it the Wargames for all that Russo’s abomination had in common with the original.

WarGames 2000:  Sting, Booker T, Goldberg & Kronik v. Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner & Vince Russo. 

This is LOOOOONG past the point where I was paying any serious attention to WCW on a weekly basis, so I have no clue what the backstory was supposed to be here or why they’re in the cage from the movie with WCW World Champion David Arquette.  This is for the WCW World title, apparently.  One ring, three cages, in one of those twists on the genre that no one asked for, like endless US remakes of low budget Asian horror movies.  Sting starts with Jarrett and gets the Stinger splash, but Scott Steiner is next in and he teams up with Jarrett to batter Sting with a ladder before he can climb up and fulfill whatever needlessly complicated stipulations that Russo has attached to a match that didn’t need any.  Kronik, apparently acting as a single unit, are next in while Steiner climbs up to the second level and finds some bolt cutters while Tony explains the predictably labyrinthine rules (LITERALLY this time — you have to navigate a damn maze to win) as though it was the simplest thing in the world to go up three cages, grab a belt, then climb back down through them and out the door to win.  Kronik double-teams Steiner and Vince Russo is next in, and he brings the Harris brothers with him, because fuck it at this point, that’s why.  And suddenly a hardcore match breaks out in the second cage while Sting puts Russo into the deathlock.  How this helps him win the match, I do not know.  Next out, the guy who actually has the belt at this point, Kevin Nash, and he chokeslams Sting and wants to do it to Russo as well, but gets talked out of it.  And now the Harrises and Kronik have just abandoned all pretext of competing in the match and left the cage, and Booker T is next out with an axe kick for Jarrett and Steiner.  Russo takes one as well, but that allows Nash to lay Booker out with a big boot.  Last guy out is Goldberg and he hits everyone , but gets laid out with a baseball bat, by Russo.  “Not even Goldberg can stand up to that!” Tony declares, as though cowardly heel Russo and his whiffle bat were a deadly weapon.  Everyone arbitrarily moves to the second cage, because it’s time to, and poor Goldberg gets handcuffed to the ropes while Nash just stands by the door to prevent anyone from getting out with the title.  It’s true, the man is a genius on many levels here.  Booker is the guy who actually gets to climb up and get the title, but now it has to come back down, which is just so needless complicated for a company that marketed to southern hick mouth-breathers and NASCAR fans.  Sorry, no offense to southern hick mouth-breathers there.  All the remaining faces gets handcuffed to the second cage and Russo ends up with the belt, but now Ernest Miller runs into the match and tries to steal the belt for no adequately explored reason.  Luckily for all of our sanity, Goldberg snaps his handcuffs and prevents THAT abomination, seemingly leaving Goldberg to walk out the door and win, but Terry Gord…or, no, Bret Hart, rams the door into his head, despite being retired.  But then, Russo swerves us all, because Kevin Nash is really with him and walks out to retain or regain or win or lose or whatever the fuck happened at 18:27, but the match is OVER.  Yeah!  Was anyone SERIOUSLY watching this show in 2000 and enjoying it?  Honestly?  -**  This made the main event of Uncensored 96 look reasoned and well thought out at times.  Yeah, I WENT THERE.

Dusty finishes by noting that he’s a fan of the Elimination Chamber, because they were trying to improve on Wargames rather than just copying it to make a buck.  I kind of wish they would copy it to make a buck because I’d give them a lot of bucks.

The Pulse

It’s Wargames, it’s the compilation set that people have been begging for since they stared doing these things, it’s discs full of blood and five-star matches, just buy it already.  Ignore the last two matches, though.

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The View From Down Here – The Art Of The Promo Mon, 02 Sep 2013 10:00:19 +0000 In the past week we’ve seen two promos that have received a surprising amount of attention from wrestling fans: The AJses and their talkings.


AJ Lee at the WWE cut a ‘scathing’ promo on the Total Divas reality shit TV show. It was a good promo, sure, especially for a WWE Diva, but it didn’t seem to push any of the storylines forward and was even hypocritical in some places. And it was almost completely ruined by the Bellas squealing like pigs at an abattoir and seriously bad non-acting from the others. Only Natalya reacted the way a Sports Entertainer should react, and we’ll get to that later. But it was a good promo in delivery; it was fine in content; it was hard to see where it fit in in terms of storyline.

AJ Styles at TNA on the other hand cut a promo to explain where his head’s been at. It was another good-ish promo, but during its course, he somehow turned a crowd that wanted to love him into a hostile one, and then somehow managed to get them back on side. He did not sound or look comfortable, and when he talked about ‘the guys in the truck’ it sounded like pandering. And he went on wa-a-ay too long. In delivery his promo was average at best; in content it was good; in storyline terms it was necessary and very good.

But neither were what I would call “great”.


So what makes a good promo? Well, as you might have been able to tell, there are three things I feel are important: delivery, content and storyline.


Delivery is first. You have to believe what you are saying, and then the audience will have a better chance of believing you as well. You need to have emotion, but the right emotion. And your body language and tone of voice have to match the words being spoken. John Cena will often cut a promo that is angry in the words used, but he is smiling and his tone is joking – poor delivery. This also includes length – too long and a promo loses its audience. See AJ Styles for an example of that.


Second is content. What you are saying has to be believable and has to involve, you know, wrestling. Listen to the promos from Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior prior to their Wrestlemania VI bout and tell me you wouldn’t want some of what they were having.

One other thing is you need to talk about your opponent. But if you put them down, then if you win you’ve beaten a chump, and if you lose it looks like a fluke or you look like a fool, and neither guy is helped by the outcome of the match. Better you talk up your opponents a little, and there are no finer exponents of that at the moment than Kazarian and Daniels in TNA, and back further, Arn Anderson was also supreme at this.


Next is storyline, either starting a new one or continuing an existing one. This is important. A promo for the sake of a promo might remind people you exist, but what purpose does it serve? There needs to be a valid reason for it.


Two other little things.


One – a stream of catchphrases do not a promo make. Sure, the Rock and Steve Austin used them a lot, but that was mainly for punctuation, not for pure content. Mr Anderson Kennedy Anderson needs to learn this.


Two – communication is a two-way street. There is projecting and there is receiving. This is why Natalya stood out. She looked genuinely pissed at what AJ Lee was saying, and let only her body language say that she was pissed. It was really good, and possibly (to me) the best part of the whole promo. While the others were doing banshee impersonations or fake yawning or looking like they were lost in a fog, Natalya was responding like a Sports Entertainer. And while we’re on the Bellas – do you hear Laertes heckling Hamlet during one of his famous soliloquys at Shakespeare in the Park? Did Mean Gene interrupt Hogan et al at Bash at the Beach? Did Cena interrupt Punks’ infamous pipebomb? No? Of course not; that’s because a person is making a speech and you respond to it without taking away from what they are saying. The Bellas were, quite simply, f*****g awful. Send them to acting school. Or something.


There are only a few promos that really stand the test of time, and only a few people renowned for nearly always cutting good ones consistently. Ric Flair was one of these people, always ready with his sharp tongue, but I’ve recently been watching all of WCW from 1996 and, boy!, did he have a lot of misses in that period, rambling, directionless promos. And yet when he was on form… well, look at his winning promo from Royal Rumble 1992 to see what sort of a talker the man really could be.


Professional wrestling does not exist in its own world between the ropes. There have to be reasons for what we see in the ring. And promos are the bread and butter of getting those stories across. And yet they sometimes seem to be the most under-practiced aspect of the arsenal of many a professional wrestler. It’s Sports Entertainment. That “Entertainment” bit needs to be as good as that “Sports” bit.


So, to finish:


Here are three of my very favourite promos:

Hogan joins Hall and Nash to form the New World Order.

The birth of Austin 3:16.

CM Punk’s recent “pipebomb”.


My 8 year old son’s favourite promo:

The Rock prior to the big 6-man Hell in a Cell.


And 2 guilty pleaure promos that I know I shouldn’t like… but do:

The Rock at Wrestlemania XX.

Vince Russo at Bash at the Beach 2000.


I know I shouldn’t like those last two because they break half the rules of cutting a promo. But sometimes the art – the entertainment value – overcomes everything else, and you’re left with something quite different indeed.topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Happy 60th Birthday, Brother! Hulk Hogan Hits Milestone Age Mon, 12 Aug 2013 00:36:00 +0000 Yup, Hulk Hogan turned 60 today. Happy birthday, brother! Here’s a little old school Hogan love, to celebrate:

OK, fine:

Still not satisfied?

Seriously, happy birthday to a true legend.
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JC’s Top Rope Report: Flashback Thoughts: WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 Sat, 27 Jul 2013 16:27:24 +0000  

Bash at the Beach 1996


Hello everyone. I’m back with another look into wrestling PPVs past. This time, I take a look at the PPV that changed not only the course of WCW but wrestling history as we know it.


-Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan are on commentary. They are all speculating on who could be the third man.


Psychosis vs Rey Mysterio Jr.


-Lots of quick submission reversals early on.


-Psychosis hits two leg drops, one off the top rope. He was foreshadowing the night ahead!


-Rey springboards off the top rope and perfectly transitions into a hurricanrana for a two count.


-Psychosis drops Mysterio on the guard rail, then hits a seated senton on Mysterio off the top rope. Ouch.


-Rey starts his comeback with a spinning head scissors, followed by a dropkick on the apron and a hurricanrana off the apron on to the outside.


-After a moonsault to the outside, Rey goes for a springboard dropkick in the ring but Psychosis hits a powerbomb for two.


-Psychosis goes for a Razor’s Edge off the top rope, but Mysterio counters into a hurricanrana mid-air and picks up the win. Very good opener.


-Mean Gene interviews Konnan. He tells Ric Flair if any of his entourage gets involved in the match, he will take them out.


Silver Dollars in a Sack on a Pole Match: Big Bubba vs John Tenta


-No backstory from WCW as why this is a Silver Dollars in a Sack on a Pole Match. I don’t even know if I want to know.


-John Tenta looks to be on his last legs here.


-I love how Dusty Rhodes can’t say Bubba. He says “Bubbrrr.”


-Bubba ties one hand of Tenta in the ropes. He works him over with a belt and starts cutting Tenta’s hair. But Tenta low blows him and cuts himself out.


-The announcers say, “This is just two big men brawling, nothing pretty about it.” Amen.


-Jimmy Hart climbs the pole, but doesn’t realize Tenta took out Big Bubba. Tenta takes the sack from Bubba and takes him out, then pins Bubba for the win.


-Everyone is still worried about Eric Bischoff, who is missing. Macho Man, Lex Luger and Sting are interviewed backstage. They are all ready for the match tonight and don’t care who the third man is.


Taped Fist Match: Diamond Dallas Page vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan


-Early on, DDP tapes Hacksaw’s legs together around the post and works him over.


-Duggan has lost the tape on his wrist. And this somehow becomes a disadvantage for Duggan.


-DDP wins with a Diamond Cutter. Hacksaw, always the sore loser, cheap shots DDP after the match.


-Mean Gene interviews Kevin Sullivan, The Giant and Jimmy Hart. Sullivan says he isn’t the weak link of the Dungeon of Doom. So Kevin Sullivan=Daniel Bryan?


-Mean Gene interviews Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit about the match.


Four Man Dog Collar Match: Public Enemy vs The Nasty Boys


-Is this a gimmick PPV?


-Everything quickly escalates into a brawl on the outside.


-Knobbs beats Johnny Grunge with a rubber shark.


-They brawl towards the set and use surfboards, lifeguard decks and chairs as weapons.


-Rocco Rock goes to the top, but Sags pulls the chain. Rock bounces right off the table, which doesn’t break.


-The Nasty Boys win after an ugly match. Public Enemy attacks them after the match.


-Backstage, Mean Gene is outside the Outsiders locker room, which is flanked by security.


WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Dean Malenko (c) vs Disco Inferno


-It is all Malenko early, who hits a devastating spike suplex.


-About six minutes in Inferno finally gets some offense in.


-The crowd is getting behind Disco Inferno. I thought he was a heel? Or are they both heels?


-Malenko wins with the Texas Clover Leaf. Match picked up in the final few minutes.

Joe Gomez vs Steve McMichael (w/Debra)


-Never mind that shit, here comes Mongo! I’m smelling a five star classic here.


-Mongo sells a jawbreaker like he’s been shot.


-Gomez hits three REALLY ugly jumping chops to the back of the head.


-Mongo wins after a Tombstone Piledriver. If the Undertaker saw that at the time, he probably threw the urn at his TV screen.


-Mean Gene interviews Ric Flair along with Elizabeth and Woman. Who would have thought, with his lifestyle, that Flair would out-live these two women?


WCW United States Championship: Konnan (c) vs Ric Flair (w/Elizabeth and Woman)


-It’s two minutes into this match and I already can’t stand Woman’s yelling at ringside.


-Konnan lands some chops and the crowd doesn’t care. Flair lands one and we get a big “WOOO!”


-Konnan hits a dive off the apron, knocking down Elizabeth. He goes to the top, but Woman shakes the bottom rope, which somehow causes him to lose his balance on the TOP rope and fall off.


-Flair pokes Konnan in the eye, then distracts the ref. This allows Woman to come in the ring and kick Konnan in the groin. Elizabeth then distracts the ref. Flair tosses Konnan to the outside and scratches his eyes.


-Konnan applies a Figure Four that would rival Miz’s bad looking Figure Four. Flair gets to the ropes.


-Elizabeth distracts the ref and Woman is on the apron for what seems like forever. Woman finally hits Konnan with the heel of her shoe. Flair pins Konnan and wins the U.S. Title.


-Mean Gene is eavesdropping on the Outsiders locker room. He said a third man walked in, and he could hear the man’s voice but it sounds muffled. It does sound like someone he knows, however.


Chris Benoit and Arn Anderson vs The Giant and Kevin Sullivan (w/Jimmy Hart)


-If the Horsemen win, any member of the group gets a shot at the Giant’s World Title on Nitro.


-The Giant and Kevin Sullivan attack Benoit and Anderson coming to the ring. Steve McMichael hits the Giant with his briefcase and the Giant chases him to the back.


-Benoit and Anderson isolate Sullivan early, keeping him away from the Giant.


-Anderson and Benoit go for a spike piledriver. But Sullivan reverses Anderson into a catapult, but they screw it up. Anderson still goes into Benoit. Sullivan makes the tag to The Giant.


-Sullivan and Benoit brawl towards the broadcast booth. In the ring, The Giant chokeslams Anderson and picks up the win.


-Benoit continues to attack Sullivan after the match. Woman comes out and asks him to stop and says he is going to hurt him. The Giant comes back out and scares them off.


The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) vs Randy Savage, Sting and Lex Luger


-Mean Gene comes to the ring and asks where the third man is. The Outsiders say he is here and ready.


-Nash holds down Luger’s head on the turnbuckle. Sting breaks it with a Stinger Splash. Luger gets knocked out cold and lays on the outside. Luger gets taken away on a stretcher. When I watched this as a kid, I thought Luger was going to come back and be the third man.


-Everybody is doing a great job to give this a big fight feel. Michael Buffer, the announcers, the wrestlers, even the crowd.


-The Outsiders have been dominating the match since Luger’s injury.


-Sting starts a comeback and makes the hot tag to Randy Savage who goes nuts on the Outsiders as the crowd goes crazy.


-After a Nash low blow on Savage, everyone is down. Here comes HULK HOGAN!!! The Outsiders bail as Bobby Heenan wonders what side he is on. Hogan pushes the ref away and leg drops Randy Savage. They take out Sting and do a mock pin on Savage.


-Mean Gene comes out to interview Hogan. He says they are the New World Order of wrestling. He said that he made that organization up North a monster and become bigger than the organization itself.


-Hogan says they will destroy everything in their path. Hogan says all the crap represents the fans. He told the fans to stick it because of the reception he’s gotten from the last two years.


-The show ends with Tony Schiavone telling Hogan to go to hell as the crowd continues to throw trash in the ring. A small but vocal Hogan chant also breaks out at the end.


-From a wrestling standpoint, there wasn’t a lot to like on this show. The opener was great, as was the end of Malenko/Inferno. Ric Flair and Konnan had too much shenanigans going on the outside.


-From a storyline perspective, this is obviously one of the best ever. The nWo would go on to dominate WCW and help them win the ratings battle over the WWE. I’ve always maintained that if it wasn’t for Hogan joining the nWo, WCW would never have become the force it was. This was the one time Hogan’s backstage politics absolutely paid off. The rumors were that Sting was going to be the third man, but because the Outsiders angle was so hot, Hogan decided he wanted to be the third guy. Sting wouldn’t have had as big of an impact as Hogan did. Sting was a house hold name, but he didn’t have the global recognition that Hogan did. It was a bold move for WCW to make, but it was one that was needed to shake up the wrestling business. Many fans of WCW saw through Hogan’s politics and didn’t welcome him with open arms as WCW officials thought they would. It was a great move by WCW. Big angles like this get people talking. These are the risks WWE today doesn’t like to take.


This event triggered a whole lot in the world of pro wrestling. If this doesn’t happen, WCW doesn’t take over as the #1 Wrestling Company in the World. The WWE doesn’t respond with the Attitude Era. And maybe WCW doesn’t hand out a lot of bad contracts and they stay in business for a little while longer. I know some of this stuff may have happened, but it wouldn’t have had as big of an impact without this. Hogan joining the nWo kick started a great era in pro wrestling,one fans long for to this day. This is often considered one of the most shocking and greatest moments in wrestling history, and it is hard to argue that.


Until Next Time,


Justin C


Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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A Random Number of Thoughts on TNA Slammiversary 2013 Tue, 04 Jun 2013 21:12:57 +0000  1. Opening video promo was very nWo, including distortion, odd voice effects, and basic promises if destruction. Not saying that’s good or bad, just saying.


2. Opening match was the X-Division ultimate X match, Chris Sabin v Suicide v Kenny King (c). Let the spots begin! While this match was great with some stuff that was damn impressive, moves that should have killed them were sold as though they’d merely been bitch-slapped by Tom Cruise (stings a bit, but does no real damage whatsoever), and the set ups were obvious in too many spots.


3. One of the few 3-way matches I’ve seen that was a 3-way the whole way through, not a series of 1-on-1 matches with some 3-way bits as linking sequences.


4. Sabin wins, and that was a fun match and a great opener to get the crowd on side. 7/10


5. Hogan comes out to congratulate a bloodied Sabin, and the pop was rather anaemic. The response did improve, though. It is announced that at Destination X the X-Division champ will get a title shot. He then rambles on, and calls the crowd Macho Man. WTF? He is interrupted by Anderson and the rest of Aces & Eights and this just dropped another three notches. Anderson rambles. Hogan rambles. This lasts waaaaaaaaay too long.


6. Hogan announces a 6-man match: Mr Anderson, Garrett Bischoff and Briscoe v Magnus, Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy. All that talking to set up this match?


7. Hardy’s make-up is just Egyptian eyes and Shawn Michaels’ beard. Oh, and body paint. And his pop is not roof blow-off.


8. Why is Anderson still employed? He sucked at Jokers Wild, and he sucked here. He was the worst wrestler on the A&8s side. Yes, worse than Bischoff.


9. Magnus is one of the most underrated wrestlers in either company. Joe is one of the most over wrestlers today. And this seems to be one case where the break-up of a tag team has not resulted in absolute hatred between the former members.


10. Look, this was an okay match, with a nice finishing sequence, and the crowd got into it. 6.5/10


11. Borash does a nice bit about 11 years ago. I like Borash. But he interviews Joseph Park, and, sorry, but after Jokers Wild I’ve had enough of him, and I had already had enough of Abyss. A&8s jump him before Devon’s match with him, though.


12. Gut check tournament final – Jay Bradley v Sam Shaw. Crowd doesn’t seem to care for either guy. Match was not a good one. Bradley wins with the “boom stick” lariat and goes into the Bound For Glory series. 3.5/10


13. Borash’s backstage interview with Roode and Aries was actually entertaining.


14. TV Title match doesn’t happen because Joseph Park can’t answer the 10-count to even make it to the ring. Devon then runs down Park, and his brother Abyss and says that if Abyss was there, he’d beat him too. Of course, that brings out Abyss, so instead we have TV title: Devon (c) v Abyss. Interesting way to do this.


15. Well, good to see that Abyss is still just Abyss. Abyss wins with the usual. New champ. 4/10


16. TNA hall of fame announcement is next, and all the TNA stars (except Aces & Eights) come out to hear it, which is a really good touch. Makes it feel less corporate.


17. Kurt Angle is a good choice and he looks genuinely surprised by it. He delivers a really good speech, and even thanks Jeff Jarrett. Everyone sort of breaks Kayfabe – even Taz – and that adds a strangely surreal touch. So positives and negatives for doing the Hall of Fame this way.


18. Bad Influence with Borash and they deliver a very fine promo. The tag team promos have been really good tonight.


19. Video recap of Storm picking Gunner. Having seen him at Jokers Wild, I think it’s actually not a bad choice.


20. Four team tag team elimination title match: Bad Influence (Kazarian and Daniels) v Austin Aries & Bobby Roode v James Storm & Gunner v Hernandez & Chavo Guerrero Jr (c). Elimination rules is a great idea.


21. Long opening sequence before Bad Influence are first eliminated via belt-assisted DQ. Then Aries rolls up Chavo straight away for the second elimination so we will get new champs. This match has been non-stop. Aries eats a Storm superkick into a Gunner torture rack for the submission win, giving us new tag team champs – Storm & Gunner. 7.5/10. Yeah, good match, though I question Gunner kicking out of a 450 and using a torture rack as a finisher.


22. Borash with Brooke Hogan. She’s getting better with her delivery. Not great, but better. Borash asks about her still loving Bully Ray and she excuses herself and leaves. Short and made its point without belabouring it.


23. Last knockout standing match: Gail Kim v Taryn Terrell. ODB is new Knockouts ref, and it’s odd having a ref bigger than the competitors.


24. This match has been getting a lot of love, and that’s because it is probably the best women’s match on TNA or WWE for a long, long time. Terrell wins when Kim can’t answer a 10-count after a diamond cutter from the ramp to the floor. According to the audience: “holy sh*t.” Holy sh*t indeed. 7/10


25. The video recap of Styles v Angle did not help me make sense of the reason they’re fighting.


26. Kurt Angle v AJ Styles, from a wrestling standpoint, was the match of the night. By far. A very mat-based style of match – different to the fights they’ve had in the past – and damn if the counters and reversals of submission moves didn’t look fine. Angle won with a double leg takedown into a stack-up pin (according to Taz). 8.5/10


27. The wrong guy went over. AJ is a lone wolf, and that’s the storyline, and that’s cool. It’s vaguely different. So why in the hell did he lose? It said he might be a loner, but he’s also a Loser. How does that elevate the storyline? I guess we’ll wait and see but it felt counterproductive to me.


28. Bully Ray tells the camera that he’s going to piledrive Sting. Interestingly different promo.


29. Main event world heavyweight championship no holds barred match: Sting v Bully Ray (c), where if Sting loses he can never wrestle again for the TNA heavyweight title (whew!). The first 80% of the match was an intense brawl, although Sting kicking out of things like a powerbomb through a table and a piledriver on the exposed wood of the ring seemed a little over the top. Still, the brawl concept well hid the deficiencies of both men.


30. Brooke coming out and looking concerned was an odd distraction.


31. To the crowd: ECW is dead and the corpse is owned by Vince. Chanting “E-C-Dub” is really meaningless nowadays. On the other hand, your “Holy sh*t” chant was more than warranted, and then the “TNA” chant was much better.


32. The ridiculously overbooked ending actually detracted from the start of the match. What could have been a great, different sort of match become an nWo styled beat-down. All that was missing was a can of spray paint.


33. Where in the hell were the rest of the good guys when Aces and Eights were beating down on Sting?


34. Bully Ray won with a Greco-Roman hammer shot to Sting’s head. 6.5/10


35. Average match rating: 6.3


36. Actually this was a good PPV. A few low points, and a stupidly overbooked ending, but generally an entertaining show.




DISCLAIMER: I have been accused in comments and by email of not knowing what I am talking about when it comes to professional wrestling. So these simple thoughts are merely those of someone who has been watching wrestling for more than 30 years and has been stepping into the ring as an appallingly underskilled indy jobber for nigh on 20 years, as a former state level gymnast and as one of the worst boxers in the history of the sport. I apologise for knowing nothing.


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No Chance – Sierra, Hotel, and all Those Other Words (The Shield) Wed, 08 May 2013 15:00:22 +0000 If we were to all list our top five favorite things happening in the WWE right now, I think that the Shield would be on almost every single one of those lists, and quite possibly in many cases sitting at the very top of the list. It seems to be the rare case where the mob of wrestling internet fans and WWE creative have similar levels of faith in the same group of guys. Ever since their debut last November, The Shield has been booked to look strong against some of the heaviest hitters in the company including some part timers bordering on legend status. And the matches that The Shiled have been involved in have been almost universally fantastic including a Match of the Year contender at TLC last December. That being said, The Shield is fast approaching six months of active in ring work as a group. It’s time to start wondering what WWE might have in store for the group. So lets take a look at  what some of the more popular possibilities may be.

The Shield goes for Gold: With them feuding with Team Friendship over the past couple of weeks, it would seem that a shot at the tag team championship would happen soon for The Shield. The first question in this scenario would be which two of the three Shield members would be wearing the titles, but that question could be taken care of by other popular rumors that Dean Ambrose would be gunning for the USA championship leaving the other two to get the tag titles. Have all of this happen in a single PPV, and you’ll go have The Shield going from nothing to the holders of three belts all in the span of a matter of hours. Surely that would mean great things for the Shield? Well maybe not. First of all, while The Shield has technically been three guys all working together for a common goal, Dean Ambrose has always felt like the unofficial leader of the group. Maybe it’s because of all the hype the Internet was giving the guy before he ever came on, or maybe it’s because he has the best mic skills of the three, but whatever the reason, Ambrose seems like the voice, and therefore the brains of The Shield. Give him a title that’s different from the other two, and you’ll really cement the idea that they are serving as backup for Leader Ambrose. And if that’s what the WWE wants, to have Ambrose be the breakout star of the group, that’s fine, but the thing is, Having the USA title won’t really achieve that. In his time with the Shield, Ambrose has attacked and gone up against the likes of John Cena, The Undertaker, Ryback, and The Rock. These are guys who, to be honest, can’t be concerned with who the USA champion is. The mid card title is probably a step sideways at best for Ambrose and won’t really help in the long run.

The Split-up: The eventual end of all groups of two or more wrestlers. In fighting and disagreements lead to mistrust in the ring, lead to betrayals, lean to more fighting and bickering, lead to an eventual showdown at a PPV to cement the breakup of the group. This usually results in one of the members turning face or heel depending on the circumstances, and it is very possible, in fact even probable that this could happen to The Shield at some point. The problem is, these breakups are rarely good for anybody. Alex Riley broke up with the Miz and has barely been seen since. Awesome Truth broke up and R-Truth went from facing the Rock at Survivor Series to his dancing bit again. The Corre imploded and now Wade Barrett is the only member who hasn’t faded away or been put in 3MB and even he can’t seem to break out of the middle of the pack. I guess you could say the one true breaking off of a group success story from recent years would be CM Punk and Nexus, but that involved no fighting amongst members, had no final breaking point fight at a PPV, and only resulted because of Punk moving on to bigger and better things.  So WWE, when the time eventually does come to dissolve The Shield, please remember which route CM Punk took and which route Heath Slater took.

The next NWO: It’s been said more than once that the worst thing that WWE can do with the Shield is to make them into a modern day NWO. After all, remember what a mess that became, and remember how badly it ended? While I don’t deny that NWO was a mess eventually, nothing in wrestling lasts forever, and more often than not, when it does end, it tends to end awkwardly and poorly. What WWE is much more likely to focus on is the crazy amount of money NWO merchandise was making during its height and that the name can still sell DVD documentaries all these years later. And hey there are worst things that could happen. If we start adding members to The Shield like crazy, maybe the NWO formula will be followed to the letter and John Cena can take the Hogan role of surprise member of the group. Hey, at least then we’ll all get that heel turn we’ve been begging for all this time.topstory120x120-×120.jpg|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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WWE To Include A Match Featuring Chris Benoit In New DVD Set Wed, 17 Apr 2013 15:20:52 +0000 WWEDVDNews leaked a few of the matches that will be featured on the upcoming “War Games: WCW’s Most Notorious Matches” compilation DVD and one of the matches features former Four Horsemen, Chris Benoit. Here are the two matches that have been confirmed for the release and the official synopsis:

“War Games Match
Kevin Nash, Buff Bagwell, Syxx & Konnan vs. Ric Flair, Steve McMichael, Chris Benoit & Curt Hennig
Fall Brawl – 14th September, 1997

Ultimate Jeopardy Steel Cage Match
Buh Buh Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley & Mustafa Saed vs. New Jack, Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney
ECW Cyberslam – 3rd April, 1999″

“Take one part Royal Rumble, one part Survivor Series, add in two punishing steel cages – and the result is a battle that spanned two rings and cemented a legacy as one of the most unpredictable and unmistakable matches of all time: War Games. WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes – the mind behind the mayhem – introduces some of the most famous War Games matches (featuring Ric Flair, Sting, the nWo, and more) and gives viewers a comprehensive look inside NWA/WCW s most innovative concept that revolutionized sports entertainment.”

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Wrestling Is An Artform (45 Photos) Fri, 23 Nov 2012 16:56:59 +0000  

Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers from everyone at Inside Pulse! Since it’s a slow news week/weekend, I decided to post a new “Wrestling Is An Artform” where we feature prominent artwork featuring the world of pro-wrestling.

As always, if you’d like to know or are the artist(s) of a particular piece, please leave a comment and I will reply as soon as possible.

Wrestling Art 11-12 (1) Wrestling Art 11-12 (10) Wrestling Art 11-12 (11) Wrestling Art 11-12 (12) Wrestling Art 11-12 (13) Wrestling Art 11-12 (14) Wrestling Art 11-12 (15) Wrestling Art 11-12 (16) Wrestling Art 11-12 (17) Wrestling Art 11-12 (18) Wrestling Art 11-12 (19) Wrestling Art 11-12 (2) Wrestling Art 11-12 (20) Wrestling Art 11-12 (21) Wrestling Art 11-12 (22) Wrestling Art 11-12 (23) Wrestling Art 11-12 (24) Wrestling Art 11-12 (25) Wrestling Art 11-12 (26) Wrestling Art 11-12 (27) Wrestling Art 11-12 (28) Wrestling Art 11-12 (29) Wrestling Art 11-12 (3) Wrestling Art 11-12 (30) Wrestling Art 11-12 (31) Wrestling Art 11-12 (32) Wrestling Art 11-12 (33) Wrestling Art 11-12 (34) Wrestling Art 11-12 (35) Wrestling Art 11-12 (36) Wrestling Art 11-12 (37) Wrestling Art 11-12 (38) Wrestling Art 11-12 (39) Wrestling Art 11-12 (4) Wrestling Art 11-12 (40) Wrestling Art 11-12 (41) Wrestling Art 11-12 (42) Wrestling Art 11-12 (43) Wrestling Art 11-12 (44) Wrestling Art 11-12 (45) Wrestling Art 11-12 (5) Wrestling Art 11-12 (6) Wrestling Art 11-12 (7) Wrestling Art 11-12 (8) Wrestling Art 11-12 (9) topstory120x120-|topstory120x120 topstory500x250-|topstory500x250

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Scott’s November PPV Countdown: WCW World War III 1996 Thu, 22 Nov 2012 05:39:39 +0000 The SK Retro Rant for WCW World War III 96

– Well, in one of those wacky coincidences, this show was on the same tape as Buried Alive, which I did last week, so I figured I might as well get this one wrapped up as well.  (2012 Scott sez:  Remember the days of plugging a tape into the VCR and finding surprise shows on there?  Good times.) 

– Minor clarification from The Final Thunder Rant: When I said “one of these days I’m going to write a book about WCW” I wasn’t kidding around. In fact, I had a proposal for a book tentatively titled “The Wrong Stuff” as a followup to The Buzz on Professional Wrestling (available NOW on or a Barnes & Noble near YOU), but a couple of people in the publishing biz talked me out of it at the last minute and got me to switch to a WWF-oriented book instead. (By “talked me out of it” I mean “Offered me money to do a WWF book and didn’t offer me money to do a WCW book”.)  As Randy Newman said, it’s money that matters. (Like I just said.  Besides, the RD Reynolds “Death of WCW” book is much better than mine would have been anyway.)  I’m shooting for Winter 2001 or so as my goal to get the WWF book out, assuming a publisher goes for it, and the WWF doesn’t get pissy about my calling it “Tonight…In This Very Ring!”  (It came out in early 2002 in fact, and that was the final title as well.  For those who have asked in the past, Buzz was a “work for hire” deal where I basically signed on to assist with someone else’s book, and then the original author flaked out and I was left to write the entire thing myself.  As a result, I only made about half of what I would make for future books and I had to share the credit with someone else, even though it was 100% my writing.  The rumor at the time is that it was RSPW personality Jack Epstein who had the original deal, but I honestly have zero insight on the matter because I was too busy cackling with glee at the giant pile of US cash that I received for a few weeks’ work.  After it was released, the editor quit the publisher and started a literary agency with me as one of the first clients,, of which I am still technically a client.  The rest of my books were then pitched and credited solely by myself.  For anyone who wants to get involved with writing books, I will say that online publishing is a GODSEND because now I can publish whatever I want on whatever timeframe I want and call it whatever I want and get paid almost right away.  Kindle Publishing is AWESOME and I will never go back to physical book publishing again.) 

– Live from Norfolk, VA.

– Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Dusty.

- Opening match, J-Crown title: Ultimo Dragon v. Rey Mysterio Jr.

WCW was still billing him as “Ultimate Dragon” at this point, but since they’re not around to defend themselves anymore I’m going to wilfully ignore that bit of stupidity from now on. Dragon starts with a headlock, into a wristlock and armbar takedown. Rey goes to the knee, but Dragon keeps him grounded and slams him for two. They trade a hammerlock and Dragon flips out of a wristlock. Complex criss-cross sequence goes nowhere, but looks nice. Dragon gets the kick combo, but Rey charges and goes to the apron, then gets dropkicked to the floor. Suplex in is reversed by Rey, reversed again to a german suplex by Dragon for two. Dragon drops him facefirst off a whip and throws some stiff kicks. Spinning backbreaker drop and Rey seeks refuge. Dragon goes into a half-crab, then a powerbomb -> hotshot combo for two. Spinebuster and he pulls out the Giant Swing. Interesting stylistic choice there, and I’ll leave it at that. Rey heads to the floor, and back in where Dragon hits a fisherman’s buster for two. Brainbuster gets two. Vicious. Suplex is reversed to a small package by Rey for two, but Dragon lays in the kicks again and goes to a legbar. Tombstone gets two. Dropkick puts Rey on the floor, and Dragon sends him to the railing. He tombstones him on the floor, hits a pescado onto him, and Rey is DEAD. Back in, they go up and Dragon gets a top rope rana for two. Running Ligerbomb gets two. Rey gets a quick leg lariat and double-jump moonsault for two, however. A springboard dropkick puts Dragon out, and Rey follows with a springboard somersault plancha. Back in, sunset flip gets two, reversed for two. Rey cartwheels into a rana for two. Dragon gets a Dragon suplex for two. Powerbomb is reversed by Rey into his rollup for two. The springboard rana is caught, however, and Dragon finishes with a slingshot powerbomb for the pin at 13:46. Quite the opener there. **** A bit one-sided for Dragon for my liking, though.

- Evil nWo Ref Nick Patrick v. Chris Jericho.

Chris is being managed by Teddy Long here, for reasons which I can’t be bothered to remember or care about. (I can’t remember either.)  Oh, and he has to wrestle with one hand behind his back. Jericho legsweeps Patrick and hiptosses him, and Patrick bails. Nick’s selling is so overblown as to be hilarious. Remember, future wrestlers, overselling can always be toned down, but once you get into the habit of no-selling, you’re only one step away from being Hawk. (Also, once you start injecting yourself with monkey hormones to evade steroid testing, you’re also going down that road.   Hawk was a messed up guy.)  Jericho grabs a hammerlock, and hits the spinkick in the corner. Hiptoss and Patrick escapes again. Back in, Jericho casually kicks away and Patrick runs again. Jericho clotheslines him and he runs again. Jericho chases, but hits the ringpost by mistake and Patrick takes over. Back in, necksnap and Patrick demonstrates his fisticuffsmanship. A blind charge hits boot, and Jericho comes back. Backdrop, and Patrick runs again. Back in, Nick hits a running forearm and goes to the top rope (?!) Well, just guess how that ends up. Jericho superkicks him for the easy pin at 8:02. I don’t see what purpose giving this 8 minutes served, but it didn’t feel like an eternity or anything, always a good sign for this sort of match. *1/2 (Nick was a pretty decent worker before he became a ref, actually.) 

- Jeff Jarrett v. The Giant.

For those without your nWo scorecard, this was after Giant turned nWo for the first time. Jarrett attacks to start out, but gets nowhere. Finally Giant gets bored and clotheslines him. Blind charge misses and Jarrett dropkicks him into the corner. He runs into a big boot, however, and Giant’s big elbow gets two. Giant keeps pounding at him at will, as we find Sting brooding in the rafters. Big boot and legdrop, but he misses the pump splash and Jarrett hits a bodypress for two. Giant falls out of the ring as Sting walks in, destroys Jarrett (in an angle that was never really explained) and Giant finishes with AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH THECHOKESLAM at 6:04. Just a match. ½*  (Yeah, what WAS with that Sting/Jarrett storyline, anyway?  Obviously JJ bailed and jumped back to the WWF before it could be paid off, but what the heck was the payoff supposed to be?) 

– Come with us now to Jurassic Park, as Roddy Piper calls out the nWo so he can sign his big contract with Hollywood Hogan. Hogan’s busy, so a freshly-turned Bischoff has power of attorney. (Just like real life, more or less.)  Dibiase and Vincent/Virgil get in his face, so Piper goes into a senile diatribe against Bischoff. Hogan and his cronies join us, he talks, Piper talks, Bischoff talks, I snore, the contract is signed, nWo beatdown follows. WCW: The pioneers of using one PPV to hype another PPV. (TNA of course has it down to an artform now, whereas WWE has progressed to the point of using PPV to hype TV shows.) 

- The Amazing French Canadians v. Harlem Heat.

The Canadians are of course Jacques Rougeau and Pierre Oulette, on a brief layover in WCW before Vince would steal them back again in time to do nothing with them. The talent raids weren’t all wine and roses, you know. The storyline here, as it were, saw Parker leaving Sherri at the alter for Madusa, and then defecting to Canada to manage the Amazing French Canadians. If the Heat win, Sherri gets five minutes with him. The aborted wedding from the Clash of Champions is a work of such sublimely horrible acting, writing and execution that if was any promotion other than WCW, one would think it was brilliant self-parody. Sadly, it’s WCW, so they actually wrote it that way. (Look for it to get ripped off on RAW any time now.)  Jacques works on Booker with a headlock, but gets kicked in the face and the Heat double-team him. Pierre comes in with a lariat on Stevie, and nefarious heel tactics follow. Pierre gets caught in the wrong corner and double-teamed some more. Booker hits the axe kick, but misses an elbow. SPINAROONIE, SPINAROONIE, SPINAROONIE. Mark Madden must be SO happy to know that years from now, that’ll be the sum total of his contributions to the wrestling world. Jacques pulls down the top rope, and Booker hits the floor. I’m both shocked and appalled at this behavior. Booker T is YOUR minority-in-peril. The Canadians hit a double goozle and Jacques slams Pierre onto Booker for two. Jacques hooks a Boston Crab and Pierre drops a leg. Match has no heat whatsoever. Hot tag Stevie Ray. He presses Jacques onto Pierre and katie bar the door and all that. Ref is bumped and the Canadians hit a spike piledriver and bring a table in. And two sets of stairs. So one set goes on the mat, the table goes on the top rope, and the other set goes onto the table. This isn’t the least bit contrived, nope. Pierre goes on top of the stairs on the table, and Jacques brings him down onto Booker, but it misses (duh), and the Harlem Hangover puts the match out of it’s misery at 9:16. *

- Sista Sherri v. Robert Parker.

She pounds him, he runs. Silly but fun. Sadly, the announcers ruin it by completely overstating the comedic nature of the match (with Tony calling it the funniest thing he’s ever seen in his 20 years of announcing or some such nonsense) until the effect is completely ruined by the unhip announce crew pounding the point home.  (SOUND FAMILIAR?!)

- Cruiserweight title match: Dean Malenko v. Psychosis.

Dean works the knee on the mat to start. A surfboard rollup gets two and they exchange headlocks. They trade wristlocks, which goes nowhere. Dean goes back to the leg, crowd gets REALLY bored. Psychosis makes the ropes, and Dean goes back to the leg. Psychosis comes back with a leg lariat and a dropkick puts Dean on the floor. Psychosis blows a tope and hits the railing. Back in, Dean hooks a headscissor on the mat, then drops a leg for two. Into a half-crab, tiger driver, and cloverleaf, but Psychosis makes the ropes. Dean dropkicks the knee and works on it. Psychosis tries a monkey flip but ends up on the floor. Dean follows and slams him, then comes off the apron with a somersault senton. Back in, legdrop gets two. Dean goes up and gets crotched, and Psychosis gets a rana for two. Dean reverses a suplex for two, but takes a heel kick. Tombstone reversal sequence ends in Dean’s favor, for two. Rollup and bridge get the pin to retain at 14:35. I don’t know what happened here, but neither guy seemed into it and the fans were gonzo as a result. **1/4

- WCW World tag title: The Outsiders v. The Feces of Fear v. The Nasty Boys.

Big brawl to start, and they be clubberin, Tony, but jus’ a lil’. Nasties double-team Barbarian for two. I briefly consider doing this entire match recap in Dusty-ese, but it might turn into one of those deals where a person becomes a stutterer by doing it himself. (The story that Randy Bachman always tells is that his younger brother used to always do a joke stutter, until he one day found himself with an actual speech impediment, which was then referenced in “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” as an homage to him.)  Sags legdrop gets two. The Faces of Fear do some clubberin’ as the champs relax on the apron. Art imitates life. Nash tags himself in and executes some of his precision offense on Knobs. He misses a blind charge, but tags in Meng. Funny how a month ago Meng jumping to the WWF was considered a fairly big deal, and now they’re gonna get the entire promotion. (And yet Meng disappeared completely before the Invasion even started.  That Haku appearance at the Royal Rumble was the true death knell for WCW, when Vince could just casually sign away their champions and not even make a big deal out of it anymore.)  Life is funny. Meng is not. Hall comes in and pounds on Barbarian, but gets clotheslined. Hall lets Knobs in instead, and THEY BE SIX-WAY CLUBBERIN’, TONY! Bobby has some trouble grasping the vernacular as Sags piledrives Barbarian for two. Nash gets a sideslam for two. Hall comes in and gets double-teamed by the Faces for two. Barbarian and Knobs go next, and the Nasties work the knee over. This may be the most boring match ever. No storyline, no flow, no heat, no defined babyfaces, no point, no doubt as to who would win. That’s a bad run of factors. Hall continues working that knee, and a brawl erupts. Nash kills Meng to end that. Barbarian comes back in and gets Nasticized. Barbarian and Knobs tag in the Outsiders against each other in a spot lifted to the molecule from Summerslam 96. Nash lays down for Hall in a finish which the WWF would in turn lift from here two years later for the New Age Outlaws. Nash would in turn modify it into the Fingerpoke of Doom and kill the company as an indirect result. So if you want to know where the downfall of WCW came from, look no further than Summerslam 96. Hall grabs the megaphone, nails Knobs, and the Poochiebomb finishes for real at 16:07. Somewhat like a root canal, without the cheerful upside. ¼*

- World War III:

WCW makes no attempt to have a coherent listing of the participants or give me a chance to note them all, but from what I could catch on the rushed ring entrances we’ve got Lex Luger, Eddy Guerrero, Jim Powers, DDP, Kenny Kaos, Robby Rage, VK Wallstreet, Marcus Bagwell, Scotty Riggs, Craig Pittman, Booker T, Stevie Ray, Big Bubba, Hugh Morrus, Konnan, Steve Regal, La Parka, Pez Whatley, Mongo, Disco, Rentagade, Joe Gomez, Meng, Barbarian, Bunkhouse Buck, Arn Anderson, Rocco Rock, Johnny Grunge, Ciclope, Syxx, Hall, Nash, Giant, Scott Norton, Dragon, Mike Enos, Mysterio, Roadblock, Juice Train, Jack Boot, Jim Duggan, Chris Benoit, Juvy, Jacques, Pierre, Prince Iaukea, Malenko, Jarrett, Bobby Eaton, Dave Taylor, Jericho, Alex Wright, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner and Kevin Sullivan. (Only 7 dead, although part of me thinks that Roadblock is dead too, but I’m not sure.)  Anyone else left unaccounted for is inconsequential. Horsemen and Dungeon of Doom brawl at ringside before we even begin. Benoit and Sullivan fight into the crowd and up and down the stairs. I can’t even follows this mess. The ref throw the entire group of heels out of the match completely. Tony Rumble and Ciclope go out first off-screen, as does Mike Enos. Poor Mike – he was involved in the moment that kicked off the biggest angle in WCW history and he was jobbing again two months later. Luger tosses La Parka. Speaking of which, my overall take on the WCW death can best be summed up by something DVDVR contributor John Pelan once said, which is basically that any company that has a guy in a skeleton suit who dances and plays guitar with a chair, and can’t draw children, doesn’t deserve to be in business in the first place. Norton goes, as does Whatley. Galaxy, Rentagade, and Jimmy Graffiti all get tossed by the nWo, as does Mark Starr. I suppose if I really cared about the match I could go back up to the top of the paragraph and add all these names to the master list, but if WCW doesn’t care, then I don’t either. Prince goes bye, as does Kenny Kaos. That’ll change the whole complexion of the match! The nWo stands around doing nothing. Joe Gomez goes flying. The announcing you hear here has almost nothing to do with what you see on the screen in any of the little boxes. NWO tosses Roadblock, while in another ring everyone gangs up on Ron Studd and dogpile him in a funny spot. I forget if Ron Studd was the Yeti and/or the same guy as Ron Reis, but he’s another big useless dipshit at any rate. (I believe he was Yeti, yes, and was supposed to be the son of John Studd in kayfabe.)  Oulette and Rougeau go out, but take Duggan with them. The American Males eliminate each other and squabble, as Eaton goes out. DDP puts Wallstreet out. Jericho dropkicks Juvy over the top as the rings start merging. Eddy & DDP on the way over. Hall puts Jack Boot out. Speaking of DeWayne Bruce, someone page Wrestlecrap and remind them about Jack Boot. (That was yet another gimmick for Buddy Lee Parker, in case you’ve blocked it out like me.)  Grunge goes over the top as well. Jarrett puts Malenko out, DDP dumps Pittman. The nWo tosses Booker T, Disco, Bunkhouse Buck, and Stevie Ray. Ron Studd and Rick Steiner go, as does Ultimo Dragon and Alex Wright and the eliminations are going so fast I have to keep pausing the tape to keep up with them all. Jericho gone, Juice Train gone. So we’ve got the nWo against Luger, Jarrett, Regal, Guerrero, Mysterio and DDP kind of floating in the middle. Eddy goes fast. Giant tosses Rey out one-handed. Hall Edges Jarrett and he’s gone. DDP charges Regal and he’s finished, then the nWo dumps Regal. So it’s Luger against Hall, Nash, Syxx and Giant. Giant misses a charge and gets racked. Hall tries the Edge and gets tossed. Syxx gets tossed. Nash gets racked, so Giant dumps both guys and wins the thing at 28:25. His title shot would come at the first ever Souled Out in 1997. nWo poses, end of show. I don’t rate battle royales, but as a rule if you see “World War III” you know it sucks.

The Bottom Line: A couple of mildly entertaining matches to start, but there’s just nothing in the midcard to support the show, and the main event collapses under it’s own weight as usual, so by the end there’s nothing left to recommend here.

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The Common Denominator – Bring the Drama (WWE, CM Punk, John Cena, Ryback, Survivor Series, The Walking Dead, NWO, DX, Vince McMahon) Fri, 09 Nov 2012 23:37:36 +0000 Where’s the drama? Where’s the suspense? Where’s the cohesive storytelling?

The WWE touts Raw as “the longest running weekly episodic television show in the history of the universe” or whatever. To me, though, the key word there is “episodic.”

By definition, episodic means made up of separate but connected episodes. You know, the cast of characters, the plotline, the overall theme of the show makes sense from one episode to the next. On every episode of Seinfeld, George was the neurotic friend, Kramer was the wacky neighbor and Elaine was the cynical ex-girlfriend. That never changed. Jerry never left his apartment to find that George and Weezy had moved in next door. And on shows where the cast did change, like say ER, there was almost always a totally believable storyline to explain the change.

Now, I’m not saying that Raw is highbrow television, but I need things to kind-of, you know, make sense from week to week. Even if it’s over-the-top, I want to see a story unfold. I want characters I can invest in and care about their fate. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw the WWE pull that off for a sustained period. Yeah, a lot of you might be screaming “SUMMER OF PUNK” at me here, but, and I am not the first to point this out, they took what could have been a great, red-hot, months-long angle, possibly strung out all the way to Wrestlemania or at least the Royal Rumble, and instead fast-tracked it, diluted it with the injection of Kevin Nash, HHH, John Laurainitis, and crammed everything into a few weeks.

I’m not a professional wrestling television show writer. But I am a writer. I don’t claim to be anything special, but just some background here…I write for a living. I am a newspaper reporter. I write dramas for my church. I have had plays produced. I have written two full-length novels (which have received very nice rejection letters). I have written for online news sites and this site. Again, I am no (insert your favorite writer here), but I know my way around the written word. I know how to tell a story. The people currently producing programming for the WWE do not know how to tell a story.

Yes, they are likely hampered by Vince MeMahon’s “creative” authority, but something has got to get through, right? I’m trying to think about well-received plot points in recent memory. Kane and Daniel Bryan had a few weeks of funny stuff, mostly thanks to the dry wit of Glen Jacobs and the unkillable heat for Bryan (though God knows they’ve tried). But even that has already become repetitive. AJ was so hot she was glowing during the Punk-Bryan angle, but they totally overexposed her, changed her character, and stuck her in a completely unsuited GM role. Brock Lesnar’s return was, at least in my opinion, completely botched. I hope, just to show them, when they do bring him back, the WWE “Universe” completely craps on him like they did for the Lesnar-Goldberg joke at Wrestlemania. This entire year has been filled with false starts, fizzled plots and, sorry but flat-out boring storylines. The last time I was truly excited was when I though Santino Marella was going to get the World Heavyweight Title at Elimination Chamber. No, I wasn’t expecting him to keep it more than a week, but it was the perfect time in terms of Santino being at the peak of his popularity, Bryan being the heel people wanted to see lose, and the live crowd begging for the upset. In other words, it was everything they WISHED was going on at Hell in a Cell with CM Punk and Ryback.

Which leads me to Survivor Series. I don’t know the exact circumstances surrounding the complete overhaul of the top of the card, but whatever it was, it just smacked of terrible planning and writing. Vince has become his own deux ex machina. I guess it was a combination of being afraid of having two straight pay-per-views without John Cena on the card, a continued less than desired reaction for Ryback, and the idea that “holy crap, we’ve put all our top guys in one match and boy does it suck!” I mean seriously, that original traditional Survivor Series match roster looked like crap. I’m not saying it’s any better now, but at least it’s not the Main Event.

The real problem for me is how we got to where we are now. It was supposed to be this grudge between Punk and Foley. First, Foley is taken out of the match. Not with a mega-beatdown from Team Punk, with Ryback making the save, but just by saying, “Oh, I’m not in the match, haha!” Then, Punk is taken out of the match as well so that he can defend the WWE title against Ryback and Cena in a three-way. Why wasn’t that the Main Event of Hell in a Cell. Cena couldn’t go? Are you saying he couldn’t even make a token showing in a triple threat match where anything goes and his participation could have been minimal and could have happened without any effect on the finish they went with?

No? Well, anyway, what was the dramatic storyline that got Punk pulled from the match and put in the title match? Oh, that’s right, there wasn’t one. Vince just came out and completely neutered Vickie Guerrero’s character’s authority and made the match. No explanation, no build up. Just “this is what we’re doing, not that other thing we were going to do.”

I mentioned episodic storytelling at the beginning of this (before I went completely down the rabbit-hole with my bitch-fest, sorry about that). They used to be able to pull this sort of thing off all the time. Even WCW, for all of their faults once Nash got the book, told great long stories and even paid them off sometimes. The original Austin-McMahon feud, the rise of Goldberg, the NWO, the Ministry of Darkness, the Harts vs. the USA, the Nation of Domination, the return of Sting. Hell, the storyline modes on WWE ’12 and WWE ’13 are better than what’s been on my TV lately.

Here’s an idea. Since they seem to be willing to just change things on a whim at this point, let’s just wrap up our current storylines at Survivor Series and start fresh. I’m going to borrow from one of my favorite shows on TV right now, The Walking Dead. For the uninitiated, it’s the story of a group of survivors following a zombie apocalypse and their ongoing efforts to remain survivors (not all of them do). Now, I’m not saying we need a zombie apocalypse on WWE TV (but I’m not saying we don’t, heh!), but we need a threat. A very real threat. Remember how great the Nexus angle was when it started before it became apparent that no one in that group was going to be allowed to get over on any of the top guys? Well, something like that. Spend the time between Survivor Series and…what is December’s pay-per-view? I’m not taking the time to look it up now, let’s just call it Decembergeddon and move on. Okay, start introducing new talent call-ups. I know they’re there. You can even sprinkle in some guys already around, like Ted DiBiase and Michael McGillicutty. In fact, that might be better, Anyway, have them debut/re-debut, maybe one or two per show in singles matches, and have them, you know, win. Not against top guys, but I think Jack Swagger, Santino, Zack Ryder, Primo, Hunico, the Usos, whoever, can take the loss. Have the announcers make subtle references to the new wave of hungry young talent making their mark in the WWE. Then, at Decembergeddon (or whatever) one of the new guys, let’s just say McGilli—I’m just going to call him Joe Hennig. Hennig gets a shot at the U.S. or Intercontinental title and wins. At the end of the match, the rest of the new guys (let’s say there are eight of them in all) come out and celebrate with Hennig, which is odd, because none of them are booked on the show. Then the group proceeds to come out at the end of every match and beat down one or both participants in the match. By the last couple of matches, the guys in the ring are paranoid and begin watching for the interference, but they start coming out of the crowd then, and finally in the main event, probably CM Punk vs. John Cena (sigh), they run in before the match ends, beating everyone down in sight and then just leave.

The next night on Raw, they open the show declaring something edgy about the backstage politics and the glass ceiling and they can even have put together old clips of things like Vince McMahon’s “Ruthless Aggression” speech, the NWO, Austin and DX’s anti-authoritarian stances, some of Cena’s edgier stuff and some of CM Punk’s “pipe bombs.” Then they make some statement akin to “Why are we acting like this? Where did we learn this from? From you! We learned it from watching YOU!” Then they can proclaim themselves the Progeny or the Offspring or the Reaping or whatever. The point is, everyone is on alert about this new threat.

Something like this…

They start taking people out. Start with guys that need time off, are nearing the end of their contracts, or they just don’t have anything for. They get taken out and are off television indefinitely. Then you get down to a dozen or so “survivors.” CM Punk can be the leader (the Rick, for you Walking Dead fans), and Randy Orton can be his loose cannon buddy (the Shane of the group, if you follow). Throw in Cena, Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, maybe a dozen or up to 15 guys altogether, and maybe a few Divas for good measure, assuming the Progeny (or whatever) have a Diva or two of their own. Matches are no longer just about winning or losing. There is a real threat during every match. Paranoia sets in. Even authority figures get taken out. Give the Progeny (or whatever) complete run of the Royal Rumble only to bring out a potential savior at the end. It can be the Rock, Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, whoever, who wins the rumble but then gets destroyed.

Over the next few months, you can have some of the guys that were taken out make surprise returns, like in the movies when you think that one guy is dead in the second act, but he shows up at the end to fight the monster and save the day. Some of the new guys that aren’t really catching on can be culled, there can be converts from one side to the other. Anyway, you state building toward the big finish. Bring in all these guys like Rock and Lesnar and Undertaker to help even the odds. There can be in-fighting within the two factions. This really could go on for months. And whichever of the new guys stands out, that’s your next wave of top guys.

Now is any of this going to happen? Not likely. Especially with tentative plans for 2013 already (probably) put together. But who knows? They have already shown their willingness to change direction with all the grace of a newborn giraffe, so I guess anything’s possible. I just want it to make sense.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Feel free to join the Common Denomi-Nation in the comments below.
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Cover & Details About The WWE’s Newest NWO DVD Release Fri, 14 Sep 2012 19:10:28 +0000 Courtesy of WWEDVDNews, here is the cover photo and synopsis for WWE’s upcoming DVD on the nWo. The three-disc DVD and two-disc Blu-ray will be released on November 6th.

“In the mid-90s, a malicious group of renegades ‘invaded’ World Championship Wrestling, shaking the landscape of the sports-entertainment world and turning the tables on Monday Night War. Little did anyone know, the shock of the century was yet to come. When Hulk Hogan did the unthinkable and turned his back on the fans, The Outsiders had officially become The New World Order, and chaos ensued. Now, relive the history of one of the most infamous and controversial factions of all time with this brand new documentary. Get the inside scoop from those who lived it, such as Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, as well as new interviews from Superstars who were inspired and enthralled by the nWo. Also featuring the definitive matches and moments from the era, including battles for the WCW World Heavyweight title, stunning defections to the nWo and the internal strife that eventually tore the group apart.”

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Future WWE DVD And Blu Ray Releases Wed, 05 Sep 2012 15:00:12 +0000 Here are the upcoming WWE DVDS and their expected dates:

9/11 Rock versus John Cena: Once in a Lifetime DVD and Blu-Ray

9/18 Summerslam 2012 DVD and Blu-Ray

10/9 CM Punk:Best in the World DVD and Blu-Ray

10/16 Superstar Collection – Daniel Bryan

10/16 Night of Champions 2012

10/16 WWE Superstar Collection: Rey Mysterio

10/30 Brock Lesnar: Here Comes the Pain Collector’s DVD and Blu Ray

11/6 New World Order DVD and Blu Ray

11/20 The Attitude Era DVD and Blu Ray

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PINK, BLACK AND GREASIER THAN A DEEP FRIED MARS BAR – With Zork and KON (Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels) Tue, 04 Sep 2012 11:00:09 +0000 I’m back, bitches!


My computer couldn’t handle interviews of this magnitude, so I had to invest in a new build and, contrary to popular belief, being an armchair wrestling critic doesn’t pay particularly well. I’m all up and running now though, so get ready for more of whatever-the-fuck-this-series-is-called over the next few months. I’ve got something with Blair that’s been scheduled for one fall, but today Zork is in the non-existant hot-seat…

KON: Zork (of the comments section), what’s your first memory of The Hitman?

ZORK: My first real clear memory of Bret Hart involves him in the middle of his long feud with Jerry Lawler. I remember seeing the Summerslam ’93 PPV at my grandparents’ house, me and my dad were there. I remember after Bret won via the Sharpshooter I was ecstatic, then when he didn’t let go and the decision was reversed I was PISSED. I hated Jerry Lawler back when I was a kid, looking back on it now though I love his work, and when he was more of a heel on commentary. I also got to see the Survivor Series ’93 PPV in which I saw the beginnings of Bret and Owen’s own feud that developed the following year.

KON: Lawler was a fantastic heel, he ticked all the right boxes. I remember chants of “Burger King” and whatnot leading up to that match with Bret… He just seems bored during his commentary now. He’ll throw in a word or two during each match, then read whatever shit he’s been handed about Cena/the main event. Booker has kinda taken his place as “guy that makes remarks about the wimmins” and Cole is sort of a heel, so Lawler has no real place. His commentary worked so well during the “attitude era” because JR was a friendly guy who thanked viewers for tuning in at the start of every show and whatnot. Cole’s heel commentary run would’ve been a lot better if he had a nice (or at least enthusiastic) guy to play off of.

Back to Bret…

I don’t remember a lot about his feud with Owen. I do remember completing the WWF Panini sticker collection in 94 though. Even in those little stickers, Bret looked like he needed a good shower.

ZORK: I agree with all your points on Lawler.

As for Bret and Owen’s feud, Owen was doing a good job being subtle about being a little jealous snot living in the shadow of Bret.

I remember seeing on Superstars or whatever minor show it was back then that Bret had been betrayed by Owen at the Royal Rumble in ’94 which my family skipped out on for whatever reason, where Bret had an injured leg in this tag match with the Quebecers, and Owen got mad at him and attacked him. I felt sorry for Bret and I was mad at Owen. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see Wrestlemania that year either but again I learned of the results just from watching TV and when I found out that Owen beat Bret I couldn’t believe it. But something kind of strange happened, when Owen won King of the Ring that year, I started to like him. But I always was a bit weird about liking wrestlers who were bad guys when I was younger, it just happened to where I did sort of like Owen when he was face, hated him after he turned on Bret initially, but as he continued winning
I grew to like him.

As for Bret needing a shower, and stickers, yeah he looked like he could’ve used a good shower quite a bit in the early 90s. I never collected stickers but I did usually get the old WWF trading cards. Never had a full set though.

KON: He dropped the title to Bob Backlund after the feud with Owen. I wasn’t old enough to have seen Bob’s original run, but he was fucking nuts in the 90’s (and still is, judging by his JCW appearance last year).

Hart would go on to feud with Diesel,  then had a non-title rematch against Backlund before going on to face Lawler in a “Kiss My Foot” match at KotR…

ZORK: I never saw the title match he had with Backlund but I do remember his crazy gimmick and all that. I remember watching on the C-shows they would run on Saturdays, the exact moment where Bob Backlund beat him. He had Bret in the Chickenwing, and the deal was that somebody had to throw in the towel or something for Bret to actually give up and he wouldn’t give up…I believe it was his mom Helen that was at ringside. She wouldn’t throw the towel in, but eventually Owen argued with her about it and got her to throw the towel in for him. I never saw his rematch with Backlund though.

I missed pretty much all of the WWF PPVs from 94 to 95 except for Summerslam 94, at that point in time I believe my family was more apt to watch the WCW ones. I never really favored WCW over WWF, I watched both whenever I could but I always preferred WWF even during the worst times, I think mostly because I just grew up with them and never saw anything about WCW until around 94. It sure was fun to watch guys like Sting back in those days though. I’ve seen the results of the Kiss my Foot Match and iconic the footage at the end, it’s something WWE will still bring up once in a while as they should, Bret and Lawler’s feud was pretty much one of the best ones they ever had going.

As a result of all this I did end up missing most of the important matches with Bret Hart and Diesel. I have seen their match at Survivor Series 95 which is probably the best match Kevin Nash was ever in, it was quite good. Once 96 hit I was sort of back in the swing of seeing WWF PPVs again starting with the Royal Rumble, where Bret fought Undertaker and he lost via DQ because Diesel interfered and they were continuing that feud. I did think that was lame because I did want to see Undertaker have a title reign, I always liked him as well.

KON: And then we had the 60min long Iron Man match at WrestleMania XII.

They cover the work that went into this match on the Shawn Vs. Bret: WWE’s Greatest Rivalries DVD set, and a lot of people think of it as the best match of ’96 (if not ever). What say you?

ZORK: I do think it probably was the best match of 96, that I saw anyway, even now after I’ve seen more. I’d so it probably is one of the best matches ever too. The hype the produced for this match to make it seem really important to both men involved was done very well, especially the interviews and and footage gathered when they were both training. It was a pretty unique match for everyone that only watched WWF and at that time I had never even known that an Iron Man match existed before or was done. I watched it again recently on the Shawn vs Bret DVD (Which I recommend for anyone to pick up, it’s an excellent set) and thought it held up really well and was very enjoyable.

It was interesting to see how heated the rivalry was and how angry both guys got at each other during the match, it was believable that these guys didn’t like each other. Little did we know that was actually the case later on after this match. As for how I remembered it back when I saw it in ’96, to me it was the best match ever, two of my favourite wrestlers going at it over an hour? It was pretty amazing. The results of the match were shocking and I was pretty mixed about it.

At first I remembered thinking that it was unfair to have Bret continue after a draw, and even if they were to continue Shawn was practically dead. Then when they went back at it, one Sweet Chin Music later BAM! Shawn Michaels is now the World Champion for his first time. I was disappointed but then I was also really happy for him, besides his entrance was cool. After this though I know Bret took time off, so I was watching WWF TV with Shawn as World Champion, but then some other guy was causing waves as well and then he won some PPV in 96 and cut an awesome promo or whatever…

KON: Hart feuded with Austin when he returned though. Even going as far as “quitting” because Austin won the Rumble. Their submission match at WrestleMania 13 is, again, considered one of the best matches that year.

ZORK: Another case where it was believable that neither of these guys liked each other, the promo work each guy did to build this feud was really great too. They were complete opposites in almost every way imaginable. In terms of speech, how they carry themselves, and even down to how they fought in the ring. That match is probably one of my top favorites of all time. It was really intense, and camera work was perfect, and the double turn that happened was executed perfectly. I liked Austin before but this match really sold me on him. I’d say this is easily another one of the greatest feuds in wrestling.

I continued to support Bret after his heel turn though and even during that time before where he was considered to be whiny and a choke artist so to speak. I remember feeling like he did get sort of screwed over in the odd match once in a while because of weird interference or whatever. Similar to how Stone Cold wasn’t really lying when he would always say he was being overlooked and nobody made vidoes out of him when he was hurt and he wrestled anyways. I think it was after his win at Wrestlemania though, he put together the new Hart Foundation made up of Owen, Bulldog, The Anvil, and Pillman. I don’t really remember when exactly they all got together but this group produced some interesting TV.

KON: Is it possible that Bret actually didn’t like most of the roster by this point? He considered jumping over to WCW when he took time off and he did a “worked shoot” on Vince after he returned. I really don’t think he was happy (or comfortable) as a heel.

ZORK: I don’t think so, as I recall from reading his book and other accounts (unless he and others were lying) Bret did get along with most of the locker room. Bret and Austin were actually pretty good friends during that time and still are I think, of course he got along well with Mick Foley, Undertaker, Goldust, etc. I think it was later on in 96 was when he was starting to have problems with Shawn and company. I do recall Bret saying in his book that he wasn’t comfortable being a straight up heel and doing profanity laced promos such as this:

He did like it though when he got into that unique position where he was treated as a heel in America, but he was treated as a face in Canada, most of Europe and any other parts of the world. I can’t really think of any other guy that was able to get set crowd reaction like that where if he’s in one part of the world he’s hated, but just by crossing the border or going overseas he’s more over than anyone else on the roster.

KON: Which sorta brings us to Bret v The Undertaker w/special guest referee Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam and the rematch at One Night Only. Bret considers the rematch to be his last great match with the company.

ZORK: I don’t think I’ve actually seen the One Night Only match with Taker. That match was good at Summerslam though, and they did a great job re-igniting the feud with Shawn. This time it was really different since both guys were not face, Bret’s unique position not withstanding. I was really digging Shawn’s work at this point though and early formations of DX. Looking back, Shawn was literally the hugest prick on screen.

At this point the Hart Foundation was pretty much feuding with the entire company and Shawn and his little band.

KON: Now we’re kinda at Montreal…

ZORK: Yeah… About that…

Just like when you talk about Bret Hart and can’t help but mention his tag run with the original Hard Foundation, his feud with his brother or Jerry Lawler, or the Iron Man match, Montreal can’t help but be mentioned as well. I don’t really remember a lot of the build up to Survivor Series ’97 and I did end up missing the PPV the night of, but I was able to watch it on tape on Monday and to be honest I don’t really remember any of the other matches besides The Road Warriors, Ahmed Johnson, and Ken Shamrock taking on The Nation of Domination. But, anyway, I remember the match with Bret and Shawn being good up to the point where Vince told someone to “RING THE DAMN BELL!!”, and the match abruptly ended. Everything that transpired after that was surreal. I was in literal shock of what was going on.

Bret spat in Vince McMahon’s face and proceeded to just destroy the announce table at ring side, the Hart Foundation (Minus Brian Pillman, he died a month earlier may he RIP) came out comfort or calm Bret down. Then he was spelling out WCW in the air. At first after I watched this I didn’t know what to think about it. I thought it may have been a storyline due to the nature of wrestling on TV at that time. But I was also hearing about this on the news and stuff, and eventually Raw came on that day and I watched as Shawn Michaels proceeded to mock Bret and Vince was interviewed saying the famous words “Vince McMahon didn’t screw Bret Hart, Bret screwed Bret.”.

My thoughts on the whole situation are as follows. Nobody was really in the right in this situation when it happened. It’s understandable that Vince had a fear or being embarrassed on TV again after the incident with Medusa on Nitro and the old Women’s Title, but at the same time shouldn’t he have known better? That just didn’t seem within Bret’s character as a human being to do something petty like that. At the same time, he wouldn’t have gotten himself into that situation if he did not give Bret moderate creative control in his contract, but hindsight is 20/20 and all that jazz. I’m sure Vince thought when he wrote that contract out that Bret was going to be on board until he was too old to wrestle and he would be able to honor it, and that he was basically rewarding someone who had pretty much given him his all over the years.

Then… Bret went to WCW.

KON: It was a strange situation.

I’m sure that Bret is the only wrestler in the history of the company to have signed a 20 year contract. Was he right to make a deal with WCW?

Time has shown us that it was a bad move, but back then he had Vince telling him “We’re not going to be able to value this contract” while being not only forced into a heel role, but slowly pushed out of his spot in the company. With that in mind, I can see why Vince would think “this guy might take the belt with him” (especially with Hunter and Shawn in his ear). Vince brought the whole situation on himself by handing out such a ridiculous contract in a time when profits were down and they were being slaughtered in the ratings. Was he smart enough to know that he’d have to back out of the contract and use Bret’s remaining time to make himself the biggest heel the company had ever seen? I doubt it. A lot of things that happened in the wrestling business during the 90’s (and maybe before, but I’m not as well versed in the 70’s and 80’s) seems to be a product of luck, rather than planning.

ZORK: Yeah, I don’t believe Vince planned for any of that to happen. He was just trying to deal with the situation as best he could, it just so turned out that he ended up becoming Mr. McMahon as a result of all this. Pretty crazy when you think about it like that. At the time when Bret signed his deal for WCW, he was probably thinking of just trying to keep making money for himself and his family after he’d been told that Vince would have to release him from his contract. I do remember him saying in his book that he didn’t really want to leave the WWF but felt that he had to so he could continue providing.

Hart’s deal with WCW was pretty typical of those super lucrative contracts if you were somebody, he had a $2.5 or $3 million dollar contract for three years. They did push him as a main-eventer at first at least, after his no compete clause ran out. I have to admit that the idea of Bret being in WCW sounded really cool to me, I’d get to be able to see him cross paths with Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect again. Perhaps even Sting, Hulk Hogan, DDP, anybody. Everything seemed like it should’ve been great but it didn’t end up that way. WCW pretty much signed the hottest talent in the business at the time and just after a few short months squandered him.

Even back then in ’98 when I didn’t know the full extent of what was going on I was disappointed with how Bret was being used. I thought that it didn’t make any sense that he would eventually join the NWO or whatever.

KON: The WCW run was shite. I can’t remember much of it, aside from being disappointed that we never got a real Sting v Bret match. I remember watching the Fistful of Dollars moment against Goldberg and wondering why nobody else had tried it. They just kinda fucked about for a few months before throwing an nWo shirt at him.

WCW might have gave him creative control, but he wasn’t really in a situation where he could do anything with it. Sting was tied up with the Hogan feud and you know what Hulk was up to backstage.

ZORK: Yeah the thing with Goldberg was actually pretty cool I thought. I did know that Bret had been given creative control with this contract as well but it certainly seemed like it didn’t help much, so I agree with you on that point. As ’98 rolled on, I was watching WCW less and less honestly because WWF got way more interesting in a hurry. Owen was in a pretty interesting position at first after the Screwjob though. It looked like they were making his character a kind of outsider or loose cannon kind of deal as a result of what happened with his brother but after a while all that got dropped.

I was disappointed in that, and when he eventually joined the Nation of Domination I thought “What the hell? Why would he join them? Why isn’t Owen just on his own?”, and I just sort of gave up on him for a while. I always wondered what would’ve happened if they stuck with that “Black Hart” character. But anyhow, after Stone Cold beat Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 14, I was locked into watching WWF TV. It wasn’t until ’99 when the incident at Over the Edge happened with Owen that I really bothered to watch Nitro again, but they weren’t really doing anything to commemorate him and I didn’t know at that time that Bret was out on injury and that he was taking time off to be with his family as well.

It wasn’t until October when I finally saw him come back and he had an excellent match with Chris Beniot, probably the only good match he had in WCW. I didn’t see this match again until a few years ago, but this was after the incident that cost Benoit his family and his own life. I still thought it was a great match, and it was a real feel good moment at the end between the two of them. It’s one of my favorite matches and moments in wrestling. Both guys knew each other well, and knew Owen, and they wanted to do a match in the same arena Owen was last in.

It was just a great, clean, competitive wrestling match, and one guy won and that was Bret. But after it was over, both men held each others arms up and showed respect, and embraced because they knew they did something cool for someone close to them and for themselves. They gave the fans, and Owen a great match.

KON: Vince himself has said in interviews that, had WCW built their show around Bret, the WWF would not be the company it is today. I don’t often include hypothetical questions in these interviews, but it does sort of rank up there with “What if Sheik accepted the offer to break Hogan’s legs?”…

Ignoring the whole AOL-Time Warner aspect of WCW’s demise, what do you think might have happened if Bret became the star of the show?

ZORK: Vince had gone on record a few times saying things like. At first sometime in late ’96 or early ’97 I believe, Bret had said that he had been made offers by WCW and actually told Vince about this, since they were both discussing his long term contract and how Vince may not be able to honor it. Vince had told him something like “WCW wouldn’t know what to do with a Bret Hart.”, I suppose he was correct on that point.  But I actually find the hypothetical questions about wrestling and through wrestling history fairly interesting, so I’ll indulge with gusto!

I do think that if WCW did strike when the iron was hot so to speak, and not just completely squander Bret it probably would’ve bought them some more time. But that would’ve required them to actually do some booking and reigning their damned inmates who run the asylum in. Basically I think if Bret were to have been utilized correctly in WCW it would’ve required a massive restructuring of their booking because otherwise he was pretty much…for lack of a better term, screwed. Bret was considered to be the hottest free agent on the market post Screwjob. It would be like if Sting was acquired by the WWF then.

I don’t know about you or anyone else and I could see how someone would think differently on this, but when I think back to most of the 90s and who the face of that company was, it was obviously Bret. I think you could say the same for Sting being the face of WCW until things got terrible. Getting the face of the company is a big acquisition, and you should be able to do some major business or damage with that, but that didn’t happen at all. I think another interesting question to ponder in terms of being hypothetical though is, what if Bret stayed with the WWF and Montreal was just a work? Man that would be crazy.

I know in December of ’99 Bret’s career started to come to an end due to the injuries he received from having a match with Goldberg. I gotta come clean, for a while after I found out what had actually caused Bret’s retirement, I always had some level of resentment for Goldberg and his carelessness. It was his fault that one of my favourite wrestlers of all time had to retire! Eventually I got over that though as I got older. You gotta think it’s the ultimate irony though, Bret had a reputation for being a safe worker and taking care of the other guy he would work with always, but then it turned out that another wrestler who worked somewhat recklessly injured him and ended his career.

KON: Funnily enough, I’ve spoken to other writers recently who happened to voice that same resentment.

Goldberg was “green” for sure, but I’m willing to bet that Bret had faced guys who were far “greener” in the past. Even with people who’ve had massive amounts of training, accidents happen. Every time they step into the ring, they run the risk of concussions, breakages, internal bleeding… Maybe not the risk of four or five concussions during a single match, but it’s still a relatively dangerous profession.

A lot of the greats worked stiff back in their heyday, partially due to the work they did in Japan and various other rough places. The true greats worked soft, but made it look like they killed the other guy. That’s something hard to get right. I’ve noticed with guys at the top right now, their moves tend to look really gentle (Cena placing the guy down on the mat while guiding with his free hand, Punk letting his opponents feet touch the ground for a bit too long during the GTS…).

I also noticed during the 1000th RAW that Bradshaw stiffed Heath Slater in order to get a cheap pop, as if that’s something he’d want to be known for (although, it’s slightly better than the shower thing).

I think the danger aspect is why I hate stuff like IWA Mid-South and CZW. I’m not anti-hardcore, but things like light-bulbs and plate glass are just fucking stupid. The former is extremely dangerous (with ridiculous after effects) but looks like a joke, the latter is second only to c4 in terms of things that could kill you during a wrestling match. It’s ridiculous that we still see these things in a post-Benoit world (not that he was stupid enough to use plate-glass, but considering what we’ve learned from his passing, from Bret’s stroke, from Nowinski’s situation…).

ZORK: Yeah, accidents will always happen, this ain’t ballet etc. That’s why I let it go after a while. To clarify, if someone works stiff sometimes to make things look good and it’s okay with the other guy I’m cool with that. Sometimes people take liberties though like The Rock clocking Mick Foley sixteen times with a chair in the head or whatever, that’s not cool. I’m not anti hardcore either, but there needs to be a limit.

After Bret’s stroke though, and seeing as how he would never wrestle again, I figured he would just live his life and never go back to do anything with wrestling again. Then in 2005 he buried the hatched with Vince and put together a DVD for his career, and got inducted to the Hall of Fame in ’06. I never really thought all that would’ve happened but it did. I was happy with that.

KON: They’ve used him sparingly since, which was a wise decision.

Some of us thought they’d have a thing on RAW 1000 to commemorate all the talent they’ve lost since the show began. They didn’t, but it felt like Bret was out there for them.

ZORK: Yeah, I think Bret’s appearance and the match would’ve been a little better if Bret was the special guest ref instead an announcer? What? Why?

I guess I should give my thoughts on all the things he’s done the past couple of years as well. For one thing, it was great to see him and Shawn also bury the hatchet on screen and become friends again. The feud with Vince was entertaining sometimes, sometimes not. It was nice to finally get closure on that and I get what they were trying to do. It was difficult to watch that match at Wrestlemania 26 though.

When they used him after Wrestlemania to help get the Hart Dynasty over and give them a boost, I thought that was pretty smart of them and it seemed to work for awhile until they suddenly decided that having a real tag team was bad and had them jobbed out and split up. It was kind of cool to see Bret get a US Title victory over the Miz and served as a way to get the belt off of him and a little something to the title for name dropping. Since then, Bret’s sporadic appearances have been appreciated and have done no real harm or anything because he doesn’t really overstay his welcome any.

KON: He’s in the very small category of wrestlers who’ve held every active belt in WWE (assuming the WHC carries the prestige of the WCW big gold belt, which is arguable). He’s also won King of the Ring twice and was the last man standing at Royal Rumble ’94. For a man who’s career was cut short at a relatively young age, he managed to do just about everything.

ZORK: This is true, if I recall right Bret is the only guy in WWE to win King of the Ring twice. He was also the first to become a triple crown champion in both WCW and WWE. Even if his career was cut short, he had one hell of a run, a lot of excellent matches and he’s still fondly remembered by fans. On top of that he seems to be leading a decent life outside of wrestling when so many other guys can’t. What more could you ask for?

KON: Thanks for taking part (and for your incredible patience).

ZORK: Thank you for letting me on, and allowing me to discuss one of my favourite wrestlers of all time.



Snap into a Slim Jim! – With Gepp and KON

****** – With Blair A. Douglas and KON

Rest in Peace – With Gojira and KON

Hulkamania – With CB and KON

Destrucity – With CB and KON

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